While most think of wrinkles as being the major sign of aging on the skin, a number of other conditions can occur or get worse as you get older, making you want to cover them up or find ways to treat them. There’s no cure for some skin issues, such as rosacea, but most can be managed or brought under control with a little help from a plastic surgeon.
Adult onset acne or acne that continues when you’re well past your teenage years is one of the great "hey, that’s not fairs" of life. You really didn’t plan on having to deal with both fine lines and pimples at the same time.
Acne in your adult years tends to be a bit different than the acne teenagers get. It’s more likely to occur on the lower part of your face, particularly near the chin or mouth. Adults also tend to see more acne on their necks or backs, as well as on their faces. No matter your age, acne develops for the same reason. Your skin produces too much oil, which mixes with dead skin cells and clogs your pores. The mix of dead skin and oil is the perfect meal for P. Acnes, a type of bacteria. As the bacteria feasts on the oil and skin cells and starts to digest them, your skin becomes irritated and inflamed.
Treating acne as an adult can be a frustrating experience. The cleansers that might have worked when you were younger can prove themselves to no longer be effective. Or, they might be too drying for your older skin, leading to irritation.
Working with a doctor is often the best way to come up with a plan for treating or even beating your acne. Some people find that topical creams and skincare systems work for them. Retin-A is a topical treatment that increases cell turnover on your skin, reducing the number of clogged pores. Other options include having regular chemical peels or microdermabrasion treatments to help exfoliate skin and reduce acne.
In some cases, the signs of rosacea can be confused with acne, at least at first. Rosacea causes the skin to turn red and bumpy, and usually occurs in middle-aged women. The exact cause of the condition isn’t known, but it’s thought to be connected to the body’s inflammatory response. A number of outside factors can trigger rosacea, including exposure to the sun, taking hot showers or eating spicy or hot foods.
Treatment options for rosacea include topical creams and ointments, as well as more in-depth options such as laser skin resurfacing or intense pulsed light. A doctor might prescribe a retinoid treatment, such as Retin-A, to help encourage cell turnover and reduce the signs of rosacea. Laser treatments are usually reserved for more severe cases.
People get scars for a number of reasons. Acne can sometimes leave scarring on the face, even years after the breakout has cleared up. Scars also form in the area of a surgical incision or when another type of wound has healed. Depending on the location and size of the scar, it can be disfiguring or embarrassing.
Treating a scar often involves reducing its size and improving the surface of the skin. Often, some type of skin resurfacing procedure, such as a chemical peel, dermabrasion or laser skin resurfacing, is performed to reduce the appearance of the scar. Surgical revision is another treatment option. The option that’s best for a patient depends on the size of the scar and his or her skin type. Some treatments, such as laser skin resurfacing, can cause changes to the skin’s tone or color and are usually not recommended for patients with darker skin.
Hyperpigmentation, sometimes called age spots, liver spots or melasma, can occur for a number of reasons. Melasma, for example, is usually linked to pregnancy or birth control use. Women with the condition usually have pigmentation changes over an entire area, instead of spotting. Treating hyperpigmentation is often a three step process.
Step one involves exfoliating the skin to remove the top layer of pigmented, dead skin cells. Products and treatments that encourage exfoliation include Retin-A (which shouldn’t be used by pregnant women), chemical peels and IPL. Step two involves encouraging cell turnover, or the production of new skin cells.
Step three involves blocking Tyrosine, the amino acid that converts to melanin, or pigment in the skin. A number of ingredients help lighten skin by blocking tyrosine, including kojic acid and hydroquinone. Hydroquinone should also not be used by pregnant women.
Once the hyperpigmentation is treated, it’s important to protect the skin from the sun, as UV exposure is one of the causes of pigment changes. Avoiding spending too much time outdoors and always using a sunscreen will help protect your skin from the sun.
Looking your best and feeling youthful means more than just treating wrinkles. At the Naderi Center in Maryland and Virginia, Dr. Jessica Kulak can provide guidance and treatment for a number of skin conditions. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Kulak, call (703) 481-0002 in Virginia or (301) 222-2020 in Maryland for an appointment today.