Aging happens to anyone who is fortunate enough to live long enough. While it’s a fairly common occurrence, it’s also a fairly misunderstood occurrence, with a lot of myths and misconceptions floating around about it. Several different factors affecting the aging process, including the process of how your skin ages. While you can’t stop it, knowing as much as possible about aging can help you plan for it and minimize its effects.
Everyone Ages At the Same Pace
People age at different rates, even if they live in the same area, have similar jobs or were born on the exact same day. For that reason, one person might be ready for a facelift at 50 while his or her best friend might be able to wait another decade before even thinking about facial plastic surgery.
A study published in 2015 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examined a number of specific aging markers on a group of nearly 1,000 38-year-olds. The study had measured a number of markets in that same group at the ages of 32 and 26 and was able to compare the changes in each subject over the course of the years. Although each participant was the same chronological age, 38, the study found that participants ranged in age biologically from under 30-years-old to more than 60-years-old.
Anti-Aging is a One and Done Deal
Another common myth about aging is that you reverse the signs of it permanently, or completely stop it, with a single cosmetic treatment. Unfortunately, the belief that anti-aging treatments are one and done deals is still the stuff of science fiction. You can get long lasting results from surgical procedures such as a facelift or eyelid lift, but your body will continue to age. The same is even more true with less invasive treatments, such injections or laser skin resurfacing, as the results from those treatments typically last for a few months to a few years.
For that reason, many patients decide to undergo maintenance treatments to help their face and skin continue to look younger. You might decide to have surgery at age 55, then have injections a few years later to minimize the look of any fine lines that have developed. Or, you might decide to have a chemical peel on a monthly basis to keep your skin looking fresh and to minimize any hyperpigmentation or uneven texture.
The same is true of a skincare routine. It’s easy to feel that you can stop using products once you see results. But, to keep up the results of your routine, it’s important to continue to use your moisturizer and other products on a daily basis.
What You Eat Doesn’t Matter
The phrase “you are what you eat” really does matter, particularly when it comes to the aging process. Certain nutrients and foods are very good for helping reduce the signs of aging. For example, Vitamin C, which also happens to be used in a number of skincare products, is known for helping the body produce collagen, which helps keep skin firm and elastic. Vitamin A can help keep your skin moisturized and can reduce wrinkles. Your body also needs plenty of dietary fat to keep the skin soft and hydrated and to help improve cell turnover.
On the flip side, some foods can speed up the aging process. When your body processes sugar, even naturally occurring sugar, a process known as glycation occurs, which damages collagen, making it brittle and speeding up the aging process on your skin. The process becomes more visible past the age of 35. Limiting the amount of sugary treats you eat will help you maintain a more youthful look for longer.
If Your Parents Aged Quickly, So Will You
You do have your parents to thank (or blame) for how quickly your skin ages. But, it’s worth noting that genes only play a part in the aging process. External factors, such as sun exposure and tobacco use, play a big part, too. For example, if your parents each looked like they were 60 when they are just 45, but they also spent their summers tanning on a beach and were pack-a-day smokers, it might be that the smoking and sun exposure had more to do with their aged looks than their genes.
Since everyone ages differently and what affects the aging process can vary from person to person, creating a customized anti-aging plan is important. Dr. Jessica Kulak, an aging face specialist and board certified facial plastic surgeon, will sit down with you and help you decide what treatments and options are best for you and what else you can do to slow down the aging process. Dr. Kulak practices at the Naderi Center, which as has locations in Virginia and Maryland. For an appointment in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002. For a consultation in Maryland, call 301-222-2020.