DR. NINA DESAI: Slowing Down the Process of Aging

Owner and Founder of Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics

“Why am I getting wrinkles and how do I slow down this aging process…”  

 …is a question I get asked almost every day,  To understand why we have wrinkles we first need to understand that there are a few different things happening to our skin as we age chronologically.  The first is the natural, or intrinsic aging process that is happening in our skin.  After the age of 20, our body produces about 1 percent less collagen per year.  We also loose elastin.  Both collagen and elastin are the essential proteins for the strength and elasticity of our skin.  Less collagen and elastin over time means more fine lines and wrinkles,  Next we produce less sebum, or natural oil, as we age.  This makes our skin appear more dry and dull and enhances the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles as well.  And lastly we loose subcutaneous fat which contributes to our skin looking more “saggy” over time.

While we can’t stop the natural aging process, there are several key extrinsic factors that we really can control that can greatly improve our skin’s appearance as we age. The first is the amount of UV exposure we have.  We all know that UV light accelerated the aging process, breaks down collagen and elastin and contributes greatly to pigmentation on the skin.  This is really the biggest culprit when it comes to premature aging.  In addition, UV rays and pollution can cause unstable particles, called free- radicals, to build up in the skin, further contributing to skin damage and aging.

While too much sun exposure is something everyone knows about as being harmful to the skin,  another factor we may not think about, but actually makes fine lines deeper, is the repetitive movements of our facial muscles.  If you are one who is really expressive, or you are squinting in front of a computer for hours a day, you will notice that collagen is breaking down and the lines in these areas are going to get worse. 

So how do we slow down the aging process and make sure we look our very best?    Watching  those facial muscles is important but can be difficult to control. We can, however, control our skin care. Definitely start fighting the aging process by making sure you have these 4 key ingredients in your daily skin care routine:

1 - Sunscreen: Sunscreen, with an SPF of at least 30, applied to your face, neck, chest and hands every morning. Always remember to reapply throughout the day. 

2 - Antioxidants: Antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin E applied to the face every morning (and sometimes at night as well) help protect the skin from dangerous free radical damage caused by the sun.  Free radical damage contributes to sun spots, wrinkles, fine lines and skin cancers to name just a few of the problems they can contribute to.

3 - A retinoid: I recommend all women over the age of 30 be on some form of a Retinol or Retin- The difference is that Retinol is over the counter, while Retin- a is a prescription.  Both come in varying strengths and the strengths are based on individual tolerance.  Retinoids help cell- turnover and promote collagen stimulation, which makes your skin look smoother, fresher and brighter.

4 - A good moisturizer: Moisturizers will keep the skin hydrated and supple.  If you pick one with a hyaluronic acid, it will help plump up the skin improving the appearance of fine lines.

Now that you know why we get wrinkles and a few easy tips to fight them, you are on your way to more beautiful, youthful skin!

The ALL Wrap Up, through Dr. Desai’s words: The skin is not only the largest organ in the body, it is also the first thing about us that anyone sees.  The condition of our skin can often times gives us extra confidence, or even makes us more self-conscious if we are unhappy with the way our skin looks.  While there are intrinsic factors of aging that we cannot control, there are also extrinsic factor that we can.  The biggest of which is protecting your skin from the sun which can damage your skin in so many ways.  The fields of dermatology and aesthetic medicine is very exciting because we now have so many tools to help both women and men look and feel their very best. When consulting with a patient about how to handle the aging process, I like to focus on both the aspects of their skin that they love and the aspects they would like a little bit of help improving, as it is important to see that often time is it our differences that make us beautiful.   It is also very important that we care for our skin in its entirety as we age just like any other organ.  With age, comes not only wrinkles, but damaged skin cells, precancerous and even cancerous growths that need to be identified and treated.  So it is very important to look at the entire picture, treating wrinkles and fine lines is just one component of that.  Ensuring skin health is the most important component.   This is the exact reason that I firmly believe the best anti-aging ingredient is a good SPF.  A product that we love the look and feel and re re-apply throughout the day.

Our favorite ALL question: If you had 30 seconds to say one thing and EVERYONE on the planet stopped and actually listened…what would you say?

While skin care is my passion, if I could tell everyone one thing it would be to find some time to focus on self- care whatever that may mean to you.  Whether its exercise, or meditation, or spending a little time on your skin care routine, when we find a little time for ourselves it puts us in a much better mindset to be there for others and to focus on everything we would like to accomplish. 


Nina Desai, MD FAAD
Owner and Founder of Pure Dermatology & Aesthetics

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