By: Jennifer O’Connor (Skincare Specialist/Esthetician & Owner over 15 years Fusion Face & Body) http://www.fusionfacebody.com

I am someone who is over 40, passionate about ingredients and the science of skincare. Working with clients and patients over the years has taught me a lot about the aging process. Here is some detailed information to help you erase those years!

I will write other blogs dedicated to individual concerns mentioned here so that you can have even more details and specific info on ingredients and how they work.

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Visible aging is characterized by change in the skin due to degradation of its structure. There are two types of aging:

  1. Intrinsic – the physiological breakdown that occurs naturally due to genetics and time. As time passes there is a natural loss of fat tissue and shrinking of bones. The dermis thins by an average of 20% as we age. Desquamation slows and cellular renewal is reduced, leading to the buildup of dead skin cells and therefore a dull appearance.

The onset of visible intrinsic aging is determined by a person’s genetics and because  of this those of differing ethnic backgrounds will typically experience the visible signs of aging at different times throughout life.

2.  Extrinsic – thought to be responsible for up to 85% of the visible signs of aging and is considered to be preventable. Sun exposure, unhealthy lifestyle, gravity, environmental pollutants and chronic inflammation contribute to a breakdown of the skin’s matrix, collagen, elastin and GAG. Over-exposure to these offenders increases the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of the skin’s support system.  Sorry for so much detail, I love this stuff… but just remember be healthy and stay out of the sun!

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All the presentations of aging skin:

Sagging/laxity is caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Shrinking bones and loss of fat allow skin to sag naturally over time. Gravity, along with cross-linking and loss of collagen, also contribute.

Loss of elasticity occurs naturally with age. Additionally, UV rays and free radicals and inflammation trigger MMP, which can cause an elastin breakdown.

Fine Lines form naturally over time as collagen production slows and skin hydration decreases.

Dryness/dehydration occurs naturally over time as the skins production of things such as hyaluronic acid (HA) decrease. HA is responsible for attracting & holding moisture in the skin. Dryness can also increase with use of aggressive topical products, improper cleansing and moisturizing practices reducing the skin’s barrier function. Time & sun exposure also lead to an impacted skin cells.

Increased transparency is a result of natural and UV induced thinning of the skin. The transparency causes capillaries to become more visible, leading to an increase in skin redness and visible veins.

Deep/abnormal wrinkling are caused by extrinsic factors. UVA rays cause an acceleration in the breakdown of collagen. Free radical damage causes MMP enzymes to breakdown collagen & elastin. Smoking causes abnormal vertical lines around the mouth. Facial expressions can also be responsible for deeper lines around the mouth and eyes.

Hyperpigmentation is the result of sun exposure, hormones and inflammation.

Thickening of the epidermis occurs in certain cases of sun damage. Commonly referred to as leather-like appearance.

Telangiectasias (dilated blood vessels/spider veins) become more visible as the skin thins and becomes more transparent. UV exposure causes dilation of capillaries along with a thinning of their walls, making blood vessels more visible and more prominent.

Enlargement of pores is a reduction of collagen in the skin caused by sun damage. Pores appear larger as the support of the surrounding collagen decreases.

Coarsening of the skin caused by a buildup of dead skin cells. Shedding of cells decreases with time and with exposure to the elements.

Controlling Aging

  • Gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover Cell turnover slows a lot with age. Daily use of topicals is imperative to increase cell turnover if you are concerned with visible signs of aging. Professional treatments and peels are also important. Vitamin A derivatives help to increase cell turnover, bringing healthy skin to the surface quicker. Home superficial peels are also beneficial.
    • alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid
    • TCA
    • retinoids – start slow on retinol to avoid side effects
  • Increase matrix proteins Many studies suggest the use of certain AHA, peptides, botanicals and vitamins trigger collagen production, increasing firmness, decreasing fine lines. Combining multifaceted ingredients can exfoliate and stimulate collagen. Combining peptides and hydration can plump the skin and decrease the appearance of fine lines. Daily application of these advanced topicals will help reduce the signs of aging.
    • palmitoyl pentapeptide-4
    • palmitoyl tripeptide-38
    • palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7
    • acteyl hexapeptide
    • vitamin C
    • retinoids
  • Inhibit melanogenesis is the production of melanin. Its is a complicated process but the use of topicals is crucial to help with this aging concern. Ingredients such as retinols and Vitamin C inhibit melanogenesis, brighten the skin and provide anti-aging benefits. It is highly recommended to use daily products containing melanin inhibitors.  These help fade current discolorations and stave off future discolorations. Professional treatments with these ingredients in stronger percentages will also be very beneficial. In my business, I will combine or rotate peels to ensure there is a mix of active ingredients to target the pigmentation effectively.
    • lactic acid
    • azelaic acid
    • kojic acid
    • arbutin
    • retinol
    • vitamin c
    • licorice
    • resorcinol
    • hydroquinone  (this is a controversial ingredient and I don’t sell anything at my business with this in it. I feel like it works initially and causes rebound pigmentation)
  • Increase hydration Topicals to increase hydration must contain humectants to draw moisture to the epidermis and occlusive agents to hold it in. Over-use of AHA’s with small molecular size such as glycolic acid should be minimized in the treatment of aging skin because they can penetrate to quickly and cause redness and inflammation. Looking at the product formulation is important. If the product contains glycolic acid be sure there are also plenty of hydrators to balance the skin and not strip it. A better choice is lactic and citric acids. Avoid alcohol in toners as it will prevent unnecessary dehydration.
    • hyaluronic acid
    • sodium pca
    • urea
    • glycerin
    • lactic acid
    • ceramides
    • retinoids
  • Protect from UV rays and inflammatory stimulants SPF is an important step that should not be forgotten.
    • broad spectrum sunscreen -I prefer mineral sunblocks
    • resveratrol
    • epigallocatechin (EGCG)
    • glutathione
    • rosehip seed oil
    • vitamin C
    • vitamin E
    • retinoids
    • aloe vera
    • caffeine

I hope this information helps better guide you in your product selections. Contact me if you have specific product questions or need any help with your skin. fusionfacebody@gmail.com

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