Is Your Skin Age Appropriate?

by | August 16, 2010 @ 04:00PM

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Are You Injecting Self Sabotaging Factors Into Your Skin Care Regimen?

For a woman in her twenties, the balance between building a professional name for herself, and maintaining an active social life can be quite hectic. Long hours at the office, poor diet, lack of sleep, and added stress can trigger a myriad of skin problems that can impact the way a woman looks a decade down the road. If not addressed or treated properly, many of these skin care problems can result in the average woman looking more like her mother MUCH sooner than she ever anticipated or even expected!

The Usual Culprits: "Sun damage is the number one life lesson most women in this age bracket carry over into adulthood," notes Dr. Ron Shelton, a New York City cosmetic dermatologist. While most women are aware of the damage UVA rays can cause to the skin TODAY, the same cannot be said of the years prior to this discovery. "It's important to recognize that many of the fine lines or slight wrinkles or creases most women in this demographic experience were probably brought about several years prior while they were still children or adolescents due to overexposure to the sun's harmful rays," explains Dr. Shelton.

Cleaning overkill can also have an untoward impact. Over zealous washing, or cleansing, the skin can worsen even the slightest skin problems. "If you're washing your face three times a day in an effort to combat minor breakouts, you could be doing more harm than good," suggests Dr. Shelton. Over-cleansing can actually cause the skin to become dry, chapped, and even bleed from the lack of moisture. "In this situation, a mild soap such as Dove or Cetaphil can work to eradicate slight breakouts without damaging the skin," explains Dr. Shelton.

Another key culprit can be the "miraculous" appearance of adult-onset acne. While most experts conclude there is no explanation for it's emergence in an individual who never experienced acne as an adolescent, the most common areas for it's appearance include the jaw line, chest, neck, back, shoulders, and buttocks. (All the areas that are generally NECESSARY to lead an "active" social life in your twenties!) Cystic acne is another common complaint from women in this age range. "While a change in environment or poor cleansing can exacerbate the situation, young women need to be aware of the fact that a hormonal imbalance could be the likely culprit," suggests Dr. Shelton. "While some birth control pills can actually improve acne-prone skin and can rectify the situation, some can actually make it WORSE, so it's important to consult with both your dermatologist and your gynecologist if you find yourself in this situation," suggests Dr. Shelton.

If you think your late night habits won't catch up with you, think again. Even a sometime smoker and a social drink or two works against your skin regimen. "When you combine late hours with alcohol, not only are you dehydrating your skin, you're also not allowing yourself the rest needed to rehabilitate your skin effectively," explains Dr. Shelton. When the skin is dehydrated, it suddenly becomes readily apparent just how much damage one face has experienced. Without moisture, fine lines, creasing above the lips, slight crow's feet, and enlarged pores become even more readily apparent.

A Quick Fix that May Stave off a Long-Term Cure:

It may not be necessary to rush off for a face-lift quite yet, suggests Dr. Shelton. "NO ONE in their twenties to early thirties should have any invasive procedures done to them this early on," he asserts. Many problems such as fine lines or even acne, can be rectified with minimally invasive procedures. Retin-A is a product that's recommended for women in their 20s to gradually decrease the signs of aging and environmental damage. Retin-A, combined with Acutane can also be used to treat acne and scarring left by acne. For those troubled by fine lines, the magic panacea may only take an hour lunch-break. Commonly referred to as "Lunch-Time" procedures (due to the quick and non-evasive treatments offered), Botox, along with microderabrasion and mild chemical peels, can work steadily over a period of time to diminish lines, and deep furrows. "If you start these type of procedures now, the need for more invasive procedures later on decreases dramatically," explains Dr. Shelton. The bottom-line: Life stressors may make you FEEL like your twenty-something going on forty, but if given the proper care and consideration, it'll never be reflected in your face again.

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