Georgeanna Huang, MD Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon

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For children, the natural skin-rejuvenation process takes only a few days. They can scrub with a soapy washcloth and go back to playing. Skincare for teens and adults gets a little more complicated. The ability to exfoliate (shed dead skin cells) and regenerate new skin cells begins to slow down by puberty and slows down drastically by middle age.

Facial aging can be exacerbated by exposure to certain environmental conditions. The sun, wind, and biological or chemical pollution damage the appearance of the skin. Lifestyle choices also damage the skin, such as improper diet and not enough exercise. Genetic causes include changing hormone levels that age your skin. The effects of these factors along with a slowed skin-cell-rejuvenation process can ultimately appear in the form of wrinkled, discolored, rough-textured, broken-out skin.

As skin cell replacement slows with age, more and more dead cells build up on the surface layers. You can see the effects in the following symptoms: fine lines and deep wrinkles, hyperpigmentation spots (skin discoloration) and brown spots,  sagging skin, broken capillaries, excessive oily or dry skin, white and black heads, blotchy skin, acne scars, pustules (small elevated marks or spots), rough texture, and dull tone.

There are many possible sources of each skin problem. For example, excessive oil and glycerin production can trap bacteria, causing infection and scarring, or acne. Extreme exposure to heat and cold as well as changing hormone levels can cause pigmentation cells to migrate to the outer skin layer. These cells may then be trapped, appearing as discoloration spots on the surface of the skin. Another cause may be our declining ability to naturally exfoliate (shed dead skin), which occurs with age, and may exacerbate sagging, wrinkled, rough-textured, dull skin.

Skincare requires vigilant monitoring and periodic treatment modifications to react to ever-changing conditions, in order to keep your skin balanced. The best treatment is determined by your skin condition, age, sex, and overall health. Remember that recommendations may vary among dermatologists, and results may vary among patients.

Clinical treatments are more widely recognized today, offering a more aggressive approach to skincare. These treatments frequently involve accelerated exfoliation through chemical, physical, or laser technologies. Medical grade home skincare programs are coordinated to sustain results. Antioxidant therapies may be used after clinical treatments to enhance healthy skin cell turnover. Alternatively, you can limit your regimen to over-the-counter skincare products. Even as adults, skin can be treated with some simple methods. Advances in medical science are yielding new insights into the causes and effects of aging skin. Greater understanding leads to better treatments. Talk to a qualified doctor about your goals and all of the skincare options that may be suitable for your condition.

 

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is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and an active member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with subspecialty training in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast.
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