With all of the concern about sun damage and skin cancer, you’d think we would all be better off if we spent every daylight hour in a cave, venturing forth only after dark like some vampire from an Anne Rice novel. Truth be told, yes such a lifestyle would definitely lessen sun damage on the skin, but there is another side of skin aging that happens no matter what we do.
Such is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic aging.
Ah, young skin. When you’re young, the skin’s the outer layer, the epidermis, is smooth and acts as an effective barrier to water and environmental damage. The skin’s color and tone is even without any pigmentation issues.
And the skin’s support system is strong. Collagen, which provides the skin’s firmness; elastin, which gives the skin elasticity and rebound; and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which keep the skin hydrated, are all abundant.
Two types of aging
And then the clock starts ticking and suddenly you begin to develop wrinkles. Wrinkling is a combination of two types of aging — intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging just happens. It doesn’t matter if you live in Las Vegas or in a rain forest. After your 20th birthday, your body cuts its production of collagen by one percent each year. This makes the skin thinner and more fragile the older you get. Your sweat and oil glands also slow their function, and elastin and GAGs drop as well. Intrinsic aging is inevitable, but it isn’t the main cause of wrinkles.
That would be extrinsic aging. Extrinsic aging occurs because of sun and environmental damage (smoking or exposure to pollution, among other things). Your formerly even-toned, supple skin changes. Extrinsic aging shows itself as a thickening of the cornified outer layer of the skin. Precancerous growths, skin cancers, and freckles and sun spots all start to show up, directly related to your amount of sun exposure. This exposure also causes an exaggerated loss of collagen, elastin, and GAGs.
All of these factors team up to give your skin a rough appearance, uneven tone, brown patches, sagging skin, and deep wrinkles.
That’s where Dr. Herte’s surgical and non-surgical options come into play, battling the effects of extrinsic aging. From facelifts to ResurFX laser resurfacing to Medical Grade Facials, Dr. Herte will provide options to address your aging skin. Call us at 702-732-9600 and make an appointment for a consultation.