Whether you’re thinking of having Botox and dermal fillers or not, there are some important principles that will help you get the most from your skin at all ages.
Our skin is usually at its best in the late teen years and early twenties, but – as they say – youth is wasted on the young and this is often where bad habits and lifestyles cause most damage. If you could freeze time, this would be the time to do it. Unfortunately lots of what we expose our skin and bodies to at this age actually accelerates ageing. Some simple common sense habits will help prevent deterioration. It’s never too late to start, but the younger the better! Most of this damage is unnoticed until our late 20s or early 30s, which is when many men and women have their first Botox or dermal filler treatment.
The strongest evidence grounded in scientific research for non-prescription beauty creams points to just two ingredients: moisturiser and sun protection. Everyone should be protecting their skin on a daily basis with a moisturiser containing an SPF. Direct sunlight is a form of high-energy radiation; it actually breaks molecules such as your DNA, collagen and elastin. Elastin is often the first to go; indeed I’ve seen patients in their 40s return from holiday with a deep tan but also a drawn look, where the elastic nature of their skin has been badly damaged after just one two week sun worshiping session. If you must be tanned, spray it on!
Did you know, the cell messenger that triggers your skin to create a tan is actually broken pieces of DNA, which is also the cause of cancer. Unless it’s from a bottle, there is no such thing as a safe tan.
What about vitamin D?
People often ask me ‘what about vitamin D?’. They know that skin actually uses sunlight to make this important vitamin. However, in truth, you don’t need much. You can actually make enough vitamin D through exposure to sunlight for as little as 30 minutes per week on your face and arms. There are also high levels of vitamin D in some foods, such as oily fish. Eat one portion, three times per week or take a supplement, and you’ll be covered without the ageing effect of sunlight. Either way, it’s good to know you certainly do not need daily sun exposure to get enough vitmain D.
Diet is very important; you are what you eat after all. The flavenoids in foods are also thought to provide a warm tint to your skin without the need for tanning. In Fact, some scientists theorise that a healthy look from a tan is actually only perceived as a glow because it looks a lot like the warm tint very healthy skin has from high levels of flavenoids like betacarotene. Aim for eight portions of fruit and vegetables a day, and you’ll be keeping yourself young from the inside out.
It goes without saying that smoking is awful for your skin; it slows down cell turnover and adds toxins to your blood that, by your mid 30s, may leave the skin 30% thinner than a non-smoker.
See your GP or contact the NHS stop smoking line – Don’t go by willpower alone, people who ask for help are far more likely to stop. Call 0800 0224332 or go to smokefree.nhs.uk
What about the signs of ageing I’ve already got?
Even if you live the life of sun-phobic saint, age and wear & tear takes its toll on us all. Thankfully there are many ways that the signs of ageing can be nicely improved. You will usually start to notice your face ageing with the appearance of fine lines in areas of strong muscle movement such as the crows’ feet. Surprisingly this is not as age-related as many people think. I’ve certainly seen persistent lines in people as young as 18, and the same areas in other line-free 60 year olds! The cause of these lines is the wear & tear caused by a very strong facial expression such as a frown. Botox is the perfect treatment for these lines, and I have seen stunning results in all ages just by giving the skin a good rest with Botox. Even very deep lines in the forehead may soften in a few weeks, but the deepest lines may require dermal filler to help soften them more quickly.
Volume loss is another major cause of the signs of ageing. Deep lines from the corner of the nose to the mouth are easily treated with dermal fillers such as Juvederm Ultra 3, Voluma and others. Often however, it is loss of volume in the cheeks that causes heavier lines below the cheeks, and the most natural effect is gained by simply replacing some of that lost volume. Volume replacement under a line or wrinkle, or within areas of lost volume like the cheeks, gives a very natural rejuvenating effect.
To treat skin texture problems such as old sun damage, a skin treatment is required. There are vitamin A based creams that actually act more like a hormone than a vitamin on the skin (see the Obagi range) and can kick start cell activity from the inside, giving a healthy glow, improving fine lines, skin thickness and more.
The more intense treatments like skin peels and the Genuine Dermaroller® do some of this work even quicker by stimulating those cells directly.
If you only remember one thing…
The take-home message is that the best things you can do for your skin are lifestyle related; the things you do day-in and day-out. Live healthily and you will emanate health. But, it’s good to know that, where signs of ageing are already present, we’ve got a fantastic range of clever and safe ways to help you make the most of your skin.
For more information on Botox and our other treatments, visit our treatment pages.