How to take care of aging skin, explained by a dermatologist in Arlington, VA

Patients often come to Washington Dermatology Consultants in Arlington, VA asking for advice on how to take care of aging skin. The answer is different for every patient, because everyone ages differently. However, some skincare guidelines are nearly universal. Below are some tips to help you look your best at any age!

Anti-aging habits to start right now

Many people think of aging skin as a problem that comes later in life. However, we all have aging skin. The body is constantly changing, from the moment a person is born. Wrinkles and other visible signs of aging usually begin appearing in the third decade of life, but they begin long before that. No matter what your age is, there are things you can do right now to slow the process.

  • Cleanse, but don’t scrub – It doesn’t take force to remove cosmetics, skin oil, and impurities from the surface of the skin. If deeper cleansing is needed, try a gentle exfoliant or facial mask. Aggressive scrubbing will only cause irritation, which can age the appearance of skin.
  • Skip the tan – Increased skin pigmentation is a sign of UV damage to skin. If you like “sun kissed” appearance, use a self-tanning lotion or ask your dermatologist about spray tanning options.
  • Say no to nicotine – Smoking is known for causing fine lines around the mouth. However, that is not the only way that it ages skin. Nicotine in any form can slow your natural healing processes, diminish skin quality, and more.
  • Watch what you drink – Plentiful water is essential for keeping skin hydrated. However, excess alcohol consumption can cause dehydration. Additionally, soft drinks and juices tend to be high is sugar, which aggravates skin inflammation.
  • Eat right and stay active – You probably know that diet and exercise are critical components of a healthy lifestyle, and important for weight control. However, you might be surprised to learn that they also play a role in the aging of skin. A diet high in vitamins and antioxidants helps “feed” the skin and keeps the immune system strong. Studies also suggest that regular exercise can slow the signs of aging.
  • Avoid skin irritation – If a product causes stringing, burning, redness, or other unpleasant effects, then it is irritating your skin. In most cases, that means it could be causing damage and hastening the signs of aging.
  • Protect yourself from the sun, every day – You probably wear sunscreen before going outside on bright summer days. That’s a great start! However, you can’t stop there if you want effective sun protection. Harmful UV rays can penetrate windows and even clouds, making sunscreen essential year-around. Additionally, chemical sunscreen loses effectiveness after a couple of hours, so it needs to be re-applied frequently.

The changing needs of skin

Good skincare and sun protection should be a priority throughout life. However, that does not mean your skincare regimen should be the same at age sixty as it was at age twenty. The most effective approach is a fluid one, constantly evolving to meet the changing needs of skin.

  • Teens and twenties – Early in life, prevention is the name of the game. Follow the anti-aging tips mentioned above, wear protective clothing when needed, treat injuries or skin disease seriously, and generally take good care of your skin. Avoid the temptation to sleep too little, sunbathe too much, leave makeup on at night and other harmful habits. You might think you can “get away with it” while you are still young, but the cumulative damage will catch up with you in the form of premature aging.
  • Thirties and forties – Now your metabolism is slowing, facial volume is diminishing, and the production of collagen is slowing. Change your skincare routine to accommodate changing needs, with gentler products, more moisturizer, and the addition of anti-aging formulas such as retinols. When wrinkles, lines, and sagging skin begin to appear, talk to your dermatologist about nonsurgical solutions such as Botox and dermal fillers.
  • Fifties, sixties, and beyond – Skin becomes drier and thinner over time, making moisturizer more important than ever. You may need to consider a heavier formula, and more frequent applications. Also avoid habits that can strip skin of natural oils, such as taking hot showers or using harsh cleansers. If you haven’t seen a dermatologist yet, don’t worry – it’s never too late to begin antiaging treatments.

Because every person’s skin is different, the best way to customize your anti-aging regimen is with the guidance of a Board-certified dermatologist. Call Washington Dermatology Consultants at  571-431-6175 and schedule your consultation today.

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