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The aging of the skin

We would like to continue to look as young as we feel “inside”, but the deadline is inevitable: over time, the skin cells are renewed more slowly (causing a thickening of the epidermis to causes dead cells that accumulate); collagen fibers deteriorate in the dermis; the sebaceous and sweat glands atrophy (reducing hydration); and gravity attracts the soft tissues down. In short, wrinkles are created and the skin relaxes.

The main characteristics of aged skin are thought to be caused more by photo-aging, that is aging due to the effects of the sun (especially UVA rays), than by age. The marks, more apparent on the face and hands, are proof of this. The permanent effects caused by photo-aging are both superficial and deep, where the damage of oxidation occurs. Unfortunately, the negative impact of the sun accumulates from early childhood…

If the dry skin can affect people of any age, the aging of the skin is characterized, in addition, by the following manifestations:

  • wrinkles;
  • lack of tone;
  • Senile lentigo, commonly called pigment spot or aging spot (these spots are similar to dark brown freckles);
    NB: Lentigos do not present any danger. However, if they become prominent or change in appearance, it is best to consult a doctor.
  • Greater susceptibility to hematomas, especially the hands and forearms.

If there is a way to slow down the skin aging process, it cannot be reversed or stopped. The speed with which this process unfolds depends, in the first place, on heredity and, secondly, on the way of life.

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People at risk for the aging of the skin

People with fair skin, the skin barrier against UVA are less strong.

Risk factors

  • Sun exposure.
    The UVB rays, those that cause reddening of the skin, make it more brittle surface layer.
    The UVA rays cause in-depth damage in the dermis where the collagen and elastin are.
  • The cigarette. Smoking is an important factor in the premature formation of wrinkles.


  • Protect yourself from direct sunlight at all times, either by appropriate clothing (long sleeves, hat) or by sunscreens. Many suns cream only protect against UVB rays, but to block UVA, products containing zinc oxide and titanium oxide are recommended. The regular protection against the sun’s rays is justified by the fact that during a lifetime, about 80% of sun exposure is in brief situations.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • Care for the skin clean facial skin twice a day with mild soap or cleansing cream; dry by tapping and immediately apply a moisturizer.
  • Have a good diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and olive oil may reduce the harmful effects of oxidation.
  • To exercise. Physical activity promotes good blood circulation, necessary for the maintenance of the skin.

Medical treatments of skin aging

All treatments mentioned below are exclusively reserved for doctors and are generally performed by specialists, dermatologists or plastic surgeons. Treatments are presented in an order from the least invasive to the most invasive (requiring more and more “invasion” in the body).

Topical retinoic acid

Available only on prescription, retinoic acid is an active derivative of vitamin A. It is also known as tretinoin. In several clinical trials that have lasted up to four years, researchers have found that continued use of retinoic acid helps to reduce fine lines (but not deep wrinkles) and fade or remove blemishes. Senile lentigo. It takes two to six months for improvement to occur. Researchers believe that with prolonged use (one year or more); the skin could recover to produce collagen. This drug is the only topical product that is recognized and approved to cure photo-aging. Its efficacy has been demonstrated at concentrations as low as 0.02%.
. May cause irritation (a hydrocortisone cream may be necessary to relieve it) and, in a minority of people, increase the photosensitivity of the skin, which requires the use of permanently effective sunscreen. Follow the medical indications carefully. If you want to read about mental health read here.

Laser Treatments

There are various techniques and devices for laser treatments. The less draconian treatments attenuate or eliminate the senile lentigo, visible venules or other marks. As for the “resurfacing”, it is a chemical-free exfoliation: the light rays of the laser pulverize the dead cells that we want to eliminate, without touching the other parts of the skin. This helps to correct pigmentation defects (senile lentigo), acne scars and fine wrinkles. Local anesthesia should be given.
Side effects. A redness that can last a few weeks; the pigmentation returns to normal in one to three months. There may be complications.

Botox injections

This word now well known is a trademark (there are some others) that identifies the purified toxin of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. This toxin can cause serious food poisoning, called botulism. The very small amounts used in Botox injections, however, are safe, according to health authorities. The injection is done in the muscles responsible for expression lines, especially between the eyebrows and on the forehead and at the corner of the eyes. The desired property of this poison is that it causes paralysis of the affected muscles by causing the degeneration of nerve endings. Without muscle contractions, wrinkles subside after a few days. After three or four months, new nerve endings are formed and injections must be repeated; but it happens that after several treatments the effect lasts longer. For the time being,
Side effects. This toxin has been used medically for about twenty years, but its effects are not known in the longer term. In the short term, patients may experience some, albeit relatively infrequent, problems such as a headache, nausea, bruising and discomfort in the treated area; there are also cases of allergy. On the other hand, if the injection has been poorly performed (too deep or poorly oriented), partial and temporary paralysis of neighboring muscles, including those of the eyelid, may ensue. An interval of at least two months must be maintained between injections to prevent the body from forming antibodies.

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Cons-indications. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding as well as people suffering from a neurological disease cannot take this treatment.

Injections of hyaluronic acid

This biological substance is naturally found in the connective tissue but is lost through age. It is used to smooth wrinkles and furrows. Local anesthesia to numb the skin is sometimes required. In addition, the product gradually wears off.
Side effects. Redness, itching, swelling and pain at the injection site (temporary); sometimes, but rarely, pain, redness and pigmentation defects persist.

Deep exfoliation (peeling)

While light or medium exfoliation consists of dislodging dead cells from the superficial layer of skin, this treatment removes a larger layer of the epidermis by means of a high concentration of chemicals (eg glycolic acid). Practiced in a doctor’s office only, deep exfoliation involves several risks; the skin stays alive for a few days during which it is very sensitive to infections and then there is blood clotting (formation of scabies).


Practiced with a very small rotating brush or a grinding wheel, dermabrasion removes a layer of skin a little more important than chemical exfoliation. Precautions and post-intervention care are similar to those of chemical exfoliation.

Surgical facelift

The partial facelift is mainly around the eyes. The procedure is performed under local or general anesthesia and involves risks.
Side effects. Swelling and bruising that lasts at least two weeks and often longer (depending on the type of skin), during which time you have to keep your head up and apply regular cold compresses on the eyes. Physical hard work is to be avoided for six weeks.

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Updated: October 19, 2018 — 12:19 pm
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Please ask your doctor before taking any of the drugs mentioned in the articles or starting any exercise.
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