Shifting perspective related to aging and skin

By Dr. Maureen Leia-Stephen

I often think about the difference between Eastern and Western Traditions. The Japanese esthetic is a lifelong passion for ritualistic wellbeing and beauty. It is about prevention; proactive and pre-emptive strategies to enhance inner beauty and recognition of  the importance of inner peace and enriched lifestyle. When it comes to beauty, what North Americans consider luxury, Koreans consider maintenance. Facials are a part of their daily routine.

Our Western esthetic is to be casual about our skin and lifestyle. Unfortunately, we embrace tanning, alcohol, poor diet, and lack of sleep. We have a tendency to wait until the signs of aging are significant and then search for corrective strategies. At that point the treatments required will often be much more extensive.  Some skin changes may already be irreversible or “precancerous.”

The earlier you begin taking care of your skin, addressing the early signs of aging as they present – or even better, pre-empting them — the less corrective measures you will ultimately need.

Pre-Juvination means starting treatment before aging is evident and it is something most North American’s should be making part of our ritual.  It is about shifting our perspective and habits related to aging and skin.

Step 1: Create a Skin Routine!  Make skin your focus if you want to look naturally radiant. This means developing a daily ritual for cleansing, correcting, and protecting.  Find a good medical grade line of skin care products. Meet with a professional for a skin analysis to determine which products are best for your skin type. Use corrective ingredients (i.e. If you have pigment, something to lighten it. If you have acne, something to decongest.) Incorporate vitamin C and retinol into your daily routine. Most importantly, if you do nothing else, use a sun block!

Step 2: Address Fine Lines Early! They only get worse with time. Consider collagen induction therapies like laser resurfacing, micro-needling, thermage and neuromodulators like Botox and Xeomin.
Collagen induction therapy uses your body’s own healing response as a bio-stimulator to improve the quality of the skin. Neuromodulators will prevent the facial muscle movements from creating deep, permanent lines in areas that are dynamic.

Step 3: Take Corrective Steps Now.  Use corrective strategies for conditions that may get worse over time, such as Rosacea, Melasma, and Photoaging. Understand that you may need a number of different treatments to address the abnormalities. There are benefits to ‘stacking’ treatments, one on top of the other. The synergistic effect of the combination of treatments is well recognized.  These are the most common:  Thermafrax- Thermage immediately followed by Fraxel, and Microneedling immediately followed with Hyaluronic acid

Step 4 – Your Lifestyle Shows!  Habits like tanning or unprotected sun exposure, smoking, drinking, poor diet, insufficient sleep, and no exercise are what we call extrinsic aging factors.  They all  contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin and dermis. Modifying your lifestyle by cutting out these types of habits will inevitably help to maintain the collagen and elastin of your skin.

Step 5: Maintain, Maintain, Maintain!  We lose 1% of our collagen per year starting at age 25.  Healthy and vibrant skin requires commitment to a good daily skin routine.  Once you have achieved your desired treatment goals, maintain your skin care program to reverse collagen loss.