At La Jolla Cosmetic Laser Clinic, we see hundreds of patients a month and address a wide variety of cosmetic and medical concerns. When new clients consult with one of our experienced providers, they often ask questions about the number of treatments they may need to achieve their goals. When the goal is to manage healthy, youthful-looking skin, the answer is that there is no end to maintenance. Just as we must eat well and exercise to guard our lifelong health, it is necessary to schedule periodic treatments to adequately meet the needs of the skin. Here, we discuss why.
The Mechanics of Aging Skin
Some say that the skin begins to age from the moment we are born. This isn’t accurate. For the first few decades of life, the skin receives continual renewal from the fibroblast cells that live in the dermis. During that time, though, factors such as sun exposure are affecting what is happening beneath the surface of the skin. By about age 30, our collagen- and elastin-producing cells virtually go to sleep. Their work is done, as far as they are concerned.
Even though fibroblasts go to sleep on the job, there is still work to be done. The skin eats up 1 to 2% of stored collagen and elastin every year. This is why, by age 40, most of us have at least a few lines and wrinkles. By age 50, many of us are seeing jowls and heavy eyelids starting to appear. These signs of aging happen because there is little collagen left to firm the skin and little elastin left to give skin its bounce.
A Little Maintenance Can Go a Long Way
We often fall into one of two schools of thought about cosmetic aging. One is that topical creams and serums will provide the help we need. The other is that there is little that can be done to avoid aging so just wait it out until it’s “time” for surgery. Neither way of thinking is necessarily true. To address cosmetic aging, what we can do is keep fibroblasts from their state of perpetual sleep.
If you’ve wondered why estheticians and other beauty providers seem to always suggest a series of treatments, now you know. And now you know how you can promote healthy, vibrant skin at every age.