Hormones are signaling chemicals released by cells within an organism that lead to a wide variety of reactions. They are transported from a cell (or gland) to tissues nearby, or carried to another part of the body through the blood stream to interact with a specific receptor. There are different types of hormones and their internal actions often lead to outward effects in the skin. Although hormonal fluctuations can cause skin challenges, there are many effective treatment pathways that can mitigate these common issues. Understanding the positive and negative actions of a variety of hormones and how they affect men and women differently throughout their lives can help skin care professionals develop targeted treatment plans for all of their clients.
Climacteric skin relates to long-term cosmetic changes that occur due to a lack of estrogen relating to biological, histological and clinical measures of consequences directly related to hormones that are linked to menopause. Climacteric skin is one of the greatest challenges faced by aestheticians; therefore, specific considerations should be undertaken as a whole health approach. This would include skin and/or body treatments, nutritional guidance, physical conditioning, and possible alternative hormone replacement therapy (HRT) with appropriate insight.
People of all ages are actively seeking solutions to help them maintain healthy, youthful skin. Today’s media delivers an overwhelming quantity of aspirational imagery of young, happy and healthy men and women. These visuals, along with the copious amount of information about anti-aging products and ingredients available to consumers, have driven down the age at which people seek out products and treatments to mitigate visible aging. Many clients, however, are largely unaware of both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to aging skin and how skin care professionals can guide them to the best product and treatment recommendations.
The 101 of Aging
Aging is a 24/7 biological process that results in cellular wear and tear and cellsenescence, eventually lapsing into decreased viability and then eventual cell death. This unavoidable, redundant aging syndrome is also affected by a pre-programmed genetic agenda (intrinsic) superimposed on cumulative environmental (extrinsic) and endogenous insults that take place throughout the cellular organism’s lifespan.
Chronological skin aging comprises unwanted changes in the skin that occur as a result of a passage of time and, in part, as the consequence of cumulative damage from continuous formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during oxidative cellular metabolism. Despite inherent cellular antioxidant defense systems, generated ROS damages several cellular constituents including membranes, enzymes and DNA.
Women, and now more men, consult with aesthetics professionals for a variety of different reasons. Some come with specific skin issues like sun damage, rosacea or acne, while others come more for the relaxing and pampering aspect of aesthetic services. Others come to the spa and receive facial treatments and purchase professional products in an effort to not only maintain healthy skin, but also to prevent premature aging and future damage. This last group of clients presents a well of opportunities for long-term relationship building and client retention, as well as for new prevention-oriented services.
With the vast array of high-tech ingredients and the plethora of skin care brands from which to select, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices. Lately skin care formulations are looking more like a supermarket or health food store. The spa market has clearly embraced formulations that are based upon food ingredients or nutraceuticals. Alongside all of these products remain the AHAs that have revolutionized the aesthetic industry in terms of the treatments and results they can offer. Recent advances in molecular biology have led to a better understanding of how the cells work and the development of skin care that contains topical ingredients such as peptides, stem cells and growth factors.
We are constantly in search of the elusive "Fountain of Youth" and the answer to a common question: what causes the skin to age? While we have yet to find the one magic antidote or fix-all, today we have more insight into what ages our skin and it goes beyond skin deep.
There are two primary culprits of skin aging, intrinsic and extrinsic agers. Intrinsic refers to the internal, less controllable factors – namely our genetic programming and physiological decline. Extrinsic are the external, controllable factors such as sun exposure, smoking, sleep, diet and stress, lifestyle factors and choices.