Facial beauty is defined by structure: shapely cheekbones, eyebrows that accentuate, large eyes, full lips, and a lean, slender neck. From the collarbone to the top of our forehead, there is bone that gives our face shape and structure and a large group of muscles that work seamlessly to communicate our expressions and help shape our words. Despite all of this, we have the capability to age gracefully or barely age at all.
Surgeons, physicians, and aestheticians all play an important role in creating a more youthful looking skin and maintaining results, but anti-aging may be more of a lifestyle than a skin treatment. All beauty procedures can deliver a result, but how the client cares for their skin and body determines how long the result may last. How do exercise, nutrition, stress, and skin care work synergistically to slow the natural aging process? Aestheticians are not dieticians or exercise therapists, but they should be experts in anti-aging and like every great beauty concierge, have the capability to share the essentials of age prevention with their clients.
Characteristics of Aging
The word “aging” can be an ambiguous term. Scientists study many facets of aging – from biological processes to our relationship with our environment. For the sake of beauty, we can narrow the aging scope to intrinsic and extrinsic. Youthful skin is vibrant, full-looking with “apples” for cheeks, free from sun damage, and it bounces back after folding from expression lines. Aged skin is thin, has uneven tone and rough texture; it suffers from multiple intrinsic aging factors and wears the many signs of extrinsic aging. Understanding each process and the means to prevent and correct it are integral in delivering results.
Intrinsic aging occurs via natural cellular processes. It happens over a lifetime, which is why we can see visible changes from childhood to teenagers, young adults to middle age, and finally aged. There are two notable components to consider with intrinsic aging:
Musculoskeletal system of the face: Our skull gives our facial features foundation. Aging bone compresses, flattening facial features and facial muscles begin to atrophy, shrink and may become fibrous. Decades of movement causes dynamic wrinkling and the loss of muscle’s ability to recover quickly. Our face loses fat (volume), which contributes to a sallow appearance. Around the eyes, the membranes surrender to gravity and fat pockets bulge or reposition near the cheek.
Integumentary system: Our skin decreases its rate of regeneration, epidermal layers thin, and collagen type changes. Sebaceous glands slow production, resulting in dry skin, fine lines, and rough texture.
Essential knowledge of intrinsic aging is vital to helping a client achieve a particular result. For example, ultrasonic therapy is an acclaimed procedure to help firm and tighten the face. This technology, combined with chemical peels, can offer dramatic results for hydration, fine line reduction, wrinkle smoothing, and overall improvement of skin texture and vibrancy. Unfortunately, ultrasonic therapy will not replace the need for facial fillers, neurotoxin injections, and surgical lifts. Each of these treatments independently improves the look at the level of the musculoskeletal system.
In addition to intrinsic aging, our skin is damaged and prematurely aged by extrinsic factors (sun damage, pollution, smoking, and alcohol consumption). High levels of free radicals may be introduced with each one of these aging culprits, increasing the risk of cellular damage. Combined with a slower regenerative and repair process (intrinsic aging), the aging process is accelerated, resulting in facial volume loss, sagging skin, deep wrinkles, and dehydration. Fortunately, extrinsic aging may be reduced significantly with key lifestyle choices and preventative care. Proactive measures begin with diet and exercise and end in lifelong practices for age prevention.
Lifestyle and Aging
What exactly is a lifestyle change and how can it prevent aging? Lifestyles are created socially and play an important role in the personal values we create. They are not easy to change. However, there are three notable lifestyle categories that may be modified to help slow the aging process: diet (or nutrition), exercise, and low stress levels.
The word “diet” should not be confused with mass marketed trends. It should define the way we eat healthy and nutrient-rich foods that our body can use beneficially. Lifestyle and culture can play an important role in our diet. To help measure the nutrients and fats the body absorbs on a daily basis, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a beneficial nutrition-tracking resource. Essentially, the food we put into our body plays an important role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping our cells strong. Individuals who do not like vegetables or believe that French fries are a vegetable because they come from potatoes may use this resource to gauge the amounts of nutrients and fats that may be received from any diet. This scale is not the standard in nutrition and does not substitute the need for a certified nutritionist, but it certainly helps put perspective on the subject.
The New York Times published an article called “Phys Ed: How Exercising Keeps Your Cells Young.” It is a summary of scientific research of cellular life spans, in which scientists compared sedentary and active (runners) age groups and measured their DNA. The end result: aerobic exercise may help us live longer, which is great for our body, but how does it contribute to beauty? First, exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight. A high body mass index (BMI) is associated with several diseases and health conditions. Dramatic fat loss paired with aging skin can result in loose skin and wrinkle formation. Inversely, fat gain can make our skin look fuller with less wrinkling.
Weight loss is great, as is that flushed and dewy appearance from improved circulation and sweat after a workout – for most people. Blood gives our cells nutrients and removes waste, but for rosacea conditions, this may encourage telangiectasia (capillary damage) on the skin surface. An advanced anti-inflammatory serum daily with spin trap, gotu kola/centella extract, licorice root extract, and several other beneficial antioxidants can help reduce inflammation and improve microcirculation of the skin to offer some capillary support. All skin types should wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 daily and reapply as needed when exercising outdoors. Choosing a sunscreen with added antioxidants may offer additional protection. Bottom line, there is no reason not to exercise. Sun damage and inflammation can be reduced with the right skin care regimen.
Nutrition and exercise play key roles on age prevention, but chronic stress and stress related exhaustion takes the cake as a contributor to the aging process. Both have been linked with short-term memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease, vision or hearing impairment, digestion problems, weight gain, and hypertension. Unhealthy lifestyle choices correlate to stress; practicing healthy habits can help manage stress levels. Instead of pouring a cocktail, smoking a cigarette, or eating a slice of cake, opt to go for a walk or take the kids to the park. Once the effects of healthy lifestyle habits outpace the aging process, skin care experts can then perfect the look and help every individual age gracefully. Aesthetics, diet, exercise, and stress management are elements of the anti-aging prescription.
When it comes to age prevention and correction, consider three degrees of treatment options: home, aesthetic, and medical. Up to 80 percent of the results your client can achieve happen at home. This may sound overly repetitious because you have heard it from multiple sources, but the “80 percent rule” is not a slogan for skin care manufacturers across the globe; it is a time-tested observation made by skin care professionals for decades. In the 1990s, some physicians prescribed “C” cream (also known as Crisco) to post-laser clients. It is occlusive, helps the skin heal and, bottom line, it is home care. Without it, the skin’s epithelialization was impaired and it was vulnerable to infection. Hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne, and age prevention/correction cannot be effectively treated in the absence of home care.
Skin care products and treatments are not universal. A stimulating anti-aging peptide cream does not pair with a client suffering from oily skin or acne. Each skin type and condition requires balance and treatment to help the client achieve some degree of normalcy to their skin (also known as the result).
Antioxidants: Normal, oily, and dry skin types can benefit from antioxidants. These essential ingredients reduce the amount of free radical damage that the skin receives from ultraviolet radiation, pollution, and unhealthy lifestyle choices. There are many notable universal antioxidants, some of which include alpha lipoic acid, green tea extract, ester C, vitamins A and E, spin trap, licorice root extract, and gotu kola/centella extract.
Actives: This ingredient category can host a variety of active problem-solving ingredients to address a clients’ primary concern, including aging, hyperpigmentation, rosacea, or acne. Aging skin benefits from modern wrinkle-reducing peptide formulas and dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE). Kojic acid, azelaic acid, and modern melanin suppressing ingredients assist with active hyperpigmentation treatments. Clients with rosacea should stay on a gentle anti-inflammatory regimen, while acneic skin benefits from a drying and exfoliating regimen to reduce breakouts and manage oil.
Humectants and Emollients: Attract and seal moisture in the skin. There are plenty of humectants and emollients in normal to dry skin moisturizers. However, oily and combination skin types should avoid emollients to avoid breakouts, but they still need hydration. Hyaluronic acid (sodium Hyaluronate), glycerin, alpha hydroxy acids, and ceramides are excellent sources of hydration that help keep the skin plump and functioning well, while preventing fine lines and dehydration.
Aestheticians prevent the skin’s aging process by prescribing a well-balanced home care regimen and administering facial treatments that help prolong the results from medical aesthetic procedures (neurotoxin/filler injections, laser, and surgical). Ultrasonic therapy should be every aesthetician’s go-to device for age prevention and correction. Blending and customizing an ultrasonic facial with chemical peels and crystal-free microdermabrasion exfoliates the skin and visibly improves the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin, when combined with key antioxidants (ester C and vitamins A and E), hyaluronic acid, and wrinkle-reducing peptides. Performed monthly, in-between injection treatments, the benefits of exfoliation and hydration, help reduce lines and wrinkles by planing the “hills” to meet the “valleys.” Post-procedural laser clients may be able to maintain their results longer and facial plastic surgery clients can benefit from skilled lymphatic drainage techniques. Ultrasonic, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion have many multifaceted uses
Performing a facial without giving clients comprehensive knowledge about age prevention is a half-hearted approach to results. Creating more youthful looking skin and maintaining results involves lifestyle changes that help our bodies internally. Aestheticians are not dieticians or exercise therapists; rather, they are experts in anti-aging and like every great beauty concierge, they have the capability to share the essentials of age prevention with their clients.
An entrepreneur in the beauty industry, Tina Zillmann pioneered the physician-aesthetician relationship and began her practice, the Skin Rejuvenation Clinique, under the wing of a plastic surgeon caring for burn victims, assisting in skin grafting procedures. She developed the first post-laser skin care system and melanin suppressant system known today as Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts. Her knowledge, talent, and desire to educate her peers continue to award her with local and national recognition as a distinguished skin care expert and aesthetic business owner.