Many may not realize it, but aging is actually a disease process in itself. How do providers adequately restore youthful facial characteristics? It starts with understanding how the face changes with age, which comprises structural changes with fat, muscles, bone, ligaments, and skin changes. In a prematurely aging client, it is typically the loss of fat pads or skin quality that is affected.
In addition to chronologic aging, extrinsic factors like environmental and lifestyle choices affect the aging process as well. Sun exposure leads to photodamage, and accelerated aging is seen in photodamaged skin. Lifestyle habits such as smoking affect one’s natural collagen production, thus leading to early skin sagging and wrinkling.
The slowing of cell renewal leads to loss of elasticity, collagen, reduction in skin hydration, and loss of tone and suppleness. Collagen is a protein that gives skin its structure and strength. The loss of collagen and elastin plays a significant role in reducing skin elasticity and, therefore, contributes to the formation of wrinkles. After the age of 20, an individual produces about 1% less collagen each year. It is important to educate and address the prematurely aging client with this important piece of information. Signs of decreasing collagen will show thinner, drier, and less elastic skin.
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Leigh Reese is a board-certified nurse practitioner and certified nurse injector. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing from Texas Women’s University in 2013 and her master of science in nursing from The University of Texas at Arlington in 2019. Her background in the medical field has been in emergency room medicine and aesthetic medicine. Her goal is to create a natural and youthful appearance for her patients and help devise a plan for their aesthetic journey. She has a passion for continuing education, and her position at SkinRX Spa allows her to attend monthly advanced trainings.