The Natural Causes of Wrinkles
Our skin serves many important biological functions, including protection from pathogens, insulation to maintain body temperature, and regulation of fluid and electrolyte balance (through sweating). The skin is also important for synthesis of vitamin D and housing the receptors that are involved in the sensations of touch, pain, and pressure.
The many layers of the skin can be divided into three different portions. On the surface, the epidermis, are the skin cells, pigment, and proteins. The main skin cell type in the epidermis is the keratinocytes, which makes up approximately 95% of the skin layer. Keratinocytes make the main structural protein of skin, keratin, and also contain water. As these cells rise to the surface layer of the skin, they begin to lose water and eventually dry and slough off. Underneath the epidermis is the dermis, the thickest layer of skin. The dermis is mainly composed of a sturdy mesh of collagen and elastin, the fibrous proteins that gives the skin both structural support and elasticity. The dermis additionally contains blood vessels, oil glands, hair follicles, and nerves. Finally, the subcutaneous layer beneath the dermis is mainly composed of fat. This innermost layer provides insulating properties and can absorb the shock of impact to the skin.
The wrinkles in our skin develop in the dermis, which is responsible for the skin's structural integrity. Any sort of repeated facial expression, such as smiling, frowning, and raising the eyebrows, can begin the process of forming the characteristic line patterns on the face (such as "crow's feet"). As we age, all three layers of the dermis begin the thin. The sebaceous glands begin to produce less oil, which causes the skin to become dry. The breakdown of the elastin and collagen in the dermis causes the skin to begin to sag and lose some of its elasticity. The reduction of the subcutaneous fat layer can also make the skin appear more wrinkly, also hollowing the appearance of the face.
Other Factors that Promote Wrinkling
Wrinkles are also quite common in those that have lost a large amount of weight. The reduction in fat beneath the skin can cause it to sag and appear wrinkles, potentially making the person look gaunt.
Damage from the sun can significantly age skin cells such that wrinkles begin to develop. A certain amount of UV exposure is actually healthy for skin, as it aids in the synthesis of vitamin D. Excessive UV exposure, however, can result in the formation of free radicals. These molecules are highly reactive and cause damage to the skin, aging it beyond its years and also increasing the likelihood of developing cancer.
Smoking can also increase the rate at which a person develops wrinkles. Nicotine causes the constriction of blood vessels, including those that are in the outermost layers of skin. The shrinking of the fleshy part of the skin that gives its thickness and elasticity can cause a smoker to develop wrinkles prematurely. The impaired blood flow through the vessels in the skin can also leave it undernourished, lacking the vitamins that it needs to remain looking young and healthy.
Conventional Treatments of Wrinkles
There are numerous skin creams and lotions on them market that claim to resolve wrinkles. While some of these may certainly aid in moisturizing skin, those claiming that the elastin and collagen they contain will help strengthen and rebuild skin are incorrect. The dermis, the layer of the skin containing elastin and collagen, is beneath the epidermis, which is a barrier against the elastin and collagen. The natural protective qualities of the epidermis that block foreign proteins and pathogens would also block these two proteins.
Tretinoin, better known by the brand name Retin-A, is a form of vitamin A that is mainly prescribed for acne treatments but is also marketed as an treatment for reducing wrinkling, particularly due to sun damage. Some of the side effects of tretinoin include dryness, itching, scaling, burning, and even a thinning of the skin, however, which makes it seem counterproductive as a wrinkle treatment.
Some patients also opt for treatments with Botox, a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, the organism that causes botulism. Botulism is a paralytic disease, the symptoms of which are due to the actions of the toxin. When applied in very small doses to the skin, however, it this toxin can result in localized paralysis. It is often used around the mouth, eyes, and on the forehead to soften the wrinkle lines. Some patients also elect cosmetic surgery to remove the extra skin that is sagging and causing the wrinkling.
Patients Medical's Treatment of Wrinkles
At Patients Medical, we believe that skin health is a reflection of your overall health. Through our wrinkle treatment program, we can help you feel better, cleansing your body of the toxins that may be causing you to develop premature wrinkles. Wrinkling of the skin is a completely natural process that happens as the body ages, however, we believe we can help minimize your wrinkles by keeping your whole body as healthy and young as possible.
A balanced, nutritious diet is vital for healthy skin. We can help you design a diet filled with natural foods to promote healthy weight and balanced body composition. Diets high in fiber and low in carbohydrates are particularly helpful in reducing weight. Excessive alcohol, coffee, soda, and candy can help you lose weight and clear up skin irritations. Smoking should also be ceased, as it puts a person at a variety of health risks beyond the wrinkling of skin.
Good hydration can also ward off wrinkles, so it is important to drink lots of high quality, pure water. Regular exercise can improve your skin by helping to maintain metabolic balance of your body and ensure good blood circulation through all your tissues. This will also aid in the elimination of stress, another factor that can cause premature aging of your body.
In addition to helping you improve the overall quality of your health to reduce wrinkling and slow the aging process, we also offer the Bio Ultimate Micro-Current Treatments. This technology was initially developed in the 1980's and was used to stimulate the muscles in patients that had suffered strokes or were diagnose with Bell's Palsy, which also results partial facial paralysis. The doctors noticed significant improvements in facial drooping as the treatments effectively "lifted" the patient's faces. These treatments are now often referred to as "non-surgical facelifts," and are some of our most popular treatments.
During the treatment, the doctor places an instrument on the affected area which delivers gentle electrical stimulation to the muscles and tissues. This requires no anesthesia and takes approximately one hour, meaning that you need not take any time from work. Studies at University of Washington have shown that this therapy significantly increases blood circulation and boosts production of natural elastin and collagen in the skin.
At Patients Medical, we are equipped with Orion micro-current technology and are equipped to perform several different rejuvenation therapies. Some of these include the Micro-Current Eye Treatment, which helps increase blood circulation, reduce wrinkles, and decrease dark circles beneath the eyes. We also offer Micro-Current Breast and Abdomen Treatment to help reduce the excess skin for patients that have recently lost weight or given birth. We also combine micro-current with vascular drainage for Cellulite Treatment, which can help eliminate unsightly bulges and bumps.
Start Your Road to Health. Request an appointment with one of our Plastic Surgeons or Dermatologists.