Skin Care for Seniors (Part 2 of 3)
The American Academy of Dermatologists reports: “During our 60s, 70s, [and 80s] skin can feel dry and irritated. This happens for many reasons, including that skin is thinner and loses water more easily. Medications and medical conditions can also play a role.
“Everyone ages differently, but during this time in your life, you may notice that your skin is:
· Thinner and starting to look paper-like
· Developing more age spots, wrinkles, and creases
· Irritated easily
· More susceptible to skin infections
· Bruising more easily
· Sweating less
· Healing more slowly
But, “There is good news. The right skin care can improve how your skin feels — and looks.”
Here are few topics to consider for better looking skin.
Let’s start with defining “Collagen.” According to https://www.webmd.com/diet/collagen-health-benefits#1, “Collagen is a protein responsible for healthy joints and skin elasticity, or stretchiness. It’s in your bones, muscles, and blood, comprising three quarters of your skin and a third of the protein in your body. As you age, your existing collagen breaks down, and it gets harder for your body to produce more.” As a result, many people turn to collagen supplements, medical procedures, lotions, creams, and ointments.” The path to better looking skin is to rebuild collagen.
“Initial results from collagen rebuilding treatments are usually visible immediately. However, new collagen growth can take anywhere from four to 12 weeks to complete. Keep in mind that while these procedures can be very effective at rebuilding and replacing collagen, collagen results aren’t permanent. Depending on the collagen rebuilding procedure and areas treated, results can last a year or longer. You’ll likely need multiple collagen treatments over time to maintain your desired results.” https://www.carecredit.com/well-u/health-wellness/how-to-rebuild-collagen-in-your-face-to-look-younger/
Note: Collagen is produced naturally in the body by the food we eat such as dairy products, citrus fruits, chickpeas, lentils, beans, and various nuts and seeds, but as we age, food alone won’t do it.
Exfoliate. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/meaning-of-exfoliating#how-to choose-an-exfoliant
· “Exfoliating is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance, or exfoliation tool”…such as cleansing scrubs, body brushes, pumice stones, and loofahs. Note: I’ve discovered that a dry washcloth or towel and a little elbow grease produces the same results.
· According to the American Academy of Dermatology, exfoliation can leave your skin looking brighter and improve the effectiveness of topical skin care products by enhancing absorption.
· Long-term exfoliating can increase collagen production.” Now that’s good news!
How often should seniors exfoliate their body―excluding their face? I couldn’t find consensus. One article says two to three times a week while most say one to two times a week. An outlier said do it daily. I’m trying two to three times a week, and I’ll see what happens.
Medical Procedures https://www.healthline.com/health/firmness-skin
Chemical peels “are minimally invasive procedures that improve the texture of the skin. They do so by removing damaged skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin or epidermis.” Cost: $500
Laser resurfacing requires the use of one of two lasers: carbon dioxide (CO2) or erbium. CO2 helps remove scars, warts, and wrinkles, while erbium addresses more superficial concerns, such as fine lines.” The Mayo Clinic say, “Laser resurfacing can decrease the appearance of fine lines in the face. It can also treat loss of skin tone and improve your complexion if you have scars or sun damage.” https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/laser-resurfacing/about/pac-20385114 Cost: between $1,400-$2,500
Ultrasound skin tightening “Ultrasound waves tighten the skin using heat. This treatment goes deeper into the layers of the skin than laser resurfacing. As a result, this promotes collagen production, leading to smoother and firmer skin over time. There’s no recovery time and while you’ll see an immediate difference, expect up to 3 to 6 months before you see the best results.” Approved for use on face and neck, among other areas. Cost $2K -4K.
Microneedling use a series of tiny needles to penetrate the skin, creating “wounds” that build new collagen as they heal. Cost: $200-700. For more information see: https://www.fda.gov/consumers/consumer-updates/microneedling-devices-getting-point-benefits-risks-and-safety .
1. “Collagen peptides. The market for this supplement has become popular over the past several years for a reason: it works to replenish the collagen that’s broken down in the body. You can take it in many forms, including a collagen drink.”
· Accoring to https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#2.-Helps-relieve-joint-pain “Taking supplements that contain collagen may help slow the aging of your skin. However, stronger evidence is needed from studies examining the effects of collagen on its own.”
· Cedar-Sinai is not in favor of supplements https://www.cedars-sinai.org/blog/collagen-supplements.html:"The issue is that most things we ingest are broken down by stomach acids and are not absorbed into the bloodstream. It's unclear if we absorb ingested collagen or if it's totally broken down in the stomach. Dr. Aivaz says we still need an objective, wide-scale study focusing on collagen to determine the long-term effects of this oral supplement. "I tell patients that the jury is still out on taking collagen."
2. Vitamin A https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-Consumer/ January 14, 2021
Advertisers tout vitamin A supplements as a skin care product. The NIH says it’s not necessary. “Most people in the United States get enough vitamin A from the foods they eat, and vitamin A deficiency is rare [in the U.S.].
3. “Vitamin C is the only antioxidant proven to stimulate the synthesis of collagen, minimizing fine lines, scars, and wrinkles. L-ascorbic acid is the only useful form of vitamin C in skin care products https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/10980-understanding-the-ingredients-in-skin-care-products This website contains a treasure trove of useful information on a variety of skin care products.
· “Proponents of skin tightening exercises claim they are a viable natural alternative to cosmetic procedures and surgeries.
· “Little research has been conducted into the efficacy of facial exercises and results of past studies are not sufficiently representative.
· “Facial exercises require a significant time investment for any possible results to become apparent.
· “Cosmetic products and procedures are a more dependable solution to tighten skin.”
Since I often cite “webmd.com” and “healthline.com,” let’s take a "wiki look" at these sites.
“WebMD is best known as a health information services website, which publishes content regarding health and health care topics, including a symptom checklist, pharmacy information, drugs information, and blogs of physicians with specific topics.
· “In the fourth quarter of 2016, WebMD recorded an average of 179.5 million unique users per month, and 3.63 billion page views per quarter.
· “Writing in The New York Times Magazine in 2011, Virginia Heffernan criticized WebMD for biasing readers toward drugs that are sold by the site's pharmaceutical sponsors, even when they are unnecessary. She wrote that WebMD "has become permeated with pseudo-medicine and subtle misinformation."
· “Julia Belluz of Vox criticized WebMD in 2016 for encouraging hypochondria and for promoting treatments for which evidence of safety and effectiveness is weak or non-existent, such as green coffee supplements for weight loss, vagus nerve stimulation for depression, and fish-oil/omega-3 supplements for high cholesterol.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WebMD
“Healthline Media's website publishes health and wellness information, and is a competitor to WebMD. The company also provides health-related content and tools to more than 40 other sites. In 2010, Healthline Media signed an agreement to provide medical and health-related content to Yahoo! Health. Other partners include AARP.com and DoctorOz.com
· “Questions have been raised about the quality and neutrality of the articles in Healthline. One critic noted that a Healthline article about a new drug used promotional language, copied from the drug-maker's press release, neglected to cite adverse side effects, and framed the drug's claimed benefits in misleading language not correctly representing the evidence reported in a classical peer-reviewed medical journal.
· “Other critics have noted:
-Headlines that exaggerate the substance of the article;
-Inadequate journalistic and scientific skepticism when reporting "news";
-Failure to balance quotes from vested interests with quotes from interviews of independent sources; [and]
-Reported medical "news" that had not yet validated by publication in a peer-reviewed journal.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthline
The next and final blog on skin care will examine creams, lotions, and ointments, including retinol. After that, we’ll take a look at the pros and cons of taking a nap.