Turning Back the Clock: Advances in Anti-Aging Skincare

by Crissy Neville

Cell phones. Laptops. Smartwatches. Google Home. What’s on your tech bucket list? With technology’s arm reaching into every nook and cranny of our lives from communication to security, why not into health and beauty, too? Innovative trends in modern skincare afford many choices for men and women looking for alternatives to the traditional cleanser and moisturizer anti-aging regime. 

Many things affect how your skin ages including your genes, daily habits and the environment. First things first: stay out of the sun. The sun is your enemy when it comes to keeping skin looking younger longer. According to data from the Department of Applied Research and Development from L’Oréal of Paris, a leading total beauty care company, 80% of skin aging comes from the effects of the sun, not to mention skin cancer. 

The American Academy of Dermatologists concurs. “Ultraviolet radiation from the sun and indoor tanning beds not only can increase your risk of skin cancer but also can contribute to skin aging,” said board-certified dermatologist Arianne Shadi Kourosh, M.D., MPH, FAAD, director of community health and co-director of the multiethnic skin clinic in the department of dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. 

“Although there have been some impressive strides in anti-aging treatments, no one product or procedure can completely reverse the long-term effects of poor skincare decisions, and protective measures are the cornerstone of good skincare,” Dr. Kourosh says. “The best sunscreen for each person will depend on many factors, including genetic makeup, environment and lifestyle considerations. A board-certified dermatologist can evaluate the unique needs of your skin and help you develop an appropriate sun protection plan.”

Traditional Approaches 

So, what’s one to do? You know the drill. Do not sunbathe or visit tanning salons. Limit sun exposure, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wear protective clothing such as a hat with a 2-inch brim, long-sleeved shirts, and sunglasses with UV 400 or blocker lenses. Put on sunscreen before going out to protect your skin from UV light and reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes to two hours, even more often if you are swimming or sweating. Use broad-spectrum products SPF 30 or higher that provide both UVB and UVA protection. To achieve a desired sun-kissed look, try self-tanning products instead.

Traditional noninvasive treatments for early signs of aging include products containing retinoids, vitamin C and hydroxy acids. For moderate and severe facial sun damage evidenced by wrinkled or sagging skin and dark age spots, chemical peels, dermabrasion, ultrasound energy devices or modest non-invasive tightening and lifting accomplished through ultrasound, laser treatments and radiofrequency are options. Minimally invasive skin tightening techniques also use radiofrequency, but laser resurfacing gets the best results. Deeper facial lines require more serious treatments such as botulinum toxin, i.e., BOTOX, other fillers including hyaluronic acid injections, your fat, and Gore-Tex implants, porous synthetic materials commonly used for nasal augmentation. 

Some decide to go the route of surgery for longer-lasting results and have facelifts, brow lifts, and cosmetic surgery on the eyelids. Face-lifts in past years only tightened the skin, but now the procedure achieves more by repositioning muscle, skin and fat. Persons with good skin elasticity despite facial aging make the best candidates for this invasive operation. 

More minor procedures often fit the bill if a face-lift is not yet needed. 

A forehead lift corrects sagging in the skin, upper eyelid and eyebrows, while eyelid surgery reduces bagginess from lower eyelids and removes excess skin from the upper. 

Modern Innovations 

Technology and anti-aging amalgams flooded the market last year, bringing dermatology to the door of consumers looking to turn back the clock. Tech innovation seems to have snuck past the doorbell cam and made a beeline straight for the consumer bathroom, as well the local dermatologist’s office. 

An App for That

Skin scanners are a modern technology that allow dermatologists, skin therapists and thanks to at-home models, everyday consumers to analyze the state of the skin on a deeper level. 

Glancing in the mirror only shows what is happening on the outer layers of the skin, and this in-depth probe helps target problem areas to determine a course of action and customized treatment best. 

Some models convert your smartphone into a scanner via a magnifying mirror attachment and corresponding product-recommending app, resulting in customized printable micro 3-D face masks to target specific needs.

Let There be Light

LED light therapy is another technology with multiple benefits. The painless, noninvasive practice stimulates collages to help regenerate the skin from aging. Skincare practitioners use red or blue light frequencies based on the area of concern: red is primarily used for anti-aging, while blue treats acne. In-office treatments will take up to 10 weeks for the best results, while at-home LED devices offer convenience but usually less dramatic results. 

All Frills Facials

Who doesn’t love the luxury of a soothing facial? 

Increasingly gender-neutral, facials are a simple starting point for a new skincare regime enjoyed in spas and homes alike. 

Upping the game, the nonirritating HydraFacial™ innovation is the newest advance in non-laser, in-office skin resurfacing and is so popular that reports show that one is performed around the world every 15 seconds. 

Also known as the “vampire facial,” platelet-rich plasma facials have received much attention in recent years. This in-office method involves the drawing of platelet-rich blood from one’s arm and the reinjection of it into the face or scalp, often supplemented with fillers. According to the AAD, some patients and dermatologists find that PRP can reduce wrinkles, plump up sagging skin, get rid of deep creases, improve complexion and diminish acne scars, with little to no recovery downtime and results that can last up to 18 months. Often requiring three or more treatments, the dangers include the handling of blood, and of course, like everything else, there are no guarantees. 

No Pain, No Gain

Yet another dermatological technique akin to acupuncture is microneedling. The collagen induction therapy – microneedling, dermarolling, or skin needling – is a cosmetic procedure that involves repeatedly puncturing the skin with tiny, sterile needles. Here, skin care professionals use multiple tiny, sterile needles to cause physical trauma, prompting the derma, a deeper layer of skin, to rebuild. 

Used to reduce in the appearance of large pores, fine lines and wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks, microneedling is an in-office and at-home process. 

Home microneedling or dermarolling is widely accessible and more comfortable than the professional version as the needles do not puncture the skin, thereby altering the results.  

Call Me Maybe

Waiting in the doctor’s office is just the worst, but thanks to the latest model of consultation – teledermatology – patients can use their smartphones to share files and improve the way dermatologists diagnose treat skin conditions. With this technology, patients can upload photos of their skin problems and receive feedback and assistance from their dermatologists. Not all offices offer this service, but it is another growing trend in dermatological care.