One of the most common skin conditions among women is skin aging. With aging, the skin becomes thinner, drier, and saggier due to both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Signs like appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, expression lines (laugh or frown lines), loss of skin firmness, and dry, sensitive skin may be due to intrinsic (uncontrollable) aging. Extrinsic aging may involve more controllable factors such as sun exposure and pollutants that damage the skin’s structure, resulting in hyperpigmentation, lines and wrinkles, and skin growths. Research has shown extrinsic factors to be responsible for 90% of the visible signs of aging.
You will start to notice fine lines appearing around the eyes (crow feet), forehead and mouth. Frequent facial expressions like squinting, smiling and frowning can also contribute. If care is not taken, these fine lines can develop to become deep furrows also known as wrinkles.
Smoking, sun damage or genetics can also cause deep vertical lines around the mouth - you can see this as lipstick bleeds into those lines. Lips also lose its youthful plumpness and thin with age as supply of collagen weakens.
Types of Lines on the face
Crow’s feet – those that appear on the outer corners of the eyes.
Forehead lines – these run horizontally across the forehead.
Worry or frown lines – they appear like “eleven” between the brows.
Laugh lines – also known as nasolabial folds, they create a “parenthesis” around the upper lip.
Lip lines – vertical lines that appear above and around your mouth.
Marionette lines - they are creases or folds that start at the outer corners of the mouth and run down to the outside edges of the chin, giving you the appearance of a droopy jowl.
Types of Wrinkles
These wrinkles are created by repeated facial muscle movements also known as facial expressions like puckering of lips and frequent frowning. These creases that usually take place around the mouth, eyes and forehead can become permanent over time.
These are wrinkles that were once dynamic wrinkles, caused by gravity and the loss of collagen and skin elasticity.
Atrophic Crinkling Rhytids
These are tiny parallel lines that develop on the face, or body (such as those on your chest). These lines become more visible due to a loss of collagen and elasticity which leads to skin sagging.
Permanent Elastic Creases
With chronological aging that’s accelerated by sun exposure, areas like the cheeks, upper lip, and the base of necks can develop deep crease lines or wrinkles.
Due to the effects of gravity and over time, as the skin loses collagen, it starts to fold and sag especially on the neck, chin, jowls and even hands. With these wrinkles and sagging, the skin starts to pull away from the underlying fat and muscle. Researchers found that these type of wrinkles are more visible on a slim face with thinner skin than one that’s plumper with thicker skin.
Do's and Don't's
Do protect your skin every day
Whether spending a day outdoors or running errands, sun protection is essential especially in sunny Singapore. Apply sunscreen with broad-spectrum of at least SPF 30 (or higher), and look for one that include environmental blockers that protect your skin from Blue Light and pollutants.
Don’t frown or squint!
Get rid of bad habits such as frowning and squinting. As every facial expression requires a contraction of the underlying muscles, frequent repetitions of these muscle contractions over time can lead to permanent lines and wrinkles.
Do eat a well-balanced diet
Eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables and reducing intake of sugar or other refined carbohydrates can help to delay skin aging and give you a complexion that will look healthy.
Daily cleansing is essential as it helps to get rid of excess sebum, dirt and other pollutants that accumulate on our skin. However, over-cleansing and scrubbing your skin can cause irritation. Wash your face twice a day and especially after heavy sweating as perspiration can cause irritation.
Do exercise regularly
One way to look more youthful is to maintain moderate exercise which aids blood circulation and boosts the immune system, energizing the skin.
Look for these anti-aging ingredients
For some anti-wrinkle power in your skincare, look for creams with age-defying ingredients like retinol a vitamin A derivative, hyaluronic acid, peptides and antioxidants. While retinol smoothens skin by gently exfoliating dead skin cells and encouraging cell renewal, hyaluronic acid is a moisture humectant that holds and binds moisture to your skin’s surface which in turn helps to plump skin, fill out and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. As peptides are chains of amino acids which make up the skin protein, collagen, by restoring peptides, you’re fortifying skin and rebuilding skin firmness. Antioxidants work by preventing free radical damage, encouraging cell repair and rebuilding collagen and elastin.
When trying to correct signs of aging with use of skincare products, it is important to remember to treat as well as prevent future damage from occurring. The goal is to improve laxity and achieve firmer skin.
Many often think that skincare options are not as powerful compared to in-clinic treatments, some topicals like prescriptive vitamin A acid (tretinoin [Retin A, Renova]) should be considered first as they can be used for treating fine lines successfully with some minor side effects like redness and peeling. Any discomfort can be minimized by lowering the concentration of retinoid cream or reduce usage.
Look for ingredients like alpha-hydroxy or fruit acids including glycolic and lactic acid that are safe and cause no more than mild and temporary irritation. However, subtler improvements may be expected.
Consider using at-home treatments like an anti-wrinkle serums or creams such as IDS Skincare A-Plus, Rejuvenating Complex, and Rejuvenating Complex Plus which are formulated in Singapore to help combat fine lines and wrinkles, improve hydration and help skin look and feel smooth.
Botulinum toxin when injected, can freeze facial muscles, causing fine lines, creases and deep wrinkles to relax. You will also find that your face appears younger as a result. Improvement generally lasts several months, and repeated injections are recommended to sustain improvement.
Medical doctors may recommend a treatment with injectable fillers to help increase volume and smoothen wrinkles and folds. Filler substances include hyaluronic acid (Restylane and Juvederm), calcium Hydroxylapatite (Radiesse), and lactic acid (Sculptra). Popular injectable options include Rejuran Healer and Skin Boosters IE Volite.
Light Based Therapies
Carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium lasers are used to help stimulate the body's natural collagen production and in turn plump up sagging skin and wrinkles. Repeated procedures may be required to maximize improvement. Skin takes a long time to heal after resurfacing.
This is a type of laser treatment that attempts to stimulate collagen synthesis under the skin without ablating or damaging the epidermis. Using such treatment procedures can help with mild to moderate wrinkles and refine the skin, though not effective as laser resurfacing. These procedures are almost painless with little side effects and no downtime. Several treatments may be necessary.
Intra-oral Laser Rejuvenation
A non-ablative Er:YAG laser treatment that is using wavelength 2940nm will be fired intra-orally (into the inner sides of your mouth) using a completely safe handheld device to target the sides of your cheeks, as well as the inner corners of your upper and lower lips. This type of controlled and gentle heating from the inside of your mouth stimulates collagen contraction for overall improvement of skin tautness and elasticity.
Non Light-based Treatments
A powerful and popular non-invasive option that is being used in Singapore is High-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a one-time skin-firming treatment with results lasting one to two years depending on your skin condition. This non-surgical procedure reaches the deeper dermis, papillary dermis as well as SMAS (Superficial Muscular Aponeurotic System) layer under the fat which is the layer worked on when surgical facelift techniques are employed. Expect some immediate and progressive improvement to the treated area for three to six months after the treatment. This ongoing improvement is due to the ultrasound energy triggering the skin to rejuvenate itself at the collagen-producing layer.
Fractional Radiofrequency Microneedling
When fractional radiofrequency (RF) combines with microneedling, the RF heat penetrates much deeper, leaving the upper skin layer cool. RF technology causes old collagen and elastin fibres to break down in a controlled manner, while microneedling is a procedure using tiny needles to create punctures in the top layer of skin to stimulate healing and cell regeneration.
Within a few hours any redness will generally have subsided. Sun exposure should be avoided for at least one week. Noticeable results are usually visible after two weeks, with improved results over the following three months.