Ask a Dermatologist with Dr. Lisa Kellett
Cosmetics: We read that sun damage causes 80% of the signs we associate with aging? How do UV rays cause such damage? How can sunburn lead to wrinkles?
Dr. Lisa Kellett: At least 80% of the clinical signs of aging are associated with sun damage and excessive ultraviolet light exposure. Ultraviolet light overexposure results in sun damage to the cellular mechanisms that are responsible for maintenance of the scaffolding of the skin. When collagen and elastin for example, are affected then the skin cannot repair itself properly and the skin loses structure resulting in wrinkles and laxity.
Cosmetics: Why does cellular turnover slow as we age?
Dr. L.K.: Just like the rest of our body, as we age the processes responsible for maintaining and repairing skin slow down so that healing is slower and likewise cellular turnover is slower.
Cosmetics: What causes skin to sag as we age?
Dr. L.K.: There is a loss of volume in the face as we age which is manifested by sagging, especially in the most dependent areas (lower face).
Cosmetics: How much impact do genes play in how we age?
Dr. L.K.: Genes do play a role in aging however the most significant role is sun exposure and sun behavior.
Cosmetics: Is Retinol still the gold standard in anti-aging ingredients? If so, why is this? What does Retinol do that is so special?
Dr. L.K.: Retinol is still the gold standard as it has most evidence-based medicine supporting its use and it has a long safety record. Retinol is one of the only topical medications that’s has been shown in unbiased proper scientific studies to have beneficial effects on collagen.
Cosmetics: Are doctors and researchers continuing to learn more about how skin ages and how it reacts to certain ingredients?
Dr. L.K.: We continue to learn more about why cells age and the effect of aging on the skin. Furthermore, with advancements in science there will be new products that will have effects on the skin.
Cosmetics: What do you prescribe to your clients who want to go on an anti-aging skin regime?
Dr. L.K.: Sunscreen daily with an SPF 30 or higher, Retinol 1%, and vitamin C 35%.
Cosmetics: Should the focus on anti-aging shift to healthy skin? Should we be promoting sun awareness to prevent melanoma and skin cancers?
Dr. L.K.: Absolutely!!!! Skin cancer is by far the most common cancer in humans and practicing good sun awareness will decrease the incidence of skin cancer. Healthy skin also has the benefit of looking better aesthetically too!
Cosmetics: In what order should we be using our anti-aging products? There are serums, creams, lotions, etc.
Dr. L.K.: The best time to apply them is at night as sunscreen is not an issue. The strongest product, ie. a drug or anything prepared by a pharmacist should go on first. (Such as a vitamin A or vitamin C). Then anything that contains a treatment should go on next. A general moisturizer can go on last.
Cosmetics: Is it ever too late to start adopting a good skincare regime? Can you start in your 70s and see results?
Dr. L.K.: It is NEVER too late to take care of your skin and adopt proper skin habits!
Cosmetics: What should readers know about skin aging?
Dr. L.K.: Most of skin aging comes from the SUN!!! Therefore, before applying an expensive moisturizer invest in a good quality (and often cheaper!) sunscreen.