Thursday, June 15, 2017

Premature aging and what to do now

I am 36 years old and have lots of sun damage. Ive had several precancerous moles removed from my body, so I know my face has really gotten it, too. I am starting to notice: deep furrows between my brows (it’s hereditary), large pores on my cheeks and forehead, lines on my forehead, sun (or age) spots on my cheekbones and around my eyes, loss of elasticity around my eyes, a thinning of the skin around my eyes, and these horrible cords are starting to develop on my neck!

I am confused about what to do in the morning. I want to wear sunscreen during the day because of all of my sun damage, but I also want to address my age-related concerns. How many of these products can I combine together? Will putting too many layers on my face start to clog my pores? Would AHA products help with my sun damage? See how confused I am?!

At 36 and already having suspicious places removed, it is obvious this woman has had a lot of sun in her life. With the description of all her “problem” places, I’d say that the sun exposure she’s received so far has indeed caused premature aging. I would have to see her in my salon to make an accurate assessment, but 36 is young to have so much going on.

Since this emailer has already had precancerous growths removed, I would absolutely insist she wear sunscreen every day, rain or shine. There is no point in trying to reverse the signs of aging while at the same time throwing caution to the wind and not inhibiting further damage.

The changes she is noticing in her skin are the signs of aging. Lines deepen, pores may tend to enlarge, and the skin can definitely start to thin. With accelerated aging due to over exposure to the sun, this process, well—accelerates. That means that at 36 years old she may be experiencing aging skin that someone in their late 40s or even 50s may start to show. Sun not only can cause skin cancer, but premature aging as well.

Addressing the age-related problems is not so easy. What I would address is her acceptance policy on the inevitable. I realize that is not what she or any of you want to hear, but that is the truth as I see it. We are all aging on a daily basis, and this emailer is starting to really see the changes that are occurring in this natural process. Of course, she may be experiencing some acceleration in the aging of her skin because of past (and current) sun exposure.

She’s right—if she piles on too many creams to handle all of her concerns, she will probably end up with rebellious skin, which might mean breakouts. My recommendations would be to
  • Wear a good sunscreen daily
  • The age or sun spots she is complaining about will fade if she keeps direct sunlight off her face, and wearing daily sunscreen will help to a small degree with that as well
  • Absolutely use eye cream if she isn’t already
  • If pore enlargement is a problem, using a clay mask will at least keep the pores cleaned out (but won’t shrink her pores)
She could go the route of surgery for her neck concerns. A cosmetic surgeon seeing the actual person will be better able to assess the situation. She could use Botox for her furrowing brow and maybe even a peel or laser for her aging concerns. All of these procedures and more are available to all of us if we want to change our appearance. However, this surgical approach is not my approach.

Now in my 56th year, I understand how surprising it can be to look in the mirror and see more rapid changes occurring on and around the face. My philosophy has been and continues to be about accepting the aging process (with grace). Fight if you want to, but choose your battles wisely. You can spend a lot of money either through surgery or expensive products promising to make you look younger. Finding the beauty in the aging process is the route I chose to take time and time again.

For more information, see: