What is the skin ageing?
The passing of time is an unavoidable aspect of our lives, just like the physiological change of our physiognomy. Ageing linked to our actual age is called chrono-ageing. The enormous progress made by medicine and surgery over the centuries has produced a significant reduction in diseases and therefore a considerable lengthening of the average life-span. For some years a new branch of medicine, called anti-ageing medicine, has been trying to find solutions that in some way allow us to stay young for as long as possible and to delay the onset of those natural changes which are characteristic of growing old. Therefore, it is a matter, not of contrasting disease, which is the first and inherent job of medicine, but to extend the physician’s field of action to the biology and physiology of natural ageing.
Signs of skin ageing
The ageing of what covers us, our skin, is conditioned by a whole series of external factors the most important of which is our exposure to ultraviolet rays, which takes on the name of photoageing. Photoageing adds specific signs to chronological ageing which are not part of it, like:
- Fibrous thickening;
- The loss of elasticity in the skin;
- Uneven colouring;
- Marks and other pigmentary lesions;
- Vascular marks, like small angiomas and couperose;
- An irregular surface, like keratosis;
- Some forms of skin cancer.
Prevention and the main factors of skin ageing
Obviously every assessment of skin ageing is personalized according to the race, age and type of skin: light coloured skins generally have fewer defences against the aggression of the sun than darker skins. It is then important to take into account the patient’s life-style: from eating habits, to smoking and exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The diagnosis of chrono and photoageing must be consequently adapted to the type of skin. Each type of alteration of the skin requires an assessment, which is not necessarily linked to the person’s aesthetic appearance: there are, in fact, lesions that, as well as being an aesthetic problem, are also a medical problem. Even the ageing itself of the skin by excessive and disproportionate environmental exposure, as well as being an aesthetic problem, implies the expression of an alteration in its state of health. Nowadays the most correct approach is therefore to start preventative measures and care of the skin from an early age, not just for aesthetic reasons but also to prevent possible skin conditions.
Possible skin ageing treatments
Modern medical science offers many different possibilities in preventative measures and care for ageing skin : from the possible use of medicines and supplements for local use (creams or injections) and/or by mouth, with a contrasting action on specific mechanisms of photoageing, to more superficial chemical peelings, up to dermo-abrasive or resurfacing methods with medium and deep chemical peelings, and the use of lasers: the treatment programmes must be adapted to the type of skin, the entity of the ageing, the type of lesions present, the desired aims and any specific needs. In some cases the treatment procedures can require a healing period (1-2 weeks), but today it is possible to undergo treatment for the signs of skin ageing with minimally invasive procedures, that is methods that guarantee an appreciable result whilst allowing a rapid recovery, almost immediate, of one’s social and work routine. Obviously the procedures or the technologies used are not miraculous, the mini-invasive methods, however, allow for a good compromise between the importance of the result and a minimal or non existent convalescence.