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Skin secrets by the ages

CNA – Embracing ageing is a commendable philosophy, yet who wouldn’t want to delay its signs as much as possible, utilising advancements in science and technology? 

Fortunately, in these dermatologically advanced times, a range of non-invasive treatments exists to mitigate wrinkles, pigmentation, and loss of skin elasticity.

The optimal timing to consider these treatments varies. 

Our individual ageing processes, influenced by genetics, lifestyle choices, and environmental factors, dictate this. However, certain skin issues inevitably surface with each passing decade – from our 20s onwards – albeit with varying degrees of severity.

Dermatologist Dr Stephanie Ho, founder of Stephanie Ho Dermatology, identifies prevalent skin concerns at different life stages and prescribes suitable beauty treatments, or “tweakments,” accordingly.

PHOTO: ENVATO

IN YOUR 20S

While women in their biological prime may not yet be plagued by major ageing concerns, Dr Ho emphasises that those in their 20s are not immune to skin issues. Hormonal fluctuations and increased oil gland activity often lead to acne, a common challenge during this age. Even if your teenage years are behind you, pesky pimples may persist.

For sun worshippers, the news isn’t entirely sunny either. Prolonged sun exposure can prematurely age the skin, resulting in uneven tone, rough texture, and early signs of pigmentation and fine lines, Dr Ho notes. 

Fortunately, advanced treatments such as laser therapies, chemical peels, and deep-cleansing facials can effectively address sun damage and acne-related concerns.

Among these treatments is Vbeam, a non-ablative laser targeting vascular lesions like birthmarks, as well as rosacea and red acne scars. It promotes skin healing and reduces scar visibility by generating new skin cells.

PicoWay, another non-ablative laser, penetrates beneath the skin’s surface to target excess melanin responsible for acne marks. Its picosecond laser pulses ensure a gentle treatment with minimal downtime post-procedure.

Fractional CO2 laser, though ablative and requiring recovery time, resurfaces the skin to diminish hyperpigmentation and stimulate skin regeneration, tailored to specific skin types and acne scar types.

Chemical peels, employing solutions containing acids like lactic, glycolic, and salicylic acid, restore skin radiance by gently resurfacing dull skin.

Dr Ho also recommends HydraFacials, a multi-step treatment involving hydra-dermabrasion, extraction, and custom serum application via advanced technology, to deep-cleanse and rejuvenate the skin.

IN YOUR 30S

As one enters their 30s, signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles begin to emerge, typically manifesting as frown lines, forehead creases, and crow’s feet, according to Dr Ho. Additionally, pigmentation concerns such as freckles and sun spots may start to appear.

For many women in this phase, pregnancy can introduce melasma due to hormonal changes. Furthermore, early signs of decreased collagen and elastin production may lead to diminished skin firmness and elasticity.

Dr Ho recommends laser skin rejuvenation to address these issues, enhancing skin tone, treating pigmentation, refining texture, and minimising pore size and fine lines. Procedures like PicoWay, Excel V, Vbeam, or fractional CO2 lasers can be scheduled monthly for up to six sessions.

Fractional CO2 laser treatments specifically target stubborn hyperpigmentation and signs of ageing, offering improvements in wrinkles, skin firmness, and texture.

For quick and effective solutions, Dr Ho advises dermal fillers such as Botox, Profhilo, and Skinbooster. 

These minimally invasive treatments smooth lines, hydrate skin, and add volume. With minimal downtime, they can be completed in under half an hour, making them popularly known as ‘lunchtime procedures’. 

According to Dr Ho, most patients can resume normal activities immediately after treatment.

IN YOUR 40S

At this stage, wrinkles become deeper around the forehead, eyes, mouth and nasolabial folds. “Loss of collagen and elastin can lead to a reduction of volume around the mid-face, and create a saggy appearance, “jowling”, and a less defined jawline,” said Dr Ho.

According to Dr Ho, Ultherapy and Sylfirm X, which work to tighten skin, and thus create a more defined jawline and reduce a double chin are among the preferred skin lifting treatments.

Age spots, warts, skin tags and milia may start to appear and form at this time – these can be tackled with electrosurgery and CO2 laser ablation.

Ultherapy is a skin-tightening treatment that uses ultrasound energy to trigger collagen production. 

Beyond the jaw and chin area, it can also target the neck, brow and upper-chest zones. One advantage it provides is that it produces gradual, natural-looking results that develop over time, as collagen rebuilds in skin.

Sylfirm X does more than just tighten the skin – it also improves the appearance of enlarged pores, target pigmentation and acne marks, and diffuse rosacea. It utilises radiofrequency and microneedling technology to deliver RF energy into deeper layers of skin to trigger the skin-healing response and collagen production, and bring about the above-mentioned benefits.

CO2 laser ablation is more aggressive than Fractional CO2 laser, and is more suited for targeting serious pigmentation issues than the latter, which is appropriate for mild to moderate cases.

Electrosurgery is a procedure that utilises electric currents to remove warts and skin tags, while electrocautery, a different form of electrosurgery, is used to remove milia.

IN YOUR 50S

As a woman approaches her menopausal years, the skin is likely to experience dramatic changes due to big shifts in hormone levels. 

“The skin becomes thinner and drier, while skin tone and texture become uneven. At the same time, hyperpigmentation and age spots worsen, while significant loss of collagen results in prominent sagging and drooping of the skin around the lower face and neck regions. Wrinkles become deep and more pronounced in all areas,” said Dr Ho.

Laser skin rejuvenation (as mentioned above) can combat age spots and pigmentation problems, while continued Ultherapy and Sylfirm X treatments will boost collagen production in skin and maintain skin tautness – all of which become imperative during these years.

Dermal fillers restore volume in facial contours, and can make a significant difference to one’s appearance because of the deepening of wrinkles and dramatic loss of collagen and elasticity that occur during this period.

Fractional CO2 and CO2 laser ablation treatments remain good options for targeting severe cases of hyperpigmentation and age spots.

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