This week, I did a consultation with a patient who was 82 and upon first glance, I thought was around 68. I asked her what her skin care routine included and was shocked to hear that it comprised only daily suncreen and a drugstore face cream. While it's undeniable that daily UV protection plays a huge role in skin health, as UV exposure accounts for nearly 80% of extrinsic aging of the skin - and that maintaining the skin's barrier with moisturizers is also important - I was surprised (frankly) that her skin looked as good as it did.
I'm now at a point in my development as a medical skin therapist where I can look at a client's skin and with some accuracy deduce the factors that are contributing to the client's skin concerns. These can include hormonal issues, lack of sun protection, poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise or a poor skin care routine. With this client, it was clear that daily UV protection had been her saving grace. It had prevented wrinkles and pigmented lesions and redness, while the Nivea had maintained moisture in her skin, giving it a smooth appearance. However, the lack of anti-aging ingredients such as retinols, L-ascorbic acid and alpha-hydroxy acids had allowed for collagen loss and degeneration, causing skin laxity and volume loss. It was obvious that she had good genes and most likely a healthy lifestyle. When she filled out the health questionnaire, she had no medical issues to report - we should all be so blessed!
No matter your age or the condition of your skin, there is always room to improve. I love my work because I can help anyone with skin. But it's also important for my client's to know that my work is only a small step on the path to better looking skin :)