Top dermatologists share 6 sneaky signs that your skin is aging poorly
There are plenty signs of aging we see all the time, like attending your baby cousins' graduation, receiving an invite to a high school reunion, and watching your 401(k) mature. And when it comes to your complexion, most of us are on the lookout for the telltale signs: forehead furrows, crows feet, and undereye bags. But according the experts, there are a few lesser-known and more subtle signs of skin aging that are good to know about. Take what follows as a friendly info session, not a stern admonishment. The more you know about taking care of your skin, the better it will look.
Sun spots in your 20s or 30s.
"Sun spots in your late 20s or early 30s should be a wake-up call," says Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. "If you are getting them that early, it means you've had significant amounts of sun exposure. While you can't undo the past, you certainly can minimize the damage and slow down the skin's aging process by using a broad spectrum SPF 30 or higher and a morning antioxidant. Vitamin C can minimize free radical damage and protect collagen. In the evening, use a topical retinol product to stimulate new collagen production to keep the skin strong and supple."
"Loss of subcutaneous tissue, bone, and muscle results in a gaunt face and hands, plus the temples and lower eyelids can seem carved out. This process is so gradual that an individual may not perceive any differences initially. Unless your face is photographed periodically, the changes may go unnoticed," says Patricia Ceballos, a dermatologist in New Rochelle, NY. Counteract your losses by fortifying skin with hyaluronic acid. "In the dermis of aged skin, natural hyaluronic acid is reduced which contributes to rough texture and loss of skin thickness," she says. You could also consider fillers. "Hyaluronic acid binds 500 to 1000 times its weight in water, so it has enormous benefits when injected into atrophic skin of aged hands, rendering them plump and rejuvenated," says Ceballos.
The skin on your neck is patchy and irritable.
"Uneven color on the sides of the neck and on the V of the chest is evidence of early photodamage," says Annie Chiu, a dermatologist in North Redondo Beach, California. "If your skin is easily irritable, thats a sign of aging—healthy skin has a strong skin barrier that resists chronic inflammation." Chiu suggests Skinceuticals Phloretin CF Serum for uneven skin tones on your neck. "The antioxidants fight UV mediated photodamage, which causes brown-red discoloration on the neck, and the vitamin C and phloretin have a brightening skin evening effect," she says. La Roche Posay Ciclaplast Baum B5 Soothing Repair Balm may also help calm angry zones. "I often use this to soothe skin after in-office peels or laser treatments," she says.
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Wrinkles along your cheeks and a loose jawline.
"People develop wrinkles just from movement, so that's not really a sign of aging poorly. But if fine lines and wrinkles appear in the middle of the cheeks or the jawline sags in the twenties or thirties, it is. The middle of the cheeks and the jawline show sun damage and wrinkles early on," says Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist in New York City. To minimize, Nazarian uses ultherapy, a treatment that incorporates ultrasound technology to firm up and tighten skin. "Although multiple sessions are needed, with time, new collagen and elastin are formed to minimize wrinkles and bagging," says Nazarian.
Your skin is itchier than usual.
"With aging, comes a loss of moisture. The cell membranes become more porous, contributing to dryness and the crepe-y look. Consequently, skin tends to become itchy and more sensitive. Pay attention to your skin—it might be trying to tell you something," says Ceballos. Reminder: Our favorite moisturizers under $20 are at your fingertips.
Your eyes are changing shape.
"As we age, our bones start to recede inwards. It's most prominent at the inner upper corner and the outer lower corner of the skull. As a result, the eyes go from being really rounded to slightly more horizontal," says Kavita Mariwalla, a dermatologist in West Islip, New York. "The best thing to do to is maintain the texture of your skin with products, like Neocutis Lumiere Bio-restorative Eye Cream and therapeutic treatments, such as Pelleve for skin tightening."