Ageing Beautifully - By Dr Bradley Wagemaker from Lamelle July 2013

Below is an interesting article written by Lamelle Research Laboratories Medical Director, Dr Bradley Wagemaker.

The Ageing Process

Ageing is a multidimensional process during which interdependent physical, psychological and social factors cause physiological changes in the human body – a process that is to some degree beyond our control. Complex biological processes are driven by a combination of intrinsic (internal) and extrinsic (external) factors that manifest visibly as the signs of skin ageing. Intrinsic ageing means the natural ageing process, the inescapable and ongoing process that begins from one’s mid-twenties and is very much controlled by the individual’s genetic makeup. Extrinsic ageing, however, is stimulated by external and environmental factors. Prolonged exposure to harsh toxins, stress, sunrays, poor nutrition and low levels of fitness prematurely age skin. Knowing how the various skin conditions develop and show up empowers the search for effective skincare.

Root Causes of Aging

Three equally important layers comprise human skin: the epidermis containing pigmentation, skin cells and proteins; the dermis where oil glands and hair follicles are found alongside blood vessels and nerves; and the subcutaneous layer of sweat glands and fat cells. The different layers are constructed with collagen and elastin fibres to support and allow movement. Over time, collagen production decreases and elastin degrades, leaving skin less supple with a sagging appearance. As we get older, the skin sheds dead skin cells at a slower rate, which, in turn, affects how fast new cells are produced to replace them. At the same time, subcutaneous glands begin to produce less oil – particularly in post-menopausal women, increasing skin dehydration that results in dryness and irritation. By far the most dramatic alterations to skin condition, however, are as a result of environmental influences (extrinsic factors), predominantly sun exposure. As a direct result of structural and functional degeneration at both molecular and cellular levels, the skin finds it harder to renew and replenish itself.

Sun Damage

It’s well documented that UV rays damage the skin, causing pigmented spots, discolouration, fine wrinkles and rough or leathery texture. Acute sunburn from high exposure causes much more than temporary discomfort, also increasing the risk of malignant melanomas.

Smoking Toxicity 

Smoking constricts the capillaries in the skin, restricting blood flow and lessening oxygen and nutrient delivery to the face. Tobacco smoke intensely irritates the epidermis and affects the dermis indirectly via the blood stream. Smoking is one of the most profound long-term extrinsic factors resulting in premature skin aging, wrinkling around the lips and eyes occurs due to pursing the lips while smoking, in addition to the toxicity and irritation of the smoke itself.

The Stress Affect 

Prolonged anxiety and tension causes the body to secrete more amino acid molecules called calcitonin gene-related peptides, which affect the body’s immune functions. Skin becomes sensitive, inflamed and dry, with a burning or stinging sensation.

 While there’s little we can do to stop the intrinsic ageing processes, preventing or slowing the signs of premature ageing by combating extrinsic factors is not only possible, but also optimal. Limiting negative environmental exposure will only assist continued wellness. As skin ageing depends on a variety of factors (lifestyle, personal habits and heredity) it is possible to harness preventative and curative measures to access skin’s natural rejuvenation properties based on healthy ageing principles.

Advances in Cosmetic Dermatology

To best serve an increasingly health savvy population, cosmetic dermatological research into anti-ageing treatments over the past 25 years has successfully designed products and procedures to reduce, postpone and potentially repair unwanted effects of intrinsic ageing and extrinsic environmental damage. Anti-ageing treatments target prematurely aged skin, pigmentation problems and skin irregularities while encouraging the body’s natural tendency towards renewal. By softening and rehydrating, reducing pore size and fine line definition, cosmetic dermatology can effect wrinkle reversal, resulting in noticeable improvements in skin tone and smoothness without invasive surgery. These advances allow patients to map a personal route to rejuvenation. Innovative and effective ingredients, available as oral capsules and concentrated creams, boost new collagen development and encourage elastin growth. The obvious advantage as pointed out by Dr Bradley Wagemaker, Medical Director at Lamelle Research Laboratories, is that “cosmetic medicine is for everybody, all of the time. It encompasses everything from the basics of cleansing, to the challenges of skin stimulation and sun protection.” 

Holistic Approaches to Ageing Gracefully

Anti-ageing products can offer true value beyond the visual, skin-deep benefits. It’s a matter of understanding, trust and care that involves everyone from the researcher to the doctor or therapist and the patient. When an understanding of radical research output, for example Lamelle Research Laboratories’ advanced peptide technology, is coupled with a patient who is authentically involved in the healing process, is when optimal care takes place, as Dr Wagemaker suggests: 
“Ultimately, the links in this chain all have a common goal of healthy skin for the end consumer. The beginning of the chain, the researcher, starts the process by tracking new understanding of skin physiology and disease. Based on this understanding, new molecules are engineered and tested to better address these common concerns voiced by consumers. From the ‘bench’, the clinical doctors and skincare therapists are then trained in the new skin physiology and molecules. They then apply this knowledge to better prescribe appropriate skincare programmes to the end consumer.
“This symbiosis is essential to meet the end objective. One cannot leave a single element out of the equation.” Utilising the body’s inherent renewal properties is vital in a holistic approach to skincare. Positioning aesthetic dermatology as the practice for designing graceful ageing helps reinforce the patient’s control over revitalisation and self-stylisation. We believe this helps build mutually beneficial relationships between our aesthetic specialists and the patient, in our quest for prolonged longevity, optimal health and beautiful skin.

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