American Society of Plastic Surgeons
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National Mature Women's Day: What are the best nonsurgical procedures for mature skin?

best nonsurgical procedures for mature skin

There are a lot of misconceptions about aging. Beauty companies use buzzwords like "mature" to describe aging skin and complexions. It is true that our skin changes as we age but "mature skin" is not technically a medical term.

So, what does "mature" mean? How can women keep their skin looking its best as they age and maximize its potential to give them a youthful glow and healthy appearance?

What does it mean to have mature skin?

What is mature skin? Does it describe a specific age range? Does it mean a woman has hit a significant biological milestone? Honestly, the terms mean different things to different people. As the old saying goes, age is only a number.

"For me, mature skin has experience," said ASPS Member Surgeon Sara Dickie, MD. "It has seen the elements, the sun, for many years and will reflect that damage. But it is also typically stable. It's a major line of defense to the outside world and has acclimated to the environment around it."

Dr. Dickie added that in a person's 40s, the skin is typically reasonably in balance, but it has also experienced years of damage and weathered some storms.

"That's not a bad thing, but it starts to show age in a way that from internalized beauty standards we feel makes us look old or tired," said Dr. Dickie.

While Dr. Dickie's description of mature skin is beautifully poetic, another ASPS Member Surgeon put a more specific timeline on mature skin for women.

"I think to me, in women, it's postmenopausal because that is easier to say and easier to think about," said ASPS Member Surgeon Roy Kim, MD.

Menopause causes numerous hormonal changes in the body. Most women think of menopause in terms of hot flashes, night sweats and mood shifts. However, a significant drop in hormones like estrogen can also impact the quality of the skin by reducing collagen production. Decreased hormones can also lead to moisture loss and dryness, accentuating the appearance of pores, fine lines and wrinkles.

No matter how you define it, with age comes biological changes to the skin, including slower cell turnover, fat loss, a decrease in collagen production, increased dryness and the appearance of hallmarks like expression lines, fine lines and sunspots or hyperpigmentation.

Have mature skin? Where do you start?

If you have mature skin and want to improve the integrity of your skin to look fresher and more rejuvenated, you need a solid support system. That system starts with a good skincare regimen. Mature skin has unique needs.

"Use more moisturizer and avoid too much soap," said Dr. Kim. "You want the oils on your skin to be there."

Dr. Dickie said that for the average patient that feels like they look a little older, the gold standard of skincare is medical-grade retinol.

"Retinol prompts the skin to turnover more quickly," said Dr. Dickie.

Many people can see improvement in fine lines, pore appearance and adult acne and can develop a bit of a glow within three weeks of consistent use. It may also help improve the appearance of some discoloration. For Dr. Dickie, skincare is "a great place to start."

A strong skincare routine you can stick with daily gives you a solid, healthy base and many people see an improvement in the quality of their skin within a month that gets better over time. From there, patients can move to different procedures to maximize the quality of their skin, giving it an additional boost and glowing appearance.

Best nonsurgical procedures for mature skin

Not ready for surgery to look younger? That's okay! If you want to look fresh and fantastic, there are plenty of nonsurgical ways to address skin concerns and reduce the appearance of issues that may make you feel less confident about your skin.

"Surgery fixes structural problems like loose skin, hollows and folds," said Dr. Dickie. "Having a good skincare regimen and getting a laser resurfacing treatment or a light-based treatment polishes the surface. Some patients discover they don't feel the need for surgery once they achieve glowing skin."

Laser treatments are an excellent way to address mature skincare concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and sun damage. From ablative-type lasers like fractional CO2 or erbium to light-based therapy like IPL, the type of laser treatment that may be right for your skin type depends on the conditions you want to address.

"Gentler lasers, in a nutshell, the power isn't as high, that type of laser you're not going to have as much reaction to, you're not going to be as red as long," said Dr. Kim. "The flip side is, you will need more treatments to get a similar effect."

Higher-power lasers deliver more intense results in fewer treatments, sometimes as little as one treatment. The results last longer, but expect to need a little more downtime and treat your skin with some TLC. That means keeping it moisturized, staying out of the sun and using sunscreen.

Chemical peels are also an effective way to refresh the look of mature skin.

"As we age, our skin tends to carry less water, it is a bit dryer, it turns over slower," said Dr. Dickie. "The epidermal layers stick on longer, so think about sand or dust building up on a floor. It shows those fine lines and wrinkles much more because the skin is not exfoliating as rapidly."

Chemical peels can help exfoliate the skin, sloughing off those layers. As the skin heals and grows back, many people see a fresher face staring back at them in the mirror.

What do both procedures have in common? They use different methods to "damage" the skin. As the skin heals from the trauma, the new skin tends to be smoother and brighter and shows fewer lines and wrinkles. Having a quality skincare routine already can help with the healing process and improve results.

Mature skin isn't bad skin. It is skin with character and charm and something to be celebrated. Investing in nonsurgical procedures can help boost confidence and rejuvenate the skin, returning its glow and helping to erase Mother Nature's fingerprints.

To find a qualified plastic surgeon for any cosmetic or reconstructive procedure, consult a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. All ASPS members are board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, have completed an accredited plastic surgery training program, practice in accredited facilities and follow strict standards of safety and ethics. Find an ASPS member in your area.


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