Heat from the Sun Causes Aging

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We know that ultraviolet light from the sun causes damage to your skin. That’s because ultraviolet light is a form of radiation. It damages the delicate DNA in your skin cells, leading to aged, damaged skin and to skin cancers. It also causes free radicals to develop in the skin, damaging fragile elastin and destroying collagen, leaving skin wrinkled, lax, and without elasticity. Although most of the damage is done by this high energy form of radiation, new research suggests that even low energy forms of radiation are harmful. Continue reading “Heat from the Sun Causes Aging”

Bleaching Liver Spots

Liver spots have nothing to do with your liver. They are actually “sun” spots and are the result of sun damage to melanocytes, the pigment making cells in your skin. Although patients often think these brown spots occur only on the back of the hands, they can be found anywhere there is sun damage such as the face, chest, back, and scalp. Continue reading “Bleaching Liver Spots”

Hormone Replacement Therapy Doesn’t Make You Younger

For post-menopausal women, decreasing estrogen levels might contribute to skin aging. Common skin changes associated with being post-menopausal include atrophy (thinning of the skin), wrinkling, dryness, laxity, sallow complexion, and poor wound healing. There are estrogen receptors in the skin and it is thought that the decrease in estrogen that accompanies menopause leads to a loss of estrogen activity and to these undesirable skin changes.

Continue reading “Hormone Replacement Therapy Doesn’t Make You Younger”

10 Ways to Prevent and Treat Crow’s Feet

Crow’s feet are the wrinkles that form on your temple and cheek around your eyes. The best advice I have about crow’s feet, or any wrinkles for that matter, is to put off getting them for as long as possible. All wrinkles can be improved with cosmetics, but the more winkles you have, the more difficult and expensive it is to improve them. Continue reading “10 Ways to Prevent and Treat Crow’s Feet”

What Causes Crow’s Feet?

Crow’s feet — the fine lines that radiate from the corners of your eyes – are among the first wrinkles to form and can surface as early as your 30’s. They are dynamic wrinkles, meaning they’re most noticeable when you contract the muscles in your face, such as when you squint or smile.

Many factors contribute to crow’s feet including sun exposure, squinting, smoking, and menopause. Sun exposure is probably the most important of these. Over years, solar radiation in the form of UVA light damages elastin and collagen leading to lax skin that hangs loosely instead of clinging tight to the underlying muscles. The result is sagging, wrinkled skin.

The more natural pigment you have in your skin, the more you are protected from harmful ultraviolet radiation. This is why people with darker skin tend to have fewer crow’s feet than those with lighter skin.

Squinting contributes to crow’s feet as a result of countless contractions of the muscles around the eyes; years of squinting eventually form permanent wrinkles. Crow’s feet overlie the large muscle that surrounds your eye called the ocularis orbis. When you squeeze your eyes tight, you are contracting this muscle, forming wrinkles that radiate from the corners of your eyes to your temples. Under constant tension, as in an afternoon at the beach, the skin becomes fixed in that wrinkled position, and over years, changes in the collagen make these wrinkles permanent.

Smoking causes wrinkles by damaging collagen and elastin fibers and by depriving the skin of blood flow and oxygen. It also contributes to dynamic wrinkles like crow’s feet because you squint to keep smoke out of your eyes.

Estrogen helps prevent wrinkles by maintaining your skin’s collagen, elasticity, and hydration. Since estrogen is decreased following menopause, it can worsen your crow’s feet. Studies have demonstrated that women lose 1 to 2% of their collagen every year after menopause and that hormone replacement therapy might help maintain women’s skin’s thickness and elasticity, minimizing wrinkles.

Post written by Jeffrey Benabio, MD for The Derm Blog.

Photo: Jacob Theo, Flickr.com