Five Truths and Myths About Skin Care and Aging

Plastic Surgeon Serving Indianapolis, Indiana


#1 Wrinkles are mostly caused by aging.

False. While aging is a factor in the formation of wrinkles, it is the least important one up until about the age of 60. In younger patients, the main causes of wrinkles and other signs of aging are smoking, excess sun exposure and excess muscle activity around the eyes and forehead. Prevention, a prescription-based skin care regimen and selective use of Botox are all effective tools to delay this process.

#2 A sunscreen with a high SPF gives complete protection.

False. Sunscreens protect only against UVB (Ultraviolet B) rays but do not block UVA (Ultraviolet A) rays. Also, most sunscreens block less than 90% of the UVB light so limiting excessive sun exposure through avoidance or protective clothing is still beneficial.

#3 Over-the-counter skin care products are as effective as prescription-based products.

False. Over-the-counter skin care products sold at hair salons and high-end department stores contain most of the same ingredients but at a much lower strength. One example is hydroquinone, a bleaching agent used for sun and age spots. The concentration of hydroquinne in over-the-counter products is 2% but the concentration in our private label Lightener is 4%. The same is true for glycolic acids and alpha-hydroxy acids.

#4 Acne treatment can accelerate aging.

True. Cleansing agents that contain benzoyl peroxide or hydrogen peroxide can produce free radicals, which break down collagen and speed up aging. Sun exposure also increases the presence of free radicals and so an anti-oxident, such as Vitamin -C, should be part of a balanced skin care treatment regimen.

#5 Skin damage and aging cannot be reversed.

False. The typical signs of aging skin are a rough texture, enlarged pores, brown spots and wrinkles. A new laser technology, known as fractionated treatment (Fraxel is one trade name), can stimulate the deeper layers of the skin to remove the pigment in brown spots and create new collagen to tighten pores and fill out fine wrinkles. It also stimulates the outer layer of skin to shed so it is replaced with a new and fresh layer of cells.