Is there a way to defeat the aging process?
If you study other people’s appearance, it is clear that some people’s looks do not match their chronologic age. Some individuals look much younger than they are and others look much older. This is especially true when we get to middle age and beyond. It is not necessarily clear why certain people age more gracefully than others, but healthy living plays an important role.
Why do some people age more gracefully than others?
Studies on aging show that the answer to this question is complex. Aging involves a series of processes that affect overall health and there is significant variability between individuals. For example, there are those, who because of heredity, are predisposed to health conditions that, when combined with certain environmental or lifestyle conditions, will negatively impact aging.
Since researchers cracked the human genome 20 years ago, we have come to realize the importance of genetics in our risk for certain diseases and disorders, both mental and physical. Subsequent studies have continued to find connections between our genetic profiles and our likelihood of developing health problems, from breast cancer and heart attack to depression, obesity, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some people choose to undergo genetic tests to determine whether they carry copies of specific genes that put them at higher risk for various diseases.
While this research has gone on it has also become clear in recent years that genetics is only part of the aging discussion. Lifestyle is important in increasing or reducing our risk of various diseases. Lifestyle choices — the foods we put in our bodies, the chemicals we are exposed to, how active we opt to be, even our social environments — can actually alter our health at the level of the gene by changing how a gene exerts its influence on out body as shown by a field of research called epigenetics.
Physical Activity is the Key to Defeating the Aging Process
Epigenetics studies and other related research shows that those who engage in physical activity tend to go through the aging process with more “grace”. They tend to remain functionally independent longer, have greater quality of life, decreased physiologic changes associated with aging, and lower risk of chronic illness as compared with older individuals who lead sedentary lifestyles.
There are numerous studies that show exercise to have positive benefits to your skin as well as your musculoskeletal and overall health. It has also been shown to help our mind (improved cognition), and our emotional state (reduced risk of depression and stress). Conversely inactivity has deleterious effects on our body. One recent study showed that we have a reversible reduction in sensitivity to insulin and a marked reduction in cardiorespiratory fitness, with associated increases in central and liver fat as well as cholesterol levels with just 2 weeks of inactivity.
Steps to take to help you “Age Gracefully”
- Regular exercise is a panacea to lessen the effects of aging and associated chronic illness since exercise will improve muscle mass, aerobic capacity, and cardiopulmonary fitness, among others.
- Maintaining a healthy weight and limiting unhealthful foods (ie, those with high caloric to poor nutritional value ratios),
- Using sunscreen is one of the best ways to prevent wrinkles and the sun spots or damage that shows as we age and can help to belie or age.
- Staying away from smoke of any kind
- Getting regular sleep
You still “look old” despite exercise and diet.
If have done everything I have talked about in terms of lifestyle and you have issues that you would like to deal with then it may be time to see a plastic surgeon.
We generally age two ways:
- Loss of Volume
- Loss of Elasticity.
Daughter and Mother Demonstrating Aging
Plastic surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery for the face, focus on restoring volume where it has been lost or tightening up the skin where the skin is loose. Usually both issues have to be addressed to correct the saggy, deflated look of the aging face. Here is a good illustrated example of these issues.
How do you correct the aging face with plastic surgery?
The most common answer is with a face lift but for most patients we start with restoring volume in selected areas.
Add Volume Back
Volume can be added back into your face with a filler.
Filler alternatives include:
- Bellafill. Bellafill which is highly predictable, has few complications and last a very long time. Most patients prefer Bellafill over fat grafting because is it predictable and they do not have to keep refilling or adding more as time goes on.
- Fat grafting. This involves taking fat from one part of your body using liposuction techniques, processing the fat and then injecting it into areas that need it. Unfortunately, fat grafting is expensive and unpredictable. In addition, it does not tend to last.
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers like Juverderm, Voluma, Bellotero, and Restylane. Unfortunately, these fillers do not last very long and have to be re-injected. Many patients get weary of having to pay a lot of money repeatedly as well as having to get a lot of painful needle pokes every one to two years.
- Particulate fillers like Radiesse and Sculptra. Again, these fillers only last about 2 years.
Tighten the skin
When the issue of aging is due to loss of elasticity or stretching out of the skin, then the skin needs to be made tighter. This will serve to smooth out wrinkles and restore a more natural, youthful look to the face. This can be done with a number of different plastic surgical treatments or procedures including:
- Microneedling is a minimally invasive and nonsurgical cosmetic procedure in which a roller or mechanical pen with many tiny needles is used directly on the skin to increase collagen production and tighten the skin for a younger-looking appearance. The tiny needles or pins prick the top layer of the skin, causing the skin to increase collagen production to heal those little pricks.
- Chemical Peels are a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. The skin that grows back after a chemical peel is smoother, tighter, and looks younger. Chemical peels are typically used to treat wrinkles, skin discoloration and scars on the face.
- Surgical procedures that remove the excess or lax skin such as a:
How do you defeat aging?
Going back to the original question we are left with a simple answer; a healthy lifestyle that includes an abundance of exercise and occasionally a little help from your plastic surgeon.