WHAT IS ENVIRONMENTAL SKIN AGING? Environmental skin aging is a process whereby ultraviolet light, the sun, and other free radical generating environmental exposures cause changes in your skin.
WHAT IS MECHANICAL AGING? Mechanical aging is caused from repetitive movements: the contraction of muscles, frowning, pursing your lips, squinting, etc.
HOW DOES THE SUN DAMAGE YOUR SKIN? Every single day it sneaks into your skin and causes a variety of different changes. Now don't be fooled, it doesn't take a sunburn for the sun to cause damage. In fact, every day during the year there is something called UVA, which is a longer wavelength, low energy light. It is the same all year round. It gets into the skin, and because it doesn't have the burning effect like other types of rays, it can get deeper into your skin, which is where your collagen and elastin are. UVA rays then destroy the collagen and the elasticity of your skin. It wreaks havoc on the pigmentation of your skin, so you can get freckles. You can get sagging skin, lines, and diffuse wrinkling, which is environmental skin aging and sun damage.
DOES SMOKING CAUSE WRINKLES? Smoking is a wrinkle-causing behavior for many reasons, the least of which is pursing your lips every time you put a cigarette in your mouth. Think about how the lack of oxygen and deadly carcinogens affect the health of your skin.
CAN SLEEPING POSITIONS AFFECT YOUR SKIN? If you look at anyone you'll notice that no two sides of the face are alike. Everyone has a side where the wrinkles are deeper, where the naso-labial fold is deeper, even the left profile is different from the right. Chances are, the side you sleep on is the side that looks the oldest. Always start by sleeping on your back, and try to avoid sleeping on your side. If it is unavoidable, use softer pillows.
CAN WEIGHT FLUCTUATION AFFECT YOUR SKIN? We all know someone who has lost 30 pounds and gained it back. Every time your weight increases it causes the skin to stretch, and as you lose weight the skin will sag. All of this pushing and stretching will cause the skin to wrinkle and sag. Keep your weight steady through healthy internal factors. You are what you eat.
Jeannette Graf M.D., F.A.A.D., Clinical and Research Dermatologist
Dr. Graf is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in the research of ingredients that inhibit the signs of aging. In addition to her medical school and residency training, her love of science led to a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) where her work on peptides resulted in an NIH patent. Recognized as a leading American skin care expert by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries, she consults, is an assistant professor of dermatology at NYU Medical Center, and maintains a private practice in New York. Among her professional honors and awards, Dr. Graf received the National Institutes of Health Performance Award for Outstanding Achievements as well as an NIH patent. She has spoken on "The Role of Vitamins in Skin Care" at the New York University Medical Centers conference for Advances in Dermatology, and most recently gave a speech, "Update on Sunscreens," at the Emerging Technologies in Plastic Surgery Meeting.