We now know so much more about the damage the sun’s UV rays does to our skin than we used to just a couple of decades ago. If you’re old enough, you probably remember getting scorching sunburns when down at the Gulf Coast and having to wear a T-shirt in the water the next day. Ouch!
And if you’re a woman, you may have applied ample amounts of baby oil and laid out on the roof a few more times than you care to admit.
Now that we know the damage the sun is doing, you’d think we would all be better off if we spent every daylight hour in a cave, venturing forth only after dark like some vampire from a Twilight movie. Truth be told, yes, such a lifestyle would lessen sun damage on the skin, but there is another side of skin aging that happens no matter what we do.
Such is the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic aging.
When you’re young, the skin’s the outer layer, the epidermis, is smooth and acts as an effective barrier to water and environmental damage. The skin’s color and tone are even, without any pigmentation issues.
The way the body provides support to the skin is also strong. Collagen, which provides the skin’s firmness; elastin, which gives the skin elasticity and rebound; and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), which keep the skin hydrated, are all abundant.
Two types of aging
A few years pass and before you know it you see a wrinkle…and then a couple more. Wrinkling is a combination of two types of aging — intrinsic and extrinsic.
Intrinsic aging just happens. It doesn’t matter if you live in Houston or a rain forest. After your 20th birthday, your body cuts its production of collagen by one percent each year. This makes the skin thinner and more fragile the older you get. Your sweat and oil glands also slow their function, and elastin and GAGs drop as well. Intrinsic aging is inevitable, but it isn’t the main cause of wrinkles.
That would be extrinsic aging. Extrinsic aging occurs because of the sun and environmental damage (smoking or exposure to pollution, among other things). Your formerly even-toned, supple skin changes. Extrinsic aging shows itself as a thickening of the cornified outer layer of the skin. Precancerous growths, skin cancers, and freckles and sun spots all start to show up, directly related to your amount of sun exposure. This exposure also causes an exaggerated loss of collagen, elastin, and GAGs.
All of these factors team up to give your skin a rough appearance, uneven tone, brown patches, sagging skin, and deep wrinkles.
That’s where Dr. Kronberg’s expertise with the skin comes in. She can check and treat pre-cancerous growths and skin cancers. She can address spider veins and sun damage. She uses lasers for skin tightening and rejuvenation. Plus, her aesthetic services such as glycolic peels and microdermabrasion not only remove damaged surface skin but also give your complexion a new glow.
Now that you know those wrinkles aren’t all your fault call Dr. Kronberg and let’s see what we can do about them. Call us at 713-771-8941 and make an appointment for a consultation.