Our culture is perpetually obsessed with the concept of anti-aging — so much so that it’s almost seen as a sin to age. For something that is inevitable for all living creatures, that’s a tall order to follow through on. Unfortunately, we’re constantly bombarded by definitions of beauty that are relegated to youth standards and infiltrated with overly filtered and airbrushed images on every social media platform and billboard that meets our view.
In short: It’s gotten to the point where what we’re viewing as healthy aging is hardly anything but. “Filters blur out any texture, deceiving us to believe that some people really are aging flawlessly,” explains Harshal Ranglani, MD, a practicing clinical and aesthetic dermatologist and consultant for Skincare Hero. “Seeing these doctored-up images makes us compare ourselves and compels us to actively face our aging skin and flaws even when we may not really be bothered by them.”
The reality is that everyone ages, but not in the same way. Much of this differentiation is due to factors such as genetics and lifestyle are important determinants, according to Rebecca Marcus, MD, a dermatologist based in North Dallas. A person who practices a consistently healthy lifestyle that includes proper nutrition, hydration, skincare, regular physical activity, and plenty of sleep is going to age more gracefully in most cases, notes Dr. Marcus.
Meet the Experts
Harshal Ranglani, MD, is a practicing clinical and aesthetic dermatologist and consultant for Skincare Hero.
Rebecca Marcus, MD, is a dermatologist based in North Dallas.
Rachel Burns, MD, is a consultant dermatologist.
Alexander Zuriarrain, MD, is a Miami-based plastic surgeon and founder of Zuri Plastic Surgery.
There are also factors that can speed up the effects of aging, such as excessive drinking and smoking. “Smoking accelerates signs of aging and smokers tend to develop lines and wrinkles and a sallow appearance at an early age,” says Dr. Ranglani. Similarly, stress has a huge role to play. “Chronic stress increases cortisol levels in the body, which contributes further to signs of aging,” she adds.
Unfortunately, there are countless myths surrounding the topic when it comes to aging. To set the record straight, we reached out to skin doctors to debunk some of the anti-aging myths lurking around.
You become less attractive as you age
“It’s true that our beauty certainly changes as time passes, but many [of my] patients report feeling even more beautiful now than they did ten years ago,” says Dr. Marcus. “As a person ages, maturity brings perspective and increased appreciation for the whole self rather than strictly what is visible on the surface.”
Diet does not contribute to skin aging
Our culture has made food more about taste than nutrition, when it should be the opposite, according to Rachel Burns, MD, a consultant dermatologist. “Studies have shown that foods containing a high glycemic index like white bread, potatoes and pasta are converted into sugar in the bloodstream, which leads to the formation of AGEs (Advanced Glycation End Products),” she says. “AGEs reduce the springiness of collagen and elastin, which causes the skin to sag and also make the skin more susceptible to sun damage.”
Your anti-aging routine has to involve retinol
Retinol might be the gold standard of topical anti-aging skincare products, but they cannot sustain optimal results on their own, according to Dr. Ranglani. “If SPF is missing from a person’s skincare regimen, even if they’re using retinol, their results won’t be ideal,” she says. “You could use a retinol every single day, and you’d end up doing more harm than good if you weren’t serious about sun protection during the day.”
Sunscreen should only be worn in the sun
Even on cold and cloudy days, the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays can penetrate through and damage your skin. For this reason, Miami-based plastic surgeon and founder of Zuri Plastic Surgery, Alexander Zuriarrain, MD, recommends putting on SPF as soon as you wake up in the morning — no matter the weather. “Waiting to apply once you are outdoors is never a good idea, as at this point, the sun has already begun to cause damage with its UV radiation,” he says. “Many people have enhanced aging of one-half of their face due to sun exposure while driving home or to work on a daily basis.”
Anti-aging products can make your wrinkles disappear
While certain ingredients, like retinol, can minimize the appearance of fine lines, they will not magically erase them, according to Dr. Ranglani. “Often, procedural treatments such as laser resurfacing and microneedling are needed for deeper wrinkles,” she says. “These treatments can help minimize signs such as uneven pigmentation, coarse lines, and wrinkles and also improve texture and smoothness.”
The more expensive a product is, the better it works
Just because a product is expensive does not mean that it’s going to work better than less expensive products you’ve tried. “Many people seek the most expensive products on the market as the panacea to their aging, but many off-the-shelf products can provide excellent results depending on their ingredient profile,” says Dr. Zuriarrain. “When searching for the proper skincare product, it is important first to determine what your needs are in order to have them addressed appropriately.”
Chemical peels will hurt your skin
If done improperly, chemical peels can have an irritating and burning effect, but when performed right, they can be quite beneficial, notes Dr. Zuriarrain. “There is a myriad of chemical peels that can be employed depending on skin color, texture and the age of the patient, all of which should be done by a board-certified physician who has experience in skincare,” he says.
Botox makes your face look “frozen”
This is a common myth that dermatologists hear from skeptical patients. While it’s possible to get a frozen look from too much Botox, when performed properly in the hands of an experienced injector, neurotoxin injections can help freshen a patient’s face — not freeze it. “When placed correctly, neurotoxin injections can and should look quite natural, prompting your loved ones to remark that you look ‘rested,’” says Dr. Marcus. “Unfortunately, when neurotoxin or fillers are misplaced, they become quite noticeable, and that is the look that many are afraid to end up with.”
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Table of Contents
- You become less attractive as you age
- Diet does not contribute to skin aging
- Your anti-aging routine has to involve retinol
- Sunscreen should only be worn in the sun
- Anti-aging products can make your wrinkles disappear
- The more expensive a product is, the better it works
- Chemical peels will hurt your skin
- Botox makes your face look “frozen”