Our skin reflects cumulative damage from the sun and the environment and belies our general health. Underlying undesirable changes in the skin are some preventable changes in skin metabolism. The skin renews itself every four to eight weeks as new cells are generated in the deep layers. These new skin cells mature and migrate to the surface, where they are soon ready to slough off. The sloughing off is a signal to the deep layers of the skin to begin the process again, and new skin cells are created and sent the surface. As we age, this turnover of our skin cells slows, and can cause a dull, coarse appearance. Another common change seen in aging skin is a decrease in collagen and elastin production. Since collagen and elastin are important for the structure and elasticity of the skin, the loss of these two proteins causes wrinkling and sagging. Anything we can do to increase skin cell turnover and collagen and elastin production will help the skin appear more youthful and will improve the health of the skin. There is good evidence that rapid skin cell turnover via exfoliation reduces the risk for skin cancer.
The trend in aesthetic medicine and cosmetic procedures is to start non-invasive procedures early in order to keep the skin healthy and prevent some of the undesirable changes that occur as we age. One of the most popular treatments at Youthologie is Laser Genesis, which is a comfortable laser treatment that stimulates collagen production. The result is smoother, tighter, younger looking skin with less sun damage. The same treatment improves scars and prevents acne breakouts, and there is no downtime or recovery time. Patients are able to resume normal activities immediately.
Another important tool in anti-aging medicine is bio-identical hormone replacement. This is the use of hormones that are the same as those made by the human body to replace the normal decline in hormone levels that occurs as we age. It is said that we age because our hormone levels decline. Generally, the hormones being replaced are the sex hormones estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. However, another hormone that commonly becomes deficient with increasing age is thyroid hormone. Every tissue and organ in the body has receptors for hormones, so they have a global influence on virtually every bodily process.
The goal of anti-aging medicine is to live a full, healthy, and happy life for as long as possible and to prevent the common diseases and disorders that typically increase with age. The big killers and disablers are heart disease and stroke, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and, for women, osteoporosis (cause of hip fractures) and macular degeneration (cause of blindness). All of these conditions are at least somewhat preventable. It is possible to assess our risk for disease and prevent it through changes in lifestyle and nutrition and the use of bio-identical hormone supplementation.
There is widespread misplaced fear and misunderstanding regarding hormone replacement therapy. Bio-identical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) differs significantly from hormone replacement therapy (HRT), as the latter uses synthetic hormones. Many women stopped using HRT on the advice of their doctors when the Women’s Health Initiative study was discontinued prior to its scheduled completion due to the finding of an increased risk for heart attack, stroke and breast cancer associated with synthetic hormone therapy. This risk is not seen with BHRT.
One difference between bio-identical hormone replacement and synthetic hormone use is that bio-identical hormones are familiar to the body. The body has the enzymes necessary to metabolize hormones that are identical to those created by the body. As a result, the hormones are present for a only few hours, just as when the body manufactures its own hormones. Because synthetic hormones are unfamiliar to the body and the body does not have enzymes to metabolize them, they can remain in the body for months. This means there is a prolonged period of time during which all tissues of the body are influenced by these hormones. Another example of how BHRT differs from HRT is in the use of progesterone. This natural hormone has a protective effect on breast tissue and helps to prevent breast cancer, whereas progestin, the synthetic substitute often used, does not have a protective effect on breast tissue.
For more information about aesthetic and anti-aging medicine, contact Youthologie at 919-847-1495 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit our website www.youthologie.md.