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Your Most Common Questions About Aging Skin, Answered

High temperatures and increased outdoor activity can make summer one of the roughest seasons for your skin, as hyperpigmentation, dehydration and other signs of sun damage can become more noticeable. With that in mind, here are answers to some of your frequently asked seasonal skincare questions.

Q: What causes age spots?

Women often develop these brownish spots or patches on the face, and much less frequently on other parts of the body. This type of hyperpigmentation in certain areas of the skin is most commonly known as melasma. This phenomenon often affects young mothers or women taking contraceptive hormones. It’s been noted that oxidative stress is involved in the overproduction of skin pigments, while exposure to sunlight greatly contributes further to this stress. In attempts to remove these over-pigmented areas, aggressive chemical peeling agents are often applied to the skin...even though some are known to cause irreversible skin damage. Instead of these harsh solutions, we recommend using a brightening treatment like Vitamin C Ester Serum or Thio:Plex Intensive 2-Step Brightening Treatment.

Q: I wear a daily SPF and haven’t tanned since my twenties. Why are my age spots becoming more noticeable?

The aging process results in the increased activity of pigment cells known as melanocytes, as well as a thickening of the superficial layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. Melanocytes begin to burn out when you reach your late 30s and 40s, making it more difficult for your skin to fight sun damage and ultimately resulting in uneven pigmentation. The combination of a thickened stratum corneum in conjunction with the increased population of melanocyte pigment cells results in dull skin with more obvious discoloration. As you may have guessed, this is exactly the opposite of the radiant-looking skin seen on more youthful faces. Chronic subclinical inflammation is a major contributing factor, which is why Dr. Perricone strongly recommends following his Three-Tiered Solution—following an anti-inflammatory diet, taking antioxidant supplements and applying topical skincare. All of these work together synergistically to restore a more youthful brightness and radiance to your skin.

Q: My skin seems thin and papery. What’s going on and how can I stop it?

There are numerous causes behind thin, fragile skin, but one of the biggest culprits is sun damage. The dermis—the thick layer of skin or connective tissue beneath the epidermis that contain blood, lymph vessels, sweat glands and nerve endings—is susceptible to UV damage. The result? A loss in skin elasticity that makes your skin even more delicate. High levels of the stress hormone cortisol can also cause thinning skin and a decrease in hormone levels, while the loss of the “youth” hormones such as estrogen and testosterone also occurs during menopause. The loss of these hormones results in physical changes to the body, which can include a loss in muscle mass, thickening in the waist area and thinning of the skin. Ready to take steps to help combat the appearance of crepey skin? Then be sure to follow these tips: