The Age Gauge
When biology and life take over, leaving unwanted wrinkles and fine lines behind, it may just be time to take action…
by Adriana Ermter (excerpt)
Mirror, mirror on the wall, who likes aging? None at all! Well, at least we don’t…and, yet, it still happens. For some, aging is graceful. For the lucky few, it’s imperceptible. But for most, it feels like our eyes are playing tricks on us and we don’t like what we see. Biologically speaking, though, aging is a rite of passage rather than something we can halt – particularly when a set of deep elevens gouges into our forehead, a spiderweb of fine lines tangles around our eyes, and dark age spots, thinning lips and sagging cheeks start reflecting back at us from the mirror.
“It’s the effect of the passage of time on the skin,” explains Dr. Lisa Kellett, a dermatologist and the founder of DLK on Avenue in Toronto. “It is usually depicted as the result of a loss of collagen and elastin in the skin and a change in the ground substance in the skin.”
While your birthday naturally factors into this equation, so can your genetics and lifestyle. If mom and dad’s skin now looks like dried apples, chances are yours may, too. And if you forgo sleep, fruits and vegetables, sunscreen and water for 16-hour days, booze, pizza and wings, you could be adding years to your face. “Intrinsic and extrinsic factors can affect the rate at which people age,” affirms Dr. Kellett. “Examples of intrinsic factors would be genetics and the presence of any health issues. Extrinsic factors would be a history of sun exposure, diet, and exposure to carcinogens.”
And then there’s gender. With the onset of perimenopause, the time during which a woman’s body ends its reproductive years and begins transitioning towards menopause (typically somewhere in the mid 40s to early 50s), women can seemingly age in one fell swoop. Men tend to experience a more gradual process, says Dr. Nowell Solish, a cosmetic dermatologist, the founder of Cosmetic Dermatology Toronto Yorkville and co-director of the Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer Clinic at Women’s College Hospital.
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