Aging gracefully is no simple task. If you take into account that the average person begins to see visible changes in their appearance due to aging as early as their mid-20s, the anti-aging battle is one that begins pretty early on. As we age, “Facial bones resorb, leading to loss of structure and definition, and fat pads lose volume, shifting downward and making our features more hollow (goodbye, plump cheeks and lips!),” says Maegan Griffin, MSN, NP-C, founder of Skin Pharm Nashville, a cutting-edge cosmetic dermatology practice specializing in advanced skin care, injections, laser therapy and acne treatments. Multiple changes in the skin lead to fine lines, wrinkles and loss of elasticity, which are some of the most common concerns Maegan’s clients express when they come to see her. So what options does a woman have? Maegan shares her top solutions to the most common issues that arise from aging skin.
Aging Issue: Lines and Wrinkles
Women seem to be divided into two camps regarding the natural lines and wrinkles that begin to appear as we age. There are those who graciously accept them as testament to a life well-lived, and there are those who want them eliminated at all costs. The good news is that, if you fall into the latter category, there are certainly options to treat those lines and wrinkles, depending on age.
First and foremost, though, the No. 1 way to retain a youthful complexion is sun protection. “I ask everyone if they’re using a good SPF, and it’s amazing how many people say no,” she explains. “And then they pay money for all of these other treatments.” Instead, Maegan recommends applying a broad spectrum SPF 30+ every day to protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Also use skincare products that contain antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, peptides, growth factors, brighteners and exfoliants (i.e. glycolic acid, salicylic acid, retinoic acid), which will correct and renew your skin.
In addition to sun damage, lines and wrinkles can be caused by the facial muscle contractions — frowning, a furrowed brow, etc. “Over time, repeated contractions of the facial muscles can contribute to the formation of wrinkles and folds in the forehead, around the eyes, on the nose and neck, and near the mouth and chin,” explains Maegan. Adding insult to injury, those lines deepen as our aging skin loses its elasticity. So what’s a girl to do?
Maegan notes that Botox is probably the best solution. The injectable is priced per unit, with most people receiving an average of 30 units, and the results typically last for three or four months.
“It takes maybe two minutes for Botox injections, and results start kicking in in three to five days,” Maegan says. “By two weeks most everyone’s hooked. When those lines aren’t there, you realize that your whole face looks smoother, and your pores look better, too.”
Aging Issue: Uneven Skin Tone/Texture
While dark spots and rough texture may appear to be completely disparate conditions, the reality is that they often have the same root cause — and it goes back to good skin care. Maegan carries multiple product lines at different price points, as she notes that proper skin care isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition.
After topical skin care, the next step for treating uneven skin tone is chemical peels, which can also help with fine lines and wrinkles. As with cleansers and moisturizers, there are multiple options for peels, depending on your goals and budget. There are lighter, more superficial peels for a lower cost that are known as “weekend peels,” and they give the skin a nice, healthy glow. On the other end of the spectrum, a deeper peel will make you “shed like a snake.”
“The deep peels are very effective in treating dullness, pores, sun damage and fine lines and wrinkles,” Maegan says. “Right now I have a client who’s getting ready for her daughter’s wedding in December. She’s going to do that deep peel and then two weeks later she’s doing microneedling all over, which is the procedure that creates all these teeny-tiny little holes in your skin and helps to boost collagen. Then she’s going to do the peel again, followed by another round of microneedling.”
With collagen being a hot topic on everyone’s lips — and women trying everything from clinical treatments to edible collagen peptides in order to boost their own for a more plump, youthful appearance — it’s no surprise that microneedling is one of Maegan’s most popular services. Laser Genesis is another option that also boosts collagen, and with no downtime required, it’s the perfect lunch break pick-me-up.
Aging Issue: Adult Acne
If fighting the signs of aging wasn’t difficult enough on its own, dealing with acne that you expected to be rid of in high school only makes matters worse. Though more often a result of hormones instead of age, acne is nonetheless a major issue for the many women dealing with active breakouts well into their 20s, 30s and beyond. The good news about Skin Pharm — as opposed to medical spas that only treat the surface of the skin — is that Maegan can address the root cause of the acne.
For clients who want to avoid an antibiotic for personal reasons, Maegan can also take an external approach. “Usually, I recommend a topical anti-inflammatory prescription, a really good SPF and a brightening product to get rid of acne scars,” she explains. “For people who actually have divots in their skin from severe acne, we really have to get in there and try to turn over that collagen in order to make the dermis healthy, and that’s where microneedling comes in.”
This article is sponsored by Skin Pharm.