This is a touchy topic with many people. Some accuse responsible practitioners of age discrimination when they say no to a potential client who is too young or too old for a certain type of treatment. So, what is out of bounds? The answer will vary by individual, but for every treatment there are general rules of thumb.
Exceptions apply out of necessity, such as in the case of reconstructive surgery after trauma – but even in those cases there are age limits to what can work and function.
Just remember that each person will be a little bit different from the next and your craft is as much an art as it is a science.
The Skin By the Early Decades
Until you are in your 20s your skin is still maturing and young. Up until then adolescent break-outs might not be uncommon. Somewhere in your mid-20s the skin starts its aging process. At that point it begins to decline production of antioxidants, collagen, and elastin. This is the age at which many people will see the first signs of fine lines and wrinkles around their eyes and mouth, and possibly expression lines between their brows. Some women opt to begin preventative work at this age.
In their 30s people’s metabolisms slow and the collagen and elastin actually start to break down, as it is being replenished at a rate that cannot keep up with the natural loss. The American Academy of Dermatology defines this as the “crossroads between prevention and treatment.” This is because sun damage, causing dark spots, wrinkles, and spider veins, generally start to appear.
By the 40s the loss of collagen and elastin allows the skin to begin being looser and thinner. This is called skin laxity. In the face and neck this is also called jowling. It is a process that every person goes through and cannot be avoided without work. At this age there is also a redistribution of fat on the body. Certain areas of the face that help to make women look youthful (this is not as remarkable in men), don’t hold as much body fat.
Mid-Life and Beyond: How the Skin Changes
This is the age that many women emotionally dread, but those who are comfortable in their own skin embrace. The AARP has some insight into what can be expected that we are happy to share:
- In one’s 50s: The loss of muscle, bone and fat under the skin — along with changes in collagen and elastin — is making fine lines and wrinkles more dramatic, especially if you’ve smoked or sunned significantly.
- In the 60’s: You may notice your skin is more fragile, and you may have an increasing number of age spots… Also, the fine lines and wrinkles that started appearing in your 50s are becoming more dramatic, especially if you smoked or sunned significantly in your younger years. You may [also] develop dilated superficial blood vessels (called telangiectasias) on the cheeks, nose, chin and legs,
- By the 70s and beyond: Wrinkles and lines are more plentiful [and there are] dilated superficial blood vessels (called telangiectasias), which tend to appear without warning on the cheeks, nose, chin and legs. Non-articular cartilage, the type that gives ears and noses their shape, continues to grow with age, making these appendages larger. As you age, the skin around your jawline tends to sag.
Different Treatments Work Best for Different Ages
The different stages that the skin goes through can be tempered with any number of procedures. However, many of those procedures are only relevant to the skin being at the life-stage that responds or works well. What does this mean and how does it bode for the skin of those seeking out the services of TSLMS members and affiliates?
Fillers, botulinum toxin and skin resurfacing are all being sought by younger and younger consumers. Some of them are as young as their teens, and many in their early 20s, looking to use these not to correct, reverse, eliminate, or reduce signs of aging but to get out in front of what they perceive as a flaw. There are several issues with this. The first is that the products were not designed for this use. The second is that in the case of botulism toxin, there is evidence that too much early use may cause “some people may develop a tolerance to it after a decade or so of use which may render it less effective.” (Source).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, when skin gets too thin it cannot withstand procedures that younger skin can hold up to, such as microdermabrasion – or even at a point, surgical interventions. What this translates into is a responsibility for those of us in this business to make sure that we are encouraging our clients to take care of their skin, through the decades, appropriately.
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