How to treat signs of aging on different parts of the body
From our head to toes, our entire body changes with age, showing the years spent moving, eating, and generally living. But when our skin gets thinner and muscles get weaker, the body we’ve lived with for so long can start to feel like a stranger.
Some of this comes down to our environment. The hours we spend in the sun add up, breaking down collagen that already drops in production from the age of 25. Less collagen makes our skin thinner, less plump and elastic – making us more prone to wrinkles all over the body. And these changes are exaggerated for women when oestrogen levels plummet during menopause, and for men when testosterone drops in later life.
Despite all of this, we don’t tend to give the skin below the neck anywhere near as much attention as our face – but there are ways to treat these signs of aging that don’t involve a full-body skincare routine.
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Treating specific body parts
Every body part ages differently – and at its own pace. Those that spend more time exposed to the sun or go through a lot of stress in our day-to-day life (sorry, hands) are often the first to show the years. So, while any handful of the treatments above can go a long way in minimising signs of aging, some are better suited for specific areas than others.
Chest and neck
Theoretically, we should be treating our chest and neck with as much love as our face. The skin in the décolletage area is so thin (therefore needing more moisture) and parts of it see just as much sun as our face, but we have a habit of treating the jawline as the cut-off point for our SPF and skincare routine.
As a result, this is often one of the first body parts to show signs of aging. The dermis only gets thinner with age, leaving it dry and crepey. This makes it easier for fine lines and wrinkles to settle in – especially around the neck, where there are no oil glands to keep things hydrated and the skin is repeatedly folded every time we move. Thanks to all that time in the sun, it’s also a prime spot for hyperpigmentation.
So, yes, the neck and chest change a lot. The good news? There are plenty of ways to tackle these changes. Fine lines and crepey skin can be treated with filler, mesotherapy, microdermabrasion, microneedling, or Botox. The latter can help prevent sagging jowls – another common part of aging. Tightening and rejuvenation of the entire décolletage is also possible with HIFU.
Our poor hands. We use them constantly, they’re always in the sun, and yet we tend to neglect them when it comes to both skincare and SPF. It’s a recipe for fine lines, dryness, dullness, and sun damage, all of which usually hit the hands before the rest of the body.
Once the skin in this area starts to lose elasticity and volume it can look almost translucent, emphasising the appearance of veins. Hydration is your hand hero. Lock in moisture with a heavy-duty hand cream and avoid any harsh soaps that might dry them out further. And treatments such as Profhilo, filler, and mesotherapy can help skin retain more water.
Hyperpigmentation caused by the sun can be tough to shift, especially on the hands – and especially when skin cell turnover slows in later life. Applying (and reapplying) sunscreen is the best method for preventing new dark spots, or to ensure existing ones don’t get any worse. You can also gradually fade the latter with laser or chemical peels, while microdermabrasion can simultaneously help even out texture.
Arms and legs
Best treatments: laser, chemical peels, and microdermabrasion
They’re not the first body parts that spring to mind when you think of aging, but our arms and legs still change with time. Always prone to dryness, they require even more care once our oil glands slow down production. Up your moisturising game, layering on oils and creams when the skin is wet.
As collagen drops, skin gets thinner, and our veins become more prominent. We’re also more likely to develop varicose and broken veins (AKA spider veins) as we get older.
Laser can treat these damaged veins – as well as any age spots that pop up over the years. As ever, chemical peels and microdermabrasion are also reliable choices for hyperpigmentation.
Best treatments: Thermage, HIFU, and chemical peels
The buttocks have one advantage over the rest of our body: they don’t really see the sun. But that doesn’t mean they get by entirely unscathed. Collagen and elastin break down all over the body – leaving skin as crepey here as it is anywhere.
And while cellulite can (and does) happen here at any stage in life, it’s far more common when the skin starts to thin. Tighter, smoother skin can be achieved here with Thermage or HIFU. They can also help lift the buttocks slightly – although only by about one centimetre.
Again, it’s the loss of collagen and elastin that change the vagina over time. The skin of both the vulva and labia look thinner, and thanks to the decrease in blood vessels that comes with age, the latter may also seem paler.
Then there are the hormones to contest with, too. The post-menopausal drop in oestrogen makes the vagina drier and less elastic than before. Menopause – and childbirth – can also alter the amount of melanin in our skin, creating patches of hyperpigmentation.
As it’s so sensitive, treatments in this area need to be really specific. Laser can improve uneven skin tone, as well as helping with vaginal laxity. Or, if you’re looking to make a permanent change, vaginoplasty and labiaplasty can respectively be used to surgically restructure and rejuvenate the vaginal canal and labia.
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