Ever looked in a mirror and thought, “Where the heck did that wrinkle come from?” or “How did my hair get so thin?” At some point, things just don’t quite look the way they used to. For help, we went to Tanya Atagi, MD, plastic surgeon at Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, Colorado. Here's her advice on how to treat sunspots, turkey neck, thinning hair and more – including tips on what you can do at home, plus professional options, too.
If you're losing your locks, your diet may be to blame. Make sure you're getting enough lysine and iron, both critical for hair production, says Dr. Atagi. “If you lack either one, your body literally turns off hair follicles and puts them in a dormant state," she explains. Meat, fish, dairy and eggs all contain lysine, while red meat, beans, whole wheat bread, dark green leafy vegetables and poultry are good sources of iron.
Also, be sure to see your doctor to rule out possible health issues like anemia or hypothyroidism. Usually once those are treated, your hair should start to grow back. To jumpstart regrowth, your dermatologist may suggest a custom scalp prescription, Atagi says.
The vast majority of aging-skin issues, whether wrinkles, fine lines or broken capillaries, are because of sun damage. If you aren’t already slathering on at least SPF 30 every day, start now. “It’s much easier to protect than let wrinkles progress and try to correct them later,” Atagi says. She recommends sunblocks that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
As for reducing wrinkles that already exist, she suggests seeing your dermatologist about a topical prescription that contains a form of vitamin A, such as Retin-A or retinol. “These help increase collagen production to prevent and reverse fine lines and wrinkles, among other things.”
Unfortunately, no exercise or at-home remedies can cure the dreaded turkey neck, Atagi says. But don’t despair: Several potential in-office procedures are available, depending on the problem. For instance, if it's a crepey look you're worried about, you may need a surgical neck lift to tighten loose, wrinkly skin. To reduce a double chin, your doctor may suggest a series of injections using a treatment called Kybella, a drug that dissolves fat cells. Finally, if some neck muscles are separating down the center, your doctor may recommend surgery. "Surgical correction can last years," Atagi says. Just how long depends on genetics, sun exposure, diet, whether you smoke, and other factors.
Rule #1: “Treat the chest as an extension of the face,” Dr. Atagi says. That means you should use the same cleanser, moisturizer and other facial products on your chest, too. “Routine maintenance of this area gives you the biggest bang for your buck,” Atagi explains.
Also, consider Ultherapy, an FDA-approved nonsurgical treatment for the décolleté that works by using two ultrasound beams deep under the skin. “It penetrates deeply into two or three layers of the skin. By generating heat, it stimulates collagen for a lifting, tightening and toning effect,” Atagi explains. The best part: You’ll see results with only one treatment.
Age Spots on Hands
To reduce brown spots, start with lemon juice, a natural skin bleacher. Atagi suggests applying fresh lemon juice to the backs of your hands for 30 minutes twice a day. Be patient, though -- it usually takes a couple months to see results. Over-the-counter treatments can help, too. "Look for one with ferulic acid, hydroquinone or kojic acid, and slather it on the back of your hands," says Atagi.
If you're still seeing spots, ask your doctor about a clinical-grade chemical peel or laser treatment, Peels reduce pigment production and exfoliate to help produce new skin cells, while lasers zap the brown pigment.
Not to be a bearer of bad news, but everyone ends up with sagging elbows eventually. “You’ve been stretching that skin for decades as the arm bends,” Dr. Atagi says. “Some curtaining of the skin is needed to fully flex your joints.” That said, there are a couple of ways to perk up droopy elbows. First, use a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid, which helps plump up skin and retain moisture. Also, several skin-tightening treatments are now FDA-approved, says Atagi. These include ThermiRF, which uses radiofrequency heat to firm up loose skin. Talk with your doctor to see if you're a good candidate.
Content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.