Dr. Tasha Bienert of Copeman Healthcare joined CKNW’s Lynda Steele & Drex to discuss skin health, plus tips on what you can do to help keep your skin looking healthy and ageless.
What are the main concerns that people have about aging skin?
The primary concern people have when they come to the clinic is pigmentation of the skin. They want to know if they can do something about their dark spots, how they got there and how to prevent them. Another common concern is redness of the skin, which is due to increased vessels or capillaries. Additionally, both men and women want to know about the integrity of the skin. This could be fullness of the skin, a loss of elasticity of the skin, or even noticing dryness of the skin that wasn’t there before.
Is there anything that you can do about pigmentation of the skin?
Sun protection is by far the biggest thing. 80% of what we see with aging of the skin is due to sun. Most people are pretty good with their sunscreen during the summer, however you must remember to apply in the winter as well. Even if it’s cloudy and cold, some of that ultraviolet radiation can come through windows of your office or car. So it’s best to use it year-round (choosing something SPF 30 or greater) and to reapply regularly.
What about the redness (rosacea or capillaries)? Is laser treatment an option for this?
Some of that process starts due to the photo damage from ultraviolet radiation, so sun protection is always the best option. However, if you’ve noticed those changes on the skin, laser is probably the best option that you have for diminishing redness or some of that vascularity.
We’re always looking for some sort of magic bullet when it comes to aging skin; is there such a thing?
Unfortunately there isn’t, no, but you can actually personalize a program for your own skin health. The best thing to do is to sit down with your physician and go through what you’re noticing with your skin lately, including taking a look into your current health habits. This involves assessing things like your level of sun exposure, whether you’re a smoker, what your diet & fitness regime looks like, your stress levels, etc. All of those things do have an impact on the health of your skin and how well you age with regard to skin integrity and appearance.
What impact doe stress have on your skin?
Stress has the same impact on your skin as it does on other health issues, such as cardiovascular disease. It will cause dryness and loss of collagen, and it creates an inflammatory response in the skin that causes it to age prematurely.
So what’s the best way to manage your skin health overall?
It will be a little bit different for everyone. At Copeman, a patient would come and sit down with me and we would go through some of their current lifestyle choices. If I felt there was an area lacking from a dietary standpoint, I would connect them with a dietitian. There are things they may want to think about beyond just increasing fruits and vegetables, including certain supplements (vitamins or even biotin) that they may want to incorporate into their diet. If it were their exercise regime, I would connect them with a kinesiologist. This can all be customized for patients.
Are there any products that you’d recommend in terms of helping to rejuvenate the skin?
Topical products (things you apply to the skin) have the most supporting data. This would be the retinoids, prescription products and vitamin C. Beyond that, there’s lots of options for changing the appearance of the skin. There are fillers which can be injected into the skin if fullness of the skin is an issue. The products we have now are very safe, from a side effect standpoint. They’re well-tolerated and used very commonly.
We always hear about Botox and other treatments like Restylane. Is there anything new that’s on the horizon?
The compounds that they’re using in these fillers are changing all the time. These compounds either change how long they stay in the skin, or the flexibility of what they can do within the skin from a cosmetic standpoint. It’s definitely a worthy discussion. I refer my patients out for that, and I have a few clinics that I can recommend.
What are the main things that you would be able to recommend in terms of rejuvenation?
I would start by looking at supplementation, in addition to learning more about sunscreen (how to use it and apply it). At Copeman, if someone’s smoking, we make sure to help them to cut back or to stop entirely. If there are any issues with regards to abnormal stress, we can help facilitate an appointment with a psychologist. We do all of those lifestyle measures because really, your skin is a reflection of the health inside the body. So, if you’re showing premature aging, it could be a sign that there is something else going on inside. The best thing to do is to make an appointment with your physician and find out!