Dr. Tranter Aesthetics

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It’s not too late to start your journey to better skin!

It’s not too late to start your journey to better skin!

One of the most common fears I see with new clients in their 40’s and 50’s is that they’ve left things too late with their skin. If this sounds like you…read on!

A common thread in most of these consultations is that skincare just wasn’t a priority in their 20’s and the use of SPF wasn’t consistent, or it wasn’t even used at all! The result is the appearance of all the tell-tale signs of premature skin aging. They manifest as uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, and fine lines, redness, rough texture and sagging, loose skin. Many of my clients feel that there is little that can be done to reverse these changes. They lose self-confidence and start to fear looking at themselves in the mirror because they don’t recognize who is looking back at them…when did I start looking so old? (Does this sound familiar?)

The good news is…this could not be further from the truth!

I’m here to tell you there are a variety of things that can be done to help you achieve clearer, brighter, and younger-looking skin, regardless of your age. What’s not to love about that?

Let’s talk skin ageing…

First things first, let’s cover the basics about how your skin changes with time.

The process of skin ageing is a complex one, which involves both genetic (internal) and environmental (external) factors. There isn’t anything you can do about your genetic predisposition to ageing, but thankfully genetics only contributes about 20%…the other 80% is down to external factors such as UV exposure and tobacco smoking.

Your skin is constantly exposed to UV radiation, and this is the biggest risk for premature skin ageing. Additionally, UV radiation is a complete carcinogen, and increased exposure increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

If there is one thing you do differently for your skin after reading this…make it the consistent, almost fanatical (…I said almost…), application of sunscreen. We’ll go over exactly how much, how frequently and what types of sunscreen in an upcoming post.

How does the skin change over time?

Skin changes over time, skin ageing in your 20's 30's 40's and 50 plus.

This graphic is a great way to visualize how things change throughout each decade from your 20’s to 50 plus. The key take-aways here are that with advancing age come advancing detrimental changes to both the quality and structural integrity of the skin. This occurs in all sun-exposed areas: the face, neck, décolletage, chest, forearms, and hands.

So what actually happens in the skin?

Sunlight triggers a variety of reactions and signaling pathways in your skin that ultimately result in the breakdown of collagen, elastin, and other support proteins in the dermis, leading to laxity, wrinkles, and furrows. UV light exposure also triggers changes we see on the surface of the skin, such as pigmentation, rough texture, dryness, and redness.

Solar Elastosis - the hallmark of photoaged skin
Solar Elastosis – the hallmark of photoaged skin

This photograph of sun-damaged skin, from a great resource for #allthingsskin DermNet NZ,  shows all the classical signs of photoaging.

According to Dr. Jean Ayer, a Consultant Dermatologist in the UK, UV radiation attacks the integrity of the skin, causing thousands of alterations to your DNA daily. It also interacts with the proteins in the extracellular matrix of your dermis (the part of your skin that houses collagen, elastin, and various other support proteins) to cause an accumulation of abnormal elastic material and loss of skin integrity and structure.

Admittedly, the photo above is an example of an elderly subject who has accumulated years of chronic sun damage. The result is an extreme example of photo-aged skin, but it really highlights those features which I see to varying degrees of severity in the clinic.

What about more subtle signs of photodamage?


Signs of sun damage to the skin and face


– caused by the degradation of skin proteins; collagen and elastin. The repeated exposure of the skin to UV damage results in ‘solar scars’ that undermine the support structure of the skin.


– uneven skin tone and patchy hyperpigmentation occur as the skin is stimulated to produce pigment in response to UV exposure. Brown spots, or solar lentigines, appear as flat, darkened patches of skin where chronic UV exposure has triggered excessive production of pigment in the skin.


– the texture of the skin that is photo-damaged tends towards roughness and dryness. This is down to the disruptive effects of UV radiation on the ability of the uppermost layer of the skin to regulate itself, and it becomes thickened and the skin barrier function becomes impaired.


– caused by UV-induced changes in the microvasculature in the skin. It presents as fine visible vessels and an increased redness to the complexion.

A selection of treatments that can help…

If you’re already worried you have signs of sun damage and you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry…there are plenty of things you can do right away to help prevent further damage and start reversing any visible damage already present.

Retinol serum and cream to use nightly for skincare and anti-ageing

Step 1.

Overhaul your routine and determine your skin type and main concerns.

This may sound obvious, but arming yourself with this knowledge will help you cut through any hype about a new, potentially ‘faddy’ and unsuitable product, and instead allow you to focus on what your skin actually needs.

Some of my favourite sunscreens! Sunscreen application for prevention of sun damage.
Some of my favorite sunscreens! (I do not have any financial interest from any of these brands, they are simply products that I have tried and like). 

Step 2.

Everyone should be consistently and correctly applying (and re-applying) SPF daily!

It should be at least factor 50 for your face and sun-exposed areas. Please don’t skimp when it comes to your sunscreen either. Most people do not use enough of this stuff, and the recommended amount of sunscreen is a half teaspoon for the entire face and neck. Check out Consultant Dermatologist @dr_ifeoma_ejikeme on Instagram showing you how to apply sunscreen correctly…super easy to add to your routine in the morning!

Don’t forget your sun-protective clothing, shades, and hats!

Vitamin C serum for anti-ageing and skin care

Step 3.

In addition to SPF, adding in the anti-oxidant, vitamin C in the morning, and a retinoid to your nightly routine will start you on the right track to clearer, brighter and smoother skin.

Don’t expect results overnight though…you’ll need to consistently use vitamin C for 6-12 weeks, and a nightly retinoid for 12-24 weeks, to start seeing improvements in pigmentation and fine lines and wrinkles.



Step 4.

Sometimes there is only so much you can do at home. Booking in to see a skin specialist, who can make a complete and personalized assessment is the next step for you.

Specialists have access to in-office medical-grade treatments, such as skin needling (the aim of which is to improve skin laxity and collagen production), chemical peels (which can be targeted to fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation, hydration, and skin texture), non-surgical rejuvenation procedures (think anti-wrinkle and dermal fillers, thread lifts and subtly restoring lost volume and definition) and laser-based therapies (to treat the entire gamut of photo-damaged skin). These treatments target the signs of photodamage specifically, and incorporating the right treatments for you can help turn back the clock while carefully enhancing and refining your skin and underlying structure.

Check out the treatments on offer at Dr. Tranter Aesthetics here and follow me on Instagram (@drtranteraesthetics) for the most up-to-date skin tips, hacks, and #skineducation!

Masters in Clinical Dermatology Dissertation. This PDF download is provided for personal use and is the intellectual property of Dr. Sarah Tranter  and Dr. Tranter Aesthetics. It cannot be copied or reproduced without permission.

The Efficacy and Safety of Topical Retinoids for preventing and reversing the effects of photoageing (pdf)

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