Though still relatively minor, the passage of time will invariably begin to appear during this decade. Damage due to sun exposure, a few bulges around the belly or thighs, some lines on the forehead or around the eyes and mouth, and a growing number of facial veins and varicose or spider leg veins are likely to occur. At this stage, however, a prompt response to any skin change will almost always lead to a successful outcome.
In addition, lifestyle choices become even more important during this time. Ideally, sun exposure should be avoided between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are the strongest, and sunscreen should be used before going into the sun. This is also a good age to begin monthly self-exams to check for skin cancer. If you see any suspicious moles, dark spots or unusual skin changes, they could be early warning signs of skin cancer. See your dermatologic surgeon as soon as possible to get them examined.
Although primarily thought of as an aesthetic problem, vascular conditions such as varicose veins and spider veins should not be dismissed lightly. They can cause pain and fatigue in the legs, and in some cases cause circulation blockages that can lead to serious complications. Taking early action to address these conditions is not only smart from a medical standpoint; it also simplifies the treatment process.
While the debate continues as to the exact cause of these types of vascular conditions, the good news is that treatment for this unsightly problem has made tremendous advances. The gold standard of treatment remains sclerotherapy, the injection of a solution directly into the vein that causes it to dissolve and be reabsorbed by the body.
In addition, a growing number of dermatologic surgeons are turning to newer technologies such as lasers and intense pulsed light sources. For certain types of vein problems, two of the latest minimally invasive methods – ambulatory phlebectomy or VNUS closure – may also be suggested as alternatives to traditional vein surgery in a hospital. These novel approaches involve removal or destruction of the damaged vein in the doctor's office.
The battle against wrinkles never stops, and all the preventive and corrective measures used by people in their 20s continue to be effective throughout one's life. A relatively new concept in facial rejuvenation is the use of non-ablative techniques to correct mild to moderate signs of aging and sun damaged skin. Non-ablative – literally, "non-wounding" – means that the treatment modality actually works below the surface skin layer, avoiding injury to surface skin. In general, non-ablative methods offer the benefits of virtually no downtime, fast healing and few side effects. However, results are typically less dramatic compared to standard resurfacing techniques.
Non-ablative laser therapy is a promising example of this novel approach. This laser's controlled thermal effect at the deeper layers of the dermis (skin layer below the surface), stimulates new collagen formation and tightens the underlying skin, improving fine lines and toning loose skin without inducing a superficial burn or skin injury. Despite some limitations, non-ablative lasers hold great potential for patients who wish to maintain a youthful appearance, especially younger patients who want to prevent or postpone more invasive surgery.
Another non-ablative, anti-wrinkle technique is called particle resurfacing – or microdermabrasion. Using a highly controlled vacuum, a highly focused stream of fine, sand-like crystals passes across the affected area to smooth surface lines and eliminate age spots. Some patients find that a progressive mix of treatments, such as non-ablative laser therapy with microdermabrasion, neuromodulator (botulinum toxin injections) or topical "lunch-time" fixes produce significant long-term improvement.
Many men and some women begin to experience hair loss at this stage in life. Topical and oral medications provide some hair regrowth, or at least stem further loss for many people. Today's advanced techniques in hair restoration surgery also can provide subtle, natural and permanent solutions to this problem.
Tastes change and many people find that the body art that was so hip yesterday is far less appealing later in life. Fortunately, the arsenal of dermatologic lasers available today provides nearly complete scar-free erasure of most tattoos.