Written by Dr. Julius Few

I was recently asked a question everyone wants the answer to: At what age should you move beyond over-the-counter (OTC) products and seek professional help to treat the signs of aging? The answer would be simple if there was such a “standard” age, but the fact is, aging happens at different rates and depends on two general factors:

1. Family History – Genetics

Family history is a very powerful indicator of how someone is going to age. Look at yours to see what the pattern of aging has been. If the women (and/or men) in your family tend to look older than their years, it would be prudent to seek professional treatment at a younger age—before the age-related skin changes set in.

2. Risk Factors – Exposure

Sun exposure, smoking, and fairness of skin all put skin at higher risk for premature aging. Fairer skin types are at risk due to a thinner skin quality and lower levels of protective melanin in the skin, both of which lead to dry, prematurely wrinkled skin. The sun causes skin damage that ranges from wrinkles and discolorations to cancerous lesions, and a history of smoking can leave skin dry, wrinkled and with lower-than-normal collagen levels. In all cases, I advise seeking professional advice and treatment for the skin at early stages of aging. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that more invasive treatments will become necessary.

Whether it’s family history, one or more of these risk factors, or some combination thereof, the take-home message for all skin types and ages is the same: No matter your actual age or rate of skin aging, early intervention is key to skin health and youthfulness, and that means:


Dr. Few