The thing about skin

Look­ing hot is not just about hav­ing a buff body. A fresh face can help you project youth and vi­tal­ity, too.

DNA Magazine - - GROOMING - more: con­tact Nicki at face­to­

With the hol­i­day sea­son be­hind us, all that over-in­dul­gence in “some­times” foods, al­co­hol and late nights have taken their toll on our skin. And don’t even men­tion the sum­mer sun (for south­ern hemi­sphere read­ers) and the dry­ing cold (for those in the north­ern hemi­sphere). Now’s the per­fect time for some well-de­served skin re­hab.

First, some facts: our skin is di­vided into three dis­tinct lay­ers. The outer layer of the epi­der­mis func­tions as an evap­o­ra­tive bar­rier to main­tain skin hy­dra­tion and as a pro­tec­tive bar­rier against mi­crobes, trauma, ir­ri­tants and the dreaded ul­tra­vi­o­let light. The deeper skin lay­ers con­tain col­la­gen, elastin and hyaluronic acid and pro­vide more struc­tural sup­port to the skin. In young healthy skin, new cells take about a month to mi­grate up through the epi­der­mis and even­tu­ally shed as part of the con­tin­u­ous re­newal process.

The vis­i­ble signs of skin age­ing are caused by a com­bi­na­tion of phys­i­o­log­i­cal and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors, pre­dom­i­nantly sun dam­age, nutritiona­l de­ple­tion and smok­ing. Age­ing skin demon­strates tex­tu­ral changes like wrin­kles, di­lated pores, dry and rough skin, skin lax­ity, pig­ment changes (in­clud­ing dark­ened freck­les, sun spots, mot­tled pig­men­ta­tion and dull, sal­low com­plex­ion); and vas­cu­lar changes with small spi­der veins and red patches. Pre­can­cer­ous and can­cer­ous skin tu­mors are also part of the photo-age­ing process.

Your first de­fense against photo-age­ing are sun­screens con­tain­ing both UVA and UVB pro­tec­tion. Se­condly, reg­u­lar ex­fo­li­a­tion with chem­i­cal peels and mi­cro­der­mabra­sion will im­prove over­all skin func­tion and its ap­pear­ance once the vis­i­ble age­ing has started.

Both chem­i­cal peels and mi­cro­der­mabra­sion are based on the process of de­liv­er­ing a con­trolled wound­ing of the epi­der­mis to re­move the most su­per­fi­cial cells, which, in turn, stim­u­lates cell re­newal and gen­er­ates new, healthier skin.

Med­i­cal-grade chem­i­cal peels in­volve the con­trolled ap­pli­ca­tion of acid onto the sur­face of the skin. Th­ese acids are usu­ally de­rived from var­i­ous foods, fruits or plants. Lac­tic acid is from milk, gly­colic acid from su­gar­cane and sal­i­cylic acid is from wil­low tree bark. But syn­thetic acids can also be used. Th­ese med­i­cal-grade peels dif­fer from those in beauty sa­lons by their depth of pen­e­tra­tion into the skin: the deeper the pen­e­tra­tion, the greater the re­sult that can be achieved.

There can be side ef­fects from th­ese treat­ments, like red­ness, ten­der­ness or itch­ing but they are gen­er­ally mild and short-lived. Ac­tual peel­ing and flak­ing of the skin oc­curs with more in­tense treat­ments in­volv­ing stronger so­lu­tions.

Mi­cro­der­mabra­sion can achieve sim­i­lar re­sults but the dif­fer­ence is that it ex­fo­li­ates the skin me­chan­i­cally by phys­i­cally brush­ing off su­per­fi­cial skin cells. Mi­cro­der­mabra­sion is quick to per­form and the down­time af­ter treat­ment is min­i­mal.

A course of treat­ments over sev­eral weeks will yield the best re­sults with im­proved skin tex­ture, a re­duc­tion in fine lines, pore size and any su­per­fi­cial acne scar­ring – as well as an im­prove­ment in any acne it­self – and a re­duc­tion in hy­per­pig­men­ta­tion (the dark­en­ing of an area of skin caused by in­creased melanin). It can cor­rect a dull com­plex­ion and help the skin look re­freshed while also mak­ing your skin healthier.

Mi­cro­der­mabra­sion and/or chem­i­cal peels can be used alone or in com­bi­na­tion with other min­i­mally in­va­sive aes­thetic pro­ce­dures such as Bo­tox, der­mal fillers and laser treat­ment. Vis­i­ble skin age­ing is rarely the re­sult of a sin­gle process, but rather a com­bi­na­tion of influences. A skilled cos­metic prac­ti­tioner will ad­vise on the best ap­proach to ad­dress your con­cerns and keep your skin healthy, look­ing great and func­tion­ing even more ef­fec­tively.

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