By: Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH
It seems like everyone, at least those over the age of 30, is on a quest for the “Fountain of Youth.”-that elusive cream, potion, or pill that can restore our skin to the soft, smooth, and wrinkle-free appearance of our younger days. We all know the “real” fountain of youth is myth, but there are several skin care options available these days that can offer some restorative hope.
As the name indicates, this form of skin care treatment involves the application of chemicals to your facial skin in order to stimulate the growth of new and healthier skin. Chemicals typically used in these treatments include: glycolic acid, trichloroacetic acid, salicyclic acid, resorcinol, and lactic acid. Dermatologists classify these procedures as either light, medium, or deep peels. I personally do not recommend chemical peels because of the trauma associated with them, but I think it is important for educational purposes to be familiar with them. Another option you should be aware of is the use of organic peels and masques, which are also very effective.
Light Peels: Light or superficial peels concentrate on the upper epidermis to promote exfoliation (the removal of dead skin cells). They work well to lightly refresh the skin.
Medium Peels: This type of chemical peel affects the upper epidermis as well as the layer directly below it called the upper dermis. Medium chemical peels are appropriate for repairing damaged collagen, giving consistency to the skin tone and dealing with moderate wrinkles and blemishes.
Deep Peels: Deep chemical peels are the most penetrating, reaching down to the mid to lower dermis. They are typically recommended for use on deeper wrinkles and scarring.
Dermabrasion has been a popular procedure in skin care for more than 50 years, used mainly to treat scars and eliminate wrinkles. It is also referred to as skin planing. Dermabrasion is accomplished by the use of a motorized high speed-rotating bush that “abrades” (wears down by the use of friction) layers of skin. The degree of success with dermabrasion is subjective, depending on each patient and their particular skin problems. But in general, most people are able to experience a 50-85% improvement in their facial appearance.
Before undergoing dermabrasion, your health care provider will typically suggest a daily facial care routine to improve your skin’s condition and enable better post-procedure wound healing. Dermabrasion begins with a local anesthetic followed by the application of a chemical called a skin refrigerant, such as ethyl chloride or flurethyl. In addition to numbing your skin even further, this “freezing” process stiffens your face to make the dermabrasion even more effective. After the procedure, your face is usually bandaged for about 24 hours. Complete healing will require about ten days. As rough as it seems, this treatment is generally painless. However, it often results in a shower of blood and skin cells due to the “planing” effect, and it can be a rather messy ordeal. In many cases, “buffing,” which we will discuss next, is the preferable choice.
Skin buffing is a gentler form of dermabrasion that has become very popular in the last few years. Buffing is done manually, using sterilized abrasive material rather than a motorized tool. It is much easier to handle and control than traditional dermabrasion. Skin buffing is very useful at improving the appearance of many skin conditions, such as scars, wrinkles, enlarged pores, broken blood vessels, and others. On the day of the procedure, you are usually given a sedative, along with a local anesthetic. Your health care provider will then gently buff your skin using circular motions. There is typically no need for extensive bandaging during recovery. Many patients describe the feeling as that of a sunburn. It takes 7-10 days for your face to back to normal.
Soft Tissue Augmentation
Wrinkles or scars that are too deep for removal can also be improved with a skin care procedure known as soft tissue augmentation. Filler substances may be injected into the skin, under a wrinkle or scar, to “plump up” the tissue. One way your health care provider can determine if this is an appropriate procedure for you, is by manipulating the scar or wrinkle with his or her hands. If the blemish can be flattened, soft tissue augmentation is probably going to give positive results. Recovery is usually quick, with the potential for some swelling for several days.
As with soft tissue augmentation, botox injections aim to improve the appearance of wrinkles. However, rather than “plumping up” the area, botox paralyzes the minute facial muscles that are responsible for the wrinkling. It takes about two days to notice any improvement, and about seven days for the full effects to take place. It should be noted that botox injections are only temporary, and the procedure must be done again every few months.
For particularly difficult skin care issues, there are several surgical options that can be implemented to improve the overall appearance of the skin. Special excision methods can be used to remove unwanted blemishes such as moles, scars, cysts, and skin tags. Laser surgery can be used to alleviate such conditions as wrinkles, broken blood vessels and age spots. Cosmetic skin care surgery works by removing the abnormal patch of skin and promoting the growth of new healthy skin in the affected area.
About the Author
Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP, CH is a Doctor of Naturopath (traditional), Clinical Nutritionist, Holistic Health Practitioner and Clinical Herbalist in The Woodlands, TX and Founder / CEO of Oasis Advanced Wellness. Under her leadership, OAW is known and respected as one of the leading companies in providing safe, clean and hi-tech natural health and wellness solutions for whole body wellness. Because of the need for high-end natural and organic skin care products, Dr. Lanphier has developed Oasis Serene Botanicals™, an all-natural skin care line which promotes natural health and anti-aging solutions for the skin. All Oasis Serene Botanicals™ and Oasis Advanced Wellness developed products are free of toxic ingredients, heavy metals, irradiation, excipients and preservatives and are certified organic, organic, wild crafted or of the highest purity and quality that we can obtain while still providing the utmost degree of active ingredients. All products are laboratory tested to ensure that you are getting exactly what the label states. We will never knowingly compromise health in order to provide a cheaper product or to get a product out quickly. Lanphier is Editor and contributor to the worldwide Free E-newsletter Advanced Health & Wellness. Please visit us at Oasis Advanced Wellness, Acne Resource Center, Allergy-Asthma-Sinus Relief Resource Center and www.oasisserene.com