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Skin Rejuvenation And Resurfacing


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Enhancing Your Appearance With Skin Rejuvenation And Resurfacing

By Judy Latta

In the early 16th century, as legend has it, Juan Ponce de León embarked upon a quest to find the fabled “Fountain of Youth.” Tales of this mythological spring had existed for thousands of years and many explorers, fortune seekers, and others, in pursuit of a means of slowing down the hands of time, had spent their lives in search of this restorative site.

We now know, of course, that the fountain of youth as a physical location is mere myth; however, there are currently more people than ever searching for ways to preserve their youthful appearances. Because some of the most visible signs of aging appear on our skin in the form of wrinkles, large pores and discoloration, one of the most popular methods of restoring a youthful appearance is skin rejuvenation.

Skin Aging

Unfortunately, as we grow older, our skin undergoes an array of natural changes that negatively affect its tone, texture and clarity. As we age, our skin’s intrinsic regenerative process begins to slacken, and the physical qualities that keep it supple, moist and firm begin to degenerate. These transformations begin when we are young, but they may not become visible for many years.

Genetics and hormones contribute to how fast these skin changes occur, but external factors, most notably exposure to sunlight and lifestyle choices, can greatly accelerate the skin’s normal aging process. Medical professionals warn us that the best course for keeping our skin looking fresh and young is to use sunscreen every day and avoid tanning beds. Unfortunately, many of us fail to heed that advice until we start seeing the signs of aging in our skin.

One such change that occurs as we age is a decrease of two key proteins in the dermis of the skin, collagen and elastin. Collagen gives your skin its smooth texture and elastin makes it flexible and toned. As collagen and elastin become depleted, the skin becomes dehydrated, wrinkled and saggy, and pores become enlarged. Aging also slows down the production of new skin cells and the exfoliation of old skin cells leading to a dull, discolored complexion.

At one time, the only truly effective treatment for addressing the signs of aging on the skin was surgery. Facelifts can be very effective; however, many people desire a less invasive approach. Today, fortunately, thanks to scientific advances, if you want to improve the appearance of your complexion but do not wish to “go under the scalpel,” cutting-edge, non-surgical skin rejuvenation procedures may be right for you.

There are a number of non-invasive methods of repairing and resurfacing skin, often referred to as “lunchtime procedures,” including laser and other energy-based treatments, fillers, chemical peels, and skin abrasion methods. The result of these procedures is potentially illuminated skin with a smoother, clearer and more youthful appearance.

Laser Skin Resurfacing

Through laser resurfacing, skin imperfections such as wrinkles and age spots are vaporized using pulsating beams of light. The laser beam removes the outer layer of damaged skin, the epidermis, and stimulates the underlying layers to promote the growth of healthy skin cells and collagen fibers. It may leave your skin appearing to be sunburned for a day or two, but soon the skin will calm and the color will fade.

Botox

Technically known as Botulinum Toxin, Botox is injected into particular areas of the face to paralyze wrinkle-producing muscles and nerves, preventing the impacted areas from contracting, causing wrinkles to relax. The effects generally last about three months and then skin reverts to its previous form, requiring regular injections to maintain the benefits.

Dermal Fillers

Dermal fillers, or “wrinkle fillers” as they are often known, are substances that are injected into creases in the skin to plump-up the skin’s surface to reduce wrinkles. Fillers can be human fat from your own body, collagen, or other natural or synthetic substances. Most dermal fillers work only temporarily, thus regular injections may be needed to maintain the benefits.

Chemical Peels

A chemical peel, also called chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, is a chemical solution that is applied to your face or other area to remove the damaged layer of skin. Chemicals are used in different combinations and dosages to create light, medium or deep treatments depending upon your needs. Many chemical peels are created from natural fruit acids. Some are intense and you actually see the top layer of your skin peel away a few days after the treatment, but some are gentle enough that the thin top layer of skin just flakes away, almost imperceptibly.

Microdermabrasion and Dermabrasion

Microdermabrasion and dermabrasion are methods of skin refinishing that scrape away the top layers of damaged skin. Microdermabrasion is a relatively simple surface exfoliation process while dermabrasion is a more intensive scraping procedure. These exfoliating procedures sand away the dull and discolored top layers of the skin leaving behind fresher, smoother skin.

What Can Skin Rejuvenation Treat?

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, conditions that can be treated by skin rejuvenation include:

• Static wrinkles: These wrinkles are visible at all times and do not change in appearance with facial movements.

•Dynamic wrinkles: These are expression lines that may appear as folds when the skin is not moving, and deepen with facial movements or expressions.

•Pigmentation: Freckles, sun spots, melasma, or other darkened patches of skin result mainly from sun exposure.

•Scars: As the result of acne or injury to the skin, scars may be rolling (a wavy appearance to the skin), pitted, discolored, or have raised borders.

•Vascular conditions: Blood vessels visible on the surface of the skin, vascular lesions that appear as tiny blood filled blisters or even a constant flush of facial redness.

•Loss of skin tone: Weakening of the supportive skin structure (collagen and elastin fibers) that results in a loss of skin firmness, or the development of cellulite.

Determining the Right Treatment

Which type of treatment is right for you is dependent upon on several factors, such as your age, skin type, skin color, and your specific problem areas. If you are interested in exploring skin rejuvenation options, schedule a consultation with a qualified skin care professional to determine which type of treatment would be most appropriate for you. Do this to protect not only your appearance, but also your life; skin cancer can be detected relatively easily with a comprehensive skin assessment.

The American Academy of Dermatology offers free skin screenings throughout the year. They can also help you find a dermatologist in your area. Visit their website at aad.org for more information. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery can help you find qualified surgeons in your area. Visit their websites at plasticsurgery.org and cosmeticsurgery.org to find out more about the procedures discussed here.


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