Problem skin can have a mental as well as physical effect. Clearing up a skin condition can boost confidence and make you feel better because you look better. Struggling with my own skin issues led to the passion I have for my work here at Surface. Liz Newman, R.N., B.S.N.
Your skin serves both a cosmetic and functional role. Healthy, glowing skin is no accident. When you look in the mirror, what are you (and others) seeing? Signs of aging, uneven skin tones, deep pigment issues, melasma, rosacea or acne? An effective skincare regimen can change the integrity and the appearance of skin, dramatically improving these conditions.
Don’t let bad skin affect your self-image. Here are 3 of the most common skin struggles and how they can be treated with effective aging skin care solutions.
1. Skin “tone”
Everyone is trying to achieve that elusive glow but the “glow” is nothing more than a reflection of light bouncing off your skin. But outer glow can be yours. Think of a baby’s skin. It has a thin, even stratum corneum, and so light bounces off. This look is perceived as being youthful and fresh. As we age, skin cells stay packed on top like a pebbly surface creating a dull impression. Studies have shown that texture and pigment is subconsciously interpreted as age.
The appearance of your skin is influenced both by age and environmental exposure.
Natural aging can be seen on skin in areas sun-protected by clothing. Aging is a process of thinning of the layers of the skin associated with loss of collagen and elasticity. Sun damage is characterized by thickening from accumulation of damaged skin layers. It typically is seen on sun-exposed areas of the face, neck arms and hands.
Skin care after forty of sun damage consists of two strategies: protection with sunscreens and correction with topical products that shed old, thickened layers (exfoliation) and stimulation for replacement with healthy cells.
Sunblock is the number one answer, but once the damage is done, peels or lasers are a great way to erase pigment. There are also some superficial peels designed to improve the texture and appearance of skin. Chemical peels or lasers are popular treatments. Non-ablative lasers heat skin beneath the surface encouraging collagen remodeling. Stimulating new collagen growth results in skin feeling firmer. You get a bit of tightening and toning effect. Maintenance includes touch ups every 6 to 12 months. It’s important to use sunblock religiously or your skin will revert to its former condition.
What is Glycolic Acid?
Glycolic Acid also known as alphahydroxy acid (AHA) is derived from sugar cane and fruit acid extracts. They stimulate growth in aging skin and renewal of new skin and collagen by penetrating the skin and decreasing the bonds that hold dead skin cells on the surface. These dead cells are gradually removed, leaving behind a layer of healthy, smooth skin. AHA’s essentially jump start the rate of skin cell production and shedding, stimulating new collagen formation bringing back the natural luster of your skin. A glycolic peel reduces wrinkles, pore size, acne, blackheads, pigmentation, scarring, and decreases oil production, removes dark sports and softens the skin. You may experience slight redness and peeling for a few hours after the peel. But, a good-after care moisturizer will be provided to reduce the effects.
2. Unwanted skin pigmentation
Skin “blotchiness” from pigmentation spots can occur from two problems. Sun damage can cause the pigment-producing cells (melanocytes) to produce clumping of pigment (“age spots”). These pigment clumps are in the superficial layers and are correctable by topical bleaching agents (such as hydroquinone), chemical peels, or by broad band light treatments (BBL or IPL).
Most people get good results from a Retin A prescription along with hydroquinone if there are hyperpigmentation issues. Glycolic acid may also be suggested to help exfoliate the skin. This regimen of Retin A/hydroquinone/glycolic acid is usually recommended for a period of 6 weeks at which time the skin is reevaluated in the event additional treatment such as laser therapy is necessary. Staying faithful to a good “sun damage repair” routine might eclipse doing anything more.
For those who need more precise correction, a series of micro laser peels or Broad Band Light therapy (BBL) can eradicate fine lines and brown spots with little downtime. Most can return to work the next day with no more redness than a sunburn. Prescription topicals, chemical peels and laser/light therapy should always be done under the care of a medical professional for the best results and safest experience.
The second cause of skin pigmentation is melasma. Melasma usually occurs in young women and is hormonally-stimulated. The pigment is often located in the deeper skin layers, and treatment is more resistant.
3. Getting rosacea under control
Rosacea is one of the most common skin conditions seen by dermatologists. Chronic in nature, it can be very frustrating for those who suffer with its reoccurring symptoms that are difficult to control. At first rosacea may present as a tendency to blush or flush easily. Eventually it can worsen to persistent redness, pimples and visible blood vessels. There are several subtypes of rosacea that are best diagnosed and treated by a medical professional since many symptoms masquerade as acne, sunburn or allergic reactions.
Rosacea is a skin condition that can present as mild to extreme. Since there is no cure, the best we can do is manage the condition. Most patients do well with prescription products, such as, FinaceaTM. Lasers can make tiny veins less noticeable and improve overall redness. KTP lasers, photo facials, Intense Pulse Light (IPL), and Broad Band Light therapy (BBL)–are some of the most common procedures recommended in the battle against rosacea. Unfortunately rosacea is a progressive disease, which means early detection and treatment is the best advice we can give.
Alert: Your lifestyle is written all over your face.
Leading a healthy lifestyle is as integral a part of having great skin as finding a knowledgeable practitioner and using good products. You can buy the best products/treatments in the world, but if your habits are unhealthy, your skincare probably won’t work. Getting too little sleep, smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol will compromise any attempt at healthy skin. Poor nutrition in the form of excess carbs, fats and sugars also robs the skin. Likewise, skipping sunscreen, sunbathing or tanning indoors, interferes with any product or procedures’ potential benefit.
Liz Newman is a registered nurse with close to 40 years’ experience in skincare. She is manager of SURFACE CLINICAL in Dallas. SURFACE CLINICAL is the skincare arm of Dr. Fritz Barton, and works in concert with Dr. Michael Lee’s cosmetic plastic surgery practice. Located within their medical suite, SURFACE CLINICAL allows the custom management of skin with total coordination or care. Initial skin evaluation with the VISIA photographic system helps identify each patient’s specific needs.