Skin Resurfacing For A Younger Looking You
The skin is the body’s largest organ and, unfortunately, it takes a lot of abuse. We all know that our skin changes as we age, but wrinkles can arrive sooner depending on each individual’s environmental and lifestyle factors, including nutrition, sun exposure, heredity, smoking, alcohol use and pregnancy side effects.
How Skin Resurfacing Can Help
Obviously, the first step to healthy skin would be eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, quitting smoking and using plenty of sunscreen. But, what do you do with the existing damage? Can you correct it? Can you reverse the effects of time? The answer is yes, through skin re-surfacing.
Skin resurfacing is a non-invasive, cosmetic procedure that can rapidly change the appearance of one’s skin, usually with little to no pain or downtime. Unlike other aesthetic procedures that correct or adjust the human body, skin resurfacing intentionally damages the skin, knowing that when it heals, the finished product will be better.
Vertical lines at the lips, tiny ‘crow’s feet’ around the eyes, acne scars and even minor facial scars from other surgeries can be eliminated with skin re-surfacing. A physician would need to evaluate your skin first based on your skin type, the severity of the damage, the depth of the lines, wrinkles or scars as well as the percentage of unevenness in your pigment. There are three main types of skin resurfacing in the physicianâ€™s arsenal, the chemical peel, laser skin resurfacing and dermabrasion.
Light Chemical Peel
A chemical peel sounds worse than it is. Basically, a solution is rubbed on the skin and allowed to peel away the top layers of skin. There are two methods of light chemical peels, alpha hydroxy or trichloroacetic acids.
AHA, or alpha hydroxyl acid, is a very mild solution that is applied to the face. It is generally used for fine wrinkles, light sun damage and some minor unevenness in the skin’s pigment. AHA is mild enough to have done several weeks in a row until the desired corrective effect is achieved. In fact, patients report only a mild tingling sensation and no downtime in their daily routine. As expected, AHA is extremely mild and can even be combined with facial cleanser and lotions applied daily at home, as part of a nightly skin care routine.
TCA, or trichloroacetic acid, is a stronger application that goes deeper than AHA. The results may be more significant and immediate, but the downtime can be increased to a few days. An added benefit is that it contains less of a bleaching solution than other skin resurfacing treatments so it can be extremely effective on those with darker skin tones.
Deep Chemical Peel
For deeper wrinkles and more severe sun damage, it may be necessary to perform a deep chemical peel or a phenol peel. This full-face procedure lasts up to two hours and can cause a slight burning sensation for most patients as the solution is applied to the skin. A phenol peel is more successful around the lips and chin than either of the light chemical peels, but it is not always the best solution for those with darker pigmented skin.The skin then begins to form a protective mask and the healing process can take up to a week. The results in that short week can be quite dramatic, however.
An added benefit of a phenol peel is that it can be used to treat some pre-cancerous conditions of the skin, but again, it does not work well for those with darker skin tones.
Laser resurfacing is unique in that the physician can use the laser lightly, all over the face, or can go deeper in one area to help with a specific problem area. It is recommended that the patient be anesthetized during this procedure, whether a local or general anesthesia depends on the procedure. Laser resurfacing has the added benefit of a slight tightening of the surrounding skin, especially around the lower eyelid, which is always helpful as we age.
During dermabrasion, the skin is numbed, usually via a local anesthesia, and the top layers of skin are removed. The process can be likened to â€œsanding offâ€ the top layers of skin (dermabrasion) or to ‘gentle sandblasting’ (microdermabrasion). The procedure works best on fine lines, liver spots and tattoos. It also works well on darker skin because the procedure does not destroy pigmentation. Dermabrasion may also be a better choice for those with skin that is sensitive to chemicals and may react adversely to other procedures. Generally, the skin recovers in about a day and the patient can resume their normal routine.
The results of any skin resurfacing can be dramatic. Removing years of sun damage, acne scars and wrinkles can improve the overall appearance of the skin by smoothing, removing, diminishing and sometimes even tightening it. More importantly, skin resurfacing can also change the outlook and disposition of the patient. In fact, patients frequently report a renewed confidence in themselves and their appearance after the procedure.