While beauty may be difficult to define, most people would agree it is hard to appear beautiful if you have bad skin. Skin is an unbelievably complex, efficient, and beautiful organ. We all know there are few things as soft and supple as a baby’s skin. With age we develop rougher, drier, skin. Thus, we can see that one of the things we must fight is the natural aging process of skin.
Sunlight has ultraviolet (UV) radiation in it. These UV rays actually damage the skin cells. The cells repair themselves, but after years of damage, it becomes more difficult. This is why people with a lot of sun exposure often have leathery skin and/or are more likely to get skin cancer.
When we look at skin under a microscope we can see changes in its structure that come from age and sun damage and even smoking. These include fewer blood vessels, disorganization of the elastic fibers, thinning of the collagen, disorganization of the maturation of the epidermal cells, and clumping of melanin. These microscopic changes are the reason older damaged skin appears sallow, splotchy, and rough. These changes, may be reversed in part, however, by applying certain compounds to the skin. Retinoic acid (Retin-A®) and certain mild acids found in fruit (called alpha hydroxy acids) can help to reverse the changes of aging. Topical vitamin-C has also been shown to help. Retin-A® can irritate the skin and sensitize the skin to sun exposure. It is also very drying, so the manufacturer has come out with a preparation which includes a moisturizer mixed in with the retinoic acid. This is called Renova®.
Any long term skin care program will include one or all of these types of compounds to be used daily, in combination, of course, with some type of sun protection.
These products are better suited to maintain a change which you have already obtained through a resurfacing procedure. The skin of the face has a miraculous ability to regrow after being damaged in a controlled fashion. The hair follicles and oil glands harbor cells which will quickly migrate out onto the skin and regrow a lovely dermis and epidermis after, for example, a chemical peel or laser resurfacing. More importantly, when the skin is treated in this manner, many of the changes of aging are reversed. New, thick collagen appears. New blood vessels grow. More orderly epithelium grows. Melanin production and distribution is more regulated. All these changes mean your skin appears less wrinkled and more evenly colored.
The amount of rejuvenative effect depends on how deep the skin is damaged. The depth of damage is proportional to the recovery time. Thus, some fruit acid peels allow you to go immediately back to work with a rosy glow, while more extensive procedures may take a week or even more to recover from. We tend to prefer the peels which give the most result with the least downtime.
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