Welcome to skin care news. A large portion of this article will be devoted to topical products. However, I will also provide a simple listing and brief explanation of some resurfacing techniques. These have been previously discussed in detail in my last article. Again, I encourage you to call our office for a complimentary consultation if you have any questions or feel that you would benefit from any of these procedures.

I recently had a revelation, while I was indulging in one of my favorite past times, women’s magazines. It all started with article after article declaring the new look of the Millennium, Year, Spring etc… to have… young, fresh, glowing, natural skin. Oh, great idea, and how will we all obtain this look? Well, if you turn a few more pages of the magazine you can learn how to apply a layer of “light deflecting” illusion cream, followed by a layer of foundation, then the cover-up and of course the loose powder to “set” the whole look. Perfect natural glowing skin in four easy steps! I hope it does not rain. What is my point? What is the revelation? Well, why not spend our time and effort perfecting and protecting our skin, instead of looking for the perfect “cover-up”.

First, let’s quickly review the most effective re-surfacing techniques, starting with the subtlest method and ending with the most dramatic.

Glycolic / Alpha-hydroxy acids – natural fruit acids which are applied topically, best results are achieved when home care products are used in conjunction with higher percentages of in office “washes”.

Micro-dermabrasion – this is a highly effective result oriented method of exfoliation. The Micro-dermabrasion machine uses suction and aluminum oxide crystals to slough off epidermal layers.

T. C. A. Peel – (Trichloroacetic Acid) – a non-toxic chemical is applied to the skin to achieve a medium depth skin peel.

CO2 Laser – a very intense light energy is used to vaporize the outer layers of skin, Dr. Keusch is able to control the depth of the procedure by adjusting settings on the laser, and by varying the number of passes.

These procedures can effectively improve many conditions such as dull, weathered skin, hyper-pigmentation, and wrinkles, shallow acne scars, uneven skin tone, and sun damage. Most of these conditions can be directly attributed to sun exposure. “Photo-aging “ has become a commonly used word when speaking of skin; it refers to premature aging of the skin due to sun exposure and other environmental influences such as smoke. It has been estimated that 75% of the total lifetime dose of UV radiation is accumulated before the age of 20.

The most effective method of preventing sun damage is the daily use of a sunscreen. Daily exposure to the sun over a lifetime is a major cause of skin damage, which includes wrinkles and skin cancer. A sunscreen should be used daily; sunscreens should be SPF 15 or greater and should protect against UVA and UVB. I stress that SPF 15 is the least amount of protection one should use. Most benefit from higher SPF numbers.

Another topical solution that I believe is beneficial to sun damaged skin is vitamin C. The reason I like vitamin C is that it has been shown to prevent premature aging and to stimulate collagen production. The wearing down of the collagen support layer that lies just beneath your skin causes facial lines and wrinkles.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids used in a daily skin care routine will help to slough off dead skin cells on the surface of the skin. When these cells are removed, they expose a layer of fresh cells, leaving your skin smoother and your complexion uniform in color. Alpha Hydroxy acids also help dissolve materials which may clog pores, this helps to decrease the tendency for acne.

Tretinoin products are also very helpful for many skin types. Retin-A and Renova are the most recognized brands, and are available with a prescription only. The higher concentrations in a gel form work well for acne prone skin. while the more emollient creams are better for drier aging skin. These are great products for those who suffer from adult acne and photo-damage. Some of the benefits of using these products are improvement of fine wrinkling, brown spots, roughness and overall skin tone. However, commitment to sun avoidance is highly recommended for those considering using these products. Many people experience dry skin and burning when they begin treatment with tretinoin, and some may have to discontinue it’s use if they are overly sensitive.

Kinerase is a relatively new product, which offers an alternative to tretinoin products. Kinerase is non-irritating , it can be used day and night. It claims to enable the skin to retain moisture as well as improve the signs of photo-aging. Kinerase is available without a prescription through a Doctor’s office or some pharmacies.

The use of bleaching creams in conjunction with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and or Tretinoins is another effective way of reducing the appearance of brown spots. Hydroquinone is the active ingredient for many bleaching products.
Well, so many products, so little time. I can not end a newsletter about products without mentioning our office favorite. Purifying Body Wash from the Exuviance line by Neostrata. It contains a 1% Gluconolactone which is a Polyhydroxy acid so gentle it can be used on sensitive skin. Gluconolactone not only exfoliates, it also provides the skin with moisture and antioxidants.

Here’s to healthy happy skin in the New Year!!