On a recent vacation, I had the opportunity to do some people watching. Being in the cosmetic field, I spent that time looking at a lot of faces. There were many women between the ages of 30 and 80; some were pretty and some, not so much. (Of course, all of this “research” had to be done without being obvious or creepy). In my mind, I was asking myself, “What are the characteristics that make a face beautiful, independent of age, and, what makes a face look young, independent of beauty?” The one characteristic that was consistent for both questions was smooth skin. It is attractive, regardless of age and less common in older skin. Now, there were other characteristics that were noted, but smooth skin was always attractive and youthful.
So what do we mean by “smooth skin”. I am thinking nice, even color to the skin and even texture. First a quick word on skin color: All skin shades and ethnicities can be youthful and beautiful if the color is even and consistent throughout. Blotchiness and spots detract from that beautiful face. Improving the overall color and tone universally helps. There are topicals that can help but often various laser treatments can help with this. Any of our consultants can help advise you on what is best for you. The rest of this article is going to address texture.
By texture I am not talking about smile lines, sunkenness, or sagging. We are talking skin quality. Young, beautiful skin is smooth, free of fine texture issues, like enlarged pores, crepeiness, fine lines, and scars. We will often say, “that person’s skin is glowing”. What we are reacting to is that the light reflects evenly off the skin giving a sense of shininess or moistness to the skin that “reflects” health and vitality. (Of course, too, shiny is not good either, but that is for another day).
The first step in helping your skin “glow” is proper exfoliation. This is the process where the dead skin cells are released from the skin. If this does not happen evenly, the light does not reflect well, and the skin looks dull and dry. This natural process is inhibited by several factors, including your genetics, but since we can not change this we emphasize the importance of moisture in the skin. Without adequate moisture, the exfoliation process is inhibited and this is why moisturizing is so important to nice skin,and to this you may add home base exfoliation strategies, like self-heating scrubs. If this is not doing the job, then you need to see us for microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
The next step in helping the skin “glow” is maintaining the collagen in the skin. In all of us there is a constant turnover of collagen because (some is being broken down while some is still being made.) Prior to age 30 we are not building collagen; your skin in actually getting thicker and smoother. After 30 the opposite is true, your skin is getting thinner and more disorganized, and by the time we are in our 40’s, we are really starting to notice the effects of the collagen loss. The good news is that there is a lot we can do to help the collagen. The bad news is the process is ongoing and never ending. However, there is a lot of evidence that ongoing care maintains vital, healthy skin.
Begin your routine with sunscreen and topical antioxidants to protect the skin from the effects of sun exposure and other environmental stressors that speed up the collagen loss. Supplement this with topical retinol, glycolic acid and Vitamin C. Follow up with periodic micorderms and chemical peels which help increase cell turnover and collagen production. Finally, there are the big guns; LASERS. In our office this is either the Genesis Laser or Fraxel. Almost any skin over 40 will benefit from these treatments. They have minimal to no downtime, and are the most effective way of stimulating the body to make more collagen. You won’t see immediate results as the body must respond, and there is a slow improvement in the collagen followed by improvement in the skin. The other problem is there is no such thing as too smooth as the aging process is ongoing. But, to get the glow we are after, there is a commitment needed to achieve these results.
So, if you are ready to make the commitment, schedule time with one of our consultants. We will get you on a program that will get you on your way to that glowing, vibrant skin we all want.