Synergy

Synergy” -the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements

 

I am often asked “what is the key to good skin? Or, what is the best thing to use for my skin?” Being an overachieving, pleaser type, I work hard to give a concise “game changer” answer and I am always surprised that after 10min of talking I still haven’t given a definitive answer. I can give you a lot of good treatments to do for your skin, but that depends on your skin, budget, and priorities etc. What ever my answer is though there are still choices that we have to make and no matter what, the outcomes will vary depending on a whole series of factors- environment, genetics, compliance etc. So now back to the first question, “What is the key to good skin?”

The answer is disappointing, genetics. Unfortunately, (or fortunately?!) we can’t pick our parents but genetics determines a lot of things: the thickness of our skin, the smoothness of our skin, how briskly we produce collagen, how strongly we produce brown spot, if we have melasma, how resistant we are to the sun, do we have rosacea, do our capillaries dilate, which fat pads will shrink with time, osteoporosis and many others. The bottom line is always learning to maximize what we have balanced with accepting and celebrating who we are (foibles and all). Now, on to the second question, “What is the best thing to use for my skin?”

The first answer to this question, and this can come across a little glib sounding, is simple, work at it. Slow and steady wins this race. In my pre-med days I needed to do a review on smoking cessation programs. Of all the ways to quit smoking what was the best? Was it education classes, support groups, aversion training, positive reinforcement, hypnosis, medications, etc.? All cessation programs, irrespective of the strategy, had a success rate of around 20-25% and these we were all substantially better than leaving the client to struggle on their own. The point here is that a plan and regular contact with a professional or relevant group is the key to success.

The second answer to the question is synergy. Doing some of many things can add up to a big difference. I see this at work in my staff and family members. Fortunately, we are all too busy at the office for each of us to do everything, but we are always working at it and fitting things in. The combined effects of multiple treatments over time lead to better looking skin. To illustrate the point further, consider a water barrel with vertical slats of different heights. The barrel will only hold water to the height of the lowest slat. By replacing the lowest slat of the barrel we can now get more benefit from each of the other slats and the barrel can now hold more water.

We have so far identified several factors that make up the “slats of the barrel” that affect our skin. These factors include unwanted pigment, rosacea, collagen loss, volume loss, bone loss, muscle motion, and sun damage. Treatment options to raise the height of the slats, include skin care, esthetic services, lasers, and injectables with multiple choices in each category. The sheer number of choices and combination of choices can be overwhelming but don’t let that paralyze you. Remember the principles discussed above. Meet with skin care profession/group, identify the specific needs, develop a plan, start working on your plan, and keep meeting with your team to re-evaluate and adjust the plan to achieve your skin care goals. Remember it is the powerful synergistic effect of all the combined treatments that will lead to the best results for you.