In our first article, the enRich team shared with you how your face will change with time. It’s only fair that we now advise you on the best approach to minimise the effects of aging. Over the course of the next year we will address all of your everyday concerns about how to maintain a youthful healthier you, but let’s begin with general skin care.
There is no question that prevention is better than cure. Below is a list of factors that can accelerate the signs of aging that are best avoided:
- Sun exposure: The use of proper sun protection is the single most important factor in preventing accelerated skin aging and skin cancers. Good UVA and UVB protection is mandatory for good skin.
- Smoking: Not only does smoking contribute to all sorts of cancers, the toxins in cigarettes cause injury on a cellular level that creates skin damage and delays healing, leading to unwanted lines and sagging sallow skin.
- Poor diet: A diet that is low in antioxidants, fresh fruit and vegetables will be reflected in the mirror. Ensure a proper diet is maintained and you will begin to glow from the inside out.
- Alcohol: Excessive amounts of alcohol can promote the formation of unsightly blood vessels on the skins surface, leading to a reddened and flushed appearance. Moderation is definitely the key.
- Poor amount of exercise: Exercise increases blood flow to the entire body including the face, which is necessary for healthy skin and healing time.
How to Manage Specific Skin Complaints
There is no universal formula or skin care regime to address all skin types and problems. Ultimately, your approach to achieving healthy beautiful skin will change depending on the types of skin complaints you suffer. Below is a list of common problems and the myriad of ways you can treat them.
The Dirty Wall/ Pigmentation
Clear unmarked skin is a must. It allows us to minimise the amount of makeup we need to wear to cover up those blemishes we dislike. It means we can rely on simple mineral powders for that finishing touch rather than heavy foundations that clog our pores and contribute to congestion.
Causes of pigmentation vary and the treatment may alter depending on the type.
Freckling can be addressed with treatments that involve minimal downtime including simple daily topicals and regular peels to more aggressive lasers. Preparations containing vitamin C, bleaching creams with hydroquinone and kojic acid, superficial glycolic acid peels, and deeper PCA peels with bleaching agents hydroquinone and resorcinol provide us with a no fuss approach to minimising the appearance of freckling. These tend to work more slowly over time with repeated use. For a more rapid solution, laser is the key if your skin type if appropriate. In recent years, developments in pigmentation lasers such as the Fraxel 1927 allow the slate to be wiped clean after a single treatment.
Age spots or liver spots are those unsightly larger brown patches on our skin. Unlike freckling, they are less likely to respond to topicals. Instead freezing with liquid nitrogen and a variety of pigmentation lasers play a role in their removal. In particular, the Revlite, the Ruby, the Fractional Ruby, the Apogee, and the Excel are very effective. Depending on your skin type, the most appropriate choice of pigmentation laser can be made in consultation with your doctor.
Melasma is a unique form of hormonally driven pigmentation, which we frequently see after pregnancy or sometimes after commencing the oral contraceptive pill. It typically forms around the brow, the temples, the upper cheeks, the upper lip and the chin. It is a very tricky condition to treat and generally requires specialist dermatologist assessment. In the wrong hands, aggressive treatment can actually worsen pigmentation. A combination approach with bleaching creams and low energy lasers including the YAG and the Fractional Ruby, as well as an anti-inflammatory light emitting diode (LED) can achieve a slow but subtle improvement in this type of pigmentation. It does however require a commitment from you to participate in a more prolonged treatment program.
It is always important to have pigmentation assessed by your doctor or dermatologist to ensure that no dangerous skin lesions are missed or inappropriately lasered.
Nobody wants bumpy lumpy skin. Even makeup can’t conceal the peaks and troughs of a pimply complexion. Congestion and adult acne will be discussed in detail at a later date, but in the interim it is important to realise that these skin complaints are amenable to a variety of treatments including:
- A simple non-pore blocking cleanser
- Glycolic acid preparations that aim to unblock pores
- Topical antibiotic preparations that treat the bacterium called P. acnes associated with acne
- Oral antibiotic preparations to eliminate P. acnes
- Oral contraceptive pill or other anti-androgen medications to control the hormones that drive acne
- Photodynamic therapy (PDT) or blue light treatments to eradicate P. acnes
- Other specialised creams such as those containing retinoic acid
- Specialised oral medications such as those containing isotretinoin that break the acne cycle long term
Some of these treatments can only be prescribed by your doctor or dermatologist so it is important to be assessed properly in a medical setting to receive the very best care.
Open Pores/ Dull skin
Open pores and dull skin are common complaints. But there are many ways to achieve smooth textured vibrant skin.
Open pores are best treated with a combination approach including a non-pore blocking cleanser, glycolic acid preparations and peels, and creams containing retinoic acid. More recently the laser Cutera Genesis has been shown to minimise pore size with regular treatments.
Like open pores, dull skin too can respond to glycolic acid preparations and peels, and creams containing retinoic acid. But regular treatment with a rejuvenation laser such as the Revlite, or the Affirm, or the Fraxel 1550 can stimulate collagen and enhance the underlying supportive network of connective tissue.
Prominent Blood Vessels
Tired of green concealer for redness & spider veins? Unfortunately once blood vessels form on the face, the only real answer is a vascular laser. We believe the Cutera Excel V is the best in the world at treating unwanted vessels.
Aging Lines & Volume Loss
Unfortunately aging lines and loss of volume from the face or hollowing are unavoidable. We can’t stop the aging process but we can slow it down.
Lines form mainly as a result of movement from muscles underlying the skin. Some lines are quite acceptable, like crow’s feet around the eyes and smile lines, although these too are treatable. Other lines, like frown lines or forehead lines, give us a persistent look of anger or concern, which is less than desirable when we interact with our friends and family (or maybe not!). Volume loss leads to a sagging of the face over time and causes flatness, crepy skin, that problematic tired-eye look and jowling. Restoring facial structure is the key to reinstating a youthful look and facial rejuvenation.
Injectable muscle relaxants inhibit muscle action and prevent excessive facial movement. This way, over time, they can prevent lines from forming and stop existing lines from worsening. We can use our injectable muscle relaxants not only to treat our crow’s feet, frown lines, and forehead lines, but also to reshape the contours of our lower face, including the jaw line, the chin and the mouth.
Certain facial lines and facial hollowing can be treated with injectable dermal fillers. These ‘sugars’ enable us to plump, enhance and reshape the features of our face by restoring volume and improving skin quality. The lines most commonly treated with dermal fillers include the nasolabial folds, the marionette lines, the vertical lip lines, and even sometimes the crow’s feet and the frown lines. The areas that require extra volume and definition typically include the cheeks, the tear troughs, the temples, the jowls or jaw line, and more commonly, the lips. But it is important to remember that less is definitely more and to find a doctor you trust to create a natural look that is the best version of you.
And finally, as previously mentioned, rejuvenation lasers with no or minimal downtime such as the Revlite, the Excel Genesis, the Affirm, and the Fraxel 1550, can promote collagen formation to assist with smoothing, firming & lifting the skin of the face.
The absolute most critical step for you to undertake is to see your doctor or dermatologist for the best-available safest evidence-based cost-effective advice and treatment to address your everyday skin concerns.