College of DuPage aNursing Student Aimee Masi, who is also a licensed aesthetician, and laser technologist. shared with Healthy Lombard that she is often asked if the creams and potions, or the many treatments that we put on the skin, are the secret to anti-aging? If we strip away all the fancy logos and name brands and review the science, there are only a handful of components necessary to keep skin looking its best. Aside from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, at-home tips and non-aggressive treatments may actually help to slow the progressive disease called, ‘aging.’ To understand what is really successful we first have to understand how skin ages.
As the skin ages, the proteins that keep a tight junction begin to slowly loosen. The exfoliation of our skin and the birth of new, healthy skin cells also begin to slow. As this process takes place, the skin becomes asphyxiated with dead skin cells and cell turnover is reduced. This may cause the skin to look dull and uneven, become rough, and break down faster. The connective tissues that lose the tight bond begin to disintegrate; generally, this is observable under the eyes so an obvious line may be found separating the eyes from the cheeks. The mid-face then falls and sort of adds a ‘parentheses’ around the mouth. Finally, the tissue rotates further down so jowls are formed. While these rotations are happening, the cells that were sun-damaged during our youth have now had the time to climb up to the surface and say “hello” as they present as brown spots. In addition, the muscles between our brows and forehead become more pronounced due to years of deep concentration; staring at books and computer screens, leaving a permanent indentation sort of like that of an angry grouch.
Aging is inevitable, yet improvement for healthier skin cells may actually be achieved in 5 simple steps:
- Medium Depth Chemical Peels are the first step to get to a clear canvas. With the application of a personalized solution, acids will bond to those built-up dead skin cells and over the following week pull them up and move them off. This will allow the skin to respirate better on a cellular level, thus giving way to a smoother, brighter, more even skin. Repeat this every season; every 3 months.
- Fractionated Laser Treatments are the solution for the skin that is losing its tight bonds. Non-ablative fractionated lasers use their energy to make microscopic laser pokes into the skin. This “trauma” calls on the proteins of the skin to come together and start working together again. It stimulates them to rebuild and reconnect, similarly to the way a scrape would repair the skin, but this does it without the broken skin or scabs. This is generally initially done in a series of 3-5 treatments, monthly then maintained with 1-2 treatments per year.
- Intense Pulsed Light Treatments are the best way to treat the brown spots caused by the sun. After a visit to the dermatologist to rule out any signs of skin cancer, a broad spectrum light device can be used to zap away any pesky spots. The light is absorbed into the melanocyte, pigmented cell, and heats the abnormal cells. Once heated the body disposes of them by re-metabolizing or pushing them up and off the skin. Commonly they will no longer be noticeable 2-3 weeks after treatment. The number of treatments varies by amount and depth of brown spots.
- Muscle Crease Injections are done by injecting a minute amount of a purified protein into the small muscles between the brows and on the forehead. This will slow the contraction of those small muscles, allowing the delicate tissue to build back up and reduce the appearance of the wrinkle. The effect of the injections usually lasts 3-6 months.
- Fillers can be done for the deep creases that have formed from the rotation of the skin vectors or loss of volume after the fall. Injecting a small amount of a gel substance into the demis where the deep line has formed or volume deficit is will fill that space and give volume. Over time, the natural tissue will build around the gel, allowing for a longer effect. Normally fillers last for a year or longer.
While the skin industry is booming with new treatments nearly every day, science hasn’t changed much. There may be a new button or and fancy alternate packaging, however, magic potions do not exist. Good skincare regimens are the first step and crucial to maintaining the required moisture and nutrients required by the skin, and products do not change the deeper tissue, so it is imperative to care to slow the appearance of aging.
This blog article was written by Aimee Masi, a licensed aesthetician, and laser technologist. Aimee has had a robust career since 1997, working in several facets of the field of plastic and reconstructive surgery and laser surgery. She has traveled nationwide in the area of lasers, ran a chain of med-spas and is now on staff at a local University hospital. Aimee has always lead her career with a scientific mindset and is continuing her education in that area. She is currently enrolled in the College of Dupage Nursing Program, planning to become a registered nurse.