YOUR SKIN- Protect and Preserve! by: Vincent Lepore MD
Your skin. It’s your body’s single largest organ; amazing in so many ways. It holds, protects, shows you as the individual you are, and even regenerates- all through life.
As surgeons, we spend a great deal of time training to work with and within the skin and tissue. And as Plastic Surgeons, we spend years becoming expert at making and closing incisions, and understanding the science and art of maintaining and preserving living tissue. Remember, the word ‘Plastic’ in plastic surgery, comes from a Greek word meaning “to form” or “to mold.”
We form and we mold, and even re-shape what nature has given you. But, we also encourage you to understand how you can help protect and preserve the upper layers of your skin. It takes a little learning, and daily participation.
Skin care talk is literally everywhere today. You can get dizzy visiting the skincare aisles at your local drug and department stores. In addition, you’re bombarded with advertising on TV, internet, and magazines. Skin care is big, and keeping up with the latest products and machinery is almost impossible.
Among the most popular skin procedures today, is the Chemical Peel.
WHAT ABOUT ‘PEELS?’
Chemical Peels are more popular than ever, largely due to the improvements in the products and treatment processes. They tend to be gentler now than in earlier years, and patients are often choosing to have a gentle peel, on a more frequent basis.
A mild peel removes the upper layer or layers of skin, removing dead skin cells, and pore-clogging impurities. In our youth, skin cells ‘recycle’ or regenerate in about 28 days. Somewhere in our upper 20s, the process starts slowing down, so that years later, that refreshed ‘glow’ seems to fade away.
So, a gentle peel will help that renewal process along, and also help cut down on skin breakouts. Peels also help reduce hyperpigmentation on the skin; (dark spots or areas), while also reducing the appearance of fine lines.
The gentle variety of chemical peel usually requires little or no downtime. The deeper the peel, however, the greater the downtime. In some cases, patients will want to take several weeks off, while the skin recycles and recuperates. Patients must also be vigilant in minimizing sun exposure and applying sunscreen following a peel.
DAILY AT-HOME SKINCARE
Most people want to know, what can I do? What steps can I take today, and every day?
To help you understand the skin basics, and to get you started on a program you can follow for life, we’ve asked our licensed aesthetician, Courtney, to step in with some essential tips. As we said, there’s a lot of territory to cover. So, to begin, we asked her to make a Top 5 list for us- and here it is:
5 THINGS YOU SHOULD BE DOING TO PROTECT & PRESERVE YOUR SKIN!
1. Daily Cleanser – Courtney recommends a ‘detergent-free’ cleanser. Detergents strip away natural oils, and throw off the natural PH balance of your skin. (We use SkinMedica Facial Cleanser)
2. A Good Hydrating Serum (Moisturizer) – This is something to be used daily, following skin cleansing. An excellent serum is like ‘a drink of water for your skin.’ It penetrates, and can give your skin a brighter, better appearance, as it offers some protection. (We use Obagi Vita C Serum)
3. Sunscreen – You should be looking for an SPF of at least 30- and choose a sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide (if you know you’re not sensitive to them). Sunscreen should really be used daily, and, (here’s where people start to cringe) it should be re-applied during the day if you’re exposed to the sun. A good mental note to keep handy, says Courtney; “ If it feels like you’re cooking, you’re cooking!” In other words, avoid direct exposure to the sun for extended periods.
4. Exfoliating - How should you do it? How often? And what to use? When it comes to your face and neck, this is a daily “treatment.” We’re putting that in quotes, because we don’t want you to ‘attack’ your skin everyday with rough scrubbers and harsh creams. Your face is constantly exposed, so it requires some delicate handling (and appreciation). To keep your skin happy, and your complexion even, consider products containing Retinol or Vitamin A. (A favorite in our practice, is SkinMedica AHA BHA cream. It’s gentle, but promotes exfoliation, and brightening. We even recommend it to our surgical patients as an extra treatment for minimizing scar appearance.)
5. Eye Treatment – The area around the eye is special. That’s where you’ll see the thinnest and most delicate skin on the face, and the area where signs of aging will appear first.
Moisturizer? Definitely. But, as you know there are lots of choices. Look for a product that can help in several ways; such as hydrating, de-puffing that delicate, loosening area, and adding some brightness.
Our aesthetician says; ‘If you choose only one product, besides sunscreen, to benefit your skin, choose a good eye cream.’ And, keep using it. Her recommendation; Obagi Elastiderm Complete Eye Serum. (apply twice a day)
All of these hints and recommendations apply to men as well as women. And, don’t wait until you start to be bothered by visible signs of aging. It’s a good idea to learn about skin care, even in the pre-teen years.
What better way to establish a pattern of protection and preservation of the face you’ll show the world for a lifetime?