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The Magic Bullet of Anti-Aging

17 September 2014

Tretinoin is a topical skincare product derived from Vitamin A that has been on the market for over 20 years.  While tretinoin was first prescribed as an acne solution, the anti-aging effects on the skin were undeniable.  A double-blind study (done in 1988) of tretinoin’s effect on photodamaged skin found that all 30 patients who completed the 16-week study showed a significant improvement including diminished wrinkles and brown spots.

Tretinoin, also known by the brand name Retin-A, has years of scientific backing on its ability to boost cell-turnover, normalize melanocyte cells (which produce pigment) and even stimulate collagen production.  With proven results in all three of these key factors of anti-aging, the question is: Why isn’t everyone using tretinoin?

Lack of user education has affected tretinoin’s popularity.  Even when used correctly (slowly, often beginning with just a pea-sized application for the entire face once or twice a week) the product can be irritating, causing some users to give up before seeing the positive effects.  Redness, irritation, flaking and in some cases breakouts can happen for the first 8 weeks of use.  When properly educated about how the product works and following careful dosage, your skin will build a tolerance to the product and you can minimize the negative side effects.  Quality formulations such as Obagi’s tretinoin also minimize this initial irritation.  Even so, in today’s ‘instant’ age some users find that toughing it out now for guaranteed results later is an exercise in patience.  Even in the 21st century, the truth is that good things come to those that wait.

Are you ready to find out if the product also known as ‘the anti-aging magic bullet’ is right for you? Contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation.

What is Photoaging?

16 August 2014

For those of us interested in health and beauty our relationship status with the sun is “it’s complicated.”  For most of history, avoiding sun exposure and a pale complexion was considered beautiful, desirable and was a sign of wealth.  From the dawn of recorded history through the turn of the century, a tan had nothing to do with health and had all to do with economic class.  Of course, the industrial revolution changed that when jobs came out of the sun and into the factories, and the wealthy began spending their leisure time outdoors.  In fact tanning wasn’t even discussed as an aesthetic topic until 1923 when the famous Coco Chanel accidently brought a tan home to Paris as an unexpected souvenir from a yacht trip.  Ironic that the tanning fad was born in a country that loves mimes, non?   Once color photography took hold in the 1950s ‘sun-kissed’ increasingly became a beauty standard.

Photoaging is the term used to describe the multiple aging effects of sun exposure (specifically UVA and UVB rays).  For photoaging, as it is with most health concerns, prevention is always the best medicine.  Along with stricter FDA monitoring of sunscreens, increased taxes, age limits and even outright banning of tanning booths, Americans are taking notice.  A recent public service announcement says it best:

Where Do Brown Spots Come From?

21 July 2014

All skin color from the lightest to the darkest is created by melanin.  To quote Professor Nina Jablonski, melanin is “a really cool molecule.”  It is a brown pigment produced by cells called melanocytes, which are found in the top layer of the skin.  The majority of cells in the epidermis are skin cells, which create a protective layer, but about every eighth cell is a melanocyte cell.  Melanin is always being produced in the lower levels of the skin, and the pigmentation then rises to the top of the skin.  The process resembles that of an assembly line.  Anthropologists have been studying melanin in regards to skin color and race in humans for years, but in the skin-care industry, we usually only think about melanin as the cause of hyperpigmentation.  Hyperpigmentation also goes by the term ‘brown spots,’ ‘sun spots’ or ‘age spots.’

Brown spots happen when there is a disturbance somewhere along the ‘assembly line’ of melanin production.  A trigger such as sun-exposure, inflammation, injury or a hormone spike sends a signal to the melanin-stimulating hormones.  After this message is sent, the enzyme tyrosinase is activated.  Once tyrosinase is signaled, the melanocyte cell receives a message to produce pigment.  The melanocytes make melanin and package them into little bundles known as melanosomes.  The cells then disperse pigment upward through the dermis, resulting in hyperpigmentation.

When melanin is produced by one of these triggers, the body doesn’t disperse the pigment in the same way that regular melanin production happens.  Instead, it gets deposited in clumps that show up as spots and discoloration. As the skin ages, the cycle is even less controlled as the cumulative effects of sun exposure and hormonal changes continually interrupt the standard production cycle. As excess melanin is produced, hyperpigmentation forms, creating deposits of color that will stay indefinitely unless treated.

If hyperpigmentation is a concern for you, there are several treatments, such as Fraxel and Photo Genesis which provide excellent results.  A product regimen such as Obagi or using a correcting serum like Skinceuticals’ Pigment Regulator may be recommended by your Aesthetician.  If hyperpigmentation runs in your family, you can contact us to set up a Reveal Skin Analysis and begin a customized preventative program for your skin.

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