Flawless skin is something that we all desire and to may of us it may seem unattainable. We all want our skin to be healthy, bright and glowing. It’s common to use different cosmetics to try to alter our skin, but they don’t always work well. Skin treatments are improving and more and more are available for everyone to try out. Some of these treatments can really change the appearance and texture of your skin. It’s worth reading more about them, but before you start investing, you should know the basics about skin.
The skin has three layers:
The epidermis – this layer mainly makes new skin cells, gives skin its color and protects the body. It is the most outside layer that acts as a waterproof barrier. Dead cells are shed continuously from the epidermis as new ones take their place – over 500 million skin cells shed everyday. New cells are made in the lower layers of the epidermis. In around 4 weeks, they make their way to the surface, become hard, and replace the dead cells after they shed. The epidermis doesn’t contain any blood vessels. Melanin in the epidermis protects the skin from harmful UV rays.
The epidermis contains five layers:
- stratum corneum
- stratum lucidum
- stratum granulosum
- stratum spinosum
- stratum germinativum
The dermis – the next layer produces sweat and oil, provides sensations and blood to the skin and hair. It’s mostly made up of protective tissue and gives the skin strength and elasticity. The dermis holds hair follicles, blood vessels, and lymphatic vessels. It is also holds a number of glands, including sweat glands and sebaceous glands, which produce sebum, an oil that lubricates hair.
The dermis is split into two layers:
- Papillary region: this layer is made of loose connective tissue, it has finger-like projections that push into the epidermis. These projections give the dermis a bumpy surface and are responsible for the patterns we have on our fingertips.
- Reticular region: it’s made of dense, irregularly organized connective tissue. Protein fibers in the reticular region give skin its strength and elasticity.
The hypodermis – this layer attaches the dermis to the body, stores fat and controls body temperature. It also provides the skin with nerves and blood supply. The hypodermis is mostly made of fat, connective tissue, and elastin.
The main functions of the skin include:
- Controlling water loss
- Protecting us from UV radiation by producing melanin
- Working as a barrier – protecting against water loss as well as physical and chemical injury
- Giving us the sense of touch _ providing interaction with physical surroundings, allowing all fine and gross motor activities and allowing pleasurable and sexual stimulation
- Beauty and physical attraction – the quality and condition of the skin greatly contributes to the perception of health, wellness, youth and beauty.
- Regulating our temperature by dilating and constricting our blood vessels near the skin surface, controlling the transfer of heat out of the body. Temperature is also regulated by evaporative cooling due to sweat production and by the insulating effect of erect hairs on the skin surface. Heat loss is also affected by the insulating layer of subcutaneous fat
- The production of Vitamin D, which helps prevent many diseases including osteoporosis, cancer, heart disease, obesity and neurological diseases
- Wound healing
- Helping us fight off bugs, allergens, toxins and carcinogens via the parts of our immune system that exist in our skin
Microdermabrasion – works to remove age spots and lighter acne scars. The procedure is a popular wrinkle treatments because it is performed quickly in a facial esthetics office. The physician uses a handheld instrument to spray small crystals onto the surface of the skin. The crystals exfoliate the skin layers, while using suction simultaneously to remove the crystals and dead skin cells. More than one microdermabrasion treatment may be needed for wrinkle removal and other skin treatments it provides.
Acne blue light therapy – it works by targeting the bacteria that causes acne. Moderate acne that has not responded to other facial skin care treatments can be treated with this light-based therapy, which is administered over a span of several weeks. Acne blue light therapy rarely causes side effects, and does not damage skin. This facial rejuvenation treatment can be used to address the effects of sun damage, heredity, and aging on facial skin. Skin imperfections such as wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, freckles, rosacea, facial veins, brown spots, and enlarged pores can be eliminated or greatly improved. There is no break after the procedure – you can return immediately to your normal daily activities after your treatment.
Chemical peels – also called chemexfoliation or derma-peeling treatments, are cosmetic treatments performed on the face, typically used for anti-aging to rejuvenate the skin. Chemical peels are used to correct skin irregularities in texture, such as fine lines, or such spots caused by sun damage. These peels have varying strengths, characterized by the different kinds of acids used in the applied chemical solution. Chemical-peel solutions use three main acid ingredients to reach varying levels of intensity: alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), and phenol.
Thermage – a non-exfoliating facial rejuvenation technique designed to tighten and improve the contours of the face and neck. These aesthetic improvements are achieved with a radio frequency device that is passed over face, with the tip in contact with the skin’s surface. Controlled radio waves from the device heat the deeper layers of the skin, stimulating new collagen development. The result is tighter and often smoother skin. Unlike laser treatments, Thermage can treat all skin types and requires no downtime. The benefits of the procedure are long-lasting.
Dermal fillers – Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero, and Voluma– contain some form of hyaluronic acid, a substance that naturally occurs throughout the body and skin, with the highest concentrations in the fluids of the eyes and joints. Radiesse is a calcium hydroxyapatite filler, while Sculptra contains L-poly-lactic acid. Fillers can be used to temporarily plump lips, raise depressed scars and level wrinkled skin.
Injectable poly-l-lactic acid (PLLA) – known commercially as Sculptra and Sculptra Aesthetic. The FDA has approved Sculptra since 2004 to treat lipoatrophy (thinning of the fat pads on the face) associated with the HIV virus. Sculptra Aesthetic received its FDA approval in 2009 for improving the appearance of nasolabial folds contour changes and other facial wrinkles. As we age, the fat, muscles, bone, and skin in our face begins to thin. This loss of volume leads to either a sunken or sagging appearance of the face. Injectable poly-l-lactic acid is used to create structure, framework, and volume to the face. PLLA is known as a bio-stimulatory dermal filler, this means it stimulates your own skin to produce new collagen. Over time your skin breaks down PLLA into water and carbon dioxide. The effects of PLLA appear gradually over a few months, producing natural results.
Cryolipolysis – known as “fat freezing” is a new procedure that involves the non-invasive cooling of body fat to break down fat cells, resulting in a reduction of body fat without damage to other tissues. The effect takes several months to be seen.
Collagen – a fibrous, extracellular, insoluble protein comprising a major component of connective tissues. Injectable collagen consists of varying concentrations of highly purified bovine or human collagen. Sensitivity reactions and granulomatous responses have occurred in 1%–3% and 0.5% of patients. Minor side effects such as bruising, redness, and swelling are seen after injection, but tend to resolve after a few days. Reimplantation is usually required in 3–6 months.
Topical retinoids – tretinoin and tazarotene, improve mottled hyperpigmentation, fine wrinkles, roughness, and lentigines. One problem is skin irritation. To minimize this problem, it is useful to start with a relatively mild concentration of topical retinoids. If this is not enough, patients should reduce the application frequency. The aim must be to use the highest concentration that can be tolerated without significant irritation of the skin.
Before getting any treatment, you should evaluate your skin. A dermatologist should give you advice on what you should do and which treatments will help your skin. Always get them done by a professional – this way the procedures are completely safe and you won’t damage the skin. Treatments done right will give you long-lasting, amazing results!