How to get glowing skin back! Part 2 of 2
So here’s the last part of this glowing skin post. It was getting a bit long. 🙂
3. Repair and maintain the dermis to hang onto and build more fresh collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastic fibers. Remember the things that harm skin, and that it’s best to prevent needing to repair it in the first place!!
- Why? The dermis which is the deeper layer of the skin just above our fatty layer, get damaged by poor circulation (basic aging, poor nutrition, arteries clogging, lack of exercise, smoking, and sun damage on the top layer of the dermis). Under the microscope, the collagen starts to look pale and kind of well….ratty. It’s missing it’s beautiful, smooth bundle shape. The elastic fibers start to get clumpy, the blood vessels more sparse, and the spaces between cells (where hyaluronic acid lives) get smaller and less regular.
- Can it be repaired? Remember that our cells are renewing themselves all the time. It’s really a matter of if the rate of repair can exceed the rate of cell damage and death. That DOES have something to do with age because all of our cellular repair slows down some as we age. But…..your biological age affects this more numerical age. There are various interesting online health tests you can use to determine a truer biological age.
How can we repair the dermis to get glowing skin?
- Health. As soon as possible, get really consistent with all the general health measures above and in Part 1 (the last post)
- Protect. Really, truly protect the outer layer of your skin (the epidermis). There’s some data that the overall health of the epidermis affects at least the top layer of the dermis.
- Understand that treatments that penetrate deeper are needed……lasers and sound waves (radiofrequency) are the best at this because they penetrate more deeply.
- Fractionated lasers (more on these here) do this better than anything, at this point in time. Think of them like aerating your lawn. With each treatment, you are removing about 10-20% (tiny micron sized plugs) of the old dermis and letting new, fresh cells regenerate and grow back into the sloughed areas. This takes 3-6 months to see full results. 2-5 treatments over 1-2 years will give the best results. A lighter treatment once a year can be used to maintain after that. Our office has what we call a maintenance CO2 (about half the energy and downtime of a full treatment) and a “Baby Fraxel” which is very similiar to the Clear & Brilliant laser also made by the Fraxel company.
- Fraxels (fractionated) or more superficial fractionated lasers target the top layers of the dermis and are better for younger patients or if you are less sun damaged. Or, for those of us, who just really can’t be “down” for more than a weekend. More on these here.
- Fractionated Co2 (carbon dioxide lasers ) lasers can penetrate more deeply, and are better for deeper wrinkles, moderate to severe sun damage, and have the added advantage of some added skin tightening. Downtime is 5-10 days depending on the DEPTH and density of the treatment. This can be easily customized. A “maintenance” CO2 laser could be about 3-5 days downtime, again easily customizable. There are more results with deeper treatments. Makes sense, right?
- Sound waves (radiofrequency) are interesting in this. These are treatments like Thermage, Exilis, Thermismooth, Ultherapy, and Pelleve. To make a long story short, they tighten existing collagen a little and stimulate cells (fibroblasts) to make new collagen. Done consistently, minimum once a year, over time they can make a significant difference. How much? Hard to quantify and no good studies going 5-10 years, but those dermatologists and patients who have used these now over long periods of time, are convinced. They are extremely safe done correctly and there is no downtime with them.
Hope this helps, Dr. Irwin