So much of the skin aging process stems from what we put our skin through over time – not just the obvious things like sun exposure or smoking but just day to day living – laughing, crying and frowning – it all shows up on our skin and nowhere more obviously than our faces.
Not surprising that the anti aging industry has focused on what lies beneath – the “smooth as a baby’s bottom” skin that lurks only just underneath the more damaged surface skin we look at in the mirror every day. In recent years dermatologists have developed more and more sophisticated skin resurfacing techniques like dermabrasion, laser skin resurfacing and chemical peels.
It seems like a good idea for anyone not happy with the idea of facial plastic surgery – it appears to offer a less invasive approach to achieving a younger look. And in some ways that has to be right. But removing the top layer of skin on your face – or anywhere else for that matter – is not a trivial matter.
Before you consider consulting a facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist about skin resurfacing treatment you need to be clear about what the treatment will do – and more importantly – what it can’t do.
Skin resurfacing may in fact be a misleading term for some of the more common treatments offered. Many skin peels and lasers are actually used as non-ablative treatments to refine and rejuvenate the skin’s surface. Non-ablative means they may remove the dead skin cells and debris on the surface of the skin (the outer epidermis) but they don’t penetrate into the deeper layer of the epidermis and certainly not to the dermis where the new skin is formed.
Ablative techniques burn or rub off the top layer of the skin and some actually penetrate to the dermis – the deeper layer below. You can have a lighter, less invasive skin peel, laser treatment or microdermabrasion – or a stronger one depending on the effect you are seeking.
Depending on the strength of the treatment used, skin resurfacing should be effective for helping to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, removing small acne scars or facial scars and getting rid of age spots and hyperpigmentation. A resurfacing treatment will quite likely help smooth out rough or uneven skin texture and enliven dull skin.
On the other hand if you have very deep wrinkles they are unlikely to be touched by even the strongest skin resurfacing treatment since they lie too far below the surface. Skin resurfacing can’t improve sagging or loose skin so it will not have a skin firming or skin tightening effect – if that is your goal – and it can’t add volume or hydration to skin.
Don’t expect any skin resurfacing treatment to be pain free – the stronger the agent (peel, laser or dermabrasion) the greater the damage to your skin in the short term and the more you will feel it. Some of these treatments are potentially highly damaging and in the wrong hands the damage can be severe and traumatic.
So the rule of due diligence applies – as in all things affecting your health and well being. Don’t get swayed by the hype and take time to find a good facial plastic surgeon or dermatologist who is skilled and experienced in skin rejuvenation procedure.
If you want a facial treatment that goes deeper than skin resurfacing you need to look at other alternatives like face exercise and microcurrent face lifts, or even facial plastic surgery if you are prepared to go down that route.
Skin resurfacing should be combined with active topical treatments for the best skin rejuvenation results. One of the best things about any skin resurfacing treatment is that it preps the skin so that it is open to the anti aging and hydrating effects of good anti aging skin care.
Many facial plastic surgeons recommend regular use of a microdermabrasion cream or exfoliating treatment to top up and prolong the time between in office professional treatments.
As with any treatment – skin resurfacing will only go so far. It’s the total approach – diet, lifestyle choices and a consistent anti aging skin care regimen – that will bring you the best possible results and younger looking skin over time!