How can I appear more youthful

Everyone wants to look better.

The number one enemy of beautiful, healthy skin is the sun! Unfortunately, we obtain 80% of our total sun exposure by the time we are 18. By the time we are in our 30s and 40s, our soft, beautiful skin has begun to show signs of sun damage, including freckles, dryness, and wrinkles. Worse yet, the sun can cause actinic keratoses (pre-cancers) and skin cancer. We can help you avoid further sun damage and help reverse and reduce the visible signs of sun damage.

Alpha-hydroxy acids, or AHAs, and Poly-hydroxy acids, or PHAs, are some of the newest means of reversing sun damage. Glycolic acid, one of the more well known AHAs, is a natural fruit acid that has become very popular and effective. Glycolic acid works by causing an exfoliation (gentle sloughing of the upper layer of the skin's surface) of the dead, damaged cells. It diminishes brown spots and cleanses pores of impurities. Used routinely, it can reverse the damage and aging caused by the sun and maintain healthy skin. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making skin look younger and more radiant.

Beta-hydroxy acids, or BHAs, help remove impurities and dead surface skin cells. These are ideal for acne-prone, oily skin, because they gently exfoliate the blackheads and deep clean the pores.

There are many AHA, PHA and BHA products commercially available in drug stores, department stores, salons, and doctors' offices. The products that are available to the general public (i.e., not in a doctor's office) have a lower concentration of "free acid," the AHAs that are available to actually work on the skin, and are less effective (less therapeutic). Products are available in several formulations, depending on skin type, skin conditions, and sensitivities. These anti-aging products come as creams, lotions, gels, and solutions, and in various concentrations, allowing dramatic results.

Chemical peels, done in the doctor’s office, can also help reverse the aging process. These are usually done as a series of 3 peels, usually 2 weeks apart. While these will not stop the aging process, they do make the skin appear healthier by lightening brown spots, reducing uneven pigmentation, softening fine lines, and helping smooth acne scars. During the peels, you may feel a tingling sensation or mild stinging that lasts only a few minutes. Transient redness can last from 20 minutes to 24 hours, but can be concealed with makeup. It is very important to use sunscreen, with an SPF of 30 (containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide), after a peel because the peel makes you more sun-sensitive. You MUST stop using Retin-A®, Differin®, and Renova® at least one week prior to the peels. You can start them again after the peels are completed. If you have taken (Isotretinoin), a powerful drug to treat acne, do not have any peels until 6 months after the (Isotretinoin) therapy is completed so that the skin can recover from the drying effects of the (Isotretinoin).

Take the following quick quiz to learn about your personal sun history. This will help you assess the extent of sun damage to your skin, which determines whether the glycolic products or chemical peels that are available can help you reduce the visible signs of sun damage and avoid trouble in the future.
Answer Yes or No:

  • I frequently sunbathe to get a golden tan.  Yes   No
  • I spend a lot of time outdoors for work or play. Yes   No
  • I routinely use sunscreen on my face, hands, and body. Yes   No
  • In the past, I often sat in the sun without sunblock. Yes   No
  • There is a history of skin cancer in my family. Yes   No
  • I have brown spots on sun-exposed skin. Yes   No
  • I have wrinkles on my skin that bother me. Yes   No
  • The texture of my skin bothers me. Yes   No