Non-invasive skin rejuvenation

Over the past decade the quest for skin rejuvenation has moved away from invasive surgical procedures towards non-invasive, non-intrusive, treatments. There has been an influx of new technology in the field of aesthetic medicine ranging from new cosmaceutical techniques through to high-tech lasers designed to alter the very biology of skin ageing.

Many of the tenets of healthy skin care remain, principally one should avoid sun exposure and cigarette smoke. Ultraviolet radiation is the single greatest environmental factor affecting the skin.

Prolonged exposure causes free radicals to release, which leads to direct cellular damage and premature solar ageing of the skin. The message of slip, slop, slap and wrap cannot be overstated.

Lifestyle factors play a significant role in the ageing process especially with advancing years. Regular exercise is paramount to maintaining a youthful appearance. However, excessive aerobic exercise may cause the body’s fat reserves and muscle mass to waste resulting in a gaunt countenance.

As one ages it is preferable to reduce aerobic exercise and increase the proportion of resistance training (weights), which promote less oxidative stress and maintains muscle mass. It also burns off those calories and excess fat. A diet rich in protein, with a complement of low GI carbs, fruits, berries and fresh vegetables and low in sugar (including alcohol) also needs to become one’s regular diet.

The integrated approach of anti-ageing medical practices also provides a beacon with it’s focus on combating the affects of ageing through diet, exercise and hormone manipulation therapy. Check out the American Board of Anti-Aging Medicine.

The role of dietary supplements is a thorny issue. But I ere on the side of caution. There is evidence to support beneficial effects of supplementation with, among others, Omega 3 fatty acids, Coenzyme Q10, Resveratrol, chondroitin sulfate and a variety of botanicals including grape seed extract, green tea extract, red ric yeast extract, ginkgo biloba, and some amino acids.

The cosmaceutical industry has grown exponentially over the past 30 years. There is now a plethora of products out there with varying, and often spurious claims. It is very difficult for all but the most keenly scientific of us to make head or tail out of the lengthy list of ingredients garnering the labels of these products. Furthermore the rules governing the marketing, labeling and distribution of these products is as yet poorly regulated. Buyer beware.

Do your research and look for evidenced based studies from reputable peer reviewed journals to validate claims before throwing your money at snake oil. Some ranges are well researched and compounded under rigorous conditions with good quality control.

I would include in this category the Rationale range and Environ both of which are available at selected outlets in New Zealand. These ranges generally include topical antioxidant creams or serums (vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C) which are well tested and efficacious. Rationale products protect, refine and repair your skin. The powerful concentrated, proven formulas restore optimal skin function and may improve skin texture, tone, luminosity and hydration.

Rationale offers a range of six key products for optimal skin care: Cleanser, Moisturiser, Skin Refining Serum, Niacinamide Serum, Rejuvenating Serum and Retinaldehyde Serum. Topical CoQ 10, Copper peptides, Edibinone, are also of proven value. Exfoliating products such as alpha and beta hydroxyacids promote healthy skin turnover and facilitate the absorption of other active topicals.

New aesthetic medical based treatments appear on the market with predictable regularity. It is even difficult for someone like myself who is in the industry to keep up, let alone the lay public. Things which have stood the test of time for skin rejuvenation, especially of the face include:

1 Microdermabrasion

2 IPL treatments

3 Botox

4 Fillers for wrinkles

5 Skin peels

6 Laser resurfacing

More recent innovations of note include:

1 Fractional laser technology – this has greatly reduced the downtime and pigmentation side effects of older skin resurfacing methods.

2 Newer generation peeling agents with little down time and higher efficacy – check out the Rationale peels available at the Skin Institute.

3 Advanced botox injection techniques for facial rejuvenation.

4 New fillers with greater longevity, fever adverse reactions and expanded applications.

5 Non invasive skin lifting laser technology, which in some cases is an alternative to a surgical face lift.

6 Non-invasive fat reshaping technology.

With all this choice it is sometimes difficult to decide where to turn. Sometimes the decision is budget constrained, sometimes it is determined by social and work obligations. For an informed appraisal of the options available to you it is advisable to seek out the advice of a reputable clinic or medical practitioner. Some of these treatments can cause irreparable damage. Take care but have fun. You only live once.

Dr Mark Gray is the Director of the Skin Institute Ltd and a qualified Mohs surgeon. Mohs surgery is a method of removing skin cancer and ensuring at the time of the procedure that the skin cancer is completely excised. Mohs surgery has the highest cure rates for skin cancer and optimises the end cosmetic result.

Prepare your skin for autumn

We’ve experienced 
a summer of extreme temperature changes, from scorching-hot days that have had us running for the pool, beach or airconditioning, to weeks of wind and rain. The extreme temperature changes aren’t kind to even the least sensitive skin, but there are things you can do to heal some of the damage and to prepare your skin for the cooler months ahead.


Skin feels and looks dry


Is your skin looking and feeling tight and dry? You may need to look at your beauty regimen, diet and water consumption.

1 Don’t use hot water when washing your face. Use water that is tepid. Also, make sure the washcloth you’re using isn’t too rough.

2 Opt for a soap-free cleanser that will remove excess dirt while encouraging gentle exfoliation. Toner, moisturising day cream and night conditioner can help to hydrate and revitalise the skin.

3 Treat yourself to a facial, which 
can give your skin a deeper cleanse than what you can achieve at home. Speak with your beautician about 
having a facial that is designed for dehydrated skin.


Sun and age spots


Commonly occurring on exposed areas such as the face and hands, sun and age spots are usually the result of cumulative exposure to sunlight.

1 Unfortunately, sun and age spots don’t usually fade naturally over 
time, so prevention is key, which 
means applying sunscreen daily.

2 There are various skin lighteners and brighteners on the market that help to fade sun and age spots. Check with your skincare specialist about the products that will best suit your skincare needs.

3 Check with your doctor, dermatologist or skin cancer specialist to ensure these spots are not something more serious, such as melanoma.


Skin is irritated and flaking


Red, inflamed and irritated skin usually points to dietary imbalance or can be caused by your external environment.

1 A daily multivitamin, plus a diet rich in essential fatty acids, is vital for achieving a healthy, glowing complexion. Essential fatty acids can be found in nuts, seeds, flaxseed and evening primrose oil.

2 Avoid hot showers and baths. Make sure the water is lukewarm and limit your bathing time to five to 10 minutes.

3 Make sure you are not overheating when you sleep. Inappropriate heating, bedding and clothing are some of the main causes of skin irritation. Opt for natural fibres that allow the skin to breathe.


Fine lines are more visible


Fine lines are the inevitable result 
of ageing, but skin damage and 
lack of nutrients can make them 
more visible than they need to be.

1 Use beauty products that contain 
alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which have been shown to minimise the appearance of fine lines.

2 Fine lines can look more obvious if you are dehydrated. Make sure your water intake is adequate and keep alcohol and caffeine consumption to a minimum.

3 Take your face to the gym. Exercising your facial muscles, including doing facial yoga, tightens and tones the skin.