Healthy Skin

By R.J. Ignelzi

December 7, 2007 4 min read

HEALTHY SKIN

Protective measures and aesthetician treatments

By R.J. Ignelzi

Copley News Service

Although the new injectable fillers and lasers can help smooth aging skin, wrinkle warfare begins with a sensible lifestyle. Your plan of attack starts with these healthy skin tips offered by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Protect your skin from the sun. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and don't forget a hat.

"Everyone needs wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses," says Dr. Susan Stuart, a Southern California dermatologist. "They protect your face, and they don't cost a fortune."

Stay hydrated. Drinking enough liquids not only prevents dehydration, but it also helps eliminate toxins.

Moisturize your skin. It doesn't have to be expensive, it just has to prevent dryness.

Exfoliate. Use a topical retinoid-type or alpha hydroxy acid product to help remove dead skin cells.

Exercise. "Exercise helps increase blood flow to the epidermis enabling it to get more nutrients and eliminate toxins," says Dr. Jeffry Schafer, a plastic surgeon in Coronado, Calif.

Sleep on your back as often as possible. Squashing your face into the pillow night after night can accentuate lines and wrinkles as the skin ages.

Eat a balanced diet. Go easy on the sweets and fats and load up on fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains and beans. These healthy foods are packed with protective antioxidants that may help save your skin from environmental damage.

Don't smoke. Not only is your circulation impaired, but it creates fine lines around the mouth.

Limit alcohol consumption. "Drinking too much can have a negative effect on the skin. It can make skin bruise easily and not heal well," Schafer says.

AESTHETICIAN TREATMENTS

Still not ready for facial injections or lasering? A visit to your local aesthetician may be enough of a cosmetic procedure for you.

"These are superficial spa-type treatments and not for making (major) changes. They're for maintenance and to make you look good for a special occasion," says Schafer.

Some aesthetician treatments include:

- Facials

By applying a variety of creams, clays and other ointments to the face, aestheticians can individualize treatments depending on your skin's needs. Usually a relaxing experience, facials are designed to deeply cleanse pores, exfoliate, hydrate, soothe, and temporarily tighten the skin.

Cost: $85 to $165

- Facial peels

Light chemical peels, such as those using alpha hydroxy acid or lactic acid, help exfoliate the skin and speed cell turnover. Salicylic acid peels are recommended for acne-prone skin to help promote healing. Some peels, which can help with fine wrinkling and heavier pigmentation, cause mild redness and skin shedding. Deep peels must be performed by a medical practitioner.

Cost: $120 to $250

- Microdermabrasion

Using a device that mechanically delivers a steady stream of fine crystals directly onto the skin, dead skin cells are sloughed off, leaving the skin polished. The face may be slightly pink afterward, but there's no downtime.

Cost: $100 to $160

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