How to Prolong the Effects of Popular Anti-Aging Skin Treatments
I’m finally about to bite the bullet and do a laser or light therapy treatment. I haven’t decided which one yet, but it needs to basically obliterate age spots, remove wrinkles, reverse sun damage, shrink pores, un-break broken capillaries and froth my latte. I’ll let you know when I find said contraption.
For now, I’m in prep mode — which is actually the first phase of treatment. I was unaware that there were phases other than: 1) Aim laser/light/frequency/chemical at face. 2) Get blotchy, or peel, or react in whatever way you’re supposed to react, 3) Look 1,000 years younger!
Well, I was wrong. I’m sure a lot of people rely on these procedures to get their skin back into shape, but to get the optimal effects and the most longevity out of those high tech puppies you can prepare your skin before and help renew and maintain your skin after.
I spoke with Tina Roth, a Licensed Medical Aesthetician, who works in conjunction with my board-certified aesthetic plastic surgeon. (It’s always great to deal with someone who works with licensed plastic surgeons first-hand). She treats pre- and post-procedure patients daily, so she knows her stuff. Here’s the low-down.
Phase 1: Pre-Procedure Prep.
If you’re ready to do one of these treatments you can overhaul the skin topically to lift the superficial layers and pigments, so that your skin is in peak condition and has a fresh surface to work with.
You’ll probably want to get use Retin-A or retinol, or something that promotes skin cell turnover and helps shed dead skin about 3-6 weeks before your treatment. If you’re treating age spots, rosacea, sun spots or other forms of hyper-pigmentation, your doctor or skin care provider may also suggest a brightening agent with Hydroquinone.
Phase 2: Post-Procedure Healing.
You did it… Go you! Now, you can go back to your old regimen and stare at your perfection in the mirror, right? Wrong. This is a good time to take a break from your lotions and potions that smell good and slough skin because your skin is now damaged and healing itself. Your skin may peel, scab, get red/blotchy, turn dark or react in some way to the procedure. Your doctor will tell you what to expect. For the first couple days or more, (depending on the intensity of your treatment), Roth suggests a petroleum-based product, like Aquaphor, which acts as a bandage over the skin and protects it while it heals.
Phase 3: Post-Reaction Pampering.
When your skin is done reacting and the initial healing is underway, you will be left with a radiant fresh layer underneath. This tissue, though beautiful, is new and sensitive and needs to be treated with care. This is the time to nourish and hydrate. Cetaphil or other mild post-procedure lines keep helping the tissue regrow and rebuild. Look for a soothing cleanser and creamy moisturizer, or serums with hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the skin. (Steer clear of anti-aging serums or heavy ingredients).
Phase 4: Maintenance.
OK, where did you put all your yummy creams and serums? Time to fish them out or go pick some up. You should be on a regimen that promotes cell turnover and helps prevent damage and the effects of aging. (A retinol or Retin-A are a must). Now, get going.
Phase 5: Prolong the Effects.
To keep your skin looking amazing, don’t allow the plaque to build up until you need another procedure. Remove it by getting regular facials (medical grade) to cleanse, degrease, extract, and infuse your skin and peels to keep it fresh.
So, now I’m off to find something that will allow me to put these phases into effect.
P.S. Even if you don’t do anything with lasers, or light, or different frequencies or weird initials, phases 4 and 5 can go a long way.