Magazine article USA TODAY

Rejuvenation Techniques

Magazine article USA TODAY

Rejuvenation Techniques

Article excerpt

Restore a Youthful Appearance

With baby boomers approaching their 50s and an increasing number of mature adults enjoying active lifestyles well into their 70s and 80s, it is not surprising that Americans are trying to look as young as they feel, Clinical advances render cosmetic procedures for skin rejuvenation welt within the budget of the youth-clinging 50-plus crowd who have more discretionary income than any previous generation at this age. Banishing wrinkles, acne scars, and sun-damaged skin all represent a desire to challenge the traditional notion of aging gracefully.

Skin rejuvenation procedures are among the most popular treatments for those in search of a youthful appearance. All revitalizing techniques aim to accomplish the same basic task--removal of the damaged surface of the skin to improve sun- and age-related imperfections. By ablating and vaporizing the top layer, undesired skin cells disappear and are replaced by fresh skin tissue. The new skin surface typically is smoother and younger-looking in appearance.

Skin rejuvenation is performed most frequently to erase fine lines and wrinkles of the face, especially around the upper lip, cheeks, and forehead; smooth and tighten eye lids; improve crow's feet; soften pucker marks and frown lines; remove brown spots and splotchy, uneven skin color; improve and flatten scars; and repair smoker's lines. ESC Medical Systems, Needham, Mass., indicates that the most popular treatments are:

Chemical peeling, whereby a chemical solution is applied to the skin, causing it to separate and eventually peel off. The new, regenerated skin usually is smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin, as well as more even in color.

Dermabrasion, sometimes called surgical skin planing, involves the removal or sanding of the skin with a rotary abrasive instrument. A new layer of fresh skin replaces the abraded skin.

Laser resurfacing is the latest scientific breakthrough in skin rejuvenation. The laser beam can vaporize skin tissue, seal blood vessels, and incise and excise imperfections.

Using a wandlike laser handpiece, the physician removes undesired skin cells and wrinkles, which are replaced by fresh skin cells. The most significant advantages of laser therapy over traditional techniques for skin rejuvenation such as chemical peeling and dermabrasion are that it is a relatively bloodless procedure providing increased precision and control, consistency of results, speed of treatment, lower risk of infection, minimal patient discomfort, and few side effects. …

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