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Skin care alternatives to clinical procedures
Some skin concerns can really test your confidence - especially when it seems like there’s no option to treat them, other than a full-on clinical procedure. We’re talking about issues like acne scarring, sagging skin or the dreaded under-eye bags. The good news is, there are skin care products that can help you treat these issues, minus the emotional, physical and financial commitment of a procedure. We spoke to cosmetic surgeon Dr. Jeremy Cumpston about what to look for.
As Dr. Cumpston explains, “Acne scarring is caused by the natural inflammatory and healing response of the skin, when acne causes pustular infections in the deeper layers of the skin, called the dermis. The scar tissue, being non-elastic, tends to ‘contract’ over time, causing unevenness and deep pits and dips in the skin, which actually worsen over time.”
The clinical solution: A facial peel
A facial peel allows your skin to shed its dead outer layers, and in doing so, boost skin-cell turnover, resulting in fresher, plumper skin and less visible acne scarring. According to Dr. Cumpston, in some cases, this procedure requires the use of quite aggressive peeling agents, which is why it needs to be done by a professional. “Facial peels use aggressive acidic peeling agents - like salicylic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, or the gentler glycolic acid formulations suitable for daily use - which are applied to the skin. The concentration of ‘acid peels’ is almost always over 70 per cent and up to 90 per cent, and needs to be closely monitored by a trained dermatologist or extremely experienced skin and beauty-trained nurse,” he cautions.
The alternative: An exfoliating and renewing face cream
A skin care product with a low concentration of peeling agents, such as Skin Doctors Gamma Hydroxy, will offer a gentler, yet effective peel over time. “It is a safer and gentler facial peel suitable for everyday home use,” says Dr. Cumpston. “It has a unique blend of the alpha hydroxyl acids, which, when applied to skin, gently break down bonds of superficial dead skin, which rapidly speeds exfoliation.” The result? Newer, healthier-looking skin and the reduced appearance of acne scars. And as an added bonus, Dr Cumpston says, “These low dose milk- and sugar-derived acids also significantly improve skin hydration and reduction in the appearance of fine lines.”
As we age, our skin’s production of natural collagen and elastin decreases. This can lead to a lack of volume in the skin, which appears as sagging. “Sagging and wrinkled skin is caused by loss of skin proteins collagen and elastin, which provide skin with the water volume and elasticity requires to maintain tautness and vitality,” explains Dr. Cumpston.
The clinical solution: Injectable muscle relaxants
What are they, and how do they work? “Botulinum toxin (or Botox) works to reduce facial muscle activity and therefore reduce the ability of facial muscles to pull the thinning aged skin into wrinkles,” Dr Cumpston explains. He adds: “Both Botulinum toxin and fillers are injected by trained medical specialists into the face, and results can vary greatly depending on the quality of the injected materials and the skill and experience of the cosmetic injector.” According to Dr. Cumpston, the results from Botox can last up to three to four months, and fillers six to 18 months.
The alternative: A firming face cream
If the idea of needles and injections doesn’t appeal to you,try bee venom, found in Skin Doctors Beetox. “Beetox instantly activates your skin cells to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, and helps to smooth fine lines, which improves the appearance of sagging skin,” says Dr. Cumpston. Taking cues from nature, Beetox also contains natural compounds found in honey to help to give the skin a boost of hydration. “The compound melittin found in Beetox ‘fools’ the skin into thinking it has been ‘stung’ and this increases collagen formation and reduces lines and wrinkles. When used daily, it can [help to] increase cell turnover by up to 80 per cent after just 15 days of use,” Dr Cumpston says. It’s also a far cheaper alternative to injections, coming in at $59.95 for a jar that will last around two months.
Ever wondered what causes those puffy bags under your peepers? Dr. Cumpston sheds some light: “Under-eye bags are caused when skin [loses] its natural elasticity, as a result of depletion of collagen and elastin. [Collagen and elastin help to] draw water into the skin and give healthy skin its natural glow, bounce and vitality.”
The clinical solution: Eye lift
Thinking of taking the plunge and getting an eye lift? This is what’s involved: “An eye lift (also known as a blepharoplasty) is a cosmetic surgical procedure which involves the surgical cutting and removal of excess skin, followed by stitching of the skin with plastic surgical stitches.” Squeamish yet? “It is an expensive surgical procedure with the normal surgical risks of infection, scarring and potential uneven results,” Dr. Cumpston says.
The alternative: A smoothing and tightening eye cream
If going under the knife isn’t your thing, an under-eye-tightening product like Skin Doctors Eyetuck can improve the appearance of under-eye bags. “Eyetuck is an affordable ‘at-home’ cosmeceutical product that conditions and moisturises the delicate eye area. When used regularly at home, Eyetuck has the potential to create a tighter, smoother appearance to the under-eye area,” he says.
This pain-free product is rich in a peptide that works to boost collagen for tighter, firmer under-eye area. “Eyetuck contains Eyeseryl, a tetra peptide that increases collagen formation and moisture within the delicate under-eye tissue. This cosmeceutical strength formula can painlessly reduce the appearance of puffy bags in just weeks,” Dr Cumpston explains.
Have you experienced acne scarring, sagging skin or under-eye bags? What are your tips for dealing with them?