When it comes to forming first impressions, our judgment really only goes skin deep. Recent academic medical studies have shown that facial skin color distribution or tone and the presence or absence of blotchiness and brown spots can add or subtract up to 20 years from someone’s appearance.

That’s actually a good thing, since modern aesthetic and laser medicine has given us the tools to improve the skin without downtime and in a cost-effective manner.

Ultraviolet light from the sun is the number one cause of skin damage and makes the small vessels more noticeable, gives you larger pores, creates the brown spots sometimes called “age” spots, and gives the skin a dull appearance. Simply put, those changes combine to make you look years older than you are.

Sun damage, of course, is the chief cause of skin cancer. This article, however, is limited to the discussion of aesthetic issues.

The large majority of first time patients who come into my office want to look more youthful. They see the lines and wrinkles, to be sure, but it always comes down to what can be done to achieve a more youthful and radiant look without surgery.

The best approach is usually a combination of medical facial treatments and non-invasive lasers that we call Facial Genesis.

We usually start with dermal planing, a medical-grade exfoliation that safely and gently scrapes off the dead cells, bacteria, and oils on the skin of the face. Dermal planing must be performed by a specially trained licensed aesthetician under the supervision of a physician. Microdermabrasion, an older procedure, has been shown to exacerbate the appearance of broken vessels when performed on aging skin.

Next we employ a light, non-invasive, no-downtime laser treatment that uses a 1064 Nd: YAG laser. Performed properly by trained personnel, this 35-minute laser treatment is safe, painless, and effective.

The last step uses pulsed light, often called IPL, in a 15-minute session that helps to erase brown spots.

The final touch is the application of an effective FDA-approved UV-A UV-B blocking sunscreen. After the three step treatment the skin is not red, makeup can be applied, and patients can go on their way looking better than they ever thought possible without major downtime.

From then on, it’s maintenance, and that requires a conscientious at-home program using medical-grade skin products we call cosmeceuticals.

Aging gracefully comes down to undoing skin damage and the best way to do that is by enlisting the assistance of knowledgeable skin health experts.

Richard M. Foxx, MD, is the Founder and Medical Director of The Multi-award Winning Medical and Skin Spa (www.medicalandskinspa.com) located within Agua Serena Spa at Hyatt Regency Resort, Indian Wells.  Medical Director of FoxxMD Evolutionary Skin Care (www.drfoxxmd.com), Doctor Foxx is also Senior Medical Advisor for Agein.com (www.agein.com), the internet’s premier anti-aging website. (760) 674-4106

©2013 Richard M. Foxx, MD

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