Article furnished by Dr. Jay Kulkin -- Many people underestimate the importance of these three areas of your body when it comes to preserving that youthful appearance.
We like to call the face, neck and décolleté (chest) a team. That's right a team and what you do for one team member you should do for all them.
Most people are really good about washing their faces twice a day and applying creams and sunscreens, but often that's as far as they go...just their face.
As a result of neglecting the neck and chest, these two areas can often display signs of aging, exactly the thing you have been trying so hard to prevent on your face.
It's imperative to treat the skin on our neck, and really the chest, the exact same way.
When you get a professional facial treatment, like a facial, they treat the face and neck. A thorough cleanse, exfoliation, and treatment is applied to both of these areas.
The same principle should apply at home when we take care of our skin: thoroughly cleanse, exfoliate, and apply skin care products to your face, neck and chest.
If this doesn't happen, your neck and chest become this sort of wasteland for free radicals to feast on old product, makeup runoff, and sweat from your workout.
Remember, free radicals AGE you. Just think of an exposed avocado or apple. Free radicals cause the fruit to brown. On your skin free radicals break down the collagen. And we all know what it looks like when collagen starts breaking down, skin begins to sag and really show signs of ageing.
Here are a few things you can do to help maintain a youthful appearance of the face, neck and chest:
Professional services (these are not all the services available, but some of the more popular services):
Chemical Peels - there are varying levels of chemical peels. They can help various skin concerns from fine lines/wrinkles, acne, pigmentation and overall skin tone and texture. More mild peels can be done once a month. The more aggressive peels will be done at 6-12 week intervals or longer depending on the condition of your skin. With more aggressive peels you should expect your skin to flake and peel, typically the peeling begins about 24-48 hours after having the peel applied. Once peeling has started it can last for several days, so keep this in mind when you are scheduling a chemical peel. In general, chemical peels help to refresh your skin and treat skin issues like acne and sun damage. Often you need a series of peels for the best result and you can combine them with microdermabrasions and laser therapies for even better results.
Laser Resurfacing - There are many laser technologies out there that can keep you looking younger. Really it comes down to downtime....how much downtime can you handle? Do you want to have a laser treatment that by the time you leave the appointment there is no evidence you've had anything done. Are you willing to have some redness for a couple of days? A week or two? Some lasers are non-ablative and some are ablative and they each have their benefits. For example, Fractional C02 laser skin resurfacing is a very effective tool to resurface the skin and get rid of age spots, sun damage and fine lines and wrinkles. It is also boosts collagen production. You have to decide what laser is right for you.
At Home Skin Care Products:
Tretinoin and Retinols- Retinol has become a buzz word. There are two types of vitamin A products: a Tretinoin and Retinol. There is a difference. Tretinoin (also referred to as a retinoid) is a Vitamin A derivative. You may be more familiar with these names: Retin-A, Differin, Tretin-x and Renova. These are all tretinoins. Most people's first reaction is I don't have acne...tretinoins were first used to treat acne, but it was quickly discovered that not only did the tretinoin clear up and prevent acne break-outs, it also reduced fine lines and wrinkles and improved overall skin texture. Tretinoins are clinically proven to have significant and effective results for rejuvenating aging skin. It is also the only product approved by the FDA for anti-aging and sun damage correction. Tretinoins are available only by prescription or in medical offices.
Retinols are pure vitamin A. You can buy retinols at drug stores and cosmetic counters and the strengths can vary greatly. With any over the counter treatments you can expect for results to take a bit longer to be seen because the percentage of retinol is much less. Similar to a tretinoin, retinols work to resurface the skin without the irritation that many experience with tretinoins. You can also find stronger retinols at medical offices that specialize in skin procedures.
-Nectifirm, a product especially formulated for the neck area. This unique formula gives new life to the neck. In a few short weeks you will see smoother, firmer, younger-looking skin on the neck area. This product is great, you use morning and night.
-Green Tea- not only is it a healthy drink it's also great for the skin. It's antioxidants help protect the skin from UV damage, it softens and smoothes the skin. It has excellent anti-inflammatory properties, so it calms and soothes the skin. It also has an anti-bacterial effect so it's perfect for any skin type from super sensitive to the acne prone.
There may not be a true fountain of youth, but there are lots of ways to keep or even restore that youthful appearance. Remember to take care of your face, neck and chest. There are a number of products and procedures available that vary from pricey to affordable, down-time to no-downtime, find what's right for you.
Dr. Jay Kulkin, Founder of WIFH in Atlanta, is an internationally recognized laser expert and teaches doctors from from within the U.S. and around the world about laser techniques. He is a Board Certified Gynecologist and is often quoted in the media and featured on a number of TV networks including CNN, Headline News and local Atlanta networks on laser issues. He has been practicing in Atlanta since 1983 and is a Fellow (the highest distinction achievable) of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery and is the former Executive Director of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia Women's Health Program, which he was instrumental in creating. Dr. Kulkin is committed to bringing the latest advances in laser research to his patients.