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Back Issues
2012 - Spring Issue
Vida Buena
Beauty & Style
Article: Jessica Muncrief
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With infomercials, advertisements and celebrities generating buzz about all the latest anti-aging treatments, it can be overwhelming to the average consumer. Who wants to take the time, spend the money and yes, often subject themselves to pain, for something that is not truly effective? I took a look at of some of the popular anti-aging options currently available on the market to see what really lives up to the hype.


Awakening Med Spa
Las Cruces, NM

CA Skin and Body Clinic
Las Cruces, NM

El Paso Cosmetic Surgery
El Paso, TX

Katharoz Cosmetic Boutique and Spa
Las Cruces, NM

'N Dulge Day Spa
El Paso, TX

Sol Med Spa
Las Cruces, NM
In order to understand how anti-aging treatments work, you need to understand a few basics about the anatomy of the skin. Our skin is made primarily of two layers. The epidermis is the very top layer of skin that is mostly comprised of pigments and dead keratin, the protein that also makes up hair and nails. If your skin is still firm and healthy overall, but has age spots, rosacea or freckles, this is the area of skin you would want to treat. However, if you are looking for noticeable anti-aging results such as reduced fine lines and wrinkles and firmer, less saggy skin, then you are going to have to go deeper into the skin.

The dermis is the largest layer of skin and although it is only one millimeter below the surface of the skin, dermatologists and skin care researchers put a lot of effort into creating products and procedures that are able to penetrate through the epidermis to the dermis. This is because collagen and elastin, the proteins responsible for the volume, firmness and flexibility of our skin (or lack thereof as we age), make up the vast majority of the dermis. Most skin rejuvenation treatments are efforts to stimulate collagen and elastin production to recreate the supportive matrix of firm, supple skin.

Home Treatments - There are a plethora of creams and serums available over the counter that claim to stimulate collagen and elastin reproduction. Unfortunately, many are too good to be true. The role of the epidermis is to keep nutrients in the skin and keep toxins and harmful materials out, so it is not an easy membrane to get through. Most creams and serums just sit on the surface of the skin. They do hydrate the top layer of skin, making it appear smoother and healthier, but ultimately most are not reaching the dermis to significantly affect collagen and elastin production. Dr. Ellen Marmur, author of Simple Skin Beauty, admits that some creams and serums will penetrate the epidermis, you just need to choose them wisely. Talk to a skin care expert or a dermatologist to find the correct products, read product labels closely and do some research before making a purchase.

Ultimately, the best actions you take at home to prevent aging are to protect your skin from the sun and eat well. Our bodies halt elastin production around the time of puberty, so every time your skin has been burned or damaged by the sun, the elastin deep below the surface has been damaged also. Over time, this damaged elastin doesn't bounce back like a child's does. Some dermatologists liken it to hard, rubber tires versus a rubber band that can easily stretch and snap back to its former shape.

Beauty truly starts from within. Consuming foods rich in anti-oxidants has been proven to prevent further skin damage from free radicals such as the sun and the toxins in the air, as well as to promote proper functioning of collagen and elastin. Ensure your diet is chock-full of foods like tomatoes, flax seed, citrus, berries, green leafy vegetables, fish, and shellfish and you will note fresher, brighter skin within days.

Oxygen Facials - Many spas offer facials and various skin treatments that claim to generate collagen and reduce the signs of aging. As with creams, consider the anatomy of the skin and what it takes to reach the dermal layer with the collagen and elastin, before spending a lot of money.

Oxygen facials have been gaining popularity in Hollywood and throughout the country recently for the simple reason that they have been proven to penetrate to the dermis. Oxygen is the perfect nutrient for collagen and elastin, but normally the body uses its own supply of oxygen and the accompanying nutrients to feed these protein fibers. N'Dulge Day Spa in El Paso offers the O2 Breeze Facial, which uses tiny oxygen micro-molecules that carry up to five times more oxygen. These oxygen micro-molecules are absorbed into the skin where they attach themselves to collagen and elastin, accelerating production and strengthening the cells by providing necessary nutrients.

Injectable Fillers - Injectable fillers are injected into the skin using a needle, smoothing facial lines by replenishing collagen and enhancing the support structure of the skin. Sometimes this involves directly injecting collagen and sometimes other substances or "fillers" are used to promote collagen production and smooth facial lines. CA Skin and Body in Las Cruces offers a wide range of dermal fillers which they say can smooth key areas of the face including "lines between the nose and mouth and on the upper lip, the so-called 'smile lines' and 'frown lines,' and the lips cheeks and jawline." Treatments are relatively painless and take about 45 minutes. Results are immediate and can last for up to a year, depending on the type of filler used.

Science and medicine have come a long way in creating safe and effective anti-aging treatments. The good news is that all of the treatments discussed are continually advancing and are now significantly less painful, less expensive, and much more effective. The best advice in choosing an anti-aging treatment is to be knowledgeable. Do research, talk to professionals and find out exactly what the treatment is doing and to which layers of your skin.

Laser Skin Resurfacing - Lasers have advanced tremendously over the past two decades and the skin care industry has taken full advantage. Laser treatments are generally quick, outpatient procedures with minimal recovery time. They have thus become viable alternatives to plastic surgery. Lasers work by pulsing heat and light deep into the skin, which triggers the body's wound-healing response and initiates the production of more collagen and elastin. The experts at El Paso Cosmetic Surgery say, "Laser skin resurfacing produces long-lasting results that can be maintained for many years with proper sun protection. Smoother, younger-looking skin is visible immediately after treatment, whereas new collagen builds gradually and becomes more evident over time. Therefore, most people look even better three to five months after the procedure." ///
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