Dermal Aesthetics… The skin may be the body’s largest organ yet there are damages to it that eludes detection of the naked eye.
Factors that cause skin damage include (prolonged) exposure to the sun, melasma (usually caused by hormonal changes) and a host of noxious chemicals and pollutants in the environment. Improper makeup removal practice, poor diet and ill-habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption are equally responsible for the damages caused to the skin.
Pigmentation, Melanin & Melasma
Pigmentation issue is a common skin problem which unfortunately, the aging process doesn’t do any favours as well with the appearance of brown spots and splotchy skin.
Melanin is a natural pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes its color. Changes in melanin can lead to patchy or irregular discoloration of the skin and lead to bothersome pigmentation issues. When the body produces too much melanin, a condition known as hyperpigmentation, it causes the skin to become darker than usual in the example of liver spots which is a result of sun damage.
Melasma is a hyperpigmentation condition in the form of a patchy brown, tan, or blue-gray facial skin discoloration.Though the exact cause of melasma remains unknown there are several trigger factors and these include; pregnancy, family history and certain medications such as anti-seizure medication.
Hormones play a major role in the development of melasma
“Hormones play a major role in the development of melasma,” according to Dr Mark Koh who runs both dermatology clinics for children and women at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Dr Koh, who chaired the session on pigmentation at the recent Aesthetic Asia 2013 Exhibition and Congress, pointed out that female hormones in particular can induce the condition citing his findings in women patients who are taking contraceptive pills and those who are experiencing menopause as examples. He also emphasised that melasma can pose a challenge when it comes to treatment as even after the application of creams and the use lights and lasers, the condition resurfaces once treatment ceases.
Although melasma is more commonly found amongst women, men folk are not excluded, a point which Dr Grace Lopez a visiting dermatologist from the Philippines shared. Dr Lopez further points out that the issue is more prevalent amongst Asian skin. Speaking on the subject of topical treatment updates on melasma, she reiterated that although the much talked about Glutathione is used as a supplement indirectly to lighten the skin in the treatment of melasma, it is still considered as an antioxidant.
Another set of common skin problems are wrinkles and acnes
Wrinkles typically appear as we age. In addition, factors such as loss of body mass, exposure to the sun, environmental pollutions and habitual factors like smoking are also responsible. Hormonal changes are generally the cause of acne. When the body produces too much sebum, an oily substance that helps to prevent our skin from drying out, acne occurs.
Protection is Always the First Important Step
As with most medical cases and conditions, protection is always the first important step. Sunscreens that contain zinc oxide for example can help prevent wrinkles, pigmentation and acne.
Moisturizers and serums that have vitamins E, C, green tea or grape seed extract are also useful as the antioxidants in them form a line of defense against the sun, smoke and pollutants found in the air. Over-the-counter retinol products reduce oil secretion and unclog pores which make them ideal for the treatment of wrinkles and acne.
How to Stimulate Youthful Collagen
Lasers are also a powerful tool widely used for the treatment of skin conditions as well. This cosmetic surgery technique not only removes lines and wrinkles caused by sun damage but it’s also effective in removing acne scars. Lasers can rejuvenate skin and more youthful collagen actually forms after laser treatment.
Our skin is exposed to pollutants and other harmful agents on a daily basis. It is important that we understand and learn how to take care of it. For a start, we could alter our daily habits and lifestyle if they have been less than desirable and unhealthy.
It is from within that we start the change towards a younger, healthier and glowing skin.