BY JAMIE LOBER
April is the time to revive your skin, both because it has just experienced a harsh winter and because you want to be ready for the flesh-baring months to come.
Traditionally, April is a time of renewal. When it comes to rejuvenating yourself, an easy place to start is your skin, and this is the prime season to start. The low humidity, cold winds, hot artificial heat, and sometimes a lack of fresh fruits, vegetables, and sun during winter tend to deplete the skin of its natural moisture. April can be even the cruelest month.
“Seasonally, April is a really tough month on your skin because the temperatures are starting to rise and the humidity will be coming back. Here in the Southeast, April is the perfect time to restore, revive, and rejuvenate your skin, face, and body,” affirms John Kossenyans, acting spa director at the Ritz-Carlton Lodge at Reynold’s Plantation on the Oconee. But where do you start?
When it comes to daily skin care, Jenni Williams of Adora Medical Spa in Warner Robins tells us, “One of the most important things that we can do for our skin is to cleanse and remove our makeup at night. Cleansing and toning help keep pores clear which allows the moisturizer and treatments to work more effectively. It’s important that you use reliable skin products at night because they can actually prevent breakouts and help minimize the appearance of fine lines and skin discoloration.”
Another basic step to skin care is protection from the sun. Dermatologists recommend the use of hats, sun glasses, and sunscreen when going into the sun. “Use of a good sunscreen is crucial in preventing skin cancer, wrinkles, and sun spots,” Williams states. “You want to have a sun protection factor of a minimum of fifteen, for incidental daily exposure and a minimum sun protection factor of thirty if you are going to be outdoors for any extended period of time.” Use a reliable brand, such as the mineral sunscreen by ColoreScience carried by Adora. If you are outdoors for more than two hours, you will need to reapply. Incidentally, many good face creams now have a nice level of sunscreen already in them.
Most women are confused by the thousands of creams and procedures on the market and don’t know which to trust. “When you have pharmaceutical grade products in a medical facility, they have already gone through stringent guidelines to be able to make the claims,” says Mary Overby, medical skin care specialist at Plastic Surgery Associates of Macon. An esthetician can guide you in finding a program of skin care that is right for you and that considers your skin type and other factors.
If budget is an issue, you may find some helpful products in the drug store, but most don’t work, according to expert dermatologists on TV’s Dr. Oz Show. They recommend that you make sure that any over-the-counter cream you invest in contains Vitamin A-Retinol, Vitamin C, or Alpha Hydroxy Acid. Vitamin A-Retinol is a wonder cure that helps skin tone and decreases wrinkles; Vitamin C serves as an amazing Collagen builder; and Alpha Hydroxy Acid acts as an exfoliant and collagen builder. Consumer Reports concurs.
So what if you’ve already had severe sun damage to your skin? There are several non-invasive ways to improve your skin texture. “Consider treatments such as Microderm Abrasion (a non-invasive, heavy exfoliation treatment which vacuums pores clear and removes layers of damaged skin). This procedure “smooths” everything back out and improves the skin’s tone and clarity,” states Williams.
Another non-surgical method is photofacial, often referred to as fotorejuvenation, or fotofacial. It is essentially an intense pulse light treatment that disturbs the collagen. This is available at most medical spas such as Adora Medical Spa and Plastic Surgery Associates of Macon. “It is done to remove sun spots and damage,” says Overby. The NannoLight can also remove pigmented lesions. “Light from the pre-selected light bandwidth is absorbed by the dark melanin pigment in the treatment area and converted to heat. The heat causes the pigment in the lesion to coagulate and eventually slough off as the skin normally exfoliates,” she explains. A cooling chiller tip is used to take away any discomfort. “This can be done at lunch time and you can normally return to work with only a small amount of redness,” adds Williams.
An alternative to the surgical face lift is fillers. “Sculptura would add volume and you can put it in the cheeks to bring the jaw up on your face so your face looks more youthful,” says Overby. Botox can be done proactively before wrinkles appear. It involves injections for moderate to severe frown lines of the forehead and between the eyebrows but results may take time. “It is a purified protein produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacterium which reduces the activity or paralyzes the muscles that cause the frown lines,” says Overby.
To fight cellulite, you may choose Endermologie. “Relax as the CelluMo Keymodule caresses your skin with automated rollers that lift, stretch, and mobilize deep tissues, stimulating circulation and relaxing muscle tensions,” says Overby.
You can make your body glow with a water treatment at the Ritz-Carlton Spa. “You are on a wet table with water hoses or sprays above you that gently have warm water come onto your body. It improves circulation, removes dead skills cells, and programs new ones,” says Kossenyans.
Another rejuvenating treatment at the Ritz-Carlton is the organic renewal facial. “It is a holistic skin care approach with a one hundred percent pure plant-base that leaves your skin feeling healthy and nourished without any irritating ingredients,” says Kossenyans. This is helpful for those with sensitive skin.
If you are often rushed or just like to wake up looking glamorous, you may try permanent cosmetic makeup or intradermal pigmentation. “It is a revolutionary method of applying micro insertions of natural pigments into the dermal layer of the skin,” says Overby. You can get permanent eyebrows, eyeliner, lip liner, and/or lip color, as well as stretch mark and scar camouflage, areola restoration, and hairline enhancement. “Anyone who desires more fullness of the brows will love this procedure—and the time saved by not applying makeup,” says Overby. This is beneficial for people with allergies to conventional makeup, those with oily skin who shed makeup easily, athletes, those who seek correction of asymmetrical facial features, and those who want to look their best all the time. “Entertainers, actresses, and models such as Elizabeth Taylor, Dolly Parton, Raquel Welch, Cher, and others have had such procedures,” says Overby.
So what about those hairy places that you don’t want to show off in your bikini? Most spas offer laser hair reduction which is virtually painless and highly effective, says Williams. You can also receive laser acne treatments and have laser leg vein treatments which are outpatient and non-invasive.
Finally, research has shown that sleep deprivation causes changes in skin tone and affects acne outbreaks. It is during the REM Delta stage of sleep that growth hormones peak, and cell and tissue repair take place. Additionally, a lack of sleep causes undue stress to the body, and stress is known to age skin faster. Besides, everyone knows that a lack of sleep causes us to feel and look tired.
You will be amazed at what a little rejuvenation of the skin can do. “Results are truly amazing,” expresses Kossenyans.