Many people now in their thirties and forties are realizing that they have spent far too many hours in the sun. They are suffering the effects of photoageing and want to know what can be done about it.
Skin has the ability to repair itself from the damaging effects of sunlight. It has been shown that if you protect yourself completely from ultraviolet light, your skin will actually repair much of the sun damage. It is never too late to protect yourself from sunlight by regular use of broad spectrum sunscreens.
Retin – A/retrieve
Thanks to film stars like Cher, Retin-A has received enormous publicity as an anti-ageing preparation. There is now conclusive scientific evidence supporting the use of Retin-A to help reverse photoageing when it is used regularly over a prolonged period. It does not, however, turn back the clock on biological ageing.
It is not entirely understood how Retin-A works, but it is known that it normalizes the function of the skin’s regenerating cells. Excessive exposure to sunlight damages these cells which then produce faulty skin. Retin-A corrects this function, so more youthful skin is again produced. In order to maintain this improved function, however, Retin-A must be used on an ongoing basis.
Retin-A must be used for at least four to six months, on a daily basis, before improvements in sun-damaged skin are seen. These improvements continue as long as Retin-A is applied. Anyone who has sun-damaged skin can benefit from Retin-A, although it is not recommended for pre-pubertal children or pregnant women, and should not be used on inflamed skin. It is best to start Retin-A under medical supervision to achieve maximum results and minimize side effects. It should be introduced gradually by using it for short periods of time on alternate nights. As acclimatization occurs, it can be left on overnight without irritation. After twelve months, Retin-A need only be applied three times a week to achieve optimum results. It is preferable to start with Retin-A in cream form rather than the gel or liquid, as this is least likely to cause irritation. All areas of the face, neck and hands can be treated.
Although Retin-A is not a substitute for face-lifting, chemical peeling or dermabrasion, it is able to significantly improve skin texture and fine superficial wrinkles. Retin-A will also make the skin less sallow, lighten brown blotches and impart a healthy glow. It will, however, initially cause some mild peeling and redness, which decreases as acclimatization occurs. This initial skin irritation is a normal occurrence and does not cause any permanent damage or scarring. Using Retin-A is like getting fit, where the end result justifies the initial hardship.
Because Retin-A is being used to treat sun-damaged skin, it is essential to use a maximum protection ultraviolet A sunscreen every day to prevent further sun damage. Many sunscreens are greasy and can irritate the skin when Retin-A is being used. Ego SunSense Toddler Milk, Ego Sunsensitive, Clinique City Block, Nivea Visage, Roche Aquababy and Oil of Ulan Daily UV Protectant Moisturizer SPF 15 are recommended.
It is best not to mix Retin-A with other creams as these may dilute it, making it less effective. Because the skin is drier when Retin-A is being used, more moisturizer may be necessary during the daytime, and this should be used in conjunction with a good sunscreen. Many moisturizers irritate skin treated with Retin-A, so care must be taken when selecting them. The cosmetic industry is presently working towards developing creams which are compatible with Retin-A use. Current examples include several of the Almay moisturizers, Candermyl, Nutra-D, Neutrogena moisturizer and Simple moisturizer.
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