The modern skin specialist in the medical and aesthetics field are constantly being led to believe by manufacturers that peeling of the skin is the top of the line when it comes to removing wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or superficial scars. The real truth is; the removal of dead and dying skin cells is only step one in effective skin revision. New skin cells are partially controlled by desmosomes. The proliferation of new skin cells to the surface of the skin has a definite pattern or rhythm.
When the skin is attacked too aggressively with high potency acids, lasers, or high velocity microdermabrasion devices, the desmosomes release new skin cells which rush to the surface in defense of the skin. This occurs much faster than their normal rhythm. The result is usually more of a controlled scar instead of a normal skin revision.
Although I have researched many alternative removal systems around the world, there is a procedure that closely resembles the effects of the CO2 laser but without the temporary contraindications and potential hypopigmentation that often accompanies laser surgery. I call this technique 'liquid laser' and find it extremely effective as both a removal and rebuilding treatment due to its high vitamin A content.
Vitamin A has long been used as a 'cell renewal' vitamin both internally and topically, especially in the case of acne clients. Over the years, particularly in the 1980s, retinoids, derivatives of vitamin A, were used widely as 'peeling' agents. The popularity of the drug Retin-A swept across America like a storm leaving a lot of skin damage in its path due to the indiscriminate use of the drug by persons who did not respond well to its principle ingredient, tretinoin.
Fortunately, there is a removal system that also rebuilds at the same time and works very well with the new, 'enzymatic lifts' currently stunning the beauty therapy world.
Retinoids however, come in various strengths and each has a slightly different effect in the skin. Tretinoin is the strongest, hence its drug status in the U.S. But strong does not always mean the most effective. Other combinations of retinoids, when properly formulated can gently remove dead skin cells without contraindications and provide energy that helps the DNA of the cells keep the cell alive much longer. Certain retinoids mixed with combinations of vitamin C stimulate fresh, new collagen fibers in the skin that can tighten and firm aging skin progressively.
The retinoid family consists of Tretinoin, Retinyl, Retinal, Retinoic Acid, and Retinol. There are other combinations, but these are the major ones. If combined with Beta Carotene, Retinyl Palmitate, small amounts of Resorcinol, and Potassium Sorbate; Retinol becomes a non-invasive but near miraculous removal tool. Further research has shown that if the above combinations are blended into a transdermal lotion (a water soluble vegetable lipid base) the entire formula will store in the voids of the skin after daily application for hours, gently detaching the dead and dying cells from the underlying epidermis while depositing the regenerative powers of vitamin A into the newer, living cells. This duel action type of treatment is mainly performed at home by the client after an initial clinic treatment and followed by a final visit to the clinic for what I call the 'lift off treatment'.
The Art of Conversion
A new approach to making sure the receptor specific openings that line the cell wall membrane do not become overloaded and toxic (vitamin A can become toxic in higher concentrations becoming popular in the beauty therapy field).
Conversion simply means combining two or more ingredients together that, when applied topically to skin, convert to another ingredient or action within the skin; accomplished by using the skin's own enzymatic processes. Beta Carotene is non-toxic to skin cells in any concentration, but does not become vitamin A until it is inside the skin (or your body). Once the skin's own enzyme processes convert it to vitamin A, it deposits just enough into the cell wall membrane to be beneficial to the life of the cell and then on its way out of the epidermis exfoliates dead cells – sort of a 'remove and rebuild' action!
On the day of the liquid laser treatment the client's skin is cleansed with a low pH, preferably a natural surfactant cleanser. White oak bark, yucca plant extract, and other types of saponins are often used in this type of cleanser.
Following the cleansing, the client has an 'occlusion' mask application. This is accomplished by simply applying a low strength and low pH alpha hydroxy acid blend to the client's face, neck, décolleté, and even the backs of the client's hands if needed. A surgical swab is preferred for this step. Swabs have more control getting the AHA serum down into deeper wrinkles than brushes and are more professional. The serum used should not depend solely on glycolic acid, due to its small molecular size and its bad habit of wandering around unpredictably in areas of the skin that can become irritated. This would include the nostrils of the nose, mouth, and even the eyes.
I have found that combining lactic, glycolic, and malic acids make a much better serum. Adding a little citric acid (a chondroitan sulfate) helps to maintain dermal hydration as AHAs are hydroscopic in nature and are known to dehydrate skin. The pH of this type of serum should not be above 3.02 on the pH scale. If its pH goes much higher, the AHAs turn to organic salts and will have little effect on the skin.
After the entire area is coated with the serum, plastic wrap is then laid on the client's face, neck, décolleté, etcetera. and molded into place for about 10 minutes. After the time has elapsed, the serum is washed completely from the skin and the skin is patted dry.
The next step is to lightly massage the 'liquid laser' retinoid lotion into the skin, covering the same areas as were covered in the occlusion mask. The client may experience a slight tingling or itching sensation at this point. This is normal and means the ganglia (nerve endings) are responding to the message that dead cells are slowly being detached from the underlying tissue.
If the client is having this treatment on a sunny day, a final application of a grease-free transdermal sunblock, SPF 30 is advised. Although non-traumatic, the liquid laser treatment is highly active. Any unusual activity in the skin cells will encourage pigmentation problems if exposed to too much sun. Sun radiation creates a yellowish substance called Lipofuscin in the skin, which then becomes a free radical and attacks all the normal cell activity in the skin.
The client then takes a bottle of the retinoid lotion home with them and applies it every night religiously. For about two days, the client will not notice a difference in their skin or any massive 'peeling'. But, they must be cautioned that all at once they will turn darker, with a yellowish tone to their skin. Tissue around the eyes and mouth will suddenly look much more wrinkled and older, noticeable to their spouses or friends. This is merely dead cell material and other impurities lifting up from the corneum base. Anything dead and dry with a protein nature will turn dark and wrinkled looking.
This is a good sign the treatment is working effectively, but if you do not counsel your client in advance that this may occur, they will complain that you 'ruined' their skin and even panic. I have found that they still panic, even with an explanation; therefore, we always monitor clients daily until the treatment is completed.
Normally by the seventh to tenth day of nightly application of the lotion the client starts seeing brand new, pink, and firm skin appearing as the older epidermis falls away in the shower or while they wash their face in the morning. However we have also discovered that the older the client is, the faster results appear. I had a 30 year old woman in Germany take up to 17 days to exfoliate completely. When she started the treatment she had only a few tiny lines on her face and uneven, coarse skin tone. By the time she was at the tenth day, she looked around 60 years of age and her husband phoned me in Los Angeles from Hamburg in a state of anger and panic. I calmed him down and promised to speak to the doctor who had performed the treatment, a man who was on our German research team and an expert. In about another week she had her final 'lift off' treatment and her skin looked like a porcelain doll! I received a beautiful, Versace porcelain vase from a grateful husband a few weeks later!
Danné Montague-King is a worldwide leader in the field of skin rejuvenation. He was one of the first biochemists to recognize the power of enzymes to hydrate and tighten the skin and the benefit of vitamin C therapy for collagen in human skin. Danné is a tireless educator who annually travels throughout the world conducting lectures and training for professionals and consumers. As a journalist, Danné is a regular contributor to many of the world's most important professional journals including: Australian Beauty, Beauty New Zealand, DERMASCOPE Magazine, Health & Beauty, Irish Beauty, Les Nouvelles Esthetique, Professional Beauty, and Shjkonnet og Helse. www.dannemking.com