Added: Marsha Chalk - Date: 02.09.2021 14:54 - Views: 31991 - Clicks: 2312
Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. I recently had the opportunity to visit a very relaxing and beautiful day spa during the middle-of-the-day break from the sessions at a Keystone meeting. I was having a very tranquil and restorative day, when I went in for my final treatment — a facial. As a scientist, I know better. The bulk of the over-the-counter potions that day spas use are harmless and are meant to cleanse the skin and increase transient moisture retention, and to cleanse anything more than my skin seemed a mighty claim.
So I decided to embark on a difficult asment for the sake of the JCI readership: to determine whether a facial or other topical treatments are worthwhile investments to keep skin healthy and wrinkle free. And to see whether or not it is even possible for a topical treatment to cleanse the liver. Here are their perspectives on how to keep your skin and liver in the best state possible.
Given that the skin is our largest organ and certainly the most visible one, most of us would agree that taking care of it properly is important. To find out more about facials, I spoke with two estheticians neither of whom wanted to be named for this article at spas in New York City. I also spent some time reading esthetician blogs and other skin-care articles on the Internet.
According to the estheticians consulted, a professional facial usually includes some variation on these steps: a thorough cleansing of the skin; a skin analysis by the facialist; exfoliation; extraction of blackhe, clogged pores, and pimples if necessary; a facial massage; a treatment mask; and the application of serums, moisturizers, and sunscreens. Sometimes the facial includes a hand and arm massage, all in the pursuit of both healthier skin and relaxation. In order to preserve youthful skin in women , they advised quarterly facials, beginning around the age of She claimed that most people are using the wrong products for their skin type and that this causes the skin to become sensitized.
This is a message I can certainly agree with — the cosmetics sections of most department stores or even most drugstores have a dizzying array of options, and the marketing and packaging can seduce even the most logical of scientists. Splurging on the fancy packaging and boutique skin care can feel wonderfully indulgent, which in and of itself can have psychological benefits. This is a point the estheticians came back to again and again — the psychological impact a facial can have.
They claimed that the relaxing effect of the facial does nothing but benefit your skin and your overall mental and physical health. Sure, facials are a luxury because of the money and time spent, but think about the fact that you have over an hour of protected time without your cell phone ringing and your e-mail buzzing.
There is no way to underestimate the power of a little rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation. So just how much can relaxation do from a scientific point of view? In my experience, much of the relaxation comes from the massage component of a facial. Massage will help you to relax and will also reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body. Nor is the point about oxytocin completely accurate: two studies point to near minimal changes in oxytocin as a result of tactile stimulation 5 , 6.
The estheticians I spoke to and blogs I read went on to discuss other medical benefits to facials: regulation of the immune system, detoxification, reduction in fluid buildup, exfoliation, and lymphatic drainage. Antioxidant facials were claimed to contain free-radical—fighting nutrients that would help remove pollutants from the body perhaps cleansing my liver? High frequency electrical currents were also touted as being effective as part of a facial, with claims that they would enhance blood circulation, increase collagen and elastin production, eliminate toxins and bacteria, encourage lymphatic drainage, exfoliate dead skin cells, and improve skin-care product absorption.
I approached the bulk of these claims with suspicion. Given my hesitation about the medical benefits of topical skin treatments, I approached four dermatologists — three academic dermatologists George Cotsarelis, John R. Stanley, and Michael Detmar and one Fifth Avenue clinician Adarsh Mudgil in my neighborhood to answer some questions about facials and skin care. Apparently, a typical ingredient in an effective skin-care product can break up the dead stratum corneum cells and can cause a reactive proliferation of the basal keratinocytes, but most creams do not penetrate through the epidermis.
All the dermatologists spoke at length about retinoids, a class of chemical compounds that are related to vitamin A that can actually pass further into the dermis, including into the blood vessels, which then could have systemic effects.
In fact, tretinoin also known as retinoic acid or Retin-A is often used in the treatment of dermatological conditions, from photoaging to acne and psoriasis 7. All replied with an emphatic no. I think that statement belongs more to voodoo than to reality. We turned the conversation away from the liver and back to the face; I asked them if there would ever be a case in which there would be a medical benefit to getting a facial.
Whenever you have darker pigmentation, and the facialist squeezes out whatever is there — pimples and the like, they can do a lot more harm than good, in the sense that you can end up with hyperpigmentation which can take months to go away. The only one to disagree was Stanley, saying that a facial can achieve desquamation of dead cells. And there are certain types of facials that a dermatologist could do — with glycolic acid and that can cause inflammation, and with inflammation you get a little temporary edema, and with edema in your face, you look better because you see a transient improvement in fine wrinkling.
If you have less fluid in your skin, you look dry. On the point of fluid build up and lymphatic drainage, two of the academics saw different sides. A normal person does not have lymphatic problems on their face. When fluid leaks from blood vessels, it is taken up by the network of lymphatics: that is the normal flushing system in our bodies. During aging, especially if you have sun-damaged skin, then lymphatic function deteriorates and you have fewer lymphatic vessels 8 , 9. So promoting lymphatic flow can have benefits.
Whether or not this is achieved with a facial is a different story. Mudgil to assess my skin before and after a facial though I did not tell him what I was going to have done to my face to determine whether there was any noticeable difference. It can be very hard to tell with darker skinned Asians or Africans how old they are based on their skin. On the advice of several beauty-conscious friends, I chose a medi-spa run by a dermatologist in downtown Manhattan for a basic facial. I would say you have combination skin where it is oily in your T zone and dry everywhere else.
Your nose and cheeks also have some sun damage. You have no major wrinkles, but you really want to keep that area hydrated in order to prevent them from appearing. I went back to see Dr. Mudgil the day after having the facial to see whether he could ascertain what, if anything I had done to my face, but he noted that whatever I had done was subtle. Given that I had some subtle erythema between my brows, he postulated that I did something that was exfoliative — something perhaps like a chemical peel.
The area of the face with the greatest density of sebaceous glands is in your T zone — your nose probably has the most. People with more pigment in their skin tend not to harbor as much sun damage. Indians tend to have deeper-set eyes and more discoloration under their eyes.
My visit to Dr. He recommended a daily facial moisturizer with an SPF 15 in it, even if it is raining or snowing outside. I decided to further query the team of dermatologists about skin-care products and how best to maintain youthful skin, this time with a focus on topical, over-the-counter products.
Each one of our experts mentioned that the single most important thing to remember when trying to maintain youthful skin is the daily application of sunscreen — especially those with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which are actual physical blockers of the sun. What about other products, like cleansers? On this point, Cotsarelis pointed out that people used to use soap that advertised itself as being The point of soap is to remove oils, but the skin needs some oil and moisture. Use a tissue to wipe of the excess, and that creates a barrier and keeps the skin moisturized.
But would Vaseline work to prevent the appearance of aging? I moved on to ask the panel whether there should be a difference between the skin-care products used before and after age 50, given the enormous cosmetic marketing efforts aimed at older women. It is the skin type that is much more relevant than your age. And there are also the effects of gravity. So sure, if you have saggy, wrinkly skin, or brown spots, you would see a lot more benefit from lasers and peels and from topically applied compounds.
Is there any difference between the skin-care products created for men versus women? Other than that, sure, there are hormonal differences which could dictate use of certain components. Does the brand or the cost really matter? So much of skin and hair care is based on psychology. He said that if a product comes from a big company, the chance of having an adverse reaction is much smaller and the product is more likely to work as advertised, as the bigger companies tend to do more extensive testing before launching a product in the market.
Each batch is also probably quite different. So what about products that are branded as natural or organic — are they more effective or safer to apply to the skin? It can be a severe pigmentation problem and can cause a bad reaction. And that is a natural product. Last but not least, the ultimate goal for aging females like me: I asked the panel whether there are any topical treatments to reduce or prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and unsurprisingly, it all came back to retinoids.
Preventing their appearance is a different issue. The daily use of retinoids can prevent the appearance of wrinkles; they penetrate into the skin, can work on the extracellular matrix — the collagen and elastin fibers. Easy enough! Conflict of interest: The author has declared that no conflict of interest exists. Citation for this article: J Clin Invest. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List J Clin Invest v. J Clin Invest. Published online Feb 1. Ushma S. Author information Copyright and information Disclaimer. Phone: This article has been cited by other articles in PMC.
Abstract I recently had the opportunity to visit a very relaxing and beautiful day spa during the middle-of-the-day break from the sessions at a Keystone meeting. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. The consulting dermatologists, left to right: George Cotsarelis, John R. Stanley, Michael Detmar, and Adarsh Mudgil. Figure 2. Human skin is composed of two primary layers, the epidermis, containing the outermost layers, and the dermis, with the connective tissue, hair follicles, and blood and lymphatic vessels. Figure 3. The author, described as having both slightly sun-damaged and dehydrated skin, and also the perfectly normal skin of a something year old.
No comment on actual age at time of writing. Beauty is only skin deep but can it deepen with product application? Footnotes Conflict of interest: The author has declared that no conflict of interest exists. References 1. Skin Care Industry News. News and Information about the Skin Care Industry. Skin Care Industry Web site. Accessed December 16, Spa Industry Statistics.Massage for older 55 from younger
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