There’s a new weapon in the arsenal against aging. In the last few years, doctors have developed lots of techniques to help us look younger than our age. Now as Dr. Dean Edell reports, the latest wrinkle involves a blast of sand. DEAN EDELL, M.D. “One look in the mirror and many of us would like to turn back the clock – or at least slow it down a little. And nowadays it seems, we can.
“First came acid to burn those wrinkles away; of course, it took some suffering to get all that smoothness. Next, came the high-tech laser, which can zap away unsightly imperfections. But, both of these processes usually leave the face red and raw for weeks or even months afterwards.
“Now suppose you’re using too much of the wrong kind of soap and you’re not moisturizing enough, or you have some sun damage or some discoloration. These things are in the superficial top layer of the skin and all these techniques work by removing that damaged layer, which can be painful and harsh because it may be overkill.
“Well, there’s a new technique out that promises a more gentle result, which is surprising since it involves essentially sandblasting your wrinkles away.”
RICHARD GLOGAU, M.D./UCSF DERMATOLOGIST “It is sandblasting, but it’s in miniature. We call it microdermabrasion or particle-peeling.”
“It’s just when you initially put it down the stream starts. Look carefully and you can see tiny pulses of the aluminum oxide crystals that are blown under pressure.
“This is useful for the person who’s not been using their sunscreen religiously, has got some early pigmentary and wrinkling changes from sun damage but who really can’t afford the time out of work.”
NOREEN FEIG/PATIENT “A friend of mine had the procedure done, and I noticed a drastic difference, and said ‘What’s going on with your face?’”
DEAN EDELL, M.D. “Noreen decided to try it herself to eliminate sun damage and get a smoother look. Because the particle peel technique is less abrasive, it takes a course of six treatments to gradually abrade away skin damage.
“Microscopic pictures of the skin’s surface show successive treatments slowly remove the damaged top layer of skin.”
RICHARD GLOGAU, M.D./UCSF DERMATOLOGIST “I think you can see the pinkness.”
DEAN EDELL, M.D. After the treatment the skin is pink but that fades in about an hour.
RICHARD GLOGAU, M.D./UCSF DERMATOLOGIST “Typically the patient with bad sun damage will get a series of these peels and in between we’re using retin-a, alpha hydroxy acids, hydroquin and bleaches.”
DEAN EDELL, M.D. “Noreen is already seeing a difference after only two treatments.”
NOREEN FEIG/PATIENT “Time can be reversed actually. And the spots can be lightened and your pores be made smaller. And your face is just overall generally a better-looking face.”
DEAN EDELL, M.D. “Not bad for a few grains of sand.”
END NOTE This is essentially a “light-weight” alternative, good for fine lines and sun damage; for deep lines, you may need lasers or a facelift. The particle peel is so new some doctors may not know about it – but it should be sweeping the country soon.