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Aging With Edge

By: Annet King
Posted: June 16, 2008, from the August 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Firmness. Firmness can be invigorated with peptides, vitamin C and retinol—all of which increase fibroblast activity to jump-start sluggish collagen, elastin and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) production. This makes the dermis thicker and more elastic. Enzyme inhibitors protect proteins from breaking down. Some ingredients, such as red algae, provide calcium to desmosomes, strengthening the bonds between cells. This, in turn, firms the epidermis through cell cohesion.

Regular, even skin tone. Skin tone improves with melanin inhibitors and natural brighteners. Explain why hydroquinone is a no-no—it actually depigments the skin instead of slowing down melanin production and may be an irritant in the long term. Phytic acid, rice enzymes, lactic acid, vitamin C, licorice and aspergillus all are safe, effective choices for brightening, as opposed to lightening or whitening.

Puffiness. Puffiness may be minimized by ingredients and techniques that assist in draining fluid from the area. Chamomile, ivy, butcher’s-broom and various forms of algae are beneficial botanicals. Pressure point massage and champissage (inspired by traditional Indian head massage) also may help. However, fatty tissue deposits need to be referred to a cosmetic surgeon for removal—no amount of eye gel can melt them away.

Don’t promise too much

Skin care is an aspect of health care and self-care, as well as energy work. In some ways, it comes close to real magic in the sense that human hands electrify product on the skin in a way that is amazing. However, there are client complaints that cannot be addressed by any topical treatment, any fantastic product or any lovely massage. When there is significant muscle and tissue flaccidity, more radical medical solutions should be explored. Conditions that will not be affected dramatically by skin care treatments include a hanging “turkey” neck under the chin, drooping eyelids, deep wrinkles, cellulite, a fold-over tummy and a southerly moving bosom or bottom. If you do choose to refer clients to a cosmetic surgeon, be sure that the physician’s credentials and reputation are impeccable, and that they are not motivated purely by the latest celebrity rage in the tabloids or on reality television.

Time-sensitive material

OK, you’re not a guru or a psychiatrist, although sometimes your clients treat you as if you were. However, you do wield tremendous psychological power by the way in which you approach age-sensitive clients. In addition to intelligent, scientifically driven and conservative-yet-compassionate treatments, you also can give them the gift of genuine acceptance. Although every client has a unique agenda and personal issues, meeting and treating every individual with true respect and appreciation will go a long way.