Articles by Rick Lesser
HOPE OR HYPE – Reversing Wrinkles: The Truth About Alpha-hydroxy Acids,
Retin-A & the Sun
An original Rick Lesser article, as seen in Fountain Magazine:
Ponce de Leon set forth in search of the Fountain of Youth in 1513 and humanity has been on a continuous quest ever since. Even before then there were lotions, potions and remedies passed down from generation to generation. Someone always has a beauty secret to share. From mud to herbs, aromatherapy to fruit, oatmeal and even sugar, spice and other things nice, promoters tout that if you slap it on or lather it up, you’ll become a new you.
With the the 21st century almost upon us, have we come any closer to finding the secret of youth and a way to preserve the skin? Silent and immobile, the skin is the body’s gatekeeper and its most visible organ. It monitors and regulates our temperature; it breathes, sweats, secretes and wards off a veritable onslaught of front line invaders: the wind, the sun, the environment. It also projects our emotions and our health. While deep wrinkles, laugh lines and crow’s feet are testament of wisdom and experience, the supple softness and clarity of youthful skin is what we’re after.
According to Dr Arthur Sosis, chief of dermatology at Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pennsylvania, 80% of the changes that occur in our skin that we associate with aging are actually due to sun exposure. “If you look at the buttocks of an 80-year-old person, they don’t look wrinkled like their face,” he says. The common sense answer, STAY OUT OF THE SUN, aside, skin care has definitely come a long way. Pharmaceutical doses of tretinoin, a vitamin A derivative, more commonly called Retin-A and Alpha-hydroxy Acids (AHA’s), or “Fruit Acids” as they’re called, show promise in smoothing wrinkles and fighting signs of aging.
In the case of the glycolics, fruit enzymes and sugar cane are being blended with the help of modern technology to rediscover a natural age-old remedy. Made from grapes, apples and citrus and blended with glycolic acid derived from sugar cane, they’re one of the simplest of a group of naturally occurring acids. These acids work as a natural exfoliant, sloughing off dead skin cells that build up on the epidermis (outer layer) of the skin. This dead tissue can be associated with many of today’s common skin conditions, and when it is removed newer skin emerges.
Retin A, AHA’s and glycolic acids have also been shown to diminish fine lines, even pigmentation and age spots. Even acne, in some cases, can be better controlled. “For the most part acne can be treated and helped,” says Sosis. While acne can’t be cured, common treatments include Retin-A or Accutane for severe cases, but they do have some side effects, unlike the glycolics. Since it takes 28 days to rejuvenate the skin cells, in the case of the glycolics again, the acids help to promote the peeling effect more quickly, and cosmetic companies jumped to bring these acids to the consumer.
If you are looking to try these products, always consult a professional first.
Is this preventive maintenance for the young, renewed hope for the mature? Only time will tell. As I see it, Ponce de Leon would be proud. He’d also stay out of the sun if he were smart!