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
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!