Through natural aging and photoaging our skin changes producing wrinkles and other esthetic damage to the skin. Photoaging is the changes in the skin from the repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays from the sun which also lead to significant aging of the skin. The symptoms of photoaging are dark spots on the skin be they freckles, moles, and a decrease in the amounts of collagen and elastin in our skin.
To reverse some of these signs of aging and photoaging, dermatologists can use a process called photorejuvenation. Photorejuvenation is a surgical procedure done by dermatology professionals using intense pulsed light, lasers, and cosmeceuticals to improve skin conditions and remove wrinkles. Cosmeceuticals are combination of cosmetics and pharmaceuticals that are combined to treat skin conditions produced from aging and photoaging
One photerejuvenation technique utilizes intense pulsed light (IPL). A cool gel is rubbed on the skin and a hand piece that generates the light is placed over the affected area of the skin. Controlled pulses of light penetrate the skin and heal broken capillaries which are tiny broken blood vessels. It helps stimulate the production of collagen and other connective tissues for improved appearance of the skin. It does require about 7 to 10 days of down time during which the patient should avoid sun exposure.
Another photorejuvenation procedure is laser resurfacing also known as a laser peel. The laser will remove the outermost layer of skin, called the epidermis, at the application area. At the same time it heats the next layer of skin called the dermis. The combination of removing the epidermis and heating the dermis stimulates the growth of new collagen and connective tissue fibers. As the skin heals it becomes smoother and firmer. Depending on the type of laser the recovery time varies. For CO2 laser resurfacing the recovery time is about 2 weeks, for eribium laser resurfacing the recovery time is about 1 week.
Cosmeceuticals are used as a photorejuvenation technique as well. Most cosmeceuticals contain biologically active ingredients to achieve their skin repairing results. Only topical treatments can be called cosmeceuticals though it is not a recognized term by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Common ingredients of cosmeceuticals include Retinoids, vitamin C, alpha-hydroxy acids, and topical growth factors. Application of different combinations of these compounds may stimulate repair mechanisms that result in improvements to photo damaged skin similar to those of IPL and laser resurfacing.