Six Weeks to Younger-Looking Skin

“With current technology, doctors are able to give your skin a new identity,” says Neal Schultz, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City. To prove our point, we found four women who allowed us to put these promises to the test

Images loading...

The Overtanner

Dena Daniel, 49

Growing up in Kansas, Dena spent summers frying in the sun, enhancing her tan by any means possible. “With enough effort, I could turn my skin a milky-coffee brown, but the price was freckles,” she says. “At the end of the summer, I wasn’t sure whether I had a true tan or all my freckles had simply merged.” By college, Dena had given up her quest for a perfect bronze but still made little effort to actively protect her skin, maxing out at SPF 8. This approach lasted until just last year when Dena started noticing the negative effects of all her tanning. “Aging comes in waves for me, and the latest burst yielded crepey skin around my eyes and dark freckles all over my face that wouldn’t fade, even in the winter,” she says.

Christian Witkin

The Overtanner

The Solution


Schultz knew he could make the freckles disappear, but Dena needed to sign on for a rather intensive regimen. “We did 10 glycolic acid peels, plus three YAG laser treatments to smooth, brighten and even out her skin tone,” he says. To minimize the crow’s-feet, Schultz used a little Botox, and to diminish the under-eye darkness, he injected her tear troughs with hyaluronic acid fillers (a combo of Restylane and Juvéderm). At home, Dena followed a detailed routine: a gentle cleanser, a mild bleaching cream to accelerate freckle fading, glycolic exfoliating pads, plus a glycolic cream to boost radiance—and SPF 50.

In just six weeks, Dena saw her freckles disappear, and Schultz says she can expect the results to endure, but only if she stays out of the sun. “We can undo damage from the past, but it’s up to her to prevent more,” he says. Not a problem, says Dena. “I will definitely be using stronger sunscreen and buying cosmetics that have SPF built in,” she vows. “I want to keep my skin looking this good!”

Christian Witkin

The Acne Sufferer

Sarah Litt Cole, 42
 

Sarah has battled acne—and the subsequent scarring—for nearly three decades. “The breakouts started in my teens and have barely let up over the years, even when I was on birth control, which many people told me would be the solution to the chronic flare-ups,” she says. “Today my skin is a bit better than it was 10 years ago, but I still get pimples related to stress, too little sleep and certain foods.” What’s more, she has noticed it’s taking longer for pimples to heal.

Christian Witkin

The Acne Sufferer

The Solution


Fredric Brandt, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist, and an associate in his practice, Robert Anolik, MD, met with Sarah in their Manhattan office and decided on a series of treatments with four lasers: the Gemini and the Vbeam, for more superficial spots; the Fraxel Restore, to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layer of skin; and the Clear + Brilliant, to give a polished look. In addition to reducing the appearance of existing acne scars, “the lasers improve any redness or inflammation in the skin, giving it a healthy glow,” Anolik explains.

On her own, Sarah adhered to a new morning and evening regimen that included a gentle cleanser, a Clarisonic brush, two prescription products (Finacea, a topical gel containing azelaic acid to kill acne-causing bacteria, and Differin, a gel with acne-fighting vitamin A), an oil-free moisturizer and, during the day, sunblock. Keeping track of all the steps did take diligence, but a week into her makeover, Sarah was managing well, and her skin was already clearing up.

The biggest surprise came after Sarah’s first encounter with the Fraxel Restore. “It took several days for the dead, dry skin to flake off, which the doctor had told me would happen,” she says.“But when it did, what lay beneath was astonishing, and I do not use the word lightly. My skin tone evened out in a way I had no idea was possible. I went from skeptic to total believer.” The Gemini and Vbeam lasers—which vaporize small blood vessels on the face, thus evening tone—are fixes for the redness but not cures, says Anolik: Down the road, the formation of new blood vessels close to the skin’s surface may require another round of treatment, which Sarah says would be a worthwhile investment. “I’m amazed by my skin’s transformation,” she says. “I never dreamed we would be able to make such a difference and in such a short time.”

Christian Witkin

The Smoker

Alison Grant, 50

Alison picked up smoking as a high school freshman and maintained the habit through college. She quit briefly after graduation but resumed her pack-a-day ways when she went to work for Club Med in the Caribbean. “All the European guests smoked,” she says. In the ensuing 25 years, her affair with cigarettes has been on again, off again. After 9/11, in her job as a psychotherapist, the stress of treating patients for the emotional fallout from the disaster reignited her addiction. Concerned about her health, she finally broke the habit in 2002—but realized later that her looks had suffered, too. “About five years ago, I started noticing vertical lines around my lips,” she says. “I’m guessing the looseness and dryness of skin around my mouth are also by-products of smoking.”

Christian Witkin

The Smoker

The Solution


Fusco opted to treat Alison with two Fraxel Restore laser sessions. She also injected Belotero, a hyaluronic acid filler, into the lines around her lips, as well as the “marionette” grooves on either side of her mouth. Finally, she gave Alison a touch of Botox in her forehead to smooth things out there, too. Posttreatment, the smoker’s lines around Alison’s mouth vanished completely (part of the price: As with any filler, she had mild swelling and bruising for a few days). Between her two laser treatments, she followed a simple at-home routine: a gentle cleanser, a cream to even skin tone, a moisturizer, a night treatment with retinol and an eye cream.

Six weeks after Alison began treatment, her skin was totally rejuvenated. The lines were gone, and so was the uneven tone. “It’s amazing,” she says. “I wanted to do something nice for myself on my 50th birthday, and this is a perfect way to launch my new commitment to taking better care of my skin.”

Christian Witkin

The Skin-Care Neglecter

Kimmy Schregardus, 44

Good genes and a healthy lifestyle helped Kimmy slide through four decades without giving her skin much thought. “I took it for granted,” she admits. “Until my thirties, it wasn’t like I even just washed with soap and water—I only washed my face in the shower, unless it felt literally dirty, like from being out on a hike.” But a few years ago, everything changed. “I looked in the mirror one day and was like, ‘Whoa!’ ” says Kimmy. Seemingly overnight, lines had popped up around her eyes, and spots marred her once-even skin tone. Suddenly she was in need of a new beauty routine—actually, any beauty routine!

Christian Witkin

The Skin-Care Neglecter

The Solution


Gervaise Gerstner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and the consulting dermatologist for L’Oréal Paris, came up with a plan to revive Kimmy’s dull skin without an overwhelming number of products and procedures. “We gave Kimmy two treatments with the Clear + Brilliant laser, which is less invasive—it doesn’t penetrate the skin layers quite as deeply as some other ­lasers—but still gives skin a healthy glow,” says Gerst­ner. In addition, she used trichloroacetic acid to lighten several darker spots on Kimmy’s face and in-office microdermabrasion to gently buff the skin for an allover glow. At home, Kimmy was asked to use a gentle cleanser, followed by brightening pads, a serum to correct dark spots and the prescription-strength gel Duac, which calms inflammation. During the day, she began wearing SPF 15.Z

“Even though the doctor streamlined the regimen for me, it still seemed like a lot at first, and my skin was a little irritated,” says Kimmy. But she gamely kept at it, admitting that the routine felt considerably easier after she learned to distinguish a serum from a moisturizer. After four weeks, the difference in skin tone and smoothness was dramatic. “I have no interest in looking younger than my age,” she says. “I just want to look great for my age.” Mission accomplished.

Christian Witkin

Next: 20 Must-Haves for Skin—Below the Neck

Want MORE? Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here


Click here for 16 Products to Hide Skin Damage

Christian Witkin
First published in the June 2013 issue

What’s your reaction?

Comments

Jean Powell04.06.2014

Finally an article that refers to skin issues I can relate to! Now if there had been someone like myself with sensitive skin, acne and life scars, wrinkles, LARGE pores, dark circles (suddenly at 45) and a severe dislike of SPF due to skin reactions; well, then I would have really been happy! At 47 it is tough to find anything, anywhere that takes ALL the issues into consideration for one person. What we get is like this article. Each issue broken is down into separate examples when most of us, at least in So. Cal have all of these issues. And let's face it; most of us can't afford one of the example treatments much less all of them to treat the mish mash of lifes path we wear on our faces!!
Michele Powell
Wearing My Life On My Face...

Jill Scalisi02.08.2014

An important point here needs to be emphasized. Daily sunscreen protection is imperative for both health and beauty reasons. Up to 90% of the visible changes to the skin commonly attributed to aging are actually caused by the sun. And, contrary to popular belief, 80% of a person's lifetime sun exposure is not acquired before age 18; only about 23% of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18. The best wrinkle cream is one that is an anti aging moisturizer with SPF 30. This needs to be used daily, year round and regardless of whether you are indoors or outdoors; it will help not only repair wrinkles but help prevent new ones from forming.
Jill Scalisi
www.ScalisiSkincare.com

Post new comment

Click to add a comment
Health
Relationships
Events
Member Voices
Clothes
Shoes & Accessories
Trends
Woman of Style and Substance
Swim & Lingerie
Forums