Getting to real reason OptimalU exists: I care about how your skin ages

I am often asked how I became so passionate about skin care and aging. So I thought I would outline the information I gathered before I even thought of opening my practice as well as educate you a bit on one of the anti-aging technologies I embrace. Research into anti-aging skin care at one point became a huge focus for me, so I encourage you to read on.

First of all, you may not realize the largest organ of your body is your skin. We tend to take for granted that which holds everything in is just there — keeping our organs from falling out or being exposed. Skin can be one of the most neglected organs, not considered a part of overall health maintenance as we age.  Yet skin can speak volumes about us to others as well as to what we see in the mirror.  Our skin often reveals our age as well as provides clues to our overall health status. It’s almost instantly evident when I see a new client if they have experienced too much sun exposure, became challenged with acne scarring, possesses unbalanced hormones, or simply has not looked after this gigantic body organ. Sadly, even patients as young as their 30s and 40s have come in to my office with wrinkles and skin discoloration — early signs of aging.  

My practice and aging skin …

The beginning signs of aging skin are subtle at first.  Wrinkles start to show mostly with expression lines around the eyes and forehead.  Then these wrinkles become static wrinkles in the skin.  Skin color becomes dull. Pores enlarge. And loss of collagen promotes skin laxity.  At first this seems like a cosmetic inconvenience.  However, aging skin also means a decrease in skin cell turnover and in some individuals this will lead to skin cancer.  This is one of the reasons skin cancer rises dramatically in individuals over the age of 50.   Well into midlife skin cell turnover significantly declines.  So slowing the aging process is not simply a cosmetic issue — it’s a real health concern. Studying this aspect of skin health is what got me the most interested in opening my med spa. As many of you know, I will perform procedures on my patients if — and only if — I believe that procedure will aid in the appearance of aging as the years progress. That means I often turn down those who come to me for purely cosmetic reasons if I see their request as something that will not serve their skin in the long run. There are plenty of practitioners out there who are happy to accommodate them and have different philosophies from my own.

The research behind what I do…

In the past, patients were told to stay healthy by eating a good diet, stop smoking, watch the  alcohol intake, get sleep, and actively manage stress — activities that result in youth maintenance on the inside. These habits promote healthy DNA in all cells of the body.  Unfortunately, there were few options to rejuvenate the skin and reverse the aging process going on on the outside.  In 2000, a Stanford professor Dr. Anne Chang was studying the genes responsible for aging.  She researched why skin grows old and discovered that more than 2000 genes were responsible for the overall aging process of the skin.  Another Stanford professor, Dr. Patrick Bitter Jr., was inventing a device for cosmetic improvements of the skin.  The FDA had had already approved the device for treating redness such as rosacea and abnormal skin pigment or age spots.  This  broad band light device, called BBL, was successfully shown to brighten and tighten the skin on the face.  However in the early 2000s, Dr. Bitter had yet to discover why the device produced such great skin results. 

After attending a medical lecture given by Dr. Chang, Dr. Bitter suggested a collaboration with her.  That collaboration resulted in the a medical study from the Stanford University indicating the BBL device made by Sciton® restored the activity levels of about 1,300 of the 2,300 age-related and damaged genes of older women’s skin.  This study was a break-through moment, with the medical community saying, “Gene Expression of aged skin more closely resemble young skin with the use of Sciton Broad Band Light treatment.”  Other studies from Stanford have been published and validate this claim.  DNA from patients has been sequenced and indicates an increase in skin cell activity with BBL treatments.  Finally. A way to rejuvenate the skin and partially reverse the aging process at the DNA level.  The BBL device is now referred to as the “Forever Young BBL” as patients who routinely get treatments appear to defy the skin aging process.  The BBL is great for patients of light to medium skin tone who wish to maintain younger looking skin. 

When all is said and done, you’ve got YOU under your skin …

If you are fortunate enough to have young, healthy looking skin, start a skin health care plan now.  Good skin care products including sunscreen and a targeted method of encouraging skin cell turnover will provide beautiful skin as you age.  My advice? Don’t wait to begin treating your constantly-aging skin. Start now and you’ll be ahead of the game. Just as you know diet and exercise can keep feeling better and moving like a younger version of yourself, so do treatments like BBL. Feel free to call me at  916.886.0220 for a consultation to see if you are a candidate.

~Dr. Andrea Tse