Text by: Dr. Glena Fe Yapchulay-Alcabasa
When was the first time you took a look at yourself in the mirror, scrutinizing each pore? Under an unforgiving, near-microscopic gaze, you probably discovered those mini black dots and zits on your face, and concluded that you need a facial treatment ASAP.
The next question is, how young should one start to have a facial treatment? If talking about the basic procedure, which involves plainly cleaning the face, a person should start the regimen at the soonest possible time. Even at the nursery room, this regimen is done to newborn babies! But when it comes to professional treatments, there is no hard and fast rule regarding the age when it’s best to start.
However, experience-based medicine dictates that when one starts to see facial lesions, particularly comedones (because facial lines are easier to see in adults), a gentle and basic cleaning can be done.
Acne formation is very common among teenagers because this is when the sebaceous glands are most active due to hormonal changes. Fortunately, this is also the time when teenagers are very conscious about their looks, particularly their facial skin. This ‘teenager’s emergency situation’ prompts the youngster to ask his or her parents to seek a skin specialist.
A basic facial cleaning can be done but it cannot be too harsh, such as pricking the comedones so that the young skin will be hurt.
So just how basic is the basic treatment? A facial cleaning using mild cleansers, toners or solutions, and mask that will address the problem skin is enough. The dermatologist will determine if there is a need to do comodonal extraction (it is like pricking the blackheads and whiteheads, the one you feel painful and makes you teary–eyed) or intralesional injection to shrink the inflamed lesion. The use of diamond peels, lasers and other machines will also be up to the doctor because patients have varying needs and sensitivities.
Every two weeks to a month, a visit to a skin specialist is recommended. It is better to see a specialist than to try random soaps or astringents. The skin health specialist understands your skin from a scientific point of view and could recommend better products more suitable to your age and skin condition.
Remember that adolescents are at that stage between childhood and adulthood. Thus, their skin is also in a period of transition. Self-medicating may pose more risks than benefits.
A monthly visit to a facial clinic is enough to maintain good skin. Our skin takes 30 days to move up from the dermis to the outer layer, epidermis. The dry, flaky skin part of the epidermis. This layer of the skin is like the house floor, where we do the all the washing, brushing, and polishing. These “general cleaning” exfoliations are best done at facial centers where trained professionals can do the work of cleansing your pores for you.
For those with oily, acne-prone skin, or problematic skin with clogged pores, an interval of 2 weeks is recommended to clear and correct the “clutter” on the skin. Once the skin has improved, the dermatologist may increase the interval by two weeks.
But, the most important advice for teeners is to avoid pricking their own pimples because it can aggravate and cause more damage to the skin.
After the teenage years of pimple break-outs, comes the 20s. At this age, an individual must be doing preventive measures against premature aging. Whether you see an age line on your skin or not, you should have a good basic facial treatment once a month, as well as a home care kit that contains cleanser, toner, moisturizer, sunblock for daily personal treatments.
In the mid- to late 20s, skin starts to age slowly as it loses it’s ability to retain moisture. Anti-aging facial treatments can be started at this age.
By the 30s, the youthful glow starts to diminish and dull skin starts appearing because skin regeneration is slowing. During this period, people go skin doctors for not only anti-aging facial treatments, but also for other minimally invasive procedures such as lasers for rejuvenation, collagen stimulation via dermarollers, botox injections, adding of fillers, threading, and the use of different machines to lift and tighten the slightly sagging skin.
At the 40s the regimen continues as the we continue the battle that is aging.
In our 50s, those with poor skin elasticity and those who started late in dealing with aged skin, more invasive procedures can be suggested, such as facelifts and eyebag removal. But of course, with the advancement of technology, facials and machines can still do wonders. Treatment modalities add up as age increases, to maintain good ageless skin.
Taking good care of your skin at an early age with the help of specialists is like investing to profit in the long run. As you age, the product of your labors will be clearly seen. And this is all thanks to the zits that first alarmed you to seek and discover proper skin care.
Dr. Glena Fe A. Yapchulay-Alcabasao is a skin health physician for the Belo Medical Group and the Executive Secretary and CME Committee Head of the Philippine Association of Primary Skin Health Physician, Inc (PAPSHPI). She is an alumni of Medical Skin Health Training Foundation and National Skin Center-Singapore. She is also an international affiliate member of World Society of Interdisciplinary Anti-aging Medicine.
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