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I on Beauty: Chapter 11 - Six Dermatological Breakthroughs to Defy Age: Part II

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Photo from the collection of Irene Michaels.

In the first part of this piece, I discussed a popular procedure, fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing, as well as revolutionary anti-aging ingredients Vitamin A, Helioplex, and Mexoryl SX. I now continue with three additional advancements in skincare science.

Advanced Wrinkle-filling Injections

Dependent on our natural skin cycle, creams and serums generally require several weeks of continuous use before significant results are noticed. Wrinkle injections, however, provide instant results by adding volume to skin exactly and only where desired. They are also much more natural looking and far less painful than surgery, with side effects generally limited to mild, temporary swelling or irritation at the injection site.

Perlane, Juvéderm and Radiesse have emerged onto the market and generated great excitement among customers. Those who have enjoyed the effects of the widely popular filler Restalyn may benefit most from Perlane, a "thicker" version of the filler. Juvéderm has gained notoriety because it not only acts as an effective filler but even contains hyaluronic acid, which has been shown to generate collagen production and disrupt its break-down.

The price of injections usually ranges from $500 to $1000 per syringe, and results last about a year or longer, making this a great option for those unafraid of needles and with money to spend.


Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants is recommended for good health, but we now know that topically applied antioxidants are also important for protecting skin from the damaging free-radicals to which we're constantly bombarded through exposure to air pollution or sunrays. Essentially, these free-radicals are unstable molecules that "steal" electrons from the structures that make up a healthy skin cell. This impairs the cells' functions and slows down regeneration. Antioxidants are highly attractive to these free-radicals and essentially intercept them before they damage our cells.

While products containing antioxidants CoQ10 and vitamins C and E have been on the market for a while, discovery of the coffee berry has been particularly exciting to researchers. Often found near the equator, this fruit thrives in conditions of intense sun exposure. Many studies have found that the potency of antioxidants from this fruit is much greater than that of other antioxidants, which means greater protection for us. The best-performing cosmeceuticals seem to combine several complementary antioxidants for extra protection.

Clinique's Continuous Rescue Antioxidant Moisturizer is a customer favorite, costing $39.50 for 1.7 ounces. For the same quantity of product, you can also try Neutrogena's Antioxidant Age Reverse Day Lotion or Night Cream for only $17.99.


For biologists, peptide is a very nonspecific word that refers to the amino-acid chains that make up protein. In cosmetics, peptides refer to a select few of these amino-acid chains. Palmitoyl peptapeptide-3, known commercially as Matrixyl, is one such peptide. It has actually been shown to stimulate collagen production in the skin. As you already know, collagen gives our skin firmness, but it breaks down over time. As we age, our skin loses the ability to recognize when collagen needs to be replaced. Matrixyl signals our cells to restart collagen production, thus firming our skin over time.

While Matrixyl is the most widely used peptide in skincare, there are others that work to boost collagen production or to address other skin concerns. Argireline, for instance, is a wrinkle-relaxing peptide that affects the face in a manner similar to Botox. This peptide blocks neurotransmitters that signal muscle contraction--but without the toxicity of the Botox agent. As research on Argireline continues, we can hope that an even better delivery system will increase efficacy of the peptide and provide a safer, equally effective substitute for Botox.

Most skincare companies have now incorporated peptide containing creams or serums into their product lines. Best-sellers include Olay Regenerist Micro-Sculpting Cream, retailing at $29.99 for 1.7 ounces and Osmotics Blue Copper 5 Face Lifting Serum at $75 per ounce.

Ultimately, each of us must individually consider the cost, time, and relative benefits of each skincare treatment or regimen before determining what is best for ourselves. I have seen friends experience great results with fractional CO2 laser skin resurfacing while others opt for new, advanced topical creams, not being able to accommodate the downtime associated with a laser procedure. In the end, a trusted, board-certified dermatologist can be a valuable liaison to the world of skincare science. Hopefully this article has provided helpful suggestions that you can discuss with yours.

Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season & New Year!

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