Medical and Health Notes
How To Rid the Skin of Barnacles
By Dr. W. Gifford Jones
Sunday, December 18, 2005
"Vanity, thy name is woman", wrote the immortal bard William Shakespeare hundreds of years ago. He was right. I know, because two years ago I wrote a column dealing with "cosmeceuticals" and mentioned Reversa, a cream that helps aging skin. The avalanche of mail from female readers stunned me and gave the postman a backache.
So this week let's forget about cholesterol and other depressing problems and talk about another cosmeceutical that gets rid of aging spots. Let's hope it also alerts everyone to the dangers of excessive sun exposure and saves needless deaths from skin cancer.
The way our skin ages depends on several factors. The most controllable factor of all is "photo-aging". Excessive exposure to the sun results in coarse, pebbly, rough wrinkled skin. But it also causes irregular pigmentation due to ultraviolet radiation.
The time clock also plays a major role in skin aging. Like ships, the skin acquires barnacles such as spots, lumps and bumps. None of us like it when we see these imperfections in the mirror and we sympathize with Shakespeare's Macbeth when he remarked, "Out, damned spot, I say".
Dr. Suzanne Gagnon, a noted Montreal dermatologist, says, " The skin breaks down due to several factors. In the top layers of the skin each individual cell is held together by a substance like the mortar that binds bricks together. Deeper, collagen and elastin make the skin flexible. And as years pass the mortar becomes less efficient and the collagen-elastin system is in short supply so the skin becomes thin and wrinkled."
This is why women's antennas lit up when I wrote about Reversa corrective night cream. This skin cream contains glycolic acid that helps to shed the outer layer of aging skin. It also has an anti-wrinkle micro-collagen along with vitamin C that acts to regenerate collagen and elastin. It's a far cry from grandmother's cold cream.
Another cream, Reversa UV, carries skin care a step further and may be the answer for many of my patients. The ones who point out brown spots on their skin to me, wondering why they've suddenly appeared, and begging me to get rid of them. These imperfections are often referred to as sun spots, age spots or liver spots. And they're usually first noticed by women over 40 years of age.
Age spots are due to an abnormal increase in the amount of melanin in the epidermal layer of skin. Since melanin production is stimulated by an enzyme, tyrosinase, the goal is to decrease the activity of this enzyme.
Reversa UV anti spot cream contains Rumex, which is very effective in inhibiting tyrosinase. It's an extract derived from plants native to the Canadian prairies with a long botanical history as a medicinal agent for the skin, a good choice for cosmetics due to its scarcity of side effects.
To increase the moisture level of the skin Reversa UV anti spot cream also contains hyaluronic acid, glycerine, vitamin E and panthenol. And to protect against further ultra-violet damage from the sun, the cream also contains UVAUVB sunscreen (made by the original formulators of Ombrelle). These are important additions because the sun causes brown spots faster than any agent can de-pigment the skin.
Remember there's no harm in a touch of vanity. By using these two creams we might all retain healthy and more attractive skin. This makes more sense than lining up for Botox injections that only last a few months or submitting to plastic surgery. I believe these measures represent the height of human folly.
What's more hazardous is ignoring medical pleas to guard against excessive sun exposure. This is why death from malignant melanoma is at an all time high.
Since I'm not a dermatologist I'll no longer look foolish when patients point to aging spots and ask me what to do. Perhaps I've also retained a little beauty in this country and that's not a bad idea. But, above all, I'm preaching sun sense that will save lives.
One plea. Please spare me requests for information about these products. They're available in drug stores. If you want more facts, call the toll-free number 1-800-465-8383
or visit the web site www.reversa.ca
W. Gifford-Jones M.D Most recent columns
W. Gifford-Jones M.D is the pen name of Dr. Ken Walker graduate of Harvard. Dr. Walker's website is: docgiff.com.
Dr. Walker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org