Facial aging can be a symbol of maturity and wisdom for some, while others view it as
the signal to the end of being young. During the 19
Centuries, physicians have
incorporated such cosmetic recipes into the practices of dermatology and plastic surgery,
developing a treatment known as “chemexfoliation” or “chemical peel.” Dermabrasion
techniques was developed
in the mid-1950s; more recently, state-of-the-art
medical lasers, which are usually equipped
with a computer-controlled device that delivers
laser energy, have been used
to resurface aging skin. A basic understanding of the layers and
function of skin, different types of treatment options, and potential outcomes will be discussed,
all which can help stop the signs of aging.
As a prerequisite to developing an understanding of the treatment techniques available
today-including chemexfoliation, dermabrasion, chemabrasion, and laser resurfacing as well as
therapeutic and prophylactic applications-one must have a basic knowledge of the structure and
function of the skin and the causes of aging skin.
Squamous epithelial cells-which form the epidermis; outer layer of skin, as stratified
squamous epithelium- differentiate as they move from the basal layer (stratum germinativum) to
the outermost layer (stratum corneum). They function with lipids in a brick-and-mortar fashion,
forming a physical barrier to the external environment. Melanocytes, also found in the
epidermis, produce melanin (pigment): Hyperpigmentation is seen when melanocytes increase
in numbers or activity. The dermis (the layer of the skin directly under the epidermis) consists
mostly of fibrous connective tissue, which is composed of collagen, elastic, and
(GAGs) which are formed by the dermal fibroblasts. Collagen provides
tensile strength; resiliency is provided
by the elastin, and
the GAGs provide the normal tension
of the extracellular space (by their large volume when well-hydrated).
Hair follicles, eccrine and
glands, peripheral-nerve endings, and blood vessels are also found in the dermis.