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Dr. Dean Kane – The Art of Hurt: Skin Tightening & Collagen Formation

The Art of Hurt: Skin Tightening and Collagen Formation Blog

Why does injury, inflammation and collagen have anything to do with cosmetic enhancement. In fact, the art of controlled “hurt” has everything to do with everything cosmetic. Let me explain and you will then begin the process of understanding why healing and rejuvenation are so closely related. I am not talking about “50 Shades” of emotional hurt (as in E.L. James steamy novels). This is about controlling the human body’s natural response to form collagen, i.e., scar to tighten skin and make one appear younger. The search for the fountain of youth is the ability to change aging lax skin into a tighter, more elastic rejuvenated personal wrap. At least a half dozen generations of machines using energy sources from heat to light to laser to radio frequency, ultrasound and focused ultrasound, internally and externally pursue this holy grail! Everyone of these machines use the concept that heating skin collagen, a protein, will contract the fibers and stimulate a 6-12 week long human inflammatory reaction to develop more “beauty” scar. It is the hope, that one day, similar technology will control the healing response to generate not only the correct collagen or scar but also elastin, hyaluronic acid and other skin molecules which will thicken the dermis, stimulate skin cell turnover, create an even color tone and improve skin circulation; much as retinoids such as Retin-A® do now. Retin-A®, a vitamin A with acidic properties is able to exfoliate the skin and enter the cell and nucleus. As a vitamin, it catalyzes protein production and as a cell mediator stimulates the DNA to reproduce for a increased cell turn-over. Such cell mediators are non-heat producing collagen stimulators. This is the focus of cosmetic companies and pharmaceutics for the future. Retin-A® is available now along with other retinoids and remain the “gold standard” in skin rejuvenation. Those individuals who do not wish to use Retin-A® as daily rejuvenation therapy, have the option to use a skin heating device on a irregular basis which “cooks”  the skin to achieve tightening. If the outer skin is heated too much, it burns and may cause a visible scar. If the inner skin tissues are heated too much, a subcutaneous scar deformity can result. Newer technologies measure the heat under the skin to obtain a more precise thermal injury. Swelling, redness, discomfort  or even pain are the side-effects of such injury, just like any surgery or injury to the skin. Below, is a diagram to help you understand the time it takes for this inflammatory process to work. You will see that immediate results are directly due to the heat injury causing contraction of the available collagen. This injured protein will be incrementally devoured by the body’s white immune cells  over 12 plus weeks. Each immune cell then stimulate the other immune systems cells to replace and reconstruct the scaffolding of the dermis and repopulate the cells required to fix the injury, thus forming more collagen. Fibroblasts are protein producing cells. You will notice they are not the primary cells in a area of injury but are called upon and aggregate some 10 days after injury. Thereafter, collage formation increases for some 6-12 weeks until the repair is complete. Collagen, a complex protein is then remodeled into a less bulky and stronger protein until it diminishes in volume over 12 months. Fillers are injectable scaffolds which provide bulk and also stimulate the process of collagen formation.  Long lasting temporary fillers include: Restylane, Perlane, JuveDerm, Radiesse, and Sculptra. Permanent fillers include: silicone and artecol. I will post more information on fillers in a future blog. For more information on collagen formation, link to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collagen . Yes, heat injury of the skin or filler injection is required every 3-6 months to achieve a roller coaster effect of increased collagen or one can develop a lifestyle of rejuvenation with a daily dose of retinoids. Call our office at 410-602-3322 or email Lauri@DrDeanKane.com to schedule your appointment!
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