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New system shows your skin's true age

March 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
With every birthday, you become all too aware of your chronological age. But your skin age might have a different number. Is your skin aging prematurely? Take a look at a machine that helps doctors predict what the future holds for your face. You wouldn't think a 24-year-old would have a lot of concerns about wrinkles and age spots, but then Samantha Lefkowitz got a good look few women ever get of their face.

Samantha's true skin age was about 10 years older than she is, with large pores and a lot of spotting.

"For my age it's definitely worse than most," said Samantha.

Dr. Simon Ourian can tell your skin age based on a bell curve of how much damage you have. The machine gives you a readout of six different skin factors.

"This type of machine shows us a lot more detailed specifications of aging," said Dr. Ourian. "I can find out if a person's pores are getting to be too large, which actually shows me if their skin is losing its elasticity."

It's called the VISIA Complexion Analysis System, and it sees the beginnings of fine wrinkles, UV-ray damage and discoloration. It takes a porphyrin count to predict how likely a person is to get acne or rosacea.

"I look at the textural changes which shows me if a person is getting hollowness in their face or the areas under the eyes are getting sunken in or the face is just like sagging," said Dr. Ourian. "So I use all this information which is another piece of tool that I have that helps me with determining with how I'm going to address a person's aging."

Sonia Enriquez is a working model in her mid-30s. But the VISIA system reveals her skin age is in its 40s. She'll get dermal fillers to deal with the textural changes under her eyes, plus lasers to help fade the discoloration caused by years of beach living.

"It's really interesting to see the damage to my skin," said Sonia.

The first step? Protect your skin. Stay out of the sun, wear hats and use sunscreen.

Lasers can help with wrinkles, as can Botox.

Some doctors suggest fillers like Juvederm or Radiesse to remedy hollowness or sagging under the eyes.

Benzoyl peroxide and salycilic acid can treat acne before it starts.

And ingredients such as hydroquinone and kojic acid can fade age spots and wrinkles. It just takes a long time.

So Dr. Ourian often suggests cosmetic procedures.

"If you have a lot of sun damage and discolorations on your skin the best treatment that we have found is a cool laser or a fractural laser that removes the top layer of the skin and gives you brand new baby skin," said Dr. Ourian.

Both Samantha and Sonia say discovering their true skin age will definitely change the way they protect and treat their faces from this day forward.

"At least I found out now and I can protect myself in the future," said Samantha.

"Use your sunscreen, put a hat on, stay out of the sun and save your skin," said Sonia.

The VISIA skin analysis system is free, but obviously doctors hope that after you see the results, you'll want to do something about it. And that can cost you. The average price for a dermal filler is $600 per vial, and depending on how deep lines are, it could take one or two vials.


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