Best Face Forward
By Carla Breer Howard
Reprinted from April 2009 DESERT MAGAZINE with permission
There’s a reason rough skin reminds us of our reptilian ancestors. The offending, dull-looking stuff that accumulates on our aging faces is called the stratum corneum (that’s “horny layer” for all of us not conversant in Latin),the outermost layer of our skin.
When we are young, the dead cells that make up this layer are regularly replaced with newer ones surfacing from below. But gradually over the years, this sloughing-off process slows down, way down, and so the stratum corneum thickens, becoming lackluster.
In reptiles, the stratum corneum doesn’t slough off, and we make ours even more “reptilian,” if you will, from sun exposure, smoking and partying heartily. If you want to regain your youthful, smooth and radiant skin, you’ve got to get rid of that cell buildup to allow newer ones to come to the surface. Two valley physicians offer treatments that are widely used, but each adds their own distinctive approach.
At The Medical and Skin Spa, located within the Agua Serena Spa at the Hyatt Grand Champions in Indian Wells, Richard M. Foxx, M.D. offers the Age-defying Dermal Planing treatment. This procedure is described by JoAnn Foxx, the director of marketing, as “necessary maintenance,” to be done every four to six weeks. “I think it’s equivalent to brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and then you need to have your teeth cleaned every three months,” she says.
Dermal planning is an FDA-approved treatment that can only be done by a physician in an office. “There’s no down time,” reports Foxx. “Your skin looks radiant immediately.”
Foxx describes the actual tool used as a butter knife. “Our aestheticians have to be trained to literally scrape off the dead skin cells,” she says. “If someone has never had this treatment before, you wouldn’t believe the amount of dead skin cells that come off. Patients will say ‘I feel like my skin is breathing.’”
The planing is followed by a secondary exfoliation using either lactic or glycolic acid, which is left on for a period of time to remove the residue of the remaining skin cells. Next come extractions, followed by a mask customized for your skin type.
In keeping with their in-spa location, the aestheticians may put hot stones on your back or they do a hand and arm exfoliation and massage.
The treatment finishes up with cryotherapy. “It’s very simply, a big cold ball of Co2 that is passed over the skin after the mask is cleaned off the face. It shuts down the pores and brings the ph balance of the skin back to its normal level.” Patients can come in early, don a spa robe and then use the Agua Serena’s steam room, sauna, or simply sit in the relaxation area with a book. Details: The cost per treatment ranges between $60–$175, with an average of $80–$95. The Medical and Skin Spa, 44-600 Indian Wells Lane, Indian Wells; 674-4106; medicalandskinspa.com.
Many patients also benefit from other cosmetic skin enhancements such as wrinkle treatments like dermal fillers and BOTOX® in Southern California. Dr. Foxx can help you choose the right procedures to meet your cosmetic enhancement goals.