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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Radiant, Glowing Skin at Any Age

Apr 30, 2014 05:42PM ● By By Suzie Agrillo

Our face can be compared to a billboard for our spirit. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the skin’s regeneration cycle slows down. Most of us start to see wrinkles, sagging and discoloration. Maybe we are a minimalist and want to ramp up our skin care regimen, or perhaps we’re looking for more dramatic results. In either case, it’s never too late to take positive steps to restore and protect our skin’s appearance and resilience. If we want a fresher-looking complexion or firmerlooking skin, there are many options.


Sunscreen is the cornerstone of anti-aging skin care. Our experts agree that using a quality sunscreen with an active ingredient (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) and a high SPF will prevent sun damage to the skin. Moisturizing, tinted sunscreen is a popular option to blend in with your natural skin tone.

Retin-A has been touted as the holy grail of skin care. It will speed up the cell turnover cycle of the skin and make your skin supple and radiant. As a vitamin A derivative, retinol will create the positive effects of collagen stimulation, DNA repair and exfoliation. Retin-A is available by prescription only. Christy Hall, owner of Skin Appeal, extols the virtues of the plant-based Vitamin A Vitalize Serum, a product in her Mikel Kristi skin care line. “With Retin A, we see more overexfoliation, irritation and inflammation,” she states. “Vital A Serum has the same benefits as prescription Retin A without the irritation.”

Microdermabrasion involves the use of a mechanical device to rub abrasive particles under constant pressure against the skin. This helps erase fine lines, evens skin tones and reduces the appearance of scars.

Facials are relaxing treats that give instant gratification, plump skin and clean out your pores. Nadia Hlibka, an aesthetician and co-owner of Indigo Oasis, observes, “Your skin is an organ, so you really want to feed it, nourish it and protect it.” The spa offers an oxygen facial, which Hlibka says is a favorite of her clients. It is a luxurious treatment that infuses oxygen with plant-derived stem cells, peptides and a high concentration of enzymatic botanicals into the skin, leaving it luminous, refreshed and rejuvenated.

Vitamin C serum helps to brighten the complexion, stimulate collagen production and lighten brown spots. It’s also an excellent antioxidant.


Epidermal leveling is an appropriate treatment for all skin types. Aesthetician and co-owner Amanda Richards, at Indigo Oasis says, “It’s our number one treatment. It’s a two-in-one treatment that’s an intense exfoliation treatment, as well as a great way to remove excess facial hair.” A sterile scalpel held at an angle exfoliates the dead layers of the skin, leaving it more radiant and receptive to skin care products.

Micro-needling utilizes tiny needles in a disposable tip to create invisible vertical, micro-perforations in the skin. As a result, the skin shifts its natural repair mechanism into high gear and starts to repair the micro-perforations. The skin becomes firmer and gains elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles are reduced, pores become finer, circulation is stimulated and the overall condition of the skin improves. Katie O’Brien, proprietor at Bella Pelle Aesthetics, says it is a natural solution with benefits comparable to a laser procedure, but cautions: “It’s not a feel-good spa treatment; it’s more of a medical treatment. You might experience redness and two to three days of dry and flaking skin.”

Peels gently and safely exfoliate the skin for a refreshed and radiant appearance. For a peel, the practitioner applies an agent, typically acidic, to alter the ph balance of the skin. This process hastens the shedding of dead skin cells, and encourages cell renewal to “kick in.” Peels target fine lines, pore size and hyperpigmentation. Indigo Oasis features peels with Skincare products. Hlibka explains that there are different levels of peels “Our basic enzyme peel uses mango and pineapple. A more aggressive peel might utilize salicylic acid, glycolic acid or retinol.” Richards adds, “All of our peels include a take home kit for seven to ten days of post-treatment.”

Photofacials use IPL (intense pulse light), like a flashbulb on a camera continuously firing. The intense pulse light reduces red on skin, broken blood vessels and brown spots. Hall says her clients are enthusiastic about its results, and it does not require a lot of healing time.


Botox is a neurotoxin, which sounds dangerous, and yet it is absolutely safe. It relaxes the muscles so that you’re not creating the motion that causes the skin to crease. It is highly addictive, according to Hall, because her clients love it. “It’s the simplest treatment to raise a sagging eyebrow and it lasts three months.” Botox is also used for crow’s feet and to soften forehead lines and the grooves between brows.

Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers include Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm and Voluma. Fillers are great for volume treatment, such as the folds we get from the corners of the nose and lip to the mouth, as well as the lines above the lip. O’Brien says fillers are used to restore what Mother Nature has taken away. “As we age, our faces fall and become hollow. Fillers help restore the volume and curvature to the face.” Voluma is a new filler created with the cheek area in mind to increase the volume we lose as we age. Unlike other hyaluronic fillers, which last six to nine months, it lasts up to two years.

Lactic acid fillers are facial injectables made of poly-L lactic acid. Sculptra Aesthetic is designed to act like a fertilizer for the skin, in that it stimulates growth of your own natural collagen over a period of time after your treatment. Sculptra is used to lift the jowls, cheeks and brows and it lasts more than two years. Hall notes, “It can do a liquid lift, where you actually pull the face tight, which no other filler can do.”

CO2 laser resurfacing involves programmed burning of the skin to peel off the top layer, which reduces or eliminates fine lines. The healing downtime is seven to ten days, and your skin will look red and raw.

Always have a consultation with your provider and make sure you are confident with the provider’s expertise and experience. You need to identify your concerns and set a budget. Your treatment provider can assist you in choosing the procedures that will give you the most benefit for the least cost. O’Brien suggests, “Think of your skin makeover like you would a kitchen or bathroom renovation.”

She also recommends not going too far with any treatment. “The trick isn’t to give you features you never had. That starts to look artificial and telltale. The trick is to restore what you had and achieve a natural, youthful look. You want people to say, ‘Wow! You look really great, what did you do?’” 

Our Expert Panel

Christy Hall, PA-C, MPAS, Skin Appeal
5855 E. Broadway, Ste. 100

Katie O’Brien, PA-C, MMS, CLT, Bella Pelle
7090 N. Oracle Rd., Ste. 80

Nadia Hlibka, AE, LMT, and Amanda Richards, AE
Indigo Oasis, 204 W. Grant, Ste. 150