MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Scientists have already proven that staying out of the sun and tanning beds gives you a reduced risk of getting skin cancer. It also makes premature aging less likely.

The tricky part is that most people don’t care until their skin ages, and then they sometimes opt for more drastic approaches for looking younger, such as chemical peels or laser peels. We see those procedures in the movies sometimes, but what really happens?

There’s no fountain of youth, but facial, plastic and reconstructive surgeon Dr. Jess Prischmann said, there are minimally-invasive tools that can reverse sun damage and prevent ongoing damage. It’s all about texture and clarity.

“Resurfacing is the umbrella term for things you can do to improve the texture of your skin. It includes dermabrasion, chemical peels and laser peels,” Prischmann said.

Chemical peels may sound intense, and are often exaggerated on TV.

“When we do a chemical or laser peel we apply a chemical or focused heat to mow the lawn, so to speak, on your skin,” Prischmann said.

Natalie Nyhus saw improved clarity in her skin after trying out a treatment. Prischmann said that she recently underwent a chemical peel also, and had no evidence of peeling in the days following.

“There are different levels of chemical peels. Many chemical peels are based in naturally occurring fruit acids,” she said.

Another option is BBL or IPL, which Prischmann explained uses wavelengths of light to target whatever is impacting the clarity of your skin — in other words, those brown and red spots you get with aging.

“What we also know is that that heat shot to the skin stimulates collagen and, really even on a genetic level, causes skin to behave younger over the long run,” Prischmann said. “The conventional wisdom was, ‘I’m going to turn 50 and then I’m going to get a facelift.’ Nowadays, we know so much more about premature aging and we have so many more tools in our toolbox, that there are many things you can do to prevent or delay the onset of premature aging.”

Prischmann says treatments like these are like going to the dentist for your teeth; your skin requires ongoing care. But you should talk with your doctor if you’re considering a skin treatment, because everyone is different.

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