I have been exploring the two most current methodologies for repairing the skin surface and restoring skin to a more "youthful" condition. Youthful skin is defined by its smooth appearance, even tone, adequate moisture content appearing as "plumpness," and somewhat of a luminescence or reflective shine from intact surface cells that create a bounce back of light.
One school of thought states that increasing the cell turnover through continuous application of acidic, or low pH solutions, such as alpha hydroxy or beta hydroxy acids (lactic, glycolic and mandelic, or salicylic, etc), will cause the skin surface to desquamate (shed) at the same rate of a chronologically younger skin and, therefore, renew stronger cells that have a youthful appearance and result in a skin surface as described above.
A second school of thought states that by continuously reinforcing an abnormal acid level on the skin surface you create a continual inflammatory response and the skin is stressed by attempting to regain the normal pH, which results in a disrupted external skin barrier. The disruption of the external skin barrier in turn increases moisture loss from the epidermis resulting in dryness, increased problems from UV exposure resulting from thinning cell layers, and this promotes advanced cross-linking of skin fibers resulting in wrinkles.
As with many things in life, moderation of both may be the optimal approach to anti-aging. If you are going to proceed with an invasive procedure such as laser treatments, deeper chemical peeling, or facial surgery, it is wise to prepare your skin weeks to months in advance to achieve the best results. This preparation would likely include reducing to eliminating other barrier disruptive processes such as continual acidic exfoliation methods and replace those with procedures that assist the skin in thickening, add anti-oxidants, and seek to re-establish a protective barrier and fully reduce inflammation. Most estheticians, as skincare specialists, are specifically trained to provide the methods needed to help our clients achieve the maximum results from any medically-based procedures they are intending to have. Estheticians are there to provide deeper skin conditioning and help you monitor your at-home use of products, so that your skin is getting the most optimal anti-aging care either pre- or post medical treatment.