SAVE FACE: Shape Up Your Sun-Damaged Skin

Healthy Life’s editor takes a trip to Chestnut Hill’s 3000BC to see how her face is faring after three months in the summer sun — and discovers the health concerns lurking beneath the surface

Despite the fact that I wear sunblock almost daily, no matter the month or the degrees outside, I also have a strong flirtation with tans. And, truth be told, I’ve spent more than a few hours basking in the warm rays this season and driving around Philly with my sunroof open. So when I read about 3000BC’s new sees-all VISIA machine in our September issue (it takes a digital photo of your face to reveal underlying UV damage that the naked eye scarily can’t see), I knew I had to check it out and report back to you with my findings.

“I begged to get this machine,” says Kate Brown, 3000BC’s passionate esthetician, (whom we recently deemed Best of Philly-worthy), as I wipe my face clean of makeup, slide my chin onto an eye-doctor-like rest, and wait for her to snap my photo. “I was at an esthetician conference in New York six years ago and they used me as a model to show how it works. They noticed spots on the right side of my nose that looked suspicious and told me to have a doctor check it out. I did, and he found basal cells. I had skin cancer and I had no idea.”

Two flashes of light later, my face appears on the computer screen beside me and Kate begins pointing out highlighted UV damage, soon-to-form wrinkles, and dark spots that have yet to rise to the surface. “We rate your skin against 100 other women your age,” she tells me. Thankfully, she has mostly good news: The daily sunblock is working. My skin has less wrinkles and less damage than 86 percent of people my age.

Of course, other than block, my daily regimen for skin care is spotty at best, and there’s still damage that’s been done from the sun. “See this area here?” Kate asks, running her cursor over the delicate skin by my eye, where VISIA has so kindly outlined the beginnings of tiny little crows feet. “You’ll start to get wrinkles here soon if you don’t start to moisturize.” The screen suddenly jumps ahead five years, aging my photo with the sunspots and wrinkles I have starting to form beneath the surface. Before I completely start to panic—let’s just say that seeing yourself five years older is not the best part of the trip, though completely effective—Kate reminds me that this aged version is only an estimate of what will happen if I don’t take steps to correct problems now. “That’s what’s so great about having this machine,” says Kate. “Now, when someone comes in for a facial, we use VISIA to determine what their skin really needs. And if we see something that looks like skin cancer, we can refer them to one of our dermatologists on staff.”

My prescription? A Pick-Me-Up Peel. “It removes the layer of damaged cells you’ve incurred after a summer in the sun and causes the skin to turn over faster, bringing new, healthy cells to the surface,” says Kate. “You’ll look brighter, tighter, and firmer.” Two weeks from now, I’ll stop back for a dermasweep (dead skin cells are “swept away” with a variable level vacuum pump) with a vitamin-C infusion (its antioxidant properties protect the skin from free-radical damage caused by the sun).

Twenty minutes later, my face is slightly flushed and feels a bit tight from the peel, but I’m shocked to see that it already looks brighter and better (sans makeup!). I leave with a skin care plan aimed at reversing all of my hours in the summer sun: 3000RX Skin Resurgence (which contains the all-powerful vitamin C and TGF Beta 1, a growth factor that helps skin build collagen), Resurfacing Serum 2 x (pure retinol that increases cell turnover to get rid of sun-damaged cells), and 3000RX Skin Illuminator (a skin brightener that contains hydroquinone, the beauty industry’s new golden child for ridding skin of brown spots caused from the sun).

“I used to love to tan,” the adorable brunette working 3000BC’s counter tells me on my way out, admitting that she’d changed her sun-worshiping ways after seeing VISIA’s analysis of her skin.  “Now, I’m a sunblock girl.”