The skin we live in. Part 3

The skin we live in. Part 3

M esotherapy (from Greek mesos – “middle”, and therapeia, "to treat medically") is a non-surgical cosmetic medicine treatment. It employs multiple small dose injections of pharmaceutical medications, hyaluronic acid, vitamins, and other ingredients, into the dermis and hypodermis. It is in these skin layers the blood vessels, immune defense cells, and the cells that are responsible for the synthesis of collagen and elastin are located. In recent years, mesotherapy is one of the most popular treatments in cosmetic clinics. Advertising is full of reports about its undoubted benefits and absolute harmlessness. In beauty salons you would be told that this method is not new, that mesotherapy has already been used successfully since the middle of 20th century.

Does it seem that here is a miracle treatment meant to prolong healthy and youthful skin? We can examine further the feasibility of mesotherapy and all of its’ promoted advantages in terms of physiology.

We’ll start with the fact that at this time, there are no clinical studies proving the effectiveness of this correction method for age-related changes (we are talking about scientific research, which meet the requirements of evidence-based medicine).

Cosmetologists who practice this technique say that the application of active substances intradermally is more effective than applying them topically. In addition, those cosmetologists maintain the position that the multiple microtraumas of the skin surface caused by the injections will enhance blood circulation in the subcutaneous layer. The skin cells receive a powerful boost to rejuvenation, and cellular regeneration is accelerated.
While these multiple punctures may indeed increase blood circulation, there are other risks and complications, which you aren’t told about.

Dangerous bacteria can penetrate the human body through the damaged skin, causing an allergic reaction with subsequent inflammation, followed by scar tissue formation or hyper- and hypopigmentation. Repetitive damage to the epidermis, blood vessels and nerve endings may cause the formation of antibodies, and skin hypersensitivity. The list of frequent complications can include necrosis and skin abscesses, lupus erythematosus, urticaria, psoriasis, and mycrobacterial infections.
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies are involved in the "beauty race", constantly replenishing the list of allegedly "allowed and safe" ingredients for the injections. Alas, how these chemical compounds will affect your skin is impossible to predict.

We should not forget that the beauty industry is a business. For the owners of clinics and practicing beauticians, the mesotherapy procedure is very beneficial in financial terms: while it requires a minimum amount of medications and the simplest equipment; the course of treatment is quite extensive, requiring constant (or frequent ) repetition.

What happens to our skin tissues after the administration of these mesotherapeutic "magic mixtures"? Perhaps, the most popular substance for the injections is hyaluronic acid. Recall that the main feature of the hyaluronic acid, which is produced by the body itself, is the ability to bind and retain water. However, being injected under the skin unnaturally, the hyaluronic acid retains moisture in the middle layers of the dermis. This increases pressure on the capillary network, reduces the volume of intravascular fluid, breaks the capillaries, and slows the metabolic processes.

Due to excessive pressure on the blood vessels, edema develops inevitably. The edema can abate only after the enzymes of the body break down and remove all the foreign molecules from the body. Edema development, caused by the extraneous hyaluronic acid debris, will progress in aa vicious cycle. Thus, as a result of defense reactions in the skin, the disorders of the blood and oxygen circulation in the connective tissue disorders arise gradually, and the metabolism and cell regeneration slow down. Moreover, analysis of electron-microscope investigations show a decrease in the diameter of collagen fibers after mesotherapy treatments; and, as we know, the quantity and quality of collagen fibers in the skin directly affects its elasticity and resistance to mechanical actions.

From the above we can conclude that due to tissue hydration, temporary visual improvment ofskin condition can be achieved; but a side effect of such intervention is always an impetus to rapid aging.

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Another so-called advantage of the mesotherapy is subcutaneous injection of vitamins, minerals and amino acids. On a practical level, all of the ingredients contained in the injections are hydrophilic, or water-soluble. And you know what? The subcutaneous fat is simply unable to deposit such substances! In its "storage", the subcutaneous fat can hold only fat-soluble components, which must be represented in the certain biological form. Vitamins and minerals should come into our body orally, and our body is responsible for their transformation into biochemically active forms in the liver. Therefore, it is not necessary for the skin to be traumatized with unproductive injections.

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy, or PRP-therapy, is the extremely popular (and, by the way, very expensive) method of mesotherapy. In this method, the blood plasma that has been enriched with platelets, is inserted under the skin. This preparation is made of the patient's venous blood, which was passed through a special spin machine. In this machine, called sedimentator, the platelet-rich plasma gets separated from the other blood cells. Figuratively speaking, in the body platelets serve as an "ambulance" and "intensive care". They gather in the damaged or wounded area; they are involved in the formation of a blood clot, and trigger a cascade of the wound-healing biochemical reactions. Then, the platelets secrete the growth factors, which stimulate cell movement and updating of the structures. In addition, these factors activate the process of formation of new blood vessels. This process, described above, occurs in our body right after the “beauty injection”: it gives the signal to our body that the skin is out of order, and it must start rebuilding urgently.

Of course, if the cosmetologist damages the patient’s skin repeatedly, the natural healing effect of platelets can improve the color and turgor of the aging skin. Beauticians put their hopes upon these effects, regarding the usage of PRP-therapy in anti-aging cosmetology. On the other hand, the same results can be achieved by chemical peeling, applied in low concentrations. So why on earth should one stand the traumatic procedures of blood sampling and subcutaneous injections, if there are more natural ways of rejuvenation?

PRP-therapy requires the constant repetitions of the supporting treatment courses. It can increase the risk of stress in the immunity system, and then to the depletion of the immune reserve. As you can see, the final result of such treatment can be diametrically opposed. The energy for the recovery process is drawn from the “emergency stocks” of our body; these stocks were laid by Mother Nature for the entire stage of life. This method works only as a temporary doping. Sooner or later, the body will simply stop responding to this intervention.

Any injection technique has the risk of infectious complications. In addition, multiple and regular skin injury leads to tissue scarring. So far, it’s impossible to avoid complications: there is no surgery without risks, as there is no completely safe method of mesotherapeutic drug administration.

So, let's weigh the "pros" and "cons". On the one hand, mesotherapeutic procedures can help to achieve a temporary improvement of the skin appearance. On the other hand, this improvement will cause obvious stimulation of aging and insenescence, and the long-term trophic changes of the skin. Moreover, this kind of treatment still does not have the proven efficiency. The price we pay in the rush towards the passing beauty is too high. It is not worth risking your health and the vital resources of the body. There are dozens of healthy methods of maintaining and restoring your skins’ appearance, and your body will accept it with joy and gratitude. Natural cosmetics, massages and peelings, facial exercises, proper nutrition, fresh air, physical activity, healthy sleep, bright smile and positive thinking do wonders. Love yourself and be beautiful!

Used literature and other information sources:

  • Ершов Ю.А. "Биохимия человека". ИД Юрайт, 2016 г.
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  • Деев А.И., Шарова А.А., Брагина И.Ю. Под общей редакцией Эрнандес Е.И. Новая косметология "Аппаратная косметология и физиотерапия", 2014 г.
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  • Парвиз Янфаза, Джозеф Б. Нэдол мл., Роберт Галла, Ришар Л. Фабиян, Уильям У. Монтгомери. “Хирургическая анатомия головы и шеи”, 2014 г.
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