Help for Dull Skin

Did you ever wish your skin had that luminous glow you see on some people?  Okay, often models in magazines that have been heavily airbrushed.  But it is possible to improve the texture and brightness of your own skin.

glowing skinThe outer layer of skin is continuously shed, but sometimes dead skin cells build up, causing skin to appear dull and dry.  The first step in good skin care is using a good cleanser and moisturizer with SPF.  After that, there are a couple options.  A daily skin cream with a low concentration of alpha-hydroxy or glycolic acid can help over time.  I really like Obagi’s Exfoderm; after several weeks of use skin feels much softer.  If you would like to see more immediate results, microdermabrasion and chemical peels are both great options.  Microdermabrasion gently sweeps away dead skin cells.  It feels a bit scratchy, and your skin will be a little pink afterward, but you can reapply makeup right away.  Chemical peels come in several strengths, so they can be tailored to how much peeling you want to deal with.  Unlike a laser peel, you will have very little redness afterward.  Your skin will start flaking around two days post-peel, and this will last for 2-3 days.  Our new line of peels does not have a strong chemical smell, and many patients feel fine running errands even immediately afterward.  Both microdermabrasion and chemical peels work best if you have several treatments, so look for a facility that offers package deals.

Have you ever had a chemical peel or microdermabrasion?

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Making a Bad Scar Better

I know I’ve talked about scarring before, and today I’m going to talk about it again.  After all, this is a topic near and dear to the hearts of Plastic Surgeons.  On the cosmetic end of the spectrum, our ultimate goal is to make our patients look better without anyone ever knowing.  A bad scar is a dead giveaway, and can really compromise an otherwise great result.  And on the reconstructive end of the spectrum, a bad scar can actually limit function.  I’ve seen patients with severe burns that were unable to open their mouths or turn their heads because of the scarring.

Courtesy of shutterstock.com

Courtesy of shutterstock.com

I’ve previously explained how to help a wound heal and optimize the scar (see the previous post here).  But what do you do if you’ve already got a bad scar?  Is it too late?  Obviously I wouldn’t be writing a blog post if the answer was “yes, you’re gonna be stuck with that scar forever.”  So here are the options:

  • You can always try scar massage and a silicone scar gel, even in a scar that is several years old.  This works best in thickened, raised scars.  I recommend massaging 4-5 times per day, at least 5 minutes each session. The massage should be firm, bordering on uncomfortable.  And as for scar cream, my favorite is Kelo-cote.  It works well, it’s non-prescription, and it’s affordable.  Put a thin layer on twice a day.  If it’s still tacky in 5 minutes, use less next time.
  • Steroid injections can also help.  Again, these work best on raised, thick scars.  They will not help acne scars or chickenpox scars, as these are sunken in.
  • Profractional laser treatments can help both raised, thickened scars, and depressed scars (e.g. acne scars).  This type of treatment essentially puts little holes in the scar using a laser (see an explanation here.)  The new injury to the skin causes remodeling of collagen, which is the major component of scars, and over time we see scars soften and smooth.  The treatment is done in the office, and is a little uncomfortable, but we use numbing cream and a chiller that blows super-cold air to minimize the discomfort.  Afterwards the area is red for a few days.  Several treatments are needed, but I have seen some really dramatic improvement in thick raised scars, and even scars from chickenpox and acne.  If this is something you would like to learn more about, look for a Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist who treats scars with a profractional laser.

Do you have any topics you would like to see me address in this blog?

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.

Is Any Level of Tanning Safe?

 

courtesy of office.com

courtesy of office.com

The short answer is: No, it is not okay to tan.  I have many patients that ask me this question, and I tell them all the same thing that I’m telling you.  Exposure to UV light causes skin cancer, whether it is from the sun or from a tanning bed.  Getting a “base tan” does not prevent you from getting skin cancer.  In fact, people who begin tanning younger than age 35 have a 75% higher chance of getting melanoma.  Another common argument I hear is that tanning helps your body make vitamin D.  And while this is true, you can get plenty of vitamin D from a healthy diet and a multivitamin without increasing your risk of cancer.  The damage done to your skin in your teens and twenties doesn’t appear until your 40s and 50s.  So it can be very easy for people to rationalize tanning, when the negative effects are so far in the future.  But in addition to causing cancer, sun exposure causes age spots and wrinkles.  I have many patients who tanned heavily and are now spending hundreds, or even thousands of dollars to get rid of the wrinkles and discoloration caused by UV exposure.  Keep your skin looking younger and lower your risk of skin cancer by wearing sunscreen every day.  The simplest way to do this is to use a face or body lotion with SPF 15 or higher.  And if you plan to be out in the sun, make sure to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, more frequently if you are swimming or sweating heavily.

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Disclaimer: This webpage is for general information only. It is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical illness, or give any specific medical advice. Because medical knowlege is constantly evolving, I cannot guarantee the accuracy or timeliness of any information in this blog.