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New Year, New Skin

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Now that January is here and we’re looking forward to bridal season, spring fashions and summer soirees, it’s time to think about putting your best face forward.

Sun exposure, aging, skin disorders and accidents can all contribute to irregular and unattractive textural changes, pigmentation and lack of tone on facial skin. A board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon can consult with you to discuss the new treatments and products that are available to improve the look and texture of your skin. 

Effective change typically requires a series of treatments with a multi-modality approach to a beautiful complexion. At the same time, you must be committed to protecting your skin going forward so the results will last.

Intense pulsed light technology, or IPL, is an FDA-approved technology that’s proven safe and effective. Also known as photo rejuvenation, it has few side effects, low recovery time and isn’t invasive. It can be used to treat brown spots, scarring, hyperpigmentation, spider veins, and it’s a good tool to combat the effects of aging.

During an IPL procedure, the device is gently pressed onto the skin and intense light from a range of wavelengths is focused on the skin. The light encourages the skin to produce collagen, which helps fill in lines, wrinkles and shallow scarring. The targeted tissue that has been damaged is removed from the body naturally.

Often described as intense exfoliation for the facial skin, microdermabrasion is a painless, nonsurgical office procedure that renews the skin. The outer layers of the skin are removed by the application of a fine spray of crystals, which gently abrade the surface and remove dead and damaged skin cells. Simultaneously, the skin is treated with a suction device that removes the crystal material, dead skin cells, clogged pores and blackheads. New collagen formation is stimulated in the dermis, and skin tone and vitality are improved.

The effects of microdermabrasion are cumulative; you can choose a more frequent schedule at first, followed by longer interval spacing, or a traditional approach that spaces treatments two or three weeks apart. It’s important to continue the regimen your dermatologist or aesthetician provides for follow-up with recommended products and sunscreens.

This exfoliation technique uses a special surgical blade to gently scrape away the top layer of epidermal cells. It’s an old technique that’s gaining new traction in dermatologists’ offices and cosmetic medical practices. It removes the fine vellus hair, or peach fuzz, along with dead cells. The practitioner uses a delicate touch and light, feathering strokes; its added benefit is that vellus hair often causes a buildup of dirt and oil on the skin, and the skin will feel softer and cleaner following the treatment and fine lines less apparent. It’s effective for patients with rough, dry skin, superficial hyperpigmentation, mild acne scarring or fine lines and wrinkles.

Dermaplaning is quick, simple and safe. The added benefit is that pregnant or nursing patients, who are not allowed to use peeling agents on their skin due to the risk that the chemicals will be absorbed into the bloodstream, can have healthier-looking skin.

Removing epidermal skin lets products penetrate more easily into deeper layers. Dermaplaning is often used to prepare the skin for procedures such as laser treatments, superficial chemical peels and deeper peels, or before a cleansing facial.

Chemical Peels
The various levels of chemical peels can address many skin problems by smoothing fine wrinkles, reducing acne scars and improving uneven pigmentation, rough texture and sun damage. The peel removes the top layer of skin and promotes new skin growth.

Superficial-depth peels are usually performed by an aesthetician and typically use alpha-hydroxy acids such as lactic acid or glycolic acid. Medium-depth peels penetrate further into the skin and are used to treat deeper lines and wrinkles and areas of sun damage. Deep peels are typically caustic and are associated with more side effects, such as prolonged skin pinkness and late discoloration. Recovery depends on the type of peel, the home regimen and how well the patient follows the recommended regimen.

A skin resurfacing technology that uses the skin’s natural healing process, microneedling has become a popular treatment for reducing skin imperfections, fine lines and wrinkles, treating sun damage and restoring a smooth complexion. 

An instrument containing dozens of very fine, sharp, short needles creates microscopic injuries to the skin. They trigger a healing response that prompts your skin to produce new collagen and elastin and regenerate new, healthy skin cells.

Here’s a final caveat. A professionally qualified plastic surgeon, dermatologist or aesthetician should be your first call, not your last one to repair skin damage you neglectfully created. Yes, and one more: sunscreen.

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