Sunday, February 24, 2013

Wrinkles Around the Lips

Model (courtesy of Dr. Kent Remington, MD)
Wrinkles around the lips are very common and can be addressed in multiple ways. The cause of these wrinkles is multi-faceted. With age, loss of fat leads to volume loss and loss of collagen leads to the loss of the structural support. Additionally, repetitive use of the muscles around the mouth from activities such as smoking enhances these lines. Using a good skin care regimen with retinoids to stimulate collagen formation and antioxidants and sunscreen to prevent further damage is the foundation of treatment. Botox can be used to relax the muscles around the mouth, but very small amounts must be used to prevent complications such as difficulty with eating and speaking. Fillers such as Juvederm can be used to fill the wrinkles that are formed by volume loss. Finally, treatments such as chemical peels and laser resurfacing can tighten the skin. Contact Dr. Alex (818-835-1833 to discuss the best options for you.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Laser Tattoo Removal

Cosmetic tattoos are rapidly increasing in popularity and more and more people are getting tattoos. At the same time, many people are getting tattoos removed for a variety of reasons. In addition to being used to treat discolorations, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, skin laxity, and unwanted hair, lasers are now being used to remove tattoos. The laser is adjusted so that the pulse is delivered over a very small time, one billionth of a second or even one trillionth of a second, destroying the tattoo particles. While it is possible to remove tattoos in this way, it is not easy nor is it comfortable. Multiple procedures are usually necessary and it can take over two years for full results. Also, the cost for these procedures adds up quickly and is usually many times more than getting the tattoo in the first place. For this reason I recommend people to think long and hard before getting a tattoo.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Skin Care Concerns in Asian Skin

Today is the Chinese new year, the year of the snake. On this occasion, the topic will be skin care concerns in Chinese and other East Asian skin. Asian skin is categorized as Fitzpatrick skin types III, IV, and V  because the skin contains a high amount of pigment. Because of this pigment, the skin has a natural tendency to produce discolorations such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. There are various measures taken to prevent such complications when doing cosmetic procedures. First it is recommended to start a good skin care regimen using sunscreen, brightening agents, exfoliants, antioxidants, and moisturizers several weeks prior to the procedure. The darker the skin, the more important this is and the longer the regimen should go prior to the procedure. The second measure is using more conservative parameters when doing the procedures. For example, in the case of chemical peels, lighter strength peeling agents are used. When undergoing laser procedures more conservative parameters are used relative to when doing procedures for fair-skinned individuals. When such conservative parameters are used, the risk for complications is minimized. At the same time, the effects are not as strong; so more treatments are required and it will take longer to achieve the desired effect. Patience is key for those with darker skin types. It is important to discuss your skin type with your doctor so that appropriate procedures are selected for you.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Comfort During Cosmetic Procedures

Cosmetic procedures, as their name implies, are performed to improve the appearance of the skin. While this is the primary objective, it does not mean that the procedure must be uncomfortable. There are many ways to improve comfort during procedures such as injectables (Botox, Juvederm, etc.), chemical peels, and laser procedures. The simplest way is to apply something cold onto the skin to numb the area. This could be a cold pack, a cold spray, or cold air. These methods work very well both before and immediately after the procedure. Vibration can also provide comfort; this is common when dentists vibrate the lip prior to injecting an anesthetic. Another method is by using topical numbing cream. Numbing creams can be very effective at providing comfort and can be applied for a few minutes or over an hour prior to a procedure. A professional should apply the numbing cream to avoid potential complications. Oral medications such as Tylenol, Valium, and Vicodin can also be used; some of these require a prescription. Be sure to consult with a doctor prior to taking any of these because after taking certain medications it is not recommend to perform certain activities such as driving. Nerve blocks are injections in the area of treatment which provide nearly immediate comfort and are preferred by many surgeons. Intramuscular injections are done in other areas such as the shoulder. Intravenous conscious sedation, also known as twilight anesthesia provides further comfort. The most aggressive measure is general anesthesia in which the patient is put to sleep during the entire procedure. It is important to know that cosmetic procedures do not have to be uncomfortable. Make sure you discuss your options before undergoing a cosmetic procedure.