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3 Things to Know About UV Rays

3 Things to Know About UV Rays

Skin Beautifying Treatments Highlands, NC

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun there is a tremendous amount of misinformation on the internet, in published articles and passed from person to person. Most physicians, and even some dermatologists and plastic surgeons, haven’t taken the time to learn all the new information available. We now know that sunscreen is not only your skin’s best defense against getting sunburned, it is vitally important on a daily basis and year around to prevent sun damage and aging. This is because there are two harmful rays. UVB that cause sunBurn and UVA that cause skin cell injury and Aging. This article will list three things for you to know about UVA rays. Read on to learn more.

  1. They Are Present All Day Every Day

Some people assume that if they are going to spend time outside, they should only do so during the early morning or the later afternoon. This is a carryover from thinking only about UVB rays that are 90-95% absorbed by the atmosphere depending on the latitude and time of day and year. They are stronger midday, down south and in the summer. The reason that sunburn occurs is that 70% of UVB rays (basically a form of energy) are absorbed in the outermost layer of the skin. However, UVA rays are present all day, all year and at all latitudes, essentially everywhere you have light from the sun. So, even during those times when you are not likely to get a sunburn, you need to make sure that you are keeping your skin protected with a hat, a UVA blocking sunscreen like the new clear zinc oxide, and protective clothes.

  1. They Can Get In Through the Windows

Many people assume that if they are spending time in the car or indoors that they are automatically shielded from the sun. However, when it comes to the sun, there is no such thing as hiding when there are windows around. In fact, most people get a lot of sun damage from driving down the road or even sitting next to their living room window.

  1. They Cause Direct Tissue Damage

UV rays don’t just cause sunburns and freckles. In fact, the damage that they do penetrates a lot deeper than you may be aware. UVA rays cause direct skin tissue damage along with the release of free oxygen radicals which damage normal skin cells in the process. They cause thickening of the outer dead cell layer of the skin that gives your skin dullness, injury to the pigment cell that causes freckles and dark spots, thinning of the dermis, the support layer of the skin, causing wrinkles, production of abnormal capillary blood vessels causing redness of the skin and injury to the various cells of the skin which can eventually result in skin cancer.

UVA rays are the number one enemy of your skin. Not only can sun damage causes premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles and sun spot, but it can also result in more serious things like skin cancer. If you would like to learn more about how you can take better care of your skin and/or how you can reverse the damage you already have, contact the Center For Plastic Surgery today!

Are Organic Skin Care Products Really Better?

Skin Beautifying Treatments Highlands, NCWith the organic movement taking the world and every grocery store shelf by storm, people are becoming more aware than ever of what they are putting in as well as on their bodies. From milk to facial products, more and more people are looking for the organic stamp of approval before they consider purchasing a product. However, with things like face care products, is it worth it to go organic? Are they giving your face the proper cleansing and care it needs? Read on to learn more.

What Does Organic Mean?

Before we delve into whether or not organic products are doing the trick, it’s good to know what organic means in the world of skincare. With food, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has to put its stamp of approval on it for it to be “organic” or “100 percent organic.” To be classified as organic, the food must contain at least 95 percent ingredients that have been grown organically without certain chemicals. But when it comes to skincare, there are almost no regulations because neither the USDA or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates these types of products. So, skin care companies can put an organic stamp on their product without meeting any regulations or having the ingredients tested.

Is Organic Good for Your Skin?

One of the biggest things to be aware of is that a lot of the ingredients used in regular skincare products are derived from plants or natural sources already. For instance, salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are both plant-based ingredients that are used to fight acne, but they aren’t always labeled as organic. Alpha hydroxy acids, Vitamin-C, retinol and zinc oxide are all also organic compounds. Additionally, remember that if an organic skin care product doesn’t contain at least some preservatives, its shelf life won’t be nearly as long which makes the product less effective, and most of these cause no reaction to the skin. Control of irritation and abnormal reaction are things the FDA does regulate.

There is also no scientific data saying that “organic” skincare is better than regular skin care. It is just a marketing ploy to get you to buy products that may not do what you need them to do for your skin. Also, it’s important to know that just because a face wash says it’s “organic” it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have some of the ingredients you are trying to avoid or that it is good for your skin. We at the Center for Plastic Surgery have studied the scientific basis of skin care and what your skin needs at various stages and has researched what products provide the attention and improvement your skin needs. To learn more about skin care and the products that can improve and protect your skin, contact the Center For Plastic Surgery today!

3 Things to Look for in an Eye Cream

Skin Beautifying Treatments Highlands, NCYour skin care is one of the most important parts of your daily routine. Not only can skin care keep your skin moisturized and healthy but it can also shield you against things like skin cancer. As the most sensitive part of your face, however, the skin around your eyes is often neglected— leaving it dry, itchy, and more prone to developing fine lines and wrinkles. To help protect the skin around your eyes, make sure that you are wearing the right eye cream both morning and night. This article will discuss three things to look for in an eye cream. Read on to learn more.

Vitamin C and E

Vitamin C isn’t just good at boosting your body’s immune system, but, when applied to the skin, it is good for your skin’s health as well. In fact, Vitamins C has anti-aging capabilities to help aid in the production of collagen and skin elasticity, reduce pigment and keep cell walls healthy. Additionally it can help keep the skin feeling moist.

Retinol or Retin-A (Tretinoin)

Derived from Vitamin A, retinol or its more effective cousin, tretinoin, is a key ingredient that you should look for in an eye cream. By helping to repair damaged skin, retinol helps with skin cell turnover and regenerates newer, healthier skin in the process.

Bi-Mineral Complex/Malonic Acid

Vitamin C protects the skin and restores its normal pH and function and retinol builds collagen. Both help reduce the development of wrinkles or improve those already present. By adding bi-mineral complex and Malonic acid, trade name Obagi ELASTIderm, you convert some of the collagen produced by the retinol to elastic tissue that further tightens and smooths the lid skin.

One additional thing that should be added in the morning is a good zinc oxide sunblock to protect from the aging properties of the sun.

If you aren’t in the habit of wearing an eye cream both morning and night, then you need to get into it. By helping lock in moisture under the skin and repair damaged skin cells, the correct combination of products in eye creams can do wonders. If you would like to learn more about proper skin care, schedule an appointment with our office, contact the Center For Plastic Surgery today!

3 Reasons to Get an Obagi Blue Peel

Obagi Blue Peel® Highlands, NC

Hopefully, everyone knows basic skin care and what you should be doing for your skin every day: washing your face with an alpha or beta hydroxyl cleanser, applying a pH balancer, preferably one that is also an antioxidant such as Vitamin-C Serum, and wearing a greater than 8% zinc oxide sunscreen. Traditional superficial peels can also help keep your skin radient. For fine wrinkles and crinkles you should add tretinoin (Retin-A) and Obagi®’s ELASTIderm®. However, if this is not working fast or well enough, there is an answer. A type of chemical peel that we offer here at the Center For Plastic Surgery, the Obagi Blue Peel, is safe and effective. This article will list three reasons why you should consider getting an Obagi Blue Peel. Read on to learn more.

It’s Different Than Other Peels

Most chemical peels that you get at traditional day spas use glycolic acid. Although glycolic acid peels are great at helping get rid of dullness and some color irregularity, they sometimes aren’t as strong as our patients like. Made from trichloroacetic acid, the Obagi Blue chemical peel is stronger and works to correct areas of concerns that even a facelift cannot. Additionally, it is much safer than other trichloroacetic acid or phenol/croton oil peels because of the unique blue dye in the preparation that more accurately identifies the depth that the peel has reached, thus allowing better control of the result.

It’s More Effective

As previously mentioned, because the Obagi Blue Peel is a stronger peel than glycolic peels, it can reduce or eliminate fine lines and wrinkles and some scars and help with overall skin tone. It actually peels the entire epidermis and into the dermis (the skin’s support layer), removing superficial wrinkles and crinkles. All the other peels do is remove the top layer of the epidermis, well above what causes the wrinkles. If you haven’t gotten the results that you have wanted from a glycolic or lactic acid peel alone, then the Obagi Blue Peel may be worth looking into.

It’s Non-Surgical

If your age has started to take a toll on your appearance, but you aren’t quite ready for a facelift, then you may want to consider an Obagi Blue Peel. This can actually do things for the face that surgery can’t.

Our Obagi Blue Peel is a medium-strength chemical peel, designed to help patients look and feel younger. If you would like to learn more about this peel or schedule an appointment, contact Center For Plastic Surgery today!

3 Key Benefits of Obagi Skincare

Obagi Highlands, NCWhen you first hear the term “Obagi,” you may think that it’s some ancient Chinese art or something more abstract than it is. Although revolutionary, Obagi is simply a skincare system that we at The Center For Plastic Surgery encourage our patients to use to help improve their skin’s appearance and texture at the cellular level. Sound too good to be true? From an improved circulation to the ability to use it at home, this article will discuss three main advantages of Obagi. Read on to learn more.

Improved Cellular Function

Unlike other skincare products that only treat the surface of your skin to help temporarily restore moisture, Obagi works at the cellular level. By reaching deep into your skin, Obagi stimulates collagen production to better support the skin and reduce wrinkles and it improves the circulation in your skin. This helps the system get rid of things like discoloration, acne, blemishes, melasma, and other areas of concern that you may have, correcting the problems rather than just hiding them. By removing the dead outer layer and stimulating the skin cells to make their own moisture, your skin feels young again.

Protects Your Skin

Most skincare products only hide previous damage. Obagi helps correct the damage that has already been done and it protects your skin from further damage. How is that exactly? Because Obagi works at the cellular level, it’s able to increase your skin’s ability to retain moisture, and it also improves your skin’s tolerance to environmental factors such as the sun and the wind. It also uses uses one of the best and most practical sunblocks available to prevent further sun damage.

Used From Home

Although it’s nice to come into The Center For Plastic Surgery to get chemical peels and microdermabrasion done every so often, it’s not always feasible for people to do with their busy schedules. Luckily, Obagi gives your skin similar results without you having to leave the comfort of your home. By using the Obagi skincare system, you will see visibly clearer and smoother skin without having to schedule multiple procedures with our office.

There are many benefits to using the Obagi skincare system, and these are just a few. If you would like to learn more about this revolutionary way to transform your skin from the comfort of your home, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today and speak with one of our staff members!

 

 

 

 

 

Get the Facts: Do Skin Tightening Creams Work?

Skin Tightening Creams Highlands, NCYou may not like your pants or your budget to be too tight, but there is one thing that you always want to be tight: your skin. If you are starting to notice that your skin is losing thickness and elasticity, you are going to want to do everything you can to lift and tighten it. With so many over-the-counter products available that claim to give you real results, it can be hard to know what results you will really get. This article will discuss whether or not skin tightening creams work. Read on to learn more.

The Low Down

As long as you know that nothing will give you the skin tightening results quite like excess skin removal such as with a facelift, then you won’t have unreal expectations. For instance, if you buy an expensive jar of skin tightening face cream and expect it to lift your skin and completely get rid of your fine lines and wrinkles— you will be disappointed when none of those results take place. However, if you are looking to slowly decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and boost your skin’s collagen production, then a cream can help.

The Skin’s Purpose

The first thing you need to know is what the skin’s job is. That job is to keep everything possible out of the body. That includes keeping ingredients in skin creams from penetrating the surface and getting to the underlying cells that need correcting or modification. The skin is exceptionally good at doing this and, subsequently, very little of what is in most creams will ever reach their target and, therefore, will not achieve the desired results.

The Ingredients 

Two ingredients that always work because they do not have to penetrate the skin are alpha and beta hydroxyl acids and zinc oxide sunblock. The former removes the outer dead cell layer that makes it easier for other products to penetrate further. The zinc oxide is the most practical UVA sunblock since it blocks both the UVB sunburn rays and the UVA aging rays and continues to work as long as it is not rubbed or washed off. Another product that could be added to this list is an antioxidant and pH balancer such as Vitamin-C Serum to help maintain skin health.

Of all the ingredients in all the products there is only one that has been proven to tighten the skin. This is a form of Vitamin A. The most potent is tretinoin (Retin-A), a prescriptive product, though other Retinols have also been proven to accelerate your skin’s production of collagen which will help to tighten it and reduce fine wrinkles. The other product that has been proven to tighten the skin by converting the newly produced collagen to elastic tissue is one by Obagi, ELASTIderm.

The Amount of Time

Another consideration to make when deciphering whether or not skin tightening creams work is the amount of time they take  and how long you have to use them to obtain the results you desire. For instance, you won’t start to see results for at least a few months, and you are encouraged to continue using these products continuously.

Depending on the type of results you want, skin tightening creams may or may not be for you. If you would like to learn more about how you can lift and tighten your skin, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today!

 

 

3 Things to Always Keep In Your Makeup Bag

skin care tipsMake-up is used for 2 reasons. Most use it to hide the imperfections that the sun and time have added to their faces. These include brown and red spots and contour irregularities. Make-up can disguise all these. Instead of hiding these imperfections, we at The Center for Plastic Surgery suggest correcting them. See elsewhere in our web site. The other reason to use make-up is to accentuate your positive features. For this, you need much less in the way of make-up. In fact, for this, most require,  only three things, a blusher, mascara and lipstick, three things every girl should always have in her makeup bag. Read on to learn more.

Blusher

When it comes to generally looking your best, blusher is your best friend. Consider it to be your magical fairy godmother. By applying a little bit on your upper eyelids and over the cheeks accentuates the youthful appearance of your face.

Mascara

Mascara is the number one way for you to make your eyes pop. When choosing a mascara for your eyelashes, ask yourself what area of concern you have. Do you want longer lashes or fuller ones? By answering this question, you can then decide whether a lengthening or volumizing mascara will do the trick. For a more dramatic look, choose a black mascara on top and a brown one on the bottom— the contrast will make your eyes stand out.

Lipstick

Some makeup artists might say that if you are going to have one thing in your makeup bag at all times, it should be a bright colored lipstick. By wearing a bold colored lip, you can dress up your entire look in just a few minutes. As a trend that isn’t going anywhere anytime this year, try wearing a bright or nude colored matte lipstick.

If your skin is otherwise good, you don’t need to have a million things in your makeup bag to make you stand out from the crowd. By having blusher, mascara, and a bold colored lipstick on you at all times, you can get ready for any special occasion. To learn more about these and other makeup tips, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today!

 

 

Treatment of Brown & Red Spots with IPL

Ellipse 2

Sun damage produces a number of skin changes, the most common of which are red and brown spots. The brown spots vary from generalized “freckles” to scattered small spots to larger spots. Genes and hormones may contribute to larger dark areas called melasma. The red caused by sun damage is a form of “rosacea,” or “red skin,” more properly called telangiectasia. It is essentially an abnormal increase of the small capillary blood vessels just under the skin. Another type of rosacea is natural flushing, or dilatation of those normal capillaries due to heat, drinking, exercise or other stimulus. Frequently, with good skin care, when you remove the thick outer layer of the skin, also caused by sun damage, the underlying red is exposed making it appear darker. An IPL can be used to treat both these problems.

What is an IPL and how does it work?

An IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light, is a laser like machine. However, instead of producing a single wavelength of light, it produces a spectrum of wavelengths. This allows it to target several areas where the target absorbs light and avoid having to use a very strong light pulse that can injure areas that are not targeted. For instance, Hemoglobin, the target when treating small vessels, absorbs light at 418, 542 and 577 nm (nanometers, a measurement of the wavelength of light). No laser puts out just one of those. The Ellipse IPL, on one setting, emits light from 400-620 nm, thus encompassing all absorption areas, allowing it to work at a lower power setting, thus causing less discomfort and less risk of injury to anything other than what is being treated. Melanin, the target in brown spots absorbs between 550-950 nm. Another setting of the Ellipse IPL targets this spectrum and does not extend above 1000 nm where water in all cells absorbs the light, thus not causing heat damage to the skin.

What is the Treatment and Recovery?

Treatment consists of exposing the area to be treated to the light using a rectangular lens placed on the skin. Each treatment takes from 10-20 minutes. It is slightly uncomfortable when administered, but all discomfort resolves in about 5 minutes. There is usually some increased redness when treating red that lasts about 4-6 hours. When treating brown spots, they generally turn darker. Some or all of the red fades in 2-3 weeks. The brown spots either fall off or also fade over the same time period. Any residual can be treated again in 3-4 weeks. To completely remove the problem may take 1-6 treatments, depending on the severity of the problem and your individual response. Although possible, blisters or other skin irritation is extremely rare, unlike with treatment of these problems with a laser. Most people can return to normal activities immediately after treatment.

Other uses of the IPL

The IPL can also be used to treat more severe sun damage like actinic keratoses. When this is done, the involved area is treated with amino levulinic acid that is absorbed over 6-18 hours into the severely sun damaged cell and converted to a porphyrin that has a very high affinity for blue light. The skin is then treated with high doses of blue light (400-500 nm). Because only the severely sun damaged cells contain the porphyrin and absorb the blue light, only those cells are superheated by the light energy and destroyed. This method is as effective as using chemotherapy like 5FU (Efudex, Fluroplex) and imiquimod (Aldara, Zyclara), but, instead of taking 6 weeks or more, treatment takes only a day and recovery only a week or so for the places to crust and fall off.

Because active Acne areas are inflamed and also absorb amino levulinic acid, a similar treatment is available for severe Acne not controlled by standard means.

 If you are bothered by any of these problems, call The Center for Plastic Surgery to see if an IPL treatment can help you.

Protect Your Investment: 3 Things to Do After Laser Treatments

Laser Treatments Highlands, NCIf images of Dr. Evil using finger quotes to send a “laser” to the earth enter your mind every time you hear of laser treatments, you may not be as familiar with these skin treatments as you think. Lasers are one of the fastest and most effective ways of reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, sunspots, acne scars, and other skin issues. However, to ensure that you get the best results possible, you need to make sure your recovery is as easy as possible. This starts before the laser procedure and continues well past the initial healing time. This article will discuss three ways you can improve the effectiveness of the procedure. Read on to learn more.

  1. Prep the Skin First

Any injury to the skin causes a reaction in the melanocytes, the pigment cells. This can cause either hyperpigmentation, hypopigmentation or both. The nature of the laser procedure causes an injury, so it can cause these problems. Prepping the melanocytes first to prevent them is significantly easier than trying to correct them after the fact. One of the things that the laser does to improve the skin is stimulate collagen production in the skin. This thickens the support of the skin and makes it more resistant to future wrinkling. Prepping the skin can increase the collagen production and, thus, improve the results of the procedure. Minimum prep is hydroquinone and Retin-A, though we prefer to prep using the entire Obagi®  Nu-Derm System. It stabilizes the melanocytes, begins collagen stimulation and reduces the dead cell layer that makes the laser procedure easier.

  1. Care for Your New Skin

Immediately after the laser treatment the treated area will be raw and weeping. For the first 24-48 hours cool compresses or an ice bag over a clean cloth is quite comforting. It’s important that you keep this area as clean as possible, otherwise bacteria can creep through the open wounds and cause an infection. To keep the area clean, wash it with a gentle facial cleanser and cool water or a cool mixture of 1 cup water with 1 tsp vinegar several times a day. Alternately, you can just let cool water from the shower run over it. You also want to avoid excessive movement of the area during healing. If the area is around the mouth, you want to avoid vigorous chewing, though it is important to maintain a good diet high in protein to encourage rapid healing. Along this line, since smoking reduces healing. you should avoid smoking for a month before and several months after the procedure.

  1. Continue Good Skin Care and Sun Protection

Lasers do their magic by removing the top few layers of your skin in order to produce newer, healthier, smoother skin. As your skin heals it is more vulnerable to burning and sun damage. Therefore, you need to intensify your efforts at sun protection and cover up with a hat and increased use of sunscreen. As soon as the surface is healed, you need to start back using a cleanser, pH balancer and Hydroquinone. At about 4 weeks after healing you can start back on the alpha hydroxy and Retin-A. The more you use the Retin-A, the more collagen you create and the stronger the skin and the better the result. At this point, adding Obagi® ELASTIderm will help convert some of the collagen to elastic tissue and, thus, further tighten the new skin.

Take care of your skin before and after a laser treatment by using the tips listed above. To learn more about Laser Skin Rejuvenation, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today!

 

 

 

Skin Cleansing: How to Get the Most Out of Your Clarisonic

Clarisonic Highlands, NCLong gone are the days of using a warm washcloth and facial cleanser or Pond’s Cold Cream to clean your face. By using at-home cleansing tools like the Clarisonic, you can help to get your skin significantly cleaner than ever. By using a combination of uniquely designed brush bristles and a vibratory motion, the Clarisonic can remove 6X more makeup and 2X more dirt than cleansing with just your hands alone. However, if you’re not taking the proper care of your Clarisonic or if you simply don’t know how to use it correctly, you aren’t going to get the cleanest skin possible. If you either currently have a Clarisonic or if you are considering investing in one, it is important that you know how you can get the most out of it. Read on to learn more tips and tricks.

Change the Brush

The same way that you wouldn’t use one toothbrush for an entire year, you need to switch the brush head on your Clarisonic every three months. By accumulating dirt and oil, an old, dirty Clarisonic brush is simply just going to cause you to breakout. To switch out your brush, simply twist off the brush head, throw it away, and replace it with a new one— it’s as simple as that!

Clean Both the Brush and the Base

Dirt and grime can build up under your brush head if you don’t clean it often. To help keep your Clarisonic as clean as possible, remove the brush head after each use and clean both the brush head and the Clarisonic device. To remove the brush head from the Clarisonic, simply twist it off. Then, with warm water gently wash the brush. When cleaning your Clarisonic, simply wipe it under running water. Once every week or so you should also remove the thin white plastic ring around the central spindle that holds the brush. You have to pop it out from under the small brass pins around the outside of the brush well. This is best cleaned with a Q-Tip. While you are at it, clean the drain holes too .

Dry the Brush

To keep your brush head in the best condition possible, dry it after every use. To dry the brush head, remove it from the base and rub the brush against a clean, dry washcloth or towel— about 5-10 times— or until it is dry to the touch. You should  also set it at an angle where circulating air can get to it.

Get the most out of your Clarisonic by using the tips and tricks above. To learn more, contact The Center For Plastic Surgery today!