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3 Ways to Help You Quit Smoking Before the Start of the New Year

3 Ways to Help You Quit Smoking Before the Start of the New Year

ZERONA™ Non-invasive Body Slimming Highlands, NCWhether you have been a tobacco user for your entire life or if it’s just a habit that you just picked up, there’s no denying that tobacco isn’t good for you. With Surgeon General warnings on every cigarette box and with commercials that are enough to severely scare you, the information is out there.  With the holidays in full swing and the new year just around the corner, you may have a few resolutions that you want to make. If you are a tobacco user or smoker, why not quit before the new year even starts? Here at The Center For Plastic Surgery, we encourage all of our patients to quit smoking,  and, in some cases, will not do a surgery if the patient is smoking, because nicotine use slows down your body’s natural ability to heal and, may severely jeopardize the success of some procedures. To help you quit, we have created a brief guide of a few things that you can do.

Change the Habit of Putting Something In Your Mouth

Whether It’s after work, on your lunch break, or after a drink on a Friday night, one of the things that keep people coming back for more cigarettes is their habit of having something to put in their mouth. This is a hard habit to break, so we recommend you just modify it to something other than a cigarette or tobacco, or nicotine containing product. Electronic cigarettes are in the latter category. Instead, consider using something like a toothpick or straw as a substitute for the cigarette.  

Break the Nicotine Habit

The hardest thing of all is breaking your nicotine habit. When trying to quit smoking, try doing something like making a chart of how many cigarettes that you smoke each day and when. Then, make a goal of smoking two fewer cigarettes each day for 10 days, deleting one from the morning and one from the evening. If you can, continue this until you are no longer smoking. If you find it problematic, then just delete one ever day or, even, if you have to, every other day until you are no longer smoking. Make sure that you physically log your cigarette use so that you can see just how well you are doing.

Picture Your Life Without Nicotine

Sometimes, one of the best ways for you to quit smoking is to think of just how much better your life will be without nicotine. For instance, you can:

  • Daydream of all the wonderful aromas that you can smell once you quit smoking.
  • Think of how GOOD food will smell and tastes when you quit.
  • Think of your lungs thanking you for setting them free.
  • Think of your body being able to get more oxygen again.
  • Think of those facial wrinkles no longer forming at such a rapid rate.
  • If all else fails, talk to Dr. Buchanan about other options

Here at The Center for Plastic Surgery, Dr. Buchanan wants all patients to live healthy, cigarette-free life. If you want to learn more about ways that you can quit, contact our Highlands office or call us at (828) 526-3783.

Myths About the Sun and Protection From It:

We all think we know about the sun, what it does to us and how to protect ourselves from it. Unfortunately, most of us really do not know what we need to know. A great deal of this is because most of the people who write about this keep repeating information that has been outdated for years. Though you may think that this is implausible, several studies have shown that it takes an average of 13 years before a new discovery is adopted into general usage. Unfortunately, it has already been well over 20 years we learned new information about the sun and how to protect from it, and it has still not been generally accepted.

 

You only need to use Sunscreen when you “go out in the sun.”

 

This is based on what we previously knew about UVB. Since UVB is immediately absorbed rather than being reflected, it is much less strong in the shade or inside. It is also what causes sunburn. Because of that, it was considered really bad. Also, many modern windows block UVB so you would not sunburn inside. None really block UVA, which is present almost equally all day, all year, at all latitudes and even inside and in the shade. UVA is also the “bad guy.” It is what really causes sun damage. We remember the effects by “UVB, Burn, UVA, Aging.” We, therefore, need to protect from UVA all the time every day. This requires the proper sunblock and sun protective clothing.

 

 “You don’t need sun protection in the winter.”

 

This is similar to the above. While UVB is twice as strong in the summer as it is in winter, the strength of UVA is almost the same. This means that you need to protect from UVA aging all year. This is also true indoors and on cloudy days as UVA is unchanged in strength then also.

“SPF is what you need to look for in selecting a Sunscreen.”

 

SPF is a designation designed to tell you how well the sunscreen protects from sunburn. It has no bearing on whether it protects you from sun damage, however. As I said, sunburn is caused by UVB that is absorbed by everything, including your skin. This is the reason it causes a burn (all the energy is concentrated in the outer skin layer) and present twice as much in the summer as the winter, at noon as morning and evening and in Florida as in North Dakota (because of atmospheric absorption). Since it is UVA that is absorbed into all layers of the skin and causes cellular damage resulting in skin cancers and aging, you need a way to tell if what you are using does that. SPF does not do this.

 

All sunscreens protect from damaging rays equally,

 

Since December of 2013, any product labeled as a sunscreen or sunblock have to protect from both UVA and UVB. Any product that simply puts an SPF on the label but does not claim to be a sunscreen or sunblock does not necessarily have any UVA protection and any that it does have is usually short lived. Even those that are approved as sunscreens are not all equal in the protection provided. There is a long list of chemical sunscreens and the manufacturer can use a mixture of them. Some are better than others. The one thing they all share is that they only last about an hour if you are outside or 2 hours if you are inside. The physical sunblocks are zinc and titanium oxide. Both protect from both UVA and UVB and last until washed or rubbed off. However, zinc is by far the best, protecting maximally over a larger spectrum.

 

Something other than an applied sunscreen or sun protective clothing will protect you,

 

There have been many claims over the years. Most recently, several companies have marketed either a pill or something to drink that is supposed to protect you from sun damage. None of these products work, and the FDA has recently warned these companies to stop making such claims.

 

For proper sun protection, we suggest:

 

Since zinc oxide provides the widest spectrum of maximum protection and lasts as long as it remains in place, this is, not only the best, but the most practical. Probably the main reason it has not been adopted better is another myth, “it is that white stuff the lifeguards used to wear on their noses.” A recent health writer even bemoaned that we did not have a reasonable sunblock or “something other than that white stuff.” The fact is that it has not been “white” for well over 20 years and rubs in clear but provides superb protection. Instead of looking for SPF, we recommend that you simply look at the ingredients and buy one with at least 8% zinc oxide. This will give you all the UVA and UVB protection you need. We also suggest that your clothing is sun protective, either bought that way or washed with Rit SunGuard that washes in sun protection for 20 washes. We sell both in the office. Call, come in or visit our web site to find out more.

What Clean Skin Can Do For Your Confidence

Beautiful Skin Highlands, NCAfter a long day of work or activities, all you want to do is crawl into bed. But, before you lay down and really get comfy, make sure that you wash your face. With dirt, makeup, oil, and environmental chemicals on your skin, your skin is a lot dirtier than you may be aware. Plus, dirty skin can leave you with a wealth of problems. Let’s take a closer look at what clean skin can do for your confidence and why you shouldn’t avoid washing your face before bed every night.

Acne or its Adult Equivalent

Acne is an interesting problem. It is very common in teenagers and young adults. However, it is also quite common in older adults also. At an older age, it is frequently confused with other problems and labeled “Rosacea.” The initial inflammation causes redness and then stimulates the pigment cells causing dark spots. It can, therefore, be one of the hardest things on a person’s self-esteem, especially if you have a lot of it. Acne at both times is caused by clogged pores. The number one reason why we at The Center For Plastic Surgery encourage our patients to wash their face with a cleansing device like the Clarisonic is to get rid of the things clogging the pores. Oil can build up and clog the pores whether from overproduction at a younger age or small pores caused by years of sun damage. When you wash your face with a Clarisonic and an exfoliating cleanser you unclog the pores and prevent the inflammation. The Clarisonic has been shown to unclog the pores many times better than washing otherwise.

Rough, Dry Skin

The dryness of the air inside during this time of year can make your skin feel exceptionally dry. This is made much worse if you have not been keeping the outer dead cell layer thinned. Washing your face with a gentle exfoliating facial scrub will help you get rid of the dry dead cell layer, exposing the hydrated layer below. This is our preferred care instead of using moisturizers.

Fine Lines

Washing your face with an exfoliating cleanser also helps to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. If the dead cells build up, they tend to weight down the skin making it more likely to crinkle as the underlying support layer thins. This is also the reason we strongly recommend against the use of moisturizers as they also add weight to the skin.

Washing your face every night before bed is one of the best (and easiest) things that you can do for your skin and your self-esteem. If you want to learn more about how to take better care of your skin, contact our Highland’s office today. Call us at (828) 526-3783.

Let’s Focus On Skin Care

summer sin careKeeping your skin healthy and young looking should be an everyday process. Now is the perfect time to take stock of your skin-care routine and update it to one based on scientifically proven methods. Not only will it actually keep your skin young, it may save you a lot of money. If you are looking for things you can do at home to keep your skin hydrated, healthy and youthful, continue reading.

Skin Care Myths

  • Moisturizer helps your skin stay hydrated and is an essential part of skin care.  In fact, moisturizers do the opposite and should never be used. They tell your cells that they do not need to produce moisture, so the cells simply stop producing natural moisture. Additionally, they add weight to the skin and, with reduction of the underlying support layer from sun damage, they further cause wrinkles and crinkles.
  • You don’t need sunblock if you are not “out in the sun.” This is based on an old belief that it was the UVB rays that cause the damage to the skin. In fact, they contribute little (they cause a burn and the majority of injured cells simply slough [peel] off) and that it is the UVA rays that cause the damage. UVA is present at all latitudes, all day and all year. Protecting only from 10:00 to 2:00 o’clock is, therefore, also false since that time is when UVB is strongest and has nothing to do with UVA. UVA is also present indoors, so you need to protect from it even there.
  • Cleansing is the mainstay of skin care. Instead, it is only one small part. See below.

 Basic Skin Care

There are four steps to good basic skin care. This is what you need for skin with minimal sun damage to reduce as much as possible any future sun damage. With any specific damage, the rejuvenative treatments are simply added to the basic care. The steps in basic skin care are:

  • Clean your face morning and night. Use of a Clarisonic device improves the cleansing several times.
  • Use an alpha or beta hydroxy to remove the outer dead cell layer. This removes a weighty, dry layer that contributes to wrinkles and adds to dryness. This can be combined with the cleansing if you use a cleanser containing either an alpha or beta hydroxy or both.
  • After cleansing, apply a pH balancer that is acidic. This returns the skin to its normal function. Many toners will do this, but we like Vitamin-C Serum because it is also an antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory and it stabilizes the lipid cell wall. Some other products do likewise.
  • Use a sunblock containing at least 8% zinc oxide daily on all exposed skin.  This is now clear and does not have to be reapplied every hour like other sunscreens. Wear hats and sun protective clothing to cover your skin elsewhere. If you do not have clothing that is specifically sun protective, wash your regular clothing with SunGuard from Rit every 6 months to make it sun protective.

Other Important Steps

  • Use a gentle touch when applying makeup and avoid pulling too much on your skin, especially around your eyes.
  • Wash your pillowcase often.
  • Don’t pop pimples or squeeze blackheads. Instead, allow your skin care physician or an aesthetician to care for them.
  • Concentrate on your diet. See below.

The Importance of What You Eat

  • Vitamin E protects your skin from further damage, so, snack on almonds, sunflower seeds, hazelnuts and  cretaceous vegetables to boost your intake of Vitamin E.
  • Unsaturated, healthy fats, such as avocados, act as natural moisturizers for your skin.
  • Fruits and vegetables, the darker or brighter the better, contain antioxidants that help protect your skin from pollution and damaging free radicals produced by UVA exposure.
  • The Vitamin C in oranges or other citrus, broccoli and other similar vegetables and strawberries boosts your immune system, which helps your skin heal any problems.
  • Your body needs water to stay healthy and so does your skin. Keeping your skin hydrated starts from the inside, so drink plenty of water every day. If you spend time in the sun, or exercise regularly, you may need to drink more.

As a compliment to your daily skin-care regime, we offer a variety of professional treatments that target specific problems. For example, a chemical peel or an IPL laser treatment can correct scars, blemishes and uneven skin tone, reduce the size of pores, and make your skin look smoother.

Let us help you maintain the youthful look of your skin scientifically. The difference between this and what is generally touted in all the magazines and cosmetic counters is that this actually works to maintain youthful skin and doesn’t waste your money on things that do your skin no good. Call to schedule an appointment, today.

Frankenstein Beware: How to Take Care of Your Acne Damaged or Age Wrinkled Skin

Whether you suffered from a lot of acne in your youth or if you have been hit with some serious hormonal, stress or sun damage induced acne as an adult or have wrinkles from aging, there’s one thing that’s for certain: you don’t want to continually look at them. The good thing about most scars and wrinkles is that they can soften with time with use of tretinoin (Retin-A), which makes them a lot less noticeable. If, however, you have scars or wrinkles that are deeper and you wish to reduce them quickly, then we may recommend a laser resurfacing to help eliminate them.

Luxor CO2 Laser

There are quite a number of different CO2 and combined lasers that can be used to flatten severe acne scars or wrinkles.  The Luxor Specialized CO2 Laser is unique by using very intense bursts of laser light which are spaced further apart than normal which reduces residual redness after the procedure better even than CO2-Erbium or other combined lasers. In non-computer mode it also allows  precise targeting of the scars or wrinkles to remove them with tissue reaction. All this means that you will have a faster recovery time. In fact, most people heal from this treatment after just 5-10 days.

What Is Healing Like?

Because the Luxor CO2 laser does not cause significant tissue heating, recovery is rapid. Initial care is gentle cleansing and ointment. Once the healing has started, we will show you how to apply makeup to disguise any redness.

If you feel like your acne scars or wrinkles would make even Frankenstein seem a bit concerned, then it’s time to take matters into your own hands and learn more about our skin resurfacing. Schedule your consultation appointment at our Highlands office today by giving us a call at (828) 526-3783.

3 Ways to Restore Moisture to Your Skin

Micro Peels iHighlands, NCDoes your skin feel dry? Although you can lather on moisturizer, this is actually counterproductive, especially on your face. It actually causes the skin to stop moisturizing itself and increases the risk of wrinkles and crinkles. Your skin actually needs a little more help to retain moisture and feel smoother. With the help of exfoliators, peels and proper skin care, we at the Center For Plastic Surgery can help give your skin that extra boost it needs to feel smoother and more moist in no time.

Exfoliate

If you don’t already exfoliate your skin regularly, you aren’t doing your skin any service. Exfoliating with either a scrub, handheld device or both is one of the best ways for you to get rid of dead, dry skin and reveal smoother, healthier, moist skin in the process. When exfoliating, make sure not to get too aggressive otherwise you can strip your skin of its natural oils.

Peel Out

Okay, we aren’t talking about the “peeling out” you did in your car in the parking lot when you were 16 — although that was a lot of fun. We are talking about micro-peels.  Here at our Center For Plastic Surgery Office, we provide patients with a variety of different micro-peels to help treat and target different skin concerns including dryness and hyperpigmentation. During your initial consultation with our staff, we will help determine which of our peels — Radiance, Glycolic, or Jessner — is the right option for you and your skin.

Watch Your Skincare

If your skin is unusually dry and sensitive to the touch, look at the skincare products you are using on your face. Most skin sensitivity is due to products that are used on the skin. Most of these are unnecessary and many actually do more harm than good. Basic skin care is a good cleanser usually with an exfoliant, a pH balancer and a zinc oxide sunblock. This is all that is needed unless you have significant damage like hyperpigmentation, crinkles, redness or other problems. Then, specific treatment is needed. We at the Center for Plastic Surgery can recommend both basic and therapeutic skin care that is right for your individual skin.

Ready to learn more about our micro-peels or skin care? Schedule your consultation at our Highlands office today at 877-526-3784.

Microdermabrasion De-Mystified

MicrodermabrasionIf tighter, smoother facial skin is on your “beauty” wish-list but you are a bit timid about injections or invasive surgical procedures, a Microdermabrasion treatment may be right for you.

Exactly what is Microdermabrasion?
To break it down, micro means very small or tiny; derm has to do with the skin (as in “dermatologist”); to abrade means to wear down or rub away (like sandpaper). Added together, we find Microdermabrasion defined as “a cosmetic procedure in which rough facial skin is removed by the application of a fine abrasive.”

During a Microdermabrasion procedure, the very thin, top layer of your facial skin (the epidermis) is abraded with a high-pressure spray of tiny crystals which are then vacuumed away. The procedure diminishes the appearance of fine line, wrinkles, discoloration, scars and other blemishes. Microdermabrasion removes dead skin, uncovering a smoother, glowing, more youthful surface. The beauty of microdermabrasion is that your body recognizes the damage done to the epidermis, and it quickly works to replace the lost skin cells with new, healthier cells. Microdermabrasion is designed to treat only the epidermis. The tiny crystals do not affect your lower skin layer, the dermis.

What are the benefits of Microdermabrasion?
The benefits of Microdermabrasion are very similar to those of chemical peels. Skin discoloration is removed, as well as many signs of aging, scars and sun damage. Your skin will look and feel smoother and softer. Additionally, your skin-care products will be more effective following Microdermabrasion, as your new skin is more receptive to topical treatments.

We look forward to meeting you and explaining the effects of a Microdermabrasion treatment at the Center for Plastic Surgery. The procedure is done as an outpatient procedure in our office, with literally no down time.

Call today, to schedule an appointment: (828) 526-3783.

It’s Possible to Maintain a Youthful Look into Your 50’s & Beyond

 Medi-Spa Services Highlands, NCAging gracefully doesn’t have to be impossible. In fact, one of our goals here at the Center For Plastic Surgery is to help everyone age as well and gracefully as possible. If you have reached that point in your life, maybe around your 50’s, where you are looking in the mirror and wondering where your youth went, then let us help you find it again. Although we won’t be able to take you back more than a few decades,  we can reverse considerable aging of your skin, face and body.

Watch Your Skin Care

If your skin care regimen has not  maintained your skin looking young and radiant, then it is time for a medical grade system that will reverse everything that has happened to it. If you have maintained most of your skin’s youthful properties, you may just need to modify a few things to keep it looking healthy and young. Frequently, we don’t realize how our skin is aging until it actually requires a lot of work to reverse the problems. That is why we suggest adding retinol to basic skin care of a gentle cleanser, pH balancer, exfoliant and sun block at about 30 years of age. This can markedly help reduce fine lines and wrinkles later on.

Try Fillers and Botox

If you haven’t already, give fillers and Botox a try. Both of these injectables are great at reversing early facial aging without having to undergo surgery. Plus, because they are more affordable than surgery, they may be a good jumping off point. Botox is also one of the mainstays of preventing wrinkles by correcting the imbalance between thinning skin and increasing muscle function, one of the main contributors to wrinkles and crinkles. Once wrinkles are present, fillers are important also in reversing the problem without laser or peels.

Consider Surgery

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having a surgical lift; whether it be a forehead lift, eye tuck or something else. In fact, it’s the best way to get long-lasting results. Our present procedures are easier and have a faster recovery than those in the past.

As you can see, we have more than a few ways to help you maintain or get your youthful look back. To learn more about these and other options, schedule a consultation at our Highlands office by calling us at (828) 526-3783.

What Do You Know About Wrinkles?

If you are a man or woman “of a certain age,” the aging of your body and skin manifests itself in countless ways, facial wrinkles being one of the most visible and obvious.

Why wrinkles?

What’s the main causes of wrinkly skin? The sun’s UV and UVB rays resulting in an unbalance between the skin and the underlying muscles that, in the face, are attached to the skin.

How does this happen? The sun’s UVA rays cause a loss of your skin’s connective tissues including collagen and elastic tissue making your skin thinner, less elastic and much more vulnerable to wrinkles which are the result. More importantly, repeated, unprotected sun exposure can cause skin cancer. Additionally, the effects of the sun’s damaging rays are cumulative over your lifetime.

Most wrinkles appear around the eyes, eyebrows and mouth. This is because of repeated facial expressions, such as frowning and smiling. Smiling is a good thing, but worrying is not. Those frown lines don’t need extra help to deepen!

What helps? Here are 7 things to consider:

facial rejuvenationWrinkles are a natural result of aging, that’s true, but there are some things you can do to prevent or reduce them:

1.  Sunscreen is critically important but it doesn’t do any good in a drawer. Be sure to choose a product that contains at least 8% zinc oxide and re-apply it whenever you rub or wash it off (other products are OK, but need to be reapplied hourly outside and every 2 hours indoors). Don’t forget your hands and neck.

2. Stay away from tanning beds. They use UVA, the damaging part of sun rays.

3. Be gentle. Don’t scrub your skin with a rough cloth; don’t rub and pull at your skin; use an easy touch when applying makeup, especially around the eye area.

4.Use a retinol cream applied daily, especially after 30 years of age to reduce loss of collagen. If you are in your 50’s or older and haven’t been using a retinol, you probably need tretinoin (Retin-A).

5. Consider adding Obagi ELASTIderm® that converts some of the collagen to elastic tissue. This is especially true the older you are.

6. If you smoke, quit. Smoking greatly accelerates the aging process and causes wrinkles to appear prematurely.

7. Consider injectables, like Juvederm and Botox, if your wrinkles are deep and pronounced.

Today is the beginning…the rest of your life awaits you! Give Dr. Buchanan a call and request your complementary consultation 828.526.3783.

How to Get Baby Smooth Skin In Your 50’s and 60’s and Beyond

Beautiful Skin Highlands, NCIf you have children, grandchildren, or just like taking care of your friend’s children then you know there’s one thing everybody wishes they had that a baby does; smooth skin. A baby’s skin is ineviable because it’s not only flaw-free, but it is also hydrated and soft— something we all wish for. As we age, our skin starts to lose collagen and elastin in it which makes it more wrinkly and less smooth. If you are in your 50’s and 60’s and can’t seem to get the soothe skin that you want, we have non-invasive ways to help. Let’s take a closer look at how.

Tretinoin (Retin-A®) & ELASTIderm®

One reason that young skin looks so good is that all the cells are continually working to rebuild collagen (the main substance of the support layer) and elastin (the part that makes the skin elastic). With sun exposure, this process gets harder and harder and, after about 30 years of age, the cells that rebuild these simply stop working unless they are stimulated. There are several ways to stimulate them such as some lasers and micro needling, but the easiest and best way is to is a good skin care system including Tretinoin (Retin-A®) & Obagi® ELASTIderm®. The former stimulates collagen to thicken the skin and the latter stimulates elastic tissue. By using these over all the movable facial skin you can significantly retain a softer, more hydrated and more elastic skin.

Botox

Fine lines and wrinkles don’t just happen on your cheeks and around your mouth. In fact, most people notice their first wrinkle on their forehead or around their eyes. With injections of a neurotoxin that reduces muscle function like Botox, we can help to reduce the formation of fine lines and wrinkles around your eyes and forehead and leave you with a more baby-like complexion.

Fillers

Fillers like Juvederm are designed to do exactly as their name suggests; fill in fine lines and wrinkles. Made from hyaluronic acid (a naturally occurring substance in the body used to build collagen) these two fillers can also help add volume and contour to your cheeks and around your mouth. They are useful especially if you already have wrinkles that are present when the underlying muscles are relaxed. With thin skin and multiple wrinkles, the filer can be placed directly under the dermis (the collagen containing support layer of the skin) to thicken it make it harder to wrinkle. The body can use some of this hyaluronic acid to make new collagen, leaving you feeling and looking one step closer to having baby-like skin.

MicroPeels

Another way to get that baby perfect skin is getting frequent micro peels. Your skin type and your exact issues of concern will help determine what type of peel will be best for you. MicroPeels work by targeting the top layer of your skin removing the outer dead cell layer that has been created by time and sun exposure leaving healthier, brighter skin in the process. They also get rid of external weight that tends to increase the incidence of wrinkles.

Having that smooth baby skin doesn’t have to be an unattainable fantasy. With the help of our staff at the  Center For Plastic Surgery, we have a variety of both non-invasive and surgical procedures we can use to help you get a more youthful glow. To learn more, schedule a consultation at our Highland’s office by calling us at (828) 526-3783.