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Protect Your Investment: 3 Things to Do After Laser Treatments

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!

 

 

Think About Spring Skincare As You Bid Winter A Fond Goodbye

skin care

Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring…each presents its own, unique skin care issues…and each calls for a different skincare routine. Your fragile facial skin is bombarded daily by the elements…from winter’s chill to summer’s heat. You should give your skin the tender, loving care it needs to thrive throughout the year – and especially now that spring is almost here. Spring is a time for new beginnings, so it’s a good time to start taking proper care of your skin if you aren’t doing so already.

As you begin to trade your bulky sweaters for sun-dresses, here are a few tips to jump-start your spring skincare routine:

Exfoliate

Because the cold, dry winter air is hard on your skin, sloughing off winter’s dead cells can renew and refresh your skin. If you haven’t exfoliated the dead skin cells from your face all winter, it’s time to start. The idea is to work up to exfoliating two to three times a week. You can exfoliate gently at home using a soft washcloth or, if you want an easy DIY scrub recipe, you can mix granulated sugar with olive oil or honey for an extra dose of hydration. Remember – take it easy. Be gentle! Don’t pull or tug at your skin or rub too vigorously.

If you want maximum rejuvenation, make an appointment with us for a microdermabrasion treatment or a chemical peel. These treatments are designed to improve the appearance of dull skin, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, blackheads, and even sun damage.

Spring is also the perfect time to make an appointment for an Injectable Treatment, such as Botox. There is no downtime with a Botox treatment; your skin will be renewed and ready just in time for summer. It’s great to know you’ll look your best, even without make-up, as you head to the pool or beach.

Now is the perfect time to call to schedule an appointment for Botox, a microdermabrasion treatment or a chemical peel: (828) 526-3783.

It’s Winter And It’s Cold…The Perfect Combination For Itchy, Dry Skin

winte skinDry skin. Itchy skin. If you suffer from it you know how annoying it can be. You find yourself itching and scratching at your legs and arms…and trying to reach your back to no avail. Yikes!
Winter temperatures and dry air can wreak havoc with your skin…all of it.

If you suffer from chronic dry skin and winter is only making it worse, here are 3 tips to follow to help you get your lovely skin feeling and looking smoother for 2016:

  1. Try Body Brushing – Brushing is great for your hair and your teeth…it is also great for your body. Use a brush specifically designed for skin and dry-brush yourself all over for 10 minutes every day – preferably before bathing or showering. Although it may sound counter-intuitive, it is not…you will improve your circulation and notice a difference in your skin within days.
  2. Try Exfoliation – A sugar or salt based exfoliating scrub is another natural way to rid your body of flaky, dead, dry skin that has built up over time. Apply the scrub to your arms and legs and anywhere else your skin is dry. Rub it in for 30 seconds and rinse with warm water. Do this in the shower at least twice a week. There are recipes for DIY scrubs online…research, create and exfoliate! Your skin will definitely thank you.
  3. Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize – Just do it. If you aren’t applying a good moisturizer to your body (as well as your face) you are asking for itching. Sealing in moisture is the key. Look for a heavy-duty, moisturizing body cream or body butter that is designed to seal in moisture after your shower or bath.

Resolve to take better care of your skin this year! Call our office to learn more: (828) 526-3783.

10 Worst Mistakes in Sun Damage Protection

I got these off AOL a week or so ago. I tried to find the source to just create a link but could not find it, so I have reproduced them and added my own comments. If you want skin that is healthy and looks good, the absolute number one thing you can do is protect it from the sun. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that leads to these mistakes.

  1. The attitude that “the damage has been done.”  Damage from the sun is cumulative, so every day you are continually getting more damage. The more damage you receive, the more likely you are to have visible damage.
  2. Not wearing Sun Glasses.  The sun not only causes skin damage, but also damages the cornea, lens, and retina. There is evidence that some astigmatism and cataracts are caused by sun damage.
  3. Avoiding sunscreen around the eyes.  Everyone worries about dark areas and crinkles around the eyes. Both these are, to some extent, sun damage.
  4. Looking only at SPF.  SPF is TOTALLY WORTHLESS as far as telling you whether the sunscreen will protect you from skin damage. All it says is that the sunscreen will protect you from UVB and getting a sunburn. UVA is the part of the sun causing long term damage. Instead of checking SPF, you need to check the ingredients. Avobenzone will block UVA, but needs to be applied hourly. We recommend that you look for Zinc Oxide, at least 8-14%, since it is a physical block and needs only be replied if rubbed or washed off.
  5. Relying on Label lingo.  All sunscreens are required to say whether they block UVA and/or UVB. However, just because the ingredient will block UVA does not mean it is practical. Avobenzone only lasts an hour. The only practical one is Zinc Oxide and it should be replied as often as you rub it off.
  6. Keeping the same bottle of sunscreen for months or years.  If you are doing this, you are definitely not using enough.
  7. Thinking Sunscreen is all you need.  Sunscreen is intended for the non-covered areas of your bodies. Most people think that clothing will protect from the sun. Unfortunately, regular clothing will not protect you. UVA penetrates most clothing as if it were not there. What you need is specific sun protective clothing or your regular clothing washed in Rit SunGuard every 6 months.
  8. Skimping on Sunscreen.  You need to apply an adequate amount to cover the areas generously.
  9. Skipping Sunscreen when indoors, on cloudy days or in the winter.  UVA is present morning, noon and evening, in North Dakota and south Florida, in summer and winter. It penetrates windows and bounces around inside the house. It also bounces off things outside and is, thus, present even in shade.
  10. Believing the “base tan” myth.  This is just a myth. Additionally, the way many people get their base tan is in a tanning bed, or, as we call them, “Skin Cancer Machines.”

The Importance of Daily Sunscreen

About this time of year, many start thinking about using sunscreen and many stores add new sunscreen choices. The truth, however, is that we all need to use a good sunscreen every day all year. It needs to protect from both UVB, the rays that cause sunburn and are present mainly in the south, mid-day and in the summer, and UVA, those present morning to night, at all latitudes and all year that cause aging and skin cancers. My preference, because it is exceedingly effective as well as practical, is micronized zinc oxide of from 8-14%. We stock several in the office. We also have many excellent methods of rejuvenating the skin from skin care creams to laser, IPL and peels. A recent publication by Drs. Oz and Roizen has reinforced our thoughts on this subject.

Younger Looking Skin Starts from Within

If you’ve been searching long and hard for the single most important secret for younger looking skin, it’s actually been staring you in the face all along – it’s you. Or more specifically it’s the way you look after yourself as while the products you choose to look after your skin will make a difference, nothing is more important that what you put into your body. Any professional beautician or nutritionist in the world will tell you that younger looking skin starts from within – all the beauty products on Earth will do you no good at all if you don’t look after your inner-health.

This of course refers largely to diet and the choices we make in terms of food and drink. Now, this doesn’t mean that the only way to maintain younger looking skin is to live in nothing but lettuce leaves and water, but at the same time it does mean that cutting out the garbage is essential. For example, saturates fats are notoriously bad for the skin as too can be the majority of artificial additives. Too much of the sweet stuff and you’re heading for a skin problem too – it’s all about balance and moderation.

That being said however, there are other habits for which there really is no such thing as a ‘safe’ minimum intake – smoking and drinking alcohol for example. Every cigarette smoked will have a marked effect on the body’s overall health and this will sooner or later show through the skin. The same also applies to alcohol, so in reality the only safe amount to smoke and drink is to not do it at all. It all depends on how important the health of your body is to you – choose your priorities wisely and if you genuinely have your heart set on inner and outer health, you already have all the tools for the job you’ll ever need.

Bill empowering FDA on sunscreen ingredients gets House panel nod.

The FDA has been very slow in approving new sunscreen ingredients and in informing the public the importance of wearing on a daily basis a sunscreen that blocks UVA. They did, as of 1 and a half years ago, require sunscreen makers to label whether they block UVA, the rays that cause skin cancer and age the skin. These are present all day, everywhere and year around. Manufacturers, however, still insist on stressing SPF, a measure of how well the sunscreen blocks UVB, the rays that cause sunburn. These are present mainly down south mid day in the summer. SPF, therefore, only tells you if you are protected from sunburn, not whether you are protected from UVA, the aging rays. Of the 2, UVA is the most important.

The Hill (7/16, Al-faruque) reports that a House panel Tuesday “approved by voice vote a bill that would require” the FDA to quickly decide “whether to approve new sunscreen products available outside” the US. The article notes the Sunscreen Innovation Act would require the FDA to take decisions on sunscreen ingredients, “some of which have been waiting on approval for a decade.”
The National Journal (7/16, Subscription Publication) provides details of the legislation, noting the Act “would institute a timeline for review, and would no longer require the FDA to issue a regulation every time it wants to approve an ingredient.” The bill “requires final decisions on pending applications within one year, and decisions on new applications within one and a half.” The piece notes that new superior ingredients in sunscreens have been awaiting a decision from the FDA for at least 12 years, “with the last” OTC “sunscreen ingredient approved by the agency in the 1990s.”

The question is, will the FDA quit waffling and really assess these ingredients on whether and how well they block UVA and whether they will demand that the amount of UVA protection is also posted.

Tanning salon associated with higher rates of melanoma.

Because tanning beds use UVA light that,when natural, has been associated with skin cancer including melanoma, we at the Center for Plastic Surgery have been preaching avoidance for many years. Now there is enough evidence that tanning beds cause cancer that the fact is making it into the non-medical media.
Reuters (5/29, Seaman) reports on a study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute finding that the use of a tanning salon to get a tan may provide some protection against sunburn, but does not provide protection against skin cancer. The study was based on a comparison of 1,167 melanoma patients with 1,101 people who did not have cancer but were otherwise similar. The study found that 78 percent of those with melanoma reported using tanning salons, while just 40 percent of those without cancer did.
TIME (5/28, Sifferlin) reports the study “shows that even if you don’t get a sunburn while indoor tanning, it still raises your risk for skin cancer.” HealthDay (5/28, Mozes) reports that study co-author DeAnn Lazovich said, “tanning is a biological response to damage to the DNA.” She added, “there is no safe way to tan,” stating that “avoidance of ultraviolet radiation in any form should be the goal.” HealthDay also points out that “the U.S. National Cancer Institute also advises against any form of indoor tanning.”

3 Not-So-Popular Signs of Aging You May Have Not Noticed

So you think you’ve escaped the dreaded signs of aging — from laugh lines to crow’s feet to unsightly forehead wrinkles.  Look at yourself in the mirror again! Here at our North Carolina plastic surgery practice, we often inform our patients to also look out for the following unexpected signs of aging that you may not have noticed!

1. Sagging breasts

Despite wearing support bras since puberty, there’s a huge chance that gravity will take its toll by the time you hit mid-life. Although breast implants are quite popular in increasing the shape and size of one’s breasts, you might also want to consider a breast lift.

2. Bat wings

Have you noticed how your arms seem to obviously wiggle when hailing a cab? The excess skin flapping around your biceps area are often referred to as bat wings or bingo wings and is one sure sign that your skin is not as tight during your younger years. We encourage an arm lift procedure to significantly improve the appearance of your arms.

3. Hands with sun spots and wrinkles

Your face may be free of the usual signs of aging but your hands may give your age away! The appearance of sun spots and wrinkles are one of the most common signs of aging in the hands. Skin care procedures such as photorejuvenation and chemical peels could make your hands look younger!

Let us help you deal with the aforementioned not-so-popular signs of aging by setting up an appointment with Dr. Buchanan! Call us at 828-526-3783 or fill out this contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We are located at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 202, Highlands, N.C. We look forward to your visit!