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Get the Facts: Do Skin Tightening Creams Work?

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.


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 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.


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!



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:


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.