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209 Hospital Dr #202
Highlands, NC 28741

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The Importance of Daily Sunscreen

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!

Learning from Sleeping Beauty

It looks like there’s more to life lessons and happily-ever-afters that fairy tales are trying to teach us when it comes to aging gracefully. Take, Sleeping Beauty, for example. This recent study by physician-scientists at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center was able to conclusively demonstrate that lack of sleep could accelerate aging and decrease the skin’s ability to recover from sun exposure.

They Don’t Call it Beauty Rest for Nothing

While it has been known for a while that chronic lack of sleep could negatively affect your looks, the aforementioned study was the first research to actually support such theory with a solid scientific data. Interestingly, they even figured out that it’s not just about the number of hours you devote to your bed, the quality of sleep also plays a significant role.

The Action Plan

To help you snooze your way to younger looking skin, we recommend the following steps:

1. Create a sleep-friendly atmosphere. A dark, quiet, and cool environment works for most people. Figure out what works for you and work towards creating the right setup. ]

2. Sleep and wake up at the same time. By doing so, your body will be able to adapt to your sleeping pattern.

3. Limit exposure to PC,  gadgets and television. This study found out that giving up on your PC and TV habits before bedtime could help you reduce your sleep debt.

Let us help you figure out the best solution for your aging concerns — from crow’s feet to sagging facial skin. We are located at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 202, Highlands, NC.  Call us at 828-526-3783 or fill out this contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to your visit!

Peel Away the Years at the Center for Plastic Surgery!

If you look at it closely,  everything you encounter every day tend to add years to your face  — from the pollution in the environment to the heavily processed foods you eat. Here at our North Carolina plastic surgery practice, we aim to help you take years off from your face without going through surgery through our wide array of chemical peels.

How it Works

It’s no surprise that chemical peels made it in the top 5 list of non-surgical procedures for 2012. Men and women alike are turning to chemical peels to improve the appearance of their face due to its advantage of quicker recovery. So how exactly do chemical peels work?

Chemical peels range from very mild to stronger solutions, depending on the problem that you want to improve and the condition of your skin. The procedure itself takes around 15 minutes and the chemical peels work by “peeling” the outer layers of the skin containing dead skin cells. A warm stinging sensation is normal during the procedure.

Chemical Peels in Highlands, North Carolina

Dr. Buchanan offers the following type of chemical peels in Highlands, North Carolina:

1. The Obagi® RADIANCE Blue Peel is a salicylic acid peel that can improve your skin’s look, texture and feel in a matter of minutes with no down time. This type of peel is beneficial for those with darker skin and have problems with hyperpigmentation.

2. Glycolic peels consist of light fruit peels. These peels are good for people who do not need or feel ready for deeper resurfacing and those who do not want any visible peeling.

3. Jessner Peels combine the strengths of lactic acid, salicylic acid, and resorcinol acid. We recommend Jessner peels if if you have been using other peels and have not received the desired results or if you have reached a plateau in your peels and need an extra boost.

If you have been thinking about having chemical peels, make it a point to seek out a board-certified plastic surgeon who received extensive training and experience with skin resurfacing like Dr. Buchanan.

Dr. Buchanan has hospital privileges at both Highlands-Cashiers Hospital and at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva.  The procedures are performed either in his office or at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital.  We are located at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 202, Highlands, NC.  Call us at 828-526-3783 or fill out this contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to your visit!

Because Your Hands Will Give Your Age Away!

Although the face is often the subject of anti-aging procedures, you might be surprised to know that your hands could actually betray you when it comes to revealing your true age. Here at our North Carolina plastic surgery practice, we often advise our clients to also take the time to take care of their hands. After all, no matter what you do to make your overall appearance look younger, your hands will most likely just give your age away.

Hand Care Tips and Tricks

1. Don’t skimp on the lotion, moisturizer or hand cream. While your hands won’t reveal signs of aging until you’re in your 30s or 40s, using hand moisturizers as early as your 20s will work to your advantage later in life.

2. Be generous with your sunscreen, too. If possible, choose moisturizers with sunscreen properties! UV exposure is the #1 culprit of blemishes, sun spots, and premature appearance of wrinkles on your lovely hands.

3. If your skin is extra sensitive, avoid products which are quite harsh. This will only make your hands flaky and dry.

4. If you frequently do household chores such as doing the laundry, wear rubber gloves as much as possible.

5. Consider hand rejuvenation procedures such as chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing.

If you’re noticing obvious signs of aging in your hands, let us help you out! We have a variety of anti-aging options suited to your needs and preferences.  We are located at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 202, Highlands, NC.  Call us at 828-526-3783 or fill out this contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to your visit!

Daily Sunscreen Saves Your Skin

Although I have been preaching use of sunscreen to protect skin aging for years, a new study from Australia has now provided the strongest evidence yet to support my contention. Regular sunscreen use keeps your skin looking younger. The study which examined skin casts of 903 patients over 4 ½ years and was published June 3rd in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed conclusively that use of sunscreen regularly fights wrinkles. Previous studies suggesting the importance of sunscreen use were all done in animals. This is the first conclusive study in humans and it showed a 24% decrease in skin aging in those using daily broad-spectrum sunscreen over those who used it whenever they thought about it. This is a huge difference for such a short study, especially when the control group occasionally also used sunscreen. Broad-spectrum sunscreens are those that block both UVB (those rays present mid-day in the summer causing sun Burn and relatively easy to block) and UVA (deeper penetrating rays present all day, year around, and at all latitudes making up 97% of the UV rays and thought most responsible for Aging). Interestingly, the FDA instituted new labeling rules last December requiring better labeling of broad-spectrum sunscreens rather than the old SPF system that indicated only blockage of UVB. However, not all of these are equal. For practicality, we recommend use of a sunscreen containing Zinc Oxide of from 5-12%. This blocks both UVA and UVB and only has to be reapplied again if it rubs off. We carry four different brands all personally tested to reduce the risk of reaction.

Don’t Let Crow’s Feet Bring You Down

So you wake up one morning and looking at the mirror, you suddenly discover that you’ve got those unflattering wrinkles around your eyes! Ugh, you’ve got crow’s feet! One of the most effective ways to avoid crow’s feet from happening is to never squint, frown, smile or even laugh! But that would be next to impossible.

Here at our Highlands plastic surgery practice, we have a solid plan to help you bring those crow’s feet down and not the other way around!

1. Slow down on your smoking habits. It’s quite known that smoking accelerates aging so the lesser you smoke, the lesser your chances of aging faster.

2. Keep your moisture levels up, both from the inside and the outside. Increase your fluid intake and do not just wait for that feeling of thirst to drink up. On the other hand, moisturize the area around your eyes before you tuck yourself to bed. Eye creams actually work better in preventing crow’s feet rather than treating existing wrinkles.

3. Consider non-surgical cosmetic procedures if you already have crow’s feet. Botox and dermal fillers are designed to significantly help erase those lines around the eye area.

Let us help you figure out the best solution for your crow’s feet and other aging concerns. We are located at 209 Hospital Drive, Suite 202, Highlands, NC.  Call us at 828-526-3783 or fill out this contact form to schedule an initial consultation. We look forward to your visit!