Selecting the Skin Treatment That's Right for You
Not happy about what age is doing to your face but not interested in plastic surgery? Would you like to get rid of facial, leg or underarm hair for good? Are spider veins keeping you from wearing shorts when the weather is warmer?
MetroHealth dermatologists with cosmetic expertise have answers for patients with these and many other skin issues. "There are affordable procedures available to many people, and they may cost far less than plastic surgery," explains Pamela H. Davis, MD, a MetroHealth dermatologist.
Treatments offered include Botox, Dysport, skin fillers, skin peels and a wide variety of laser options.
"One of the advantages of having treatments through MetroHealth's Department of Dermatology is that we have so many options to offer," says Dr. Davis. "We have several different lasers which can be used for a variety of different skin issues."
She cautions people to "be very careful when you go out and shop around. You may be offered only the laser treatments that a particular office has available," and that might not include the best option for a patient's needs. For instance, while lasers have been used for a number of years for skin resurfacing, the fractional CO2 laser is more advanced, preventing damage to the top layer of skin and allowing faster recovery.
Injectibles and skin fillers
Fillers are popular because as people age, "we lose subcutaneous fat." Botox is more commonly used on the upper areas of the face, fillers on the lower portion, says Dr. Davis. None of these are permanent. People who exercise frequently and those who smoke tend to eliminate the products faster.
Popular options include:
- Radiesse. This filler contains tiny calcium particles in a gel matrix. After injection, the body forms tissue around the microspheres, filling in wrinkles. Results can last up to one year and, in some cases, longer.
- Restylane. This is a biodegradable hyaluronic acid. It's used for facial wrinkles and contouring, and lasts about six months.
- Juvederm. This is a another form of hyaluronic acid. This filler lasts approximately six months.
- Botox and Dysport. These relax facial muscles, preventing contractions that cause lines and wrinkles. These treatments last between three and six months.
- Sculptra. This product is particularly good for large volume filling. It can last one year or more.
These can be helpful for hyperpigmentation, freckling and sun-damaged skin. These peels penetrate the skin and stimulate cell regeneration by increasing production of collagen.
Lasers can be used to help smooth out the surface of damaged or wrinkled skin by stimulating increased collagen production; can eliminate or lessen hyperpigmentation; treat the redness of rosacea; and help eliminate or lessen the appearance of scars. Vascular laser treatments can be effective for birthmarks and spider veins. "The more aggressive the laser, the more post-treatment downtime a patient has," says Dr. Davis.
Following any cosmetic dermatology treatments, patients need to be particularly vigilant about staying out of the sun and using sunscreen.
Lasers also used for hair removal
"If you are interested in this procedure, do it while you are young because the laser best removes dark hair (not gray hair)," says Dr. Davis. The darker a patient's skin, the more difficult it is to effectively eliminate hair.
While Dr. Davis says the best hair removal results are on the face, the procedure can be done elsewhere on the body. The key to hair removal is doing between three and six treatments. For instance, removing leg hair would cost about $1,200 for three treatments, says Dr. Davis, noting that it's a very time-intensive procedure, with each session lasting an hour or more.