7 Most Popular Cosmetic Skin Treatments
- Improve the Look and Feel of Your Skin
Does your skin have fine lines? Age spots? Acne scars or other issues you’d like to clear up? Cosmetic treatments may help improve the look and feel of your skin. Some use heat to trigger collagen production. Others fill in wrinkles or work like sandpaper to smooth imperfections. These treatments are less invasive than surgery. They often need little recovery time, but their cost and how well they work varies. There is one thing the following treatments do have in common: Their popularity is rising.
Botox is made from the bacterium that causesbotulism. Doctors use a very thin needle to inject small amounts of Botox into muscles in the face—just enough to reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Botox paralyzes the muscles or blocks certain nerves. Doctors target specific muscles so the surrounding skin isn’t affected. The number of injections depends on the severity of your wrinkles. The procedure takes about 15 minutes and does not require anesthesia or recovery time. Results usually last several months.
2. Chemical Peel
Chemical peels treat wrinkles, acne scars, rough skin, age spots, and freckles. Treatment involves applying a chemical solution to remove damaged skin. Chemical peels range from mild to deep. The best type for you depends on the severity of your skin problems. Mild peels use alpha-hydroxy acids. Medium peels use trichloroacetic acid. Both reduce fine lines and acne. Phenol treats deeper scars and wrinkles. It produces more dramatic results than medium or mild peels, but recovery times are longer. Results of a deep chemical peel last up to 10 years.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacinguses short, pulsating beams of light to treat wrinkles, uneven skin tone, age spots, and scars. It removes the outer layer of skin while heating up deeper layers. This triggers the production of collagen, which helps the skin look smoother and firmer. An ablative laser targets deep wrinkles or scars. A non-ablative laser treats early signs of aging. Ablative lasers produce faster results, but recovery is longer. A non-ablative, fractional laser works like an ablative laser but can reduce discomfort and recovery time. Side effects include redness and sensitivity to sunlight for several months. Results can last for years.
This is a surgical procedure to treat scars and winkles. Doctors perform it in an office or clinic. You will have a local anesthetic to numb the skin. Your doctor will use a wire brush or device to scrape away the top layer of skin. The depth of the procedure depends on the severity of the skin problems. Side effects include redness, swelling, burning andpain. To treat deep scars or wrinkles, your doctor may do the procedure in stages, or you may need more than one treatment. Only a specially trained plastic surgeons and dermatologists should do dermabrasion.
This is a mild version of dermabrasion. It removes imperfections on the outer layer of skin, including age spots, enlarged pores, acne, minor facial lines or scars, and discolored skin. It may also reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Your doctor will use a hand-held device to apply tiny crystals that sand the skin. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and requires no recovery time. Most people need several treatments before they see improvement. How long results last depends on the severity of the skin damage and the number of treatments.
This procedure involves injecting fillers into the skin. Fillers can plump up lips or cheeks. They can also soften creases, deep folds, and wrinkles. The injections generally produce immediate results. Dermal fillers approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration include hyaluronic acid, restylane, calcium hydroxylapatite, and synthetic polylactic acid. Your doctor may also use your own fat as a filler. This requiresliposuction to obtain the fat. Most dermal fillers are temporary. They dissolve in 6 to 18 months. At least one filler, PMMA (polymethylmethacrylate), is semi-permanent.
- Laser Hair Removal
This common procedure is generally safe for any part of the body, including the face. It works best on light skin with dark hair. Darker hair absorbs more laser light. Lighter skin lets more of the laser light into the hair follicle. Many factors determine the laser strength and how many treatments you need. These include your skin type, hair thickness and color, and the size and location of the treatment area.Hair loss is permanent after 3 to 8 sessions for most people.
Botulism Food Poisoning
What is botulism food poisoning?
Botulism is a disease caused by the bacterium scientifically known as Clostridium botulinum. Botulism food poisoning occurs when a toxin produced by the bacteria is consumed in improperly preserved foods. The disease is caused by a potent neurotoxin produced by the bacteria. It manifests as abdominal cramping, double or blurred vision, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, and other serious symptoms. Botulism is not spread from person to person.
Botulism food poisoning is a rare disease in the United States. About 110 cases of botulism occur in the United States every year, and the majority occur in infants
Most commonly, people contract botulism food poisoning from eating home-canned foods or other contaminated foods, which may contain honey, corn syrup, baked potatoes, and cured meats or fish. Large outbreaks have been described involving commercially-prepared food products – most were outside of the United States.
The signs and symptoms of botulism food poisoning can last for one to two weeks or even longer. The disease course varies among individuals. Symptoms usually appear 12 to 36 hours after ingesting contaminated food, and can include muscle paralysis caused by the extremely potent toxin. Botulism food poisoning is treated with botulinum antitoxin and hospitalization (Source: CDC).
Botulism food poisoning is a life-threatening condition. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you suspect botulism food poisoning or if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms of difficulty breathing, abdominal pain or cramping, blurred or double vision, weakness (loss of strength), paralysis or inability to move a body part, vomiting, or drooping eyelids.
What are the symptoms of botulism food poisoning?
Botulism food poisoning causes a number of symptoms related to the effects of the botulinum toxin. The symptoms differ in adults and infants.
Common symptoms of botulism food poisoning in adults
Symptoms of botulism food poisoning in adults include:
- Abnormal pupil size or reactivity to light
- Abdominalpain or cramping
- Blurred ordouble vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing and speaking
- Dry mouth
- Nauseawith or without vomiting
- Paralysis (on both sides of the body)
- Weakness (on both sides of the body)
Common symptoms of botulism food poisoning in infants
The most common symptoms of botulism food poisoning in infants include:
- Difficulty controlling head movement
- Difficulty sucking or feeding
- Drooping eyelids
- Hypotonicity (flaccid limbs)
- Muscle weakness
- Weak cry
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
Symptoms from botulism food poisoning may be so severe that a life-threatening situation can develop. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of the following symptoms:
- Abnormal pupil size or reactivity to light
- Blurred or double vision
- Difficulty breathing
- Difficulty swallowing
- Drooping eyelids
- Facial weakness (both sides of the face)
- Garbled orslurred speech or inability to speak
- Nausea,vomiting, and abdominal pain or cramping
- Paralysis or inability to move a body part
What causes botulism food poisoning?
Clostridium botulinum is found in soil and untreated water. The bacteria create spores that subsist in incorrectly preserved or canned food, where they lead to the presence of bacteria that produce the botulinum toxin. Botulism food poisoning commonly occurs when the toxin is ingested. Ingesting even minute quantities can cause severe poisoning. The foods most commonly known to cause botulism food poisoning are smoked or raw fish, cured pork and ham, honey or corn syrup, and home-canned vegetables. The disease has also occurred from oil infused with garlic and baked potatoes. In infants, the most common causes are exposure to contaminated soil and eating contaminated honey.
What are the risk factors for botulism food poisoning?
Risk factors for botulism food poisoning include the consumption of home-canned foods and foods that have been improperly preserved. Not all people with risk factors will get botulism food poisoning.
Reducing your risk of botulism food poisoning
You can lower your risk of botulism food poisoning by:
- Discarding bulging cans of food, any bad-smelling food, and expired preserved foods
- Refraining from giving honey to infants
- Refrigerating foil-wrapped baked potatoes instead of leaving them out at room temperature
- Sterilizing home-canned foods by pressure cooking them for 30 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit
How is botulism food poisoning treated?
Botulinum antitoxin in injected form is the mainstay of treatment for botulism food poisoning in adults. Infants are usually treated intravenously with immune globulin.
If the patient experiences breathing difficulty, hospitalization is required to establish a clear airway and provide ventilator support. A tube may be inserted through the patient’s mouth or nose or into the windpipe to provide an airway for oxygen. A breathing machine may be needed. Intravenous fluids are commonly prescribed if swallowing difficulty prevents adequate fluid intake. If the patient is unable to eat, a feeding tube may be inserted in the nose to provide nutrients.
What are the potential complications of botulism food poisoning?
Complications of botulism food poisoning include:
- Aspirationpneumonia and infection
- Long-lasting weakness
- Permanent disability
- Prolonged nervous system problems
- Respiratory distress
What is acne?
Acne is a very common skin condition in the United States. Most of us, at one point or another, have probably had acne. It affects 40 to 50 million people in the United States each year. It is most common during adolescence, affecting three out of four teenagers. However, it can also affect people in their 30s and 40s; pregnant women are also prone to breakouts. Acne tends to run in families.
Many myths are associated with the cause and treatment of acne. For example, the belief that chocolate or greasy foods cause acne is a misconception.
Acne occurs when our pores, or openings in the skin, become clogged with dead skin cells. An overproduction of oil traps these skin cells inside the pore. The backed-up ducts become filled with dirt and bacteria, forming a plug known as a comedone. The top of the plug has a white tip, which if punctured, releases oil and bacteria into the skin. The inflammation can go deep into the skin, causing a cyst or nodule.
People with acne often feel stigmatized and embarrassed about their condition. It can cause anxiety, low self-esteem, and depression.
There are a variety of treatments for acne, including self-care, topical medications, prescription medications, and skin surgery. You should not attempt to pop or disrupt the pimples, as this can lead to a worsening of the condition.
Seek prompt medical care if you develop signs of a spreading or deeper infection that is associated with acne, such as swelling, warmth and redness of the involved area, or fever and chills.
What are the symptoms of acne?
Acne is a skin condition that has a number of symptoms. It is not just limited to the red spots we know as pimples, but also includes a number of different skin irritations. Acne can be superficial (pimples without abscesses) or deep (when the inflamed pimples push down into the skin, causing pus-filled cysts that rupture and result in larger abscesses).
Acne can occur all over the body. It most often appears in areas where there’s a high concentration of sebaceous glands, including the face, chest, upper back, shoulders, and neck. Acne can also occur on the legs, arms and buttocks.
Common symptoms of acne
Common signs and symptoms of acne include:
- Whiteheads (closed pores that are filled with dead skin cells)
- Blackheads (open pores that fill with dead skin cells)
- Cysts (lesions that occur when a pore fills with oil, dirt and bacteria and goes deep into the skin, causing irritation)
- Nodules (hard, large bumps under the surface of the skin)
- Pustules(commonly called pimples; clogged, pus-filled pores)
Symptoms that might indicate a serious condition
Acne is rarely a serious condition. However, if infection spreads or worsens after scratching or attempting to disrupt or pop pimples, it is possible to develop a deeper or more widespread infection of the skin. Seek prompt medical care if you, or someone you are with, have these symptoms:
- Generalized swelling, redness, or warmth of the skin
- High fever(higher than 101°F)
What does acne look like?
Knowing what type of acne you have is important for finding the right treatment. You can try over-the-counter acne treatments for some types of acne. However, if your acne is widespread or you have cystic or nodular acne, see a dermatologist for treatment.
Pustules are white or yellow pus-filled lesions, commonly called pimples that may be red at the base.
Cystic lesions are large, painful, pus-filled lumps under the skin.
Blackheads are open pores filled with dead skin cells.
Whiteheads are closed pores (comedones) filled with dead skin cells and bacteria.
What causes acne?
Acne is caused by clogged pores, which are tiny openings in the skin’s surface. An overproduction of oil (or sebum) by the oil glands (sebaceous glands) combined with rapidly growing skin cells can clog the pores. When the pores become plugged, ordinary skin bacteria begin to grow inside the pore. Complete blockage of the pore results in whiteheads; incomplete blockage results in blackheads.
Enzymes released by these trapped bacteria cause localized inflammation within the resulting plug called a comedone. The comedone can burst, spilling material into surrounding areas, intensifying the inflammation. Deeper infections, including painful cysts, can also develop under the skin.
Acne most often begins in puberty, when the male sex hormones (androgens) increase in both boys and girls. This causes the sebaceous glands to become more active, which results in increased production of oil, or sebum.
Rising hormone levels during puberty are one cause of acne. In addition, acne is often inherited. Other causes may include hormone-level changes during the menstrual cycle; certain drugs (such as corticosteroids, lithium, and barbiturates); oil and grease from the scalp, mineral or cooking oil, or certain cosmetics; and bacteria inside pimples.
What are the risk factors for acne?
Several factors increase the risk of developing acne, can trigger acne, or cause it to worsen:
- Family history of acne
- Medications, such as anticonvulsants, birth control pills, and steroids
- Menstruation or premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Sweatingor being in an area of high humidity
- Use of shampoos, soaps, lotions or makeup that may contain oils or block pores
Acne can be aggravated by squeezing the pimples or by scrubbing the skin too hard. Skin may also become irritated with friction or pressure from helmets, backpacks, or tight collars. Some environmental conditions, such as pollution or humidity can irritate the skin as well.
Contrary to popular myths, these factors have little effect on acne:
- Eating chocolate or greasy foods.
- Poor hygiene. Dirty skin does not cause acne. Using harsh chemicals and scrubbing too hard can actually irritate skin and worsen acne.
- Using cosmetics. Choose oil-free makeup (noncomedogenic) that doesn’t clog pores, and gently remove makeup daily.
Reducing your risk of acne
Some risk factors for acne are more controllable than others. You may be able to lower your risk for acne flare ups by:
- Avoiding greasy creams or cosmetics
- Ensuring that your skin is clean, oil-free, and clear of makeup before going to bed
- Keeping your hands and fingers away from your face
- Shampooing your hair often (if oily)
What are the diet and nutrition tips for acne?
Some studies indicate that a diet high in carbohydrates—such as breads, cookies, bagels, chips—may worsen acne. However, more research is needed to determine if people with acne would benefit from a specific diet.
Overall, healthy diet tips include:
- Avoiding alcohol and caffeine
- Focusing on fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and avoiding processed foods
- Limiting red meat in favor of lean poultry, fish, and plant-based proteins
- Including healthy fats, such as those found in avocado, chia seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish like salmon
Ask your healthcare provider for guidance before making significant changes to your diet.
When should you see a doctor for acne?
You should see a doctor if self-care and over-the-counter treatments do not clear your acne or if your acne is severe. Your primary care doctor or a dermatologist—a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating skin conditions—can prescribe stronger medications.
Women may experience acne for decades, with flare-ups a week before menstruation. Contraceptives may help clear up this type of acne.
A sudden onset of severe acne in older adults may indicate an underlying disease requiring additional medical attention.
Because acne can lead to pitted skin (acne scars), thick scars (keloids), and changes in skin color, it’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis and follow your treatment plan.
Seek emergency medical care if you experience these allergy symptoms after using a skincare product:
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the face, lips, tongue or eyes
- Throat tightness
How do doctors diagnose acne?
Acne is usually a clinical diagnosis, based on the doctor looking at your skin. To diagnose your acne, and to understand more about your skin health, your doctor or dermatologist may ask you several questions including:
- Do you have a family history or acne or other skin conditions?
- What are your symptoms, when do they occur, and how long have you had these symptoms?
- For girls or women, do your symptoms change around your menstrual cycle?
- What medications, if any, do you take regularly?
- What over-the-counter acne treatments, if any, have you tried?
Your doctor may order lab work to determine if another condition is causing your symptoms.
How is acne treated?
The goal of acne treatment is to reduce the occurrence of new pimples, minimize scarring, and improve appearance. Although acne cannot be cured, many effective treatments are available to reduce its symptoms. These include over-the-counter (OTC) medications, prescription medications, and surgeries. Fortunately, with time, most young people with acne will outgrow the condition. However, some women experience acne into adulthood due to hormonal changes. Adult men may also experience acne.
You and your doctor can design a treatment plan based on your age, the type of acne, how severe your acne is, and what you are willing to do as part of your regimen. Your doctor may prescribe topical medications (applied to the skin) or systemic medications (taken orally). In some cases, a combination of topical and systemic medicine may be recommended.
You can buy topical medications in stores without a prescription. These medications typically dry out the pimples and kill bacteria. The following products are available in both OTC and prescription strengths:
- Benzoyl peroxide (Clearasil)
- Salicylic acid (Noxzema Anti-Acne Gel, Neutrogena)
If OTC medications do not work, your doctor or dermatologist (skin doctor) can prescribe something stronger. These medications treat the infection and causes of oil buildup. They include:
- Antibiotics, either oral (taken by mouth) or topical (applied to the skin), such as erythromycin (Ery-tab or Erythra-derm), minocycline (Dynacin, Minocin), or tetracycline (Acnecycline, Tetra-bac)
- Birth control pills or other hormonal treatments
- Topical or oral retinoids (tretinoin, adapalene, tazarotene)
- Chemical or laser skin treatments to remove scars
- Cyst removal or drainage
Self-care measures to improve your acne
There are several self-care measures you can take to improve your acne. These include:
- Changing your pillowcases frequently
- Keeping your hair away from your face
- Keeping your hands and fingers away from your face and other areas of eruption
- Washing your hair and face often, especially if you have oily skin
What are the potential complications of acne?
Although untreated acne is not associated with life-threatening complications, it can produce both mental and physical scars. These include:
- Scarring and dark spots long after original eruptions have cleared
What is a chemical peel?
A chemical peel is a skin resurfacing procedure. It involves applying a chemical solution, which causes the top layers of skin to peel off over several days. As the skin heals, new skin grows back smoother and with a more youthful appearance.
There are three different types of chemical peels based on their depth:
- Light chemical peeluses a mild acid, such as alpha-hydroxy acid. It removes the epidermis—or outermost layer of skin. Other names for this peel include superficial peel and lunchtime peel. You can repeat these mild peels as often as every 2 to 5 weeks.
- Medium chemical peeluses a stronger acid, such as glycolic or trichloroacetic acid. It goes deeper into the upper portion of the dermis—the middle layer of skin. You can repeat this type of peel every 3 to 9 months.
- Deep chemical peeluses a very strong acid, such as phenol. It can penetrate to the lower portion of the dermis. You can only have a deep peel once.
Using chemical peels on the face to improve the look of skin is the most common application. Chemical peels can also enhance skin appearance on the neck and hands. The deeper the peel, the more noticeable you can expect the results to be. Keep in mind, deeper peels will have a longer and more involved recovery. There is also a higher risk of complications with deeper peels.
Why is a chemical peel performed?
Chemical peels can treat skin discoloration, sun damage, wrinkles or lines, minor blemishes, uneven skin texture, and superficial scars. They will not improve the look of deep wrinkles or lines, deep scars, or sagging skin.
The different chemical peel depths can accomplish different things:
- Light chemical peelscan improve mild skin discoloration, fine lines or wrinkles, acne, and dry or rough skin.
- Medium chemical peelscan treat age spots, freckles, moderate skin discoloration, uneven skin tone, moderate scarring from acne, and fine lines or wrinkles.
- Deep chemical peelscan address moderate wrinkles, darker age spots and freckles, and shallow scars.
Doctors may also recommend a medium or deep peel to treat precancerous growths called actinic keratoses. Talk with your doctor to find out which chemical peel is best for you based on the results you desire. For example, if you want a chemical peel for acne, make sure you understand which peel will also address acne scars if that is important to you.
Who performs a chemical peel?
Dermatologists and plastic surgeons perform chemical peels. Dermatologists specialize in the medical and surgical care of the skin, hair and nails. A plastic surgeon specializes in correcting physical defects that affect a person's appearance or ability to function. These types of doctors perform both medically necessary procedures and purely cosmetic procedures.
It’s important to choose a doctor with plenty of experience performing chemical peels. This is especially true for medium and deep peels, which carry more risk than light peels.
How is a chemical peel performed?
A chemical peel usually takes place in an office or outpatient surgery center. A light peel generally does not require any pain relief or anesthesia. For medium peels, you may receive a sedative and a pain reliever. Deep peels may require sedation and local or regional anesthesia. In some cases, doctors recommend using general anesthesia.
What to expect the day of your chemical peel
In general, you can expect the following:
- Your face will be cleansed.
- Your doctor will apply the chemical to your face and leave it in place for a specific period of time. For light and medium peels, you may feeltingling or stinging during the application. For deep peels, your doctor may only treat one area at a time to limit your exposure to the chemical. This process can take up to 1.5 hours for a full facial chemical peel. You should not feel pain due to the anesthesia.
- Your doctor will wash off the chemical and neutralize it, if necessary. Skin may appear white or gray immediately afterwards.
- For medium peels, your doctor will apply cold compresses. Deep peels require surgical dressing with either ointment or surgical gauze or bandages.
What are the risks and potential complications of a chemical peel?
Cosmetic procedures carry some level of risk. Most chemical peels go smoothly, but complications are possible. Potential chemical peel risks include:
- Darkening of the skin, which is usually temporary
- Infection in rare cases
- Lightening of the skin, which tends to occur with medium and deep peels in people with darker skin. This change can be permanent.
- Reactivation ofcold sores
- Redness that may persist for several months as part of the normal healing process
- Scarring in rare cases
The use of phenol for deep peels can cause heart, liver and kidney problems. Applying phenol to small sections at a time will help limit exposure to it.
Reducing your risk of complications
Working with an experienced doctor can help lower your risk of complications from a chemical peel. You can do your part to reduce the risk of certain complications by:
- Avoiding unprotected sun exposure and using sunscreen as directed both before and after the peel
- Caring for your skin as directed both before and after surgery
- Going makeup-free until your doctor recommends wearing it
- Informing your doctor if you have a history ofkeloid scars, cold sores, or heart, liver or kidney problems. Also, tell your doctor if you have used isotretinoin (Amnesteem, Claravis, others) in the last six months.
- Not scratching or picking at the skin as it heals
- Taking your medications exactly as directed. For a chemical peel, this may include antiviral medications before and after the procedure.
- Telling all members of your care team if you haveallergies
Talk with your doctor about chemical peel benefits and risks to decide if the procedure is right for you.
How do I prepare for a chemical peel?
Your doctor will give you specific instructions to prepare for your chemical peel, depending on the type of peel and your medical history.
In general, you should prepare for a chemical peel by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history, allergies, and medications. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Avoiding certain skin treatments for about a week beforehand, including waxing, depilatory hair removal, and facial scrubs and massages.
- Stoppingsmoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
- Taking medications to prepare and protect your skin. This may include antiviral medicines, retinoid creams, and a bleaching agent to prevent skin darkening.
- Wearing sunscreen and avoiding the sun as much as possible for four weeks beforehand
Questions to ask your doctor
When preparing for a chemical peel, it’s important to get your questions answered. Here is a list of questions you may want to ask:
- What kind of chemical peel is most likely to give me the results I want? Are my desired results realistic?
- Are there other procedures you recommend instead of or in addition to a chemical peel?
- How many chemical peels like the one you are recommending have you performed? How many have you performed on people with my skin coloring?
- Do you have before and after photos of your cases I can see?
- What side effects do you typically see and how often?
- What steps can I take before and after the peel to minimize side effects and maximize healthy healing?
- How long will it take to recover and what can I expect?
Cost is also a factor to consider when you are preparing for a chemical peel. Health insurance generally does not cover cosmetic procedures. Ask your doctor about the cost and find out if payment plans are available.
What can I expect after a chemical peel?
Knowing what to expect makes it easier to plan and prepare for a successful recovery.
How long will it take to recover and what can I expect during recovery?
The length of your recovery will depend on the depth of the peel. For light peels, skin usually heals within a week. It may appear red, irritated, and dry or scaly while it is healing. Your doctor will likely recommend applying a cream or lotion and then a daily sunscreen. In general, you can wear makeup the next day.
Medium peels can take up to two weeks to heal. You may have significant redness and swelling in the first 48 hours. Skin may also blister, ooze and crust before peeling off. You will soak your skin daily and apply an ointment. You will also need to take an antiviral medication for 7 to 14 days. In general, you can apply makeup after 5 to 7 days. You must avoid all sun exposure until your skin is fully healed. Redness can last for several weeks. You will have a follow-up appointment to monitor your healing.
For a deep peel, healing can take up to three weeks. Your skin will have a surgical dressing or bandages to cover the peeling and crusting. You will need to soak your skin several times a day and apply a protective ointment for the first two weeks. Then, you can switch to a thick moisturizer for two weeks after that. You will also need to take antiviral medication for the first two weeks. Your doctor may allow makeup after two weeks. You must avoid all sun exposure for up to six months afterwards. You will see your doctor several times to check your progress.
Will I feel pain?
For light peels, your skin will just feel irritated or tingly for a short period of time. Medium peels are more uncomfortable and your skin may feel very tight or sting. Over-the-counter pain medicines can relieve any discomfort. Deep peels cause the most discomfort. Your skin may throb or burn and your eyes may swell shut. Your doctor may prescribe medication to improve your comfort.
When should I call my doctor?
For medium and deep peels, you will have follow-up appointments with your doctor. If you have questions between appointments, contact your doctor during normal business hours. Call your doctor right away if you have concerns, such as an increase in pain, fever, or signs of infection.
How might a chemical peel affect my everyday life?
A light chemical peel will have subtle results that may increase with repeated treatments. Medium peels will have more noticeable and longer-lasting results. Deep peels can dramatically improve the look of your skin. The effects can last up to 10 years. However, no results are permanent. As you age, your skin will continue to change.
Sun exposure, including indoor tanning, will also play a role in the quality and longevity of your results. Avoid sun exposure until new skin has healed completely. Avoid indoor tanning altogether. Wear a daily sunscreen to help preserve the new look and feel of your skin.
What is laser skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing treats superficial facial scars, wrinkles, skin discoloration, and other minor blemishes. Laser skin resurfacing uses an intense, pulsating beam of light to penetrate into the deep layers of the skin. This damages the superficial skin layers, which peel off to reveal fresher, smoother skin.
Laser skin resurfacing is only one method to treat minor facial blemishes and aging skin. Discuss all of your treatment options with your doctor to understand which options are right for you.
Why is laser skin resurfacing performed?
Your doctor may recommend laser skin resurfacing to correct or reduce the appearance of the following minor conditions:
- Enlarged oil glands on the nose
- Frown lines, crow’s feet, and other fine lines or wrinkles around your eyes, forehead or mouth
- Precancerous skin growths. Only certain types of precancerous lesions are treatable with laser skin resurfacing.
- Skin discoloration due to liver spots, age spots, blotchy skin, and sun damage
- Superficial scarring from acne,chickenpox, surgery or injury
- Yellowish or grayish skin tones
Who performs laser skin resurfacing?
A plastic surgeon or dermatologist performs laser skin resurfacing. Plastic surgeons specialize in correcting physical defects that affect a person's appearance or ability to function. Dermatologists specialize in the medical and surgical care of the skin, hair and nails.
You should choose a plastic surgeon or dermatologist with training and experience in laser skin resurfacing to perform the procedure.
How is laser skin resurfacing performed?
Your laser skin resurfacing will be performed in a doctor’s office or outpatient medical clinic. Laser skin resurfacing usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the type and extent of your procedure. It generally includes the following steps:
- Your doctor will complete a medical history and physical exam to determine if you are a good candidate for laser skin resurfacing and which procedure is best for you. This includes examining your skin and asking about your expectations.
- Your doctor will develop a personalized treatment plan and discuss it with you.
- Your doctor may prescribe special skin treatments, which minimize complications and maximize results. These treatments may begin six weeks or more before your scheduled procedure.
- On the day of your laser skin resurfacing, a care team member will clean your skin and provide eye protection
- Your doctor will apply a local anesthetic, such as a numbing cream, to the treatment area. You may also receive a mild sedative help you relax. Sometimes, general anesthesia is necessary for a large procedure or if you have other procedures at the same time.
- Your doctor will direct the laser to the treatment area.
- Your care team will apply special dressings to protect the treatment area.
Will I feel pain with laser skin resurfacing?
Your comfort and relaxation is important to you and your care team. Laser skin resurfacing can be painful, but the local anesthetic and sedative should keep you comfortable during the procedure. Your doctor will also prescribe pain medication to use during the healing process.
Tell your doctor if you are uncomfortable during the procedure or if your pain medication is not keeping you comfortable during the healing process.
What are the risks and potential complications of laser skin resurfacing?
Any medical procedure involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or your recovery.
Risks, side effects, and potential complications of laser skin resurfacing include:
- Acne breakouts
- Darkening or lightening of skin color
- Herpes and cold sore outbreaks near your mouth
- Redness and pink coloring of the skin. Pink coloring can last up to a year in blonde-haired people and redheads.
- Scarring (rare)
- Skin irritation, itching, stinging or blistering
- Small white bumps, called milia, which you can generally treat with gentle cleansing
- Swelling, especially around the eyes
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by:
- Notifying your doctor of any concerns, such as pain or skin redness or swelling
- Staying out of the sun and protecting your skin with sunscreen formulated for sensitive skin
- Takingantibiotics and antiviral medications exactly as prescribed to prevent infection and herpes outbreaks
- Taking oral steroids exactly as prescribed to reduce swelling around the eyes (for laser skin resurfacing near the eyes)
How do I prepare for my laser skin resurfacing?
You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before your laser skin resurfacing can improve your comfort and outcome.
You can prepare for laser skin resurfacing by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications. This includes any history ofcold sores (herpes), and all prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Following your doctor’s instructions for performing skin treatments before your laser skin resurfacing. Your doctor may develop a customized skin treatment plan to minimize complications and help obtain the best results. Treatments may begin six weeks or more before your procedure.
- Stoppingsmoking as soon as possible. This can be beneficial and help the healing process.
Questions to ask your doctor
It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with any concerns and questions before laser skin resurfacing and between appointments.
It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:
- Am I a good candidate for laser skin resurfacings? Why or why not?
- What are my other skin treatment options?
- What results can I expect?
- How many laser skin resurfacing treatments will I need?
- How long will the procedure take?
- How should I take my medications?
- How will I take care of my skin after the procedure?
- When should I follow-up with you?
- How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular hours.
What can I expect after my laser skin resurfacing?
Knowing what to expect after laser skin resurfacing can help you get back to your everyday life as soon as possible.
What results can I expect after laser skin resurfacing?
Results of laser skin resurfacing vary from person to person. You may need two or more treatments to achieve the results you desire. Recovery from each treatment can take one to two weeks or more.
In general, the treatment area will peel to reveal new, smoother, younger looking skin. This new skin will be pink and will slowly lighten to a natural skin color over two to three months. This process can take up to a year in some people, such as blonde-haired people and redheads.
Sometimes the treated skin can react as if it is severely sunburned. It can become raw, oozing, and may even blister. A yellow liquid may ooze from treated areas to form a crust that gradually heals and goes away.
Follow your doctor’s instructions to protect your new skin and optimize your results during the healing process. Your doctor may recommend:
- Applying an ice pack during the first day or two to reduce swelling and discomfort
- Applying special skin moisturizers and other creams or treatments that enhance healing. Do not use any skin product without asking your doctor.
- Avoiding sun exposure and using a sunscreen every day. Use only the products recommended by your doctor.
- Cleaning the treated areas two to five times a day with saline or other special solution provided by your doctor
- Completing multiple dressing changes
- Elevating your head with an extra pillow when you sleep
- Not scratching or picking at the treatment area, which can cause scarring
- Using specific make-up products to give you a natural color until you heal. Use only the products recommended by your doctor.
When can I go home?
Most patients go home right after laser skin resurfacing.
When should I call my doctor?
You should keep your follow-up appointments after laser skin resurfacing. Contact your doctor if you have any concerns between appointments. Call your doctor right away if you have:
- Acneor cold sore outbreak
- Blistering, crusting or oozing
- Swelling, redness, inflammation, itching or stinging
- Unexpected skin discoloration
What is liposuction?
Liposuction is the surgical removal of body fat. Also called lipoplasty, body shaping, and body contouring, liposuction can remove excess fat tissue on many body areas. These include the abdomen, buttocks, back, face, neck, arms, breasts, hips and legs. Most often people seek liposuction for aesthetic reasons. However, in some cases, doctors use liposuction to treat medical conditions involving excess fat deposits, such as gynecomastia and lipoma.
Liposuction is one of the most common cosmetic surgical procedures in the world. It is also major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all of your treatment choices before having a liposuction.
Why is liposuction performed?
Your doctor may recommend liposuction as a medical treatment for certain conditions that cause a buildup of excess body fat. However, liposuction is most commonly a cosmetic surgical procedure to change the size and shape of the body, such as in the thighs, abdomen and breasts. Your doctor may only consider liposuction if other treatment options that involve less risk of complications have not worked. Ask your doctor about all of your treatment options and consider getting a second opinion.
Liposuction is a surgery your doctor may use to remove excess body fat caused by:
- Gynecomastia,which is excess breast tissue growth in men
- Heredity,which causes body fat deposits that healthy diet and regular exercise cannot eliminate
- Lipoma,which is a benign (noncancerous) type of slow-growing tumor made up of fat cells (adipocytes). Lipomas are usually small but can grow quite large. Liposuction is not the standard treatment for removal of these benign tumors but can be performed in selected cases.
Who performs liposuction?
Plastic surgeons often perform liposuction. A plastic surgeon is a specialist in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery. Dermatologists, doctors who specialize in treating conditions of the skin, hair and nails, may also perform liposuction.
How is liposuction performed?
Liposuction is performed in a hospital, a surgeon's office, or an outpatient surgery clinic.
Surgical approaches to liposuction
Your surgeon will perform liposuction using one of the following approaches:
- Traditional liposuction,also called tumescent or fluid injection liposuction, is the most common type of liposuction. Your surgeon makes a few small incisions in the fat removal area and injects a fluid mixture containing a salt solution, a local anesthetic, and epinephrine through the incisions. This fluid prevents excessive blood loss, swelling, and bruising. Your surgeon then inserts a thin, hollow tube called a cannula into the incisions and pumps it back and forth to loosen and dislodge the fat cells. A small surgical vacuum or syringe is used to remove the fat through the cannula.
- Ultrasound-assisted liposuction (UAL)is a type of liposuction that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for use in the United States in 1996. Your surgeon makes a few small incisions in the fat removal area and uses ultrasonic vibrations to heat and break up the fat. Your surgeon will apply these ultrasound vibrations above your skin with an emitter device, or below the skin with an ultrasonic cannula (a thin tube). A small surgical vacuum or syringe is used to remove the fat through the cannula.
- Laser-assisted liposuctionis also called by its brand name: SmartLipo. The FDA approved laser-assisted liposuction in 2007. Your surgeon makes a few small incisions in the fat removal area and injects a fluid mixture containing a salt solution, a local anesthetic, and epinephrine through the incisions. This fluid prevents excessive blood loss, swelling, and bruising. Your surgeon inserts a thin laser fiber into the incisions to heat and loosen the fat. A small surgical vacuum or syringe is used to remove the fat through a cannula.
Your surgeon will determine which type of surgery is best for you. Learn about the different liposuction procedures and ask why your surgeon will use a particular type for you.
Types of anesthesia that may be used
Your surgeon will perform liposuction using either regional anesthesia or general anesthesia:
- General anesthesiais a combination of intravenous (IV) medications and gases that put you in a deep sleep. You are unaware of the procedure and will not feel any pain.
- Regional anesthesiais also known as a nerve block. It involves injecting an anesthetic around certain nerves to numb a large area of the body. To numb a smaller area, your doctor injects the anesthetic in the skin and tissues around the procedure area (local anesthesia). You will likely have sedation with regional anesthesia to keep you relaxed and comfortable.
What to expect the day of your liposuction
The day of your surgery, you can expect to:
- Talk with a preoperative nurse. The nurse will perform an exam and ensure that all needed tests are in order. The nurse can also answer questions and will make sure you understand and sign the surgical consent.
- Remove all clothing and jewelry and dress in a hospital gown. It is a good idea to leave all jewelry and valuables at home or with a family member. The surgical team will give you blankets for modesty and warmth.
- Meet with your surgeon. Your surgeon will use a special pen to mark the area(s) of your body where fat will be removed.
- Talk with theanesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist about your medical history and the type of anesthesia you will receive.
- A surgical team member will start an IV.
- The anesthesiologist ornurse anesthetist will start your anesthesia.
- A tube will be placed in your windpipe to protect and control breathing during general anesthesia. You will not feel or remember this or the surgery as they happen.
- The surgical team will monitor your vital signs and other critical body functions. This occurs throughout the procedure and your recovery until you are alert, breathing effectively, and your vital signs are stable.
What are the risks and potential complications of liposuction?
As with all surgeries, liposuction involves risks and potential complications. Complications may become serious and life threatening in some cases. Complications can develop during the procedure or throughout your recovery.
General risks of surgery
The general risks of surgical procedures include:
- Anesthesia reaction, such as anallergic reaction, toxicity, and problems with breathing
- Bleeding, which can lead to shock
- Blood clot, particularly one that develops in the leg or pelvis. This type of blood clot—a deep vein thrombosis—can travel to your lungs causing apulmonary embolism.
Potential complications of liposuction
Potential complications of liposuction include:
- Body asymmetry caused by removing different amounts of fat tissue from different body areas
- Damage to skin, muscle, nerves, and internal organs
- Fatembolism, which are loosened fat cells that enter the bloodstream and block blood flow
- Fluid imbalance
- Irregularities in skin texture or contour, such as dimpling or bagginess
- Pooling of liquid where fat is removed
- Skin burns from ultrasound-assisted liposuction
- Swelling, which can take months to go away
- Skin discoloration
- Skin necrosis, which is death of skin cells above the fat removal area. This can lead to a serious infection.
Reducing your risk of complications
You can reduce the risk of certain complications by following your treatment plan and:
- Following activity, dietary and lifestyle restrictions and recommendations before surgery and during recovery. This includesphysical therapy, occupational therapy and other rehabilitation treatments.
- Informing your doctor if you are nursing or there is any possibility that you may be pregnant
- Notifying your doctor immediately of any concerns, such as bleeding,fever, increase in pain, or wound redness, swelling or drainage
- Taking your medications exactly as directed. Your doctor may prescribe anantibiotic before surgery to prevent infection. Take this as directed.
- Notsmoking. Many plastic surgeons will not perform elective surgery on smokers because of the increased risk of complications.
- Telling all members of your care team if you have anyallergies
How do I prepare for my liposuction?
You are an important member of your own healthcare team. The steps you take before surgery can improve your comfort and outcome. You can prepare for liposuction by:
- Answering all questions about your medical history and medications you take. This includes prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments, and vitamins. It is a good idea to carry a current list of your medical conditions, medications, and allergies at all times.
- Getting preoperative testing as directed. Testing will vary depending on your age, health, and specific procedure. Preoperative testing may include achest X-ray, EKG (electrocardiogram), blood tests, and other tests as needed.
- Losing weight before surgery through a healthy diet and exercise plan.
- Not eating or drinking just prior to surgery as directed. Your doctor may cancel your surgery if you eat or drink too close to the start of the procedure because you can choke on stomach contents during general anesthesia.
- Stopping smoking as soon as possible. Even quitting for just a few days can be beneficial and help the healing process.
- Taking or stopping medications exactly as directed. This may include not taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and blood thinners.
Questions to ask your doctor
Facing surgery can be stressful. It is common for patients to forget some of their questions during a doctor’s office visit. You may also think of other questions after your appointment. Contact your doctor with any concerns or questions before surgery and between appointments.
It is also a good idea to bring a list of questions to your appointments. Questions can include:
- What kind of training and experience do you have in performing liposuction?
- Am I good candidate for liposuction? Are there any other options for treating my condition?
- What type of liposuction procedure will I need?
- How long will the procedure take? When can I go home?
- What kind of restrictions will I have after the surgery? When can I return to work and other activities?
- How should I care for my incisions? When can I shower?
- How will I look after the surgery?
- What kind of assistance will I need at home?
- What medications will I need before and after the surgery? How do I take my usual medications?
- How will you manage my pain?
- When should I follow up with you?
- How should I contact you? Ask for numbers to call during and after regular office hours.
What can I expect after my liposuction?
Knowing what to expect can help make your road to recovery after liposuction as smooth as possible.
How long will it take to recover?
Most people stay in the surgeon’s office, surgical center, or hospital for an hour or two after a liposuction. Some people may stay in the hospital overnight. Your care team will discharge you when you are alert, breathing normally, and your vital signs, such as blood pressure and pulse, are stable. You may still be drowsy from sedation or anesthesia, so you will need a friend or family member to give you a ride home from your surgery.
When you wake up from surgery, you may have a sore throat if a tube was placed in your windpipe during surgery. This is usually temporary, but tell your care team if you are uncomfortable.
You will have bandages and possibly a compression garment covering the surgical area. The compression garment will help minimize swelling and maintain the new body shape. You may also have small drains in your incisions for a few days to drain away excess fluid and blood. Your doctor will remove them when drainage has stopped. You will most likely have swelling and bruising on the surgical area. The bruises should lessen within a few weeks.
Recovery after surgery is a gradual process. Recovery time depends on the specific type of liposuction, the amount and areas of fat removal, your general health, age, and other factors. Full recovery may take from weeks to months, and it may take up to a year for your swelling to completely subside to show your more permanent body shape.
Will I feel pain?
Pain control is important for healing and a smooth recovery. There will be discomfort after your surgery. Your doctor and care team will treat your pain so you are comfortable and can get the rest you need. Contact your doctor if your pain gets worse or changes because it may be a sign of a complication.
When should I call my doctor?
It is important to keep your follow-up appointments after liposuction. Call your doctor if you have any concerns or questions between appointments. Call your doctor right away or seek immediate medical care if you have:
- Breathing problems, such asshortness of breath, difficulty breathing, labored breathing, or wheezing
- Change in alertness, such as passing out, unresponsiveness, orconfusion
- Chest pain,chest tightness, chest pressure, or palpitations
- Alow-grade fever (lower than 101 degrees Fahrenheit) is common for a couple of days after surgery. It is not necessarily a sign of a surgical infection. However, you should follow your doctor's specific instructions about when to call for a fever.
- Inability to urinate, pass gas, or have a bowel movement
- Leg pain, redness or swelling, especially in the calf, which may indicate a blood clot
- Pain that is not controlled by your pain medication
- Unexpected drainage,pus, redness or swelling from your incisions or drains
How might liposuction affect my everyday life?
If you have liposuction for a medical disease or condition, such as a lipoma, the liposuction may cure your condition or significantly reduce your fat deposits. If you have liposuction for cosmetic reasons, the new appearance of your affected body area or areas may give you increased satisfaction with your appearance and increase your self-confidence.
The effects of liposuction, however, may be lost if you gain excessive weight. Many surgeons caution that it is important to be realistic about how much liposuction may improve your self-image, so be aware of what cosmetic liposuction can and cannot do for your overall appearance.
What is hair loss?
Hair loss is the appearance of thinning hair or bald patches on the scalp, eyebrows, eyelashes, or on areas of the body that previously had hair, such as the arms or legs. On average, everyone naturally loses 50-100 of their 100,000 scalp hairs per day. Abnormal hair loss is caused when hair falls out at an accelerated rate, or when over time, hairs are not replaced as quickly as they fall out (Source: AAD).
Hair loss can happen to men, women, infants and children in all socioeconomic strata and geographic areas. Genetic hair loss (androgenetic alopecia) is the most common type of hair loss. Also known as male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness, it affects around 80 million people in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (Source: AAD).
Hair loss can gradually build over weeks or months, or it can occur abruptly, such as when it occurs with telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss due to a stressful physical event). Hair loss can also be due to other hair disorders, such as alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair, or trichotillomania, a psychological disorder in which people pull out their own hair.
Hair loss can also be a symptom of an underlying disease, disorder or condition such as anemia, thyroid disease, or lupus. Other underlying causes of hair loss may be more benign, such as use of certain harsh shampoos or hair colorants, or a nutritional insufficiency that can be easily corrected.
Hair is a significant component of personal appearance in our society. As such, hair loss can deeply affect your self-image and self-esteem. There are several different types of treatments for hair loss ranging from lifestyle changes to medications and surgery, and more are being researched every day. Fortunately in many cases, lost hair can be replaced with new hair growth with treatment or on its own in time.
Some causes of hair loss, such diabetes, can lead to life-threatening complications and can be fatal if they are undetected and untreated. Seeking regular medical care offers the best chances of discovering underlying diseases at their earliest, most curable stages. Seek prompt medical care if your hair loss is unexplained, is persistent, or causes you concern.
What other symptoms might occur with hair loss?
Hair loss can occur in conjunction with other symptoms, which vary widely depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. It is important to see your health care provider promptly if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms including:
- Blurred vision,excessive hunger, excessive thirst, fatigue, or weight loss, which can be due to diabetes, an eating disorder, or poor nutrition
- Itchy, raised and red patches on the scalp, which can be due toringworm
- Loss of facial or body hair, burning or itching of scalp, which can be due to alopecia areata
- Rashover cheeks and the bridge of the nose, malaise, unexplained fever, mouth sores, and swollen lymph nodes, which can be due to lupus
- Scalp itching, tightness or soreness, and dry brittle hair, which can be due to hypothyroidism or the use of styling products or tools
- Sensitivity to cold,weight gain, fatigue, depression, dry brittle hair, joint or muscle pain, or heavier menstrual periods, which can be due to hypothyroidism
- Sensitivity to heat, weight loss, jitteriness, irregular menstrual periods, and swollen glands, which can be due to hyperthyroidism
What causes hair loss?
The most common cause of hair loss is hereditary baldness, which medical providers call androgenetic alopecia or male pattern baldness or female pattern baldness. Other causes of hair loss range from specific hair disorders to other underlying diseases, medications, medical treatments, normal hormonal changes, stress, and poor nutrition.
Hair disorders that can cause hair loss include:
- Alopecia areata (autoimmune disease in which the body attacks its own hair and in which all the body hair can fall out)
- Androgenetic alopecia (hereditary hair loss and the most common cause of hair loss)
- Cicatricial alopecia (inflammation that scars and permanently destroys the hair follicles)
- Telogen effluvium (sudden hair loss due to stressful events such as surgery, illness and birth)
- Trichotillomania (psychological disorder in which people pull out their own hair and, in some cases, ingest the hair)
- Various inherited structural hair disorders like monilethrix, and trichothiodystrophy
Other diseases, disorders and conditions that can cause hair loss
Hair loss can be caused by other diseases, disorders and conditions including:
- Autoimmune disorders like systemic lupus anddiscoid lupus
- Chronic iron deficiency
- Hyperthyroidism(overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism(underactive thyroid)
- Ringworm of the scalp (fungal infection)
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (disorder in which the body attacks its own healthy cells and tissues)
Medications and medical treatments that can cause hair loss
Some medications and medical treatments can cause hair loss including:
- Anabolic steroids (muscle-building steroids)
- Birth control pills
- Blood thinners
Hormonal events that can cause hair loss
These normal hormonal changes can also cause you to temporarily lose hair, often abruptly:
- Giving birth (hair loss after birth can occur to both the mother and the baby)
Everyday causes of hair loss
Hair loss can arise from everyday causes including:
- Poor nutrition (excessive intake of vitamin A, deficiencies in protein or iron)
- Stress from traumatic events, such as death, divorce, or illness
- Overuse of hair cleaning and styling products, such as curling and straightening irons, hair spray, shampoo, harsh shampoos, hair colorant, permanents, and hair bands
- Weight loss, especially rapid weight loss
What are the potential complications of hair loss?
Hair has significant importance in our society as a sign of health and attractiveness, so loss of your hair can greatly impact your self-image and self-esteem. Many underlying causes of hair loss can be treated, and you can help minimize your risk of complications of hair loss by following the treatment plan you and your health care professional design specifically for you.
Complications of hair loss include:
- Dry skin on the scalp
- Poor self-image and self-esteem