Treat the skin, hair, or nails using a treatment that is meant to improve a patient’s appearance rather than treat a disease. Many dermatologists perform all of the above.
Examples of treatments dermatologists perform that fall into the area of cosmetic dermatology include:
Dermabrasion – Microdermabrasion
Dermabrasion produces substantial changes the appearance of the skin by damaging it in a controlled manner. Dermabrasion is most often used to treat certain types of scarring and aged skin. Other options that produce similar results include laser resurfacing, moderate to deep skin peels, and the injection of fillers. Most often the facial skin is treated, but skin at any site can be treated.
Dermabrasion is performed by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
Dermabrasion was developed to improve acne scars, pox marks, and scars from accidents or disease. It’s not effective in treating congenital skin defects, most moles, pigmented birthmarks, or scars caused by burns. Dermabrasion is generally only safe for people with fair skin. For people with darker skin, dermabrasion can result in scarring or discoloration.
In Dermabrasion the doctor will use a high-speed instrument with an abrasive wheel or brush to remove the outer layers of your skin and improve any irregularities in your skin’s surface.
It is a nonsurgical technique that affects only the superficial dead layer of the skin, producing transient changes. Microdermabrasion is often administered by nonphysician professionals.
Microdermabrasion works on all skin types and colors. It makes subtle changes, causing no skin color change or scarring. It is not effective for deeper problems such as scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, or deep acne scars.
With microdermabrasion, there is less down time than with dermabrasion. Skin is temporarily pink but fully recovers within 24 hours. It doesn’t require surgery or anesthetics. That may help people who cannot take “down time” for healing.
Microdermabrasion uses tiny exfoliating crystals that are sprayed on the skin. It works best on problems such as dull skin, brown spots, and age spots.
Who is a candidate for dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?
The problems that seem to respond best to this approach include acne scarring, keloids, traumatic scars, rhinophyma (nose enlargement in rosacea), wrinkles, tattoo removal, andactinic keratoses (very early stage of skin cancer). Currently there are other available modalities, including laser resurfacing, which are more popular. Lighter-skinned individuals generally get more reliable results because they are less likely to hyperpigment. Patients who have recently been treated with isotretinoin (Accutane) should avoid dermabrasion.
Injectable wrinkle fillers can give you a more youthful look for a fraction of what a traditional face lift costs. Most will fill lines and wrinkles in less than 30 minutes with results that can last from four months to more than a year.
Injectable wrinkle fillers, unlike Botox injections that relax the muscle under a wrinkle, fill the line or crease with one of several different substances. As a result, the line or crease seems to have nearly disappeared.
Wrinkle fillers can also be used as “volumizers,” plumping and lifting cheeks, filling out thin lips, and plumping sagging hands.
The treatment is fast and easy. But all wrinkle fillers have a downside, including the risk of allergic reaction and the formation of tiny bumps under the skin. In some cases, those bumps may be permanent. A bluish skin discoloration known as the Tyndall effect is also possible. The color change can last for several months, but there are treatments available. In very rare cases, skin cells may die if the wrinkle fillers are not used properly.
Typically, the wrinkle fillers with longer-lasting effects are the ones more likely to cause side effects.
Restylane, Juvederm, Perlane, Radiesse and Sculptra to restore volume that can be lost as an effect of aging.
A chemical peel involves the application of toxic chemical solutions to the skin in a controlled manner, producing controlled tissue death. The desired depth of the wound is dependent upon the the condition to be treated. After the peel, the skin regenerates. The damaged skin likely regenerates through the growth of cells from deeper layers of the epidermis or from undamaged hair follicles. PEELS DO NOT DAMAGE THE SKIN AND SAFE PRODUCTS AND ARE UNLIKELY TO PRODUCE ANY SKIN DAMAGE.
The most common candidate for a chemical peel is a person with sun-damaged skin, uneven pigmentation, and/or actinic keratoses. Sun damage results in fine wrinkling, skin thinning, sun spots (liver spots or solar lentigines), and very early percursor skin cancers called actinic keratoses. Skin peels may also be used to treat acne scarring.
Individuals with darkly pigmented skin should be very cautious about having chemical peels. This is because there is a significant chance that the pigmentation of the newly healed skin will be substantially different from their current skin color.
Types of chemical peels
Chemical peels are broadly defined by the depth of damage in the skin that they produce. They are categorized as superficial, medium, and deep.
- Superficial peels do not damage skin below the epidermis, the most superficial skin layer.
- Medium peels may reach to the superficial layer of the dermis, the deeper layer of the skin.
- Deep peels generally reach the deeper layers of the dermis.
The depth of damage depends on the nature and concentration of the chemicals in the peeling solution and the length of time they are permitted to interact with the skin. Popular chemicals in peeling solutions include alpha-hydroxy acids, beta-hydroxy acids, trichloroacetic acid, and phenol.
Benefits of chemical peels
If performed correctly in appropriate patients, the appearance of the treated skin will have a more youthful texture with a uniform coloration that will blend with their untreated skin.
Laser Hair Removal
If you are tired of shaving, plucking, or waxing to get rid of unwanted hair, you may be considering laser hair removal.
A consultation is essential. Your dermatologist will gather your medical history.
During this consultation, be sure to tell your dermatologist if you have:
- A tendency to scar
- Ever had a keloid (type of raised scar)
- A history of cold sores or genital herpes
- Taken isotretinoin (a medication used to treat severe acne) or are taking any other medication
The dermatologist also will examine your skin because the success of this procedure depends on considering a number of factors. These factors include where the unwanted hair is on the body, the color and coarseness of the hair, and where the hair is in its cycle.
Between your consultation and day of the procedure, it is important to follow your dermatologist’s instructions. This will include protecting your skin from the sun and not using a tanning bed.
Wearing a broad-spectrum (protects against UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher everyday will help shield your skin from the sun. You also should not pluck, wax, or have electrolysis for at least 1 month before laser hair removal. It is okay to shave, bleach, or use a cream that dissolves hair. In fact, you may be asked to shave the area the day before the procedure.
After Laser Hair Removal
Be sure to follow all of the dermatologist’s instructions, which will include protecting your skin from the sun for several weeks and not use a tanning bed or other tanning device. Not following your dermatologist’s instructions increases the risk of developing side effects.
Laser treatments with multiple applications:
- Acne, rosacea, birthmarks, vascular lesions, scars, stretch marks, warts and nail fungus.
- Tattoo removal
- Skin resurfacing to improve areas of wrinkled or damaged skin around the eyes and mouth, and to remove brown spots and acne or facial scars.