It seems that the “inner thigh gap” has become an obsession for many women. The internet is absolutely littered with “ITG” or “inner thigh gap” propaganda. Obtaining this goal can be dangerous, if you are dropping to an unhealthy weight. There are however, options to help you achieve the coveted thigh gap, with out starving yourself.
About Fat Cells
Our bodies, generally do not create new fat cells after puberty. While the actual number of fat cells remain the same, they do change in size. Each fat cell will become larger with weight gain (stored fat), and when we lose weight (reduced body fat) each fat cells shrink. Where the fat cells are concentrated within the body, will vary, individually. Although, diet and exercise can reduce the size of fat cells, it will not reduce the number of fat cells or change the concentration of fat cells in a specific area. Luckily, there are procedures that can reduce the number of, or shrink fat cells in a targeted area.
Cosmetic procedures are ideal when you want to reduce the concentration of fat in a specific area, however they are not intended to be used for weight loss. Cosmetic procedures target subcutaneous fat, which is found underneath your skin, but over the muscle. Cosmetic procedures do not target visceral fat, which is below the muscle and surrounds internal organs. Exessive visceral fat is associated with many serious health problems, and needs to be controlled with a healthy diet and exercise.
Liposcuction is a surgical procedure, where fat cells are physicaly and permently removed from the treated area. Liposuction has long been used to remove fat, but we now have non surgical options, such as CoolSculpting and Velashape to treat targeted areas of fat.
VelaShape™ is a non-surgical option that uses a combination of Bi-Polar Radiofrequency (RF), Infrared Light Energy, plus Vacuum and Mechanical Massage to increases the metabolism of stored energy, increases lymphatic drainage and reduces or shrinks the size of the actual fat cells and fat chambers. In short it shrinks fat cells, tighten skin and reduce cellulite. Velashape allows you to target the fat cells in the treated are. Most people should expect to do a series of 5 treatments, each treatment scheduled about 2 weeks apart. This treatment is very comfortable and with out any down-time. A typical treatment takes about an hour per area.
CoolSculpting™ uses controlled cooling to freeze and eliminate unwanted fat cells without surgery or downtime. CoolSculpting procedure is similar to liposuction, because it actually reduces the number of fat cells in the treated areas permenatly. Results can be seen as early as 6 weeks and continue to improve up to 4 months after each treatment. Most people should expect to do about two treatments per area.
Motivation & Self Image
Most of the people I see in the clinic are a healthy weight, but would prefer to reduce the fat between their thighs, without dropping a lot of weight. These women are good candidates for aesthetic contouring procedures. My concern is with anyone who may have an unhealthy body image and an inner thigh gap is a measure of how thin they have become. If you are hopeing for an inner thigh gap, you need to ask yourself if you have a healthy goal or if you are struggling with body image and a possible eating disorder. In general a BMI below 18.5 is underweight, but if you are not sure consult with a doctor. History has shown us, that like beauty trends, body type prefreances will come and go, but healthy is always pretty.
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I’m letting you all in on my personal experience getting plastic surgery. After having 2 children and breast feeding both of them, the volume that was once there in my early 20’s was not there. Can we say deflation?! After trying on a swimsuit and having hardly any volume up top and feeling frustrated, I told myself it was time. I was not happy with the way my breasts looked anymore. Luckily for me, I work for an extremely talented plastic surgeon, Dr. Geoffrey Leber. After seeing all of his happy patients, and how they would glow and their confidence boosted and seeing countless before and after pictures, I knew I was in good hands and that I would get a great result. My decision was made. I had a consultation with him and explained the look that I was going for and that I was just looking to replace volume and have a natural looking breast. He understood what I wanted. He took my measurements and a 3-Dimential photo with a system called the Vectra, that was able to measure my chest wall and minor asymmetries. It was super high tech and he was also able to select the size, brand, and type of implant that he would place in my breast. It was very helpful to get to see what my breast would actually look like with implants.
After my consultation Dr. recommended the Sientra brand, textured silicone implants, moderate profile, and for them to be placed under the muscle and the incision to be in the inframammary crease (under the breast, in the crease). The Sientra brand is highly cohesive silicone which means that if you were to cut the implant in half and squeeze it apart it wouldn’t leak out. This is the true “gummy bear” implant. They call it the “gummy bear” implant because if you cut a gummy bear in half it is similar to what the implant would do if cut in half.
The day of surgery, I arrived at Paradise Valley Cosmetic Surgery Center and checked in. I was super nervous, but Dr. Leber gave me a hug and assured me that all would be okay, I felt much better. After he marked my breasts, I met with the anesthesiologist and then went back for surgery shortly after. My surgery was only an hour and when I woke up the nurses had dressed me and I was being wheeled out to my car and ready to head home! I asked my husband to drive by my office which is located in the same parking lot as the surgical center, I wanted to say hi to my co-workers! They thought it was great how excited I was after just coming out of surgery!
That day when I got home I was in a moderate amount of pain, and so I basically laid in my recliner chair and dozed off for most of the day while making sure to keep up on pain meds. For the most part, I would say that most of the pain was the first four days. I was still able to get up and walk around, but did not do any housework or anything like that. By day five, a little ibuprofen took care of any discomfort. I had my surgery on a Tuesday and I was back to work the following Monday, with a light day of performing facials and lasers.
So here I am, over a year later and very happy with my decision to have breast augmentation surgery. Dr. Leber did an amazing job and has the best bedside manner. He just recently updated his website and has thousands of before and after pictures for all of the surgeries he offers! www.drleber.com
Skin Medica’s new GlyPro ia a glycolic acid cleanser that uses eco-friendly microbeads to give you the combined benefits of chemical and manual exfoliation. This encourages skin cell turnover while reducing the look of premature aging. It will also help to refine pore size, smooth and brighten skin, and unclog pores.
APPROPRIATE FOR: All skin types
If you like facial scrubs or cleansers with scrubbing microbeads you will like this cleanser. If you like other glycolic product lines, such as Vivite, MD forte or JanMarini’s Bioglycolic, this will likely be a favorite.
PURPOSE: Sloughs off the top layer of skin to reveal fresh, new skin. Proper deep cleansing improves efficacy of other skin care products.
WHEN TO APPLY: Use 2 – 3 times a week, in the morning and in the evening as tolerated. Alternate GlyPro with your regular cleanser. We do not recommend using this cleanser to remove I make-up.
WHERE TO APPLY: Evenly onto face (neck and chest if desired)
HOW TO APPLY: Moisten skin with lukewarm water. Apply a small amount to fingertips, add a little water and gently massage into face (neck and chest if desired). Rinse thoroughly with warm water. After cleansing and gently patting skin dry, apply other treatment products if you are using them, followed by moisturizer and sunscreen (a.m. only)
Key Ingredients & Benefits
Glycolic Acid → an alpha-hydroxy acid that helps diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and helps support natural skin turnover for smoother-looking, softer skin
Eco-friendly Microbeads → an exfoliant that helps slough off the top layer of skin
Salicylic Acid → a beta-hydroxy acid that pairs with glycolic acid for more complete skin renewal
Olive Leaf Extract → a highly active antioxidant and soothing agent; polyphenols help improve skin hydration
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Stars like Angelina Jolie and Kim Kardashian are rumored to be fans of Collagen Induction Therapy, also known as micro-needling. Collagen Induction Therapy is a minimally-invasive skin rejuvenation treatment designed to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, scars, and even stretch marks of the face and body by improving collagen production in the skin.
About Collagen in The Skin
Collagen is the main structural protein of the skin, it is produced by a cell in the dermis called fibroblast. Collagen works with elastin and keratin to provide tensile strength, firmness, elasticity, resilience, and skin density. Throughout life the activity of the fibroblast slows and the genes that degrade collagen become more active, as a result collagen levels continuously and progressively decline. Adding insult to injury, the quality of collagen is also degraded and less organized. There are a variety of influences that can further accelerate the decline of collagen, such as genetics, hormones, and sun damage. Collagen begins to decline in our 20’s, and by the time we are in our 40’s, it’s about half of what it was at 18.
Scar tissue is also composed of collagen, but the organization of the collagen is different. In scar tissue, the collagen is aligned in a single direction, instead of a random basket weave formation.
How it Works
Micro-needling delivers tiny needles into the epidermal and dermal layers of the skin creating micro-injuries. These micro-injuries to the skin break up old collagen strands which cause the skin to begin a natural wound healing or renewal process. During the renewal process, skin releases growth factor which triggers fibroblast proliferation, matrix production, followed by the deposition of collagen, elastin, proteoglycans, and GAGs. This tissue remodeling results in an increase of collagen production that is better organized. This collagen induction process can improve lines, wrinkles, scars, and stretch marks. Micro-needling is an exciting anti-aging option to induce collagen, even at an early stage.
The best part is, there is little to no down time, and, with topical anesthetic, it is very comfortable.
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Can you imagine that in 10 years from now, that you could look 2 years younger than you do today? A recent study may have discovered the fountain of youth in a popular skin treatment that utilizes BBL technology, also known as IPL.
PhotoFacial is a popular skin treatment that utilizes IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) technology also known as BBL (Broad Band Light). Traditionally, IPL/BBL technology has been used to treat reds (vascular) and browns (pigmented spots),but new research shows impressive anti aging benefits.The study looked at the effects that BBL treatments had on the skin over a period of nine years. They found that with continued treatments over the nine years, skin looked two years younger than it did before treatment.
Why Does Skin Look Younger
Many of the treatments that we use in aesthetics, benefit from skins wound healing ability to produce collagen. Although IPL/BBL treatments do cause a wound healing response that will stimulate collagen production for the first 3 weeks post treatment, it isn’t exactly long enough to account the level of anti aging results observed. So, then, why did the skin look younger?
The study revealed that ongoing BBL/IPL treatments positively effected gene expression in the skin to mimic that of a younger person. Gene expression is the process by which information from a gene is used in the synthesis or form a functional gene product, usually a protein. Aging is associated with changes in gene expression, which is most evident in the skin.
The study indicates “that patients who maintained a regular annual or biannual regimen of BBL treatments over 5 to 11 years can reduce and delay the long-term signs of skin aging such as photo damage, telangiectases, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin laxity in a natural way.”
BBL has been shown to change the expression of genes associated with aging, longevity, and increased lifespan.
Before Treatment: 43 Years Old | After Treatment: 55 Years Old
After 12 Years of Forever Young BBL treatments, the skin looks younger…
How To Stay Forever Young with BBL/IPL
The protocol that we use for this treatment is more advanced and differs slightly from traditional “Photofacials”. IPL/BBL devices use something we call “cut-off” filters, which are used and changed to target specific chromophores in the skin, for example the color in melanin (browns) or hemoglobin (reds). The best IPL/BBL devices are equipped with several “cut-off filters” that the technician can switch between during a treatment. With a traditional “photofacial” treatment we use these “cut-off filters” to specifically treat brown spots and reds such as broken blood vessels and we work only until we reach what we call a “clinical end point”, which basically means we have treated the targeted lesions. With this new approach we treat with multiple “cut-off filters” and make more passes over the skin than we do with a traditional IPL/BBL treatment. We are not focused solely on treating reds and browns, but also on rejuvenating the skin to act more youthful.
To delay aging, I generally recommend a series of 3-5 treatments, spaced 3-4 weeks a part. A treatment series should be repeated annually or biannually depending on level of improvement desired. I would like to emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to aging, as the aging process is multi-faceted and ongoing. Regardless of how great any treatment is, it will never replace the need for treatments that address the other aspects of aging. – One treatment does not necessarily replace the need for another. Consult with your skin care professional to determine which treatments are best for you.
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Ultherapy has become a popular anti-aging treatment for those looking to tighten, lift and avoid the thin skin associated with aging. The common question with any aesthetic treatment is “how long the effects will last” and with Ultherapy, the answer is a long time.
How Does Ultherapy Work?
Ultherapy is the only device that is cleared for skin tightening and lifting. It uses focused ultrasound to precisely target and treat tissue at three levels, the Superficial Dermis, Deep Dermis and most importantly the SMAS which is at the top of the muscle, all while leaving the surrounding tissue intact. We are not able to treat all these areas with chemical peels, micro-needling or even other devices such as lasers or Radio Frequency. So basically…. this is as good as it gets with the exception of surgery.
As we age the processes within the skin begin to slow, our skins fibroblast are more sluggish and we produce less hylauronic acid, elastin fibers become weak, we produce less collagen and our collagen becomes un-organized. This all results in lax skin that is less firm and thinning.
Many of the treatments we use in aesthetics, benefit from the skins wound healing ability. By creating a wound healing response in the skin we stimulate the fibroblast to produce more collagen. The type and length of the wound healing benefits can vary, depending on how and where the “wound” was created. For example a scratch or something like microdermabrasion may only be 14 days of increased collagen production, an IPL / BBL treatment is about 3 weeks, and RF treatments around 6 months. Ultherapy leads to an inflammatory wound healing response which stimulates long-term tissue remodeling and leads to further lifting and tightening. Increases collagen production is seen in skin biopsies 12 months after treatment.
Clinical tightening and lifting can be seen as early as 3-6 weeks,but the most appreciable results are seen at 3 months. The duration of response after a single treatment can be up to 2 years.
Anti-Aging Benefits of Ultherapy Observed in Study
– Increased dermal collagen by over 23.7%, new collagen is organized
– Increased over all dermal thickness
– Increased New collagen Type I (21%-30%) and collagen Type III (48%-68%)
– Increased amount of elastin, elastin fibers are more parallel and straighter
Repeating Ultherapy Treatments
The aging process is continues and regardless of which procedure you choose, maintenance is always necessary. The exact longevity of results with any treatment depends on your body’s ability to produce, maintain and breakdown collagen. The frequency of treatments will depend on age, health, lifestyle, condition of skin, other anti-aging measures taken and desired results. Although one year between treatments is most common, many opt for a second treatment as early as 6 months to boost results.Those who are younger may go as long as 2-3 years between treatments. Ultherapy works best as part of a comprehensive approach to aging, your skin care professional can work to customize a plan for your specific needs.
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Summer time heat and sun can contribute to common skin concerns such as skin discolorations, sun damage, free radical damage, heat induced inflammation, acne, premature aging and skin cancer. With the appropriate skin care products you can prevent some of this damage while still enjoying a little fun in the sun.
I have always referred to “summer as acne season”. It is hot and everyone is sweating, this can contribute to an increase in clogged pores and breakouts. First of all, you need an actual facial cleanser. Facial wipes, makeup remover and shower gel, do not count as a facial cleanser. In the summer I recommend a foaming cleanser, if you have dry skin use a gentle foaming cleanser. It is also good to incorporate an exfoliating cleanser with active ingredients such as glycolic or salicylic acid with exfoliating granules that are not too abrasive. I usually recommend using an active cleanser at night and your basic foaming cleanser in the morning. Some active cleansers are stronger than others, so be sure to consult with your Esthetician for recommendations on which product is best for you and how often you should use it.
Exfoliating Cleansers We Like : AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser or GlyPro Exfoliating Cleanser by Skin Medica, Offects Exfoliating Cleanser by ZO, BioGlycolic Rusurfacing Body Scrub by Jan Marini.
Daytime Antioxidant with Vitamin C
Sun exposure and pollution cause oxidative stress on skin. Oxidative stress can directly damage cell membranes, proteins, DNA as well as turning on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that accelerate aging. This means a break down of collagen, less collagen production and increased inflammation. Use topical antioxidants during the day to help combat the many free radicles we encounter during the day and reduce inflammation in the skin, which can result from heat and sun exposure .
Some antioxidants such as vitamin-C, have photo-protectants abilities and are believed to enhance the effectiveness of sunscreen. A photoprotectant works by neutralizing the UV rays, rather than reflecting or absorbing UV rays like a sunscreen, so use them together to maximize your protection.
Nighttime Antioxidant with Resveratrol
Most topical antioxidants are used during the day, however resveratrol is best used at night. Resveratrol has a dual antioxidant capacity. This means that not only does resveratrol scavenge free radicals from the environment, it also works to increase the production of the bodies own “endogenous” antioxidants. The depletion of naturally occurring (endogenous) antioxidants contributes to aging. Resveratrol preserves collagen, so it helps to reduce “thinning” of the skin. It is important to know that resveratrol is degraded by UV rays, so it must be used at night. Additional benefits include:
– Reduce skin inflammation
– Helps with skin discoloration (tyrosinase inhibitor)
– Inhibits non-melanoma skin cancer formation, when applied topically
– Positive effect on extrinsic and intrinsic skin aging
– Works synergistically with antioxidants such as vitamin E
– Increased epidermal and dermal skin density ( with topical Resveratrol BE )
Pro-Niacin delivers niacin to the skin cells and enables healing from within, helping the skin repair and protect itself from sun damage. Nia24 has a line of products that contain Pro-Niacin, including the neck and décolletage. The Nia24 Skin Strengthening Complex is a light weight daily moisturizer that contains 5% Pro-Niacin, Vitamin-A, antioxidants, ceramics and peptides.
Broad Spectrum Sunscreen
It seems pretty obvious to use a sunscreen, but choosing the best sunscreen can be confusing. You should select a product that is an SPF-30 or above, but more importantly it should be broad spectrum. Broad spectrum means it will protect skin from both UVA and UVB rays. There is currently no rating that measures UVA protection. I recommend looking for a sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide as it is the most broad band protectant and also works to block some of the heat that can contribute to inflammation, rosacea flareups and broken capillaries.
Do not forget to protect the delicate skin around the eyes, which is highly susceptible to skin cancer. Skin Cancers on the eyelid can be difficult to detect and challenging to treat. If you find that your eyes sting or burn with your usual sunscreen, try Skin Ceuticals Physical Eye UV Defense, it is formulated for the area around the eye and will not migrate or run into your eyes. In addition to protecting the skin from the damaging effects of the sun it is also slightly moisturizing and tinted. I use this on my kids and it is easy to put on them without a fight.
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The eyelids are one of the most common places for skin cancer and the first place we see the signs of aging. Skin cancer in this area is especially dangerous and hard to detect. Luckily, there are products that can protect the delicate skin around the eye.
The eyelids are very susceptible to skin cancer and the aging effects of UV exposure. About 10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelids, which is kind of shocking when you consider that the face/head accounts for less than 5% of the total body surface area. There are many additional concerning factors regarding skin cancers on the eyelid. There is a significant risk for tissue damage to nearby vital ocular structures and even blindness. Tumors in this area can also spread into the nasal and orbital cavities (the area behind the eye). Let not forget that the skin of the eyelid serves to protect the eye and when that skin has to be removed we are presented with a host of issues such as preventing infection and reconstruction of the eyelid is very difficult. Early detection can be challenging because these tumors tend to grow inward toward the deeper layers of the skin and bone, before they are seen on surface of the skin. The appearance of this type of cancer varies and looks different than other types of skin cancers, making detection even more difficult. Reoccurrence of skin cancer on the eyelid is among the highest. It is important to take measures to prevent skin cancer, and become an established patient of a good dermatologist before you think you need one.
As if cancer was not enough, photo-aging of the eyelid is another concern. Photo-aging is a term used to describe sun damage and premature aging caused by UV exposure. Consider that the skin is a direct reflection of health and that sun damaged skin is not healthy skin. Photo-aging goes beyond vanity, it really is about skin that is not functioning properly or at a healthy state.Sun damaged skin will have lowered immunity against infection and impaired wound healing ability. Furthermore, UV rays age skin cells, damage DNA, break down collagen, elastin and damage pigment producing melanocytes. All of this equals unhealthy skin that is thin, lax (loose), with lines wrinkles and skin discoloration. There are products and treatments that can be done to improve these issues, but it will take time, money, and a little work.
Prevent the damage and reduce risk of cancer
The first line of defense is a broad spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or more. The eyes and the skin around the eyes are sensitive to chemicals in sunscreen so you should look for a physical sunscreen, meaning the only two active ingredients are Titanium dioxide and Zinc oxide. I like Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 by Skin Ceuticals, it is a non-migrating, high protection sunscreen designed specifically for the upper and lower eyelids. This is a pure physical sunscreen that you apply like and eye cream. The formula is tinted to enhance tone, however it will nor provide coverage like a cosmetic. I like to say it’s tinted for a man. It blends right in and doesn’t settle into fine lines or make your eye area appear dry/cakey. the ceramics in it will nourish the skin, but I still recommend using your usual eye cream first then SPF.
For additional protection I recommend using a topical product with vitamin-C, every morning. While sunscreens absorb or reflect out UV radiation, antioxidants such as vitamin-C neutralize the UV rays. Photoprotective topical antioxidants work by the inhibiting the UV-induced biochemical changes that lead to photoageing and DNA mutations.
Studies show that sunglasses do help protect eyes from UV damage, however some UV light can still get to the eye area, depending on the type and style of sunglasses. Look for sunglasses with UVA/UVB protection and remember that sunglasses do not eliminate the need for sunscreen.
The Eyelids: Highly Susceptible to Skin Cancer / Skin Cancer Foundation
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The eyes are the focal pointe of the face and one of the first places we start to age. A professional chemical peel to treat the skin around the eyes, may be just what the doctor ordered.
A Medium Depth Peel will..
– Treat skin laxity, fine lines, “stretchable” wrinkles and scars.
– Improve skin texture, reducing roughness
– Treat hyper-pigmentation Brown spots and Melasma
– Tighten large pores
– Increase collagen and skin density
The skin around the eyes is thin and with age begins to show fine lines and take on a crepey texture. Treating the delicate skin around the eye can be tricky. Lasers can damage the eye, so this limits how we treat this area. Laser resurfacing can be done, if special laser eye shields are placed inside the eye. Chemical peels are another option for treating the skin around the eye, and when done by a skilled professional can be done up to the lash line.
Chemical peels that penetrate to the appropriate depth in the skin, can improve texture and tighten skin. A TCA peel that penetrates beyond the papillary dermis, just to the Immediate Reticular Dermis (IRD) will provide skin tightening effect, this is called a Medium Depth Peel. I am choosing not to mention the strength of TCA used, because I read too many horror stories online about people who attempted to do a professional peel at home. Skin care professionals are trained on how to determine where we are working in the skin, this is a medical grade peel and should be done by an experienced professional.
Aging Skin and Chemical Peel Intervention
Skin care professionals often talk about “skin cell turn over”. Skin cell turnover is the process of a new skin cell being produced, working it’s way up to the surface and replacing old skin cells which have been sloughed away. In young healthy skin this process takes about 6 weeks, however aging and sun damage slow this process. Chemical peels increase skin cell turnover, which in turn improves skin texture.
The production of growth factors, collagen, elastin and hylaraunic acid all slow with age, so the goal in anti-aging is to preserve and increase the production all of these things. Collagen is a protein that gives skin it’s volume strength and structure, while elastin is what gives skin it’s elasticity or ability to snap back. Hyaluronic acid is a key molecule involved in skin moisture, as it binds and retains water. Hyaluronic acid is also needed to bind collagen to elastin. When we do chemical peels and laser treatments that penetrate beyond the skins epidermis, we are benefitting from the skins own wound healing ability to up regulate growth factors and stimulate the production of collagen, elastin and hyluranic acid. The result is a thicker dermis, smoother surface and skin tightening.
What to expect
The day of the peel is considered day 1. On days 1 and 2 your skin looks okay, but it may look dry and slightly older. By day 3 skin begins to look dark or bronze, this will vary depending on your natural skin color, skin discolorations and depth of peel. Skin usually begins to peel on day 4 and is usually done by day 5. After the skin has peeled of it may be pink for a couple days. The healing process does vary for each person. Healthy skin will always recover more quickly with less inflammation.
During the peeling process you will need to follow the post peel instructions given to you by your skin care professional. This usually includes using a gentle cleanser, a hydrocortisone cream and mild moisturizer. An occlusive ointment such as Vasoline or Aquaphor may be recommended. It is VERY important to not pick or pull off the skin, let it peel in its own time! (seriously… don’t do it) You should also avoid sweating during the pealing phase, because it will create sweat beads under the skin that will cause it to peel of prematurely and thats bad. The skin should be protected with a totally physical sunscreen, I like Physical Eye UV Defense SPF 50 by Skin Ceuticals.
After the old skin has peeled off, it instantly looks and feels smother. The collagen production will continue to increase and the skin will continue to feel tighter. To keep the skin renewal process un regulated and functioning more similar to young skin, I usually recommend having around 4 TCA chemical peels around the eye area per year. Treatments should be scheduled over 6 weeks apart.
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Throughout my career in medical aesthetics, Pseudofolliculitis and ingrown hair has been a common concern. Often times it’s men who mistake the condition for acne, other times it’s someone who has had an infection and a doctor recommended they get laser hair removal. The bad news is, that it can be more serious than you might think. The good news is, it can be treated!
What is Pseudofolliculitis?
Pseudofolliculitis commonly known as “razor bumps” or “ingrown hair” is an inflammatory condition in the skin and hair follicle caused by shaving, waxing and ingrown hairs. Pseudofolliculitis can occur anywhere on the body hair grows, however it most commonly occurs on a mans beard and for women on the bikini and underarm area. It tends to be more common in those with curly or coarse hair.
There are two types of Pseudofolliculitis, extrafollicular and transfollicular. Extrafollicular pseudofolliculitis or “razor bumps” occur when curly hair grows back into a hair follicle. Transfollicular pseudofolliculitis or “ingrown hairs” occur when the hair never leaves the follicle, this can happen if the hair grows at an angle. The hair keratin causes inflammation in the skin, usually seen as pustules that look similar to acne.
Concerns and complications associated with Pseudofolliculitis?
Pseudofolliculitis can be painful, embarrassing but more concerning is that it can lead to scars, secondary infection or become abscessed. You may not think that an ingrown hair is a big deal, but it has been associated with serious secondary infections such as MRSA. When there is damage to the skin, it becomes more susceptible to bacteria such as Staphylococcus. It is not unusual for an ingrown hair to become infected with “staph” or become abscessed. In extreme cases, if left untreated staph can lead to a very serious blood infection known as sepsis. These infections can spread and be contagious. If you suspect an infection, you need to seek immediate medical attention.
Laser hair removal remains the best treatment option for Pseudofolliculitis. A series of treatments will be needed, generally spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Another option is to quit shaving, waxing or tweezing and let the hair grow, but if that doesn’t work for you there are some things you can try. When shaving, start with cleansing the area with an exfoliating cleanser that has glycolic acid or some type of an AHA. I also recommend the Clarisonic cleansing brush, which will help to lift the hair. Before you shave place a steamed towel over the area, being careful not to burn your self. For sanitary reasons, I prefer a new razor. Avoid shaving too close, do not stretch the skin or shave against the direction of growth. If you have pustules, you may also be prescribed a topical antibiotic.
Chemical peels and skin care products that contain chemical exfoliant can help with skin discolorations and help to prevent hair from becoming ingrown. - ” the reducing properties of glycolic acid may reduce sulfhydryl bonds in the hair shaft, resulting in straighter hair growth, and thereby may potentially reduce the chance for re-entry of the hair shaft into the epidermis. Salicylic acid peels offer exfoliation and lightening in cases complicated by PIH. Reduced numbers of PFB lesions have been observed with both glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels.” Expert Rev Dermatol. 2009;4(6):595 Dermatologic Conditions in Men of African Ancestry by Marcelyn K Coley, Andrew F Alexis
Laser hair removal for skin of color, is challenging, but possible. If you have dark skin, be sure to find a laser technician that is also a skin specialist and has experience treating your skin type. Your specialist may recommend preconditioning the area prior to having laser treatment, it is important to comply with all instructions. We make these recommendations to prevent you from getting a burn. They may also suggest doing a test spot first to see how you respond to the laser treatment.
Treating the scars
Pigmented scars are the most common and can be treated consecutively with laser hair removal treatments. Pigmented scars can usually be treated with prescription strength skin care products, and chemical peels. Depressed scars require a deep treatment such as micro-needling, fractional laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. It is best to treat depressed or raised scars when the condition is well controlled. Keloid scars are very complicated and need to be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. I want to specify that keloid scars need to be diagnosed by a dermatologist, because raised scars are sometimes confused with keloid scars.
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