FIRST QUARTER 2007, VOLUME 21, NUMBER 3

Chemical peels are still in how do you select the right peel

IN THIS ISSUE

Proper diet, support, relaxation all help prepare you for surgery

Chemical peels are still in how do you select the right peel

Ask the Surgeon / Health Tip / What’s New

Facial Symmetry? Contour and Reshape

Types of Peels

Alphahydroxy acid (AHA) is a mild chemical solution—glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid—that gently peels the epidermis and can peel a portion of the papillary dermis as well. The purpose is to eliminate rough, dry skin and produce fresher, smoother skin. The AHA peel is not a permanent solution and may be repeated weekly. Normal activities may be resumed immediately following the procedure.

Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) infiltrates the epidermis and into the papillary dermis; it is a moderate peel with longer-lasting results than the AHA peel. This peel treats sun damage, fine lines, weathered skin, and pigment problems. The chemical may be applied along with a sedative; there may be mild swelling for about a week. The TCA peel is often repeated over a period of weeks and effects smoother, fresher looking skin.

Carbolic acid (phenol) can reduce extensive wrinkling, marked discoloration, scarring, and pre-cancerous growths. It is the strongest of the chemical solutions and causes a deep peel. The patient is sedated before the carbolic acid is applied, which may take from one to two hours. The convalescence period is approximately two weeks of redness and mild discomfort.

If you have poorly textured skin, acne, or discoloration from sun damage you can expect that a facial skin peel will improve your appearance. Make an appointment to have your skin evaluated for skin type and imperfections. You and your physician can discuss if a chemical peel is right for you.

ASK THE SURGEON

I would like to remove unwanted facial hair. What is the difference between electrolysis and laser hair removal? Are there other treatments available? Electrolysis involves inserting a metal probe into each hair follicle and emitting an electronic charge or current to destroy the hair at the root. It can be time consuming, painful, and repeated treatments are necessary for permanent removal. There is also a risk of scarring and infection.

Laser hair removal focuses heat energy to destroy the entire hair follicle. The patient’s skin remains cool due to a unique cooling system built into the laser. Different types of lasers may be used, so discuss the details of your treatment with your physician beforehand. Typically, the advantages of laser hair removal include little or no discomfort, quick treatment time (covers large area in relatively short time compared to electrolysis), and usually three to five treatments results in smooth skin. There are other options that are less expensive and temporary, such as tweezing and waxing. Make an appointment with your physician for an evaluation and to discuss which treatment is best for you.

HEALTH TIP

A diagnosis of skin cancer may require surgical removal of the cancerous cells. If you have recently undergone treatment, you may want to consider reconstructive surgery to boost your self-confidence and to help you feel better about yourself. You do not have to live with the deformities and scars after treatment. Skin cancer reconstructive surgery provides cosmetic and functional improvement to the affected area. The goal of revision surgery is to reduce and obscure surgical scars for a more pleasing result.

If a relatively large area of tissue has been removed, a skin flap with blood vessels (taken from a healthy part of the patient’s body) is moved to the afflicted area. If you would like to improve the appearance of scars, there are various procedures that may meet your needs. Your physician will evaluate your skin and recommend which treatment—z-plasty, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, injectable fillers, steroid injections— would work best for you. Celebrate your health and recognize that there are options for you to restore your face to its natural beauty.

WHAT’S NEW?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ArteFill® on October 27, 2006, for the correction of smile lines (nasolabial folds). ArteFill® is an injectable filler that contains 20 percent tiny round, non-resorbable and smooth particles and 80 percent purified bovine collagen gel (derived from animals) with 0.3 percent lidocaine (anesthetic).

The filler is injected underneath the skin, just above the fat layer. It fills the wrinkle, then the microspheres support the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. The microspheres are not absorbed by the body, thereby providing long-lasting results. Additional benefits include immediate, visible results and no down time.