Many individuals, at some point in their lives, consider some sort of treatment to minimize the appearance of unsightly skin imperfections such as blemishes, acne, uneven skin, or wrinkles.
For individuals that decide to pro-actively pursue eliminating their skin condition there are several options that either involve surgery or the use of a non-surgical procedures.
In virtually all instances, the non-surgical procedures are performed within a short period of time and on an out-patient basis.
Prior to making a decision to go forward with a medical procedure that will address your specific skin condition, it is important to familiarize yourself with the various methods and techniques available.
Below are a few items to consider when choosing a non-surgical medical procedure that will address your specific skin condition:
The Various Non-Surgical Procedures
Non-surgical skin treatments and procedures are typically non-invasive and relatively safe approaches that are designed to address a whole host of skin conditions. While some of the non-surgical skin procedures are more expensive than others, they all tend to pale in comparison to the usually very expensive costs associated with surgical procedures. For the most part, non-surgical treatments, when compared to surgical treatments, have been shown to be less effective in treating most of the common skin conditions.
When choosing a non-surgical procedure it is important to evaluate not only the cost of the procedure, but the risks associated with the procedure, the expected results of the procedure, the frequency of re-performing the procedure, and any side effects or known dangers associated with the procedure. Below is a list of several of the common non-surgical treatments and procedures that are available today:
Botox is one of several trade names used to describe the neurotoxic protein called botulinum toxin. Botulinum toxin is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum.
Botox injections work by blocking the nerve impulses that cause the muscles to contract. The end result are muscles that are no longer able to contract, and hence, the skin is relaxed and the wrinkles are softened. Cosmetic results are typically seen in two to four days and each treatment lasts for approximately four to six months.
While most individuals require additional Botox treatments to eliminate wrinkles and lines as they reappear, over time, the severity of the wrinkles decrease as the muscles are trained to relax. Many individuals have had success with reducing the severity of their wrinkles and the Botox procedure is relatively safe and is associated with only a few side effects.
Below is a list of the primary benefits associated with Botox injections:
Collagen Injection Fillers
Collagen Injection Fillers utilize collagen which is a natural protein that is found in bone, cartilage, skin, and tendons. There are 27 unique types of collagens that occur naturally within the body.
The unique collagens that are found within skin tissue are essential for skin strength, elasticity, and fullness. As we age, the collagen within the skin breaks down and causes the skin to lose it's suppleness and elasticity. This breakdown of the collagen causes the skin to wrinkle and sag.
This is where collagen injections come into play. Collagen injections replace our skin with a new supply of collagen. Since collagen is a natural protein found in the human body, the procedure is fairly safe and has relatively few side effects.
Collagen injection procedures have been performed for decades to remedy minor imperfections in facial skin. Included in the imperfections that collagen injections are designed to address are laugh and smokers lines, wrinkles, crow's feet, creases, and acne scars. Collagen injections can also be used to promote fuller lips and cheeks as well.
In addition, collagen injections can also be performed to address areas of the chest, back, and neck. Although collagen injections are a relatively safe, quick, and easy procedure to perform, it is important to discuss the procedure, and any other options, with a licensed cosmetic surgeon.
Typical benefits associated with collagen injection procedures include the following:
Chemical Peels, or chemexfoliation or derma-peeling, are non-surgical techniques that are used to improve the appearance of the skin and can be performed on the face, neck, and hands.
During a chemical peel a chemical solution is applied to the skin. The chemical solution reacts with the skin and causes it to blister and, within a short period of time, peel off.
The new, underlying skin is typically smoother and less wrinkled than the old skin that was removed. Chemical peels are generally suitable for individuals with any of the following skin conditions:
Chemical peels typically produce a skin reaction similar to a sunburn. In addition, most individuals experience redness followed by scaling that occurs within 3 to 7 days.
Mild chemical peels can be repeated within 1 to 4 week intervals if necessary. Medium depth and deep chemical peels may produce swelling, water blisters, a crusting of the skin, or cause the affected skin to turn a brownish color and peel off within the first 7 to 14 days. Medium depth chemical peels can be repeated every 6 to 12 months if necessary. Each individual will discuss their specific skin condition concerns with their dermatologist to determine the depth of your chemical peel.
Microdermabrasion is one of the most popular non-surgical skin care procedures that is designed to improve skin tone and texture.
Microdermabrasion treatments (also known as a power peel) utilize a microderm piece of equipment that emits a pressurized stream of crystals onto the surface of the skin.
Typical crystals used during a Microdermabrasion procedure include aluminum oxide, zinc oxide, corundum, sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, and magnesium oxide.
In many cases, medical facilities and spas offer multiple crystal types, however, aluminum oxide is currently the industry standard. In addition, there are crystal free Microdermabrasion procedures which utilize a vibrating paddle.
Both of the Microdermabrasion procedures are designed to gently remove dead skin, eliminate black heads, unclog and reduce pore size, and soften and smooth the skin.
Microdermabrasion procedures are designed to address the following skin conditions:
Most individuals that receive a Microdermabrasion procedure experience noticeable changes in their skin's tone and texture after the first treatment and significant reductions in their skin's imperfections within the second or third treatment. Microdermabrasion treatments require approximately 30 to 45 minutes to perform and their is no "down time" required by the patient.
Laser Resurfacing procedures are designed to target the specific skin areas of concern by focusing a short, concentrated pulsating beam of light on them.
Laser skin resurfacing procedures are able to precisely remove layers of skin starting at the surface, and thereafter, layer by layer. Laser resurfacing procedures are also known as laser vaporization or laser peel.
There are two types of lasers that are most commonly used in laser resurfacing procedures: carbon dioxide (CO2) and erbium. Each type of laser is designed to vaporize damaged skin cells at the surface. The risk of injury to the patient, with either of the laser types, is minimal because the heat absorbed by the skin during the laser resurfacing procedures are limited.
Laser resurfacing procedures are designed to address the following skin conditions:
Individuals that have acne that is active or individuals that have very dark skin may not be a candidate for laser resurfacing. In addition, laser resurfacing is not designed to address stretch marks.
Thermage and Mesotherapy
Thermage and Mesotherapy, although performed several weeks apart from each other, are commonly used in tandem as a non-surgical alternative to the face lift procedure. The thermage procedure utilizes radio frequencies while the mesotherapy procedure involves a series of injections. However, the benefits and results are amplified by combining both types of skin treatments. While thermage and mesotherapy treatments are often regarded as effective as an actual face lift procedure, in general, the combination of procedures does not quite produce the same results as a face lift.
One of the main reasons for combining the two procedures is that while thermage focuses on tightening and smoothing wrinkles on the face, it does not address the issue of fat deposits beneath the surface of the skin. This is where the mesotherapy procedure adds value as it acts as a form of liposuction to dissolve the fat cells below the surface of the skin and reduce the appearance of jowls and fatty tissue that typically builds up below the eyes.
Thermage procedures are, in general, no more invasive than microdermabrasion. The thermage laser used in the procedure acts to cool the surface of the skin while heating the deeper layers of skin through the use of radio frequencies. By stimulating the lower layers of skin with heat, collagen production is enhanced and the skin is tightened by the closing of the fiber gaps within the dermis. The improved collagen production promotes a plumper appearance of the skin, thus, reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Similar to collagen and Botox injections, the mesotherapy technique employs a series of injections into the middle and lower layers of the skin to dissolve the cellulite and fat deposits. Depending on the formula chosen by your medical doctor, the solution may contain anesthetics, minerals, vitamins, and/or other chemicals. The chemicals work synergistically to first paralyze, and then destroy, the fat cells. As a general rule, mesotherapy procedures are often followed by an additional therapy designed to remove the dead fat cells from the lower layers of skin.
Benefits associated with performing a thermage skin treatment procedure include the following:
Benefits associated with performing a mesotherapy skin treatment procedure include the following:
Cellulite Therapy is a skin treatment procedure that is designed to remove cellulite and fat deposits that exist under the surface of the skin. The most popular and effective cellulite therapy procedures are performed within a medical setting and utilize an ultrasound machine to perform the actual procedure. Cellulite therapy procedures of this type are performed on an out patient basis.
The ultrasound machines used in cellulite therapy procedures use unfocused and low pressure waves to stimulate the production of collagen. In addition, the ultrasound machines, in some cases, have been known to improve the metabolism of fat cells within the treated areas as well.
In addition, many individuals have also had success in reducing fat deposits through the use of creams or gels that contain caffeine. If an individual has not been able to reduce the size of their cellulite/fat deposits through regular exercise and a nutritionally balanced whole food diet, cellulite therapy may be their best option.
Whether an individual chooses the ultrasound procedure or opts for the cream or gel approach, both methods work in essentially the same way. All cellulite therapies promote an increase in collagen production within the lower layers of the skin and increase the circulation to those areas as well. By increasing circulation, waste deposits are removed and fat cells begin to shrink in size. Creams and/or gels increase circulation through massage by bringing the waste deposits to the surface of the skin. While both approaches increase circulation and the removal of waste deposits, cellulite therapy procedures that utilize an ultrasound method are typically must more effective.
The following is a list of several of the benefits associated with cellulite therapy:
Spa Treatments are the most common form of skin and body care procedures performed in the United States today. Spa treatments primarily address two basic principles: the elimination of toxins from the body and the removal of dead cells from the surface of the skin. In addition, spas also provide services that promote muscle relaxation and hydration.
The treatments offered at each spa vary greatly. For example, larger spas tend to offer several different types of the treatments such as facials, mud baths, massages, and manicures/pedicures. In addition to the basic spa teatments, several spas also offer laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion and chemical peels.
Spas utilize a variety of methods and procedures to rejuvenate the skin and body while smoothing the skin and reducing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, and various types of imperfections. Most spas offer their services in pre-defined packages or as individual services, allowing the individual the ability to choose their specific treatments.
Most spas include hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms designed to allow the individual to relax between treatments. Depending on the size of the spa, many include restaurants, nutritional supplements, and even an exercise facility.
Picking A Non-Surgical Treatment
There are many considerations involved with selecting the non-surgical treatment that is the best for you. Specific information will be given about each type of treatment under each treatment's respective heading but there are some general questions that you can ask yourself to assist you in your decision.
Staying Positive but Realistic
Most professionals require a pre-screening interview prior to considering you as a candidate for a non-surgical treatment procedure. Below is a list of several questions that you should be prepared to answer:
Prior to consulting with a physician, evaluate the answers to the previous questions to ensure that you can clearly answer them when they are asked. If a doctor feels that you are seeking treatment for the wrong reasons, they may refuse to perform and treatment or recommend an alternative approach. Staying positive and realistic about yourself and your appearance is vital to getting the most out of any non-surgical skin treatment.
Similar to dieting, many individuals begin skin treatments with visions of perfection and true beauty dancing in their minds. The simple fact is that sometimes procedures do not work as expected. For this reason, it is important to discuss your expectations with the medical professional that will be performing the non-surgical procedure. In some instances individuals are amazed at how well a specific treatment works for them while others are dismayed at the lack of perceived results.
Since many treatments require a long term commitment, or multiple sessions, results may not be as noticeable after your initial session and may require a longer time period to elapse before your expected results match your actual results.
As with any form of non-surgical, or surgical procedure, staying positive, maintaining realistic expectations, receiving plenty of exercise, and consuming a healthy and nutritious diet are all vital to achieving your expectations. This being said, with a healthy lifestyle and a positive attitude not only can external beauty be achieved, but, internal beauty as well.