Posts for: August, 2018
The amount of sleep you get each night can have an effect on the appearance of your skin. While everyone is different, most people require seven to eight hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep affects the appearance of the skin. This is seen commonly as puffiness under the eyes because the blood vessels around the eyes open up and bring fluid into that area. Additionally, when you do not get enough sleep your body releases the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol leads to breakdown of collagen in the skin, the protein that gives the skin its tightness. Over time, this leads to fine lines, wrinkles, and laxity. At the same time, when you get enough sleep your body produces an adequate amount of human growth hormone, which thickens the skin. A recent study by Estee Lauder demonstrated scientifically that inadequate sleep speeds up skin aging. Specifically, poor sleep correlates with increased amounts of fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, and discoloration. So before starting a new skin care regimen or doing treatments, be sure that you are treating your body and skin right by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, protecting yourself from the sun by applying sunscreen daily, and avoiding bad habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
As we age our skin changes. Perhaps the most important factor causing these changes is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun. When these UV rays hit the skin they produce harmful free radicals. Free radicals damage the skin in a number of ways. They cause the breakdown of collagen, the protein in the skin that holds it together, giving it a youthful and tight appearance. This leads to the formation of fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, and enlarged pores. It also thins out the deeper layer of the skin called the dermis and produces broken capillaries which become visible to the naked eye. Additionally, UV rays will cause certain cells in the skin called melanocytes to produce a molecule called melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its color. This is what happens when we get a tan. Also, excess melanin is seen in freckles, age spots, and melasma.
There are a number of things we can do to protect ourselves from and correct this damage. Using sunscreen every day is the most basic way to prevent sun damage. Other skin care products to use include antioxidants to block the harmful free radicals, retinoids to stimulate collagen production and a firm appearance, and brightening creams to remove the dark discolorations. Treatments include facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and various laser treatments. These are designed to exfoliate or target specific things in the skin such as dark discolorations and broken capillaries. People that get the best results are those that combine a good at-home skin care regimen with regular treatments in the office. For this reason Dr. Alex's philosophy is to have a combination approach, by preventing and correcting in multiple ways for a sustained youthful appearance.
Skin care during the summer months is extremely important. Sunlight can cause a lot of damage to the skin including fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer. So it is important to protect yourself every day.
Dr. Alex recommends applying a sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater such as the Alastin Hydratint sunscreen or Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen. Look for sunscreens that have broad spectrum protection. Remember that you are receiving sun exposure when inside a car through the windows. Apply a liberal amount of sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure. Don’t forget areas from the neck down which may be exposed such as the chest, back, arms, and legs. These areas can get sunburned too. If you are outdoors for prolonged periods, reapply sunscreen every two hours. Also reapply sunscreen if your skin gets wet such as when going in the swimming pool. Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. When outside, try to stay in the shade as much as possible. Wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Finally, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking six to eight cups of water daily.
Lasers are routinely used to address cosmetic concerns. Now we have a new application: pain.
What laser is used for pain?
We use the Sciton SkinTyte II laser to treat pain. This uses gentle micro-pulses of red and infrared light. The light heats up the deeper layers of the skin. For cosmetic purposes, this stimulates the skin to form its own natural, new, fresh and healthy collagen to tighten and rejuvenate the skin. It also heats deeper tissues such as muscles, fat, and bone. When these tissues are injured the area becomes inflamed and swollen. The swelling and inflammation puts pressure on the surrounding areas which causes pain. The deep heating from the laser pain treatment stimulates blood flow to the area. This allows for faster healing and a decrease in the inflammation, and this decreases the pain.
How long is the laser pain treatment?
The laser pain treatment takes about five to ten minutes depending on the size of the area. The treatment is very comfortable and you won’t need any numbing cream. The laser slowly and gently heats the area. In general, a significant improvement in the level of the pain is noticed immediately after the treatment. It also decreases the requirement for oral pain medications. When joints are treated, people notice an increase in range of motion. For example, when a should is treated, after the treatment patients are able to lift their arms higher than they did before the treatment. When knees are treated patients are able to walk without pain.
How many laser pain treatments do I need?
Depending on the person, the pain, and the possible injury multiple treatments may be required. For minor soreness from exercise, sometimes a single session will be enough. For injuries often times a series of six weekly treatments are recommended. For chronic pain most people start with a series of six weekly treatments followed by one treatment every one to three months.