Skin Resurfacing, Explained

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Laser, chemical peels, botox, Juvederm, fractional resurfacing…Is your head spinning yet?
There’s a lot of ways to make your skin smoother with less wrinkles, softer texture and less color spots. So how do you know what’s right for your needs?
I’ll let everyone in on a trade secret - Here’s what I’m thinking when patients come in for a consultation for facial rejuvenation–
If the wrinkles are caused by muscle over-contraction, let’s use Botox. If there is excess, drooping or sagging skin, the patient needs surgery. If there is a wrinkle that can’t be helped by Botox, but deep enough to be filled in, let’s use an injectable filler like Juvederm.
That leaves us with those pesky fine lines that don’t fall into any other category. For lines that are too superficial to be filled in, the opposite approach is used – let’s “level the playing field” so that the surrounding skin is leveled down to the depth of the wrinkle. Now we’re about talking skin resurfacing.
Ok, now that we’ve gotten this far, how do we do it?
I like to start these conversations by comparing the quest for the ideal skin resurfacer to the quest for the holy grail. The holy grail of skin resurfacing would produce fantastic results, but have no downtime, be painless, cheap and have no risk. Unfortunately, the quest continues and there is no technique that satisifes all these requirements.
Secondly, there are three ways to resurface the skin (either physically, with a chemical or with a laser) but they all generally accomplish the same goal. Every practioner varies in terms of which modality they choose to offer their patients, so it’s easier to think of where a given treatment falls along the treatment spectrum, rather than what exactly the brand name is.
The various modalities exist on spectrum – on the one end are inexpensive treatments, associated with little or no pain, downtime or risk. Unfortunately, the results are equally mild. A good example of a treatment on this end of the spectrum is microdermabrasion. On the opposite end of the spectrum are aggressive treatments that cost more, are more painful, take longer to recover from, but can address deep facial wrinkles and color spots.
So how do you decide? A wise man once said, “It’s all about expectations.” No question, if you expect a single microderm treatment to erase your deep wrinkles, you will be disappointed. Instead, if you expect a painless treatment that makes your skin softer and fresher, you will be satisfied.
When you come to the office, I will discuss with you what your goals are, what level of discomfort you are willing to endure, how much time can you take off and what cost you are comfortable with. We then customize a plan that’s right to meet your goals.

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Bel Air Plastic Surgeon