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Mastectomy or Lumpectomy?

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Submitted by Twin City Plastic Surgery

There is nothing easy or simple about a cancer diagnosis. From the moment a patient hears the words “you have breast cancer,” she begins an exhausting schedule of medical appointments, treatments, and procedures. While much attention is given to treating the patient’s medical condition, she also needs support in thinking through her options impacting her health and appearance.

The vast majority of breast cancer diagnoses involve some type of surgical treatment with lumpectomies being more common in early-stage cancer situations. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 57 percent of women with early stage (Stage I or II) breast cancer have a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy and 36 percent have a full mastectomy, with others electing non-surgical options. Thirteen percent of women with late stage breast cancer (Stage III or IV) have a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy and 60 percent have a mastectomy.

The ACS also tells us 20 to 40 percent of women who undergo mastectomy have breast reconstruction which typically includes an implant, tissue from another part of the body, or a combination of the two.  Some types of reconstruction can begin during the mastecomy surgery itself, so having a reconstruction plan from the beginning of treatment is critical. Of course, some women are not candidates for lumpectomies due to the size or location of the tumor. But for a woman who has options, how does she make the decision to remove part or all of her breast?

Current data shows the type of surgery – lumpectomy or mastectomy – does not appear to impact a patient’s survival rate or possibility of cancer recurrence. Also, these surgical options do not impact the need and/or type of chemotherapy and/or hormone therapy a doctor recommends.

A lumpectomy almost always:

  • Allows the patient to preserve more of their breast, which can give the patient comfort and an obvious feeling of normalcy.
  • Involves a less extensive surgery in which the patient can go home the same day.
  • Requires radiation as part of the therapy to treat the breast cancer.
  • Does not involve placement of an implant.

Lumpectomy with radiation therapy (XRT) is becoming much more common versus a full mastectomy; from a breast conservation perspective and oncologic perspective, this is good. But there are some downsides to choosing lumpectomy/XRT that are rarely mentioned to the patient.

  • Lumpectomies can result in uneven breasts which may not give the patient the look they hoped for.
  • The defect may still leave a significant cosmetic concern, but any surgery to correct this may be considered cosmetic and be more difficult to get covered by insurance.
  • Radiation treatments can cause adverse cosmetic changes such as darkening of the skin at the treatment site.
  • Any surgery that is ever done on the radiated breast for the rest of that patient’s life is at a much higher risk for complications due to the radiation, and, therefore, limits the patient’s options for reconstructive surgery in the future.

The decision to have a lumpectomy or mastectomy is as individual and personal as a surgery can be. Each patient should talk with their plastic surgeon prior to making their final decision so they can be fully informed of the advantages and challenges of each option. Dr. Laura Randolph as a board-certified plastic surgeon has the education and experience to provide effective breast reconstruction consultations and provide patients peace of mind during a stressful time as they reclaim their life and body from this disease.

Dermal Fillers

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Dermal fillers are one of the most popular procedures for achieving a more youthful appearance.  These products are injected into the skin and will soften or even eliminate the look of fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, nose and mouth. Additionally, fillers can be used to add volume to the cheeks and lips— creating a more contoured look in the process.

While fillers are most commonly used to minimize laugh lines, crow’s feet and frown lines, as well as to plump up lips and cheeks, there are also the following ways that fillers can be used that most people aren’t aware of.

Recessed Scars

One good thing about scars is that they tell a story, but the bad thing is that they can make you feel self-conscious and embarrassed. Fillers can be used to temporarily alleviate the appearance of recessed scars by adding volume to the skin— creating a smoother texture in the process.

Facial Contour Deformities

If you have had a surgical procedure to correct facial deformities that were caused by accident or surgery, facial fillers can be used to help with creating natural looking contours across your face. By injecting fillers around your cheekbones, mouth, nose, and chin, fillers can help you temporarily eliminate facial imperfections.

What About BOTOX?

BOTOX is the most popular injectable available, but it is not a dermal filler.  BOTOX injections work by weakening or paralyzing certain muscles or by blocking certain nerves so that wrinkles are less noticeable.  BOTOX is most commonly used to lift areas like eyebrows, eyes, and forehead.  There is no downtime with BOTOX, meaning you can resume your normal activities right away.  The effects last about three to four months, depending on what is being treated. BOTOX is also used for many other conditions including underarm sweating.

It’s important to realize that dermal fillers and BOTOX are medical procedures, not cosmetic treatments.   These should only be done by a board-certified plastic surgeon or dermatologist who is knowledgeable about injection techniques and product safety. Because there is a wide variety of different types of dermal fillers, and choosing the correct injection site is crucial, only your physician can recommend the specific strategy that will give you the results you are seeking. Dermal fillers are not appropriate for everyone and although the procedure is very safe, there are certain risks.  Your physician will do a complete medical history to make sure that you are a good candidate, explain the procedure in detail, and answer questions that you may have.

Although temporary, facial fillers provide solid results that can help treat some major areas of concern. The results are usually immediate and will last 6 months to over a year depending on the patient and the type of filler used.

Tummy Tuck, Redesigning Your Mid-Section

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Sometimes all of the exercising and dieting in the world cannot get rid of the midsection that results from a lifetime of weight fluctuations or pregnancy.  The body changes that a woman will experience to her midsection with one pregnancy, let alone multiple pregnancies, can lead to unwanted changes such as sagging skin, stretch marks and even muscle separation in the abdominal wall.

What is a tummy tuck?

The tummy tuck is designed to correct several of the changes brought about by pregnancy or massive weight loss in women.  Men also benefit from abdominal wall contouring after weight loss.  The procedure can improve the appearance of excess abdominal fat, skin and tissue in healthy adults, leading to a flatter, more trim waistline.

A full tummy tuck, or abdominoplasty, is defined by an incision that runs from hip to hip along the lower abdominal area.  An additional incision is made around the navel, and excess upper and lower abdominal skin and fat is pulled down and trimmed, creating a flatter, more contoured abdominal wall.  The rectus muscles that shape and provide core strength to the abdominal wall are also repaired and brought back into closer alignment, further contouring the waist.

A full abdominoplasty is a major operation that can take two to four hours in the operating room and it should be performed by a board certified plastic surgeon.  Recovery time is usually four to six weeks and individuals should expect to wait six weeks before returning to their exercise routine.

A mini tummy tuck, which uses a shorter incision in the lower abdomen, is perfect for patients who have a small to moderate amount of skin and fat excess but do not need repair of the upper abdominal muscles.  No incision around the navel is required with a mini tummy tuck.  Liposuction is used in a limited fashion to the lateral hip area in both full and mini tummy tucks.

The Effects of Pregnancy

A tummy tuck is used to correct rectus diastasis, a condition where the abdominal wall muscles have separated.  The most common reason these muscles become weakened is multiple pregnancies.  Many women have some degree of this condition and might not know it.  Women come to our office frustrated at the appearance of their abdomen, despite a great exercise routine and good nutrition.  Abdominoplasty surgery closes the muscle separation and flattens the abdomen in a way that even vigorous exercise cannot, supplementing and enhancing a patient’s goal of a more attractive midsection.

Post-partum women seeking a toned tummy should wait at least 6-12 months after nursing before considering abdominoplasty.  We advise our patients to certainly wait until they are done having children before having this procedure – as the benefits of surgical abdominal wall contouring are lost if a patient were to become pregnant again.

 5 Highlights of Tummy Tuck Surgery:

  • Choose only a doctor certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.
  • Agree only to surgery performed in an accredited facility with a board certified anesthesiologist or possibly a certified nurse anesthetist to administer anesthesia and monitor your health.
  • Review before and after photos, understand what a realistic result looks like and what the scars look like. Come with a list of questions for your surgeon about the procedure.
  • Ask specifically where the incision will be and accept that you will have scars. Scars may heal wide, red or raised, even if you follow all the instructions you were given.
  • Accept that your procedure will require a recovery of days to weeks and that, as with any surgery, there are some risks involved.

 

 

To Tuck or Not To Tuck

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Local nurse and mom of 8 shares her decision to have a tummy tuck.

By Linda Hankemeier

As the mom of eight, Tere (pronounced “Terri”) knows what it means to work hard to get her figure back after childbirth. However, after her last pregnancy — giving birth to triplets at age 51 — the exercise and diet that had worked so well after her earlier pregnancies wasn’t successful in getting “everything” back to normal this last time.

“I had triplets, which included a C-section. But even with the demands on my body, I was able to restart my exercise routine and managed to get back down to my prepregnancy weight,” Tere shared. “But, even with reaching that goal, I was still surprised that my midsection never went back to normal. The excess skin in my stomach wasn’t going anywhere.”

As all eight of her children grew, Tere continued her active lifestyle and her healthy habits such as exercise and proper diet. But, her midsection never seemed to change. Ten years later, her stomach looked pretty much like it did six months after her last delivery. And the extra weight around her midsection made it difficult for her to run, try on clothing, and maintain the active life she wanted. “I wasn’t worried about having the perfect body or making a spouse happy, as my husband loved me just as I was,” Tere commented. “This surgery was about getting my life back to normal.”

Realizing the shape of her stomach was beyond her control, Tere made the decision to look at medical options. She began researching abdominoplasty, more commonly called a “tummy tuck,” and met with one of the board-certified plastic surgeons of Twin City Plastic Surgery.

As a nurse, Tere was an informed patient. She researched types of procedures, consequences, and recovery times, and had many questions for the doctor and staff that were specific to her health and medical situation. “The number one question on my mind regarding any surgery was risk versus benefit, especially at my age.” Tere shared. “After all, I have eight kids and a husband. I needed to know my options, weigh the pros and cons, and make an informed decision.”

Twin City Plastic Surgery’s doctor and staff worked closely with Tere discussing in depth the surgical procedure itself, the process, recovery, and even recommended to Tere different possible procedures to address her concerns. In the end, she decided the tummy tuck and muscle wall repair would give her the results she wanted, and her surgeon confirmed she was a great candidate for the procedure. She was physically strong and maintained a healthy lifestyle, so a tummy tuck would be a great way to remove the excess skin and fat and return her to the active lifestyle she had prior, which was greatly needed as her triplets were nearing the preteen years.

Even her recovery went well. “Prior to surgery, I spent time exercising my legs to be stronger. Two days after surgery I was up walking, but careful. I walked bent over for about two weeks to make sure I didn’t pull any stomach muscles or loosen my stitches.”

As a part of her procedure, a pain pump tube was inserted in Tere’s stomach along the incision area. The pump provided her round-the-clock pain management. At times the pain was a little more severe, but she was able to manage it with oral pain medication. Within the first week, she found that extra strength over-the-counter pain medication successfully managed the pain. Within two weeks of surgery, she started working part-time again, and could comfortably walk, sit, and drive a car.

Tere resumed her normal exercise routine about two to three months post-surgery, starting first with walking and biking. Six months after her tummy tuck, Tere completed a 100-mile bike ride and was feeling fit again.

One year after her surgery, Tere said she feels amazing. Her stomach is hard and toned, with no lingering side effects of the surgery. Even her scar is hardly noticeable. “I’m so thankful I had a tummy tuck,” Tere shared. “I feel like my stomach is back to normal. But, more importantly, my life is back to normal.”

Scars and the Art of Plastic Surgery

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A scar is nature’s thread, mending broken or cut skin with a waterproof closure. A skin cut initiates a complex inflammatory process designed to manufacture that thread. Like a skilled army, specialized cells lay down a clot to stop the bleeding, while wound-healing chemicals flow to the rescue. One of those chemicals is histamine.

Histamine stretches out a blood vessel like a stocking, opening up little holes to allow special healing cells to leak out. You might be familiar with a certain side effect: Histamine can make scars itch.

Collagen-producing cells go to work like a garment factory, knitting the wound closed. Just as the factory needs electricity to run, those cells need extra energy and oxygen.

In the lungs, red blood cells load up oxygen like cargo boats, and they float down the blood vessels, handing out oxygen where it’s needed. For a wound to heal, however, the limited network of blood vessels isn’t sufficient to supply enough oxygen.

What’s a body to do?

How about… grow more blood vessels? And that’s exactly what happens. The body creates more capillaries to bring more oxygen-rich blood. The red blood inside the capillaries flows just below the scar’s surface. The result is sort of like… a blush.

That’s why scars are pink.

In the final phase of scar-making, the disorganized, heaped-up, young collagen reorganizes into its flat, mature form. (It’s like seeing a teenager grow up.)

Once the job is done, the extra capillaries are no longer needed, so they disappear, slinking off without a trace.

That’s why scars fade.

The ideal scar is thin, flat, and asymptomatic, but that takes time, up two years. (Some scars take even longer to grow up, just like some humans.)
So how do you get a ‘star’ scar?

Plastic surgeons create scars every time they cut skin. Part of the art of plastic surgery consists of hiding incisions—in folds, within hair, and along contour changes. But those incisions leave scars. (Plastic surgeons aren’t magicians.)

It’s natural for patients to hope for a perfect scar: thin, flat, and white, but not everyone heals that way. Factors that affect scarring include:

1. Genetics: You inherit your scar-forming qualities from your parents.
2. Tension: An incision closed under tension is more likely to be thick, raised, and wide.
3. Location and type of skin: Eyelid scars are typically better than back or chest scars.
4. Age: Children are more likely to develop thick scars between the ages of 8 and 16, while older people with thin skin are more likely to form fine scars.
5. Wound condition: Shredded skin edges are more likely to cause thick scars than cleanly cut ones.
6. Proper closure: Surgical technique can impact the result, though the best technique won’t overcome other factors.
7. Blood supply: Factors such as smoking can result in death of skin, leading to delayed healing, a wider scar, and the need for surgery to close the wound.
8. Infection: A wound infection can disrupt the wound and lead to a wider scar.
9. Poor diet: Inadequate nutrition can delay healing and result in opening of the wound.
10. Health: Medications, medical conditions, and previous radiation can affect wound healing, so share your medical history with your doctor.

And that’s the story of scar formation.

It’s really sort of magical if you think about it!

Potential patients may be concerned about scars after plastic surgery. Though no one can predict how an individual will heal, one’s parents’ and siblings’ scars can give an idea of inherited scarring potential. Patients can improve their chances of good scars by being honest with their doctors about their medical histories and finding an ABPS board-certified plastic surgeon trained to minimize and/or hide scarring. The chances are they’ll be pleased with the results.

Lip Enhancement at Any Age

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Written by: Mary Cunningham

Lips are the most sensual place on the face. Sure, bat your lashes all you want, but the lips can pout, entice, and excite… all at once.

The team over at New Beauty did a deep dive into what lip enhancement looks like at every age. Subtle enhancements with nonsurgical treatments can make a significant and positive change to one’s overall look.

If your lips have never been as alluring as you’d like (or aren’t what they once were), here are the best lip enhancement treatments to maintain that youthful pout at any age.

20s: What’s happening: Lip enhancements in your more youthful years seek to remedy natural asymmetry, too-thin lips or that look that can happen when the corners droop down. Thankfully fillers (like Juvederm and Restylane) can be used to address any of these issues.

30s: The body’s loss of collagen and elastin, and years of drying sun exposure contributes to wrinkles on and around the lips. Again, fillers here can be used to gently alleviate these concerns. Since youthful lips require fairly little enhancement to get them back on track, it’s key to work with a doctor who uses fillers judiciously. We’ve all seen bad examples where too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Do I really need to cite any celebrity examples here? I don’t think so.

While enhancements in our 20s and 30s are focused on correcting that which nature did not naturally bestow upon us, the focus of enhancements in our 40s, 50s, and beyond is to restore to our previously youthful appearance.

40s: With that in mind, in our 40s treatments are used to counteract even MORE drying and thinning. (Mother Nature, man – she just doesn’t stop.) Laugh lines have become more pronounced, etching grooves into the skin around the lips. And the lip shape itself, as well as areas around the lips, begins to change structurally. The corners of the mouth may become weaker, drawing the mouth — and likely the overall facial expression — down into a frown. Fillers will, well, fill in wrinkles to counteract the appearance of aging and bring fullness back to the other areas surrounding the lips as well.

50s: Overall changes to your entire visage may be morphing the lips even more. So much to look forward to, right? The lack of elasticity in the skin due to the loss of collagen and elastin and incremental drooping that starts mid-face can extend the space between the nose and lips meaning that, with time, the lips themselves have dropped a bit. {Shakes fist at Mother Nature and genetics}.

According to the New Beauty article, doctors can carefully and elegantly use a mix of fillers and neurotoxins to recreate the curve at top of the lip (AKA Cupid’s bow) and the vertical columns that run from the base of the nose to the top points of the lips, restoring the youthfulness of yore.

60s and Beyond: At this stage, an aesthetic professional will continue reconstructing key areas, including restoring the fullness of the lips and facial structures around the mouth. The same advice holds true in your 60s as your 20s: Trust your enhancements to a doctor who is on the same page as you in terms of your desired look. Remember too much filler alters your facial anatomy instead of enhancing you.

In your 50s, 60s and beyond, plastic surgeons can offer more than fillers and neurotoxins –they can offer fat grafting during simultaneous facial rejuvenation procedures. No matter what stage you find yourself in, find a trusted professional to consult with on the solution that suits your face, and your cosmetic goals. Board-certified plastic surgeons like Dr. Laura Randolph who are members of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery have the knowledge and years of experience performing these lip-enhancing/rejuvenation procedures.

Our bodies are in a constant state of change. That we can’t control. But whether we’re searching for the perfect lips we once had, or never had in the first place, nonsurgical solutions are as easy as the next visit to the office of a plastic surgeon certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS).

Plastic Surgery and the Social Media Effect

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Written by Nancy Weinberg Simon

I was once on the cover of a national magazine. It was in the early days of Photoshop and the magazine I was working for at the time didn’t like the way the celebrity looked in her cover images so the creative director took a photo of me, put the celebrity’s head on my body and voila, problem solved. Except it created a whole slew of new problems. The celebrity and the photographer were insulted, we got numerous calls from media outlets with strict instructions from our own higher-ups not to discuss this matter with anyone and the images ended up on a celebrity news show anyway.

I too was less than delighted. If I’d wanted to work in front of the camera, I wouldn’t have chosen to be working so hard behind the scenes. This was way before social media and the current situation we have where virtually everyone is more than willing to put themselves out there and be the director and star of their own social network. Social media is like The Truman Show come to life, except “the stars of the show” (almost all of us!) are doing the documenting. Though it happens in the more “mature” generations too — hey, I’m not so willing to put an unflattering shot of myself out there — millennials in particular are even more affected by this phenomena. It might be due to the fact that they’re the first generation that has been able to capture every moment for immediate sharing. Unfortunately this constant keeping up with social media or fall behind in the social circle has a bigger downside than just lots of wasted, unproductive time and a lack of in-person social skills. There has also been a huge upswing in plastic surgery requests as a result of how people want to present themselves on their social media accounts. When they’re posting and instagramming and snapchatting they feel they must look their absolute best doing it…and photo-shop just isn’t cutting it for many.

Because social media centers around photos and video, and the atmosphere of the entire social media world is therefore extremely visual, these sites have become a driving force behind aesthetic cosmetic procedures like rhinoplasty, otoplasty, Botox and fillers. People scrutinize their own photos looking for perceived flaws. Selfies force them to be way more self-critical than they ever would have been and it can make them feel less confident about their looks so they’re more willing to go under the knife or get an injection to change that.

If someone is really unhappy with their looks, they need to ask themselves why they feel that way and consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon like Dr. Laura Randolph that can help them decide if plastic surgery or any aesthetic procedure is the right choice for them. In certain circumstances, the surgeon might actually refer them to a psychiatrist because the patient might have perceived flaws that aren’t there, or extremely unrealistic expectations. In addition, not all patients are good candidates for the procedure(s) they seek. This is why board-certified plastic surgeons are trained to determine which procedures will best suit a particular patient’s needs, or advise them not to go under the knife if they feel it is truly unnecessary and won’t produce a satisfactory result for anyone involved.

Common Skin Care Mistakes May Be Causing Your Irritating Skin Reactions

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Written by Jenny Isenman

Most women claim to have sensitive skin, but as it turns out, few women do. You might be thinking, “Wow, Jenny thanks for that scintillating bit of news and who cares if I’m wrong about my sensitive skin, it can’t hurt to be on the safe side, right?

I’m here to help you differentiate between skin sensitivity and sensitive skin. Truth is you could be doing harm. Self-diagnosing or a diagnosis by anyone other than a doctor, may mean missing out on amazing products or procedures that your skin could benefit from greatly, like those that slough off dead cells, which, if left alone can lead to breakouts, dullness, dryness or dare I say it, older looking skin. You may also be missing an underlying problem that might require medical treatment like Rosacea or Eczema.

Look, I’m with you. I’ve claimed to have sensitive skin for years – decades even, but I’ve found that the reactions I’ve had: itching, redness and even blotches have been due to a skin sensitivity not sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is usually exacerbated by things like sun exposure, wind, heat, cold, chemicals in products and other similar factors. Understanding this distinction and discovering your true skin type will open a world of possibilities in skincare.

Here are some facts and tips that will help you determine what you’re dealing with and how to proceed:

We Tend to Do Most of the Damage

We have more control over what irritates our skin than you would think. Common mistakes can cause reactions and sensitivity including over-washing, over-exfoliating, using products that dry out skin, using water that is too hot, scrubbing too hard, applying products that are known irritants too frequently, not allowing our skin time to get used to new products and too much sun exposure, to name a few.

How to Deal:

Be kinder to your skin and avoid excessive procedures and use of products with common irritants.
Avoid products with alcohol when possible.

Be aware of common irritants and allergens like, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acids, retinoids, fragrances, formaldehyde, niacinamide (a topical form of the B3 nutrient), chemical peels, physical exfoliators, lanolin, parabens (and other preservatives that extend shelf life)

If you use products that strip skin or are known to irritate skin like peels and acids, remember some irritation, redness and tingling is common (up to about 15 minutes).

If you react to microdermabrasion, chemical peels or exfoliants, cut down on the frequency and/or intensity.
Listen to YOUR Skin:

Allow your skin to get used to strong products over time; better yet, do a 24-hour patch test on your neck or behind your ear to test for sensitivity. You may find that starting slowly, once a week and building up helps or … you may find your skin can’t tolerate more than one application every 2 or 3 days.

If you have a reaction to something, write down what it is and what the offending product’s ingredients are. You may be allergic to something in the product, which you’ll be able to weed out over time.

If you find your skin is sensitive to fragrance, remember that fragrance-free and unscented are not equal. There can be fragrances used to mask other scents in “unscented” products.

Be aware of environmental factors. Excessive cold, hot or moist weather can leave skin more prone to reaction… so can stress and hormones.

Rule out Something Else:

The best person to determine whether you have sensitive skin or not, is your doctor. A doctor should also be the one to diagnose Rosacea or Eczema. Both of those conditions can be treated and both can make your skin more sensitive. If those conditions are in remission your skin may not be considered sensitive!

Things That You Can Do To PREVENT Wrinkles, Other Than Not Smiling

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Written By: Jenny Isenman

I’m not gonna lie, I have had a laugh, cackle, guffaw and chortle cut short recently, because something in my brain reminded me that I was doing something far more significant than giddily enjoying myself and the moment – I was possibly setting my already apparent marionette lines and crow’s feet into a downward spiral of being etched even deeper into my once wrinkle-free face.

Yep, we all gave Kim K flak for saying she doesn’t smile in photos to prevent wrinkles and there I was, holding visual laughter inside for the sake of getting carded at a bar, which I never do, because A. who am I kidding? and B. when was the last time I went to a bar?

That being said, there are myriad ways to prevent wrinkles without pathetically holding back from a smile, chuckle, or full on belly laugh and here they are:

1. Avoid the Sun: This should be written in a neon sign at the top of this list. Sun exposure is the number one cause of wrinkles … more than heredity. Numerous studies have shown siblings have huge variances in the amount of wrinkles they acquire later in life, which can be directly correlated to differences in the amount of sun exposure they’ve had.

2. Don’t Smoke: Smoking breaks down collagen and elastin in your skin leaving it looser and prone to sagging and wrinkles.

3. Sleep on Your Back: The way you sleep does cause sleep lines which turn into wrinkles over time. It is best to sleep on your back. If that is impossible, then swap your cotton pillow case for a satin one. Alternatively, you could replace your pillow with a beauty sleep pillow made with a special foam, with a unique shape that alleviates pressure on the face.

4. Give Yourself a Facial Massage: Facial massage is an ancient Japanese practice which involves simply pressing and stroking the face. This small addition to your regimen will help slough off dead skin, increase blood flow, reduce puffiness, remove toxins and help soften wrinkles. Tip: Use a light milky moisturizer, with your finger tips and palms always moving in a circular motion and directed upward with mild pressure and repeat daily.

5. Wear Sunscreen: Clearly, we can’t really strictly adhere to number 1 and live as hermits indoors. That would be depressing and who would get to see our young fresh faces in the best natural light? So, the next best thing is sunblock. Wear it daily and unsparingly.

6. Use a Moisturizer with Retinol at Night: You should moisturize daily to keep your skin hydrated, but if you’re trying to prevent wrinkles, Retinol will add that extra oomph. It will help slough off the dead skin and promote the production of collagen which will help keep those little lines at bay.

7. Chemical Peel: Light, medium and deep chemical peels are a popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedure used to peel away the skin’s top layer to improve sun-damaged, unevenly pigmented and wrinkled skin. You can learn more about the procedure here

Good luck and may the forces of nature not be with you!

Revealing the Beauty Within: Dermabrasion and Chemical Peels

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By Mary Cunningham

Most of us dream of recapturing the essence of youth and returning to the dewy freshness that’s faded with the years due to hours on the beach, long runs in the summer, that pesky smoking habit in college, and exposure to other environmental toxins. Every line tells a story and sometimes we don’t want those stories broadcast.

While face, brow and neck lifts can transform a face into a more youthful version of itself, there are other options to enhance the look and feel of our skin– which is thankfully much less expensive and non-invasive. Awesome.

Dermabrasion, dermplaning, dermblading- are all terms for using a small sharp object or rough surface to remove surface acne scars, fine wrinkles and other skin imperfections.

An alternative, one with which I have a LOT of experience, is any one of a variety of chemical peels. Peels can successfully reduce the size of pores and the appearance of wrinkles and scars. There are varying levels of intensity, based on the type and concentration of acid used, and how long it is left on the skin.

In addition to reversing skin damage, both can be used proactively to slow the first signs of aging – which is wonderful.

Yet in both treatments, it is paramount that you trust your skin to professionals because each requires: a) expert evaluation to determine whether your skin type will yield optimal results, and b) precision in execution of the treatment.

In light of the many people performing these treatments, and the potential for lasting skin damage, I want to share a few keys to success:

1) Start by consulting with a board-certified plastic surgeon specializing in these procedures.

2) Inquire about the details.

Ask to have a patch tested on a part of your skin, other than your face. Skin tone and sensitivity are determining factors in your overall success. For example, chemical peels can have a bleaching effect, so if you have an olive complexion, make sure you are comfortable with a test section first.
Ask how long the full process takes- this is not limited to time in the doctor’s office. Your face will be sensitive, red, extremely sun-sensitive and shedding dead layers for days, and likely weeks (depending on the potency of the acid, for example).
With those answers, plan your treatment accordingly- if it’s the middle of summer and you have a beach vacation planned, don’t try to squeeze these treatments in before. Sometime in the fall–or when you’ll be ensconced in shade–is ideal.

3) Follow the directions of the doctor, nurse and your care team.

Your skin will be extremely sensitive and you must care for it tenderly in these days and weeks post treatment.
Going in the sun at this point could multiply the sun damage because you’re working with a new, gentle layer of skin right now. This is not the time to be careless with your skin care. (That may be what landed you in this situation in the first place. Just sayin’.) If you’ve invested the time in research as well as the money, don’t stop short after you leave the doctor’s office. If there are creams to apply, do so. Make sure that you are not only the ideal patient, but that you are your own personal care-giver.

While we were not all born with the gift of beautiful skin, with just a little time and care plus a lot of expertise, the opportunity for a new, fresh face isn’t just a dream.

Call Dr. Randolph (309) 664-6222 for a consultation. Contact Us

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