Managing Healthy Skin

From early on, we learn that having a smooth, clear complexion is an attribute of physical attractiveness. However, as we age, maintaining that healthy glow becomes more difficult.

The face is the most exposed part of the body, vulnerable to the harsh rays of the sun and subject to acne, rashes, allergic reactions, and injuries that may leave permanent scars.

A number of non-surgical refinishing treatments are available for individuals who want to eliminate or soften imperfections on their facial skin and achieve a clearer, fresher look. These treatments include glycolic acids (sometimes called “fruity acids”), which are natural fruit substances blended into facial preparations and are used to eliminate rough or dried surface skin, and Retin-A®, a vitamin A-enriched cream that changes the cellular metabolism of the skin’s surface to treat fine facial wrinkles and blotches caused by sun damage.

Each of these treatments can be used alone, or may be prescribed in conjunction with an aesthetic surgery procedure, such as a facelift or a chemical peel.

  • What to Expect from Skin-Surface Treatments

    What to Expect from Skin-Surface Treatments

    Surface-repair treatments can enhance your appearance and give your skin a smoother, fresher look, but they won’t remove deep scars and flaws or prevent aging. These treatments should not be thought of as mini-facelifts. Generally speaking, Retin-A® and glycolic acid treatments offer less dramatic results than surgical approaches like dermaplaning, dermabrasion, or chemical peel.

    Before you decide to have a skin-rejuvenating treatment of any type, think carefully about your expectations and discuss them with your plastic surgeon.

  • Planning for Treatment

    Planning for Treatment

    Whether you’re planning a surgical or nonsurgical skin treatment, it’s important that you find a doctor who has training and experience with a variety of skin-management techniques. You’ll want a doctor who can give you the best possible single treatment or treatment combination. Look elsewhere if your doctor tells you that he or she has perfected a single technique that promises unbelievable results. The choice is yours, but be certain your doctor is qualified to prescribe such treatments. After all, these treatments involve your face – the most visible part of your body.

    In your initial consultation, be open in discussing your treatment goals with your doctor and don’t hesitate to ask any questions or express any concerns you may have. Your surgeon should be equally open with you and explain the factors that could influence your choice of treatment options such as age, skin condition, and previous plastic surgeries.

    The surgeon will ask about your medical history and conduct a routine examination. If you’re having a surgical procedure in conjunction with your skin treatment, your doctor should explain the process in detail, including the risks and benefits, the recovery period, and the costs. Insurance usually doesn’t cover aesthetic procedures.

  • Retin-A® Treatments

    Glycolic Acid Treatments

    Best candidates

    Glycolic or “fruity acid” treatments can offer smoother skin to people of all ages. This type of treatment seems to work best on patients who have rough, sun-damaged skin. Glycolic acids are sometimes formulated with bleaching chemicals to correct areas of uneven pigmentation.


    It’s important to remember that side-effects may occur even with non-surgical treatments. No serious medical problems have been associated with glycolic acids, but their use may cause temporary skin irritation and redness. Switching to a milder formula may remedy the problem.

    Beginning treatment

    Your initial application of glycolic acid cream will include a lesson on how to continue your skin-care routine at home. The way in which glycolic acid is applied to the face depends upon what form it’s in.

    Two common forms are cream or facial wash. Both forms contain about 12 percent glycolic acid, which helps slough away dry, sun-damaged skin on the face’s surface. Each also contains a special moisturizer and, if needed, a bleaching agent. In most cases, the acid is applied to the face twice daily, either by smoothing on the cream or using the facial wash. Your doctor may adjust the strength of the acid formulation or the frequency of its use after evaluating your skin’s condition in follow-up visits.

    After treatment

    It’s normal to experience some redness, irritation, itching, stinging, or skin dryness once you begin to use glycolic acid. However, you can expect these symptoms to gradually disappear as the skin adjusts to the treatment.

    Caring for your new skin

    Because glycolic acid thins the skin’s outer layer, you will need to consistently use a sun-block to protect yourself from ultraviolet light, and you may have to discontinue using certain products or cosmetics on you face.

    Though the degree of change varies from person to person, with continued use of glycolic acid preparations, you will begin to see subtle improvements in the texture and tone of your skin. In most cases, glycolic acid users notice an overall freshness and smoothness. After a while, pigmented blotches fade or disappear as the bleaching effect begins to work. The time necessary for visible results depends on the degree of pigmentation and individual circumstances. Some patients see results in as little as six weeks.

  • Glycolic Acid Treatments

    Preparing for your Procedure

    You will receive specific instructions from your physician on how to prepare for your treatment. Carefully following these instructions will help the procedure go more smoothly.

    You’ll be instructed not to apply any type of moisturizer, sunblock or oil to your legs on the day of your procedure. You may want to bring shorts to wear during the injections, as well as your physician-prescribed support hose, and slacks to wear home.

    When scheduling your procedure, keep in mind that your legs may be bruised or slightly discolored for some weeks afterward. You probably won’t be comfortable wearing shorts, a swimsuit or a mini skirt until after your legs have cleared up a bit.

  • Your New Routine

    Your New Routine

    Most people find that maintaining their new look is easier than expected. Using the cream or facial wash will become a natural part of your morning or evening routine – and the difference you’ll see will be worth the extra effort.

View Before/After Photos of this Procedure

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