Common Cosmetic Dermatology Treatments
Cosmetic dermatology is a sub-specialty of dermatology. In the last decade, cosmetic procedures have become more prevalent, and minimally invasive methods are advancing quickly. A cosmetic dermatologist is a person to see when you want gorgeous skin.
Services your cosmetic dermatologist may be able to provide include:
- Smoothing wrinkles
- Tightening skin
- Correcting skin tone
- Removing tattoos
- Reducing surface fat
- Removing hair on the body and face
- Treating acne and scars
- Treating cellulite
The three most common cosmetic dermatology procedures are Botox injections, tattoo removal, and laser hair removal.
About Botox Injections
Botox is an injectable nerve-muscle relaxant; wherever the dermatologist injects it, Botox temporarily causes the underlying muscles to stop moving. Wrinkles stop forming when the muscles don’t move.
Botox for Wrinkles
Botox is made up of highly-purified toxins that temporarily reduce or erase crow’s feet, vertical frown lines, and horizontal forehead lines. These injections slow muscles that typically contract thousands of times a year, eventually leading to prominent lines in the skin.
Contrary to popular belief, Botox isn’t supposed to paralyze facial expressions. Its purpose is to soften facial expression lines developed by smiling, frowning, or squinting; when used correctly, it doesn’t affect the nerves that allow you to sense and feel.
Does Botox Have Side Effects?
As an injection, Botox can feel a little painful, especially on the eyebrows. You will either get ice or topical anesthesia to numb the region about 10 minutes before treatment.
All drugs have side effects, and Botox is no different. Fortunately, these side effects are usually temporary and rare; up to 5 percent of treatments include a mild eyebrow or eyelid droopiness that resolves within two weeks. Others may experience headaches or some bruising at the site of injection.
Minimum Age for Botox
It’s entirely up to you when you think the time is right for Botox. It’s not necessary to treat your skin before you have wrinkles, but prevention is also a familiar mantra. Of course, anatomy will dictate need more than age; many women in their 40s present no wrinkles while others in their 20s already have well-defined lines.
Laser Hair Removal
Hair removal technology also continues to advance; many dermatology patients can have unwanted hair removed using special lasers.
Laser Removal isn’t for Everyone
This point is the most important one: You can’t use traditional laser technology on olive-toned or Black skin. Conventional lasers purposely attack dark pigment, leading to burning and scars; to treat darker skin, patients must seek Nd:YAG laser treatment. All other hair-removal lasers can blast dark hair on fair skin.
Unfortunately, no laser can remove blonde hair, and electrolysis isn’t a suitable alternative. Blonde patients seeking hair removal will need to wax or shave.
Laser Treatment Requires Patience
Typically, it takes a patient three treatments, five to eight weeks apart, before seeing results, but some may need as many as six to smooth a region. You’ll need more than one treatment because lasers damage the hair follicles’ stem cells, slowly thinning the hair, and it can take three or more sessions to destroy one hair cell. Many patients shave in between laser treatment appointments.
Some Areas Work Better Than Others
If your goal is to remove hair from your arms, underarms, legs, or bikini line, there’s good news: Those areas respond the best to hair-removing laser treatments thanks to the combination of thick hair and thin skin.
Other parts of the body where the hair is thin and skin is thicker, like the chin or back, are challenging to smooth.
Your first thought may be to schedule treatment in the summer so you’re set for the beach, but this plan is a bit misguided. As counterintuitive as it may sound, starting treatment in the fall or winter is your best bet. Remember how dangerous lasers are for dark skin? They’re just as dangerous for patients who already have a tan.
Always Go to a Clinic
Unlike cosmetic dermatologists, an aesthetician at a spa may not know to look for a skin infection or wart that lasers could spread. Likewise, a laser that hits a tattoo can cause burning, and even med-spas often don’t know to ask about recent sun exposure.
Tattoo removal is a standard procedure for patients who no longer want one of their tattoos. The most common technique is laser surgery, though a few people may need surgical removal or dermabrasion.
Laser tattoo removal works for most patients, given how tattooing works — putting the ink beneath the topmost layer of the skin. Removing the tattoo is a more expensive and challenging procedure than the original application.
Never attempt to remove your own tattoo. If you’re interested in getting rid of a tattoo, always get in touch with a dermatologist to discuss your options. Attempting this type of procedure is unlikely to be effective and can lead to skin irritation and other side effects.
Risk of Laser Removal
Most types of tattoo removal run the risk of scarring. It is also possible to develop an infection or discoloration if you work with someone other than a dermatologist.
Preparing for the Procedure
Consulting a dermatologist is the first, most essential step towards tattoo removal. He can explain your options, answer your questions about laser removal, and discuss how effective it will be against your ink.
For example, while most inks are responsive to laser treatment, tiny tattoos are good candidates for surgical removal. Most unwanted tattoos are too large to use a scalpel against, however.
The appointment is typically an outpatient procedure, and the dermatologist provides local anesthesia.
How Laser Treatment Works
The most common type of laser chosen for tattoo removal is a Q-switched laser, which releases all of its energy in one powerful pulse. The Q-switched Nd:YAG laser is the better choice for darker skin as the traditional laser can permanently alter the skin’s pigment.
When you arrive at the clinic for your appointment, the dermatologist will numb the tattoo with a local anesthetic several minutes before starting treatment. Then he releases a powerful energy pulse to heat the tattoo and shatter the ink beneath the skin. Tattoos with multiple colors may require more treatment sessions using numerous lasers at different wavelengths.
DERMATOLOGY NEAR ME
Derick Dermatology is a leading authority in medical, surgical, and cosmetic dermatological services with 23 stunning dermatology practices in Chicago, IL, and Tampa Bay, FL. Our dedicated dermatologists offer exceptional dermatological services for both adult and pediatric patients. Please complete our online form or call our main number at (866) 337-4251 to schedule a consultation.