Skin Care

Dan Downey, MD FACS
Northwest Hospital (Seattle, WA)

Everyone wants to look younger or remain young looking. Youth is synonymous with vitality and health. There are some lifestyle behaviors that are good for slowing skin aging: eating well, getting rest, not smoking, exercising and sweating(!), laughing and having fun, taking oral antioxidants (also found in abundance in red wine, dark chocolate, and green tea), and avoiding getting too much sun. Sun block with at least SPF 15 should be on your face every day.

The next step in your skin health is to turn to a skin care professional. A licensed clinical aesthetician will evaluate your skin and treat it with topical nutrients and therapies. Deep cleansing and massage, vitamins, peels, and mineral based makeup are all part of your regular skin care.

Skin Rejuvenation

At the plastic surgeon’s office you may choose to receive Botox therapy, which inactivates muscle tissue, flattening creases where the Botox is injected, like between the brows, forehead, or corners of the eyes. In addition, wrinkles can be filled out from below with products like Restylane, Juvederm, or Radiesse. Energy therapies applied to the skin like Laser Hair Reduction, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), or Fractionated Laser Resurfacing (Fraxel therapy) are intended to improve the skin’s healthy youthful appearance.

Cosmetic Surgery of the Face

Despite diligent skin care, we all eventually get areas where the facial contours are looser or puffier than we like, such as in the eyelid, cheek, or neck. It is at this point that you turn to a plastic surgeon to consult with you about options for facial cosmetic surgery. The goal of facial cosmetic surgery is to restore your normal tissues to a smoother, more youthful position. In general facial cosmetic surgery is not risky, and while sometimes lengthy, blood loss is small and pain is low. The procedures are usually performed as an outpatient and you can feel presentable in public at ten to fourteen days after surgery. Recovery can be accelerated with an aesthetician’s help.

Cosmetic Surgery of the Breasts and Body

Cosmetic surgery of the breasts and body are intended to lift and smooth tissues that have been filled too much or loosened through life, pregnancy and breast feeding, or weight gain or loss. At a consultation with a plastic surgeon, you will learn about options available to you based upon your goals. Breasts can be made larger with implants, or kept the same size but lifted to a higher position, or made smaller if too large, or reconstructed after being lost by a mastectomy.

Cosmetic surgery of the waist, abdomen, or arms and legs involves tightening tissue or removing extra skin or fat with the goal of restoring some flatness or tightness to it. Operations like liposuction or abdominoplasty directly shape and smooth these areas. If the patient is generally in good health with reasonable expectations, these operations can be very satisfying to help restore a more youthful figure. Recovery is usually bearable, though there may be a temporary limitation on how much exercise you can do during healing.

Summary

No amount of makeup or surgery can substitute for the flush of health. Beautiful skin begins with a commitment to a generally healthy lifestyle, including sensible nutrition and regular exercise. Skin care professionals like aestheticians can lend their expertise to the nourishment and care of your skin. Plastic surgeons are valuable as partners to help reset your youthful look, both with external treatments like Botox or lasers, or with well-timed carefully performed surgical treatments upon the face, breasts, or trunk and extremities.

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