Got a skin issue that requires more than topical treatment? It might be time to consider the benefits of cosmetic procedures. Before going to a professional, check out Part 7 of our Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook. You’ll learn what kinds of treatments can deliver the benefits you want, plus important information on caring for your skin post-procedure.
“I'm not ugly, but my beauty is a total creation.” - Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
Curious about Botox, laser treatments or chemical peels? Want to reduce spider veins or explore your options for hair removal? Use these questions and answers to demystify cosmetic procedures and find out what to expect before and after treatment.
» Q: Can surgical or laser procedures help with dark circles or bags?
A: Yes, according to Heidi Waldorf, M.D., a cosmetic and laser dermatologist at Mount Sinai Medical Center. In some cases, filler can be injected around the top of the nose to mask the surrounding bags and puffiness. The Fraxel or Vbeam lasers can also help by targeting the pigment of dark circles.
» Q: Will one treatment of Botox eliminate wrinkles?
A: Botox injections must be repeated every four to six months to maintain results.
» Q: Can professional treatments boost collagen in the skin?
A: Yes, they can. Treatments that can stimulate collagen include: microdermabrasion; chemical peels; laser therapy; and Botox or other filler injections, like CosmoDerm or Zyderm. Discuss these options with your doctor. Also, remember that all of these treatments are temporary fixes, so you’ll need additional sessions to maintain results.
» Q: What kinds of treatments are available to treat aging hands?
A: Available treatments include intense pulsed light (IPL); chemical peels, ranging from mild glycolic acid to stronger trichloroacetic acid or TCA; fat injections; and Botox, according to Good Housekeeping. For more information on non-surgical hand rejuvenation, check out our interview with renowned cosmetic dermatologist Nelson Lee Novick, M.D.
» Q: How long does it take to heal from a procedure at the dermatologist’s office?
A: That depends on the procedure. As a general rule of thumb, the deeper or stronger the chemicals used, the longer your skin will take to heal. For example, a trichloroacetic acid peel can require two weeks or more to heal. During that time, your skin will start flaking off, and your face will look red and sunburned. Injections or fillers can result in redness, bruising or swelling for a few days. So if you’re booking a professional treatment or procedure before a big event, talk to your dermatologist beforehand. This way, you’ll know how long to expect for the recovery process.
» Q: Why do I have to avoid sun exposure after cosmetic procedures?
A: Many cosmetic procedures increase skin's sensitivity and vulnerability to UV rays, putting you at greater risk for sun-related damage. Also, sun damage can undo the benefits of cosmetic treatments.
» Q: What is the best treatment to reduce spider veins on the legs?
A: Sclerotherapy is the gold standard for effectively treating spider veins on the legs, says cosmetic dermatologist Nelson Lee Novick, M.D. He explains that: "Sclerotherapy works by irritating the lining of the unwanted blood vessels to such an extent that they collapse upon themselves and eventually scar over and disappear from view entirely." For more information on treating spider veins and broken blood vessels, check out our interview with Dr. Novick.
» Q: What is a facial peel?
A: Facial peels, also called chemical peels, use a variety of ingredients to slough off dead skin cells and kill blemish-causing bacteria, which allows newer skin cells to develop, keeps acne at bay, smoothes fine lines and creates a more radiant complexion overall.
» Q: Who is allowed to perform chemical peels? Can I do them at home?
A: Peels should be administered by a licensed professional: a dermatologist, nurse, plastic surgeon or esthetician (although estheticians can’t perform deeper peels). At-home peels are also available, but professional peels will provide more dramatic results. For dull skin, try a weekly peel with “glycolic, lactic, citric and malic acids…or salicylic acid,” suggests dermatologist Doris J. Day, M.D., in Allure. Try Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Daily Face Peel/2 Steps to reduce the look of lines and even out skin tone. At-home peels also help other skincare products penetrate better by removing dead skin, which can act as a barrier and prevent active ingredients from being absorbed.
» Q: What are the benefits of laser resurfacing?
A: The main benefits include a reduction in fine lines, better acne control and a brighter and more even skin tone.
» Q: What are the advantages of laser resurfacing vs. chemical peels?
A: Lasers give dermatologists greater control, allowing them to focus the beams to more precise depth and location, whereas with chemical peels it’s harder to control the penetration. Patients also have less pain and faster recovery with laser resurfacing. On the other hand, chemical peels can be cheaper, depending on what type you choose, and might be better for your skin type. As always, it’s important to discuss any treatments in great detail with your dermatologist.
» Q: Does electrolysis hurt? How about laser hair removal?
A: During an electrolysis treatment, you’ll feel a small prick as the needle is inserted into the follicle. It basically feels like a tingling sensation. If you have very thin skin or the needle is inserted very close to a nerve, it’ll make the sensation more painful. Laser hair removal is much less painful, feeling more like a sunburn. But it isn’t used for small areas or for people with hair that’s too close in color to their skin tone.
Professional treatments can help improve everything from wrinkles and acne to pigmentation and spider veins. Before you book an appointment, be sure to talk extensively to your dermatologist. Use this guide to kick-start the process and help you generate questions to ask your doctor.
Stay tuned for more installments of our complete Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook.
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 6: Budget
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 5: Body & Spa
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 4: Pregnancy, Babies & Kids
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 3: Anti-Aging
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook – Part 2: Acne
Skincare & Beauty FAQ Handbook - Part 1: Skin Type & Seasonal Skincare