March 9, 2009

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Sitting the Bench

The 2008 end-of-year fiscal reports show it: Americans reconsidered their spe...Read More

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Best Face Forward

Laser Technology Reverses the Signs of Time

Carolyn Campbell

March 9, 2009

Katherine Billinis knows how it feels to have brand new skin. The owner of EZ Storage in South Salt Lake recently underwent a light facial. After Inna Prokopenko, R.N., treated Billinis’ skin with high-intensity blue and red lights for eight minutes each, Billinis wore a surgical mask to protect her skin from the daylight. She also stayed indoors for two days. “Basically, the top layer of my skin peeled off. Then my adult acne was completely gone. My skin was like porcelain baby skin,” she says. Light facials, using intense pulsed light rather than lasers, are used to fade and heal sun-damaged skin, reduce facial pigment and redness, tighten lax or wrinkled skin and more, explains Dr. Mark Taylor, owner and director of Gateway Aesthetic Institute and Laser Center in Salt Lake City. Laser treatments are popular because they are quick, easy to recover from and provide almost immediate results. They are one of many treatments available in the rapidly evolving field of cosmetic dermatology. “Technology never stays in one place. Two years ago, it was not possible to perform many of the techniques we do now,” says Prokopenko. Today, with 39 different lasers ranging from visible light lasers to treat unsightly pigment and unwanted blood vessels, to deep heat lasers to help tighten loose skin, cosmetic dermatologists can address a multitude of conditions. Popular cosmetic dermatology services include laser skin resurfacing, laser hair removal, tumescent liposuction, varicose and spider vein treatment and laser eyelid surgery. “Society requires people to look good,” explains Prokopenko, adding that more men seek treatment now than five years ago. According to The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), the number of men receiving nonsurgical cosmetic procedures has increased 722 percent since 1997. Prokopenko attributes that to the concern some executives have to keep their looks comparable to younger people. Such patients request procedures ranging from basic skin care protection to cosmetic surgical procedures. “Treatments that reduce wrinkles or aging are usually sought after a person becomes self-conscious about a problem,” says Taylor. “We treat a wide range of skin needs. No matter what your age, if something about your appearance is bothering you, such as wrinkles, spots lumps or any skin condition or abnormality, then it may be time to seek treatment.” Beyond laser treatments, there are numerous popular skin care products for those seeking a younger look. One top trend is an eyelash grower, a product that comes in an eyeliner brush. “One of our patient’s eyelashes now grow so well that she clips them with a toenail clipper,” says Prokopenko. Wrinkle treatments, such as Unwrinkle, that contains a blend of powder, wrinkle-fighting peptides, neuropeptides, vitamins and moisturizers, is also highly popular. And, the Clarisonic Skin Care Brush was first made famous when it was selected as one of Oprah’s “favorite things.” This brush uses a sonic frequency of more than 300 movements per second to clean, soften and smooth the skin. Prokopenko advises patients to seek a board certified dermatologist when considering laser treatments or other skin procedures. Even with correct laser instruments, there is a risk of temporary side effects, such as immediate pain, reddening of the skin, bruising and swelling. Some lasers are equipped with cooling devices to reduce these side effects. Also, in some cases, there may be lightening or darkening of the skin, but these complications are rarely permanent. Cosmetic dermatology surgeries may also incur risk, and Prokopenko advises potential patients to consider possible complications such as infection, loss of tissue, bleeding and nerve injuries. But, she says when operations are performed by a board certified dermatologist or qualified plastic surgeon, complications are infrequent and usually minor. Prokopenko also emphasizes that individualized treatment is available, which may reduce the possibility of side effects and well as promote more effective treatment delivery. “Because we have numerous lasers available to our providers, we can personalize the perfect treatment to match each client’s individual skin type and concern. If multiple conditions need treatment, we offer specialty lasers that can treat them simultaneously.”
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