Friday, February 17th, 2012
Sun spots – also called liver spots or age spots – are a natural sign of aging skin – but that doesn’t mean we have to like them or live with them. One of the scourges of skin care, sun spots result from exposure to the sun, and are usually found on areas that are most exposed to sunlight: forearms, neck, chest, the back of the hands. Patients at The Peer Group often ask our plastic surgeons and physicians what they can do about sun spots. The good news is, a variety of minimally invasive cosmetic procedures are available that can virtually eliminate sunspots.
Laser skin resurfacing is one option for removing sunspots, and several laser therapies allow treatments to be tailored for each patient. The Cutera Pearl laser can help even out pigment irregularities of the face. IPL devices are used for laser photo rejuvenation, a powerful and effective treatment for freckles, acne scars and other types of pigmentation including sun spots. Photo facial technology, another form of cosmetic laser, exposes the skin to an intense pulsed light the helps even out the skin’s texture, shrink pores, and reduce capillaries and spider veins.
Microdermabrasion is another effective minimally invasive plastic surgery procedure that can remove sun spots by buffing away the skin’s top layer and stimulating collagen production. A chemical peel, another option for treating sun spots, removes the top layer of skin and removes scars, spots and blemishes, and is an effective approach to removing sun spots. Prescription strength skin care products available at the Peer Group Skin Center can also achieve dramatic improvement of sun spots as part of a medically managed skin care program.
At The Peer Group, we perform all these procedures, tailored to the individual needs of our patients from Basking Ridge, Far Hills, Mountain Lakes and throughout northern New Jersey. Given the number of choices in treatments, before embarking on any cosmetic therapy, make sure you consult with a qualified, licensed cosmetic medicine specialist.
Friday, February 10th, 2012
How do over-the-counter products sold as promoting eyelash growth stack up against Latisse, which is approved by the FDA and available only by prescription? We addressed this over-the-counter vs. prescription product question recently in a blog about wrinkle remedies and Botox. (Coincidentally, Latisse is made by Allergen, the same company that introduced Botox.) Like wrinkles, the eyelashes are a facial feature for which a variety of products promise improvement, usually claiming they will produce longer, thicker eyelashes, some in as little as two to four weeks – faster results than even Latisse achieves.
Here’s what we tell patients at The Peer Group in Florham Park, New Jersey, who ask us about non-prescription eyelash growth products and Latisse: Over-the-counter products are regarded as cosmetics by the FDA, and as long as the products do not claim medical benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or check the products. And since creating “longer, thicker lashes” is not a medical benefit, there is no scientific evidence of whether various OTC products work. In contrast, Latisse is the first and only product the FDA has found effective in growing eyelashes, and it is prescribed for treatment of hypotrichosis, or shortage of hair, of the eyelashes. The Latisse clinical studies were conducted at 16 sites across the U.S. as well as the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, and included more than 275 participants, women and men aged 22 to 78. Throughout the 16-week treatment, each person was photographed and evaluated at four-week intervals (week 0 to week 16) for differences in overall lash prominence, consisting of length, thickness and fullness. At the end of the treatment period, Latisse demonstrated that it was effective in 78 percent of the participants – almost eight out of ten. A formulation identical to Latisse but without its active ingredient was found to be effective in 18 percent of participants in a control group.
We can tell you our patients from Chatham, Summit, Randolph and throughout the New York-New Jersey tri-state region have been very happy with the results of their Latisse treatments, and so have we. As always, consult with a qualified medical specialist before choosing and undergoing any cosmetic treatment.
Friday, February 3rd, 2012
There’s no shortage of skin care creams and lotions available in stores and online without a prescription that promise to reduce wrinkles and fine lines – the skin conditions for which Botox is approved for prescription use by the FDA. So how effective are these over-the-counter skin care products, and are some actually better than Botox cosmetic? We get this question a lot from patients here at The Peer Group, northern New Jersey’s premier medical spa, and here’s what we tell people about anti-aging skin care products: The effectiveness of over-the-counter skin care cosmetics varies widely, depending on the type of product, the amount of active ingredient, and the length of time the product is used. Some ingredients found in non-prescription skin care products have indeed been proven to reduce wrinkles. Retinol, for example, a Vitamin A compound, was the first anti-oxidant to be widely used in non-prescription wrinkle creams. Anti-oxidants neutralize free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules that break down skin cells and cause wrinkles. Hydroxy acids can also reduce wrinkles. Alpha hydroxy acid, beta hydroxy acid and poly hydroxy acid are synthetic versions of acids found in sugar-containing fruits. These acids are exfoliants – they remove the upper layer of dead skin cells and stimulate the growth of new, evenly pigmented skin cells. But the FDA classifies these over-the-counter creams as cosmetics having no medical value, and so the products’ claims and effectiveness are largely untested. Moreover, some cosmetics with such ingredients can be harsh and cause problems for women with sensitive skin. And over-the-counter anti-wrinkle products typically require several weeks of use before results are seen. Perhaps most importantly, none of these non-prescription products can affect the muscles that cause wrinkles the way that Botox does, which is proven to be very effective at reducing wrinkles and fine lines. And the effects of Botox are instantaneous. Of course Botox can have complications, and isn’t right for every patient. Before embarking on any course of treatment for a cosmetic or medical issue, consult a qualified and licensed professional. If you live in Short Hills, Livingston, Warren, or anywhere in northern New Jersey and want to learn more, schedule an appointment with one of the plastic surgeons and physicians here at The Peer Group.