An often overlooked area of facial aesthetics is basic skin care – not just pre-procedure and post-procedure care – but a daily regimen to build up and maintain your skin. In our office, we use a variety of products including the complete line from Obagi® Medical. This includes the Nu-Derm® System, which is a 5-step program for complete skin rejuvenation. The system includes a cleanser, an exfoliating superficial peel, retinoic acids to rebuild your skin, and two creams to protect your skin from sun damage and help even out your skin tone. Two different Nu-Derm® formulations are available – one for more dry skin and one for more oily skin. In addition, we offer medical-grade sunscreen specifically for the face. Finally, we use specially formulated, medical-grade products for the gentle skin around the eyes to help brighten your look.
Who is a candidate?
Anyone who is looking to refresh their look is a candidate for medical-grade skin care. Skin types differ between people, so certain products may be more or less appropriate for certain people. Factors that contribute to these choices include the degree of sun damage present in the skin, the type of pigmentation you have, and whether your skin is oily or dry. Finally, specific regimens can be used before and after aesthetic procedures to enhance your results and improve the recovery process. Healing supplements such as arnica montana, among others, can help reduce bruising and speed up healing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between products at department or drug stores and those I get from my doctor?
A: Products available at the drugstore, the department store makeup counter, or even on-line without a prescription are generally lower strength. In many cases, this also means less effective. While many over-the-counter products are great, a comprehensive medical skin care regimen can mean the difference between your status quo and a truly refreshed, revitalized appearance. In addition, medical-grade skin care comes from your physician, who can monitor your progress and make adjustments along the way. Products can be selected individually, to target specific areas of the face or specific problems. Alternatively, a 3 or 4 month “system” approach can be used for the whole face.
Q: What are retinols, retinoids, or retinoic acid? What do they do?
A: Retinoids or retinoic acids are derivatives of vitamin A (retinol). These compounds provide crucial support for cell growth and development, from the time you’re in the womb through adulthood. Different derivatives have significantly different effects, however, when used clinically. Tretinoin (all-trans retinoic acid, better known as Retin-A) is a used for treatment of milder forms of acne but is also a potent anti-aging and pro-repair agent for non-acne suffering skin. This product can be used to promote skin regeneration, health, and vitality. It is used in varying strengths in a variety of medical skin care regimens.
Isotretinoin (better known as Accutane, though this is no longer available in the United States) is a related but very different compound. This prescription medication is used for more severe or cystic forms of acne. The benefits can be significant, but there are more serious potential side effects (including birth defects, when given to pregnant women). This medication is generally only prescribed by a dermatologist and requires close supervision with a limited period of treatment.
Q: There are so many sunscreens available…what is the best kind of sunscreen? What ingredients should I look for?
A: The ideal sunscreen protects the skin from the harmful ultraviolet spectrum radiation (UV) given off by the sun, including UVA and UVB. In addition, it should not contain compounds that my negatively affect your skin or overall health. In our opinion, the best sunscreens contain zinc or titanium-based formulas. These compounds reflect the UV away from the skin rather than absorbing it in a chemical reaction (like traditional sunscreens). Though many people think of the white paste placed on the nose of lifeguards or seen in classic beach movies, zinc and titanium-based sunscreens now come in sheer forms. These creams rub onto the skin without leaving a chalky or pasty appearance, and provide safe, long-term protection from the sun – helping you look youthful and also defending against skin cancers years down the road.