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skin

Plastic Surgery to Repair Sun Damaged Skin?
Plastic Surgery to Repair Sun Damaged Skin? Decades of sun exposure have left many of the Boomer generation – who grew up equating “tan” with “healthy” - with moderate to severe skin damage.

When most people think of “cosmetic surgery,” they think of nose jobs and facelifts. However, some of the most popular procedures are associated with skin rejuvenation, including repairing the damage done by a lifetime of overexposure to the sun. In fact, laser skin resurfacing, dermabrasion, and chemical peels accounted for more than 20 percent of the minimally invasive cosmetic procedures in the U.S. in 2010, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

Decades of sun exposure have left many of the Boomer generation – who grew up equating “tan” with “healthy” - with moderate to severe skin damage. There is a growing number of people who want a solution to the wrinkles, skin discoloration, moles, and even growths on the eye directly attributed to sun exposure. With advanced cosmetic rejuvenation techniques, it is now possible to reverse some of the damage.

Although the risk of complications is relatively low (especially with the newer technologies), there are risks with any medical procedure. Not only is a cosmetic surgeon better informed to outline those risks, he or she is also better prepared to manage complications should they occur.
According to the ASPS’s “Report of the 2010 Plastic Surgery Statistics,” of the 11.6 million minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures last year, skin rejuvenation accounted for about 2.4 million: chemical peel (1.14 million), laser skin resurfacing (430,000), and microdermabrasion (820,000 – all numbers rounded). Additionally, the number of laser skin resurfacing procedures performed increased by 2.5 times over the past 10 years.

The cosmetic benefits are obvious. For example, laser skin resurfacing makes the skin smoother; eliminates wrinkles, sun spots, and pigmented lesions; and improves scars from accidents or acne. Newer “fractional” or “fractionated” lasers are an improvement on traditional lasers because they precisely treat the skin to a predefined depth and because they minimize the risks of post treatment complications.

Laser skin resurfacing makes the skin smoother; eliminates wrinkles, sun spots, and pigmented lesions; and improves scars from accidents or acne.
Laser and other radiation therapies can also help reduce the risk of future skin problems – including skin cancer.

“Some of the lasers are useful in treating pre-cancerous lesions, thus reducing the risk of developing skin cancer,” wrote Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD, Clinical Professor Dermatology, NYU Langone Medical Center and vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation, in an “Ask the Expert” section of the foundation’s website. However finding out which procedure is the right one is not as easy as it may seem. There are at least three different types of procedures to treat the effects – more if you consider options like surgical facelifts or injectable fillers. There are also now more options within those types. For example, laser techniques alone include ablative (removing a layer of skin), non-ablative, and fractional laser therapy, as well as the related intense pulse light (IPL) therapy.

Anyone considering one of the skin rejuvenation procedures must consult with a professional. There are many variables involved including the type and extent of damage, skin type, and even past medical history. Cosmetic surgeons have the training to understand all treatment options and can explain in detail these options before any decision on treatment is made.

But even with all the new advancements in treatments, prevention is the key to protecting your skin. The sun produces ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB, which our bodies actually need. But overexposure leads to many skin and eye problems. Limiting exposure by covering up skin with clothing and sunscreen, and wearing sunglasses with UV protection are the smartest practices for protection.

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"Plastic Surgery to Repair Sun Damaged Skin?"
   authored by:
PLASTIC SURGERY
Ioannis P. Glavas, MD is a Board Certified (ABO) oculoplastic and facial cosmetic with offices in Boston and Manhattan....



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