Ethnic skin is a term used to indicate a person with olive or darker skin who tans easily. Patients with dark skin often display fewer signs of aging than similarly sun-exposed whites and, therefore, may require a different approach. Medical advances in dermatology have made it possible for people with darker skin types to benefit from many cosmetic procedures that were formerly only available to lighter-skinned patients.Some of available procedures that can be done for ethnic skin are as follows:Botulinum toxin injection (Botox®) Microdermabrasion Chemical peels Injectable fillers Many laser treatments (eg, laser hair removal)
Aging gracefully is not desirable to some people when there are many effective and safe cosmetic procedures that can temporarily reduce a very prominent sign of aging: wrinkles. One such procedure involves the use of botulinum toxin injections. Botulinum toxin is produced by the fermentation of a type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum. The most widely used form of botulinum toxin is Type A (Botox® Cosmetic, Allergan, Inc). Botulinum toxin, what we will now refer to simply as Botox, used cosmetically, works by temporarily preventing the nerve from activating the muscle responsible for wrinkling the skin.
I want to recognize a dermatologist who is making a difference in the lives of others with a story I am inspired to share with readers. Dr. Bryna Kane is a dermatologist and assistant clinical professor at the University of California. Raised by parents who survived the Holocaust, Dr. Kane witnessed firsthand the negative effect that tattoos could have on a person’s life. The tattoos used for identification in concentration camps would often cause hepatitis infections and other diseases. But the psychological effects were just as negative, serving as a constant reminder of a horrific and traumatizing experience. Holocaust survivors inspired Dr. Kane to help others manage unwanted tattoos.
The success of injectable cosmetic Botox® in erasing furrowed brows, crow’s feet, and wrinkled lip lines has prompted growing interest in other subcutaneous therapies to achieve new kinds of cosmetic results.
It happens on a regular basis. I walk into the room and I see a miserable-looking patient who went somewhere they shouldn’t have for a laser treatment and paid the price. The person who wanted to look better now has burns, scars, and deep embarrassment. The lesson here is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Because skin is the largest, most visible indicator of aging, patients increasingly turn to dermatologists for advice and information about keeping skin looking healthy, supple, and firm as they age. Even as recently as 10 years ago, that meant plastic surgery – expensive, deeply invasive procedures with extensive risk and recovery time, and sometimes rather unnatural results. But now, more people first consider nonsurgical, noninvasive methods that help skin more naturally retain moisture, elasticity, and firmness – a younger appearance without going under the knife.
Considering cosmetic dermatology? Take your time in learning about and evaluating procedures, especially those that make permanent changes. For example, I see many people who get permanent eyeliner-type tattoos and want to know how to get them removed 3 or 4 years later. Although some are delighted with permanent cosmetic procedures, ideally you should consider something that lasts at most 2 years. Most treatments that we offer last 6–12 months.
Many of my patients come to me for Botox® Cosmetic, a revolutionary enzyme that makes wrinkles virtually disappear. At very high doses, it is considered a toxin, but to treat wrinkles, a dilution 3 million times less than the toxic level is used. The Botox enzyme has been used safely and successfully since the 1980s for a number of conditions, including muscular disorders. Side effects do not occur frequently but could be potentially serious, including:
Q: I have never had a chemical peel and would like to try one, but I am afraid of the thought of acid on my face. Should I be worried? A: Chemical peels can improve and smooth the texture of facial skin by removing damaged outer layers and can be helpful in treating dull facial texture and color, fine wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, uneven pigmentation (solar lentigines, or “sun spots”), melasma, mild acne, and even precancerous lesions (ie, actinic keratoses).
The development of new laser technologies is encouraging, especially the introduction of gentler tools that provide excellent results with less damage and downtime than original ablative lasers. While safe and effective, ablative lasers are harsh and indiscriminately remove layers of skin. The resulting wounds were at greater risk of infection and required a couple weeks of healing followed by months of redness. While these lasers generated good results for wrinkles, I searched for alternatives, as I would feel hesitant to undergo these types of procedures myself.