In this skin
Today’s medical environment provides numerous preventative and corrective options for patients.
Across the board, prevention is the first key to taking care of your skin and body. Aging happens no matter what, but Dr. Greg Ratliff with the Plastic Surgery Center of Tulsa says slowing the process is possible.
“Prevention is always preferable to correction,” says Ratliff, a board-certified plastic surgeon and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “Doing preventative maintenance will help you look good consistently. Prevention usually means less drastic intervention later in life with corrective care when the need arises.”
Dr. Nicole Patel of Aesthetic Surgery Institute of America tells her patients to keep things in perspective.
“You want to be healthy, so when it comes to, say, skin care, you want to be preventative and you want to protect your skin,” says Patel, who is certified in general cosmetic surgery by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. “You want to do things to avoid aging and damaging your skin and increasing your risk of skin cancer.”
Meagan Tyler, board-certified physician assistant with SkinRenewal of Tulsa, says people start to notice skin imperfections in their early 20s and beyond.
“At home, your regimen should include products that cleanse impurities from the day, correct those minor imperfections and protect and prevent your skin from further signs of aging,” she says.
The body is a little different, and it involves a discussion between the patient and provider about the best solution for aging. But remember, taking care of yourself starts with you, and you can begin by eating healthy and exercising.
“It’s a matter of discussion — patients have to do their part, and I do what I can to help and educate,” Patel says.
Before scheduling a consultation, ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve.
Patel says, “If you’re working to try to contour and get rid of some bulges and reduce fat, then there are both non-surgical options and surgical options,” such as CoolSculpting, SculpSure and liposuction with or without a laser.
However, if you want work done on your breasts, surgery is the only option.
When it comes to facial rejuvenation, Patel prefers good skin care, anti-aging products and procedures, and subtle volume restoration to aggressive surgical procedures for the face.
Recovery is another element to consider; generally, the more invasive the procedure, the longer the recovery.
Some procedures can be done in the office and in a series of treatments with no downtime. For example, micro-needling, which is done with a local anesthetic, stimulates collagen formation and skin tightening. It also is used to stimulate hair growth and helps treat acne scarring and wrinkles, Patel says. A device delivers multiple fine needle pricks to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process.
Some laser procedures require frequent appointments with no downtime; others are more invasive and require 7-10 days of downtime, says Lacy Jack, director of client services for Skin Care Institute. She says downtime can vary, but it usually requires the patient to stay out of the sun for 7-10 days until the skin heals.
“Listening to the goals and needs of the client is extremely important in helping the client decide what is best for them,” Jack says.
Facials, chemical peels and waxing pose lower risks to patients than injectable fillers and lasers. But with any procedure, it is important to ask about side effects and potential complications. Choose a facility with highly trained individuals with years of experience.
Ask the following questions:
- Is a doctor on-site?
- How many years of experience do they have?
- How long has the business been in operation?
It’s also important to have realistic expectations about the outcomes.
Educate yourself about the limits of procedures, Tyler suggests. Unrealistic expectations include perfectionism or looking like a celebrity.
“The most realistic expectations are improving a certain feature or minimizing the effects of aging,” she says.
Realistic expectations also include the possible need for recurring treatments or a regular regimen.
“If a client is having a back issue, one massage is not going to fix it,” Jack says. “A client may need to be seen every week for eight weeks and then go on a maintenance schedule to help with preventative care.”
Ultimately, preventative and corrective care are often both needed for optimal results.
“We can keep ourselves looking good with a good maintenance schedule,” Jack says. “Everyone needs preventative and corrective care for the overall health of skin, in the same way that we need prevention and correction when we are sick.”
During a consultation, Patel discusses patients’ goals and the best methods to get there.
“What’s most important is for patients to be healthy and have a healthy outlook,” she says. “So, my goal is to help people feel better about themselves.”
Plastic surgery vs. cosmetic surgery: What’s the difference?
The terms “plastic surgery” and “cosmetic surgery” are often used interchangeably, but experts caution they are not the same.
Cosmetic surgery is focused on enhancing appearance, while plastic surgery repairs defects to restore normal function and appearance, according to the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery.
More specifically plastic surgery is defined as a surgical specialty dedicated to reconstruction of facial and body defects due to birth disorders, trauma, burns and disease. However, many plastic surgeons choose to complete additional training and perform cosmetic surgery, as well.
To learn more about cosmetic surgery or to find a cosmetic surgeon,visit www.americanboardcosmeticsurgery.org.
To learn more about plastic surgery or to find a plastic surgeon, visit www.plasticsurgery.org.
Surgery centers vs. medical spas
Plastic surgery centers offer a range of procedures, from non-invasive — such as fillers, Botox and laser hair removal — to invasive surgical procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction and fat transplants.
Medical spas typically don’t perform invasive procedures. They specialize in procedures such as laser treatment of acne scars, wrinkles and spider veins; microdermabrasion; and facials, massages and waxing.