Ruben Abrams MD FACS | Aesthetic | Cosmetic Plastic Surgery | (310) 651-8881

All posts in Facial Procedures

HOW DO YOU CORRECT A “DOUBLE-CHIN”?

HOW DO YOU CORRECT A "DOUBLE-CHIN"? image

HOW DO YOU CORRECT A “DOUBLE-CHIN”?

Lets first understand what we mean by “double-chin“, because we see many patients walk into our office with many different types of aesthetic deformities of the submental area (the area between the chin and the neck) and refer to it as a double-chin.

What is Double-chin?Face Image

Double-chin is in most cases used to describe accumulation of excess localized adiposity (fat tissue) in the submental area, either with or without laxity (looseness) of the overlying skin. 

How to treat Double-chin?

So obviously the treatment would be to remove the excess localized adiposity, most commonly done by liposuction using ultrafine technique (microliposuction).  In situations where there is skin laxity as well the skin would either have to be tightened surgically by different methods, or non-surgically using laser-assisted liposuction (laser-lipo, Smart-Lipo).  In the right candidate and in experienced hands this can yield very satisfactory and rewarding results.

As mentioned, there are other problems of the submental area and neck, such “Turkey-Gobbler Chin“, “Neck bands“, etc..  These will be addressed in future blogs.

Things That Make Your Face Look Older

Face Image

Things That Make Your Face Look Older

Older or younger looking face is primarily determined by your genetics.  We all know people who look like a 40 year-old at age 50 and vice versa.  Furthermore, ethnicity also plays a role.  You may have noticed that in people from East Asia (Japanese, Filipinos, etc.), it is almost impossible to tell the age from their face.  They always look much younger than their biological age.

Genetics and ethnicity aside, there are many environmental and physiological factors that can make your face look older.  Knowledge of these can help you avoid all that can be avoided and maintain a younger looking face for as long as possible.

 

Ultraviolet and Sun Exposure

SKIN CARE AND SUN DAMAGE ImageUltraviolet and sun exposure is one thing that, contrary to what most people think, damages the face.  It used to be that a “tanned” look appeared healthy and aesthetically pleasing.  But it was realized in the 1970’s that UV exposure only enhances the aging process on the face.  It not only causes more rapid development of wrinkles, it also enhances the development of dark spots and pigmentation changes which can eventually lead to solar keratosis (scaly dark lesions on the skin that need to be removed surgically).  Of course sun exposure is very important for the body to produce Vitamin D, but it has to be limited such that it does not destroy the face by rapid aging.

 

Dryness and Inadequate Moisture

Dryness and inadequate moisture results in scaliness of the face and micro-cracks which lead to actual cracks.  It is for this reason that regular application of moisturizing cream is very important in avoiding a premature aged look.

 

Build Up of Dead Cell Layers

Aging Skin Tips ImageBuild up of dead cell layers is a topic that we have discussed before, but it is very important and needs to be reviewed again.  In mankind the surface of the skin consists of several layers of dead cells that actually “shed” and new skin is formed from deeper germinating layers.  This shedding takes place in a very subtle manner, when we bathe.

From time immemorial mankind has realized that if this shedding is somehow accelerated, for example by forcefully scrubbing the top layers off when bathing, the skin will appear more refreshed.  Hence the use of facial scrubs and Luffa (Loofa). These techniques have been in use amongst older cultures for thousands of years and they have only recently found their way into Western culture.

 

Lack of Sleep

Lack of sleep definitely plays a role in making the face look older.  Inadequate sleep results in fatigue of the facial muscles and as a result they lose their tone and cause the facial skin to sag.  In addition the upper eyelids become saggy and droopy, and the lower eyelids become puffy.  So it is not difficult to imagine how lack of sleep and fatigue play a role.

 

Air Pollution and Exposure to Cigarette Smoke

Pollution in the air and exposure to cigarette smoke result in formation of dark hue spots on the face and precipitation of smoke and pollutants on the facial skin.  Obviously this can cause early aging of the face.

So, as can be seen, aside from genetics and ethnicity, there are many things that can be done to avoid rapid aging of the face and to maintain a healthier, younger looking face for much longer.

 

Permanent Make Up? Health Risks and Dangers

Permanent Make Up Image

PERMANENT MAKE UP? HEALTH RISKS AND DANGERS

Permanent make up has become one of the most popular cosmetic procedures amongst women of all ages.  When the procedure was first introduced in the 1980’s it was only offered by physicians and surgeons with specific training in this area.  As the demand grew it became apparent that qualified Aestheticians can be properly trained to carry out this procedure.  Therefore, it is now offered by doctors who have the appropriate staff or who have the appropriate training themselves, or by Aestheticians with proper training and experience.

 

What is Permanent Make up?

Permanent make up is a term used to describe injection of pigments in the top layer of the skin for the purpose of creating permanent eyeliners, lip liners, eyebrows etc.  It used to be referred to as “Medical Tattoo”, but this term has fell out of use.

 

Why Permanent Make up?

Aging Skin Tips ImageThe concept of beauty goes through many changes with time.  For example it used to be that chubby and plump women were in much more favor than thin women during the middle ages.  But, studying the changing face of beauty, one notices that one thing has remained fairly constant, and that is placement of eyeliners along the edges of the upper and lower eyelids.  This is mainly to enhance the appearance of the eyelashes since thick and long eyelashes have always been favored.

As all women know, placement of eyeliners every morning is tedious and time consuming.  This is why in the 1980’s people thought of creating permanent eyeliners using techniques that had been in existence in the tattoo industry for ages.  Of course modified and delicate techniques and equipement had to be developed for this purpose.  The technology and equipment was quickly developed and became available, and it became apparent that the very strong demand for this procedure is there in the community.

Some authorities, myself included, were concerned that if at some point the person did not want the permanent make up and wanted to eliminate it, it would be almost impossible.  But experience over the ensuing decade showed that most everyone who has it done is happy and does not want to get it taken off.  Gradually the technology expanded to include other areas such as eyebrows, lip liners, etc.

 

Who Should be Performing Permanent Make up?

As mentioned, currently the majority of permanent make up procedures are carried out by appropriately trained aestheticians and nurses.  These individuals are referred to as Permanent Make up Artists.  Aside from being adequately experienced in the technique, the permanent make up artist should be adequately familiar with facial anatomy, especially the layers of the skin in different parts of the face, and especially have adequate understanding of aesthetics.

 

What Can Go Wrong? What are the Risks?

7 Habits That Will Damage the Skin ImageMost common problem that we see with permanent make up is a fake and overdone appearance.  As I have always mentioned in my practice philosophy, aesthetic procedures are only pleasant when they appear natural and do not appear fake and “done”.  With permanent make up it is very important that the end result appear natural and not be obvious from a distance.  I see many women who have had this done by unqualified and inexperienced individuals with some horrible results, for example excessively thick and dark eyebrows that are placed way too high.  And it is mind boggling to think that there are individuals who consider such an appearance aesthetically pleasing.  So it is very important for the individual performing permanent make up to have a keen understanding of aesthetics and be able to provide a more beautiful face that appears as natural as possible.

There are very little health risks and dangers with permanent make up.  The area where one has to be extremely cautious is with lid liners since this is right over the eye.  Fortunately, compared with the number of procedures that are done in this category, injury to the eye is extremely rare.  There have been occasional reports of allergic reactions to the pigments that are used.  Fortunately such allergies are rare and can be treated without any significant ill effect on the body.

 

What do You Do if Things Go Wrong?

With the development and availability of permanent make up, there has also been much progress made in the Laser Tattoo Removalindustry.  But it has to be understood that not all permanent make up can be easily removed.  Sometimes more than one session of laser treatment becomes necessary.  This is why, as mentioned, the procedure has to be done right the first time, by individuals who are appropriately trained and experienced and have an adequate understanding of aesthetics.

Facial Rejuvenation, Non-Surgical vs Surgical

Facial Rejuvenation Image

Facial Rejuvenation, Non-Surgical vs Surgical

The past decade has seen a remarkable rise in the demand for nonsurgical facial rejuvenation techniques.  There are two reasons for this: One is the availability of a larger number of safe nonsurgical measures, the other is the insatiable desire of the public for rapid gratification with little or no down time.

Facial Aging

Lets take a quick look at facial aging and see what it is that needs to be corrected.  More detailed discussions of this appear in our previous blogs.  There are basically three sets of changes that take place in the face during the aging process.  The first deals with changes in the quality of the skin in terms of loosing its elasticity and developing wrinkles, the second is loosing subcutaneous fat and “hollowing out”, and the third is sagging of the soft tissues of the face including the muscles.

Wrinkles Treatment

Healthy Aging ImageTreatment of wrinkles is primarily a non-surgical one.  From time immemorial it was known that if the top layer of the skin is removed, the newly formed skin will be younger looking with less wrinkles.  For this reason techniques were developed for “peeling” the top layer of the skin to eliminate wrinkles.  Many different chemical peel techniques were developed.  However, chemical peel has for the most part given its place to “laser resurfacing”.  Many different types of laser are available for this purpose but the more modern ones, such as “Fractional CO2” are non-ablative and tighten the fine collagen fibers without actually peeling off the skin.

Soft Fillers and Botox

Anatomy of the FACE MUSCLES

In recent years additional methods have become available for dealing with wrinkles.  One such measure is the use of soft fillers such as Belotero.  Not all fillers are fine enough for use in fine wrinkles.  Belotero is one that has been modified specifically for use in filling out fine wrinkles.  Furthermore, often times wrinkles are a result of hyperactivity of certain muscles.  For example the wrinkles in the outer corner of the eyes, i.e. crow’s feet, result from hyperactivity of the orbicularis oculi muscle, the muscle around the eye that is responsible for closing the eyes.  Therefore weakening this muscle in said area with “Botox” can temporarily eliminate these wrinkles.

Fillers or Fat Transfer

Often times, hollowing out of the face gives the face an aged look.  Techniques have been developed for correcting this, albeit temporary, by the use of fillers or fat transfer.  Fillers that are available for this purpose are specifically for handling this problem.  Juvederm Voluma is one such filler.  Fat transfer is also an acceptable solution to this problem.

Surgical Treatment

face-lift-extended-upper-and-lower-blepharoplasty 2Finally, the treatment for sagging is almost always surgery.  There are many different surgical techniques available for dealing with sagging of the facial soft tissues.  Brow lift, blepharoplasty, and MACS lift, are some examples.

We have to remember that most nonsurgical measures are first of all useful only in mild / moderate forms of aging, and secondly they are temporary for the most part.  How long they last, depends on the individual and how fast their body metabolizes the material.  Finally, it has to be emphasized that nonsurgical measures are not a replacement for surgery.  If a face requires surgical rejuvenation, nonsurgical measures cannot substitute for the surgery.

 

Recovery from Nasal Surgery

Recovery from Nasal Surgery Image

Recovery from Nasal Surgery

Recovery from nasal surgery depends on two sets of factors:

1. What type of surgery and how much work has been done on the nose

2. What is the individual’s genetics in terms of recovery from surgery

 

Symptoms During the Rhinoplasty Recovery Period

Types of Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery imageAs discussed in our nasal surgery section and in previous blogs, nasal surgery consists of many different procedures and each individual will require a specific tailor-made set of procedures.  During the recovery period some of these procedures can cause swelling, some can cause bruising, and some can cause obstructive symptoms.  In most individuals there is a combination of these in some form or the other.  For example narrowing the top of the nose by separating the nasal bones at the nasofacial junction (so-called “breaking” the nose) causes bruising along the lower eyelids.  But if an individual only has a tip rhinoplasty to reduce the size of the tip, there usually is very little or no bruising, but the tip becomes swollen.

 

Nasal Surgery Recovery Time

Now, individuals vary tremendously in how they respond to surgery.  There are those who recover quite rapidly, and then there are those who take much longer.  As pertains to the nose, the amount of bruising and swelling is what will be very different from one individual to the other.  We have seen patients who, at one week when they come to have their splint removed will have absolutely no bruising, and we have seen those whose bruising is somewhat above average and takes longer to subside.

 

Surgeon Roles

Rhinoplasty candidate imageCan the surgeon do anything to accelerate the recovery process and reduce the amount of swelling and bruising?  The answer is a strong “YES”.  Through many years of experience we have developed techniques that reduce the bruising and swelling to an absolute minimum.  In addition, there are instructions that we give our patients and once these instructions are followed diligently our patients are expected to even have less bruising and swelling.  On the average our patients are able to return to their normal day-to-day activities within one week.  They are not, however, allowed to engage in strenuous physical activity and exercise for 4-6 weeks.

 

Who is a Good Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

Rhinoplasty candidate image

Who is a Good Candidate for Rhinoplasty?

Deciding whether a certain individual is a suitable candidate for rhinoplasty is one of the most challenging areas of plastic surgery.  Furthermore, carrying out a rhinoplasty is also one of the most demanding operations, requiring much training, skill, knowledge, aesthetic vision, psychological understanding, and experience.

 

Suitable Candidate for Rhinoplasty

Types of Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery imageThe difficulty in understanding a patient’s perspective and deciding whether he/she is a suitable candidate for rhinoplasty arises from the fact that there is a full range of ways in which individuals perceive their nose.  There are individuals who have lived with a large unaesthetic nose for years and are not bothered by it until for example at age 50 they get involved in a romantic relationship and it becomes an issue.  And then there are teenage girls who refer to inquire about surgical correction of an aesthetic nasal deformity that is barely perceptible. Both of these patients will benefit from rhinoplasty and it will satisfy them so long as technically it is feasible and they have realistic expectations.  These are just two extreme examples, and there is the whole range in between.

Now, this was very briefly as far as the individual’s perception is concerned.  But as for the surgeon and his/her decision making process, many factors come into play.  First it has to be determined whether it is really the aesthetic nasal deformity that the individual is bothered by and has referred to correct, or is there a more deep-seated problem in the person’s mind and the nose is only an excuse.  Then the surgeon has to place the degree of deformity versus the degree of concern that it is creating on an X-Y axis and determine whether they correlate proportionately.  If the degree of concern is much more than what seems to be realist regarding the degree of deformity, this is usually a “red flag” and an indication of unrealistic expectations.

 

Unrealistic Nose Surgery Expectations

septoplasty-cosmetic-rhinoplasty-2Speaking of unrealistic expectations, there are individuals who walk into a plastic surgeon’s office with photos of famous actors and actresses, requesting the same nose.  While this is somewhat helpful in that it gives the plastic surgeon an idea as to what the person is after, it can also be unrealistic, because it has to be understood that first of all when you look at a face, it is the whole face that comes to view and not just the nose.  If this person is hoping to look like that famous actor/actress by having their nose reshaped and made similar to that nose, this would be a serious warning that their expectations are unrealistic.  Secondly, it has to be understood that you cannot judge the shape of a nose and its proportion to the face with just one artistic view that appears in a magazine.  Thirdly, the photos that are published of actors and actresses are shot after make-up artists have worked on their faces for 1-2 hours, and even then a lot of “Photoshop” work takes place before publication.

Finally, the experienced plastic surgeon has to determine whether the individual’s demands are technically feasible and what aesthetic alterations are best for the individual’s features.  My personal philosophy on nasal surgery is that it should enhance the facial beauty without being obviously surgical.  This is what most modern and experienced plastic surgeons agree on currently.

So, as can be seen, rhinoplasty is a complex procedure in which many factors come into play, it is not a “one size fits all” operation, it has to be carefully tailored to the individual’s requirements, and it has to be carried out with due diligence in experienced hands.

Types of Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery

Types of Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery image

Types of Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery

Rhinoplasty or Nasal Surgery refers to a very wide range of procedures that are carried out for the purpose of correcting:

1. Aesthetic Nasal Deformities

2. Functional Nasal Deformities

3. Acquired Nasal Deformities

Aesthetic Nasal Deformities

Nose ProceduresAesthetic Nasal Deformities refers to noses that are anatomically complete, meaning they are not “defective”, but aesthetically displeasing.  These are deformities that a person is born with, for example a prominent “hump” on the nose, or a “bulky tip”, the two most common aesthetic problems that patients seek to correct.  Another example is “Excessively Wide Nostrils” often seen in African Americans.  Correction of aesthetic nasal deformities requires adequate knowledge of technique, adequate understanding of aesthetics, a keen artistic vision, and adequate experience.  A successful aesthetic rhinoplasty is one that will enhance the beauty of the face, yet no one, not even other plastic surgeons, will be able to tell that it is the nose that has enhanced the beauty.  The best compliment to us is when patients after a rhinoplasty tell us that they are constantly told that they look more beautiful, yet nobody is able to figure out why.

Functional Nasal Deformities

Functional Nasal Deformities are deformities involving the nasal airway structures, mainly the nasal septum and the turbinates.  In order for air to reach the lungs in a healthy manner it has to pass through the nasal airways.  The nasal airways have to be adequately patent in order to allow free and unrestricted flow of air.  There are times when the airways become clogged up due to structural deformities, the most common being a deviated septum.  This is when the nasal septum, instead of going straight down the midline, takes a crooked course, causing a structural blockage of one or both passages.  Another common cause of nasal obstruction is turbinate hypertrophy.  The turbinates are outpouchings of the lateral nasal wall, and the lowermost one sometimes gets excessively large, causing obstruction of the nasal airway.  A diligent plastic surgeon needs to carefully assess the presence of these problems when performing an aesthetic rhinoplasty because they need to be corrected if present.  Otherwise the aesthetic rhinoplasty can result in worsening of the person’s breathing problems.

Acquired Nasal Deformities

septo-rhinoplasty-photo-1Acquired Nasal Deformities are deformities resulting from trauma, such as septonasal fractures, or defects resulting from removal of lesions such as a cancerous skin lesion.  Post-traumatic deformities often result in crooked and asymmetrical noses, along with irregularities, and in most cases obstructive problems.  An experienced plastic surgeon is adequately familiar with correcting all of these problems and improving the patient’s appearance as well as their breathing problems.  Deformities resulting from removal of lesions, such as cancerous lesions fall into a whole wide category of deformities that require reconstructive rhinoplasty techniques.  An experienced plastic surgeon is adequately familiar with all the many different techniques available in dealing with such deformities.

7 Habits That Will Damage Your Skin

7 Habits That Will Damage the Skin Image

Habits That Will Damage the Skin

We all want to enjoy a young-looking and healthy skin for as many years as possible.  Although it is mainly our genetics that determine how young and healthy our skin looks, there are things that we do that enhance the aging and damaging of our skin.  We can prevent these damages by avoiding the following.  The order of importance of these measures is irrelevant and more of a personal opinion.  The point is that these should definitely be avoided

7 Habits That Will Damage Your Skin

1. Aging Skin Tips ImageStress: Stress and anxiety, the ever-worsening gift of our “modern” society, can be held responsible for almost all ailments that we suffer from.  From neurodermatitis to different forms of cancer, everything can be traced back to stress.  In my opinion, stress is the Number One cause of skin damage, in many ways: enhancing wrinkling, causing sagging, pigmentation problems such as spots, dryness and scaliness, the list goes on and on.  How do we avoid stress?  Lets talk about this in another blog.

2. Lack of Sleep: In some ways this can be inter-related with stress.  The skin needs to adequately rest.  How is it that by just looking at a friend’s face we can tell that they are stressed out and they have not had enough sleep?  These effects of inadequate sleep accumulate and gradually damage the skin permanently, especially the facial skin.

3. Inadequate Hydration: We have all heard that it is healthy to drink plenty of water.  Probably the two most important parts of the body that dehydration affects are the skin and the kidneys.  Of course authorities have come up with numbers such as 6 glasses a day, or 8 glasses a day, but everyone knows their body best.  In addition, adequate water intake obviously varies with the ambient temperature.  So, the best gauge for adequate water intake is the individual’s urine output.  So long as the urine output is around 200 ml every 3 hours and the urine is not concentrated, meaning that it is a clear yellow and not dark orange, the body is adequately hydrated.

4.Smoking Ruins Your Looks Image Smoking: In addition to the damage nicotine does to the cardiovascular and respiratory systems, it also damages the skin.  Nicotine causes early wrinkling of the skin, dark pigmentation and dark spots in the face and hands, it especially causes fine wrinkles around the lips.  In addition, it constricts the tiny blood vessels that nourish the surface of the skin.  As a result of this malnourishment the skin appears unhealthy and ill.  Please refer to our previous blogs regarding the damages smoking does to the body for further discussions.

5. Inappropriate Exfoliation: We have discussed the importance of exfoliation in maintaining a healthy and young-appearing skin.  This has to be done in an appropriate manner, not more than once a week, using scrubs or mild exfoliating agents such as lactic acid or glycolic acid.  However, if overdone, exfoliation can result in too many layers of the skin being removed.  As a result the dermis is exposed, just like a superficial second degree burn, or any condition that causes blistering of the skin.  Even though the newly formed skin will be smooth and youthful, the skin will not be uniform and therefore will appear damaged.

SKIN CARE AND SUN DAMAGE Image6. Excessive Ultraviolet Exposure: The “sun-tanned” look is really a thing of the past.  When sun-tanning was popular, the damaging effects of UV exposure had not been identified.  Much research has gone into understanding the damaging effects of UV exposure and it is now clear that these damages not only cause the skin to wrinkle and age much faster, but they can also cause different types of skin cancer, sometimes lethal ones.  Please refer to our blog on the damaging effects of UV exposure for more detailed discussions.

7. Popping and Messing Around with Pimples: This is the worst enemy of the skin.  Trying to “pop” pimples results in the contents of the pimple, which is usually pus, to be dispersed into the deeper layers of the skin, causing more pimples to develop.  If you have a pimple it is best to either leave it alone and let it come to a head on its own, or have a professional take care of it.

Sun Damage After Rhinoplasty or Facial Surgery

Sun Damage After Rhinoplasty Image

Sun Damage After Rhinoplasty or Facial Surgery

We have all heard about the damaging effects of UV (ultraviolet: that part of sunlight that is not visible and is responsible for the damaging effects of sunlight on the skin) Radiation on the skin.  Our previous blog(Skin Care and Sun Damage) specifically discussed this topic.  Let us now see how this part of the sunshine spectrum can have damaging effects on the results of rhinoplasty and facial surgery.

 

Sun Damage After Rhinoplasty

SKIN CARE AND SUN DAMAGE ImageAs we all know, rhinoplasty usually results in ecchymosis (bruising) along the lower eyelids.  Even though in our patients this bruising dissipates withing the first week, occasionally it lasts longer and results in dark circles along the lower eyelids that persist for a fairly long time, even up to a year.  Exposure to sunlight (UV Radiation) enhances the development of such dark circles in susceptible individuals.  It must be remembered that even after the bruising has visually subsided it has not completely dissipated because there is bruising in the deeper layers of the eyelid skin that is not apparent on the outside, but will eventually work its way to the surface, disintegrate, and get absorbed by the blood.  This is why we recommend our patients who have undergone rhinoplasty to avoid sunlight exposure onto the face for a period of 3 to 6 months.

 

Sun Damage After Facial Surgery

Facial surgery, and by this we usually mean cosmetic / aesthetic facial surgery, consists of a wide array of procedures.  All of these procedures enhance the sensitivity of the facial skin to sun damage.  For the same reasons mentioned above facial surgery can result in dark spots in different parts of the face which will be sensitive to sunlight and UV radiation will turn them darker and render them permanent at times.  One group of procedures that truly sensitize to facial skin to UV radiation are all Laser resurfacing procedures such as Ultra-Pulse CO2, and chemical peels such as the popular Retin-A containing agents.

For these reasons, it is very important to condition the facial skin prior to surgery by the application of strong moisturizers and sunblock, protect the skin from sunlight after the rhinoplasty procedure, and diligently continue the same skin care regimen after the surgery or procedure.

For more information on this topic and on our skin care regimen, please feel free to call our office at 310-276-7777.

Skin Care and Sun Damage

SKIN CARE AND SUN DAMAGE Image

Skin Care and Sun Damage | How Does Sun Damage Your Skin?

Most people thing that the “sun-tan” look is cool, without realizing how damaging and even dangerous excessive sun exposure is to the skin.  It is true that we owe sustenance of life on earth to the sun and life would not have been possible on earth without the sun.  But with the visible light that is delivered by the sun, there is also UV (ultraviolet) radiation. Everyone knows that the seemingly white visible light that radiates from the sun actually consists of the spectrum of colored lights, which culminates in violet. Ultraviolet is light that has wavelengths shorter than violet which cannot be detected by the naked eye. In other words it is invisible light.

UV Radiation and Skin Care

Aging Skin Tips ImageUV consists of three components UVA, UVB, and UVC.  Each of these penetrate the skin to a certain depth and have different effects on the skin.  Excessive UV radiation not only alters the skin through wrinkling and sagging, it is also responsible for increasing the risk of skin cancer. The fine collagen fibers within the skin that are responsible for firmness and smoothness simply lose their elasticity when exposed to excessive amounts of UV radiation.  As a result the skin begins to wrinkle and sag much sooner.  All of us have noticed how the faces of people who work in the field have much more wrinkles and sagging than what we would expect for their age.  As for skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common type of cancer, accounting for about one million new cases per year in the United States.  Although it is probably the least dangerous type of cancer there is, but UV radiation significantly increases the risk of this type of cancer.  The more dangerous type of skin cancer is Melanoma. There are 250,000 new cases of melanoma reported every year in the US and it accounts for 8,000 deaths annually. Again, UV radiation significantly increases the risk of this type of cancer.

It was once thought that it is only UVB that is responsible for skin damage and higher risk of skin cancer.  Based on this tanning salons claimed that since they only used UVA they were safe!  More recent studies have shown that UVA is just as damaging as UVB and therefore tanning salons are not as safe as once thought.

How to Protect Skin from Sun Exposure?

Healthy Aging ImageSo based on this information, let us forget about the “cool” tan look and protect our skin from excessive UV exposure.  How do we do this?  Obviously there are many things we can do: Avoid walking in the sun between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., wide-rim hats and visors, sun-block creams and lotions (minimum SPF 15), tinting car windows, drinking plenty of water to hydrate the skin, moisturizing creams and lotions.  These are examples of the things we can do to minimize skin damage from sun exposure.

Be on the lookout for our next blog in which we will discuss the effects of sun damage on plastic surgery procedures.