The Secrets to Success For Healthy Skin

Having a complexion that is smooth and clear is considered desirable, regardless of whether you are a man or woman. However, the process of aging makes it increasingly difficult to maintain that “healthy glow” that is a sign of youthful skin.

Because the face is the most exposed part of the body, it is more vulnerable to the harsh elements, such as the sun, as well as a host of other issues, including acne, rashes and injuries that leave permanent scars.

UPMC Stofman Plastic Surgery Group offers a number of non-surgical treatments administered by board-certified aestheticians for individuals who want to eliminate or soften imperfections on their facial skin and achieve a clearer, fresher look. These treatments include glycolic acids (sometimes called fruity acids), which are natural fruit substances blended into facial preparations and are used to eliminate rough or dried surface skin, and Retin-A®, a vitamin A-enriched cream that changes the cellular metabolism of the skin’s surface and is used to combat fine facial wrinkles and blotches from sun damage.

These treatments can be used alone, in conjunction with an aesthetic surgery procedure, such as a Facelift or a Chemical Peel.

What to Expect from Skin-Surface Treatments

Skin surface-repair treatments can enhance your appearance and give your skin a smoother, fresher look, but they will not remove deep scars and flaws or prevent aging. These treatments should not be considered a substitute for a Facelift. Generally speaking, Retin-A® and Glycolic Acid Treatments offer less dramatic results than surgical approaches like Dermaplaning, Dermabrasion, or Chemical Peels.

During your initial consultation, our skilled aestheticians will assess the condition of your skin and help you decide which treatment is best that will help you meet your long-term skin care goals.

Retin-A® Treatment

Retin-A® is most effective in older patients who have some fine facial wrinkles, or blotchy pigmented areas caused by sun damage. However, Retin-A® is often prescribed to younger, active individuals who want to combat the aging effects of sun exposure. Patients who are planning to have a Chemical Peel often use Retin-A® as a preparation treatment, as Retin-A® thins the skin’s outer layer, allowing the acid solution used in a peel treatment to penetrate more deeply and evenly.

Although no serious medical problems have been associated with Retin-A®, it’s possible that its use could result in temporary skin irritation and redness. If this happens, your doctor may recommend a milder formulation. Retin-A&reg is not recommended for pregnant women or nursing mothers, because its effects on the fetus and nursing infant are still being studied.

The initial application of Retin-A® will include a demonstration of how to continue your skin-care routine at home. Once your face has been washed thoroughly, a small amount of Retin-A®, in either cream or gel form, is rubbed over the face and nose. It’s likely that a very gentle formula will be used at the beginning – especially if you are younger or have a fair complexion. You may be switched to a stronger formula after your skin becomes accustomed to the treatment.

Only a very small amount of Retin-A® – a pea-sized dab – is needed to cover the entire face. Retin-A® should be applied every night prior to going to bed. Because Retin-A® is drying to the skin, you may need to apply a moisturizer once or twice a day. This routine is usually continued for about eight months to a year, after which you’ll be switched to a less-frequent schedule of maintenance, with Retin-A® applications only two or three times per week. At periodic follow-up visits, the strength of your prescription may be adjusted as well as the frequency of use. To maintain the benefits of Retin-A®, its use must be continued for a lifetime.

Following treatment: It is normal to experience some redness, irritation, itching, stinging, or skin dryness once you begin to use Retin-A®. However, you can expect these symptoms to gradually disappear as your skin becomes acclimated to the treatment.

Caring for your new skin: Because Retin-A® thins out the skin’s outer layer, you will need to consistently use a sun-block to protect yourself from ultraviolet light, and you may have to discontinue using certain products or cosmetics on your face.

Though the degree of change varies from person to person, with continued use of Retin-A®, you will begin to see subtle improvements in the texture and tone of your skin. Retin-A® users notice a rosy glow during the beginning months of use, followed by the disappearance of fine lines and the shrinking of large pores. After about six months, many Retin-A® users report that wrinkles are barely visible and that age spots have faded.

UPMC Stofman Plastic Surgery Group’s Board-Certified aestheticians have the knowledge and extensive experience to help find the right Skin Care Solution to help you look your best. Please refer to our Skin Care Page for more details, and contact us today to schedule an appointment.