How to navigate the maze of skin treatment options
Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 25, 2013 at 4:13 p.m.
When it comes to skin treatments today, we really are spoiled for choice. New options are touted everywhere, many promising glorious results.
So what's the best way to treat your skin to help you look your best? We've picked 10 skin treatments ranging from basic facials to laser treatments to get you looking (and feeling) your best just in time for the most romantic holiday of the year.
What it is: A non-invasive skin-surface treatment in which tiny crystals exfoliate the skin to improve signs of aging and sun exposure.
What it does: “This ‘high-end' facial is designed to reduce pore size, minimize fine lines and improve pigmentation and the appearance of sun damage,” says Lindsey Johnson, a physician assistant at Gainesville Dermatology. It results in fresher skin in a one-hour procedure on the face, neck or arms.
Who it's for: Patients who show early signs of aging, but teens also have benefited. Some patients undergoing fractional laser treatments for moderate to severe acne scarring have microdermabrasion between laser treatments.
Cost: $75-$150 per treatment. May need six or more treatments.
Recovery time: Very little to none. Sensitive skin may redden for 12-24 hours or more, but makeup can be applied after treatment. Wait two to four weeks between treatments, depending on the intensity of treatment.
Fractional Laser Treatment
What it is: A non-invasive laser treatment that works below the skin's surface to reverse signs of aging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and pigmentation, as well as surgical scars and scarring from acne.
What it does: A focused light energy penetrates the top layers of skin to stimulate the regeneration of the skin's natural collagen. “This procedure works best for the fine lines and wrinkles around eyes (crow's feet) and brow lines, but can improve these imperfections in other areas by smoothing creases and pockets that cause wrinkles and scars,” Johnson says. The same process helps erase sun and age spots as it evens out skin tone.
Who it's for: Younger patients, typically under 50, but yields results for all ages
Cost: Averages $3,000-$4,000 for full treatment, which may involve four to six sessions of laser therapy
Recovery time: One to three days down time. Wait approximately four weeks between treatments.
CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) Laser
What it is: A laser treatment to treat severe scarring and wrinkles.
What it does: The CO2-laser is used to reverse signs of aging, but unlike fractional laser treatments, the CO2-laser “burns” the skin to promote collagen formation. The CO2-laser typically accomplishes in one treatment what may take three to four treatments with a fractional laser. “A whole layer of skin is peeled during this laser procedure, so there is an increased risk of infection,” Johnson says. There's also a greater likelihood of injury to the skin and scarring with CO2-lasers.
Who it's for: Patients with severe acne scarring or wrinkles, however it is not recommended for those who tend to form keloid scars, as it may worsen scarring, Johnson says. Someone who had severe, damaging acne as a teen might consider this option.
Cost: $3,500-$5,000 for a treatment
Recovery: Skin will peel like “snake skin” for one-to-two weeks.
What it is: A laser treatment that reduces facial redness, discoloration or sun damage.
What it does: This laser sends micro-pulses to the desired area to reduce redness caused by rosacea or dilated blood vessels and capillaries, Johnson says. This laser also treats vascular birthmarks on any body surface area.
Who it's for: “This procedure is great for people who have redness from sun damage or rosacea, also known as adult acne,” Johnson says.
Cost: $100-$300 per treatment. May need two to four treatments, depending upon level of redness.
Recovery time : Two to three days down time
What they are: Deep-cleansing, non-irritating skin rejuvenation treatments that accelerate cell turnover using certain acids to promote exfoliation.
What they do: These facials improve cell regeneration, balance oil production, reduce signs of aging and brighten skin tone.
Who they're for: Great for all skin types. “The Hibiscus Facial is especially great for sensitive skin,” says Robyn K. Lee, aesthetician at Skin Solutions in Gainesville.
Cost: $125-$150 per peel
Recovery time: Minimal to no visible exfoliation
What they are: These peels, such as Firming & Toning, Baby Boomer, DN-Age APeel and Melanin Lift, use same ingredients as light peels but contain a higher concentration of acid to remove more layers of the epidermis, penetrating the first layer of the dermis.
What they do: Mid-depth peels rejuvenate skin at a deeper level and may correct fine lines and blotchy skin.
Who they're for: These peels are ideal for those with thicker skin. The Firming & Toning Peel is recommended for ages 30 to 55 as a lightening and tightening treatment, Lee suggests. The Baby Boomer Peel is best for people ages 55 and older who have dull, slackened skin with uneven tone, fine lines and large pores.
Cost: $125-$150 per peel
Recovery: Peel for two to four days. Can be done monthly. Peeling will be similar to a sunburn peel.
What it is: An at-home, topical Retin-A treatment used once a night at home. (Retin-A is an acid derived from Vitamin A.)
What it does: Treats fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots.
Who it's for: Since it requires a prescription, your dermatologist may recommend you treat your skin with this solution as an alternative to the pricier, more intense treatments. Some dermatology offices have prescription-strength treatments on shelves, so you may not need to visit a pharmacy to fill it, but you will need a consultation to determine the best treatment and dosage.
Recovery time: Little to none, but protect your skin from the sun after using it, as with most treatments.
What it is: Consisting of five acids, it is one of the strongest peels in terms of penetration administered by dermatologists, yielding radiant, younger-looking skin.
What it does: Johnson recommends the Vi Peel to improve skin tone, clarity and texture, reduce signs of aging, freckles and hyper-pigmentation such as melasma (a dark skin discoloration appearing on sun-exposed areas of face), soften fine lines and wrinkles, clear acne, reduce acne scars and stimulate collagen production.
Who it's for: All skin types
Cost: $100-$300 per treatment
Recovery: Very little to none. Peeling usually occurs around day two or three and can last for up to a week.
What it is: An at-home bleaching cream used once in the morning and once at night.
What it does: Evens out skin tone by lightening sun and age spots.
Who it's for: “For someone trying to get rid of sun spots, combine with the Tretinoin for better, faster results,” Johnson says. This medication also requires a prescription. As with Tretinoin, some dermatology offices have prescription-strength treatments on shelves, so you may not need to visit a pharmacy to fill it, but will need a consultation to determine the best treatment.
Recovery time: Little to none
Note: The costs of all treatments depend on dermatology office and are subject to change.
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