Facial Exercises - Do They Really Work?

You've seen the products designed to be wrapped around your head or strapped to your face, facial exercisers designed to 'tighten and tone your facial muscles to prevent wrinkles and sagging.' Facial workouts featured in women's magazines claim to do the same.


 
Scary but necessary? Hilarious facial contraptions such as these claim to help you look younger for longer.

Which Facial Treatments Really Work? Part 2 - The Best From The Rest

This post is part two of my two-part post on facial treatments that really work. Read part one here, to read more about the supposed and actual benefits of treatments such as gold, diamond, snail mucus, bee venom and caviar.


This post at beautyeditor.ca discusses why spa facial treatments are not really good for your skin. This New York Times article also explains why dermatologists don't recommend facials for optimal skin health and beauty. This article quotes Professor of Dermatology, Doris Day, MD about spa facials: "I call it 'spa science' because there isn't a lot of science behind many of the claims." She further adds,"Think of a facial as a treat rather than a medical treatment." Good at-home daily facial care can preclude the need for costly facial treatments. 

Which Facial Treatments Really Work? Part 1 - It's All About The Hype

My wife complains that going for a facial is more stress than bliss nowadays. "Too many options and choices ... I don't know if I should go for a deep-clean cream cleanser or a blemish-relief clarifying one; would a diamond polishing be better than a ultrasonic exfoliation; and is a gold or propolis mask better for my skin?"




Just the Facts - About Tattoo Removal

Tattoo removal facts you need to know! 



Getting a tattoo has become a milestone or rite-of-passage for many, and some people view tattooing as a way of defining themselves, their emotions or beliefs. Whatever your reason for getting a tattoo, always remember to go to a reputable tattoo parlour, ensure they take all the necessary sanitary precautions and that you know what you are getting into. 
These are just a few of the examples of regrettable tattoos; hilarious Chinese words, poor drawn art and misspellings:

    

What You Need To Know About Laser Tattoo Removal:

1. About 1 in 3 people eventually regret getting their tattoos.

Whether a tattoo was a result of a drunken dare or as a method of emotional catharsis, most people tend to later regret them as they move on in life. An ill-planned tattoo could be a painful reminder of a misspent youth, or an embarrassing feature that you have to hide at work or in public. A poorly conceived tattoo could be expensive, painful and unsightly, and tattoo removal is not exactly cheap or pain-free, and in many cases, may not be able to be completely removed.      


2. Tattoo Removal Creams and Ointments Do Not Work

Tattoos are embedded in the deeper layers of the skin in order to make them permanent, so tattoo removal creams and ointments cannot reach them in order to effect their removal. The only way a cream can remove a tattoo is if it damages the skin above them as well. Any chemical treatment that claims to treat tattoos can only do so by injuring the skin and potentially causing dangerous side effects. Laser tattoo removal is the best known method to erase unwanted tattoos. 

3. How Laser Tattoo Removal Works

Prior to laser tattoo removal procedures coming into use in the 1980s, the only options for tattoo removal was by one of three methods, ie. dermabrasion - where skin was 'sanded' to remove top layers of skin; excision - where skin is removed by scalpel, sometimes necessitating a skin graft; or by freezing the area then excising it. 

Laser tattoo removal offered a targeted method of removing tattoos that was a lot more comfortable and usually caused no more than erythema (skin redness) and transient swelling. The laser removal system also offers a bloodless, low-risk procedure done on an outpatient basis. The type of laser used in tattoo removal systems are called Q-switched lasers, which employ a short, high-energy pulse of laser that target the wavelengths of tattoo colors. The pigments in tattoo ink absorb the energy pulses, causing them to fragment into small particles that can then be disposed of through the body's waste systems. At the proper energy setting, the laser does not harm the surrounding skin structures, although the heat from the laser pulse can cause some discomfort. 
Depending on various factors (see below) such as size and color of the tattoo, it can take multiple sessions and often up to a year (with sessions 3-4 weeks apart) to completely remove a tattoo, although many tattoos cannot be fully erased, only lightened.


4. Factors that affect laser tattoo removal results

Although laser tattoo removal science is improving rapidly, effectiveness of a tattoo removal procedure depends greatly on a number of factors including: 

  • the size of the tattoo - if the tattoo is very large, it may have to be treated in stages to prevent too much energy being absorbed by the skin in one session.
  • the colour of the tattoo - each tattoo color has to be targeted at a specific color wavelength, with darker colors being easiest to remove.
  • the location of the tattoo - if the tattoo is located in an especially sensitive area, energy levels may have to be reduced to prevent burns or due to discomfort. Lower energy levels mean less of the tattoo ink can be destroyed per session.
  • the colour of the individual's skin - the darker the skin of the patient, the less the laser pulse energy that can be applied; the greater amounts of laser energy that darker skin tones absorb can cause skin damage.  
  • the individual's ability to heal - some patients heal slower from the treatment and this would affect the protocol and timing of the subsequent procedures.
  • the tattoo application method - the method of application of a tattoo can affect its placement within the skin, which in turn affects how well the ink absorbs the laser energy.
  • the type of ink used - the types of inks used in tattoos vary greatly, and not all are able to absorb tattoo removal lasers easily. Some newer inks are specially designed to be easily targeted by the lasers.
  • the skill of the tattoo artist - a more experienced tattoo artist would be able to inject the tattoo ink at roughly the same depth in the skin, thus the laser would be able to be calibrated to target most of it at once 
  • how old the tattoo is - the older the tattoo, the more ingrained it becomes in the skin, and as a result, older tattoos are very difficult to be removed. 


Bryon Widner was a reformed Nazi supremacist desperate to put his past behind him. His tattoos were inciting fear and hate in the people around him, and he no longer wanted to be identified with the racism and violence of his youth. After 25 tattoo removal sessions, Widner is a new man.


--- Cosmetic Medicine, MD

Dr. Liow Tiong Sin is an aesthetic practitioner who practices in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia. He has more than 12 years of expertise with non-surgical cosmetic treatments, and conducts training courses for other doctors from all around Asia. 
To connect with Dr. Liow, Like Cosmedmd's Facebook page, visit Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre's website at http://www.beverlywilshiremedical.com or drop him an email at cosmedmd@gmail.com

Platelet-Rich Plasma Therapy - The Secret To Youthful, Beautiful Skin Lies Within

Platelet-Rich Plasma - healing the skin with the body's natural powers of rejuvenation 

I have always considered one of the top functions of cosmetic medicine being the harnessing of the body's own healing and restorative processes to rejuvenate the skin. Laser treatments, for example, selectively wound the skin to encourage the skin to produce new skin in its' place. Skin creams and treatments are also designed to help boost and support the skin's natural healing and renewal processes. 

Platelet-Rich Plasma, PRP, Vampire Facelift

What is Platelet-Rich Plasma?

Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) therapy is another example of a medical technique that is being used to improve the skin using the natural, healing components of the body. This treatment is also known as a Vampire Facelift. 

This treatment has been used for many years to help heal wounds and encourage quicker healing, for example in athletes suffering from sports injuries. Tiger Woods, the world's number one golfer, used PRP therapy to recover quickly from knee surgery. PRP also has a long history in the treatment of surgical recovery, bone cancer, ulcers, and torn ligaments, and there have been reported successes in a large variety of other conditions. 

In recent years, PRP therapy was introduced as a method of rejuvenation for the skin, helping to accelerate normal cell renewal and healing processes by stimulating collagen formation, revascularization (increasing blood supply) and repair. Using your own blood means that there is no risk of adverse reactions to the treatment. PRP can also be used as a 'natural filler' to help restore volume where necessary. 

How does PRP benefit the skin?

Blood contains platelets, which helps to clot the blood and repair damaged areas in the body. Platelets also release growth factors to stimulate the growth of new, healthy tissue. When PRP is injected into the skin, it activates dermal fibroblasts, a skin component that plays a key role in maintaining skin integrity and youthfulness, causing the synthesis of cell-renewal ingredients such as collagen, adhesive molecules and cytokines. It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of wrinkles and for skin rejuvenation due to its growth factor activity. Read more about this research here.

A study done by doctors Alessio Redaelli, Domenico Romano and Antonio Marciano from Milan,Italy, and published in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, May 2010, showed that Platelet-Rich Plasma treatment improved skin wrinkles, texture, elasticity, volume and skin tone. Patients reported an 82% improvement in skin tone, 52% improvement in wrinkle appearance, 87% improvement in general appearance, and 100% satisfaction with the treatment outcomes. 

Here are some photos of their findings from this study:
Before and after PRP treatments, showing improvement in texture, skin tone and colour. 

Before and after PRP treatment, showing scar revision. 

These photos, below,  are from a clinical study done in Munich, Germany by S. Zenker and published in a paper entitled 'Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) for Facial Rejuvenation', and shows how PRP can be used for skin rejuvenation for patients of any age and skin condition. 


How is the treatment performed?

The PRP treatment involves drawing your own blood from the veins in your arm. This blood is then placed in a centrifuge, which spins at high speed to separate the platelets from the other blood components.   



The platelet-rich plasma is then injected into the face in multiple injections. Each injection helps to spread the PRP into all areas of the face, while causing a small damage to encourage rejuvenation. PRP can also be used to rejuvenate the neck, decolletage and hands. PRP is also successfully being used as a hair loss remedy.

Kim Kardashian posted this picture of herself after PRP. As you can see, Kim's skin is glowing with youth and vitality!

Post-Treatment

You can see the benefits of the treatment from the second week, although repeat treatments are necessary for best results. A package of 6 treatments at 1 monthly intervals will give you excellent results. Results are gradual and the skin will continue to improve as the process of renewal can go on for up to a year after the treatment. A combination therapy together with fractional laser treatments can help to further improve and accelerate the rate of rejuvenation.

Safety and Results

The treatment is very safe as there is no risk of any allergy or reaction to the materials being injected. The skin is being encouraged to renew itself, so you will merely have better, firmer skin, but there is no chance of looking 'fixed' or 'unnatural'. It is particularly beneficial for the eye area, helping to improve dark circles and eye bags. It is also great for fine lines and wrinkles, and gives the complexion an overall youthful glow and uplifted appearance.    

If you're wondering how the platelets, which are already present in the body, can provide any further benefits by being re-injected, the important thing to know is that the process of injection is creating micro-wounds so that the body's wound-healing process is activated. The concentrated platelets injected into the area help to improve the process, and by doing so, all the skin's internal components are also being boosted. With regular maintenance and proper care, the skin can potentially be rejuvenated so the aging process is prevented for longer. 

--- Cosmetic Medicine, MD

Dr. Liow Tiong Sin is an aesthetic practitioner who practices in Kuala Lumpur and Melaka, Malaysia. He has more than 12 years of expertise with non-surgical cosmetic treatments, and conducts training courses for other doctors from all around Asia. 
To connect with Dr. Liow, Like Cosmedmd's Facebook page, visit Beverly Wilshire Medical Centre's website at http://www.beverlywilshiremedical.com or drop him an email at cosmedmd@gmail.com

Just the Facts - About Weight Loss

I'm starting a new series of posts entitled Just the Facts, to present bite-sized facts about various topics in cosmetic medicine. Got a topic you'd like me to address? Contact details are down below! 

Today's topic is about weight loss. So many people are fighting obesity today, and despite the many success stories, countless books, endless magazine articles, it seems weight loss, dieting and slimming remain a problem and concern for so many people. If you are struggling with weight control and want to take control of your health problems, too, its important to recognize that healthy weight loss is possible, but requires commitment, dedication and perseverance. Instead on focusing on slim-fit jeans, think about how you want to feel when you can walk up a hill without being breathless, or if you'd like to be able to chase after your grandchildren without worrying about a heart attack! If you're serious about getting healthy and gaining a better lifestyle through weight control, do read on for some tips on gaining a healthy lifestyle. 

Just the Facts - About Weight Loss 




How To Avoid An Infection At The Nail Salon

Getting a mani-pedi seems to be getting very common nowadays, with nail salons cropping up everywhere you look. While beautiful nails are an important part of many womens' beauty regimes, it can be a hidden hotbed for infections. There are many documented cases of bacterial and fungal infections transmitted during nail treatments, and even deadly diseases such hepatitis B and disfiguring flesh-eating staphylococcus infections. 


If you can't live without your routine nail polish touch-up, here are some tips to ensure you stay safe and healthy when you visit your favorite manicurist: