It is important to love the skin that you are in. But surveys show nearly three-quarters of people feel self-conscious about the way their skin looks. Everyone's skin changes with age, but unfortunately time may also bring unwanted marks, wrinkles, or loss of volume.
The dermatologists at Summit Health explain how you could feel more confident by making natural-looking enhancements that help smooth and resurface your skin. Some of the most common skin conditions they treat include rashes, acne, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, and cancer.
Over-the-counter options can be helpful, but they are often not enough. Patients who come in for an appointment are typically looking to eliminate redness and brown spots, smooth wrinkles and creases, or lighten scars.
“The benefit of seeing a board-certified dermatologist is that they are the experts in hair, skin, and nails,” says Rachael Hartman, MD, a dermatologist at Summit Health. “We specialize in tailoring treatments to best fit each individual’s skin condition and concerns.”
Summit Health offers a full range of cosmetic skin care services, including:
- Neurotoxins (Botox or Dysport) - Injectable solutions that temporarily block the nerve receptors to reduce wrinkle lines.
- Dermal Fillers - An injectable substance that restores fullness in creases or areas that have lost volume.
- Microneedling - Tiny needles that remodel uneven skin by stimulating collagen production.
- Chemical peels - A solution that exfoliates and removes layers of the skin.
- Laser resurfacing and vascular lasers - A technique that precisely removes the layers of the skin one at a time to decrease the appearance of fine lines and improve skin tone.
- Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections - This new method uses the patient’s own blood cells to stimulate healing.
Acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S. When the hair follicles on the outer layer of the skin become blocked, whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples often appear. Even though acne is typically often thought of as being on the face, it can occur anywhere on the body including the neck, shoulders, chest, and back.
Anyone, from newborns to adults, can develop acne. It is most common in adolescence when an estimated 85 percent of teenagers report breakouts. Adult acne, however, accounts for many office visits at Summit Health’s dermatology department. Acne can also be caused by hormones, certain medications, friction-causing equipment like helmets, cosmetics, or pregnancy.
“The cause of acne is multifactorial with hormonal, genetic, and environmental aspects all contributing, so treatment must be tailored to the individual,” says Mital Patel-Cohen, MD, a dermatologist at Summit Health. “Treatment may also vary at different points in a person’s life. In dermatology, we tailor our treatments to best fit each individual’s acne.”
There are several forms of acne. Dr. Patel-Cohen says it is important to be examined by a medical professional because each type requires a different treatment. The most common forms of acne are blackheads and whiteheads (comedonal acne), red bumps (popular/pustular acne), and large, inflamed lesions (cystic acne).
The early treatment of acne is important to prevent scarring. Mild acne can often be treated with over-the-counter products containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or retinoids like adapalene. When those options are not sufficient, prescription, topical, or oral acne treatments are used.
“For patients with active acne, we prescribe topical or oral medications tailored to each individual’s type of acne. We also counsel them about dietary or lifestyle modifications that can help improve acne. For patients with acne scars, we offer cosmetic laser therapy, microneedling, and fillers,” explains Dr. Hartman.
While over-the-counter medications and prescriptions can help control breakouts, sometimes acne and the resulting scarring is inevitable. Laser resurfacing can address different types of acne scarring. The treatment is typically considered cosmetic and generally not covered by insurance.
“The ideal laser candidate is someone whose acne is well-controlled prior to treatment so that they are not fighting an uphill battle as new acne scars continue to form,” says Dr. Hartman.
The first step in treatment, she explains, is to identify the type of scarring that is present: red scars, indented scars, elevated scars, or hypo/hyperpigmented scars. A series of treatments is generally necessary to achieve ideal results. Patients may need some down time after certain procedures.
- Vascular lasers can be used to treat the red component of acne scars by targeting and destroying the blood vessels that cause the redness. The results from vascular lasers can be seen within a few weeks. “This treatment for redness is a quick and fairly comfortable in-office treatment with minimal downtime,” describes Dr. Patel-Cohen.
- Microneedling or resurfacing lasers such as Fraxel can be used to address indented acne scars. The treatment remodels the uneven skin texture by injuring the skin in a controlled method to stimulate collagen production. It takes at least three to four months after each procedure to see the results. “Typically, patients will need a series of treatments to get the desired cosmetic improvement,” explains Dr. Patel-Cohen.
- Fillers can be used to fill in indented scars with an injectable gel product for a more immediate result.
- Resurfacing lasers and lightening creams can be used to treat hyperpigmented scars or darkened areas.
- Steroid injections can treat elevated acne scars.