June 30, 2008

Skin Help Coming: Doctor Hopes to Take Care to Another Level

By Keith Purtell, Muskogee Phoenix, Okla.

Jun. 30--A local physician says he wants to offer skin care to patients, and if it also has a cosmetic benefit, that's OK.

But it will take place in a medical office, not a spa.

Dr. Dwayne Atwell, an ear, nose and throat doctor, who performs head and neck surgery, said he has hired Valerie Murphy to perform glycolic skin peels and facials.

A glycolic peel uses a chemical solution to improve and smooth the texture of the facial skin by removing its damaged outer layers. It is helpful for those individuals with facial blemishes, wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation.

Atwell said got interested in this type of skin care after a family member developed severe acne. The dermatologist treatment didn't work.

"One of medical benefits great way to treat acne and get healing," he said. "The results I've seen for acne alone are remarkable."

Atwell said the approach he is taking is entirely different than places that focus only on appearances and "feel good" services like massage.

"Our philosophy here is not that of a spa; it's a medical treatment facility which offers some cosmetic benefits as well," he said. "Cosmetics make dead tissue look alive. What is offered here is going beyond that."

Atwell said he sees this expansion of his practice on South 37th Street as a chance for preventative care.

"Valerie can refer more serious cases to me," he said. "That provides and opportunity for detection and early treatment. I have dealt with a lot of facial cancers. You have to take care of a little problem before it becomes a big problem. Our philosophy is about health care. Decreasing skin cancer, detecting skin cancers, and the mental health benefits of looking healthier."

Omitting the luxury and extravagance of a spa also means less cost to the patient.

"Because we are using a medical facility, our prices can be more competitive," Atwell said. "Ladies who have husbands or boyfriends overseas want to look good for them when they come back; we want to offer them a discount. We want to support these people in the military."

Teens suffering from acne can also benefit from reduced cost for treatment.

"For teenagers with a medical card, if it is covered as a medical treatment, we want to be there for those people," Atwell said. "Even if it is not covered, we can discount it anyway. Acne causes physical and mental scarring as well."

Valerie Murphy, who graduated as an esthetician from the Cosmetology Education Center in Tulsa, explained the chemical peel treatment.

"I'll do a glycolic peel one week, then they'll come in for a facial because there will be some skin peeling, and I'll use a soft brush, with some cream and moisturizer," she said.

Patients have to take into account the healing time needed by the skin.

"Once they get a glycolic peel, they need to stay out of sun for a month," she said. "They can go out for a short while with a hat and a sun screen of at least SP25."

Murphy said she is excited to offer a new service and to work with Atwell when any more treatment is needed in the medical setting.

"Because of my master instructor at school, I can look at something on the skin and tell if it is a mole, pigmentation or something worse," she said.

More services might be offered.

"We are going to do the glycolic skin peels for the first six months," she said. "If all that goes well, I'm hoping we will then be able to offer microderm abrasion."

Murphy said the glycolic peel initiates a skin cell turnover, and exfoliation that removes dead skin cells. The peel will treat age spots, skin damage from the sun, and acne.

Murphy said she herself has enjoyed the benefit of skin treatments.

"When I was a in real estate there was a lot of stress and wrinkles that began to develop," she said.

The new procedures start on July 7. Information: 616-5714.


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