January 23, 2009

Knowing Your Skin

If a cosmetic procedure is in the budget for the new year, or even if it isn't, doctors at Baylor College of Medicine advise keeping skin tone and texture in mind when making cosmetic decisions.

"Various skin types scar differently, so talking to your doctor about your concerns is important," said Dr. Anthony Brissett, assistant professor of otolaryngology and director of the Baylor Facial Plastic Surgery Center at Baylor College of Medicine. "We want to make sure that our patients can feel comfortable with knowing what to expect."

People with darker skin tones often have hyperpigmentation, or skin discoloration. Some have worries about exuberant scarring like keloids, an overgrowth of tissue at the site of a healed skin injury. They can be treated with steroid injections, creams and radiation or removal with an incision.

"There are also ways to hide or camouflage incisions, such as placing them in natural creases or hiding them in inconspicuous areas like under the chin," Brissett said. "Each person is different so we can personalize a procedure to have the best outcome."

For those who decide against surgery but are continuing to look for good ways to keep their skin looking healthy and youthful, Brissett said there are many less expensive options. Office-based treatments such as injectable fillers create a refreshed look and provide almost immediate results.

Over-the-counter cleansers have many of the same ingredients as more expensive ones. However, Brissett said, if you are on a prescribed product or know that you have sensitive skin, talk with a doctor before changing any cleansing regimen.

"Understanding what you will face after a procedure or after using a new product is important," Brissett said. "Being well informed and knowledgeable about the outcome is a good start to healing and feeling better."


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