Birthmarks, freckles, and moles are things that make us
unique. While some freckles across our cheeks might be lovely, a crop of age
spots or acne scars can be bothersome. Of course, you tend to be more aware of
your own irregularities than other people are. You may be convinced that
someone is staring at the birthmark on your cheek but chances are that they
People may become so self-conscious about perceived physical
flaws that they perform poorly in job interviews and feel insecure in social
situations. If you're one of them, take stock of your options.
There are multiple options for dealing with facial scars or
acne marks, both surgical and nonsurgical. Depending on your situation, one
might be better for you than another. If you are considering any of the
options, talk with your doctor or dermatologist.
If flat, pigmented birthmarks bother you, you can use makeup
to cover them. Use a makeup brush and invest in foundation and concealer that
works well with your skin tone. This is an easy and accessible way to cover any
marks that make you self-conscious.
dermal fillers are a nonsurgical option for some skin problems. A range of
dermal fillers has been developed for cosmetic and reconstructive uses. Some of
these products are synthetic. Others are of bovine (cow) or porcine (pig)
origin. A few are made from purified cadaver cells. Some hyaluronic acid
fillers are extracted from rooster combs. Another option is to graft the
patient's own fat from another body site.
Dermal fillers can restore youthful volume to the
cheeks, smooth out large folds and creases, remove fine furrows and wrinkles,
and plump the lips. They can also be used to improve the appearance of scars
that have recessed. They won't restore elasticity to extremely slack skin and
the filler is eventually broken down and absorbed by the body. Bruising and
swelling usually occur. Infection, clot formation, allergic reactions, and
other adverse effects are risks of the procedure.
injections block muscular nerve signals, weakening the muscle and stopping it
from moving. Moving these facial muscles cause skin to wrinkle when we smile,
frown, and produce other facial expressions. It’s a short procedure done
in-office. An experienced, trained professional will inject the toxin into
specific facial muscles depending on where the problem area is. The procedure
minimizes wrinkles and keeps them from becoming more deeply etched into our
use of Botox allows a range of facial movement. Overreliance on it can produce
an unnatural, frozen look. Risks are similar to those of dermal fillers. If an
inexperienced practitioner places the injections at the wrong site, it can
cause an eyelid or corner of the mouth to droop until the product's paralyzing
effect wears off in several weeks.
is a technique in which the skin's surface is brushed to remove acne scars, age
spots, fine wrinkles, and other imperfections. The procedure is performed by a
dermatologist or cosmetic surgeon on an outpatient basis. The top layers of the
skin are removed during the procedure, and the resulting abrasion looks and
feels something like a full-face carpet burn. The red skin forms a crust as it
heals. In a week or two the skin becomes a smooth pink. If the skin is deeply
pitted by chickenpox or acne, sometimes dermabrasion is combined with small
skin grafts called "punch grafts." Dermal fillers can also be used to
Dermabrasion does carry risks, including:
- overgrowth of scar tissue
- too much or too little pigment in
the resurfaced skin
Microdermabrasion is a more superficial procedure that
requires several treatments and produces less dramatic results.
way to remove the top layers of the skin is to apply a chemical irritant. A
chemical peel is a somewhat less aggressive technique than dermabrasion, and
its effects may not be as impressive or long lasting. The risks of the
procedure are similar to those of dermabrasion. Chemical peels should be
applied by a dermatologist or other licensed professional. There will often be
post-peel care that you adhere to. A dermatologist will help you with at-home
care for skin recovery after your peel.
Laser resurfacing is another option to treat your skin.
A surgical laser can be used to target specific areas of the skin for
resurfacing. The most common lasers are a carbon dioxide laser, and an erbium
laser. Lasers are also useful for tattoo and hair removal. They can improve the
appearance of spider veins in the cheeks or near the nose. They might not be
appropriate for those with darker skin. The procedure carries virtually the
same risks as dermabrasion, with the additional risk of accidental eye injury.
If non-surgical options have not worked for you, surgical
removal might be the best choice. Moles and raised,
reddish birthmarks can usually be removed, depending on their size and
location. Removal generally leaves a scar, which can make you even more
self-conscious than before. In most people, these small surgical scars tend to
fade and shrink over time. Removal can be done in one or two office visits. If
you suspect a mole is cancerous, talk to your dermatologist immediately. Signs
of a cancerous mole include a change in a mole's borders, color, texture, size,
or symmetry, or if the mole bleeds or changes in any way.
Different skin conditions require different treatments. Not
every treatment will be right for every patient. Most treatments have side
effects, which need to be considered in comparison to how you feel without the
treatment. If you are considering any treatment for acne scars or age spots,
talk with your doctor about seeing a dermatologist. The dermatologist can help
you make the right decision for you.