The New Age of Beauty

by Amy Chovan
Photos courtesy of Soderstrom Skin Institute

It’s not a new idea to try to look your best. For thousands of years, women, especially, have used the latest methods to cover up imperfections and accentuate their finer features. While makeup and creams have been the primary tools for several generations, Dr. Carl Soderstrom, founder of Soderstrom Skin Institute, claims that there are now more advanced ways to make people beautiful.

In this day and age, the march of technology can be seen in nearly every industry, and skin care is no different. Research has shown which chemicals make the most effective peels for restoring youthful-looking skin, and tools now exist that allow tattoos to be removed with a decreased risk of scarring. With developments in every aspect of skin care, you no longer have to rely on makeup and creams to put your best face forward. Here are some ways to bring your skin care into the 21st century.

What’s Your Skin Type?
Because everyone’s skin is different, skin typing is an important first step to ensure you’re using the right products. In skin typing, patients fill out short questionnaires, which provide the information needed for professionals to determine a person’s skin type and help customize their skin care regimen. In general, good care consists of cleansing skin, treating its imperfections, hydrating it with moisturizers, protecting skin from the sun, and applying anti-aging products to keep skin looking young and vibrant. Soderstrom Skin Institute began offering free skin typing in 2008 in celebration of “35 years of beauty,” and it has shown many men and women that skin care isn’t one size fits all.

The Lunch Break Treatment
Microdermabrasion is a noninvasive way to improve skin quality and fade imperfections in a short amount of time. A great option for those who find it difficult to make time for skin care, microdermabrasion is often called the “lunch break treatment” because it only takes 30 minutes. Makeup can be applied immediately after the procedure, allowing patients to return to work or their normal routine directly afterwards.

During microdermabrasion, a fine mist of exfoliating crystals is swept across the skin as a gentle vacuum removes the old skin cells. Not only does the procedure slough away the old cells, it stimulates the growth of new skin cells, resulting in improved skin texture. While results are noticeable after only one treatment, the best results are obtained through a series of treatments.

Microdermabrasion has proven to be beneficial in diminishing large pores or acne scars, reducing fine lines and wrinkles, stretch marks, and the severity and frequency of acne breakouts. 

Peel Away the Old
Chemical peels provide a noninvasive way to restore wrinkled, blemished, unevenly pigmented or sun-damaged skin. According to Dr. Soderstrom, these chemical solutions peel away the top layer of the skin and allow new cells to form, producing softer, smoother, tighter and younger-looking skin.

Just as there are different grades of creams and lotions, there are different grades and types of chemical peels. Glycolic acid is the main ingredient in glycolic peels, the most popular chemical peel at Skin Dimensions Day Spa. An alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), glycolic acid comes from sugar canes and has been proven to be the most effective AHA for cosmetic skin care. “Glycolic peels have been popular for quite some time,” noted Soderstrom. The best results come from a series of glycolic peels, which “can be used in conjunction with acne treatment, chemical resurfacing, laser resurfacing and cosmetic plastic surgery,” he said.

While glycolic peels are the most popular, other chemical peels are available, such as Jessner’s and trichloroacetic (TCA) peels. Most chemical peels are beneficial for people with small skin imperfections looking for a smoother texture and more even color. But for those looking to treat coarse wrinkles, severely sun-damaged skin or precancerous growths, phenol acid peels may be the best option. Because these are more intense treatments, physicians should be consulted to discuss the risks, benefits and expected results.

21st Century Skin Care
Used in applications from manufacturing and defense to commerce and medicine, it’s no surprise that lasers have found their place in cosmetic procedures. Soderstrom Skin Institute uses lasers in facial resurfacing treatments to smooth wrinkles and lighten blemishes, acne scars and pigment spots. Lasers can also be used to remove stubborn warts; restore droopy eyelids; tighten faces; and treat conditions like psoriasis, blood vessel angiomas and telangiectasias.

One of the most frequent requests, said Soderstrom, is the treatment of leg and face veins. Many instances of unsightly veins can in fact be treated with lasers, which tend to produce less bruising than more traditional options.

Laser hair reduction treatment is another common procedure. Utilizing the latest technology, the growth of hair on the lips, chins, underarms and bikini lines is diminished. By penetrating the skin, laser beams apply light and heat to hair follicles, thinning and lightening the hairs or making them completely disappear. For optimal results, several treatments are generally required.

If you no longer dig that tattoo you got 20 years ago, you may be interested to know that lasers can produce amazing results when removing tattoos. Older treatments, like dermabrasion and salabrasion, tend to leave scars in place of the tattoos, while laser treatments are less likely to do so. Requiring several treatments spaced at least two months apart, this method involves penetrating the skin with a laser beam to vaporize the ink, some of which is then absorbed by the body. Depending on the tattoo and how it was applied, you may not even be able to tell it was ever there at all.

According to Dr. Soderstrom, laser treatments offer improved therapeutic results over other techniques used to treat many skin imperfections and abnormalities. By removing one layer of skin at a time, laser procedures are safer and more effective. With a reduced risk of infection and very little bleeding, these precisely controlled treatments require no stitches and are performed as outpatient procedures. a&s