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Skin Care’s New Complexion

It is an exciting time to be a dermatologist who has lots of good news for patients. In fact, it’s a whole new day in the arena of skin care, because we now have sophisticated technology and many new advances in rejuvenation of skin and combating premature aging.

The majority of women in their 30s and 40s can significantly improve the appearance of their skin through non-surgical options.  There are myriad approaches today that simply were not readily available 10 years ago. Today women can extend their healthy, youthful appearance and erase many blemishes from sun damage and other signs of aging in just a few visits to a dermatologist.

Cosmetic Advances

Botox and collagen injections are used to smooth lines and fill in wrinkles in the face and neck to restore a more youthful appearance.  Areas on the face most commonly treated are the nasolabial folds — the smile lines around the mouth, as well as the marionette lines.  Results are visible within one to five days and last from six to nine months, with subsequent treatments lasting longer.

Fillers such as Restylane and Juvaderm ultra plus are used to restore volume and subsequently smooth wrinkles and folds in the ‘parenthesis’ around the mouth known as nasolabial folds.  Restalyne and juvaderm are made of hyaluronic acid, a complex sugar jelly found naturally in the body; these gel dermal fillers also can smooth out lipstick lines and plump up lips that thin with age or simply be used for enhancement of lips in younger patients.

Treating Skin Conditions

There have been significant advances in the treatment of numerous  skin conditions.  Among them is intense pulsed light (IPL), a technology that can greatly reduce age spots (brown spots)  and rosacea ( flushing and redness of the face caused by broken capillaries).  Through short and rapid pulses of light, the IPL treatment targets problem areas, yet because the light is filtered to remove any ultraviolet components, UV skin damage is avoided.

For common skin ailments such as eczema and psoriasis, individualized consultation with a dermatologist will produce the most effective prescriptive regimen. Since skin types vary and skin diseases present uniquely in everyone, a doctor can provide information and education about appropriate skin care to reduce or prevent flare-ups.  In my practice at Riverside Medical Clinic, I work with patients to educate them about proper skin regimen of topical creams and sunscreens in addition to proper hydration and diet .  Research has shown that Omega 3 fatty acid rich foods as well as foods rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C are important to achieving healthy-appearing skin.

There are also several new biologic agents that are highly effective in treating psoriasis, but all treatments have side effects and should be tailored to suit individual lifestyles.  The best treatment in the world won’t work if my patients are unable or unwilling to follow the regimen I prescribe them, so I tailor each treatment to individual patients for best results.

I am concerned that so many patients do not understand how much can be done to alleviate acne, a highly common condition that is best treated in its milder, earlier stages.  We have so many options to offer acne patients, but sadly many people wait far too long to seek treatment.  Topical prescriptions and chemical peels are of great benefit in treating blemishes.

Chemical peels are also helpful in reducing signs of melasma, darkening of the skin from sun exposure and hormonal factors such as pregnancy and birth control pills.  While ‘lunchtime’ peels are quite popular, you can decide with your dermatologist what peel would work best for your skin type and condition.  Generally, the stronger the peel, the deeper penetration into the skin and the longer healing period required.

Skin Cancer

In Southern California, we see a lot of skin cancers on the face and neck.  In young people, particularly young athletes in outdoor sports such as baseball and soccer, we treat pre-cancers.  It is vital that parents educate their children – from a very young age – about the importance of wearing sunscreen daily and reapplying it often when outdoors.

It is important to get an annual skin exam with a dermatologist.  If you have a suspicious lesion that is changing in size or color, get a doctor’s consultation as soon as possible.

Healthy, vibrant skin is now more possible than ever, thanks to so many new advances in the field of dermatology.  A dermatologist can provide you with more information about the techniques that will benefit you and your skin type, so you can look your radiant best.

Dr. Bita Bagheri is a dermatologist at Riverside Medical Clinic.  She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School . She conducted her internship at the University of Utah and her residency at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Her practice is located at 7160 Brockton Avenue and she can be contacted at (951) 782-3837.

Riverside Medical Clinic is the largest private provider of ambulatory care in the Inland Empire.  If you’d like to find a general physician or a specialist, call the clinic’s Customer Relations department at (951) 782-3602 or go to  “http://www.riversidemedicalclinic.com” http://www.riversidemedicalclinic.com ; for an online physician directory by location and specialty.