Hopefully, this summer you will get some time off to relax and enjoy yourself. Maybe you get to go on holiday to some exotic locale, or get a little R and R in your own backyard. Either way, you may also be thinking that now is your chance to do a little beauty maintenance while you have some downtime. You were thinking about visiting a spa or your dermatologists/doctor’s office to scratch your “I’ve-been-meaning-to-do this” off of your list. Great! The fact is that most of us will show a little more skin in the summer than normal, so it had better be pretty!
Our Executive Director, Sara D., sat down with Dr. Sharyn Laughlin, a dermatologist who specializes in laser medicine, about what we can and can’t do in terms of beauty procedures during these hot summer days.
Sara D.: Let’s start with the absolute no-no’s for the summer. What can’t I do and why?
Dr. Laughlin: Well in terms of procedures, unfortunately a lot of laser based-ones are not a good idea because of the possibility that you may have a tan, even a mild one. Ideally, people are being vigilant about their sunscreen use, staying in the shade and wearing hats and UV protective clothing. But I don’t kid myself- we can’t be perfect all the time and the fact is that you might get a little bit of colour in these sun filled months. Any hint of a tan can raise the chance of complications with procedures like hair removal or IPL photo-facials that are meant to remove brown and red tones. Those procedures focus on either the pigment in the hair that you are looking to get rid of or the pigment in the skin in the way of freckles or some ‘age spots’. The laser will instead pick up the melanin in the skin in the way of your tan and get too hot. That is how people get burns from these procedures that can lead to scarring or hyperpigmentation, i.e. browning.
Sara D.: That does not sound like fun.
Dr. Laughlin: No…At our clinic, we will turn people away if we think they have a hint of a tan and are looking to do one of those procedures. It’s not worth the risk. Even if the hyperpigmentation is temporary, it still takes a while to fade with the right skin care products. I also warn people if they have appointments booked in the fall but we get an extended summer to be careful. You have to be super vigilant about your sunscreen, keep the area out of the sun as much as possible and you can use an exfoliator with something like a 5% or higher concentration of glycolic acid.
Sara D.: So a lot of light based procedures are out, what can I do then?
Dr. Laughlin: If you are someone who would like to try or does use Botox TM
or fillers, then there is no issue. Just make sure that you go to someone credentialed. A physician can delegate it to other staff members of theirs but they need to be available and are ultimately responsible for your care. Ask them how long they have been injecting it. Ask to see a certificate of training from the company who makes the product. Ask to see pictures of their past work. Ask your friends for a referral. Just remember to that it is still a medical procedure so if you are doing it at a kiosk in the mall, I would rethink that.
Sara D.: What about things that you might do at a spa or medi-spa?
Dr. Laughlin: You can still do most of your facials. I am against the idea of doing extractions, summer or not, because I think the chance of scarring or damaging the pore is too high. Feel free to go for a ‘feel-good’ facial though.
Sara D.: What about people who have melasma? I know for them the summer must be really hard to keep their melasma from getting darker? What should they be doing?
Dr. Laughlin: You can do a microdermabrasion or even a mild chemical peel but remember that by removing the dead most outter-part of the skin, you are taking away its ability to protect itself from the sun. People with melasma have already developed what I call a sun-abstinent lifestyle. Like people who have had a run in with any form of skin cancer, they know that they cannot ‘mess’ around with sun protection. Use the highest concentration of zinc that you can, it can still be aesthetic, i.e. not Caspar the ghost white. Wear a big hat with big sunglasses. You will look very old-school glamorous. I also love UV protective clothing- Sulumbra or Coolbar have some really nice looking options.
|Keep your Nails Pretty minus the Nail Infections
Sara D.: Any other final things we can think about doing, maybe things that we would not normally think of?
Dr. Laughlin: Well, these might not be the sexiest of all topics but we have some pretty good options for treating toe nail fungus or resistant warts on your hands and feet.
Sara D.: I could see people wanting that- especially as this is the time for all the mani’s and pedi’s.
Dr. Laughlin: Unfortunately, sometimes it’s those mani’s and pedi’s that can give us the nail infections. Typically, the nail looks yellow and flakey. It used to be that people would have to take medication that was expensive and had side effects. There is now a laser that can treat it. The same goes for what we call recalcitrant warts, i.e. the warts that will not go away after using the home-care kits or having your doctor freeze them off. Ask your physician if you can get a referral to see someone with the right laser to treat those issues. You’d be surprised how many people it bothers.
Sara D.: Fair enough, thanks for answering all of our questions. We’ll do our best to pass along any that may come up through our reader’s posts. I hope everyone enjoys the rest of their summer, and write in with any other questions.
All the best,