Beauty is Only Skin Deep, But Hi-Tech Repairs Are Better

05/30/2008 11:22 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Doctors wielding the most recent technological advances have reported great strides in the repair of age ravaged skin. More dated methods have helped, but leave a lot to be desired. But time, as well as technology, march forward.

With an explosion in the cosmetic "injectible" market, many cosmetic surgeons are recognizing that beauty may indeed be only skin deep. "Regardless of surgical procedures and injections of fillers, if the skin looks older, so will the patient" says Manhattan plastic surgeon Jon Turk, MD. Desiring less invasive and lower downtime surgical procedures, Dr. Turk and other medical professionals have again explored the alternative procedures of skin resurfacing. It used to be that high powered lasers or very deep skin peels, with major healing times and potential complications, were the only way to achieve lasting results in terms of wrinkle reduction and complexion improvement. Then the pendulum swung all the way to non-ablative lasers and light skin peels, offering little or no down time but with minimal results. Well, the pendulum is in motion again. Two new treatment options offered by physicians like Dr. Turk promise the best of both worlds; that is, reasonable downtime and lasting results.

The first is Edge System's HydraFacial machine. It is a 45 minute to hour long procedure that is comprised of 3 treatments in one. First an exfoliating microdermabrasion that strips the dead skin from the surface and gets rid of small surface lesions. Next step, a deep cleansing HydraFacial procedure extracts debris from the pores and hydrates the skin. Finally, a superficial peel solution or human growth hormone serum is applied to the open pores for deeper penetration. The result is smooth, glowing, hydrated skin with instant results. There is no down time associated with this treatment and when it is performed repeatedly, the treatment will help improve skin texture, pore size, fine lines and pigment abnormalities. As Dr. Turk says, "once you have a HydraFacial treatment you will never want a conventional microdermabrasion, facial or skin peel again."

The second treatment option is designed for deeper wrinkles and "photoaging." Sun, the environment and time all act on the skin to cause surface and sub-surface changes. In order to reverse these changes a treatment must address both the outer layer of skin, the epidermis, and the inner layer known as the dermis. The Portrait PSR Nitrogen Plasma device from Rhytec Industries is not a laser, but gives laser-like results without the risks or extended downtime. "This revolutionary technology allows us to remove surface pigment while simultaneously bringing about collagen remodeling and tightening deeper in the dermis" explains Dr. Turk.

But you can't get results like these without some downtime. Healing times range from 4 to 7 days with the results often lasting for years. The procedure can be performed with topical anesthesia and light sedation in the doctor's office. Currently the device is being studied for neck skin tightening which is performed at lower energies, with minimal downtime and repeated treatments. It has also recently received FDA approval for the treatment of acne scarring.

Armed with better technology, plastic surgeons and dermatologists can offer as many options to smooth the skin as they do to plump it. And these options last longer, mend stronger and impose less "downtime" than other methods of the past.