What’s your skin goal? If your instant answer was “perfect skin” then you probably have a few skin-related concerns that can’t be resolved by over-the-counter products. The good news is that what drug store creams and serums can’t accomplish, your local dermatologist can easily manage. At Vibrant Dermatology & Skinbar MD in Dedham, MA, we know that cosmetic dermatology is an important step in your search for skin perfection.
What Is Cosmetic Dermatology?
Cosmetic dermatology is a branch of dermatology that handles largely superficial skin concerns through non-invasive, non-surgical cosmetic treatments. This type of dermatology is performed by estheticians who are trained in how to treat superficial skin concerns, which are blemishes and surface problems that don’t necessitate medical treatment from a dermatologist.
What Is the Difference Between Cosmetic Dermatology and Medical Dermatology?
In general, you can think of cosmetic dermatology as “spa-like” treatments such as facials, IPL treatments, or injectables. Cosmetic treatments are concerned mainly with improving the appearance and texture of the skin, while medical dermatology is concerned with the health of the skin. While you may want to use both medical and cosmetic treatments to improve the appearance of your skin, the truth is that many of the treatments used for each of these specialties are not interchangeable.
For example, treating acne can be done with both medical and cosmetic treatments. However, the treatment of eczema, psoriasis, and skin lesions can’t always be managed with cosmetic treatments and will require medical intervention. In other words, medical dermatology focuses on the health of the skin, while cosmetic dermatology focuses on beauty.
What Problems Can Cosmetic Treatments Address?
Cosmetic concerns are generally superficial skin concerns, which can have two meanings. The first meaning can refer to superficial concerns being related to those that are only visual, and not necessarily medical concerns. A good example of a superficial concern is fine lines and wrinkles or unwanted hair on the body, neither of which are harmful to the health of the skin.
The second meaning for superficial concerns can be those that are on the upper layers of the skin. Some beauty concerns really are only “skin deep” and superficial concerns are generally mild enough that they can be resolved with simple treatments that rejuvenate the appearance of the skin. Examples of this type of superficial skin concern may be post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from acne or dry skin. The full list of superficial concerns that can be cosmetically treated include:
- Fine lines and wrinkles
- Skin laxity
- Skin volume loss
- Dry or rough skin
- Red or sensitive skin
- Acne and acne scarring
- Enlarged pores
- Skin and vein lesions
- Unwanted hair
- Dark spots or sun spots
What Causes Superficial Skin Concerns?
Some superficial skin concerns are caused by the natural aging process or sun damage, which causes about 90% of superficial age-related concerns. Superficial skin concerns can also be caused by hormones, such as acne, or by other factors. Sometimes, because superficial skin concerns are primarily visual problems, there is no specific “cause” for concerns.
What Are Popular Cosmetic Dermatology Treatments?
There are cosmetic treatments to address every superficial concern – and many of these treatments can treat multiple concerns at once. The most popular treatments at our clinic include:
The Aqua Facial is a gold-star facial that cleanses, exfoliates, and extracts pollutants from your skin for an all-over rejuvenating facial experience. This treatment is commonly paired with an infusion of specialty hydrating serums to treat additional skin concerns. Not only can this treatment help manage acne and improve your skin tone, but this facial can also promote younger-looking skin as well.
Injectable treatments are non-invasive treatments that are administered via a small, thin needle to specific areas of the face where you have concerns, such as wrinkles, acne scars, or other superficial concerns. Injectables can include neurotoxins, dermal fillers, and other treatments.
Neurotoxin injectables are treatments like Botox and Xeomin, which are injected into facial muscles to relax the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles on the face. Botox can be used on multiple areas of the face for the treatment of bunny lines, gummy smiles, and tense neckbands.
Dermal fillers include injectables such as Juvederm, Radiesse, Restylane, and Sculptra. Each of these dermal fillers can help restore lost volume on the face, particularly in the cheeks or other areas where the skin has grown lax as a natural result of aging. Dermal fillers can be used for contouring the appearance too, such as augmenting the shape of the lips.
Kybella is a unique injectable formulated with deoxycholic acid and can permanently dissolve unwanted fat beneath the chin. As the first of its kind, Kybella is a treatment that can be used by most people who have a double chin.
Intense Pulsed Light treatments are cousins to laser treatments but largely work by using different wavelengths of light to stimulate activity in the skin. Some IPL treatments can be used to kill acne-causing bacteria, while others can fade the appearance of hyperpigmentation and dark spots.
Laser treatments also use light wavelengths to address superficial concerns, but they are generally more powerful than light treatments. A laser treatment can improve the appearance of sun damage, dark spots, spider veins, and much more. Laser treatments can also be used to remove unwanted hair from the face or body.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that can remove spider veins and varicose veins. Using a salt-based solution, sclerotherapy involves injecting affected veins to damage vein walls; once the vein has collapsed, it will be naturally absorbed by the body and spider veins and varicose veins will disappear.
Radiofrequency microneedling is a powerful treatment that combines the thermal penetration of radiofrequency with the micro-channels of microneedling to encourage skin regeneration from the inside out. RF microneedling is commonly used to treat a variety of superficial concerns, from wrinkles and dark spots to enlarged pores and more.
How Many Treatments Will You Need?
It’s common for cosmetic treatments to require multiple appointments to produce optimal results. In fact, some treatments will require regular treatments to maintain the health and appearance of the skin. This is particularly true for treating acne and fine lines.
How Long Will Results Last?
The longevity of your results will depend on the treatment that you are using. For example, neurotoxins produce results that last for three to four months, while dermal fillers can produce results that last for six to 12 months or even longer. Facials, on the other hand, may only have results that last for one month, and some laser treatments can have permanent results.
Are You a Good Candidate for Cosmetic Dermatology?
Most people are good candidates for cosmetic treatments, particularly if patients have one or more superficial skin concern that is negatively impacting their self-esteem. We see patients of all genders and ages who are looking for solutions to their skin concerns. Cosmetic treatments can be used to address mild, moderate, and severe treatments. It’s also common to combine cosmetic and medical dermatology to treat your skin and promote a better skin appearance.
Naturally, to determine which treatment is right for your needs, you will need to attend a consultation appointment. During your consultation, we will analyze your skin type and skin concerns to pinpoint the treatments that will be most successful in refining and rejuvenating the appearance of your skin. We may also make recommendations of the type of skincare products you should use between treatments to maintain skin health.
Love the Look of Your Skin With Cosmetic Dermatology
If you want to achieve your “perfect skin” goals, then you need to use treatments that will promote the health and appearance of your skin. When it comes to treating superficial concerns, cosmetic treatments are the ideal solution.