you need to know about your skin in
order to make the informed choices if
you are considering cosmetic re-surfacing
of your skin:
It is important to realise several
- Your skin consists of two layers:
the outer epidermis and the inner
dermis and below the skin lies subcutaneous
fat and soft tissues.
- As cells move from the deeper epidermis
outwards they die and slough off.
Epidermal cells contain keratin (preventing
moisture both from entering and escaping).
Other cells in the skin make a pigment
called melanin, which is your only
natural protection against sun damage.
- The dermis is a thicker and contains
structural and elastic proteins as
well as glands; hair follicles; nerve
endings and blood vessels.
- The subcutaneous layer or hypodermis,
which is mostly fat, act as a cushion
to protect and insulate you thermally.
- Many factors combine to age your
- Cumulative sun exposure is a
major determinant of how your
skin ages ' damaging both
the epidermis and dermis.
- Smoking damages and ages the
skin prematurely by damaging the
small blood vessels in the dermis
and damaging the collagen protein
and elastic fibres there.
- Your genetic make up is a major
determinant of how you appear
to age, with some us luckier than
- Poor nutrition will prematurely
age your skin, as will excessive
- Drugs and medications that you
take will also have an effect
on your skin
Broadly speaking this is radical exfoliation
and involves removing the outer layers
of the epidermis and in so doing, stimulating
re-growth and re-modelling in both the
dermis and the epidermis.
In modern cosmetic practice, this can
be effected either with a laser or chemical
treatments applied to the skin: in both
cases your skin is being burned in a
controlled way to remove the outer layers,
whilst leaving enough in the deeper
epidermal layers to re-populate the
outer surface. In trained hands, this
is generally a safe treatment, but even
in the best hands complications occur,
and at those times, a distinct advantage
of being treated by an accredited Consultant
Plastic Surgeon, is that you are being
treated by someone who has been trained
for many years to manage people with
thermal and chemical burns to the skin.
This involves using a carbon dioxide
or an erbium YAG laser to remove the
outer layers of your skin. This is a
is a good way to remove superficial
wrinkles on the cheeks and around the
It is not suitable if you have taken
Roaccutane™ in the past 12 - 18
months or are prone to adverse scar
formation (keloid or hypertrophic scarring).
Nor is it suitable if you have an active
skin infection on the area to be treated.
If you have had oral herpes, but do
not have an outbreak when you are being
treated, I will cover the treatment
period with a course of Acyclovir™
The best candidates for laser resurfacing
have fair, healthy, non-oily skin and
have fine wrinkles around the lips,
eyes and cheeks. Patients with darker
skins have an increased risk of pigmentation
changes after laser resurfacing.
This is skin rejuvenation
treatment that combines a skin peel
with Intense Pulsed Light of suitable
wavelength and power to produce very
mild, reversible, thermal damage to
the epidermis. When the body repairs
this damage subsequently, the rate of
production of collagen in the dermis
of the skin is increased which, to a
variable degree, effaces fine lines
and wrinkles and improves the appearance
and texture of your skin. It may also
improve your complexion and make the
pigmentation of your skin more uniform.
This is a weak acid which when
used in different concentrations can
be used to rejuvenate facial wrinkles
(cheeks, eyes, lips) and to flatten
and de-accentuate, and often remove,
eyelid xanthelasma ' the yellow-white
plaques deposited in the skin around
the eyes of people who have raised serum
This peel is the most effective
skin treatment available outside the
operating theatre and can achieve dramatic
results. It can dramatically improve
the appearance of acne scarring, fine
wrinkles, uneven pigmentation and sun
damage to leave your skin healthy and