Now a billion-dollar trade, the medical and surgical cosmetic procedures industry is rapidly growing and changing. Non-surgical procedures have more than doubled in the last decade.
Dermatologists have completed four additional years of training above that required for a medical degree. They are ideally placed to provide cosmetic procedures with their unrivalled understanding of skin and its micro anatomy.
Dr Greg Goodman, Melbourne based dermatologist, Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists and Chair of the Australian Society of Cosmetic Dermatologists shares his insights into some of the more common cosmetic procedures and offers some important considerations to ponder before you sign up for a procedure.
Here is a list of four common cosmetic procedures that are particularly well treated by a dermatologist:
1. Botox® – also termed Botulinum toxin, is amongst the deadliest substances on Earth. However, Botox® is a purified complex, and may be used for a number of medical indications including relief for muscle spasm, migraines and movement disorders. Cosmetic dermatologists frequently administer Botox® for temporary improvement in the appearance of wrinkles, frowns and other facial lines and crow’s feet in adults.
2. Fillers – can be used to restore shape and volume to the face, as well as lip augmentation. A very fine needle is used to ‘fill’ the wrinkle, line or skin depression. Examples of fillers include: collagen – suitable for deep lines and scars, hyaluronic acid – suitable for thin surface lines e.g. around the mouth and forehead and fat injections – fat tissue is taken from another part of the body, sterilised and injected into the facial line or wrinkle using a fine needle. The wrinkle-smoothing effects of most dermal fillers are temporary and regular treatments are needed to maintain the effect.
3. Chemical peels – are designed to correct a variety of problems including sun damage, mild scarring, removal of fine wrinkles and improvement in irregular pigmentation. Several layers of damaged skin cells are removed with the application of the chemical peel to reveal a newer and more evenly coloured and textured fresh layer of skin. A chemical peel may be combined with other procedures to improve contour and texture of skin.
4. Laser resurfacing –There are two types of laser resurfacing (fractional and fully ablative). In fractional laser resurfacing the tissue is left intact and only a fraction of the skin’s surface is affected causing micro injury. The body responds to the multiple induced tiny injuries of the skin by removing the damaged tissue and replacing it with healthy, new, non-damaged skin cells. It is useful for the treatment of acne scars and skin rejuvenation. In fully ablative laser resurfacing on the other hand, the entire skin’s surface is treated and is more effective for treating extensive sun damage on facial skin and lips, as well as thickened skin such as in rhinophyma (a thickening of the nose skin in a type of rosacea).
“Dermatologists have an intimate knowledge of the skin and are therefore uniquely placed to deliver effective and safe cosmetic services (e.g. laser therapy, muscle relaxants and fillers). If you are considering have a cosmetic procedure, seek the help and advice of your dermatologist,” said Dr Goodman.
Dr Greg Goodman is an Associate Professor at Monash University, Melbourne, Chair of the Australasian Society of Cosmetic Dermatologists and head of the task force of the Australasian College of Dermatologists in the provision of higher education in cosmetic dermatology. He has been a practising dermatologist for more than two decades. He has a keen interest in skin cancers, Mohs micrographic surgery, lasers in dermatology, cosmetic dermatology, facial ageing and the treatment of acne and acne scarring.
The Australasian College of Dermatologists is Australia’s leading authority for dermatology – aiming to raise community awareness of dermatology issues, to encourage people to prioritise their skin health. For more information on common cosmetic dermatology procedures visit www.dermcoll.edu.au.