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Ezine 34 September 2005

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Skin Care Tip:

Benefits of Getting Regular Facials

Most people today are looking for the easy way out, the do-it-yourself treatment that is cheap, easy and performed at home.  This is convenient for both women and men working long hours, raising families, taking on housework and chores, driving the kids to and from sports practice, school and social activities.  Unfortunately, our busy lives not only create stress, but we are also losing that sense of touch from others.  Getting pampered, whether it is a facial, massage, manicure or pedicure, is especially important to those who have extra stress in our lives.  One benefit of getting regular facials is time to yourself.  There is calming music, you are improving your mood through the power of touch and your skin is being cleansed-all at once.   

Our skin is the largest organ, which performs several functions including protecting us from foreign substances and serving as a gatekeeper releasing toxins from our bodies.  Facials are beneficial treatments to rejuvenate and nourish your skin by stimulating blood circulation.  Blood brings oxygen to the skin’s surface, which is essential to cell growth by removing toxins and helping to rid the skin of any impurities.  The skin’s muscle fibers are also being strengthened, toned and nourished by massage, which helps to slow the aging process.  Facials consist of a deep skin treatment that cleanses, re-hydrates and rejuvenates the skin.  Facials also help to minimize skin acne, dry skin and wrinkles.  It is best to begin facial treatments in your mid to late 20’s, unless you are a teenager who suffers from acne.

 Getting regular facials is both beneficial and relaxing and includes two major benefits:

The first and obvious is the deep facial cleansing you get from regularly seeing an Aesthetician.  After having your skin analyzed to determine your skin type, facial steaming, cleansing masks, and extractions all help to remove blackheads from the pores, which most people do not remove properly.  This is the best way to deep cleanse your skin without the risk of scarring.  Depending on your skin type, your Aesthetician will lead you in the right direction with regards to proper skin care.  Your aesthetician will suggest different treatments and products.  Some people have encountered bad experiences from spas and salons.  This should not discourage you from finding someone else who best fits your needs and can help you achieve good results.  The ideal plan is to get facial treatments every 4 – 6 weeks.  Over a series of treatments, you will begin to notice improved complexion changes in your skin.

The second benefit is that Aestheticians analyze your skin, which can help recognize dangerous skin conditions and potential skin cancers.  Aestheticians check for changes in the skin each time you visit them.  They take notes and many work with Dermatologists or Plastic Surgeons where they can refer you to if they notice any suspicious lesions or moles.  Since you see your face on a day to day basis, you may not notice some harmful skin lesions or conditions that recently occurred on the skin’s surface.  Aestheticians are trained to recognize early signs of skin cancer, pathological skin conditions and the other warning signs.  Some Aestheticians may also use a “wood’s lamp” which can help see skin and age damage before it surfaces.   

Anti–aging Tip:

Omega 6 Fatty Acids

Omega-6 Fatty Acids are one of the two types of essential fatty acids we need to consume to stay healthy.  Omega-6 fatty acids belong to a group of “good fats” called Polyunsaturated fats and can be beneficial to your health.  Unfortunately, these “good fats” cannot be produced by the body.  The most beneficial Omega-6 fatty acids are ones that contains linoleic acid, which converts to gamma linoleic acid (GLA).  GLA eventually turns into hormone-like molecules to regulate inflammation and blood pressure as well as heart, gastrointestinal, and kidney functions.  Some good Omega-6 fatty acid food sources include cereals, eggs, poultry, most vegetable oils, whole-grain breads, baked goods and margarine.  Mediterranean diets are best to follow because they consume generous amounts of whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil and garlic and they consume minimal amounts of meat, which is extremely high in Omega-6 fatty acids.

Nutritionists have found out that in order to get the maximum benefits from both Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, you must consume a balance of the two.  Unfortunately, most of our diets are heavy in Omega-6 and lack in the Omega-3 fatty acids.  Consuming an excess of Omega-6 fatty acids can result in increased water retention, raised blood pressure and the increased risk of blood clotting.  The ideal ratio of Omega-6 versus Omega-3 fatty acids should be 3:1 (three Omega-6 to one Omega-3 fatty acids).  The imbalance of essential fatty acids contributes too many long-term diseases, including heart disease, cancer, asthma, arthritis and depression.  The average American diet provides more than 10 times the necessary amount of Omega-6 fatty acids and almost no Omega-3 fatty acids.  Most of our diets consist of processed foods and cooking oils which break down when heated.   

If you are to consume any supplements, it is important to discuss first with your physician.  Dietary supplements can interfere with certain medications.  People with seizure disorders should avoid any supplements containing Omega-6 or Omega-3 fatty acids.  Pregnant women should avoid consumption of Borage seed oil and other sources of gamma-linoleic acid because they may cause harm to the fetus and induce early labor.

Some dietary tips on how to boost your intake of Omega-3 fatty acids to make your consumption of essential fatty acids more complete: 

  • Use fresh seeds sprinkled on salads, such as hemp, pumpkin and sunflower.
  • Use nuts in salads or mixed with raisins as snacks, especially walnuts, pecans and hazelnuts.
  • Switch to whole-grain bread and pastas, as well as brown rice.
  • Eat whole-grain cereals, such as Shredded Wheat rather than refined cereal, such as Cornflakes.
  • Use cold-pressed seed oils in salad dressings, but make sure it’s fresh and has been packaged  in an opaque container so light won’t alter the oil.
  • Eat fatty fish a minimum of once a week, the best suggestions, mackerel, trout, unfarmed salmon and herring.
  • Avoid lowfat and diet foods and shakes for meals, these are low in essential fatty acids.
  • Choose free-range chicken and wild meats whenever possible, they contain higher amounts of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Choose organic, free-range eggs if you can.  Free foraging hens feed on natural food and lay eggs containing up to 30% more essential fatty acids.

Plastic Surgery Tip:

Skin Cancer Removal

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States and is increasing faster than other types of cancer.  Skin cancer can be found anywhere on the body, but a majority are found on the face, head, or neck.  The primary cause of skin cancer is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation or excessive sun exposure and other types of artificial sun (such as tanning booths).  Skin cancers are not only dangerous, but they can be extremely disfiguring and cause deep, ugly scars if not treated in time.  Everyone is at risk for skin cancer, no matter what skin type, race, or age.  Your risk of skin cancer is greater if:

  • Your skin is fair and freckles easily.
  • You have light-colored eyes and hair.
  • You have a large number of moles or moles of unusual size and shape.
  • You have a family history of skin cancer or a personal history of blistering sunburn.
  • You spend a lot of time working or playing outdoors.
  • You live close to the equator, at a higher altitude, or anyplace that gets year-round sunshine.
  • You received therapeutic radiation treatments for adolescent acne.

Types of Skin Cancers

The first and most common type of skin cancer is Basal Cell Carcinoma.  Basal cell is the least dangerous kind that grows slowly and rarely spreads beyond its original site.  Basal cell is seldom life-threatening, but if left untreated may grow deeper beneath the skin and into the underlying tissues and bones, which will causes serious damage, especially if located near the eye.

The next most common type of skin cancer is Squamous Cell Carcinoma.  Squamous cell skin cancer frequently appears on the lips, face or ears and can spread to distant sites, including lymph nodes and internal organs.  Squamous cell can become life-threatening if not treated.

The third and most deadliest type of skin cancer is Malignant Melanoma.  Malignant melanoma is the least common, but its incidence is rapidly increasing, especially in states that receive year-round sunshine.  Malignant melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, but if discovered early enough, can be cured.  If it is not treated quickly enough, malignant melanoma may spread through the body and may result in death.

How to Recognize Skin Cancers

Basal and Squamous cell skin cancers can vary in appearance.  It may begin as a small, white or pink nodule or bump and can be shiny, waxy or pitted on the surface.  It may also appear as a red spot that is rough, dry and scaly, a firm red lump that forms a crust, a sore that bleeds, a non-healing lesion or a white patch that resembles scar tissue. 

Malignant melanoma is signaled by a change in the size, shape or color of an existing mole or as a new growth on normal skin.  The best way to watch for warning signs is “ABCD”:  A -asymmetry, a growth with unmatched halves.  B - Border irregularity, ragged or blurred edges.  C – Color, a mottled appearance with shades of tan, brown, or black sometimes mixed with red, blue, or white.  D – Diameter, a growth more than 6 millimeters across (about the size of a pencil eraser) or an unusual increase in size.  All you need to remember is to keep an eye on your skin from head to toe (including your back).  If you notice any unusual moles or growths, consult a plastic surgeon.  Plastic surgeons can remove the growth in a manner that maintains function and offers the most pleasing post-appearance. 

Diagnosis and Treatment of Skin Cancers

Your plastic surgeon will perform a biopsy of the suspicious area and have the lesion sent to the Lab where it will be tested under a microscope.  Once the results have come back, depending on the location of the cancer and the size, your surgeon will determine whether to perform the procedure in the office or in a surgical center or hospital. 

For small skin cancers, the procedure can be performed quickly and easily.  The procedure usually involves a simple excision, leaving a thin, barely visible scar.  For larger cancers or if the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes or anywhere else in the body, a larger surgery would be performed. 

All of the treatments have a good cure ratio for both Basal and Squamous cell cancers and even Malignant melanoma if caught early enough. 

Prevention of Skin cancers

After being diagnosed and treated from Skin cancer, you should continue with follow up visits with a physician to ensure the cancer hasn’t returned or more moles or cancers have occurred.  It’s now up to you to prevent a recurrence of skin cancers by changing old habits and developing new ones.   

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, especially between 10am and 3pm, especially during the summer time.  Also remember that ultraviolet rays penetrate through clouds and water and reflect off sand and snow.
  • When you are outside for extended periods of time, wear protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves.
  • On unexposed skin, use sunblock with SPF of at least 20.  Reapply every 1 – 2 hours, especially after swimming or sweating.
  • Examine your skin regularly.  If you notice anything suspicious, consult your plastic surgeon as soon as possible.

To see before and after patient pictures, please click here.

During your consult with Dr. Speron, the patient will discuss their desired goals on an individual level.  Then they will further discuss the course of treatment and potential complications at the appointment time. Please check out the wealth of information on our site by clicking here.

Make sure you chose a board certified plastic surgeon.  A call to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons or ASPS at 1-888-4-PLASTIC (ie. 1-888-475-2784) can tell you which doctors are legitimate plastic surgeons with outstanding qualifications.  You can also visit the ASPS web site at The ASPS is the only one of the 24 boards approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties that certifies physicians in plastic surgery of the face and all areas of the body. 

To help you in making your decision, please click here to check out the 7 critical questions to ask any plastic surgeon before letting them touch you!

By far, the most important factor in the success of your procedure is the surgeon you choose.  So please choose wisely...