One of the things I enjoy most about working in the area of esthetic and laser dermatology is the happiness and enthusiasm I see in patients when they look into the mirror and smile at their “new face”. Many patients will comment that the face they see after successful treatment is a face that looks happier, more relaxed and matches their image of their younger self.
The treatments I do in my laser practice are not about vanity, as some people frequently worry, but are actually all about empowerment. The treatments help people realize their potential and allow them to put their best forward in meeting the challenges of the world.
Unfortunately, the aging process which starts the day we are born becomes visible on our faces long before the remainder of our body catches up. The face certainly shows aging well before our minds and spirits are willing to accept the aging process.
There are many people that disparage these treatments as being vane and comment that we should all “grow old gracefully”. My experience as a doctor in this field has shown me that most people, especially baby boomers, do not accept this concept. In fact, they feel such a myopic view is irrelevant and outdated in light of advances in medical technology, and correctly so.
When age affects the face, it is frequently described as being tired, fatigued or drawn, and it certainly belies the energy and the essence of the person. There are certainly many benefits of maintaining a youthful appearance, especially the profound effect it has on the person’s mood and sense of energy.
The person’s self esteem is also given an equally positive reinforcement. I see this trend occurring frequently, especially in patients of all ages with acne that has been resistant to treatment. For better or for worse, we live in a very competitive culture as well as a society that is very youth oriented. I have more than a few patients tell me that they see their facial treatments as a business or career necessity because their job requires them to appear youthful, and they frequently feel that they are in competition with younger co-workers or adversaries for better sales or competitive positions.
I do admit that many even in the medical community have been very slow to incorporate some of the newer therapies into their medical practice, and frequently will disparage many of these treatments as “not real medicine”. However, my approach to such criticism is to only perform evidence-based treatments that actually show results. All the treatments that I have brought about thus far have substantial scientific evidence that support their efficacy, and the results are evident in the faces and satisfaction of the patients I treat.
As I have said in person to many patients in the past, our goal is to “turn back the clock”. Many times, we can do that substantially by 10 years or more, but it is important to remember that we cannot “stop the clock”. After treatments, there is a continuing need for taking care of your skin by avoiding environmental hazards and other elements that can prematurely age the face such as smoking and excessive sun exposure. Maintenance also includes moisturizing, maintaining good fluid and diet intake, and blocking the harmful effects of the sun.
Periodic maintenance, laser treatments and other remedies also will be necessary to maintain the effect depending on the “life span” of the treatments. I usually discuss individual treatments with each patient.
There is nothing that makes me happier than reversing a sign of aging or a skin condition that has been bothersome to a patient, and bringing back the glowing brilliance of the skin, giving it a more youthful appearance. I will certainly continue to discuss more detailed information, as I have in the past, in future blog posts.