How can I help rebuild collagen in my face?

We all lose collagen in our skin due to normal aging, UV exposure, and dietary habits, leading to wrinkles and less plump, youthful looking skin.  We lose about 1% per year starting in our mid-20s.

Collagen is the most abundant protein in connective tissue, including skin. The majority of it is in the dermal layer which provides structure to the skin. Collagen is also important for wound healing. The dermis is a deeper layer of the skin so collagen creams do not absorb well enough to penetrate to this layer and are not effective. Any result seen from creams is more from the moisturizing effects than from an actual collagen boost.

There is growing evidence that oral supplementation may increase collagen production in the skin, increasing skin elasticity, decreasing wrinkles, decreasing dryness and increasing blood flow to the skin.  Studies caution that there is a lack of regulation on the quality, absorption and efficacy of oral collagen products and more research is needed in this field, but in general oral collagen has been shown to be safe.

Dermatology providers typically rely more on procedures for stimulating collagen production, like fractionated lasers, IPL, and microneedling, and also injectable fillers. These procedures and products directly target the dermis which stimulates your own collagen production and they have a proven and safe track record. –Yara White, PA-C

Call us to talk options for boosting your collagen production – (540) 451-2833

Want gorgeous skin by spring? Plan these procedures during winter.

When your skin is protected by clothing and the sun’s rays are not as strong, winter might be the best time to treat your skin to a cosmetic procedure. Dr. Savola talks about the best skin treatments to get now so your skin will look its best by spring.

Treatment: Fraxel
What it does: Treats acne scarring, fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and reduction of melasma/sun spots.
Why do it in the winter: Fraxel used for scars/wrinkles usually results in an average of 3 days of redness and swelling, while Fraxel used for pigmentation results in rough darkened skin that peels off in an average of 5-7 days. “It is especially important for those treating melasma or sun spots to do this in the winter so they don’t reoccur,” says Dr. Savola. “Sun exposure, even in the smallest doses can cause the pigment to come back.”  The minor inflammation caused by the laser can also cause sensitivity to sunlight and risk of sunburn and pigmentary changes.  Also, summer heat can slow or impair healing, so it is best to do this procedure when the sun’s rays are not as strong.

Treatment: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
What it does: IPL is great for treating blood vessels, background redness/rosacea, acne and sun damage on the face, neck, chest and hands.  It can also be used for hair removal. Treatments typically are done every 3-4 weeks for an average of 4-6 treatments.  Though there is little downtime, sun protection is crucial to proper healing.  IPL is not ideal for darker skin types.
Why do it in the winter: IPL can be done any time of year, but it is ideal in the winter because most people spend less time outdoors.  Sunlight can lead to possible darkening of treated spots if sun avoidance isn’t practiced and rosacea is usually worsened by sun exposure.

Treatment: Photodynamic Therapy or Blue Light Therapy
What it does: This treatment improves the cosmetic appearance of sun damaged skin while also killing any pre-cancerous cells. A medication is applied to the entire face and soaks in for around an hour. Dr. Savola explains why: “The soaking allows any sun damaged skin and pre-cancerous cells to absorb the medicine, while the normal cells do not. We then use light to activate the medicine which kills the visibly damaged cells and microscopic pre-cancers.”
Why do it in the winter: Patients need to strictly avoid the sun since traces of the photosensitizer medication remain on the face for several days.

Treatment: Chemical Peels
What it does: Peels can be used for evening skin tone, acne, sun damage, and resurfacing.  There are different depths ranging from superficial which just target the outermost layer of the skin, to deep which targets the lower portion, the dermis.
Why do it in the winter: Superficial peels can be done any time of year, but in general all peels are best saved for the winter, especially for darker skin types.  “Many peeling solutions make you more sensitive to sun burn and can cause darkening on areas that are not protected,” explains Dr. Savola.

Treatment: Laser Hair Removal
What it does: Laser hair removal targets pigment in the hair follicle to reduce or eliminate regrowth of the hair. Treatments typically are done every 4-8 weeks for an average of 4-6 treatments.  The hair tends to grow back thinner and slower with each treatment so intervals may increase.
Why do it in the winter: “It is best done on untanned skin to reduce the risk of pigmentation after the treatment and increase the contrast between the hair follicle and normal skin,” says Dr. Savola. “Though there is little downtime, sun protection is crucial to proper healing.” 

Treatment: Sclerotherapy and Laser Vein Removal
What it does: 
Tiny veins on the legs can be treated with laser therapy, however larger ones may require an injection to help seal off unsightly veins, which is known as sclerotherapy.  Repeat treatment may be necessary to completely destroy  the vein.
Why do it in the winter: “Unfortunately it is very common to have hyperpigmentation that may last a few weeks after treatment of a vein so it is best done when legs are not exposed as much,” advises Dr. Savola.  “Also, it is recommended to wear compression stockings after treatment which is not ideal in the hot summer.”

Call now to schedule an appointment! 540.451.2833.

Don’t Gamble with Actinic Keratosis

The facts about actinic keratosis, or AK for short, can be scary:

  • It’s the most common precancer.
  • It affects more than 58 million Americans.
  • Left untreated, AKs may become life-threatening squamous cell carcinomas.

But it’s also a fact that YOU have more power than you may know when it comes to your skin health.  Millions of people just like you have stopped cancer in its tracks. Here’s how…

Know What to Look For

Early detection is key to preventing and treating the development of skin cancer.  Make a monthly skin check a part of your routine and take note of anything suspicious.  Look for signs of AK such as scaly patches, red bumps with tan crusts, an area that feels like sandpaper, or anything that keeps coming back or doesn’t heal.  The primary cause of AKs is chronic sun exposure, so pay particular attention to the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, hands, and forearms.

Choose Action Over Fear

Got questions or concerns? Don’t talk yourself out of taking action.  Have we mentioned that early detection is your #1 asset?  Pick up the phone and call your board-certified dermatologist for an appointment.  Skin is our specialty.  If we determine the spot you noticed is an AK, we have a host of treatment options right in our office.

Get Treatment

Early treatment can eliminate almost all actinic keratoses before they become skin cancers.  Treatments for AKs are numerous, including:

  • Cryotherapy: Using this quick and simple procedure, your doctor applies liquid nitrogen to the AK, freezing the growth which will later fall off.
  • Photodynamic Therapy: This non-invasive treatment uses a strong blue light and a photosensitizing gel to destroy the AK cells. Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is often used for treating multiple AKs on the face and scalp.
  • Topical Medications: These come in the form of creams, gels, and liquid solutions and are applied directly to the skin.
  • Laser Resurfacing: Your doctor uses a laser to remove the surface layer of the skin, destroying the AK cells.
  • Chemical Peel: Can also be used to remove the top layer of the skin to destroy AK cells.

Your skin is your body’s largest organ. Give it the love it deserves by protecting it and caring for it all year round.  See something that concerns you? Set up an appointment with us at Savola Dermatology Center today. (540) 451-2833