How Does Laser Hair Removal Work

Laser hair removal is one of the most successful treatments for removing unwanted hair on the cosmetic market. The lasers essentially burn away any excess hair and eradicate the hairs at the root, ensuring that there is no regrowth. Most laser hair removal treatments stop hairs growing back for some time, and occasionally there are permanent results. However, most of the time laser hair removal is a continuous process that requires patients to undergo a series of treatments.

Who is Suitable for Laser Hair Removal?

Although it is a safe process, not everyone is a suitable candidate for laser hair removal. Typically, prospective candidates will meet with their doctor before undergoing the treatment. There are certain risks with laser hair removal – for example, if you are dark skin then you may experience some lightening of the skin tone around the treatment area, and vice versa for light skinned people. It is also advisable to let any tan you have fade before undergoing a laser hair removal treatment.

Preparation

There is also a relatively strict preparation routine that candidates have to go through before treatment. For example, a technician will always check the area of skin to be treated first to make sure there are no cosmetic products of oils present. These can cause adverse effects if treated with a laser, occasionally resulting in reactions from patients.

The Removal Process

Firstly, the technician will apply a coating of gel to the specific area. This gel is used to guide the laser and results in a closer shave and better end result. Some patients can experience a slight discomfort at this stage of the process, although this is usually short lived and very minor. The gel is also used to keep the skin underneath cool, while the technician will use a hand held laser to ensure maximum accuracy and efficiency.

How the Laser Works

The laser goes directly into the root of the hair, eradicating it at the source and preventing future growth. The lasers are generally set to target pigmentation, meaning that people with darker skin have previously been advised to avoid laser removal as it can damage the tone of their skin. However, more modern techniques have overcome this problem and now people with a variety of tones and skin colours can undergo laser removal treatments in safety.

After Laser Treatment

As previously stated, laser hair removal is usually an ongoing treatment. Although permanent results are sometimes achieved with lasers, most technicians suggest a series of repeat surgeries to ensure maximum results. This is because hair growth is cyclical in nature and even an effect surgery will lead to more hair growth in the future. On average, between three and eight sessions are needed for a completely successful treatment, while these can last between a couple of months and a year.

Although laser hair removal is not usually a permanent cure to excessive hair growth, it is a very effective one. Carefully prepping areas due to undergo laser treatment will also increase the chances of the surgery being a success.

Click here to learn about our hair removal services

How to check moles for skin cancer

Skin cancer, or melanoma, is a major killer. It can be caused by even short bursts of ultraviolet light, whether that comes from the sun or from tanning equipment. If it’s caught early, it can be treated, so it’s important to know what to look for. The best way of doing this is knowing what your skin looks like and whether it’s changing. Spend time every month carrying out a thorough skin check, that way, you’re more likely to notice any changes. Also consider having an annual examination by a professional so that any problems are picked up straight away.

Beware of the mole

If you have lots of moles, then you’re at greater risk from skin cancer. Make yourself familiar with your moles and monitor them carefully for any changes in shape, size or colour.

Watch your back

If you have moles on your back, or other inaccessible areas, ask someone you trust to check any areas you can’t see yourself. You can do the same for them.

Match of the day

Suspect moles often deviate from a symmetrical shape. If you’re not sure if your moles are symmetrical, imagine a line going through the middle. If both sides are a similar shape, then your mole is probably just an innocent mole. But if the two sides are different, seek advice as soon as you can.

Size does matter

Keep a special eye on any moles that are on the large side. That means anything wider than 6mm, or about the same size as the top of an average pen or pencil.

A neat edge

Does your mole have a neat edge around it, or does it look like someone’s coloured over the lines? If your mole has a messy or irregular outline, then you need to get it checked out pronto.

Shady shades 

Take a good, long look at the colour of your mole and ask yourself if it’s changed colour recently. For example, if you’re pretty sure that it used to be brown, but now it’s looking blue or red, then phone your doctor. If your mole can’t make up its mind and seems to be made up of different colours or patchy shades, then see your GP.

A change for the worse

If your moles are behaving themselves, staying small and neat and not changing colour, then that’s good news. But if any of them change in any way, shape or form, it’s worth getting a medical professional to look at them. This means that if your moles grow, change shape, change colour or start to itch, bleed or weep you need to do something.

Does it stand out in a crowd?

While moles often differ between different people, generally, your moles will look like each other. So if you have a mole or moles that look or behave differently from the majority of moles, treat them with suspicion. For example, a suspect mole might be a different shape, colour or size to its fellow moles.

Click here to read more about our mole mapping service

Why does Skin Wrinkle?

Wrinkles are a bit like the weather, everyone worries about them and they’re both a pretty inevitable part of life. Wrinkling is a natural part of the ageing process and the vast majority of people start to get wrinkles and lines of some sort from their twenties onwards. However, not everyone gets wrinkles in the same way and there are a number of factors to consider.

It’s no laughing matter

They’re called laughter lines for a reason. If you’re a happy-go-lucky person who loves a good laugh, you’ll know that creasing up does just that, it creases up your face. However, some people don’t mind these lines because they’ve been etched there by their character.

Cheer up, it might never happen

If you go around frowning, scowling or pursing your lips, then the chances are that it already has happened. These gloomy facial expressions contribute to wrinkles just as much as laughing.

Big hair

Believe it or not, but your choice of hairdo over the years can have an impact on the number of wrinkles you end up with. So if you spent a number of years basking in the shade of a fifties style quiff, you may thank it for your unlined face. On the other hand, if you’ve spent years with very short hair or even no hair then your face may be paying the price now.

The great outdoors 

Fresh air and sunshine often make us feel great and many people like to spend as much time outside as they possibly can. Unfortunately for outdoor types, the sun is a major wrinkle contributor. So anyone with an outdoor job is especially prone to facial lines.

Get ahead, get a hat

Whether you’re a stylish type who likes to wear elegant hats or a sporty type who favours a baseball cap, your headgear has provided shade from the wrinkle-provoking sun. Anyone who wears a hat on a regular basis is likely to have less lined skin.

Smoke gets in your eyes

And it causes wrinkles round them too, to say nothing of your smoker’s pout. Take a sneaky peek at the skin of many smokers and you’ll notice they often have many more wrinkles than their non-smoking friends. Not only is smoking bad for your breath, your health and your pocket, it’s giving you wrinkles, so think about quitting straight away.

Your mother should know

Look closely at your parents, especially at the parent who is the same sex as you, because there’s a very good chance you’ll inherit their skin. So if your mother has an enviably smooth complexion, thank your lucky stars. But if your mother’s face is very lined then prepare to take action, otherwise you’ll be following suit.

It’s not fair

The lighter your skin, the more prone you’re likely to be to wrinkles. Darker skin tends to have more natural protection against sun damage which reduces wrinkling. Everyone should protect their skin against the sun, but this is especially the case for those with very fair skin.

Click here to learn about Freedom Health Skin’s wrinkle treatments

The History Of Botulinum Toxin

Originally described as “sausage poison” or “fatty poison” by medical writer Justinus Kerner because of its association with poorly handled or prepared meat products, botulinum toxin is potentially deadly if consumed – but is perhaps best known today by its popular trade name Botox.

First noted for its potential therapeutic use over a century ago, the botulinum toxin is used nowadays to treat a number of conditions, both cosmetic and otherwise.

Its first effects on neuromuscular transition were discovered in the 1940s by Arnold Burgen, and then in the late 1960s ophthalmologist Alan Scott and Edward Schantz began work on a standardised injection for medical purposes, initially testing the toxin on monkeys.

In the early 1980s, the first human medical uses of the toxin were pioneered by Scott, who used it to treat two eye conditions: strabismus (better known as crossed eyes) and blepharospasm (excessive blinking).

By injecting it into the stronger eye of cross-eyed patients, Botox caused minor muscular paralysis and strengthened the use of the other eye.

The treatment was similar to the use of eye patches for patients suffering from lazy eye – weakening or decommissioning the use of the stronger one in order to make the weaker eye work harder.

A decade later, further research showed more and more uses for the botulinum toxin, including treatment for excessive sweating and achalasia, a spasm of the lower oesophageal sphincter – all using the toxin’s powerful effect on muscles.

Of course, the treatment we all know Botox for, the one that made it wildly huge across the world is what kept an estimated 5.6 million Americans looking young last year. Botox injections are generally very quick, painless and cheap – so it’s not hard to see why it’s probably the most common cosmetic enhancement in the world.

The procedure, which over 100,000 Britons also indulge in each year, works by weakening the facial muscles ever so slightly reducing the elasticity of the skin and making wrinkles around the eyes and forehead disappear. Many users have claimed they look at least 10 years younger after each treatment, which can last anywhere between three and six months.

There has also been a significant rise in the number of men using the treatment, with estimates suggesting one in five botox procedures performed in the UK are now done on men. It’s not a huge surprise, with a number of male celebrities admitting to using botox, including Simon Cowell, Cliff Richard, and Peter Andre.

Of course, as with almost any treatment, there are minor side effects – almost of all of which are very short-lived. These range from slight bruising as a result of the initial injection, to so-called “droopy smiles”, headaches and blurred vision, particularly when used to treat eye conditions.

While some have expressed fear of using a potentially lethal toxin for cosmetic purposes, a study that linked the Botox-related deaths of 28 people between 1989 and 2003 conceded that none of them had used the toxin for cosmetic purposes.

Click here to read about our Anti Wrinkle Injections

How Does Laser Resurfacing Work?

There are many effective cosmetic treatments available to improve the overall look, feel and condition of facial skin. One of the finest and most popular forms of treatment is laser resurfacing, which is also commonly referred to as a laser peel.

Laser resurfacing basically works by removing the top layer of facial skin to give the skin a more balanced colour, texture and tone. The skin can also be made tighter and smoother, making it the ideal type of treatment for people with coarse or damaged skin.

People wishing to benefit from laser resurfacing treatment should seek a reputable and professional cosmetic surgery clinic to conduct the procedure. A skilled technician will be able to offer valuable advice on which form of cosmetic treatment is suitable for your skin type. If you are a suitable candidate for laser resurfacing the results can be astonishing.

The laser resurfacing procedure is relatively simple. It is most commonly performed using a Co2 (carbon dioxide) laser. However, depending on your skin type, condition and sensitivity, your technician may use an Erbium YAG or fractional laser. It is important to have a full consultation within a cosmetic surgery clinic before undergoing laser resurfacing treatment.

Before the technician starts to use the laser you will be given an anaesthetic. Depending on the depth of exfoliation to be carried out by the laser, you will usually only be given a topical anaesthetic in the form of a cream applied to the surface of the skin to numb it throughout the procedure. For deeper exfoliations or laser resurfacing carried out on people with sensitive skin a technician may administer a local anaesthetic.

The procedure consists of the laser being passed over the surface of the skin, which is usually prepared with a special gel to facilitate the movement of the laser. The most commonly used Co2 laser, also referred to as an ablative laser, resembles a wand. The wand emits an extremely powerful beam of light which vaporises the upper layers of damaged skin with incredible precision.

As the laser removes the top layers of skin, called the epidermis, it simultaneously heats the underlying skin area called the dermis. The heat causes the dermis to react, providing a stimulation of new collagen fibre growth. As the treated skin area heals, the new skin is naturally firmer and smoother, rejuvenating your facial skin and giving it a more youthful and healthy appearance.

Following the procedure a cooling gel is often applied. Because the treated skin area can be tender a protective skin barrier will be applied in the form of sunscreen or ointment. Deeper exfoliations or treatment on sensitive skin sometimes also requires bandages or a silicone dressing to be applied.

It is very important to make sure you are a suitable candidate for laser resurfacing before having the treatment performed by a professional technician. However, if your skin is suitable for the procedure laser resurfacing can be an incredibly effective treatment for improving minor facial flaws including aged skin, wrinkles, face lines, unbalanced complexion and skin tones and birthmarks.

Click here to visit our laser resurfacing page to find out more about this service

Why Choose Microdermabrasion?

Many people unhappy with the condition of their facial skin are seeking a fast and effective cosmetic treatment that can vastly improve its look and feel. Fortunately, there are a wide range of treatment options available which can deliver astonishing results. One of the best and most popular forms of facial treatment is microdermabrasion.

Microdermabrasion can smooth coarse and rough skin making it far smoother and suppler. It can also reduce the signs of aging like laughter lines, creases and wrinkles, restoring a more youthful appearance to a person’s facial skin. People with mild scarring or large pores often find a course of microdermabrasion treatments are an effective remedy for their poor skin condition.

So what is microdermabrasion and how exactly does it work? There are two basic types of microdermabrasion: crystal microdermabrasion and diamond-tip microdermabrasion. Crystal microdermabrasion is the more aggressive of the two forms of treatment, making diamond-tip microdermabrasion more suitable for people with sensitive skin. Your cosmetic technician will be able to advise you as to which type of microdermabrasion is most suitable for your skin.

Crystal microdermabrasion is carried out by a wand containing a compressor which the technician moves over the surface of your skin. The wand shoots aluminium oxide crystals against the skin’s surface, which exfoliates the skin. A separate tube in the wand sucks up the dead cells and crystals, although a small crystal residue may be left which the technician removes at the end.

Due to the strength of exfoliation involved in crystal microdermabrasion you may experience slight discomfort, particularly around the nose or mouth where the skin is rather sensitive, but there is rarely any pain as a professional technician will be able to decide the right depth of exfoliation to suit your skin type.

However, if you have sensitive skin, diamond-tip microdermabrasion might be more suitable. The wand used in diamond-tip microdermabrasion operates in a similar way to the one used in crystal microdermabrasion, except that no crystals move through the tip, as it is the diamond-tip itself that removes the dead skin. The many different types of diamond-tips enable the technician to choose exactly the right depth of exfoliation to suit the type and condition of your skin.

The results from crystal and diamond-tip microdermabrasion can be fantastic, rejuvenating your facial skin and radically improving its look, feel and condition. Technicians will usually recommend a series of treatments, which typically consist of six exfoliations separated by a period of approximately two weeks. Following treatment, it is advisable to avoid strong sunlight and to use a gentle sunscreen.

A single treatment of microdermabrasion is usually completed in about 30 minutes, making it a popular option for people with busy lives who want a fast and effective way to improve the overall appearance of their skin. Find a reputable and professional cosmetic clinic that offers crystal and diamond-tip microdermabrasion and it could be the best choice of treatment to achieve the facial skin condition and complexion you desire.

Click here to read more about Freedom Health Skin’s Microdermabrasion service.

RISKS FACTORS FOR MELANOMA- Dr Lucia

Skin cancer is now progressively increasing, partly due to the ageing population and partly due to sun exposure and other factors. Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer and can cause death even in young patients but an early detection saves lives.

 There are several risks factors for developing melanoma. People with fair skin who burn easily are particularly at risk. Childhood sunburn and excessive sun exposure history, such as frequent sunbeds, are another risk factors for melanoma. People with many moles, more than 50, or funny looking moles (atypical) may have also a bigger chance to develop melanoma. The same applies for people with personal or family history of melanoma or patients with a damaged immune system, as a result of an HIV infection or taking drugs perhaps after an organ transplant.

 The most amazing thing about the skin is that it is an external organ, that is, we can easily see any potential changes in moles. There are some signs that alert us that a mole is suspicious and should be checked by a doctor. If you have a mole that is getting bigger, changing shape (irregular edges) or colour (getting darker, paler or with different colours) you should ask your doctor for advice. Itching or painful moles, bleeding or becoming crusty need also attention.

 There are three main reasons for removing moles, the most important one is doubt about the diagnosis. The mole then has to be checked under the microscope. The main worry is usually whether or not the mole is a melanoma. A mole can be also removed because it gets irritation by catching on clothing or for cosmetic reasons. In most cases, mole removal is a simple procedure, which is easily performed under local anaesthesia.

It is advisable to check moles from time to time. If you have a large number of moles you should examine your skin monthly for moles that are growing, or changing in the ways described above. If you find any worrying changes, or one that is clearly different from the rest, you must contact your doctor immediately. It is also important to protect yourself from too much sun exposure. This does not mean that you can’t ever go on a sunny holiday again; it just means that you need to be careful to avoid burning.

Sunlight is healthy for our bones and we need it for making vitamin D; small amounts of incidental sunlight, as you might get through your daily activities, may help to boost your vitamin D levels; just exposing your face and forearms to the sun should be enough. However, if you are traveling to sunny countries you should use sun protection creams and protective clothing during the hottest hours, in particular from 10a.m. until 3p.m. when sunrays are the strongest. The sunscreens work better if you put it on half an hour before going out and reapply it at least every 2 hours, but don’t use them as an excuse to stay out in the sun or not to bother with protective clothing. Avoid sun beds and tanning lamps, they can increase the risk of skin cancer by 75%.

So when it comes to moles, when in doubt, check it out! Please remember that an early diagnosis is the best treatment for melanoma.

Mole Mapping and Skin Cancer

 

The last 25 years has seen a very large increase in rates of malignant melanoma in the UK. Malignant melanoma is a dangerous form of skin cancer and unusually for cancers, there are more cases in women than men. Keeping a close eye on changing moles is one way to reduce mortality from malignant melanoma.

Most of us have moles but it can be difficult to know whether they have changed or not and often it is difficult to see them -on the back or the shoulders for example. At Freedomhealthskin our Consultant Dermatologist, Dr Lucia Pozo-Garcia, Freedomhealth has introduced a brand new state of the art computer-assisted mole mapping and digital photo-dermoscopy surveillance system.

Who should use the Mole Mapping system?

Some people are more at risk of malignant melanoma than others. These include:

  • *People with a previous diagnosis of malignant melanoma                                           
  • *Those with a large number of moles                                                                            
  • *People with a close family history of malignant melanoma                                        
  • *Large moles (greater than 2 inches) or moles which change in texture, colour or level    
  • *People with light, pale skin                                                                                          
  • *Those with new moles *

 Which Moles need more attention than others?

As a rough guide, try and keep in mind the A,B,C,D,E rule for monitoring your own moles. Moles with some of the features beneath need to be regarded with suspicion and it is worth considering consulting your doctor or having Mole Mapping with Dermoscopy.

A – Asymmetric moles need caution
B- moles with irregular or blurred Borders should be regarded with suspicion
C- Moles with Colour variation need caution
D- Moles with Diameters greater than a quarter of an inch need observing
E- Elevated moles, especially new elevation, can be suspicious.

 So if you are concerned about your moles then get them mapped!