As more and more cosmetic procedures become readily available and mainstream, it seems as if everyone is having something done. However, easy access to treatments and procedures comes with concerns. As captured on the popular TV show “Botched,” ...

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Cosmetic Surgeon Red Flags You Should Not Ignore

As more and more cosmetic procedures become readily available and mainstream, it seems as if everyone is having something done. However, easy access to treatments and procedures comes with concerns.

As captured on the popular TV show “Botched,” things can go very wrong with serious, even life-threatening consequences. Anyone conducting cosmetic procedures can call themselves a cosmetic surgeon. However, to be considered a plastic surgeon one must be certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Dr. Stanley Poulos, a Board-Certified San Francisco area Plastic Surgeon offers the following red flags not to ignore when selecting a plastic surgeon, dermatologist, aesthetician or anyone else you plan to trust your body with.

1. They offer discount coupons.

Discount coupons make sense if you’re looking for a haircut or a massage, not for plastic surgery. “Don’t bargain shop when it comes to something serious like surgery. You want to make sure you research the average prices and if something seems too steep of a discount, beware;” Dr. Poulos says.

2. The surgeon is not Board-Certified.

Look for credentials, someone who is Board-Certified in plastic surgery by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. If they are they usually have this credential prominently visible in their office and on their website. This means the surgeon has had at least six years of surgical training with two or three years devoted specifically to plastic surgery, has passed rigorous oral and written examinations and has demonstrated safe and ethical surgical practice.

3. They make lofty promises.

Dr. Poulos states that “Any surgeon that promises to make you look like a celebrity or says he can make you look 30 years younger, is over-promising. A skilled surgeon knows the potential and limitations of surgery and will be clear about this from the start. A good surgeon will want you to look like an improved version of you, not someone else.”

4. The surgeon’s operating facility is not accredited.

Often plastic surgery is performed in an ambulatory care center or the surgeon’s office-based surgical facility. “Either way, you want to make sure the facility is properly accredited. Accreditation ensures that strict standards are met for proper equipment, safety, surgeon credentials, and staffing,” stresses Dr. Poulos.

5. They try to “up-sell” potential patients.

An initial consultation with a plastic surgeon should be a collaborative effort in which doctor and patient come to an agreement about which course of treatment is best. It’s reasonable for the surgeon to suggest alternative approaches, but that it’s worrisome if he/she uses high-pressure tactics. “Your surgeon may suggest consideration of more or different procedures than your initial request but should have sound reasons why this is his/her advice,” says Dr. Poulos.

6. The consultation is short and lacks professionalism.

The first visit with a plastic surgeon must be a thorough, get-to-know-you session in which both patient and doctor determine if they can work together. Also, trust how the overall consultation experience feels to you. Is the staff friendly and welcoming? Was your phone call handled professionally? Did they follow through on getting your promised information? Are they clear about all costs and how the procedure will go?

7. They’ve been censored or sued several times.

“Just because a surgeon has faced a malpractice lawsuit doesn’t mean they are incompetent. In today’s medical climate, even first-rate surgeons are sometimes sued. However, “be wary of a surgeon who has been sued more than a few times or have been censured by the state medical board,” says Poulos.

8. They don’t provide before and after photos.

If you’re interested in a procedure, you should see what the physician can do for you. One of the best ways to see the quality of work is to view before and after photos of their actual patients. If they won’t show you any, they may not have enough experience or success in that particular procedure.

9. When to Consider a Different Aesthetic Surgeon

Dr. Poulos says that “searching for a cosmetic surgeon is more manageable when you use a clearly defined system to make the choice. Consider all options and weigh them cautiously. If you’re consulting with a cosmetic surgeon and any of the above red-flags come up, consider looking for a different surgeon.”

About Dr. Stanley Poulos

Dr. Poulos specializes in cosmetic breast surgery and body contouring procedures. He helped pioneer the quick lift facial rejuvenation surgery in California and is recognized as one of the leading plastic surgeons in Marin County and the entire San Francisco Bay area. Dr. Poulos and Plastic Surgery Specialists have extensive experience in body contour procedures.

A graduate of the University of Texas Medical School, Dr. Poulos completed his internship and residency at UC San Francisco. He completed a plastic surgery fellowship at St. Francis Hospital in San Francisco and is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

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Pediatric Sun Exposure – Tips from St. Jude to Protect Your Child

“Children are at risk of getting skin cancer due to the strong sun rays. They are not immune from getting cancer just because they are young. While rare, melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer in younger patients and affects mostly teenagers. If diagnosed early, it can be treated effectively.” said Alberto Pappo, M.D., director of the Solid Tumor Division at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Simple and Effective Tips to Protect Children

  • Try to Avoid Going Outdoors When Sun’s Rays are the Strongest – Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., children should avoid direct UV rays as best possible.
  • For Infants Younger than 6 Months of Age, No Sun at All is Best – They can be at the beach or outdoors this summer, but need to be covered up, have on a hat and cover up their neck and extremities. It is best to avoid sunscreen on babies younger than 6 months old because they can get significantly more exposure to the chemicals in sunscreen compared to older patients.
  • Use of Sunscreen to Prevent Sunburns – Sunscreen should be broad spectrum (effective against both UVA and UVB rays) and at least 15 SPF, although there is little evidence that anything above 50 SPF provides additional protective effects.
  • Regular Reapplication of Sunscreen is Necessary – Water-resistant sunscreen does NOT mean it should be applied only once. No more than a couple of hours should pass between applications, especially if one is sweating and in and out of the water.
  • Avoid Tanning Beds – The increase in melanoma among teenagers is partly due to their use of tanning beds. The International Agency for Research on Cancer has determined that indoor tanning beds increase melanoma risk 75 percent in people who begin using them before the age of 30.
  • Early Diagnosis is Key – If a child has a mole, parents should make their pediatrician aware as soon as possible. Early identification and removal of melanoma is critical. If caught early, chances for survival are significantly higher. Early detection also means less invasive surgical procedures may be necessary, as well as a smaller chance of the tumor spreading.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a leader in pediatric melanoma research and treatment. St. Jude provides treatment and second opinions for patients with pediatric melanoma around the country and beyond. Each year, the St. Jude Pediatric and Adolescent Melanoma Referral Clinic brings patients and families to St. Jude for two days of expert consultation, as well as medical examinations by leading specialists, educational seminars and an introduction to melanoma-related resources.

More from Scars & Spots’ blog:
Can a Sunburn Cause Scarring?
How Does the Sun Affect Scars?
Can a Tanning Bed Help Heal Scars or Acne?

The post Pediatric Sun Exposure – Tips from St. Jude to Protect Your Child appeared first on Scars and Spots.




How to Get Rid of Scars Fast

There’s good news and bad news for those who are trying to get rid of scars fast.

The skin is a seamless organ, smooth and soft; as such, its appearance can be altered significantly by even a minor scar.

Usually, scars aren’t a big deal when they are small or easily hidden under clothes. However, when a scar is larger or visible even when you’re wearing clothes, you most likely want to find a way to treat it and help it go away as quickly as possible.

The bad news is that there’s no way to get rid of a scar “quickly;” scars take time to fade and, even then, most scars are permanent and will never completely disappear. Scarring is a natural part of the healing process following an injury, and the way your scar heals depends on many factors including the size and depth of the wound, your age, your ethnicity, and more.

The good news, however, is that there are things you can do to help your scar become flatter, lighter, and generally much less noticeable.

Types of Scars

There are several different types of scars that tend to heal differently.

  • Keloid scars: Keloid scars are the result of the body healing itself in an overly aggressive way. These scars extend beyond the boundaries of the original injury. A keloid scar may become so large that it hampers movement. Treatments for these range from topical products that contain silicone to steroid injections and even scar revision surgery.
  • Contracture scars: These scars are often the result of burns. The skin tightens as the scar forms, potentially impairing your ability to move. Contracture scars can also affect nerves and muscles.
  • Hypertrophic scars: These are raised, red scars are similar to keloid scars, but they don’t extend beyond the original injury site.
  • Acne scars: Acne can cause different types of scars, including deep pits to angular or wavelike scars. Treatment options depend on the type of scar, among other factors.

Scar Treatments that Work

How long it will take your scar to fade depends on what type of scar it is, among other things. But no matter what your scar is like, what type of skin you have, or how old the scar is, there are still things you can do to help it lighten and become less visible – over time and with patience.

A scar cream designed to soften and fade scars can work wonders, particularly a product that contains vitamin C, aloe vera, licorice, and silicone. Steer clear of products that contain hydroquinone, kojic acid, and vitamin E – all ingredients that don’t help scars fade and may even make them worse or cause skin irritation.

Also, be sure to make lifestyle choices that help your body’s natural healing process. Keep your scar protected from the sun at all times; drink plenty of water; and eat a healthy diet. Exercise and massage can also help with blood circulation, which brings more healing oxygen to the scar.

Scars simply don’t fade overnight. But with patience and some strategic actions, you can help just about any scar become flatter, lighter, and less noticeable.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal?

There are several different types of scars that result from an injury and among them is the hypertrophic scar.

The hypertrophic scar varies somewhat from other scars in that its appearance tends to be red and elevated. They can also be itchy or even painful. However, unlike keloid scars, hypertrophic scars stay within the boundaries of the initial area of injury.

Hypertrophic scars tend to start developing within the weeks following an injury, and they may continue to redden and thicken for months. Their raised appearance can improve with consistent scar massage over the course of several months. However, depending on the severity of the scar and the nature of its origin, it can take a year or even longer for the scar to begin to flatten and fade.

What Causes Hypertrophic Scars?

All scars are caused by some type of injury to the skin, whether the injury is elective (as in surgery or piercing) or accidental. Everyday occurrences known for causing hypertrophic scars include burns, cuts, and body piercings. Hypertrophic scars are typically the result of an injury to the deeper layers of skin or the dermis. The reason they become elevated is that the body creates excess amounts of collagen to repair the damaged skin.

How to Treat Hypertrophic Scars

Although hypertrophic scars can improve somewhat over time on their own, it’s worth doing what you can to aid the process because the process can take a long time, as mentioned above. Also, hypertrophic scars located close to joints may restrict movement.

For topical treatments, look for ingredients such as aloe vera (to combat inflammation), dimethicone silicone (to increase elasticity and flatten the scar), licorice root extract and vitamin C (to fade the discoloration.) Avoid hydroquinone and kojic acid (all of which are potentially harmful and might worsen rather than improve the scar), as well as Vitamin E, while good for anti-aging, is not good for scars.

When using a topical treatment know that it requires an exercise in patience. There is no overnight or quick cure. It will take several months before you begin to see results. You’ll need to employ scar massage when applying your scar treatment twice daily. Scar massage will help to flatten the elevation of your scar.

More invasive treatments are available as well for stubborn hypertrophic scars. These treatments include scar revision surgery, steroid injections, and laser therapy, to name just a few. However, topical treatments are a good first resort and are often highly successful all by themselves.

There are some things to keep in mind to make improvements in the appearance of any scar, including the new scar created by scar revision surgery. You should avoid sun exposure, which can permanently darken any scar; also, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water, both of which keep the body in optimal health and its healing capabilities functioning at their best.

Exercise gets the blood pumping healing oxygen to the site of the scar and throughout the body. Massaging the scar and the skin around the scar can also help with circulation and stimulate the body’s healing action. Keeping a scar moisturized will also help, and may even help with the itching often associated with hypertrophic scars.

Take heart; hypertrophic scars may by frustrating, but with time and proper treatment, they are likely to shrink and fade significantly.

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The post How Long Does it Take a Hypertrophic Scar to Heal? appeared first on Scars and Spots.




My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal?

Is It Normal for My Scar to Itch?

A wound can be inflicted in an instant. But the recovery process is never quite so quick. There are many reasons you may have a scar, ranging from an accident to a skin disease to recent surgery. Beyond that, there are a variety of different kinds of scars, each with a slightly different road to full recovery. But one fairly widespread symptom of a recent scar that may affect you, regardless of how you acquired your scar or what type it may be, is itching. This is most common for burn victims or others suffering from keloid scars. However, itching is known to be an issue for many other forms of scarring as well.

A study in Texas several years back revealed that as many as 87 percent of burn victims experience itchiness. Of those, 96 percent have three or more itching attacks per day. Conversely, more than half of these attacks last more than thirty minutes. So if you are suffering from such attacks, know that you are not alone and that the itchiness will slowly deteriorate over time.

So why does your scar itch in the first place? There are several possible reasons. For starters, itching is a normal part of the healing process, so if a newer scar itches, it may very well stop as it heals further. Itching in an older scar can mean that there was damage to the nerve endings. Also, itching can simply be due to dry skin. Scars need to be moisturized for optimal healing and being diligent with this step can also improve itching dramatically.

So Is It Okay for Me to Scratch My Itchy Scar?

The answer to this question is highly dependent on the nature of your scar and how you acquired it. If it is a recent wound, just like with any scab, scratching can cause the wound to reopen, which lengthens the time of recovery and increases the chances of permanent scarring. Scratching is risky because you end up scraping away the new tissue, setting back the healing process. Furthermore, if the wound is reopened, there is also the possibility of infection. In short, while scratching your itch may result in immediate alleviation of an annoyance, the potential ramifications far outweigh that relief.

When it comes to post-wound itching problems, you may be suffering from an acute itch, which lasts up to six months after the initial injury, or a chronic itch, which could last much longer. Since scratching has the potential to slow the healing process and a full recovery, the most effective solution is to resist the temptation and wait it out.

Some over-the-counter alternatives that may alleviate some of the discomfort include placing a damp towel or an ice pack on the scar or applying antihistamines. 

Do you have a question about your scar? Leave a comment and let us know!

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The post My Scar Won’t Stop Itching, Is This Normal? appeared first on Scars and Spots.




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