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Body Beautiful

The hands, neck and chest seem to be the most neglected areas of the body. We pamper, exfoliate, and protect our faces yet too often ignore the rest of the body. These various body parts are a telltale sign of our age. Each area has different issues, interventional treatments and care.

Continue reading for various tips and treatments that will help restore youthful looking skin and prevent further damage.

The Neck

Most women notice the signs of aging on the neck long before the face. The face has more oil glands as well as fatty tissue, which lends to firmer support.

The lack of oil glands and less tissue of this delicate area warrants gentle care.
If you use AHAs, BHAs or retinol products on your face then use them on your neck as well, however it is best to dilute the strength with a plain moisturizer or apply them every other night to decrease the risk of irritation.

Poikiloderma is a condition that manifests as variegated red spider veins and dark spots usually due to sun exposure. I observe more damage on the left side of the neck than the right on my patients who are frequent drivers. Sunscreen and clothing will help prevent this. I also recommend no perfume or cologne on the neck, as the ingredients in some perfumes can cause brown discoloration when exposed to the sun.

Skin tags are a common problem and can easily be treated with the laser or liquid nitrogen. One to two treatments may be necessary. New ones will develop if you are prone to them and necessitate a treatment every year or two.

Botox is a popular treatment used for the aging neck. The vertical muscles that protrude from the neck are treated with Botox causing the area to tighten slightly and appear more toned. This treatment typically does not work for those with excess fatty tissue or for excessively sagging muscles.

In addition to a daily sunscreen, add antioxidants to your daily routine to ward off free radical damage. Try SkinCeuticals Vitamin C, E and Ferulic serum or Almay SFP 15 with Grape Seed extract.

The Decollete

Sunspots and discoloration are the most common problems due to over exposure to the sun. Cover your chest while driving with a scarf or clothing. This area is not protected by the sun visor and is often left exposed. One application of sunscreen in the morning is not sufficient and sunscreen is not 100% protection, especially if you are a frequent driver.

Fraxel laser is a fabulous treatment for the chest, as well as the neck and hands. The Fraxel laser is beneficial for dark spots, sun damage and fine wrinkles. The down time is minimal, typically 2-4 days. For more information visit www.fraxel.com

Have you ever noticed vertical wrinkles on your chest? This is due to sun exposure and sleeping on your side. It isnt easy, but if you can sleep on your back.

Seborrhea keratoses are raised brown or tan areas about the size of a dime. These can be treated with liquid nitrogen. Ask your dermatologist to treat them during you annual skin exam.

Cherry angiomas are superficial spider veins that manifest as small red dots. They often occur on the chest and abdomen and can be treated with the laser. Sometimes more than one treatment is necessary.

The Hands

The hands are a hardest working body part and probably the most abused. The signs of aging include chapping, dryness, red, brown spots, and loss of fat, which results in protruding veins.

Use lotion after cleansing while hands are still moist and keep an emollient hand balm at your bedside to apply at night before retiring.

Age spots can be kept under control with lightening agents (the same ones that are used on the face) such as hydroquinone, kojic acid or licorice extract. Liquid nitrogen or a laser treatment is also a great option. See a dermatologist or plastic surgeon for treatments. Keeping sunscreen in the glove compartment of your car is a convenient way to remember to apply or wear gloves while driving.

Lose of fat or genetics may cause veins to protrude.For many years dermatologists have been using the patients fat (fat transfer) to restore volume to the backs of the hands. Recently, the latest hyaluronic acid fillers, FDA approved for nasolabial folds (smile lines), have been used to treat the back of the hands. This is considered an off label procedure and is not FDA approved for this area. The fillers are under the trade names of Restylane, Juvederm and Perlane.

What about the arms and legs

Use scrubs or AHAs everyday on the arms and legs. Some suggestions include a Loofa sponge, Aveeno Skin Brightening Daily scrub, Lac-hydrin lotion, or Philosophy Sweet Coconut milk salt scrub.

Daily sunscreen is helpful for preventing dryness, brown spots and aging skin. Try Banana Boat for Babies-its great for adults too!

Maintaining good tone through exercise is beneficial for both the heart and the
Skin. Good circulation delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin lending to a healthy glow. Please, see my article on How Exercise Benefits The Skin.
Deborah is a registered nurse with over 17 years of experience helping thousands of women and men look years younger through the use of non-surgical skin treatments including Botox Cosmetic, Dysport, Restylane, Perlane, Radiesse, and Fraxel laser. Deborah is well known in Walnut Creek and the San Francisco Bay Area both as an expert practitioner of her profession and as a teacher and guest speaker for various women's organizations.
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