Aesthetic physicians are constantly striving to find the best procedure/device to turn back time. This time, it is actually a procedure which has been used for decades, but with some modifications. Fat grafting is a procedure that harvests fat from one part of the body and then injects the fat into another area. It has been used to volumize the aging face, hands, and even breasts. Benefits of fat grafting in repairing slowing healing wounds and radiated tissue have shown there are additional qualities to this procedure other than just volume. It turns out that fat contains stem cells and growth factors, more than any other tissue in the body, even more than bone marrow. The component of the fat that contains the stem cells and growth factors is called the “stromal vascular fraction”, also know as SVF.
When digging down into the research, an interesting finding has been discovered. It turns out that most of the fat cells injected don’t actually survive. What actually happens is that the stems cells (Adipose Derived Stem Cells – ADSC) injected along with the fat cells (SVF) leads to new fat cell production.
So here’s the new modification of the procedure. There is new a way to separate the SVF from the fat, without affecting the viability of the stem cells. This process creates the so called Nanofat, a highly concentrated solution of stem cells and growth factors.
It is a process of using filters and screens which takes less than 15 minutes to perform. It turns out that fat cells make up about 80% of the volume of the fat extracted during the harvest. The filtration system leads to destruction of the fat cells (which don’t live anyways) and leads to a much thinner solution which can be injected using smaller cannulas or needles than typical fat grafting procedures.
It turns out that Nanofat actually contains little to no viable fat but is the popular term for the SVF derived from fat. To even further “energize” the Nanofat injections, PRP or PRF is mixed with the solution. This process gives additional growth factors which benefit in the fat production and overall repair and rejuvenation of the areas treated.
Nanofat injections are often combined with fat grafting which is modified from the classical method. It has been found that the inconsistent “take” and lumpiness of fat grafting is related to large size and nonuniformity of the fat harvested. To overcome these hurdles, the harvesting process is now done with smaller cannulas and the fat is pushed thru filters to make uniformly smaller sized fat globules.
Nanofat is useful to treat:
- Crepey skin around the eyes
- Superficial lines and wrinkles
- Smoker’s lip lines
- Thin, atrophied skin
- Severely sun damaged skin (in combination with other procedures)
The use of Nanofat, with or without fat grafting, requires a minor liposuction procedure to harvest the cells. This is done completely under local anesthesia. Only syringes are used as suction and the cannulas used are much smaller than typical liposuction. There will be some downtime of swelling, bruising, and redness, that typically lasts a few days or up to a week (longer in a minority of patients). Full results require about 9 months to fully appreciate – the time required for new fat and skin cells to be generated.
We now have a completely natural way to rejuvenate and reverse the affects of aging, using stem cells derived from fat cells – Nanofat. The process of isolation of the stem cells and growth factors from fat has become an extremely viable option with a 90 minute procedure.
The adoption of dermal fillers for age related volume replacement has contributed to the surge in aesthetic patients. As patients become more savvy, it becomes obvious that filler outcomes are dependent primarily on the provider and not the brand of the filler injected. Somewhere between 80-90% of the fillers used are based on Hyaluronic Acid, a naturally occurring substance found throughout the skin, and joints. (It is an interesting side note that the structure of HA is similar throughout all species.) One of the attractive qualities of HA is that there is an “antidote”, an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which can dissolve HA based dermal fillers.
There are several versions of hyaluronidase available in the US. There are animal based products such as Vitrase (ovine based), Hydase (bovine), and Amphadase (bovine). The one product, Hylenex, is actually a recombinant form of the human hyaluronidase. There is some risk of allergic reaction to the animal based products but not Hylenex (author’s preferred choice). The intended use of hyaluronidase is to allow for increased tissue permeability, thereby allowing for greater dispersion and delivery of products injected. It is also used when hyperosmolar fluids extravasate into the skin and in improving uptake of radiopaque solutions in the bladder. The primary reason it is used in aesthetics is to dissolve HA filler.
The reasons to dissolve HA filler are:
- Poorly placed filler giving an aesthetically poor result
- Where too much filler was placed
- Filler that is infected
- Filler is forming a granuloma
- Filler is causing ischemia/vascular occlusion
- Filler is causing visual changes or blindness
The are more and more fillers being introduced to the market each year. Each one has it’s own characteristics and nuances when injecting. There are also, many new injectors entering the industry daily. It is fair to say that the number of poor outcomes and complications is inevitably going to rise. Unfortunately, trainings are not being done for the indications and administration of hyaluronidase. It is beyond comprehension that there are many offices, I dare say, a majority, who either don’t normally have any or adequate doses of hyaluronidase.
It is absolutely imperative that a facility that injects HA fillers stock at least 1000 units of hyaluronidase. Doses of 400 units or more need to be injected in areas of vascular occlusion immediately to achieve optimal outcomes. If no response, additional doses need to be injected. If an ophthalmologic complication occurs, at least 1000 units needs to be injected immediately to have any chance for recovery of vision. Even with doses in the thousands of units, there should be no concern regarding loss of naturally occurring hyaluronic acid as it will replaced by the body’s normal regenerative process over 24-48 hours.
Unfortunately, the majority of providers have little or no experience with hyaluronidase and/or have none available in their facilities. It is beyond comprehension the lack of preparedness for not only reversing poor outcomes, but in resolving medical emergencies. The industry must rise up to educate about complication identification and treatment protocols. Poor outcomes and complications affect the entire aesthetics field and not just the individuals involved.
The nonsurgical aesthetic industry has finally hit an important milestone. Using a combination of techniques, cosmetic physicians are now able to halt, and even reverse, the age-related changes which occur to one’s face. In the past, technologies would allow for turning back time for a few years but eventually, the inevitable and undeniable signs of aging would occur. As lasers, radiofrequency (RF), filler and neuromodulator techniques have improved, the aging face is a thing of the past. The concept of “age freezing”, keeping ones looks for a decade or more, is not merely a dream, but reality. More importantly, this all can be done without surgery!
Not everyone is a candidate for “Age Freezing” unfortunately. The stipulations are:
- Must be a nonsmoker – There are several significant skin and health issues associated with smoker which can’t be overcome. Many procedures require healing and collagen stimulation which are inhibited by smoking.
- Free of chronic debilitating disease – There are tolls long term diseases take on the body which lead to premature aging, cellular changes.
- Stable weight – As Katherine Deneuve once stated, at the age of 40, you must decide between your ass or your face. If you lose too much weight, fat is lost from your face. In most instances, this can be overcome but not always. However, in patients with significant weight gains, there can be some difficulties maintaining the same look one had in the years prior.
- Alcohol consumption in moderation – Alcohol can take a toll on the body in the long run when taken in excess. 1-2 drinks per day is the recommended maximum intake that the author recommends.
- Healthy lifestyle and diet – Although this topic overlaps some of the previously mentioned necessities, a good exercise regime is also required. The benefits of exercise on weight, hormones, circulation all benefit the facial appearance. Obviously, a well-rounded diet full of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients is beneficial too. There is research to support telomere lengthening with these measures as well.
The requisite procedures for “Age Freezing” are:
- Neurotoxins on a regular basis. Relaxing the hyperdynamic muscles of the face with either Dysport or Botox needs to be performed at least 3 times per year. The regularity is needed to keep the muscles weak and prohibiting them from regaining strength.
- Dermal Fillers for lost volume. Fillers are the epicenter of the whole “Age Freezing” concept. Beginning in the mid 30’s, at least a cc of volume is lost per year. This is the result of fat, bone, and muscle loss. Replacing and keeping up with this process is tantamount to looking young. Large volumes are best replaced with using Sculptra, a collagen stimulating filler. It is best to recreate the foundation with Sculptra. Superficial fine tuning is best performed with a hyaluronic acid filler, such as Restylane. New techniques using blunt cannulas permitted safer, less downtime procedures. A comprehensive understanding of the aging process has enlightened our specialty as to what needs to be corrected for accomplishing age reversal.
- Skin Tightening to reverse gravity. The constant downward pull due to gravity leads to skin laxity, above and beyond what is attributable to volume loss. Devices that heat up the dermis will stimulate collagen and tissue contraction. Devices vary in their ability to tighten, often with a tradeoff of more downtime/discomfort/risk for more results. Ablative lasers, CO2 and Erbium, will give the most tightening for lasers. Radiofrequency can also be used, with the microneedling RF, such as Infini, giving the best results. A new procedure called JPlasma, looks like it may have promise in significant tightening, but does have about 14 days of downtime and a month of redness.
- Skin Resurfacing to improve pigmentation, fine lines, and thicken the dermis. The aging process, primarily due to sun exposure, causes skin to thin with loss of collagen and elastin. Dyspigmentation, pigmentation problems, occurs as well. Renewing the surface of the skin can be accomplished using lasers, such as the Fraxel Dual, or chemical peels. Microneedling can thicken the skin by producing small injuries in the dermis with very little downtime or risks. There may be benefit to adding PRP, platelet rich plasma, to the skin, but the jury is still out.
- Skin Care is essential to achieve the optimal results from any of the above mention procedures as well as to improve one’s skin health. Retin A or Retinol should be a staple in one’s nightly regime. These products stimulate skin turnover, reversal of pigmentation problems, better hydration with hyaluronic acid stimulation, and collagen production. Blemishes/Acne breakouts are improved with these products as well.
- Oral Supplements are key to good, healthy skin. Oxidants are the source of disease, cancer, aging, and skin damage. To neutralize the oxidative stress, strong anti-oxidant supplement(s) are necessary. Examples include: superoxide dismutase, fish oils, resveratrol, Polypodium leucotomos, turmeric, and glutathione. In addition, the antiaging benefits of Metformin are hard to dismiss with the current research published. Lengthening one’s telomeres with TA65 is probably beneficial as well.
One must understand that the “Age Freezing” concept is a process. It is a lifestyle, a choice. It is not a “one and done” procedure. It consists of regular visits to an aesthetic physician. There are big steps and little steps along the way. The author has dozens of “Age Freezing” patients whom look younger and better, 10 or more years after initiating treatments. “Age Freezing” will eliminated the need for future cosmetic surgery.
It’s been touted for years by the aesthetic physicians – “Prejuvenation” – starting maintenance treatments in one’s late teens or early twenties. The Kardashians have popularized these minor cosmetic tweaks to stay youthful and refreshed with visits to their Beverly Hills physician, documented regularly on “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”. There is increasing pressure to get that perfect selfie for Instagram or to look cool and attractive on a “Snap”. Unfortunately filters don’t work well with videos unless you want to look like a cute puppy. Doctors are in agreement (for any disease process) that it is much easier to treat problems in their early stages than to reverse them after they have spiraled out of control. Small preventative treatments early on, can maintain and even enhance one’s looks for many years and avoid invasive surgical procedures in the future. The question is, which procedures should be considered for Prejuevenation?
Neuromodulators: These wrinkle improving injections take less than 5 minutes and have no downtime. Millions of these procedures are done each year and it is the most popular cosmetic procedure performed worldwide. Most often these are used in the younger population in the frown lines (glabella), forehead lines, and crows feet. Treating these areas before the lines set in at rest, known as “etched in” lines, is one of the fundamental concepts of Prejuvenation. (Suggestions: Dysport, Botox)
Dermal Fillers: Dermal fillers made from hyaluronic acid (HA) are used to improve the minor volume loss which occurs with age. In the more athletic patients, fat loss can be appreciated in the face as well as throughout the body. Supple enhancements can be added to the mid cheek and around the eye to stave off this premature volume loss. HA fillers are also used to plump up the lips to create a youthful appearance. (Suggestions: Restylane Refyne, Restylane L, Restylane Lyft, Sculptra)
Chemical Peels: To keep the skin in top notch shape and to reverse early sun damage, chemical peels can exfoliate the superficial layers of skin. This renews the texture and pigmentation and leaves a youthful and glowing quality to the skin. (Suggestions: Illuminize, Vitalize, ZO 3 Step Peel)
Skin care: Great skin care is the basis for good looking skin. Most would agree that some type of Retin A or Retinol is essential for maintaining youthful skin. These products lead to increased turnover of the skin cells, improve dyspigmentation (pigmentation problems), thicken the skin, and create a more hydrated skin. Sun protection with an SPF should be part of one’s daily regime. It is also highly recommended to apply growth factors to the skin to reverse the aging process. (Suggestions: ZO Skin Health, Lifeline Stem Cell Skincare)
Prejuvenation is a trend that is here to stay. Preventative maintenance will prolong the need for more aggressive corrections in the later years. With short, no downtime procedures such as neuromodulators, chemical peels, fillers, and a good skin care regime, youthful, natural appearances will persist for years. Stay ahead of the curve with Prejuvenation.
Acne affects millions of people in the US, and is the most common reason to seek medical attention from a Dermatologist. Billions of dollars are spent on medications to control the disease, both over the counter and prescription. Medications have potential side effects, and compliance is difficult. Even with aggressive medical therapy, acne can be difficult to control, which leads to frustration by patients, parents, and physicians. With prolonged cases of acne, scarring can set in, creating an even more difficult problem to treat.
It’s the early teen years, as one is experiencing puberty, when acne usually starts. This period coincides with high school, selfies, and an interest in dating. Acne can negatively impact social interactions and lead to depression, moodiness, negative self-worth, and isolation. Controlling acne is a top priority for large number of teenagers in the US.
A cascade of events leads to acne:
- A trigger: hormonal, emotional, stress, metabolic
- Increased sebum (oil) production from sebaceous glands
- Plugging of the follicles by the sebum
- Infection of the sebum by bacteria
- Inflammation related to the infection/immune response
Treating acne with lasers is not a new concept, but the Aerolase has made the process more effective and safer. Even the wavelength, 1064nm YAG laser, is not novel to the Aerolase. However, having a pulse width of 650 microseconds is unique. The Aerolase sits in the middle of the prior lasers used to treat acne, the Q Switched (nanosecond) and the Excel V/VBeam (millisecond). It has been shown that this pulse width is better tolerated than faster and slower lasers, and therefore more pulses and even stacking can occur. Deeper and more broadly-based heating occurs with the Aerolase. With the increased heating of the acne, the laser becomes more effective in its eradication. The 1064 wavelength is safe for all skin types, but settings are reduced for the darker skin patients. The Aerolase laser treats acne by:
- Heating up and shrinking the sebaceous glands leading to lower sebum output
- Killing the acne bacteria
- Reducing the redness associated with the acne
- Improving early scarring
- Reducing the inflammatory component of acne
Typically, a series of treatments are needed, 4-6, about a week or two apart. Touch ups are needed every 1-3 months. Flairs should be treated acutely, so they are controlled quickly. Continues use of topical therapy is usually recommended, such as Retin A and benzyl peroxide. The Aerolase gives patients a unique, no downtime, near painless 10-minute procedure to help control even the most difficult cystic acne.
“Get rid of that Instagram filter and show your true selfie.”
The addition of the CoolAdvantage handpieces, Zimmer Z Wave, and a 2nd Coolsculpting machine, treatments are faster, more comfortable, and with better outcomes.
(Dr. Weiner is one of the most experienced users of Restylane Refyne and Restylane Defyne in the US and has trained multiple physicians on his injection techniques of these new products.)
Late 2016, two new dermal fillers, Restylane Refyne and Restylane Defyne were FDA approved. Although new to the US, these fillers had approval in Europe in 2010 and in Canada in 2015 under the name Emervel. The announcement flew mostly under the radar and it wasn’t until early 2017 that Galderma officially launched the new fillers. Although these fillers are similar in composition, hyaluronic acid (HA), to many of the other fillers on the market, it is the technology behind them that set them apart from the rest.
Restylane Refyne and Defyne are made with XpresHAn technology which adds flexibility to the fillers – “think honey” – and makes them perfect for treating areas of expression. (Other Restylane fillers are based on NASHA technology, and are particulate in nature – “think sugar”.) Additionally, Refyne/Defyne have high crosslinking that lends to their ability to stretch and recoil. Refyne has less links, so it can stretch more, while Defyne is more tightly bound.
The clinical outcomes of using Refyne and Defyne are unique and directly related to their manufacturing process. With placement in the dermis using small aliquots (a different technique than other fillers) in areas of high muscle movement (expression), the filler will support the skin and soft tissue in unparalleled ways. In fact, muscle strain around the mouth was tested before and after Refyne/Defyne placement and was shown to revert a 55 year old’s profile to one similar to a 30 year old on average. The hyperactivity of the muscles was “constrained” by the filler, just as Botox or Dysport does in the glabella and crows feet. The previously difficult to treat radial cheeks lines (smile lines) can now be improved significantly with the new Restylane Refyne/Defyne fillers. Other fillers used to treat this area are more apparent and obvious due to their lacking the XpresHAn technology, and don’t look as natural with movements. Adding bulk/volume to the lower face is usually not desired because beautiful and youthful faces are V or heart shaped. The unique placement of Refyne/Defyne in the dermis does not add fullness in the lower face during corrections of the marionette lines, prejowl sulcus, and smile lines in Dr. Weiner’s experience.
Cohesiveness is the ability of a filler to “stick to itself” and integrate with the surrounding tissues. Both Refyne and Defyne have a high cohesivity. This equates to more blending of the filler with the tissues, and a more natural appearance. In clinical use, these new fillers can be injected into the mid/deep dermis (a dermal filler actually being injected in the dermis!) and still go unnoticed, without nodules or lumps.
One final highlight of Refyne/Defyne is their low degree of swelling associated with injections. This is beneficial for areas such as lips and tear troughs, where swelling can lead to social downtime, precluding some clients from doing these procedures. When comparing all the HA fillers available in the US, it’s been Dr. Weiner’s experience that Refyne/Defyne have the least amount of swelling.
Restylane Refyne and Defyne open up a new treatment paradigm for the perioral smile lines (radial cheek lines) where previous corrections were usually suboptimal. This area is often overlooked or discouraged, but is a frequent concern for a majority of dermal filler clients. The satisfaction rate with these corrections have been extremely high in Dr. Weiner’s experience. With the additional benefits of high conhesiveness and low swelling, Restylane Refyne and Defyne are a great addition to the filler armamentarium of the advanced injector.
The value of volume replacement in the aging face is now universally recognized as one of the most beneficial procedures to restore youthfulness. The combination of sun exposure, aging, and genetics leads to collagen, fat, muscle, and bone loss. Reinflating the cheeks, lips, and tear troughs are routinely done by physicians across the world on a daily basis. Most of these patients will have a week or more of downtime – swelling, bruising, discomfort – but that doesn’t have to be. Blunt cannulas can minimize most of these side effects associated with filler injections and has become standard practice for Dr. Weiner for the past 6 years.
The benefits of blunt cannlas are:
- There is only one insertion point to treat multiple areas. This equates to less intrusions through the skin and therefore a more comfortable procedure.
- The tip is rounded and blunted. This very fact accounts for less bruising/swelling. When a blood vessel is encountered with the end of the cannula, the vessel is more likely to be gently displaced rather than punctured.
- There is increased safety. A phenomenon termed “vascular occlusion” occurs when a filler is injected into a blood vessel. The filler then blocks the blood flow and can lead to necrosis (death of skin) or even blindness. It is much less likely to occur with blunt cannulas, particularly larger cannulas (23 or 25 guage), because they don’t enter blood vessels as easy as needles do.
- Allows treatment in areas otherwise not easily accessible. Due to the safety of the cannulas, there are now areas of the face which are more easily treated. The superficial temporal area, supraorbital, forehead, piriform, periocular and lower eyelid are now routinely treated with cannulas whereas with needles, these areas were very precarious to inject.
- Downtime is minimize. As a result of all the benefits listed above, most patients have significantly less healing time and are much happier after receiving their filler treatments with blunt “safety” cannulas.
If blunt cannulas have so much benefits, why are only 5% of the providers using them for dermal fillers? The art of using cannulas is not an easy one. Patience is required because directing the tip to the exact spot it is needed is not always easy. Remember, when the tip encounters an obstruction (vessel, ligament, collagen), it will need to traverse around it and not pierce it (as needles would do). This can be frustrating and lead to longer and less satisfactory results for the inexperienced cannula injector.
Dr. Weiner is one of the leading authorities on cannula injections of dermal fillers and has used them for over 6 years for nearly all of his injections. The cannulas provide a safe, comfortable, minimal downtime technique for volumizing the aging face, even with multiple syringes being used simultaneously.
Tattoo removal is most effectively performed with lasers. The mechanism by which the laser works is by breaking up the larger ink granules into smaller particles. The body is unable to clear the larger particles but when smaller, the immune system is capable of clearing the ink. Successful clearance of a tattoo is dependent on several factors which will be highlighted in the remainder of the blog. While the experience of the physician performing the tattoo removal can’t be ignored, he/she is limited by the laser being used.
There are 3 aspects that need to be considered in a tattoo laser. They are power (and spot size), wavelengths, and pulse durations.
Power is a measure of how much energy can be delivered to the skin. What’s more important is how much is getting to the level of tattoo. It remains obvious, the more power delivered to a tattoo, the better clearance there should be. This is limited by the damage to the skin and surrounding soft tissue. Excessive energy to the superficial skin can lead to blistering, prolonged healing, scarring, and pigmentation changes. High-power lasers are able to use large spot sizes (10-15mm) to deliver the energy to the tattoo. Larger spot sizes give deeper penetration of energy and a safer treatment. Under-powered lasers need smaller spot sizes to get enough energy into the skin to cause an effect on the tattoo. This leads to the superficial skin heating up and potential for blistering/scarring.
When comparing energies between lasers, most companies measure the output from the laser. What is not discussed is how much the energy is diminished while going through the arms, mirrors, and handpiece. This can account for 20-30% less energy at the skin than what is the measured output of the laser in the lab. (The energy measured by the Piqo4 system is to the skin while all other systems is output from laser.)
The wavelength of a tattoo laser determines what colors it can treat. The most common color in tattoos is black. The best wavelength for treating black inks is 1064nm. This wavelength also is the safest for darker skin type. Even if the tattoo doesn’t look like it has black ink, over 95% have some component of black ink. It is imperative that the laser chosen for tattoo removal has a 1064 wavelength. The next most common ink is red. This is best treated with a 532 wavelength. Almost always, the 532 and 1064 wavelengths are packaged together in the same laser. It requires a doubling of the frequency to go from 1064 to 532 (double frequency means halving wavelength). The remaining colors require a variety of wavelengths so it is essential to have multiple wavelengths to treat colored tattoos. The lighter the color – pink, yellow, white, light blue – the harder it is to treat.
The lasers for tattoo removal are much faster than lasers used for hair removal, photofacials, telangiectasias, and leg veins. Where as the typical pulse duration is measured in milliseconds for the dermal treatments, tattoo lasers are measured in either nanoseconds or picoseconds (1000x – 1,000,000x). These extremely short pulses lead to extremely high energies being placed into the tattoo. This energy leads to a shock wave hitting the ink and breaking it up. The faster the pulse, the higher the energy and the more directed the energy is to the ink and less to the surrounding tissues. The longer the pulse, the more time the energy has to spread to the tissues. In the author’s opinion, initial treatments for tattoos are best performed with nanosecond pulses (to break up the larger ink particles) while the later treatments need picosecond pulses to clear the remaining ink particles which are smaller in size. It is most effective to have a laser with both nano and picosecond capabilities for treating tattoos.
The Best Laser for Tattoo Removal
After understanding the important qualities required in a laser for optimal treatment of a tattoo, it becomes fairly easy to see the obvious best laser. The Piqo4 has the highest energy (to the skin) of all nano/picosecond lasers. As a corollary, it has the largest spot sizes on the market – meaning safer, deeper, and faster treatments. With it’s 4 wavelengths, it has the capabilities to treat the 9 most common colors. It has 4 different pulse durations – 2 and 8 nanosecond and 600 and 800 picosecond. In conclusion, the Piqo4 combines high power, 4 wavelengths, and multiple pulse durations to enable it’s lasers to be the most effective option available on the market.
Melanocytes are the cells responsible for the pigmentation in the skin. Their activity can be increased in response to inflammation. When skin becomes hyperpigmented from an injury, it is called “post inflammatory hyperpigmentation” or PIH. This is particularly prevalent in darker skin individuals, where there is more melanocytic activity, but can occur in lighter skin individuals as well.
The widely accepted scale for skin pigmentation types is the Fitzpatrick Scale. The Fitzpatrick Skin Type 1 are extremely light skinned, have blue eyes, and burn extremely rapidly with sun exposure. Type 6 individuals have very dark skin, dark eyes, and tolerate prolonged sun exposure without burning. In general, the type 4-6 skin types are the ones at risk for PIH.
PIH is possible after the following:
- Laser procedures (mainly laser resurfacing)
- Surgical incisions
- Chemical peels
- Radiofrequency (Infini is low risk)
The best way to treat PIH is prevention, if possible. Prevention consists of calming down the melanocyte metabolism. The standard recommendations are Retin A and hydroquinones. If there is a procedure a darker skin individual is planning that has risks of PIH, this regime should be started at 3 weeks prior to the procedure. It should be continued at least a month and up to 3 months afterwards. These 2 topicals are also standard therapy for patients with PIH.
Prolonged inflammation after a procedure (more than a week) in a darker skin individual, is a risk for PIH. The practitioner needs to recognize this and treat the inflammation appropriately. If there is prolonged redness of the skin, steroids and/or vascular lasers are needed to reduce this. If infection suspected, antibiotics are needed. Calming the skin is essential to prevent PIH.
The timing of PIH is very predictable. It almost always occurs about 3 weeks after a “at risk” procedure is performed.
If there is already PIH, treatments which can be used are:
- Topicals such as Retin A, hydroquinone, and steroids; Triluma contains all 3
- Chemical Peels
- Gentle laser treatments with a 1064 laser (nanosecond or picosecond)
- Possibly PRP with microneedling (experimental but minimal risk)
- Antibiotics for ongoing infections
- Laser hair removal for PIH associated with folliculitis
In general, PIH is best prevented then trying to treat after it occurs. Recognizing risk factors with certain procedures is the key to success. Treating prolonged redness is often overlooked and must be treated aggressively rather than taking a “wait and see” approach.