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August 21, 2008
 
       
 

Caring for Your
Largest Organ


 

We’ve profiled our fair share of incredible physicians operating on inner organs. And while we whole-heartedly admire the men and women who can manipulate a lower intestine like it’s a balloon animal, we’d be foolish not to give equal time to the most visible organ. The science of skin care is as cutting edge as any other field and, similar to many surgical areas, procedures are becoming less invasive. For the latest, we went right to the top of the West Institute and asked Dr. Tina West what’s new.

 

As this photo proves, if these walls could talk, they’d be quite complimentary. There was a time when removing sun damage spots (Actinic Keratoses for those keeping score at home) meant recurring treatment. Dermatologists’ best efforts to blast them with liquid nitrogen still couldn’t prevent the pre-cancer cells from popping up elsewhere. Tina likened it to a game of “whack-a-mole.” But one of her new treatments, Photodynamic therapy (PDT), often gets the job done on the first try. The cells absorb a chemical compound applied to the skin, and when the compound is activated by a blue light, the cells are obliterated. Cancer prevented. Surgery averted. Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes.

 

In the olden days (circa 2003) lasers that removed wrinkles and sun spots also took the entire surface of the skin with it. Now lasers like the Fraxel, above, make only tiny holes resembling “pixels on a computer screen.” This allows for shorter recovery times and very few side effects. Because Tina’s procedures allow patients to return home so quickly, it only makes sense for her to launch a line of at-home skin care products. Her next launch is products for men which, contrary to our initial guess, does not mean they smell like Boston Market. In fact, they’re fragrance free and designed to be simple to apply. That makes sense too.


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