Correcting Skin Flaws

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Whatever your skin flaw -- dark circles, age spots, freckles, moles, enlarged pores, splotches and pigmentation problems, broken capillaries -- you'd like it to go away! Now you can get advice from dermatologists Katie P. Rodan, MD, and Kathy A. Fields, MD. They joined us on May 17, 2005 to answer your questions about correcting skin flaws.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

MODERATOR:
Welcome back to WebMD Live, Dr. Rodan and Dr. Fields.

RODAN:
Hi everybody out there. Bring us your skin questions.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have always had dark circles under my eyes. I don't like using the tinted under-eye products because they are so thick and hard to blend. They say yellow is how to disguise them, but I don't feel it is helpful for me. Is there another remedy?

FIELDS:
Under-eye circles are common, normal, and genetic and they worsen with age, stress, lack of sleep and a million other factors.

In truth, under-eye creams that claim to completely erase dark eye circles don't work. However, if there is brown pigment it can be lessened with a hydroquinone-bleaching agent. There are advanced eye creams with reflective particles that lessen the look of dark circles and excellent hydrating agents that smooth the area.

Certainly eye concealers are the best for concealing, but painting it yellow is an extra unnecessary step.

"Lasers, like the ruby lasers, which are good for dark circles, may be risky in a person of a dark skin type."

MEMBER QUESTION:
I have dark circles under my eyes, what can I do for that? I am African-American.

RODAN:
First of all your concern is a very common one. These dark circles are more prominent in darker skinned individuals. This is because of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

The eyelid skin is very delicate. This skin becomes inflamed or irritated due to allergies or frequent rubbing of your eyelids and the delicate capillary network in the skin becomes damaged and releases red cells. Red cells contain iron, and that dark iron pigment deposited in the skin can make these dark circles particularly difficult to remove.

Lasers, like the ruby lasers, which are good for dark circles, may be risky in a person of a dark skin type. Therefore, camouflage is your best bet. You can use eye creams that contain light diffusing particles, such as mica, and a shade or two lighter than your natural pigmentation.

MEMBER QUESTION:
I'm interested in trying Blue Light Therapy for my acne and oily skin. What should I ask about this procedure? How common is this medical procedure?

FIELDS:
Blue light therapy has been available for approximately three years. It is best for mild to moderate, but less satisfying for severe cystic.

It is a tedious procedure where you come in twice a week for a month and you continue topical, over-the-counter or prescription medication before, during and after therapy. The success rate of controlling acne is just fair. It is certainly not a cure. I have a blue light in my office and we're using it infrequently because of this.

There are a lot of new nonablative lasers on the market now for acne and they are all expensive. None of them cure acne, all require multiple treatments at about $500 a session and topical care will be required following the therapy.

The newest light method is where the doctor paints the chemical ALA (aminolevulinic acid) on the full face, the face is exposed to a light, there is a burn on the skin for approximately one week and the acne may stay clear for several months. This is highly investigational and not mainstream yet. It is also not a cure.



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