Ask the doctor: Melasma, laser hair removal, cosmeceuticals, liposuction for men

Sep 01, 2007, 4:00am

Dr. Schlessinger answers cosmetic questions about melasma, laser hair removal, cosmeceuticals and liposuction for men

Q: I've had brown splotches on my face since the summer. What are they, and what can I do?

Products such as TriLuma can also improve the condition, and regimens such as those offered by Obagi and Vivier can help. All these products contain hydroquinone, which helps lighten the areas. Laser has been used as well.

Q: I was advised not to undergo laser hair removal during the summer, but to wait. When is best time of year to have laser hair removal performed?

a: Laser hair removal is best done when you will be having minimal sun exposure. We do perform laser hair removal year-round in our office, but patients must be very careful about their level of sun exposure, because the procedure can result in burns if performed when the patient is too tanned.

Frequently, we suggest patients return in the fall when they are no longer tanned. That doesn't mean that they should come back on the day that the pool closes, as it will take at least one to two months for most people's tans to fade!

It sounds as though your dermatologist is doing a good job, as it was in your best interest to wait.

Q: What are cosmeceuticals? Do they work better than over-the-counter products?

a: Cosmeceuticals are products intended to have a cosmetic effect, but that also have a medical-grade composition with the intent of helping to resolve a particular problem.

For example, many products in our office and on our Web site can improve things like brown spots on the face and wrinkles, or can help to grow longer eyelashes. Most of these products have ingredients that, in higher concentrations or in slightly different forms, would need to be sold by prescription. As for whether they work better, it all depends on what the product does.

For example, a cleanser may not work any better than a store-bought product, but the cosmeceutical's formula may be a little more pleasant.

In the end, it simply comes down to personal preference.

Q: Do men have liposuction?

a: Yes, many men are having a variety of cosmetic procedures, ranging from liposuction to laser surgery to Botox injections.

Men tend to have liposuction on the flanks and lower abdomen. Some men have liposuction for the male breast area as well.

Male cosmetic surgery is a new and exciting area for dermatologists, and probably is only going to continue to grow!

Joel Schlessinger, M.D., F.A.A.D., F.A.A.C.S., answers your questions about facial rejuvenation and anti-aging therapies. A board-certified dermatologist and president of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery, Dr. Schlessinger is in private practice in Omaha, Neb., and is the founder and owner of http://LovelySkin.com/, one of the largest purveyors of skincare products on the Web. He is a member of the Dermatology Times Editorial Council. Please e-mail questions directly to Dr. Schlessinger at skindoc@LovelySkin.com
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