Tuesday, September 16, 2003
Dr. Zein Obagi, MD chats online and answers skin care questions:
VA: My son is 7 years old and has had eczema for most of his life.
Would he benefit from a chemical peel and do you have any suggestions
for any topical ointments that may help?
Eczema is a mixed basket. If it's ectopic dermatitis, no chemical
peel should be attempted at all at this age. There is a treatment
to reduce skin dryness and reduce eczema. A good physician can make
a recommendation after the proper diagnosis.
Wisconsin: What causes skin tags
and how are they removed?
Obagi: Skin tags are benign growths appearing on the neck,
armpits, and eyes. It's a growth of surface skin and epidermis. They
appear in older age, in places where there is more friction between
clothes and skin. The doctor can snap them off. The treatment is very
Wayne, IN: I recently learned about the Obagi system through a
plastic surgeon office. The explained that she would oversee the process
if I decided to do it. I think the doctor should monitor my progress.
Correct or not?
Obagi: Absolutely. The Obaji system and treatment should
be monitored by the prescribing doctor. That doesn't mean that the
doctor needs to be with the patient 100%. They have trained nurses
and aestheticians who can abide by the doctor's protocol. Once the
diagnosis is made, initial treatments can be monitored by the assistants,
but can't substitute for the physician.
New York : What is the difference between prescription products
and doctor-reccomended products? I get so confused.
Obagi: Prescription products contain ingredients that cannot
be used without prescription, like Retina or MetroGel. Physician recommended
products sometimes can be prescription items, and sometimes are over
the counter. These are products that can be used without the monitoring
of a physician.
Toronto Ontario: I'm 32 years old and already seeing crow's feet
around my eyes. What can I start doing now, to slow the process down?
I strongly believe we can prevent wrinkles, and I recommend going
back to the cells to produce collagen and elastin. Our system has
something called Prevention Step. We can use this to reverse the aging
changes, and accompany that by doing a Blue Peel. We can keep everybody
looking young as long as they keep cells active.
Francisco, CA: What is the best way to get rid of hyper pigmentation
from birth control pills? I use sunscreen, but that is just preventive.
Thanks - I love your foaming face wash!
This is a big dilemma - how to treat pigmentation. I've studied this
for more than 20 years. Hyperpigmentation from birth control pills
is called melasma, for which most doctors use bleaches or cortisone.
We have the most effective treatment program, treating the deeper
part of the melasma, doing about five peels. Very rarely we may have
to use a special pigment laser.
TX: Is there such a thing as a heat rash? It happens the same
time every year early June when it is finally getting hot outside,
my lower back always breaks out with small to large pimples. I am
a 31 year old male.
Definitely. When you're in a very hot area, your sweat irritates the
skin in certain areas. If your pores are clogged, you get itchy pimples
where the sweating is excessive.
TN: What role does nutrition play in the appearance of our skin?
A major one. All the vitamins needed in our body should come from
a healthy diet. If we eat a lot of vegetables and fruits and avoid
dehydrating agents (spices, alcohol, smoking and caffeine) your skin
will have a younger look. Water cleanses the system - so drink plenty
of it and stay out of the sun.
Pennsylvania: Doctor, I am looking to diminish the acne scarring
on my face. Which recommended procedure has the least amount of recovery
time, yet is very effective? Thank you.
Obagi: I'd have to know your skin type - are you white,
African American or Asian? And what type of scarring do you have?
Deep or superficial? There are a wide variety of procedures to use,
such as dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, or chemical peeling. Some
scars are too deep, white and fibrotic, so they need to be excised.
For scars in general, if you're dealing with non-white skin, the dilemma
is that if you go too deep you could lose color in the skin. I advise
to do the Obaji Blue Peel where the physician goes only to a safety
zone in the skin, then repeat. Instead of doing one deep procedure,
we do gradual work. Some scars may be lifted up, some may have to
be hit with lasers.
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