Winters are long in Minnesota and we tend to neglect the areas of skin that doesn’t see sunlight. Then, as Spring approaches the anticipation of wearing shorts or a swimsuit can send us into a frenzied tailspin to find a quick fix.
We all know that a healthy diet and exercise is the foundation to giving our legs that youthful shape but what about the dry or uneven texture and color of the skin, annoying little spider veins or the appearance of cellulite despite our best efforts in the gym?
Here are some of the things you can do to combat these issues and put the icing on the cake to your gallant efforts in the gym.
#1 Laser Hair Removal: If you have dark hair on your legs then this is a must for SEVERAL reasons. Laser hair removal not only rids you of unwanted hair while being a huge time saver, it improves the appearance of your skin. Despite our best efforts to get a “close” shave with a razor, laser hair removal evens the tone by removing the dark hair completely (no 5 o’clock shadow.), which then lessens the appearance of pore size (chicken skin….ugh.) Plus the heat produced by the laser prevents and treats razor burn by killing bacteria. Repeated razor burn, most commonly in sensitive areas such as the bikini line and the back of legs can cause scaring and hyperpigmentation due to the repeated inflammation. The Cutera 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser has superior cooling for comfort and can be used on all skin types. In summer, even if you have a tan, you won’t have to miss your scheduled maintenance treatments to ensure you catch all the growth phases of the hair for longer lasting results.
#2 Laser Vein Treatments: Check out our amazing video of a laser vein treatment and see how easy and safe it can be to treat small red and blue veins in the legs with our Cutera 1064 nm Nd:YAG laser. This client was thrilled with her results!
These small malfunctioning veins have no purposeful function for the health of the skin. Often, people will resist showing off an otherwise great set of legs due to these annoying veins. Treatments are well tolerated with minimal discomfort. In fact, clients often like to watch the treatments – through protective eye glasses of course – and see the vessels disappear as the laser collapses the vessel. Instant gratification!
Only a few restrictions in activity afterwards for a few days (no pounding exercises or hot baths, but walking is encouraged). Some clients wear compression stockings to enhance the treatment’s outcome by further preventing blood flow into the damaged vessels as they scar down and contract. Some bruising can occur but after a few days to a week most will appear significantly improved and continue to get better over a few weeks. Bruising and trauma in the skin when exposed to sunlight can stimulate excessive melanin, the pigment in our cells that produce a “tan”, so sunscreen is highly recommended during the healing process to prevent hyperpigmentation.
Prior to your treatment your medical history will be carefully assessed to make sure laser vein therapy is the appropriate treatment option. Sometimes larger masses of veins that are accompanied by pain and or swelling of the legs can indicate deeper malfunctioning veins that may require more invasive treatments. This is why having a consult with an experienced healthcare professional or technician in laser vein therapy is important.
#3 Chemical Peels and Exfoliating Treatments: The dry air of winter and neglect of our legs due to the sheer “out of sight out of mind” phenomenon can lead to a thickening and crackling appearance of the outer layer of dead skin cells called the stratum corneum. When physical exfoliationing scrubs with beads or sugars alone fail a chemical peel with glycolic or fruit acids and/or enzymes can be added to gently breakdown the dead skin cells to expose fresh healthy skin. These can be done as in- office treatments to speed results or we can recommend products for home use based on individual needs.
Give yourself a great home exfoliating treatment by taking a nice long soak in a bath to make that dead skin “soggy” and ready to exfoliate. After soaking use this combination of my favorite products. Don’t drain the tub yet. Gently pat your legs to mostly dry, apply a thin layer of Theraderm NuPeel and allow to sit for 1 minute. Then begin rubbing your skin in a circular motion as the dead skin starts to ball up before your eyes. Follow with an Alpha beta hydroxyl wash such as Glycolic Elite 10% moisturizing wash or Skin Medica AHA/BHA wash with mild abrasive beads. Now rinse, dry and apply a good quality body moisturizer such as Elta MD’s Body Lotion. Repeat daily as necessary. You will be on your way to soft smooth skin.
#4 Radiofrequency skin tightening and cellulite reductions treatments: Despite all your best efforts in the gym and caring for your skin, if your skin has lost tone and cellulite is a problem radiofrequency body treatments may be the icing on the cake to reach your skin’s full potential. Radiofrequency is a safe and efficient energy that heats the dermal and fat layers of the skin causing collagen and elastin fibers to contract and shorten resulting in tighter skin. Heat at this layer also stimulates fibroblasts that create new fibers to further tighten the skin. At higher temperatures apoptosis, or “fat cell destruction”, can occur which makes treating problem areas of fat accumulation a viable non-surgical solution. These treatments are done in the office and best results are seen with consistent weekly treatments for an average of 8-12 weeks.