19 December 2008

Your guide to skin treatments

We give an overview of some of the common skin treatments available.


Here is an outline of some of the most popular skin treatments:

  • Dermabrasion: This involves the use of an abrasive instrument to mechanically "sand" or resurface the skin, achieving a rejuvenated, more youthful appearance. It is often used to treat substantial scarring, sun damage and pigmentation problems.
  • Laser resurfacing: Using laser light energy, this procedure heats and removes the top layer of skin cells, allowing new, unblemished skin to grow. Often used to remove scars, pigmentation problems, precancerous skin growths, even small tumors, and to diminish lines and wrinkles.
  • Non-ablasive laser treatment: Penetrates below the skin surface to stimulate the production of collagen, a natural substance that helps plump skin, creating a more youthful appearance. Also helps to tighten underlying loose skin.
  • Chemical peel: A chemical solution is applied to remove outer layers of aged, discoloured or irregular skin, allowing fresh, new skin cells to grow. Most often used for wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, skin discoloration, age spots, dull skin texture or mild acne scars.
  • Botox injections: A derivative of the Botulism bacteria, this treatment, when injected into the skin in tiny amounts, paralyses small facial muscles causing the surrounding skin to relax, thereby diminishing lines and wrinkles.
  • Laser hair removal: Short pulses of energy generated from a laser light source help to injure the hair follicle, eliminating active hair growth and stunting re-growth. Skin type, skin colour and hair colour all respond differently to this treatment.


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Ask the Expert

Skin expert

Dr Suretha Kannenberg holds a degree in Medicine and a Masters in Dermatology from the University of Stellenbosch. She is employed as a consultant dermatologist by Stellenbosch University and Tygerberg Academic Hospital, where she is involved in clinical duties and the training of medical students and dermatology residents. Her areas of interest and research include vitiligo, eczema and acne. She also performs limited private practice work in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town in general and cosmetic dermatology.

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