Article written by Lydia Freudenberg for the December, 2019 issue of CityScene Magazine
Derms of Endearment
AND SO, the series comes to an end. We decided to end with a big one: the integumentary system. Consisting of the skin, hair, nails and exocrine glands, the integumentary system protects all the other systems, so it’s important to keep it healthy and clean.
Gore and Guacamole
With stress, bad habits, genetics and weather, keeping skin vibrant is difficult. Dr. Stephanie L. Cotell – with Northeast Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery Center along with Mount Carmel East and Mount Carmel Grove City – washes away our fear surrounding trending skin treatments.
A vampire facial, Cotell says, is the process of injecting a patient’s own plasma from their blood to help with wrinkles, fine lines and tightening of the skin. The process is called a platelet-rich plasma injection, and is growing in popularity. Thefacial gets its name because bleeding occurs at the injection site, leaving a red, but eventually smooth, complexion. “It’s very safe because you’re using your own blood products,” Cotell says. “Typically, you do need to do more than one treatment to get the benefit.”
Avocado Face Mask
Avocados are awesome for our health and nutrition, so avocado masks should work just as well, right?“I think this is a myth,” Cotell says. “Avocado taken internally can be helpful because it has healthy fats and fiber. There is good science behind ingesting avocado, but not good science to applying it to your skin.”
Walking down a skincare aisle in any store, it’s impossible to miss the charcoal paper and clay masks. But is it really all it’s cracked up to be? Will these magical products remove all your blackheads? “Applying charcoal to your skin is probably an overrated procedure,” Cotell says. “Think about how we traditionally use charcoal: It’s used in emergency rooms for overdoses because it absorbs ingested toxins. However, when you’re applying it to the skin, we do not have good data other than it acts as a typical exfoliant.” To help fight blackheads and acne, Cotell recommends over-the-counter treatments with glycolic acid, as more science upholds its ability to help skin.
Food For Thought
The holidays come with chocolate sweets and treats. Sugar isn’t just bad for your diet; it can also irritate the skin beyond breakouts. “When you get increased blood sugar levels, you get these sticky compounds in your skin that can cause collagen damage. It has a funny name called sugar sag and can lead to wrinkling and sagging of the skin,” she says. “Now, is this going to happen to everybody? No. But, in general, we recommend not having a high-sugar diet.” Foods such as sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids and help fight free radicals that harm proteins in the skin. High omega-3 foods such as fish and walnuts help prevent inflammation of the skin. But don’t get too hung up on food unless your diet is poor. Other factors, such as genetics, are more related to skin care complications.
One Cool Future
Cotell says beyond the vampire facial, a newer device called Secret uses microneedling and radio frequency to tighten skin. Other advancements within the past few years include PRP injections for hair growth and CoolSculpting, a noninvasive light-based body contouring procedure. In the end, healthy and glowing skin is possible with healthy habits. “Sometimes I say one good healthy habit leads to another,” Cotell says. “If you start taking care of your skin and start feeling good, then you may start exercising, and then that translates into a healthier outlook.”