Dr. Amin Sharobim’s Comprehensive Guide to Skin Treatments & Procedures
By Hilary Diack
Fully deserving the very best care we can give it, the skin is our body’s largest organ. It works incessantly to help regulate our body temperature, shield our bodies from bacteria, and is a good indicator of our general state of health. Unfortunately our skin also bears the brunt of environmental conditions and the ravages of time, so it is small wonder then that cosmetic procedures have carved out a sizeable niche in the beauty industry. Cairo East Magazine met with dermatologist Dr. Amin Sharobim to learn more.
CEM: What are the best procedures and treatments for maintaining a youthful appearance in lieu of plastic surgery?
AS: It really depends on each individual patient’s needs. Every case is different so we tailor the treatments accordingly. That said, it should be noted that Botox is still one of the most widely used in-office procedures. Of course, some cosmetic improvements can only be handled by surgery so a patient must be made aware of what can be achieved with each option. There is also an increase in popularity of laser therapy like Fraxel and filler treatments using hyaluronic acid.
How effective are Fraxel and heat activated collagen treatments?
Again, it depends on each patient’s requirements. Fraxel is a first generation non-ablative fractional laser treatment, and is used for dealing with fine lines, wrinkles, acne and surgical scars, stretch marks, and crow’s feet. Non-ablative fractional lasers use laser energy micro-beams to coagulate areas of affected tissue that extend through the epidermis into the dermis. This procedure keeps the outer layer of skin in place for faster healing and recovery. The benefit lies in the minimal ‘down-time’; it does not disrupt the patient’s routine. Alternatively ablative laser procedures use laser beams that deliver heat in small vertical columns and vaporize the affected tissue. This requires a longer period for healing while the body creates new, healthy tissue to replace the areas of affected tissue, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin. These machines all serve to stimulate collagen renewal so are aiming at the same type of result.
What about the new filler treatment Voluma, and how does it differ from Botox?
They are two totally different treatments, for very different purposes. Botox is used as a muscle relaxant and targets dynamic wrinkles. It is highly popular and we even see a lot of younger patients coming for preventative sessions, to pre-empt formation of wrinkles. There are always new developments in this field and it gives good results when done correctly.
Voluma is a heavy filler and should be used carefully, it is not for everyone. It is primarily for augmenting cheeks that have lost their natural volume and should not be used for lips.
What should we know about Ulthera, the ultrasound non-surgical face-lift?
There are several types of machines for brow lifts and wrinkle treatment, but to date only Ulthera has been FDA approved. The procedure delivers heat and ultrasound to stimulate collagen production. The person handling the treatment can actually visualize the layers of the skin through this ultrasound. A new treatment that has proven to give good results is Fractional Skin Resurfacing, a unique skin treatment utilizing bipolar radiofrequency energy to rejuvenate aged and wrinkled skin. It improves the texture and tone of the skin while tightening it through deep dermal heating that reaches the collagen fibers, creating an immediate and long term tightening effect.
What is Mesotherapy and how good is it?
Mesotherapy uses multiple injections of pharmaceutical and homeopathic medications, plant extracts, vitamins, and other ingredients into skin, and occasionally subcutaneous fat. The aim is to target skin components. It can give good results, but they vary according to the situation. Any treatment plan should be discussed in full with the doctor to get an idea of what result can be anticipated. It definitely is a trending procedure, but should be used only when required.
What are the most effective methods for removing liver and age spots from our skin?
Again, each case must be looked at individually. In more serious instances we would use a Q-switched laser, a technique by which a laser can be made to produce a pulsed output beam. Other cases can be handled by peeling or bleaching creams, depending on the severity. It is essential to remember to use sun-block and avoid exposure during the hotter part of the day.
What can be done for sensitive skin that is prone to prickly heat rash and irritations in summer?
Remember to use an emollient suited to your personal skin type. Keep your skin protected and hydrated, there are some excellent sun-blocks in the market with anti-oxidants and vitamins. If you want to get a light tan choose the hours of the day when the UV rays are at a minimum concentration.
How can we deal with pigmentation?
There are many causes and types of pigmentation. A common cause is over exposure to the sun, but it can also be related to stress, reaction to a new medication, pregnancy or hormonal changes. A consultation with you doctor is essential, he can then prescribe the correct type of treatment.
Are there any new treatments available for acne?
One of the latest topical treatments in the market has a combination of two drugs, Retin A and Benzoyl peroxide. The redness and swelling that can occur with acne are caused by a type of bacteria that can be killed by exposing your skin to different types of light, with blue light being the most commonly used wavelength as a support therapy to medical treatment.
What can be done to alleviate eczema?
Sufferers are genetically pre-disposed to this condition, but there can be many aggravating factors such as skin dryness and reaction to detergents. It is important to keep the skin well hydrated as well as using prescribed medications. Most pharmacies also stock specialized soaps and facial washes to help relieve the symptoms.
Have you seen an increase in pollution-related skin conditions?
Yes. As increasing pollution levels gradually impact the ozone layer we are more exposed to skin damage by excess UV rays. While a certain amount of sun is vital for our health we need to be more aware of ways of protecting our skin.
Which vitamins are important for healthy hair and skin?
Any diet should include food items rich in zinc, biotin, calcium and iron. Anyone who has a pattern of extreme dieting or surgical intervention for weight loss may find they suffer a lot of hair loss and weak nails. Supplements may help, along with adjustments in eating habits.
With so many new techniques for battling the effects of age do you see a danger in treatments becoming an addiction?
It can happen, there is always a danger of a person developing compulsive body disorders with an obsession for chasing perfection. The doctor must consult in depth with the patient before any work is carried out and ensure that a healthy mental attitude is there to support the therapy.