Reasonable Skin Expectations

How Regimens and In-Office Procedures Impact Your Skin Care Goals

June 2, 2017

When embarking on a new skin care regimen, making an appointment for a medical spa treatment or setting up a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon – expectations can be high. Whether your goal is to look younger, have more confidence or fix a long-term skin concern, you are hoping to see great results.

Before starting a beauty regimen or treatment of any kind, it’s important to set realistic expectations for the outcome. To save time and money, it’s best to evaluate and ask questions from the beginning to determine what to expect from a new skin care regimen or professional procedure.


The True Story of A Daily Regimen

Using an at-home skin care regimen is the first step to better skin. No matter what results you anticipate, a consistent daily routine will help your skin look and feel its best. This can also help improve the results of treatments you receive in a medical setting.

There isn’t a skin care line on the market that will undo every imperfection. Miracle creams and flashy ingredients that claim to do it all are not realistic. Years of damage from the sun, lack of proper skin care and poor eating habits cannot be reversed in a few weeks, but will take time to see improvement. It’s necessary to realize that some product lines may not work for everyone, so this is where a skin care professional is important when finding a new regimen. They will help you choose a line based on your skin needs and specific skin type.

Start by asking a skin care professional for a consultation. These may be complimentary at a physician’s office or medical spa, but be sure to ask if there is a fee. Once the skin care professional has suggested products, ask how long you should expect before you see results. Often times it’s easy to give up on continuing a new routine because of unrealistic time frames. Remember that visible imperfections took years to develop, and will take time to see improvement.

If a product line promises overnight miracles, it is more than likely too good to be true.

Ask about clinical studies performed on the market-ready product. This will give you an idea of how the product may help your specific skin issue and if there is actual data to support claims of efficacy – whether it be visible improvement of dark spots, skin texture or signs of aging.

If you’ve decided to invest in a product regimen, expect to pay a more premium cost compared to a retail box store or department store. Medical-grade skin care lines are often a higher price point because of the quality of ingredients in the formulations and their proven ability to improve skin’s visible appearance.


DIY At-Home Procedures

Devices or products traditionally found only in a doctor or esthetician’s office are growing in popularity for at-home use. This includes at-home peels and personal microdermabrasion devices. Results can certainly vary from those achieved in a professional office.

Chemical peel treatments help to clear pores and brighten skin tone by exfoliating and removing the top layer of skin, known as the stratum corneum. In many states, only licensed estheticians or medical professionals are allowed to perform professional-strength peels.

Chemical peels performed at home differ from those in a professional setting in their concentration of active ingredients.1 Performing a peel at home can help improve the visible texture, blemishes and help improve skin brightness to a mild degree, but there are downsides and even risks. Uneven application can have negative impacts like streaking or dark spots. Getting product too close to the eyes or mouth is a risk when performing these peels on your own.

Other popular at-home devices include light therapy and microdermabrasion devices or creams to help reduce the visible appearance of skin aging, scarring from acne and dark spots. This is all done in the convenience of your own home, but results can be less pronounced than in a professional office and take longer to see results.

Cost can also be a considering factor with at-home aesthetic treatments. Products or devices can range from a few dollars to a few hundred dollars. Some beauty treatments worth the investment may be worth having done in a professional setting, both for safety and results.

“Finding the right treatment option is most successful when you are educated and know what to expect in advance.”


When to See A Professional

There have been numerous advances in professional procedures in the last decade. Cosmetic surgery has become more mainstream, and so have non-invasive procedures.

The first step when considering a professional procedure is to ask yourself why you’re considering having it done. You may want to simply boost your confidence, look more youthful or perhaps correct a long-term problem that has been on your mind. Evaluating your motivation is important to setting expectations.

Some unrealistic expectations could include looking 25 years old again after a cosmetic procedure. Plastic surgeons also receive requests from patients to help them look like their favorite celebrity, to which a doctor may have to help the patient reevaluate the expectation.2

Patients should also be aware that they won’t look perfect – even after cosmetic surgery. While the results are permanent and take a commitment to the process, nothing is permanent since aging will continue to affect our entire body after the surgery is over.3

Questions to Ask Before A Procedure

When visiting a medical spa or cosmetic surgeon there are several questions you should ask before going forward with a treatment. This will help you determine if the time you spend and money you pay is worth the investment. The following are some questions you might want to ask your doctor or esthetician:

Am I a good candidate for this procedure?
Consider your current health. Medications, past medical history and current overall health will play a role in whether or not you should have a medical spa treatment or surgery. Age is also a factor in determining if you’re a good candidate for the procedure. In the case of cosmetic surgery, if a candidate is too young, a surgery can put their future development at risk. If a candidate is passed a certain age, the risk associated with surgery can be too great.

What are the credentials of the person performing the procedure?
In the case of cosmetic surgery, ask if the doctor is board-certified by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery. It’s important to know because this will indicate if the physician has the right training for the procedure. If you’re having laser or other non-invasive treatments, ask if the person performing the procedure is certified or licensed. Furthermore, as a patient, you have the right to get a second opinion. Be well-informed and confident in your decision prior to the procedure.

What is the downtime with the procedure?
The time it takes to recover will determine if time off work is necessary or if social functions should be put on hold. Your physician will inform you of the anticipated downtime, but remember that everybody is different and healing time and recovery varies from patient to patient. How long is recommended to stay out of the sun or to incorporate post-procedure care is also important.

What is the rate of success?
The success of the treatment – whether a facial, microneedling or plastic surgery- depends on the patient. It’s important to ask how the average patient has responded to help you gauge possible results. As well, the rate of success may be dependent upon proper pre and post-care. Often, a physician may want you to begin a specific regimen in the weeks leading up to your procedure to help encourage an even greater outcome.

Would a noninvasive procedure work as well as surgery?
There are several non-invasive procedures that may help improve skin and overall appearance. Ultrasound and radiofrequency can help tighten skin and boost collagen for younger-looking skin. Body shaping is a popular way to lose inches and firm various areas of the body without going under the knife. These non-invasive alternatives may be worth exploring before surgery.

There are a wide range of options to help improve your appearance. Finding the right treatment option is most successful when you are educated and know what to expect in advance. This includes having reasonable expectations for possible treatment outcomes and working with your skin care professional along the way. Your skin care professional should take the time to educate you on outcomes and inform you of the risks associated with the chosen procedure. And remember, your results will be your own results. Every person has a unique combination of characteristics which can impact the results of a new skin care regimen or treatment procedure.



Further Reading

How to Care for Sensitive Skin for Men

Healthy Skin Habits for Tweens

What is a Chemical Exfoliator?

A Dermatologist-Recommended Skincare Routine for a Healthy Barrier