Tag: Skin Care


Tan lines and patient satisfaction

November 7th, 2011 — 10:11pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder blogs about patient satisfaction. 

I can usually tell when a patient really, really likes the result of their breast or body contouring surgery, at least if they have had any sun lately.  I just take a look at their tan lines!  (Those of you who read this blog regularly know that I am totally anti-tan and I am not advocating any activity that causes tan line nor do I advocate non-tan line nude sunbathing!)

Sometimes I’ll have a patient who is super picky about a very minor imperfection but who has tan lines that tell me he/she is comfortable not wearing much at the beach or pool.   Once I had a tummy tuck patient, well into her 50s, that was upset that her string bikini didn’t cover her bikini line scar.  That is what I call a happy problem!

Hey, thanks for reading and stay away from those tanning beds.  More on that in an upcoming blog.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Body Contouring, Breast Contouring, Breast Implants, Breast Lift, Breast Reduction, Mommy Makeover, Plastic Surgery, Skin Care, sun damage, Tummy Tuck

Can’t call it “Sunblock” anymore.

June 15th, 2011 — 9:42pm

Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses sun block and sun screen lingo.

Yesterday the Food and Drug Adminstration issues new rules on the labeling of sun protection products.  These rules have been many years in the making with many stakeholders involved.  This news  is welcome to me and my patients as is any regulation that promotes accurate information and truth in advertising.

Only sun protection products that protect against a broad spectrum of ultra- violet rays can claim protection against skin cancer and skin aging No product can call itself a sunblock.  Strong sunscreen, yes but sunblock, no.  The SPF system will be redone to give patients a more accurate way to measure protection.  No longer will we see promotions of SPF 100 which really does not exist (SPF 100 means you can spend 1500 minutes or 25 hours in the sun without getting much more than a little “color”).    Also, sweatproof and waterproof labels will disappear.

So expect some better information on sun protection products’ packaging and remember:  It only works if you use it.

Here’s wishing you a great and tan free summer.  Thanks for reading.  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, Government and Politics, Skin Care, sun damage

Yuck! What are these things?

June 14th, 2011 — 5:27pm

Seborrheic Keratosis – looks bad but is totally harmless

Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses icky but harmless skin lesions.

I just finished treating a lovely middle aged lady with about 20 of these unsightly skin lesions on her back.  Since she turned 50,  they have been popping up like mushrooms in our wet Seattle. 

These nasty looking lesions are seborrheic keratoses and despite their looks, they are totally harmless. 

Most patients who develop seborrheic keratoses are over 50 and most have a family history.  They usually develop in sun exposed areas but not always. 

There are several ways to treat these.  My treatment of choice is to numb up the area with local anesthetic and then scrape the lesions off with a curette and then zap any little areas of oozing with an electric needle.  It takes about 7 – 10 days for the areas to heal, depending on the size of the kertosis.  The really nice thing about treating these is that the treated area usually heals with minimal scarring.  Removal of seborreic keratoses does not require going all the way through the skin layers.  Usually I just have to go into the middle layer of the skin and that accounts for the fairly rapid and scarless healing. 

One big work of caution.  Do not have these treated unless you can spend a couple of months without sun exposure to the area.  UV radiation can turn the healing area brown and then you just end up with a brown scar where the brown spot used to be.  Rather counterproductive.  The lady I treated today won’t be exposing her back until next winter when she goes to Hawaii.  Perfect timing.

SOOOO – if you have some of these nasty little spots that bother you (or anyone who has to look at them), give my office a call and we can set up a time to remove them.  Fall is the best time because then you have a whole 6 – 9 months before any worry about sun exposure. 

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, General Health, Now That's a Little Weird, Plastic Surgery, Skin Care

Not worried about the sun? You should be!

June 13th, 2011 — 7:15pm

Can you guess which twin spent years with a “healthy” tan?

Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses sun damage and skin protection – again.  Inags because Icare.

Summer officially starts in two weeks and it’s time for my yearly scold about facial tanning.  As usual, a picture is worth a bajillion words so take a look at these twins.  They have had no surgery or skin treatments and neither one smokes.    They are the same age (duh) and the same weight.

Take a look at the damage that years of sun exposure have caused in the twin on the left.  Not only does she have fine wrinkles and uneven pigmentation, her face is less plump than her younger looking twin.

I am often asked which sunblock is the best for the face.  My answer is the sunblock that you will use every day.  It may take a while to find the one you like the best but shop around.  There’s one out there for you.  I really like one of the non-greasy sunblocks that Neutragena makes.  I have yet to find a sunblock compatible with my very sensitive eyes so I skip that area.  But I do have a great pair of shades that I live in when outside and I have a collection of hats.

Remember, the skin tans as a response to injury.  So take care of your largest and most visible organ and it will take care of you.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, General Health, Skin Care, sun damage

Hey Girlfriend! Lose the cigarette already!

May 25th, 2011 — 8:25pm

Looking older already

Seattle Plastic Surgeon nags about smoking.

Yesterday evening I took my dog, Stella, for a nice long walk.  I live  just a stone’s throw from Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. Fremont is the self designated Center of the Universe and home to many, many hipster bars and clubs.

Seattle has had the most wretched spring on record and last evening was lovely. Everyone was out. Seattle has very stringent anti-smoking laws and it seems everyone was outside these hipster hangouts, on the sidewalk, smoking. It made me wanna holler – “Lose the cigarette if you care even a shred about how you will look in 20 years!”

And it reminded me of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery meeting I attended in Boston in earlier this month. One of the presentations was on how much younger someone looks after a facelift. This was a well done study using lay observers with standerdized before and after photos of before of facelift patients. The magic number was 6 – facelift patients look 6 years younger after a facelift.

What a coincidence! Because similar studies show that smokers look 6 years older than non-smokers. But don’t go thinking that smokers can just undue the cosmetic damage with a facelift because careful and prudent plastic surgeon (moi, for example) will not do a facelift on a smoker because they are at much higher risk for healing problems and resultant unfavorable scaring after a facelift.

So all you dudette (and dudes), lose the cancer sticks, and save your cigarette money for your facelift at fifty which you will likely “need” until we figure out how to turn off the gravity.

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, General Health, Skin Care

Seattle weather – great for moss and nice skin

April 19th, 2011 — 4:50pm
Beautiful moss weather we're having

Beautiful moss weather we’re having

Seattle Plastic Surgeon discusses the joys of a soggy climate.

The front page of the Seattle Times today featured a great story on moss. We’ve had one of the wettest and coldest springs in recent memory and the moss is just loving it. I must admit, when I was in college and taking botony, I had a great admiration for moss, especially when I got down to moss level and really looked at it. And under the microscope – wow.

Everyone with a moss garden is estatic about this weather and I also think anyone who cares about their skin should be estatic too. I spend the winter months slathering on skin cream because I get so dried out and the summer months I slather on sun block, but the last two months I’ve headed out the door with just a dollop of sun screen on my face and that’s it. It’s so moist here, my dry skin just soaks up the ambient humidity and with this cloud cover, I can be a little lax about endless my battle with the UV. Let’s here it for Seattle’s moisture festival!

Thanks for reading!  Dr. Lisa Lynn Sowder

Aging Issues, I Love Seattle!, Skin Care, sun damage

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