Why Nearly Everyone is a Candidate for Laser Resurfacing

Lasers made for skin resurfacing have come a very long way—and as a laser pioneer, Dr. Brent J. Smith has been there for the journey.

As one of the first facial plastic surgery centers in the country to perform full-face laser skin resurfacing, Smith Cosmetic Surgery has leveraged laser technology to create younger-looking skin on more than 10,000 patients for more than 25 years.

laser skin resurfacing candidate
If you desire smoother, younger-looking skin, laser resurfacing may be right for you.

The CO2 lasers we use at Smith Cosmetic Surgery are safe, highly effective and customizable for most all skin conditions. Laser skin resurfacing is a wonderful way to complement and extend the look of a surgical procedure, such as a cheek, neck or chin lift.

In fact, we often see that it’s the secondary skin resurfacing procedure that enhances mature skin in the most dramatic way. Sometimes we call it the magic eraser, because while we can’t rely on it to surgically lift and contour angles of the face, we can count on laser resurfacing to gently remove older layers of skin to smooth and erase some of the most visible signs of aging – from brown spots and wrinkles to acne scarring and sun damage.

In fact, there’s rarely a person that walks in the doors of Smith Cosmetic Surgery that could not benefit from the powerful revisions made possible by today’s most advanced cosmetic lasers. That’s why we say that most everyone, really, is a candidate for laser skin resurfacing.

It’s about your skin as much as your cheekbones

One of the biggest misconceptions is that the most outwardly visible signs of aging are structural issues such as drooping jowls, wrinkling foreheads and turkey necks. But that’s simply not the case.

Have you ever seen someone with amazing cheekbones but horrible skin? All you can focus on is the weathered, spotty or pockmarked skin, right? This surface layer says so much about who we are—and how old we are. The real impression we have of others starts with healthy skin.

Let’s look at another example: an outdoor athlete whose face has been beaten by sun, who looks both extremely weathered and gaunt. Which issue is worth fixing first?

We’d argue both. If you add some plumpness to sunken cheeks with a well-crafted facelift and beautifully sculpted fat grafting, you’re still left with a lifetime of leather on your face. That’s why lifts and lasers go hand-in-hand.

Once Dr. Smith explains the benefits of scheduling both procedures, some 85 percent of Smith Cosmetic Surgery patients choose to have laser skin resurfacing in combination with a facelift.

The inside line on facial laser practices

It may be surprising, then, that most people don’t request laser skin resurfacing alongside a modern mini facelift. Although Dr. Smith and staff see the extraordinary benefits of lasers every day, there are several reasons that laser-guided resurfacing is still considered the stepsister of facial plastic surgery:

  • There are a lot of myths floating around about skin lasers
  • Early lasers were less precise and required more recovery time
  • Not all lasers (or practitioners) are created equal

So let’s address each of these.

First: Myths. Myths exist for all elective procedures, whether it’s Lasik or laser skin resurfacing. Usually these are singular stories overheard and passed along, either by word of mouth or online. By the time they reach you they have morphed into a tragic half-truth. There is also a lot of misinformation on the internet and broadcast to consumers daily in the form of misleading advertising.

Many myths related to lasers have to do with misunderstandings about how they actually work—and how far they have come since they were first used for skin resurfacing. There are widely varying myths about how deep lasers go, how they make your skin look, how long it takes to recover from resurfacing and how long the effects last.

The only way to know if something like laser resurfacing is right for you is to come in for a complimentary consultation and learn about the state-of-the-art CO2 lasers and techniques that we employ at Smith Cosmetic Surgery.

Second: the evolution of lasers. Dr. Smith will be the first to admit that early lasers used in cosmetic work were crude compared to the remarkably precise CO2 laser machines used today.

Because of early lasers’ high heat output sometimes skin would turn redder than expected and recovery times for skin to return to normal tones was quite long. Today, the top lasers on the market have fine-pulsing energy streams that doctors can customize for the needs of each patient—only going as deep, long or wide as necessary.

Likewise, old lasers often left a more distinct line of demarcation between where the laser was applied and where it wasn’t. That often left certain parts of the face looking “waxy,” which was not an ideal outcome for anyone.

Modern lasers like the fractional CO2 lasers we use at Smith Cosmetic Surgery are blending masters. They are so fine-tuned that Dr. Smith can merge resurfaced skin right into the neck, jowls or forehead, for example, in a natural and nearly unnoticeable way.

Recovery times will always vary by patient. The more aggressive the laser work for deeply damaged skin, the longer it will take to regenerate new collagen and skin over top. But typically, healing can occur in as little as three to five days for lighter, finer laser work and 10 days for deeper laser applications.

Lastly: Not all lasers (and surgeons) are the same. At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we have purchased our own suite of CO2 laser equipment, considered some of the best on the market today.

Did you know that many plastic surgeons rent lasers for certain days each month and squeeze in all of their skin resurfacing patients on those days? Often, rented lasers are bounced around during transportation and used in unknown ways by other surgeons. We don’t trust that approach—and neither should you.

Most importantly, your first priority should be choosing a surgeon or registered nurse for laser skin resurfacing who is highly trained, stays current on new laser technology, performs hundreds of laser procedures a year and truly understands how to customize the experience for every individual face. You don’t want a tech performing laser work; you want a trained surgeon or medical nurse.

As the country’s original full-face laser treatment surgeon, performing over 400 procedures each year, you can trust Dr. Smith to show you all the beauty and benefits of contemporary skin resurfacing.

Is Facial Plastic Surgery a Wise Investment?

It’s tax season and you may be wondering how to invest your refund wisely. There’s more than anecdotal evidence that putting that refund toward a renewed and refreshed look could be a very rewarding long-term investment.

A well-known study from the Mayo Clinic even went so far as to suggest that women who have facelifts might live up to a decade longer than women who don’t. The boost from a facelift seemed to come not just from the more youthful physical changes research participants experienced, but also from the impact that a more healthy-looking face had on positive self-image and outlook on life.

Plastic surgeons around the country, including Dr. Brent J. Smith, agree that they see this mind-body phenomenon happen every day. There’s certainly a link between enhancing the appearance of the face and the impact it has on our perception of self.

We’re not sure about your take on the report, but to us getting a new lease on life—and potentially extending it by several years—seems like a worthwhile investment.

First, give yourself permission

The first step in actually putting hard-earned money toward something for yourself is believing that you’re worth it. And for many people, especially women, that can be a challenge in and of itself.

Due to cultural traditions (which are changing), women often feel guilty about using money on themselves. There can be a sense of self-indulgence or vanity that seems to come with exploring a plastic surgery procedure, for example.

We’d like to put that notion to rest once and for all. Investing in yourself is not a luxury; in many ways it’s a necessity. Think of another physical modality, such as a regular massage, that you may have come to appreciate and need for both mental and physical health. Plastic facial surgery is really no different and the results can be far more long lasting.

Here’s another way to think about it: Remember last month’s quick fix for wrinkles? Didn’t work, did it? How about all those fancy age-defying lotions you spend money on? That’s expensive. What about the in-office procedure that your friend swore was the magic treatment? Didn’t last.

You have spent more than enough on short-term solutions. Now is the time to invest in plastic surgery: the only proven long-term solution for aging skin.

When is the right time for a facelift?

At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we often consult with patients who are experiencing life changes that can make a facelift feel more like a “life lift.” Here are some of the scenarios we see regularly:

  • You’re 60, recently laid off and need to make a great impression for a big job interview.
  • You’re back in the single world and are finally ready to enter the dating scene again with a fresh look.
  • You’re in a midlife state of re-evaluating everything that really matters to you—and you realize that time is ticking too fast.
  • You’re the spouse of a prominent business person who is constantly in the social spotlight—and therefore constantly feeling judged by others.
  • You’re a grandparent and want to finally look as young as you feel when you’re with the grandkids.
  • You are young, single and finally have a disposable income (plus a tax refund), and you are ready to change a nose that has never really felt like your own.

The reasons people of all ages and backgrounds come to Dr. Smith for plastic surgery are varied, but there’s one universal need we all share: to feel happy, healthy and accepting of ourselves.

Dr. Smith would like to extend an invitation today to give yourself permission. To no longer feel guilty for putting yourself first. And to start seeing mind-body procedures like plastic surgery for what they really are: a long-term investment in self-confidence and contentment.

Pay for plastic surgery like a Porsche

Yet another way to validate investing in a facelift is to think about plastic surgery purely in financial terms. When most people buy a new car, especially a dream vehicle like a brand-new Porsche, they don’t prolong the process while gathering money for an all-cash, one-time payment. We finance our cars so we can drive and enjoy them right now.  A facelift can be thought of in a similar way. Why put off all the positives that come with facial plastic surgery for a rainy day when you can get your procedure done now instead of waiting for all the stars to align? In fact, you might think of this year’s tax refund as an investment in this spring’s facelift. And, at Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we are pleased to work with patients on creative payment plans to fit your budget.

Ready to give yourself permission and invest your tax refund in something that is personally rewarding? Don’t wait. Call Smith Cosmetic Surgery for a complimentary consultation today. Ask as many questions as you like about your procedure—and about our financing options. You might be surprised by what we can do to get you on your journey to a whole new you.

What makes a Smith Cosmetic Surgery nose so unique?

Nose jobs Colorado Among plastic surgeons it is widely accepted that noses are the most difficult to do correctly. That’s why patients should think long and hard about the surgeon they choose to sculpt a new nose, whether for cosmetic or medical reasons.

Operating on noses takes a highly experienced surgeon because there’s very little room for error. This facial feature sits prominently in the middle of the face.  It’s a big part of the way we present ourselves to the world, not to mention one of the first things others notice when they meet us.

That means plastic surgeons that perform rhinoplasty, or “nose jobs”, must do so with great precision and intent. There’s no hiding a “mistake” on a nose the way one could hide an imperfection from plastic surgery on the belly, for example, with clothing. Your nose will always be front and center.

The decision is obvious: Dr. Brent J. Smith consistently performs between 180 and 200 facelifts each year, most of which include eyelid surgery, a nose job, and possibly chin and ear procedures.

Every nose is a new blueprint

The other thing that makes noses the most challenging cosmetic surgery is, like a fingerprint, each nose is totally unique. Getting it right for each patient means shaping the nose to fit with the rest of the face in a way that looks natural.

There is no routine, one-nose-fits-all rhinoplasty procedure. “Having a broad skill set allows me to individualize each and every nose,” says Dr. Smith, who is double board certified by the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery to work on both the inner and outer aspects of the nose. “This is not a cookie-cutter surgery. Each one must fit with the face so the nose looks like one they were born with, and so that it ends up complementing other features rather than detracting from them.”

Having practiced plastic surgery exclusively on the face for more than 25 years has given Dr. Smith the hands-on experience to perfect his art—bringing out the aesthetics of each nose. Achieving specialization in ear, nose and throat, affords Dr. Smith an even more significant advantage: knowing how the nose must function physically with the human body.

For example, if a patient comes in with the ideal of achieving the thinnest, tiniest nose possible, Dr. Smith will communicate the issue of how the nose must still be able to function properly by bringing air to the lungs. Will there be enough room to circulate, humidify and filter air? These are all critical functions that a nose must be able to perform to keep the body working in a healthy manner.

“If someone wants the nose to be too pinched or narrow, I explain that not only won’t it look right, but it also won’t function well,” Dr. Smith says.

Luckily the trend these days is not toward “tiny” or the upturned “Twiggy” nose, but rather toward noses that look the most natural on the face. Everyone has been scared by over-corrected plastic surgeries that play out in public, most notably in Hollywood. We can reassure patients that their nose will look appropriate to the features of their face through the use of specialized computer imaging software and by showing photos of patients who have consented to us sharing their results.

That said, every patient comes into Smith Cosmetic Surgery with different ideas, expectations and goals for what they wish to achieve through plastic surgery on his or her nose. This only underscores the uniqueness of each and every rhinoplasty procedure.

One patient may not like a hump in their nose; another’s appears too bulbous or droopy; still another is unhappy with how much the nostrils flare. Is it a genetic predisposition? Was there an accident or trauma to the bone or tissue of the nose that never healed properly? These are all questions that Dr. Smith will address with each individual patient in order to set expectations and choose the best course of action to sculpt a nose that’s made for each person.

Keeping the natural in every nose

To achieve the most natural look, Dr. Smith will also take into account other facial features as he customizes a surgical approach. That’s because other aspects of the face impact the look of the nose. The chin is the most significant feature tied to the appearance of the nose. For example, a recessed or “weak” chin can make a nose look larger and vice versa.

Because the nose is so intimately tied to other facial features it is not uncommon for Dr. Smith to suggest a complementary procedure at the same time as the rhinoplasty. Work on the chin is the most common, followed by liposuction around the neck area, which can provide more shape and contouring to an area that best highlights the nose. These twin surgeries are routine and would be discussed during a complimentary consultation about the best approach for your individual nose.

The craft of rhinoplasty truly lies in an individual surgeon’s ability to mask his or her own work, meaning the best-looking noses don’t appear to have had any work done at all. They simply look like they belong—like a nose you were born with.

Smith Cosmetic Surgery encourages each patient that comes in for a rhinoplasty consultation to go through computer imaging to see what their new nose can look like. Dr. Smith and his highly qualified staff will take a picture of your current nose, feed it into a computer and create a model of how natural your nose will appear after a custom procedure.

“After we discuss goals, we take pictures, put them on imaging and show them what we’re thinking,” explains Dr. Smith. “This allows us to have another conversation and develop common ground. The idea is patients are never going into this procedure blind.”

If you are considering changing your nose, remember just how unique you are. Make sure you choose a surgeon who routinely performs this type of plastic surgery. A nose is not the place to take chances, because errors are far too obvious. Find a cosmetic plastic surgeon that knows the nose—and will never let you go into your rhinoplasty blindly.

The Importance of Surgical Safety

Smith Cosmetic Surgery Surgical Safety Smith Cosmetic Surgery goes to great lengths to ensure the well-being of their patients

You may be surprised to hear that there’s no mandatory U.S. accreditation for plastic surgeons or plastic surgery offices. Therefore, patients need to be extra careful when selecting a doctor to perform a facelift or other plastic surgery procedure on the face or body.

You should be asking these surgical safety questions:

Does the office keep regular business hours or are they operating at all hours of the night?

Do staff members have the proper certifications and training?

Does the surgeon perform plastic surgery on the face specifically or on all areas of the body?

How many facelifts has the surgeon performed before yours?

Where’s the accreditation certificate in the office?

Unsavory answers to any of the above should raise some serious red flags.

Today we’ll highlight two significant considerations to keep in mind when interviewing a plastic surgeon to perform a medical procedure on you: accreditation and specialization. Let’s start with accreditation.

Accreditation keeps us accountable

While there’s no formal standard that plastic surgeons are held to once they open a private practice, there is a voluntary accreditation program that’s highly valued and sought after in the industry: AAAHC. It’s considered the leading stamp of approval in plastic surgery, among other healthcare professions.

AAAHC stands for Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, Inc. This non-profit organization, which has been operating since 1979, is designed “to assist ambulatory health care organizations in improving the quality of care provided to patients,” according to the official AAAHC website.

A certificate of accreditation from AAAHC means you can rest assured that the plastic surgery practice is undergoing regular, thorough external reviews to certify that it’s delivering safe, high-quality patient care. The third-party organization measures against nationally accepted standards, as well as its own policies, procedures, processes and outcomes.

The accreditation includes an extensive, on-site survey by AAAHC health care professionals. Smith Cosmetic Surgery’s staff describes the process as “looking at us under a microscope.” AAAHC evaluates everything from how sanitary plastic surgery operating rooms are, to whether proper anesthesia practices are followed, to how clinical teams communicate and follow up with patients during recovery.

Additionally, each practice monitored by AAAHC is required to participate in quality-improvement studies: on-going self-evaluation, peer review and education to continuously better care and services. Likewise, AAAHC is constantly establishing, reviewing and revising standards to continue to create medical practices where patients can feel safe. 

The process is extensive, both for review and for a practice to maintain the standards AAACH expects going forward. It requires a significant amount of time and resources to stay current, but Dr. Brent J. Smith is a firm believer in going the extra mile to attach this independent seal of approval to the Smith Cosmetic Surgery brand.   

Specialization is the secret sauce

While accreditation is critical, so is your plastic surgeon’s focus, dedication and experience in operating on a particular part of the body. Specialization in plastic surgery is just as important as in every other field of medicine. You likely wouldn’t have a family-medicine doctor perform your hip replacement – is a breast and tummy surgeon the best choice for your facelift?

While we believe accreditation is critically important, we also think there are significant advantages to finding a plastic surgeon that is fully focused, dedicated and experienced on one particular body part or area.  Think of it this way – just as your family doctor isn’t the best choice to perform your knee replacement, a breast or tummy specialist may not be the best consideration when it comes to your facial procedure.   You want a specialist. Surgical doctors go to school to learn about a specific region of the body; so do the best plastic surgeons. Doctors performing elective surgical procedures have gone through extensive schooling and training to become experts in not just their field, but also their chosen area of focus and expertise. 

And, Dr. Smith is a great example of that. He chose the face because it’s the physical body’s special way of “expressing outwardly the unique qualities we all have inside,” he says. A perfectionist, Dr. Smith has built a 25-year career around crafting beautiful, natural-looking faces that make patients smile for years to come. He specializes in facial plastic surgery and performs as many as 200 facelifts each year. 

It took some hard work and dedication on Dr. Smith’s part to achieve a sub-specialization in the facial region. Following graduation from Stanford, Dr. Smith went on to Indiana University School of Medicine and residency at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in the Department of Otolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery. A fellowship followed with Devinder S. Mangat, MD, FACS, of The Facial Plastic and Cosmetic Surgery Center in Kentucky.

Dr. Smith is also uniquely double board certified by the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology/Head & Neck Surgery. A fellow of the American College of Surgeons, he is a member of six state and national academies and boards dedicated to furthering best practices in plastic surgery.

Dr. Smith also continues to further his education and outreach through leading and participating in professional courses on new and improved surgical techniques, nasal and facial anatomy and the latest laser techniques. Additionally he attends seminars on medical ethics and law, and frequently contributes to publications and makes media appearances on behalf of the facial plastic surgery specialization. 

The reasons accreditation and specialization matter are clear: This is your face we’re talking about. You want to be absolutely certain you have found someone you can trust—who will take legitimate responsibility for your wellbeing and has a track record proving a commitment to education and ethics in facial plastic surgery.

Don’t discount the importance of either of these concerns when making the choice about your facelift. Trust is essential to a positive experience and outcome in facial plastic surgery.

Have more questions about Smith Cosmetic Surgery’s accreditation and Dr. Smith’s specialization? Our dedicated staff is here to help.

The realities of recovering from a mini facelift

mini facelift denver There is a reason that year after year people continue to consider, explore and schedule facelifts: They work wonders! However cosmetic plastic surgery is still surgery and requires thoughtful and realistic consideration.

The concept of a “lunchtime facelift” is unrealistic.  The advanced mini facelifts that Dr. Brent Smith performs are medical procedures that require manipulating skin tissue and muscle. There’s no way around that reality if you want the natural-looking, long-term results that specialty facial plastic surgery doctors like Dr. Smith create. Continue reading “The realities of recovering from a mini facelift”

Is there a good age to have a cheek/neck lift?

What's the Best Age for A Cheek or Neck Lift?The answer to the age-old question of when to have a mini facelift is entirely personal. There’s no right or wrong time to schedule a cosmetic surgery procedure during your lifetime, because everyone reaches acceptance at a different moment.

For example, a woman in her 60s, who is experiencing a combination of aging skin around the jowl and loss of contour in the cheeks, may sound like a likely candidate for a cheek and neck lift. However Dr. Brent J. Smith regularly consults with patients well outside the “norm.”

This could include a twenty-something who inherited a genetic trait that they feel negatively affects their face (and subsequently lifestyle, relationships, career, etc.) to a 75-year-old who is finally ready to turn back time and live the remainder of life with newfound confidence.

At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we don’t subscribe to a standard age for our facelift patients. Our goal is simply to help guide people in choosing facial plastic surgery for the right reasons, rather than just focusing on the right time. In fact, in most cases we find that people have already come to the decision to have a mini cheek and neck lift and just need some support to take the next step.

Some cosmetic surgery patients have struggled with body image and confidence issues all their life; while others have undergone a significant life change or transition that led to the decision; and still others come in with a loved one to support a choice they’ve wanted to make for a very long time. Every time the decision is different; and every time it is personal.

It’s our job at Smith Cosmetic Surgery to set realistic expectations and make a custom plan for each facelift—and every person. The more stories we can share about the very different types of people—at very different stages of life—that Dr. Smith has treated, the more we find that others considering plastic surgery can relate and uncover their own courage to come in for a complimentary consultation.

Looking the part when you’re just starting out

One scenario that may sound surprising, but is more common than people realize is someone younger, perhaps even in his or her late 20s, who comes in to discuss facelift options. Often these young patients, due to no fault of their own, are endowed with unwanted facial features, such as a mouth that appears to frown even in a resting state.

As you can imagine, such a perpetual negative appearance may have started to affect self-confidence, especially in a professional setting. For example, if you’re building a career in sales, a position that requires a majority of face-to-face work, having a facial structure that pulls the mouth into a frown could be highly detrimental to communication.

Not only is it personally frustrating to have to hide the look of a heavy jowl area and not be able to express adequately how you feel on the inside, but also an unwanted scowl may start to weigh on your entire professional life.

And while it’s easy to judge someone in his or her 20s as too young for a facelift, we know that’s unfair in the practice of facial plastic surgery. If any individual is struggling in life due to outward appearance, we want to alleviate that burden by crafting a custom mini lift to draw up an undesirable pout while highlighting all angles of the patient’s youthful characteristics.

Midlife and a time of transitions

In another scenario that happens quite often these days, men and women are finding themselves back on the dating scene in the middle of their life. This can put a new emphasis on appearance that may have fallen by the wayside in the routine of family or professional life.

Additionally, with the proliferation of online matchmaking, where a profile photo often makes the first impression, more middle-aged people than ever are considering the clear benefits of a facelift. There’s no denying that dating these days, at any time in life, has become visually driven. In fact, you might not get the chance to even meet a potential partner in person if you can’t get past the profile page.

So while it’s not a decision to take too lightly, there is certainly something to be said for finally being able to stop “Photoshopping” your Match.com™ picture and just come in to Dr. Smith to achieve your desired results. Cosmetic surgery patients who do just that usually find themselves projecting a whole new look (and confidence) in as little as two weeks, not to mention on their next big date.

Never too old for a facelift

We also love stories of people, even into their 70s, who opt for a mini lift on the face. While this is past the typical age for a facelift, women in their 70s sometimes make the empowering move to commit to a mini cheek and neck lift. Why?

Well often they’ve experienced the prolonged effects of estrogen loss and other signs of aging that show up in a sagging face. Mature people, many who remain active and social, are now permitting themselves to age more gracefully—and look as young and healthy as possible for their golden years. And we couldn’t agree more.

For all mini cheek and neck lifts at Smith Cosmetic Surgery, regardless of a patient’s age, we address the underlying muscles and tissues, bringing everything from orbital bone under eye down to clavicle, back up where it belongs.

While Dr. Smith can’t “break the clock,” he has certainly turned back time with exceptionally natural-looking plastic surgery work. In most cases for older adults, he can help patients achieve a look at least 10 years younger upon healing from a mini lift. And that’s not temporary, but rather an outcome that seniors can maintain for the rest of their lives.

So no matter your age, really there are no rules for when you should or should not have a mini facelift. Everyone’s motivation is different. Your plastic surgeon should understand both your impetus for a facelift, as well as how to help you achieve a desired yet realistic outcome.

Remember, sometimes genetics come into play. Or maybe midlife circumstances changed in an unexpected way. Or perhaps you finally found the courage much later in life to do something you’ve always wanted to. The opportune time for a mini cheek and neck lift is … whenever you are ready.

Interested in discussing your circumstances and desire for a facelift? We are here for you and invite you into our office for a free consultation with Dr. Smith. Our computerized imaging program will generate a before-and-after model so you can feel great about your choice to commit to a facelift. Give us a call today.

Caring for Your Skin During the Winter

protecting your skin

It’s not uncommon to forget about your skin a bit when cold weather sets in. After all, in winter we’re not exposed to as much sun, we may be doing more indoors, and we all get busy and involved with holiday schedules and numerous events.

Unfortunately our skin and faces often get neglected during the colder months, which can lead to all sorts of unsightly issues.

  • Dangerous rays that shine even through winter doldrums inadvertently damage unprotected skin.
  • Cheeks crack and get inflamed through exposure to a combination of cold, wind and sun.
  • New and existing wrinkles tend to look even more dramatic on winter-parched skin.

In Colorado, Dr. Brent J. Smith’s patients are even more exposed to the elements. Not only does the sun shine about 300 days a year here, but also the state sits at an elevation that’s closer to harmful UV rays. Additionally, much of the population in Colorado and many western states is active, pursuing outdoor activities that further expose our sensitive skin to sun and wind burn during a day on the ski slopes, for example.

Of course, during winter being indoors for extended periods of time can be as harmful as heading out into the frigid elements. Our faces have to contend with the dry, dirty forced air from overworked heaters. There’s little fresh air to clean contaminants or humidity to save our skin. Wood-burning fireplaces are beautiful in winter, but also add smoke and carcinogens to our already full plate of indoor issues.

And it doesn’t help that during the chilly season we tend to slowly lose our summer glow. Fading complexions and undernourished skin begins to read dull, flaky and flat. This new winter “mask” does us no favors in the beauty department.

So what’s winter skin to do?

Instead of ignoring the face (and body) for the season, we encourage all Smith Cosmetic Surgery patients to think of winter as a time to “baby” skin even more. Whether you are trying to protect your youthful appearance before it shows additional signs of aging or need to learn a healthy routine to help maintain the youthful glow you just received from a mini facelift, there’s no better time to put your face first than right now.

3 tips for keeping skin healthy all winter long

1| The sunscreen routine.

Sometimes it sounds counter-intuitive, but we should all be wearing sunscreen year-round—especially in sunny, arid, high-altitude climates. One easy way to stay in the sunscreen routine is to find a daily moisturizer with sunscreen built right in.

And remember, don’t neglect those other exposed areas—ears, necks, lips, hands—on days where you’ll be spending time outside. People often forget that the neck area is truly an extension of the face—and we want those regions to complement one another! So don’t stop application at the jaw line; make sure you apply sunscreen and moisturizer liberally to the neck region, even onto the chest.

And, don’t forget those lips—one of the most exposed and deserted areas of the face. When lips are dry, cracked and sunburned they make the rest of the face look overworked as well. Consider keeping some small containers of sunscreen in convenient places, such as your car console or desk, where you can reapply throughout the day.

2| Moisturizer made for me.

Finding the right moisturizer can be tricky. Every individual face is a complex organism that combines a unique medley of genetic variants, age-related strains, and exposures from environmental and lifestyle choices.

A professional 65-year-old female who just had her first facelift may require a different application than an active 35-year-old male who’s struggling with the effects of adult acne. We’re all different people and we require (and deserve) special products designed to protect our precious faces.

At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we introduce every patient to professional-grade skincare lines made for aging skin, as well as the healing power of lasers and oxygen technologies through Dr. Smith’s original Rapid Recovery.

We know that surgery is just the first step in creating a new look. How you care for your skin, particularly in a uniform way throughout the year, is critical to maintaining new, more youthful contours. Our skilled nurses will walk you through all the steps for protecting and enhancing healing skin following a facial plastic surgery procedure.

For those who have yet to opt for surgery, there are some over-the-counter and prescription-strength moisturizers that can prolong a more youthful look until you’re ready to consider the long-term benefits of cosmetic surgery on the face. Some of today’s most effective topical solutions contain powerful retinol and antioxidants to penetrate deeper and help rebuild healthy skin while creating a smoother, more vibrant look.

3| Healing from the inside out.

One of the biggest drags on our skin is dehydration. It’s like taking a grape and drying it into a raisin. Without water—internally the form of diet or externally as humidity—we go from plump and radiant to slack and dull.

In the winter, the need for water is amplified. We’re indoors in dry environments; we’re outdoors in cold climates. And, often the lure of comfort food in winter means we’re not getting enough hydration from a good glass of water or through fresh fruits and vegetables.

In fact, there’s a great misconception that we hydrate from the outside in. In fact, the opposite is true. Our skin desperately needs replenishing moisture and nutrients from the foods we eat and liquids we drink. A common quick fix for dry winter skin is to pile on the moisturizer when instead we should be taking in more fluids and eating healthier, water- and nutrient-dense foods.

For those who really need a “restart” in winter, a laser resurfacing procedure can be a great choice for kick starting a healthy new you. The advanced CO2 lasers at Smith Cosmetic Surgery gently strip away old, winter-weary layers of skin to reveal a fresh foundation.

It’s like starting with a clean slate—one you can continue to maintain with skincare products and healthy lifestyle choices. In fact, many of our patients enjoy the challenge of building a healthy routine to support their glowing new appearance. It can be a great confidence booster and mood enhancer during the busy holiday time.

Are you ready for a fresh look this winter? Dr. Smith and the skin care professionals at Smith Cosmetic Surgery are here to help. We invite you in for a complimentary evaluation to see how you can rejuvenate your look this season.

 

 

Fight Fine Lines, Aging Skin with Laser Skin Resurfacing

laser skin resurfacing Oftentimes, people are judged by the appearance of their skin. It’s just human nature. We draw inferences about others by the way they look up-close, especially if they have saggy, sun-damaged skin.

As supportive skin structures like collagen and elastin fibers break down, skin tone and firmness weaken naturally over time. Laser skin resurfacing can help restore that younger-looking evenness and effervescence everyone wants to recapture.

The beauty of laser skin resurfacing is that it can work either in combination with a facelift or by itself in a series of treatments designed to refine the skin’s outer appearance. Instead of judging, people will be left wondering about your true age.

At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we often refer to laser resurfacing as the “icing on the cake.” Laser treatment performed during or even after a facelift surgery, is how the most dramatic effect is created. Laser skin rejuvenation is truly the refinement that can give your skin the healthy “glow” of youth.

So what is laser skin resurfacing, exactly?

Laser skin resurfacing is an easy, outpatient procedure in which a laser light beam is applied to the face in a strength and concentration calculated for your needs. The type we use at Smith Cosmetic Surgery is a carbon dioxide (CO2)-based laser, one of the most advanced and sought after in the field of cosmetic surgery.

This type of laser treatment not only gently erases away old layers of skin to reveal new, healthy layers, but also stimulates the growth of collagen, a critical component in keeping a youthful look intact as we age.

Typically performed in a series, laser skin resurfacing is effective for reducing the appearance of:

  • sun damage
  • hereditary skin disorders
  • acne scars
  • fine lines & wrinkles
  • other vascular issues like visible blood vessels
  • pre cancerous cells

 

The laser procedure is highly effective in conjunction with or even following a facelift. Laser resurfacing functions as a complement to improve the texture on the surface of your skin after you’ve committed to having work done to elevate underlying muscle and tissue.

Lasers penetrate deep enough to remove layers of flaky skin and to refresh and rebuild underlying collagen.  Although, laser procedures alone cannot lift and tighten the way a surgical facelift can. Only surgery can address the underlying weaknesses in the face, and that’s why we show patients how mini facelifts and laser truly go hand in hand—addressing both the inner and outer structures of the face.

Dr. Smith often reminds patients that skin has no shape of its own—and that’s true. Our faces need a supporting framework—either held up by the natural collagen of youth or muscular manipulation through cosmetic surgery—in order to look their best. If we don’t have a good foundation, it shows.

What’s the science behind laser technology?

While often referred to as a fast and flawless procedure, laser skin resurfacing comes in different strengths. The newest CO2 laser powers range from “fractional,” which delivers continuous “ultra pulses” to remove a thin top layer of skin with minimal heat damage, to “ablative,” which penetrates deeper to take off the entire top layer.

Based on patients’ needs, Dr. Smith uses an advanced laser technology suite to control the precise depth of treatment. Having a computer-guided system rather than a manual procedure allows for a new level of precision. With more science, comes more control.

What can I expect during the procedure?

After a complimentary consultation with Dr. Brent J. Smith to determine your skin condition and needs, we will recommend a laser skin resurfacing plan customized for your individual skin issues or that which will best compliment your facelift.

During the outpatient laser procedure, Dr. Smith will set the laser to a precise strength and guide it over your face to gently remove the top “dead” layers of skin and allow new collagen to reproduce, creating a lasting, youthful glow. To patients, the laser appears as a light directed onto the face in concentrated, pulsating beams.

A topical anesthesia will be applied as needed for your ultimate comfort. The procedure generally is not considered painful, but you should prepare for some healing time and will need to limit exposure to the sun as your face continues to “grow” brand-new skin.

What’s the recovery time like?

The powerful, results-oriented fractional laser used at Smith Cosmetic Surgery delivers beautifying effects that become more obvious over the healing days following a procedure. Full recovery for fractional laser work can be about three to five days. Because the ablative laser goes another layer deeper, it may require up to two weeks to see full results with this type of treatment.

Dr. Smith and his staff will instruct you about everything you need to know during recovery time, including what to expect, topical aids for treated skin, realistic results and when to come in for your next laser treatment.

Scheduling a laser procedure later in the work week, such as a Friday, is a good way to give your body extra time to renew over the weekend. Holiday breaks are also a smart time to book a laser resurfacing treatment, especially if it’s your first time and you want time to monitor how your skin reacts and heals.

If you are having laser skin resurfacing with a facelift, you may want to utilize Dr. Smith’s Rapid Recovery program. Our healing system combines the latest in “supercharging” hyperbaric oxygen, laser and LED-light treatments to get you back to your life routine as soon as possible.

Why choose laser skin resurfacing over other treatments?

Because there are so many different skin-enhancing procedures on the market, it can be very confusing for consumers to sort out which treatment will work the best. A top-quality cosmetic surgeon, especially one who specializes in the facial region, will quickly be able to guide you down the right path.

Every treatment we offer at Smith Cosmetic Surgery is carefully chosen to provide the quality and results our patients deserve. We only select the most proven, advanced technologies to help achieve your desired results.

While there are plenty of great surgical and non-surgical procedures to treat specific areas of the face, laser skin resurfacing is one of the most exciting on the market today because of its ability to produce more supple, uniform and youthful-looking skin in as little as one session. We’re pretty sure anyone would sign up for that!

What if I have concerns about the treatment?

Dr. Smith is in the facial cosmetic surgery business because he truly appreciates the transformation, both externally and internally, that takes place during what can only be described as a deeply personal experience. If you have questions about why you’re making the choice, your complimentary consultation is the best time to talk through any concerns.

First, we’ll ensure that you are a good candidate for this laser skin resurfacing. While laser skin resurfacing works for a variety of skin types and conditions, there are typically a few skin types that are not a great fit: skin with active acne, very dark skin and skin with stretch marks.

We want you to know that we’re here to listen and to help guide you through making this decision that you can feel great about now—and in the future. If you’re ready to schedule a complimentary consultation to see if laser skin resurfacing is a good fit for you, please reach out today.

Causes of facial aging

Plus a three-pronged approach for revitalizing skin

Causes of Aging Do you really know how or why your face ages? At Smith Cosmetic Surgery, we find that this is one of the most commonly misunderstood processes. In fact, this confusion often leads unsuspecting adults to choose the wrong things to try to turn back time.

Usually one of two things happen: Either people notice a distinct sign of aging and try a series of topical products that are marketed as beauty “cures.” When they see no effect from the application of a serum on your already aged face, they move on to the next product. Or, patients try more invasive treatments that are not yet properly tested or approved by the FDA, only to be left with unwanted, unnatural looking results.

The first thing that Dr. Brent J. Smith does during the complimentary consultation he extends to each and every Smith Cosmetic Surgery patient is to cover some quick facts about how and why our skin ages. While there are certainly some big environmental factors, such as sun exposure, that can lead to premature aging there are also some very personal genetic factors that are exclusive to each and every individual. In fact the combination of dynamics behind aging skin are truly as unique as every face we see.

Common causes of aging skin

So let’s address some of the biggest culprits of naturally or prematurely aging skin.

Genetics: This is your mother’s skin. When patients inquire about the one thing they can do to prevent wrinkled, sagging skin, Dr. Smith always responds: “Choose your parents appropriately.” All joking aside, there is not much humans can do to change their genetic makeup. So if your parents had tricky skin—acne, fair skin, freckles/dark spots, early wrinkles, expression lines, etc.—there is a decent chance you may experience some of these issues as well.

Similarly, we inherit genetic codes for producing special enzymes that act as antioxidants to help correct damage to individual DNA. Our personal degree of age-fighting cellular power also comes from our parents. That said, you are in control of some environmental and many lifestyle factors that can exacerbate these genetic tendencies, leading to dulling, and sometimes, drooping facial features.

Environment: Especially in Colorado, where Dr. Smith sees patients who may see the sun more than 300 days a year, exposure to dangerous UV rays is a serious concern in our state and many others around the country. The dryness of the air at altitude only adds to the parched look and feel of skin in this part of the U.S. However, wherever you live there are a variety environmental factors that can play a part in prematurely aging facial skin.

There’s exhaust, smog and poor air quality in urban centers. Even people who live in rural communities can be exposed to airborne toxins on farms and ranchlands, or smoke from wood-burning stoves. And in warm climates, people constantly vacillate between skin-tricking air conditioning, outdoor humidity and forced-air heat in the winter. All of these external aspects can contribute to the general health of our skin.

Lifestyle: Of course, many of the things that affect our skin most directly can be attributed to the lifestyle choices we make. Smoking is by far the most destructive. It’s easy to pick out a smoker’s face from a non-smoker’s. It usually includes a combination of distinct pucker lines, under-eye bags, discolored skin and deep wrinkles. Additionally, smoking creates free radicals that reduce the elasticity and collagen that keeps facial skin firm.

Other lifestyle habits, such as not getting enough regular sleep or eating a diet poor in protein, fruits and vegetables, can also lead to skin that ages more rapidly. Likewise, perpetual stress should not be overlooked as a contributing factor for aging skin.

How the face ages naturally

Now that you know that genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors can play a part in how your skin ages and looks during your lifetime, it’s also important to set some expectations around how all faces will age naturally over time. Everyone in the world will show somewhat similar signs of getting older if they do not take preventative or surgical measures to slow or erase the visual effects of time.

We start losing our “baby” faces around age 35. Generally, between age 35 and 45 our faces take on a more sculptured look as we lose more fat in and around our eyes, cheeks and mouths. After that mid-life period, our faces start to look a little more gaunt, and wrinkles that may have already existed start to appear more prominent.

Over a lifetime, it is natural for the muscle and tissues of the face, jawline and neck to relax, descend and deflate as we lose fat in our faces. And, of course, depending on the range and severity of exposure, all the variables we discussed above only contribute to the overall look of an aging face.

A three-pronged approach to revitalizing skin

Understanding the ways our faces age naturally and vary in genetic predisposition helps patients think sensibly about cosmetic surgery.  Having a plan for the right procedure, the right time to institute a long-term solution and the right methods for maintaining a healthy new look results in aesthetic harmony.

In many ways being educated about what you can control—and what is handed to you when you’re born—is really helpful when setting expectations around what a face lift can achieve versus a non-surgical treatment like a laser or peel.

One of the first things we must alert patients to is the fact that simply no product, injection, treatment or device on the market today can actually tighten the facial muscles that have relaxed over time. This must be done manually through a surgical procedure customized for each individual face.

To help facelift candidates understand just how Dr. Smith achieves that naturally supple look of youth, we explain surgery as a three-pronged approach: elevating, adding and enhancing.

Elevate: During each facelift, Dr. Smith makes hidden incisions to allow for the manipulation of skin, tissue and, most effectively, muscle. This is what draws a sagging face back to a more youthful position. Yet lifting muscles and the overlying skin upward is only the first step. We haven’t yet added any fat back to fill the voids that are so common in aged features.

Add: Next Dr. Smith can actually take fat from another area of your body where you don’t need it and add it to where you do: your face. This injection of natural body fat to the face essentially uses a natural compound already existing in our bodies to create fresh volume and support lifted muscles in the features that have become most depleted over time.

Enhance: Once Dr. Smith has helped a patient achieve both a more naturally elevated and volumized look, we finish the job with a laser treatment to further enhance the new look. Surprisingly, sometimes this final step is what makes the most remarkable difference. Once you have achieved more volume and balance, a laser treatment, which Dr. Smith adjusts for the requirements of each patient, can create that youthful glow we’re all looking for. Lasering surface imperfections or damage and allowing new skin to regenerate, actually compliments new musculature and facial accents.

One of the most important aspects of our jobs at Smith Cosmetic Surgery is education. We want our patients to truly understand the science and art behind a facelift. If you are starting to confront unwanted signs of aging, we invite you to come in for a free consultation. Remember, most of these effects—wrinkles, muscle deflation, fat loss—are not your fault. They are genetic. And environmental. And perhaps the result of a happy life lived outdoors. But luckily there is something you can do right now to turn back time.

 

Chins Are In: Chin Implants

“Selfies” and self-esteem are tied to mentoplasty procedures

Chin implant surgery Denver The chin is all about harmony. A well-defined chin gives both structure and balance to the face and helps define the facial profile. It’s also one of the most overlooked areas of the face when it comes to considering the right plastic surgery procedure.

When most people look in the mirror, they tend to focus on obvious wrinkling or prominent features that look “off,” rather than the more subtle structure and effect of the chin area. It’s easy to see hooded eyes, large creases in the skin or a nose that’s out of proportion. It’s a lot harder to notice how much a “weak” or recessed chin can affect your appearance—and even how others perceive you.

Just as different physical traits in different cultures around the world are tied to how men and women are perceived and treated, in America defined chins have come to symbolize strength and power. Without a naturally demarcated chin and contoured jaw, people are often perceived as being weak, whether the outward appearance matches the inner psychology or not.

Chins central to the “selfie”

Chins have also become a central topic in the social fabric of our lives. A modern-day ritual for both young and old, the “selfie” has put our chins front and center—often from not-so-flattering angles. How we hold the camera, tilt our heads and capture the light on our profiles all have to do with how our close-ups look. And those defining moments, often captured and posted for all to see and comment on, put an increasingly frenzied focus on the chin. Sadly, few people understand how much the reverse camera angle required for the everyday selfie actually distorts reality, in more ways than one.

If it’s not noticed during a routine selfie, an undefined chin is often ignored or not truly identified until a patient comes in for a rhinoplasty consult for surgery on the nose. At this point the size and shape of the chin becomes a serious consideration when discussing how to balance the proportions and dimensions of the nose. A weak or depressed chin can actually make the nose appear more prominent, over-projecting or overshadowing the lower half of the face. Quite often the two plastic surgeries go hand-in-hand to create the most complementary outcome possible.

Another common time people consider chin augmentation, reduction or sculpting, also known as mentoplasty, is later in life when gravity has taken its toll over time and the chin in effect pulls the face downward, creating the illusion of a weak chin and jawline. If you were born with a weaker chin, time is definitely not on your side. The games gravity plays with the lower half of our faces in the second half of our lives are not fun ones.

How does mentoplasty work?

This minor plastic surgery procedure on the chin “props up” the parts we like; sculpts skin around the parts we don’t; and even exposes the natural beauty of a jawline that has become hidden under sagging skin and folds. The chin implant procedure is a relatively straightforward form of facial plastic surgery that can dramatically enhance the look of an aged face and make a significant difference in the appearance of older adults.

To augment the chin, Dr. Smith first makes a few tiny incisions, typically at the chin’s natural crease line, and gently inserts a soft, synthetic implant that feels similar to natural tissue in the face. Because modern implants come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, Dr. Smith can follow a careful outline to create the most custom fit and natural result.

After implantation, nearly invisible sutures are used to close the incision, and healing time makes any minor scarring unnoticeable. In chin reduction surgery, a surgeon initiates the procedure with similar incisions and carefully sculpts the chin bones to a more proportionate size.

As with all the procedures at Smith Cosmetic Surgery, chin implant patients are given access to and instructions for how to take advantage of Dr. Smith’s exclusive Rapid Recovery program. The advanced, in-house healing routine includes a combination of “supercharging” hyperbaric oxygen, laser and LED-light treatments and specially formulated skincare products.

Getting to know you

Just as all faces—noses, lips, brows, cheeks—are unique, so are the challenges that come with individual chins. Each person brings a different scenario to the table, and for Dr. Brent J. Smith that’s all part of the art of cosmetic surgery. He has perfected this precise craft over nearly three decades in the business of operating on faces, and faces alone. A double Board-certified surgeon, who understands not just the art but also the real science behind the structure of the face, this is where Dr. Smith shines.

Each complimentary consultation for chin implants, as well as the nose, neck and cheek areas that often go with chin surgery, includes:

  1. In-depth, in-person interview and evaluation with Dr. Smith
  2. Advanced computer imaging with a simulated preview of your personal surgical results (with free printout to take home)
  3. Review of testimonials and “before and after” photos of Smith Cosmetic Surgery patients