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Jul 30, 2015

Healthy Living Looks at Healthier Skin

Do you have scars from acne that you desperately want to be rid of? Well, you’ll definitely find this segment of Healthy Living of interest. We visited with a dermatologist who’s offering a new cosmetic treatment to rejuvenate your skin and even help to remove scars. It is not an entirely new treatment but demand is growing because it has been found to be a harmless way to look younger. 


Marleni Cuellar, Reporting
Micro-needling – or collagen induced treatment – it’s one of the newer trends in skin care. A process of pricking the skin with fine- acupuncture-like needles in order to stimulate the skin’s natural healing process. According to Doctor Jorge Lopez Granja, he decided to offer the treatment at his clinic, because he feels that many of his patients would benefit.


Jorge Lopez Granja

Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja, Dermatologist

“I treat a lot of patients for example with acne, and then once that treatment has succeeded and the acne is under control then I was left sort of how do I help my patients with the scars. So this treatment works really well for that. It is a fact that it helps to rejuvenate skin; it’s a fact that it helps soften scars—not only acne scars, but chicken pot scars…any type of scars really. And it is a fact that it helps with hair loss, specific type of hear loss and it is a fact that it helps with stretch marks. And it is actually one of the few things that we know.”


It’s not a new treatment, but it is becoming more popular since several published studies have found that, when applied by a doctor, micro-needling is effective against scars.


Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“It’s not such a new idea. It started with manual derma-rollers in the late nineties. I really don’t like trying new, new, new stuff. I rather try something that has proven to be effective so I thought there was enough evidence for this so I know it works. This is the device and this is specifically the one that’s called micro-pen. It’s a machine and you sort of attach this sterile head to it—of course we use a separate one for each patient—and the trick lies right here. I don’t know if you could see it; it is twelve tiny needles.  The way it works is that each of these needles go and create a little puncture, a little hole in the skin and the way that wound is interpreted, from the skin’s point of view, I need to repair myself. So it actually triggers a whole cascade of tissue that has to be replaced or rejuvenated so that is how new collagen is to be formed. Now, usually patients would see the first improvement in about five to seven days. Why? Because it is at that point that one of the collagen, collagen three, is starting to become collagen one. So you probably will see a little smoothness on your skin, maybe a little tightening even. And thing is that say you do one session. You will probably see the full benefit of it after three months. With scars, when you insert these needles into the scar, you sort of go under the scar tissue where the skin is still normal. And this signal here will make that the repairs in the tiny little holes have effect like if it is just new skin.”


One session can take anywhere from fifteen to twenty minutes. The recovery time is also minimal.


Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“The down time also is very short. Usually when you do the treatment…say you want to rejuvenate your face, you come here on a Friday and by Monday, the redness, a little bit of swelling that you might have had for the first day…then it’s gone. You have to have realistic expectations in terms of yes there is going to be an improvement, but it is not a facelift. If your skin has a type four aging…the best thing to do is a facelift and then you do this to improve the quality of the skin. But you cannot expect this to, for example, work on skin that is too saggy. It will improve the texture, but the sagginess will not go away.”


One session costs two hundred and fifty Belize dollars. For scar treatment multiple sessions will be required and if you’re seeking rejuvenation then you can expect less sessions. And…what about the pain?


Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“I would say it’s a little bit uncomfortable.  I’ve done it on myself on this scar here to try it without anesthesia and I would say maybe a two or a three out of ten and I am a chicken for pain. So I think it is not really that bad. The main reason for this was thinking of my patients with acne. Usually younger and then acne is under control but what now and maybe dark skin. Chemical peels wouldn’t be an option; laser not really an option. So I would say that was my motivation and so far that has been my greatest reward to see that I am sort of completing the look—not only helping the active acne, but also with consequence of acne.”


There is one condition, though, for this and any other dermatology treatment.


Dr. Jorge Lopez Granja

“No matter what procedure we do to rejuvenate, if you are not using sunscreen, you are basically wasting your money. Why? Because in the aging process—say I have ten wrinkles…eight of those wrinkles are because of sun damage and two are because of me getting older. So that’s how important it is in order for this or any other treatment to be effective and for the improvement to actually continue…use sunscreen. Especially where we live, you know…it is three hundred and sixty-five days of the year, we have sun.”

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