All posts by Western Dermatology Consultants

The Unsettling History of Tattoo Removal

Dealing with an unwanted tattoo at Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants is straightforward: After an initial consultation, the patient will go through a series of treatment sessions that involve laser light applied to break down the ink in the skin. There are no incisions involved, and while the process isn’t exactly comfortable (getting the treatment has been compared to the feeling of a rubber band snapping against the tattooed area), it’s certainly well tolerated by just about everyone who wants to get rid of a formerly “permanent” body modification.

The tattoo removal process has not always been so relatively simple, however.

In times past, people simply had to live with their choice. Eventually, some tattooed folks who wanted to lose their lines turned to surgical excision. In these cases, someone with a scalpel or similar instrument physically cut the inked skin out of the patient’s body. This definitely removed the unwanted image—along with a good deal of tissue. It also typically left behind a significant scar.

Less invasive, but also less reliable, was “sanding” the tattoo off by abrading the skin. While gentler than slicing the ink away, this method was middling effective.

Eventually, researchers developed freezing as an option, using the power of cold to chill the unwanted ink and surrounding cells. While this worked, it—like excision—often left behind a scar or similarly obvious patch of treated skin. For a significant number of people, this was preferable to the tattoo itself, but thankfully, such methods are no longer the only option.

Technology has advanced to the point today that laser energy can quickly and effectively break down a wide range of ink colors, leaving behind clearer skin. There is still some risk of scarring, but the side effects are less dramatic than those caused by the treatments of yesteryear.

One last note: Never try to remove an unwanted tattoo on your own—or even by bringing it to a tattoo parlor. Let a board-certified dermatologist (experienced in skin care, not just ink) help you plan your ideal strategy for erasing the ink from your life as thoroughly and safely as possible.

Learn more about the advantages of modern tattoo removal at Western Dermatology Consultants. Call 505-855-9267 or request a consultation online.

It’s Not Too Late to See CoolSculpting® (Almost) Live!

Did you miss Big 98.5’s Chaz Malibu getting CoolSculpting® nonsurgical fat reduction from Albuquerque’s Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants earlier this season? We held a live viewing on Facebook during the Oct. 22 event, but don’t worry if you didn’t get to see the session while it was happening. The whole event is still available to watch here, on our Facebook page.

The video is 2 1/2 hours long, but unlike anyone who tuned in to see Chaz undergo the treatment minute by minute, you can jump around, pause it, go back, and watch it any way you’d like.

Chaz, who has enjoyed the results of previous CoolSculpting® treatments, spends a good chunk of the session lying back—sometimes literally chilling out with his arms behind his head—while the device does the work: chilling fat cells beneath the skin to kill them and start the process of flushing them from the body. He also talks about the sensations he’s experiencing in real time, as well as responds to viewers who sent messages throughout the procedure.

Since his results have continued to improve in the weeks following his session, he may be willing to show them off! Check out the Big 98.5 Facebook page  to see how to contact him.

To schedule a CoolSculpting® treatment of your own, or if you want answers to questions about the fat-reduction strategy, call Western Dermatology Consultants at (505) 855-5503 or request a consultation online.

Detecting and Treating Skin Cancer

Skin is human body’s largest and most visible organ. Partially because of that, skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States. It is also highly preventable, with information regarding sun protection more accessible and widespread now than ever before. Western Dermatology Consultants specializes in medical dermatology services in Albuquerque, addressing conditions like skin cancer, in addition to cosmetic dermatology.

Skin cancer is associated with the out-of-control, abnormal growth of cells in the epidermis of the skin, caused by problems with DNA. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, can spread beyond its place in the skin, moving to the internal organs with fatal repercussions.

To help lower your risk of a bad outcome related to skin cancer, it is important to become familiar with your skin and routinely examine the entire surface for anything that seems out of the ordinary.

One of the best guidelines for spotting signs and symptoms of skin cancer is the ABCDE rule. Watch for moles with these factors in mind:

  • Asymmetry: Irregular shapes
  • Border: Unclear margins
  • Color: Unusual colors (such as red, white, pink, or blue)
  • Diameter: Larger than a pencil eraser
  • Evolving: Recent changes

You can contact us if anything concerning crops up. Our board-certified dermatologists can perform a skin cancer screening and take a biopsy if necessary.

In cases where basal or squamous cell carcinomas are identified, one of the most effective, innovative ways of treating the condition is Mohs surgery—an option with one of the highest cure rates of all methods.

A surgeon specifically trained in this area will gradually, systematically remove tissue layer by layer, examining each sample under a microscope. This is continued until the tumor is gone and no additional cancerous cells are found. Mohs surgery allows you to preserve a large amount of the surrounding, healthy tissue, making it a great choice for features like the ears, nose, and area around the eyes. At the end of the session, the treatment site is cosmetically repaired.

While early detection is important, prevention is ideal. Taking sun protection seriously is the best way to safeguard your skin in the long term, while also minimizing the development of wrinkles. We advise seeking shelter indoors and avoiding going out in the sun during its peak hours. Additionally, you should apply sufficient amounts of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher before going out each day. Cover your skin with sun-protective clothing and wear darkly tinted sunglasses.

Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants can help you identify and plan a treatment for skin cancer. Get in touch today by calling 505-855-5503 or filling out a contact form.

Three Things to Do for Your Skin This Season

As autumn transitions into winter, we enter the coldest part of the year, the air becomes frigid, and strong winds can batter the skin. This changeover can lead the skin to become prone to persistent dryness, inflammation, and peeling. It also prompts the T-zone area of your face to produce excess oil. For many people, the holiday season is a time to indulge (perhaps a little too much) in rich meals, sugary snacks, and alcohol, but this doesn’t always bode well for your complexion either. Cosmetic dermatology treatments from Albuquerque’s Western Dermatology Consultants can help save yours skin from the damaging effects of early winter and beyond.

In addition to rushing around to get everything done at work, it can also be stressful having to organize family events, plan dinners, shop for gifts, and put up festive decorations as you try to make everything perfect for the holidays. If you work in retail or hospitality, long shifts, crowds, and difficult interactions with customers can put a damper on your holiday spirit. It’s no surprise that when the seasonal blues set in, post-New Year’s Eve skin is often riddled with breakouts. There are, however, ways of safeguarding your skin!

Stay Hydrated

Alcohol is a diuretic and can cause your skin to quickly become dehydrated. Drink plenty of water and upgrade your moisturizing routine. Choose a richer cream containing hyaluronic acid (a natural gel-like sugar that is able to retain large quantities of water) or ceramides (lipids that maintain the skin’s barrier).

Try Chemical Peels

Chemical peels remove the outer layer of dry, cracked, and damaged skin. A solution is applied to the outer surface, causing it to shed away, and new, healthier skin to take its place. The darker, shorter days and cooler temperatures during this time are less irritating to skin after this treatment, which is more conducive to healing.

Use Laser Treatments

Lasers are great for improving skin damage acquired during the earlier half of the year. Treatments stimulate collagen production and cell turnover for a fresher look. Much like chemical peels, sun exposure is bad for laser results, so the fall and winter are preferred times for this technique.

Want to discover more about your options at Western Dermatology Consultants? For general inquiries or to schedule an appointment for skincare treatments in Albuquerque, call 505-855-5503 or contact us online.