Dr. Brad Bengtson on the Finer Points of Skin Care

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Dr. Brad Bengtson, director of the Bengtson Center for Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery, Grand Rapids, has been named Best of Grand Rapids Plastic Surgeon four years running by Grand Rapids magazine readers, and named to the list of Best Doctors in America® for the past eighteen years.

Here, Bengtson focuses on the aesthetics component of his practice, specifically addressing skincare products and procedures.

How much of a difference in results may be expected from meeting with—and using products recommended by—a licensed aesthetician, rather than purchasing products at a drug or department store?

In order for products to be sold over the counter, they have restricted limits in what they can contain and in what percentages, because they must have a much higher safety profile. Every patient's skin and goals are unique, and need to be evaluated carefully and specifically. Once a medical-grade product and regimen is started, close follow-up and evaluation of the patient's treatment plan and results are critical. The ability to evaluate the quality, potency, and variety of products, and expertise to maximize each patient's skin clarity simply cannot be done outside of a medical aesthetic practice. Products for general daily skin cleansing and protection, and specially formulated products designed to target individual skin types and conditions will dramatically improve your skin. Licensed aestheticians will help you integrate the most effective products into your daily skin care routine.

What should those who get facials or other skin treatments and purchase cosmetics and skin care products based on coupons, convenience, and clever advertising know about procedures and products that haven't been vetted by someone in the science and medicine field?

It is extremely difficult even for plastic surgeons to evaluate some products and technologies, so you can see how difficult it would be for nonmedical people to do so. I always tell patients, "If there is something new that really works—I own it!" Data is important. If a new product or technology comes out first on Oprah or The Doctors before our plastic surgery or skin care podiums and presentations, they may require additional evaluation.

Are there any procedures for improving one's skin that you'd consider gentle enough for those who are genuinely fearful of medical procedures?

A large number of procedures and products allow patients to "dip their toe in the water." There is a common human desire to want the best procedure with the absolute best outcome, without spending the money or accepting the downtime. My father used to tell me, "If you buy a diamond ring for ten cents—it's probably worth about a dime." Patients need to be realistic and understand that less aggressive procedures create less of a change. There are, however, many great products and technologies that can treat your skin, wrinkle lines, and even structure nonsurgically. Skin treatments and products, particularly the medical-grade products we carry, and Retinols can truly maximize your skin health and quality. Botox and fillers may be injected with minimal discomfort, using topical numbing agents, and procedures like Ulthera, although mildly painful during the treatment, result in significant lifting and tightening of the face.

For more information, visit the Bengtson Center's website.


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