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Loving the Skin You Are In: Skin Care Treatments That Boost Confidence and Well-Being

When Ale Zagas considered undergoing skin care treatments, she thought it would simply streamline her self-care routine.

But taking care of your skin is so much more than that.

Made up of three layers of tissue, your skin plays a key role in protecting your body from bacteria, germs, and infection. Your skin—the largest organ in the body—also regulates body temperature, houses the nerves that detect hot and cold sensation, and helps cushion muscles and bones.

A consistent skin care routine is a great way to avoid and manage common problems like acne and dermatitis, along with more serious issues like skin cancer. It's also important for overall wellness and can help boost your confidence.

University of Utah Health offers many aesthetic and skin care treatments and procedures that can improve the way your skin looks while keeping it healthy, especially as you age.

Master Esthetician Hailey Richards
Master Esthetician Hailey Richards

Laser hair removal also helped stop painful skin irritation that had always been part of Zagas' shaving experience. "I have very sensitive skin, and to me it was just a huge relief," she says. "I know it can be different for different skin types, but for my skin and hair type it was perfect."

Zagas recently had two additional procedures to help the skin on her face: microneedling and Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) laser therapy.

Master Esthetician Hailey Richards has been working as an esthetician for more than 20 years. Richards joined the Division of Plastic Surgery in 2012 and is trained in many different skin care treatments and procedures including chemical peels, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion, acne treatments, IPL treatments, and waxing.

She also consults with the division's plastic surgeons concerning proper skin care and treatment plans for patients.

Richards took care of Zagas for both her microneedling and IPL laser therapy procedures.

"Microneedling helps with texture, fine lines, and wrinkles, minimizing the pores and smoothing out skin texture," Richards says. "During the procedure, we use a device with a sterile needle tip made up of 14 very fine, short needles that puncture the first layer of the skin."

The tiny holes created during the procedure encourage the treated area to create more collagen. The collagen-rich tissues then create a more even skin texture and tone.

Zagas is loving the results so far. "I worried it would be too painful, but they use numbing cream that helps during the procedure," she says. "My skin became a lot more even. Now when I apply moisturizer or makeup, it lays very even and smooth on my skin."

Zagas also had IPL laser therapy, a skin treatment that removes facial hair and targets hyperpigmentation and hormone-driven pigmentation such as melasma. IPL laser therapy also helps reduce the visibility of sunspots, spider veins, acne, blood vessels and redness of the face (rosacea), and other pigmented marks or spots on the face, neck, chest, hands, and arms.

Although IPL was Zagas' least favorite of the three treatments, it did reduce the pigmentation on her face. "The redness did go away, and some of the dark spots went away completely while others became less noticeable," she says.

U of U Health offers skin care services at the main University Hospital and the South Jordan Health Center. Estheticians, dermatologists, and plastic surgeons work together to offer leading-edge laser and chemical treatments so patients can get the highest-quality services and recover quickly from treatments.

Skin care treatments include chemical peels, facials, hair removal, enlarged pore reduction, laser tattoo removal, and microneedling.

Some might scoff at the idea of a skin care procedure or treatment, but for Zagas the investment in herself has definitely paid off.

"I just want to take good care of my skin," she says. "I'm 45 years old and you notice changes in the skin as you get older. I'm more confident than I was before having the treatments, and I like my skin a lot better. I also love not having to worry about shaving and the skin irritation."

As for Richards, she loves seeing her patients leave the office with a more positive self-image.

"We all want to look our best, and it's super fun to be able to help improve things for each patient," she says. "You can see the light show up in their eyes again. It's really rewarding work I do."