Patient’s Journey: Make a Date with VISIA

We’re constantly reminded how important it is to develop a good skin care regimen based on a specific skin type. But, how can we be sure what the skin really needs? Is that determined by a makeup artist at a cosmetic counter or by circling questions in a magazine quiz? Not really the best resources. Those methods usually lead to an expensive trial-and-error, purchasing the latest gimmicks or browsing the drugstore aisles. (With rejected samples wasting away in a bathroom drawer somewhere.)

At Visage Skin Care Center, a division of Robinson Facial Plastic Surgery (RFPS), our clients have access to a clinical approach via a consultation with Heather Davis and a little time with the VISIA? technology. For reference, we’re sharing the firsthand experience of a new patient as she begins researching options for better management of her own skin care.

“In the past, the only skin care consultation I’d ever experienced occurred as someone inspected my complexion during a facial. These have always been relaxing and informative, describing the condition of the outermost layers of my face and often recommending products or care tips. However, those recommendations have been based on the appearance of my skin at that particular time. I’ve never really known what’s been lurking just below the surface.

At least, not until my date with VISIA…

A few weeks ago, I made an appointment with Heather Davis for a complete skin care consultation at RFPS. Once I arrived, I filled out a questionnaire about my current skincare routine, noted any past procedures and skin problems, and gave some details about my lifestyle which could impact my dermal health — how much time I spend outside, my sunscreen history, any breakout patterns and confessions of teenage-tanning irresponsibility. Then, I sat down with Heather to discuss all of my concerns.

See, I’m in my mid-40s now and I’m really starting to see my ‘life experiences’ broadcasting across my face like it’s an interstate billboard. I grew up in the Deep South, roaming around outside all day as a kid, and spending my adolescent summers ‘laying out’ with my friends while none of us wore much sunscreen. By my college years, tanning beds were all the rage and I’d tick away sessions in those whenever I deemed I looked too pale. Once I hit my mid-20s, I finally embraced a healthy approach to skincare, slathering on quality sunscreen under my makeup every day, moisturizing thoroughly each night, exfoliating regularly and visiting a dermatologist annually. In my 30s, my pregnancies left me with the mask of melasma on my cheeks; chasing after those babies resulted in tired eyes with crows feet and puffy, dark circles. Now, in my 40s, I definitely see more brown spots on my face, new wrinkles and I can some areas starting to sag.

As I reviewed all of this with Heather, she continually smiled knowingly and nodded in agreement. She understands the whole natural arc of the aging process and she also knows the skin problems common for various age groups. She explained that, unfortunately, most of our subsurface sun damage has been locked in by age eighteen. Uh-oh.

Heather pointed over to the VISIA machine and clarified how it would take a series of specialized images to present a detailed picture of the condition of my skin. Using UV photography and cross-polarized lighting, VISIA separates out a variety of images showing various data about the skin. All I had to do was to sit in front of the tabletop machine and balance my face on the chinrest, in a manner similar to that used for opthalmology screenings. Once the device started, lights flashed and the camera buzzed as it snapped photography. The imaging took only a few seconds, and the data analysis a few minutes more.

VISIA measures a variety of surface and subsurface skin conditions, comparing the data to an average of people in the same demographic and then assigning a percentage score for an assessment metric, as well as estimating an overall determination of the skin’s relative age based on those results.

Conditions measured are:

  • Wrinkles — Depth and direction of skin furrows
  • Texture — Smoothness of skin surface
  • Pores — Size and condition of the ductal openings
  • UV Spots — Sun damage below skin surface as indicated by melanin coagulation
  • Brown Spots — Freckles, melasma, hyperpigmentation and lentigines
  • Red Areas — Rosacea, spider veins, inflammation and acne
  • Porphyrins — Bacteria

I was not prepared for my incredibly precise results.

I may be in my 40s, but it turns out my skin is in it’s early 50s. A sobering reality for me. I spent at least ten minutes staring at all the images in total disbelief, surveying the collateral damage of my youthful irresponsibility. But, without the VISIA assessment, there’d truly be no way for me to know the facts — in all the surface categories, my skin measures at a fairly high percentage. It’s those deeper layers where my youth is slipping away.

Heather reassured me by discussing all the effective anti-aging products and procedures available to target each of my problem areas. With her expertise and the VISIA assessment, she was able to provide me with a customized plan based on the facts printed out from the computer, not just some guesswork from peeking at my face. Heather carefully walked me through my new routine, giving me step-by-step instructions for morning and evening. She gave me all the information I need to consider adding injectables to the mix or pursuing laser treatments in a few months. Heather even wrote out a calendar for my first week, so that I could gradually transition into usage of my new products and note changes or reactions. I’ve posted this in the corner of my vanity mirror and made my follow-up appointment to see how well my complexion responds to this first step in my quest to reverse the effects of testing Mother Nature … and NOT listening to my own mother.

Yes, Mom, I have on a hat now.”

Sound familiar? Don’t fret! The entire RFPS team supports a commitment to learning more about healthy skin care. If you can relate to these concerns and have other questions, make your appointment with Heather for a VISIA consultation today 770-667-3090!