ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA)- Melanie Abdow is getting pretty used to taking 'before' and 'after' pictures. The svelte 54-year-old from Kensington, Maryland has had subtle anti-aging treatments at the Rockville office of dermatologist Dr. Hema Sundaram for years. But recently, she underwent two new procedures to reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate her face.
Abdow says, "My main concern was the healing process, because with my dark skin, even when I have a cut it takes a long time for that little scar to heal, and it gets dark."
Melanie is of Lebanese and Syrian descent, but Dr. Sundaram says all patients with deeper skin tones need to be wary of hyper-pigmentation, when a laser or other treatment causes too much inflammation and leaves dark patches behind.
That's why she suggested Melanie try Ulthera, the first FDA approved device that uses ultrasound for non-surgical lifting of the face and neck.
Dr. Sundaram describes Ulthera this way: "It's what we call a color blind device. And it doesn't damage the surface of the skin. It very specifically targets the deeper tissues- it is going all the way down to the muscle."
Dr. Sundaram has tested Ulthera in patients of African, Indian, Latin and Asian descent. She says it is very effective in tightening the neck and jawline. While the results emerge over several months, Melanie says she saw a difference right after her forehead was treated.
" Prior to the Ulthera treatment, my eyes were a little bit heavier. As soon as they did the Ulthera, instead of cutting like they do with face lifts, it's lifted my brows and it did make me look a little younger."
Melanie also had the fine lines under her eyes softened with the CO2RE resurfacing laser. Dr. Sundaram says its energy delivery system is more precise than previous carbon dioxide lasers, lessening the chances of side effects on pigmented skin.
Dr. Sundaram says, "Its enough energy to give us the results we need in every skin type."
And Melanie says she is "tickled" with the results she's gotten from both Ulthera and CO2RE.
She reminisces, "At our 30 year reunion last year at our high school, my head got so big from all the compliments. Because I'm aging very nicely with the help of my doctor. "
Both Ulthera and CO2RE laser resurfacing are cosmetic procedures and not covered by health insurance. They are also not painless. Both cause controlled damage at various skin depths that stimulate new collagen to form. Some patients describe the treatments as more painful than others do.