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Varicose Veins continued...

In the latest addition to varicose vein treatments, researchers are testing a new laser procedure. The procedure is performed with the help of ultrasound imaging. During the treatment, the large leg vein -- called the saphenous vein -- is closed with the help of the laser. That causes the smaller veins to shrink and improve in appearance. Other healthy veins take over to carry blood from the leg, re-establishing normal blood flow.

By comparison, other varicose vein procedures -- like vein stripping -- fail more often than this laser technique, according to researchers that presented their findings at the annual scientific meeting of the Society of Interventional Radiology in Salt Lake City, Utah, in April 2003. Those procedures also require general anesthesia, and up to two weeks recovery -- and pain, bruising, and scarring are common. In addition, researchers say that even when you remove the vein with surgery, there is a 10% to 25% chance of recurrence as opposed to a 7% chance of recurrence with the new, less invasive laser procedure.

Wrinkles and Stretch Marks

A laser, called the N-lite, can take away wrinkles, tighten skin, and maybe even eliminate stretch marks.

"It's very cutting edge," Katz says. "It's not a one-shot deal, but there is no downtime. Women can come in on their lunch break, and after a few sessions, they'll look a lot better."

The N-lite stimulates cells beneath the surface to produce more collagen, which restores the support structure of the skin and enhances the contours of the upper layer of skin. Collagen smoothes out wrinkles and stretch marks.

Studies have shown that our skin's natural production of collagen decreases at a rate of 1% per year after the age of 40, but within three to four months, N-Lite treatment increases collagen by as much as 50%. The per-treatment costs usually fall between $1,200-$2,000, and the effect lasts for about a year.

'Back-ne'

If you are prone to acne on your face, back, or anywhere else, choose oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreens because they won't block or clog your pores, causing blackheads, says Katz.

"Wear 100% cotton if you break out because it will absorb the perspiration that is known to make acne worse," he says. Also, he says, change clothes frequently so sweat doesn't irritate skin.

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