UCLA offers 'South Bay Peel' to treat and rejuvenate damaged skin

Patty Hollis, 43, was tired of putting on a lot of face makeup to cover brown spots that sun damage and aging had made more visible. She opted for a combination cosmetic procedure at UCLA called the South Bay Peel. A dermatologist first used broadband light to improve Hollis' pigmentation, stimulate the collagen in her face, and correct broken capillaries and redness. The doctor then applied what is known as a MicroLaserPeel to help with Hollis' skin texture and fine lines. UCLA dermatologists, who were among the first to combine the two treatments, coined the name South Bay Peel, since the first patients to undergo the procedure were from Southern California's South Bay region. "We have seen great results," said Dr. Jenny Kim, an assistant professor of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA who performs the procedure. "In some patients, in just one treatment, we've seen a major reduction in brown spots, 40 to 50 percent reduction in redness, and improvement in fine lines." Dr. Kim first applies a topical numbing cream and cooling gel to the patient's face. After waiting an hour for the numbing to take effect, she uses broadband light to gently heat the upper layers of the skin. The photothermal energy targets fine vessels and the unwanted melanin responsible for pigmented spots, and activates collagen. The MicroLaserPeel, which can be performed immediately after the broadband light treatment or at a later visit, uses an erbium laser to remove the superficial layer of the skin. This improves skin texture and helps erase fine lines and scars. The procedure is considered a medium-depth peel, a step between a microdermabrasion or superficial chemical peel and a full skin resurfacing. With some patients, Dr. Kim uses a slightly deeper resurfacing erbium laser and fractional photothermolysis technology. "The South Bay Peel offers a skin rejuvenation treatment that addresses most skin problems that come with aging, without a lot of downtime," Kim said. After treatment, patients apply a topical emollient ointment; their skin will peel for three to five days. If patients received both treatments during the same session, complete healing occurs in five to seven days, Kim said. Further studies are needed to determine the duration of the treatments' effects, but the results appear to be long-lasting. To help slow down further aging, Kim encourages patients to stay out of the sun and wear protective clothing, including hats. She also suggests that patients maintain their treatment results by applying a topical retinoid and antioxidant cream. Hollis was thrilled with the results and the fact that she no longer has to apply a ton of makeup to cover skin imperfections. She now wears a hat in the sun, especially when playing beach volleyball or driving with the top down on her convertible. The South Bay Peel costs approximately $1,000 to $1,500 (for both treatments) and is not covered by insurance. To schedule an appointment, please call (310) 825-6911. Dermatologists use the Profile Laser from Palo Alto, Calif.-based Sciton Inc. to deliver the South Bay Peel.