Category Archives: Cosmetic


7 Summer Skin Secrets from the Dermatologist

You know that stepping out sans sunscreen is a big no-no, but how do the rest of your SPF smarts stack up? UAB’s Marian Northington, MD, shares her top sun-safe skin tips, from her favorite SPF to how often you should reapply. Dr. Northington is a dermatologic surgeon and assistant professor of dermatology at UAB.





  1. Buy Broad Spectrum. When choosing a sunscreen for the warm months ahead, choose a broad spectrum sunscreen, which protects the skin from both ultraviolet A rays and ultraviolet B rays. Ultraviolet B rays are responsible for sunburns and skin cancers, and ultraviolet A rays are associated more with photoaging (wrinkles) and melanoma. I prefer zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreens.
  2. Be Wary of Windows. UVA rays penetrate window glass, so it is important to wear SPF or cover up while in the car or sitting by sunny windows.
  3. Know the Danger Hours. As a general rule, sunscreen needs to be worn unless it’s dark enough that a flashlight is needed. The most intense rays occur between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., but it is still necessary to wear at least SPF 30 anytime one is outside.
  4. Cloudy Doesn’t Mean All Clear. Clouds filter visible rays, but not ultraviolet rays, so it is important to wear SPF and practice sun avoidance behaviors even on cloudy days.
  5. Slather Often and Liberally. Sunscreen should be applied very liberally—at least a shot glass size (about one ounce) for the whole body—at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. Sunscreen should be reapplied every few hours and especially after swimming or excessive perspiration.
  6. Rely on Reinforcements. The best way to protect the skin is to avoid exposure to rays between 10 and 4, seek shade, and wear a hat and protective clothing. Remember, even under umbrellas on the beach, both sand and water reflect rays, and you will still get some UV exposure, although not as much.
  7. Get a Check-Up. Regular visits to your dermatologist are an essential part of keeping your skin as healthy as possible. To make an appointment with a dermatologist at UAB, call (205) 934-9999 or make an appointment online.

Source: UAB


On the Nose: the Basics of Rhinoplasty

Plastic surgery to alter the nose takes serious skill. Dr. Daniel E. Rousso offers insights and a simple test for a deviated septum.


“Of all the things on the face, you must be much, much more accurate with the nose. Rhinoplasty is an operation of millimeters,” says Daniel E. Rousso, MD, with Rousso Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic in Birmingham. He performs over a 100 rhinoplasties a year and stresses that whether you want to correct something cosmetic or functional with the nose, altering this most prominent feature requires proven experience and delicate skill.

Like a magic mirror. “A small change of the nose can truly change your appearance,” says. Dr. Rousso. “So people are understandably scared they’re not going to be happy with what they get. But we can show them a computer image that’s proven very close to accurate to our outcomes.”


Not so bad. “People also believe that rhinoplasty is a very painful plastic surgery operation and, in general, it’s not,” states Dr. Rousso. “Often times, we don’t ‘have to pack the nose, so it’s minimally uncomfortably as it heals, and the splints and sutures are gone after just one week.”


Do this test. A deviated septum offers a prime reason for rhinoplasty because it inhibits normal airflow through the nose. You can test for a deviated septum by pushing a finger against one side of your nose to see how well you can breathe. Then do the other side. “If you can’t breathe as well on one side, chances are you may have a mechanical obstruction with the nose,” says Dr. Rousso.


Skin makes a difference. Surprisingly, thick skin can make a big difference in the outcome of your rhinoplasty. “It’s like the difference between seeing the outline of an object after laying a silk sheet over it versus a thick comforter. If it’s a very thick comforter, you won’t see any definition of the object beneath it,” describes Dr. Rousso. “Same with skin. If you have thick skin, you’re going to have a limited ability to have a refined final result.”


Look good in a week. “Most of time, by the end of one week when the splint comes off, no one will recognize a patient’s had anything done,” explains Dr. Rousso. Most rhinoplasty patients are doing light activities within two weeks. But take six weeks before you do contact sports to allow the bones to heal.


How to choose your plastic surgeon. “Ask how many revisions — fixing other surgeon’s procedures — they do a year. If they do a significant number, they‘re usually more able to give you the result you want to achieve,” advises Dr. Rousso. “Also ask to see their book of before and after shots. Ask to see photos of anything that looks like your nose.” Also ensure they’re board certified in plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, or otolaryngology.


by Jane Ehrhardt


To read more about Dr. Daniel E. Rousso, click here.

For more on Rousso Facial Plastic Surgery Clinic in Birmingham, click here.

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Facial Fat Grafting Offers a Natural Alternative to Temporary Fillers

Facial Fat Grafting Offers a Natural Alternative to Temporary Fillers


Fat can be your friend when it comes to fighting certain signs of aging, like sagging cheeks and deepening lines.


You may never have thought of fat as being your friend. But when it comes to fighting aging, fat becomes your natural ally when used as a facial fat graft to restore that youthful lift and plumpness to your face.


“Most people are surprised to hear about this procedure, because they’ve only heard of temporary fillers, like Juvederm or Restylane,” says Al Cohn, MD, a plastic surgeon with Grotting & Cohn Plastic Surgery in Birmingham. ”But with facial fat grafting, you can have all that a temporary filler can give you and then some, often for less cost.”


What is it? “It’s a cosmetic surgical technique where fat is moved from one part of your body, like your tummy, and placed where we’re using temporary fillers now to fill hollows in the cheeks and under eyelids or smooth out lines that become more prominent with aging,” says Dr. Cohn.


Better than fillers. “Unlike temporary fillers, facial fat grafting is relatively permanent,” says Dr. Cohn. “And once the living fat is in place, you don’t traditionally have it repeated, unlike with fillers that dissipate in six months to a year.”


Back on your feet. Facial fat grafts do require more recovery time than fillers, though. “When fat is injected, the instrumentation is larger than with fillers, so there’s generally bruising that lasts a couple of days following this out-patient procedure,” says Dr. Cohn.


Costs less. “Two to three syringes of a temporary filler equals the entire cost of facial fat grafting, and it’s permanent,” says Dr. Cohn. With this cosmetic surgery, you’re just paying for the procedure, because everyone has enough body fat to achieve their relevant facial goals.


Choose wisely. “Get your facial fat grafting done by someone who has done a lot of them,” advises Dr. Cohn. “Performing liposuction is not the same. Just because you have removed fat from some part of your body doesn’t necessarily make it usable for a graft. Ensuring that your plastic surgeon is board certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery is a good starting point.”


by Jane Ehrhardt


To read more about Dr. Al Cohn, click here.

For more on Grotting & Cohn Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, click here.

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Mini Face Lifts Drop the Years

Mini Face Lifts Drop the Years

With mini face lifts, everyone can see you suddenly look younger, but they can’t figure out why.

Between Botox and lasers, you might feel like you can fully restore the appearance of your youthful face. Not completely true. When it comes to the jawline and neck, you want a mini face lift.

“When extra skin starts showing in the cheek and neck area, nothing else but surgery can fix that. That’s why the mini face lift is so popular,” says Melanie Petro, MD, a cosmetic surgeon with Cosmetic Surgeons in Birmingham.

They’re just a smaller version.
Unlike in a full face lift, a mini face lift uses surgery to rejuvenate only one area of your face — your neck and jawline. “So the mini face lift makes you look instantly younger without the potentially overdramatic change of a full face lift,” says Dr. Petro.

What’s new?
“We’ve always used surgery to lift the jawline and neck area,” explains Dr. Petro. “What’s new about it is using surgery on just part of the face versus the full face lift procedure that includes brow, forehead and eyes.”

Not for everyone. Mini face lifts work best on people who need a lift and tightening in the neck and jowl line areas, and whose other age-identifying areas, like brow, mouth and eyes, are being youthfully maintained in other ways. But for many older people, the full face lift is still the best option.

Quick recovery.
“Patients are most surprised at how quickly they get better after a mini face lift,” says Dr. Petro. “Recently I had a patient who was ready for her reunion only three weeks after her surgery. She looked incredible.”

And they last. “Remember that the mini face lift is not like lasers or fillers that offer you an aesthetic improvement for only six months,” says Dr. Petro. “It’s a surgery that will last for many years. You need to take it seriously when choosing your cosmetic surgeon.”

Word of advice. “Find a cosmetic surgeon with an anesthesiologist on staff,” advises Dr. Petro. “There’s no doubt that the most competent person to be in charge of your anesthesia is a physician who’s board certified in that specialty.”

She also recommends you find a practice with operating rooms certified by a reputable third-party to meet national standards, like the AAAHC (Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care).

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Melanie Petro, click here.

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New Cosmetic Eye Surgery Avoids the Fake “Round-eye” Result

New Cosmetic Eye Surgery Avoids the Fake “Round-eye” Result

Birmingham plastic surgeon devises improved blepharoplasty approach to lower eyelid surgery

You’ve looked at some celebrities after a facelift and known immediately that they’ve had something done. And that something wasn’t good. “The number one cause of people having an odd appearance after facial aesthetic surgery is due to the eyelid surgery,” says Grady Core, MD, with Core Plastic Surgery in Birmingham.

The traditional blepharoplasty. In the popular method of lower eyelid cosmetic surgery, called blepharoplasty, an incision is made in front of the lower eyelid and the excess skin and fat are removed to create a tighter, younger-looking eyelid. The other popular method makes an incision inside the lower lid to hide the incision better, but they still remove fat.

The round-eye effect.
“A common complication with those methods results from the eyelid being pulled down and that gives you the round-eye look,” says Dr. Core. “It’s less common with the incision from behind the lid, but it still happens because you have to go through some muscles.”

The new approach. “To avoid those problems, you make a small incision out beside the lower lid, in the corner,” explains Dr. Core, who devised this new method. “You go in without having to make an incision in the muscle, because you go in underneath it from the back of the eyelid. Just like lifting up layers in a sandwich.”

Keep the fat! “You don’t remove the fat in this method of blepharoplasty because that makes lower eyelids look older,” says Dr. Core. “Instead we re-contour the fat and that gets rid of the groove under the eyelid. Then we lift the muscle and that tightens the whole lower lid and supports the lower lid a lot better.”

Less trauma to heal.
“It’s all reshaping and re-contouring,” says Dr. Core. “It rejuvenates the lower eyelid without any incision on the front or back of the lid, which lowers the risk of the round-eye look to almost zero with this method of blepharoplasty.”

The only place to find it.
Right now, the only cosmetic surgeon to offer the Minimally Invasive Lower Eyelid Rejuvenation is Dr. Grady Core, its creator. He’s recently submitted a paper on the procedure after perfecting it for the last five years on over 50 patients.

The creator.
This is not the first minimally invasive cosmetic surgery technique Dr. Core has developed. As a co-developer of the endoscopic plastic surgery technique in 1991, Dr. Core has continued to explore and develop improved minimally invasive applications for the face, breast and abdomen.

A warning: Look twice at your plastic surgeon’s board certification.
“Just because a cosmetic surgeon is board certified doesn’t really mean they’re qualified,” explains Dr. Core. “You need to ask two more questions: ‘What are you board certified in?’ and ‘Is your board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties?’” The name of an association can be created to sound like a medical board but it has no unbiased criteria to be met on a physician’s education or performance before being granted certification.

Dr. Grady Core is board certified with the American Board of Surgery and in plastic surgery with the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Grady Core, click here.
For more on Core Plastic Surgery in Birmingham, click here.

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Don’t Hit the Mall for Your Anti-Aging Regime

Don’t Hit the Mall for Your Anti-Aging Regime

You want to fight Father Time? Then bring in the true professionals. With a dermatologist in your corner, even your make-up becomes your skin’s ally.

Sure, you know a dermatologist can help with moles and acne, but did you know they can be your best beauty consultant? “Going to a dermatologist instead of a beauty counter at a store means you get more potent procedures and physician-grade products,” says Jenny Sobera, MD, a board certified dermatologist with Village Dermatology in Birmingham. You also get skincare know-how based on years of medical school and specialized training.

The best of both worlds. When it comes to skin, “so many people are procedure-oriented and miss the boat on good skincare,” says Dr. Sobera. “Anti-aging is not just about beauty but about the health of the skin in general. You have your skin for life.”

You won’t hear this at the beauty counter.
“A good key ingredient in adulthood is vitamin C on the skin. It prevents sun damage and skin cancer,” says Dr. Sobera. “The other thing is sunscreen with zinc or titanium; they’re a physical blocker.”

Powerful stuff.
“Department stores offer really great products, but they can’t offer you physician-grade skin care, such as prescription-level retin-A,” explains Dr. Sobera. T

The same with spas. Dermatologists can offer you a higher potency in procedures like chemical peels, because they have physicians on staff. And that can mean more type of anti-aging treatment options as well, including laser hair removal, chemical peels, radio frequency skin toning, pulsed light to fight brown spots and redness, and light treatments for broken capillaries and cherry angiomas.

“But you get more flexibility and customization for your skin with us, because there’s an MD present,” emphasizes Dr. Sobera.

Why would you not go to a dermatologist for makeup?
“We use products that treat the skin rather than cover it,” says Dr. Sobera. She uses mineral make-ups at a quality not found in department stores. “The minerals are anti-inflammatory and don’t close up your pores, so they’re good for acne and also naturally sun protective without chemicals.” That means make-up made for those suffering from rosacea, sun damage, and acne. “In fact,” adds Dr. Sobera. “Higher quality companies often only sell their lines through dermatologists, so we have a lot more superior products available for you.”

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Jenny Sobera, click here.
For more on Village Dermatology, click here.

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A Talk with Dr. Mia Cowan

A Talk with Dr. Mia Cowan

“I like to fix problems,” says Mia Cowan, MD, FACOG, MA, MBA. “I loved surgery, but I also love educating people on their health and disease prevention.”

By her third year at the Medical College of Wisconsin, she knew she had found how she could best serve patients with her trifecta of healing skills — gynecology.

Her mother, a nurse, first implanted the idea of Mia becoming a doctor by taking her along on home visits. “I remember in the seventh grade telling my mom that I wanted to be a doctor,” she says.

After her gynecological residency in Wisconsin — where she also met and married her husband — Dr. Mia Cowan returned to Birmingham and spent four years serving the indigent in Jefferson County.

Then in the fall of 2010, she stepped out on her own to open her dream practice. It revolves around making women feel both healthy and beautiful. “I want my patients to look good and feel good about themselves,” she says.

MiBella Wellness Center now includes not only her thriving gynecological practice, but a weight loss program. For this component, Dr. Cowan completed extensive training at the Center for Medical Weight Loss, which is the largest network of physicians focused on bariatric medicine in the country.

“Weight loss can be a very emotional thing, so we have a very encouraging staff,” she says. Weight problems, she says, contribute to so many chronic health conditions, like osteoarthritis, back pain, hypertension and diabetes, that it deserves special attention from physicians. “It’s something I’ve struggled with myself,” she adds.

To further fulfill MiBella Wellness’ mission of “a beautiful approach to health,” Dr. Cowan recently began offering cosmetic procedures. The first one, called Smartlipo, uses a laser to melt and destroy fat cells, which are then easily removed.

In every aspect of her practice, Dr. Cowan has instilled the call of service. “We do almost a concierge kind of service here. I even give my patients my cell phone number. But we educate them so well on any health issues that I rarely get a call,” she says. “I’ve been able to build my practice on referral alone because of our strong belief in service.”

Having attended both University of Alabama for her undergraduate and master’s degrees and Auburn University for her MBA, her allegiance to Birmingham couldn’t be stronger. She and her husband Joseph live in Hoover with their daughter Marley (named after Bob Marley). Not surprisingly, she loves Jamaica and hopes to travel more frequently soon.

by Jane Ehrhardt

To read more about Dr. Mia Cowan, click here.
For more on MiBella Wellness Center, click here.

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