Archive | January, 2012

Do Whatever You Want, If It Makes You Happy. But First Take This Quiz.

31 Jan

The following quiz is from Joan River’s HILARIOUS book Men Are Stupid… And They Like Big Boobs.  Even if you are in no way, shape, or form planning on having any sort of procedures, this is still a must read!  (taken directly from page 12-14).  Anything in pink italic is my own interjections.  Because I always interject.

So You Think You’re Really, Really

Ready for Cosmetic Surgery?

Answer the following multiple-choice questions to find out if you’re emotionally prepared to make a big change.

1.  Spending money on myself…

A. is morally reprehensible!

B.  runs against everything my parents taught me.

C.  is fine.  What else should I spend it on?  My kids’ college education?

D.  is a touch call, but being happy is worth any price.

If you answered a., that spending money on yourself is morally wrong, then get back inside the convent, and pray for me because I’m clearly bound for hell.  Even Mel Gibson pays for his own SS uniforms.  If you answered c., remind yourself that spending money is good.

The correct answer is D., that there’s no better investment than your own confidence and happiness.

Joan couldn’t be more right!  Spending money on yourself is ok.  Spend wisely! 

2.  I want to make a change in my appearance because…

A.  my husband has been begging me to get implants since his secretary died.

B.  my friend told me every attractive woman has had something done.

C.  I’ve hated my nose for years, and I’m sick of walking into parties backwards.

D.  when I saw myself in a recent photo, I looked like my mother.

If you answered a. or b., you’re wrong.  Screw your boob-loving husband and peer-pressuring friend.  The one and only reason to get surgery or a non-invasive beauty procedure is for yourself.  If you think having work done will make you a happier, more confident, contented person, go for it.

If you answered d., you’re still wrong.  Those of you who have the fear that you’re turning into your mother, make a shrink appointment.  In the meantime, guess what?  Surgery won’t alter your genetic code.  Even if you’ve had a face lift, you’ll probably still look like your mother.  (This drives my daughter Melissa crazy.)

The correct response is c., because the motivation for change has to come from inside you.

The only reason you should do ANYTHING is for yourself.  I have SO many patients that tell me they don’t want their husband knowing, because they “wouldn’t understand.”  I get into countless debates, mostly with men – but some women, about how someone’s choice to do Botox is their personal preference, and because it’s a very safe procedure, there shouldn’t be as much controversy as there is!  Be supportive of your friend or spouse’s decision.  It’s THEIR body.

3.  The actual surgery will be…

A.  a snap.

B.  the first day of a completely different life.

C.  rough.  It’s major surgery and should be taken seriously.

D.  a bloody nightmare.  I don’t know how I let Joan Rivers talk me into this.

The correct answer is c.  Plastic surgery, from a blow lift to a butt lift, is major surgery and not to be taken lightly.  You have to be prepared to do whatever your doctor instructs you to do, before surgery and during the recovery.  You’re looking at up to a month of convalescence.  It’s not a walk in the park.  But, once the recovery is over, you’ll be thrilled you had the surgery.

The one thing you hear most from women who’ve had cosmetic intervention:

“I wish I’d done it sooner”

(This is also the biggest complaint I hear from women with Botox!)

4.   Self-Improvement is…

A.  selfish vanity.

B.  what we should all strive for throughout our lives, physically, emotionally, mentally.  Otherwise, why not just crawl under a rock?

C.  impossible.  I’m already as good as I’m ever going to get.

D.  embarrassing.  I’m loathe to reveal my insecurities and flaws to myself, let alone a stranger, especially an attractive doctor.

The correct answer is b.  Of course we should all strive to improve ourselves!  The pursuit of betterment is hardly selfish vanity!  Do we educate ourselves out of vanity?  Do we expose ourselves to culture to be selfish?  Physical improvement via cosmetic intervention is on a par with going to the gym, which most people consider to be masochistic but not vain.  Vanity is thinking you’re already perfect.  And if you’re perfect, put this book down and leave the rest of us humans alone.

** I would like to add, attractive doctors exist in Orthopedics (sports medicine) and on T.V. shows for the most part. 

5.  Beauty is…

A.  an unfair societal demand put on women so makeup companies, plastic surgeons, diet-pill manufacturers, and hair salons can stay in business and make tons of money.

B.  in the eyes of the beholder.  When I see a beautiful woman walking down the street, I’m so jealous I want to spit – in her eye.

C.  for the very young and/or the very rich.

D.  within  your grasp, a worthy goal, the way to feel good about yourself and stay vital in the world.

Beauty can be a source of a.) anger, b.) jealousy, and c.) envy.  You wouldn’t have those negative emotions if you felt beautiful yourself.  Imagine being free of jealous, envy, and anger-and not having first woken up dead and found yourself an angel.

Those who answered d. understand that beauty is within your grasp.  Now go out there and get some!

Ok, I know not everyone loves Joan as much as I do.  (We’re on a first name basis).  But, I think she has some very valid points, and I also think she looks the way she wants to, and she is happy with her results.  She makes millions a year off her surgically altered botox’d up face.  All the power to you Joan.  I hope some day the same is said about me! 

Joan Rivers’ Men Are Stupid… And They Like Big Boobs:  A Woman’s Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery with Valerie Frankel

It’s absolutely hilarious, and discusses procedures from laser to lipo.  I highly recommend it.  I don’t agree with everything she says, but I think she gives mostly valid information!

A Note From Skipper

26 Jan

Skipper and Barbie going to Iceskate at Frog Pond

In response to my post Hey, You Look Just Like Me!, in which I reference my friend/coworker/client Devan (whom I have dubbed Skipper), sent a reply that I felt would be better as it’s own post.  Here was her reply, which starts with an exerpt from the original post:     

“Devan (the girl I live with on the North Shore 2 days a week), turned to me the other day and said, “we look like sisters.”  Well… we certainly did not start out that way.  I’m Boston Bred and Russian/Polish by descent.  She’s from Virginia and sports some very fair skin (more Western European).  Several spray tans, a couple of boxes of Juvederm, some cheek augmentation, and a splash of bleach later… and we look like sisters.  Either she’s blind… or we both have the same idea of beauty.”


I would have to agree on this post. Not only am I thrilled that you have involved me in your blog lol I figured I definitely need to give my opinion on this. We obviously have some similar features due to augmentations but our idea of beauty is the same. I was 19 years old the first time I got my lips injected with Juvederm, many of my clients ask me “Why? You are so young, why would you start so early” I always respond with:

 1. “I am in the industry.” How can you possibly promote a product when you physically have not used it and do not believe in it? You can’t and that is false adverstising as far as I am concerned. Don’t knock it till you try it.

2. “My top lip was half the size as my bottom and it was something that bothered me.” When I had the option to alter my look just a little bit to (1) please myself and (2) make me look better I thought why the heck not?

I would have to say that Juvederm is one of the best products out there on the

My Bathroom Shelf

market today (props to the amazing pharameceutical company Allergan- the makers of Botox, Juvederm and Vivite- a glycolic based skincare line).  I have had clients complain about restalyn (especially regaurding cost and duration of result) but never once heard a complaint against Juvederm.

If you can take something that concerns you and change it just a tiny bit to enhance it to the point where many people would say “you look awesome, what are you doing different?” But not actually pin point what it is you have had done. WHY WOULDN’T YOU DO IT? It isn’t harmful, so for me it is a no-brainer.

At the end of the day, it is hard to stay on top of things in the beauty industry, but how can you be a good esthetician, hairdresser, cosmetologist, nurse injector, etc. if you do not strive to use the best products and promote beauty within yourself and most importantly to YOUR CLIENTS.  That’s why I don’t trust Dermatoligists or General Practice MD’s with my injections.  Just because you have the title MD does NOT make you an expert in beauty!

In closing, a little spray tan, Juvederm, Radiesse or blonde hair never hurt anyone!

Representing Boston Beauty and Boston Sports!

P. S- I don’t think you’ve been spending too much time with me. It is awesome to have such a wonderful friendship with someone who strives to be the best at what they do, just like myself, and who also has an amazing concept on what is beauty.


Thank you BOTOX and Laura for making BOSTON BEAUTIFUL!

-Devan Ritchie, L.M.E

Go Platinum Salon and Spa

200 Lake Street, Peabody, MA


Boston Barbie

24 Jan

This is from limited_edition_barbie_massachusetts_edition.php.  They didn’t know who came up with it… so I couldn’t site the original author, therefore I am not sure if I’m violating copyright laws?  SOPA and PIPA are dead right?  Anyways, whomever the author is, this is really funny!

Limited Edition Barbie: Massachusetts Edition

We really aren’t sure where this came from . It seems like the stereotypes portrayed below have been applied to areas around St. Louis, Florida, Memphis, Detroit, among other US geographic locations. It came to us via email, un-attributed to the author (email us, we’ll give you credit), and humorously rang true for some of the locations integrated into the list. Suggestions for the South Boston Barbie (both original model and Fort Point edition), Cantabrigian Barbie, and Allston/Brighton Barbie are welcomed..

backbaybarbie.jpg“Newbury Street/Back Bay Barbie”
This princess Barbie is sold only at The Prudential and Copley Malls. She comes with an assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey and a brownstone. Available with or without tummy tuck and face lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.

framinghambarbie.jpg“Framingham Barbie”
The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Wind star Minivan and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation. Traffic jamming cell phone sold separately.

WORCESTERbarbie.jpg“Worcester Barbie” (also available for Springfield)
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a buck knife, a Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable bills).That is, unless you are a cop, then we don’t know what you are talking about. Springfield model is available with Smith and Wesson handgun and matching hunting knife for added home-town street cred.

marblehead.jpg“Marblehead Barbie”
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2. Included accessories include: Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won’t be able to afford any of them.

northadamsbarbie.jpg“North Adams Barbie”
This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too small, a NASCAR t-shirt and a tweety bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a six-pack of Bud light and a Hank Williams Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and kick mullet-haired Ken’s butt when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup truck separately and get a confederate flag bumper sticker absolutely free.

northendbarbie.jpg“Downtown/North End Barbie”
This collagen injected, rhino plastic Barbie wears a leopard print outfit and drinks cosmopolitans while entertaining friends. Percocet prescription available as well as a condo, no car is available for this Barbie – parking is a bitch.

westernmass.jpg“Western Mass Barbie”
This tobacco-chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased beer-gutted Ken out her house. Ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile home – similar to Northern Connecticut Barbie.

nohobarbie.jpg“Amherst/Northampton Barbie”
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair, arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her Willow. She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Barbies and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.

newbedfordbarbie.jpg“New Bedford Barbie”
This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories include a GED and bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy were available, but are now very difficult to find since the addition of the infant.

southshorebarbie.jpg“South Shore Barbie”
She’s perfect in every way. We don’t know where Ken is because he’s always out a-‘huntin’.

ptownbarbie.jpg“Provincetown Barbie/Ken”
This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply adding or subtracting the multiple snap-on parts.

Evaluating Your Skin

23 Jan

Like your personality, everyone has different skin, and there are many extraneous factors that affect the physical condition of your skin.  Even though I know a lot about skin, I don’t pretend I know it all, and I often ask my aesthetician friends what they think about my skin’s appearance. Usually, when my skin deviates from the norm, it’s from something I did.  By looking at your skin, an aesthetician determines the classification (Skin Care Classification Systems.) but they should also ask you the following questions to evaluate the overall health of your skin. 

Skin Evaluation Questions 

(Marmur, Ellen, M.D., 2009, Simple Skin Beauty:
Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin, 20-21)

  • How does my skin usually behave?  Does it tend to be dry or oily?  Does it get irritated or red or hyperpigment easily (a sign of sensitivity).

My skin is normally a little oily, with rare break outs (because I regularly see an aesthetician and use products that are appropriate for me–but trust me–I’ve had my fair share of acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness).  Because I take care of my skin, I no longer easily get irritated, red, pigmented, or break out.  But that’s MY skin). 

  • What is my lifestyle like?

I think there is not a woman alive that doesn’t have a high stress lifestyle.  But, when our stress levels get higher than normal, that’s when we can run into problems!  When I opened my first office, I’ve never had such HORRIBLE skin.  I was under so much stress!  I wasn’t eating, drinking, or sleeping (healthy right?).  I was broken out and my skin literally had a blue hue to it from not having enough oxygen and water.  It was NOT attractive.  Now I’m back to a regular level of high stress.

If you look at woman from other countries, you usually see they have nice skin.  Even though they smoke.  Well, the American life-style is high stress.  Women juggle families and careers and high levels of stress due to the pressure to achieve, and I think this is especially true of the Boston Woman.  Read more about  Skin Under Stress.

  •  Have I been doing anything differently in the last few weeks?

First Rule in Nursing:  have you done anything different?

Second Rule in Nursing:  stop whatever it is you did.

Did the symptoms stop too?  Cause and effect!  When it comes to skin reactions I like to ask if you have started using any different skin products, or have you changed your detergents?  (I personally am allergic to dryer sheets and I sleep with my face on a pillowcase… that would have touched a dryer sheet!)

  • What climate do I live in, or have I traveled somewhere recently?

Ugh, it is officially winter.  I know I have my heat on 80 right now and I am so thankful it is not forced hot air!  The type of heat you are using to heat your home will affect the air and your skin. (Check out Hydrating Ingredients in Skin Care Products.)  When the temps start warming up, of course we have the humidity… “it’s not the heat it’s the humidity!”  which can cause our skin to feel more greasy.

Changing climates from the dirty city are to the clean country air can affect your skin.  My skin likes the city 😉

  • What foods have I been eating recently?

Your diet DOES effect the appearance of your skin.  I’m not saying chocolate causes acne (don’t worry, there is zero truth to this one), but certain vitamins and minerals feed the skin.  Certain foods are healthier for your skin, just like certain foods promote a healthy liver (off the top of my head I can think of one food that is bad for your liver- alcohol)!  Avoid things high in sugar, they promote bacterial growth.  Look for foods high in vitamin A, C, and E.

  • What kinds of products do I use on my skin and how often?

I really hope by now you’ve gotten my point about over the counter products, and how they don’t do much but put a hole in your wallet.  But, pharmaceutical products aren’t always good to use everyday.  Case in point – Retin-A.  LOVE IT.  I really think Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.  But I don’t  think it’s for everyone EVERYDAY.  I recently upped my topical Retin-A usage to every other day.  My skin looks AMAZING, but if I use it everyday it gets red, dry, and flakey.  Ew.

**I would like to add that I also just read in a medical book that Retin-A and sunblock are the only PREVENTATIVE topicals when it comes to fine lines.

  • What kind of makeup do I wear?

I ask my clients this all the time.  Usually I ask it like this:  “Do you wear MAC make-up”  and they say “yes.”  NOOOO.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love MAC’s eye-shadows.  I love their fake eyelashes.  But their face make-up is “stage make-up” which is NOT for everyday use!  It clogs your pores and can make acne much worse.  PLEASE stop using this product everyday!  Start using good skin products, and throw out your make-up!  Be natural!  (Yes, the Botox Queen supports natural!).  When I do feel the need to wear a face make-up, I stick to mineral make-up.

***Also, did you know that if your skin tends to be greasy you should use powder based foundation, and if it tends to be dry you should use liquid based foundations?

  • How many showers a day do I take?

I know we love long, hot showers in the winter, but try to keep it quick.  Not only does it make you “green,” but long, hot showers dry out your skin.  Moisturize!

  • Do I have a stressful job?

Obviously!  I’m not even going to start on this one!

  • Do I smoke?

I hope the answer to this is no.  It’s funny.  We know how bad smoking is for your health, but for some reason people still do it.  Well, if the threat of cancer hasn’t stopped you, and the insane cost hasn’t stopped you, perhaps this will:  smoking is bad for your skin.  It prematurely ages you.  It thins your dermal layer, destroys your cell’s DNA, and gives a yellow hue (from toxins).  I pray that if you have stopped by medical reasons, perhaps vanity can play some roll in ditching the cancer stick.  I know it’s hard, but it is really, really bad for your skin (and health and wallet).

  • Do I take any medications regularly?

There are TONS of medications which can interfere with the health of your skin.  Read your bottles.  Do any say stay out of the sun?  I promise you, the bottle is not lying to you.  Hypersensitivity to sunlight is a common side affect with many medications.  Be extra careful to wear sunblock, even in the winter.  Please and thank you.

  • Am I pregnant?  Have I recently had a baby?

I can safely say no to these questions, but, as I’m sure you all know, pregnancy comes with MANY hormonal changes.  And do not sound fun (I recently learned from patrons at a Botox Party the most important word to know during pregnancy- Epidural).

  • Have I had surgery or any health problems in the last year?

When your immune system is down, or your body is in a state of repair, the essential vitamins and nutrients your skin requires may be diverted to other organ systems that need them more.

  • Do I wear sunscreen?

EVERYDAY.  Even in the winter.  Like I said earlier, sun damage is the number one cause of fine lines.  Do you know how men can tell your age?  By looking at your hands, because they are always exposed to sunlight.  Ok, it’s winter, we go from home to car to job to home (at which point the sun is already probably gone).  So many of us think we don’t need sunblock.  WRONG.  You are exposed to UV rays in the car.  When looked at under a skin lamp, the drivers side of a face displays 90% more sun damage.

Check out There’s a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in a bag of doritos.  (It is one of my most highly viewed posts!)

  • Do I pick at my face nervously?

I do.  It’s so bad.  I was actually put on Celexa at one point for this nervous habit.  I’m so glad I was too, because it worked!

  • How many products do I use on my skin and hair everyday?

You don’t need to be using a crazy amount of products, and you don’t necessarily need to be using everything, everyday.  We have this notion that if a little is good, a lot is better.  Not true.  Follow the directions for usage from your aesthetician, or at least the instructions on the products you are using (that are pharmaceutical grade).  As you can see from the picture, I have a lot of products–but I don’t use every one everyday.

  • Do I touch my face a lot?

As a nurse, I can tell you, nails are DIRTY.  Hospitals have banned acrylic nails for nurses in hospitals because of the germs they carry.  By touching your face, you are introducing those germs and bacteria to your skin.  One of the biological roles of skin is to protect the internal organs from infection.  If you are picking at your skin you are essentially breaking the barrier, and allowing an area of access for bacteria.

The skin is a protective barrier against dirt and bacteria.

Bacteria is under your nails.

Picking at your skin with your nails tears the skin.


Picking breaks the protective barrier and at the same time introduces bacteria and dirt from your nails.  BAD.

  • Do I use hair gel or pomades?

I don’t know what a pomade is….. I guess that is for short hair! I do know this… I often break out on my hair line when I am on day 3 of not washing my hair (you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday).  Hair products can contains skin clogging ingredients, or might contain ingredients that your skin is sensitive to.

**I’m not sure if I took this picture crooked, or hung the shelf crooked?            ———————–>

  • Is there a specific area on my face that is constantly a problem?

Like perhaps you break out where your cell phone constantly touches?  Swab down your phone with an alcohol pad, daily!

Self-Worth Dysmorphic Disorder

19 Jan
**Disclaimer: not an actual diagnosable disease. 
Even though 9/10 women suffer from it.

It’s the New Year.  Time to purge some bad habits.

I’ve talked about Body Dysmorphic Disorder, which is something I see in a very small percent of my clients (like <1%), interesting subject, no doubt.  Seeing something distorted in the mirror that isn’t what is actually there.  But what about NOT seeing something in the mirror that IS actually there?  Is there a term for that?  (delusional? blind? 99% of women?)

Patti is looking good!

I’m obsessed with reading and statistics, because I’m a dork and I don’t have cable.  ANYWAYS.  One of my clients brought me a book that I am already inspired by.  Become Your Own Matchmaker by none-other-than The Great Patti Stanger (of Millionaire Matchmaker.  Who doesn’t LOVE that show?).   I’m also in the process of reading “Know Your Worth.”  So I’d like to pass on some powerful tips.

It’s time to empower yourself to be the beautiful you you should see in the mirror.

Patti had me write a few lists.  Take her advice.  Write lists.

Patti encouraged me to make a list of their interesting qualities.  Let’s see the things I’ve liked about the last 5 guys I’ve seriously dated are:  they love animals (me too!), are tall, educated, driven, powerful, social, and treat me like the princess I am.  And I quote my college boyfriend:

“You are such a f*$#%ing Princess.” 

Yes, I can be a princess, no doubt.  I want what I want when I want it.  But I am willing to do what it takes to reach my goals.  I wouldn’t be where I am if I didn’t.  So set some goals people!  Successful people have written goals and written steps it will take to achieve them.

Patti had me write another list.  10 things that make me happy.  You know what the first thing on that list was?  Me.  I make me happy.  I’m an honest, hard-working, trustworthy, reliable, strong, independent, educated, and  a sassy young woman.  Who I am inside makes me happy.  And yes, I have a pretty face.  I say this because I am happy being me, and I truly believe how you look effects how you feel about yourself.  Confidence is the sexiest quality anyone can have.  Don’t focus on your flaws.  Fix them. 

Know Your Worth.

I’m worth 3 houses on the Cape, a new Mercedes, and some hot Louboutins.  But, unfortunately, I spent my dowry on my start-up.  That doesn’t make me think any less of myself though!  I know if someone doesn’t treat me with the respect and decency I deserve, it’s see ya lata.  You should feel the same way about yourself.   If you don’t, I suggest you befriend a gay man.  Because he will tell you how awesome you are everyday (and that’s what a man should do!).

...unfortunately not my boyfriend.

Beauty does start inside.

But don’t forget the The Halo Effect.

I’d also like to paraphrase Patti here.  “The women of the east coast are brilliant.  If only they can learn what Botox is.”  Take care of how you look, because in the end, you might loose your mind… but you’ll never loose your face!  (Is that funny?  I think so…)

Don’t worry Patti!  I’m here to help. 

Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product

17 Jan

More on Retinoic Acid (my fav!). Make sure you read this as well… some of the info in this post has been updated!


Retin-A (aka Tretinoin aka All-Trans Retinoic Acid aka ATRA)

Yes… it has a lot of names… and also comes with a lot of uses!

Retin-A is the trademark product name for the acid form of vitamin A (retinoic acid) and the active ingredient Tretinoin.  Retin-A is a name brand that is well recognized; however, there are many other medications that contain this compound, and these might be cheaper or more appropriate for your specific skin care needs (i.e. containing other ingredients your skin needs).

Retin-A is a commonly used topical acne treatment in teenagers, but also has been used in the treatment of photo-aging (hyperpigmentation), wrinkle treatment, and to reduce the appearance of stretch marks!

Every woman over 30 should be using a Retinol treatment!

And I might even argue every woman period.

The purpose of this product is to speed up the exfoliation process (in a chemical-peel type fashion – and ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!) and increase the production of collagen (the fiber that gives skin structure).

How It Works:

As a chemical exfoliant, Retin-A thins the outer-most layer of skin (the dead skin that clogs your pores causing blackheads and acne) while at the same time stimulating collagen within the dermal layer (which is why you cannot buy this product over the counter.  It works in the dermal layer.  Where you want ALLLLLLL your products to be working- remember Step 2: Spend wisely.)

Which leads me into the subject of cost..

Depending on the product and the other ingredients it contains, you’re looking at between $50 and $120 for a product that will last you about 6 months.  Do not buy this stuff over the internet.  You are probably going to wind up with an expired product, which won’t work and will just be a waste of money.  Go see your aesthetician and have her tell you want product is best.

I use Retinol from Image.  It’s in the $50-$75 range and a bottle lasts about 2 months.

Words of Wisdom

When I start people on Retin-A, I usually tell them to start off slow.  Once a week.  Then twice.  Slowly working it into your skin care regiment.  Why?  Because this product can be super drying (and as the official cold has begun here in Boston, lets not make already dry skin conditions worse–and if you have dry skin make sure your pharmaceutical grade products contain these Hydrating Ingredients in Skin Care Products.)  If you are acne prone, make sure you are using a good cleanser in the mornings.  You want all those dead skin cells OFF your face (not in the pores).

You need to be careful about being in the sun with this product.  No one likes a red, dry, itchy, scaly, burning face.  So for the same reason you don’t want to start off using this product nightly, you don’t want to be exposed to the sun for lengthy periods of time.  So remember, use this product AT NIGHT.

I’ve never had this happen to me, but I’ve had several friends tell me they’ve put the product too close to their eyes and had reactions (swelling, burning, flaking, itchy).  These friends are, of course, aestheticians who warn people not to put it too close to their eyes.  I guess they just wanted to test it for themselves!  😉  It’s been confirmed.  Don’t do it!  The skin around your eye is very thin and sensitive.  You don’t want to peel here, but you do want collagen stimulus, so make sure you use a good eye cream.  I will slap you if you think Oil of Olay counts.

***If you’re looking for more info on Key Ingredients in Your Anti-Aging Products click on the link.

My Skin Is Glowing (and no, I’m not pregnant).

10 Jan

Sorry Mom.  I work too much.

Life is busy, especially during the holidays.  I’m sure you feel me on this.  Work parties, finding perfect gifts for people, standing in lines, driving to far off relatives in New Jersey.  We all have some added stuff on our plates and we get so busy with pleasing others, sometimes we neglect ourselves.

I think I’ve made my point a billion times about how important it is to see an aesthetician (Step 1: See a Professional) and have regular facials and use good skin care products (Step 2: Spend wisely.).  And I can honestly say, I was not looking so good after last month!  My skin was starting to look a little dull, my pores were clogged (falling asleep with my make-up on, too tired to take it off… we all do it), I was looking a little dehydrated, and I needed some help.  Thank god a client cancelled today and I was able to spend some time with Christine, the new aesthetician at Pure (

“You need a Micro-derm,” she told me, “and an Ultra-sonic.”


Christine explained step-by-step what she was doing during my micro.  I love it when people tell me why they do things.  It gives purpose… who wouldda thought!


Christine was thrilled to tell me about her machine (I also love people who get excited about what they do–like me!).

“It’s great for everyone she said.  Unless you have a pacemaker, because it can interfere with the settings.”  (I’m guessing not many people reading this blog have pacemakers though…) 

Who is Everyone?

From Acne prone (me) to Rosacea to Aging, literally this treatment is good for everyone.  It is safe for all classifications of skin types, and all sensitivity levels.

What is it?

This non-invasive treatment uses low frequency ultra-sonic waves and gentle distilled water bubbles to clean the build-up inside the pores to make it easier for extraction and product penetration in three steps.

Step 1:  The ultrasonic vibrations spin the water molecules at high frequency, which gently loosens and removes oil, dirt, and build-up.  Pores diminish in size and bacteria levels are reduced.  Because it is ultrasound and water, it is gentle and perfect for sensitive skin.

Step 2:  Infusion of products via low frequency ultrasound waves, which stimulates skin to produce collagen and elastin (structure of skin) to help fine lines and wrinkles and restore glow.

Step 3:  Low levels of electrical current reaches injured cells and restores them.  Promotes cellular growth, reproduction, and protection from environmental damage (i.e. AGEING factors).

My skin looks smoother, healthier, and glow-y-er.  Oh, and younger.  🙂

* It’s kind of hard to show the glow with a picture from my Droid, which I have no idea how to use… and daily want to throw it out of a window.  Daily.

Pucker-Up, Princess – Damn Sexy Lips

7 Jan

Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.

Or a good grasp of what Juvéderm is. (That’s NOT Botox.)

Juvedérm is a hyaluronic acid that is injected into the lip to make it fuller.  It is also used in deep “1” lines in between the eyebrows and sometimes in the cheeks and naso-labial folds.  It’s a sugar your body naturally produces.  You don’t need allergy testing with this product.

It can be natural looking.  

There are two techniques for augmenting the natural lip.  A lot of women want/need volume.  As you age, your lip naturally beings to thin out.  Physical Facial Changes That Occur As We Age.  In order to restore the volume, the product must be placed in the wet/dry border (where your lip goes from wet to dry).

* The Black Dashes represent where product is put.  The Red X’s represent needle insertion points.  They are a representation.  You might have more insertions if you have asymmetry, or less if you are trying to achieve several changes at the same insertion point.    
**Remember when looking at the pictures I’m not a graphic designer.  I’m a nurse.  And I’m pretty proud of my skills in the program Paint and my Pout.  God, I love alliteration!   

The full length of the needle is inserted into the border of the lip.  Yes.  It sounds like it hurts, but a topical numbing  cream should be applied 15-30 minutes prior to the procedure.  A lot of places will cheap out on this.  The stuff is expensive.  Trust me you want it.  Even if the product being used has a numbing agent in it (like Juvéderm XC – the XC stands for xylocaine, which is in the lidocaine family).  Plan on being numb from 1-4 hours.

If you have a low pain tolerance, request having a dental block.  This the procedure you have before you have dental work done.  The nerves are blocked with a pain killer, and you don’t feel anyyyyything.  Don’t drink or eat for 4 hours after a block.  I rarely do blocks, because I’m so good with a needle.  But natural redheads and light blondes are usually more sensitive to pain.  I usually recommend them for these Fitzpatrick I and II’s!

The Duck Look

I like my lips ducky.  Other people who like the duck look:  models, 21 year-old’s, bartenders, strippers… you get the point.  People who need to look sexy.  (You can WANT to look sexy and any age and any profession though!!!)  This look is achieved by inserting the length of the needle into the lip line, otherwise known as the vermillion border.  The volume there curls up the line.  Again, it should be numb so it won’t hurt as much.

Mouth Corners

Gravity turns down the corners of your mouth making you look a little frown-y as you age.  By inserting the needle at the lower lip and curving it around the lip’s corner, the lip turns more upward, getting rid of that frown.  A nice smile is attractive.  A frown is not.  This can be a little painful even with numbing cream, because of the location of nerve endings.


The Philtrum Columns are the two lines that come from your nose to your cupids bow.  They flatten as you age, so by recreating them, you look YEARS younger.   It pulls up the “Cupid’s Bow” area, which also becomes flatter as you age.  I’m not going to lie.  This hurts.  A lot.  There are a ton of nerve endings that come out of your nose and it’s very difficult to block them.  Expect there to be tears.  In this case, the tears are worth it though.  It lasts a good year or more.  And although I haven’t gone through child birth, it can’t possibly be as painful.   

The Pout

I am fully aware not everyone likes the Trout Pout (a term my friend Lauren gave me –  It’s another look I really like though.  Depending on how your natural lip is pre-injection, the product is deposited along the wet/dry border and/or the vermillion border.  I usually like to do both to make it extra pouty.


Proportion: The Rule of Thirds and Fifths and what should it be when it comes to  your lips?  The natural lip is 1/3 volume top lip and 2/3 volume bottom lip.  I see this isn’t necessarily true with darker Fitzpatrick types (V and VI).


Many women who have larger noses and big eyes don’t need a nose job.  We need balance.  I naturally have huge eyes and a large nose.  By augmenting my lips, I’ve found some peace with my face.  I look proportional and balanced.  I have tons of clients who feel this way.  Lip Aug is way cheaper than a nose job!


You can use lip augmentation to fix a-symmetry.  Don’t expect it to be PERFECT though.  We all have a little a-symmetry with our face.  If you look at my lips, they aren’t perfectly symmetrical.  But, if you had your lips done, and your friends point stuff out without you telling them, go back to the practitioner.  If it’s real bad, they should fix it free of cost.  If it’s not noticeable, they’ll re-assure you that you’re crazy and you might have Body Dysmorphic Disorder.  It takes about 2 weeks for swelling to go down completely (even if you don’t see it, the inflammatory process is still in gear), therefore, wait two weeks before going back.

Pearls of Wisdom:

  • Expect that you might bruise.  Everyone bruises differently.  If you are anemic (which many of us are during menstruation) or very fair skinned (Fitzpatrick I and II) I highly recommend buying Arnica cream and Bare Essentials makes a purple tinted gloss that works wonders, called Starr.
  • Because you might bruise, don’t do your lips the day/week before a family get-together or a big party.  Questions will be asked.  That dentist was such a witch.  Wink wink.
  • You will be swollen.  Anytime you puncture or traumatize the tissue your body responds with inflammation.  ICE.  20 minutes on 20 minutes off.  The more you ice, the less you swell.
  • The next day, you will look a little more swollen, and your lips will feel very dry.  That is because hyaluronic acid attracts water molecules and you are still swollen from the injection.  Keep icing and applying a hydrating product to your lips.  I like Image’s Ormedic Balancing Lip Complex.  Pharmaceutical grade repair!  A lot of people like Burt’s Bees too.
  • Juvéderm Ultra Plus XC is the best product for your lips.  It lasts 1 year + in most people, unlike Restyline, which lasts about 6 months or less.  Juvéderm Ultra isn’t as plumping because it’s not as concentrated with hyaluronic acid (although it is cheaper – so make sure your practitioner is using Ultra PLUS).

In Conclusion.

It’s ok to be sexy!  This isn’t 1820.  The Feminist Movement doesn’t restrict you to Intellectual Sexiness.  You can be pretty AND smart.  I am (and modest)!   Let’s face it ladies… men like tits and ass.  But they also like what I’ll refer to as DSL (Damn Sexy Lips… or if you want to be crass—D*ck Sucking Lips).  More importantly, it will make YOU feel sexy.  In case you don’t remember why I love my lip augmentation, you can read about it in The Halo Effect.  You want your husband/boyfriend to pay for this?  You mention this part.  “Imagine the Possibilities.” 

My Before…

People always request pictures of how I looked before.  I have a few of my photo’s from when I was in my early 20’s (that don’t have Pabst Blue Ribbon in them).  As you can see I had a nice lip line to begin with.  Symmetrical.  Nice Shape.  Full.  21 (ish).  The top is pretty flat, and thins a lot when I smile.  To me, my face looks out of proportion: big eyes, big nose… small lips… over tweezed eyebrows (hey, I didn’t always have such perfect style!)  I’d like to thank my dog, Nila, for posing.  Pitbull Love.


From Girl-Next-Door to Diva.  See how my nose looks more balanced?

                                   If that face doesn’t scream “I

                               need Botox”  I don’t know what


For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. 

Audrey Hepburn

There’s a Scientific Name for that! (Dermatological Skin Terms to Know)

6 Jan

The next few posts will relate to Common Conditions of the skin, so here is a little dermatological glossary that may help!  Plus lots of Pictures!

I was going to put pictures, but some of this stuff is really gross!

Layers of skin:

 Epidermisthe upper dead layer.  Contains cells that produce melanin, which gives the skin it’s color. 

Dermisthe living lower layer.  Contains blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, and sweat glands (which regulate body temp and produce sebum- an oily substance that helps keep the skin from drying out)

Macule: a change in epidermal color.  any sort of flat lesion.  Group includes:

Vascular macules: red or purple spots that remain from former pimples.

Telangiectasia: A condition where small red, enlarged capillaries appear on the face and legs. (I’m not 100% sure, but I think this is those lil broken capillaries we get around our nose.)

Petechiae: tiny, pin-point, red spots from trauma

Hyper-pigmentated macules: sounds scary.. but it’s commonly known as “freckles.”

Solar lentigines: freckles resulting from sun damage

Comedone: commonly known as a blackhead.  It is a build up of dead cells within a follicle, held  together by solidified sebum.

Milia: commonly known as whiteheads.  Small epidermal cysts that are just under the surface of the skin.  Contain sebaceous secretions and buildup of dead cells, but are no necessarily associated with a follicle.  Common after skin resurfacing treatments such as dermabrasion, chemical peels, or laser resurfacing.

Papules raised lesions that are usually red bumps and can easily be felt when touched.  Acne is an example.  A pustule is an infected papule, and has a head with a white or yellow center, which is pus.  Pus is a fluid that is a mixture of dead white blood cells, bacteria, and blood.

Nodules:  is a solid bump you can feel, which is normally >1cm.

Cysts: pockets of fluid, infection or other matter under the skin.  In aesthetics, most common is the acne cyst.

Skin Care Classification Systems

3 Jan
Dry/Oily/Combination is not a skin type classification system!
Sorry Obaji and Proactive.  But you suck.

Skin Type classification is important to evaluate in order to form a cosmetic plan.  In order to identify optimal outcomes for any skin treatment the following are crucial to identify: 

  • Hyper/hypo-pigmentation risk
  • Scarring risk
  • Skin Phenotoype
  • Photo-age

Skin Typing is important for an aesthetician/doctor/nurse to perform before undergoing any medical aesthetic procedure including:

  • chemical peels
  • laser hair removal
  • laser skin resurfacing
  • IPL (intense pulse light)

Fitzpatrick Type Scale

The Fitzpatrick Type Scale is the gold standard of skin typing.  It is described below as it is a part of the Roberts Skin Type Classification System. Used by Aestheticians prior to chemical peels, laser treatments, and IPL.

1. Fitzpatrick skin type I –extremely fair skin (less melanin at basal layer under the epidermis), Skin always burns (note: melanin acts to block UV rays and its potential damage). Skin never tans with ease.
2. Fitzpatrick skin type II –Fair skin (a bit more melanin at basal layer compare to type I) Skin always burns, sometimes tans).
3. Fitzpatrick skin type III –medium skin color, sometimes burns, always tans.
4. Fitzpatrick skin type IV –Olive skin, rarely burns, always tans (since it rarely burns we could conclude that has lots more melanin at basal layer than types I, II, III and that during aggressive inflammation either by acne or a skin stimulating treatments the excess release of melanin pigments could cause skin discoloration, darkening or brown spots into the surrounding tissues.
5. Fitzpatrick skin type V – moderately pigmented skin, never burns, always tans.
6. Fitzpatrick skin type VI – markedly pigmented black skin, never burns, always tans.

Glogau Scale

The Glogau Scale is also described below as it is part of the Roberts Skin Type Classification System.  Used by Aestheticians to determine Skin Care Product need. If your a stage 4, you might want to consider  A Wrinkle In Time–My Botox Lines or  That’s NOT Botox..

You can be a pup and still be a Glogau 4. Stay away from Tanning! See link below.

Glogau 1– No Wrinkles, early photoaging
Glogau 2– Wrinkles in motion, early to moderate photoaging
Glogau 3– Wrinkles at rest, advanced photoaging
Glogau 4– Only wrinkles, severe photoaging

There’s a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in a bag of doritos..

Acne Rating

1. Grade 1– has open comedones (black heads); mild red spots and is easiest to treat. May be labeled acne cosmetica if due from make-up use or poor home care of skin.
2. Grade II-has closed comedones with no inflammation.
3. Grade III-has papules, pustules, inflammation, open and closed comedones
4. Grade IV-Is the most severe with a combination of all of the above, however with lots more large closed comedones and bumps of many sizes. Grade IV will most often be referred to a dermatologist. These clients respond well to Jessner peel solutions since they have a soothing effect on the skin from the anti-inflammatory ingredients salicylic acid.

The Roberts Skin Type Classification System

This system predicts the skin response to injury and insult from cosmetic procedures and identify the propensity of sequelae from inflammatory skin disorders. It is used by more advanced medical personal and includes 4 elements:

1.  Fitzpatrick Scale: to measure skin phototyping

1. Fitzpatrick skin type I –extremely fair skin (less melanin at basal layer under the epidermis), Skin always burns (note: melanin acts to block UV rays and its potential damage). Skin never tans with ease.
2. Fitzpatrick skin type II –Fair skin (a bit more melanin at basal layer compare to type I) Skin always burns, sometimes tans).
3. Fitzpatrick skin type III –medium skin color, sometimes burns, always tans.
4. Fitzpatrick skin type IV –Olive skin, rarely burns, always tans (since it rarely burns we could conclude that has lots more melanin at basal layer than types I, II, III and that during aggressive inflammation either by acne or a skin stimulating treatments the excess release of melanin pigments could cause skin discoloration, darkening or brown spots into the surrounding tissues.
5. Fitzpatrick skin type V – moderately pigmented skin, never burns, always tans.
6. Fitzpatrick skin type VI – markedly pigmented black skin, never burns, always tans.

2.  Glogau Scale: describes photo-aging

Glogau 1– No Wrinkles, early photoaging
Glogau 2– Wrinkles in motion, early to moderate photoaging
Glogau 3– Wrinkles at rest, advanced photoaging
Glogau 4– Only wrinkles, severe photoaging

3.  Roberts Scarring Scale: describes scar morphology.  Helps to determine short and long term affects of treatments and procedures.




I couldn’t find any pics of Roberts 3 and 4. So here’s some more cute puppies. They’re kissing. Awwwww

Plaque within scar boundaries
Keloidal nodule

4.  Roberts Hyper-pigmentation Scale:  Propensity for hyper-pigmentation based on the natural history of post-inflammatory pigmentation in an individual.  This value is based on past medical history, clinical exam, and ancestral background.

– Hypo-pigmentation
– Minimal and Transient Hyper-pigmentation
– Minimal and permanent Hyper-pigmentation
– Moderate and transient Hyper-pigmentation
– Moderate and permanent  Hyper-pigmentation
– Severe and permanent Hyper-pigmentation

**My good friend John Fournier, MD, a prestigious Derm in Miami is going to help me out with this post, so it will be revised in time!  Sorry!  He’s just really busy being awesome.

Also, my next post will be a glossary.  I think it’s time for one of those!
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