Archive | Noninvasive Procedures RSS feed for this section

Cellulite. Ew.

20 Apr

“That’s some good fat.” My least favorite Dr. Russo quote.

I took some time off from working out and eating healthy (called being in a relationship and my busy season with work). I’m back to the gym and avoiding carbs (aka I’m single). If only there was a laser that could help… oh wait… we just got one at Dr. Russo’s called Velashape. Not only is it a great way to tone an area you just can seem to get, but it also works great for cellulite!!!!! Ew. Cellulite. Although I have never had the wonderful experience of being pregnant, this machine is supposed to be great for that post-pregnancy weight/skin you just can’t loose/tighten. (Just FYI, I’m having a celebrity birth, no husband present, just me, Dr. Russo and a few staff, and a nice big liposuction canister. And some Botox. And that epidural pumpin’! Then I’ll tell everyone that I lost the weight naturally like Mariah Carey did- liaaaaaar- just saying.)

What is Cellulite?

Fat deposits that push and distort the connective tissues beneath skin, creating a lumpy appearance of the tissue of the thighs, hips, and buttocks.

The extent to which it is visible is influenced by:

  • Genetics
  • Skin thickness (darker skin is thicker than lighter skin)
  • Gender (affects women more than men—like EVERY sign of aging!)
  • Amount and distribution of body fat
  • Age


Most people dislike the appearance of cellulite and prefer to have skin as smooth as they possibly can (and by most I mean all).

  1. Methylxanthines: Methylxanthines are a group of chemicals that include aminophylline, caffeine, and theophyilline. These chemicals are present in many cellulite creams and are promoted as treatments for cellulite because of their known ability to break down fat stores. However, skin creams cannot deliver the required concentration of these chemicals for the length of time required for significant fat breakdown. While studies have shown a small reduction in thigh measurements with some of these preparations, they do not promote significant loss of cellulite.
  2. Diet
    1. Dietary supplements: Dietary supplements are not monitored by the FDA and cannot be deemed safe or effective. There are no valid clinical studies to support the use of these dietary supplements for the treatment of cellulite. They can be unsafe for people with certain conditions (like thyroid problems), so please be careful. Actually, since they don’t work… just avoid them altogether.
    2. Cellulite diets: Special “cellulite diets” have been proposed that claim to be effective in treating cellulite. Arguments for these diets claim that the combination of foods in the diet can reduce inflammation and improve circulation in affected areas and diminish cellulite. However, no studies published in the medical literature have supported these claims. Experts note that eating a healthy diet can decrease fluid retention and improve the overall health and appearance of skin, but specific diets designed to target cellulite are unnecessary.
  3. Massage treatments: Machines that massage the tissue can temporary decrease the appearance of cellulite, but the technique appears to redistribute fat rather than permanently alter its configuration under the skin. Regular maintenance treatments are required after the initial effect has been achieved or the appearance of cellulite will return.
  4. Laser or light therapy: Devices that combine suction or massage with light therapy for the temporary reduction of the appearance of cellulite. Treatments require multiple treatment sessions and maintenance treatments to keep up the improved appearance.
  5. Mesotherapy: A controversial treatment for cellulite that involves injecting drugs or other substances directly into affected tissue.
  6. Wraps: Many salons offer herbal or other types of body wraps as treatments for cellulite. While wraps may decrease fluid retention and improve the overall appearance of skin, these effects are temporary. It is also not possible to “detoxify” the body by the use of herbal or other wraps.


Velashape gradually smoothes the skin’s surface with a noticeable reduction in cellulite as well as a noticeable reduction in circumferential measurements of the treated area.

This machine combines Radiofrequency (RF) and Infrared Light Energy to heat the tissue to a precise temperature which results in the increased metabolism of stored energy, increases lymphatic drainage, and reduces or shrinks the size of the actual fat cells and fat chambers. Vacuum and specially designed rollers for the Mechanical Massage smooth out the skin to facilitate safe and efficient heat energy delivery. There is no downtime!

Is VelaShape right for you?

This system works best for patients who have a BMI of less than 30 and who fall in the Nurnberger-Muller Cellulite Classification of Stage 1 or Stage 2. Yes, there is actually a classification scale for cellulite.

My Experience with VelaShape

Like I said, I am getting back in shape. When I posted that I was starting the treatments, my friend D Facebook messaged me.

“I did 6 treatments of Velashape before going on the back of my legs and butt. It was amazing! U will love it.” (That was verbatim).

Although I vowed to follow the six treatments strictly, my schedule is way too busy right now with the new spa! (We open May 1st – Dream Spa Medical in Canton!!!! Like us on Facebook PLEASE). I was able to get one treatment in with Larisa at Dr. Russo’s (she’s being doing a LOT of Vela treatments), and I liked how I looked after. Although, I don’t really have much cellulite to begin with (thanks to my good genes!)…

I feel like this would probably be the biggest issue to getting the best results… finding the time to go once a week for six weeks! Now is a good time to start with summer right around the corner!

Honestly, as I’m writing this blog and looking at patient’s before and after pictures… I’m inspired to find the time to do it over the next six weeks (along with diet and exercise!). It looks amazing on some people!

What to Expect:

During Treatment: It feels weird. The vacuum part sucks up your fat and it gets pretty hot.

Duration of Treatment: Expect about an hour depending how many areas you are treating.

After Treatment: Redness and swelling is normal and usually lasts less than 4 hours. Bruising is common.

Number of Treatments: expect 6-8 treatments at 1 week intervals. Monthly maintenance treatments are recommended for the first 3 months and then as needed.

Cost: about $250-$350 for the size of a sheet of paper

Is it Worth it?

Like with any of these non-invasive treatments, results can’t be guaranteed. “Nothing Replaces Traditional Liposuction”- another great Dr. Russo quote. If you have a few extra pounds that you just can’t shed, like from post-pregnancy weight gain, then Velashape is a really good option.

Try it, what do you have to lose? (Get it! Lose weight! I’m funny!)

**VelaShape is not a permanent cure for cellulite or body reshaping. It is a temporary measure and all clients will require maintenance therapy to maintain the cosmetic benefit. Exercise and a balanced diet is important to maintain and augment the effects of VelaShape.

On a side note, Dr. Russo’s Office in Newton (617-964-1440) is offering ½ priced Hydrafacials until May 1, with 100% of the proceeds going to charity. Stay Strong Boston.


Will it hurt?

24 Nov

Pain is such an abstract and obscure concept. You can’t really define it. It has so many dimensions. In the hospital, we assess pain on a scale of either facial expression charts or numerically from 0-10. Zero being no pain, and 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt in your life. It is an individual experience; the numerical response to a stimulus can differ drastically from person to person. So, whether or not something will hurt is relative.


On a Scale of 0-10…

What’s the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced? First, a broken heart. That took a really long time to recover from… and I definitely still have scars! The second most painful thing I’ve ever endured is being in a car accident, which I also still have issues from. I’ve never gone through childbirth, never been divorced, still have both my parents, and never had a kidney stone. So my list has room to change. I’d like to point out that my list does not include Botox, Fillers, or my recent surgery. But that’s what this post is about. Do aesthetic procedures hurt as much as people think they will?

Beauty is Pain

We’ve all endured painful treatments in the name of beauty. Ever tweezed your eyebrows? Waxed your lip? Burned yourself with a curling iron? Stuck an eyelash wand in your eye? Walked more than a street block in stilettos? All painful, but relatable, every day examples of things women do in the name of beauty.

If you asked 100 women the same question, you’d get a 100 different answers. This is because women never have a “yes” or “no” answer. It’s always a story. So here’s a comparison story.

Q: How painful are stilettos?

A: Well, that depends.

  • How big are the stilettos
  • How long are you wearing them for
  • How far will you need to walk in them
  • Who makes them
  • How often do you wear stilettos
  • How often do you wear those particular stilettos (i.e. are they broken in)
  • What condition are your feet in (i.e. do you have any blisters)
  • What size are the stilettos vs. what size are your feet (i.e. does the shoe fit)
  • What are the road conditions for which you will be walking in them (i.e. changes in elevation)
  • What are the weather conditions for which you will be wearing them (i.e. rain or snow, inside or out)
  • Etc, ect, ect.

So, when you ask how badly something will hurt, there are many conditions which will change the outcome. It’s hard to explain the pain factor of beauty. The “Universal Pain Assessment Scale” does not really work when it comes to women and what they’re willing to endure. So… I decided to paint my own comparative scale. Because I love “Paint” (the computer program) and I love making stuff relatable.

The “LK Aesthetic Comparative Assessment Scale”

I’m not going to lie. This took me a long time to create, and it’s pretty scientific (although has no reliability or validity, it is merely my projections). This is how it works. Each treatment is rated in 3 dimensions on a scale of 1-5. Then those 3 numbers are added.

Chemical Peels

Laser Hair Removal

Laser on the Face

Eyeliner Tattoo



Some fillers hurt more than others. The worst is the lips. I used that for the pain scale, but other areas hurt much less.

Tear Troughs    2

Cheeks        2

Marionette Lines    3

Naso-Labial Folds    3

Plastic Surgery

In all fairness… I think surgeries could be subcategorized. I heard liposuction isn’t really that bad. I guess it depends how well you are medicated too. Pain is relative.

I Hope this gave some perspective! Remember, this scale holds no scientific basis.


L.A.S.E.R. (Hair Removal)

15 Sep

Light Amplification (by the) Stimulated Emission (of) Radiation

Whenever someone says “laser” it makes me think of that scene from Austin Powers when Dr. Evil wants “sharks with frickin laser beams attached to their heads.” Ha.

Mr. Bigglesworth. HAAAAA. I digress. Anyways, this post isn’t about sharks… it’s about laser. Specifically, about Laser Hair Removal.

I was lucky enough to sit in on a class at Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics in Woburn, MA. It was a very informative and interesting class. The teacher was very knowledgeable and interesting. So I’m going to pass on that knowledge to you! Yeah!

First and Foremost…

The most important thing I can tell you about laser hair removal is BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU GO. Laser’s are a class 4 medical device, that, unfortunately, can be used by anyone under current state law (Massachusetts). If you go to a laser factory (i.e. Sleek Medspa, or American Laser Co.) the odds are you are being lasered by someone who has no idea what they are doing. Getting burned is not worth saving $50. I assure you. It’s painful and can leave scarring, and you especially don’t want this on your face.

Next. The second most important thing to ask is “do you have a laser or an IPL?” Many people are offering laser hair removal and it’s actually an IPL (Intense Pulse Light).

What is the difference between IPL and Laser?
A lot.

A Laser is Monochromatic.

Monochromatic: One color, red.

An IPL is Polychromatic.

Polychromatic: Every color in the rainbow. And then some!

A Laser is Collimated.

Collimated: Laser light energy will form a bond and stick together.

Think of a laser pointer.

An IPL is non-Collimated.

The bonds don’t stick together. They kind of spray all over the place. There is no focus to the energy. Think of a flashlight.

A Laser is coherent.

Coherent: The bonds of the laser light all travel together on the same wavelength.

An IPL is non-coherent.

The wavelength of energy is all different and erratic. Some are short and some are long. Some are straight and some are squiggly. It’s chaos I tell you. Chaos.  Yes, I spelled Chaos wrong below.  Shhhh.

What does this mean?!?!?!

A laser is focused energy that is attracted to dark color (hair follicle) and burns and kills the follicle.

An IPL tricks the hair into shock to release the hair follicle, but does not kill it. It will come back! (IPL’s do have a purpose, however, they are great for pigmented lesions! Like hyperpigmentation from the sun).


  • Do not wear creams or lotions to your appointment.
  • Do not wear deodorant if you’re getting your underarms treated.

Before Your Laser Hair Removal Starts

Before any treatment is started you should fill out a health history. You are NOT a candidate for laser IF:

  • If you have been in the sun in the last two weeks (this INCLUDES a tanning bed). You will get burned by the laser. And don’t even think about lying to the laser tech. You get burned and it’s YOUR fault.
  • You are on photosensitive medications.
  • You have EVER had gold therapy.
  • You have used retinol the night before (on your face, and you’re getting your face lasered).
  • You have Lupus.
  • You are on immunosuppressive drugs.
  • You can’t stay out of the sun. This is IMPERITIVE.
  • Taken Accutane within the last six months.
  • Have an open wound.
  • Are pregnant.

After it has been confirmed that you are a candidate for laser, the tech will choose which laser is the best for your skin. This is based off your skin type.

Alexandrite vs. ND Yag

Laser’s are named after the gemstone that is used to produce the beam. The two most popular laser’s on the market right now are the Alex and the Yag. What’s the difference?






NeoDymium Yttrium Aluminum Garnet

Alex and ND YAG

Energy Wavelength



Fires both at same time

Skin Types


I, II, III, IV, V, VI (all)


Sun Exposure


(at least 4 weeks)

No recent exposure

(5-7 days)


(at least 4 weeks)

Attracted to

Melanin only

Melanin deeply



Melanin deeply and superficially (best for Asian skin)

How Laser Hair Removal Works
Laser hair removal treatment works through a process called selective photothermolysis. The laser energy works it’s way down the stem of the hair to the bottom of the follicle, destroying the cell. The process is selective in the hair through pigment and not the skin around it. Very light colored blonde or white hair cannot have a laser treatment because there is not enough pigment for the laser to select from.

In the diagram below the picture is of a laser, not an IPL. The pulsed red light is referring to the type of firing of the laser. In aesthetics, it fires in a pulse.

During the laser hair removal treatment a cooling system is used to cool the s is usually applied to the skin, this prevents the area being treated from getting too hot or burning under the heat of the laser. There are three main cooling systems:
Cold air

  • Contact cooling
  • Cryogen spray

How Many Treatments Will You Need?

Hair grows in cycles, which is why you can’t kill all the hair in one treatment (although it will reduce the growth for every treatment you have). The face typically takes more treatments than the body.

Body Part

Avg. Number of Treatments

Treatment Interval








4 weeks





4-6 weeks

Bikini Line




4-6 weeks





4-6 weeks





4-6 weeks





4-8 weeks





6-8 weeks

**Remember, this is an AVERAGE.

What Does It Feel Like?

The laser pulse is often described as a wave of heat with a sensation of a pinprick. Everyone has a different pain tolerance, and some areas hurt more than others. If it is too painful, the laser tech should have numbing cream on hand.

What Should It Look Like Post Treatment?

There are 3 goals in laser hair removal:

  1. Peri follicular edema (swelling around the hair follicle)
  2. The smell of burning hair
  3. Erythema (redness)

ßperifollicular edema

Redness should subside within 24-48 hours. Within 7-10 days the hair follicle which was killed will be expelled through the cell cycle.

Post Treatment Care

  • Apply aloe or lavender cream to the area for rehydration.
  • If blistering, apply an antibiotic cream.
  • Contact the office if you think you have a burn.
  • Normal skin care regiments can be resumed the day after treatment if there are no signs of being burned.

Laser Hair Removal Side Effects

There are usually few side effects with laser hair removal but you should always check with the person who is giving you the treatment to make sure they are qualified. The side effects which can be experienced in some individuals include pigmentary changes in the skin which include darkened or lightened areas, these changes are usually temporary. Rarely some people experience blisters or burns.

What it should not look like:

The evenly spaced circles are from the head of a laser as it pulses along.

If it’s tracked burns, it’s from an IPL.

Does it work?

Yes!!! LASER Hair Removal works when done correctly (with a LASER and by someone who knows how to use it!). The Boston Globe did a great article over the summer. Check it out.


Infrared LK



Safety during Pregnancy: What You Should and Shouldn’t Include In Your Beauty Regiment

6 Sep

It seems like it’s in the water with co-workers and friends (as evidenced by the three pregnant ladies to the left from Sylvestre Franc). I’ve had a lot of questions about what is and isn’t safe to do when you’re pregnant in regards to skin care products, laser, and injectables. It is understandable that women want to look their best during this time and hormonal changes during pregnancy can sometimes result in acne, unwanted hair growth, melasma and other skin problems. So what is safe to use and what isn’t?

Not surprisingly (to me anyways), there really is not a lot of information on product safety during pregnancy. The FDA rates products on their risks during pregnancy as follows:

Rating Definition


Controlled Studies Show No Risk.  Studies in pregnant women show the medication causes no increased risk to the fetus during pregnancy.


No Evidence of Risk In Humans.  Studies in pregnant women have not shown increased risk of fetal abnormalities despite adverse findings in animals or in the absence of adequate human studies, animal studies show no increased fetal risk.


Risk Cannot Be Ruled Out.  Studies are unavailable and animal studies have shown a risk to the fetus or are also lacking. There is a chance of fetal harm if taken during pregnancy but the potential benefits may outweigh the potential harm.


Positive Evidence Of Risk. Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy may outweigh the potential risk such as in life-threatening situations.


Contraindicated In Pregnancy. Studies in animals or pregnant women have demonstrated positive evidence of fetal abnormalities. The use of the product is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.

Skin Care Products

Most skin care products fall into the Class C category; however, some products are recommended by doctors not to be used during pregnancy (although there is not enough evidence for or against them).

Not Recommended:

  • Retinoids
    • In A Practical Guide to Dermatological Drug Use in Pregnancy (Zip, MD, FRCPC) category B topical such as erythromycin, clindamycin, and benzoyl peroxide were recommended over topical tretinoin. This study states reports of congenital malformations in infants whose mothers used tretinoin during the first trimester.
    • This ingredient is found in anti-aging products such as moisturizers, and acne products.
    • Chemically a form of vitamin A, which in high doses can cause birth defects.
    • Oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin (Accutane, an acne treatment), are known to cause birth defects.

  • Beta Hydroxy acids (Salicylic Acid)
    • Ingredients used for their exfoliating and acne-treating properties. They penetrate deep inside the pores and clean out excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne, blackheads and dull-looking skin.
    • High doses of the acid in its oral form have been shown in studies to cause complications and birth defects.
    • Small amounts applied topically are considered safe (over the counter face wash for example), but peels containing Salicylic Acid are not considered safe when pregnant.

  • Hydroquinone
    • Clinically used for pigmentation for conditions such as melasma, and it is used cosmetically as a skin-whitening agent. Although a large percentage of this topical agent is systemically absorbed, the use during pregnancy does not appear to be associated with increased risk of congenital defects. This finding, however, is based off one study, with a small sample size (so it is recommended to avoid hydroquinone during pregnancy).


  • Vitamin C, Glycolic acid, and Lactic Acid: derived from fruit and milk sugars, considered nontoxic.

  • Hyaluronic Acid. This is a product your body naturally produces (which means its safe). Because of its molecular size, hyaluronic acid cannot penetrate the skin’s surface, and it is not systemically absorbed.

  • Benzoyl peroxide. Only 5% of topical benzoyl peroxide is absorbed through the skin. It is completely metabolized to benzoic acid within the skin and excreted.


Dihydroxyacetone is a color additive that is found in self-tanning products to produce an artificial tan. Color develops following topical application. These products contain dihydroxyacetone in concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%, and when applied topically, systemic levels are minimal (0.5%), and are considered safe to use.

Hair Removal and Bleaching Agents

  • Sodium, calcium, and potassium hydroxide, which are also found in depilatory creams, disassociate into sodium, calcium, potassium, and hydroxide ions, which are all present in the human body. Topical application of these products would not disrupt serum levels and would not be considered a problem for use during pregnancy.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Hair-bleaching creams contain low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, making it unlikely to be systemically absorbed. In addition, should it be absorbed, hydrogen peroxide is rapidly metabolized. Therefore, use of these products during pregnancy is not expected to be a concern when done in moderation.
  • Laser has some controversy as to whether or not it’s safe; again, there isn’t a lot of information. Lasers do not penetrate very deep and there is not chemical exchange into the body. One interesting thought from me, (not speaking from personal experience) the body becomes more sensitive during pregnancy, and some laser treatments hurt to begin with. I’m not sure I’d want to get laser under those circumstances!

Botox and Fillers

The safety of Botox injections during pregnancy is unknown (Class C), and while I wouldn’t recommend intentionally getting Botox injections during pregnancy, many women receive injections prior to being pregnant or when they do not know they are pregnant, and have not had any problems. Botox Cosmetic has never traveled systemically, and works only on the muscles into which it has been injected. Therefore, one could presume it is safe to undergo this procedure. But I still don’t recommend it.  Unless you’re planning on having a “Toddler and Tiara” baby.  Then it’s ok.



not pregnant LK


Spray Tan Q & A

25 Jun

Spray tanning has become a hot commodity on the beauty block as of recent. So here’s some info for you about how to get that flawless, natural tan without being outside. I read a few articles online about spray tanning (and by online I mean the Patient Care Coordinator at Dr. Russo’s, Lauren, printed them for me. Thanks Buddy.)

After doing a little reading, I asked Lauren a few questions. She has started a business doing custom spray tanning recently, and is very knowledgeable about this hot new trend.

Me: So, I know I do this wrong, but how do you prep for it?

You need to exfoliate your skin and shave before you spray. Exfoliating is KEY. Lauren recommends an oil free exfoliant for the best result. Do not use any deodorants, lotions, or perfume prior to your tan. Make sure to remove all makeup prior to the tan as well.

What gives a Spray tan color? How do you avoid the “orange” look?

The active ingredient in the solution is DHA (Dihydroxyacetone). DHA is an ingredient derived from sugar cane and is found in the majority of tanning products. It reacts with the amino acids in the uppermost layer of the skin to create the darkening reaction or tan.  DHA has been used safely in cosmetics for over 30 years. As the skin cells wear away, the color gradually fades just like a real sun tan. The type of solution you use will determine the outcome of the color of the spray.

How exactly does it work?

Whether you have it professionally done, do it at home yourself, or use an automated machine, it all basically works the same. A thin layer of solution is sprayed evenly over your skin. Over the next few hours your skin will get darker. It takes at least 8 hours for the solution to fully be absorbed into your skin and react with amino acids to create full color.  You may shower after 8 hours, but it is recommended to leave it on overnight if you can. The solutions come in different skin tones and you can apply multiple coats to make a person darker. A big trend is to add a shimmer to the spray.

How long does it last?

It can last 5-10 days, depending on how you take care of it. It’s important to keep your skin moisturized after your spray tan. Make sure to avoid long baths and hot tubs. Salt water or a chlorinated pool can also shorten your spray tan.

Is it safe?

The solutions used in most spray tan formulas, at home and in a machine, usually contain dihydroxyacetone (or DHA). Although there is controversy over how safe this product is, it is not a known carcinogen, and is considered safe to use topically. You should not breathe or ingest it. When used according to the FDA guidelines, spray tanning is perfectly safe. The spray tan consultant will have nose filters available for your peace of mind. Also, it is not recommended for children or women who are pregnant.

How much does it cost?

A can will cost anywhere from $10-$50 (but they are most likely to be streaky), a spray in a machine usually costs about $30, and to be professionally custom spray tanned is usually $45 (this gives the best result).

In Conclusion…/me ranting

There is some controversy over the portrayal of the “spray tan” as being a completely safe alternative to the tanning bed, especially when it comes to children and pregnant women, which most of the articles Lauren gave me referenced. Hmmm… it comes from an aerosol can, and has a man ingredient with the suffix –acetone (dihydroxyacetone)… probably not something I would recommend pregnant women and children be sniffing… but… I mean… really? I think as long as your tan takes place in a well ventilated setting (or you at least hold your breath while it’s spraying your face) you should be ok. I speak from experience… I definitely sprayed myself in the bathroom with the door shut and started feeling light headed. But I was going from winter white to summer black (in 5 coats or less) to get ready for the Celtics game and I wasn’t thinking! Spray responsibly.

Obviously, pregnant women and those tiara toddlers should not be getting spray tanned. But the tanning bed alternative… WAY WORSE.

So that’s my two cents on studies that are “duhhhhh” and personally, I’ll take my chances with spray tan (aka fake and bake, aka tan in a can) any day! All the girls at JAR are psyched to have this service available to us, and to our clients!

“A Penny For Your Thoughts,

Inflation Has Doubled,

And No One Wants Your Two Cents”

~My inspirational quote of the post.


… Just Another Normal Day at JAR

9 Mar

While at Dr. Russo’s office, I had the opportunity to be a model for a training in Ultherapy!  You never know what’s going to happen when you’re hanging around the plastic surgeon’s office!  I love trying new things.  Call me adventurous… call me crazy… whatever… I’m lookin’ like a 22 year old forever.  Viva la Joan Rivers!

Ok, but seriously, I’m not crazy vain.  I just like to “sample the product” if you will.  I mean, you wouldn’t sell Chevy and drive a Ford right?  Ok, I wouldn’t drive either of those cars…because I love my Nissan, but… I would do Botox and I would Ulthera my neck.  In the name of Science of course.

ewww look at my neck! when did that happen!

So first I was marked on my neck and face.  Ulthera cannot be performed over the thyroid, so my thyroid was marked as well.  Then we took some super sexy pics of me.  I would like to just make a note… I was on my way to see Lauren at Sylvestre Franc’s in Newton.  Do not judge me for my roots.  Thank you!  Also, I put the bad pictures up so you can really see the difference.

Because Ulthera has both immediate and gradual results (from the collagen stimulation) pictures will remind you exactly how much of a change you’ve had.  Because sometimes we forget what we look like!

Julie, a nurse at Dr. Russo’s, did an amazing job explaining the procedure to the girls training on me (she trained me in the procedure as well).

Julie starting the machine

First they did my neck.  Uncomfortable.  It was a very strange sort of quick zap with a heat sensation as we got more into the procedure.  I have an extremely high pain tolerance, and the neck didn’t bother me.  The lower face though… that hurt.  In areas where the heat is being transduced directly over bone, like at the jaw line, ZING.  Beauty is Pain.  Beauty is Pain.

My friend Matt said I look like a dead fish in this picture!  I guess I kind of see it….?

I was only able to do my lower face, because I had a date with my colorist and I was already late (sorry Lauren, I love you!).  But all my patients said the worst pain is on the forehead, because there is very little tissue between the transducer and the temporal bone.  So of course, I had to know what it compared to.  It was not too much more painful than the jaw line or near the cheek bones.  But then again, it was only one zap as opposed to ten!

I left JAR and went to Sylvester’s.  Zero downtime.  A little bit of redness, but not much.

My face felt a little sore to the touch for a couple of days after.

Here are pictures from a few days later, at an Image Event.  Remember, I do these things preventatively and to provide information to all of you.  I will have posts to come with other patient’s experiences! 

Laurie and I (she’s done it too!)


Ulthera – Skin Tightening Ultrasound Therapy

15 Feb

Ugh. Gravity.

As an aesthetic nurse, I have found the most common complaints come from sun damage and gravity. Sun damage you can prevent (like… stay out of the tanning bed, wear sun block, and use retin-a!). But what about gravity?

I don’t think we’ll be living on the moon anytime soon (according to Ken Jennings, the guy who won Jeopardy for 6 months, the moon landing was a hoax, and I believe him… just sayin…). Therefore, we need to know our options.

I’ve done a few posts about fillers (Radiesse and Juvéderm) and I’ve talked a little about bio-enhancing agents (Sculptra). These are minimally invasive procedures that last about a year or two, have little downtime, and are great options for a lot of gravity stricken areas. But… of course, there are other options.

Ultra Sound Therapy

Ulthera. The newest in non-invasive procedures. This technique uses ultrasound (yes, like the kind of technology to see a baby) to deliver low levels of focused energy below the skin. As a response, collagen is stimulated, and a gradual tightening and firming occurs.

Visible effects include a lifting and toning of sagging skin. In FDA clinical trials, 9 out of 10 patients had a noticeable, significant lift of the brow line. See ya lata blepheroplasty (eyelid plastic surgery)! Patients reported firmer better-fitting skin in other areas of the face and neck as well. There is also an invisible result from the treatment with the creation of new collagen, which can help slow the rate of skin aging.

Treatment areas include the upper face, lower face, and neck. That’s right. No more turkey neck! It is pending FDA approval for that saggy arm skin and post-baby tummy skin. SEXY!


Does it hurt?

Although I personally have not had an entire treatment done… I have been told it’s not the most pleasant feeling. As the energy is delivered closer to areas of bone (i.e. your forehead)… it gets a lil uncomfortable. You can receive a nerve block in some of the treatment areas (local anesthesia). It feels like burning I’m told. But, my patients claim they would do it again in a heartbeat.

Is it immediate?

There are immediate results, but the collagen stimulus continues for about 90 days.

Is it for you?

Do you have skin that has “relaxed” to the point of looking and feeling less firm? A lowered brow line or sagging skin on the eyelids? Turkey neck? Then it might be a good option for you. If you’re in your late 20’s (*cough* like me), then this might not be an appropriate treatment for you. But I think it’s a great option for older women, especially who hate their necks or who are not interested in Botox (even though Botox is AWESOME).

Before and Afters

These are from the brochure via my phone. Not the best pics… but… I kind of can’t use my actual client’s pictures. Due to HIPAA regulations. Hopefully Alexis from Image will send me her before and after pics soon so I can replace these!

**This picture is showing the skin tightening above the eye area. The pictures to the left side are before treatment and the pictures to the right side are 90 days post treatment. You can see the degree of hooding over the eye has changed drastically. These pictures are good representations of what to expect. They are just bad photography on my behalf! Sorry!!!

Alexis Before and After


Immediately post treatment

24 hours later


The Q-Switch. A Post In Honor of N.

6 Feb

Making mistakes in life happens.  Luckily, most mistakes don’t result in permanent marks on our bodies.  But what about the ones that do?

Tattoo’s are becoming more and more mainstream.  In my opinion, I think they can be a beautiful artistic expression of who you are.

I have a few tattoos.  Yup, it’s true.  A heart on my back from when I was 18.  A Scarlet Begonia on my foot from my DeadHead days (also true), and “A Beautiful Little Fool” in Russian on my ribs (from The Great Gatsby).  Actually, I think this excerpt might be quite appropriate for this post.

“All right… I’m glad it’s a girl. And I hope she’ll be a fool–that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”

My Friend N. – A Beautiful Little Fool

A dear and wonderful model friend of mine, N., has a tattoo that she doesn’t exactly love.  Frankie.  The name of an ex-flame on her thigh.  Fortunately for N., I have access to a q-switch at Dr. Russo’s.  (She’s gorgeous huh?)

What’s a Q-Switch?

It’s a laser that uses Alexandrite (the gemstone) to break up pigments in the skin.

Getting Rid of ‘Frankie’ – literally and metaphorically

First, I beg of you.  NEVER NEVER NEVER tattoo a name on your body.  Ever.  Unless it’s your dog or your kid…you willlll regrettttt it.  I promised my dad when I was 17 years 11 months and 30 days old that I would never put a name on myself, and it would never be in a place you couldn’t hide.  I’m all about branding… but in terms of marketing, not in terms of inked ownership.

Getting rid of a tattoo is not as easy and quick as the actual tattoo.  Oh no.  It’s painful, can take 8-20 treatments over several months depending on the colors and the age of your body art (pigment changes and becomes embedded in the skin over time, the older the tattoo the harder to treat) and there’s always a chance you will have a little ink left.

Red, yellow, and orange tones respond the best and quickest with the q-switch.  “Frankie” is done in black ink.

How much will tattoo removal cost?  Depends how big the tattoo is and how many sessions you will need.  But you’re not only looking at pain… but you’re looking at some money.  $300+ per session.

In conclusion:


Pictures of the process will be posted as treatments go on!

To read more about this laser at Dr. Russo’s office:


Hey, You Look Just Like Me!

25 Dec

Let’s Face it (a little pun for you!), the generic face is not attractive.  Beauty should be individualized.  It includes style and personality.  That’s what sets you apart from being just “another pretty face.” Beauty Defined.

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 Eastern 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.

One thing that certainly sets us apart is our noses.  I’m of Jewish descent, and my nose isn’t small.  But it does fit my face.  And I would never change it!  I like classic beauty, and looking youthful… but generic is one thing I could NEVER be on the inside, and my idea of beauty will NEVER reflect that on the outside.

Do I love my nose? Eh.  But it’s me.  I feel like a lot of women complain about their noses.  This is usually because it throws off the balance of someone’s face if it’s not in symmetry or proportion to other features (Proportion: The Rule of Thirds and Fifths).

If it’s broke, let’s fix it, and if it’s not broke… Let’s fix it!

Aside from correcting breathing problems, I rarely recommend rhinoplasty (nnnnnoseeee jobs).  I have seen so many bad nose jobs.  A lot of surgeon’s just have this generic nose that they put on every face… and then your stuck with it.  Like tattooing your eyeliner… it’s forever.  And it’s maximally invasive!  And super expensive!

If only there were some alternatives…………

Oh, but there are!  Depending on what your issues are, there are several less invasive and cheaper options for you to change your nose to be more aesthetically fitting to your face.

Contour with Make-up (cost < $100)

Check out this site.  I think it shows a pretty good tutorial on contouring.  Also, check out YouTube!

For a special event, or a night out, contouring is a cheap, easy way to make your nose appear more aesthetically pleasing.

Lip Augmentation (cost $700)

I have a few clients who have large eyes, large noses, and a wide face… with small lips.  This makes the face look unbalanced and makes the nose look bigger.  By correcting the volume/size of the mouth, the face is put more into proportion.  I have found lip augmentation to balance my facial features, and I am very happy with this option.  My nose is symmetrical, straight, and I have no trouble breathing (i.e. a deviated septum).  Remember, augmentation DOESN’T mean you will look like a duck.  Discuss with your Nurse or Doctor what you find attractive.  (I’ll have to take pics of this. Inbox me if you feel like this would be good for you!)

Liquid Nose Job ($700+)

I have been recommending this to a lot of people lately.   This minimally invasive technique is performed using Botox and Fillers to correct any parts of the nose which are a-symmetric, can raise the tip of the nose, and fix some crooked features.








Non Surgical Nasal Augmentation

Nothing Replaces… Traditional Plastic Surgery ($$$)

If you have a deviated septum, and have difficulty breathing, or if you have a bump that really needs to be shaved… this might be the best option for you.  If you decide to go under the knife, I have a few suggestions.

Tip #1 : Ask to see LOTS of before and afters. 

It’s hard to get clients to agree to be a “before and after” example when it comes to your nose… because you really need to show the whole face.  And we all want to be “naturally” beautiful.  But your Board Certified PLASTIC Surgeon (see tip below).  A lot of surgeon’s will have a signature style.  If you see all the noses look EXACTLY the same RUN.  You don’t want to look like Michael Jackson.  A generic nose is NOT attractive.  Sometimes the signature style will be shaving too much off the bridge, or making the tip turned up (i.e. the Prince of Pop).  Look very closely at the pics, and if you do see something that resembles a personal “style” of the surgeon, think to yourself: does this fit my face?  my style?

Tip #2: Certifications

Never, ever, ever ever ever see a general surgeon for a plastic procedure.  They are NOT even remotely qualified.  Do you want someone who wears a bow-tie, can’t dress themselves, and doesn’t know the first thing about make-up to be working on your FACE?  Well… when I put it that way, I hope you say no.

What certifications do you want your doctor to have?  Dr. Russo, for example, is a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, and a Fellow of the Academy of Cosmetic Surgeons (F.A.C.S.).  Those are the type of credentials you should be looking for.  They should be posted on the persons website in their Bio.

Look into what those letters stand for.  Anyone can throw a bunch of letters on a page and make themselves look qualified.  I’m a Latisse Lash Expert (brush my shoulder off!) – this took me twenty minutes of watching a tutorial (ok, I fast-forwarded the whole thing and just took the quiz at the end).  But it sounds cool, doesn’t it!?!

Tip #3: Don’t Cheap Out

Dr. A will do a nose job for $2,500 and Dr. B will do it for $10,000.  Financially, seems like a no-brainer.  Realistically, Dr. A is probably not a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon (or a Doctor at all for that matter) and your procedure will be done in a basement under local anesthesia smuggled in from Brazil. And please stay out of Brazil.  When you get your surgery botched (which you will) insurance will not fix it.

If you’re going to opt for surgery, let’s be real.  It’s expensive.  It lasts forever.  In this case, it’s your FACE.  Real Surgeon’s know what they’re worth and they are NOT cheap.

In the same respect, if the price is outrageous… you’re a sucker.  Which leads us to Tip 4.


You’ll be overcharged for a generic “masterpiece.”  Actually, stay off of Newbury for any type of beauty service.  I’ve heard more horror stories from that street than ANYWHERE.  (I will name no names).  Even for hair… I’m not impressed.  And fashion… Charles Street Hands Down!  (I digress).

Tip #5:  Have a consultation.  Ask the right questions.

Check out this post if you’re Thinking about a NoseJob/Breast Aug/Lipo/Tummy Tuck? … Butt Implants?.

There are always alternatives, and remember to always put safety first!

Happy Holidays Y’All

I think I’ve been hanging out with Devan too much!

Anatomy of a Facial

3 Dec

A facial is a procedure involving a variety of skin treatments, including: steam, exfoliation, extraction, creams, lotions, facial masks, peels, and massage.  Facials can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour and range in price depending on the types of products used for the treatments.  They are professionally recommended every 4 weeks for maximum results. Step 1: See a Professional.

All facials follow the same basic structure and order. They will begin with makeup removal and cleansing.  Then comes some method of exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and smooth the surface of the skin. A massage is then performed that can include all or some of the scalp, face, neck, shoulders, back and even the hands or feet.

Facials are then classified in two ways:  hands on treatment or electrotherapy.

“Hands-on” Treatment

The aesthetician will use her hands to perform the facial treatment. Sometimes, a steam machine is incorporated in these facials during or after cleansing, to open up the pores and allow a deeper cleansing action.

A facial mask is a creamy paste (or gel) that often contains minerals, vitamins, essential oils, and fruit extracts is the main step in the hands on treatment.  There are different kinds of masks for different purposes: deep-cleansing, by penetrating the pores; healing acne scars or hyper-pigmentation; brightening, for a gradual illumination of the skin tone.

Gels are mostly used for oily and acne prone skins and oils or moisturizing creams are used for dry to normal and matured skin types.  A clay or mud based face pack is used after the cleansing process and steam process (optional) is over to close the open pores and to provide nutrition to the skin.

Masks are removed by either rinsing the face with water, wiping if off with a damp cloth, or peeling off of the face by hand.  Duration for wearing a mask varies.  The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing; and, may yield temporary or long-term benefits.

Electorotherapy Facials

Use machines as part of the treatment; there are several different types, which are suited to different skin types. Some of the most popular variations of this type of facial are:

  • Galvanic treatments: metal rollers or applicators are used to either produce a deep cleansing effect.  Depending on the active product being used, this will help reduce spots and blemishes (making this a good facial for an oily skin type), or to help infuse active ingredients deeper in to the skin (for a variety of skin types).
  • High frequency treatments: uses a glass electrode passed over gauze placed on the skin. This helps dry out spots and has an antibacterial effect, so is good for oilier skins or those with a few specific blemishes.  An indirect high frequency facial uses a saturator held by the client to draw a moisturizing massage medium deeper in to the skin, and so is best suited for more mature or dry skin types.
  • Microcurrent treatments: also known as non-surgical face lift, this type of facial uses a current to lift and tone the facial muscles and also to improve the colour and texture of the skin and soften lines.

During most of the electrotherapy treatments you may experience a slight tingling effect on the skin, but this is quite normal.

Facials are key to having nice skin!  They need to be maintained with a home care regiment that is not OTC!

Check out these posts as well:

Evaluating Your Skin.


Step 2: Spend wisely.

%d bloggers like this: