Tag Archives: collagen

Sun Block and Photoprotection

29 Apr

Everyone should be wearing sun block. But is that enough?

Prolonged unprotected sun exposure damages cell DNA. Not only does this result in premature aging, but can also cause melanoma and other skin cancers. I am a HUGE believer in wearing sun block (and not just in your make-up… that really doesn’t count).

When Buying Sun Block

If you’re not wearing it year round (which you should be), you should replace your sun block every year. Products can break down from heat exposure and from not being stored properly. It’s worth doing. You want to make sure you’re getting the best protection you can. Check your bottle for the following:

  • “Broad Spectrum” (protects from UVA and UVB light)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (physical blocks)

For more on sun block read It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).

Avoiding White Residue

I know people hate the white residue you get from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, but these ingredients really are the best for sun protection. If you don’t like the white residue on your face, consider either buying a tinted SPF or buying a product that has a micro-ionized formula (smaller particles). I’ve found people really love SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50. It’s really light weight, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t leave a residue. The product retails for about $34, so it isn’t super expensive either.

C E FERULIC

While on the subject of SkinCeuticals products, and sun block, I have just started using their C E Ferulic serum. C E Ferulic contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant that doubles the synergistic benefits of C E – neutralizing free radicals, building collagen, and providing improved antioxidant protection. No other antioxidant technology has been shown to deliver comparable levels of photoprotection. This product has won multiple awards including:

  • Allure Best of Beauty Three-Time Award Winner Category: Best of Skin Care – Serum
  • InStyle Editor’s Pick – 2011 Best Beauty Buy Best Antioxidant Serum
  • NewBeauty – Beauty Choice Award The Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant Product

Although retinol (Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.) and sun block are the only topical products proven to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, I think a good anti-oxidant is almost equally important. For those of you who prefer not to use a retinoid in the summer months, C E Ferulic is definitely a good product to add to your beauty routing; it is outstanding in conjunction with sunscreen!

**Products can break down if not stored correctly (like I said before) and pharmaceutical grade products like C E Ferulic should never be bought online. Just like it’s worth it to buy new sun block, it’s also worth the few extra dollars to know your product wasn’t exposed to extreme temperatures, tampered with, or expired. Talk to a medical aesthetician if you’re interested in learning more about C E Ferulic!

Why Is Photoprotection Important?

Photoprotection is a measure of a product’s ability to neutralize free radicals and protect against oxidative stress (which can be caused by UV rays). Oxidative stress leads to premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity… my three biggest fears!


Recent Studies Reveal We May Not Be As Protected As We Think:

  • People don’t apply enough sunscreen to achieve full SPF. Real-life application of an SPF 20 sunscreen yields an SPF of only 3 to 4.
  • Even when applied properly, sunscreens only block 55% of free radicals.
  • Considering what we now know about sunscreens, photoprotection is more important than ever.

The sun is stronger than it used to be, and protecting your skin is not an option. It’s time to add an anti-oxidant to your daily skin care regiment!


XOXO, LK

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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!

Feedback

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

Before

Immediately post treatment

24 hours later

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.

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.

Columns

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 – http://www.shapeupwithLauren.com).  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.

Proportions.

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).

Balance.

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!

Symmetry

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.

…After

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

                                 does!

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

That’s NOT Botox.

18 Nov
Another strong misunderstanding a lot of people have around the Boston Area is what products go where Botox does not.   If it’s caused by gravity:  THAT’S NOT BOTOX!

HYALURONIC ACID (HA) FILLERS (TEMPORARY)

Hyaluronic acid fillers are synthetic sugars that attract water molecules.  They are placed in actual wrinkles or other areas that need volume and offer instant results. They fill in marionette lines, lift up jowls or plump up volume along the jaw line where definition has been lost.

Restylane, Perlane and Juvéderm (www.juvederm.com) are the most commonly used hyaluronic acid fillers, with Juvéderm being the leading product (I refer to Restylane as ‘old school’).  There is no need for allergy testing, as these products are sugars your body naturally makes.  There is little pain with injection, as the new products come with lidocaine added as a powder to the product.   Expect a topical numbing agent (topical lidocaine) to be applied prior to injection.  This should be left on for AT LEAST 20 minutes.  The actual procedure only takes about 15 minutes.  Swelling and bruising are possible and you should probably not do a filler if you have an important event within a week from treatment.  ICE ICE ICE!  I also recommend arnica montana cream which can be purchased at GNC or Whole Foods.  You can expect results to last from six months to a year, depending on the brand and where it is placed (Juvéderm lasts the longest).

I have Juvéderm filler in my lips.  It feels and looks natural.  It was the first injectable I tried, and I’m very happy with it.  😉  I mostly just use HA’s in the lips and very deep frown lines between the brows.  Reason being, HA’s are injected into the superficial dermis and do not give as good of a fill for the cost for deep lines and folds.  I like other products more for those very deep lines.

Calcium Hydroxylapitate (SEMI-PERMANENT)

Radiesse (www.radiesse.com) is an example of a semi-permanent filler and it is made from calcium molecules suspended in a gel which stimulates your collagen. The microspheres in it create “scaffolding” that your own collagen will grow around, but is eventually broken down by the body. Radiesse can be used to fill the nasolabial folds and marionette lines, as well as define the contours of the face.  It goes deep in the dermal layer of skin, and should NEVER go in the lips!

Lidocaine topical should be applied 20 minutes prior to injection.  Lidocaine is added to the product immediately prior to injection.

I recently had a little lift put in my cheeks (as described in a prior blog).  I had zero pain or discomfort.  The lidocaine eventually traveled down my nerve from my cheek to my lips.  It felt a little funny!  It looks and feels completely natural. 

COLLAGEN STIMULATORS (aka collagen builders or stimulating fillers)

Collagen stimulators contain particles that signal the skin to produce more collagen. Instead of just filling in select lines and wrinkles, these are used on larger areas like the cheeks.  They can be used in areas where synthetic fillers look somewhat unnatural (like the lower face under the cheek area).  Results are not immediate; it takes about 6 weeks to see the result of the collagen stimulation; however, the product lasts two years.  Most women prefer the gradual change in their facial contour.

Sculptra (www.sculptraaesthetic.com) is an example of a collagen stimulator. It is approved by the FDA for restoration and/or correction of the signs of facial fat loss (lipoatrophy) in people with human immunodeficiency virus (as is Radiesse). Most patients require an average of two to three treatments six weeks apart for optimal results.

I had Sculptra injected into my temples.  Zero pain.  My patients are in LOVE with this product.  It costs about as much as other fillers when you take into consideration how long it lasts.  It also looks COMPLETELY natural due to the fact it’s ALL your own collagen produced.  I foresee this product being my number one injectable within the next year!  Move over Botox!!! 

COLLAGEN FILLERS

Although collagen fillers changed the face of beauty when they entered the marketplace in the 1980s, they quickly fell out of favor when longer-lasting hyaluronic acid was introduced. However, many doctors still use collagen, especially for plumping the lips and filling in “smoker’s lines” around the mouth.  Although overfilling is necessary to achieve the desired result, the excess fluid is absorbed over the first few hours after treatment, and minor redness and swelling subside in a few days.  Results last from two to three months… also known as a waste of money when there are so many better products!

Clear, Smooth, Even Skin

16 Oct

The conditions involving skin clarity can be broken into the following physiological categories:

Environmentally Damaged Skin

Environmentally damaged skin results from a history of overexposure to environmental elements.  The sun is responsible for 80% of aging!  Fibers that maintain the skin’s structure and elasticity (collagen and elastin) break down and slowly diminish, resulting in fine lines, wrinkles, and loose, sagging skin.  UV light can damage the DNA in the skin cells which can lead to different forms of skin cancer.

Other environmental factors include:

    • Harsh weather conditions which destroy the skins moisture barrier resulting in rough, dry, uneven skin tone and texture).
    • Cigarette smoke results in free radicals which break down collagen fibers and cigarettes limit the skin’s oxygen supply.  This results in deep lines, wrinkles, leathery skin, and a yellowish appearance.
    • Pollution causes free radicals, which breaks down collagen fibers resulting in fine lines and wrinkles.

Hyper-pigmented Skin

An over production of melanin in the skin results from:

  • UV light causes melanocytes to produce too much pigment.
  • Hormonal Imbalances

Preventing hyperpigmentation should start with sunblock.  ALWAYS wear an SPF when outside, and reapply as needed!

Fixing hyper-pigmentation involves chemical peels and/or laser (usually Intense Pulse Light-IPL).

Problematic

Caused by a number of factors, including genetics, stress, and hormonal imbalances resulting in:

  • Enlarged pores
  • Acne
  • Oil production (too much, not enough)

Reducing the build up of excess oil and dead skin cells, and normalizing the function of cell renewal, helping reduce inflammation and prevents bacteria formation deep within the hair follicle and pores.

How to Maintain Clear, Smooth, Even Skin

Refer to blog posts Step 1: See a Professional and Step 2: Spend wisely.

Clear, smooth skin starts with a healthy lifestyle.

  • Eating a nutritious diet (avoiding alcohol, tobacco, and salt)
  • Regular exercise
  • Adequate hydration
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Avoiding weather extremes (wearing sunscreen EVERY day)

Keeping clear smooth skin doesn’t just involve topic solutions from over the counter.  In fact, they should NEVER involve over the counter products.  Good skin care products recommended by a professional should be used in the morning and evening (especially before bed; your skin restores itself while you sleep).  A professional deep cleanse should be done every 4-6 weeks.

For serious dermatological issues, see a dermatologist!

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