Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

Skin Tightening Technology

January 29th, 2019

If you think about it, your skin is pretty amazing. It’s your body’s largest organ, and it serves a bunch of functions. For example, it protects you from the outside elements, regulates your body temperature, and detects sensations such as heat, cold, pain and pressure. And it regenerates itself about every 27 days.

A drawback of skin, though, is it tends to wrinkle as we get older. The fine lines and wrinkles you can get on your face can make you look older than you really are or feel, and that can affect your self-confidence. There’s always BOTOX, fillers and even facelifts to get rid of the wrinkles and give you a more youthful appearance.

Now, there’s also TempSure Envi. Approved by the FDA about a year ago, TempSure Envi is becoming a staple in most dermatologists’ offices in this country. It’s a different way to reduced wrinkles and tighten up sagging skin, and it’s safe and painless.

TempSure Envi is actually an advanced version of existing technology that uses radiofrequency energy to stimulate the production of collagen in the middle layer of the skin, the dermis. Collagen is a protein fiber that, along with elastin, makes up the supporting structure of the skin.

Collagen gives skin its firmness, and there’s a natural slowdown of collagen production in the skin as we age. TempSure Envi jumpstarts this process by stimulating the cells that make collagen using heat. The new collagen then works to smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and tighten skin.

Radiofrequency energy is not new to dermatology practice, but TempSure Envi’s enhancements make using it safer and more comfortable. In the past, the use of radiofrequency energy on the face and body always came with the risk of skin burns from the heat it generated. TempSure Envi reduces this risk to almost nothing.

That’s because TempSure Envi is completely temperature controlled. It has a system built in that provides heat at a precise, therapeutic temperature consistently during treatment so it doesn’t damage the top layer of skin.

TempSure Envi’s safety controls automatically cease radiofrequency energy delivery once the selected temperature is reached. Energy delivery is resumed when the temperature falls below the selected mark.

Maintaining a precise temperature throughout treatment adds significantly to safety and enables the treatment to be performed more accurately, allowing for effective, consistent results. It also makes the treatment more comfortable for the patients. In one study, 99 percent of patients described the TempSure Envi procedure as pain free.

It takes less than an hour to get a TempSure Envi treatment, so it’s something you can have done over lunch time. There’s no downtime, so you can go back to work and your other activities immediately. You might see a little redness on your face after treatment, but that will go away pretty quickly.

From what I’ve read, you’ll likely notice some difference in your skin right away after your first treatment session, but the full results of the TempSure Envi aren’t’ seen until a few weeks later. That’s because it takes a little time for collagen production to take place and for the collagen to then tighten your skin.

TempSure Envi is effective beyond the face as well. It comes with massage heads that work to reduce the appearance of cellulite. TempSure Envi can be used to treat most areas on the body that need tightening, including your abdomen, arms, legs and buttocks.

TempSure Envi doesn’t hurt, but you can feel the radiofrequency energy at work. During a facial treatment, you’ll likely feel it as a gentle warming sensation around the area being treated. During a body treatment to reduce cellulite, you’ll feel a massaging sensation as well as the warmth.

There are a few drawbacks of TempSure Envi. For one, it takes more than one treatment session to get the full benefit. Dermatologists generally recommend three to four sessions, depending on the area treated and the goal of treatment, to achieve optimal results.

In addition, dermatologists also suggest maintenance treatments every six months to a year to keep your results intact. Of course, you don’t have to do this. It’s totally your choice, but it’s recommended for best results. Cost of the procedure varies per physician and location, but TempSure Envi can also be pricey.

Like any procedure you might be considering, take the time to weigh all the pros and cons before you decide to go with TempSure Envi. Be honest with your doctor – and yourself – about what you hope to achieve with it or any cosmetic procedure.

TempSure Envi may help make your skin look more youthful, but you still have to live a healthy life to look your very best.

Progression to Periodontitis

March 13th, 2018

Recently, I had a chance to learn more about a common oral health problem. The problem is peridontal disease, or periodontitis. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 47.2 percent of American adults age 30 and older have some form of gum disease. They add that gum disease increases with age, with 70.1 percent of adults 65 and older affected by it.

How does a person get to that point? I’ll try to explain. Periodontitis generally starts with gum inflammation, a condition called gingivitis. It’s called gingivitis because this inflammation primarily affects the gingiva, the part of the gums surrounding the neck of the teeth.

If you brush and floss regularly, it will remove most of the plaque that naturally builds up on your teeth. But if you don’t, some plaque may remain. Bacteria in this plaque can cause the gums to become irritated, which is gingivitis. When this occurs, it’s common for the gums to bleed when brushed. Other gingivitis symptoms include red, swollen and tender gums, and bad breath.

Even though your gums may swell and bleed with gingivitis, no irreversible damage to your bone or other tissue typically occurs at this stage. Your teeth are still secure in your jaw. And with proper care and good oral hygiene, you can restore your gum health on your own at this point in the game.

If you don’t treat your gingivitis, however, it can progress into full-blown periodontitis. Like gingivitis, periodontitis is also caused by an overgrowth of bacteria, and it can lead to red, swollen and bleeding gums. But, periodontitis generally also leads to tissue damage that cannot be repaired without professional intervention.

If you develop periodontitis, it’s likely you’ll see gum pockets start to form around your teeth, which provide an opening between the gum tissue and the teeth. This opening enables bacteria and tartar to get under your gum line, which can lead to bone destruction. With bone loss, your teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.

To make matters worse, researchers are also studying possible links between the bacterial infection of periodontitis and other health conditions. Some studies suggest a possible connection between gum disease and heart disease, stroke, premature births, diabetes and respiratory disease. Research is ongoing to further study these potential links.

Treatment for periodontitis typically starts with deep cleaning. During a deep cleaning, the problem plaque is removed using a method called scaling and root planing. Scaling involves scraping off the tartar from above and below the gum line, and root planing is removing the spots on the tooth roots where the bacteria accumulate. You may also be prescribed antibiotic medications to take along with the deep cleaning.

If the deep cleaning and medications fail to reduce the inflammation and tighten your gum pockets, surgery may be the next option. The most common surgical technique for periodontitis is flap surgery, which involves lifting back the gums, removing the tartar and reattaching the gums. Along with this, the dentist may place bone and tissue grafts to regenerate lost tissue.

Instead of surgery, some dentists offer an alternative treatment for periodontitis using laser technology. During this procedure, the laser penetrates deep below the gum line to destroy the bacteria and restore your gum health.

There is some good news. You can reverse gingivitis and prevent any progression to periodontitis by keeping your teeth and gums healthy. To do that, practice good oral hygiene: brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss regularly, and visit your dentist routinely for checkups and cleanings. And if you smoke, quit. It’s not healthy in general, and it’s a big risk factor for mouth and gum diseases, including cancer as well as periodontitis.

There you have it. Now that you know more about gum disease, you’re aware of what to do to avoid it. You also know how to treat it if you’re one of the 47.2 American adults dealing with gum disease. Good health to your gums!

Eczema Experience

February 27th, 2018

A few weeks ago, I noticed strange patches of dry, scaly skin popping up all over my face and legs. I can deal with ugly patches of skin, except these itched like a son of a b! I tried to get by with over-the-counter creams and a promise to myself I wouldn’t scratch, but that failed miserably.

With the patches now inflamed, I finally scheduled an appointment with the dermatologist. She took one look at my skin and said, You’ve got eczema. I wasn’t surprised, yet I was. I knew my symptoms pointed to eczema, but I never had it before that I remember. I proceeded to learn more about the skin condition, and I decided to share some of what I learned with you.

Eczema is actually a general term describing many types of rash-like skin problems. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, or AD, and the terms are often used interchangeably. AD is a common, chronic inflammatory skin condition that most often affects children, but can occur in adults as well.

It is estimated that 17.8 million Americans suffer with AD. Ninety percent of cases are diagnosed in children before the age of 5, and 65 percent are diagnosed in children before their first birthday. Only five percent of AD begins in adulthood. It is more common in people who live in urban areas and dry climates.

The signs and symptoms of eczema are not the same for everyone, and it can appear differently in children and adults. In general, though, it begins as a rash with areas of dry, itchy skin. Eczema can appear anywhere on the body, but some of the more common sites include the face, neck, inside the elbows, behind the knees, and on the hands and feet.

I can attest to just how itchy the skin with eczema becomes; it’s absolutely maddening! However, scratching can lead to redness, swelling, cracking, crusting, scaling and thickening of the skin. You might even get some oozing of clear fluid from the patches you’ve scratched. Ultimately, this can lead to infection of the skin.

An exact cause of eczema is not yet known, but through studies, researchers have learned a few key things about the disorder. For one thing, it’s not contagious. You can’t spread it to others or catch it from someone else. It has also been discovered that genetics plays a part in the development of eczema. People who get it usually have family members who have it or have asthma or hay fever.

While they don’t cause eczema, certain foods and allergens can trigger flares of the disorder or make an outbreak worse. My sister has eczema and she can’t eat anything made with tomatoes. Another trigger is winter weather when the furnaces are on and the heaters in our cars are blowing. This heat dries the air and the skin, playing a role in eczema. Stress has been found to be a contributing factor as well.

There is no test to diagnose eczema. Your dermatologist can generally make the diagnosis based on the appearance of your skin and your description of your symptoms, as well as your family history. There is no cure for eczema, but there are treatments to control it. The goals of treatment are to treat infection; calm inflamed, itchy skin; prevent worsening; and avoid future flare-ups.

Your doctor will develop a treatment plan based on your specific condition. He or she may recommend skin creams or ointments, like corticosteroids, to calm the itching and control swelling. Recently, the FDA approved a new prescription ointment called Eucrisa to reduce the itchiness and inflammation of eczema.

Other treatments may include a topical antibiotic to treat any infection present and a recommended skin care regimen that helps heal the skin and keep it healthy. You’ll also be told to avoid anything that triggers your eczema symptoms. In more severe cases, eczema can be treated with a specialized light therapy in your dermatologist’s office.

Unfortunately, people with eczema will always have it and always face the possibility of a flare-up. Don’t despair, there are things you can do to make living with eczema a less stressful endeavor. There are some tips in these articles that may help you. Here are a few:

  • Keep your skin moist. Try using a humidifier in your bedroom to moisten the air when you sleep. Apply body lotion right after you bathe or shower. Take lukewarm baths and put small amounts of baking soda, bath oil or colloidal oatmeal into the water to moisturize your skin and reduce itching.
  • Know your triggers. Eczema triggers may be certain foods, as in my sister’s case, or it may be detergents, soaps or deodorants you use. It may even be pet dander. If you know what gets the ball rolling for you, you can take steps to avoid these triggers. Stay away from the offending foods, use products for sensitive skin, and limit time with your pets.
  • Don’t scratch your skin. This sounds simple enough, but unless you’ve got eczema you can’t know how difficult this can be. Keep in mind scratching an itch is a temporary solution. And it can lead to bigger problems, including skin thickening, oozing and infection. If you follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep your skin moisturized, it will help ease the itch and lessen the urge to scratch.
  • Manage your stress. Stress can contribute to eczema, so learning healthy ways to cope with stress can reduce your risk for a flare up. If you have a lot of stress in your life, consider a stress-relieving activity such as yoga, aromatherapy, massage therapy or meditation. Soaking in a warm bath may also help ease tension, and moisturize your skin at the same time. If you can’t manage stress on your own, seek professional help.

I’m treating my eczema now, and I’m hopeful. I believe stress is a factor in my case, so I think I deserve a little massage therapy on top of the treatments my doctor prescribed. I guess I’ll have to make a massage appointment real soon!

Skin Deep and Beyond

November 13th, 2017

Let me ask you this: How often do you think about the health of your skin? When you do, how often do you consider the skin that’s NOT on your face? After all, the skin is the largest organ in the human body, safeguarding everything underneath. Want to learn a little more about this protective organ and how to take better care of it? Read on.

Skin has many functions, including shielding our bodies from germs and the harsh elements outside. It also helps control the temperature inside the body and enables us to feel touch. It is composed of three main layers, the epidermis, or outermost layer; the dermis, the middle layer; and the hypodermis, the deeper tissues.

Because it is exposed, skin is susceptible to a variety of health problems, including the serious and potentially fatal cancer, melanoma. There are also a number of other disorders of the skin that are less serious (although often annoying and unsightly) such as acne. This scourge not only affects the face, but also the neck, back, shoulders and chest.

Eczema, which causes itchy, dry and red skin due to inflammation; seborrheic dermatitis, which leads to oily, waxy patches on the scalp (as well as other forms of dermatitis); and non-lethal types of cancer are other common skin disorders. There’s also psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that can cause rashes. In many cases, these rashes turn into thick, scaly plaques on the surface of the skin.

Some of these disorders, like many skin cancers, can be avoided by taking the appropriate preventive steps. Others, like acne and eczema, you can’t escape but you can control with the right skin care products and proper skin care routines. That leads us into the second half of our story: caring for your skin.

Keeping your skin hale and hearty is the focus of Healthy Skin Month, which is celebrated in November. Just look on the Internet and you’ll find numerous articles with tips on being good to your skin. There are a few suggestions many have in common, like “drink plenty of water” and “avoid taking hot, hot showers and baths.”

To make for a quicker read, I’ve put together a list of common tips for maintaining healthy skin, including some tips for winter skin care. More tips can be found in these articles. But to sum them up, here are a few highlights:

  • Don’t skimp on sleep. The cells of your skin use the nighttime hours to refresh and repair themselves. If you don’t sleep, your cells don’t get a chance to do their thing. Then your skin starts to show the wear-and-tear of constant exposure to the elements such as the sun and air pollution.
  • Get sweaty. Doing some form of aerobic exercise in the morning increases blood flow to your skin, which keeps it supplied with the oxygen and nutrients it needs to stay healthy and glowing.
  • Resist over-exfoliating. Exfoliating too often can lead to microscopic tears in the skin that can result in inflammation, redness, dryness and peeling. Many common exfoliating scrubs recommend you use them no more than twice a week.
  • Use softer soaps. Harsh bath soaps and laundry detergents can irritate the skin. Try softer soaps like fragrance-free or sensitive skin brands. The same holds true for deodorants. Try a sensitive skin or natural deodorant instead of scented versions.
  • Remember to humidify. Use a humidifier, especially in the winter months, to keep moisture in the air, which moisturizes the skin as well.
  • Avoid wet gloves and socks. If your gloves and socks get wet due to rain or snow, get them off. If you linger in these wet clothes, it can lead to itching, cracking and sores on the skin, even flare-ups of eczema.
  • Support your immune system. The typical winter ailments, colds and flu, can stress your skin to the max. Try to avoid these illnesses by taking preventive measures, such as consuming Vitamin C and getting your flu shot. Practice general good hygiene to avoid picking up or spreading cold and flu germs.

There are many more healthy skin tips out there, so don’t stop here. During National Healthy Skin Month, take some time and investigate more ways to keep your skin looking and feeling its best!

Keeping Up Appearances

June 26th, 2017

Photo Courtesy of iStockphoto.comAs a nation, we’re almost obsessed with our looks. We’re always trying to improve our appearance, and many of us are dishing out some serious cash to do it. Here’s proof: According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), Americans spent $16 billion on surgical and minimally invasive cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in 2016.

What did all that money buy? With 290,467 procedures performed, breast augmentation was the most popular surgical cosmetic procedure last year. ASPS describes breast augmentation as a surgery that involves “using breast implants or fat to increase the size of the breasts, restore breast volume lost after weight reduction or pregnancy, achieve a more rounded shape, or improve natural breast size asymmetry.”

Other often-requested surgical procedures in 2016 were liposuction, with more than 235,000 surgeries performed; rhinoplasties, or “nose jobs,” with 223,000 procedures; and tummy tucks, with almost 128,000 procedures.

Liposuction removes excess fat deposits in target areas of the body, improving body contours and proportions. It also slims and reshapes the targeted areas. Rhinoplasty reshapes the nose. This surgery can make the nose larger or smaller, or it can adjust its angle in relation to the upper lip. During rhinoplasty, the surgeon can alter the tip of the nose, and correct defects such as bumps and indentations.

A tummy tuck, also called an abdominoplasty, is often used on people whose tummies bulge or are loose and sagging. During this surgery, the doctor can remove excess fat and skin from the tummy area. In many cases, the surgeon is also able to restore weakened or separated muscles, creating an abdomen that is flatter and firmer.

Additional surgeries that made the most popular list for last year include eyelid surgeries, or blepharoplasties, which lift drooping eyelids, and facelifts, which improve the appearance of sagging, wrinkled skin on the face and neck. There were more than 209,000 eyelid procedures and more than 131,000 facelifts performed in 2016.

In the minimally invasive arena, injections to treat wrinkles, such as those done with BOTOX® Cosmetic, top the popularity list, with 7 million procedures performed last year. Treatments like BOTOX Cosmetic block the nerve signals to the muscles so they can’t contract. This relaxes the wrinkles and makes the face smooth. Most often, they are used on crow’s feet, frown lines and deep furrows on the forehead.

Soft tissue fillers, such as those made with hyaluronic acid, a naturally occurring substance, are second on the list of minimally invasive favorites. These fillers are injected into the face and lips to diminish lines and restore volume and fullness, resulting in a more youthful appearance. Last year, 2.6 million of these procedures were requested.

Other minimally invasive procedures that were popular in 2016 include chemical peels, with 1.36 million procedures performed; microdermabrasions, with 775,000 procedures; and laser treatments, with more than 650,000 treatments completed. Laser hair removal was also popular last year, requested in 1.1 million cases.

These are not the only cosmetic procedures, surgical and nonsurgical, available to enhance your overall appearance. Among the others are arm, thigh, brow, neck or even whole body lifts; ear and chin surgeries; and surgery to reduce breast tissue in males. Vaginal and buttocks enhancements are also growing more popular in this country. For another minimally invasive approach, there’s permanent makeup.

There are many cosmetic plastic surgery options, and many physicians performing them. Dr. Debra Johnson, president of ASPS, has a recommendation for anyone considering a procedure: “We always encourage patients to do their homework, make sure their plastic surgeon is board-certified and well-trained in the procedures the patient wants.”

Sounds like good advice.


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