Thursday, August 28, 2014

ELECTROLYSIS Post Treatment Protocol



Electrolysis is the process of permanent hair removal. In fact, it is the only form of permanent hair removal approved by the FDA. The treatments use various energy modalities such as Thermolysis, Galvanic or Blend (I use Thermolysis in my practice; 2014 Fischer TS-1 machine), and can only be performed by a certified, State-licensed Electrologist. The practice of Electrology is supervised by the Board of Medicine, which was legislatively established to ensure that every Electrologist (and Electrology facility) meets minimum requirements for safe practice. When inspecting an Electrology facility, I suggest that you make sure the Practioner exercises MAXIMUM requirements for safe practice, as this is a semi-invasive procedure and should be practiced in a semi-sterile environment. Universal precautions should be exercised at all times.

After Electrolysis treatment, your skin may be slightly red and/or swollen..you may even develop some bruising. This is completely normal and will lessen within a few hours but may even last a few days (bruising can last up to two weeks). It is also not unusual for redness and swelling to appear the day AFTER treatment. A slight crust may develop over the treated area, again, this is normal. The crust is a good sign, it's your body's natural process for sealing the follicle in an effort for healing to occur. If a crust develops, let the skin heal and do not pick at it, as picking may cause the area to pit or scar (allow the area to shed on its own). During treatment, the hair was removed with a current of energy, traumatizing the dermal papilla, rendering the hair follicle exposed to elements and bacteria. The best thing that you can do is to keep the area clean, avoid touching it and avoid applying harsh products on it for 24 hours. If you follow my 10 steps for successful post-treatment healing, you'll be fuzz-free with beautiful glowing skin in no time. 

1. Keep the area clean with alcohol, witch hazel, hydrogen peroxide or soap and water and pat the area dry with a tissue or cotton. Do not use a towel, as even a laundered towel may harbor bacteria. 

2. Keep the area moist by applying a thin layer of "Bacitracin" ointment, for the first 48 hours. Bacitracin works by stopping the growth of certain bacteria. You can purchase this ointment at your local drugstore. After 48 hours, continue to keep the treated area hydrated with "Aquafor" (found at your local drugstore as well).
3. If inflammation occurs as evidenced by swollen bumps on the skin, apply a cold compress to the treated area for 10 minutes, then remove for 10 minutes. Do this a few times, then apply your anti-bacterial ointment. 

4. Do not touch or disturb  the treated area, unless you've sanitized your fingers with alcohol first. Bacteria harbors on the fingertips and can create an infection on the treated area. Remember, an exposed follicle is a vulnerable one. 

5. Do not exfoliate the  treated area for 48 hours.

6. It is common to develop ingrown hairs in areas that have been treated for a period of time. If an ingrown hair develops, gently exfoliate the area 48-72 hours after treatment. 

7. Avoid direct sun on the treated area for 48 hours (including tanning beds). Sun exposure to the treated area may cause post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation, so stay out of the sun and wear a hat.   Sun exposure can cause damage to the skin, post-treatment, so after 48 hours apply sunscreen to the treated area. Remember, the simple task of walking across the street or driving in your car will expose the skin to direct sun light. I recommend using a broad spectrum, Paraben-free sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. I love "Tizo" brand. It comes in a tinted and non-tinted version, and is very soothing to the skin. 

8. Keep the treated area as clean & clear as possible (with the exception of an occlusive ointment) for the first 24 hours. Therefore, minimize the use of make-up & do not encourage sweat via exercise.

9.  Do not drink alcohol within 24 hours of treatment. Alcohol thins the blood which can interrupt the healing process. 

10. Avoid shaving the treated area for 24 hours after treatment. 

For weekly beauty and skin-care tips, follow my beauty pages @Beauty and Brow Girl

--CIAO for now  xo


Sunday, August 24, 2014

Melasma


WHAT IS MELASMA?
Melasma is a very common skin condition which affects millions of people in the US, primarily women because it's hormone related. It causes brown to gray-brown patches or splotches on the face, neck and forearms, and can be very unsightly and difficult to camouflage with make-up (an orange-based corrector cream works best. You can even try blending-in orange pigment, like orange lipstick or an orangy concealer. Blend the makeup into the skin, then brighten the skin up with foundation or a non-orange concealer that is 2 shades lighter than your skin tone. The goal is to temporarily "erase" the pigmentation on an effort to camouflage the staining).

Also referred to as "pregnancy mask", since it affects many women during pregnancy (a hormone frenzy), what exactly causes Melasma in the first place is a bit of an enigma. Aside from pregnancy, it can be induced by the use of hormone therapy, birth control pills, anti-seizure medication and SUN EXPOSURE.

If you have or think you have Melasma, consult with a board certified Dermatologist, however, your first line of defense should be a "broad spectrum" sun screen (minimum 30) applied to the face EVERY DAY. Broad spectrum protects your skin against UVA and UVB rays; my favorite sunscreens are the "physical" versions which contain Zinc or Titanium Dioxide. Sun protection needs to be perpetual skin maintenance. It's not only about the UVA/UVB rays either. The sun's infra-red rays (which by the way penetrate glass) feeds Melasma, aggravating and worsening the situation. Yes, Melasma gets worse with heat, that's why I never recommend laser therapy to treat it, as lasers produce heat energy.  This is called "heat induced pigmentation" and can affect skin even whilst wearing a hat. Hats protect the face from sun exposure, but the heat generated from the hat itself and from the sun's radiation can deepen the pigmentation, yikes! So what does one need to do, live in a cave?

TREATMENT:
Many at-home and over-the-counter treatments (such as acid exfoliators and OTC lightening creams) may aggravate  the situation and darken the pigmentation over time, so if you have a Melasma it's important to address the situation with your  Dermatologist first. Your doctor may prescribe a protocol using both lightening creams (containing 4% Hydroquinone) as well as a series of controlled chemical peels. There is an amazing over the counter oral supplement called "Helioplex" which is botanical based (it is derived from the fern plant) and protects the skin against the effects of the sun. It is IMPORTANT to note that if you take Helioplex, it is NOT a substitute for sunscreen. However, if you are prone to Melasma (and sun burn) and spend a lot of time in the sun, this OTC supplement is a terrific  "added" protection protocol that I highly recommend. 

BEST LASER FOR MELASMA:
Laser energy is hot, and a laser with too much heat can actually intensify the pigment. The same theory applies to the radiation one gets through glass (from the sun), as well as heat exposure in general. So a cool laser can be used in conjunction with the other aforementioned treatments. 

"Clear & Brilliant Laser" is a mini fractional laser which is a cool laser and works well because on Melasma because it's not as hot as other lasers, but is incredibly efficient at treating pigmentation issues. Although you may require several treatments due to it's conservative level of energy, some  patients see major results after only one treatment. 

For more information about Melasma or the Clear & Brilliant laser, contact your board certified Dermatologist. 

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-CIAO for now  xo

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A woman's NECK reveals ALL.....


A woman's EYES and DÉCOLLETAGE never lie, but her neck --above all-- sets the tone for youth. As one of the four areas of the body to initially show  signs of aging, the neck precedes the décolleté, eyes and hands in the sag-arena. Whenever I consult with a client regarding her skin-care concerns, my eyes go directly to her neck (and décolleté), I don't even address her face first. Why? Because this region is usually neglected, and/or not cared for as thoughtfully as the face and hands. Therefore, early signs of aging of the neck are not uncommon.

If your neck is of concern to you, here are some NON-invasive, NON-surgical ways to firm it up:

ULTHERAPY: An amazing, revolutionary technology, and my go-to protocol when suggesting treatments for clients. It uses ultrasound energy as well as heat to stimulate collagen and increase elasticity, to lift and tighten loose, sagging skin on the neck (as well as under the chin and above the eyebrow). Ultherapy yields amazing results, but does not come cheap. Treatments can run upwards of $1,200-$5000. 

BOTOX: On the neck? Absolutely. If there are an abundance of saggy vertical muslcle-bands on the neck and Botox can assist the sag by temporarily freezing these muscles, resulting in a smoother, tighter skin surface. The cost of Botox is  reasonable compared to other cosmetic procedures, and oh-so worth it. Expect to pay on average of $12-$16 per unit. 

CO-2 FRACTIONAL LASER THERAPY: Carbon Dioxide laser can really help with skin concerns on the neck (and face). It delivers über-powerful results without harsh side affects. This laser delivers the longest wavelength of any other laser on the market so it penetrates deep, yielding great results. Another plus about the CO-2 is that it can be used on darker skin-tones with ease (for those of you concerned with hyper pigmentation. I consider the CO-2 laser to be a 21st century marvel, it's terrific technology and truly works in smoothing-out skin by minimizing skin legions, eliminating discoloration, firming the skin and erasing telangiectasia (to name a few). Expect to pay upwards of $500 for a neck treatment.

MORE ON CO-2:
Fractional CO-2 lasers excel at treating sun damage, deep wrinkles, hyper-pigmentation, blotchy skin tone, acne scars as well as scars resulting from an injury. It can also be used to improve skin texture, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone on the neck in particular (as well as the face, chest, arms and legs). 

RETINOIDS: Are you using Retinols or Retinoids in your nighttime regime? If not, what are you waiting for? If you're over 35 and you care about your skin, you should be using a topical Retinoid cream. Retinoids plump and firm the skin by stimulating skin cells to produce collagen. Whatever regime you institute for the face, should be adopted for décolleté and neck as well. Retinoids have been around for over 25 years and, in my opinion, are the quintessential miracle cream; nothing else transforms skin like it. If you're scared of the "red and peel" phase, don't be. Once you push through the transition and allow the skin to adapt to the affects of Retinoic Acid, you'll be thrilled to see renewed skin. Retinoids are available only by prescription, so consult with your doctor regarding the best version for your skin and neck. If sensitivity or budget is a concern, I suggest you lean into Retinoids by using their over-the-counter cousin, Retinols. Unlike Retinoids, which is Retinoic Acid, Retinols 

MICRO-CURRENT:
What is it? It's old-school skin care technology that works. Known as an "energy face lift", a mico-current of pure energy is pulsed into the skin by way of manipulating the energy over strategic areas of the neck, décolleté and face, using smooth metal probes. When the current enters the muscle, the muscle responds by filling with blood, plumping up and firming the area. The key to Micro-Current success is repetitive treatment. This workout for the muscles will yield results after a few treatments (similar to going to the gym often), and best of all, you can receive your Micro-Current treatments from your Esthetician. Expect to pay, on average, $80 per one hour session. 

For more information regarding the aforementioned non-invasive, non-surgical procedures, contact your Board Certified Dermatologist, Medical Spa Doctor or Plastic Surgeon for a consultation. 


-CIAO for now xo

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