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We are all beautiful

Published February 25th, 2015

Today I was fortunate to be a part of the Dove Movement for Self-Esteem, where members of the Women's Dermatologic Society can reach out into the community to educate young girls and teens about skin care and promote positive self esteem.  We met with young women ages 11-18 and had a discussion about what beauty means to them, how they feel when they see images of what "beauty" is in the media, what they would like the images to project instead, and how they feel about themselves. 

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with photoshopped images of perfect, often unattainable and unrealistic ideas and images of beauty, it's so important to reinforce to our young women that real beauty is from within, and is made up of thoughts, actions, voices, and attitudes; not a lipstick color or hairstyle.    We also talked about skin care and living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating foods rich in vitamins and minerals, sleeping enough hours at night, mindfulness, and exercise.  

The program's vision is to "create a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety."  Look in the mirror.  You are real, and you are beautiful.  Hug your sisters, daughters, mothers, friends.  Let's encourage and empower each other as strong, powerful, healthy females.  That's true beauty!   

 

Blue light's all right

Published February 15th, 2015

A rainbow of light is made of many colors.  Out of ROYGBIV, blue light is by far my favorite.  Blue light is key to photodynamic therapy (PDT): a specialized light treatment that treats actinic keratoses (pre-skin cancers), acne, and rejuvinates the skin.

How does this work?  First, a chemical called levulan is applied to the skin (most commonly the face, but neck, chest, arms, and hands can also be treated) in the office.  This stays on the skin for about an hour.  Then a U-shaped light, specific for blue light is placed so that it shines on the skin for around 16 minutes.  The levulan is activated by this light, and results in destruction of abnormal cells.

Because the levulan is activated by light, sunlight must be avoided for 48-72 hours after treatment.  Redness and some crusting are common after treatment.  Once that subsides, the skin is smoother and often younger appearing. 

Acne may be treated with the blue light alone, as well, but it may not be quite as effective as when levulan is added.  A series of treatments are required.  The acne may worsen initially after the first treatment and then improve.  It's a great option for those who can't tolerate conventional treatments with oral antibiotics, oral contraceptives, and topical medications.

This treatment can also be performed using intense pulsed light (IPL) rather than blue light.  Although an off-label use, it can help "bump up" the improvement seen in fine lines, brown spots, and red spots seen after an IPL treatment.  Multiple treatments are still needed.  

For more information, come in for a consultation with Dr. Bilu Martin at Premier Dermatology, MD.

Love those cheeks

Published February 9th, 2015

The secret is out. The fountain of youth is here, and it ain't made of water. It's made of hyaluronic acid, and it's called Juvederm Voluma: an injectable filler from Allergan, the folks who make Botox (for wrinkles), Juvederm (filler) and Latisse (grows/thickens/lengthens lashes).  It is quickly becoming one of my favorite fillers.

Over time, we lose bone and fat in our faces. Think of our skulls as a deflating balloon - depressing, but true. As it shrinks, the skin overlying it begins to sag and drape- leading to hollows under the eyes, sunken-in cheeks, folds around the mouths (the parentheses), folds under our mouth (marionette lines), and a sagging jawline. All of this makes us look tired and older.

It was thought that the answer was just a face lift- pulling the skin tighter. Now we know that without replacing volume, or re-inflating the balloon, that more youthful look just won't be achieved.

Enter Voluma. By restoring volume, cheeks are returned to their rightful place: resting on top of cheekbones, rather than sagging and folding down towards mouths.  The result is a natural, soft, youthful, subtle look for both the upper and lower face.

And the best part? It lasts two years. This is one time where being cheeky is a good thing!

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