Friday, October 19, 2012

Skin Tightening; What’s All the Hype?

Skin tightening is one of those ambiguous phrases that we hear from time to time when reporters are telling us the latest trends in celebrity beauty. You know the words I’m talking about. They include phrases like laser skin resurfacing, cellulite treatment, oxygen facial, and photofacial. But what does it really mean? Let’s break down the types of skin tightening and what they actually do for your skin.

Laser Skin Tightening
Laser skin tightening is a minimally invasive, non-surgical process that uses an infrared light source (a laser) to tighten skin by heating the collagen under the skin’s surface, causing the skin to contract (tighten). Facial skin tightening is noticeable immediately after the treatment, and there is no downtime, making this an increasingly popular procedure. Additional skin tightening occurs over the next few months, but optimal results usually require two or three treatments about a month apart.

Types of Laser Skin Tightening:


This Dual-layer RF Thermotherapy stimulates the production of new collagen and improves skin surface texture. Treatments with the Accent system are quick and do not require anesthesia or a prolonged recovery time. Patients can resume their normal activities immediately. Best of all, Dual-layer RF Thermotherapy provides steady improvement with excellent, long-term skin tightening results.

This Treatment is ideal for targeting those telltale signs of aging, including jowl and neck laxity, sagginess under the eyes, droopy brow lines, and nasolabial folds. Using the Harmony induces neocollagenesis (an increase in collagen production) resulting in an increase in skin firmness. A series of three to six treatments produces a tighter, fresher appearance without pain or invasive procedures.

This is a procedure that uses radio frequencies that are quite intense. It is intended to get increased growth of collagen plus make the skin tighter. It also will redefine the contours of your face so it looks more youthful. It is considered a safe procedure for use on the neck, chin and your eye wrinkles. This is an outpatient one time treatment that takes about one hour.

This is a procedure that tightens the skin using an advanced form of infrared light that can penetrate your skin layers. It increases collagen growth way down deep in the tissue supporting the epidermis. This is a laser treatment that supports a more evenly distribution of energy than if using one of the radio frequencies. This procedure works best at tightening the jaw and neck skin areas and may need several treatments to see success.

The biggest advantage of the Exilis equipment is its safety. Previous fat reduction technologies worked similarly but were unable to penetrate deep enough without harming the patient’s skin. Exilis comes equipped with DTC (Dermal Temperature Control) and EFC (Energy Flow Control). The DTC system ensures the patient’s skin is left unharmed. It even keeps track of the skin’s temperature and allows us to adjust the machine’s temperature accordingly. The EFC system allows for more efficient and consistent results: eliminating unpredictable strengths of pulsed light emitted by similar machines. The machine also pauses every thirty seconds so your medical technician can take an accurate skin temperature, minimizing the risk of any patient discomfort.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Prepare Your Skin for Fall

As the leaves begin to turn and temperatures begin to cool, we look forward to a break from the heat of summer and forward to scarves, boots, and sweaters. While we welcome the change in climate, it can wreak havoc on our skin. A seasonal switch means dryer weather--and dryer skin--is just around the corner and it's time to adjust our skincare routines. Take a look at Dr. Beer’s recommendations to prepare your skin for fall.

We can’t stress enough the importance of moisturizing during the dryer months. Whereas your skin may have been oilier during the heat and humidity of summer, it will tend to dry out during fall and winter. If you have oily skin to begin with, use an oil-free or gel moisturizer. If you have dry skin, use both a serum with hyaluronic acid and a heavy moisturizer to keep skin soft and dewy. We love Scientific by Kenneth Beer MD’s Intensive Repair Serum and Daily Hydrating Cream.

So you’ve been blotting your face like crazy with that translucent powder in an effort to dry up all of that oil? As the season begins to change, so should your foundation. Opt for a foundation with added moisture to keep skin looking dewy and not caked with powdery makeup. Love your foundation and simply can’t make the switch? Try mixing a moisturizer into liquid foundation. For the lips, make sure to keep lip balm on hand. Our favorite way to quench dry lips is by using Aquaphor Healing Balm.

Allergies, rosacea, and eczema tend to act up during seasonal transitions, so keep your skin soothed with calendula extract or other anti-inflammatory foods such as green tea, papaya, wild salmon and shitake mushrooms. Eating fresh, less processed foods will help with allergies as well, so skip the chip aisle and head to the produce section as much as possible.

We've said it before, but we'll say it again, with Dr. Beer backing us up: sunscreen is a daily must, regardless of the season. You need a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 (we use 60 for our face) year round. If you can’t stand the pallor that comes with colder weather, use a self tanner. We love Saint Tropez because it never streaks and it gives us a natural sun-kissed brown hue instead of an orangey copper.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Secrets to Beautiful Skin

Throughout all of human history man has endeavored to make himself appear more attractive. The ancient Romans used ingredients such as lentels, barley, lupine, honey, and oregano seeds to make their creams and lotions. The ancient Egyptians used many ingredients we still use today, including clay, salt, and olive oil.

So what has a few thousand years and a lot of science told us? Read on for today’s secrets for beautiful skin.

Don’t Smoke
It seems pretty simple right? You’d think with all of the education out there on how damaging cigarette smoke is to our bodies that people would simply not start smoking to begin with, right? Tell that to the billion dollar tobacco industry and you’ll probably get an arched brow to accompany a smug smile. According to the Mayo Clinic, Smoking can speed up the normal aging process of your skin, contributing to wrinkles.

And smoking doesn't cause wrinkles only on your face. Smoking also is associated with increased wrinkling and skin damage on other parts of your body, including your inner arms. While the skin wrinkles may not be reversible, you can prevent worsening of wrinkling by quitting smoking now.

Wear Sunscreen
Imagine identical twins at birth, both starting off with the same DNA. One sibling stays out of the sun and always applies sunscreen, the other frequents tanning salons and never applies sunscreen. Care to wager which sibling will look older, sooner?

Exposure to the sun causes:
  • Pre-cancerous (actinic keratosis) and cancerous (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma) skin lesions - caused by loss of the skin's immune function
  • Benign tumors
  • Fine and coarse wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Discolored areas of the skin, called mottled pigmentation
  • Sallowness -- a yellow discoloration of the skin
  • Telangiectasias -- the dilation of small blood vessels under the skin
  • Elastosis -- the destruction of the elastic and collagen tissue (causing lines and wrinkles)

So slather on the sunscreen, and save your skin from a host of unsavory characteristics later in life.

Use Retinoids
The term describes vitamin A derivatives that unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin—sometimes in as little as four weeks. The first retinoid—tretinoin—was FDA approved (under the brand name Retin-A) almost 40 years ago as a prescription acne treatment. Dermatologists soon noticed that patients on Retin-A experienced not just clearer but softer, brighter, less-lined skin. Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids: tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and adapalene (Differin). Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective. Ask your dermatologist which formula is right for you.

Keep Skincare Simple
Don’t overuse products and don’t use too many different products on your skin. If you’re a novice to skincare, find a line you like and try to stick with products from that line only. Most skincare lines have been tested to make sure the products don’t interact in a negative way. Bombarding your skin with a ton of new products be irritating. And of course, the simpler your skin care routine the more likely you are to stick to it.

Give Products Time to Work
Don’t be too hasty. While products can start to effect an immediate change in your skin, you might not see the results for a few weeks. Choose your products wisely. Read reviews before you make the big purchase. Did these products work on others with similar skin issues? If you’ve done your homework and the products you are using have positive reviews, stick with it. You will be glad you did!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Sun Damage

The beginning of Summer means we’ll all be spending more time outdoors. However, it also means more sun exposure and the potential for sun damage. While most of us think of sun damage as the major cause of wrinkles and skin cancer, many people overlook the development of sun spots or age spots as an eventuality of too much sun exposure. And because the sun spots show up later in life, it’s easy to forget about them. That’s why it’s important to keep in mind that the UV exposure you get now can cause age and sun spots years from now.

What Is a Sun Spot (Lentigo)?
A sun spot is an area of hyper-pigmented skin that appears over time. Usually these areas are dark brown, but they may also be light brown or even black.

How Does a Sun Spot Form?
Sun spots (more commonly called age spots) occur as the result of a breakdown in melanin pigment. Melanin pigment is the skin’s natural pigment that helps defend against damaging UV rays. In the epidermis, the cells that produce melanin are called melanocytes. Prolonged exposure to UV rays without proper sun protection results in damage to the melanocytes; when they’re no longer able to produce enough melanin to protect against UV radiation, sun and age spots form on the skin.

Can You Prevent Sun Spots?
While exposure to UV rays builds up over time and may result in sun and age spots, you can largely prevent sun spots by wearing appropriate sun protection, including protective clothing and, of course, a broad-spectrum sunblock. 

How can I Get Rid of My Sun Spots?
If you’re tired of unattractive brown spots and sun damage, there are a number of lightening techniques to even out skin tone. At Kenneth Beer MD PA, we utilize the most advanced treatments for lightening brown spots, age spots, skin damage from the sun and hyperpigmentation. Our brown spot treatments are customized for each patient’s needs, but for best results we usually employ a multi-faceted approach that combines more than one type of treatment. They can be used on the face, hands, and other parts of the body. This may include one or more of the following:
  • Photodynamic Therapy
  • Intense Pulsed Light
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing
  • Chemical Peel

Monday, April 9, 2012

Quick Tips to a More Youthful You

Women today are savvier than ever when it comes to taking care of their skin. We are taught from a young age to do things like apply sunscreen when we’re out in the sun and a good moisturizer before we go to bed at night. In fact, a study by dermatologists Dr. Kathy Fields and Dr. Katie Rodan found that 84 percent of 25- to 29-year-olds are afraid of the effects of aging on their skin. So, what’s the result? Women in their 20s and 30s are more aware of the efficacy of ingredients, and are more apt to take preventative measures using cosmetic procedures. According to the annual survey of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the most common procedures among women between the ages of 35 and 60 were blepharoplasty, Botox, brow lifts, facelifts, filler injections and chemical peels.

So, we get it. You’re listening. That’s great! Read on for a few tips on how to combat some of the most common issues we see in our practice.

How to Revive Tired Peepers
The first signs of aging show up in and around our eyes.

Baby-step solution: Big UV-protective sunglasses (to prevent squinting and filter sunlight) and a moisturizing nighttime eye cream with antioxidants and retinol will do a lot to prevent and treat early crow's-feet.

Serious fix: If the rings under your eyes are pronounced to the point where you look tired all the time (thank genetics for that), a derm or plastic surgeon can inject a hyaluronic acid filler along the circles to create a smooth surface between your cheeks and eyes.

Be Spotless
Don’t be fooled. Those cute freckles your mom adores so much are actually sun damage. It’s a condition called hyperpigmentation, and it gets worse as we age. So, maybe slathering on the baby oil before baking yourself in the sun wasn’t such a good idea. Sure, it may have looked good then, but now it’s time to repair and reverse those sun spots.
Baby-step solution: Anyone who has come home from the beach sporting a splash of new freckles knows that sunscreen is most crucial to people prone to sunspots. Layer on protection any chance you get - vitamin C serum under daily sunscreen and topped with mineral powder is a sweet trio. At night, help the fade with alpha hydroxy, beta hydroxy, or kojic acid.

Serious fix: Ask your dermatologist about mild acid peels to increase cell turnover and get rid of blotchy surface skin, or Intense Pulsed Light treatments, which are extremely effective in targeting and removing sun damage.

Erase Those Lines
Expression lines result from a combo of UV damage and the skin's elastin wearing out from repetitive use.

Baby-step solution: At home, use vitamin A derivatives like over-the-counter retinol or prescription retinoids like Retin-A Micro to prevent and minimize fine lines by increasing collagen. Retraining ourselves to not make some very basic facial expressions - like scowling - can make all the difference. Whenever you feel tense, consciously take a moment to breathe deeply, which will force you to relax your facial muscles.

Serious fix: The only way to stop expression lines from forming is to refrain from making the expression, which requires Botox or another botulinum toxin. Some dermatologists recommend starting to use a botulinum toxin as a preventative measure, before those lines set in.

Pamper Your Pores
As we age pores start to sag because of, you guessed it, sun damage. Makeup, pollution, and your skin's natural oil can stretch out your pores over the years beyond the point where they can shrink back, and folks with oily skin are even more prone to stretched pores because their skin produces more…well…oil.

Baby-step solution: Clean out and tighten your pores so they can't hold as much. Peptide creams and serums strengthen and firm the skin, salicylic acid products dissolve the oil in your pores, and face scrubs with round beads smooth away surface dullness - just steer clear of scrubs that contain ground seeds or pits because jagged edges can microscopically tear skin, making the problem worse in the long run.

Serious fix: Enzyme facials are great for jump-starting a pore-minimizing regimen. For a more drastic approach, Isolaz is a no-downtime laser procedure that literally vacuums out your pores and kills bacteria, which also makes it great for getting rid of pore-stretching acne - a condition that many women don't outgrow until their 40s.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Turn Back the Hands of Time

For ages man has searched for the elusive fountain of youth, but can we really slow down the aging process or are we doomed to play the hand that fate and genetics have dealt us? Why do some people look thirty when they are sixty? And why do some thirty-year-olds look fifty? What’s the secret? Read on to find out ways you can start preserving your youthful appearance today.

Manage Your Stress
That’s right. One of the most severe causes of aging is unhealthy stress. Recent research suggests that when the body is exposed over a long period of time to stress, the aging processes of the brain accelerate. Learning to manage your stress effectively is key to a youthful appearance. Learn to take time in your day to do something that calms you down. Learn to prioritize responsibilities. Make a list of things you need to accomplish and check them off one by one as you finish them. Calming rituals including meditation and yoga will reduce your levels of stress hormones and keep you looking and feeling better.

Stop Smoking
You’ve heard it before, but the plea to stop smoking deserves a spot on our list. Tobacco is one of the most powerful stimulants known to man. A single puff of a cigarette exposes the body to over 4,000 chemical compounds and 600 additives. Smokers tend to have pronounced wrinkling and lines, gauntness or an off-color complexion. This is likely due to the barrage of chemicals clouding around your mouth, cheeks and nose in the form of smoke and the muscle movement of inhaling itself. Not to mention the risk of heart attack and lung cancer.

Eat More “Anti-Aging” Foods
There is a group of substances known as "antioxidants" that helps greatly in keeping you young. They neutralize what scientists call "free radicals". Free radicals set off a chain reaction that can kill cells, tear holes in cell membranes, mutate DNA which is the mastermind of cell activity. One theory, which was formulated by Denham Harman, PhD, a biochemist at the University of Nebraska College of Medicine, contends that the cumulative damage by free radicals is responsible for the decline in functioning that accompanies aging. Two known antioxidants are Vitamin A and C. The best source of Vitamin C is citrus fruits. Rich sources of Vitamin A are carrots, squash, spinach and collard greens.

Work it Out
Most adults lose one percent of bone mass annually. As you lose bone minerals your bones become lighter, more porous, weaker and greater risk of fracture. You can increase bone density and strength with weight bearing exercises such as walking, bicycling, swimming or weight training. Measure your 25 (OH) vitamin D level every year.  Take Vitamin D to reduce your bone’s aging.

Take Care of your Teeth
After 40, the main cause of tooth loss is periodontal or gum disease. The culprit: "plaque", a sticky film made up of bacteria, saliva, and food debris. Bacteria produce toxins that irritate gums, making them recede and form pockets. If the immune system of the body can't fight the bacterial invasion, the bones anchoring the teeth eventually erode and teeth fall out. Also, poor dental hygiene leads to high levels of inflammation which is bad for you.  Brushing every after meal and daily flossing will reduce plaque attacks. Low dose doxycycline may also help reduce inflammation.  So visit your dentist at least twice a year!

Following these guidelines should keep you on track to a more youthful you. Just remember, what you put in your body affects what you look like on the outside. Take care of you and you’ll enjoy a healthier, happier life and a more youthful glow.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

To Tone or Not to Tone? That’s NOT a Question!

Everyone knows about the importance of moisturizing your skin. Just turn on prime time television and you’re inundated with images of middle aged celebrities touting the newest revelation in anti-aging technology. But what about the elusive black sheep of the skincare family: toners? What do they do and do we really need them?

There are three types of products that fall into the toner category: traditional toners, astringents, and fresheners. Read on to find out which is right for you.

Traditional Toners:
Traditional toners contain moisturizers, extracts and essential oils that soothe your skin and restore its moisture. They also help to balance the pH of the skin. Your skin needs a certain amount of oil to stay waterproof and resistant to infection. Too little oil and you have dry skin (which can lead to problems with wrinkles); too much oil and you’ve got an oil slick and probably acne. The Concentrated Balancing Toner by Suki is packed with vitamin C and soothing aloe, helping to balance normal to oily skin types and offer gentle relief after a day out in the sun. If you have dry skin, check out Pomega5’s Daily Purifying Face Mist. The invigorating toner replenishes the skin’s moisture with citrus essential oils.

Astringents & Fresheners:
An astringent is designed to penetrate through the pores to constrict them, neutralize excess oils, and remove dirt and dead skin cells, giving the skin a healthy effect. Biore Blemish Treating Astringent is great for ance prone skin.  If you have very oily skin this is the perfect choice for you. A freshener works similarly to an astringent, but has organic ingredients instead of chemicals. Check out AmorePacific Treatment Toner Alcohol-Free Freshener from Sephora for an awesome organic freshener.

Those with dry skin should avoid using astringents or toners that have retinols, glycolics, or benzoyl peroxide in them. These will be too drying and may even cause the skin to breakout. Instead, look for one that is water-based and has ingredients like rosewater or chamomile extracts, and vitamin B derivatives like panthenol, which help lock in moisture and prevent makeup from looking cakey.

Stay tuned for Scientific by Kenneth Beer MD’s pH Balancing Toner, scheduled to debut in Spring 2012.