Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Take up to 10 years off with Radiesse dermal filler

Radiesse is a unique versatile product used to fill deeper folds and wrinkles in your skin. Because of its components and duration Radiesse is technically an implant as opposed to a “wrinkle filler”.

Tiny calcium based microspheres form a scaffold to support and stimulate the growth of your own collagen. In time the microspheres break down and are naturally absorbed by your body. Radiesse is safe, FDA approved and clinically tested.

It is used internationally in areas such as:
  • Nasolabial folds (Smile lines)
  • Marionette lines
  • Bridge augmentation (Nose)
  • Malar/submalar enhancement (Cheeks)
  • Jaw line enhancement
  • Hands
It is typically injected into the skin through a simple safe in office procedure. A local anesthetic is used, with little to no downtime. Most people return to normal activities soon after.

Side effects include mild irritation, swelling, itching, bruising and tenderness. These effects typically resolve on there own.

DeAnna Maher (RN.)

Clinical Manager. Sona MedSpa - Galleria


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Accutane is being discontinued

Accutane was first introduced in 1982 and has for many years been the final resort in the case of severe acne.

Hoffman-La Roche, Inc, the manufacturers of Accutane, notified the FDA that they were going to discontinue manufacturing Accutane (Isotretinoin).

Isotretinoin, the active ingredient in Accutane, revolutionized the treatment of acne. Accutane alters the DNA transcription which decreases the size and output of sebaceous glands. It also reduces the number of bacteria in the sebaceous gland and on the skin surface.

The decision to discontinue Accutane was taken for business reasons, as the introduction of generic versions of Accutane since 2002 has eroded Accutane's market share to less than 5%.

But no need to panic!! The generic versions will still be available.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Sunbeds cause cancer , says International Agency for Research on Cancer

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) had previously classified sunbeds as being a "probable" cause of cancer. That same agency is now recommending that tanning machines should be moved to "the highest cancer risk category" and be labeled as "carcinogenic to humans".

According to their report, sunbeds pose a similar cancer risk as
and cigarettesasbestos - this is a strong view, and as can be imagined, have already drawn opposition from interest groups.

The proposal to reclassify sunbeds followed a review of research that concluded that the risk of skin cancer (melanoma) -- was increased by 75 percent in people who started using sunbeds regularly before the age of 30. Surely this must be a large percentage of the "sunbed demographic"?

Some more in depth coverage on this can be found at:
We have done several blog updates in the pass on the risk of cancer associated with tanning:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Learn how the Alma Accent XL reduces cellulite and tightens skin

The video below shows Beth Storey, Clinical Direct of Sona MedSpa in Houston, explaining the new ALMA Accent XL, a revolutionary skin tightening regimen that uses advanced radio frequency (RF) technology to treat wrinkles and cellulite non-invasively.

Every new development that comes along claims to be an earth-shattering breakthrough, but of course they're mostly just gimmicks with minimal results. Let us explain the real scientific evidence that makes the Accent XL truly different.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Why do I have cellulite?

There is a series of books by David Feldman about life's imponderables. I'm sure the question "Why do women have cellulite" falls in this category!

Cellulite affects a very large % of women. Yes, there are those that don't have (or get) cellulite, but they are rare, and if you have a friend like that you would know... she's the one that everyone hates! Cellulite is the uneven and dimpled skin that ruins the backsides and thighs of women everywhere, that turns a day at the beach or pool into that dreaded moment... Cellulite is also rather indiscriminate when it gets to age.... as the photo of Misha Barton shows.

Most women get cellulite after puberty. But men usually don’t... (sorry ladies!). The connective tissue bands under men’s skin are crisscrossed (like a net), keeping their fat more evenly restrained. On the other hand, women’s tissue bands are more loosely organized in vertical columns, resulting in the lumpy appearance. Thanks to estrogen, women have more fatty reserves. But it gets worse.... with age, the connective tissue strands between our skin and muscle become inflexible. These tissue strands used to stretch to accommodate weight fluctuations.... So, as our weight fluctuates, the appearance of cellulite becomes more pronounced.

The causes are poorly understood, but involve a combination of skin architecture, alteration of connective tissue structure, vascular changes, hormonal factors, genetic factors, diet and lifestyle. Believe it or not, but even fashion seems to play some role..... Within the last few decades women went from (very) loose underwear around the thighs to tight underwear going across the middle of the buttock. The tight elastic across the buttock limits blood flow and circulation, encouraging the formation of cellulite.

Fortunately, as technology develops, there is help on the horizon. To the best of our knowledge there is still no ultimate panacea available, but for many women, the technology is available to make a huge improvement in the appearance of cellulite. We will cover this technology in our next post.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

How can I reduce my cellulite?

Cellulite is a condition that, while rare for men (yes, men do get it!), can affect over 90% of adult women. We all recognize the bumpy, lumpy "cottage cheese" skin, but most of us don’t know what to do about it. While a healthy diet and consistent exercise can help to an extent, sadly, these lifestyle choices are not enough to keep cellulite at bay

There are many treatments available for the reduction of unwanted cellulite, but few provide adequate results. From lotions and creams to high-tech devices and medical procedures, it seems like there are millions of so-called solutions to younger-looking skin.

Like with any aesthetic procedure, cellulite reduction and body contouring treatments become more effective as newer technologies are introduced. The latest and greatest in cellulite removal technology can be found at Sona MedSpa. The Accent was recently cleared by the FDA for the treatment of wrinkles. The Alma Accent is our newest weapon to effectively combat unwanted cellulite, reduce loose and sagging skin and remove inches from the thighs, hips and buttocks. This is not a miracle weight loss device! It needs to be supported by a healthy lifestyle.

The Accent is a unique cellulite reduction device because it combines two types of radio frequency (RF) technology - unipolar and bipolar. This dual layer of radio frequency allows this laser device to reach and effectively treat multiple levels beneath the outer layers of skin.

Undergoing cellulite removal with the Alma Accent is a fantastic way to experience a reduction in cellulite, a reduction in inches, and a tighter, smoother appearance overall. Once you undergo a series of safe, effective, nearly painless, non-invasive treatments, your skin will look and feel years younger.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Did you know that you could get a Liquid Lift for your hands..?

Yes, indeed! Typically, when we think about a "liquid lift", we think about minimizing fine lines and wrinkles in the face.... but there is no reason you cannot do that for your hands!

As we grow older, we typically take care of our "looks"... but our hands.... well, they end up showing our age.

Liquid Lift Hands – This is a very fast way to improve the aged look of hands. As we get older we lose volume all over the body, but it is very apparent in the hands with the protrusion of the bones and veins. This procedure plumps the hands to give it a youthful look that lasts up to 18 months with no down time.

We use the product "Radiesse" which is also used as a filler in the face.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Acne Scarring … Do I have to live with it? (Part 2)

If you missed part 1, click here...

The objective of treatment is to give the skin a more normal appearance. Total restoration of the skin is most likely not possible, but scar treatment does usually improve your skins appearance.
Scar treatments that are available include:
  • Collagen injection- It is injected under the skin the stretch and fills out certain types of superficial and deep soft scars. Repeated treatments are usually needed. It is not recommended for all types of scarring. There are certain medical conditions that are contraindicated.
  • Autologous fat transfer- Fat is taken from another site on your own body and prepared for injection into your skin. The procedure usually needs to be repeated.
  • Dermabrasion- Under local anesthetic, a high speed brush or fraise used to remove surface skin and alter the contour of scars. It does not work for all types of scars. It can cause pigmentation changes in people with darker skin.
  • Microdermabrasion- This is a surface form of dermabrasion. Only the very surface cells of the skin are removed, so no additional wound is created. Multiple treatments are often required.
  • Laser treatment- Lasers of various wavelengths and intensity may be used to recontour the scar tissue and reduce the redness of the skin around the healed lesions.
  • Skin surgery- Some ice pick lesions may be removed with punch excision of each individual scar. It results in a hole in the skin that may be repaired with sutures or skin grafts.
  • Skin grafting- This may be necessary if for example dermabrasion unroofs massive tunnels (sinus tracts) caused by inflammatory reaction to sebum and bacteria in sebaceous follicles. Grafting may be needed to close the defect.
  • Treatment of keloids- Surgical removal is rarely used to treat keloids. Because the person usually has a tendency to form keloids, they may also keloid in response to the surgery. Sometimes keloids are treated by an injection of steroids in the skin around the keloid. Topical retinoic acid may be applied directly to the keloid. In people who are very susceptible to keloids no treatment at all is recommended.
The best way to prevent acne scarring is to treat acne early and as long as needed. If scars do form, a number of effective treatments are available and should be discussed with a skin care specialist.

DeAnna Maher (RN.)

Clinical Manager. Sona MedSpa - Galleria

Monday, June 15, 2009

Skin Care Myths Debunked (Part 3)

Click here if you missed part 1 and part 2.

Continuing with our list of popular skin care myths...

Eating chocolate and greasy foods cause acne

Sorry about all the chocolate you missed out on over the years....but eating c
hocolate does not cause acne. Hormonal factors, bacteria and skin cells are at the root of problematic skin, and stress can contribute to flareups.

Blackheads are a caused by improperly cleansed skin

Blackheads are caused by clogged pores. Hard scrubbing to clean the skin can irritate and further inflame skin. Blackheads often contain dirt (hence the name), oil, and dry and dead skin cells that need to be removed.

Antioxidants can reverse wrinkles

Antioxidants fight free radical formation. The chief danger of free radicals is the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants. so, they have a very important function in preventing skin damage, but they cannot make wrinkles go away.

10 Things Damaging Your Skin... that you would never have thought of!

Forbes magazine had a great article about 10 Sneaky Things Damaging Your Skin. It takes a bit of time to work your way through it, so I thought I'd summarize the list below:

Driving without sunscreen

The glass in car windows normally does not block UVA rays, which cause skin aging (UVB rays cause skin to tan or burn.)

Sitting in the Shad
e Without Sunscreen

UV rays reflect off both sand and water, even if you're in the shade.

Wearing Old Sunscreen

Most sunscreens expire after one to three years.

Your Hairstyle

When wearing their hair back or up, women often forget to apply sunscreen on their neck and ears. Parting hair can also cause skin damage on the scalp. There is just no way around it.... Wear a hat!

Thinking Clothing Blocks the Sun

Here's news for you! A typical white T-shirt offers you about a 7 to 8 SPF and then when it gets wet, the sun protective factor goes down to a 3!

Thinking Your Sunscreen is Waterproof

There is a big difference between waterproof and water-resistant sunscreen. It should be reapplied when you exit the water.


Antibiotics and some antihistamines increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight. If you are now out in the sun without a good sunscreen, it will cause tissue damage and intensified sunburn.

A Base Tan

Seriously! Who came up with this? The normal way to get a "base tan" is to use a tanning bed. ..and see what THAT does to you!

A Cloudy Day

UVA rays penetrate clouds more readily than UVB rays. So, even when it is cloudy, you are at risk of skin aging and damage.

Not Applying Enough, Often Enough

Most people use less than 50 % of the recommended amount of sunscreen, according to a study published in the Archives of Dermatology.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Even Wonder Woman needs BOTOX!

It seems that no one is immune... to getting a few wrinkles as they age! Even Wonder Woman (Lynda Carter) admits to using BOTOX.

IN TOUCH reported in their June edition that, when asked whether she uses BOTOX, Lynda replied that she has a big crease between her eyes, and that's where she does her BOTOX. But she also added that she didn't get so much that her face looks frozen.

In a previous post we covered a number of BOTOX Myths.

Myth no.2: BOTOX ® will give me that “frozen face” look.

Quite the opposite! BOTOX ® restores the balance in the facial muscles and creates that “relaxed” look. By injecting the right amount of BOTOX ®, you can reduce the fine lines and wrinkles and achieve that “soft” look.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Acne Scarring … Do I have to live with it? (Part 1)

First we need to discuss types of acne scarring. There are several types including some that might look like scars but in actuality a permanent change has not occurred.
  • Macules- “Pseudo-scars” are flat, red pots that are at the final stage of most inflamed acne lesions. A macule may remain for up to 6 months. When the macule disappears, no trace will remain-unlike a scar.
  • Post-inflammatory pigmentation- Discoloration of the skin at the site of a healed acne lesion. It occurs more frequently in darker skinned people. It may persist for up to 18 months, especially with excessive sun exposure. Chemical peeling may hasten the disappearance of post-inflammatory pigmentation.
  • Ice pick scars- Usually occur on the cheek. They are small, with jagged edges and steep sides. They may be shallow or deep and hard to soft to touch.
  • Depressed fibrotic scars- Usually large, with sharp edges and steep sides. They are firm to touch. Ice pick scars can develop into depressed fibrotic scars.
  • Soft scars, superficial or deep- They are soft to the touch. Gently sloping rolled edges that merge into normal skin. They are usually small, and either circular or linear in shape.
  • Atrophic macules- They are usually small on the face and larger on the body. They are soft, wrinkled base and may be bluish in appearance due to blood vessels under the scar. Over time they change from bluish to white in light skinned people.
  • Follicular macular atrophy- These are more likely to occur on the chest or back. They are small white lesions, barely raised above the skin surface. It sometimes called “perifollicular elastolysis”. The lesions may persist for months to years.

There is treatment!

There are a number of treatments available for acne scarring, which we will discuss in Part 2. The type of treatment selected should be one that is best for
you in terms of type of skin, cost, your goals and risks.

DeAnna Maher (RN.)

Clinical Manager. Sona MedSpa - Galleria

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Will Ferrel Sunscreen..??

I stumbled across this, and although Sona does not stock it, I thought it was for a good cause, and I should share it...

Click here to read more about it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Skin Care Myths Debunked (Part 2)

Click here if you missed Part 1.

Continuing with our list of popular skin care myths...

Natural and organic products are always better

This just sound so right! really need to be careful. Many natural and organic products commercially available are not what they claim to be. Synthetic products or compounds can actually be identical to those found in nature, and may be more effective. Natural vs. synthetic should not automatically lead to an up or down decision about whether a product is good or bad. Not all chemicals are bad, and not all natural or organic ingredients are good... so do take the extra time to do your homework.

A suntan will clear up my acne

Have you forgotten that "tanning is skin cells in trauma, trying to protect themselves from cancer?" You're more likely to do serious damage to your skin. In the MedSpa, certain light-based treatments use the blue light frequency of the visible spectrum to eliminate acne. However, this is a much more controlled process than lying with your face in the sun! And here's another question to ponder: Does the sun's intense light (from the total spectrum, including the feared UVA and AVB rays) and the heat flush out the sebum to clear acne, or does it produce more oil to clog pores?

If you're a tanner, you're risking skin cancer. But not only that.... you are also prematurel
y again your skin. There are quite a number of effective acne treatments, but sun tanning is not one of them!

At Sona you can control Acne with light-based treatments utilizing Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT), killing acne-causing bacteria by interrupting the metabolic process. Treating active acne in its early stages minimizes the potential for scarring.

We will continue this series and expose more Skin Care myths in Part 3.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Skin Care Myths Debunked

Unless we do a significant amount of our own research, we may never know whether that skin care "hint" or "handed-down-the-generations-truth" is really true! Does it really matter..? Well, sometimes it does, and sometimes it probably won't hurt you. But that doesn't mean that it will help you either!

Here is a list (by no means exhaustive) of popular myths....

1. Adding several layers of product, each with its own SPF, will increase your protection

Unfortunately, this one is not true. Three products applied in sequence (like a foundation SPF 10, moisturizer SPF 10 and sun screen SPF 20) does not give you the combined protection of SPF 40. It only gives you the protection of the highest SPF that you apply (SPF 20 in this example).

2. A higher SPF is always better

This is true, but only barely! Let me explain... The biggest danger of a high SPF sunscreen is the false sense of security that it gives. The amount of light that induces redness in sunscreen-protected skin, divided by the amount of light that induces redness in unprotected skin is the SPF. It is mainly a measure of UVB protection and ranges from 1 to 45 or above.

A sunscreen with SPF 15 blocks close to 93% of UVB radiation, while an SPF 30 will block around 97% of UVB. But the SPF "number" only indicates protection against UVB rays. In order to be protected against UVA and UVB rays, use a sunscreen containing physical blockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.

3. Indoor tanning is safe

If you have any doubt about this myth, read this earlier post...

This myth has it's foundation in another myth: you have to have sunburn to get skin damage... which is also untrue. Tanning is skin cells in trauma. There is no other way of explaining it. In response to UV damage, skin cells produce melanin to protect themselves. However, one damaged cell can start a deadly melanoma growing.

We will continue this series and expose more Skin Care myths. Click here for Part 2.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Household solution for itches and burns

MedSpas are all about health and wellness, and improving yourself. So, it would be appropriate to add some hints on well-being that have been around for a while.... and that we happen to have readily available at home. We all grew up with Epsom salt in the house, but with summer arriving, doctors say there’s an important use that isn’t as well-known:

Reducing the itch that comes from mosquito bites, bee stings, mild sunburn, poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.

“Basically, anything that itches or burns the skin, Epsom salt can soothe,” says Dr. Joe Matusic, a pediatrician in Charleston, W.Va., and an assistant clinical professor of pediatrics at the Charleston division of the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Epsom salt helps reduce itching in three ways:

  • Make compresses by soaking a cotton washcloth in cold water that has been mixed with Epsom salt (two tablespoons per cup), then apply to the skin.
  • Create a paste to apply to the skin by adding a teaspoon of Epsom salt to about a cup of hot water until it dissolves, then chilling the solution in the fridge for 20 minutes. Note: Clean the skin and pat dry before applying the paste.
  • Take an Epsom salt bath, by adding two cups of Epsom salt to the water in a standard-sized bathtub and soaking for at least 12 minutes. The Epsom salt will dissolve quicker if you put it under the running water.
Epsom salt is always there in the pantry, and you should use it as soon as possible for temporary relief. It helps draw the moisture out of lesions caused by rashes, such as poison ivy, according to the doctors. With bites or stings, Epsom salt reduces the swelling. This in turn eases the itching sensation because the body’s nerves fire less frequently, according to the doctors.

Always remember: You should consult your doctor for serious or persisting skin conditions.

To learn more, please visit

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The ABC of Skin Cancer

No one knows your body like you do!

Because early detection is key in the treatment of melanoma, self-examination is a MUST!

Would you know what changes to look for in the inspection of your moles?
Take a look at the ABCs of skin cancer. Also see our post on the Body Mole Map.

If you notice any of these changes, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for further follow-up.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Interested in joining the Sona Team in Houston?

Sona is the industry leader in laser hair removal and skin rejuvenation. Due to our anticipated growth, we are looking for talented professionals to join our team in Houston.

We are currently looking for LVN's and Aestheticians to join our teams in the Galleria Area, Sugar Land and Northwest Houston.

If you meet the requirements, are eager to experience the vision of progressive leadership, live the values that will shape your life, feel the pride of the community and be a part of the fastest growing segment of the service industry, please e-mail your resume to me as soon as possible.

Read more and get the contact details here...

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why do I still have Acne..?

The American Acne & Rosacea Society (AARS) recently announced June 2009 as National Acne Awareness Month. At the 4th Annual Meeting of the AARS, James Q. Del Rosso, DO, President, stated that National Acne Awareness Month is an important opportunity to educate healthcare providers concerning the treatment of acne and to generate awareness for this disease which affects over 17 million Americans.

So.... May is running out...and no reason we cannot get an early start on such a worthy cause.

What is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition which has plugged pores (blackheads and whiteheads), inflamed pimp
les (pustules), and deeper lumps (nodules). You can get acne to the face, neck, chest, back, shoulders and upper arms.

Who gets Acne?

EVERYONE! Well almost…Although most teenagers get some form of acne, adults in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s or even older, can develop acne.

What causes Acne?

First we need to cover what doesn’t cause acne … Poor hygiene does not cause acne. Now, cleaning your skin is recommended, but washing your skin hard and frequently can actually worsen your acne. Studies have not found a connection between diet and acne either. In other words, chocolate does not cause acne! Amongst the actual causes of acne are hormones such as testosterone, present in both males and females and increasing during puberty. Testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands of the skin to enlarge, produce oil, and plug the pores. Further causes of adult acne include hormones, childbirth, menopause or stopping the pill.

In our next post we will talk more about how to get rid of acne.

DeAnna Maher (RN.)
Clinical Manager. Sona MedSpa - Galleria

Monday, May 18, 2009

See the new LATISSE commercial with Brooke Shields

Enjoy the clip, and then I'll tell you a bit more about Latisse...

Latisse is a perscription treatment that is used to grow eye lashes, making them longer, darker and thicker.

Here are ACTUAL before and after pictures of Brooke Shields, taken 12 weeks apart.

Can anyone use Latisse?

You should not use Latisse if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

You should also tell your doctor/clinician if:
  • You were previoulsy diagnosed with eye pressure problems, or are currently taking medication for eye pressure problems
  • You have risk factors for Glaucoma
Remember, in order to buy Latisse, you need to get a perscription from your doctor. ... or you can get a free consultation and script at any Sona MedSpa in Houston! Just call them at 866-GET-SONA and make your appointment. You will have to come in for a consultation, so make sure you put this on your calendar!

Click on this link to learn more about Latisse. You can also see Brooke Shields' complete journey with Latisse.

The Latisse mark is owned by Allergan, Inc

Friday, May 15, 2009

The Body Mole Map - it may save your life!

In keeping with the Skin Cancer Awareness theme of May, let's introduce you to the Body Mole Map, developed by the American Academy of Dermatology.

Maybe the MOST important point that they make in the Body Mole Map is that if you have ANY doubt about a mole, you should see a dermatologist. The five year survival rate for people whose Melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 99%.... so that is a really good incentive to check your skin regularly.

The Body Mole Map is is a set of instructions, accompanied by a map of the body, and examples of moles and skin lesions. After examining your skin, you document the moles and lesions on the Body Mole Map. It is important that you keep this in a safe place, as you will need it again a year from now when you do your next skin examination....and then compare your moles and lesions with what you documented the previous time. Specifically look for any change in color, shape or size.

Click on the image on the left to download the Body Mole Map, with instructions.

Remember to protect yourself from the sun. Also see our previous article on Tanning is skin cells in Trauma.

And Thank You to Deanna Maher, Clinical Manager at Sona MedSpa - Galleria, who brought this Body Mole Map to our attention!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sona MedSpa and The Buzz presents the Hairiest Back Contest

Sona MedSpa and Theresa, from 94.5 The Buzz, brings you the Hairiest Back Contest... held at the Baker Street Pub in Sugar Land (Texas) on April 30, 2009.

This fun clip shows that some men do indeed have more hair than other! (Video time 7:20 ... but all worth it!)

Our thanks go to everyone, and especially the contestants, that made this such a fun event!

Do you think indoor tanning is safe?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is known to be the single largest environmental factor contributing to the development of skin cancer. So where does this leave us with indoor tanning? UV radiation levels in indoor tanning devices can be many times greater than what one would be exposed to outdoors.

More than one million new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year. At these rates, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their life. See what the American Academy of Dermatolgy Association says about indoor tanning.

Consumer Reports did a great aricle on the unexpected dangers of indoor tanning. They did a survey of 296 facilites in 12 cities. Here are the highlights of their investigation.

See this short video sponsored by the American Academy of Dermatolgy Association (

Still not convinced?

Read Brittany Lietz' story here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is skin cancer awareness month, and we are already a week into the month. So let's get started with some disturbing skin cancer facts (courtesy of the The Skin Cancer Foundation):

More than a million skin cancers are diagnosed each year. That is a disturbingly high number for a society that knows the primary causes of skin cancer!

Let us put this into perspective: Randomly pick four of your friends...or four of your family members. Now add yourself to this group. One in your group of five can expect to develop skin cancer over the course of a lifetime.

Skin cancer is more prevalent than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.

Women under the age of 40 have a higher probability of developing melanoma than any other cancer, except breast cancer.

There are many resources on the internet on skin cancer prevention and awareness.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Is skin cancer curable?

On the popular television series,“Grey’s Anatomy,” Dr. Izzie Stevens (Katherine Heigl) faces a grim diagnosis: stage IV metastatic melanoma. As the scary and heartbreaking scenes unfold, TV viewers get a glimpse at why patients with the deadliest form of skin cancer — in the most advanced stage of diagnosis — face a mere 10-month median survival rate.

If detected in its earliest stages (before Stage 2), melanoma is highly curable. However, if the tumor has spread to a more distant site, such as the lung, brain or other organs, this is considered a stage IV melanoma - with an average survival rate of only 10 months.

Here are some more great resources to read more about Melanoma:

Monday, May 4, 2009

See what clients want, despite the economy

This post may be a little late, as the first signs are there that the economy is starting to turn. The stockmarket is almost back up to the point where we started 2009... way up from the low point reached on March 9.

So what did clients still want, even during these difficult times?
  • BOTOX - up 8%*
  • Hyaluronic dermal fillers - up 6%*
  • Laser skin resurfacing - up 15%*
Who would have thought that?

Here is something else that you may be interested in. Summer is approaching rapidly, and we really want to look after our skin as we start enjoying the nice weather.

Over many years, your skin has been exposed to a number of environmental factors, all of which stresses the skin. These stressors cause damage that can reach the deepest layers of your skin.
 Damage caused by the sun’s harmful rays is the main cause of the fine lines, wrinkles and age spots that you may already see ... or you will eventually see on your face.
The Obagi Nu-Derm System is the physician-dispensed, prescription-strength skincare system that can transform your skin right at the cellular level. 

By addressing the signs of sun damage and restoring the healthy function of your skin cells, this system is clinically proven to result in younger- and healthier-looking skin.

(*source: American Society of Plastic Surgeons and the Economic Impact on America's Skin Care Habits)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Top 5 Swine Flu Don'ts

It is so easy to panic when it seams that everywhere we turn, we hear about more cases of Swine Flu (now called H1N1 influenza A).

Here is a list of 5 things not to do...

Don't rush to the ER

If you actually have flu-like symptoms — a fever above 100° F, headache, sore throat, body aches, chills or fatigue — and you live in an area where there have been confirmed swine flu cases, by all means report to your doctor.

Don't turn away, it's fine to eat pork!

There is no evidence that this virus makes pigs really sick. The H1N1 virus actually contains genes from swine, avian and human flus. The virus also cannot be spread through pork products, so you can't contract the H1N1 virus by eating bacon, hot dogs or anything else that was once a pig.

Don't build up your own stash of antivirals

A cornerstone of the government's preparations for the outbreak of a pandemic was the stockpiling of 50 million doses of those drugs over the past few years. This is enough to ensure that doctors would be able to respond sufficiently to new outbreaks. However, that capacity could be put at risk if people begin stockpiling antivirals for their own use.

If you feel sick, don't leave home

When it comes to slowing the overall spread of a pandemic, such as the flu, the best thing we can do is keep sick people away from everyone else. If you're feeling sick, don't go to work until you feel better . This may not be great advice if you don't get sick leave, but in the end may be in the interst of everyone.

This sounds trite...but DONT PANIC!

Panic can only lead to irresponsible actions — on a personal and national level — that would likely make a pandemic worse. There is actuall even some good news here: the H1N1 virus is hitting North America at the tail end of its flu season. "This is a cause for deep concern, but not panic," said President Barack Obama in his April 29 news conference. In the midst of all this uncertainty and anxiety, that's good advice.


Thursday, April 30, 2009

Worried about the Swine Flu?

Everyone is concerned about the Swine Flu - and rightfully so. Yet, we know very little about it...and what to do to safeguard ourselves against this threat.

I found the following interesting leaflet being distributed by the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and thought I should share it.

Just click on the document on the left to see the larger version.

I also found this description of the Swine Flu (below) which visually shows the origins of Swine Flu, as well as the symptoms you need to be on the lookout for. (Source AFP/Yahoo)

The World Health Organization says it is going to stop referring to this strain of flu as "swine flu" to avoid confusion over the danger it poses to pigs....

WHO spokesman Dick Thompson said the flu name change comes after the agriculture industry and the U.N. food agency expressed concerns that the term “swine flu” was misleading consumers and needlessly causing countries to order the slaughter of pigs.

So...what's in a name then?

Well, going forward it will be known by
its technical scientific name H1N1 influenza A. I guess it doesn't sound nearly as menacing as "Swine Flu!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Will laser hair removal work for me?

Let us explore this question by reviewing how the laser targets the hair follicle. The laser emits a gentle beam of light that passes through the skin where it is absorbed by the melanin (color) in your hair. As it is absorbed, the laser energy is transformed into heat which then disables the hair follicle and prevents further growth.

The key to this question is whether you have sufficient melanin in your hair in order for the laser to be able to selectively target the hair follicle, rather than the surrounding skin. So, if you, for instance, have grey hair, that has very little or no melanin left at all, laser hair removal will not be effective at all. Due to the fact that a laser targets melanin, the more melanin an individual has in his/her hair, the more effective a laser will be. Therefore, someone with gray, red, or blonde hair is not as good a candidate for laser hair removal.

But there is also the other side of this same equation. Melanin is also what gives our skin color. Therefore, the more melanin in your skin, the darker it looks. The laser targets melanin, and since the laser does not distinguish between melanin in hair and melanin in skin, the more melanin present in the skin, the more the laser is going to target the skin rather than the hair. Therefore, someone with darker skin is not as good a candidate for laser hair removal. Technology has however developed to the point that laser hair removal can successfully be done on all skin types, but the more melanin present in the skin, the more care should be taken by the treating clinician.

Light skin and dark hair are the best combination for laser hair removal. The more closely an individual's skin tone matches his/her hair color, the less likely he/she is to benefit from laser hair removal.

A consultation is normally required to determine if you really are a suitable candidate for a laser hair removal procedure. As a rule, dark, coarse hairs on any part of the body usually respond well to the laser hair removal procedure. On the other hand, very fine or very lightly colored hair — whether it's white, gray, or red — do not respond well to treatment.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why can't we look young forever?

Good question indeed! Why can’t we look young forever? Today people tend to live longer and live a more healthy life. The work environment has also become so competitive that clients are looking for non invasive ways to achieve a more youthful appearance. As we grow older, the skin ages, showing signs such as fine lines, wrinkles and folds. This is brought about through the depletion of subcutaneous fat and the loss of collagen in the skin.

The traditional solution was a face lift to tighten the skin. This approach has a multitude of potentially negative concerns: complication can include a hematoma or an infection or a reaction to the anesthesia, and quite a few more. Today, a multitude of minimally invasive procedures are aimed at rejuvenation without the risk, recovery time, and expense of major surgery.

Augmenting the soft tissue has become a popular means of addressing defects in the skin that result from aging, photodamage and trauma.

Modern day augmentation of soft tissue dates back to the late 19th century when Neuber first used fat derived from the patient’s own body to correct depressed facial folds and defects. Injectable paraffin gained popularity in the early 1900’s. In the mid 1900’s the use of injectable silicone emerged and rapidly gained ground. However, due to a number of adverse effects, the use of silicone as a cosmetic agent has been banned.

The second half of the 1900’s saw an explosion in new technologies contributing to a cascade of new dermal implants. Injectable bovine collagen was developed in the 1970s. The most recent advances in dermal filling technology are in the form of hyaluronic acid derivatives, contained in products such as Juvederm, harvested and cultured autologous dermal implants, allogeneic products, and synthetically derived products. Continuing research promises that advances, such as recombinant human collagen, are on the horizon.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Despite Current Economy Women Are Still Spending Money on In-Office Procedures and Skin Care

According to two new skin care surveys, women are not scaling back on their anti-aging skin routine, despite the current state of the economy.

The Economic Impact on America’s Skin Care Habits, sponsored by Obagi Medical Products, Inc., reported that many continue to spend their hard-earned money on favorite at-home regimens, continuing with regular visits to the doctor and sacrificing other luxuries in order to do so.

Further supporting this study, a recent article in Global Cosmetics Industry (GCI) magazine published a forecast from Mintel, a leading global supplier of consumer, product and media intelligence, that stated they expect a 20% increase in anti-aging skin care sales over the next five years.

The Economic Impact on America’s Skin Care Habits survey found the majority (98%) of women 25-54 years of age surveyed say that they currently spend up to $500 a year on facial procedures and half (50%) would be willing to spend up to $300 on a personalized skin care regimen.

Yet even those women, who are still spending money for in-office procedures at their dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s office, are looking for ways to save money. According to the women surveyed, such savings come in the form of choosing a professional skin care regimen that helps to extend and enhance the benefits of their in-office procedures.

Source: Business Wire Press Release

Monday, April 20, 2009

Can I Improve My Skin Without Downtime?

Twenty-four-seven – that’s the pace we all run at… There is just never a break. So, if you can’t handle any down-time, what can you do to improve your skin? We all desire healthy and radiant skin. Environmental factors, genetics and stress take a toll on your skin. Over time, the aging process and the effects of the sun, wind and pollutants in the air can wreak havoc on your skin. Unfortunately, our highly competitive society places a premium on a youthful look.

Depending on what your concerns are, there may be a no down-time solution available. If you have always felt self conscious about those brown spots (maybe even a birthmark), the fine lines or wrinkles that are starting to show, Intense Pulsed Light Technology (IPL) may be the answer for you. Often referred to as “The Gold Standard” for photorejuvenation, IPL is a breakthrough, age defying procedure that treats skin damage safely, effectively and non-invasively and consists of a series of gentle pulsed light treatments intended to improve the appearance of sun damaged and aged skin, as well as reduce redness and flushing; resulting in a more youthful appearing skin. Photorejuvenation uses no chemicals, has no recovery time, and does not disrupt the skin surface.

IPL and the next generation called Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT™*) has received international recognition and media attention from programs such as “Good Morning America,” and magazines such as Vogue, Allure, Good Housekeeping and Harper. It was also featured on Access Hollywood (see the video below).

S┼Źna's skilled use of FDA-approved AFT can hone in on color-producing melanin cells within pigments, in effect "bleaching" the cells. (Darkening may occur for a few days before the age spots begin to lighten.) Rejuvenation is the process of restoring to a new or more youthful appearance, and that's exactly what our treatments aim to do for your skin. By using specialized handsets and precisely controlling the amount and intensity of light, we are able to effectively treat problem areas with pulsed light - without damaging healthy surrounding skin. And we can do all of this in a 30-minute procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin, causing collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and age lines. The procedure involves only minimal discomfort, while the redness and swelling that sometimes occur after treatment disappear shortly afterwards. The benefits of a photorejuvenation occur gradually in the weeks following treatment.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Does it really matter if I tan...??

Tanning is skin cells in trauma!

I recently visited Australia, and saw this ad campaign on the local TV station. It was developed by the New South Wales Government, and can be seen on their website: Watching this ad, it had a profound effect on me.... and I hope it brings the same realization to you....

If you think tanning gives you a healthy glow, think again. Here's a reminder of some hard-hitting facts.

  • Tanning is skin cells in trauma, trying to protect themselves from cancer.

  • One damaged skin cell can start a melanoma growing.

  • A melanoma need only be 1mm deep to spread to other parts of the body.
The good news is there are simple ways to reduce your risk of skin cancer by protecting your skin from damaging ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and checking your body regularly for changes in moles.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Does your sunscreen work?

More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year. One would think that this would take it to the top of someone's priority list.... but the FDA still hasn't finalized sunscreen standards which were first announced 30 years ago. In the mean time, companies are free to claim "protection", but not provide broad spectrum protection.

An investigation by the Environmental Working Group of nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreen products finds that 80% of those tested contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don't adequately protect skin from the sun's damaging rays. Some of those that have become household names, such as Coppertone, Banana Boat, and Neutrogena are the worst offenders.

Click on the image (left) to download your sun screen shopper's guide from the Environmental Working group.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Background to Skin

So what is skin? Skin is a marvelous garment. It's waterproof, strong, soft, pliable, and most important, self-repairing. Without “skin”, everything – our bones, muscles and organs would be hanging out all over the place! Skin protects and holds everything together. Skin acts like a very large container. It's the largest organ of our body.

Skin also functions as protective covering. Along with a layer of fat underneath, it insulates us against all kinds of bumps, wear and tear. It keeps germs and water out, and keeps your body's fluids and salts in. It also protects our bodies, helps keep our bodies at just the right temperature and, through nerve endings close to the surface of the skin, allows us to have the sense of touch.

Oils act as your body's natural water proofing agent as well as a protector against germs. On the one hand, they make your skin softer; but they can also give you acne. Your skin also contains glands which manufacture sweat.

Skin is much more “alive” than we could ever imagine. It's made of many thin sheets of layers of flat, stacked cells in which we find nerves, blood vessels, hair follicles, glands, and sensory receptors. As the cells in the skin age, older cells are constantly being pushed to the surface by new cells, which grow from below. As these older cells migrate to the top, they become wider and flatter. And, eventually, they end up sloughing off. In fact, every day hundreds of millions of dead skin cells fall from our bodies! In approximately a month's time, our body has made a whole new layer of skin cells!

As we progress through this series of articles, we will focus again on pigment in the skin, called melanin. This is what makes different skin colors. Less melanin in your skin cells makes your skin lighter, more makes it darker. Sitting in the sun can also cause the skin to manufacture more melanin. And the result is what we call a suntan! Although our skin protects us from the sun and the elements, it can suffer as a result.

As we age, our skin loses some of its collagen and elasticity. It is all these changes in our skin and its structure, combined with the damage from the environment, that over time causes age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, and more.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cosmetic Trends For 2008

The ASAPS (American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery) reports 10.2 Million Cosmetic Procedures in 2008. The Aesthetic Society, after collecting multi-specialty procedural statistics since 1997, says the overall number of cosmetic procedures has increased 162 % since the collection of the statistics first began. The most frequently performed nonsurgical procedure was Botox injections.

Top nonsurgical cosmetic procedures among men and women in 2008:

  • BOTOX - 2,464,123
  • Laser Hair Removal - 1,280,964
  • Hyaluronic Acid (including Hylaform, Juvederm, Perlane/Restylane) - 1,262,848
  • Chemical Peel - 591,808
  • Laser Skin Resurfacing - 570,880
source: ASAPS press release

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Ladies of the world have historically had demand for longer, fuller and darker lashes which is why man invented mascara. But why rely on mascara when there is something that can make your natural lashes grow longer and fuller? Allergan, the makers of Botox cosmetic and Juvederm, have created the first FDA approved prescription product for hypotrichosis. What is hypotrichosis and what does it have to do with my lashes? As you may have guessed, hypotrichosis is a term that means inadequate or not enough lashes.

Latisse is as easy as putting on eyeliner and I can tell you from personal experience, that the application method is quite easy. The manufacturer's instructions advise daily application and results are not to be expected until after about six weeks of use, however, their before and after pictures will give you a good indicator of potential lash growth.

Prices will vary from pharmacy to pharmacy, so I suggest you call around before turning in your prescription. Most doctor's offices will also charge you a visit or consultation fee, but you can visit Sona MedSpa for a complimentary consultation for your Latisse prescription and a suggested pharmacy list.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Myth no. 1: BOTOX ® is dangerous

BOTOX ® has been used since 1987…which means that its effects and side effects…and long term effects…are well known and documented. The use of BOTOX ® is still growing annually, with more than 2.8 million procedures currently being performed on a yearly basis. Studies over a 9 year period have shown no long-term negative effects through the repeated use of BOTOX ® among patients that received 30 injections over a nine year period.

Myth no.2: BOTOX ® will give me that “frozen face” look

Quite the opposite! BOTOX ® restores the balance in the facial muscles and creates that “relaxed” look. By injecting the right amount of BOTOX ®, you can reduce the fine lines and wrinkles and achieve that “soft” look.

Myth no. 3: BOTOX ® is poisonous!

The effects of BOTOX ® are temporary, as the body naturally eliminates the administered BOTOX ® over a 3 to 6 month period of time. Clearly, as with any medication, excessive amounts should be avoided.

Myth no.4: BOTOX ® treatments can cause my eye(s) to droop

Getting your BOTOX ® from an experienced medical professional is the key to minimizing this risk. Studies have shown the risk of this side effect to be less than 2%. As the effect of BOTOX ® is temporary, this effect will wear off in a few weeks, should it occur.

Myth no.5: “I am afraid the injections will be painful”

Here I tread carefully, as we all know that pain is a very personal experience! But to put this into perspective, your BOTOX ® treatment involves a few tiny injections that require no anesthesia. If this is your concern, talk to your clinician before the treatment. They can apply ice or a topical anesthetic, if this is required, although our experience has shown that this is rarely the case.