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.