Fillers, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways!

1. Fillers can enhance specific parts of the face

When most people hear the word “filler” they automatically think of lip filler. While lip filler is — and has been — very popular, dermal fillers are used to enhance multiple areas of the face. Fillers are different from botulinum toxins like Botox or Dysport because they don’t impact muscle motion. (Check out our post about injectables where we talked about dynamic and static wrinkles.) Instead, we inject fillers beneath the skin to restore fullness and smooth fine lines.

Fillers are used to plump lips and are especially effective for aging lips that have lost volume. They can also be injected around the mouth area, effectively erasing smile lines, and in the nasolabial folds — the “parentheses” lines that form between the mouth and the nose. Many of our patients ask for fillers to achieve the perfect pout (and newbies, don’t worry — we always aim to provide natural-looking results). But lately we’ve noticed more patients asking about cheek fillers to enhance cheekbones, leading us to wonder if cheek filler the new lip filler.

If you won’t leave the house until you apply your under-eye concealer, fillers are great for improving hollowing or darkness under the eyes. They can be used to provide a subtle lift to the eyebrow area, resulting in a refreshed appearance.

Added volume with Restylane to her lips and Voluma to her cheeks.

Added volume with Restylane to her lips and Voluma to her cheeks.

2. Fillers can be used for overall sculpting or face balancing

As if fillers weren’t versatile enough, they can also help with or overall balancing and sculpting. We’ve been seeing amazing results in patients who are looking to enhance a thin face with injections along the temples, cheeks and jawlines. We’re getting a lot of requests for jaw sculpting this year as more patients are seeing how this improves their overall appearance. If part of your face has ever felt off-balance to you in these areas, fillers can provide a subtle yet noticeable result.

3. Fillers are an effective treatment to fight scars and visible signs of aging

Fillers can improve the appearance of scarring and dermal atrophy (the literal thinning of your skin due to aging, sun exposure and medication). We’re getting more requests to treat non-facial areas, particularly to address scarring. If you’re fretting over wrinkles or sagging skin on your face or neck, fillers can help with that, too! Fillers that contain hyaluronic acid (like Juvederm and Restylane) erase crow’s feet, fine lines and forehead lines. (Again, these are the static lines discussed here.)

4. Certain types of fillers are reversible

We’ve had patients come to us because they went a little overboard on fillers. Rather than wait it out for several months — or more than a year! — we can dissolve hyaluronic acid-based fillers with hyaluronidase. We can’t say it enough: We always aim for natural-looking results at Skin Pharm, but if you are unhappy with results from hyaluronic acid-based fillers, we can fix that!

5. Fillers are both instantly gratifying and long-lasting

When you schedule an appointment for fillers, you don’t need to give up your entire day — the entire process takes roughly a half an hour. After your consult (which we insist upon each time to ensure you’ll see the results you want), the injections only take a few minutes. While you may experience redness, swelling and bruising, you can resume normal activity immediately (except for exercise — definitely wait 24 hours for a strenuous workout). Dermal fillers typically between six to 18 months, depending on the type used and the area it is injected.

We could keep going, but really — visit us and see for yourself. Fillers are the perfect gift to give yourself this year, and you’ll enjoy the results throughout 2020. If you’re wondering if fillers are right for you, give us a call at (615) 582-6726 or schedule a consult today!

You may have heard skincare and wellness companies use terms like “clean,” “nontoxic” or “all-natural.” Wondering what it means? You’re not alone.

Currently, this type of terminology is not regulated by the FDA for skincare and beauty products, so anyone can slap them on a product label to appeal to consumers avoiding unnecessary additives. To make things even more confusing, just because a product is “natural” or plant-derived doesn’t mean it’s risk-free (for example, would you put poison ivy on your face?). Today, we’re going to discuss parabens.

What are parabens?

Parabens, derived from para-hydroxybenzoic acid (PHBA), are a group of commonly used antimicrobial ingredients that act as preservatives within personal care products and cosmetics. Any product that contains water has the potential to be spoiled by the growth of bacteria and fungi that can lead to nasty problems like mold, discoloration and a degradation of the product. Parabens are added to formulas because they prevent the growth of these microorganisms and enhance the shelf life of personal care products across a wide range of cosmetic categories.

Since they’re gentle, easily absorbed and naturally derived from plants, parabens used to be the most commonly used type of preservatives for cosmetics. Some research indicates parabens are safe in cosmetics and are preferred over other preservatives to keep a formula stable. These studies claim that parabens — especially when used in small doses, as they tend to be in cosmetics or personal care products — did not have any effect when compared to natural hormones in the body. Additionally, the FDA has classified parabens as GRAS, or Generally Regarded As Safe, but is evaluating new data and will advise the public if they are deemed hazardous.


General chemical structure of a paraben (Wikipedia)

So, what’s the problem?

You’ll notice we said parabens “used to be” the most commonly used type of preservative. You may have also noticed an increasing number of skincare and personal care products now touting “paraben-free” labels. What happened?

Despite the FDA’s safety classification, some researchers have questioned if parabens can disrupt the body’s endocrine system or whether they have an estrogenic effect, interfering with the hormonal balance in the user’s body. While we noticed these studies are perhaps carried out in a way that is unrelated to what happens when parabens are applied to the skin, we think the potential of parabens presenting as harmful ingredients is something to take seriously (the EU does, for example — they’ve banned five types of parabens for use in cosmetic or personal care products).

Of course, it’s your choice to whether or not you should use parabens in your skincare routine. At Skin Pharm, we do not use parabens in any of our products. For transparency, we list all ingredients on individual product pages and packaging and our team is always happy to help.

If you’re trying to avoid parabens, check your labels for the following common ingredients: benzylparaben, butylparaben, ethylparaben, isobutylparaben, isopropylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben.

Have a question for Skin Pharm? Ask it here!

So many paraben-free Skin Pharm products to choose from!


While sunscreens are the number-one product you should be using, medical research has told us that the runner-up is retinoids. Unlike other skincare ingredients, there is over 30 years of research on the safety and efficacy of retinoid use for improving skin health. 

Retinoids. What are they?

One of the most common questions we get is, “What is the difference between a retinoid and a retinol?”

First, let’s discuss the difference between the terms retinoids, retinols and retinoic acid. The term “retinoids” refers to topical treatments formulated from vitamin A. Retinoids were originally developed as an acne treatment in the 1970s. Further research revealed that retinoids were a promising treatment to treat the visible effects of aging as they fight pigmentation and keratoses (sun spots or age spots). A retinoid is a general term referring to compounds that are recognized by the same receptors in the skin.

A retinol is a cosmetic retinoid. Retinoic acid is a retinoid, but retinol is not the same as retinoic acid. Retinol is not classified as a drug and is available over-the-counter. Retinoic acid, on the other hand, is sold as a prescription drug. The generic name is Tretinoin and brand names are Refissa and Retin-A. Retinoic acid is more active than retinols when comparing activity. 

How do Retinoids work?

Basically, we use retinoids to help slow the signs of the aging process. Retinoids increase skin cell turnover and stimulate the production of new blood vessels, improving overall skin tone. They also increase the production of elastin and collagen, smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. In addition to fading pigmentation, sun spots and age spots, retinoids can also soften scaly, rough patches of skin.

On a more clinical level, retinoids regulate keratin synthesis and sebaceous gland activity, which is why retinoids are great for acne patients. They also manage proliferation and terminal differentiation of fibroblasts, which are the cells in the skin that make collagen and elastin (translation: this makes skin smoother). Our skin has more fibroblasts when we’re younger — hence that smooth baby skin — but retinoids actually make more fibroblasts, resulting in more collagen and elastin!

Sounds great. What are the side effects?

Depending on the strength of the product you’re using — particularly prescription formulas — retinoids can cause dry and irritated skin. The higher the power of the retinoid, the greater the increase in irritation. Consult with your Skin Pharm provider to determine the best treatment plan for your skin.

I’m in. What should I use?

The strongest retinoid products are available in prescription and some over-the-counter (OTC) options, but many patients cannot tolerate the redness, burning and peeling enough to stick to a treatment routine. There is research to support that retinol, which is the strongest of the OTC retinoids, can create underlying molecular changes in the skin like retinoids do, resulting in a significant reduction of wrinkles after 12 weeks of use. Since OTC retinol contains less retinoic acid than prescription treatments, you get great results without extreme side effects.

Our Skin Pharm Retinol Drops™ were created to refine pores, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots, and improve overall skin texture. This lightweight yet powerful nightly treatment for aging skin addresses concerns such as hyperpigmentation, loss of firmness, free radical damage, dark spots, melasma, fine lines and wrinkles. Retinol, bisabolol, and vitamin C give your skin that healthy Skin Pharm glow, while vitamin E and sea whip extract calm the skin. We recommend using Retinol Drops two to three times a week in the evening (avoiding the eye area). Increase frequency as tolerated or directed by your Skin Pharm provider.

Skin Pharm Retinol Drops Opened


Anything else I should know?

If you’re wondering why you don’t need to use retinoids every night, it’s because retinoids are a fat lipid, meaning they dissolve in our skin and stay there for days. We recommend alternating and taking a day off in between. If it’s easier to remember to use every evening, that’s fine, but be sure to use a lower strength to avoid irritation.

You’ll need to consistently use products containing retinoids for roughly three to six months before you’ll see results. While retinoids are superpower skin savers, they’re also an exercise in patience. Retinoids also increase sensitivity to sunlight, so be sure to wear your SPF every day.


Questions? Email for a free consultation.


Moisturizers — you know you need them, but do you understand what they do for your skin? As we are entering the drier months of the year, moisturizers are even more important for your daily skincare routine. We’ll break it down for you, and we’ll make it more fun than science class.(Because this is all about giving you the best skin possible, right?)

What is a moisturizer?

A moisturizer is a topical product designed to maintain levels of oils and water in the skin sufficient for it to be soft and pliable. Moisturizers can be creams, lotions, serums or oils that are applied to the very top portion of the skin, or the epidermis. The top layer of the epidermis is called the stratum corneum (composed of dead cells that you actively shed) and the bottom is called the basal cell (made of living cells that replace the dead cells in the stratum corneum). The dermis is directly underneath the epidermis and consists primarily of proteins such as collagen and elastin fibers. There is also blood supply here. 

Photo by Young Pharmaceuticals

Why do I need a moisturizer?

A certain amount of transepidermal water loss (a fancy way of saying water from inside our body evaporates out of our body) is necessary to ensure skin is not too greasy and, alternately, not too dry. When skin gets too dry — whether it’s affected by the temperature, humidity, hormone changes, or other factors — we treat it with moisturizers to maintain levels of oils and water in the skin. 

Are there different kinds of moisturizers?

The three kinds of moisturizers include humectants, occlusive agents and barrier enhancing agents. 

Humectants, also known as “moisture magnets,” are water-soluble compounds that attract water molecules. Water is attracted from the atmosphere around you and from water within the body. These are ideal for treating mild dry skin conditions. 

Examples of humectant ingredients include: Sodium hyaluronate (hyaluronic acid), sodium lactate (lactic acid), polyhydric alcohols (glycerin, butylene glycol),and aloe vera. 

Occlusive agents, which are water insoluble (meaning they cannot dissolve in water) cover skin to prevent water from evaporating. When water from within the body tries to evaporate, the skin does not allow it, and the top of the skin swells with water. 

Examples of occlusive agents include: Beeswax, petrolatum (Vaseline), squalane, mineral oil, olive oil, lanolin, isopropyl palmitate, isopropyl myristate and dimethicone.

Barrier enhancing agents (BEA) are specific combinations of natural lipids that hold water within the skin. If the skin is not producing enough BEAs, applying these topically can improve skin health. When BEAs are applied to the skin, they can actually cause the skin the skin to make more of the BEAs that are needed for a healthy skin barrier, such as niacinamide!

Examples of BEAs include: cholesterol, palmitic and stearic acid, ceramides and niacinamide. 

Is there going to be a quiz or are you going to tell me what products I should use?

No quizzes today, we promise! The Skin Pharm line has several products with moisturizing ingredients. Our Youth Serum is packed with three peptides and hyaluronic acid and is suitable for all skin types and can be used in the AM and/or PM. For normal to dry skin types, our Biotherapy Cream is a lightweight moisturizing cream that nourishes and repairs the skin’s barrier function, restoring skin firmness and visibly reducing signs of aging. Biotherapy Cream is ideal for PM use, treating your skin while you sleep

We’ve created additional Skin Pharm products that gently exfoliate (say goodbye to those dead skin cells we talked about earlier) while providing the  added benefit of moisturizers to counteract any anticipated irritation or dryness. These include our popular Clarifying Pads (hydroxy acids exfoliate while added botanicals brighten and hydrate) and our Brightening Lotion ( botanicals treat dullness while peptides and glycerin address dryness).

Still have questions about what products are right for your individual skin needs? Call us at 615-582-6726 and book an appointment today!


Skin Pharm Clarifying Pads

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