BBL, or BroadBand Light, is an effective non-invasive treatment to fight hyperpigmentation, acne and signs of aging. It’s basically a Swiss Army knife solution to a variety of skin issues!

Also known as a photofacial, BBL uses high intensity pulses of light to improve the appearance of brown (freckles, sun damage, age spots) and red (vascular legions, rosacea, rosy cheeks, poikiloderma) spots. BBL can also treat acne by targeting acne-causing bacteria, and improve the appearance of uneven skin texture, reduce pore size and tighten skin. This corrective laser treatment requires little downtime and is a quick and easy.

How does BBL work?

BroadBand Light gently heats the top layers of the skin, targeting areas of extra pigmentation to stimulate skin cell regeneration and collagen production. The photothermal energy reduces unwanted melanin (which produces pigmented lesions and discoloration) and eliminates fine vessels that cause redness. Excess pigment subsequently rises to the surface and sloughs off one to two weeks after the treatment. In addition to improving overall skin tone and smoothness, BBL helps improve skin elasticity and firmness.

BBL treatments are easily customizable because BBL operates on a large range of wavelengths. As medical professionals, we’re able to deliver precise pulses of light to the area being treated, enabling us to use BBL to effectively treat patients with different skin types and issues. Any area of the body can be treated with BBL. The most common areas we treat are the face, neck, backs of hands, chest and shoulders/upper arms, as these tend to be the areas of the skin that experience the most sun damage.

We can also use a different BBL filter to emit a blue light wavelength that has antibacterial effects on the “P acnes” microbe, which could be the cause of your breakouts (it’s nice to have something to blame by name, isn’t it?).

What does BBL treatment feel like?

We’ll apply a cold gel to the treatment area before BBL treatment, which is fairly painless. You’ll need to wear protective eyewear — this is a powerful ray of light therapy, after all! You should expect to feel a slight warming sensation at the very least, and a sharp rubber band snap at the most (that’s the result of the BroadBand Light absorbing into the targeted areas — pretty cool, right?). Our patients tell us that it’s not too uncomfortable.

That doesn’t sound so bad. How many treatments do I need?

You’ll need to consult with your Skin Pharm provider, but best results often require a series of BBL treatments. Fortunately, you don’t need to carve out much time in your schedule for BBL, as treatment sessions last about 20 minutes (plan for a little longer if we’re targeting larger areas of the body). Depending on the severity of the hyperpigmentation and skin discoloration, you may need one to three sessions every two to three weeks to achieve desired results. Other skin issues, such as poikiloderma, a type of sun damage that results in red colored pigmentation on the skin, can be improved with one treatment.

Sounds great. How long does it take to heal from BBL?

Patients love BBL because, in addition to the quick appointment, there is very little downtime after treatment. Your Skin Pharm provider will apply moisturizer and SPF post treatment, and most patients can apply makeup, return to work immediately and resume normal activities, although your skin may be a little sensitive and pink post-treatment (this shouldn’t last for more than a day or two) and is easily covered up. You may experience darkening of the targeted areas on your skin after your appointment, but this is temporary as these spots will fade or flake off in the next week or two. Expect to see smoother, even-toned skin and reduced visible signs of sun damage and aging.

For best results, avoid sun exposure three weeks before and after BBL treatment, and don’t forget your SPF! At Skin Pharm, we will NOT perform a BBL treatment on tanned skin, so if you show up to your appointment with recent unprotected sun exposure, we’ll unfortunately have to turn you away. Also, you may get a friendly lecture about why SPF is so important.

What are you waiting for? Email or call (615) 582-6726 to book your appointment today!

Perhaps you’ve heard of PRP, but don’t understand exactly what it is?

PRP, which stands for platelet-rich plasma, is an increased concentration of autologous platelets suspended in a small amount of plasma after centrifugation and used for injection into a wound or a particular skin condition. (Translation: PRP is the “liquid gold” derived from a small amount of drawn blood that is spun in a centrifuge and then used in treatments.)

The golden-tinged liquid got its name not only for its hue, but because of its natural healing abilities. PRP contains a high concentration of platelets, stem cells and growth factors to help your tissue heal and grow new cells.

Over the technical info? Essentially, PRP has gained its reputation as liquid gold with research backing to show improvement in fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, hair loss, texture and scarring when topically placed and/or injected underneath the skin. Sometimes referred to a “vampire facial,” adding PRP to your microneedling treatment actually speeds up the healing process.

At Skin Pharm, we use PRP to supercharge the microneedling benefits and treat wrinkles, sun damage, scarring and discoloration. We also do PRP injections to treat hair loss, as PRP stimulates new hair growth.

This is a safe and effective treatment for all skin types and for anyone who wants to improve their skin quality. With minimal downtime, microneedling + PRP (with or without the addition of PRP injections) can be administered every four to six weeks.

Interested to learn more about how PRP can improve your skin’s appearance, or help with hair loss? Schedule an appointment today!

 

We love Botox, and we’re not ashamed to admit it! And you shouldn’t be, either.

We love that Botox erases dynamic wrinkles, or fine lines caused by repeated facial movements. These movements range from smiling and laughing (which we certainly don’t recommend cutting back on for the sake of your face) to glaring and frowning (we’re not here to mess with ability to look angry, or even your RBF). But did you know that Botox injections can be used for far more than targeting wrinkles?

Lip Flip

The lip flip is one of our most requested procedures, as it creates a more pronounced, defined lip without adding volume. We inject a small amount of Botox into the orbicularis oris, the muscles around the mouth, to relax these muscles, slightly rolling the lip outward. The results are subtle but noticeable, relaxing the upper lip and enhancing the Cupid’s bow. If you’re looking for more definition in your lips but not necessarily more volume, this treatment is for you! If you want volume, we can do a lip flip in combination with other lip fillers — just ask your nurse practitioner about what options are the best fit for you.

 

Gummy Smile

Since we’re talking about the mouth, Botox can also help the appearance of a “gummy” smile, or an excessive amount of gum visible under the upper lip. In the past, this was often treated by excessive orthodontic treatment or surgical procedures, but now we can simply inject Botox to relax the lip, giving you a more balanced, confident smile. Studies show that this treatment is a non-invasive option that provides visible results, especially for patients looking for a minimally-invasive solution. Again, talk with your Skin Pharm nurse practitioner about the best treatment option for you, as additional lip fillers like Juvederm or Restylane could also help balance by adding fullness.

Jaw Botox

Masseter Botox — injecting Botox along the jawline — can slim and define your jawline, further defining your face shape. We can also do this in combination with fillers like Juvederm or Restylane for added balance and definition. This procedure has an added benefit for individuals who are prone to clenching or grinding their teeth, as it relaxes the masseter muscle where tension is held. Our patients tell us that in addition to the defined jawline (which they love), they’re experiencing fewer headaches and jaw pain. Talk to your Skin Pharm nurse practitioner if you’re experiencing headaches or jaw pain, as Botox may help alleviate these symptoms.

Remember, Botox takes up to two weeks to fully take effect, so plan accordingly if you’re getting injections before an event.
Questions? Give us a call at (615) 582-6726 or book an appointment.

 

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 consultations@skinpharm.co 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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