Magazine Articles

Do you have Melasma?

What is Melasma? After or by the end of summer it is very common for melasma to be more prominent and it takes a long time to start fading (if it ever fades at all).
Melasma is a very common patchy brown, tan, or blue-grey discoloration (depending on skin tone) medically characterized as hyper pigmentation. Mostly seen on the skin of females, because of hormone changes such as pregnancy, birth control pills, menopause etc… Melasma is very common in Latin, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, Middle Eastern and genetically dark complexions, especially if you are a sun lover or tend to be exposed to the sun on a regular basis. Or long periods of time.
Melasma is primarily on the face (but that does not exclude the body).
There are 3 common facial patterns, which are;
1-centrofacial (center of the face) forehead, cheeks, upper lip, nose and chin.
2-malar (cheekbones),
3-mandbular (jawbone).

How do I know if I have Melasma?

If there is brownish patches that make your skin look uneven or dirty in certain areas, and make up is getting harder and harder to cover these areas; then you probably have melasma.
If you are still not sure then your Physician can diagnose melasma. You can also go to a Medical Aesthetician, who specializes in skin esthetically to repair unwanted damage on the skin and body. First we have to know how deep the damage is as to recommend which service can or should be done. This can be seen by a woods lamp, light, or black light where we can see if your melasma is due to pigment in the dermis, epidermis, or both.

What are the treatments for Melasma?

There are several different treatments that can be done for melasma; it really depends on the skins color and how deep the pigment is. The most common is a Broad Band light laser; this is done only if you have fair to medium complexions.
There are also; chemicals, prescription bleaching creams, retina and various other chemical compounds
Melasma may fade some after summer is over, but with age it will seem to get worse and fade less

How do I keep my Melasma from getting worse?
The best advice is to make sure those areas are protected by the sun (and not just sun block, a hat with 5” brim is recommended to protect the areas because just the heat stimulating the skin can also bring the melanites to the surface.

How do I get rid of it?

You do not want to get rid of all the color in your skin or there would be white areas left behind that would be just as hard to cover and noticeable than the brown (this is known as hypo-pigmentation), so you just want to get rid of the surface damaged melasma so that no one can tell you have it

ADVICE:

See a skin specialist on a normal basis to shed damaged cells and help protect your skin cells from future sun damage of melasma: also Everyday sun block, and monthly treatments will keep the Melasma exfoliated and protect the melaniates (you have too target the melanin and also protect the surrounding areas from damaging so easily.

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson

Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner  

Does your skin always look Red, Flushed, or Blistered?

You May Have Rosacea a chronic skin disorder that affects over 14 million Americans

Rosacea( pronounced ro-ZA-sha) is a common facial skin disorder that most people donÕt even realize they have. You may notice it mostly when you exercise, or have just gotten out of a hot bath or shower or when you have an occasional after dinner drink. It normally starts slow, as occasional redness, then seems to stay for longer periods of time, until one-day it seems your face is always red (to the point that make-up does not cover it), small blood vessels are appearing, and it appears you are always looking flushed or sunburned. If this sounds like you, youÕre not alone an estimated 14 million Americans have Rosacea, yet only a small fraction are being treated. Mostly because they do not realize there are simple treatments and medication available., but if left untreated conditions may lead to more severe problems such as red pus filled bumps in the T-zone area (acne Rosacea), broken blood vessels, you may often have a burning or stinging sensation, or even your nose may appear thicker and bumpy or even disfigured from excess tissue building up.

What causes Rosacea?

The exact cause of Rosacea is unknown but, it is believed to be genetic. It is more common in fair skinned patients and it is more commonly diagnosed when you are between the ages of 30 and 55

How do I get rid of Rosacea?

There is no cure for Rosacea, but with medications and treatments you can control and, reduce signs and symptoms. There are also certain lifestyle changes such as avoiding direct sun exposure, spicy foods, and alcohol. Early treatment may also stop Rosacea from progressing.

Treatments and Medications available

Lasers - erbium lasers can smooth the skin, Yag lasers can visibly improves the skins appearance by removing the broken capillaries , and IPL lasers can minimize the flushing effects
Topical Medications - antibacterial or sulfur washes, moisturizing topical antibiotics and prescription creams and gels that help keep Rosacea under control
Oral Antibiotics - there are several different types of antibiotics commonly prescribed to reduce inflammation. There was a new antibiotic FDA approved in 2008 that has had great success. Some patients only have to take medication for flare ups, while others may have to take antibiotics long term to suppress and control the symptoms.

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson
Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner  

Age Spots on Hands

If you are close to 40,

you are probably starting to see a few dark spots
appearing that don’t quite fade away like they use to!

Age spots (also called liver spots, sun spots, or solar lentigo) most commonly appear on the back of hands but can occur almost anywhere on the skin, especially the sun exposed areas such as the face, shoulders, neck, chest, and legs.

How do we get them?

Most of the cells in the epidermis (skins surface layer) are cells that form the dead skin layer as well as keratin (protein) that protect us from the outside world. Age spots are superficial collections of melanin (a pigment that gives color to the skin) that have accumulated on the top surface of the skin. One in every tenth or twentieth cell is a melanocyte which produces melanin pigment and transfers this brown pigment to our skin cells which protect us from the sun. Some people don’t have as much melanytes as other people and that is why some people don’t tan as well as others.

When we are exposed to the sun our bodies produce melanin to help protect the deeper layers of the skin which is why our skin turns brown or tanned. As we age, our skin’s natural ability to fend for itself seems to deteriorate.

Are they Freckles?

Some patients will mistake age spots for freckles (ephiledes). Freckles are flat brown round spots (about the size of a common nail head or pencil head), and are usually in younger patients with fair skin. Freckles are more numerous in the summer but, tend to fade with age; it’s also an inherited characteristic. Age spots are the result of a ceroid pigment build up (which is when extra melanin becomes clumped or is produced in higher concentrations than normal). It’s the same as an injury to the skin, like the same way a scar is formed from a cut. Freckles fade after summer but, Age spots do not fade away and they get worse with age. Dark spots can be caused by a burn or from sun exposure over a period of time.

Are they dangerous?

Age spots are flat harmless patches of skin, which vary in size from as small as a freckle to as large as more than an inch in diameter. Color can be brown, brownish yellow, brownish red, or even grey-blackish. If you are unsure about it being an age spot, a freckle, or see change in shape or color make sure you consult with a physician or medical aesthetician. They are used to seeing these spots on a regular basis and will know if it looks abnormal or if you need a biopsy. Age spots do not itch and are not painful but, they are not very attractive and they do tell our age. 

How can I get rid of age spots?

There are several different treatments that help fade or rid these unattractive spots; kojic acid, chemical peeling, prescription bleaching creams, IPL lasers , BBL lasers that use bands of light, erbium lasers (burn) and, cryotherapy (freezing

My favorite way to remove age spots is by using a broad band light laser. It seems to be the most effective method with the least amount of healing time and I have had very good results..

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson

Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner  

How to have fun and Still get in the sun?

In my professional opinion I would advise a client to stay completely out of the sun to take the up most care of their skin. In today’s day and age, complete avoidance is rarely an option. Our body needs vitamin d to function properly, originally vitamin D comes from the sun, but the body only needs 10 minutes of sun exposure everyday to receive the necessary amount of vitamin D.

Recently scientist have discovered how to incorporate vitamin D into vitamins and other products you may see today
The best way to lower your chances of getting skin cancer of course is no sun, but if you will avoid long time exposure to intense sunlight and avoid the sun between 10-4, seek shade as much as possible and if you exercise outside do so early in the morning or later in the day.
They actually make sheer clothes and hats that have uva protection in them.
Sunscreen is important also but make sure it is uva and uvb protection of at least 15 and re apply every hour and a half. Lips need sunblocks also and needs to reapply every hour.
Cover the face! You can hide your body with clothes but your face is what everyone looks at when talking to you, so it is the most important to take care of for wrinkles and pre cancerous cells. Men especially don’t forget your ears. They find thousands of skin cancers on the ears every year.
Here are a few extra tips you should also be aware of:

    •  Wrap on sunglasses: Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
    • Follow these practices to protect your skin even on cloudy or overcast days. UV rays travel through clouds.
    • Avoid other sources of UV light. Tanning beds and sun lamps are dangerous. They also damage your skin in other ways.

Here are a few skin cancers and what you need to watch out for

Squamous cell carcinoma – are thin flat cells that look like fish scales
Basil cell carcinoma – a pearly or waxy looking bump

Actinic Keratoeses- Actinic keratoses appear as rough, red bumps on the scalp, face, ears, and backs of the hands
Melanoma-The most dangerous of all skin cancers A large brownish spot with darker speckles
A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds
A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black

The American cancer society website also has some great tips on how to be safe in the sun 

Have a great summer and enjoy the outdoors by going to the beach or the lake, skiing, playing in the pool and even working in your yards, just remember to wear and re-apply your sunblock!

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson

Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner    

Preventative Ways to Help Anyone’s skin Regardless off Age

Here are a few helpful; hints for the Holidays They are easy, not too expensive,And can make great Gifts 

Skincare is important for Men, Women, and even teenagers. Especially if they have any skin disorders that are visible, like Acne, age spots, redness of the face, or blotchiness.

Men usually do not think of doing something for themselves that will improve their appearance, but age does bother them. Age spots on the face and hands, lines around the eyes, redness of the face, or broken capillaries.
Permanent hair removal for men is also great. Men have to shave everyday, and allot of times they get ingrown hairs, that could be prevented if they permanently removed the hair follicles. Allot of men like to golf, hunt, or be outside working in the yards etc…. When they get older they have to limit their sun exposure, so hats with SPF and sun blocks are important for them to wear to prevent pre-cancerous cells. There are also lasers that can help shed the damaged cells, and rid redness of the face and any broken blood vessels. It is a competitive world out there now, and taking care of themselves is important and well respected in the business community.

Teenagers allot of times are too ashamed to ask for acne help, even though it does affect the way they feel, and the way they are treated, but most of all preventing scaring that could last them though their whole lives is very important. When it comes to boys they produce allot of testosterone, which produces allot of oil, hair, blackheads etc… it is important to use a razor that will not cut the bumps off and cause scarring and also one that will not spread bacteria. Girls are a little different when it comes to acne. There are allot of make-ups that will help control, treat, and cover allot of there blemishes. Girls also have to deal with puberty, and if she has hair on her lip or in places that are embarrassing, then it should be removed permanently.

When it comes to Women, men never know what to give or purchase for that special occasion. When Women really need something they either buy it themselves or they say they want something for the house or something the whole family can enjoy. Their main concern through the holidays is making sure the right gifts are purchased for their children, husband, parents, etc…
Skin disorders Women usually have to deal with are brown splotches on our face, Age spots, acne, sagging or wrinkles (especially on our face, neck, and chest). Permanent Hair removal is also a great treatment for women because it saves us time in shaving our legs, underarms, etc…
Holidays are a good time to really show you care about them. The one thing every woman (no matter what age) wants is to feel good about her self.

Written By:  

Rhonda Tomlinson
Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner  

ANGIOMAS

Angiomas are benign growths that consist of small blood vessels. Angiomas can be located anywhere on the body, but the most common area is the face and torso. There are several different treatments that we will discuss along with the most effective and safest way to remove them.
The most common type of angioma is the Cherry Angioma. It looks like a red freckle and the spot is made up of tiny dilated vessels on the skin surface. These vessels account for the cherry red color. When it first occurs it is about the size of a pinhead, but they can become as large as a ¼ inch in diameter and sometimes even larger. These angiomas are normally due to genetic factors and aging. They are normally seen after the age of 40.
Spider angioma (can also be called nevus araneus, spider nevus, or vascular spiders) is a bright red spot with tiny slender broken vessels coming out from it (they resembles spider legs). Spider Angiomas are usually less than a ¼ inch long. These angiomas normally developed in childhood or during times of hormonal changes but they can occur at anytime and on anyone.
Angiokeratoma is an overgrowth of vessels and skin cells. It is a dark red to purple red spot that is raised above the skin. It may also have a scaly rough surface. These angiomas sometimes mimic skin cancers and a biopsy may be recommended before any removal attempts.
The three most common ways to treat angiomas are: electrodessication, liquid nitrogen, and laser. If the angioma appears to be pre-cancerous, excision (surgically cut out) may be recommended.
One way to remove unwanted angiomas is by electrodessication, which is an electrical needle that is touched to the skin and sends a current of energy, which destroys the vessel.
Liquid nitrogen is a cold gas that is sprayed on the skin with a spray gun or applied with a cotton swab; it also will destroy the vessel
Yag and Pulse Dye Lasers use a beam of concentrated light that will destroy the vessel and in my opinion, offers the most effective and innovated way to remove angiomas.
All of these angiomas are painless and harmless but they are not very attractive and can easily be removed. The treatment is usually effective in one visit and the recovery time is minimal.

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson
Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner

Think skin care is just for Women?
Think Again!
Today, men are on the competitive edge more than ever. By taking care of their skin, it will show that take care of themselves!
You’ve finally won the hard-fought experience and confidence it takes to be at the top of your career game. But if you’re over 40 you are also starting to see some signs of aging, such as fine lines, crow’s feet, or redness in the skin that younger men don’t have and maybe you feel you are losing some ground because of it. Those younger men may not have anything on you as far as experience or knowledge, but by the end of the week you are looking so tired and stressed, it’s as though you need to take a vacation. And though there are economic and social benefits that come from looking your best, it’s not about looking younger, as much as it is about looking well-rested, less stressed and more relaxed. In short, age fighting treatments are not just for women anymore.
Men often find it hard and are embarrassed to ask about cosmetic procedures or skin care. In this article we’ll discuss some of the non-surgical procedures we have to offer that have no down time or minimal down time so that they are not noticeable to your friends and colleagues. Some of the most common (and easily treatable) early signs of aging are larger pores, baggy or saggy eyes (tired looking), broken capillaries or redness of the face. Other signs include scarring from ingrown hairs or early adult acne scars are that starting to show a little more prominently.
Below are the treatments that are the most common for men to undergo, starting from the lightest and least amount of down time. Follows is an explanation of what is it, what it does, and how much time it takes.
Microdermabrassion- A quick way to rejuvenate skin by using organic or aluminoxide crystals that flow through a tube(like sanding) that helps to remove dead skin cell, exfoliate the skin and clean out pores. The procedure takes about 20 minutes and there is no down time.
Hydro-Infusion Treatment- This is a procedure that exfoliates by using light chemicals, organically grown live cells and an extra boost of oxygen to address dehydration of the skin. This treatment is a great way to relax and get so much more than just a regular facial, as the process is tailored to meet your skin’s needs. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and there is no down time.
Botox- Botulinum A toxins are injected into the muscle but don’t be afraid of this procedure, as it would take 100 times the amount used to actually poison your system. It has been around for years and the only occasional side effect is a slight bruising. Of course, men don’t want the same procedure as women. just softening of lines and preventing them from becoming too deep. Mainly used on the forehead and around the eyes, the procedure takes about 15 minutes and there is no down time.
Hair Removal/Treatment of In-Grown Hairs- (Not done as much for professional as for social reasons.) There are areas that sometimes need attention, such as the ears, nose or the top of chest and back if it tends to stick out through your shirt. In-grown hairs can lead to scarring that shows up more as we age and there are treatments and products that can reduce this, if not eliminate it completely. This procedure can take anywhere from five to 30 minutes depending on what areas and there is no down time.

Chemical Treatments –Peeling is a great way to remove damaged layers of dead surface skin and shed dead skin cells while giving you a youthful look. Depending upon on age and how many lines, acne, or discoloration is being addressed, treatment varies as to what chemical is used. Treatment time is usually 15 minutes and down time can be anywhere from none to a week, depending upon the chemicals used.
Laser Light or Photo Rejuvenation—These are great for men who have broken capillaries usually associated with drinking, facial redness or age spots. On men these treatments are performed more lightly than on a woman, as women’s ability to wear makeup is taken into consideration. Because it is performed in a much lighter volume it may require multiple treatments. The procedure takes 15 minutes and sun exposure must be minimized for a few hours after the procedure.
Fraxel/CO2 Fractional Lasers- These are good at shrinking pores and minimize deeper scarring that has been left behind by infected ingrown hairs or acne suffered as a young adult. These scars deepen as you lose facial volume which is typically noticeable in the 40’s and becomes more prominently with age. The treatment replaces lost volume and helps rid fine lines. The procedure takes about 30 minutes and is a cutting edge non-surgical treatment. Down time lasts approximately five days.
CO2 Laser Peeling- This is an erbium laser that is used to burn off dead surface cells, as well as rid the skin surface of any risen areas that have built up. . The procedure takes about 20 min and there can be no direct exposure to the sun for 5 days. There is down time of about 5 days, which is actually more of a redness and streaky look that will disappear within three to five days.
Additionally, there are at-home treatments you can perform yourself. Take care of puffy eyes with eye creams specially formulated for men. There is also a new machine that can be used on a daily basis that helps to relax lines and drain some of the puffiness while treating the eyes with antioxidants, plumpers and oxygen. This is been a great new device for men and only takes one minute out of your day. Antioxidants and sun block are the most basic defenses for men. Most men are outdoors much more than women engaging in activities such as golfing, fishing, yard work and more. It is important to wear a sun block as a daily moisturizer plus have a antioxidant applied daily; this will help protect the skin from harmful rays and prevent the cells from damaging so quickly.
So remember men, you are on the competitive edge and you need to take care of your skin and show that you take care of yourself!

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson
Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner

Do you have puffy eyes, dark under-eye circles, or both?

Whether the cause is a few long days or too many restless nights, you have probably delt with both at one time or another.

What can cause dark under eye circles-

Dark circles or bags under your eyes have many causes.

These include:  

  • Increased melanin (also called hyperpigmentation)
  • Fat loss beneath the eyes
  • Broken blood vessels
  • Hard living- too much caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and too little sleep, lots of things can lead to puffy eyes-from too much or too little sleep from eating poorly
  • And yes! Just getting older

8- solutions and strategies to prevent, reduce puffiness, and dark under the eye circles:

1--Get enough sleep- sound sleeping is an inexpensive, way to help minimize dark under-eye circles, no matter what the cause, sleep not only helps keep your eyes bright it also aids your body in repairing cells damage to your skin, sleeping eight hours a night is highly recommended.
2—Dehydration--Avoid alcohol and caffeine- though they may perk you up in the mornings short term, caffeine and alcohol in-take don’t do the same for your skin. They can cause mild dehydration, making dark circles more obvious. Drink-water and stay well hydrated it also helps overall skin tone to firm and give a fuller look
3—Conceal--Go a shade lighter with your concealer than your skin tone is this can help disguise under eye circles. Minerals or concealer made with natural ingredients is best, with it being so close to your eyes.
4--cut back on salts- retaining body fluid can cause puffy eyes it also helps to reduce the tendency for retaining fluid. Reduce the processed foods in your diet and cut back on sodas
5--use cool compresses- the de-puffing of chilled green tea bags, cucumber slices, putting eye cream in the refrigerator, or a gel- eye mask you can keep in the freezer is great.
6—eye creams- If the dark circles under your eyes are due to too much melanin, creams containing lightening agents such as retinol, hydroquinone, kojic acid, green tea, vitamin C, K, caffeine or soy can be helpful, Also Consider skin lighteners and skin bleaching agents- and avoid the sun and use sunscreen daily.
7--Check out injectable fillers – A plastic surgeon may administer which would be best for you. Filler can be used to help if fat loss is the cause of your bags under the eyes. Fillers can help if collagen and elastin breaks down causing surrounding skin to pouch out, it can make puffiness look smaller and minimized while at the same time filling out lines.
8-- laser treatments that are made pacifically for the eye area -
Laser treatments may reduce the look of dark circles due to broken capillaries or darkness. Lasers can also exfoliate dead cell build up and smooth the skin while also building your natural collagen. My favorite is a fractional co2 added with a laser eye peel on top. This exfoliates, smoothes and builds collagen at the same time!

Written By:     

Rhonda Tomlinson
Medical Aesthetician
Georgia Medical Board Laser Practitioner