Facial Redness Affects Self-Esteem

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that is characterized by persistent redness or erythema of the face.  It affects over 16 million adults in the United States alone.

More women tend to develop rosacea in their lifetimes than men.  The usual age of onset, regardless of gender, is when a person is in their 30s.

The most common symptoms of rosacea include persistent facial redness, temporary blushing and/or flushing, and pimple-like breakouts.  These symptoms predominantly develop on the central portions of the face, including the nose and cheeks, in 80% of rosacea cases.  A smaller percentage of more severe cases additionally have redness extending into their chin, forehead, and, in some extreme cases, even their eyes.

The redness is obviously the most striking and embarrassing of the symptoms associated with rosacea.  Of the women who have rosacea, 43% report having to use increasing amounts of makeup to cover up this increasing redness over time.

Since rosacea can be aggravated by certain behaviors or activities known as “triggers”, many rosacea patients avoid these behaviors.  Such “triggers” include sun exposure, hot baths/saunas, and consumption of alcohol.

A recent survey of rosacea patients in the Journal of Drugs in Dermatology showed that:

  • 75% felt low self-esteem due to their condition
  • 70% reported being frequently embarrassed by their skin condition, with
    • 26.9% worried about how others react to their redness
    • 42.8% feeling unattractive due to rosacea
  • 72% cited the visible blood vessels and persistence of redness as the most bothersome symptoms.

Based on the above results , it is no surprise that the negative self-perception of rosacea patients increases with the severity of their redness.  More than 80% of those diagnosed with rosacea have visited a dermatologist or skincare physician for their condition.

25-50% have used topical products and/or oral antibiotics to treat their condition.  However, most of these survey respondents were frustrated with their treatment and its lack of long-term effectiveness.

Because of this dissatisfaction with current medication-based therapies, patients frequently come to our offices for laser-based therapies.  Increasingly, I am also receiving calls from dermatologists who are referring rosacea patients to us in order to help with complaints they receive of persistent redness and visible blood vessels.

Since the vascular lasers we use at Maine Laser Skin Care cause the blood vessels on the face to collapse, the body then reabsorbs the vessels and the redness is incrementally reduced with each treatment.  I can unequivocally say that the laser treatments we do for rosacea have a high satisfaction rate among patients which, based on the aforementioned study, is obviously resulting in improved self-esteem.

I do emphasize to rosacea sufferers that there is no cure for rosacea.  However, the good news is that we can manage it with periodic laser treatment after the initial redness is controlled.

If you have facial redness or a diagnosis of rosacea and frustrated with current treatments, call us in Augusta at (207) 873-2158, or in Scarborough at (207) 303-0125.  We can schedule you for a free and confidential consultation to see how laser therapy can help you.

Posted in Facial Health, Laser Treatments, Rosacea | Leave a comment

What You Need To Know About Sun Protection

The weather has suddenly become warmer.  With more layers of clothing being shed after this long winter we have had, more of your skin is inevitably being exposed to the environment.

Weather scientists (i.e. meteorologists) have documented a diminishing of the ozone layer and greater warming of the planet.  These findings mean that now more than ever, all of us need to be more aware of the sun and its increasing dangers.

Unfortunately, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that only 25-50% of people use the recommended amounts of sunscreen on a regular basis.  Surveys show that there is much misinformation out there about sunscreen that inhibits the greater use of this important protection mechanism.

May happens to be Skin Cancer Awareness Month.  Because of this fact, I thought it would be appropriate to revisit some common questions and dispel common myths.

First and foremost, sunscreen does not cause harmful side effects or cancer.  In the USA, sunscreens are regulated by the FDA as drugs, and undergo rigorous testing for safety and efficacy before being approved.

Multiple studies have proven that none of the compounds in sunscreen can cause cancer in humans.  The major fact to consider with this evidence is that the risk of getting skin cancer from sun exposure, including deadly melanoma, far outweighs the infinitesimal risk from the use of sunscreen.

Second, sunscreen is important for every skin type and skin tone.  Some people claim that because they have a darker skin tone and because they tan easily, they do not have to use sunscreen.

Even the darkest skin tones of people from, or who have ancestry tracing back to, places like Africa or India are only equivalent to an SPF of 6.  Those who never have sunburns will actually receive sun damage over the years that increases their risk of contracting premature skin aging and skin cancer.

Please, by all mean, enjoy the outdoors.  However, also remember the following points as you go outside in the coming months:

  1. No one should ever skip wearing sunscreen.  Apply it to all exposed areas of the body even on cloudy days.  Minimum use should be one ounce of sunscreen per application.
  2. If you are active outdoors during the day, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours at a minimum.
  3. Wear more sun protective clothing such as wide brim hats, and some of the new varieties of SPF clothing.
  4. If you feel the need for vitamin D, take a supplement.  It is much safer than exposing yourself to the sun for the equivalent vitamin D production by your skin.
  5. Never ever use tanning beds!  Feel free to read one of my earlier blog posts for more information on why you should avoid tanning beds.

If you are in search of a great sunscreen that will not block your pores but will still be strong enough to protect you, check out our selection of sunscreens that we have for sale at Maine Laser Skin Care.  Each of these sunscreens has been chosen for its safety and effectiveness.

Posted in Sun Protection, Sunburn, Youthful Appearance | Leave a comment

May Product of the Month

This month’s product that we are showcasing is an item that we admittedly have a hard time keeping in stock, as it is increasingly very popular for dealing with a difficult-to-control facial issue.  Maine Laser Skin Care’s Product of May 2018 is SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex.
The A.G.E. is an acronym for Advanced Glycation End.  These words mean that this product ends the process of glycation, which is the attachment of sugars to elastin and collagen in the skin.
When applied to the skin, particularly around the eye, SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex breaks down these sugars to give your skin its smooth appearance and texture.  This eye complex is a potent remedy that diminishes the look of dark circles and puffiness under the eyes.
The A.G.E. Eye Complex is specifically formulated for the delicate skin around the eyes with a potent combination of proxylane, blueberry extract, and a complex of flavonoids and peptides.  These ingredients act to reduce wrinkles under the eyes by gently resurfacing the skin and reducing the intensity of dark circles and bags of puffiness.
This product is free of parabens, which are dyes and alcohol that could bother the delicate skin around the eyes.  Only a small amount is needed with each application so that the size that we sell can last for several months.
It should be applied gently around the eyes in the morning after your usual morning routine.  Ladies should reapply it at night after washing off makeup, and men after washing their face.
If you have dark circles and/or puffiness under your eyes and have been frustrated by the results of over-the-counter products in the past, A.G.E. Eye Complex could be the answer to your prayers.  My staff swears by its effectiveness, and patients who have used it keep coming back for more.
As always with our products of the month and all other products we carry, you can order SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Eye Complex from our website, or drop by our Augusta or Scarborough office and pick up a container.  You can also call our offices in Augusta at (207) 873-2158, or Scarborough  at (207) 303-0125 to reserve a jar and get it into your hands as soon as possible.
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April Product of the Month

Spring has theoretically sprung (at least on the calendar), and it’s time to announce Maine Laser Skin Care’s Product of the Month for April 2018.  Denise Gidney, our Augusta aesthetician, has selected the SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier as her particular favorite of this month.

This H.A. Intensfier is a multi-functional serum formulation that helps to magnify your skin’s own hyaluronic acid levels, which are responsible for moisture within the skin and act as a building block of collagen.  Hyaluronic acid (H.A.) is a natural and powerful humectant, which means that it helps to attract and maintain moisture levels in areas of the skin in which it is higher in concentration.

As the name implies, H.A. Intensifier amplifies your own hyaluronic acid levels within your skin, which improves the firmness, smoothness, and fullness of the skin.  The SkinCeutical formulation contains a combination of high levels of pure hyaluronic acid with proxylane and purple rice extract, all of which act to support the natural reservoir of moisture within the upper layers of the skin.

SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier is the product for you:

  • if you want to preserve your underlying skin firmness, and/or
  • if you have chronically dry skin that needs moisture enhancement, and
  • if other moisturizers, particularly over-the-counter moisturizers, haven’t helped.

It is also a product where a little truly goes a long way.  You use only 4-6 drops to the face twice a day to have the full effect on moisture levels and facial firmness.

To get a vial for yourself, you can order it from our website, drop by our Augusta and Scarborough office, or call us at (2o7) 873-2158 or (207) 303-0125.   You can also call either of these numbers if you have any questions about this product or about any other skin care issues.

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The Case For Early Intervention to Prevent Facial Aging

The majority of patients and clients we see at Maine Laser Skin Care and Medi-Spa wish to correct a particular existing skin problem or issue they are having.  However, many other have come in over the past several years wanting advice on preventive measures to reduce the effects of the aging process, especially on the face.

Facial aging itself is a complex process.  It involves both internal and external factors that cause progressive changes in your skin, underlying tissue, and even bone.

Over the past 20 years, there have been amazing advances in approaches to treatment of the skin and underlying foundational tissues.  Still, despite these many progresses, many experts (including myself) believe that early minimally-invasive treatments remain the best way slow the progression of the facial aging process, and may also prevent the need for more substantial and aggressive invasive treatments later in life.

Protecting the skin is obviously the highest priority.  Sadly, studies have shown that people in North America with normal recreational exposure to the outdoors, especially Caucasian people, can show signs of sun damage as early as 15 years of age that will inevitably bother them later in life.

The chronic effects of sun alone on the skin has been shown to cause 80% of facial aging.  Using broad spectrum sunscreens undisputedly slows the effects of sun damage, and should be the number one preventive measure every one uses every day.

Another important component of skin health and appearance is its underlying foundation and elasticity, which the skin has thanks to its collagen and elastin fibers.  With aging, these fibers degrade over time, and the cells that produce replacements slow down in their functioning.

Keeping collagen intact and stimulating younger levels of collagen production can prevent the breakdown in skin function and appearance with aging.  Stimulating new collagen production can be done in a number of very simple ways.

Precisely-controlled (yet temporary) damage to the skin through the use of microneedling and various lasers such as Laser Genesis starts the tissue repair process.  When the skin takes the time to repair its own tissues, the skin becomes remodeled and rejuvenated.  Radio frequency waves such as Pellevé and subcutaneous heat produced by laser light can also tighten existing collagen and lift the skin.

Injectable fillers, such as the Juvederm family of Volbella, UltraPlus, Vollure, and Voluma, essentially replace existing collagen in concentrated areas such as the lips, chin, and cheeks.  These particular products consist of hyaluronic acid, which is the primary chemical component of collagen in various thicknesses.

Fillers have an immediate effect on lines, especially in the lower face.  Plus, they remain effective for a period of 1-2 years.

In the upper face, repetitive motion of different muscle groups lead to the formation of deep lines such as scowl lines, crow’s feet, and forehead lines. Early and regular use of Botox before the lines become excessively deep has been shown to prevent developing dynamic wrinkles.

In summary, early aesthetic interventions can slow the progression of facial changes over time and potentially reduce the need for other extensive and invasive procedures in the future.  I have also seen that those who make the effort to use preventive aesthetic measures have a better sense of well-being, and feel that they are being pro-active about their approach to aging.

All of these and other issues can be discussed and addressed in a free and individualized personal consultation. You can schedule your next consultation with us by calling our office in either Augusta at (207) 873-2158 or Scarborough at (207) 303-0125.

Posted in Facial Health, Fillers, Juvederm, Laser Treatments, Micro Needling, Pellevé, Sun Protection, Youthful Appearance | Leave a comment

April Is Vollure and Voluma Fillers Month

Because of Maine Laser Skin Care’s special status as a Platinum Partner with Allergan, the makers of Botox and the Juvederm family of dermal fillers, we are able to offer our customers and patients significant savings in addition to Brilliant Distinction points and our own Christmas, Birthday, and Referral discounts.  April will be one of those months specifically dedicated to the category of dermal fillers.

For the entire month of April 2018, the Vollure and Voluma dermal fillers are on sale at both our Augusta and Scarborough office.  For both of these Juvederm fillers, the first syringe will be $100 off the usual price, and a second syringe will be $200 off.

In other words, for any combination of Vollure and Voluma syringes, you can get $300 off the purchase of 2 syringes.  This deal is the perfect opportunity for you if you have been thinking about getting a filler treatment for this coming spring and summer.

You can of course make an appointment to have your Vollure and/or Voluma fillers injected this month, but these available appointment slots will probably go fast, especially since I will be away for a few days at a medical conference later this month.  With this inevitable predicament in mind, I am willing to offer an additional perk.

If you want to take advantage of this special pricing but will not be able to get your injection scheduled this month, you can pre-pay for your syringes for treatment at a later date.  In other words, if you were planning on having Vollure or Voluma fillers later this spring, summer, or fall,  you can prepay for the filler at the discounted price, and we will then save or bank that filler for you to get injected at a later date.

To recap, you can save up to $300 off the best dermal fillers this month, and you can prepay to lock that discounted price in for use after the month of April.  You can also combine this pricing with your Brilliant Distinctions points and any Birthday or Referral credit you may have.  This is definitely a win-win situation!

If you want to take advantage of this special filler pricing and get the injections this month, feel free to call our Augusta office at (207) 873-2158 or our Scarborough office at (207) 303-0125 ASAP to grab the remaining appointment slots.  If you want to lock in the pricing, call or drop by either of our offices this month to pre-buy and bank your Vollure and/or Voluma for later use.

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Spring Is the Best Time For Laser Hair Removal

Laser hair removal is consistently the #1 laser treatment in the country, and has always been the #1 laser procedure here at Maine Laser Skin Care and Medi-Spa.  Additionally, laser hair removal ranks right up there with Botox as one of the most requested non-surgical aesthetic procedures nationally and here in our office.

The efforts to remove unwanted hairs while also stopping that undesired hair from growing back dates back thousands of years with evidence of ancient civilizations using many techniques to remove hair.  While the hair removal was normally successful, stopping more hair from regrowing was often times not.

Fortunately, technology has improved to the point that hair not only can be removed, but can also be permanently reduced in the areas treated.  Even over the past 15 years since Maine Laser Skin Care was founded, lasers have improved significantly in terms of their comfort, safety, and effectiveness.

For women, the face is the most common areas treated area for removing hair, especially the chin and the upper lip.  Other treatment areas that women commonly request include the underarm, the bikini area, legs, and arms.

Women also complain frequently about the problems caused by other methods of hair removal, including waxing, shaving, bleaching, or depilatories.  These treatments are known to cause women pain, cause chafing, and actually encourage the growth of more unwanted ingrown hairs.
They also note the ongoing expense for a temporary solution to those pesky hairs.  Especially in women, hormonal changes may activate dormant hairs at a later date, and may require additional treatments at that time.
For men, the back and the chest are the most common areas for laser treatment.  The continuing issues of shaving areas that are difficult to reach lead men to choose laser treatments, even if just to “thin out” areas that are considered too hairy.
Social pressure may be a factor in men deciding to undergo a laser treatment.  Still, men also complain about the discomfort of the heat and sweat that occurs when there is too much hair on their chests and backs.

Technically, laser technologies have made it easier to treat patients of many different skin types.  Cooling techniques have also improved significantly, so that the danger of the targeted skin burning or blistering during a laser treatment is now rare.

Unfortunately, despite all the advances in technology, no laser or light based energy available right now works well with very light, blonde or gray/white hair.  Research is being done all the time on this issue, so treatments for this kind of hair should be on the horizon.  As always, I will keep you posted.

One of the nicer aspects of laser hair treatments is that the process gets easier as the treatments continue.  With each treatment, there is less hair and therefore less discomfort.

The common term for laser hair removal is more accurately described as permanent laser hair reduction.  As we perform more treatments, more hair is reduced on an ongoing basis.

Although laser hair removal treatments can be performed year round with adequate sunscreen protection, the late winter and early spring is a great season to start the process.  When receiving a laser treatment this time of year, any unwanted hair you have is significantly reduced by the time summer arrives.

If you have any issues of unwanted hair and you want a permanent solution, please feel free to call Maine Laser Skin Care and Medi-Spa for a free and confidential consultation at our Augusta office at (207) 873-2158, or our new Scarborough office at (207) 303-0125.  We can choose different levels of laser energy depending on the patient’s needs, but it is best to determine those needs in such a consultation.

Posted in Hair Removal, Laser Treatments, News, Other | Leave a comment

Putting Your Best Face Forward

Many of you may not have noticed it yet, but after much consideration, Maine Laser Skin Care has changed its motto. Previously, our theme was “Your Best You,” which is still a great goal.  Our new motto is “Beautifying Maine One Face At A Time,” which we even had trademarked!

One of the many things I like about this emerging field of aesthetic medicine is that it is constantly changing and improving.  Social trends also shape the types of treatments for which people are looking.

A 2017 national survey of patients who go to medi-spas showed that 55% wanted aesthetic procedures “to look better in selfies”, up from 13% in 2016.  The impact of the millennial generation is also being seen more and more with progressive increases in patients under 35 who want aesthetic treatments.

As a niece of mine told me, millennials like herself have grown up knowing about Botox and other technologies.  They see no reason why they have to wait to get treatments until lines and wrinkles get bad.

Millennials have been the population who are asking the most about proactive and preventive approaches to skin care.  However, they’re not the only ones.

For those of us over 35, major drivers for aesthetic procedures include staying competitive in the workplace and “looking less tired.”  It is no wonder that Botox, dermal fillers, and laser treatments are the top 3 requested procedures in this age group used to lessen the long term effects of lifetime sun exposure and damage.

In the next month, my wife Christine and I will be traveling to Dallas, Texas for a major national laser and aesthetic conference in order to keep our skills sharp in this rapidly-changing field. We also hope to learn what is new on the horizon so that we can bring it to Maine to keep beautifying this naturally beautiful state one face at a time.

If you have any questions about your specific skin issues or skin care in general, please give our Augusta office a call at (207) 873-2158, or our new Scarborough office at (207) 303-0125. Remember that our consults are always free, confidential, and individualized to your unique skin care needs and wants.

Posted in Facial Health | Leave a comment

Skin Spots and What to Do About Them

If you notice a spot on your skin, you should not panic, but you also should not ignore it.  In fact, all skin spots need to be assessed by a healthcare professional to rule out the worst case scenario of skin cancer.  Fortunately, the overwhelmingly vast majority of the spots on the skin are not cancerous or even pre-cancerous.

Assuming your particular spots are not the worrisome kind as assessed by your primary care doctor or a skin care doctor like myself, most people still do not like the appearance of their skin looking blotchy, discolored, or irregular.  Our natural tendency is to want the skin to look even in tone and color for our skin type.

Most of these skin discolorations are called hyperpigmentation, meaning excessive pigment deposited in the skin.  There are a number of reasons for developing hyperpigmentation, and they are important to know in order to ascertain the type of treatment to resolve it and ways to prevent further discoloration in the future.

Ultraviolet or sun-related damage to the skin is the most common cause of hyperpigmentation among both men and women.  UV rays, whether from the sun or a tanning bed, cause skin cells to produce excess melanin, which is the chemical that is deposited in the skin cells to become darker and tan.

When UV exposure ceases, the melanin is removed from the cells and the color fades.  When this process occurs repeatedly and cumulatively over the years, these cells become stained with melanin and the color never fades, resulting in an area of hyperpigmentation.  My best analogy is to describe the skin as developing rust.

Some common terms for these areas are age spots, sun spots, and liver spots.  The latter popular name is the most inaccurate and misleading, as these spots have absolutely nothing to do with the liver.  Therefore, the sun and aging process are the true causes of this problem.

In women, hormone changes can cause changes in melanin production within skin cells.  These spikes in melanin combined with UV exposure result in areas of diffused hyperpigmentation known as melasma.

Pregnancy is most commonly associated with this type of discoloration of the skin.  However, this can also happen with any other hormone changes, including changes in hormonal birth control and hormone replacement therapy associated with menopause.

Usually, the discoloration is lighter in color than purely sun- and age-related hyperpigmentation, but it can cover a wider area.  Limiting sun exposure around the time of hormone changes is the best prevention.  The treatment is the same as the sun-related hyperpigmentation.

Another kind of hyperpigmentation can occur with other traumatic injuries to the skin.  When the skin heals, many people who have high levels of melanin within their skin cells exhibit these injured areas as darker than the surrounding non-injured skin.

This reaction is technically known as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  Although it can occur with any injury such as surgical scars, the most common manifestation occurs with acne.

The inflammation associated with the acne breakout itself can cause darkening.  If a pimple is popped or it breaks open, the resulting scar can also be darker in many instances.

Limiting acne breakouts and inflammation are the best ways to prevent longer-term darkened scarring.  This prevention can be accomplished by a regimen of good skin care to short circuit the cycle of acne related inflammation.

In UV related hyperpigmentation, a great defense can decrease the need for a great offense.  Sunscreen with an SPF (i.e. Sun Protection factor) of at least 30 is the best offense, and needs to be worn every day.

The face, back of hands, and the neck/upper chest are the most common areas that must be covered with sunscreen every day.  In the warmer months, more skin areas will be need a daily sunscreen treatment when they become more exposed.

While sunscreen is the best way to prevent sunspots from forming, what about when you already have sunspots and want them out of sight?  Fortunately, sunspots that already linger on the skin can be treated.

Treatments for sun damaged spots include facial peels, which will remove the top layer of pigmented cells, and topical retinols, which will cause a more rapid exfoliation of the pigmented cells.  Laser treatments remain the gold standard for the most thorough way to remove hyperpigmentation.

During a laser treatment, a focused beam of laser light of the proper wavelength can target cells with excess melanin.  Once targeted, the beam causes a wound healing response, which will lessen and eventually correct the pigmentation over time.

Sometimes, both topical products and antibiotics may be needed.  There are also specific laser interventions that can reduce oil production, shrink pores, and lower skin bacteria levels to also break that cycle.  In the end, the pigmentation related to acne and other scars can also be lightened with multiple therapies as noted above.

If you have any questions about abnormal pigmentation you may have and you want to have assessed, feel free to give us a call at (207) 873-2158 for a free consultation of your spots and an assessment of what would be involved in resolving them.  As you may know, our mission here at Maine Laser Skin Care is to beautify Maine one face (and body) at a time!

Posted in Facial Health, Laser Treatments, News, Other, Sun Protection, Youthful Appearance | Leave a comment

March Product of the Month

The March Product of the Month is . . . SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel. We here at Maine Laser Skin Care and Medi-Spa, now in 2 locations in Augusta and Scarborough, have been carrying SkinCeutical products for a number of months now, and we are continually impressed with the results and consumer reactions.

SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel replenishes nutrients within the skin that your skin cells need in order for the outer skin to appear more youthful and feel smoother.  This product is oil-free, dye-free, and fragrance-free.

The B5 Gel can be used alone or with your daily moisturizer.  It is a great product for all skin types, and is especially ideal for dry, acne-prone skin.

Hydrating B5 Gel contains 2 major ingredients that enable it to moisturize, hydrate, and smooth the skin. The first is Vitamin B5, which is an important mediator of cell metabolism, especially in skin and nerve tissues.

When Vitamin B5 levels are renewed within skin cells, these cells are able to grow at the rate they did when you were younger.  When there are more skin cells, the skin looks and feels smoother and more vibrant.

Hyaluronic acid is the second important component, known to skin care specialists as the body’s natural hydrator because of its ability to bind up to 1000 times its own weight in moisture. This combination of potency maximizes the benefits of moisture enhancement.

To use SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel, you simply apply 2 to 3 drops of it to each area of the body covered with skin, whether it is your face, your neck, or your chest. Then, you massage the gel gently into the skin with your fingertips while avoiding the area around your eyes.

When you use it in the morning, give it a few minutes to get fully absorbed into the skin before you apply your sunscreen. Similarly, at night, apply this gel before applying any of your other nighttime products.

There are two ways you can order your own bottle of SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel: by stopping by either of our offices in Augusta or Scarborough, or through our online store.  Clicking on the link or the picture above will bring you directly to the listing.

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