What causes age spots?

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Age spots are the result of photoaging, also called extrinsic aging. Photoaging is premature skin aging resulting from prolonged and repeated exposure to solar radiation. It is responsible for the majority of age-associated cosmetic skin problems. In addition to fine lines, wrinkles and skin dryness, photoaging can result in uneven pigmentation such as dark spots known as hyperpigmentation, or solar lentigines (more commonly known as age spots or brown spots).

Where do these spots come from?

Overstimulation of specialized cells called melanocytes begin producing excess melanin in response to sun damage. The melanin is stored within the melanocyte and when stimulated is released and travels from the bottom of the epidermis up into the top layers of the epidermis where they become visible as brown spots in the keratinocyte on top of the skin.

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How can these be treated?

Now there’s an easy way to rid your skin of these tell-tale signs of photoaging. Using advanced laser technology, we can effectively remove these spots in a flash. Our laser system targets the melanin in the age spot, delivering heat energy which destroys the cells. Over the next 3-7 days, the dead cells will flake off and new healthy skin will be visible.

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Why choose us?

At Total Illusion Laser Aesthetic MedSpa we have the most advanced laser systems for the treatment of brown/age spots. Our physician performs all laser procedures to give you the best care possible.

“Fat Burning” Injections

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“Fat burning” injections, also known as MIC injections can be an adjuvent therapy in medically supervised weight loss programs. These injections contain amino acids (typically methionine, inositol and choline, which possess a lipotropic quality helping with the breakdown of fat metabolism in the body.

What are MIC?

L-methionine

One of eight essential amino acids that are the building blocks for proteins but which cannot be produced in the body.  

Aside from injection or ingestion as a supplement, L-Methionine can be found in meats and dairy products, as well as spinach, potatoes, Brazil nuts and sesame seeds.  

For weight management, L- Methionine helps the body process and eliminate fat.  It is a required amino acid in the production of cysteine and taurine, which help the body eliminate toxins.

Inositol

Inositol is a carbohydrate, but is not considered a sugar, and was once considered a member of the vitamin B complex. But since the body is able to synthesize it, it is not a classic vitamin.  

It is also found predominantly in fruits such as cantaloupe and oranges, as well as bananas, kidney beans, raisins, and peanuts.

In the management of weight, inositol, when used in combination with other B complex vitamins, helps the liver break down fats in the body.

When used in combination with other compounds in a MIC injection, especially choline, inositol forms lecithin which is known to aid in the metabolism of fat.

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Choline

Considered an essential nutrient produced in the liver but is generally not produced in sufficient quantities.  Soybeans along with eggs are two of our best choline-based food sources, as well as beef liver, cauliflower, tofu and almonds.

Like inositol, it is often grouped within the B complex of vitamins, although it is not a true B vitamin.

Choline is required in the regulation of the kidneys, liver and gallbladder.

As part of a weight loss program, choline is essential for fat metabolism, it functions as a methyl donor and it assists detoxification reactions in the liver. The components of a MIC injection, especially inositol and choline, have been found to improve mental function and improve feelings of depression.

MIC injections can be enhanced with the addition of fat burning compounds such as hydroxycobalamin, thiamine, and riboflavin.

Enhancing the MIC injection with the addition of other fat burning compounds not only enhances the body’s ability to metabolize fat but also promotes the conversion of fat to energy and supports the immune system.

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Hydroxycobalamin (B12): Energy, healthy nerve cells.

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Thiamine (B1): Thiamine (B1): Improves immune system, helps convert fat and carbohydrates into energy.

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Riboflavin (B2): Increases metabolism, supports immune system.

Do they work?

When used in combination with low fat/low calorie diet and exercise, lipotropic injections can be beneficial. Some of the potential benefits include:
🌸Decreases amount of stored fat in the body
🌸Reinforces a positive mood and mental clarity
🌸Increases energy levels and fights fatigue
🌸Speeds up the metabolism

Are ‘fat burning’ injections for everyone?

Not everyone will be a good candidate for treatment with lipotropic injections. These injections are closely monitored under a medically supervised weight loss program. The physician will take a full medical history and you will receive a thorough consultation with our medical practitioner in order to distinguish if we are able to prescribe the medication for you.

People who are not able to take such medication include:

  • Patients on diabetic medication
  • Patients on thyroid medication
  • Patients with eating disorders or body dysmorphia
  • Patients with a BMI <20
  • Patients we feel do not qualify for the medication for any other reasons discussed during your consultation.
  • Pregnant individuals and those breast feeding

Why choose us?

In our practice, we have a proprietary blend of active compounds to enhance one’s results. Our MIC injections not only include amino acids and vitamin b12 but we have also added riboflavin and thiamine to achieve a synergistic effect. Our physician administers all injections and monitors the patient’s progress each week. We also have body shaping solutions that can assist in further reduction of fat as well as smooth and tone.

Why is there more adult acne today?

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Acne is the eighth most common skin disease in the world. The onset of acne typically occurs in adolescents around the onset of puberty, when sebum production increases. Acne usually goes away in the late teens or young adulthood. But for some, acne may continue to plague them into their 20’s or 30’s. It is even possible to get acne for the first time as an adult. Dermatologists call this “adult-onset acne.”

If you are getting acne as an adult, it is likely due to one or more of the following reasons:

Hormonal changes

Fluctuations in hormone levels is a common cause of acne in women. Typically women will experience acne flare ups each month around their menstrual cycle or when starting/stopping birth control pills.

Perimenopause women can have a flare in acne due to an imbalance in hormones which occurs initially around the start of menopause and can continue until after menopause. During this time, the ovaries produce less and less estrogen, leaving testosterone levels unchecked. This creates an imbalance in androgen levels leading to higher sebum production.

Researchers are also discovering links between consumption of certain foods which contain higher levels of hormones than in previous decades as well as associations with environmental exposures.

Stress

In response to stress, our bodies release certain hormones, one of them being androgens. Androgens, like testosterone, stimulate the oil glands and hair follicles in the skin, which can lead to acne. This explains why, especially during these times with the pandemic our stress levels are at an ultimate high and we are finding more and more cases of adult-onset acne.

Increased use of topical irRitants and occlusives

Skin and hair products can unknowingly cause increase in blackheads and acne. Look for one of the following buzz words on the product labels: “non-comedogenic”, “non-acnegenic”, “oil-free”, “won’t clog pores”. It’s important to also remember hair products can lead to skin irritation and breakouts, so pay close attention.

Recently, there has been an increasing number of people with either 1) new-onset acne or 2) a resurgence of acne or 3) people with existing acne that is becoming difficult to treat. You may have heard reference to this phenomenon as “maskne”, acne as a result of continuous use of facial protective wear during the pandemic. It is being caused by occlusion of pores and an increase in sebum production.

Medication side effect

Certain medications can have acne as a side effect. If you think your medication may be causing your acne flare up, continue taking your medication and check with your prescribing physician. Your physician may be able to prescribe an alternative medication. If not, there are ways to control the acne.

Undiagnosed medical condition

Acne can be a sign of an underlying medical condition. Once the condition is treated or controlled, acne tends to clear.

There is effective treatment for adult acne

We use combination of therapies to effectively treat acne. Since the cause of acne can be different for each individual, our approach to treatment is customized for each individual’s unique needs.

Botox vs Fillers

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Botox and fillers are the most sought after anti-wrinkle treatment. More and more people are turning to these non-invasive procedures to reach their aesthetic goals. In 2019, over 7 million botox procedures were done and over 2 million filler injections. However, there is one big question many have (even those who have previously sought treatment) — what is the difference between botox and fillers?

Botox smooths lines.

Botox (also referred to as BOTOX®, XEOMIN®, DYSPORT® and JEUVEAU®) works on dynamic lines (expression lines), lines that are created when the face is in motion. When you squint or frown, the muscles between your eyebrows, around your eyes and on your forehead contract causing the skin to furrow and fold.  As your skin ages and loses some of its elasticity, these repeated contractions can cause persistent lines.

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Botox contains a protein extracted from the bacteria, clostridium difficile which when injected into specific areas of the face results in muscle relaxation. By reducing these contractions, botox can temporarily reduce the appearance of moderate to severe lines. With consistent use, botox can smooth static lines, lines that are present when the face is at rest.

areas of treatment

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key points

  • Botox most commonly treats the upper 1/3 of the face
  • Used to prevent formation of fine line lines and wrinkles
  • Treatment takes only 10-15 minutes
  • Results last up to 3-4 months

Fillers add volume.

Injectable gel fillers are injected into the dermis adding volume and providing support resulting in a smoother, younger appearance. Fillers contain hyaluronic acid (HA) which is a naturally occurring substance in the body that retains water, giving skin is moisture and plumpness. HA becomes depleted with age resulting in volume loss. Gel fillers injected into specific areas of the face temporarily restoring the volume loss beneath the surface without surgery.

AREAS OF TREATMENT

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KEY POINTS

  • Fillers are used to shape and lift full face
  • Injectables add volume to mild/moderate wrinkles
  • Treatments take about 20-30 minutes
  • Improvement can be seen immediately
  • Results may last up to 1 year

Medical Microneedling the Right Way

Medical Microneedling, The Right Way

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Microneedling is a popular anti-aging treatment that can be very effective if done properly.

There are many different devices used by practitioners – from rollers to pens. Regardless of the device, the concept is the same, small sterile needles penetrate the skin at various depths causing repeated microinjuries. The immune system responds by stimulating fibroblasts to repair itself which in turn, creates new collagen.

However, when considering microneedling, its important to understand the main differences that can make or break your results.

depth of penetration

The goal depth is to reach the papillary layer where fibroblasts and collagen fibers are located. Therefore, topical anesthetic is usually required as this level of penetration causes discomfort. Anything more superficial, only reaches the epidermis and therefore is not effective. Roller devices can adjust the depth of penetration by manual pressure delivered by the professional. However, this is not ideal because there is no way of measuring the depth of penetration to know if you are at the papillary level. Pens have gauges that can be adjusted to goal depth and changed depending upon the area or condition being treated.

consistent injury

The way the needles are applied to the skin by the device can also make a difference in not only results but recovery length. It is important for the needles to not scrape across the skin but rather make smooth in and out motions to avoid causing excess injury to the epidermis. We favor a stamping or touch and release technique.

proper amount of injury

One of the endpoints of treatment is pinpoint bleeding. This is one of the ways we can tell if we are at a proper depth. But, you should not have excessive bleeding or swelling. At the end of treatment, the face will be red like a sunburn which should resolve by the next morning.

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topical products

You can achieve added results with the use of topical solutions. There are multiple different options available during microneedling – hyaluronic acid, growth factors, PRP, and most recently, exosomes. The most widely known is PRP, often referred to as the vampire facial. However, growth factors and exosomes are gaining popularity as the new frontier in anti-aging.

Laser Hair Removal: Which Laser is the Best?

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The ability to remove hair using lasers was realized over 30 years ago.  Since then  and the technology has advanced since its original discovery.   Laser hair removal (LHR) is performed using a laser or a light device also known as intense pulsed light (IPL).  LHR works by using heat energy (a laser beam) to destroy the hair follicle. The laser beam targets the dark color (melanin) in the hair follicle, leaving surrounding skin and tissue untouched.

We prefer to use the GentleMax Pro laser for LHR. Treatments are fast, effective and comfortable. In our opinion, this system is the gold standard for laser treatments.  It has a patented cooling system that delivers a burst of cool air onto the skin immediately before and after each flash of the laser which allows for quick cooling of the skin for safety and comfort. Treatments are also very fast and effective.  The goal for any laser is to achieve 80% in hair reduction after 6-8 sessions.  Most people see significant reduction in as little as three sessions with the GentleMax Pro. 

LHR with the exception of intense pulse light can now be performed safely on all skin types and hair types. But in order to be effective, treated hair must have pigment.  Although technology has progressed, we are still unable to treat blonde, gray or red hair.  Use caution if someone tells you different.  As always, ensure you are in experienced hands with close physician oversight.  LHR is safe if performed by a licensed, experienced professional but can have serious side effects if performed by inexperienced or unlicensed individuals. 

Meet Juveau: The new tox in town

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There’s a new wrinkle fighter in town, Juveau™, (pronounced Jū vō).  The term comes from the French word “nouveau,” which means “modern” or “up-to-date”.  Like it’s counterparts (Botox®, Xeomin® and Dysport®), Juveau™ is a botulinum toxin that stops muscle contractions in the face so you don’t make those unsightly frown or laugh lines.

Juveau™ is made in a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Seoul, South Korea dedicated solely to the production of Jeuveau™ through a procedure called Hi-Pure™ technology – providing high yields of highly pure product.  Similarly, Xeomin boasts of a highly purified product having removed accesis the first aesthetic-only neurotoxin. The other available neurotoxins all have therapeutic indications in addition to their cosmetic ones. Not being subject to stringent insurance regulations, allows the parent company, Evolus Inc, more flexibility in pricing which will hopefully translate to larger consumer incentives and loyalty programs.

Juveau™ appears to be safe and was effective at reducing the appearance of wrinkles in a global study.  Whether Juveau™ is more effective than Botox remains to be seen. 

In experienced, qualified hands, one can achieve their goal of a natural, more youthful appearance with any of the four neuromodulators – Botox®, Xeomin®, Dysport®, or Jeuvau™. The most important factor to consider when choosing treatment is who will be injecting you. You want to make sure you are seeing an experienced physician who is knowledgeable of facial anatomy and understands your aesthetic goals. Patient safety and quality care is the most important goal of all.  

Collagen Supplements: Fact or Fad

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The link between nutrition and skin health was established in the early 2000’s and has been supported by scientific research.  Addressing skin aging from the inside out has gained much consideration of late. The popularity of neutraceuticals for anti-aging is ever increasing with an estimated industry value of $6.63 billion USD by 2025. Among supplements, collagen is the most promising. But the question of safety and efficacy remain.

How do supplements work?

The collagen molecule can be extracted directly from natural sources such as plants and animals or produced from yeast, bacteria, insects or mammalian cells. Artificial collagen, know as KOD has also been created. Most collagen supplements are hydrolyzed – broken down peptides so the body can easily absorb. Once ingested, collagen is absorbed by the small intestine where it then reaches the blood stream and is carried through a network of blood vessels to the dermis where deeper wrinkles exist.

What is the science behind it?

Results are promising with demonstration of increased skin elasticity, improved hydration, decreased wrinkle depth and increased collagen thickness. Collagen supplements appear to directly affect deeper wrinkles.  These improvements can be seen as early as 6 weeks after initiation and as late as 12 weeks after starting supplements. 

So Yeah or Nay?

There appears to be potential health benefits and anti-aging properties of collagen supplementation without any significant adverse side effects reported. As with any nutritional supplement, it is important to always remember, these supplements are not strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Ensure you are purchasing product from a reputable company and we recommend purchasing directly from the seller versus a third party.

Achieving Beautiful Lips

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Plump lips with definition are highly sought after. Fillers are a great way to achieve beautiful lips if these few rules are followed:

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1. Cupid’s Bow.  A well-defined cupids bow of the upper lip is not only pleasing to the eye but it provides definition, keeps lipstick from running and can correct asymmetry should it exist.

2. Fullness in the middle.  To achieve that plumped appearance and ever desired pout, adding fullness to the center of the lip with the volume tapering off towards the sides gives a beautiful appearance that is not over done.

3. Symmetry.  If you draw an imaginary line from the center of the cupids bow straight down to the bottom of the lower lip, each side should look the same.

4. Side profile.  When viewing your lips from the side, the top lip should project slightly beyond the lower lip.

5. Lip-to-eye ratio.  For purposes of symmetry, if you drew an imaginary line from the corner of the mouth upward, it should intersect in the middle of the pupil.

Hyaluronic acid (HA) fillers such as Juvederm®, Restylane® or Belotero® can easily improve the appearance of your lips – giving shape, adding volume and providing structure.  By using the above guidelines, you will have beautiful, natural looking lips.