Vitamin A aka Retinoids


What are Retinoids? 

Most of us have heard of Retinol and Retin-A, but do you know that ALL retinoids and retinols are simply forms or derivitives of VITAMIN A?!

This often surprises clients when I tell them this, as Retinoids and Retinols have been vilified by some people in the skincare industry. A lot of skincare companies are making their money off of using the words “clean” and “chemical free” these days. All this does is scare the consumer. As we all know everything is a chemical, water, air, vitamins, everything. So this holds no truth and can be very unbeneficial for your skin. Vitamin A derivatives have been used for decades and have been studied since the early 20th century when the structure of Vitamin A was discovered.

Vitamin A

Our bodies can’t make vitamins, so we must get them externally. We can get vitamin A either through topical application or through the ingestion of beta-carotene-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, and spinach. When broken down, vitamin A and its metabolites are very beneficial. They can affect everything from vision to inflammation to the proliferation of cells.

Proliferation means growth. Retinoids increase cellular turnover in the skin, meaning they grow faster, which is going to make the skin a little bit thicker. They also make the outermost cells shed, which is why some people think it’s exfoliating, even though that’s really a secondary effect. This makes the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of skin) more compact, which gives a nice anti-aging benefit.

Unfortunatly some skincare companies such as Beauty Counter are dragging them through the mud claiming they cause cancer. This is the furthest thing from the truth and they have no clinical studies to back up their claims. We actually use retinoids to treat and prevent cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. And the clinical papers on it are never ending. Just another reason to get your skincare advice from professionals.

What does this do for me? 

Retinoids also aid in the moisturization of skin by stimulating the productions of compounds that have sugars in them (glycosaminoglycans).

Most importantly they help PREVENT collagen loss and SUPPORT collagen production!

Finally, retinoids are antioxidants, so they help prevent a lot of oxidative stress. Retinoids are truly amazing and do so many great things for the skin!


What Melasma Looks Like


What is Melasma?

A skin condition presenting as brown patches on the face of adults. Both sides of the face are usually affected. The most common sites of involvment are the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead and upper lip.

Who gets Melasma?

It mostly occurs in women, with only 10% of men being affected. Dark skinned races, particularly Hispanic, Asian, Indian and African American tend to experience it more than others due to the increase of melanin or pigment cells.

What causes Melasma?

The precise cause is unknown. People with a family history of melasma are more likely to develop it themselves. A change in hormonal status may trigger the condition. Melasma is commonly associated with pregnancy and also called chloasma or the “mask of pregnancy.” Birth control pills may also contribute or cause melasma, however, hormone replacement therapy used after menopause has not been shown to cause the condition.

Sun exposure is also a contributor. Ultraviolet light from the sun, and even very strong light from light bulbs, can stimulate pigment producing cells, or melanocytes, in the skin. People with skin of color have more active melanocytes than those with light skin. These melanocytes produce a large amount of pigment under normal conditions, but this production increases even further when stimulated by light exposure or an increase in hormone levels. Incidental exposure to the sun is mainly the reason for recurrences of the skin condition.

Any irritation or trauma to the skin may cause an increase in pigmentation in dark skinned individuals, which may also worsen melasma. It’s not associated with any internal diseasesor organ malfunction.

How is melasma treated?

While there is no cure, many treatments have been developed. Melasma may disappear after pregnancy, it may remain for many years or a lifetime.

Sunscreen is essential in the treatment of process. They should be broad spectrum, protecting against UVA and UVB rays from the sun. A SPF of 30 or higher should be selected. In addition, physical sunblock lotions and creams such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide are preferred as they do not protect the skin in a chemical way which may cause inflammation and exacerbate the condition. SPF should be worn daily, whether or not it is sunny outside or if you are outdoors or indoors. A significant amount of ultraviolet rays is received while walking down the street, driving in cars, and sitting next to windows.

A variety of lightening creams are available for treatment. These creams do not “bleach” the skin but rather decrease the activity of melanocytes, pigment producing cells.

Other medications which have been found to help are azelic acid, kojic acid, niacinimide and Vitamin C. You will have to talk to your Dermatologist or Aesthetician to know what is right for your condition.

Chemical peels, microdermabrasion and various laser treatments may help melasma. They should only be used by a medical skincare professional and in conjuction with a proper regimen for melasma specifically.


What’s the difference between all of the “Botox” brands?

types of botox

Different Types of Botox

At this point most people have heard of Botox, but did you know that this is just one of many different types of botox brands we call neuromodulators or neurotoxins?

Neuromodulators are the umbrella term for any product that utilizes botulinum toxin to temporarily relax a target muscle in order to prevent and sometimes treat fine lines and wrinkles. Botox has come to be the household name for neuromodulators, but other common brands include Dysport, Jeuveau, and Xeomin. What’s the difference between all of the brands or types of botox and which one is right for you?


The biggest difference between brands is the form of botulinum toxin that is used- Botox is made of onabotulinumtoxinA, Dysport is abobotulinumtoxinA, Jeuveau is another form of botulinum toxin type A, and Xeomin is incobotulinumtoxinA. At the end of the day, all of these forms are effective in relaxing muscular contraction, so all will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. However, there are some slight nuances that arise due to the different formulations.

Onset and Duration

According to the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM), the average onset of Dysport is 3 hours, Botox is 72 hours, and Xeomin is 96 hours. In practice, most people notice the results of Dysport and Jeuveau within 3-7 days post injection, while Botox and Xeomin are typically noticeable after 1-2 weeks. For all products, dose = duration, meaning that the higher the dosage used, the longer the results can be expected to last (within reason). The average duration for most people is between 2-5 months.


While rare, some people may develop a tolerance or resistance to neurotoxins due to the creation of antibodies. A person’s immune system may identify the ingredients used in these injections as being a foreign invader, so it responds by producing antibodies that neutralize their effect. While resistance can occur with any of these four types of injections, it’s most common with Botox and Dysport. Botox and Dysport contain additives that can “irritate” the immune system and, thus, trigger the creation of antibodies.

Xeomin, on the other hand, consists solely of botulinum toxin, so it’s less likely to cause resistance than its counterparts, however there still have been reported cases of tolerance to xeomin. This has led researchers to believe that it might be the actual botulinum toxin causing antibody formation instead of, or possibly in addition to the additives, however the jury is still out on that. All in all, only about 1 in 100 people who receive a neurotox injection will develop a resistance to it.

Dosage and Pricing

Dosage will vary from person to person, however you can typically expect that you will need 2-3 times the number of units of Dysport as you would with Botox, Xeomin, and Jeuveau. Botox is usually the most expensive per unit as you are paying for the brand, and Jeuveau is usually the most cost effective. Evolus, the company that produces Jeuveau, was able to achieve a lower price by focusing its FDA approval specifically on cosmetic applications for its product, whereas Botox is approved for both medical and cosmetic purposes.

At the end of the day, all four products are FDA approved and all work well to help reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles. Come in for a consult today to help decide which brand could be the right fit for you! types of botox types of botox types of botox types of botox