Holiday Skin Care Tips from Dr. Perkins

The holidays are rapidly approaching and I thought it would be an appropriate time to share tips on maintaining your skin’s health during the season. Holidays are a joyous and celebratory time, but they also can bring about extra stress and a change in eating (and drinking habits). Stress, indulging in richer foods and more drink, coupled with the dryness in the air and, perhaps, less sleep, will definitely take a toll on your skin. Here are my suggestions for keeping your skin’s glow during this busy time of year:

Stick to Your Skin Care Routine
You may have some late nights or take a vacation, but don’t skip or skimp on your regular cleansing routine. (For my recommended home care regimen, read my past blog post.) If you travel, take your products with you instead of using the hotel soap and moisturizer on your face.

Take Time for a Facial
If your skin starts to look less healthy, a facial can help bring it back into balance. Next month will be busy, so I suggest scheduling your facial now. Having it on your calendar will ensure that you take the time to get the facial and that you get the appointment date that you want. Evolutions Medical & Day Spa‘s estheticians can customize a facial treatment to meet your skin’s needs. Call (805) 687-0212 to book an appointment.

Keep Your Hydration Up
With drier weather, your skin needs to be hydrated on the inside and out. Up your water intake, especially if you are going to be eating salty foods and/or imbibing in cocktails. Too much salt and one-too-many drinks can leave you puffy. Water, and other caffeine free fluids, will help dilute the salt while peppermint tea can ease the digestion.

Prep for Blemishes
It is not always easy to anticipate when you may have a breakout, but if you know that you tend to breakout when you are tired or at certain times in the month, than preemptively add in a Benzoyl Peroxide product (I recommend Obagi’s Clenziderm 5% BPO Therapeutic Lotion). Try to apply it one week before the breakout and only in the spots that typically are affected. This may not entirely prevent the breakout, but it may lessen the severity.

End of Year Clean Out
When the New Year comes around, I often hear the saying, “Out with the old, in with the new.” This is great advice for makeup and skin care products. Check the dates and toss products that are past due. Replace products or, better yet, inquire with a skin care professional about new products that may be more beneficial to your skin. As we age, skin changes, and finding the products that are appropriate will make a big difference in your skin’s overall health.

Here’s to a happy – and healthy – holiday season!

Skin Care Tips by a Santa Barbara Cosmetic Surgeon

The new year is almost here and most of us will commit to starting (or continuing) healthy habits such as eating more veggies, going to the gym, and so on.  In my Santa Barbara cosmetic surgery practice I get a lot of inquiries about skin care and how to keep skin looking young and healthy. With New Year’s resolutions upon us, I thought this would be a great opportunity to suggest some skin care tips to incorporate into your list of resolutions. These skin care recommendations will help prevent accelerated aging and will encourage healthier skin in the coming year.

Use Sunscreen Daily
One of the top causes of premature aging that leads to wrinkles, fine lines, and “sun spots”  (hyperpigmentation) is the damage caused by UV rays. Use sunscreen daily – year round – with an SPF 30+ to help prevent sun damage. Reapply often if you are outdoors, sweating excessively, or swimming.

Avoid Trendy Products
Skin care products that promise you the moon usually don’t deliver. Do your research and buy your skin care products from a reputable place – such as a physician’s office or a medical spa. Physician-grade products contain higher quantities of potent ingredients that are often clinically proven to deliver results.

Encourage Exfoliation
As we age, cell turnover decreases and the “build up” of cells can leave your complexion dull. Exfoliate two times per week to encourage faster cell turnover.

Clean and Replace Skin Care Tools
If you’re using a Clarisonic as part of your cleansing routine, that is great! Allow the brush head to dry after every use (patting it dry immediately after each use helps) and replace the brush head every 2 to 3 months. Make-up brushes can cause more harm than good if they are not washed regularly. Use a brush cleaner solution or mild baby shampoo and commit to cleaning your brushes weekly.

Moisturize
Moisturizing hydrates and protects the skin. It also can improve tone and texture and can often mask imperfections. Moisturizing is good for all skin types even those with oily or acne-prone skin. For oily skin, choose a non-comedogenic and oil-free moisturizer.

Be Hands-Free
Commit to keeping your hands off your face. Dirty hands and nails can contaminate the skin you are working so hard to keep clear and clean.

“You Are What You Eat”
Consume lots of colorful vegetables and fruits. These are packed with antioxidants and will help your skin from the inside out. Fatty and greasy foods can upset the natural balance of your body and can cause your overall health – and your skin – to deteriorate.

Get Your ZZZ’s
While you “rest”, so does your skin. Sleeping lowers your metabolic rate so you’re not producing as many skin damaging free radicals. It also gives your skin a chance to focus on skin repair (instead of protection, as it does when it is being exposed to the sun or environmental pollution during the day).

Don’t Smoke 
One of the fastest ways to prematurely age you skin is through smoking. Nicotine causes narrowing of blood vessels and impairs blood flow to the outermost layers of the skin. Less blood flow means less nutrients and oxygen to your skin. The result is wrinkles and sagging of the skin.

Conduct Self-Screening
Before putting on make-up, take a close look at your skin and note any changes, discoloration, funny looking moles, or abnormal looking skin. Follow up with a dermatologist to further assess the condition. It’s a good idea to see a dermatologist annually for an overall skin check.

A New Year is the time to make changes and improvements. Following these skin care recommendations will give your skin the opportunity to be healthier and more youthful-looking in 2015 and years beyond.

All of us at Cosmetic Surgery Center in Santa Barbara wish you (and your skin) a happy, healthy new year! 

Skin Care Products for Hyperpigmentation

As a Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon who also specializes in skin care, I get a lot of patients who inquire about reversing hyperpigmentation. They may call them sun spots, “liver spots”, or “age spots”, and essentially what they are referring to is the darkening of their skin that appears over time and can look like freckles, patches, abnormal pigment clumps, or “stains” on the skin. Most hyperpigmentation is the result of sun damage (or photodamage) which is repeated and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

There are different ways to address sun damage and pigmentation issues, but I will devote this blog post to the products that I have seen to be the most effective at reducing unwanted pigmentation. While many mass market skin care products that are available from drug stores to high end department stores make claims to reverse or fade spots, their effectiveness is not as great (if they are effective at all) as medical-grade skin care products. Mass market products contain lower active ingredients so they can be used by a large audience without many unwanted problems. Pharmaceutical grade skin care products, on the other hand, have higher active ingredients which renders them more powerful – and more apt to get the job done!

My recommendation for the skin care products listed below stems from their excellent reputation, their high therapeutic value, and our clients’ satisfaction. Also, at some point, these products have all been used by me and my staff at Evolutions Medical & Day Spa in Santa Barbara and we have personally witnessed positive changes in the skin from them.

NIA24
The entire line of NIA24 products are designed specifically to address photodamaged skin and to help prevent future damage. They contain a patented molecule called Pro-Niacin, derived from Niacin (Vitamin B3), that utilizes a MicroNutrient Delivery system which allows it to cross the epidermal barrier and penetrate the epidermis in a continuous release fashion for up to 24 hours. This is what makes these products different from any other Niacin containing products. NIA24 truly creates healing from within and will lessen pigmentation, brighten and firm the skin. 

OBAGI
Obagi is one of the most recognized skin care names globally. They are known for their prescription-strength product lines that truly transform the skin. Obagi is offered in many physicians’ offices worldwide. Obagi has an array of products for different skin concerns. Hyperpigmentation would be best addressed by Obagi’s Nu-Derm System. This system contains several products that help normalize the skin as it increases cell turnover, lightens or erases dark pigment spots and other photodamage, improves skin elasticity, lessens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brightens the overall complexion.  

PCA SKIN
This scientifically advanced skin care line provides the most technically researched, results-driven formulations available today. PCA products are only available through licensed skin health professionals that have been trained and certified by PCA Skin. PCA has a Pigment Gel with Hydroquinone (HQ) or a Pigment Gel HQ Free (no hyrdoquinone but other ingredients such as kojic acid, azelaic and lactic acids to encourage an even skin tone) that are less aggressive than Obagi’s Nu-Derm system but give an alternative way to decrease the formulation of melanin (the brown pigment) over time.

TRETINOIN CREAM
Tretinoin is the chemical name for retin-A (retinoic acid) and is a vitamin A derivative that has been shown to have many beneficial effects on the skin such as 1) increasing cell turnover, 2) decreasing pore plugging (which means fewer pimples, white and blackheads), 3) decreasing abnormal cell differentiation (which means less likelihood of skin cancer) and 4) anti-aging effects. Retinol is a “cousin” of retin-A that is converted to retinoic acid in the skin but at a much lower concentration. Retin-A is best used on a regular basis at night for the long term and is known for gradually fading hyperpigmentation spots over time.

There are faster ways to fade pigmentation (such as non-invasive aesthetic treatments) but if you choose to use any of the above products and give them some time and patience, I think you will be pleased with the result.

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I am a Santa Barbara cosmetic surgeon who specializes in facial rejuvenation cosmetic surgeries and skin care. If you are interested in scheduling a consultation, call my office at 805-563-0000.