Retinoids…Why all the buzz?

Retinoids…Why all the buzz?

The word is seen everywhere, from product bottles to television commercials broadcasting this as the latest fountain of youth. But what really is a retinoid, and more importantly, how would this product powerhouse benefit you?

A retinoid (topical Vitamin A) is a prescription form of the commonly used OTC retinol. A retinoid has the ability to help unplug pores, reduce skin discoloration, restore vibrancy to the complexion, balance oil production, and improve the appearance of fine wrinkles. Retinoid creams have also been proven to build collagen within the dermis, helping restore elasticity and further improve fine lines. If you think of a baby’s skin, full and plump with a dewy, fresh appearance, this is essentially the end goal of long term retinoid usage. Retinoids work by reducing the dull, outer layer of dead skin cells-called our statum corneum, and plumps the healthy, living layer of skin underneath, called our basal layer. With continued usage, baby soft skin can be yours!

Consultations are recommended to assist you in picking the perfect retinoid for your skin type. This product can range from mild to wild, and choosing the right one for you is very important! Our consultations are always complimentary and we would be happy to discuss this fountain of youth with you. Call Skin Speaks today to set up your free consultation (952) 435-6565.

My Journey into Cosmetic Skin Care

Working in the beauty industry, including various department stores for about 9 years, I was exposed to an array of skin care lines with endless promises to give me “amazing” skin with their “skin perfecting” creams.

Being someone who has struggled with their own skin issues since my mid -twenties, I was suckered into these promises spending anywhere from $5 on a moisturizer to nearly $200. Come to find nothing was working! At times I felt like my skin was getting worse. I became afraid of trying any skincare to the point where I chose, dare I say…. not wearing a daily moisturizer and sunscreen in fear that it would break me out.

I started working for a med/spa dermatology clinic and was introduced to medical grade skincare; I figured I’d give this skincare thing one last shot. Starting with basic suggestions from our medical estheticians, I started seeing dramatic improvements in my skin within less than a month. I can now proudly say I found something that really works and for the first time in several years I no longer feel insecure about my skin.

Here is my quick break down of what makes medical skincare superior to products that can be purchased over-the-counter at the grocery, pharmacy or department store.

Pharmaceutical grade products are only available through doctor offices. The reason for this is because these products are developed through clinical research with amounts of active ingredients that are much higher than what over-the-counter products are legally able to contain. These clinical ingredients penetrate deeper into the skin (the Dermis to be exact) which equals better results! In conclusion medical grade products are worth investing in. They are higher in quality, safer, and proven to work.

So, whether you are interested in correcting; hyperpigmentation, melasma, fine lines & wrinkles, hydration, sun spots and much more. Skin Speaks provides FREE skin care consultations with one of our experienced medical estheticians that will help customize a skin care regimen that works for you and your needs.

The Truth About Acne

June is Acne Awareness Month.

Here are a few tips on managing this common skin concern.

• Wash your face with luke warm water twice a day using a gentle cleanser. Perspiration can make acne worse, so wash your skin as soon as possible after sweating.

• Gently pat dry your skin. Avoid scrubbing or using anything abrasive, this can cause acne to flare.

• Don’t pick or poke! If you pick, pop or squeeze your skin, it will take longer to clear and may increase scarring. Make a conscious effort not to touch your face throughout the day.

• Gently exfoliate once a week. A Clarisonic brush is ideal!

• Avoid excess exposure to sunlight and don’t use tanning beds. Tanning damages your skin. In addition, most medications given for acne can make you more sun sensitive.

• Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Avoid processed foods such as cakes, pastries and white bread.

• Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks.

Consult with your dermatologist if your acne makes you shy or embarrassed, products you have tried haven’t worked, or acne is leaving scars or darkening of the skin.

With same day appointments available at most locations, Skin Speaks medical providers can quickly help you identify the best treatment options for your specific skin.

Raisin vs Grape

So many times, clients ask about the little fine lines around their lips and are annoyed that their lipstick bleeds and many times wondering why and when this happened.

So, why the RAISIN vs the GRAPE? Well, I often times find myself referring to this analogy. In our youthful years I like to think of our lips as full, soft and smooth, or what I refer to as the GRAPE.

It makes perfect sense….. As we chronologically age, our lips lose volume, the border is less defined, and soon after the annoying little lip lines are there. That’s right! Our lips are behaving like a RAISIN!

By delicately infusing a small amount of Hyaluronic Acid (HA) filler such as JuveDerm Ultra Plus XC or Restylane-L is the key to re-hydrate the RAISIN. Adding back volume and hydration will provide support that will uplift the corners of the mouth resulting in more youthful lips that look naturally fuller with a subtle pout.

SPF Basics

How much do you know about your SPF?

What does SPF stand for?

•Sun protection factor- which is determined by comparing the length of time it takes skin to burn with sunscreen protection to the length of time unprotected skin to burn.

What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?

•UVA rays- are long wave solar rays that penetrate the skin more deeply; this is considered the chief culprit when it comes to the “photo aging” of skin such as wrinkling and leathering of the skin. These are also the rays that can penetrate clouds and glass, so they are at equal intensity; all hours of the day; year around.
UVA rays are what contribute to tanning of the skin whether you are tanning outdoors or indoors. Over time tanning causes cumulative damage to the skin. Having exposure to UVA rays cause an injury to the skin’s DNA and in turn darkens the skin to prevent any further DNA damage.

•UVB rays- are short wave solar rays that penetrate the epidermis, the superficial layers of the skin. These are the rays that cause sunburn, and play a key role in the development of skin cancer. The intensity of UVB rays varies by season, but is the strongest between the hours of 10AM and 4PM.
What is the difference between Sunblock and Sunscreen?
Sunblock (Physical): reflects the sun’s rays, so they never reach your skin. They are made up of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are very effective when it comes to protecting your skin against UVA and UVB rays. Sunblocks often appear white on the skin, so sunscreens are favored because they appear to be less visible.

Sunscreens (Chemical): contain benzophenones, cinnamates, and salicylates; which also protect against UVA and UVB rays by absorbing these harmful rays before they reach the skin, but these ingredients break down after a few hours of sun exposure. So you would have to remember to reapply throughout the day.

•If your sunscreen states that it is “broad spectrum”, that means that you are protected from both UVA and UVB radiation.

5 Skin Cancer Facts that will surprise you

1.The risk of developing melanoma doubles in those who have had five or more sunburns.

2.Melanoma is the most common form of cancer in young adults age 25-29. It is the 2nd most common form of cancer in teenagers. About 75% of these melanomas are attributed to tanning bed use.

3.Melanoma accounts for less than five percent of skin cancer cases, but the vast majority of skin cancer deaths. Those who survive melanoma are about nine times as likely as the general population to develop a new melanoma.

4.Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States; there are more skin cancers diagnosed every year than breast, prostate, lung, and colon cancer combined!

5.One in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. Of those who live to be at least 65 years old, 40%-50% of them will have developed at least 1 skin cancer.

The easiest and most effective way to prevent skin cancer is; by using sun protection that includes a combination of daily use of sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater), wearing protective clothing such as hats, and making an effort to seek shade when possible while enjoying the outdoors.

* BONUS FACT: Daily use of sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing skin cancers by 40%-50%.

Skin cancer facts obtained from the Skin Cancer foundation –

The Battle of the Blackhead…

At one point in our lives, we have all experienced the dreaded blackheads. For some of us it is a day to day struggle. A blackhead forms when dead skin cells and oil gang up and create a “plug” that clogs the pore and the surface remains open. The best method to tackle these bad boys is to break up the plug. Many products claim to banish blackheads, but what really works? Start by trying these tried and true tips and you’ll be on the road to smoother, clearer skin!

•Salicylic acid: Salicylic acid dives deep into the pores to break up any mischief that the cells and oil can cause. It is oil soluble, which means that it can easily blend with other oils, such as skin’s sebum (oil), making for easy access into the pores. Once inside, salicylic acid continues mingling with the oil and begins to separate the oil and dead skin cells, essentially unclogging the pore and ridding the blackhead.

•Benzoyl Peroxide and Alpha Hydroxy Acids: Ingredients that promote quick cell turnover, like benzoyl peroxide and alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid, etc….), can also help prevent blackheads. They remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin before they have a chance to clog our pores.

•Try the Clarisonic: Exfoliation is the key! What better way to work in gentle, daily exfoliation of your skin than with the Clarisonic brush? The sonic frequency moves the soft brush back and forth at more than 300 times per second, thoroughly clearing pores and cleansing and exfoliating the skin’s surface.

•Retinoids: Topical retinoid products work by activating the skin receptors that lead to an increase of collagen production and faster growth of skin cells. This in turn will speed up the rate that skin debris is shed, preventing it from binding with the skin oil and blocking the follicle. These two factors accelerate skin renewal and the natural reduction of pesky blackheads.

•Look for “non-comedogenic.” Many products’ efficacy simply depends on each person’s skin type and how the products are formulated. However, your best bet is to only buy products with a “non-comedogenic” claim. That means that the product has been tested and proven to not increase the number of “comedones” (fancy word for blackheads and whiteheads).

Can CoolSculpting really remove fat permanetly?

The answer is yes it can! When we gain weight our fat cells expand and when we lose weight our fat cells shrink. We are all genetically predisposed with different problem areas. For some it’s the stomach, others the love handles…you name it, we all have our dreaded areas.

For the sake of simple numbers let’s say you have 1000 fat cells in your belly. When you gain weight all 1000 fat cells are expanding, always making your problem area your biggest problem. It might seem like when you gain weight it all goes there!

That’s our genetic pot of luck. When we’re born our fat cells are all distributed differently, some having more in the tummy, some having more in the hiney….we all got different “luck.” And without reducing the number or fat cells in those lucky areas- when we gain weight, those areas will always be the first to show it.

But what if there was a non-surgical way to reduce the number of fat cells in that particular area? What if instead of 1000 fat cells in the tummy, it was reduced to 500 fat cells? So even if you did gain weight, it wouldn’t all seem to show up in that same doggone area! 

Good news, there is a way and it’s called Coolsculpting. And its true- it doesn’t require needles, surgery or downtime.

It’s a new revolutionary way of permanently reducing the number of fat cells through cryolypolsis. That’s a fancy way of saying reducing fat through freezing the fat cells. Two brilliant Harvard scientists discovered that fat dies at a warmer temperature than skin, therefore, fat can be reduced to a temperature that will eliminate it, without getting too cold where it could harm the skin.

Coolsculpting really does permanently remove the number of fat cells in the treated area. Forever making those problem areas, less of a problem. This doesn’t mean new problem areas either, even if you did gain weight….it would happen more evenly.

Schedule your free consultation today to learn if Coolsculpting is right for you! 952.435.6565


Filler for Thought..

Do you ever find yourself looking in the mirror feeling like you look tired and physically pulling your skin back to make the wrinkles go away, or simply just wondering what happened to your face overnight?

WELL LET ME TELL YOU: Those deep nasolabial folds (smile lines) around the mouth and jowls have just caught up with you..It’s something we also refer to or is known as the “natural aging process.” With this process come multiple anatomical changes in the face such as: shrinking fat pads that cause volume loss in the mid-face and temples, re-absorption and shifting of bone and lastly, collagen breakdown in our skin which in the end all lead to those pesky depressed dark shadows, wrinkles, skin laxity and fullness in the lower face. 
 SO HERE IS THE TRUTH:  It’s not just about filling in this line or that line anymore, it is actually much much more!  More importantly, we recommended starting with volumizing the mid- face and cheek area first and here at Skin Speaks, we have just the right product for you!  Introducing the NEW and only FDA approved hyaluronic acid filler JUVEDERM VOLUMA XC is perfect for instantly adding volume back into the mid-face and cheeks which will also provide lift and beautiful contour lasting up to 2 years. 
 After volumizing the mid-face this will allow us to assess the amount of correction in the smile and marionette lines and then if appropriate we follow up with another hyaluronic acid filler, such as JuveDerm Ultra Plus XC for these “lines”. 
AND DON’T FORGET:  There are other great skin rejuvenation therapies available to diminish pigmented sun damage, fine lines, skin laxity and irregular textures of the skin that would be a beautiful compliment before or after your dermal filler!
Schedule a complimentary consultation to learn more about what changes are occurring in your face.  
Click here: to learn how JuveDerm Voluma XC may be right for you!  

Products versus Treatments… When Should I Do What?

As cosmetic skincare providers at Skin Speaks, a common misconception we hear is the thought that there are magical creams that can remove deep wrinkles and clear uneven pigmentation like Abracadabra!

The truth of the matter is that although products do account for the majority of our skin’s appearance, once a deep wrinkle or brown spot has formed, products are no longer the best option.

We like thinking of it like a dentist. A dentist recommends a toothbrush and toothpaste to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum-disease; however, once a cavity is formed a toothbrush and toothpaste will have little effect; it would be a much better option to fix your cavity using the appropriate “treatment”.

Skin care is the same; we recommend using particular products which prevent the breakdown of collagen, the development of brown spots, wrinkles and skin cancer.  However once a spot or wrinkle has formed, products will have minimal effect.  It would be much more advantageous to pursue the appropriate “treatment”.

So what about the creams that promise to turn back the clock a decade and miraculously solve all life’s problems? Consumer, beware!  We are regularly amused by some of the marketing on TV and product labels promising that in just 30 days you will (insert fantastic sounding result here)!!!  If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Now don’t read this and toss your night cream in the trash! The preventive powers of products are almost always underestimated. Think of the difference in someone who has used their toothbrush and toothpaste their whole life and someone that hasn’t; the difference is insurmountable.  We see the same difference in our clients. The ones who have used the appropriate product regimen and those who have done little to nothing….you wouldn’t skip even one night if you could see what we see!  It’s all about learning when to do what.

It’s normal for us to see someone trying to get rid of unwanted brown spots and wrinkles after years of product neglect.  Ironically, they are looking to the magical cream to be the solution. The reality is your toothbrush and toothpaste is not the right option to treat your cavities. So what’s the good news?  We have all the right treatments; lasers, chemical peels, injectables and more for those unwanted “cavities”.  

Way to go if you are using the 4 keystones of skincare products, and if you’re not….we would love to educate you for FREE and help you get started with what is right for you!
When it comes to preventing aging skin we should all be using these 4 things:

  1. SPF
  2. Retinoid
  3. Alpha Hydroxy Acid
  4. Antioxidant

Schedule your FREE consult today to learn how to use these products and prevent those “cavities”!

-Written by Skin Speaks Spa Staff