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 – www.skincancer.org

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: http://www.juvederm.com/Views/ 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

The Importance of Sunscreen

We think by now it is an understatement that snow weary Midwesterners are ready for a little fun in the sun!  At Skin Speaks: Advancements in Dermatology we want to educate and protect you against the most preventable risk factor of getting skin cancer, a sunburn.  While we want everyone to get the most enjoyment out of our beautiful Minnesota summer weather, a little care and planning will go a long way in preventing burns, premature aging and skin cancer. 

First let’s dispel a few myths:

 1)    You don’t need sunscreen

            Sunscreen prevents harmful UV rays.  If you are going to be outside for longer than 20 minutes certain lighter skin types will start to burn.  If you normally tan and feel that sunscreen is not necessary that is also false.  A tan is another type of visible injury to the skin as well.  There is also the myth that you should tan in a tanning bed before a vacation in a warm weather climate; however, these types of tanning are provided by high intensity UVA rays.  This will darken the skin quickly but not offer protection from UVB rays. People of all skin types, including skin of color, require sunscreen as everyone is at risk to develop skin cancer.  One famous example is Bob Marley who died at age 36 of an aggressive melanoma.

            There are many types of sunscreens on the market. Keep trying different brands until you find a great fit for you.  At Skin Speaks we recommend Neutrogena Ultra Dry Touch and CeraVe sunscreen which is a chemical free, transparent, physical blocker.  Our clinics and spa also offer cosmetically elegant sunscreen options for the face that can be worn under make up, as well as Intellishade tinted sunscreen which is a staff favorite.

 2) The higher the SPF the less I need to reapply

            As a general rule sunscreen products need to be reapplied every 2 hours or if you are getting out of the water.  This holds true even if the product states it is water or sweat proof.

 3)  I can use my sunscreen from last year

            Not true!  If you are using your sunscreen the way it is intended you should not be carrying it over from year to year.  Chemically the sunscreen will break down over time and the bottles should have an expiration date, so be sure to take note of this.  Also, do not store your sunscreen in a heated car or other warm environment. 

 4)  Sunscreen isn’t safe

            The American Academy of Dermatology and the Skin Cancer Foundation both say sunscreen is safe and effective. There are claims suggesting otherwise and are based on questionable science, the Skin Cancer Foundation says. Researchers who studied more than 1,600 adults over 10 years found that those who applied sunscreen each day reduced their risk of melanoma significantly.

 5)  I don’t need to apply sunscreen on cloudy days

            Not true!  UV rays are able to penetrate through the clouds which can cause an unexpected burn and UV damage to the skin.  Also, be aware of the environment that you are in outdoors as snow, water and sand also have reflective properties and intensify the UV rays’ effect.  If you are driving in your car you should be applying sunscreen as the damaging UV rays will penetrate through the window.  During skin exams we are able to see notable signs of sun exposure, aging and skin cancers on the left side of the face. 


While this list is not exhaustive, providing you with a few more helpful hints will go a long way in your skin’s overall health and well being: 

             ~The proper amount of sunscreen to apply is about 1 ounce or the size of a shot glass

            ~Don’t forget the commonly missed sites like you ears and scalp!

            ~If you are outdoors and your shadow is shorter than you-seek shade

            ~You will get adequate amounts of sun for your vitamin D with incidental sun exposure

            ~The recommended SPF is between 30-50.  No matter the SPF you still need to reapply

            ~People who use indoor tanning beds increase their risk of acquiring melanoma by 75%

            ~Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with UV protection

 When discussing sunscreen and sun safety with our patients, we also recommend they watch a short video on YouTube called “Dear Sixteen-Year-Old Me.”  It will hopefully help you understand the impact of skin cancer and encourage consistent use of sunscreen and sun protective measures for you and your loved ones.


BOTOX® Cosmetic or Fabulous Fillers?

What is the Difference Between
BOTOX® Cosmetic and Fabulous Fillers?

Every day, we are bombarded by ads tempting us to try something new to fight the signs of aging: Want to look younger? Take 10 years off with our at home like-a-laser treatment! Turn back the clock and boost collagen with our new dream come true foundation, only $7.99!

Tempting us with images and empty promises, these advertisements often raise hope, only for hope to fade into disappointment.  

Why is it that aging tends to start with little changes (gradual changes, changes that we feel comfortable with), and then one day we wake up and wonder, “Where in the world did that line come from? Did it happen overnight?”

Aging is so much more than skin deep; changes in appearance, and perhaps the way we feel about our appearance, may come hand in hand with hard-earned wisdom. With the passage of time, not only are there changes in the structure, elasticity, and look of the skin, but there are also changes related to repetition of facial movements (SEE PREVIOUS BOTOX® COSMETIC BLOG) and facial volume loss. Think of a pillow case: When a pillow is pulled from its case, the case loses its shape.  When facial volume is lost, the canvas of our face (our skin) loses its support. Volume is lost not only from facial fat compartments and subtle muscular changes, but also from changes in the skeletal structure of the face and changes in our skin’s ability to retain water. In addition to volume loss, the lovely downward pull from gravity also plays a role in visible anatomy changes. In a nut shell, repetition of muscle movement, along with the combination of gradual changes due to volume loss and gravity are responsible for slowly and quietly creating “the line that showed up overnight.”  

The majority of us want the same thing, and it is simple: To be able to look and feel our best and also look age appropriate but NOT “over-done.” While there is no such thing as a miracle cream, fortunately, there are many options when it comes to stepping into spring (YES, SPRING!) with your best face forward.

Due to high rates of satisfaction and little to no down time, aesthetic injectable treatments have been steadily growing in popularity over the past few years. Of the many injectables on the market, BOTOX® Cosmetic has been a leading workhorse of available products. Because of its widespread use and longevity on the market, BOTOX® Cosmetic is well known and is frequently thought of as a “cure all” when it comes to injectable procedures. As wonderful as BOTOX® Cosmetic is, it is not the treatment for every facial wrinkle or fold. There are numerous injectable products available on the market, but for now, let’s focus on the difference between BOTOX® Cosmetic and dermal fillers (although we highly recommend you also visit our Scuptra® Aesthetic Blog!):

What does BOTOX® Cosmetic do?

BOTOX® Cosmetic is used either to treat lines that occur due to repetition of muscle movement or to relax muscle movement in targeted areas to promote change. FDA approved to improve the appearance of expression lines between the brows, it is used off-label to soften expression lines around the eyes and forehead. It can also be used to promote lifting of the corners of the mouth or eye brows, soften “bunny lines” on the nose, lessen the appearance of a squared jaw, plus treat multiple areas of the lower face and even the neck. While BOTOX® Cosmetic has many uses, it does not help with volume loss.

What is filler, and how does it treat volume loss?

Here’s a quick overview on skin anatomy: The outermost layer of our skin is called the epidermis. Essentially, the epidermis acts as a protector. The dermis (the layer of skin located below the epidermis) provides support. The majority of wrinkles and folds take place within the dermis. HA (hyaluronic acid) is a naturally occurring substance within the skin that binds and absorbs water (think of HA as a friend- it creates facial volume by attracting water). As we age, HA slowly diminishes. When the amount of HA in the skin lessens, the skin loses some of its ability to retain water (water=volume) which contributes to the formation of wrinkles and folds. 

HA Dermal Fillers are sugar-based substances that are FDA approved to treat wrinkles/folds (sometimes referred to as parentheses and marionette lines) around the mouth and nose. Unlike BOTOX® Cosmetic which treats expression lines by quieting muscle movement, HA dermal fillers (JUVEDERM® XC, Restylane®, and Perlane®) provide correction of lines by actually filling areas where volume loss has occurred.  HA fillers are very versatile; because of their incredible ability to attract water (promote facial volume) to precise locations, in addition to treating expression lines or folds around the mouth and nose (and other areas of the face, as well), they are also used to enhance lips, enhance cheeks, and multiple other areas of the face.

Want to learn more?  Call (763)231-8700 to set up a complimentary consultation with one of our highly trained cosmetic injection specialists. We look forward to meeting you!

The FOUR Fundamentals of Skincare

The FOUR Fundamentals of Skincare

Did you know that your at home skincare regimen can account for the majority of your skin’s overall appearance? It is our goal to educate you so you are not missing out on these most important steps. We want you to know not only what the most important products are, but why they are so important. It is when you understand what your products are doing that you can be more diligent about using them. You will not reap the full potential of your products until they are used correctly and consistently.

1)    SPF-Sunscreen is the first, most important step in a skincare regimen. The daily application of sunscreen can do more for our skin than any other product. Sunscreen can prevent against skin cancer, uneven pigmentation, wrinkles, and the breakdown of collagen.

What to look for in a sunscreen: Full spectrum SPF will be most important in the protection of both UVA and UVB rays. It is sometimes common to see irritation with sunscreens, so a physical block SPF, containing ingredients such as zinc oxide, may be more suitable for sensitive skin.

 2)    Topical Retinoid- Why do we love topical retinoids, let us count the ways…

  • Retinoids smooth skin texture through cellular exfoliation
  • Consistent use of topical retinoids will reduce fine lines and wrinkles by signaling the skin cells to produce collagen
  • Retinoids will reduce brown spots by regulating the melanocytes (brown pigmented skin cells), which creates a more even, pigmented skin tone
  • Retinoids will assist in balancing oil production by regulating your oil glands. Whether you feel your skin is too dry or too oily, retinoids to the resuce!
  • Who isn’t looking for a more youthful glow?  Retinoids reduce the dull outer layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum, which thickens with age) and plumps the healthy living layer of skin
  • Retinoids reduce the risk of skin caner by fighting free radicals that can create skin deformities in the skin cells

 3)    Alpha Hydroxy Acid-  AHAs work to dissolve intercellular cement. This is the junk that builds up between your skin cells that prevent products from penetrating. To reap the benefit of your products, the important ingredients must be able to get to the basal later. However, if the skin has too much cellular cement, the products simply cannot get there. AHAs are also natural humectants, binding water to the skin and keeping it hydrated and supple.

 4)    Antioxidant- Antioxidants are effective in reduction of brown spots, wrinkles, breakdown of collagen and the fight against free radicals. Free radicals are always present in your skin. They are unstable molecules that steal electrons from your skin cells. The result is a brown spot, wrinkle, breakdown of collagen, and the formation of skin cancer. Antioxidants will donate electrons to the free radical, making it stable, preventing harm to your skin. Vitamin C is the most common antioxidant in skincare. Vitamin C is a necessary nutrient for the skin to create collagen. Pair this with a retinoid and you have created a powerful skincare regimen!

Facial Volume Loss-Interested in a natural more youthful looking you

Here at Skin Speaks: Advancements in Dermatology, we commonly see clients
motivated by their aging appearance. In trying to correct these aging changes, women
often focus on brown spots and wrinkles, however many miss one of the biggest
contributing factors to why they are noticing the aged appearance.  We are talking
the loss of facial volume and the overall bony structure of our face which changes over
the years. Cheekbones dwindle, eyes look more sunken, folds become deeper and skin
laxity becomes more prominent in the lower face/jowls.

Sculptra Aesthetic is a revolutionary treatment that works within the deep dermis by
stimulating collagen. The reinforced collagen structure provides a foundation that
gradually builds volume; diminishes facial wrinkles, lifts skin and provides contour to the

The FDA approved facial injectable Sculptra® Aesthetic is composed of Poly-L Lactic
Acid (PLLA); a biocompatible, biodegradable synthetic powder made of micronized -
dissolvable sutures. This gives it the unique capability to stimulate your body’s own
collagen and gradually restore the youthful fullness and contour you once had; with
lasting results that can last up to 2 years.

Learn how Sculptra Aesthetic is different in the way it works and listen to what one
patient has to say about it.