Anti-Aging Essentials: Tips for Youthful Skin


Historians now believe that Ponce de León wasn’t looking for the mythical “fountain of youth” when he landed in Florida 500 years ago. But the legend of a magical wellspring that would restore the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters had persisted for centuries and persists to this day, as we continue to search for the pill, cream, lotion or potion that will help us look younger longer. “Miracles don’t come in jars,” says Dr. Judy Hu of Advanced Dermatology, P.C. “But there have been scientifically sound advances – both at the cosmetics counter and in the doctor’s office – in anti-aging skin care. The key to effectiveness for the consumer is to know what will work and to have realistic expectations.” (more…)

Beam Me Up

Nicole Altavilla
Medical Spa Report: September 2014
Proper Procedures

Offering minimal discomfort and downtime, non-invasive cosmetic treatments have increased by more than 13 percent in 2013 with 9.5 million procedures, according to a report by the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). Laser treatments are among the more popular non-invasive procedures available at medical spas today. “Laser technology is evolving to address a number of issues in a safe and effective fashion,” says Whitney Bowe, M.D., assistant medical director for cosmetic and laser services at Advanced Dermatology, P.C. (Ossining, NY). “The lasers we use are able to achieve dramatic results with relatively little downtime, which is something that resonates with the modern cosmetic patient.” Here are some of the most common hair and skin issues addressed by lasers, as well as a look at the ideal lasers for treatment:


Laser treatments can help clear acne, and there are several different types of lasers available today that can do the job, such as diode, infrared, and intense pulsed light (IPL) lasers. Isolaz, from Solta Medical, combines a gentle vacuum with IPL to help fight the root causes of acne and reveal a more radiant appearance. The painless laser helps to destroy acne-causing bacteria, while the vacuum clears pores of blackheads, oil, and debris. Blemishes, including those caused by broken blood vessels or age spots, can be treated by lasers that target the offending tissue and spare the normal surrounding skin, according to Susan Stuart, M.D., founder and medical director at La Jolla Dermatology (CA). Alma Lasers HarmonyXL’s Advanced Fluorescence Technology (AFT) laser handpiece, for example, helps clear blemishes using intense blue wavelengths to rapidly destroy acne-causing bacteria without damaging the surrounding tissue.


When it comes to fine lines and wrinkles, lasers can help restore a more youthful appearance by creating tiny micro-wounds in the skin that trigger collagen formation. Fraxel is a non-invasive laser treatment that stimulates collagen production and diminishes the visible effects of aging. Essentially, the outer layers of damaged skin are eliminated, and as new cells form, smoother, younger-looking skin appears. Pixel by Alma Lasers is a resurfacing laser that targets small areas to help tighten and smooth out the surface of the skin with little-to-no downtime. According to Bowe, Fraxel is recommended for treatment of fine lines, while Pixel is more effective in treating deep lines and wrinkles, though they both work similarly. “These lasers basically create a tic-tac-toe board on the skin, producing heat damage that creates collagen and in turn repairs wounds and tightens fine lines,” she says.

Skin Resurfacing

From dark spots, sun spots, and age spots to uneven pigmentation, there are several skin resurfacing issues that can be treated with lasers. The Fraxel Dual 1550/1927 is an effective skin resurfacing device to treat acne scarring, fine lines and wrinkles, and skin discoloration, as it creates micro-wounds in the superficial layers of skin to reveal healthy glowing skin underneath, according to Bowe. “Brown spots turn into coffee ground-like material that gently exfoliates off the skin in the following week, and pore size also decreases,” she says. Also an efficient option, CO2RE by Syneron-Candela is a fractional CO2 laser resurfacing device that targets and effectively treats the skin’s surface, middle, and deep dermal levels to help remove sun damage, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles, acne scars, enlarged pores, and uneven skintone.


Lasers can also be a useful form of treatment for trouble spots on the body, such as cellulite. Allure Medical Spa (multiple locations in Michigan) uses a radiofrequency device called Exilis, from BTL Aesthetics, in combination with Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) for non-surgical cellulite treatments. Exilis is a non-invasive laser treatment that helps to reshape the body by reducing fat, improving skintone and elasticity, and reducing the appearance of cellulite. It can be used on the breasts, abdomen, face, jowls, neckline, arms, thighs, hips, buttocks, and knees. AWT involves tightening the skin with intense pressure pulses that target fibrous bands of connective tissue that cause the cellulite. Applying pressure waves to the connective tissue can help reduce cellulite by increasing circulation, collagen production, and tissue elasticity. For surgical treatment of cellulite, Allure Medical Spa uses Cellulaze from Cynosure, which is similar to liposuction, and works by breaking up cellulite dimples and tightening the skin. “The Cellulaze laser directly contacts the loose tissue as well as the tiny bands that cause dimpling for more noticeable results and has a built-in heat sensor so it can’t get too hot and burn the tissues,” says Charles Mok, D.O., owner of Allure Medical Spa. “It also monitors movement to ensure the treatment is even.”

Scar Treatment

Unfortunately, according to Bowe, there aren’t treatment options for every type of scar. She recommends that clients schedule a consultation to see whether the scar of concern is amenable to laser treatment. For certain types of acne scarring, for example, the Fraxel Dual 1550/1927 can be helpful, as it targets acne scars and signs of aging with microscopic laser columns that help resurface the skin by stimulating the growth of new, healthy skin cells from the inside out. Fractional CO2 laser resurfacing devices, such as CO2RE, TotalFX, and Matrix CO2, can also be effective forms of treatment. The TotalFX fractional CO2 laser device helps reduce deep wrinkles, acne scarring, and sun spots by tightening skin, stimulating collagen, and fading skin discoloration. Matrix CO2 also helps treat skin issues, such as acne scarring, by stimulating the skin’s own collagen, increasing elasticity, and creating a smoother and tighter texture. For surgical or new scars, Fraxel and the pulsed-dye VBeam Perfecta by Syneron-Candela laser are both popular devices. VBeam is a non-invasive laser treatment that involves intense, yet gentle, bursts of light that destroy the blood vessels being treated. “It targets red blood cells, so it reduces redness and remodels the scar to help it smooth and even out faster,” says Bowe.

Hair Removal

Unwanted hair on the face and body can be both an embarrassing and frustrating issue for many clients. That makes laser treatment desirable, as it can help eliminate the need to wax, shave, or bleach unwanted hair. “Sugaring, waxing, threading, or plucking only provide a short-lived, temporary fix for hair growth,” says Andréa Young, owner of Beam Laser Spa (New York City). “They are not permanent and often further irritate the skin by causing painful ingrown hairs. Laser hair removal provides a drastic reduction in hair growth over the course of several treatments.” GentleLase Pro-U and GentleMax Pro, both by Syneron-Candela, can be used to target the root of the hair and create heat damage that kills off hair that is in the growing stage. Other popular hair removal lasers include the Cynosure Apogee Elite System, the Lumenis LightSheer Diode Laser System, and the InMode Aesthetic Solutions Diolaze. Because each hair strand grows at different cycles—some hair is in a resting stage during the treatment—multiple visits might be needed about every six weeks for the best hair-removal results. “The light emitted by the lasers penetrates the skin and settles in the follicle, and the follicle absorbs the light energy as heat,” says Young. “Over time, the absorption of heat from the laser kills the majority of the follicles, and the follicles that are not killed get significantly weaker, providing much finer and slower growth.”

Hair Growth

According to Francesca Dubsky, director of marketing at HairMax, there are four types of hair loss: telogen effluvium, anagen effluvium, traction alopecia, and androgenic alopecia. Telogen effluvium hair loss can occur after pregnancy, major surgery, drastic weight loss, extreme stress, and physical and emotional shock. Anagen effluvium hair loss results from damage to the hair follicle and is commonly associated with chemotherapy or as a side effect to certain medications. Traction alopecia is a condition caused by localized trauma to the hair follicles from tight hairstyles. Androgenic alopecia is male- or female-pattern baldness—the most common cause of hair loss. No matter the reason for the hair loss, more and more clients are seeking solutions and ways to regrow their hair, and lasers can be part of the solution. The HairMax LaserComb is a low-level laser device, which utilizes visible light in the red spectrum that has been clinically proven to stimulate hair growth. The LaserComb works by a process called photo bio-stimulation and delivers a safe, nourishing laser light directly to the scalp, infusing hair follicles with energy to treat hair loss and grow denser, fuller hair. Designed to treat thinning hair and hair loss in men, iGrow by Apira Science is another popular hair growth device. This portable in-home hair growth system incorporates a dual light laser and LED light diodes to stimulate and energize cellular activity to help reverse thinning hair and hair loss and grow new healthy hair.

As laser treatments become even more popular among clients, it is imperative that medical spas implement proper education and safety procedures to ensure both the patient and laser operator are safe from harm. “The main safety concern with lasers is making sure the people using them are properly trained and licensed to avoid burns and scars,” says Stuart. “There is no substitute for education and training, especially when it comes to your body.” Some safety precautions include discussing medical history with the patient, performing a laser patch test to make sure the patient does not have a bad reaction before going forward with a procedure, and using protective gear such as eye shields. “Lasers are only as safe as the person who is doing the procedure,” says Bowe. “Almost any laser can cause burns, discoloration, or scars if not done properly. I always personally evaluate every patient and choose the settings myself. Sadly, I frequently treat laser complications from procedures done by people who were not well qualified.”

Fortunately, evolving technology is making lasers increasingly safe. “The newest trends in lasers are those which are non-ablative or do not damage the overlying skin and just target the damaged tissue,” says Stuart. “With new technology, these lasers are being designed to be more effective and safer than ever before.”

(via American Spa)

The Secret to Healthy, Glowing Skin: Antioxidants

The Secret to Healthy, Glowing Skin: Antioxidants


More adult women are getting pimples than ever before, and new research reveals that antioxidants could be an effective, natural treatment.

In seven small trials of antioxidant supplements or lotions, up to 78 percent of acne patients experienced “excellent” or “good” relief after a few weeks of treatment, according to a new paper published in Journal of Drugs in Dermatology. The trials included 458 people.

This new analysis challenges the conventional wisdom that clogged follicles are the main culprits in acne, by presenting emerging evidence that systemic inflammation and oxidative stress play a key role in triggering zits.

Acne Depletes Protective Antioxidant Vitamins

Compared to people with clear, healthy skin, those with acne are hit with a double whammy: they have higher levels of inflammatory markers in their blood, and lower levels of protective antioxidant vitamins—with 31 percent less vitamin E and 52 percent less vitamin A, the paper reports.

In addition, acne sufferers had significantly lower levels of two other antioxidants—vitamin C and beta carotene—and low blood levels of two crucial co-factor minerals that regulate activity of antioxidant enzymes in skin: zinc and selenium.

These findings suggest that adults with acne are under far more oxidative stress than those with healthy skin, says lead study author Witney Bowe, MD, a dermatologist with Advanced Dermatology in New York and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

The War Within Your Skin

“Classically, we were taught in medical school that follicles get plugged, leading to colonization with bacteria that then caused inflammation,” says Dr. Bowe. “This view was accepted as dogma until more sophisticated molecular studies turned it upside-down.”

The new research indications that systemic inflammation actually precedes bacterial colonization. “A rise in inflammatory markers, such as interleukin-1, is actually one of the first events in the pimple-causing process,” adds Dr. Bowe.

As I reported recently, many scientists theorize that low-grade systemic inflammation may be the root cause of most or even all chronic diseases. In fact, it’s been linked to a wide range of disorders, from heart attacks and stroke to type 2 diabetes, lung disorders, neurological conditions, and even cancer.

This fiery process is the body’s natural response to injuries and infections. Most of the time, it’s protective, by sending immune system defenders to attack invading pathogens. However, chronic inflammation is like being shot by friendly fire, since the relentless immune system assault turns into a war within the body that harms instead of heals.

“Now there’s emerging evidence that inflammation and oxidative stress are early players in causing acne, which has focused us on using antioxidants as a treatment,” says Dr. Bowe.

What is Oxidative Stress?

When a freshly cut apple turns brown, a copper penny turns green, or a wrought iron railing gets rusty, the culprit is oxidation, a reaction between oxygen molecules and substances they touch.  As you may remember from high school chemistry, oxidation is the process of removing electrons from a molecule or atom.

One byproduct of normal metabolism—as well as smoking and other unhealthy habits—is formation of free radicals, highly unstable atoms or molecules that are missing one of their electrons. To achieve stability, they steal an electron from nearby molecules, leading to a domino-like chain reaction, in which the attacked molecules become free radicals and then rob their neighbors, resulting in oxidative stress, explains Dr. Bowe.

However, the body also has antioxidant defenses to protect against free radical damage, including physical barriers to cage free radicals, enzymes to neutralize dangerously reactive forms of oxygen, and antioxidants in our diet that donate electrons and defuse free radical chain reactions.

Antioxidants for Beautiful, Glowing Skin

Although there are no large, randomized clinical trials of antioxidants as an acne therapy yet, all seven of the small, recent studies Dr. Bowe and colleagues analyzed found striking improvements in acne after just a few weeks of treatment.

If you’re prone to pimples, the studies the team analyzed suggest that the following oral or topical therapies could be helpful. Dr. Bowe also recommends consuming antioxidant-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, and green tea.

Discuss the treatments below with your dermatologist or healthcare provider to make sure they are appropriate for you:

  • Antioxidant supplements. In one of the studies, nearly 79 percent of people with mild-to-moderate acne who took a supplement containing zinc, vitamin C, mix carotenoids, vitamin E and chromium three times a day for 12 weeks had 80 to 100 percent improvement.  In another study, taking a supplement with zinc, copper, folic acid, and nicotinamide for four weeks resulted in 79 percent of patients reporting moderately-to-much-better skin appearance, and 55 percent reporting a moderate (25 to 50 percent) reduction in zits or a substantial (more than 50 percent) reduction.
  • Zinc. In another study, taking 30mg of zinc gluconate daily for two months effectively reduced the number of pimples in people who initially had 15 or more acne pustules. Zinc was also effective in reducing antibiotic resistance in acne-inducing bacteria in lab tests. 
  • Sodium ascorbyl phosphate (SAP, a vitamin C precursor). Four of the studies evaluated the effects of 5 percent SAP lotion, with improvements ranging from “statistically significant improvement” to nearly 79 percent of participants experiencing “excellent/good efficacy.” All of these studies were randomized controlled clinical trials, deemed “level 1 evidence” (the highest scientific rating).

Brotox: The Latest Trend

Brotox: The Latest Trend (As Featured in Men’s Fitness)

For many years, women have been expected to age more gracefully than men, leading many women to seek Botox or filler injections to minimize facial wrinkles and fine lines. According to a recent study, this expectation has expanded to men too, as noted by a 258-percent increase this past decade in the amount of men getting Botox – commonly referred to as “Brotox.” What is responsible for this new trend?

In today’s super-competitive job market, looks are more important than ever, leading men – and women – to pay extra attention to their appearance. Dr. Whitney Bowe, assistant medical director for cosmetic and laser services at Advanced Dermatology, P.C., in Ossining (Westchester), New York, points out that cosmetic procedures today carry much less of a stigma compared to years ago. In addition, men today are more honest about their appearance-related concerns. Dr. Bowe adds that her male Botox patients gain a boost in self-esteem from their more youthful appearance.

Dr. Bowe would like to remind anyone considering Botox to consult with a board-certified dermatologist to find out if it is right for them. Men considering Botox should go to a physician experienced with male patients, as the results of Botox and injectable fillers vary greatly between men and women. Regardless of gender, Botox and fillers need to be custom-tailored based on each patient’s specific muscle mass, hairline and other unique factors.

Read the original article here

Dr. Bowe Answers: Can Coffee Fight Signs of Aging?

Dr. Bowe Answers “Can Coffee Fight Signs of Aging?” for Fox News Magazine

Most of us need that cup – or -two – of coffee in the morning to wake up. Besides waking you up, coffee may offer additional benefits. It is said that coffee can fight wrinkles, reduce cellulite and prevent skin damage. This opinion, however, varies greatly amongst medical experts. According to Dr. Whitney Bowe, assistant medical director for cosmetic and laser services at Advanced Dermatology’s Ossining, Westchester location, caffeine may benefit the skin, but not enough to add it to a daily skincare routine. Dr. Bowe mentions that although caffeine may break down fats and reduce redness, she has yet to encounter a caffeine-based anti-cellulite cream that is more effective than those without caffeine. Click here to read the original article.