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Archive for the ‘Acne’ Category

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Fractora is skin treatment, that delivers RF (RadioFrequency) energy to the dermal tissue of the skin through an array of tiny pins similar to micro needles. Fractora delivers improvements in the broadest range of symptoms of aging skin including sagging skin, improve definition, fine lines, deep lines, texture, even visible blood vessels in the face. It is also effective for addressing acne and reducing the appearance of acne scars.

How Does Fractora Work

Fractora uses tiny needle like pins to precisely deliver RF energy to various selectable depths in the skin. While laser resurfacing procedures work from the top down, Fractora works from the bottom up, allowing for safe treatment to deeper layers of the dermis. Similar to fractional laser treatment, fractora treats a “fraction” of the total surface area, so the untreated skin between the pins helps to promote faster healing of the treated tissue. As with all fractional treatments, more than one treatment is recommended. Typically 3 treatments are scheduled about 3-6 weeks apart.


Anti-Aging, Lines, Texture and Lax Skin

Fractora provides optimal collagen remodeling and skin tightening in the deep layers of the skin, causing lifting, tightening, smoothing skin texture and an overall improved appearance.


Acne and Acne Scars

Sometimes, a treatment that is originally designed to address one issue, can has the surprising benefit of addressing another. In this case Fractora, is effective at reducing acne lesions. Research suggests that this may be due to a temporary shrinking of the sebaceous (oil) gland. This is exciting news, because in the past we would want to have acne well-controlled before treating acne scars, and now there is potential to address both at the same time.

Inmode Fractora Acne Scars

Broken Blood Vessels and Rosacea

Fractora has been shown to reduce visible vessels around the nose and on the face. Although, it has been shown to treat broken blood vessels I would not consider RF Needling as a rosacea specific treatment per se. However, Fractora is certainly an option to be considered for rosacea sufferes looking to also address acne that may be assosiated or signs of aging like fine lines.

Fractora Vascular

Neck and Body

Fractora is commonly used on the face and neck, but body areas may be treated as well, including chest, arms, abdomen and thighs. It may be used to improve skin texture on non-facial skin or improve stretch marks or scars on the body.


Read MoreApril 25, 2017 1:59 pm - Posted by Kristy

Throughout my career in medical aesthetics, Pseudofolliculitis and ingrown hair has been a common concern. Often times it’s men who mistake the condition for acne, other times it’s someone who has had an infection and a doctor recommended they get laser hair removal. The bad news is, that it can be more serious than you might think. The good news is, it can be treated!

What is Pseudofolliculitis?

Pseudofolliculitis commonly known as “razor bumps” or “ingrown hair” is an inflammatory condition in the skin and hair follicle caused by shaving, waxing and ingrown hairs. Pseudofolliculitis can occur anywhere on the body hair grows, however it most commonly occurs on a mans beard and for women on the bikini and underarm area. It tends to be more common in those with curly or coarse hair.

There are two types of Pseudofolliculitis, extrafollicular and transfollicular. Extrafollicular pseudofolliculitis or “razor bumps” occur when curly hair grows back into a hair follicle. Transfollicular pseudofolliculitis or “ingrown hairs” occur when the hair never leaves the follicle, this can happen if the hair grows at an angle. The hair keratin causes inflammation in the skin, usually seen as pustules that look similar to acne.

Concerns and complications associated with Pseudofolliculitis?

Pseudofolliculitis can be painful, embarrassing but more concerning is that it can lead to scars, secondary infection or become abscessed. You may not think that an ingrown hair is a big deal, but it has been associated with serious secondary infections such as MRSA. When there is damage to the skin, it becomes more susceptible to bacteria such as Staphylococcus. It is not unusual for an ingrown hair to become infected with “staph” or become abscessed. In extreme cases, if left untreated staph can lead to a very serious blood infection known as sepsis. These infections can spread and be contagious. If you suspect an infection, you need to seek immediate medical attention.

Treatment options

Laser hair removal remains the best treatment option for Pseudofolliculitis. A series of treatments will be needed, generally spaced 4-6 weeks apart. Another option is to quit shaving, waxing or tweezing and let the hair grow, but if that doesn’t work for you there are some things you can try. When shaving, start with cleansing the area with an exfoliating cleanser that has glycolic acid or some type of an AHA. I also recommend the Clarisonic cleansing brush, which will help to lift the hair. Before you shave place a steamed towel over the area, being careful not to burn your self. For sanitary reasons, I prefer a new razor. Avoid shaving too close, do not stretch the skin or shave against the direction of growth. If you have pustules, you may also be prescribed a topical antibiotic.

Chemical peels and skin care products that contain chemical exfoliant can help with skin discolorations and help to prevent hair from becoming ingrown. - ” the reducing properties of glycolic acid may reduce sulfhydryl bonds in the hair shaft, resulting in straighter hair growth, and thereby may potentially reduce the chance for re-entry of the hair shaft into the epidermis. Salicylic acid peels offer exfoliation and lightening in cases complicated by PIH. Reduced numbers of PFB lesions have been observed with both glycolic acid and salicylic acid peels.” Expert Rev Dermatol. 2009;4(6):595 Dermatologic Conditions in Men of African Ancestry by Marcelyn K Coley, Andrew F Alexis

Laser hair removal for skin of color, is challenging, but possible. If you have dark skin, be sure to find a laser technician that is also a skin specialist and has experience treating your skin type. Your specialist may recommend preconditioning the area prior to having laser treatment, it is important to comply with all instructions. We make these recommendations to prevent you from getting a burn. They may also suggest doing a test spot first to see how you respond to the laser treatment.

Treating the scars

Pigmented scars are the most common and can be treated consecutively with laser hair removal treatments. Pigmented scars can usually be treated with prescription strength skin care products, and chemical peels. Depressed scars require a deep treatment such as micro-needling, fractional laser resurfacing or dermabrasion. It is best to treat depressed or raised scars when the condition is well controlled. Keloid scars are very complicated and need to be diagnosed and treated by a dermatologist. I want to specify that keloid scars need to be diagnosed by a dermatologist, because raised scars are sometimes confused with keloid scars.

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Read MoreJune 2, 2014 5:24 pm - Posted by Kristy

Acne is a disease state in which skin cells that line a hair or sebaceous follicle are shed, but fail they to make it to the surface of the skin to be sloughed away. An acne lesion begins when sebum (oil) causes skin cells to stick together and clog a follicle. When oil and dead skin cells collect in the follicle, bacteria quickly multiplies, specifically Propionbacterium (P.acne bacteria). The bacteria causes the release of free fatty acids, which irritate the follicle and cause inflammation.

Acne Lesions

We usually refer to acne lesions simply as blemishes or pimples, however there are specific names used for acne lesions. A non-inflammatory acne lesion is known as a comedo that develops when a hair follicle has become clogged with dead skin cells and oil. When bacteria infects an acne lesion and the follicular wall ruptures it is known as an inflammatory lesion. An inflammatory lesion is elevated and the skin surrounding it is usually red and sensitive.

A non- inflammatory, very tiny hard blockage under the skin. It is the smallest acne lesion and is not visible at the skins surface. This is the beginning stage of a blocked follicle. Micro-comedones develop into open or closed comedones as trapped sebum (oil) increases.

Closed Comedones (Whiteheads or Milia)
A small non- inflammatory bump at the surface of the skin. Dead skin cells and oil become trapped inside the follicle, and the opening to the follicle is closed.

Open Comedones (Blackheads)
A small non- inflammatory, plug at the surface of the skin. Dead skin cells and oil block the opening to a follicle creating a plug. Unlike a whitehead the opening to the follicle is open, allowing the dead skin cells and sebum at the opening to be exposed to oxygen. When exposed to oxygen the dead skin cells and sebum (oil) will oxidize and appear black. Blackheads develop in follicles that are large.

Inflamed small red or pink bumps on the skin with out an opening. Papuals do not contain pus, however they can develop into a pustule or a nodule. As a papule becomes more inflamed pus will form and it will develop into a pustule, if the lesion is deep it will develop into a nodule.

An inflamed, pus filled acne lesion. Pustules are what are commonly called pimples and the white or yellow center is often called a “head”. A pustule is surrounded by a circle of red inflamed skin.

Nodules & Cysts
Nodules and cysts are large inflamed acne lesions that develop deep within the skin. They are severe forms of acne that often cause scars. You should never attempt to pop or extract cyst or nodules, they need to be treated medically.

A large, solid, inflamed, pus- filled lesion that is located deep within the skin. A nodule will feel firm because the puss hardens inside the lesion. The body’s immune system responds by trying to keep the bacteria from spreading and skin cells will grow or wrap around the follicle. Nodules are often referred to as cysts.
A large, soft, inflamed sac -like lesion that is located deep within the skin. Cysts are filled with fluid or a semi-fluid that consists of white blood cells, dead skin cells, and bacteria.

Treating Acne

The main objectives in treating acne are to reduce oil production, bacteria, inflammation and to alter keritinization (build up of skin cells). The exact treatment will depend largely on the degree of acne being treated. The treatment for acne will depend on the grade or severity of the condition.

Dead skin cells called are shed into the follicle and are then carried to the skins surface and are sloughed off. Sebum (oil) can cause the skin cells to become cohesive or sticky and then they clump up in what is known as cohesion. The follicle will become blocked when skin cells are not shed properly, this is why treatments that exfoliate dead skin cells and increase skin cell turn over are recommended for acne. The goal is to exfoliate dead skin cells and prevent and break up existing cohesion “clump of skin cells”.

– Microdermabrasion: Not recommended for “active” moderate to severe acne
Chemical Peels
Tretinoin ( Retin-A)
– Topical AHA/ BHA: Retinols/ Vitamin A, Glycolic Acid, Salicilic Acid
– Azelaic Acid, also has an antimicrobial effect

Sebum (oil) production
Those prone to acne often produce excessive amounts of sebum (oil). When there is an increase in Androgen hormones such as testosterone, the oil glands become larger and produce more sebum (oil)

– Oral contraceptives can help to reduce the effects androgen hormones in women thus reducing oil
-Isotretinoin (Accutane)
– Acne laser treatments
Blue Light RF: When Blue light is combined with RF energy it causes sebaceous gland atrophy (shrinks the oil gland) which decreases oil production.
PDT Photodynamic Therapy With Levulan ALA: When used with IPL will also treat hyper-pigmentation, rosacea, broken blood vessels

Some bacteria is normally present on the skin, including P. acne bacteria (Propionibacterium acnes). There is an increased level of bacteria in acne. Bacteria thrives in an eviroment that is deprived of oxygen so products that intoduce oxygen into the skin work to fight bacteria, this includes benzoyl peroxide. The use of oral antibiotics for acne is usually only recomended for short term use because the body can become tolerant to antibiotics. It is also believed that long term use of oral antibiotics contributes to acne cysts.

– Oral Antibiotics: Tetracycline, Minocycline
– Topical Antibiotics: Tetracycline, Erythromycin, Clindamycin
– Benzoyl Peroxide
Blue Light Therapy
High Frequency ( not as effective as blue light, often used after acne extractions)

The P. acne bacteria releases lipase which converts the lipids in the sebum (oil) in to free fatty acids which irritant the skin and cause inflammation. Reducing bacteria will in turn reduce inflammation, because the bacteria contributes to the free fatty acids that irritate skin.

– Salicylic Acid: Topical salicylic acid treats acne by reducing swelling and redness
– Nicomide: A member of the Vitamin B family, also used for rosacea. Topical version available over the counter.
– Zink Oxide: Look for sunblock and mineral makeup with zinc oxide, it has anti-inflammatory properties in addition to being a physical UVA/ UVB
- Croyo-Slushy: anti-bacterial, anti-inflamatory and mild exfoliation properties

Acne Scars

“It is easier to stay out of trouble than get out” Mark Twain

Corecting acne scars can be very challanging and expensive, you are always better off treating and controlling acne thus preventing acne scars. Acne cysts are most likely to cause scars, a diluted corticosteroid injection can be used to reduce cysts and inflammation.

Post Inflammatory Hyper-pigmentation (PIH) is name used for the dark spots left by acne or other skin lesions. The skin responds to inflammation by stimulating the melanocyte to over produce pigment cells. PIH can be prevented, treated and controlled with the use of topical products like hydroquinone and tretinoin. Topical Hydroquinone 4% is a prescription strength cream used to “suppress” the melanocyte which can help to prevent PIH and treat existing hyper pigmentation.

Depressed and ice pick scars are usually treated with a “leveling treatment” such as laser resurfacing or a deep chemical peel like the Obagi Blue Peel. Injectable fillers are also used to plump skin and reduce acne scars. Combining a leveling treatment with fillers will provide better results. As the skin ages, the loss of elasticity and collagen will cause acne scars to look worse. Anti-aging treatments and good sun protection can help slow this process. A facelift will also improve the appearance of acne scars because it tightens the skin.

Before you start an acne treatment

Many of the treatments and products mentioned in this post are prescription strength drugs or medical treatments. There are contraindications for some acne treatments, so it is important to consult with your doctor or skin health professional before starting an acne treatment program. Woman that are pregnant or nursing need to consult with their doctor before using ANY acne treatments, as many are not approved for use in pregnant or nursing women. The content provide in this post is intended to be informative and does not replace medical or professional treatment.

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Read MoreOctober 15, 2011 1:47 pm - Posted by Kristy

We are recruiting new players

Medical Estheticians Kristy Harris and Stephanie Willis have added a high performance skin treatment to the playbook. Acne blemishes are a skin violation, that can leave even the hottest player on the sidelines and the “Player Facial” is the official clear skin treatment.

The Player Facial

We kick things off with Blue Light RF acne treatment. Intense Pulsed Blue Light teams up with RF energy to defeat acne causing bacteria and shrink oil glands. The next step is a deep pore cleansing treatment followed up with a treatment mask designed to battle acne breakouts. Then a microdermabrasion treatment will remove dead skin cells that threaten to block pores. In this skin treatment we will extract acne pimples and black heads, followed with a pass of high frequency to ensure quick skin healing. Finally, a Cryo-Slushy is made at the time of treatment and gently swiped over treated skin, to work against acne causing bacteria, tighten pores, reduce inflammation and enhance skin exfoliation.
90 minutes $225 * Gratuity not included.

Recommended For: Normal-oily and acne prone skin. Not recommended for anyone that is pregnant, on actuate or severe cystic acne.

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Read MoreSeptember 27, 2011 12:44 pm - Posted by Kristy

Blue Light RF is an acne treatment that works to kill acne causing bacteria and shrink oil glands, reducing oil production. Blue light can be done alone or added to other skin treatments like facials and chemical peels to enhance results.

Blue Light has a very short wavelength of about 450-495nm, and is used to treat acne because it has the ability to kill acne causing bacteria in the skin. There are two basic types of blue light treatments used to treat acne, passive blue light and direct contact blue light. Passive blue light involves sitting in front of or laying under a blue light for a specific amount of time. Direct contact blue light uses a a hand piece with a crystal tip, which is applied directly to the skin by the laser technician. Both types of blue light can be used alone or used to activate Levulan for Photodynamic therapy. Blue light treatments are not painfull and do not require any amount of down time.

BlueLight RF
Blue Light RF uses a combination of Intense Blue Light Energy (similar to IPL) and Radio Frequency with direct contact. The synergistic optical energy is effective in treating two key factors involved in acne, bacteria and oil production. The blue light works to kill P. Acne bacteria while the RF energy causes sebaceous gland atrophy (shrinks the oil gland) which decreases oil production.

How many treatments are needed.
When done alone as an acne treatment, a series of blue light treatments are recommended. The exact treatment protocall will depend on the grade of acne being treated. In most cases a series of 8 treatments are recomended, 2 treatments a week for 4 weeks. When levulan is used treatments are done less frequently.

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Read MoreSeptember 26, 2011 3:30 pm - Posted by Kristy

High Frequency is a tool that is used by Estheticians in facials and skin treatments. It is often used to treat or prevent acne skin lesions, as well as aid in healing. It is especially useful after acne extractions. If you have ever had a facial, there is a good chance your facialist used a hand held high frequency device to treat your skin.

High frequency uses a violet ray, however when it is passed through a neon gas the light will appear as red or orange. The mild oscillating electrical current passes through the glass electrode to the skin for a thermal effect. The method most commonly used by skin professional is known as the “direct current application”, where the electrode is applied directly to the skin or over a mask. When treating an acne lesion, your esthetician may also use a technique known as “sparking”, this is when the high frequency is held slightly away from the skin to create a gentle spark. Both methods are gentle and painless. The high frequency increases blood circulation and the dilation of underlying vessels also helps to eliminate toxins. When applied directly high frequency has a germicidal action, fighting acne-causing bacteria. Treatments only take a few minutes and are usually added into a facial or other skin treatments. High Frequency skin treatments are very gentle, many clients even find it relaxing.

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Read MoreSeptember 20, 2011 3:19 pm - Posted by Kristy

Cryotherapy, also known as acne slush, has been used in dermatology for over 25 years. This dry ice treatment helps reduce acne, acne scars and shrink pores. Cryotherapy uses a cryogen or dry ice “snow ball” that is created at the time of treatment. Liquid Co2 is made into a snow ball and wrapped in gauze or cheese cloth and then dipped into acetone to create a slush. The slush is then lightly swiped over the treated areas. Cryotherapy has anti-bacterial and anti-inflamatory properties making it ideal for acne prone skin. Cryotherapy can be done alone to treat acne, as often as once a week. Cryotherapy is known to cause mild exfoliation, so a “cryo-slushy” is often added to skin treatments like chemical peels to enhance results.

Warning – Cryogen treatments need to be done in a medical setting. Never try to do a cryogen treatment yourself at home, dry ice/ cryogen can severely burn skin. Skin professionals have special tools and training for handling cryogen.

Cryotherapy is also called Co2 slush, cryoslush, cryo-slushy, crytherapy, cryogenic therapy and acne slush.

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Read More 10:32 am - Posted by Kristy

What are these little bumps that appear on the skin, and how do you get rid of them?

These little bumps often look similar to a pimple, however they don’t go away on there own and acne treatments are not going to get rid of them. Clients will often ask me to “extract” these little bumps, thinking that they are acne comedones. They are actually Sebaceous Hyperplasia and they can not be extracted, however they can be treated.

What is Sebaceous Hyperplasia?

Sebaceous hyperplasia is a skin disorder of the sebaceous (oil) glands, basically it is an enlarged oil gland. The sebaceous gland can over grow. When the sebaceous gland becomes enlarged it protrudes to the surface of the skin and is visible as a as soft, small papule, that is depressed in the center.

The exact cause is unclear, however it is commonly seen on people with oily skin and there also appears to be a hormonal link. Genetics, sun exposure, aging, and acne are also believed to be a factor in the development of Sebaceous Hyperplasia. Only a doctor can diagnose skin lesions, if you suspect you have a sebaceous hyperplasia it is a good idea to see a dermatologist. Basal cell carcinoma and sebaceous hyperplasia can look similar, so a proper diagnosis is needed.

Skin Cancer – Basal Cell Carcinoma

Non harmful – Sebaceous Hyperplasia

Treatment For Sebaceous Hyperplasia

It is not medicaly necassary to treat Sebaceous Hyperplasia, however many people choose to remove them for cosmetic reasons. It is important to remember that even after treating the sebaceous hyperplasia, there is a good chance it will grow back. You may want to consider treatments that produce results and are also cost effective, as you will likely need to repeat them at some point in the future.

There are several treatments that can be used to treat or remove sebaceous hyperplasia including: TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid), laser treatments, (PDT) photodynamic therapy with Levulan, cryotherapy, cauterization and electro desiccation with a hyfracator. Using a topical tretinoin (Retin-A), can also be useful, although it will not remove the lesion. Isotretinoin (Accutane) is also used to treat sebaceous hyperplasia. In some cases minor surgery may be recommended to remove the “bumps”.

After removing the lesion, I like to use Levulan, Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) to help control sebaceous hyperplasia, because it shrinks the oil gland.

My preference is to first remove the “bumps” that are on the surface of the skin, and then follow up with products or treatments that are designed to shrink the oil gland, to help prevent it from growing back. If you have several, I recommend to start by treating one first, as a test to see how you respond. There is a possibility of hyper-pigmentation or hypo-pigmentation, those with darker skin are at greater risk for these complications.

If you have Sebaceous Hyperplasia that you would like treated, you can schedule a consultation with an Esthetician at
Paradise Valley Skin Klinic. 480 421-1701

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Read MoreJune 11, 2011 2:08 pm - Posted by Kristy

Imagine a skin treatment that has the ability to treat sun damage, rough skin, freckles, skin discolorations, redness, broken blood vessels, rosacea, acne, kill acne causing bacteria, reduce oil glands, minimize pore size, improve appearance of some acne scars and treat precancerous Actinic Keratose. Believe it or not, such a treatment does exist! The skin treatment I am referring to is PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT). PhotoDynamic therapy is a non-invasive, non-ablative treatment with little to no down time.

PhotoDynamic Therapy (PDT) is a 2 part skin treatment that uses the light activated drug therapy, Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) also known as ALA. Levulan is a topical agent that is used to photosensitize the skin prior to light based treatments such as IPL (photofacial) and blue light acne treatments.

[ Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) 101: Shining Light On Aesthetic Skin Treatments ]

Adding Levulan (ALA) to a photofacial IPL treatment, is a bit like putting your photofacial on steroids. The Levulan photosensitizes the skin, allowing the IPL energy to be better absorbed by the targeted pigmented and vascular chromophores. This results in a higher level of correction of freckles, sunspots, skin discolorations, broken blood vessels and redness compared to photofacial alone. Although, Levulan in it’s self does not penetrate to dermal layers of the skin, the heat and inflammatory response caused by PhotoDynamic Therapy does reach the Papillary dermis. This heat stimulates the fibroblast to produce collagen.

[ Rosacea: Understanding Treatments and Products for Rosacea Skin]

PhotoDynamic Therapy is unique because Levulan is absorbed by abnormal cells, such as those of Actinic keratosis (AK’s). Aminolevulinic acid is also absorbed into the oil glands and hair follicles. When the Levulan is activated by the appropriate light or laser it damages the oil glands and reduces P. acne bacteria. Acne can be affectively treated by using Levulan to pretreat the skin before IPL (photofacial) or Blue light treatments.

How is the treatment done?

First your skin is pretreated with an acetone scrub, to remove oil from the skin’s surface. Sometimes microdermabrasion is also preformed before the Levulan is applied. Microdermabrasion will remove dead skin cells and cause blood vessels to dilate, which will result in a more effective treatment with IPL. After the skin is prepped the Levulan Kerastick is cracked open and applied to the skin. Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) doesn’t sting or burn like acids used in chemical peels. The ALA is left on the skin to “incubate”. The incubation time can be anywhere from 1-8 hours, a longer incubation time can cause more reaction as well as more correction. Non-facial skin generally requires a longer incubation time. Once the Levulan is applied, you must avoid sun exposure for 40 hours. Topical anesthetic may also be used. After the Levulan has been on for the determined amount of time, the skin is then treated with IPL and/or Blue Light. The light will activate the ALA. Blue Light is used specifically to treat acne and can be done alone or with IPL.

Side Effects

The degree of post treatment reaction will depend on the amount of skin damage and how aggressive the treatment is done. The Luvulan can be left to “incubate” longer, before it is activated for a more aggressive treatment. Those with a lot of sun damage or active acne can expect to have more reaction. Some people will experience little to no side effects. Similar to photofacial, pigmented spots will become temporarily darker, until they flake and peel off. The treated area will likely appear pink or red for the first few days and peeling may also occur and last for up to 7 days. Some may also experience mild swelling that lasts a couple days. It is important to avoid sun exposure for the first 40 hours post treatment, sun block will not protect skin against photosensitivity reactions caused by visible light. Sun exposure can cause stinging, burning, redness and swelling to the treated area.

How many treatments are needed?

The amount of treatments needed will depend on the skin condition and level of correction desired. There is significant improvement with each treatment. Some people may be satisfied with a single a treatment, however for optimal results a series of treatments are recommended. Treatments can be scheduled as soon as 3- 4 weeks apart.

Schedule a consultation to determine if you are a candidate for PhotoDynamic Therapy, and set up a treatment plan.

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Read MoreApril 23, 2011 6:40 pm - Posted by Kristy

obagi, naked

After Obagi Most Women Go Naked

The Obagi Nu-Derm® system is the world’s #1 professional skincare program, used by more than 11,000 physicians throughout the world. It is the most effective treatment for skin health restoration, correcting complex problems such as acne, melasma (brown spots), fine lines, wrinkles, and scars.
The Obagi Nu-Derm System contains prescription-strength formulations that can only be sold through a licensed physician, such as a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

*Take a moment to watch the Obagi video at the end of this post.

The goal of the Obagi Nu-Derm system is to create soft, radiant- looking skin, increase skin tolerance and restore normal skin functions. The problem is, it only works if you use it. It works even better when you use it correctly. Dr Zein Obagi created the Obagi Nu-Derm as a skin health restoration system, and the products are designed to be used together. Each of the products are good individually, but if you don’t use the full system, you will not see the amazing results that Obagi is famous for.

- Increase smoothness
– Reduce pore size
– Improve elasticity
– Normalize oil production
– Increase skins own ability to hold moisture
– Increase skin tolerance to all external factors
– Generate a balanced, even skin tone
– Reduce hyperpigmentation ( freckles, age spots, melasma, Post inflammatory hyperpigmentation )

Obagi before and after

I have worked professionally with the Obagi products for over 10 years, and have had “literally” thousands of clients on the Nu -Derm system. The results shown in the before and after photo’s are typical and common. If you use the Obagi system correctly you will experience skin transformation. Using a specific dose and frequency that’s recommended specifically by your skin care professional for your skin condition, the prescription-strength system exfoliates old skin leaving healthy, new skin that looks and acts younger and healthier. The products in the Nu-Derm System are clinically proven, prescription-strength, ingredients that work to improve your skin cell function, compared to retail products that contain more cosmetic-based ingredients.


Obagi System: Steps 1-6

All of the products are labeled AM, PM or both AM/PM and numbered 1-6 in the order you would use them. The lines between the letters in the word OBAGI are designed as a tool to measure product. For example from the O-A = 1/2 gram ( thick like toothpaste).

obagi foaming cleanser
Step #1 Cleanser AM/PM
Foaming Gel – For Normal/Oily Skin or Gentle Cleanser – For Normal/Dry Skin
Proper cleansing is necessary
obagi toner
Step #2 Toner AM/PM
Adjusts the pH of the skin for increased penetration of the system ingredients.

obagi clear
Step #3 Clear AM/PM
A topical prescription treatment that includes 4% hydroquinone to correct hyperpigmentation (discoloration) and improve and even skin tone.

obagi exfoderm
Step #4 Exfoderm or Exfoderm Forte AM
Exfoderm – For Normal/Dry Skin
A plant acid (3% phytic acid) that removes old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter complexion.

Exfoderm® Forte – For Normal/Oily Skin
An alpha hydroxy acid (6% glycolic acid, 4% lactic acid) that removes old skin cells while promoting new skin cells for a lighter, brighter, firmer complexion for skin that needs deeper exfoliation.

obagi bleander
Step #5 Bleander & Tretinoin PM (mixed as prescribed)
This step restores damage to the deeper layers of the skin. It restores skin elasticity by enhancing the production of collagen and elastin.
A topical prescription treatment that contains 4% hydroquinone to target hyperpigmented (discolored) areas of the skin and increase the penetration of the active ingredients of the system.

tretinoin, retin a
Tretinoin Cream 0.025%, .05% , or.1% (as prescribed)
A topical prescription, use as directed. *Do not wax skin that is treated with tretinoin.

obagi healthy skin spf
Step #6 Healthy Skin Protection SPF 35 AM
A sunscreen with 9% micronized zinc oxide and 7.5% octinoxate that helps to protect newly transformed, younger looking skin and prevents further sun damage. This is a physical/chemical sunscreen with UVA/UVB protection.


If you just want to FEEL good you should get a spa treatment. If you want to LOOK good, then follow the recommended Obagi Nu Derm protocol. Generally, with a more aggressive protocol you will have more reaction, however you will also have more stimulation, see correction faster and build up tolerance more quickly. That doesn’t mean everyone should start out aggressively, individual system protocol is determined by skin type.

Reaction Phase: Out with the Old
Inital correction and stimulation phase
This is the time in which the damaged top layer of skin is replaced by a new layer of healthier cells. It takes about six weeks for ” newborn” cell to reach the surface of the skin and exfoliate.

You WILL experience one or more of the following symptoms:
– Dryness – Itching
– Burning – Redness
– Sensitive skin
– Exfoliation ( flaking and peeling)

These reactions are a sign the skin restoration is in process. The Nu- Derm system is accelerating the skin cell turnover to alter the rough top layer of the skin.

Tolerance Phase: In with the New
Correction and stimulation continues

Your skin has built tolerance , skin improvement is viable. The skin increases the production of collagen and elastin, to diminish wrinkles and reduce pore size.

Correction Phase: Healthy Glow
Finally, your skin enters the last stage and you are ready for a maintenance protocol. Skin tolerance is now complete.

“Begin with the end in mind.” – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Control Reaction

Peeling is more severe in the center of the face and around mucus membranes (eyes, nose and mouth). You can try focusing product use on the forehead and cheeks and blending them in toward the center of the face. Most people notice that the peeling reaction peeks late afternoon-early evening. It is okay to cleanse your face later in the day ( at least 4 or 5 hours later) and reapply sunscreen and makeup. Cleansing the skin can help slough off some of the loose peeling skin. If you have an social event and need to stop reactions, discontinue step 5, four days before event. Obagi Action and Tolereen are “control” products that can be used as needed to relieve surface tightness, itching and dryness. Control products should only be used temporarily, as they slow the skin restoration process. Be sure to discuss options for controlling your reactions with your skin care professional.

Obagi Nu-Derm Action
A moisturizing cream to be used as needed to soothe areas of dry, flaky skin.

Obagi Nu-Derm Tolereen
Contains 0.5% hydrocortisone for the temporary relief of itching and burning associated with minor skin irritations.

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Read MoreOctober 19, 2010 12:58 pm - Posted by Kristy