• Dr. Naureen Akhtar General Practitioner MBBS,MRCGP,DRCOG

9 Most Useful Summer Skincare Tips to Avoid Premature Aging and Skin Damage

premature aging

The heat of summer can be a harmful time for your skin. Too much sun exposure, which causes skin pigmentation, sunburn and skin dehydration, followed by skin-drying office air conditioning can be damaging to your delicate skin cells. Here are some summer skincare tips to keep your skin healthy and prevent premature aging.

Up your sunscreen. Use a fragrance-free and oil-free SPF all over your face and body. Never rely on your daily moisturizer, foundation or even BB cream for sun protection. Use a reliable sunscreen as high as SPF30 during cloudless sunny days.

Moisturize – always. There are times when we’re so busy, we miss out on our eye cream and moisturizer. Even if it’s summer, when the skin produce more sebum, your skin still needs moisture. However, switch to oil-free serums or creams.

Keep your skin cool. This is important, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you are suffering from eczema, rosacea or sensitive skin, keep your skin cool by placing your skincare inside the fridge and avoiding direct sunlight. Steer clear of steam baths and saunas as these can worsen your condition. Heat also causes skin dehydration, making eczema worse and sensitive skin more irritated.

Don’t forget the neck and chest. Your neck and décolletage are often ignored when it comes to skincare. Signs of early aging often appear first in this area without you realizing. As a rule of thumb, always treat your neck and cleavage as an extension of your face and continue application of product from the face to your chest, be it moisturizer, cleanser, toner, mask or exfoliant.

And your hands. Your hands, like your neck and décolletage, are age indicators, so try to apply a rich moisturizer and sunscreen every day and exfoliate a few times a week.

Exfoliate. No matter how much moisturizer you apply to your skin, it will never look radiant without getting rid of dead skin cells. Our skin shed every day, resulting in dull, dry-looking skin, especially when exposed to the sun. Buff away tired cells using rejuvenation treatments to stimulate skin regeneration, leaving skin soft and smooth.

Avoid scrubs with coarse granules. Avoid using body and facial scrubs with coarse granules since they can scratch your delicate skin. Rather, choose an exfoliant with fine silica granules or AHAs that will evenly exfoliate your skin.

Protect your lips. Your lips have no melanin, so they are particularly important to protect. Since they are prone to sun damage, invest on a lip balm that has SPF 15 or higher.

Amp up your antioxidants. Eating antioxidant rich foods can help reduce possible skin damage and premature aging and keep skin healthy. Inflammation is among the major causes of premature aging and skin damage. Eat lots of foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acid and Vitamin C.

5 Most Common Signs of Bad Botox

bad Botox

When neuromodulators such as Botox or Dysport are administered properly by an experienced, qualified person, they look fabulous and natural; but when done wrong, it’s quite obvious that it doesn’t look right. Overdone Botox or simply called ‘Bad Botox’ is one of the huge concerns nowadays because of this drug’s immense popularity.

People see too many overfrozen, overdone personalities in the TV and they feel frightened that they may look like them as well. While the treatment procedure for Botox is easy, it doesn’t mean it is easy to administer the right way.

Below are the common signs that you just got a bad Botox.

Bad Botox Sign #1: You got a fake product

Ouch! This is a very important question to ask. Ask your provider whether the product was bought directly from Allergan or where the product is bought. You can also check online to know if the provider is listed under Allergan’s site of official Botox providers.

Bad Botox Sign #2: Your doctor used a ‘template’

This is a bit tricky but there are certainly ways to avoid it. Fillers, neuromodulators, surgery and laser have both science and art elements. Sadly, many people only attend brief training courses where they’re handed a template and only learn how to administer using that template. It may work but there’s a higher possibility of overdoing it as it does not consider the patient’s unique muscle patterns and distinct features. To avoid it, research and see previous patients treated by that practitioner. Do they look natural or frozen?

Bad Botox Sign #3: You don’t look natural while moving or even resting

Bad Botox means a result that looks unnatural while moving or at rest. One common result of ‘Bad Botox’ is the ‘Spock Brow’ – where the brow tail is unnaturally high while the medial brow is unnaturally low. For the crow’s feet area, a common Bad Botox result is a look of chipmunk cheeks and hollow eyes. It is very important to retain the natural movement of brow elevation when raising the brow as well as the normal cheek elevation when you’re smiling.

Apart from the brows and cheeks, another main area that highlight when something is wrong is the mouth. When your mouth is drooping, it may be due to overdosage of neuromodulators. While this isn’t permanent, it can be devastating while you have them.

Bad Botox Sign #4: You experience an adverse reaction

Any concerning side effect or adverse effect such as increasing pain or swelling or vision changes must prompt you to contact your doctor to ensure everything is fine.

Bad Botox Sign #5: You actually notice new lines forming

This happens when one area is overfrozen, especially when your provider has a heavy hand. Fortunately, it will disappear. In addition, long-term use of significant amounts of Botox, particularly in the upper face, may result to atrophy of the muscles. You might think it’s good because you’ll need less Botox, but it’s not.

Muscle atrophy actually makes your face look old due to the volume loss of the muscles. Right now, it’s not uncommon to see women with smooth, shiny forehead with lower faces full of wrinkles.

Recent Updates on Skin Sculpting: Injectable, Shape-Memorizing, 3D Hyaluronic Acid Cryogels

3D hyaluronic acid

Traditional dermal fillers degrade rapidly, requiring re-injection which can cause complications in the blood flow to the skin. Currently, experts have formulate a new type of dermal filler that can solve all these problems and revolutionize skin and facial rejuvenation- the 3D Hyaluronic Acid Cryogels (3D-HA).

Injectable dermal fillers are quickly becoming a popular choice for facial rejuvenation. Because it is minimally invasive and provides instant results, dermal fillers such as hyaluronic acid fillers are administered to add facial volume and smoothen facial lines. But these cosmetic effects are very short-lived and fade over time because of filler migration and degradation. As such, to achieve a dermal filler that lasts long and retains volume and shape, researchers have improved hyaluronic acid dermal filler and create a 3D hyaluronic acid cryogels that can preserve its shape and assimilate with facial tissue.

What is 3D Hyaluronic Acid Cryogels?

3D Hyaluronic acid cryogels are non-toxic, injectable compounds that can provide a desirable effect on facial volume and restore its original, youthful shape. The shape and size of cryogels, aside from rate of degradation and firmness, can be customized. In a study published by the Tissue Engineering Journal, it defined the performance evaluation of 5mm methacrylated 3D hyaluronic acid cryogels.

In the study, it tested the effect of cryogels and dermal fillers on mice. Grouping eight female mice into four groups, the researchers administered their dorsum with dermal fillers – hyaluronic acid (HA), saline, methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MA-HA) and 3D MA-HA Cryogels. In this study, specially formulated heart-shaped cryogels were used.
Using in vivo imaging techniques, the subjects were observed for filler degradation and migration over 30 days. Skin firmness was also noted using a durometer. In addition, 10 mm skin biopsies were taken from injected areas for further analysis.

The results of the study showed positive result on the use of shape-memorizing 3D hyaluronic acid cryogels. The in vivo imaging showed that the heart-shaped cryogels retained even until the 28th day after injection. The rate of degradation was slow – a highly desirable quality in the facial rejuvenation industry.

The 3D cryogels collapsed under sheer stress upon administered but quickly turned to its original shape without any breaks, fissures or fractures. The use of 3D hyaluronic acid cryogels also revealed no subsequent immune reaction or inflammation. Since the 3D cryogel has a porous structure, bigger than the diameter of subcutaneous blood vessel, there is no risk of blood flow blockage.

Overall, the final results implied that the 3D hyaluronic acid cryogels can effectively resolve the limits that arise from the use of traditional dermal fillers. The use of cryogels can dramatically enhance the way cosmetic doctors treat soft tissue regeneration and skin sculpting. Based on further research, the 3D cryogels can be a durable, non-toxic and less invasive form of treatment for soft tissue regeneration and facial rejuvenation.

A Closer Look Between Fat Filler vs. Dermal Filler

fat filler vs. dermal filler

Two of the most popular cosmetic procedures today for facial rejuvenation and volume restoration are fat filler vs. dermal filler. What are the difference between the two? Let us take a deeper lens on how best to restore facial volume.

Fat Filler vs. Dermal Filler – How They Work

One way to restore facial volume is by using hyaluronic acid, as a direct filler. Another is a polymer of lactic acid that serves as an inflammatory material to induce collagen synthesis and develop a guided tissue volume additive. These two materials can easily be administered in the office with minimal downtime. Although these treatments are safe and easy, it is important to get a doctor with experienced eyes, hands and judgment to ensure the best outcomes. Results may last up to two years.

Another option to restore volume of the face is through fat grafting. Fat can be harvested easily from the thighs or abdomen to be used in the face. The procedure is a milder, gentler form of liposuctioning that requires a small amount of processing. It is then re-injected into the specific location. Under local anesthesia, patients may feel some pressure sensation from obtaining the fat. To ensure not to injure the fat, specialized cannulas are used. The technique may cause some pressure sensation compared to the small, sharp needle used for injecting dermal filler.

The good thing of using fat is that it’s cheaper to obtain as opposed to a manufactured material. Also, peripheral stem cells could direct cellular differentiation which leads to better tissue quality.

Which Do You Use? Fat Filler vs. Dermal Filler?

Fat can be technically demanding because it is soft and doesn’t exert force on the skin as compared to fillers. This is the reason why most doctors prefer to use hyaluronic acid and other dermal fillers around delicate areas such as around the eyes and the lips.

The use of fat filler is still an evolving technique in the world of plastic surgery. Currently, there are significant discussion on the techniques as well as the science behind the results. Fat grafting is application to every region of the body, including the face, hand, breast, buttock, neck and other contour deformities.

As for the early stages of volume restoration and facial rejuvenation, which can happen during the third decade of life and beyond, most volume restoration procedures is done using off-the-shelf dermal filler in an office setting because of the convenience and the ease of use.

Fat filler vs. dermal filler? Well, it is a case-to-case decision. It depends as it is important to identify the best protocol for every patient. Taking the customized approach is still the best thing to do, from the initial consultation to the procedure. Here at Skin Hampshire, it is our goal to provide only the best, optimal results for every patient and to develop a lifetime relationship.

The Benefits of Having Tear Trough Treatment

Our eyes are one of the most important features of our face and their ability to be the main focal point of the face can be diminishes because of wrinkles, eyebrow dropping, eyelash loss, cheek volume loss and fine lines. One of the most popular cosmetic treatment that can enhance the appearance of the eyes is the tear trough treatment.

Most injectables could take a few days, even weeks, for the effect to be noticed. However, some treatments can provide instant results. Tear trough treatment is one example and the highly skilled professionals at Skin Hampshire perform it for those tired of looking ‘tired’.

How Tear Trough Treatment Works to Firm Under Eye Area

tear trough treatment

There is a natural depression that lines the curve of your eye socket, going from the nose to the underside of the eye. This is called as ‘tear trough’ as this is where your tears collect. As you get older, the skin loses its natural elasticity. Your face also lose volume from the mid and upper section as the facial fat starts to shrink and sag.

Because of the sagging and shrinking of the delicate skin around the tear trough, it causes eye bags and dark shadows, which is hard to conceal with makeup. It makes your face look tired and old.

But the texture of dermal filler used for tear trough treatment can improve the appearance of this area non-surgically, through the use of multiple injections administered above the orbital bone. Tear trough filler can give you an instant result as the dark shadows get ‘plumped out’ for a naturally renewed, rejuvenated face and a far more ‘awake’ look.

Who are the Ideal Candidate for Tear Trough Treatment?

Though deep tear troughs usually appear in the 30s or 40s, there are patients as young as 20 who are to have early sign of aging. Ideal candidate is anyone who knows and understands the procedure, in general good health and has realistic expectations of the results. During the initial consultation, we will be able to determine if the treatment procedure is fitted for your situation.

We will do a skin evaluation, a discussion of your desired results as well as a review of your medical history. If you decide to get a tear trough treatment, a personalize treatment plan will be developed.

What to Expect from the Tear Trough Treatment

For the first four hours after the procedure, patient is advised to stay upright, to let the filler to settle. Any strenuous activity is not allowed within 24 hours. Cosmetics can be applied the following day. Take note that chemical peels, tanning or facials of any kind should be avoided within seven days after the procedure as the tissues are still highly sensitive.

Patients can expect very slight redness and bruising at the injection site for the first few days after the injection. Cold treatment can be applied to reduce any swelling. The side effects are expected to dissipate after one week.

What Your Dermal Fillers are Made With?

Dermal filler products come in a wide variety. Each product has unique formulation that has a distinct density, texture and depth of injection, meaning that certain fillers work better for specific areas of concern.

Generally, dermal fillers are grouped according to the substance they’re made from. One thing you should always remember is that make sure that you’re getting FDA-approved brand name dermal fillers, which can only be accessed through a licensed physician.

Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Hyaluronic acid (HA) is naturally occurred substance found in your skin. It promotes hydration of the skin, making the skin hydrated and plump. HA fillers are usually gel-like and soft. Results are short-lived, lasting between 6 and 12 months before the body naturally and eventually absorbs the substance. Some HA fillers are combined with lidocaine to lessen discomfort during and after the procedure.

Common hyaluronic fillers include Belotero, Juvederm, Perlane, Restylane and Voluma.

Poly-L-lactic Acid

Poly-L-lactic acid is a biodegradable, biocompatible (which means it’s safe for use in the body) substance. For many years it has been used in various medical devices such as dissolvable stitches. The result of poly-l-lactic acid filler last over 2 years and it promotes collagen production. It is considered to be a ‘semi-permanent’ filler. Because it is a thicker type of filler, it is often used for deeper facial wrinkles. Example of Poly-L-lactic filler is Sculptra Aesthetic.

Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA)

Polymethylmethacrylate is a biocompatible, synthetic substance that has been used in medicine for decades. When administered as dermal fillers, PMMA turns into a tiny ball or microsphere that stays underneath the skin for many years, providing long-lasting results. It is ideal for medium to deep facial wrinkles. It also contains collagen to provide firmness and structure on the skin. PMMA filler available in the market include Artefill.

Calcium Hydroxylapatite (CaHA)

Calcium hydroxylapatite is a naturally occurring substance that present in our bones. When administered as a dermal filler, the calcium particles, which are nearly microscopic in size, is suspended in a smooth gel. Compared to hyaluronic acid filler, the consistency of the CaHA filler is usually thicker. The result lasts longer than HA filler, typically more than 12 months. CaHA is also believed to help stimulate the production of collagen and is used for deeper lines and wrinkles. Example of FDA-approved CaHA fiiller include Radiesse.

Choosing Your Provider for Dermal Filler Treatment

When choosing a provider for filler treatment, make a decision the same way that you would for a surgical procedure. Even if it is a minimally invasive procedure, it is still a medical procedure that entails specific knowledge, training and skills to ensure the best results.

Whoever you choose, be sure that the provider has a deep knowledge of facial anatomy, a surgeon’s precision and skills and a seasoned aesthetic eye. Ask for any before and after photos of each possible provider’s past clients.

How to Prevent Overuse of Dermal Fillers

overuse of dermal filler

The popularity of dermal fillers has grown rapidly in recent years. Sometimes referred as ‘liquid facelift’, fillers can provide full facial rejuvenation with virtually no downtime and minimal pain. Dermal fillers can enhance the contours of your face, rejuvenate the skin, balance facial profile and offer a total natural and aesthetically pleasing results.

Unfortunately, under the hands of an inexperienced doctor, overuse of dermal fillers can happen and the results can be unpleasant. Your facial features may be overly down, making your appearance looked aged and unnatural.

How Dermal Fillers Begun

Dermal fillers were developed to address facial aging issues back when the cosmetic industry still didn’t have any immediate, effective solution to add shape or volume to the face. Before fillers were used, the main cosmetic solutions were solely focused on facial skin tightening such as surgical facelift, which often result to looking unnatural. Dermal fillers allow doctors to make a youthful aesthetic such as a plump that was more natural looking.

But today, through the help of dermal fullers, we’re able to age gracefully through the use of non-surgical means but only if they are administered properly. Now, there’s no need to wait until you noticed that your face is dropping off like a melted wax. Just head straight to your injector and have a short procedure to look radiant and refreshed again.

Dermal fillers come in different types, including Sculptra, Juvederm, Radiesse, Voluma and many more. Each of these products are effective for various facial rejuvenation purposes. But, if any of these fillers is overused, the result will be an ‘overdone’, unnatural appearance.

How to Avoid Overuse of Dermal Fillers

To prevent overuse of dermal fillers, here are some three ways:

Have a realistic expectation. A lot of people who tend to overuse dermal fillers are those with unrealistic expectations on the final results. Realize the dermal fillers cannot completely overhaul your appearance, it can only enhance your present facial traits. Learn more about dermal fillers and ask your doctor about the expected end results.

Look for a reputable provider. Proper administration of dermal fillers requires a mix of thorough experience, an artistic eye and a deep knowledge about the facial anatomy. Choose an injector who have good reviews from their peers and clients, who practice in a reputable business facility and have a successful history of providing fillers. Be wary of prices that are too good to be true, because chances are, it is.

Know when to stop. You often heard of patients who love the results of the filler too much that they become addicted to it. Follow your provider is he advises you against getting more treatment. A trusted practitioner knows the limitations of your face and will tell you honestly when you start approaching the limit.

Botox vs. Dysport – The Differences and Similarities

Botox vs. Dysport

Botox vs. Dysport are both neurotoxins, a form of Botulinum Toxin Type A, which have been approved by the FDA for addressing wrinkles and fine lines. Although both products are chemically similar and have been used for the same indication, there’s one big difference between the two – both products cannot be interchanged as they are dosed differently.

Botox vs. Dysport – What are the Similarities

As we age, wrinkles and fine lines naturally develop in certain facial areas because of frequent muscle contractions from the usual daily facial expressions. For instance, squinting and smiling could create ‘crow’s feet’ around the eyes, while lifting your brows may lead to forehead wrinkles.

Dysport and Botox target wrinkles and fine lines by relaxing the specific muscle tissue and prevent such muscle from contraction. When injected into a specific muscle, both products can temporarily block the nerve impulses that control contraction of the muscles. This results in reduction of movement and relaxation of muscles to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Both provide temporary results. After a certain period, the nerve impulses start to reach the muscle area again, which result in both muscle contractions as well as the reappearance of facial lines. But with regular treatment sessions along with an experienced injector, it can approximately maintain results in 3 to 6 months.

Botox vs. Dysport – What are the Differences

The difference between the two boils down to differing formula characteristics.

In terms of dilution, Botox is diluted differently than Dysport. If a patient used a specific number of Botox units, they will likely need to reduce the number of unit when changing to Dysport. But higher dilution doesn’t mean that Dysport is less efficient than Botox. It only means that more dosage of Dysport is needed to get the same result.

In terms of molecular size and diffusion, Dysport seems to diffuse more than Botox, which causes it to cover a greater area once injected. Because Dysport has smaller molecules, it works more rapidly than Botox and spreads to a broader area.

In certain areas, this is good but not all. Dysport is less efficient in addressing delicate areas where more precision is necessary. That is why it’s highly important to see a doctor who has considerable experience and expertise when it comes to administration and dosing.

The bottom line is, choosing between Dysport and Botox may boil down to simple preference of the patient and the doctor. There are times when both products are used concurrently during a single treatment to produce better result.

The Benefits of Dermal Fillers for Creping Skin

creping skin

Wrinkles is considered as the most common sign of aging. Everyone age and get wrinkles… and we all desire to eliminate them. But there is no easy solution when it comes to getting rid of wrinkles and facial lines. That is because our face has different types of wrinkles, and each one requires a certain treatment plan tailored to treat them. One of the most common type of wrinkles is creping skin.

What is Cheek Creping?

Although crepes filled with fruits or ice cream may be delicious to look at, crepey skin isn’t. Waffley or crepey skin is loose wrinkled skin that appears as skin surface sagging, similar to thin pancake-like crepes.

There are times when wrinkles not only extend vertically from the cheek hollow to the jaw line. In some cases, it can appear horizontally on the flat surface of your cheek hollows.

Causes and Effects of Creping Skin

There are three main causes why creping or crêpey skin forms. First, when the body reduces the production of collagen and elastin – the proteins essential for the skin the contract and stretch, the skin starts to wrinkle and sag. Aging skin exhibits itself in facial wrinkles and deep lines for many people, but for others, tinier, more prolific wrinkles appear mainly on the face, neck and hands, which gives the skin a creping appearance. When the creping skin starts, it may get even worse without intervention.

Another reason to crêpey skin is the moisture that retains in the skin. As you age, the skin will start to feel drier since the body stops generating new skin cells that it did before. This results to slow down in the production of oil that are useful in getting rid of dead skin cells and even pathogens.

Lastly, the loss of fat could be another cause of crêpey skin. Since the skin gets thinner, it doesn’t have enough fatty layer beneath and thus, hence wrinkles may start to form.

Other factors that cause creping skin. These include:

  • Smoking
  • Decrease in the production of collagen and elastin molecules
  • Rapid and extreme weight loss
  • Dehydration in the skin
  • Sun damage
  • Gravity
  • Environmental factors

Effects of creping skin include:

  • Loose folds of skin
  • Crinkly texture to the skin
  • Lack of radiance
  • Sagging skin
  • Deep lines and wrinkles

Aside from the cheeks, creping skin symptoms can be also be found around the eyes and on the neck.

How Dermal Fillers Work for Creping Skin

Dermal fillers not only help eliminate or diminish the wrinkles, but it can also work in smoothening the skin. After several weeks, patients will start to notice improvement on the texture of the skin on the treated areas. If you maintain the correction, along with periodic treatments, it can likely cause patients to need lesser amount of dermal fillers as the body responds by keeping the fullness for long period.

Do Anti-Aging Creams Really Work?

anti-aging creams

Manufacturers of anti-aging creams create some enticing claims. They promise to give you a skin that is youthful and radiant by eliminating age spots, firming up sagged skin and leaving you with a renewed glow. But is a jar of anti-aging cream worth the cost, or is it only a product of empty promises packed in pleasant packaging?

The Truth About Anti-Aging Creams

In reality, wrinkle creams don’t do so much apart from temporarily adding moisture to your skin. There are no wrinkle creams that can get rid of wrinkles. Beauty product manufacturers may entice you with their claims of exotic plant extracts harvested from the jungles of Amazon but there is nothing special in these so-called tightening ingredients. It is only perception and they are ordinary ingredients such as egg whites, which are often named as ‘serum albumin’, or polyvinyl alcohol.

The mechanism of any over-the-counter wrinkle cream is to add hydrating effect to the skin. Being moisturizers, these products enhance the water content in the epidermal layer of the skin to temporarily improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.

Wrinkles appear since as we age, we slowly produce less collagen, which is the protein the keeps the skin elastic and firm. Cigarette smoking and excessive sun exposure increases the loss of collagen, so the best things you can do is to keep your skin covered with sunscreen and avoid cigarettes.

But once the skin damage is done, is there any way to reverse it? Below are some of the most common anti-aging cream ingredients:

  1. Antioxidants. Examples are Vitamin E or green tea, which aims to stop sun damage that may hinder collagen production.
  2. Hydroxy acids. This serves as exfoliant, eliminating the old, dull skin to reveal new skin.
  3. Hyaluronic acid. This works by soaking the skin in moisture, plumping the wrinkled skin tissue.
    Peptides. This ingredient became popular due to their ability to increase collagen production and speed up wound healing.
  4. Peptides. This ingredient became popular due to their ability to increase collagen production and speed up wound healing.
  5. Retinol. This is the over-the-counter version of the Vitamin A derivative Retin-A. Retinoids prevent the break down of collagen and with continued use, it can help produce new collagen.

Of all the ingredients listed, dermatologists recommend the use of retinol for prevention and even reversal of signs of aging. However, it must be avoided by pregnant women. This is the only non-prescription substance that has scientific studies to back it up. The use of retinol has been proven significant reduction in the appearance of brown spots and wrinkles.

How Does Botox Compare?

For people who want to see dramatic results, medical procedure is far better and more effective than anti-aging creams. Botox breaks the connections between the muscles and the nerves, relaxing and paralyzing the muscle. Without paralyzing this part, the muscle would be tensed, forming deep wrinkles.