Topical Retinoid Products

There are many topical retinoid products (also commonly known as topical retinol products) that can be used on the skin. Retinoid based products work by promoting surface skin cells to turn over rapidly, making way for new cell growth underneath. They are commonly used for treating acne but can also be used in a cosmetic fashion to help with anti-aging, fine lines, and to lighten certain types of browns spots. They can unclog pores and build collagen.

Retinoids come in a variety of formulations including creams, gels, lotions, and serums. They are available over-the-counter (without a prescription) as well as from your doctor (with a prescription). Some examples of prescription retinoids are: tretinoin, Retin-A, Retin-A micro, Differin, Veltin, Ziana, Epiduo, Refissa, and Tazorac. Generally, over the counter retinoids are weaker in strength than prescription versions, but they act in the same way. Differin 0.1% gel is actually a prescription retinoid that recently became available for purchase over the counter without a prescription.

When treating acne, topical retinoids can take up to 6-8 weeks before there is any improvement. For many patients, there is an initial flare of acne which the skin is purging and bringing all of the clogged pores to the surface of the skin.

It is best to use these products at night because the active ingredients can degrade in sunlight, making the creams less effective. Topical retinoid products are not to be used as spot treatment. You should be applying them to the entire face, as the products are better at preventing pimples than actually treating existing lesions.

Topical retinoids tend to cause dry skin for many people. Over time and with repeated use, the dryness will improve as your skin adjusts to the medication. However, initial dryness, peeling, and flaking of the skin is very common. To prevent exacerbation of this side effect, topical retinoids should be applied to a very dry face. Additionally, a very small, pea-sized amount should be used for the entire face. You should be spreading the product so thin that you think it is hardly enough to cover the entire area. You should start off using retinoid products every other night or even just a few times a week, building up frequency of usage over time as your skin is more able to tolerate the medication. Avoiding especially thin-skinned areas such as the eyes and lips is also helpful because these areas can experience excessive drying.

It is important to note that topical retinoid products can also make your skin more sensitive to sun exposure. This means you can sunburn much easier and quicker. Wearing extra sunscreen while using topical retinoids is a must! Using topical retinoids will also make your skin too sensitive for things like waxing for facial hair removal. You should find alternative methods of hair removal including threading, tweezing, and laser hair removal. One thing to remember is that you should not use topical retinoids if you are pregnant or nursing.


Myths about laser hair removal debunked


Myth 1: Laser hair removal is painful

If you’ve ever waxed or had threading, then laser hair removal will be a breeze!

The laser removes hair by a process called photothermolysis, which basically means using heat from light to remove the hair. This causes some warming sensation in the skin but our office used cooling equipment during the treatment such that it is alleviated. Also, some patients prefer to first having a special numbing cream applied in the office to help with discomfort in especially sensitive areas.


Myth 2: Laser hair removal doesn’t work on dark skin

It is true that lots of laser systems don’t work on darker skin, or aren’t safe for darker skin, however our laser works well on all skin types. Although laser hair removal works best on people with fair skin and darker hair, patients with darker complexions can still achieve great results, but they must be treated with special settings by someone trained in treating darker skin.


Myth 3: Takes years of treatments to work

As long as you’re using a powerful laser such as ours then you can see results after your first sessions.

For permanent hair reduction, it can typically be seen within 4-6 months. Hair grows in cycles and the laser can only target hair follicles that are currently in the growth phase. Laser hair removal treatments should be administered every few weeks to allow enough time for your hair to be in an active stage of growth.


Myth 4: Laser hair removal is expensive

Compared to a lifetime of shaving cream and razors, electric shavers and epilators, waxing and threading laser hair removal is actually very cost-effective.



Myth 5: Laser hair removal isn’t safe

With a team lead by dermatologists it is very rare for problems to occur. The treatment is appropriate for a range of healthy patients, and most people are eligible for laser hair removal. With that said, candidacy will always be evaluated by a reputable provider, and you should always look into the laser being used by your chosen provider. To be safe, laser hair removal should never be done in skin that has any little bit od sun tan.


Myth 6: Can’t be performed on face/sensitive areas

False! Some of the most popular treatments are laser treatment on the upper lip, underarms, and bikini area.


Myth 7: Laser hair removal doesn’t last

Patients can expect to see a reduction of up to 95% using certain medical lasers. For most people, the vast majority of treated hair does not return.


Myth 8: At-home treatments give the same results as in-office ones

This is a tricky one. While at home devices are not nearly as effective as ones at your dermatologist’s office, you may be able to extend the effects of laser hair removal between treatments with an at-home laser device.


Myth 9: Can’t go out in public afterwards

Busted! There is no downtime needed after getting laser hair removal. The only thing to note is that you should generally avoid direct sunlight immediately after your laser treatment.


Myth 10: Laser hair removal causes ingrown hairs

On the contrary, laser hair removal is the recommended treatment for those who experience ingrown hairs and those who deal with folliculitis and razor bumps.

Risk Factors for Melanoma

What causes melanoma?

Anyone can get melanoma. Most people who get melanoma have light skin, but people who have brown and black skin also get melanoma. Your risk of getting melanoma increases if you seek the sun, tanning beds, or sunlamps: These all emit ultraviolet light (UV), and scientists have proven that UV light can cause skin cancer in people. Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma by 59%, and the risk increases with each use. Living close to the equator and failing to protect your skin also puts you at an increased risk. You are also at an increased risk if you have had 5 or more blistering sunburns as a child or teenager. Even if you haven’t had a sunburn in recent years, the sunburns that you got as a child still put you at risk for melanoma in your older years.

While exposure to UV light greatly increases your risk of developing melanoma, your other characteristics also play a role. These include:

  • Fair skin. Having less pigment (melanin) in your skin means you have less protection from damaging UV radiation. If you have blonde or red hair, light-colored eyes, and freckle or sunburn easily, you’re more likely to develop melanoma than is someone with a darker complexion. But melanoma can develop in people of all races and those with darker complexions, including Hispanics and blacks.
  • 50 or more moles
  • Large or atypical moles
  • Had melanoma or another type of skin cancer
  • Had another type of cancer, such as breast or thyroid cancer
  • A disease that weakens your immune system, or taking medicines to quiet your immune system, such as taking life-saving medicines to prevent organ rejection after transplant surgery


Scientists have also found that some people inherit genes that increase their risk of getting melanoma. Therefore if a close blood relative — such as a parent, child or sibling — has had melanoma, you have a greater chance of developing it too.

In order for early detection it is recommended to have your skin checked by a dermatologist once a year, or if you notice any mole changing.

Women and facial hair

All women have facial and body hair, but the hair is usually very fine and light in color. Excessive or unwanted hair that grows on a woman’s body and face is the result of a condition called hirsutism.

The main difference between typical hair on a woman’s body and face (often called “peach fuzz”) and hair caused by hirsutism is the texture and location. Hirsutism is when usually fine hair is coarse or if it grows in areas where hair is not usually present.

Women develop excessive body or facial hair, called hirsutism, may be due to higher-than-normal levels of androgens, including testosterone. All females produce androgens, but the levels typically remain low. Certain medical conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS),  can cause a woman to produce too many androgens and, as can normal life events such as pregnancy. Hair growth or hirsutism in pregnancy is usually due to hormonal fluctuations — an increase in secretion of male hormones or androgens from the ovaries and placenta.

Waxing, shaving, and depilatories: If you have hirsutism, you may need to be more proactive about waxing, shaving, and using depilatories (topically applied creams lotions or foams that remove hair). These are all pretty affordable and take effect immediately, but they require continual treatment.

Laser hair removal: Laser hair removal involves using concentrated light rays to damage your hair follicles. Damaged follicles can’t produce hair, and the hair that’s present falls out. With sufficient treatments, laser hair removal can provide permanent or near-permanent results.

Electrolysis: Electrolysis is the removal of hair using an electric current. It treats each hair follicle individually, so the sessions can take longer.