Non-Invasive Treatment Options For Melasma

melasmaMelasma is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” but the truth is it can occur at any time. It can be triggered by starting or stopping oral contraceptives, lactation, hormone replacement therapy, thyroid disruptions or perimenopause. Melasma affects 5-6 million Americans annually and the American Academy of Dermatology reports that women account for roughly 90% of those afflicted. It is a hormonal skin condition, but the exact cause is still being studied.

The most common occurrences of melasma appear in young women with brown or olive colored skin. The result is large, dark dense skin discolorations in areas of the nose, forehead, cheeks, chin, or forearms.  There is no physical discomfort associated with melasma, but there is often psychological stress caused by its appearance.

Melasma does not fade naturally over time. It can actually worsen with sun exposure, but fortunately there are several safe and effective treatment options to help address the condition.

Treatment Options

  • Chemical Peels.  Exfoliating the skin through chemical induced peeling with ingredients such as alpha hydroxyl acids, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid or resorcinol. These are applied by a skin care professional.
  • Microdermabrasion. Manual exfoliation with a diamond tipped wand by a skin care professional.
  • Hydroquinone (HQ) Cream. A topical bleaching product. It is available over-the-counter and in prescription strength for home use.
  • Topical lightening products.  Other topical products include kojic, lactic or azelaic acids, mulberry or licorice extracts, arbutin and resorcinol.
  • Ascorbic acid. Topical Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can accelerate results.
  • Retinol. Topically applied it increases cell turnover and accelerates pigment lightening.
  • Sunscreen. Daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen is recommended. Sun exposure worsens Melasma.

Treating melasma involves a combination of a home care regime and professional treatments. It is important to have patience since melasma can be very stubborn and difficult to treat.

Posted on March 29, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

The Benefits Of Adding Quinoa To Your Diet

Red quinoaQuinoa (keen-wah) is an ancient grain that was first discovered over 5,000 years ago. Lately, it has become quite popular because of its numerous health benefits. But what exactly is Quinoa, and how can you incorporate it into your own diet?

The nutrition profile of quinoa is that of a whole grain, meaning the entire seed is intact without any of its parts removed. This is quite different than refined or milled grains, which are used for white bread, rice and pasta. The refinement process creates a fine, light texture, but it also removes valuable nutrients and fiber during the process.

Essential minerals, fiber and vitamins in whole grains help regulate our digestive systems and make us feel more full and satisfied after eating. Refined pasta, bread and rice deliver simple carbohydrates that get digested quickly and provide virtually no nutritional value.

While there are hundreds of different types of quinoa, most stores carry the white, black and red varieties. Some other attributes of quinoa include:

  • Naturally gluten-free
  • Contains B-vitamins, iron, calcium, vitamin E, fiber and potassium
  • Considered a complete protein with essential amino acids
  • Relatively high ratio of protein to carbohydrates
  • Considered “ideal” by NASA for long duration space flights

Roughly 25% of quinoa’s fatty acids come from monounsaturated fat, which is considered heart-healthy. There are 160 calories, 0 grams of cholesterol, 0 grams of sodium, 0 grams of sugar, and 6 grams of protein in ¼ cup of dry quinoa. The bitter-tasting natural coating on quinoa – called saponin – repels insects without the use of pesticides. Saponin is removed from most packaged quinoa, but you can rinse any quinoa with water to remove the saponin yourself.

An easy way to incorporate quinoa into your diet is to simply use it in place of rice in recipes. The grains are quite small and cook in as little as 15 minutes. It’s a versatile ingredient that delivers a subtle, nutty flavor. Consider quinoa for baking, breakfast recipes, cold salads, burgers, or as a hot side dish.

Posted on March 28, 2014 and filed under Nutrition.

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Posted on March 7, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Effective Anti-Aging Treatments For Your Lower Face

Your jawline is the foundation of the lower region of your face. As you age, changes to your jaw directly impact your appearance. The loss of volume (collagen, fat, muscle and bone) as you age reduces soft tissue support and creates sagging skin.

Common Signs of Lower Face Aging

  • Nasolabial Folds – These are the two skin folds that run from the side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. They separate the cheeks from the upper lip.
  • Downturned Mouth – The corners of the mouth slope downward, even when facial muscles are relaxed.
  • Marionette Lines – These lines extend from the corners of the mouth vertically down toward the chin.
  • Jowling – Skin and fat that hangs along or below the jawline.
  • Loss of Lip Volume – Thinner lips with small vertical creases that are accentuated with pursing or talking.

While the laws of gravity are difficult to combat, there are some non-surgical treatments that can help address some of these common lower face issues.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Lower Face Aging

  • Botox – This neuromodulator can be used to relax lip lines, lift the corners of the mouth and soften chin dimpling.
  • Fillers – These volumizing products can plump lip lines, soften nasolabial folds, marionette lines and improve jowling and the jawline.
  • Lasers – Radiofrequency, Infared Light and Ultrasound can be used to stimulate collagen in the lower face encouraging tightening and lifting.
  • Surgery – A surgical lower face and neck lift improves facial skin laxity. Surgery allows for tightening of loose muscles and redraping the skin.

Aging of the lower face can be treated with one or more of the above treatments.  Talk with your provider about any concerns you have about aging and your lower face to find the best treatment for you. 

Posted on February 27, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Eating Dark Chocolate In Moderation Can Be Good For Your Health

chocolateResearchers at the Division of Human Nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands have discovered that eating dark chocolate can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, which is a hardening and thickening of the arteries. It turns out that dark chocolate – in moderation – can restore the flexibility of arteries and stop white blood cells from adhering to the blood vessel walls.

The study was conducted over 4 weeks on 44 overweight men between 45 an 70 years old. The men had to eat 70 grams of normal dark chocolate or 70 grams of dark chocolate fortified with high levels of flavanol – an antioxidant found in cocoa plants.

The researchers wanted to determine if the flavanol stimulated the mens’ senses, motivating them to eat more chocolate. While the addition of flavanol did increase the consumption of chocolate by the men in the study, both types of dark chocolate produced similar heart benefits.

This result is significant because it contradicts previous research that suggested flavanol, which is also found in wine and berries, is the primary reason that dark chocolate is good for your heart. It appears that dark chocolate can be good for you in moderation, and the fact that flavanol makes you want to eat more of it is a nice side benefit.

Posted on February 26, 2014 and filed under Nutrition.

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Posted on January 31, 2014 and filed under Promotions.

New Study Shows Alarming Cancer Rates Linked To Indoor Tanning

tanning bedAccording to a recent study, the potential to get skin cancer from tanning beds is substantially higher among young people than previously thought. Those who start tanning before 35 have a 59% higher probability of melanoma, and the risk of getting skin cancer from indoor tanning is higher than the risk of getting lung cancer from smoking.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) wanted to determine the worldwide prevalence of indoor tanning. They analyzed over 80 studies from 16 countries, including data on over 400,000 participants. The researchers analyzed the popularity of indoor tanning across different age groups, then calculated the probability of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The Findings

Jama Dermatology published  the study, showing that 35% of adults  participated in indoor tanning and 14% used a tanning bed within the past 12 months. Other findings about indoor tanning include:

  • Nearly 55% of college students used tanning beds, with 43% having done so within the past year.
  • Roughly 19% of adolescents participated in indoor tanning, with 18% having done so within the past year.
  • Overall, women used tanning beds more than men.
  • Could lead to 450,000 cases of NMSC and 10,000 cases of melanoma each year.

Compared To Smoking

Researchers were particularly alarmed at the estimated 450,000 annual skin cancer cases linked to indoor tanning throughout the US, Europe and Australia. That number of skin cancer cases related to indoor tanning is actually higher than the number of lung cancer cases related to smoking.

It’s important to note that the mortality rate for lung cancer is much higher than it is for skin cancer, and the smoking can cause a litany of other health risks besides cancer. With that said, tanning beds are growing in popularity while smoking rates are falling throughout Western countries. Researchers noted the high probability that skin cancer cases related to indoor tanning will exceed the number of smoking-related lung cancer cases in the near future.

Posted on January 28, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Muscle Strengthening And Aerobic Activity Reduce The Risk Of Diabetes In Women

woman weight trainingThe benefits of exercise in promoting and maintaining good health are widely known, particularly for women wishing to prevent or reduce the risk of diabetes.  Regular exercise helps to regulate blood sugar levels in your body and helps decrease the possibility of developing diabetes.  New studies show that muscle strengthening and conditioning, alone or in conjunction with aerobic activity, are also linked to a reduction of the risk in the development of diabetes.

There have been studies in the past that have shown that men who weight train have a decreased risk for developing diabetes.  This recent study is the first to show the same benefits for women.

As with aerobic exercise, the benefits of muscle strengthening and conditioning in the prevention of diabetes are many. Women who engage in these activities gain:

  • improved cholesterol profiles
  • increased heart function
  • decreased blood pressure
  • improved blood glucose control and insulin sensitivity
  • improved muscular strength and endurance
  • increased bone strength

For women who are at risk for developing diabetes, engaging in any type of exercise will help. Women who participate in muscle strengthening and conditioning, even without aerobic activity, will still considerably lessen their risk of developing diabetes. The conditioning exercises should focus on the upper and lower body with at least a moderate intensity, several times each week.  Some of these include:

  • arm curl
  • military press
  • bench press
  • squats
  • knee and back extensions
  • bent knee sit-ups
  • circuit weight training

Women who engage in both aerobic and strength training reaped the most benefits. For those who cannot engage in aerobic exercise, the muscle strengthening and conditioning exercises alone still offer plenty of benefits.

Women who are looking to reduce their risk of diabetes should speak to their physicians about incorporating these activities into their current physical activity plan. Incorporating muscle strengthening and conditioning with aerobic activity provides the most benefit.

Posted on January 27, 2014 and filed under Fitness.

Plant-Based Sources Of Protein For Vegetarians

If you’re a vegetarian or vegan, or simply want to limit meat in your diet, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut with protein sources. The most common problem is relying too heavily on vegetarian classics like beans, lentils and tofu. If you’re looking to mix things up a bit, here are some new and different ways to get plant-based proteins into your diet:

  • Guava – Guava is a nutrition-packed tropical fruit that offers about 4 grams of protein per cup and contains three times as much vitamin C as a large orange. It’s rich in fiber, lycopene, B-complex vitamins, manganese, potassium and vitamin A.
  • Broccoli – While everyone knows that broccoli is packed full of vitamins, minerals and beneficial phytonutrients, you may be surprised to learn that it’s a rich source of protein too. One cup of chopped broccoli containing about 4 grams of lean protein.
  • Chia Seeds – Just about any food can become a rich source of protein if you garnish it with a tablespoon or two of Chia seeds. Two tablespoons of these seeds are packed with 3 grams of protein, as well as an array of vitamins, minerals and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Their delicate, nutty flavor makes them a great addition to baked goods, soups, salads, yogurt and cereal.
  • Potatoes – Potatoes, generally thought of as a starch, are also a rich source of protein, with a large potato providing about 6 grams. Top a baked potato with veggies, like broccoli or asparagus, and sprinkle them with chia seeds for even more protein, and be sure to eat the skin for its minerals and fiber.
  • Quinoa – If you’re looking for a tasty, protein-rich side dish then consider replacing rice with quinoa. It’s also a great hot breakfast alternative to oatmeal. Half a cup of cooked quinoa contains about 4 grams of protein and all essential amino acids.
  • Buckwheat – Another alternative to traditional grains, 1 cup of cooked buckwheat contains nearly 6 grams of protein. It’s a great source of fiber and minerals that includes potassium, magnesium and iron. Use buckwheat in kernel form – known as groats – for a side dish, or use buckwheat flour in pancakes and baked goods.
  • Wheat Germ – Packed with about 3 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons, what germ can be used in baked goods or sprinkled on cereals or yogurt to boost not only protein, but B-vitamins, vitamin E, potassium and fiber in your diet.
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes – Offering nearly 4 grams of protein in a ½ cup serving, sun dried tomatoes are a versatile food that can be used in soups, sauces, pasta dishes and an array of other recipes. It also delivers a range of other nutrients including potassium, lycopene, fiber and vitamin K.
  • Pistahcios – Reaching for pistachios when you’re craving a crunchy snack will give 6 grams of protein per ounce – more than most nuts. They’re also great chopped and sprinkled on salads, yogurt or ice cream.

Other protein-rich foods that can offer variety in a plant-based diet include kale, green peas, Wakame seaweed, hemp seeds and asparagus. Try mixing and matching these foods with traditional vegetarian fare to meet your protein requirements without risking bean burnout.

Posted on December 30, 2013 and filed under Nutrition.

Four Ways To Treat Browns Spots On Your Skin

woman brown spots sun damageThere’s no way around it. Sun exposure and aging cause brown spots to develop on our skin. The most common areas are those that get repetitive sun exposure such as the face, hands, arms and shoulders. Over time, these spots change from cute youthful freckles into unsightly discolorations.

Using daily sunscreen and limiting your time in the sun can prevent future brown spots from developing. If you already have lots of skin discoloration, consider one of these cosmetic treatment options to rejuvenate your skin.

1. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical skin exfoliation that uses a diamond-tip wand to gently exfoliate the skin. Light suction is used simultaneously to remove the dead skin cells. Microdermabrasion is usually administered in a series of 3-5 treatments done one month apart.

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a safe and effective treatment for brown spots and other pigmentation problems. They use fruit based acids to gently remove the outer layer of skin. Chemical peels stimulate new cell growth while naturally sloughing off dead cells. They can improve the skin’s tone and texture, improve acne and lighten brown spots, freckles, and melasma. Chemical peels are usually administered in a series of 3-5 treatments.

3. Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

Sometimes call photofacials, IPL uses a light-based device to target unwanted red and brown discoloration in the skin. It can be used for sun damage, brown spots, hyperpigmentation, facial flushing and rosacea. Because it has been shown to stimulate collagen, it is also used to rejuvenate the skin. Three to five treatments are typically recommended at intervals of one month apart. It is important to stay out of the sun in between treatments.

4. Topical Products

There are several effective skin bleaching agents available over-the-counter or by prescription. The most widely used bleaching cream is hydroquinone, but other common products include kojic, azelaic, and lactic acids. Some products are even safe in pregnancy and lactation. Consult with your skin care provider to determin the right topical product for you.

To be safe, it’s best to have a complete head to toe skin check annually by a dermatologist. Between visits look for any spots that are rapidly growing, darkly pigmented, developing irregular borders, or cause itching, redness, tenderness or bleeding. These can be signs of skin cancer.

Cosmetically speaking, don’t waste time and money using make-up to cover skin discoloration. Speak with your skin care provider about the best treatment options for your specific concern, skin type and available down time.

Posted on December 29, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Weight Training Has More Benefits Than Previously Thought

Woman Lifting WeightsMost of us know that weightlifting can improve the appearance of our body as well as our overall health. Recent research suggests that it can also provide variety of less talked about benefits. Here’s a brief outline of the benefits of weight training.

Reduce the Symptoms of Depression

According to a 2004 study published in the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, weightlifting was just as effective as aerobic exercise in reducing the symptoms of depression.

Combat Osteoporosis

Our bodies naturally lose muscle and bone mass as we age, especially in women. Fortunately, there is a way to reverse this trend. Both our muscles and bones adapt to the stress of weightlifting by becoming stronger.

Lower the Risk of Diabetes

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, lifting weights each week for 150 minutes (5 half-hour sessions) lowered the risk of diabetes in men by 34%. The risk was lowered by 59% for men who added regular cardiovascular exercise as well.

Improve Hearth Health

The College of Health Sciences at Appalachian State University conducted a study to determine the impact of 45 minutes of moderate strength training on arteries and blood flow. The result was a 20 percent decrease in blood pressure, which roughly equates to the benefit of anti-hypertension drugs.

Control Blood Sugar

In April 2013, the Natural Medicine website published a study demonstrating that lifting weights can regulate blood glucose levels. Researchers showed that weight training spurs the growth of white muscle, which helps lower blood glucose by using the glucose for energy.

Reduce Back Pain

Many office workers know the lower back pain that can be caused by sitting at a desk all day. Weight training can help strengthen the muscles that support your spine. These “core” muscles can lessen the discomfort and stiffness often associated with extended periods of sitting.

Improve Balance

In addition to our large muscle groups, our bodies have smaller groups called stabilizer muscles. Those little muscles help determine our ability to maintain our balance. Weight training can improve the stabilizer muscles that help keep us upright.

Stay Lean

A regimen of high volume weightlifting several times per week, plus lots of protein each day, will produce long and lean muscles. Ladies, don’t fear the masculine look of a big and bulky body. Proper weight training will help you stay slim.

Get Started

Sometimes it’s difficult to start, or stick to, a weight training routine. The key is to just show up and get going. Don’t overthink it. Surround yourself with supportive, like-minded people and the results will come.

Posted on December 27, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

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Posted on December 9, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Promotions - Nov. 2013

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Posted on November 4, 2013 and filed under Promotions.

How To Rejuvenate Your Aging Neck

woman neckSun exposure, weight gain, and genetics often cause our necks to change as we age. Wrinkles start to appear as the skin becomes loose, fat accumulates under the chin, and vertical neck bands form from the contraction of muscles. The term ”turkey neck” refers to these changes in appearance, and it’s about as attractive as it sounds.

Surgery has traditionally been the only option to rejuvenate the neck, but some non-invasive treatment options are now available to treat these signs of aging.


Topical products or serums that contain growth factors help repair and rebuild the skin’s integrity. Application of growth factors once or twice daily will replenishing the skin with key peptides, antioxidants, and vitamins leading to healthier and more vibrant looking skin. Sunscreen daily is also recommended for preventing sun damage and premature aging of the neck.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL is a light-based device used to improve the texture, tone, and color of skin on the neck. Treatments take approximately 30 minutes and are repeated at 4 week intervals. A minimum of 3 treatments is usually required to see results. Side effects can include slight redness, darkening of brown spots for a few days, and some irritation.

Botox Cosmetic

Botox is an effective way to treat early muscular changes in the neck. Botox softens tight platysmal bands that appear under the chin and extend vertically down the neck, making it appear more full. Injections are typically recommended 3 or 4 times per year and take about 10 minutes to perform. There is no downtime for this treatment. Side effects may include redness, tenderness, or bruising.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is ideal for neck skin that is very wrinkled from long term sun exposure and aging. It uses an intense beam of light energy to ablate, or wound,  thin layers of skin. As the resurfaced area heals, new skin forms that’s smoother and tighter. A topical numbing cream may be applied before the treatment. If the resurfacing is extensive then sedation may be required. The depth of the resurfacing will affect recovery, which may be as long as 10-14 days.

Collagen Stimulation

There are a few non surgical options for treating the neck. If mild skin laxity is the concern, there are a hand full of devices that target aging of the lower face and neck. These devices use either radiofrequency, ultrasound, or infrared energy to heat the dermal layer of skin. The goal of heating the dermis is to stimulate the production of new collagen, which ultimately improves laxity. These treatments can be expensive and uncomfortable, but ideal for someone not open to surgery. They also offer no downtime.


For moderate to severe neck skin laxity, surgery and removal of skin is the best choice. During a surgical lower face and neck lift, the muscles of the lower face and neck are tightened and the skin is redraped and sutured in place. The recovery time for a lower face and neck lift is typically 2 weeks.

Hopefully this overview helps you avoid the dreaded turkey neck. Be sure to consult your skin care provider to discuss customized treatment options.

Posted on October 30, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Gym Etiquette: How To Avoid The Most Common Pet Peeves

gym etiquetteWhen you go to the local fitness center to work out, how conscious are you of proper gym etiquette? No one hands out a rule book as you walk through the door, but everyone is expected to have common sense and follow certain rules of courtesy. Find out how to avoid the most common pet peeves so you stay on good terms with gym staff members and your fellow fitness fanatics.

Stay home if you don’t feel well

In general, it’s physically safe to exercise with above-the-neck cold symptoms, but that doesn’t mean it’s courteous to others. Opt for an at-home workout session this time around to prevent passing your illness around.

Follow cardio machine time limits

During peak hours, some gyms limit time on cardio equipment to 20 or 30 minutes. It simply isn’t fair to ignore the rule and keep the person in line behind you waiting. If you know you’re on a time limit, make every minute of that half hour on the elliptical worth it before you step off for the next customer.

Don’t hog the equipment

Even without strict time limits, you should be willing to give up equipment when you’ve been on it a while and someone else is waiting. A big no-no during peak gym hours is super-setting by bouncing between equipment frequently, preventing others from using them. On that note, hanging your towel on equipment doesn’t give you “dibs.”

Focus on yourself, not others

Pay attention to your own workout; don’t hover over someone else’s treadmill or make someone feel uncomfortable by staring at them. It takes enough confidence to work out in a public place without someone staring you down.

Wear appropriate clothing

Look for clothes that provide the right amount of coverage without being too long, too loose or too tight. The goal is to be able to move around freely without snagging on equipment or attracting unwanted attention.

Smell good, not great

Deodorant is fine for the gym, but perfume and cologne are not. Do not let your aroma – good or bad – enter the room before you do.

Keep your comments to yourself

No one wants unsolicited advice from a know-it-all stranger. If you see someone performing an action you think could cause an injury, flag down a trainer or staff member and tell them what you saw. The trainer will take it from there.

Use the drinking fountain politely

Don’t stand there guzzling water for a full minute. Also, when someone steps up behind you while you’re filling a water bottle, step aside and let them grab a drink.

Don’t talk on the phone

Other gym members don’t want to hear your conversation. Unless there’s a crisis at work or at home, stay off your phone. Even then, take your call outside the training area.

Clean up after yourself

This includes unloading the weight bar, re-racking dumbbells, and wiping down the bench when you switch to new equipment. Your mother isn’t there to pick up after you at the gym, and management is liable to get on your case if you continually inconvenience fellow gym members.

While these tips sound like common sense, most gyms have members breaking these etiquette guidelines every day. By being more courteous and perceptive, everyone can enjoy working out at the gym a little bit more.

Posted on October 28, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

Promotions - Fall 2013

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For the months of October and November we are offering a promotion on Restylane and Perlane to restore volume to the face, cheeks, lips, hands or earlobes.

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Posted on October 3, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Botox Gets FDA Approval for Treating Crow’s Feet

There is a new approved use for Botox Cosmetic. Beginning in September 2013, Botox officially received the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) seal of approval for treating crow’s feet. These are lines that form around the corners of your eyes caused by smiling, frowning, or squinting.

Botox has been used cosmetically to treat frown lines with the FDA’s approval since 2002. These are the lines that form between the eyebrows, also know as glabellar lines. Botox is delivered by intramuscular injection through a fine needle. Over the course of a week it relaxes lines or wrinkles caused by muscle movement. Both frown lines and crows feet can be treated at the same time.

crow's feet

Even though using Botox to treat crow’s feet was recently approved by the FDA, providers have used it “off-label” for years, meaning they have used it despite the lack of FDA approval. The FDA’s decision to extend its approval of Botox to treat crow’s feet came after a study conducted by Allergan Inc., the manufacturer of Botox. In the study, 833 adults randomly received either Botox or a placebo injection. The people who received Botox saw a greater reduction in crow’s feet than the placebo group.

Despite the FDA’s approval, it’s likely insurance companies still won’t extend coverage to cosmetic uses of Botox. However, insurance companies usually cover Botox injections for approved medical conditions such as blepharospasm, strabismus (when the eyes are misaligned), chronic migraines, and severe underarm sweating.

The bottom line is, whether you receive Botox injections for medical or cosmetic reasons, you can breathe easy knowing Botox is a safe, FDA-approved product.

Posted on September 29, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Reduce Stomach Fat Simply by Running

belly fatCrunches, sit-ups and other abdominal workouts help tone and tighten tummy muscles, but they do little to reduce stomach fat. The key to total body weight loss, toned muscles, and reduced stomach fat is a combination of aerobic and strength training exercises. Here’s how it works.

You Body’s Energy Sources

When you burn more calories than you eat, your body turns to existing fat deposits for energy. Running is an ideal way to use up those calories, but you must run for controlled, sustained periods if you want to trim tummy fat.

Your primary source of immediate energy is carbohydrates, which your body converts to glycogen. This circulates in your bloodstream until you don’t need it anymore. Then, excess glycogen is stored in muscles where your body can access it easily in the future.

When you exercise for short periods, such as running from the parking lot to a store entrance, your body burns glycogen, but not oxygen. It’s not until your body uses oxygen for energy that it starts to burn fat deposits for fuel.

Fat-Burning Sweet Spot

To burn the most fat possible, shoot for a moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at around 70 percent of your maximum target heart rate. This usually includes activities like brisk walking or light jogging. If you exercise at a higher intensity than this, your body burns carbohydrates and you tire out faster.

One way to estimate your maximum target heart rate is to subtract your age from 220. Your specific maximum heart rate will depend on your weight, fitness level and existing medical conditions.

The Department of Health and Human Services suggests 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week to maintain your current weight. You will probably need more to actually reduce stomach fat and lose weight. For perspective, a 180-lb person can burn 820 calories by running at a consistent pace of 6 miles per hour for one hour.

Additional Fat-Burning Tips

The Mayo Clinic suggests engaging in strength training at least two times per week as well. Strength training is geared toward toning muscles, which accompanies fat loss to create a lean, tight appearance in your stomach and any other areas that you incorporate into your strength-training routine.

People with apple-shaped bodies store fat in the stomach area. People with pear-shaped bodies store fat in their hips, thighs and buttocks. No matter what your body shape is, you can expect running to reduce fat in these areas since aerobic exercise burns fat from wherever it’s stored. Just remember to talk to your doctor before you begin a running program to lose weight and reduce stomach fat.

Posted on September 26, 2013 and filed under Fitness.

How to Help Your Body Absorb Protein

proteinIn order for your body to build muscle, produce hormones, and fight off viruses and bacteria, you need to get enough protein in your diet. Proteins are large, complex molecules comprised of long amino acid chains. These make up the structure of your body’s tissues and organs. Without protein, your body could not function properly.

Unfortunately, the body’s ability to break down and absorb protein decreases with age. Countering this is not as easy as simply drinking more milk or having an extra egg with breakfast. Adjustments are required to compensate for poor protein absorption. Here are some great ways to improve the process.

Eat Acidic Foods

Your body can’t absorb proteins in their natural state. Certain proteases in your stomach and pancreas break the bonds that hold the amino acids in protein together so your body can absorb the composite amino acids individually.

To help with this process, try eating and drinking more acidic foods like orange juice, vinegar and most types of fruit. These contain proteases that can make your stomach a more acidic environment for breaking down protein.

Take Vitamin B-6

Pyridoxine is another name for vitamin B-6. Its primary purposes are to help enzymes break down protein and carry the dismantled amino acids to the blood stream. Vitamin B-6 is essential to get the most from your protein intake.

Fortunately, if you’re already trying to eat more protein, that means you’re probably getting more vitamin B-6. That’s because both types of nutrients are found in meat, fish, nuts, seeds, beans, legumes and whole grains.

Complex Carbohydrates

Even after the body has broken down proteins into its simplest amino acid form, the work isn’t done yet. How well your body utilizes these amino acids dictates how you benefit from the protein-rich foods you eat.

By consuming carbohydrates with your protein, your body releases insulin. Elevated insulin levels help your muscles absorb amino acids, especially during muscle-building exercises. That means eating carbohydrates right before a high-intensity workout yields the best protein-absorbing results. Foods that contain complex carbohydrates include starchy food, whole grains, nuts, seeds and dairy products.

Protein Before and After Workouts

In addition to eating complex carbohydrates right before a workout, it’s also beneficial to eat protein immediately before and after exercise to give your body an ample supply of amino acids to absorb during and after exertion.

These tips can help you maximize the protein you put into your body, resulting in a more muscular physique and overall better health. As always, be sure to contact your healthcare provider with any questions.

Posted on September 25, 2013 and filed under Nutrition.

Excel V Laser Treatments - Buy 2, Get 1 Free

Cutera-Excel-VThis fall we are focusing on eye rejuvenation. The eye area can be one of the most challenging areas to treat. Early signs of aging such as fine lines and  dark circles can be reversed with the latest laser and topical treatments. Peri-orbital blue vessels contribute to signs of fatigue around the eyes. Now you can eliminate  those vessels quickly and painlessly with the Excel V. We  combine the latest laser technology with volume restoration and topical antioxidant treatment to the undereye area. Patients see dramatic improvement in dark circles, "crepy" texture and fine lines with lasting results.

Come in for a free consultation and custom designed treatment. All Excel V laser treatments for the eye area will be buy 2 get 1 free through October 15th!

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Posted on September 1, 2013 and filed under Promotions.