Which Skin Care Products Are Right For You?

The mirror can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. The mirror won’t lie. It reveals uneven skin tone and texture, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. It haunts you with the harsh reality of aging. Once you see these imperfections, they glare at you every time you see your reflection. You know it’s time to do something, but there are so many lies in marketing. How can you figure out what skin care products are right for you?
Here are some tips to help you decide:
Over the counter brands
These are big names such as L’Oréal, Revlon, etc. These products are loaded with chemicals and are endorsed by celebrities who make spectacular claims for a product that is relatively inexpensive. According to Business Insider, L’Oréal spent 2.2 billion dollars for marketing in 2015, whereas Revlon spent a “meager” 210 million in 2014.
Apparently, celebrity spokesmodels and television commercials aren’t cheap. With products priced ranging from $8 to $20 dollars, it is obvious that the majority of the product cost likely goes into advertising, not the actual product.

  • Pros- inexpensive and easily available
  • Cons- contains small amounts of active ingredients and contains many chemicals that can be harmful, such as parabens, sulfates and harsh preservatives

High-end department store brands
These products can contain great ingredients that are usually profiled at the front of the ingredient deck. Toward the end of the list, you will often find fragrance, artificial colors, and preservatives. Moisturizers like La Mer will cost $465 for a 3.4 oz. product!  With that price tag, you are better off investing in Botox or filler.

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and often contains chemicals, fragrance, artificial colors

Medical grade skin care
This category includes Obagi, SkinCeuticals, and Rodan + Fields. These products are effective but contain numerous chemicals. Some of the labels even contain warnings about serious allergic reactions and pregnancy warnings. Many of the brands do not list all the ingredients found in the product; they only list the active ingredients.  

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and contains numerous chemicals, fragrances, artificial colors, and harsh preservatives

Natural skin care
This type of product seems like a DIY skin care regimen in a nice package. Lush is a very popular brand in this realm which contains natural ingredients such as shea butter, papaya juice, and various other food products and plants. Amongst the safe synthetics listed in the ingredient deck are parabens and methylparabens – which are not safe enough in my opinion.  

  • Pros- contains natural ingredients
  • Cons- the ingredients are natural but are not effective enough for mature skin. The labels need to be read carefully because there is no guarantee that the ingredients are natural or safe. Depending on the choice of preservatives, the product may not stay fresh very long.

Decisions, decisions!
With all these options available, how can you make a decision? This was the exact problem that I faced. I wanted a product that utilized effective ingredients to reverse signs of aging in mature skin, but I wanted them to be chemical-free and safe, especially after I was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in my early thirties. I realized that labels that stated “natural” were misleading once I reviewed the ingredient deck.
That was why I created Avanti Rx using effective plant and mineral ingredients which are combined to create powerful results. The products are formulated to exfoliate and reduce blemishes, redness, dark spots, and wrinkles.
We are proud to be chemical free, cruelty free, non-GMO, and Vegan friendly. I wanted the product to be a reflection of my strict ingredients standards so that my clients didn’t have to worry about deciphering confusing labels.  Healthy skin care doesn’t have to be a luxury; it should be a necessity.  And you don’t have to be a celebrity to afford it.
Ready to check out what Avanti Rx has to offer? View our current products here.

Reviving Aging Skin: Focusing on The Outside

Previously, we talked about fighting aging from the inside.  But once you have followed the hydration and nutritional tips, what else can you do to keep your skin looking youthful and flawless?

  1. Microdermabrasions are a great way to resurface the skin using crystals or a diamond tip.  Microdermabrasions can improve the texture and the skin tone. I recommend using Clearly Luminous Cleanser as part of your home regimen to keep your skin exfoliated and blemish-free.
  2. Facials are effective in smoothing and brightening skin. During a HydraFacial procedure, serums and peels can be part of the signature treatment tailored for your specific skincare needs.  
  3. Brown spots, also called sun or age spots, are a tell-tale sign of age. To help fade them, use Age Spot Remedy, an alternative to Hydroquinone, a chemical with some harmful side effects, for lightening the appearance of age spots. This product cant be used but  one to two times daily.
  4. Sun exposure is a huge factor in aging. Make sure you use an SPF 30-50 and reapply every two to three hours. If you are in the sun during the hottest part of the day, make sure you are wearing a wide-brimmed hat to further block harmful ultraviolet rays.
  5. When more conservative approaches fail, a Fraxel laser treatment can be considered to greatly diminish wrinkles and brown spots in an office procedure with little minimal to no downtime. The settings of the laser can be customized based on your skin coloring and the desired effect.  The physician is capable of providing a more aggressive treatment or a lighter treatment based on the desires of the patient.

Turning back the clock used to require aggressive surgery.  Luckily, we have many noninvasive options for facial rejuvenation that don’t require going under the knife.

Revive Aging Skin from the Inside Out

Aging is a fact of life, but beauty and well-being is a choice.  As we age, our hormone levels can shift resulting in decreased estrogen levels. The result on the skin is thinning, sagging, dryness, and wrinkling.
Here are some suggestions to keep your skin looking radiant and youthful during the aging process:

  1. Hydrate inside and out: The older you get, the thirstier your skin gets. The skin’s oil glands aren’t as active as they were in your younger years.  In order to keep your skin hydrated, drink  at least 2 to 3 liters of water per day.  
  2. Eat up: Nutrition plays a major role in the condition of your skin. Among the most beneficial food elements for aging skin are antioxidants, which can help combat the effects of the loss of skin-plumping collagen. Antioxidants are found primarily in brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  An antioxidant supplement should also be considered, such as Vinali, which contains grape seed extract, Vitamin C and Acerola Cherry to protect against free radical damage, or Beauty Boost, which contains Dermaval, a proprietary blend of extracts from nine superfoods.
  3. Stay active: Exercise tones more than your muscles. It boosts circulation of oxygen-rich blood needed to help your skin look brighter and healthier.
  4. Bust stress: Stress is a proven primary factor in aging. It can dry out your skin, making it more sensitive and prone to wrinkling. Regular exercise is a great stress-buster, as are meditation;, adequate sleep (aim for eight hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly), and – believe it or not – laughter. A great laugh boosts heart rate, stimulates blood circulation, and aids muscle reaction.http://https://youtu.be/eggJndE6S38

Reviving aging skin requires a multi-factorial approach and a commitment to health and well-being.  It is a commitment you won’t regret as the golden years approach.

My Favorite Supplements for Skin Health

Although there may not be a direct correlation between skin conditions and internal body conditions, maximizing your body’s nutritional health can improve the elasticity and radiance of your skin. Glowing healthy skin tends to catch our eye.
In contrast, weathered skin makes us appear as if we are rusting from the inside. Oxidative stress can be a strong contributor to the aging process. On a cellular level, oxidative stress leads to damage within the mitochondria (the energy producer) of the cell which produces increased amounts of reactive oxygen.  Without another electron to bind to, these free radicals wreak havoc within our internal organs.  
Surprisingly,  there are things you can do from the inside that can help you look better on the outside.  Here are few of the best ingredients to supplement beauty:
Antioxidants. Vitamin C is necessary for the formation and maintenance of collagen. Vitamin A is necessary for the repair and maintenance of skin tissue.  It can make a dramatic difference when used topically in the form of Retinaldehyde or Retinol, but foods high in beta carotene are beneficial to the skin. Vitamin E protects the body tissue from free radicals.
Antioxidants should be taken in a preventative manner as they are not effective once the damage is done. Additionally, when antioxidants are combined, there can be a synergistic effect.  These powerful antioxidants can be obtained from natural sources such as fruits and vegetables but these days it is difficult to get the amount of antioxidants we need.
Vitamin B7/Biotin can beneficial for hair, skin, and nails. It must be ingested to be fully beneficial. The data on this is weak but it has not been found to be harmful to humans in large doses.
Minerals such as Selenium, Copper and Zinc can also be effective.  Selenium can help protect the skin from sun damage. Copper, especially combined with Vitamin C and Zinc can help develop elastin fibers that support skin structure. Zinc and sulfur can be helpful in acne patients.  

The decision to supplement is a personal one. Some believe that we can obtain all of our vitamins and minerals from our diet. However, with the use of pesticides and poor farming practices, the nutritional quality of our food has decreased. So much so that we would have to consume a ridiculous amount of food to obtain the same nutrients in comparison to years past. I personally believe supplementation is vital to those of us who wish to thrive.
If you do opt to supplement, choose a company that personally sources their raw materials. Supplements manufactured in an FDA facility have stricter standards. Look for seals from Leaping Bunny, Good Manufacturing Practices, Natural Products Association and many others. I prefer supplements that are Non-GMO, gluten-free, and do not contain soy, binders, fillers, chemical slurries or artificial sweeteners.
My favorite products
If you’re looking for a couple of new products to try, here are two of my favorites:

Beauty Boost is a great supplement that promotes healthy hair, skin and nails.

Vinali promotes youthful skin through a blend of vitamin C and grape seed extract, a powerful antioxidant shown in studies to produce anti-aging effects

Top 5 Wrinkle Busters

As we age, lines and wrinkles are inevitable. Fortunately, there are multiple easy ways to help improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles or to significantly delay their development.

  1. Moisturize: By far, the most important thing you can do to improve the look of your skin and help ward off wrinkles is to moisturize – morning and night. A high -quality moisturizer will help plump fine lines, smoothing your complexion and keeping your skin from drying out.
  2. Hydrate: Skin naturally contains water, which functions as a protective barrier. As we age, that natural moisture diminishes, leaving your skin looking dry and wrinkled. Drinking plenty of water can help keep your skin properly hydrated, plumped, and smooth. And using a moisturizer, as recommended above, creates a physical barrier to lock moisture in.
  3. Kick the Habit: Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol are two major wrinkle-inducers. In fact, one recent study showed that facial wrinkles can appear in smokers as young as 20 years old. Nixing your smoking habit can help reduce the damage to an extent, but long -term smoking will cause deep wrinkles and a leathery look to your skin. Alcohol is known to dehydrate the skin. Add the salt in some drinks like beer or margaritas, and sugar in sweet drinks like mojitos, and the drying effects on your skin are multiplied.
  4. Shun the Sun: The single biggest threat to skin is exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This causes photo-aging, which is to blame for most wrinkles. Staying in the shade, wearing protective clothing, and, above all, wearing a high-SPF sun-blocking moisturizer will protect your skin from not only wrinkles, but also skin cancer.
  5. Get Your Beauty Rest: Inadequate sleep causes your body to release more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can break down skin collagen, the protein that helps keep your skin smooth and elastic. It also limits natural production of human growth hormone, which promotes growth, thickens skin, and increases muscle mass.

Don't Let Menopause Wreck Your Skin

There a few inevitable facts of life for women. Menopause is one of them, but aged, sagging and wrinkling skin doesn’t have to be.
The hormonal changes that menopause brings include an estrogen drop that can make you prone to thinning, sagging, and wrinkling skin. Your body’s collagen production slows down, and you lose some of the fat under your skin, reducing its elasticity.
Moisture also is sapped. Visible results include sagging around the neck, jawline and cheeks, crow’s feet, fine lines above the lip, and wrinkles.
Fortunately, there are multiple steps you can take to help you defy the aging process and keep your skin looking youthful and vibrant.

  1. Keep it clean: Cleanse your skin each day with a high-quality, cream-based cleanser.
  2. Hydrate: After menopause, oil glands are less active, which makes your skin drier. Skip those long, hot showers, use a cream-based moisturizer while your skin is still damp, and remember to hydrate from the inside, too, by drinking lots of water throughout the day.
  3. Be sun-smart: As you age, your skin has less natural protection. Use a broad-spectrum moisturizer with an SPF of 30 or higher and a wide brimmed hat every time you venture out into the sun to avoid wrinkles and age spots. Be sure to protect your hands, too. Wear gloves while doing yardwork and housework.
  4. Load up on antioxidants: Choose foods rich in antioxidants to help boost collagen content and strengthen your skin from the inside out, and consider an antioxidant supplement.
  5. Work it out: Regular exercise boosts blood circulation, which delivers extra oxygen to your body’s tissues, boosting its vibrancy.
  6. Relax: Stress can sap your skin’s moisture, making it sensitive and prone to the effects of aging. Manage your stress well and make sure you get plenty of sleep each night. Make sure you take time for yourself daily.
  7. Pamper yourself: Regular facials or chemical peels tailored for your unique skincare needs can help you restore and maintain a healthy, vibrant and youthful look.

Luck Only Lasts So Long

Most women start to really see signs of aging in their late 30’s or early 40’s.  The usual stuff…crows feet, forehead wrinkles and loss of skin luster.  There are a few women who just don’t seem to age (we know who they are and we hate them.  Secretly, of course!).  These women don’t seem to engage in the preventative maintenance that the rest of us do.  We assume that they have really great genes and that they are really lucky.  They eat whatever they want and never gain weight.  They look great in everything, even a T-shirt.  
I have come across a few women like this in my social circles and during patient encounters.  These women are truly lucky and they glide through the aging process effortlessly while the rest of us struggle. The good news is that these women are a rare breed and you may only meet a few in your lifetime.  If you know more than a few, it is likely that they are having procedures done that they don’t want to talk about. They want people to believe that they are aging gracefully, but in actuality they are getting help from their favorite doctor to keep up the sham.
As for the handful of women we meet in our lifetime that do not have procedures done to maintain themselves, luck only lasts so long.  I have seen some of these women start to appear significantly older after 50.  A smaller number will start after 60.  The signs of aging that were once subtle and easy to hide with makeup, become much more difficult to camouflage.  Loose skin gets looser, wrinkles turn into creases, and all of a sudden they look the mirror and are shocked by the image they see.  Going out without a full face of makeup is no longer an option.
In my opinion, the women who start to show signs of aging in the 40’s are the lucky ones.  At least we can see signs approaching slowly and we have time to address the issues.  Those poor lucky women have been led to believe that they will be lucky forever, until of course, their luck runs out.

Botox 101

If you are considering getting Botox to address unwanted wrinkles, or wrinkles that make you look angry, you need to be able to differentiate fact from fiction. Most people who talk about their Botox injections don’t know enough about it to be experts. Let’s start with the three worst ways to get Botox injections.
Botox parties. Let me paint the picture… too much wine, peer pressure, and a doctor that is rushed trying to inject 15 or 20 people. Many times that doctor comes from out of town and is nowhere to be found if you have a problem.
Getting injections from a doctor who barely speaks to you. I hear this story all the time. “The doctor just walked in and started injecting.” He/she barely spoke and walked out the door. A physician or their assistant should take a thorough history to make sure you don’t have any conditions such as neurologic diseases, and to make sure you are not pregnant or nursing. Not speaking to you about your desired result is simply unacceptable.
Basing your decision on Botox by price alone. Everyone loves a bargain, but remember, Botox, Xeomin, and Dysport are all toxins that are injected into muscles to relax them. Improper injection can result in an unfavorable appearance that lasts for up to three months. I would rather spend a little more money since I really like my face.
Your Botox experience should be pleasant. You should be greeted by friendly staff who makes you feel as if they value you as a client. A thorough history should be taken and then you should be asked what areas you are concerned about. You should inquire about the qualifications and experience of the injector. The injector should be a Physician, Nurse Practitioner, or Physician Assistant. The procedure should be performed after a consent is signed and the area of the face is clean and dry. The injections usually do not hurt or cause bleeding. Post procedure instructions should also be provided. With this information in mind, you can have a safe and pleasant experience while banishing the appearance of wrinkles.
Considering Botox? Take advantage of our Botox special until October 31st where you can get Botox or Xeomin for $10/unit. Call 904-461-6797 to book your appointment today!

He loves me just the way I am (even if I've let myself go)

In my ENT practice, I often see many husbands and wives. Sometimes they like to be seen in the same room and sometimes they prefer to be seen separately. During one of these separate appointments, I first saw the wife about an ENT related issue, but noticed that she was holding onto my medical spa brochure. Near the end of her appointment, she asked me a question about Botox and then proceeded to state that she did not need or want it, because her husband loves her just the way she is. I went to see her husband in the next room, shortly after, and ironically, he had the same medical spa brochure in his hand. Then, at the end of his appointment, he stated “I wish my wife would partake in some of your services. I have noticed that she has aged lately.”
A recent study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, reported that spousal attractiveness plays a major role in marital satisfaction. Another research study, conducted in 2008 at the Relationship institute at UCLA, came to a similar conclusion. According to this study, men who felt lucky to be married to a more attractive woman were seen to tend to more of their wives needs. However, in relationships where the man felt that he was the more attractive than his spouse, this phenomenon was witnessed at a much lower scale.
So ladies, can you just let yourself go once you’re married and assume your husband loves you just the way you are? I believe that the answer to this question depends on the man are with. Some men do not stress much importance on physical appearance, but most lose attraction when signs of aging become more apparent. Attraction is a very important factor in relationships – as many studies have proven to be true – and we should strive to maintain our appearance even as we age. Sure, personality matters. Your brain even perceives people that have favorable personalities to be more attractive. However, physical appearance does affect attraction – but at some point the balance begins to shift and even the best personality cannot outweigh an unfavorable physical appearance. Also, keep in mind that this can still be the case for women. Although women tend to care more for personality, appearance is still a fairly large factor, in attraction.