Parkbench Interview with Dr. DePasquale

Meet Dr. Kalpana S. DePasquale, DO at Avanti Medical Spa

Are you looking to combat the aging process of Mother Nature? If so, then you are at the right place. Avanti Medical Spa can help you reverse the hands of time and enhance your natural beauty. To revitalize your appearance, we offer the following cosmetic procedures:
Botox
Fraxel
Facials & Peels
Dermal Fillers
Visia Skin Analysis
Facial Waxing
To learn more about our spa services, contact us at 904.461.6797, or better yet come see us:
In St. Augustine, Monday thru Friday between 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM (NOTE: Office is closed for lunch from 12 PM – 1:15 PM). Avanti Medical Spa St. Augustine is located on Anastasia Island, 1.5 miles east of Flagler Hospital at 1301 Plantation Island Dr, Suite 401A, St. Augustine, FL.

What do you love most about the neighborhood?

There are so many different people constantly moving into this area so I feel like we’re in a small, big town. I meet people from Europe, people who are on vacation who come to me with a specific problem sometimes, or people who’ve recently moved from the North or West Coast. I just love the melting pot of all kinds of people from diverse backgrounds–I think that’s my favorite thing!

Organic vs. Natural vs. Plant-Based Skin Care

There is so much terminology out there when it comes to ingredients.  It is easier to understand once you know what these terms really mean.  Let’s start with the term “organic.”
Organic products can be classified with three distinctions.

  1. 100% Organic means that the product contains only organically-produced ingredients. They are produced without synthetic preservatives, radiation, pesticides or petrochemicals. The USDA seal may appear on the package.
  2. Organic products must contain a minimum of 95 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal may appear on this type of product.
  3. Made with Organic Ingredients means that the product contains at least 70 percent organically-produced ingredients. The USDA seal cannot be used on these products.

The term “Natural” is not a regulated labeling term.
Often this term is used for marketing purposes.  If you examine the list of ingredients, you will often find some unacceptable ingredients.  The federal law does not mandate that companies list the dozens of ingredients found in “Fragrance.”  You will often see this listed at the end of the list of ingredients on various products.
Fragrances often contain Phthalates. What are Phthalates? Google it and here’s the description you get: “Phthalates are a group of chemicals used to soften and increase the flexibility of plastic and vinyl.”
I’m guessing you’re not really excited about putting anything with Phthalates on your skin after reading that.
Phthalates have been associated with numerous health problems.  The Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database is a valuable resource to rate the ingredients found in beauty products.  The hazard scores are listed on a scale from 0 to 10 based on toxicity.
Plant-based is also not a regulated term. However, I believe it is the term that is most accurate.   
Plant-based is a term frequently used to describe a food diet based on plants including vegetables, whole grains, legumes and fruits.  A similar definition can be extended to plant-based products since they will contain elements generated from vegetables, plants and fruits.
By understanding the classifications, the consumer is better educated to make decisions based on ingredients and price points.  For some consumers, the price point of USDA organic products may be cost prohibitive.  However, plant-based products may be a suitable alternative for those who do not want to place hazardous chemical on their skin and available at a more reasonable price point.
Looking for plant-based skin care products? Check out my Avanti Rx line. 

Three Ingredients to Avoid in Your Facial Cleanser

You know you shouldn’t wash your face with soap and you absolutely need a good cleanser.  Then why is it so hard to know which facial cleanser to buy?  There are cleansers for different skin types including cleansers that foam, and so many different brands to choose from.
Most people utilize price, labels or brand names to make their decisions.  However, I suggest you read the ingredients before you decide which cleanser to buy.
When I was in my early 30s, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. As a doctor, my first instinct was to check the ingredients in the products I was using, including my beauty products. I was shocked to find the medical-grade products I used – and recommended to my patients – were full of chemicals and other harsh ingredients.
There are many chemicals you may decide to avoid, but these are my top three due to irritation that can occur in the short term.
Sodium Laurel Sulfate (SLS)
This ingredient is found in more than 90 percent of personal care and cleaning products that foam.  If present in a concentration of greater than one percent, SLS can cause severe irritation and even corrosion of the skin.  SLS mimics estrogen and there is concern that over time greater than one percent of this ingredient can be absorbed into the bloodstream and residual levels in your body can be higher.
Alcohol
Alcohol is often used as the base ingredient in many beauty products to thicken the product and penetrate more effectively, according to Paula’s Choice.  It breaks down the skin’s natural barriers and can dry and irritate the skin.  Avoid Isopropyl alcohol, SD alcohol, and ethyl alcohol.
Fragrance
The word fragrance can represent hundreds of chemicals which can aggravate asthma, allergies, and headaches.  Many fragrances are created with Phtalates, a group of chemicals considered to be endocrine disruptors and are linked to reproductive problems.  It is safest to use products that use essential oils or fruit as the fragrance.
There are a number of other ingredients I would consider avoiding due to long term health concerns.  Many chemicals have not been proven to cause cancer, but there is notable literature to cause suspicion.
When I began my research into the skincare products available on the market that were both medical-grade and free of harsh chemicals, I was disappointed in the lack of options. This led me to create my own skincare line, Avanti Rx. Our products use gentle botanicals but deliver powerful results.
As you research your options for avoiding the three ingredients I outlined above, I’d love for you to consider my Clearly Luminous Cleanser.
It is time for us to be educated consumers and avoid ingredients in our skin care regimen that serve not purpose to improve our skin and cause irritation.
Send us photos of your product labels, and we’d be happy to point out any ingredients you might want to avoid.