How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Skin?

Most of us think of air pollution only being an issue for our respiratory health. But did you know that pollution in the air can affect your skin?  
The worst pollutants for skin
Air pollutants can include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), cigarette smoke and oxides.  These pollutants contribute to skin aging, including dryness, wrinkling, and dark spots. Additionally, air pollution has been associated with skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne.
Pollution creates damage to our skin by creating free radicals which are unpaired atoms with an odd number of electrons. Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules creating a chain reaction of damage to important cellular structures.
How to combat pollution
Luckily, antioxidants can interact with free radicals to stop cellular damage. The most common antioxidants utilized in skin care products to protect the impact of pollution to our skin are Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamins E and C are most commonly ingested, but they can also be used topically to provide skin protection since they are two of the primary antioxidants found in the skin and are easily absorbed.
Since everyone is susceptible to skin damage from air pollution, we must all be mindful of protecting our skin. Creating a physical barrier with sunscreen and moisturizer is effective before you head out to start your day.  At the end of the day, I recommend cleansing your face with a sulfate-free cleanser to wash away the toxins we are exposed to daily.
Need a sulfate-free cleanser? Check out Clearly Luminous Cleanser!

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.

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

Cold Weather Skin Tips

Winter is upon us, at least for those of you who don’t live here in Florida. However, even for us Floridians, the cold weather depletes our skin of moisture causing dullness, dryness and even itching.  
Luckily, this is an easy problem to solve. Simple adjustments to your skin care routine can help minimize these issues.  
Some like it hot – but not your face
Limit your time in the shower and use warm water instead of hot water. If you’re using water that’s too hot, it can wipe out your skin’s natural defenses, making your skin dry out even further.
Ditch the bar
Use a cleanser for your face and a body wash for your body instead of simply using soap all over. Bar soap – even those labeled “facial soap” generally have a higher pH than cleaners made for your face. The higher pH dries out your skin further.
Pat dry
Pat your face and body dry instead of rubbing. When you rub a towel against your face, you can cause irritation and even inflammation.
Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize
Add moisturizer to your face and body liberally. If you have very dry skin, this step may need to be repeated two to three times per day.  
You must remember that moisturizers do not work by putting water into the skin, but by slowing the water loss. Look for one that is thicker for the winter and doesn’t have thick oils that can clog your pores.  
Don’t forget sunscreen
Also remember that sunscreen is still very important in winter months. If you live in a snowy climate, snow can reflect the sun and can leave you with a sunburn just as serious as any you can get in the summer.
Still not convinced? This stat might persuade you: wearing sunscreen can slow the aging process by 24 percent. To ensure you’re maximizing your effort, be sure to use sunscreen on our ears, lips and neck, as these three areas are often neglected.

Being Healthy Isn't About Being Lucky

“You are so lucky!”
For some reason, when people tell me I am so lucky to be thin or have nice skin, I tend to cringe. I do realize that it is meant to be a compliment, but this statement offends me since I work hard at keeping myself fit and take good care of my skin.
To some, that may sound shallow and vain, however I see it differently. For me it is about taking care of my body and keeping it healthy for as long as possible. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 79 years for women, and I plan on staying as healthy as possible, for as long as possible, so I can stay alive and active for a long time!

It starts with your body

I encourage keeping one’s diet as healthy as possible. Our foods are over-processed and filled with chemicals. I avoid processed food, soda, and fattening condiments as much as possible. The cleaner I keep my diet, the cleaner I keep my organs. I have noticed the better I eat, the better feel. It gives me more focus and better clarity.
Regular exercise keeps fresh air in my lungs and keeps my joints moving. If you’ve followed my blog for awhile, then you know one of my favorite ways to stay in shape is by running.

Don’t forget your skin

Given that I’m the creator of a plant-based skin care line, you might not be surprised to learn that I’ve also always placed an emphasis on protecting my skin.
For example, in high school, many of my friends would sleep with their makeup on. I would painstakingly remove all of my makeup before bedtime. I would also wear a hat and sunscreen while in the sun and my friends surely thought I was crazy. I didn’t care what they thought and continued to shield my face from the sun.
Ironically, I was shielding my face from the sun so I wouldn’t get too much darker. Being of Indian origin, I turn 10 shades darker with 10 minutes of sun exposure.
Luckily, this worked in my favor. All those years of shading myself from the sun, I avoided the UV rays that cause photo aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, among other skin problems including cancer.
I would only consider myself lucky if I stayed trim and healthy by eating cheeseburgers and fries or if I bathed in the sun daily without getting wrinkles. For me, these things are part of a commitment to myself that I honor on a daily basis.
What practices and precautions do you work into your daily or weekly routine to keep your body in good shape?

Three Questions I Wish Patients Would Ask

Every time I step into a room with a patient, they will tell me what bothers them the most about their appearance. And, they immediately want to know how to fix it. Although I understand this completely, I find myself wishing they would ask me about so many other things. I like to take a thorough approach in my medical and aesthetic practices and I enjoy discussing prevention just as much as I enjoy giving people cures.
Here are the top three questions I wish my patients would ask . . .
What can I do to take better care of my skin?
Almost every patient I see in my medical spa is focused on Botox, fillers, and laser treatments. For some reason, they continue to use products on their skin that are ineffective in correcting skin tone and texture irregularities that occur with age. These patients may be worsening the appearance of their skin with harsh ingredients. Plus, their skin care methods may be the equivalent of washing delicate lingerie in Ajax. Not the best idea.
If I seek cosmetic interventions before the problem gets much worse, will I have a better outcome?
The answer to this question is a resounding YES! If you have small wrinkles, they can be erased much easier than large creases in your face. Volume loss is easier to correct before the skin starts to lose too much elasticity and before the skin folds over itself. You get the point – early intervention is key.
Does my health and nutrition impact my appearance?
In a medical spa environment, people tend to open up. They discuss their lifestyles and tell me they are too busy with life to eat right and exercise. Many of them take better care of their cars and pets than they do with their own bodies. I had one patient tell me she put the best gasoline in her high-end luxury car and bought the best gourmet cat food for her cat. However, she ate at McDonald’s at least once a day. To care for your pet or automobile than your own health is shocking to me.
What are you afraid to ask your doctor about your health? Leave your questions in the comments, and I’ll answer you openly and honestly!

Three Ways Your Skin is Giving Away Your Age

Every day, I have patients visit my medical spa for Botox to erase wrinkles. They believe that only the wrinkles are causing them to look older. What they do not realize is that by erasing a wrinkle or two in lieu of addressing bigger problems – like the overall health of your skin – will still leave you looking older.
Too much makeup
First and foremost, youthful skin has a radiant glow that does not need to be slathered with makeup. The more makeup you use to hide your skin flaws, the older you look.
The good news is that the radiance can return with proper exfoliation and hydration.
Years of sun damage
Leathery/rough texture, a side effect of too much sun exposure, will also give away your age. In addition to the face, this can also appear on the neck, décolleté, and hands making it much harder to hide your age.
Those awful little spots
Last but not least, age spots (hyper-pigmentation) as the name suggests, is a sure way to show everyone how much you are aging. They are difficult to cover as they can appear all over your body, not just your face.
With proper exfoliation, skin care, and sun protection, you can prevent and improve the texture of your skin. Once you take care of your skin, erasing wrinkles with Botox will make a much bigger difference not only to your overall appearance but in your wallet.
Are you looking for skin care products that will improve the tone and texture of your skin and are free of chemicals? Check out my botanical line of skin care products, Avanti Rx.

Men’s skin care and grooming tips event held at Avanti Medical Spa in St. Augustine

St. Augustine, Fla. – February 13, 2014 – Dr. Kalpana DePasquale, DO and founder of St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat and Avanti Medical Spa, recently hosted an informative, men’s skin care and grooming tips event with a “happy hour” that featured skin care and product education, demonstrations, men’s grooming and skin care kits, and reduced Botox pricing, to name a few. The event was attended by guests and new and existing patients as an enjoyable opportunity to share the bond of improving one’s appearance. Dr. DePasquale and her staff hosted the evening at Avanti Medical Spa, 1301 Plantation Island Drive, Suite 401A in St. Augustine.
Dr. DePasquale discussed men’s skin problems like sensitivities to harsh chemicals and products, shaving irritations, scarring, acne, ingrown hairs, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. “Many men want to take better care of themselves which includes overall skin care. And, younger men now focus on skin care and sun protection due to more education about health and appearance,” she said. Dr. DePasquale added that older men are interested in youth enhancing practices along with shaving and sun protection. “Men are looking for help with recommendations to maintain a youthful appearance with a myriad of skin rejuvenation procedures and products.”
“With today’s pressures to look and feel great, men can improve their health and looks with a wide variety of daily skincare practices,” said Dr. DePasquale. The Dr.’s new skin care line Avanti Rx was featured to support all treatments and procedures at the Medical Spa including facial aesthetics and non-invasive cosmetic procedures. For more information, call 904.461.6797. Visit the websites at and
Dr. DePasquale is the founding physician at St. Augustine Ear, Nose & Throat, LLC and Avanti Medical Spa, LLC. She has been practicing as a specialist in ear, nose and throat (ENT) medicine since 2003 and is board certified in Otolaryngology. Dr. DePasquale is focused on the complexities of the head and neck anatomy, medicine and surgery for patients of all ages. At Avanti Medical Spa, Dr. DePasquale has in-depth knowledge of facial aesthetics and performs non-invasive cosmetic procedures with rejuvenating facial treatments, non-invasive skin tightening and skin resurfacing with additional services including Visia Skin Analysis, Thermage, Botox, Dermal Fillers, and Isolaz IPL, among others. She recently developed Avanti Rx, a physician-formulated proprietary skin care line for men and women that utilizes medical grade quality ingredients and botanicals.