botox and fillers: what they are, and why we love them

Cosmetic injectables can have a scary connotation (thanks, botched Hollywood stars and reality TV!) until you meet the right injector who educates you on the difference between products, what they're used for and how they're used properly and then voila! You'll be in love just like the rest of us working in the aesthetics field. 

First, it's important to know the difference between Botox and fillers. They each serve a specific purpose and contrary to popular belief, are not used interchangeably. Second, trust me when I say this, a skilled injector will NOT let you end up looking like a crazy person who can't move their face or show any emotion. I can't even fathom the amount of product these people have had injected over the years on top of many, many plastic surgeries gone wrong.

What it is vs. What it isn't...

What it is vs. What it isn't...

Okay, let's get down to business.

Neurotoxins - AKA Botox & Dysport


Neurotoxins are injected into facial muscles to treat and prevent wrinkles that are caused by the movement of those muscles. The most common areas for treatment are:

  • Crow's feet -- wrinkles around the eye area
  • Frown lines -- between the brows and on the forehead
  • Fine lines around the mouth
  • Neck cords to relax and smooth protruding bands 
  • Lift the eyebrow for a more defined arch

Both Botox & Dysport come from the same scientific background and achieve similar results, but are manufactured by different pharmaceutical companies. Think Puffs vs Kleenex. The biggest difference is that Dysport is structured differently on the molecular level which allows your results to settle in a little quicker, but that factor alone doesn't necessarily make it the best/right choice. You or your injector may develop a personal preference for the desired result you want.

The appointment is pretty pain free (you may feel a tiny pinch when the needle breaks the skin) and only takes about 15 minutes. There is no downtime besides a little swelling at the injection sites, similar to a bee sting, which subsides within the hour. The common misconception is that your results are instant and all of the sudden you're going to have a frozen, emotionless face. In reality, you'll notice your optimal results gradually (7-10 days for Dysport and 10-14 days for Botox). Think about it like this -- Go to a mirror and make a surprised face. Raise your brow as high as you can and notice the wrinkles on your forehead. Now furrow your brow like you're mad at someone, and notice the wrinkles that form between your brows (nicknamed the 11's). Within a few days of having Botox you'll start to notice those movements are a little harder to make, and the wrinkles that form are significantly smaller. Neurotoxins are eventually metabolized so results generally last 3-4 months.

At this point you may be thinking "I'm only 27, I'm too young for Botox!" or "I already have so many wrinkles, it's too late for me!" Well, you're in luck. We see clients of all ages. Our younger patients have prevent prevent prevent on their minds, while our more mature clients just want to soften their wrinkles to give a slightly younger, "Yes, I've aged gracefully" appearance. Nothing beats the feeling of having your friends or significant other compliment your fresh face!

Dermal Fillers - AKA Juvederm & Restylane

As we age, our collagen and elastic fibers break down and we lose volume and fat (unfortunately, only in the places we wish we could keep it!) that once gave us such a youthful glow. Both men and women begin to notice where beautiful cheeks once were, are now hollow and gaunt. Our lips begin to crease and lose their shape, and even if we've never smoked a day in our lives we see those pesky lines around our mouths begin to form. The corners of our mouth begin to turn down, and those laugh lines that hold so many wonderful memories get so deep we don't even recognize ourselves. That is, until dermal fillers change the game.

Now days, dermal fillers are hyaluronic acid (HA) based meaning they draw moisture to the skin and give something for our natural collagen to cling on to. HA fillers are also eventually absorbed and metabolized and just in case you don't like what you see afterwards, they can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyaluronidase. Talk about reassurance - that's as close to an insurance policy for your face as it comes! The most common areas where filler is used:

  • Cheeks - to add volume and lift
  • Lips - to smooth and/or add volume
  • Vertical lip lines
  • Facial wrinkles
  • Nasal labial folds – commonly known as “smile lines” or “laugh lines” that run from the corners of your nose to the corners of your mouth
  • Marionette lines – lines from the corners of your mouth that run toward your chin

If you only take away one thing from this blog post, let it be this:  Each syringe of filler contains 1 mL of product. 5 syringes of product = 1 teaspoon. That's not a whole lot people, so don't assume you'll be leaving your appointment looking like a different person. Sure, we can make more dramatic changes happen, but building over time is the key!

Moral of the story? Working with cosmetic injectables is an art form, so before brushing it off and deciding against it, schedule your complimentary consultation with one of our skilled injectors and get all the necessary information. With each appointment, you'll fall in love with the subtle changes you see.



the skinny on fat reduction

The concept behind non-invasive fat reduction with permanent results and zero downtime sounds like hocus pocus, right? Sure. But it's true, and it works. I'm here to tell you everything you need to know about CoolSculpting and why we love it so much.

The science behind it has actually been around for ages - weirdly enough, there was a study done on kids who ate a lot of popsicles and it turns out they were getting indentations in their cheeks from the cold freezing and eliminating their fat cells. So a couple of smart scientists (thank you, Dieter Manstein, MD and R. Fox Anderson, MD!) decided to take that concept and apply it to body parts where all men and women struggle with carrying excess fat. Thus Cryolipolysis, the idea that cold can target fat cells without damaging the skin, was born. It has been blowing up all over the U.S. since 2012, but we all know it takes a little while for trends to hit the Midwest. We wanted to make sure it lived up to the hype before we jumped on the fat-freezing bandwagon and needless to say, we were impressed. We've been gong strong with CoolSculpting since July of 2016, but before you decide if this is the right route for you there are quite a few factors to consider. 


What is the process like? First, you'll schedule your consultation (which is completely complimentary) with one of our two technicians. Have an idea in mind when you come in of where you might like to treat first. They'll make sure you're a good candidate and have the right type of fat for treatment, break down the areas we can treat, decide which applicator fits best and break down the pricing structure. When you come in for your appointment, each application takes 35-75 minutes (depending what area you are treating). If you're going to be here for a few hours, you can watch Netflix on our iPad or bring your computer to get some work (or online shopping) done ;) We keep the room private and cozy. Dim the lights and take a nap if you want to. We'll even order you lunch! Over the next 30-90 days you'll watch the magic happen as your clothes start to fit better. Generally we have our clients come in after 2 months to take "after" pictures and asses if a second treatment is needed. Your optimal results will be 4 months post-treatment.

Are results permanent? Yes! Once we reach adulthood, the number of fat cells we have remain the same. That is, until CoolSculpting saves the day. When we gain weight, our fat cells expand and when we lose weight, they shrink. Through Cryolipolysis we are able to permanently get rid of 20-25% of the fat cells in the treated area. They are crystallized (frozen) and then die. Then it's time for our lymphatic system to get to work and process them out of our body!

Will I lose weight?  No, not directly from this treatment but you might see the scale go down a few lbs if you're making healthy changes in your diet and exercise routine. There is a difference between fat reduction and weight loss. CoolSculpting targets subcutaneous fat which is the light, fluffy stuff that sits on top of the visceral fat where we hold weight.

Is there pain or downtime? There is slight discomfort in the first 5 minutes when the cooling is turned on, but you'll go numb for the remainder of the treatment. After the time is up, there is 2 minutes of manual massage where your technician is trying to break up the crystallized fat cells. This feels slightly intense because your nerve endings are starting to wake back up - think about sticking your hands in snow and then running them under hot water. The following day you can resume your normal activities including work and exercise. It's common for the treated area to be a little swollen and tender for a few days but in the grand scheme of beauty procedures, there is little to no downtime involved. 

Who is the ideal candidate? If you are 10-40 lbs from your ideal weight and have a healthy exercise and diet routine but struggle with stubborn pockets of fat like the muffin top or just want your clothes to fit better, you're the ideal candidate. 

How much of an investment am I looking at? Coolsculpting is FDA approved to treat submental fat (aka the double chin), arms, abdomen, obliques, bra fat, back fat, inner and outer thighs but that doesn't mean it's realistic for all of us to have 1-2 treatments on our entire bodies. Think about what bothers you the most. For me, I made my lower abdomen and love handles the priority because no matter what I did, I would always have a little excess hanging over my jeans or yoga pants. We always recommend coming in for a complimentary consultation to get an exact price quote, plus we offer 12 months of interest free financing but the average client will spend around $2,000.  

lip injections; how to get the good (and avoid the bad & the ugly)

Lip injections. Lip filler. Lip enhancement. Lip augmentation. You name it, we've heard about it. We've all seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Thanks to Kylie Jenner for finally owning up to the fact that her lips are not natural (obviously!) and not due to some crazy lip suction device (see this Buzzfeed article for some laughs), the topic isn't so taboo.

First, a little history behind dermal fillers. The products we work with are HA (hyaluronic acid) based meaning our bodies eventually metabolize the product AND they can be dissolved with an enzyme called hyaluronidase. This is good news, people. It allows for some reassurance that if you do have a bad experience, it can be taken care of. More good news, it's very rarely needed.


Let's talk about lips, baby.

Let's talk about you and me. Let's talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let's talk about lips! [inspo shout out to Salt-n-Pepa!]

Way back in the day, Restylane was one of the only options. Injectors all over the world were using it anywhere and everywhere on the face to add volume and reduce fine lines and wrinkles giving a tighter, younger looking appearance. Think cheeks, laugh lines, fine lines around the mouth, lips for smoothing and volume, and the chin. Now days, we have many many products to choose from that have been developed for specific areas of the face for very specific needs. This allows for much more natural looking results. Thanks, science!

Now, let's talk about products we use for lips. Restylane, Silk, Refyne, Juvederm Ultra, Ultra Plus, Volbella and Vollure. Seems overwhelming, right? The good news is that a good injector will listen to your expectations and help choose the right product for you, getting you the results you want. Factors to think about:  price? how long does it last? will it hurt? how much volume will I get? will it look natural? can I build volume over time? will they just deflate after its been so long? will I look like a duck?

Here's the short of it. The injector is key; and I'm not afraid to toot the Hollyday horn (toot toot!) because Holly and Jenny are two of the best in the city! The product determines all of the answers to the questions above. Let's just say $450-500 is a good average for price and 6-12 months for how long they last. We numb every client with a topical lidocaine so you'll barely feel a thing. Some post treatment swelling and tenderness is normal, but it subsides quickly. If you have tiny lips that disappear when you smile, we can give you a little oomph without everyone and their mother knowing you've had something done. If you're happy with what yo mama gave you, we can smooth and define them. If you want volume, we can give you Angelina Jolie-esque lips that look soft and natural, not ducky. HA fillers give something for your own collagen to cling on to, so over time your lips will be naturally more plump and pillowy. They aren't just going to disappear over night.

The bottom line is this - if the thought has crossed your mind (don't lie to yourself!) the answer is yes! You won't be disappointed. 

Microneedling vs. PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)

Let's get down to the nitty gritty on skin rejuvenation with the ins and outs of two of our favorite services, Microneedling and the PRP Facial. I'll be answering all of the big questions: What's the difference? Why choose one over the other? What's What can you expect regarding the process, downtime and results? What's right for your skin? 

This 45 minute, minimal to no downtime, collagen inducting treatment uses a handheld device with 9 micro needles to penetrate the skin (at varying depths from .25 mm to 2.5 mm) to treat active acne, acne scars, fine lines and wrinkles, pore size, uneven skin tone, stretch marks and poor skin elasticity. We recommend a series of 3 treatments spaced 2-3 weeks apart and for optimal results, complete in conjunction with laser and other collagen stimulating procedures. We say this all the time - our collagen response is just like our muscle response - we don't repeat the same exercise over and over again without switching it up because our muscles eventually stop responding as well, and our collagen behaves the same way. The ultimate goal with every anti-aging treatment we offer is to shock your collagen

What to expect:  

Upon arrival we will apply a topical lidocaine compound to your face and neck and let you numb for 30 minutes. Based on your skin's needs, your service provider will choose a serum - Vitamin C, Vitamin A or Growth Factor (my personal fave) - to use throughout your entire treatment. She will begin using the Rejuvapen microneedling device on your forehead in a circular motion while continuously applying the serum. The micro needles create tiny injuries to the skin and penetrate into the dermis triggering your collagen response and allowing for maximum product penetration so the product can get to work! She will then repeat this process for the rest of your face and neck. The forehead and bridge of your nose tend to be the most sensitive, but for the most part you'll just feel small vibrations and find this treatment very comfortable. Immediately after, you'll be pink or red comparable to a sunburn and may want to lay low the rest of the day. By the following morning you can go back to your normal routine and use a gentle cleanser, SPF and even apply a little makeup if you wish. The series of pictures below perfectly depicts what to expect regarding downtime. 

Before. Immediately After (only minor redness similar to a sunburn that subsides very quickly). Approximately 20 hours After. Notice an overall softer, brighter, more youthful complexion.

Before. Immediately After (only minor redness similar to a sunburn that subsides very quickly). Approximately 20 hours After. Notice an overall softer, brighter, more youthful complexion.

PRP Facial
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) is an extract of your own blood that contains three to five times more platelets, growth factors and active proteins for tissue and injury healing. When PRP is placed back into the skin by injection or microneedling, it initiates a localized stem cell response. Over the weeks and months following treatment, this stem cell response recruits collagen-producing cells called fibroblasts. The fibroblasts replace tissue that has been damaged or lost through the aging process with healthy skin that looks refreshed and rejuvenated. The healing properties of the blood components in PRP can be used as a cosmetic treatment for the following:

  • Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
  • Tightening and toning skin
  • Brightening uneven skin tone
  • Mild collagen and volume loss
  • Crow's feet and dark under eye circles
  • Large pores/rough texture
  • Acne scarring
  • Rosacea

The process:

  1. We will apply a topical lidocaine to your face and neck while your blood is drawn. We only need 30 mL of blood so this is quick and painless. The vial is then placed into a centrifuge which separates your PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma, red in color) from the PPP (Platelet Poor Plasma, clear in color).
  2. Your red PRP will then be microneedled back into your skin. (See above description). This is truly the only difference between these two treatments. Instead of using one of our other serums (the Vitamin C, Vitamin A or Growth Factor) we use your body's own PRP. The benefits of PRP cannot be recreated in any cosmetic, cosmeceutical or pharmaceutical product because it's our body's own cells creating new tissue and healthy skin. 
  3. Rinse the plasma "red mask" off anywhere from 20 minutes - 24 hours post treatment. 
  4. We will send you home with your clear PPP so that you may take advantage of its benefits as well - rub it on your face for hydration and healing, place on your brows/lashes to condition and stimulate growth, or even rub on your thighs to help tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

What to expect:

  • The entire process will take 75-90 minutes.
  • Immediately post treatment, your skin will feel very tight and a little tender like you have a sunburn or windburn. Once you rinse the "red mask" off, your skin will be pink for 24-48 hours. 
  • You might feel a little dry and flaky but this is completely normal and should only last 2-3 days. 
  • You'll see the benefits of one treatment last 10-12 weeks so it's meant to be done quarterly - once every 3 months. 
Before. Immediately After (This "red mask" can be rinsed off as soon as 20 minutes post treatment). Approximately 20 hours After.  Notice the immediate improvement in active acne, skin texture and color.

Before. Immediately After (This "red mask" can be rinsed off as soon as 20 minutes post treatment). Approximately 20 hours After.  Notice the immediate improvement in active acne, skin texture and color.

So how do you choose? Microneedling is a great place to start if you are new to these types of services. If you hate having your blood drawn or the "red mask" makes you squeamish, stick to microneedling. If you are ready to take your results to the next level, the PRP Facial is the icing on the cake without having to deal with any major downtime. 

The major bonus of both of these services is they can be done on any skin type and ethnicity. This time of year can be tough because of sun exposure but you do not have to be at your fairest complexion to have this done. Just be extra conscious of wearing a hat and high quality SPF while you're outside - after all, what's the point in investing in your skin if you just let the sun wreak havoc on it?