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September 30, 2014

// Unwanted Moles

Learning To Spot The Potential Dangers Of Moles

Moles come in all shapes and sizes. And, in some cases, they are revered as beauty marks. Just ask Cindy Crawford how she feels about the mole that sits just above her lip. It has practically become iconic and hasn’t done a single thing to take away from her beauty. In fact, some would argue that her mole has added to her beauty. However, not everyone feels so loving towards their moles. Instead, they spend most of their time thinking about role removal.

It’s important to know that there are different types of moles, and generally speaking, they are not harmful to your health. Of course, melanoma – which is a form of skin cancer – is the biggest thing to look out for. And sometimes moles represent signs that melanoma may be present. Although this may cause some people to worry – especially if they have a lot of moles – knowing the difference between those that are harmless and those that are dangerous is important.

Melanocytic Nevi. According to MoleRemover.org, these are the most common of all moles. The site notes that most adults have anywhere between 10 and 50 of these common moles appearing on places such as the face, neck, chest, back and arms. Melanocytes are the skin cells that carry melanin, which is responsible for our pigmentation. When these cells cluster together, they form round or oval-shaped surfaces. These common moles are generally not harmful.

Dysplastic Nevi. Also known as atypical moles, these are different than common moles in that they are flat and have irregular edges that fade into the surrounding skin, explains the website. They generally have smooth surfaces but can also appear scaly or pebbly, taking on a variety of colours such as pink, red and brown. Although it is very rare, atypical moles have a higher chance of developing melanoma.

Melanoma. As you know, this is a cancerous skin mole. MoleRemover.org explains that they develop when our melanocytes grow rapidly, invading other skin cells. They often look like atypical moles to start, the site explains, but eventually change in appearance, sometimes taking on blue, white or grey shades. As well, they may itch, bleed or feel bumpy. If such symptoms occur, a doctor should be contacted immediately.

It should be stated that while common moles are generally harmless, it’s important to make note of how many moles appear on the skin. According to the National Cancer Institute,” people who have more than 50 common moles have an increased chance of developing melanoma.” There are also other tell-tale signs that common moles may be becoming cancerous. The site lists several things to look out for.

They include changes in colour, size, shape, texture and height of the moles. As well, noticing if the surface of the skin is becoming dry or scaly, whether or not the mole is becoming hard and lumpy and if there is any itchiness, bleeding and oozing are all important. The National Cancer Institute goes on to note that tanning and other prolonged exposure to the sun can increase the risk of developing melanoma.

To strongly reiterate, a doctor should be consulted immediately if such occurrences are noticeable. It’s also important to know that there is a safe and effective mole removal solution available to those who have unwanted moles. At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we proudly use The VariLite Laser to remove moles. For more information or to book a consultation, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.

September 23, 2014

// Skin Care

5 Ways To Save Your Skin During The Fall

Now that the autumn season is finally here, it’s probably safe to put away our sunscreen, right? Wrong. While it’s true that the sun’s rays certainly won’t feel as warm as they did throughout the summer months, by no means does that mean that they are any less harmful to our skin. On her website, Dr. Cynthia Bailey reveals that, as a dermatologist, she gets many patients who admit to taking less skin care precautions when the summer ends.

“They think that because the sun feels weaker they’re safe,” she writes, “Yes, the sunburn ray called UVB is less intense then, but the sun still damages your skin and the tan and wrinkles are the evidence. The reason the sun is harmful is that UVA rays are out in full intensity; they’re out all day, all year, and at the same intensity as mid-day in the summer! This means that from sunup to sundown, January or July you’re getting the same hit of UVA.”

Dr. Bailey goes on to write that smart plans to protect your skin from the sun during both the fall and winter are imperative. It’s important to remember that even though the sun’s rays may feel less intense, UVA rays can still be quite damaging. This is especially true when they have the opportunity to bounce off of surfaces such as the white snow that is destined to be on the ground each winter. So with that, here are five ways to battle UV rays during the fall.

1. Use shea and cocoa butter. On her own website, celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas writes that shea and cocoa butter melt at body temperature and therefore get absorbed into the skin, staying there all day. This is important because, according to Vargas, “the transition from humid to cold weather can be extremely drying. Dry skin is so fragile, and you have to do more to protect your lipid layer.”

2. Find other sources of Vitamin D. Dr. Bailey assures us that it isn’t necessary to get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sun. She considers it “false advice” when someone says that you need year-round sun exposure for this purpose. “Most places in the world only have enough UVB rays during the summer to make meaningful vitamin D in your skin,” she reveals, “Even then, I don’t recommend using your skin as a vitamin D factory.”

3. Sleep with a humidifier in your bedroom. Keep in mind that it’s all about giving your skin as much moisture as you can. Preventing it from drying out during the colder months of the year is a key component to keeping it healthy. So how does a humidifier help? Vargas writes that a humidifier “will add just enough moisture to the environment to give your skin the chance to do some real healing.”

4. Seek shade and wear protective clothing. So, apparently the skin protection rules for summer are worth following all year round. Dr. Bailey writes that “as the weather gets colder it’s so tempting to want to sit in the direct sun, but only do that with sun protective clothing and sunscreen on. Keep your skin out of the sun as much as possible. Remember that UV rays bounce off pavement, sand, rocks, buildings etc.”

5. Use an exfoliating cleanser. Because the fall weather causes your skin to become drier and more fragile, it’s important to do what it takes to repair it regularly. “The best way to start is to use a cleanser that can exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate collagen production,” informs Vargas. She goes on to note that certain facial peels can be very beneficial in repairing the damage that is caused by the sun.

At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we offer both Microdermabrasion and Facial Peels to repair skin that has been damaged by the sun. They also provide remedies for age spots, acne, rough and discoloured skin, fine lines and wrinkles. For more information on these treatments, please feel free to call us at 403-358-5818.

September 16, 2014

// Spider Veins

5 Strategies To Preventing Varicose Veins During Pregnancy

When the news comes that a beautiful bundle of joy is on the way, it becomes an exhilarating time in the life of parents. Needless to say, life changes drastically for both the soon-to-be moms and dads. But, it should go without saying that a heavy load of work is placed on the mommies-to-be. Literally! Quite obviously, with the impending weight gain, women need to take various measures to keep themselves in tip-top condition.

Naturally, we need to make sure that our babies are growing healthfully. But with our bodies going through such drastic changes, it’s important that we remain mindful of the things we can do to stay healthy ourselves. It’s not so easy. With everything from morning sickness to back pain pretty much being inevitable, there seems to be a never ending list of things to do in order to stay comfortable.

And then there’s those dreaded varicose veins! As Leah Keller writes on TheDiaMethod.com, “due to a potent combination of physiological factors, many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. When severe, they can lead to heavy, aching legs and other painful physical symptoms far worse than the aesthetic annoyance they inflict.” So what can we do to prevent them? Thankfully, Keller reveals five key strategies.

1. Keep moving to promote circulation. Keller insists that pregnant women get in their daily exercise. Not only is pregnancy not a reason to stop working out, it’s a reason to step it up! She recommends getting in a brisk 25 minute walk each day in order to stimulate healthy blood circulation. As well, she advises that you try to avoid sitting or standing in one position for long periods of time. The more you keep your blood pumping, the better you’ll be at avoiding varicose veins.

2. Elevate your feet. Keeping your legs and feet elevated as often as you can is another key instruction in the battle against varicose veins. Keller suggests that you prop your feet up on a comfortable stool whenever you sit down. You can also place a pillow under your knees when you are reclining in bed. She notes that you should elevate your feet for a minimum of ten minutes a day in either the afternoon or evening.

3. Sleep smart. “Avoid lying flat on your back as this can restrict blood flow to the vena cava, which further restricts blood flow to and from the legs,” writes Keller, “Instead, lie on your left side with a pillow between your knees and another between your feet.” She goes on to note that switching sides often – while it may not give you the greatest sleep – will keep your hips comfortable. Start on the left side, she says, to decrease pressure on the vena cava.

4. Use compression tights. These really work, Keller insists. She reveals that compression tights promote the return of blood back to your heart, which can minimize swelling, helping to prevent the appearance of varicose veins in the legs. They’re available in most drug stores, so they shouldn’t be difficult to find at all. Simply slip them on first thing in the morning and keep them on all day, she advises.

5. Watch your weight. During pregnancy, you’re bound to gain weight, there’s no question about it. However, it’s important to stay within the weight gain parameters set out by your doctor. If you feel that you’re putting on too many pounds too quickly, you may want to eliminate empty carbs such as sugars, refined flours and processed foods, says Keller. By contrast, if you need to gain more weight, add more fruit to your daily snacks.

Developing varicose veins may an unwelcome result of pregnancy, but they are certainly not the end of the world. At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we safely and effectively treat varicose and spider veins with a treatment known as Sclerotherapy. It’s not a laser treatment. Instead, a sclerosing solution is injected into the veins to make them disappear. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.

September 9, 2014

// Unwanted Fat

6 Ways To Stay In Shape This School Year

The month of September brings about quite a big change in most of our lives. If we’re students, we’re back in school. And if we’re parents, our kids are back in school! Clearly, things are a little bit different these days. And depending on how you look at it, you could have either more or less time to focus on health and nutrition. If you’re a student, you’re probably thinking that you have less time. And if you’re a parent, perhaps you have a little more?

No matter what position you’re in, the month of September is certainly no time to take off from focusing on keeping fit. Sure, the summer is dwindling down and you may be showing a little less skin over the coming months. But keeping in shape is a year-round task. So what can we do now that things have changed and our schedules have been so greatly affected by the new back-to-school season? Here are six ways to stay in shape this school year.

1. Pack Your Own Lunch. As soon as school starts, many of us get into the bad habit of heading to the cafeteria to buy our lunches. But as Lyndsie Robinson of AllWomenStalk.com reminds us, “school lunches are just abhorrent…they’re awful for you.” So instead of ordering something that’s been sitting under a heat lamp for hours, it’s best you bring your own lunch to school with you. Stick to the healthy options so you can control your calories and intake of the bad stuff.

2. Walk Everywhere. Chances are you should be doing a lot more walking these days anyways. This is especially true if you go to school at a big campus. However, if you’re not too far from where you study, you may want to walk to school or get off a few bus stops early in order to get in that extra exercise every day. “Wear comfy shoes (and) take the stairs…Even if you live on the top floor of a dorm on top of a hill,” recommends Cassey Ho of Blogilates.com.

3. Don’t Skip Breakfast. Of course, if you’re going to walk to school, you’ll have to give yourself more time in the morning. However, skipping breakfast to save time is not the way to do it. As Robinson reminds us, “breakfast is the first and most important meal of the day.” When you skip it, “it crashes your metabolism; your energy really lags; and you’re so hungry by lunchtime that you’re craving all the carbs from heat lamp pizza and fries.”

4. Join The Gym At Your School. Many people who stray away from gym memberships do so because they don’t wish to pay membership fees. At many schools, your fee is paid for by your tuition. Look into whether or not the use of your school gym comes as one of the benefits of being a student. Because it certainly should! Not using it is quite the waste. As Ho puts it, “You pay for it, you go.”

5. Learn Time Management. One of the most important things that a student can learn from his or her school experience is how to manage time. For those that say that they “don’t have enough time” to pay attention to their health and nutrition, this is especially important. “If you want to stay fit and healthy, then haphazardly doing your homework the night before it’s due isn’t always going to work,” warns Robinson.

6. Set Up Workout Nights. Speaking of managing your time, you may want to schedule time to workout with your roommates and classmates. That way, you’ll be able to maintain your social life, build relationships at school and stay in shape all at the same time. Ho advises that you even gather in the lobby of your dorm and practice some Pilates with the help of an instruction video. It will be a fun way to meet new people!

September 3, 2014

// Hair Removal

5 Reasons That LightSheer™ Is The Right Gear!

Now that September is here, there are a lot of people out there breathing sighs of relief. Many others are breathing sighs of sadness, considering that the warm and sunny days of summer are on their way out. However, those who are part of the ‘sighs-of-relief’ bunch are glad that the cooling down of the temperatures will allow them to comfortably wear long-sleeved shirts and pants again. But why would anyone want to do that?

It’s all about covering up those areas of our bodies where hair grows. And when you really look at it, that’s everywhere! Many of us have sensitive skin. And even for those who don’t have skin that sensitive, they are still susceptible to the perils of hair removal. You know what we mean – razor bumps, ingrown hairs, razor burn, nicks, cuts, scratches and more are all results of shaving, tweezing and waxing. Does it ever end?

Well, it sure can! At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we use the LightSheer™ Hair Laser to remove unwanted hair. It is considered a revolutionary treatment in the management of unwanted hair because it uses a patented chill tip. This protects the skin and makes the treatment virtually painless. As with all of our treatments, our laser hair removal processes are performed by certified experienced laser technicians. Here are five reasons you may want to consider it.

1. The cooling process. As mentioned, the LightSheer™ Hair Laser uses a technology that cools the skin. The “chill tip” is a hand piece that cools skin on contact, allowing our technicians to treat those who have very sensitive skin with ease. By cooling the upper layer of the skin, the LightSheer™ Hair Laser’s “chill tip” protects the skin from damage while the hair follicles are impacted by the laser.

2. Proven effectiveness. We all know that shaving, tweezing and waxing only produce short-term results. The LightSheer™ Hair Laser is a state-of-the-art system that not only removes unwanted hair with less discomfort than the above mentioned methods, but it eliminates the need to ever shave, tweeze or wax again! The laser produces highly concentrated beams of light that are absorbed by the pigment in the hair follicles impeding their ability to re-grow.

3. Wide coverage. As mentioned earlier, hair is everywhere on your body – even if you can’t really see it. Previously, people sought out electrolysis as a procedure to remove unwanted hair for good. However, this process would only be able to remove hair in small areas as it uses a needle to pinpoint individual hair roots. Not only is electrolysis painful, but it’s time consuming. The LightSheer™ Hair Laser, on the other hand, can treat wider areas in a shorter span of time.

4. Quickness. Speaking of short time spans, the LightSheer™ Hair Laser can take care of problem areas within minutes. The length of time for each treatment depends, of course, on the size of the area being treated. But unlike some other procedures, the LightSheer™ Hair Laser doesn’t require that patients spend hours of their time being treated. Treatments are generally considered quick and easy by the patients who undergo them.

5. Virtually no downtime. The hair removal process provided by the LightSheer™ Hair Laser isn’t some type of intrusive surgery. Patients are generally able to return to their normal duties right away. So there generally is no downtime to worry about. If you have any questions or concerns, we’d be happy to address them at Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre. Don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.