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November 25, 2014

// Spider Veins

5 Spider And Varicose Vein Do’s And Don’ts

For us Canadians – especially us Albertans – we don’t need to wait until the 21st of December to begin calling it “winter”. When it’s cold, it’s really cold! And for many of us, that makes winter a difficult time of year. Then again, there are many more of us who relish the cold weather. It allows us to bundle up and go out to enjoy winter sports such as skiing, skating and snowboarding. And then there are those who just like the “bundle up” part!

Spider and varicose veins are often referred to as “unsightly”. So it stands to reason that those who have spider or varicose veins in their legs would prefer to keep them covered up. Naturally, winter gives them a perfect excuse to do so. There are, however, some things that can be done to help diminish the appearance of spider and varicose veins. Here are some “do’s” and “don’ts” with help from the American Society for Dermatologic Society.

Do listen to your body. If you’re experiencing such health complications as fatigue, night cramps, leg swelling or itching around certain veins, it’s important to consult a physician, says the ASDS. While spider and varicose veins are generally considered cosmetic concerns, you’ll want to ensure that you prevent any health issues that may arise as a result. Contact a dermatologist with any questions you have right away if you have any of these symptoms.

Don’t sit or stand for long periods of time. “Being in one position for an extended period of time can place pressure on veins, so it’s important to keep your legs moving,” says the American Society for Dermatologic Society, “Changing positions every 30 minutes will help blood flow and keep veins healthy. Flexing calves muscles frequently is also a good exercise to do at your desk on long car trips or on a plane to keep up circulation.”

Do keep active. By contrast, it should probably be an obvious point that regular exercise is recommended. When you keep your legs moving through such activities as walking, cycling and swimming, you promote blood circulation. This works to significantly reduce the pressure on your veins and stave off the pooling of blood. Not to mention, regular exercise is good for your overall health anyways!

Don’t assume all treatments will work for you. The ASDS writes that “advertisements that claim to be ‘unique,’ ‘permanent’ or ‘painless’ could be tempting, but may not be legitimate.” Therefore, they recommend that you “speak to a dermatologic surgeon about a variety of treatment options available, such as lasers or injections. Depending on the severity of vein damage experts can determine the best treatment option for you.”

Do consider Sclerotherapy. This treatment just so happens to be the “gold standard” when it comes to eliminating large spider and smaller varicose leg veins. It uses an injection of “sclerosing solution” that works to close the “feeder veins” under the skin. These feeder veins are what cause spider veins to form. By closing them off, a recurrence of spider veins in the treated areas is a lot less likely to occur.

Following an injection, a patient’s leg is compressed with either stockings or bandages. These are worn for approximately two weeks after the procedure. As you may have guessed, regular walking is recommended during that time. For more information about Sclerotherapy, please don’t hesitate to call Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818. Let’s make this the last winter you have to worry about covering up those spider and varicose veins!

November 18, 2014

// Unwanted Fat

6 Tips To Making Winter The Perfect Workout Season

It’s quite the winter wonderland out there, isn’t it? For many Canadians, this time of year is truly full of wonderment. They enjoy the sight of snow-covered grounds and are thrilled at the idea of being able to get outdoors for skating, skiing and snowboarding. And then, for many other Canadians, the mere idea of going outside in the cold weather is scarier than any horror film. As you can imagine, this can lead to much more of an inactive lifestyle.

This isn’t to say that such “winter haters” are particularly lazy. It’s just that they enjoy staying warm – even if it means that their traditional workout routines will be affected. Exercising, however, shouldn’t be limited simply because it’s cold outside. The winter time, in fact, can present us all with amazing new ways to workout. Here are six tips to making winter the perfect workout season for you!

1. Change your mind. This is certainly the first and most important step to making the winter work for your fitness goals. On SparkPeople.com, Jennipher Walters writes that this is the time of year to revisit your goals and plan out what you’d like to accomplish in the next few months. Considering how busy you might be, it’s important to schedule time to exercise. Don’t allow the cold weather to become a reason that you skip workouts. Use it to your advantage!

2. Warm up wisely. So how can you use winter to your advantage? Firstly, it’s important to know that the cold weather doesn’t have to make you cold. One way to ensure that you are kept warm is to walk around or job in place indoors for at least five minutes. According to Women’s Health Magazine, this warm up routine is recommended by Olympian, Jeff Galloway. Don’t allow the temperatures to stifle your commitment to health and fitness.

3. Go out and play! Evidently, Walters agrees that going outside to exercise is still a worthwhile activity during the winter. However, if you’re not in the mood to jog or participate in other winter sports, you can simply play! “The best part about playing is that it doesn’t feel like working out – though you can still get your heart rate up and have an excellent cardio session,” she writes. Making snow angels, having a snowball fight and building a snowman are some ideas.

4. Be flexible. As mentioned, it’s not so easy to stick to your traditional workout routines during the winter. But to ensure that you don’t lose track, it’s important to be flexible. Women’s Health Magazine recommends that you hold out until mid-afternoon to exercise even if you’re used to doing so first thing in the morning. This may be necessary on extremely cold days. The publication admits that “there is such a thing as too-lousy weather,”

5. Get creative at home. Okay, so you’re not going to be able to exercise outdoors each day throughout the winter. There will certainly be days when staying inside is just a lot more preferable. On such days, you can still get your workout in. “Whether you pop in a new workout DVD, invest in a few pieces of fitness equipment or even just use your body weight for a killer workout, exercising at home can be a convenient (and fun!) solution to staying on track,” says Walters.

6. Drink up. While it’s true that you generally won’t sweat in the winter as much as you do during the summer, it’s still important to stay hydrated. As Women’s Health Magazine reminds us, you can still sweat just as much while working out in all of that clothes that you are bundled up in. So don’t let the cold be a reason that you leave the water bottle at home when you go out for a run. “Try putting your bottle under your layers to help keep it from freezing,” the magazine advises.

November 12, 2014

// Hair Removal

‘Tis The Season To Remove Your Unwanted Hair!

With the weather a lot colder now than it was just a few short months ago, it’s safe to say that we’ll all be doing a lot more “bundling up” over the next several months. For many people, that comes as sorrowful news as their time spent poolside in bathing suits during the summer is the equivalent of heaven. Then again, for others, getting the opportunity to cover up is just what the doctor ordered.

Some people just prefer winter. They enjoy winter sports and activities such as skating, skiing and tobogganing. And then again, some people just really like the whole “bundling up” routine. It may not be for the reasons you think though. Yes, of course, we all want to stay warm during the frosty winter months. But some of us like covering up for other reasons. After all, covering up our body’s hair is easier than removing it, right?

During the summer, we tend to wax, tweeze and shave our unwanted hair more than we normally would. Of course, staying smooth is all part of the summertime routine. This is especially true if you’re prone to wearing shorts, skirts and t-shirts which are the norm during the warmer months of the year. But what happens when such hair removal processes come back to bite us? No one enjoys the razor bumps, rashes, nicks and scratches that come with waxing, tweezing and shaving.

So what to do? Laser hair removal is the ideal solution! And at The Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, the revolutionary LightSheer™ Hair Laser is used for the process. Unlike traditional hair removal processes, laser hair removal is not known to produce the standard side effects. In fact, the LightSheer™ Hair Laser uses what is known as a “chill tip” that protects the skin and makes the treatment virtually painless.

In addition, laser hair removal diminishes your hair follicles’ ability to produce more hair. So unlike with waxing, tweezing and shaving, you won’t have to worry about continually removing your hair for the rest of your life! Now that the winter is practically upon us, it’s the perfect time of year to consider this hair removal option. But why? Wouldn’t it be better to start the process in the summer when people can actually see the results?

Actually, it wouldn’t. And that’s because it is highly recommended that people undergoing laser hair removal treatments keep their treated skin away from direct sunlight. You see, laser treatments target skin follicles, damaging them so that they can’t continue to produce hair. It’s all about the follicles absorbing the laser’s energy. That’s how the process works. So additional sunlight may only serve to damage the skin.

And by “damage”, we basically mean “tan” – which is one and the same, by the way. As well, the laser hair removal process takes approximately eight to ten appointments in order to be considered complete and fully effective. So that means that by the time you’re all finished, you’ll be ready in time for the return of warmer weather. Now that’ll be the time to show off your new smooth and silky skin!

Please feel free to contact the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre with any questions that you may have about the laser hair removal process and the LightSheer™ Hair Laser that we use for the treatment. As always, the treatments at the clinic are performed by certified experienced laser technicians. For more information, or to book a consultation, call 403-358-5818. ‘Tis the season to remove your unwanted hair!

November 4, 2014

// Unwanted Moles

4 Wintertime Self-Checks For Your Skin

Now that November is here, it’s practically the winter time. Sure, the calendar itself may not admit it – winter supposedly starts on December 21st – but when we feel that nip in the air, we know different. Cold is cold, no matter what season it is. And that means that we have to take extra measures to protect our skin from drying out. Obviously, we won’t be showing as much skin as we did in the summer time.

However, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be doing our best to protect our exposed skin from the sunlight. On the U.K.-based Cosmedics website, it states that “even on dull days in winter the skin is still exposed to the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays and should be protected…it is still very important to protect the skin in the winter. Bear in mind that even areas that have not seen the sun may still have malignant melanoma, so it is even more important to protect where possible.”

On TheDermBlog, San Diego’s Dr. Jeffrey Benabio adds that the wintertime is actually an ideal time of year to do thorough skin exams. He notes that because your skin doesn’t see as much light during the day, as it would in the summer, “you might be unaware of a suspicious mole on your back that is fully covered by a heavy sweater.” He goes on to suggest that there are four self-checks that you should be doing during the winter.

1. Check your fingernails and toenails. Dr. Benabio recommends that you remove any polish or acrylic nails to thoroughly take a look at your cuticles and nail folds. Look for any ragged, red, swollen or tender parts that could be signs of an infection. He also notes that excessive hand washing could lead to the nails drying out and splitting. “Try using alcohol hand sanitizers instead of washing,” he suggests, “Apply hand cream to your hands and nails after every time you wash.”

2. Look under your arms and on your neck. It’s also a good time to look out for skin tags, says the doctor. This is especially recommended for those with think brown skin. Elevated levels of insulin can lead to thickening, brown skin which is a condition known as “acanthosis nigricans”, Dr. Benabio informs us. The worst case scenario is the onset of diabetes, so this is certainly something to pay attention to.

3. Look for Moles. With wintertime comes an end to outdoor tanning. And with your tan fading, it will become easier to look for the damage that may have been caused by all that time you spent in the sun during the summer. Dr. Benabio recommends that you stand in front of a full-length mirror and in good light so that you can see yourself from head to toe. Look for any new or changing moles, especially if they are larger than 6mm and have irregular borders.

4. Check your legs. “Flaky, dry skin means you are stripping too much natural oil off your skin and not replenishing it often enough,” writes Dr. Benabio, “If skin becomes dry enough, an itchy red rash can develop called asteatotic eczema. It is your body’s way of telling you not only that are you too dry, but also your skin is no longer adequately protecting you and your immune system has to kick in to help out. It is a cry for help from your skin.”

He recommends using non-soap cleansers like Dove and applying thick moisturizers after every shower. If you’ve noticed any skin tags or moles, we’d be happy to discuss some solutions that are provided by the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre. We proudly use The VariLite laser to remove moles and skin tags, as it is widely respected as a safe and effective way to do so without causing any bruising. Please don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.