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March 31, 2015

// Unwanted Moles

Avoiding Sun Exposure To Keep Moles At Bay

With spring now here, there is a noticeable change in the air. It’s starting to warm up, marking the fact that the sunny days are bound to become plentiful. Now, let’s be honest. What is the first thing that comes to mind when the winter transitions into spring? For most of us, it’s the idea of basking in the sun more often. Considering that spring follows the coldest month of the year, it stands to reason that the advent of spring encourages the disrobing of more of our garments.

Of course, spring isn’t summer. Not every day is going to present shorts and t-shirts weather. Nevertheless, because of our need to ditch the winter gear, it’s important for us all to be mindful of just how much extra skin we are exposing to the sun’s harmful UV rays. One of the most significant signs that you’ve had too much sun is the presence of moles on your skin. For the most part, the presence of moles is a hereditary thing. But what causes them to grow and develop more significantly?

You guessed it – sun exposure. According to Sarah Siddons of HowStuffWorks.com, the melanin in our skin – which is responsible for its natural pigment – is produced by cells known as “melanocytes”. “When exposed to the sun, melanocytes produce more melanin, darkening the skin with a suntan,” she writes, “when melanocytes don’t distribute evenly and instead grow in clusters, moles form.”

Siddons goes on to note that while moles can form anywhere on the body, they tend to grow most often in the areas that we expose frequently to the sun. They include our hands, arms, chest, neck and face. Evidently, we should all be taking measures to keep those areas as protected from the sun as possible. Sunscreen would be the first and perhaps, most obvious recommendation. But as the spring begins and inevitably becomes summer, it also pays to find some shade.

Dr. Gary Cole of MedicineNet.com agrees. “Skin with more sun exposure tends to have more moles,” he writes, “However, moles may also occur in sun-protected areas like the palms, soles, and genitals.” He goes on to support the need for either avoiding the sun or protecting yourself from it. This is especially important during the times of the day when the sun is at its brightest. This is generally between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Are some people more prone to developing moles than others? Dr. Cole explains that “many people with blond or red hair and green or blue eyes are more prone to these types of skin growths.” As mentioned earlier, genetics do play a part in the entire mole developing process. He notes that people who are prone to freckles are more commonly known to develop moles, especially if they have very light complexions.

Again, protecting your skin during the warmer months of the year when you are tempted to sunbathe is very important. Regardless of genetics, you can still develop moles if your skin isn’t protected. In fact, Dr. Cole notes that many people develop moles later in life. “While many moles arise in the first years of life, the total number of moles typically peaks in the second or third decade of life to an average of 35,” he reveals.

At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we have a certifiable solution to the mole problem! The VariLite laser allows for the safe and effective treatment of moles, in addition to small red blood vessels, skin tags and other pigmented skin spots. As well, this laser is known to improve the look of very fine spider veins of the legs. For more information, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-358-5818.

March 24, 2015

// Skin Care

6 Skin Care Changes To Make For Spring

Spring is finally here! And with that, we can finally stop worrying about the drying nature of the cold winter air, right? Well, not necessarily. The transition from cold to warmer conditions suggests that we all need to make some changes to our skin care practices. “Changes in weather can wreak havoc upon the skin, and the arrival of a new season is the perfect time to reassess your beauty regime accordingly,” writes Lisa Niven of Vogue.

To ensure the continuation of your skin’s clean, bright and smooth appearance, it’s important to know how it reacts to weather change. Niven enlists the help of “super facialist”, Sarah Chapman to unveil some key springtime skin care techniques. In addition, Arti Patel of The Huffington Post adds that it’s important to make changes to your beauty routine as soon as a new season is upon us. So with that, here are six skin care changes to make for spring.

1. Always Use An SPF. Both Chapman and Patel agree that spring is the perfect time to lather up with sunscreen, even though it is recommended that we wear it all year long. “We often forget how strong the sun can be at this time of year and a SPF is essential to protect skin against sun damage and premature ageing,” says Chapman, “Remember that it’s UVA rays that are present all year and they are the ‘A’geing rays.”

2. Exfoliate Your Skin. Chapman notes that springtime exfoliation helps to remove “dead and dulling skin cells” that may have accumulated throughout the winter. She suggests using a gentle exfoliator at least twice a week so as to not damage the skin with a “harsh scratchy scrub”. “Even though skin exfoliation should be done throughout the year, spring is the season to give our skin the attention it deserves,” adds Patel.

3. Detox Your Beauty Bag. Patel goes on to note that your makeup collection may contain some “unwanted junk”. The spring is an ideal time to replace some of your outdated makeup with what she calls “spring classics”. New foundations and bronzers may be in order. However, it’s important to consider using a moisturizer than contains an SPF. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays should always be part of your “looking good” routine.

4. Focus On Cleansing. For cleaner, brighter skin, one can never forget to have a strong cleansing regime, insists Chapman. She recommends that you spend at least one to two minutes working with a cleanser in upwards circular motions to clean deep into your pores while washing your face. “I often give my clients a two-week cleansing challenge, getting them to focus on a good cleanse daily, and it is perfect for creating a clearer and healthier looking skin in a matter of weeks,” she reveals.

5. Don’t Skimp On Lip Balm. Sometimes we forget the parts of our bodies that require the most protection from the sun. The tops of our ears, for example, may get overlooked when applying sunscreen. Our lips should also not be forgotten. Patel reminds us that “our lips also go through changes from winter to spring” so it’s important to use protective lip balms that contain “hydrating components.”

6. Try Face Masks or Facial Peels. “Give your skin some pampering,” advises Patel. And while she offers a recipe for an oatmeal face mask, you may want to take things a little further by looking into facial peels. The Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre offers a variety of peels, for both young and old. They will tighten your skin, increase your radiance and specifically remedy sun-damaged skin, age spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

For more information our facial peels, please don’t hesitate to call the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.

March 17, 2015

// Spider Veins

Answering Frequently Asked Questions About Sclerotherapy

First off, what is sclerotherapy? Sclerotherapy is known as the “gold standard” procedure when it comes to the elimination of both large spider veins (telangiectasiae) and smaller varicose leg veins in the legs. It is generally preferred over laser treatments as the “sclerosing” solution that is used works quickly to close off “feeder veins” under the skin. This makes the reappearance of spider and varicose veins a lot less likely. As well, there are little to no side effects associated with the procedure.

So, if any, what are the side effects to sclerotherapy? Sure, let’s get the scary stuff out of the way early, right? Well, the truth is there is really nothing scary at all about this procedure. Sclerotherapy is well known for its safety and effectiveness. HealthPoint RX reports that the only known side effects are possible minor itching and burning immediately after the treatment. This normally fades pretty quickly. “In rare cases, allergic reactions and infection at the injection site may occur,” they note.

So how is sclerotherapy performed? As explained by SurgeryEncyclopedia.com, typically a patient will be fitted with a pair of shorts and asked to lie down on an examination table. The treated skin surface is cleaned before the doctor locates the veins to be injected with the sclerosing solution. The skin is stretched with one hand while the injection is made with the other to ensure accuracy.

“The doctor first injects the larger veins in each area of the leg, then the smaller ones,” explains the website, “In most cases, one injection is needed for every inch of spider vein; a typical treatment session will require five to 40 separate injections. No anesthetic is needed for sclerotherapy, although the patient may feel a mild stinging or burning sensation at the injection site.”

What type of patient needs sclerotherapy? Those who are enduring the appearance of spider and varicose veins in their legs are most interested in the procedure. To improve the appearance of the legs, sclerotherapy closes down the veins, making them disappear underneath the skin’s surface. The appearance of such veins is not considered dangerous. For the most part, patients find the look of the veins distasteful and prefer a safe and effective method of removal to better their appearances.

What causes spider and varicose veins? It has a lot to do with blood pressure. Keep in mind that veins transport blood towards the heart when they are functioning normally. The higher the blood pressure in the vein, the more susceptible it is to fail, dilate or expand, says HealthPoint RX. “Veins that are not functioning properly are said to be ‘incompetent’,” the site reads, “As the veins expand, they become more noticeable because they lie closer to the surface of the skin, forming the typical patterns seen in spider veins.”

Who is most prone to spider and varicose veins? SurgeryEncyclopedia.com explains that there are a number of factors that contribute to the appearance of these veins. Gender happens to be one of them. “Females in any age group are more likely than males to develop spider veins,” the site informs. Pregnancy, in fact, may exacerbate the issue as increased blood pressure and hormonal changes can contribute to the softening of vein walls and valves.

The use of birth control pills and obesity are also cited as factors. As well, there are genetic factors (“some people have veins with abnormally weak walls or valves”) and occupational factors (“people whose jobs require standing or sitting for long periods of time without the opportunity to walk or move around”) that the website lists as potential causes of spider and varicose veins.

Where can I get the procedure done? At Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we proudly offer sclerotherapy as a spider and varicose vein solution! For more information, don’t hesitate to call us at 403-358-5818.

March 10, 2015

// Unwanted Fat

6 Suggestions For Slimming Down In Time For Summer

Are you counting down the days until summer yet? While we still have a few months to go, it’s not a bad time to start preparing for the warmer months of the year. And by preparing, we mean getting in shape! It’s okay to admit it. We all take at least a little bit of time away from our regular exercise routines when the weather outdoors doesn’t permit workouts. It’s a lot harder to be motivated when making the trek to the gym is made so much more difficult by all that snow.

However, the time is now is start taking your workouts more seriously. To get that perfect (or as close to it as possible) body that you’d like to show off all summer long, there are some important steps that you need to take. A little bit of dedication will go a long way in shedding some pounds and slimming you down. Here are six suggestions for slimming down in time for summer.

1. Choose moderation, not starvation. Too often, people think that to shed pounds, they simply have to eat less. But depriving yourself of important nutrients is no way to safely lose weight. On BestHealthMag.ca, Leesa Hamilton and Rhonda Rovan write that when you restrict your calories, the body goes into “starvation mode” and begins to conserve energy as fat. This also slows down your metabolism, creating the opposite effect that you want.

2. Be picky at restaurants. Sometimes, you’re just going to have to be “that person”. You don’t have to avoid food-involved outings with your family and friends altogether. You just have to curb your dietary choices during those moments when it’s so easy to indulge in high-calorie foods. Ask the waiters to make alterations to your meals. For example, you may want to forego the sides of rice and potatoes for additional helpings of veggies.

3. Talk and walk. If you have the opportunity to walk to a destination, instead of driving, take it. In fact, Prevention.com suggests that “instead of catching up with friends over food and drinks, suggest a reunion on the move—you’re likely to work out 104% harder if you have an exercise buddy. Suggest a weekly walk-and-talk session, form a friendly fitness club, or try a new class at the gym together.”

4. Drink responsibly. We’re not just talking about alcohol here. On the television show, “The Biggest Loser”, trainer Jillian Michaels was famous for often telling the contestants not to drink their calories. Hamilton and Rovan agree. They all insist upon consuming water as your main beverage throughout the day. Cutting down or avoiding caffeine and alcohol is also important. Both can cause water retention.

5. Inject avocado into your diet. If you’re not yet eating a lot of this excellent super food, it’s time to start. Loaded with heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and potassium, avocados are proven health-enhancers. Its contents “halt blood sugar spikes that tell your body to store fat around your belly,” says Prevention.com, “Eat these in ¼ cup servings to ward off belly fat without overdoing it.”

6. Set realistic goals. Perhaps, the most important tip of all, it’s important to have a specific goal in mind. Just saying you want to “slim down” or “lose weight” won’t help you to stay focused on achieving a particular outcome. “Decide on one major, realistic goal, such as aiming to lose five pounds,” suggest Hamilton and Rovan, “Then create smaller, weekly goals, such as aiming to lose half to one pound per week, so you can easily monitor your progress and stay motivated.”

March 3, 2015

// Hair Removal

5 Seemingly Endless Problems With Shaving Our Legs

With March now here, many of us are beginning to have thoughts about preparing for the upcoming warmer months. With April a month away and May not too far off in the distance, images of sunny spring weather transitioning into hot summer days are beginning to enter our heads. It’s not all good news, though. For many of us, warmer weather means wearing less clothing. And wearing less clothing means showing more skin. And showing more skin means….

Yikes! Shaving our legs more often! If this is a harrowing thought, you’re not alone. We ladies have quite the tasks to contend with when we’re planning out our leg-shaving routines. Firstly, it’s time consuming. Secondly, it can be a bit painful. But most of all, the constant upkeep can damage our skin. For some of us, it makes us consider embracing winter a lot more and being completely satisfied with having summer hold off. The problems with shaving our legs seem endless. Here are just five we’d all like to avoid.

1. It causes rashes. Who ever said that we’d prefer to replace the hairs on our legs with big red rashes? Not exactly the alternative we were looking for, right? But as Ross MacDowell points out on FastShave.com, “too sharp a blade can shave you too closely causing a rash.” He goes on to note that shaving with an old blade may have “accumulated bacteria or even rust microscopically hidden amongst the blades”. For a rash-free shave, it’s important to have the perfect blade. But does it exist?

2. It creates nicks and scratches. Is there such thing as a perfect shave? We’ve all tried to accomplish it at some point. But inevitably, we will end up cutting ourselves even before the onset of a rash or razor burn. In an effort to avoid this, Melanie Fitzpatrick of AllWomensTalk.com recommends that “when you are shaving, you should avoid shaving with cold water. When you shave with cold water, you will be more likely to cut yourself. You will also be more likely to miss some spots.”

3. It causes skin redness. While we may not exactly want hairy legs all summer long, we’re not exactly looking to replace them with skin discolouration, are we? This is why it’s important to avoid using soap-based shaving products during our leg hair removal practices. According to MacDowell, soap-based products contain potassium and caustic soda which work to burn the top layer of your skin. “They are highly alkaline with pH’s of 12 to 14,” he reports.

4. It can cause infection. When shaving, we’re not just removing hair, but we end up removing some skin as well. Sometimes, damage to our hair follicles takes place and this can lead to infection. To try to avoid this, MacDowell suggests we “always shave toward the direction the hair is growing. This will minimize damage to the hair follicle, reducing the possibility of infection.” But be careful, he warns, “not all hairs grow in the same direction.”

5. It causes razor burn. Can razor burn ever be avoided? Based on MacDowell’s description of razor burn, it would appear not. “When you shave you are removing the top layer of skin along with whiskers and hair. The skin understands it is being damaged,” he informs us, “Blood flows to the area of the skin the body believes is being injured in an attempt to heal the wound. Blood vessels dilate creating redness. Every time you shave your legs or under your arms you are creating minor trauma to the skin which the body tries to heal.”

So what can be done to avoid all of these leg-shaving perils? At the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre, we utilize the LightSheer™ Hair Laser to do away with shaving for good! It’s a revolutionary laser treatment that uses a patented “chill tip” to protect the skin and make the treatment virtually painless. Are you tired of having to shave your legs every summer? Perhaps, it’s time to consider removing the hair permanently!

For more information, please don’t hesitate to call the Aurora Medical Laser & Vein Centre at 403-358-5818.