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Check Your Sunscreen Before You Head Out

Beautiful Young woman with sun cream on face.Summer is a few months away but, often, people start traveling and spending more time outdoors well before the hot weather hits. Truly, anything that isn't grey and misty can feel amazing, so why not get out and enjoy it? We're all for some outdoor time but want to warn our patients that they should check their sunscreen before they begin planning that vacation or day at the park. What should be checked? The expiration date!

Sunscreen Can Expire

It's easy to forget that any skincare product can expire. Well, sunscreen is one of them. The good news is that, based on FDA guidelines, sunscreens maintain a standard level of efficacy for at least three years. The first thing to do before using your sunscreen, then, is to check the packaging for an expiration or manufactured date. If this is missing, you'd benefit from tossing it and getting a brand new tube. If your new sunscreen does not have an expiration date clearly printed on it, write your purchase date on the package using a permanent marker. This way, you won't have to question whether you're inadvertently putting yourself at risk of sun damage.

Is Physical or Chemical Sunscreen Better?

In terms of longevity, it looks like physical sunscreen might last longer, but minimally so. Chemical sunscreens work by creating a chemical reaction in the skin. This is achieved with ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate, avobenzone, and others. These ingredients are unstable and can break down over time, losing efficacy. Additionally, the emulsifiers that carry the particles of the chemical sunscreen can also degrade relatively quickly. Physical sunscreens are made with mineral ingredients that tend to last longer than those used in chemical sunscreens. That said, keep in mind that the emulsifiers in the physical sunscreen could degrade, making it more difficult to get a good, consistent application.

Is My Sunscreen Expired?

The best way to tell if your sunscreen is expired is to find an expiration date. In lieu of that, look at the product itself. If your sunscreen has changed color or texture, it's probably no longer effective. An example may be that your sunscreen is more watery or oily than it used to be, or you can see a clear separation of ingredients. Clumpy, chalky, grainy sunscreen should probably be thrown out.

Why Does it Matter?

Sunscreen is made to reflect or deflect UV light. Why does it matter if the product is expired? Efficacy. If you have an expired SPF 50 sunscreen, the degree of protection and length of protection may be cut in half. You will be more likely to develop a sunburn, which increases your risk of premature aging and skin cancer. Expired sunscreen can also cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, breakouts, and skin infections.

Use It or Lose It

This old saying applies to the use of sunscreen. If you're using your sunscreen as recommended by a dermatologist, chances are you will use up the product before it can expire. Sunscreen should be worn daily if it is to prevent UV damage. Even on cloudy, grey days, UVB rays are reaching the skin. The UV light in sunshine reaches our skin through our windshields and car windows. It reaches the skin when we're just running a quick errand. Every time UV light touches unprotected skin, there is a risk of damage.

In addition to treating the signs of UV damage, your dermatologist performs thorough skin cancer screenings, which can help you get to know your skin far better than you'd ever imagined. To schedule your skin cancer screening or cosmetic treatment, contact us at 206-859-5777 or schedule your appointment here.

Correct that Aging Neck and More With Ultherapy

Beauty Portrait Of Woman With Aloe Vera Slices.Ultherapy is a proven treatment that can improve the appearance of thin, loose skin on the neck, chest, and other areas. This treatment has been around for some time, so we think it deserves a re-introduction. When newer technologies come along, it's easy to think of them as new and improved. This may be the case with some new inventions but, in the world of beauty and anti-aging, Ultherapy still holds a great deal of value.

How Ultherapy Works

The Ultherapy device is approved to tighten sagging skin and superficial tissue on the face, neck, and chest. The technology smooths lines and creases and can also tighten up the jawline and lift a descending brow all by using powerful ultrasound energy. First, the Ultherapy device utilizes ultrasound waves to identify the perfect depth of skin for treatment. Then, ultrasound energy is delivered to that layer of tissue. When absorbed, the ultrasound waves heat the targeted tissue, creating a cascade effect of tightening and ongoing collagen production. This process occurs over several weeks and results in firmer, smoother, younger-looking skin.

Benefits of Ultherapy

One of the primary benefits of the Ultherapy procedure is that it achieves noticeable, rewarding improvements in just one session. These do take some time to build, often a few months, but they develop naturally and with no indication of obvious work. This is appealing to people who prefer to manage their aging skin without plastic surgery. By targeting deeper layers of tissue for collagen remodeling, Ultherapy works from the inside out rather than the outside it. There is no downtime in which patients must stay out of the limelight to recover. While there may be some post-treatment redness, this typically does not get in the way of normal activities.

Additional benefits of this treatment include:

  • Ultherapy targets the deepest layers of the skin in ways that other modalities cannot.
  • The Ultherapy device is FDA-cleared based on proven safety and efficacy observed in clinical trials. The device is cleared for use on all skin types.
  • Results are long-lasting. Studies indicate that the results of one Ultherapy session can last up to two years, after which a repeat treatment can be performed.
  • Treatment is comfortable and nonsurgical.

Who Is a Candidate for Ultherapy?

You may be a great candidate for Ultherapy if you have begun to notice sagging and skin weakness on your neck or under your chin. If your upper chest has wrinkles and creases, you may love what Ultherapy can do. This treatment is also often sought by adults who are frustrated at the appearance of a descending brow but would like a longer-lasting solution than Botox and one that is more conservative than a surgical brow lift. The treatment can also be done on the jawline and neck area as an early measure to slow the progression of these signs of aging.

The best way to know what Ultherapy can do for you is to have a trained professional evaluate your skin. During a consultation at Pacific Dermatology, you can expect a thoughtful conversation with a board-certified professional and a comprehensive examination of your skin and tissue characteristics. We will discuss your concerns, goals, and our expectations of the Ultherapy procedure based on the data obtained. We are proud to serve the areas of Seattle, Renton, and Federal Way, WA. To schedule an appointment, contact us at 206-859-5777.

How Can I Get Rid of Marionette Lines?

Effects of ageing, frown scowl linesFacial aging is all about the formation of various lines and creases. Some of them, like marionette lines, can make the face appear long and droopy, which is not a good look, to say the least. Marionette lines are the creases that start at the corners of the mouth and eventually extend downward to the chin. Sometimes they are called laugh lines. The cosmetic effect of these creases is no laughing matter, though. Here, we discuss what you might do to address them.

Skin Care for Marionette Lines

The aging face is in need of continual support. This comes from good sleep, hydration, and diligent sun protection. It comes from eating healthy foods and learning to manage stress. It also comes in the form of quality skincare products. When making choices for your skin, choose items with powerful ingredients such as:

  • Antioxidants. You want to eat or consume antioxidants, and you also want to apply them to your skin daily. Examples include vitamin C and vitamin E. These substances fight the oxidative stress that causes the skin to age more quickly.
  • Vitamin B3 or niacinamide. These ingredients help support optimal tissue elasticity.
  • Hyaluronic acid. A hyaluronic acid serum is highly moisturizing and also supports healthy collagen.
  • Collagen peptides can help address the natural breakdown of collagen in the skin.
  • Retinoids. You want retinoids in skincare products to help support cellular turnover.

Need an Intervention for Your Skin?

Once you start seeing marionette lines at the corners of your mouth, it's go-time. While your skincare routine can slow the process of aging, these creases may continue to worsen over time. A dermatologist can develop a personal treatment plan based on your needs and preferences. Here, marionette lines may be treated with:

Dermal Fillers

Dermal filler treatment takes less than half an hour and provides instant results. These are two of the prominent reasons that fillers are so popular. To reduce marionette lines using dermal fillers, the provider may inject the product directly beneath the creases, into the lips, and may also look at the cheek area. Lines around the nose and mouth may be worsened by deflation in the mid-face. By enhancing the contour and height of the cheekbones, dermal fillers may slightly elevate the skin that is contributing to marionette lines.

Botox or Dysport

Botox and Dysport are two of the most popular neuromodulator products used today. They are most known for smoothing dynamic wrinkles in the upper face. Rarely do we hear of their use in the lower face. Alas, marionette lines may be caused in part by the pull of the depressor muscles at the sides of the face. By relaxing these muscles, a neuromodulator can release the skin from its downward descent.


One of the primary reasons we experience the cosmetic side effects of aging is that our body stops producing adequate amounts of collagen. Without collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production in high gear, the skin becomes thin and loose. Microneedling is an excellent treatment option for marionette lines because it stimulates a profound amount of collagen, which can help rebuild the skin and slow the progression of lines and wrinkles.

Marionette lines can be a frustrating cosmetic concern. They don't have to be so difficult to correct. With professional help, you can discover the perfect treatment or combination of treatments to keep your face looking fresh and vibrant. To schedule treatment for marionette lines, contact us at 206-859-5777 or book an appointment here.

Tips for Managing Eczema This Season

The man applying the ointment , creams in the treatment of eczema, psoriasis and other skin diseasesSometimes, colder weather can trigger skin irritation in eczema patients. Here, we offer several tips to keep flare-ups to the bare minimum as we continue through our colder season of the year. To minimize eczema outbreaks and soothe irritated skin during the winter, try one or more of the following:

1. Avoid rapid temperature changes

During the wintertime, especially, we may jump back and forth from very warm to very cold temperatures too quickly. This shift in extremes can cause the skin to become dry and itchy. The key is to change environments slowly without allowing the skin to get too cold. Really, it's just the susceptible skin that needs protection. If you get eczema on your hands, wear gloves. If on your trunk, wrap in a warm jacket when going outdoors. When showering, either warm the room beforehand or get into warm water rather than piping hot.

2. Moisturize

Maintaining a healthy moisture level is necessary for anyone with eczema. When the weather is colder and we're relying more on indoor heating elements, it can be helpful to use an emollient cream or shea butter on the skin. And don't just apply once. If and when the skin is extra irritated, it may be necessary to apply cream or butter a few times a day to prevent dryness and cracking. Another way to support adequate moisture is to add a humidifier to rooms you frequent. Doing so places moisture in the air to complement the moisturizer you have applied to your skin.

3. Get vitamin D

Don't giggle too hard, here. We know that sunlight can be hard to come by in our area. However, you can still make sure that you get your vitamin D. In addition to heading outdoors for a few minutes whenever the sun has broken through the clouds, you can take a quality vitamin D3 supplement. Recently, it has become more common for people to have their vitamin D levels checked by their doctor. Doing so can create a guide for optimal supplement dosing.

4. Use mild skincare products

Dry, cold temperatures make the skin more temperamental. Your skincare products can and should offset this. If you don't already use fragrance-free, dye-free soaps, lotions, makeup, and laundry products, now is a great time to make the switch. If you're washing your hands more or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer, carry a small tube or bottle of quality hand cream with you and apply it after every wash.

5. See your dermatologist

Eczema responds well to light. And since sunshine is often obscured in our area, professional light therapy treatments may be the most accessible and effective at quickly improving dermatologic health. Phototherapy is a proven clinical treatment that can be combined with topical eczema medication if needed, or performed as the sole treatment.

We can help you manage your eczema. Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit in Seattle or Renton.

Sail into the New Year Feeling Like Your Best Self

smiling woman in evening dress with glass of sparkling wine over night lightsA busy holiday season may have filled your cup to overflowing in numerous ways. While you may be riding high on the good vibes of time with family and friends, you may also feel somewhat depleted. You might look it, as well, but you don't have to. Here, we discuss some simple ways that you can sail into the new year feeling like your best self.

PRP Skin Rejuvenation

You may have heard of PRP microneedling treatment and have some idea of its value as an anti-aging service. PRP, Platelet-rich plasma is the component of the blood that is high in platelets. Platelets are the cells that the body uses to help heal wounds. These cells are very healing and regenerative because they contain numerous beneficial growth factors and cytokines that help remodel tissue and support adequate collagen integrity. PRP can be applied to the skin after microneedling to enhance the healing effects of the creation of dozens of tiny channels in the skin. However, it can also be added to services like laser resurfacing and photorejuvenation.

Fat Transfer

The moment that research determined that a person's fat could be harvested and used for anti-aging benefits, the world of medicine was forever changed. Fat transfer is a two-step treatment process that we perform in the office using local anesthetic. The doctor harvests fat from an area such as the abdomen or thighs utilizing a conservative liposuction technique in which fat is captured directly into a sterile syringe. The fat is processed in a centrifuge to separate pure fat cells from blood and other fluid. These fat cells are then injected into areas of the face, such as the cheeks and temples, where volume is needed. As the treatment has become more familiar, more people are choosing fat transfer for long-lasting facial rejuvenation.

Body Contouring

We're at one of those critical points in the year when people are looking more closely at how they want to look. A few extra pounds can be more difficult to shed than we think, which is why procedures like liposuction continually rank among the most popular. Maybe you're not ready to take the step toward liposuction but you're thinking of ways to maximize your healthy diet and exercise habits. CoolSculpting is a proven body contouring treatment that can set you on the right path. One of the benefits of CoolSculpting is that a brief series of convenient treatment sessions can enhance the time and effort you're already putting into sculpting your best body. The process works naturally over time, which can help you sustain the motivation you need in the gym, on the mat, or in the kitchen.

Take Control of Your Appearance with Our Help

The team at Pacific Dermatology is passionate about patient-centered care. To schedule a visit with us in Renton or Seattle to discuss medical or cosmetic dermatology concerns, call 206-859-5777 or click here.

CoolSculpting and Weight Loss: what you should know

Since it first emerged, CoolSculpting has been looked at as one of the best options for natural, beautiful body contouring. One of the most common questions that patients have about this treatment is if it will help them lose weight. While results can vary from one person to another, CoolSculpting is not intended for weight loss. It’s sole design is to stimulate the destruction of fat cells, though, so we understand the expectation of weight loss. Fat reduction equals lower weight, right? Not always. If you’re thinking about getting CoolSculpting, this is a detail you want to know. 

How CoolSculpting can Help You Achieve Your Goals

Even without weight loss, CoolSculpting can help you reach your body goals. After adolescence, we do not make new fat cells. Weight gain and loss involves the expansion or shrinking of the fat cells that we already have. CoolSculpting treatments freeze targeted fat cells, which are then flushed through the lymphatic system as waste. The body eliminates them and they do not come back. We might describe this process as imagining having tiny balls attached to an area like the abdomen. After CoolSculpting, these imaginary tiny balls are gone, so there is less matter taking up space. CoolSculpting makes it so there are fewer fat cells in an area that can expand in the future. 

CoolSculpting results should be long-term. However, existing fat cells can enlarge based on diet and lifestyle habits. Patients who get CoolSculpting are advised to tailor their eating and exercise to their body’s natural metabolism at the time of treatment. Over time, habits will need to change as the body shifts its speed of burning fat as fuel. In unison, CoolSculpting and healthy lifestyle habits can achieve long-lasting contouring improvements. 

Learn More about CoolSculpting

CoolSculpting is considered very safe, and has a track record of successful fat reduction through a series of treatments. The FDA-cleared technology is currently used in nine areas. These include the abdomen, inner thigh, outer thigh, banana roll under the buttocks, flank, back, bra area, upper arm, and under the chin. 

If you would like to see what CoolSculpting could do for you, contact us at 206-859-5777 or book an appointment at our Seattle or Renton location online. 

What Can I Do about Skin Tags?

If you're wondering how to remove skin tags, you're not alone. We often meet with people who want to know what they can do about these frustrating little growths. Medically speaking, skin tags are acrochordon or fibroepithelial polyps. They are benign and composed of normal skin tissue. They may not be medically concerning, but they can be unappealing. Here, we discuss what makes a person prone to skin tags, and what we can do about them.

What, Exactly, Is a Skin Tag?

Skin tags are extremely common. These fleshy overgrowths can develop anywhere on the body. We see them on the face and neck, but more commonly on areas in which there is frequent friction. Examples include the groin folds, inner thighs, armpits, and under the breasts. They do not need to be removed, but many people choose to try home remedies or get professional skin tag treatment from their dermatologist. Usually for cosmetic reasons, but there are times when a skin tag may cause discomfort. In some areas, they are difficult to shave around. In others, they may get twisted or caught in clothing or jewelry, causing discomfort. 

Why Do Some People Seem to Get All the Skin Tags?

Some people just get to have all the fun. And some get all the skin tags. If you have multiple tissue overgrowths on your body, you may feel like you’re the only one. You’re not, but we understand that is no consolation. Some of the reasons why people get skin tags include:

  • Weight. Excess weight can increase the areas in which friction occurs, which in turn increases the chances of skin tags.
  • Pregnancy. During pregnancy, a woman’s entire body is affected by growth. As a woman’s body changes, she may develop more areas of friction. If her blood sugar increases with gestational diabetes, she may have an even higher risk of getting skin tags. 
  • Diabetes. It isn’t just gestational diabetes that can increase the risk of skin tags. People with diabetes tend to have more of these growths, though doctors don’t fully understand why. One theory is that insulin resistance is somehow involved. 

Treating Skin Tags

One recommendation for decreasing the potential risks of future skin tags is to eat a healthy, low-sugar diet. This is beneficial for people without diabetes, as well as those with the chronic condition. 

A dermatologist can remove existing skin tags as needed. Small growths may be treated with liquid nitrogen. A few sprays of ultra-cold gas usually cause skin tags to fall off within a few days. Larger skin tags may be “surgically removed” in the office. The doctor injects a small amount of lidocaine in the area, then uses a sharp medical instrument to snip the growth. It is not advisable to cut a skin tag with nail scissors or standard scissors. Doing so could result in inflammation and pain. 

Skin tags can be an unattractive problem. We can help you eliminate them. Contact us at 206-859-5777 or schedule an appointment here

Put Some Life Back Into Your Eyes

We are told that the eyes sparkle and shine. This may be the expectation, but if the skin around the eyes has become thin and loose, this area of our face could be what ages us the most. It is impossible to avoid the changes that affect the skin around the eyes. As we age, this area may require a bit more TLC to maintain a youthful, energetic appearance. If you need a little help putting some life back into your eyes, we have solutions. 

What Happens to the Eyes?

The eyes can change in a few common ways as the structure of the skin degrades. Common concerns include:

  • Puffy lower eyelids. Often referred to as under eye bags, puffiness can develop when the skin loses firmness. Tissue firmness is necessary for superficial fat pads to receive support. Without that, fat protrudes. The Solution: Under eye puffiness may be disguised by inserting dermal fillers or performing fat injections into the crease where the lower eyelids meet the cheeks. For more severe puffiness or longer-lasting results, some patients consider blepharoplasty.
  • Upper eyelid heaviness. As the skin on the upper eyelids gets thinner, this part of the eye can look heavier. The natural crease may become obscured due to the laxity of the upper eyelid. This is the result of collagen loss. An additional factor in the heaviness of the upper eyelid is the position of the brow line. The Solution: Upper eyelid contouring may be refined through blepharoplasty. To reduce the descent of the eyebrows, we may suggest Botox injections. 
  • Crepe-paper skin. It is natural for the skin to thin as we age because it has less and less collagen to firm it. The Solution: To prevent or correct crepe-paper skin, it is helpful to stimulate ongoing collagen production. The body doesn’t do this on its own, so we may help things along via laser treatments or other energy-based modalities that cause collagen remodeling through controlled tissue heating. 

We are proud to be at the forefront of innovative dermatological treatments. To explore the ways we can rejuvenate your eyes, call 206-859-5777 and schedule a visit to our Renton or Seattle office. 

Covid-19 Side Effects with Filler - Questions Answered

Dr. Reichel answers your questions if fillers cause reactions to the Covid 19Vaccine. Dr. Reichel discusses her research on the Covid 19 Vaccine and any possible side effects that could occur. Click here to view.

What to Do and Not Do During and After CoolSculpting

Boy, have things heated up this summer! As they have, many of us have once again chosen to stay indoors more than we had imagined we would. As we come to the last bend in the road before summer ends (and we hopefully get back to cooler days and nights soon), we have a great opportunity to address the body contouring goals we may have overlooked as summer began. Here, we discuss how you can make the most of CoolSculpting treatments from Pacific Dermatology.

During Your CoolSculpting Treatment

CoolSculpting treatments usually last no longer than an hour. This depends on the number of areas we’re targeting in one sitting. To sculpt a part of the body where there is “pinchable fat”, such as that stubborn muffin top or the backs of the arms, we apply the small applicator to the skin. Gentle suction secures the target pinchable fat into the applicator as it cools to its target temperature gradually. A couple of things to know about your CoolSculpting session:

  • You truly can relax. People often say they didn’t believe the commercials saying that they could sit back and read a book while getting CoolSculpting. Well, you can! The treatment may be slightly uncomfortable as the tissue cools down. However, this is not painful. After a few minutes, the area goes numb. This is completely normal and indicative that tissue is reaching the exact temperature we want. 
  • The exact temperature we want to freeze fat is not the same temperature at which skin is at risk of damage. This is great news! Also, to prevent unnecessary discomfort related to cold directly on the skin, we place a thin gel pad over the area before applying the applicator. 

After Your CoolSculpting Session

  • While it’s possible to go right back to normal activities after CoolSculpting treatment, your body should be your guide. Side effects from this procedure are typically very mild. They shouldn’t get in the way of going to work and running errands. You may not feel up to your normal workout right after your session , though. 
  • Drink plenty of water. Water helps the lymphatic system pull out and eliminate toxins and wastes from the blood. After CoolSculpting, that waste is your fat cells. The standard 8 to 10 glasses of water a day is sufficient for optimal lymphatic support. 

Book your appointment at our Renton or Seattle office today! We can be reached at 206-859-5777.

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Thank you for choosing Pacific Dermatology & Cosmetic Center, we look forward to providing you with the very best skin care.