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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. 


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.


How to Best Tackle That Double-Chin

We call it submental fullness. Up until a few years ago, this very common condition was known simply as a double-chin. The reason we now have more language to discuss this problem is because we now also have a few potential solutions for it. Here, we discuss how Kybella stacks up against liposuction of the neck and chin areas. You might be surprised about what you learn. 

What is Kybella?

Most people know what liposuction is and what it does. Just in case you’re not familiar with this plastic surgery procedure, we’ll do a brief review. Liposuction is a minimally-invasive procedure that, for the neck and chin, is performed in the office. Patients receive a local anesthetic that completely numbs that surgical site so they are comfortable for the duration of their sculpting treatment. Liposuction involves the insertion of a narrow, hollow cannula into adipose tissue. Gentle suction extracts excess fat to achieve better facial contours. Now, what is Kybella?

Kybella is a relatively new treatment in the U.S. It has been around since 2015. This treatment is non-surgical but not non-invasive. To reduce submental fullness, Kybella requires multiple injections across the upper neck and chin. Topical anesthetic helps control comfort during the injection process. The way that it works is by dismantling the membranes of fat cells. The damaged fat cells are naturally eliminated by the body’s immune system. 

Kybella vs. Liposuction

Pricing

It is natural for patients to assume that a non-surgical treatment will cost less than surgery, even liposuction. This isn’t always the case. When it comes to treating a double-chin with Kybella, patients should expect to need at least 2 rounds of injections. Liposuction is once-and-done, so patients know their total cost up front. Depending on the extent of reduction desired and the body’s response to Kybella, this treatment could end up costing as much as or more than neck liposuction. 

Recovery

As most patients expect, liposuction does have a short recovery period. Generally, patients are ready to return to work 3 to 4 days after their outpatient procedure. Until then, they may notice swelling and bruising beneath the chin. After Kybella, patients can expect noticeable swelling. It isn’t swelling so much as it is the infusion of fluid into the intercellular space. Kybella places deoxycholic acid near unwanted fat cells and this fluid takes some time to absorb. Until then, the neck may feel “squishy.” Minor redness and bruising may also occur. These side effects are minor and do not impede a person’s ability to go about their day, but many patients choose to take a few days off to allow the cosmetic side effects to fade. 

Both Kybella and neck liposuction achieve outstanding results that can last indefinitely. After each of these treatments, results can improve over several weeks; and improvement is the ultimate end-game. 

Get the sculpted chin and jawline you’ve wanted. Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule your visit.


Summertime Skin Care

Even us professionals face dermatologic challenges as the seasons change. Knowing that, we are here today to discuss how to manage summertime skin better, not only so you can prevent unnecessary sun damage but also so you can support aging skin more adeptly at any age.

Lighten Up

Warmer weather often means we don’t need the heavy emollient creams we did during the winter months. Now is a great time to shed that winter coat you’ve been putting on your skin and reach for lighter-weight moisturizers and lotions. Even your cleanser might lighten up by switching to a foam option rather than an oil or cream cleanser. 

Pull Double-Duty

While you’re using a lighter weight moisturizer, you can still double up. By that, we mean choose a moisturizer that has SPF 30. This strategy can be particularly good for people with naturally oily skin because, essentially, you’re removing the need for an extra product. Instead of applying moisturizer and sunscreen, you’re getting both in a single application. 

Make Sure You Moisturize

It is not uncommon for patients to ask their dermatologist if they need to moisturize their skin at all during warmer weather, seeing as they are sweating anyway. Regardless of that, even regardless of how hot and humid it may be, the skin needs daily cleansing and hydrating. Moisturizer isn’t just about moisture itself, it is about replenishing the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin that acts as a barrier against environmental irritants. 

Add Some Nutrients

Just like the cells of the body need nutrients, so does the skin. In this case, it is vitamin C that is beneficial. A vitamin C serum can be applied between cleansing and moisturizing every day of the year. This nutrient can improve the appearance of fine lines, help prevent hyperpigmentation, and support better collagen production. 

Slough it Off

Summertime is prime time for exfoliation. Dermatologists frequently remind their patients not to overdo the exfoliation. While we maintain that recommendation, it is also beneficial to exfoliate more during the summer than in the winter. Now is a good time to add an alpha-hydroxy acid serum to your daily routine. Doing so, or wiping the face with alpha-hydroxy acid pads, can help remove oil that can block pores and cause breakouts. 

When needed, we can help you manage sun damaged, aging skin. To schedule a visit at our Renton or Seattle office, call 206-859-5777.


How to Get Your Complexion Back On Track

The signs of aging get a lot of attention. Primarily, we worry about lines and wrinkles developing on the various parts of the face. Sure, frown lines and worry lines can be frustrating and may need treatment at some point. However, one’s complexion may begin to affect appearance even before other signs of aging become apparent. Here, we discuss why our complexion may change over time and what we can do to address concerns like dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

What Causes an Uneven Complexion?

Uneven skin tone most often occurs when an area of the skin has an excess of melanin. Melanin is what gives the skin its color. It can build up as one smaller spot or as diffuse discoloration as a result of several factors, including:

  • Sun exposure. The primary cause of uneven skin complexion (and poor texture) is exposure to UV light. Sunlight is the leading source of UV light that we see over and over again. This type of harmful light is also what is used in tanning beds. 
  • Hormonal changes. Estrogen and progesterone are female hormones that are involved in the production of melanin. Women are susceptible to discoloration and melasma at certain points in life, such as pregnancy or menopause. 
  • Air pollution. We don’t often think of how the air affects our skin, other than when it is dry or humid. The air carries various pollutants, including carbon dioxide and chemicals, that all touch the skin. Microparticles of debris can seep into the pores, triggering a defensive response that includes heightened production of melanin. 
  • Inflammation. The production of melanin is part of the body’s repair process so, if the skin becomes inflamed due to rash or sunburn, for example, complexion may be affected. 

Treatments to Improve Complexion 

In our Seattle and Renton offices, patients can find several treatments that can improve the tone and texture of their skin. Examples include:

  • Chemical peels
  • Infini RF Microneedling
  • Clear + Brilliant laser treatment
  • Laser skin resurfacing
  • BBL Forever Young broadband light treatment
  • HALO hybrid fractional laser treatment

If you have begun to notice small spots, freckles, enlarged pores, melasma, or other discoloration on your face, arms, shoulders, or other areas, you could benefit from a consultation with a board-certified dermatologist. We’d love to see you! Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit. 


Getting Injectables? You Should Know This!

Injectable treatments have become the norm for adults of all ages. Every year, people try this non-surgical approach to cosmetic enhancement for the first time. Injectables can smooth fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and lips. They can fill deeper creases around the nose and mouth and on the forehead, and can restore contours that have become flat and poorly-defined. Getting injectables can be exciting and also a little intimidating. To help you get the most from your injectable treatment, we’ve composed a list of Do’s and Don’ts designed to minimize bruising and achieve optimal results.

DO . . .

  • Choose an experienced doctor or nurse for your treatment. Pacific Dermatology is a premier practice for injectable treatments. Here, your provider begins by discussing your concerns and desired outcome. We also discuss your medical history to minimize the risk of unforeseen side effects. Trust is a huge factor in a pleasant treatment experience. We encourage our patients to ask as many questions as it takes to feel comfortable with their choice. And, if they are not comfortable, we want them to feel empowered to decline treatment.
  • Ice the treatment area. You may do this before or after your treatment, whichever makes you most comfortable. Some people like to apply ice before injections because they feel it will decrease the sensation of the small needle. Some people ice afterward to help reduce swelling more quickly.
  • This is a tip that most people don’t hear. Drinking plenty of water is always good for the body. Before injectable treatment, especially dermal fillers that rely on hydration, it is especially beneficial to get in those 8 glasses a day.

DON’T . . .

  • Agree to treatment if you’re not ready. Many providers schedule enough time to perform injectable treatment immediately after a patient’s consultation. Even if we have done this, we want to remind you that you are in the driver’s seat. If you’re not feeling ready to move forward, don’t.
  • Drink alcohol. Alcohol thins the blood. When the blood is thinner, there is a greater chance of bleeding. As this pertains to injectable treatments, drinking alcohol increases the risk of bruising, which we want to avoid. Alcohol can also lead to dehydration, minimizing the effects of dermal fillers that work via hyaluronic acid.
  • Rub or massage the treatment area. Wait for 24 to 48 hours before getting that facial or even getting a massage, chiropractor treatment, or even dental treatment. Pressing on the face could move fillers out of place.
  • Exercise too soon. Here again, it is best to wait 24 to 48 hours to allow the minor inflammation and swelling in the skin to diminish. Exercising too soon can lead to unwanted bruising or redness.

Come see us at our Seattle or Renton office. Call 206-859-5777 to schedule your visit.


What Can I Do about Forehead Lines?

At some point in most people’s lives, forehead lines become something to worry about. They’re fine when raising the eyebrows but, when the face is at rest, horizontal lines do nothing but age the face. Here, we discuss how we help patients address this frustrating cosmetic problem.

What Causes Forehead Lines?

The simple answer to why we get lines and creases is that the skin changes with age. We cannot avoid this, but we can address it when we understand the mechanisms at work in the skin. Forehead lines form for two reasons. One is the decrease in collagen and elastin in the skin. As these chemicals decline, the skin gets thinner and less stretchy. The upper face is an area that moves a lot. Movement such as raising the eyebrows causes visible creases. When the eyebrows are relaxed, the creases disappear. This type of crease is referred to as a dynamic wrinkle. Over time, many dynamic wrinkles become static. They remain visible even when the face is at rest simply because they have become ingrained.

Is it Possible to Prevent Forehead Lines?

As much as we wish all lines and wrinkles could be avoided with good habits, they cannot. However, good habits can support the skin as the body ages. The key is to foster resilience for as long as possible. We can do this by:

  • Avoiding too much sun exposure. SPF 30 sunscreen is a must, even when it’s cloudy. The UV light in the sunshine breaks down collagen fibers, making the skin age more quickly.
  • Avoiding habits that age the skin. Smoking is a big skin-ager. The habit puts pollutants into the air right in front of the face. These pollutants can get absorbed by the skin where they degrade collagen more quickly. Drinking also ages the skin. This habit does so by dehydrating the body. So, if you drink alcohol or even caffeine, you must be mindful about staying hydrated.
  • Eating nutritious whole foods. Fresh leafy greens are especially beneficial for the skin thanks to their antioxidants. Healthy fats like avocado and olive oil support cell vitality, as well.

Treating Forehead Lines

You don’t have to wait to see forehead lines before you see a dermatologist for cosmetic treatments. There are ways to postpone the formation of these worrisome creases and to smooth them once they do appear. Common options include:

  • Botox, which smooths wrinkles by relaxing the muscle that causes them.
  • Dermal fillers, which plump lines by binding to water molecules in the skin.
  • Microneedling, which creates tiny injuries in the skin to provoke collagen regeneration.
  • Fractional laser resurfacing, which affects superficial layers of tissue to accelerate tissue remodeling.

Pacific Dermatology offers several services that support aging skin. To schedule a visit to our Renton or Seattle office, call 206-859-5777.


Are You Considering Kybella? Here are a Few Things You Should Know!

Everyone expects their face to change as they age. We know we will see an increasing number of lines and creases and may develop jowls at some point. Still, these changes are not easy to accept. Some may appear far sooner than we had imagined. A double-chin is a prime example. This common cosmetic concern can affect people of all ages and worsen as the skin loses elasticity and firmness. At Pacific Dermatology in Seattle and Renton, we help people get rid of stubborn submental fullness using Kybella.

Here, we discuss what you should know as you explore this double-chin treatment option.

  1. Kybella is the first FDA-approved injectable for fat reduction.

Historically, people who wanted to get rid of excess fat beneath the chin had one choice: surgery. Chin liposuction is still an option and one that may be ideal for some people. However, the vast majority of consumers these days prefer nonsurgical treatments. Kybella is a convenient treatment protocol that does not require downtime or anesthesia. A topical anesthetic is applied before injections, and patients tolerate the procedure just fine. The injections take only about 15 minutes once the skin is numb.

  1. Kybella is natural.

Being an FDA-approved medicine, Kybella can be trusted as reputable and safe. Still, patients appreciate learning that the ingredient in Kybella, deoxycholic acid, is naturally occurring. The body produces deoxycholic acid to dismantle dietary fat in the digestive tract. Scientists worked with the function of deoxycholic acid and harnessed its power for targeted fat reduction.

  1. Kybella permanently destroys fat cells.

Kybella injections may work even better than losing weight. When we lose weight, our fat cells shrink. When we inject Kybella under the chin, the deoxycholic acid destroys targeted cells. This results-driven treatment gradually decreases the number of fat cells in the target area, which means submental fulness should not return.

Permanent fat reduction results from multiple sessions.

People with very mild submental fulness may achieve satisfactory results from one Kybella session. Most people need three to four sessions to achieve their desired degree of permanent fat reduction. The improvement becomes increasingly visible after every round of injections. Sessions are scheduled several weeks apart.

Are you ready to give Kybella a try? Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule your consultation.


Lip Lines: Here’s What You Can Do!

Lip lines; those fine creases that seem to draw lipstick off the lips and into tiny crevices. We sometimes refer to them as smoker’s lines or lipstick lines. By any name, these vertical wrinkles around the upper and lower lips are a problem. They may cause you to feel uncomfortable wearing color on your lips. They may distract you from the attractive features your face portrays. Sometimes, lip lines cause people to feel less confident than they’d like. Here, we discuss why lip lines develop, how you might slow their progression, and what we could do to correct the appearance of this cosmetic concern.

What Causes Lip Lines

  • Lip lines are not unlike other wrinkles and creases that we get. They are by and large caused by the natural aging process. With age, the skin has less and less collagen to keep it firm. There is also less elastin in the skin, so it becomes thin and loose. Without sufficient collagen and elastin, the skin on and around the lips is even more susceptible to changes caused by other factors. These include:
  • Lip movements. The mouth is a very moveable area. The lips move when we smile, chew, laugh, sing, speak, and pucker for those sweet kisses. Over time, this area doesn’t recover as well from these movements.
  • Sun damage doesn’t just occur when we get a sunburn. Exposure to the UV rays in sunshine accelerates the breakdown of collagen and elastin.
  • Environmental pollutants cause the body to produce free radicals, atoms that steal energy from cells. Free radicals cause oxidative stress, which often shows up in the skin.
  • Volume loss. The lips can deflate with age. Again, this is because there is insufficient collagen to keep the skin plump.

Can Lip Lines be Prevented?

Because lip lines are related to biological aging, and that is not something we can stop, it may not be possible to prevent these wrinkles. However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try! To slow the progression of lip lines, we suggest:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Don’t drink through a straw.
  • Wear lip balm with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
  • Gently exfoliate the lips once a week. This can be done with a lip product or by carefully rubbing the lips with sugar.
  • Hydrate the lips daily with lip creams that contain hyaluronic acid.

Treating Lip Lines

If you’re already seeing lip lines or you’d like to postpone their arrival, contact our office for a consultation. There are several options for promoting healthy tissue rejuvenation in the lips and surrounding skin, including:

  • Preventive Botox injections to minimize the intensity of movement around the mouth.
  • Laser resurfacing treatments to strengthen cellular turnover and collagen production.
  • Microneedling treatments to stimulate increased collagen production.
  • Corrective Botox injections can smooth muscle movements that are causing dynamic wrinkles.
  • Dermal filler injections to restore fullness and erase lines.
  • Fat injections. These work like dermal filler injections but achieve longer-lasting results.

We love helping our patients feel amazing. To schedule a consultation in our Seattle or Renton office or arrange a telemedicine appointment, call 206-859-5777.


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