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Managing Melasma

Medical Dermatologists Renton, WASome skin conditions feel like an uphill battle that will require ongoing management. Melasma is one of them. Many people feel as if every step toward progress is met by an equal or greater setback. The slightest trigger may recreate the problem all over again. We understand how frustrating it can be to manage a chronic condition like melasma. Our staff works hard to develop individual treatment plans for each patient to reach the most effective follow-up program for clearer, healthier skin.

What is Melasma?

Melasma is a skin condition in which dark brown or gray spots appear on the face. Studies indicate that women are more susceptible to melasma and that the problem may be triggered by hormonal changes during pregnancy. Sun exposure is a contributing factor to melasma flare-ups. Often, pigment changes are seen on the cheeks, jawline, or above the lips.

Treating and Preventing Melasma Flare-ups

It is not impossible to live confidently when you have melasma. Healthy, clear skin can be supported with:

  • Vitamin C. This free-radical-fighting antioxidant provides meaningful support to the skin in a number of ways. In addition to encouraging collagen proliferation when taken orally (time-released is best), vitamin C stimulates optimal cellular turnover.
  • Laser treatments. There are several laser treatments available in our Renton and Seattle offices. Specific techniques, such as Fraxel and Clear + Brilliant lasers, are indicated for people with melasma. These treatments are gentle in their delivery of light, which keeps side effects and risks to a minimum. By targeting pigment in the skin as well as cellular turnover, laser treatments achieve improvements that include uniformity in pigment and texture.
  • Lightening agents. Medical-grade skin care products containing kojic acid or hydroquinone are ideal for melasma management, as each gently lifts discoloration from the skin.
  • Sun protection. SPF is a must for any person with melasma, seeing that sun exposure is a prominent trigger for flare-ups of unwanted spots. In addition to decreasing the chances of future melasma, the daily use of sunscreen also provides protection from premature aging and skin cancer.
  • Camouflage with Protection. Understandably, there is a desire to disguise melasma when discoloration is noticeable. The use of a mineral, powder foundation with SPF fills a dual-purpose of covering discoloration and also protecting the skin from unnecessary UV exposure.

Do you need help managing melasma? Contact us at 206-859-5777, where we can schedule a consultation for you in one of our friendly offices.

When Should You See a Dermatologist vs. A Plastic Surgeon for Fillers Like Botox?

"I do believe it is important to see a doctor specifically trained in cosmetic procedures (cosmetic dermatologist, plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon). But, of these, who you should see is based on "what does the MD spend her time doing?" rather than on which specialty is better. You want a doctor that is trained AND EXPERIENCED in doing fillers and botox. For the most part, expert cosmetic dermatologists are going to have more hands on experience with fillers - because the plastic guys are in doing big plastic procedures. You want someone with knowledge of the anatomy of the face, surgical experience, and practice." - Dr. Jennifer Reichel, M.D.

We've Got Interesting Details about Botox

BOTOX® Cosmetic Renton, WA If you're new to the wrinkle-reducing arena, welcome. We're happy to help you navigate the best ways to correct the signs of aging that are concerning you. At Pacific Dermatology in Renton and Seattle, our team invests time and effort into staying abreast of the latest cosmetic treatments. As we explore what's new, we sometimes come across new reasons to love what can only be called an Oldie but a Goodie. In this instance, we're talking about Botox and a recent discovery about how this drug rejuvenates the skin.

Next Level Wrinkle-Reduction

Botox has become widely known for the way that it can safely and effectively reduce the appearance of wrinkles. What we've known about this treatment is that it softens the movement of muscles around the eyes and forehead area, at the corners of the mouth, and on the neck. As if this weren't enough to love, we now have new evidence that Botox may have a secondary action in the skin: boosting elasticity.

In a recent study, researchers in Canada observed 43 women who had never been treated with Botox to evaluate the way in which the drug may affect the elasticity of their skin. Elasticity is the trait of turgor, as we call it, or stretch, in nonmedical terms. Skin that is elastic bounces back. Skin that bounces back after stretching looks smoother and younger. We want elasticity.

During this small-scale study, doctors obtained initial readings on each woman before administering Botox. Readings were performed using a tool called a Cutometer. After Botox was administered, subsequent elasticity evaluations were conducted over the course of several weeks. What was discovered was that treatment did, in fact, improve elasticity. In some of the women, skin improved by 30%. Furthermore, the enhanced elasticity that occurred after treatment lasted as long as 4 months in some study participants.

Concluding their study, the doctors stated that these findings suggest that Botox may offer more significant long-term benefits than initially believed. The improvement in elasticity, they proposed, could mean postponed and slower development of new lines and wrinkles.

Do you want to discover first-hand all there is to love about Botox? Call 206-859-5777 to schedule a consultation with us.

There’s Something New on the Dermal Filler Horizon

Dermal Filler Renton, WAFor the past several years, we’ve made great use of the hyaluronic acid that the human body naturally produces. Injectable soft tissue fillers containing synthetic hyaluronic acid continue to impress us with their ability to smooth lines and wrinkles and recontour the face and hands. Now, as innovation would have it, we may have something new to look forward to, a biodegradable, biocompatible filler made of silk.

Developed by a subsidiary of Silk, Inc. the new filler currently under development is expected to undergo stringent clinical trials beginning this year. If all goes as expected by the developer, we may very well have a new filler sometime in 2022. This product is being made as an alternative to the hyaluronic acid fillers we have come to rely on in recent years. Instead of tiny molecules of a sugar acid, the silk filler is a literal suspension of Activated Silk, pure silk protein (yes, the kind that is made by silkworms).

Why Do We Need Something New?

With the proven success of existing dermal fillers like hyaluronic acid products Restylane and Juvéderm, calcium hydroxylapatite-based Radiesse, and Sculptra, with its collagen-stimulating poly-L-lactic acid, why look to something entirely different? The makers of this proposed filler see their product as having specific advantages.

According to the co-founder of the company developing the new silk filler, this product is made to integrate into the skin’s natural collagen network while retaining properties that allow doctors to reverse treatment if so desired. The manufacturers intent is to bring a product to the market that achieves natural-looking results with less swelling and general inflammation than other dermal fillers (which is already quite low). Finally, it is said that the silk biomaterial used in the new filler can be tailored for longevity ranging from 3 months to 2 years.

Overall, we tend to perceive more choices as “better.” However, diligent testing is needed to evaluate how a silk dermal filler will hold up compared to the qualified options currently available. On our part, we’ll be keeping a close eye on clinical trials to observe the value a new filler might bring to our patients.

Have you been considering how dermal fillers may rejuvenate your appearance? Let’s talk. Call 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit at our Seattle or Renton office.

When a Rash Needs Medical Attention

Most people have experienced some type of skin rash in their lifetime. Technically, any degree of inflammation, redness, itching, or blistering is referred to in the medical world as dermatitis. The question that many people have is whether or not a rash needs medical care. This is a meaningful question to ask and one for which the answer relates to various factors. In many cases, a rash will improve on its own or with over-the-counter treatment. However, there are some types of dermatitis that can only be managed with appropriate prescription therapies.

How to Approach a Rash

If you or someone you love has developed a rash, home remedies may be administered as long as:

  • There is no sign of fever.
  • The rash is localized and is not rapidly spreading (rapid onset and spreading requires urgent medical care).
  • There is no sign of infection, such as redness or oozing.
  • The rash is not causing severe pain.

One of the prominent suggestions for treating a common rash is to pamper the skin with a gentle moisturizing. Hot baths and showers should be avoided as this will dry out the epidermis and degrade the skin’s natural protective barrier. Itching may be managed with an over-the-counter antihistamine. All chemicals should be avoided as much as possible. This may mean using soap and shampoo for sensitive skin until the rash improves.

When to see a Dermatologist

A dermatologist is a medical doctor whose post-doctoral education has focused on the hundreds of skin conditions that exist. A dermatologist is an optimal choice for care when a rash is severe or persistent because symptoms may indicate conditions such as atopic dermatitis, or eczema.

Dermatitis is treated based on type and severity. Minor cases of inflammation and itching may respond well to topical steroid medication. More severe dermatitis may require a short course of oral medication in combination with topical steroid cream. Some conditions, such as eczema, respond to treatment but may flare up periodically. Dermatologic care revolves around identifying triggers and managing optimal skin health through lifestyle recommendations and appropriate medical therapies.

Don’t wait to have a concerning rash examined. Call 206-859-5777 today to schedule an appointment in our Renton or Seattle office.

Summer May Be Over, But Your Skin Still Needs your Attention

Skin Cancer Seattle WAOnce the long, warm days of summer come to an end, our collective attention on skin cancer prevention tends to fade away. The fact of the matter is, skin cancer can occur at any time, and on any person. Skin cancer remains one of the leading types of cancer to affect people of all ages. Fortunately, the different types of skin cancer we typically see are usually straightforward and relatively easy to treat. That is, when a cancerous growth is found in an early stage of development.

In the Seattle and Renton offices of Pacific Dermatology, we gladly perform routine skin cancer screenings for patients who want to stay abreast of their dermatologic health.

The Need for Skin Cancer Screening

The official recommendation for skin cancer screenings is that this dermatologic exam is necessary for any individual who has had skin cancer before or who has particular risk factors, such as a family history of melanoma or numerous moles and growths on the skin. The thing is, everyone is at risk for skin cancer. Whether you fit into a specific group of characteristics or not, you can benefit from a professional exam that observes the entirety of your body. According to research, skin cancer-related deaths could decrease up to 63% thanks to professional and routine self-exams.

What happens during a skin cancer full body exam?

The idea of a full-body exam may feel slightly uncomfortable. It helps to know what to expect.

  • A typical skin cancer screening takes no more than a few minutes.
  • Before the exam, the patient is given a gown and asked to disrobe.
  • A skin cancer exam can include the genital area, where melanoma can develop, but doesn’t have to. This can be discussed between doctor and patient.
  • The majority of the skin cancer screening involves visual observation with the naked eye. A handheld microscopic device is used to obtain a magnified view of moles and growths that appear even slightly suspicious.
  • If a mole or growth has any of the characteristics of a cancerous growth, such as irregular borders or multiple colors, a biopsy may be taken or ordered. Tissue tests are discussed prior to any action and agreed upon by doctor and patient.

We are here to serve our patients’ medical and cosmetic dermatologic needs. To schedule your skin cancer screening, call 206-859-5777.

Non-Surgical Skin Tightening: Comparing Your Options

Ultherapy Seattle WAThe development of various energetic platforms has been an incredible step forward for aesthetic medicine. We commonly use lasers to remove unwanted hair, unwanted wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. More recently, devices that improve the appearance of the skin have been developed around technologies like ultrasound and radiofrequency. As exciting as this can be, it’s also confusing for most people who want to address cosmetic concerns. Here, we outline three of the skin rejuvenating treatments that are utilized in our Seattle and Renton offices.


Ultherapy is the ultrasound skin-tightening platform that Christie Brinkley has admitted to using to address the signs of aging on her face and neck. The objective of Ultherapy treatment is to use ultrasound to observe the depth of collagen-producing cells and also to send ultrasound waves to the proper depth to stimulate the dynamic production of the protein that firms and lifts the skin. The primary benefit of this cosmetic treatment is that ultrasound is delivered to the precise depth of tissue just above the deep muscle. Only one treatment every few years can do wonders for the aging face.


Laser devices are commonly used to resurface the uppermost layers of tissue. When short, concentrated beams of light are pulsed into the skin, finite layers of cells are removed in a controlled manner. The resulting abrasion stimulates the release of new, vibrant skin cells that display a healthy glow. Laser skin resurfacing has evolved to be gentler and safer. Because treatment is customizable, it is possible to rely on laser technologies to correct a wide range of concerns, including sunspots and poor texture. Usually, lasers are used to brighten and smooth the skin, not to tighten it.


Like ultrasound, radiofrequency works on deeper layers of tissue to strengthen collagen for smoother, firmer skin. Radiofrequency waves can penetrate through the epidermis without unpleasant side effects like peeling and prolonged redness. Energy can also penetrate more deeply with the use of tiny, powered needles that send radiofrequency waves to deep-seated tissues for more powerful effects.

Which Treatment is Right for You?

The best way to know which type of skin rejuvenation would best suit your needs is to discuss your objectives with an experienced physician. At Pacific Dermatology, we utilize a variety of devices and may combine therapeutic treatments with injectables and other procedures to achieve the best results. During your consultation, we will observe your skin and discuss your preferences for downtime, number of treatments, and more.

Learn more about skin rejuvenation and how it can benefit you. Call 206-859-5777.

Why Fat Transfer is the New “It” Filler

Dermal Fillers Seattle WAWe all know that our face will change over time. From adolescence to adulthood, many of us lose “baby fat” and notice more angular contours along the jawline and cheeks. As we grow older, the slimming just keeps on coming, but not in a good way. One of the significant changes that occurs with age is fat loss. While we might like this if it happened on the body, fat loss on the face isn’t quite as grand. When the fat pads that lie beneath superficial tissue deplete over time, our cheekbones flatten, and skin falls from the mid-face to the jawline. Here, it becomes jowls.

At Pacific Dermatology, men and women who are noticing the effects of aging such as sunken cheeks and a sagging jawline may benefit from learning more about the use of their own fat cells to restore volume where it belongs. For the past ten-plus years, the standard of care has been to temporarily fill in lines, wrinkles, and flattened areas with dermal fillers. Today, fat is the star of the show. Here, we point out a few reasons why.

  1. It takes fat to make fat. The fat transfer technique involves using your own fat cells. This means we have to take them from somewhere. The fat cells that are introduced into the cheek area or other part of the face may come from your stomach, thighs, back, or other area in which you’ve got a little extra to spare. The results of this harvesting may not be as dramatic as liposuction, but you may notice a nice bit of refinement in the donor site.
  2. Long lasting results. Dermal fillers are an excellent treatment for several months of facial rejuvenation. Fat, on the other hand, becomes permanently situated in the area into which it is placed. Now, some fat does get absorbed. For this reason, we harvest enough fat cells to retreat the area one to two more times. The fat cells that do integrate into their new home on the face will remain indefinitely, affected only by further aging.
  3. All-natural results. One of the aspects of fat transfer that is appealing to many people is the fact that no foreign substances are used. Because we are replacing lost volume with your own fat cells, your skin will go on looking and feeling completely natural – because it is.
  4. Cost-effectiveness. Because the results of fat transfer treatment last much longer than dermal fillers, this technique is considerably more efficient in terms of cost than the alternative.

Get Refreshed in our Renton or Seattle Office

Fat transfer is an excellent technique for refreshing the appearance of the face and hands. To learn more about the benefits of this treatment, call 206-859-5777.

The Maintenance of Beauty

Cosmetic Procedures Seattle WAThere’s no denying that humans have always had a thing for beauty. We’ve seen everything from milk and honey baths to some pretty interesting substances used on the skin over the years. Now that we’ve come into the age of sophisticated technologies, beauty is just one more thing in life for which we expect instant gratification. Got a line or wrinkle? Fill it in an instant! Want fuller lips or a shapelier nose? Precision injections can immediately achieve these goals too. The question is: then what?

When we look at women today, we see a full range of aging. Some women maintain their skin by using sunscreen 24/7/365 (we should all be doing this, by the way). Some women turn to cosmetic surgery when signs of aging like sagging tissue become troublesome. Many of the men and women we meet fall somewhere in between the two. Injectables account for millions of skin rejuvenating treatments each year. We are all for some instant gratification whenever we can get it. At the same time, we also want to point out that beauty is a matter of maintenance as well.

What does your maintenance routine include?

We can think of beauty maintenance like brushing and flossing our teeth in between dental checkups. Although the dentist will clean our teeth really well, we’ve got work to do on the daily. If we don’t hold up our end of this deal with our teeth, chances are very good that painful cavities or other problems will develop. Our skin is no different. If we don’t take care of our skin in between those wonderfully fulfilling spa visits that take years off our face in minutes, chances are we are aging prematurely and entirely by accident.

Get Intentional with Your Skin

There are several ways to be intentional with your skin. By developing a good maintenance program, you are giving yourself a leg up on the early formation of lines and wrinkles, the development of sunspots, and unnecessary sagging. In addition to using quality skincare products daily, including broad-spectrum sunscreen, all adults can benefit from professional treatments that promote healthy cell turnover. In our Seattle and Renton offices, this may be achieved with periodic chemical peels, laser treatments, or innovative procedures like Clear + Brilliant.

Learn more about maintaining your skin at every stage of the aging process. Call 206-859-5777 to schedule your visit with us.

Overnight Skin Care Treatments - Ask Jennifer Reichel, M.D.

Overnight Skin Care Treatment | Dermatologist | Seattle What are overnight treatments and how do they work?

Overnight treatments are creams, serums, masks etc. that help to nourish the skin and replace moisture that is lost during the day. They can also be aimed at specific concerns, such as pigmentation, or texture or even pore size. Really, many of the cosmeceuticals that we recommend could be considered "overnight treatments". the best example, is RETIN-A (tretinoin) - which is used only at night, and is significantly targeting lines, pigment, acne, and pore size.

What would be the benefit of picking an overnight treatment over your regular night cream or serum?

An overnight treatment will have ingredients that may last longer. The best example would be in a mask. They will often times be heavier on the moisture balance than a regular night cream. So if you need an extra moisture boost - give them a try.

What are some common skin care concerns that an overnight treatment can address (i.e. acne)?

  • Acne
  • Pigment
  • Dryness
  • Pore Size

How do you pick the right overnight treatment for you?

  • Your age
  • Skin type
  • Concerns

Request an appointment

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

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