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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.

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. 

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.

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.

A Walk Through Your First Botox Appointment

Botox cosmetic has been used for so many years now that it is virtually a household name. It is a brand of beauty that is well-known and very well-loved. With millions of people getting Botox each year, it can be easy to overlook the fact that many of them have never had injectables before. Regardless of how popular Botox is, if you’re new to this treatment you may have some questions or concerns. Usually, our patients just want to know what to expect. Here, we walk you through what happens at your first Botox appointment.

Your Consultation

People often call our office stating that they want to schedule Botox injections. Still, our first step is to conduct a consultation. The discussion that is had to begin treatment is a discussion that lays the foundation for facial rejuvenation. Botox is popular, yes, but it is also unique in how it smooths wrinkles. When we meet patients for the first time, we discuss this because we must make sure that Botox is the best product for the job at hand. This drug works on dynamic wrinkles, those that relate to facial movements. Examples include frown lines, forehead lines, and crow’s feet.


Once our consultation confirms that Botox is the right approach to your concerns, we can immediately begin treatment. Sometimes, Botox injections are combined with dermal filler injections in the same appointment. This can achieve more dramatic rejuvenation. It is not necessary to apply anesthetic to the skin for Botox or dermal filler treatments. The needle used for injections is so small that patients do not feel pain. We would describe the injections as a momentary pinch. Regardless of where Botox is administered, the injection process typically takes only a few minutes.

Recovery and Results

One of the great things about injectables like Botox is that there is no real downtime for recovery. Being your first time getting injectable treatment, you may want to allow yourself the opportunity to go home after your appointment. Most people experience minor swelling and redness around injection points that last an hour or two, tops. However, you may want to see how your body responds in the comfort of your home rather than at the office or running errands.

If your first appointment involves Botox only, you will begin to see results 5 to 10 days after your visit. If you also get dermal fillers, some of your results will be immediately noticeable. Botox touch-ups can be scheduled every 3 to 6 months as needed to keep lines and creases from re-appearing.

Are you ready for your first Botox appointment? Contact us at 206-859-5777 to schedule a visit to our Renton or Seattle office.

Handling the Signs of Photoaging

Aging is a general term that we hear relatively often. We’re at a point in history at which we understand more about what causes us to age and what effects aging will have on the body. When it comes to cosmetic aging, there is the issue of cellular aging and then there is the issue of photoaging. This is what we will discuss here.

Photoaging is the process of collagen breakdown as a result of UV exposure. Sunlight carries several different kinds of ultraviolet light. Therefore, the biggest risk for photoaging is spending time in the sun without adequate protection. Another risk for photoaging that was hidden for some time is the use of tanning beds. It was once believed that tanning in a controlled atmosphere could limit the effects of ultraviolet light. Research has proven otherwise. People who are exposed to indoor tanning have a significant risk for photoaging as well as serious forms of skin cancer.

What does photoaging look like? You can spot photoaging on various parts of the body that are exposed to sunlight. Too much UV light on the skin on the arms, legs, hands, shoulders, upper back, chest, neck, and face can lead to:

  • Uneven skin tone and spots, including freckles
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Spider veins
  • Precancerous spots called actinic keratosis

What to Do About Photoaging

The best thing we can do about photoaging is to try and prevent it. Several strategies can be used, including wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen and staying in the shade on hot, sunny days. Additionally, we must know what to do if we’ve already started to see the signs of sun damage. Fortunately, there are several ways to approach this problem.

  • Develop a consistent skincare routine using medical-grade products. Ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids, retinoids, and hyaluronic acid promote optimal cellular turnover to reduce spotting and uneven tone.
  • Nourish the skin with antioxidants. This may be accomplished with skincare containing vitamins A, C, or E. Antioxidants also help promote healthy collagen from the inside out and can be consumed in citrus fruits and leafy greens.
  • Chemical peels. Cellular turnover is paramount to healthy, vibrant skin. Chemical peels are professional treatments we tailor to each patient to help reduce the signs of photoaging and other problems.
  • This professional treatment is all about the collagen. The technique works by creating tiny channels in the upper layers of the skin. Though the channels close right away, the body is stimulated to send more collagen and elastin to the area. Collagen is the healing protein that fades scars, hyperpigmentation, and other flaws.

Within our comprehensive menu of services are several options for reducing the signs of photoaging. To explore what is available in our Seattle and Renton offices, call 206-859-5777.

Is Ultherapy Your Ideal Nonsurgical Facelift?

We know that the signs of aging will develop at some point. Many of us have a loose plan in place to manage them when they do. For some, the final solution to more significant signs of aging is a surgical facelift. For others, the preference to avoid surgery influences the decisions they make. Even when there is a desire to address aging without surgery, there often comes a time of frustration. Maybe skincare and injectables aren’t correcting every problem, like sagging skin, anymore. This is just one of several instances in which Ultherapy may be the ideal nonsurgical facelift.

Isn’t Ultherapy a Skin-Tightening Treatment?

Ultherapy is often perceived as a skin-tightening treatment. While it does tighten the skin, this system does much more. Years ago, doctors realized that surgical facelifts were falling short because they were focusing on superficial tissue only. To achieve meaningful and lasting results, as well as results that looked natural, it was necessary to also lift the muscle or the SMAS. This understanding was implemented into the development of Ultherapy.

During Ultherapy treatment, ultrasound is used first to locate the precise depths at which energy should be deposited. High-frequency ultrasound waves are then delivered to three different layers of tissue. This stimulates more extensive remodeling that centers around collagen constriction, first, then the stimulation of new collagen fibers over several months. The innovative delivery of high-frequency energy affects the same layers of tissue that a surgeon would tighten during a facelift. The results occur naturally over time and they last for years.

Regardless of whether the signs of aging are corrected with a facelift or a nonsurgical treatment, collagen loss is something that will continue. This is because the cells that produce collagen slow down during early adulthood and the body utilizes the collagen it has to heal wounds and partake in other physiological processes. To offset the breakdown of this vital protein, many people schedule Ultherapy treatments every so often as a part of their ongoing beauty regimen. A few years ago, model Christie Brinkley named herself as one of those people who rely on this system for continued youthfulness.

Many people are looking for nonsurgical methods to sustain their youthful appearance. For many reasons, Ultherapy makes sense. If you would like to learn more about this cosmetic procedure, schedule a visit to our Renton or Seattle office at 206-859-5777.

When Should You See Your Dermatologist for Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition that requires ongoing management to keep symptoms under control. Without a proper diagnosis and treatment, psoriasis can cause repeated flare-ups of uncomfortable soreness, itching, burning, redness, and other dermatologic symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with psoriasis, you may see your doctor for routine checkups. However, there are times when you may need to make an extra call to the dermatologist to discuss your skin’s health.

  • When something new arises in the skin. People with moderate to severe psoriasis tend to get used to their normal symptoms and how to manage them. If something new arises, though, including minor frustrations such as an increase in red spots on the skin, more severe cracking or itching, or increased inflammation, a call should be made. Another “new” symptom is increased difficulty performing daily tasks due to joint pain. New or worsening symptoms could indicate that treatment needs to change.
  • Itching hasn’t improved. Itching is one of the most frustrating symptoms of psoriasis, according to many patients. While several home remedies can help control itching, the persistence of this symptom calls for evaluation. It could indicate that current treatment is not working efficiently and a new treatment needs to be prescribed. Examples include phototherapy or a change in topical medication.
  • Social events are being avoided. Psoriasis primarily affects the skin. However, there is an emotional component to this condition. Many people feel self-conscious about how their skin looks, especially during flareups. We’ve spent enough time distancing from each other in 2020; psoriasis should not be yet another reason to do so. If you’re feeling self-conscious about your skin, come see us. We’ll find the right approach to keep your psoriasis under control.
  • You’re going on a flight. In recent years, we’ve seen significant changes in air travel. For those who are on medications, especially topical products, taking a flight isn’t as easy as it could be. This is because tubes of topical creams may come in sizes that are too large to take on an airplane. Before flying, talk to your doctor about smaller quantities of medication or getting a copy of the prescription to present to TSA agents.
  • You’re interested in a new remedy for psoriasis. If you are already on a prescribed treatment plan for psoriasis, it is necessary to talk to your doctor if you’re considering making changes. This is relevant even for those who are looking at a natural remedy of some sort. Natural or not, new chemicals may not mix well with those in the current treatment protocol and may cause unnecessary irritation.

We take the health of our patients seriously. For more information on psoriasis and how to manage it well, contact us 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.