As a dermatologist and the medical director of Refine by Medcan, I see the way a skincare treatment can really transform the way a client feels. The holidays are quickly approaching, so I thought I’d share answers to frequently asked skincare questions. From lasers to peels to quality skincare products, there’s something to fit every skincare need and schedule.
I’m in my 50s and I have a lot of sun damage. I have some time off this winter break. It might be a good time to get some kind of treatment. What do you suggest? —Susan, 53
Susan’s time off offers her a much wider range of treatment options. I’ve seen the most success with a common combination of two different lasers—I like to call it the “power couple.” The first laser is an Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment, which is most effective at targeting and removing sun spots, scars, redness or other pigmentation. A study in JAMA found “significant improvements of [spider veins and irregular pigmentation]” in all its clinical assessments. The second laser is Clear + Brilliant, a resurfacing treatment that evens out skin texture and minimizes pores. It sometimes results in temporary redness and dry skin, so Susan will likely need to use extra hydration in the first few days after the treatment. If she has more than three days off to recover, the “power couple” would be a great option to help with Susan’s sun damage.
I’m in my early 30s and starting to notice some fine lines around my eyes and between my eyebrows. What are my options for something to soften them but maintain a natural look? —Zara, 31
This may be the concern I hear most often. Fine lines and wrinkles are caused by our facial expressions—and it’s not a bad thing to be expressive! But as we age and our skin loses elasticity, they can become more prominent. After age 25, our collagen production slows and it becomes more and more important to moisturize and use SPF regularly. Adding a hyaluronic acid is a great way to incorporate more hydration to your routine.
We can also prevent wrinkles by softening the muscle activity in the face—without losing those facial expressions. A neuromodulator like Botox or Xeomin has little to no downtime, though you should avoid exercise or sweating for about 24 hours post-treatment. Since the needle used is extremely thin, you’ll feel only the slightest pinch—and results are fully apparent about a week or two post-injection.
My skin is so dry and when I drink it seems to get even worse. I’d love to get a fresh glow before my holiday parties. What can I do? —Samantha, 36
Glowing skin is possible to achieve in a variety of ways. A HydraFacial uses deep cleansing and serum infusions to exfoliate and hydrate the skin instantly. It’s a great way to get immediate results that will last for up to a month, without any downtime, making it an ideal appointment for your lunch break, or really, anytime.
Professional peels slough off the top layer of the epidermis to reveal the smoother, firmer skin underneath. At Refine, these treatments are tailored to your particular concerns, and in most cases, you’ll be in and out of the clinic in less than 30 minutes. If it’s your first time getting a specific peel, make sure to give yourself several days of downtime post-treatment, since it can be difficult to predict if your skin will react to a new treatment or ingredient. That way, you’ll head off to your event with glowing skin—not redness or dryness.
Cold weather can be especially drying on skin, so you should also consider investing in a humidifier and using a product that contains hyaluronic acid. Alcohol is a diuretic, so if you’re attending lots of parties this season, try to match every drink with a glass of water.
My skincare routine is pretty simple: I wash my face, I use SPF in the daytime, and a light moisturizer before bed. Now that I’m approaching 40, I know I should be doing more, but I’m not sure where to start. If I were to add one product to my routine, what should it be? —Neil, 38
Neil is on the right track—and two more products would be great additions to his routine. The first is a Vitamin C cream or serum, which can help smooth out lines and even out skin texture. It’s also an antioxidant, so you should use it in the morning to protect skin from pollutants in the air and UV radiation.
The second product is a retinol cream. Retinol can be one of the most effective anti-aging and anti-acne treatments out there, but it can also cause excess dryness if the skin doesn’t build up a tolerance first. Start off with a low-strength retinol (0.5%) two or three nights a week, and sandwich it between hydrating products like hyaluronic acid and moisturizer.
I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and it’s very noticeable in my face. Is there any alternative to fillers that would boost collagen? —Brian, 53
Ultherapy is a treatment that uses ultrasound technology to give the skin a lift and boost collagen production, so it would likely be very helpful for Brian. It’s not a filler— Ultherapy uses heat to stimulate the body’s own healing processes to improve texture and to help tone lax skin. You only need one treatment and there’s no downtime, but it does take up to six months to fully see results. It’s also great for other areas of the body, like the chest or neck.
I’ve tried every product and concealer to deal with my dark circles, but nothing seems to work—even sleep! Is there a treatment that can lighten the dark areas under my eyes? —Erin, 44
Under-eye circles are another concern among clients. Several treatment options exist, but they depend on the cause of Erin’s under-eye circles. It would be best for her to see a dermatologist before trying any of these options, to get to the root of the problem.
Using an eye cream with ingredients like kojic acid or mild retinol can often be very helpful if Erin’s dark circles are a pigmentation issue. If eye cream doesn’t produce results, I’ve had other clients get great results with HydraFacials, professional peels, or Clear + Brilliant.
Sometimes, dark colouring is actually a shadow that is caused by volume loss under the eyes. In these cases, using a filler in the tear trough area of the face would lift the skin, eliminate any hollowness and shadowing. This treatment uses hyaluronic acid—a naturally occuring substance in your body—and results are instant. There is some risk of bruising or swelling, though, so it might be best to wait until all your holiday events are over to book a dermal filler treatment.
Look your best, feel your best
Our mental health is often tied to how we feel about ourselves, and our own skincare goals and routines can play a significant role in that relationship. If you’re looking to speak to someone about your own skincare needs, the team at Refine is happy to offer complimentary consultations to help you in your skincare goals. Book a consultation with at Refine by Medcan by emailing email@example.com or calling 416.350.3621.