All Posts By

Bonnie Kelly

Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart Explained

By | Skin Care | No Comments

Are you ready for a pop quiz? Wait, don’t panic. It is a test about your skin—just a few simple questions about your genetic disposition, reaction to sun exposure and tanning habits. You should already know the answers. Ready?

Click here to take the Fitzpatrick Skin Type quiz.

That’s it, just an easy couple of questions. In fact, you have just used the Fitzpatrick Skin Type Chart developed in the 1970’s to help doctors when evaluating patients and their risk for skin cancer. This test can now also be used for determining the effectiveness of many treatments, including laser hair removal.

Generally, the higher your number on the chart, the darker your natural skin tone. Please be advised that this does not give you free license to go without sun screen. In fact, sun protection is a daily necessity no matter what skin type you are.

Each person’s skin responds differently to ultra violet radiation. For many people, the initial reaction is to turn red (erythema). This adaptive response is the skin’s way of telling a person to get out of the sun. It also shows doctors that the immune system is healthy and, in fact, that healing has already begun.

Tanning is the skin’s secondary response, which is a way for the skin to protect itself from further exposure.  This response varies greatly among different people, even those with the same ancestry. For example, one Northern European with fair skin and freckles may burn repeatedly and never tan, while another of the same heritage may burn once and then tan.

Information obtained from skin type tests such as the Fitzpatrick skin type chart is very important to dermatologists and laser technicians because it determines their method of treatment and its effectiveness. In fact, many treatments use ultra violet light, such as laser hair removal and the results will vary according to the patient’s skin type.

Are Tanning Beds Dangerous?

By | Blog, Skin Care, Sunscreen | No Comments

I recently read an article in the November 2010 issue of  Good Housekeeping titledThe Price of Staying Bronzed” (page 42), on the dangers of using tanning beds.  Here are some important points you should consider before going “under the light“.

According to researchers at the University of Minnesota, “spending 20 hours or more of indoor tanning, spread over a lifetime, can ‘double your risk of melanoma‘.  Spending  50 hours or more in a tanning bed will ‘triple your chance‘ of getting melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.”

When researchers compared melanoma patients with cancer-free individuals, they were able to debunk many “safety” myths out there on tanning beds.  Here are some of those myths:

  • Getting a base tan from a tanning booth before hitting the beach will keep you safe.  Wrong!  You can not buy a protective base tan. The truth is, “people who got sunburned despite salon tanning were at even higher risk for cancer.”
  • One tanning bed is “safer” than others.  Wrong!  Although different tanning beds emit different amounts of UVA and UVB rays, they are all dangerous and increase your risk of melanoma.
  • Tanning beds are more popular with blonds. Wrong!  “Indoor tanning raises your risk of cancer by the same proportion in everyone, no matter their hair color, age, skin tone, or number of moles and freckles.”

If after reading this article you are still tempted to get that “winter glow” from tanning beds, consider a good self-tanning cream.  There are many on the market that won’t streak or turn your skin orange.  Also, remember to use a good sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater when spending time in the sun!

5 Anti-Aging Foods You Can Find In Your Local Market!

By | Blog, Nutrition, Skin Care, Sunscreen | No Comments

I was watching the Dr. Oz show earlier this month.  His guest was Dr. Audrey Kunin, a board certified dermatologist in Kansas City, Missouri.  Here are her 5 favorite foods to help slow down the aging process:

1.  Guava – guava is a fruit you can find at your local supermarket.  This fruit is loaded with vitamin C, which helps to stimulate and build collagen.  You only need 2 cups per week.

2.  Wheat Germ – wheat germ is a concentrated source of several essential nutrients including vitamin E, folate, phosphorus, thiamin, magnesum and ZINC. Wheat germ is rich in zinc which helps to heal wounds and it is also an anti-inflammatory.  All you need is 1/2 cup per day.

3.  Romaine Lettuce – romaine lettuce is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, folate, vitamin C, manganese, and chromium.  Vitamin A  helps with cellular turnover.  Six leaves a day is all you need!

4.  Brazil Nuts – brazil nuts contain selenium which is very beneficial in enhancing the elasticity of the skin and can help diminish fine lines and wrinkles.  Selenium also protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays.  You should not discontinue using your daily sunscreen for maximum sun care protection.  All you need is 2 nuts a day!

5.  Tomatoes tomatoes contain lycopene which is a great anti-oxidant.  You should cook your tomatoes for maximum benefit or use low fat, low salt tomato sauce.  All you need is ten tablespoons per week!

These foods are just a few suggestions for healthier looking skin!  Check in next month for Dr. Kunin’s favorite picks for skin care products found at your local dollar store!

What is Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)?

By | Blog, Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal | No Comments

Each year in the United States, approximately 1 out of 15 women are diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).  PCOS  is a condition in which there are many tiny cysts in the ovaries.  Heredity plays a role in PCOS, thus, if your mother or sister has been diagnosed with PCOS, you are at a higher risk to develop this condition as well.

In the attached picture, you can easily see the ovary that is polycystic (poly-meaning many).  Although these cysts are not harmful, they can cause hormone imbalances that may result in a number of health problems.

Symptoms that may be associated with PCOS include irregular periods, or no period at all, and may show up in young girls as early as age 8.  In addition, PCOS, if left untreated, is associated with pre-diabetes, diabetes and obesity.   The good news is that your diet has a strong influence on this condition, thus eating in a healthy way to balance your blood sugar and insulin levels is essential.

Many women struggle with their physical appearance due to the changes that occur with PCOS.  Some of these changes may include weight gain, excessive facial and body hair and acne.  If you suffer from unwanted hair, you should consider electrolysis or laser hair removal.  Both of these methods can make such a difference in how you feel about your appearance and will help restore your self-confidence.

To learn more about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome,  and what you can do, click on the link below. http://women.webmd.com/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview

Do Hormones Cause Excess Hair Growth in Women?

By | Blog, Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal | No Comments

The answer is yes.  Although hormone imbalance is one of the reasons many women have facial hair, it is not the only culprit.  Other factors that can influence hair growth include: ethnicity, heredity, normal biological changes, medications, endocrine disorders, insulin resistance and obesity.

” Why me?”, and “Is there something wrong with me?” are questions that I am frequently asked by women who come to me for hair removal.  The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone and there is “always” an answer no matter what you have been told in the past.

While searching the internet for articles relating to this topic, I came across an interesting article written by Dr. Geoffrey Redmond, an Endocrinologist who specializes in female hormone problems.  Dr. Redmond has helped thousands of women control this disorder.  In his article Dr. Redmond talks in detail about some of the following topics :

  • How much hair is considered normal?
  • What  do the terms hirsuitism and hypertrichosis mean?
  • What  is the difference between the two?
  • How is it possible for hormone levels to come back normal, but to have so much hair?
  • What lab test can be done to test  hormone levels?
  • What permanent hair removal options are available.

To read the article, click here at  http://hormonehelpny.com/column/hirsutism.htm.  I am confident that once you have read this article, you will have a better understanding of this issue and the knowledge to go forth and discuss any concerns you may  have with your doctor or health care provider.

10 Reasons to “Fire” Your Laser Technician or Electrologist

By | Blog, Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal | No Comments

1.  Is your Electrologist licensed by the state they are working in, and is their license current and          displayed in the office?

2.  Does your laser technician work with a medical director, which is a requirement in the State of          Massachusetts?

3.  When doing electrolysis, is the office environment sterile and are disposable needles and                 sterile forceps being used?

4.  Do they wear gloves for your protection and theirs?

5.  Are they doing a comprehensive review of your medical history prior to your treatment?

6.  Is the technician aware of all the medications and herbal supplements you are presently taking?

7.  Before your first full laser treatment, did they have you fill out a skin-typing questionnaire to                  ensure you are a good candidate for laser hair removal?

8.  Will they do” test spots” to see what, if any, adverse skin reactions may occur?

9.  Did they fully explain the procedure, for example, how it works, how long the procedure takes,             and why multiple treatments are required?

10.Did your technician explain to you why you need to stay out of the sun before and after your                 treatment and the importance of using a sunscreen?

If you answered NO to any of these questions, FIRE them!

In What Order Do I Apply Skin Care Products?

By | Blog, Skin Care, Sunscreen | One Comment

After doing a recent blog about the importance of using a good sunscreen, many of my clients asked me if I knew the order for applying skin care products.  I said not really, but I’ll l find out.

Some of the most frequently asked questions were:

  • Do I put  sunscreen on before or after moisturizing?
  • When should I apply my foundation?
  • When do I apply my Retin-A?

After some research and talking with a colleague of mine who is a P.A. in Dermatology, here are some suggestions:

1.  In the morning you should always start by cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser, followed by a good sunscreen.    As a rule, there is no need to apply an additional moisturizer at the same time as application of the sunscreen.  The sunscreen has enough emollient to do double time.  If you feel that you need an additional moisturizer, use a moisturizer with built in sunscreen.   Lastly, apply your foundation and you are ready to begin your day!

2. In the evening, clean your face and remove any eye makeup with a gentle cleanser.  Cleansing your face before bed is very important because this is when your cells rejuvenate.  If you use a toner, now would be the time to apply it.  Once the toner has dried, apply your moisturizer, followed by a retinoid to help repair the days incidental UV damage.

3.  It is best to apply most products when the skin is moist because active ingredients can penetrate better when they are dissolved. Once your cream has dried up, its rate of penetration decreases dramatically. Don’t wipe your skin dry after you cleansed or washed it if you intend to apply a product.  If the skin is too wet, just pat it a little with a towel.

There are many good products on the market today so look for products that are good for your skin and the environment!  See the video below from DermTV.com, that may also help clear up this mystery of putting on skin care products.

Food For Your Skin!

By | Blog, Nutrition | No Comments

Bothered by eczema, psoriasis or other red hot rashes?   Here’s  a  few ‘ skin so smooth’ nutrition strategies to consider:

  1. Try a 2-3 week sabbatical from potentially problematic foods that may be offensive to your skin cells.  These can include common food allergens such as dairy, wheat, eggs and shellfish.  Gluten found in wheat, rye, and barley may also be aggravating your immune system which then cross talks to your skin cells, sending an alarm message.
  2. Another food specific guideline:   if you suspect a food or food ingredient is causing your skin to flare,  try the food on 3 separate occasions at least 3 days apart and if your skin symptoms worsen with each introduction, then you have good evidence that at least for now, that food is not for you.
  3. Cool down skin inflammation by including friendly fats such as omega 3 fatty acids found in fatty fish such as wild salmon, sardines, sablefish, herring and plant fats such as hemp, flax, chia seeds, purslane (a tasty edible green) and walnuts.  You might also want to get your omega 3 fatty acid level checked though a simple bloodspot test available at www.omegaquant.com.
  4. Boost your vitamin and mineral intake by consuming naturally nutrient rich vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices that deliver a portfolio of soothing skin ingredients.
  5. Consider taking a multi species probiotic supplement to help inoculate your digestive tract with good bacteria to fight against bad bugs that may be antagonizing your skin cells.
  6. Article Written By:  Kathie Madonna Swift MS RD LDN

What is the Difference Between a Physical and Chemical Sunscreen?

By | Laser Hair Removal, Sunscreen | One Comment

When looking for a sunscreen you need to know what you are buying. There are two classifications when you are talking about sunscreens:  Chemical and Physical.

  • Chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the energy of UV light before it affects your skin.  There is no single ingredient in a chemical sunscreen that totally blocks the UV spectrum (unlike a  physical sunblock ).  Therefore, several chemicals such as, avobenzone, oxybenzone or octorylene, just to name a few, are put into the product to give you the UVB (the burning ray) and more recently, UVA (the aging ray) protection.
  • Physical sunscreens most often referred to as sunblocks, scatter the UV light before it reaches your skin.  The two most common ingredients found in physical sunblocks are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide.  These ingredients physically block the ultraviolet radiation and provide broad spectrum protection against UVB and UVA rays.

Recently you may have heard reports that the use of chemical sunscreens may cause cancer.  This has not been proven with any clinical studies.  The vast majority of health care providers recommend the use of sunscreens/sunblocks, since it has been shown that unprotected sun exposure and indoor tanning beds do definitely increase one’s risk for all types of skin cancer.

If you are concerned about the controversy over sunscreens being potentially harmful, I would suggest sticking with a physical sunblock with Zinc Oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide as its only active ingredients.

What Options are Available to Get Rid of Unwanted Hair?

By | Electrolysis, Laser Hair Removal | One Comment

There are many options available to get rid of unwanted facial and body hair.  It depends on how much hair you have, the color of your skin and hair, and what results you are looking for.  Here are some temporary and permanent methods of hair removal:

1.  If you have very light hair and have fair skin, you can use a bleaching cream, like jolene.  Make sure you do a test spot in an inconspicuous place to be sure you have a good skin reaction.  If you have dark skin and dark hair, using a bleaching cream will only make the hairs blond and more noticeable.

2.  Waxing and threading are additional methods of hair removal.  These methods are not permanent and may make the situation worse.  You need to discontinue the use of Retin-A or any other retinoid at least one week before having these treatments done because  it can rip off the top layer of your skin.

2.  There is a cream, which will require a prescription from you doctor, called Vaniqa.  This medication will slow the growth of your hair, but will not permanently get rid of them.

3.  Electrolysis is a permanent form of hair removal and will require multiple treatments.  I will suggest this method if there are only a few hairs or if the hair is too light.

4.  Lastly, there is laser hair removal.  Laser hair removal works best on light skin; dark hair.  This method is very popular when doing large areas, such as bikini, underarms and legs. Depending on the area being treated, you will need between 4-8 treatments that are usually spaced at 6-8 week intervals.  A consultation is always required to determine if you will be a good candidate for laser hair removal.

Hopefully after reading this blog, you will be able to determine which method will be right for you!