Health Features

Spring Resolutions

Spring is a time of renewal and rejuvenation, and your face and body should fall in line. Winter’s heavier clothes might have pushed you to forget about looming skin and body issues, but with warmer weather approaching, now is the time to act! If excess fat, unsightly leg veins or skin problems give you pause when you pass a mirror, don’t worry—there are solutions.

your fabulous face
Spring is a great time to think about improving your skin. Wrinkles, sagging, dryness, discoloration and other issues can make it difficult to put your best face forward. Carol Anderson, RN, CANS, owner of Nouveau, a Boutique MedSpa, says there are a variety of solutions to these problems.

Her office recently introduced ‘wellness IV cocktails,’ a line of intravenous solutions that benefit the skin and the rest of the body. They are tailored to the client’s specific needs, Anderson says, and they can be administered while the person is having another treatment such as a facial. The basic formula is called the Myers Cocktail, and it contains nutrients like B vitamins, magnesium and calcium to support wellness. There also are formulations that combat skin aging, boost the immune system during cold and flu season, and help the body recover from stress and poor sleep.

Nouveau also now offers a line of chemical peel treatments from PCA (Physicians Choice of Arizona). “These are great for dry winter skin, pigmentation problems, wrinkles and more,” Anderson says. “They help remove dead skin cells and create even, refined tone and texture.” And she recently added a line of topically applied Uma essential oils for specific concerns like acne and pigment problems. “They contain small-chain fatty acids, which absorb easily instead of sitting on the surface and causing an oily feel,” she notes. “They even can be used under makeup.”

Anderson says late winter is an ideal time to perform Forever Young BBL (broadband light) or Infini fractionated radiofrequency treatments to improve skin quality and appearance. “People tend to start vacationing in February or March,” she notes. “Many will be out in the sun skiing or going to the beach, so it’s a good idea to have these treatments done beforehand.” She adds, “Between environmental factors and the effects of aging, there is always some degeneration going on with your skin. Each person’s skin is a bit different and has varying needs, so it’s important to help it regenerate. Skin care always should be personal.”

did you know?
Companies like Neutrogena are developing smartphone apps that scan your skin and tell you what it needs.

vein concerns
If treating unsightly or uncomfortable leg veins is on your health to-do list this year, you have some effective options, according to Maria Bein, RN, clinical director at Vein Specialties. They are an improvement over older treatments in terms of patient comfort and downtime, she says.

Varicose veins are enlarged leg or foot blood vessels with a twisted appearance. They are caused by faulty valves inside the vessels, and often occur in people who spend a lot of time walking or standing. Some patients just find them unattractive; others experience pain and discomfort such as a feeling of heaviness in the legs. The condition also can lead to more serious problems like varicose skin ulcers, and it may be a sign of higher risk for other circulatory problems.

According to Bein, varicose veins can be treated with outpatient procedures like endovenous laser ablation. It is performed in a doctor’s office and uses laser energy to seal off damaged vessels. The treatment offers good results without the surgery and downtime of older procedures like vein stripping.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they are much smaller and thinner and don’t typically cause symptoms. They are found on the legs, feet, face, breasts and other areas and usually have a bluish-purple appearance. Spider veins also can be treated with in-office laser technology, according to Bein.

“It’s best to start any vein treatments as early in the year as possible, since it can be difficult to know at first how many you will need,” she notes. “With these procedures, you can have ‘happier,’ nicer-looking skin and legs in time for warmer weather.”

did you know?
Women are more likely than men to get varicose and spider veins. Pregnancy, age and obesity can increase the risk for them.

your best body 
Most of us have a few qualms about the way our bodies look, especially as we get older. Almost everyone would like to remove or improve something, whether it’s excess fat or the effects of aging. Dr. Richard Moore of The Lifestyle Center and The Edge for Men says there is a relatively new procedure, Emsculpt, that addresses both muscle mass and extra fat to give the body a more youthful look. It’s not a weight loss procedure, but it does help remove stubborn fat and build muscle in problem areas for both women and men, he notes.

“The technology uses one or two applicators to stimulate nerves and make muscles contract,” Moore says. “When you naturally contract a muscle, you engage about 50 percent of its fibers; Emsculpt causes contractions of about 90 percent of the tissue. The sensation is intense, but there is no heat or cold, and it’s not painful.” A 30-minute session stimulates about 20,000 contractions. “You could never achieve that kind of muscle workout in the gym,” Moore explains. “The technology actually helps create new muscle fibers and increases the diameter of existing ones.”

During the contractions, the fat layer on top of the muscle tends to undergo intense metabolism and starts to break down, according to Moore. “Once the fat cells die, they are permanently destroyed,” he notes. Depending on the patient’s needs, Emsculpt either can be focused more on muscle definition or fat reduction. Moore adds that Emsculpt does not tighten skin or remove stretch marks.

The procedure normally is performed in a series of four treatments, usually twice a week for two weeks. Moore says most patients do well on an Emsculpt maintenance program that includes followup sessions four to six months later. (The treatment is not for those who have conditions like an umbilical hernia or implanted electrical devices like a pacemaker.)

According to Moore, patients also benefit from added therapies like Vanquish ME, a radiofrequency energy system that helps further destroy fat tissue; Renuvion, which tightens connective tissue under the skin; and Sculptra Lift, which can help reshape flat or sagging buttocks.

the scoop on emsculpt
Uses noninvasive HIFEM (high-intensity focused electromagnetic) technology to build muscle and reduce fat
>> Requires no prep time or post-procedure downtime and usually consists of four 30-minute sessions
>> Achieves an average 16 percent increase in muscle mass and an average 19 percent reduction in fat
>> Often used to sculpt the stomach or buttocks in women and improve abdominal muscle definition in men