All posts by Western Dermatology Consultants

What’s the Best Way to Treat Laugh Lines?

Vertical lines that located on either side of the mouth are often called smile lines or laugh lines—because they’re most noticeable when you’re smiling and laughing—but the technical term for them is nasolabial folds. These lines develop between the bottom of the nose and corners of the mouth, and their severity varies from person to person. Dermatologists can help you find the best technique for treating your nasolabial folds based on their severity and what’s causing them to deepen. There are several types of skin treatments—including hyaluronic acid facial fillers at our Albuquerque, NM, practice—that can help make these wrinkles less noticeable. 

Nasolabial folds are perfectly normal. In fact, almost everyone has these facial features (except for newborns and people who have certain medical conditions) so you wouldn’t want them to be completely erased, as it would look unnatural. The most common causes include sun damage, deficiency of collagen due to aging, a loss of fat, and frequent facial expressions like smiling.

The folds themselves contain dense bundles of fibrous tissue and muscle. For many, these laugh lines are no laughing matter as they become more prominent as time goes by, and the tissue becomes thinner while losing its elasticity. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions for correcting them if you would like yours to be less pronounced. 

Although they don’t require treatment and aren’t a sign of a medical condition, some people prefer a smoother appearance without the folds. While minimally invasive treatments can’t get rid of them completely, injectables can enhance the skin and make the lines appear less pronounced. Facial fillers are soft gels that blend in beneath the skin and reduce the severity of nasolabial folds by giving the skin a more youthful, volumized, and lifted appearance.

When treating nasolabial folds, fillers can be injected to smooth out wrinkles or in the upper cheek area to provide a subtle lift. Skin resurfacing techniques like laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion can also improve the overall appearance of the skin to offset the appearance of laugh lines. 

Temporary facial fillers from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants reduce different types of moderate to severe wrinkles, including nasolabial folds. Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form if you’re ready to schedule a consultation. 

How to Identify Signs of Sun Damage on Your Skin

We provide skin resurfacing at our Albuquerque, NM-based practice as a way of improving the health and appearance of skin that has been damaged by overexposure to sunlight or other stressors, such as smoking. Prolonged, unprotected sun exposure is a sure-fire way to cause lasting damage to one’s skin. This is because the sun’s rays penetrate beneath the surface and can reach the deepest parts of the skin to warp the DNA itself.

That doesn’t mean sun damage is always easy to detect, however. Your complexion might look quite clear and almost flawless in the mirror, but there can still be damage. Remember that sun damage occurs in different forms, and even if you don’t get sunburned in a noticeable way, your skin could still be being damaged in other ways. Not to mention, many signs of sun damage take time—sometimes many years—before they can be seen on the surface because UV rays are damaging it at such a deep level. 

Some of the most common signs and symptoms associated with UV damage include:

Uneven Pigmentation

An increased production of melanin (the pigment that gives color to your skin) occurs as the skin attempts to protect itself against UV rays. This can give your skin isolated spots, freckles, or a mottled and blotchy appearance if the excess pigment forms in an uneven way. 

Tan

Dermatologists often stress that there’s no such thing as a “healthy” tan or a “base tan.” Whenever your skin’s natural color changes, this is a symptom of some type of skin damage. 

Worsening Melasma

Melasma is a condition that causes patches of skin on the forehead and cheeks to turn brown. It can also cause blue-gray patches or spots that look like freckles. Melasma is made worse by sun exposure because the UV rays increase the activity of cells that produce pigment. 

Liver Spots

Flat spots with a tan, brown, or dark brown color that are a deeper shade than freckles may occur on sun-exposed areas. They are typically round or oval in shape and form in different sizes. They are non-cancerous, but you can choose to lighten them for cosmetic reasons. 

Remember that sun damage can also cause cancers to develop, so be sure to watch for more obvious signs, such as awkward-looking or evolving moles, crusty patches that bleed or never heal, and areas that are sensitive or painful to the touch.

Get a clearer, healthier, more flawless skin tone by taking steps to prevent sun damage—and by choosing skin resurfacing from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants. Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to get started. 

Should I Be Using Face Oils?

Chances are good that you already know all about moisturizers and serums for making your skin softer, nourished, and balanced, but face oils are a more recent and trendy way to enhance the skin that you may not be including in your daily care routine. Indeed, they might be exactly what you need to counteract dry skin. For our Albuquerque-area patients who visit The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants, dry skin is a common complaint because of the low levels of humidity common to this area. 

When atmospheric humidity levels are low, moisture is zapped from the upper levels of the skin, resulting in symptoms such as roughness, flaking, cracking, itching, tightness, redness, and fine lines. Some patients may even develop deep cracks that bleed. Moisturizers and serums are critical for alleviating the dryness, but face oils are something that many people tend to forget about or overlook. These products, which typically contain a combination of plant-based oils, work by adding moisture to the skin and sealing in hydration. 

Face oils are a type of emollient, meaning they provide support for the skin’s outermost layer, called the stratum corneum. Plenty of people are hesitant to use them because they assume that the oils will cause bad acne breakouts, but this is far from the case. Whether you have an oily skin type naturally, are only experiencing dry skin during certain types of weather, or always have dry skin, face oils may have some benefits. 

Give Your Skin a Boost of Moisture

A face oil will enhance the moisturizing effects of the creams or serums you’re already using. They’re ideal for relieving dry skin during the winter months. If you use a face oil after a moisturizer, it locks in the hydration from the other products so that your skin retains it better. In fact, oils generally work better than moisturizers. 

Soften Wrinkles 

Face oils also contain nourishment of their own such as antioxidants that help to counteract the effects of free radical damage. This will improve sun damage or other conditions such as dryness and wrinkles. 

Want healthy, glowing skin all year round? Learn about other ways to manage chronically dry skin from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants. Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to schedule a consultation and find out which products or treatments will be best for your skin type. 

Why Are Humectants So Important in Skin Care?

Our skin is constantly in contact with the environment, so it’s affected not just by sun exposure, but also by all kinds of changes in weather and climate. Once “sweater weather” arrives in Albuquerque, our skin tends to become drier and duller, thanks to increased exposure to central heating and colder, less humid air. One of the best things we can do to maintain healthy, clear skin during these seasonal changes is adjust our skincare routine accordingly. One of the essentials everyone needs in the cooler months is a good face and body moisturizer to stave off parched, irritated skin—especially if you have a naturally dry or sensitive skin type. Chances are good that if you’ve ever looked up skin care ingredients, you may have seen the term “humectants” thrown around. What you might be asking yourself is what exactly do they do and why are they an essential part of your skin care routine? Hyaluronic acid, the same ingredient found in most of the popular facial fillers at our Albuquerque, NM-based practice, is a humectant. Here are some things you should know about the benefits of adding humectants to your skincare regime. 

Humectants Draw in Hydration

Humectants are hydrophilic, meaning that they’re attracted to water molecules. These substances act like magnets to attract moisture to the outermost layer of skin, called the stratum corneum. The water might be drawn from the deeper, middle layers of skin or from the surrounding environment. 

Humectants Are Mostly Used for Moisturizing

These water-loving ingredients are most typically found in moisturizing products for the face and body, such as creams, lotions, and serums, along with shampoos and other beauty products. 

Not All Humectants Are the Same 

Some of the most common examples of humectants used in skin care include glycerin or glycerol, hyaluronic acid (as noted above), urea, sorbitol, alpha-hydroxy acids, salicylic acid, aloe vera, and honey. Some types of humectants simply hydrate, while others remove dead skin cells to regulate moisture levels. 

Want plumper, less wrinkled-looking skin and enhanced facial contours? Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to request a consultation if you’re curious about the benefits of aesthetic treatments. Find out more about products and services from The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants.

Can BOTOX® Prevent Wrinkles from Developing?

We’ve all wished we could turn back the clock on aging. Of course, there’s no way of realistically doing that. We have to live with the fact that our skin is constantly folded and creased when we make facial expressions each day, or even during small movements involved in chewing gum or drinking from straws. Lines eventually form in the areas where the skin folds most frequently. Once the body begins to produce less collagen, our skin isn’t able to snap back into its normal position, and expression lines start to deepen.

While there’s no time machine we can use to avoid this, there are some cosmetic treatments that can indeed delay the effects of aging for anyone who wants to preserve youthful skin for as long as possible. The beauty of wrinkle relaxers from our Albuquerque, NM-based practice is that they not only do BOTOX® and similar injectables quickly minimize the fine lines that have already become more pronounced on the face—such as crow’s feet and frown lines—but they can also delay or prevent the formation of additional wrinkles. 

This is one of the reasons why a younger demographic of patients—meaning in their 20s and 30s—have begun using neuromodulators.

There are many advantages to what is known as “preventative BOTOX®.” The goal of these wrinkle injections is to prevent those early, faint fine lines that appear when we smile, frown, or make other expressions from deepening and becoming engraved into the skin.

If you’re bothered by faint lines in your 20s or have a very expressive face and know that you’re most likely going to want wrinkle relaxers later in life, it makes sense to start early. Once the lines have become more pronounced, patients will need more units of fillers and neuromodulators or more invasive procedures to correct them.

Also, if you start treatments earlier in life, you may not need as many units as someone who starts injections at an older age because your wrinkles will be fewer in number and less pronounced. 

For more information on wrinkle relaxers, contact The Spa @ Western Dermatology Consultants. Call us at 505-855-9267 or submit a contact form to request a consultation if you’re seeking non-invasive treatments to reduce facial lines.