Laser Hair Removal: One Smooth Move

Laser Hair Removal (LHR) isn’t just for summer skin exposure. Did you know that this safe and effective way to remove unwanted body hair has benefits all year long?

The Rio Olympics have come to an end, but one burning question remains. As a Facebook user posted, “In 50 years I’ve never been able to get even one armpit as smooth and hairless as those swimmers get their whole bodies! How do they do it?”

For more and more male and female athletes, especially swimmers and bikers, the answer is Laser Hair Removal.

Removing body hair significantly reduces wind and water resistance for competitive athletes, leading to faster times. But traditional methods of hair removal — shaving, chemical depilatories, and waxing, for example — must be repeated frequently and increase the skin’s vulnerability to irritation, pain, ingrown hairs, and infections like folliculitis.

Laser Hair Removal uses controlled pulses of energy to destroy hairs at the root. As the destroyed hair grows to the surface it is shed. Hairs destroyed in the earliest cycle of growth are removed permanently. Because hair grows at various intervals, LHR requires several treatments staggered over time to achieve lasting results — with no stubble.

Even weekend workout enthusiasts can see benefits from Laser Hair Removal. Body hair, designed to keep you warm, can make you heat up too quickly when working out, biking, or hiking. It also holds sweat and bacteria, increasing body odor and leading to heat rashes and irritation under workout clothes. Laser Hair Removal can make your exercise cooler and more pleasant — which means you’re more likely to keep it up.

It’s not just athletes who benefit, however. Long-term, smooth removal of unwanted body hair makes it possible to go bare at the drop of hint, not just during the warm summer months but all year long when travel, vacations, romance, and just plain everyday life make temporary hair removal methods a chore. During the colder months, not having to shave means not irritating winter-dry skin or worrying about stubble under tights. It means going sleeveless or flaunting that short skirt at holiday parties as well as in July.

With all these benefits, Laser Hair Removal is still not as well known as it should be. Studies show only 9% of women, and a much smaller percentage of men, have given it a try. If you too were inspired by the smooth moves of Olympic swimmers and bikers, why not contact us today to explore what LHR can do for you? Our Laser Hair Removal is performed by our registered laser nurse, and we offer discounts when prepaying multiple treatments. Don’t wait 50 years to get those underarms (legs, bikini area, upper lip, chin, chest) smooth and sleek!



Exfoliation: Like Autumn for Your Face

Exfoliation sounds like a spell Harry Potter might use, but it’s an important part of the “seasonal” cycle of healthy, beautiful skin. Your skin cells turn over on a much more rapid rate than Earth turns through the seasons of the year, but the falling leaves of autumn are a good way to think about how your skin sheds dry, dead surface cells.

Think of your skin — the largest organ of the body — as a sandwich. The top piece of bread, the part closest to the surface, is called the epidermis. The filling of the sandwich, below the epidermis, is the dermis, a strong and flexible layer made up of proteins called collagen and elastin.

This dermal layer, which accounts for 90% of your skin, is crammed with nourishing blood vessels as well as nerves, hair follicles, and oil and sweat glands. The bottom piece of bread, your skin’s inmost layer, is subcutaneous tissue — mostly fat, with blood vessels and nerves running through it.

What we think of as our skin is actually that outer section, the epidermis. It’s in the very thin layers of the epidermis that our skin’s seasonal cycle — which lasts about 28 days — takes places. Brand-new cells are born in the lowest layers of the epidermis, and work their way to the surface as they grow. By the time they reach the surface, skin cells have been depleted and are ready be shed like the dry leaves of autumn trees.

Here’s the amazing part. Every hour on the hour, your skin sheds more than 30,000 dead cells — that’s around a million lost each day to shedding or washing. The shed cells make way for newer cells working their way to the surface. That’s the natural process of exfoliation.

As we get older, though, or when we’ve been careless about protecting our skin from damaging UV rays, that cycle can be interrupted or thrown out of whack. Skin cancer occurs when damaged areas allow mutant cancerous cells to grow faster than healthy cells, for example. A more common problem is when the skin turnover cycle slows down and becomes sluggish, which can happen as we age. New cells don’t form as quickly, and dead cells cling to the surface. The skin takes on a dull, rough, dry appearance, with fine lines and areas of darkened pigmentation from sun damage becoming more apparent.

You can give nature a hand by maintaining and even jump-starting the process of exfoliation. Here are some suggestions:

Use a mild exfoliating cleanser on your face and neck daily. SkinMedica’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser uses a combination of gentle fruit-based acids to wash away dead skin cells and improve overall tone and texture. Avoid using harsh scrubs or cleansers containing plastic beads, as these can damage already fragile skin.

Use an exfoliating shower gel (and a loofah or rotating cleansing brush) all over, once or twice a week. Be sure to keep all scrubbers clean and free from bacteria, and use an allover moisturizer after exfoliating and while your skin is still damp from the shower or bath.

Wear sunscreen every day! You know we have to throw this in, but it’s especially important when you use exfoliating cleansers or other mechanical exfoliation treatments.

Treat yourself to a professional facial and/or a peel on a regular basis. At Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena, our full range of spa services combine expert gentle exfoliation with deep moisturizing and other nourishing treatments.

Try microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, or an IPL FotoFacial to give your skin a jumpstart. These mechanical forms of exfoliation — which should be performed by licensed aestheticians and laser nurses in a medical setting to assure your skin’s health — strip away the skin’s dead and damaged outer layer, and stimulate the circulation and collagen formation that build healthy new skin cells and underlying structures.

If you have active acne, very sensitive skin, or skin with a tendency to form keloids, you should talk with your dermatologist before beginning any exfoliation process. At Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena, we’re happy to help you choose the exfoliation treatments and products that are right for your particular skin type and condition. Contact us today before the leaves begin to fall!


Adult Acne: It’s Not High School All Over Again!

Adult acne is more common than you might think, especially among women. (We’ll look at some of the causes in a minute.) In this back-to-school season, an acne flare can make you feel like a young, insecure teen reaching for the cover stick again, no matter what your age. Aren’t we supposed to outgrow this stuff? And what can we do about it?

Acne can continue to, recur at, or even appear for the first time in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Here are some of the reasons adult acne might crop up:

Hormone-level changes. This is the primary reason that adult acne is more of a problem for women than for men. Both sexes tend to develop acne at equal rates during puberty, when levels of make and female hormones surge and ebb erratically. But women continue to experience hormonal changes at other times during adult life. Pregnancy, menstruation, starting or stopping hormonal contraception, and peri-menopause or menopause can all trigger adult acne in women. Men who take testosterone supplements for growth or performance enhancement (not merely to replace age-related loss) can also experience hormone-related acne outbreaks.

Genetics. Like being female, this is one factor in adult acne susceptibility you can’t do much to change. If others in your family have had adult acne, you might have a greater tendency to develop it due to a genetic predisposition.

Stress. Researchers have found a strong link between stress and adult acne (as well as rosacea). The culprit is largely hormonal. Stress stimulates overproduction of the male hormone androgen in both men and women. Androgen, in turn, ramps up the production of skin oils and the growth of hair, both of which can clog pores and make them breeding grounds for the bacteria that causes most acne. Stress also depletes the immune system, leading to high levels of inflammation, another contributor to acne flares. Stress management should be your first line of adult acne defense.

Skin care products. You might be doing your adult acne more harm than good if you fall back on using the same treatment products you relied on as a teenager. Older skin is less resilient and more sensitive. Stay away from harsh cleansers and drying agents unless your dermatologist prescribes them. Use makeup, skin care products, and sunscreens you trust to be non-comedogenic and gentle. (“Natural” isn’t always a guarantee. Many essential oils are too harsh to be applied topically.) Of course you should always use clean sponges and applicators, and toss all dated or contaminated products.

Medications and diseases. Adult acne can also be triggered by medications you take for other conditions, and in rare cases it can be a symptom of an underlying illness. Always let your dermatologist know what other conditions you’re being treated for.

The good news is that there are treatments available (many used in combination) to help manage and clear your adult acne, no matter what the cause. At Comprehensive Dermatology Center of Pasadena we offer a full range of acne treatments for women and men of all ages — from refreshing anti-acne facials and our own portable Acne Treatment Kits to chemical peels, steroid injections, and prescription topical or oral antibiotic treatments. Photodynamic therapy (PDT) combines Levulan, a topical medication. with Blu-U laser light to treat acne. We also offer treatments to minimize the appearance of acne scars and marks.


So put down that cover stick and contact us today! Thank goodness, it’s not high school all over again.

Morning Skin Care Rituals, Then and Now

Morning skin care rituals vary depending on your skin’s needs and your schedule. They have varied across the years, too. Your mom, grandmother, and great-grandmother probably followed very different beauty and makeup routines than you do — although the basics remain the same.

Just for fun, here’s a classic late 1930s short film featuring glamorous actress Constance Bennett’s skin care ritual. Bennett was the highest paid actress in Hollywood at her peak, and was best known for the Topper films in which she starred as a high-society ghost alongside Cary Grant. In this short film, which is making the rounds again on social media, Bennett takes us through a “simple” routine that includes cleansing cream, “stimulating cream,” a mask, “glow base” makeup, powder, cream rouge, and lipstick — all applied around a morning bath drawn by her maid, on the way to make breakfast for her young son.

Your everyday morning skin care routines probably don’t include a long, luxurious bath (with or without a maid to draw it), and your skin product and makeup choices are more than likely very different from those of the 1930s. But the basics remain the same: cleansing, treating, moisturizing. One important step missing from Bennett’s routine — because no one knew the debilitating effects of UV radiation back then, and tanned skin was just beginning to come into popularity —  was sunscreen, a step no morning skin care ritual of today can do without. Fortunately, there’s a UV protection product for every skin type and lifestyle.

Today’s morning skin care rituals also benefit from combination products like tinted moisturizers, makeup with built-in SPF protection, and all-in-one daily treatment products like SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum. You may not have the glamorous luxury of Constance Bennett’s mornings, but with care you’ll have healthy, beautiful skin that lasts a youthful lifetime.

Need recommendations of products tailored just for your morning skin care rituals? Contact us!

Scars and How to Minimize Them

Scars were once prized as signs of victory among duelers and warriors. In some parts of the world, intentional scarring, like tattooing, marks one’s tribal identity or symbolizes a rite of passage. For all of us, scars are signs of survival — a wound healed, a disease overcome — but most of us don’t see them as badges of honor any more.

A new study from the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that scarring, especially in visible areas like the face, can be a significant factor negatively affecting quality of life. Whether it’s the scars or marks left behind by acne, or a healed excision or wound, many people are self-conscious about scarring.

A scar forms when the collagen structures underlying the skin are disturbed by trauma like a wound or inflammation. If the trauma stimulates too much collagen, a raised scar appears above the surface of the skin. If collagen is depleted by the trauma (as it sometimes is with acne or chicken pox), the scar left behind is pitted or sunken. People with darker skin can have a different response to skin trauma, with acne leaving marks (unwanted pigmentation) instead of pitting, or even minor trauma resulting in the hypergrowth of collagen forming thickly raised scars called keloids.

As the new study’s director notes:

“While some may consider scarring to be a cosmetic concern, it can really affect patients’ psychosocial health,” says board-certified dermatologist Joseph F. Sobanko, MD, FAAD, an assistant professor of dermatology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Physical appearance plays a major role in how people relate to others, so scarring that alters physical appearance — even if some would characterize it as minor — can have a negative impact on patients’ quality of life.”

Conversely, the study found that treatment to minimize scarring went a long way toward improving patients’ quality of life. It’s fortunate, then, that dermatologists now have so many ways to deal with scarring. In most cases, your doctor will talk in terms of minimizing or remodeling the appearance of the scar, because there is no treatment that will make a scar completely disappear (without creating another scar in the process).

Steroid injections or pressure packs can help flatten raised scars.

Dermal fillers can be injected into pitted scars to raise the surface of the skin.

Chemical peels, dermabrasion, and laser remodeling can improve the appearance of acne scarring.


In some cases, surgery may be used to address scarring (such as that left behind by Mohs micrographic surgery) to offer better cosmetic results.

If you have very sensitive skin or a tendency to form marks or keloids, see your dermatologist for special evaluation, as many of the treatments that help with ordinary scarring will make these conditions worse.

The American Academy of Dermatology study does not recommend over-the-counter treatments (creams or lotions) as these have not been shown to be effective. Your dermatologist can recommend makeup that helps conceal scars and skin care treatments that will help prevent or minimize post-procedure scarring. Scars should always be protected from UV radiation with a full-spectrum sunscreen.

Contact us if you have questions about how we can help you minimize scars.





Our treatment suites are equipped with the latest dermatological lasers, for advanced, safe, comfortable treatment of your skin's medical and cosmetic needs. Our in-house Acne Treatment Center offers complete care for all ages and acne stages. We offer a full line of skin care products designed to suit your unique...

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