Monthly Archives: March 2015

Get Your Sunless Spring Glow On

Spring is officially here. Nights of freezing cold and snow storms are gone and fresh flowers, the smell of fresh cut grass and butterflies are here! It’s time to put away winter clothes and start transitioning into our summer looks. With this past week being spring break I’ve heard lots of people mentioning how it’s time to get tan. Well you can get a beautiful spring glow without having to damage your skin. One of my pet peeves is when people say they only tan in the tanning bed a few times so they don’t burn this summer. That’s like saying I only smoke a few cigarettes so I don’t cough when I want to smoke a whole pack. It’s still an unhealthy habit. Here are some of my tips to transition your skin this Spring and get Summer ready safely.

1. Get rid of heavy mascara and go to light Latisse- The key to the Summer glow is looking light and fresh. Don’t worry about being in the heat and water sports and heavy black mascara giving you “black eyes” or that “I went to sleep crying instead of washing my face and woke up like this” look. Start your Latisse now and your lashes will be longer, darker and thicker so much so that you don’t need mascara this Summer.

2. Good-Bye heavy make-up, Hello light, airy make-up- I’m sad to say “Adios” to my bright red lips and black eye-liner but excited to say “Aloha” to my hot pink smoochers and light butterfly-kiss-capable lashes. It’s time to “lighten up” your look. Try Jane Iredale “Country Weekend” collection. It includes a peach lip and cheek stain, a soft eye shadow kit and an espresso gel eyeliner.

3. Lighten up your sun protection- I go from a thicker Elta MD sunscreen to the BOB in the Spring. The BOB stands for Brush on Block. It is a powder sunscreen that goes on clear, you won’t even know you are wearing it. I keep mine in my car cup holder so that I see it every morning before I pull out of the garage and just brush it all over.

4. Add some tint to your routine- Change your moisturizer to a tinted moisturizer like Jane Iredale tinted moisturizer or change your sunscreen to a tinted sunscreen such as Elta MD physical sunscreen. The Elta MD tinted sunscreen is oil free and great for acne prone skin.  If you really like that “sun kissed” look, then I like the Tanwise self tanner from Sally’s. We have a lot of options at the clinic so just call and get a free skincare consult to learn what’s best for you from one of our experts.

5. Time to peel and laser- Now is the time to get your peels and laser treatments in. You can’t peel and laser your skin when it is sun exposed because you run the risk of hyperpigmentation or discolored scars. Chemical peels can help acne scars, uneven skin tone, dark spots, fine lines and uneven textured skin. Get your peel now and you won’t even need colored cosmetics this Summer. We have four lasers now at Johnson Dermatology, real lasers, not fancy flashlights, so they work. We can treat brown spots, red spots, sagging skin, lines, tattoo removal, acne scars and more! Come in for a consultation and get your skin spruced up for Spring!

6. See ya Cellulite- Try SkinMedica’s newest product GlyPro firming lotion. This product helps improve the appearance of cellulite by hydrating that oh so soft spring skin. Warning: This product should not replace a healthy eating and exercise routine… hahaha, I couldn’t help myself.

It’s my favorite season of the year. Spring flower smells are in the air, it’s wedding season, it’s not too hot and not too cold, it’s just blissful! I hope you all enjoy your Spring! I would love to see photos of all of you in your new spring make-up and skin looks, so as always tag them with #Johnsondermatology so I can see all you pretties! Happy Week to all!

Stay sweet, skintastic and sunless spring glowin’, XOXO, Nina


Spring Break Sun Safety

If you live in Arkansas then today starts Spring Break 2015 which means a lot of you are hitting the beach or the slopes. I know all you spring-breakers probably don’t have sun protection at the top of your priority list so I’m here to remind you to be sun smart. Have fun in the sun, just protect your skin.  Here are some tips, some you’ve heard before and some probably new to you. Also, I’m sharing some of my favorite websites for sun protective clothing!

1. It’s not all about sunscreen- wear your sun protective clothing, seek shade, avoid the sun during the hottest part of the day and wear sunscreen.

2. Do sunscreen RIGHT- this is harder than you think. You need water-resistant, at least 30 SPF, broad spectrum and preferably a physical blocker. Reapply every 2 hours while exposed to the sun. This can be difficult to remember. I set an alarm on my phone to remind me. My favorite sunscreen is the Brush on Block or BOB, a clear powder that is applied through a brush.

3. Keep your kids sun protected- Less than 6 months old should probably just be kept out of the sun as much as possible, at least kept under an umbrella or in the shade and wear sun protective clothing. My favorite rash guard (think swim shirt) for my little girl is by Cabana Life ( They have the cutest prints! If you’ve ever seen my daughter then you know she is very fashionable so you can trust these are for the fashion forward. Thankfully, they also have women and mens to get the whole family hooked up!

4. Stay Stylish with your sun protection- Big floppy hats aren’t just for the horse races, they are super in style right now and look amazing with summer dresses or a tee with bermudas and birkenstocks. I am very excited to try out my new Exostinger this year. It’s a 50-SPF “skin” that is made to protect your skin worn over a swim suit or under a wet suit, it’s total coverage. They come in awesome designs too! I struggled between the green leopard print and red leopard print. Can’t wait to show you my lake pics in my new suit!  Go to to find this australian based water wear company that ships free worldwide!

5. Don’t forget your sunglasses- Sunglasses aren’t just an outfit accessory. They also protect your eyes and eyelids from harmful UV rays. Did you know you can get melanoma in your eyes?

6. Add to your sun protection game with Polypodium leucotomos (PLE)- PLE comes from a fern and when taken orally it is thought to release antioxidants into the skin that reduce free radicals produced by sun exposure that can be damaging to the skin. In other words it helps fight sun damage of the skin, take it to help with brown spots, sun sensitive skin diseases and more just don’t replace your sunscreen with it. You can find a brand of this called Heliocare at

7. See your dermatologist with skin problems- If you burn there are some sprays, creams and lotions that we can give you to help you through the pain and recovery process. Coming back from your vacay rashy? Let us help you. It’s not uncommon to get back from your trip with beach rashes, bug bites, contact dermatitis or even scabies from a hotel stay. I will be in clinic all week to help you out!

Hope you all have fun this week, enjoy yourselves!

See you soon, Nina


The World of Cosmeceuticals

We spend billions of dollars on skincare products every year in the US. There are so many products to choose from even I, the skincare expert, have trouble keeping up with them all.    Over the counter cosmeceuticals don’t have to be approved by the FDA which usually means their benefits and risks are not necessarily adequately tested. For example, the hottest fad right now is this Instantly Ageless cream I’ve been asked about. I have already had multiple friends on social media selling it and putting up “before and after” pictures of it. I’ve had more than one friend text me just this week asking me if they should try it. This prompted me to do a little research on the product. The active ingredient is argireline which is a peptide which claims to have effects similiar to that of Botox/neuromodulators. In 2012, Dr. Oz (the cardiovascular surgeon gone TV show host)said it’s an alternative to Botox. First of all lets just assume it does the same thing as Botox, works just as good at reducing wrinkles but is a cream. That sounds good to me. The before and after pictures and the videos look like amazing results, so far so good.  One application claims to last 6-8 hours and one vial claims to last 2-3 days. One vial cost $7.95. Botox lasts 3-4 months depending on the individual. So if you get 20 units of Botox at $12/unit (average cost when done by a professional expert) and it only  lasts the 3 months that’s $2.67 a day if you get the 4 months that’s $2 per day, both being cheaper than this cream you have to rub on every 6-8 hours. So without seeing any research at all I was thinking to myself pick your poison, getting some tiny shots once every 3-4 months or spending more money and having to apply a cream every 6-8 hours. Then I started searching for an objective double-blind, vehicle controlled study on argireline. I found a double-blind placebo controlled study done in China that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology which showed 10% argireline (I can’t find the percentage in Instantly ageless) was  about 50% effective in reducing wrinkles (that is VERY simplified). There were some flaws in the study such as a small sample size of only 30 patients receiving the treatment. Basically, verdict is still out, not enough research to really sway me one way or the other. Is this just another fad being sold in a pyramid fashion by people trying to make a buck or is this really the next best thing? I don’t know but I do know that I am going to stick to Botox right now due to personal preference. I do have multiple friends trying the product so when I get their report back I will let you know the review.  Picking what cosmeceuticals to use on your skin is complicated but here are some tips I think you should live by.

1.If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Natural isn’t always better nor safer. Some natural ingredients need to be chemically altered to be able to penetrate the skin and for effects to last longer.

3. Stick to dermatologist recommendations- The most studied and researched anti-aging ingredients are the retinoids/retinols and sunscreen. That’s your little black dress of skin care. Sunscreen in the AM and retinol/retinoid at night.

4. Stick with manufacturers you know- Big names usually have big money which equals big research. Example:Cetaphil, Cerave.

5. Expensive and more steps isn’t always better. It’s probably better for your skin to simplify your regimen.

6. Don’t let a dermatologist do your open heart surgery and don’t let a cardiovascular surgeon give you skin anti-aging advice. Okay so you don’t have to “live by” this one, just saying.

Good Luck in the world of cosmeceuticals and if you trust me with your skin then you should definitely schedule a free skin care consult with one of our cosmetic concierges this week. They are personally trained by Dr. Sandy, Honey and myself and they are pretty amazing at helping you fish through the world of cosmeceuticals. Just call the clinic and set up an appointment.

Hope you all have an amazing week and don’t get pinched on St. Patty Day!

Cheers, Nina

10 Things Your Dermatologist Needs to Know

Sometimes communicating with your healthcare provider can be difficult. It may be because whatever you are talking about is embarrassing or something you don’t want to talk about with a stranger. It may be because you are fearful of what the answer to your question might be. Sometimes you are afraid of what your health care provider will think about you. For me personally, it’s difficult because sometimes I don’t know what information my doctor needs to know and what they don’t care about. So, in hopes of helping you communicate with your dermatologist better here are 10 things every patient should tell their dermatologist.

1. Family History of Skin Cancer- If one of your first degree relatives has had melanoma then you are at an increased risk of having a melanoma. Now, in regards to your health, we don’t necessarily need to know about Aunt Thelma’s third cousin that had melanoma although we are very sorry she went through that.

2. What products you currently put on your skin- Every day someone tells me something they are using that they think is “curing” or “helping” their problem but is actually making things worse, such as scrubs for acne or pink creams for poison ivy, things advertised as helpful that the derm world begs to differ.

3. Are you immunosuppressed- If your immune system is not up to par due to a disease or a medication you take, this increases your risk for skin cancer. For example, someone who has had an organ transplant. You most definitely need a licensed full body skin examaminer.

4. If you have ever had a skin cancer- Once you have had a skin cancer you are at an increased risk of having another skin cancer. A dermatologist should be your friend.

5. If you are pregnant- Pregnancy has many affects on your skin. Rashes, discolorations, breakouts and more can all be associated with pregnancy. Plus, this affects what medications we prescribe you that are safe for you and baby.

6. If you notice anything changing or growing on your skin- Most skin cancers are actually found by the patient. We have certain characteristics in moles that we look for such as size, shape and color but we also rely heavily on changing. If you noticed a mole changing or growing, that is something to bring to a dermatologist’s attention.

7. What your treatment preferences are- Do you prefer all natural products? Do you prefer a prescription or an over the counter medicine? Do you prefer the newest medicines on the market or do you prefer generic? Sometimes in dermatology we have choices to make for which more than one answer could be correct and knowing what you prefer and what you will actually use helps us choose your best option. Medicines only have a chance to work if you use them so don’t be afraid to tell us what you will or won’t use. We enjoy your input (as long as you let us override it when we deem necessary).

8. Do you smoke- Smoking doesn’t just reap havoc on your lungs. Smoking actually plays a role in premature skin aging. It also slows wound healing if you have had surgery on your skin. Let us know what we are up against….

9. Your modesty comfort level- Some people grew up in nudest colonies, others are uncomfortable even showing their navel. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and you can get skin cancer anywhere you have skin, even if it never has seen the light of day.  We want to thoroughly check your skin while protecting your privacy and keeping you comfortable.

10. Your sun protection beliefs- If you refuse to protect yourself from the sun let us know. We only scold you briefly. We use lots of medications that can make you even more sensitive to the sun. Also, increased sun exposure increases your risk for skin cancer, causes premature aging, brown spots and even some rashes. It’s information that helps us help you. If you want to be sun smart that’s simply you helping you.

I hope this helps you to communicate with me and all the providers at JD better this week. We can’t wait to see you!

Happy Spring forward, good luck getting out of bed in the morning, Nina


How I fell for Fort Smith

I was born, raised and educated in Fayetteville, AR. I’m a FHS and U of A alumni. One may say Fayetteville is my hometown. It was an amazing town to be raised in which is why I stayed there for college. There is good shopping, eating, bike trails, the hogs and above all else, good people. You can imagine that when I became engaged to my now husband how excited I was to move to the industrial town of Fort Smith. Not. At. All. I feared there was nothing for a 22 year old in Fort Smith. At first, there wasn’t. In the beginning of my courtship with this city I was just my husbands (a man already well known and loved in our community)fiance. But then I decided I was going to make the best of it and I let down my inhibitions and I started to fall in love with Fort Smith.  The more I learned about our community the more I liked it. The more people I got to know the better this place became. You ever heard the saying “a house is not a home”? Meaning that a house is just a structure but it is the family and life in that structure that makes a home. Same idea applies to a city and its community and I really couldn’t love this community any more. Here are some of my favorite things about Fort Smith and why this place is my home now after just 7 short years.

1. Small business shopping- The first time I went to Suite One, the owner, Tasha helped me shop. Through shopping there we have become friends. Every time I go in that place every girl offers to watch my daughter while I shop. It’s like shopping out of a girlfriends closet! Then another precious friend opened a  Fort Smith boutique, Hazels Haven which is also the funnest shopping experience. They go out of their way to put things on hold for you and make you feel special. By far my two favorite little shops to hit up in Fort Smith. Bonus: My husband can go in either of those stores for presents for me and they know me so well they can pick out stuff that I will love! Shopping local is the best!

2. Eating- Do you guys realize how much the foodie scene has picked up in Fort Smith? From fancy shmancy like Movie Lounge and West End 21 to “quick eats” like River City Deli. Have you been to Pho Vietnam? Don’t let the old gas station look scare you away, it’s the best! This summer if you don’t go to Delicias Michoacanas and get a homemade popsicle you won’t forgive yourself. It’s not just their homemade ice cream delights either, have you had a homemade tamale there? My mouth is watering, moving on…..

3. Event scene- We may not have The Amp but we still have a music scene. We have big names that come to the River Front and Convention Center all the time. If you like the music scene then you most definitely don’t miss The Klocks or The Velcro Pygmies show every summer at The Rib Room. It’s like a Fort Smith locals summer bucket list event. We have tons of fundraiser events throughout the year that are always fun and for great causes. We even had a marathon this year!

4. Resources- Speaking of all those fundraiser events, Fort Smith has some great resources for our community; Children’s Emergency Shelter,The Reynolds Cancer Support House, Girls Inc. of Fort Smith, Community Rescue Mission, Bost Inc. and so many more.

5. The People- There is nowhere in the world with better people. After living here for almost 8 years I have really become too used to doors being held open for me. When I traveled to D.C. not too long ago I had a few doors dropped in my face because I was so prepared for the person in front of me to hold the door as I pranced through it. I also got stared at like I was about to rob a woman when I held a door open for her. We are nice here, we are kind, we help each other, we care about each other and we put others before ourselves.

6. Healthcare- We have doctors here in Fort Smith who have been trained by some of the best in the world. Did you know people travel from all over the United States to see some of our specialist right here in Fort Smith? When I worked in the hospital I even took care of someone who came from over seas to see one of our doctors in Fort Smith.

7. Schools- We have lots of private school options in Fort Smith that are always winning awards. I have a step-son in UAFS right now and is having the best time and hopefully will get the best job when he graduates from our pay roll, ahem, I mean from the college.

This post is getting too long or I could go on and on and on. This city is my home and I am blessed to be able to raise my daughters here. Are you wondering what this has to do with skin? It doesn’t really, other than the fact that Johnson Dermatology is committed to this community. When I started working there I fell in love with Fort Smith all over again, knew I would never leave. I joke sometimes that Johnson Dermatology will have a statue of the founders Dr. Brad and Dr. Sandy in 100 years in front of the building because JD is here to stay. I’m working on earning myself a brick in the sidewalk or something. We thrive on always becoming better so that we can serve this community to the best of our abilities. I became a nurse practitioner to serve and this community has a place in my heart so it is my honor to serve the people of Fort Smith. I hope you all can read this post and learn something about Fort Smith or just appreciate our home a little more because we actually have a lot to offer the great state of Arkansas.

“I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe that happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles.”  -Audrey Hepburn

Happy Sunday to all, start your March right, happily, Nina