Monthly Archives: December 2016

Myth Bustin’ Infrared

This past Thursday I talked skin care at Roots Hair Salon girls night. Go follow them @allaboutroots on Instagram now if you don’t already. They have the BEST GNO events with local boutiques and the hair/make-up tips are priceless (if you see me with wing eyeliner this week don’t be surprised-they dropped that trick in my toolbox Thursday night).  It’s just a friendly, fun environment and you don’t want to miss the next one.

I get so excited talking skin care and products. I love educating people about skin and mixing that with beauty is what makes my heart happy. At these type of events I usually spend about half the time debunking skin tip myths people ask about. It’s hard work filtering through good sound advice and marketing these days.

One of the things my patients have asked about a lot lately that also came up at the event was infrared light treatment for anti-aging purposes. Recently lots of gyms and tanning salons are getting “red light tanning beds” that advertise anti-aging effects instead of giving you a tan.

This confuses people because the sunscreen I use protects against infrared. It’s called total defense and repair and the science behind it proves that infrared rays from environmental sun exposure cause sunDAMAGE to the skin. Did you know that we used to only think UVB rays damaged the skin (1960’s)? Then we discovered later that UVA rays also damaged the skin(1977). Most recently brought to light (pun intended) are infrared rays that also damage the deeper layers of the skin. This is one of the many reasons I chose to use SkinMedica total defense and repair. Although other sunscreens have tried to duplicate the infrared protection claims, there have been no studies to prove those claims that I am aware of and you know I like to have science back me up.

The confusion comes when you hear about a red light tanning bed making you more collagen. Did you know I’ve actually recommended light for skin conditions? You can pick your jaw up off the floor. Controlled narrowband UV light three times per week is something we offer at the clinic for people suffering with psoriasis, occult pruritus, vitiligo and more! I don’t let those patients get a tan, there is a difference. Sometimes benefits of treatments outweigh the risk of that treatment. There is research out there that supports infrared light therapies to treat wound healing, protect muscles from stress (see references at end of blog if you want to geek out in research) and more. The difference in these infrared rays is time of exposure, intensity and heat production during exposure. Simply said, in a tightly controlled environment we can use red light for good causes but when coming from the sun and other uncontrolled devices it causes damage to the skin.

What does all this mean to you? Ask your dermatologist before you decide on treatments for your skin. Whether it’s a facial, a product, a device or an injection you should first consult a dermatologist. It’s a very complicated world out there and I think if you are reading this blog you are smart enough to know some people are padding their pockets first and foremost. Don’t be a victim of marketing ploys. Consult an expert who took an oath to first do no harm.

We are honored if you trust us with your skin at Johnson Dermatology. If you read this blog and don’t have a dermatologist I highly recommend you find one. Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it should be in the hands of someone who is an expert on skin.

“A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.”      -Henry Ford

Merry Christmas, Nina

P.S. For those of you into science here ya go…..

a. Grether-Beck et al, Photoderm Photoimmunol Photomed 2014: review on photodamage from sun exposure other than UV
b. Robert et al., Skin Pharmacol & Physiol 2015: effect of IR-A on extracellular matrix
c. Schroeder et al, J Invest Dermatol 2008: infrared radiation increases MMP1


Great Advice

We go to Branson as a family every year at Christmas time. Our annual trip was this weekend and it was a doozy. Saturday morning my 20 month old little darling puked all over the breakfast table.  The smell was so bad the waitress brought me a washcloth and a bucket of water with the advice “napkins won’t take care of that”. I stayed in and snuggled her until she felt better that evening and then we headed to Silver Dollar City to see the lights-she wasn’t better, she puked there too. We left early and missed the parade. On the way home my 3 year old told me she needed to pee while we were in bumper to bumper traffic. I begged her to hold it and denied her request to “get out and go in the grass”. While stuck in traffic my one year old started to vomit. I crawled into the back seat to try to catch some of it and console her. My husband remained in the front seat where he gagged from the smell. He kindly rolled down the back seat windows to let the smell out and the freezing cold wind in to blow against our soaked in puke clothing. At this point my three year old yelled out the window “someone help us”. I said a little prayer that no one would call the police to check on the situation. We finally made it back to our home away from home where my three year old could no longer “hold it”. As we all sat there soaked in a variety of body fluids I laughed and cried hysterically, simultaneously. There is not one single parenting book or piece of advice that could prepare me for that moment. Thats life, Mom life to be exact. The kids went to bed and the adults stayed up playing cards, just hours later we were all laughing so hard about it our bellies ached. Talking about how no parenting advice can prepare you for those moments.

I give skin advice everyday. Whether with my patients, friends, family or blog readers. What makes you take my advice? Do you weigh the benefits versus the risks? Do you take into account my licensure or certifications and their value? I am thankful for those of you that trust me and take my advice on skin care. Often times people don’t take my advice because there is a cheaper option, easier option, less time consuming option or just simply because they disagree from personal experience. Today I want to share tips that people often don’t follow but in my opinion should be taken seriously. Skin advice that some people have disregarded previously.

  1. Sun protect even when you don’t think you need to. I tell people to wear sunscreen everyday and I often hear “but I don’t go in the sun”. We all go in the sun. Do you drive a car with windows? Do you see the light of day? How many parking lots do you walk through every day? If you see the light of day the suns rays see you. Even if you think you don’t need it, use sunscreen!
  2. Don’t tan to get ready for a beach vacation. I hear this all the time, like it’s okay to tan if it’s just one month per year. Would you smoke for one month per year? The best a tan could get you is an SPF of 4 which means you’re still going to burn. The American Academy of Dermatology says “Using indoor tanning beds before age 35 can increase your risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, by 59 percent; the risk increases with each use.” Melanoma kills people. It’s proven, researched, scientific facts- don’t get in a tanning bed if you don’t want skin cancer.
  3. Use retinol even if you think “it isn’t working”. You may not have used it long enough, you may not be using the best retinol (I use SkinMedica 1.0 Retinol) or you may be preventing more than “fixing” problems. Researchers have taken biopsies of skin and then applied retinol and taken a new biopsy and there is proven change in the skin underneath the microscope. When you are using retinol you are preventing acne, brown spots, enlarged pores, dull appearing skin and more. This is one case where if you use retinol for a year and can’t tell the difference, it’s you- not the retinol so I wouldn’t break up with it. Be married to retinol and the difference in what your skin will be in 20 years compared to what it will be without it will be mind blowing! Promise- I got the science to back that!
  4. Be gentle even if you want to “feel something happening”. I advise you guys over and over again not to scrub and use harsh products. Repeatedly I hear “but I want to feel the burn, the tingle, feel something happening”. You’re letting marketing techniques manage your skincare products instead of me. Companies know that if you feel something happening you will connect that to results. It’s a crock of poo. That ingredient that is burning or tingling your skin is actually more likely to be causing inflammation and dehydration of your skin rather than helping it. I know you are all too smart for that ploy though.
  5. Dont pop your pimples. “But Nina what do I do then when it’s full of pus and has to come out?” Answer: Apply your prescribed medicine, let me inject it, let me laser it, let me peel it, let me put it under a blu-u light! Whatever you pop out you’re popping that much in too. You’re causing inflammation and worsening of redness. You’re making it stay longer and scarring your beautiful face. It doesn’t NEED to be “popped” this is a common myth and I need you all to raise your right hand and repeat after me “I will not pop my pimples”.

The point is I give a lot of advice that people don’t like and that’s hard to take to heart. But as I sat in Branson in the worst possible Mommy situation, I had no parenting advice regrets. On the other hand, you are likely to regret ignoring the advice I have put here today. I don’t want you in my office in 20 years saying “I wish I would have worn sunscreen”. Don’t let that patient be you. Or maybe you will be that patient with skin regrets. I’m just a girl trying to save skin….. you may have different dreams and desires.

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope you all find yourselves crying until you laugh and laughing until you cry with only those regrets that are worth learning a valuable lesson.

xoxo, Nina

The “A” Team

This week I have found an extra appreciation for the meaning of a team. I am so blessed with family, friends, a job and a great community. None of these things have been achieved all on my own. My parents molded me into an adult to pick a husband. My friends, husband and OB (shout out to Dr. Riche at Mercy) all worked very hard for 5 years through infertility before I had children. Professors, doctors, nurses, supervisors and more were part of the team that helped me become a nurse practitioner. Mayors, small business owners, outreach programs and churches are all part of the team that makes Fort Smith great. What has brought great things into my life is great team members. It takes a team in life. Friday night was our staff Christmas party. Our largest one of the five  I have attended. Looking around brought to reality just how many people it really takes to care for your skin. When you make an appointment with me (or any of our providers) your outcomes and experience are the responsibility of the entire team. From the person you talk to when you make your appointment to the member that walks you back, to the surgical tech that gives you a stitch, the laser tech that lasers your scar, the billing department that files your insurance claim, the person that checks you out and educates you about skin care. You are touched by so many people with that one appointment you made with me. That’s what makes people love Johnson Dermatology, the team.

Thank you to all my team members, the ones who have helped me achieve a beautiful family. The ones who helped me achieve my professional goals. The JD team that helps me save skin. The Fort Smith team that makes me love this community of mine. Thank you for being an active team member and making my life a better one.

I encourage all of my readers to evaluate your team. Thank your team. What you have achieved took a team. What you have not achieved yet will require a team. Do not underestimate the value of a good team. Do not take advantage of a great team.

I promise that a little humility will strengthen your role in the team and make you a stronger team member. I found some of that humility looking around at my work team Friday night and I will be a better health care provider Monday morning because of that realization.

Finally, when it comes to healthy, refreshed skin it takes a team. A dermatology office is just one part of the team. Good products, dedication and support to help compliance are all required to reach your skin goals. Be smart on who coaches your skin team. Thank you for trusting me and Johnson Dermatology as your skin coaches.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” -African Proverb

Merry Christmas, next week I will get back to talking skin{insert wink face emoji} -Nina