Here at LKN Fountain of Youth, we love to help you with everything skincare, injectables, and beauty related. And one question we get ALL the time is about pores. What can I do to make them smaller? Why do they get clogged? What can I do to unclog them? Why does it seem some people have none and mine are huge? Let’s dive into the topic because there’s a lot of debunking.
How do Pores work?
To understand pores, you first need to know how they work. Pores are actually hair follicles that house tiny hairs. They are also where the sebaceous (oil) glands and sudoriferous (sweat) glands live. Pores help protect and lubricate the skin when they secrete oil and sweat helps to detoxify your body. While of course, that doesn’t sound like a positive thing to a lot of people, it’s a very important bodily function.
Pores are also important in skincare in the sense that they are little holes that allow our product to get into and penetrate deeper into the skin. That’s why it’s so important to wash your face every day and night to remove all the dirt, oil, and makeup!
In any case, the primary skincare issue surrounding pores is that sometimes they excrete too much sebum, which can cause enlarged pores. Also, when oil mixes with dirt and bacteria, it can result in acne or can make your pores look darker (more on that soon). There are also cases where pores don’t secrete enough oil, which becomes more common as we get older. This leads to dry skin, which can look dull, flaky, and generally unhealthy (heavy moisturizers and oils can fix that problem)
Basically, they’re finicky as all heck. But getting the facts straight can help you understand them better.
Mythbusting: Pore Edition
Let’s dig right in. These are the three most common myths about pores:
1. You Cannot Shrink Pores
I know, mind-blowing right? We hear it all the time, “this treatment will help shrink your pores”. False. The size of your pores is based on genetics, much like the size of your feet or the color of your hair. You can make them appear smaller by cleansing regularly, exfoliation, and good old manual extractions, however, you can’t actually shrink them.
2. You can’t open and close pores
Pores are not muscles, they can’t open and close. Warm water or steam will not open them up and cold water will not close them. Steaming the skin can help loosen up underlying debris, making blackheads easier to extract, but that’s about it. (Always remember it’s best to leave extractions to the professionals.)
3. The ‘black’ in blackheads is dirt
There’s a lot of confusion when it comes to blackheads. Blackheads are a form of acne, and specifically a hardened plug of sebum and dead cells within a pore. It looks black because it’s been oxidized (exposed to the air). An extracted blackhead has a black, waxy head with a white or transparent tail. Those gray, pinhead-sized dots you see on your nose and cheeks are most likely sebaceous filaments, not blackheads. When extracted, they look like fine, white or yellow hairs.
The Proper Pore Treatment
You can start by cleansing your face every single night—no matter how exhausted you are—to remove dirt, makeup, excess oil and anything else that’s setting up camp in your pores and making them appear larger. We recommend a double cleanse (if you wore face makeup) that starts with an oil cleanser and finishes with a foam cleanser to make sure every trace of makeup and oil is removed.
A topical retinoid should also be applied in the evenings. They have been scientifically demonstrated to increase cell turnover, unclog pores, and encourage new collagen growth.
When it comes to filler, we want it all. And why shouldn’t we? We want to turn back the clock in a way that looks natural. And we want these youth-giving results to last as long as possible.
If you’ve tried filler in the past, but find you aren’t getting the volume you want (or it’s disappearing way too fast), Sculptra may be for you. In many cases, when it comes to giving natural-looking oomph to hollow cheeks and temples, nothing beats Sculptra for lifting and plumping. We’ve seen some amazing results in some of our clients with thinner faces and gaunt cheeks that can result from weight loss.
Why We’re Loving This Long-Lasting Filler
- The results are noticeable for up to 2 years. (Because, sadly, everyone continues to age, touch ups are typically needed after two years to maintain or improve the client’s appearance.)
- The look is natural and gradual, but also provides significant improvement.
- The injections promote our own collagen production, so the results get better over time.
Each injection—typically two-three are recommended, spaced about a month apart—deposits small dissolvable crystals, made of a synthetic material called Poly-L-lactic acid, into the fatty layer of the face. The crystals trigger the body to start producing its own collagen in those areas. The crystals gradually dissolve, leaving only the new collagen in its place. In this way, the final “filler” is actually the client’s own collagen tissue making Sculptra the most natural of all off-the-shelf injectable fillers.
Since Sculptra is injected over time, the improvements are gradual, contributing to the natural-looking results. This makes it easy for the practitioner to see the changes before deciding how much and where to inject more Sculptra during the next session. Ideally, clients can combine Sculptra injections with other skin rejuvenating treatments, such as laser resurfacing or microneedling, to give them maximum improvement with minimal downtime and without the costs and risks of a face lift.
Pro Tips From The LKN Fountain of Youth Providers:
- Always work with a highly skilled and experienced practitioners or nurse trained in Sculptra injections with a critical eye and a long list of happy clients.
- Because it’s long lasting, you may want to first experiment with other volumizing fillers made from hyaluronic acid (which can be easily dissolved with hyaluronidase) so you can get a better idea of what it looks like to plump up your hollow areas.
- Sculptra injections can result in some bruising and swelling, and also require clients to massage the treated areas several times a day for about a week to prevent unwanted lumps and bumps.
- It is not a “lunch-time” filler, since several injections are required. However, you will see some improvement after the very first injection.
- It is not meant for more delicate areas with thinner skin, such as under-eye depressions, or areas with a lot of movement, such as the lips.
Years of unprotected sun exposure along with unhealthy lifestyle habits can really take a toll on your skin. Fortunately, treatments like BroadBand Light (BBL) by Sciton can help. This cosmetic treatment targets sun damage and unwanted pigment such as brown spots, redness/rosacea, and broken facial capillaries. If you are considering BBL treatment for sun damage or any other concern, Lake Norman Fountain of Youth can help. Keep reading to find out if BBL is the right treatment for you.
What is BBL?
BroadBand Light emits high-intensity pulses of light, in order to reduce unwanted red and/or brown pigment in the skin. It does this by targeting melanin (which comprises brown spots or freckles) as well as hemoglobin (within superficial blood vessels). Eliminating this unwanted pigment results in clear, even skin that emits a radiant glow from within.
BBL can be used on any area of the skin that has sun damage or redness. The most commonly treated areas are those that are exposed to the sun’s damaging UV rays most often: face, neck, hands and chest. However, any part of the body that has been affected by sun damage can be treated, as long as the skin is not tanned.
What Is Recovery Like?
BBL is a non-invasive laser light treatment which means that there is no downtime. Most patients experience some temporary redness and the feeling of a sunburn immediately after the treatment, which resolves within an hour or two. Any brown spots that have responded to the treatment will darken, and then slough off the skin over the next 7-10 days.
It is recommended that you avoid deliberate sun exposure after your procedure, as well as tanning beds. There are some medications that can make you more sensitive to light that you should avoid as well. To ensure the best results, apply sunscreen and/or other skincare products as directed by your LKN Fountain of Youth Provider.
What Results Can I Expect?
Your provider will discuss your goals and perform a complete skin analysis with you prior to your treatment. At this time they will determine the best treatment protocol that will help you achieve your desired results. Although you will see results (reduced redness and/or brown spots) after one treatment, maximum results are typically achieved with a series of 3-4 treatments, spaced one month apart.
Although there is no way to permanently prevent aging, BBL can remove years of visible sun damage, resulting in younger, healthier skin. Proper skincare and daily sun protection will enhance and prolong your results. While treated brown spots and broken blood vessels will not return, it is possible that new ones may appear in the future if you do not properly care for your skin. Therefore it is likely you will require the occasional maintenance treatment to maintain your radiant skin.
Is BBL Right for Me?
If you’re looking to improve visible sun damage and/or skin redness, BBL might be the treatment you’ve been searching for.
At LKN Fountain of Youth, we will sit down with you in an initial consultation to discuss all aspects of the BBL treatment and determine if you are a suitable candidate. We will also be able to answer any questions you might have.
There’s no need to stress about sun-damaged skin. Discover how to achieve even, radiant skin all year round. Contact us today to book your consultation.
Until recently, the only way to address problems caused by facial skin laxity—such as jowls and drooping cheeks—was facelift surgery. After all, while skin resurfacing treatments can help to restore some degree of firmness, once loose skin is present, only a scalpel can truly remove it. However, while the approach of relying on injectable compounds and skin resurfacing until facelift surgery becomes absolutely necessary works for many patients, not everyone is willing or able to have surgery. If you’re in this group, you’ll be happy to know that a new type of procedure has been developed to fill in the gap between noninvasive facial rejuvenation and facelift surgery: The “thread lift.”
What is a thread lift?
A thread lift is a type of procedure wherein temporary sutures are used to produce a subtle but visible “lift” in the skin. Instead of removing the patient’s loose facial skin surgically, the cosmetic surgeon simply suspends it by stitching up portions of it. This has the effect of pulling the skin back slightly and therefore lifting and tightening the face. In addition to being ideal for lifting the skin, threads combat aging in another way: by provoking the body’s “healing response” and causing the body to direct large surges of collagen to treated areas. This is important because of the vital role collagen plays in the aging process.
Collagen helps support “growth factors” that greatly influences the condition of our skin. In addition to being used for wound healing, collagen helps to keep our skin strong, voluminous and supple. As we get older, our bodies gradually produce less and less collagen, which leads to an 80% reduction in skin thickness by about age 70. This loss of volume and strength is a large factor in the creation of excess skin and wrinkles. As the skin grows weaker, it’s no longer able to support the tissues beneath it adequately, meaning that gravity pulls it downwards and stretches it. Infusing the skin of the face with fresh collagen when the signs of skin laxity are still mild can help to both reduce looseness (by thickening and hydrating the skin) and prevent it from getting worse (by strengthening the skin).
In other words, this process provides ongoing and progressive rejuvenation for the facial tissues. Patients who have a thread lift for the purpose of stimulating collagen will notice a gradual improvement in their skin’s tone and firmness. While their threads are in place, the body’s healing response will be constantly activated because the body will want to “heal” the sutured areas and expel the sutures. The body is biologically programmed to react this way when it senses any foreign object present within the dermis. Fortunately, because the threads placed under the skin during a thread lift are so small, the patient will not feel any of this happening. Most people cannot feel their sutures at all once the skin has healed around them.
What are the advantages of having a thread lift instead of a facelift?
For many patients, the biggest advantage of having a thread lift rather than a facelift is the greatly reduced recovery time associated with thread lifts. When a patient has facelift surgery, he or she must be heavily sedated; as such, the patient must arrange for someone to drive him or her home from the hospital. Most facelift patients also require around the clock assistance from a caretaker for at least three days after they have surgery. Furthermore, if the patient still has children at home, childcare aid may also be needed. Facelift patients usually need to take one to two weeks off of work, too, in order to heal.
Recovery from a thread lift, on the other hand, is comparatively easy. Thread lifts can be performed under local, rather than general anesthesia, meaning that thread lift patients can drive themselves home and look after themselves immediately after having their procedure. While some patients will experience a little bit of soreness, redness and swelling after having a thread lift and therefore wish to take the rest of the day off, most can return to work immediately. Strong pain medication is seldom needed after having a thread lift, making it easier for patients to return to their normal routine. This procedure is therefore ideal for people who have children at home or those who have busy, demanding careers.
While thread lift recovery is not particularly intensive, patients will still have to take a few minor precautions while healing. It’s important to make sure that you don’t rub your face vigorously while cleansing it or applying moisturizer for at least a week after having threads placed. You should also try to prop your head up slightly so that you don’t roll over directly onto your face while sleeping.
Thread lifts are low risk, thanks to how noninvasive they are. There is virtually no risk of scarring, severe bruising, bleeding or other complications after having a thread lift. In rare cases, patients may experience irritation, infection or their sutures becoming visible under their skin. If this occurs, however, the sutures can simply be removed and the patient’s face will return to its prior state.
Finally, because thread lifts are much easier to perform than facelift surgery, they are much more affordable.
Advantageous though thread lifts are, it’s important for patients to maintain realistic expectations for this procedure. While thread lifts certainly produce visible changes, they will generally only lift the face by a few millimeters; as such, they create a more subtle and natural looking end result than facelift surgery. Thread lifts are therefore best suited to patients who are dealing with mild to moderate, rather than severe, signs of skin laxity.
The ideal thread lift candidate is usually in his or her late thirties to early fifties, whereas most patients over the age of about 55 will benefit more profoundly from facelift surgery. Thread lifts can, however, provide a facelift alternative for older patients who are unable to have surgery for medical reasons. Because thread lifts can be performed under local anesthesia, many people who have age-related conditions that make them ineligible for surgery (like high blood pressure, type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease) can safely have this treatment. If you have any outstanding health conditions, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not a thread lift might be right for you.
It’s important to understand that while no lifting technique can produce permanent results, facelift surgery will usually produce longer lasting results than a thread lift. The results of facelift surgery can last up to a decade, whereas a thread lift will generally last from one to three years. However, because the thread lift procedure is so low-risk, patients who like the results of their thread lift can usually opt to have a fresh set of temporary sutures placed once their old sutures are absorbed by the body.
Understanding different thread lift procedures: NovaThreads and Silhouette InstaLift
NovaThreads and Silhouette InstaLift threads have both been approved by the FDA for the purpose of lifting facial tissue. However, while these procedures rely on a similar mechanism of action and both produce excellent results, there are some key differences between them that patients need to be aware of. Below, we’ll explore how these two procedures compare to one another.
NovaThreads are sutures that are made from a biocompatible material called PDO, which has been specially designed for safe re-absorption by the body. NovaThreads remain in place for about four to six months, after which point they slowly dissolve. Patients can, however, expect to keep seeing the results of their NovaThreads lift for a year or more after their treatment. This long-lasting effect arises from the lingering improvement in skin condition that results from collagen infusion.
NovaThreads come in several different varieties: Barbed sutures, which are ideal for gathering skin (and therefore producing more lifting action) and straight or curved smooth sutures. Smooth sutures produce less of a lift, but they are excellent for collagen stimulation. Patients often have smooth sutures placed in strategic locations around their face (such as the corner of the mouth or along the brows) in order to target common problem areas where the signs of aging become particularly apparent. Barbed sutures, on the other hand, are placed near the hairline in order to gently pull back the skin and lift the cheeks and jowls.
Having NovaThreads placed is relatively quick and easy for the patient. First, local anesthesia will be used to numb the areas that are going to be treated, then a small instrument (a thin cannula or needle) will be used to insert the threads below the skin. This entire process usually takes just 30 to 45 minutes, and the patient is free to return to work afterward.
Like NovaThreads, the Silhouette InstaLift relies on the use of biocompatible temporary sutures to lift the face. The Silhouette InstaLift is more focused on lifting the skin than stimulating collagen production (though it will accomplish both objectives, of course), so the threads used during this procedure are designed somewhat differently. Rather than being smooth or barbed, they contain a number of sutures interspersed with tiny “cones” that are adept at grabbing tissue. This allows the threads to gather more skin, producing a more noticeable lift to the cheeks and jowls. Silhouette InstaLift threads are designed to create fairly long-lasting results as well; patients can expect to enjoy the impact of their Silhouette InstaLift for one to three years.
Having a Silhouette InstaLift takes about 45 minutes on average and can be performed under local anesthesia. A specially designed thin needle is used to insert the threads into the skin, minimizing patient discomfort. Patients sometimes experience mild soreness and swelling for a few days after having this procedure, but it can usually be managed with over the counter pain relievers. As such, if you have a Silhouette InstaLift, you will probably be able to return to your normal activities immediately afterward.
Getting the most out of your thread lift
Because thread lifts are so low-risk and boast such a short recovery time, it’s possible to combine them with other nonsurgical procedures in order to create more comprehensive, noticeable results. Once your skin has healed around the threads inserted during an “InstaLift,” we recommend pairing your thread lift with a treatment like ultherapy.
Ultherapy uses gentle pulses of ultrasound energy to heat the connective tissues beneath the skin, thereby stimulating collagen production. Ultherapy, which is often referred to as being a “nonsurgical facelift,” is safe enough to be applied to virtually any area of the face and neck. By combining this procedure with a thread lift, you can maximize the overall amount of skin firming you receive and create more even lifting by treating the neck as well as the face.
While thread lifts can tighten the skin effectively, they aren’t designed to address blemishes on the skin’s surface. As such, banishing the superficial signs of aging—like age spots, areas of uneven pigmentation and fine lines—will require a technique known as “skin resurfacing.” During skin resurfacing, the top layer of the dermis is removed, stripping away the aforementioned blemishes. A new, more youthful-looking layer of skin then grows in its place.
By combining a number of different nonsurgical anti-aging treatments, patients can achieve a profoundly positive change in their appearance – without enduring the extended recovery time associated with surgery.
Getting and keeping clear skin is easier than you think. Pick up these healthy habits to help banish breakouts.
1. Wash your face twice a day.
Both over-washing and under-washing can spell trouble for your skin. So what’s the magic number? Usually, cleansing just twice a day.
2. Eat a balanced and healthy diet.
You eat right to maintain a healthy weight, but eating the right food can also help your skin. Eating certain foods & drinks might actually affect acne. Scientists are investigating whether eating certain carbohydrates such as white bread, white potatoes, chips, cornflakes, pretzels and drinking skim milk might make acne worse.
3. Get clean after a workout.
Exercise is good not just for your body but for your skin, too, since it can improve circulation. Just don’t forget to shower and wash your face after a good workout, so bacteria and dead skin cells don’t clog your pores.
4. Use an oil-free moisturizer.
Moisturizers help prevent your skin from drying out, which can cause more oil to be produced. Look for lightweight, oil-free products that won’t clog pores.
5. Don’t skip the sunscreen.
The sun’s UV rays dry out your skin, so your body reacts by producing more oil. And you know what more oil means. More importantly, exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause skin cancer. So do yourself a huge favor and never leave the house without sunscreen. Just make sure it’s oil-free!
Dermatologists, estheticians, and all-around skin experts worldwide endlessly extol the virtues of using exfoliating acids to treat common skin complaints like acne, hyperpigmentation, and blackheads — and for good reason. They’re simple to use, more environmentally sound than physical scrubs with microbeads, and most importantly, they really work: Alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic, lactic, and mandelic exfoliate the surface layer, while beta-hydroxy acid, better known as salicylic acid, exfoliates deeper inside the pore.
As a result of their increasing popularity, beauty brands are formulating cleansers, toners, moisturizers, face masks, serums, and more with the liquid skin perfectors. It’s now easier than ever to incorporate acids into your routine at home, regardless of your skin type or how much time you set aside for skin care each morning and night.
For more challenging skin issues, like acne scarring or hyperpigmentation, potent clinical-grade acids — also known as chemical peels — are available. When used by professionals with extensive skin training and in a controlled, sterile environment, these treatments are safe. However, experts have discovered that high-strength acids are landing in the laps of individuals with no expertise whatsoever, and the results are incredibly dangerous.
There is a risk of infection, scarring, burning, and worsening of pigmentation.
A simple online search throws up a handful of websites selling acids, particularly glycolic and lactic acid blends, at varying strengths for the purpose of at-home use. Some range from 10% to 25% in strength, while others rather dangerously reach the 30% mark. Most websites advise that acid peels at these percentages are “very strong,” and warn against using them if you’re pregnant or taking Accutane — but none list the side effects, which can include painful chemical burns, scarring, and increased pigmentation.
Dr. Anjali Mahto, consultant dermatologist and author of The Skincare Bible: Your No-Nonsense Guide To Great Skin, is one expert advocating for the regulation of such products being readily available to consumers with little to no experience. “A number of patients have attended my clinics over the past few months with skin issues such as pigmentation, and on further questioning during the consultation, it transpired that they were buying high-strength peels online,” she tells Refinery29. Individuals are using home-bought peels for a variety of different reasons: “Skin complaints range from trying to treat their acne to improving their skin tone or texture, or hoping to remove skin pigmentation,” Dr. Mahto says.
Little do consumers know that they can cause more harm than good when using these professional-grade acid peels. “High-strength acid peels should only be carried out in a medical setting by an appropriately trained professional such as a qualified aesthetician, nurse, or doctor,” advises Dr. Mahto. “There is otherwise a risk of infection, scarring, burning, or pigmentation, to name a few effects. Appropriate aftercare may also not be carried out at home.”
The trend for purchasing clinical-grade acids online can perhaps be put down to the expense of visiting a dermatologist or qualified esthetician for skin treatment: With non-essential dermatology appointments often exceeding $200, it’s hard to blame individuals for opting for cheap DIY peels — and with more people taking interest in their skin, Dr. Mahto says, many will turn to at-home methods without being aware of the associated risks.