Hope for Hair Loss

Losing your hair is distressing and can profoundly affect the quality of your life. 

Hair loss has lots of different causes, including immunologic diseases and chemotherapy, but the most common is something called androgenetic alopecia. 

Androgenic alopecia, which runs in families, is a condition that affects both men and women. Men with this condition, commonly called male pattern baldness, start suffering hair loss as early as their 20s.  You usually see a receding hairline and gradual disappearance of hair from the top and front areas. Women don't usually get noticeable thinning until their late 40s, 50's or even later. Women experience a general thinning over the entire scalp, with the most extensive hair loss at the crown.  If this is happening to you, it can be disconcerting. 

So what can we do to fix this problem?  There have been hair thickening tonics for many years, and generally, these have been useless as they were not based on any science.  Now we finally have some science to tell us what works and what doesn't. 


  • Rogain, also called Minoxidil, is effective.  You can get it at CVS, it has FDA approval, and although the mechanism is unknown, it does seem to work.  You should put it on twice a day,  it can be messy and ruin your hairstyle,  so it's not the most popular treatment.  
  • Specific supplements also work, and we prefer one called Nutrafol.  This has multiple ingredients targeting the androgenic, inflammatory, nutritional, and immune-related components of hair loss.  Good data is supporting the use of this nutraceutical supplement, and we have seen excellent results with its use. 
  • Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) also works. This has been studied since the 1960's, and in 2007, the first device was cleared by the FDA for use in humans with androgenetic alopecia.  It works by a complex biochemical process—which simplified, is like putting a grow lamp on your hair follicles.   The laser energy seems to heal and restart the growth process that has been stopped or altered by stress, disease, injury or even genetics.   There have been many studies on this and photos showing good results, but I was not convinced until recently. An excellent new study in the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery looked at a laser cap with 272 diodes (tiny laser lights), at 650 nm, which was worn every other night for 30 minutes, over four months.  They found a 51% increase in hair counts at the end of the four-month period.  This finally convinced me that it does work.  You need enough diodes and the right wavelength however-not just any cap will work. 
  • PRP, (Platelet Rich Plasma), also seems to work and it has been used for many years to stimulate hair growth.  Blood is drawn from your arm and spun down to get the platelets which contain growth factors.  These platelets are then re-injected into the scalp where they stimulate previously dormant hair follicles.  However, all PRP is not created equal. You must draw enough blood, and spin it enough times in the proper type of tube to get a sufficient amount of platelets to make a difference.  So beware of bargain PRP, as it's likely to be just plasma and not concentrated platelets with growth factors. 


Is a combination of all these treatments the best?  Probably.  In our office, we like to start people on Nutrafol and the laser cap.  Then one month later we do one PURE PRP treatment, which seems to jump-start the follicle growth.  

If your hair is thinning, if you want to keep the hair you have or even get some back, give us a call for an appointment and evaluation.

Fillers: Which one is right for you?

Deciding which filler to use these days has become more complicated.  We have many more FDA approved fillers now on the market, and experienced doctors must decide what works best for each individual patient. 

Several factors come into play when deciding which filler to use.  

  1. Where do you need filler?  Some fillers are thick and long lasting and they provide good lift; these are often used to highlight cheekbones and pull up the face. Some are thin and shorter acting: these are useful for filling fine lines.  Some are honey-like in consistency: these can be useful for filling the tear troughs or chin hollows.  
  2. How deep are your lines and/or hollows and how much movement does that area of the face have?  This depends often on your age, how much sun exposure you have had, and if you smoke. 
  3. Your age and budget are always important factors to consider when making the decision about which filler to use.  

The best way to make this decision is to consult an experienced and trained cosmetic doctor who can guide you through the process and inject your filler safely.  Looking natural is important to almost everyone, and knowing how to inject is critical to having a natural result. 

Here is a list of the fillers I commonly use in my practice, and what areas of the face where I generally use them.

  1. Juvéderm ultra plus: Lips and chin hollows
  2. Volbella: lips, fine lines around the lips, tear troughs
  3. Vollure: chin hollows, tear troughs, temples, hands (lasts 2 years)
  4. Voluma: cheeks and cheekbones (lasts 2 years)
  5. Restylane: tear troughs
  6. Belotero: fine lines around the lips
  7. Bellafill: cheeks, temples, acne scar (lasts 5 years) 
  8. Radiesse: cheekbones, cheeks, hands

PRP - The Liquid Gold of Skincare

While the term Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) already sounds complicated, the treatment is quite straight forward and does AMAZING stuff.

I had the benefit of not only being a patient and trying PRP at Dr. Brown’s office but also being a pupil and learning some basic biology. In simple terms, PRP is taking your existing blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, at high speeds so your platelets get separated from the rest of your blood. The PRP is then injected in your skin and then the magic begins. Aside from working wonders (which I’ll get to in a moment) the beauty of PRP is that it’s your own blood; therefore, there is no risk for infection or allergic reaction.

I found out that PRP is actually a therapy that’s been used for years to treat all sorts of conditions such as musculoskeletal injuries (including tendinitis and nerve injuries). But PRP has been most popularized for its positive effects in reducing hair loss and facial rejuvenation. The platelets are packed with healing properties and assist stem cells to trigger reproduction.

Dr. Brown wanted to treat some areas of my scalp where I have thinning hair. I don’t know about you but as I’ve gotten older I’ve discovered these patches of bald spots on my head that I didn’t know existed. It’s not necessarily obvious when I style my hair, but when someone is actually weeding through it, BAM there they are. And, since there was leftover “liquid gold,” Dr. Brown went ahead and injected different areas on my face as well. For the scalp, she provided numbing cream which helped considerably. We didn’t apply any numbing cream for the face and the pain was minimal.

PRP usually takes a few weeks to run through your system properly. However, I have to say (and you know I always call it like it is), I saw a difference in my skin the very same day. The texture of it changed. Dr. Brown had injected PRP in my upper lip and for several days it looked like I had fuller lips (very cool side effect).

I’m being realistic about the results of PRP, especially since I’ve only done one treatment. PRP results take time. Collagen/hair follicles recover and grow SLOWLY. They die slowly too. I also know that when you combine PRP with a treatment like Dermapen, the results can be remarkable. Think about it…..all those little holes in your skin that are created from the Dermapen treatment are then injected with the rich nutrients of your plasma. Dermapen alone shows results after just one treatment but when you combine it with PRP, be prepared for the WOW factor.

Call Christie today at 818. 222.8232 or E-mail: info@skin-renaissance.com to find out if PRP is right for you. Frankly, everyone can benefit from this treatment!

Sunscreen Made Simple: What you Really Need to Know

UVB rays mostly cause sunburn and they are filtered by windows

UVA rays mostly cause wrinkles, sagging and aging, and they blast through windows

SPF numbers ONLY apply to UVB, and SPF 30 keeps out 97% of UVB rays

All sunscreens need to be re-applied after 2 hrs if you are out in the sun

All sunscreens need to be re-applied after swimming or sweating excessively

No sunscreen is perfect, wear a hat and apply enough to protect you

A day at the beach will require 1/4 to 1/2 an 8oz bottle of sunscreen

Different types of sunscreens protect against different types of rays

UVB chemical blockers include chemicals such as octinoxate, octisalate

UVA chemical blockers include avobenzone, and oxybenzone

Safety concerns have been raised about avobenzone, oxybenzone and other chemical blockers but only 1-5% of what you put onto your skin actually penetrates it

UVA and UVB physical blockers include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide

Chemical sunscreens need 30 minutes to bind to the skin before they are effective

Physical sunscreens, (zinc & titanium), are effective immediately

Sunscreen does not cause Vitamin D deficiency, this is a myth

Sunscreen is still necessary on cloudy days

Look for a sunscreen, like PCA, with the "Skin Cancer Foundation seal of approval

PCA sunscreen has both chemical (octinoxate), and zinc oxide for full protection

PCA has a new physical only tinted sunscreen, with both zinc and titanium

Find a sunscreen you like, approved by the Skin cancer foundation, and USE IT!


Heliocare: Adding SPF from the Inside Out

What is Heliocare?

Heliocare is an extract from a tropical fern found in South America. This supplement (used both topically and orally) has been used to primarily treat dark spots or pigment for over 30 years.

Over time Heliocare scientifically known as Polypodium leucotomos Extract, has been shown to protect the skin from the damaging effects of the sun, generalized oxidation and chemical damage. The only pure and reliable form of the extract is sold as "Heliocare" or "Fernblock" and this is the formulation that has been studied extensively.

Is Heliocare Safe to use?

Heliocare appears to be very safe. Over 40 years of published studies have not revealed any serious side effects. In one of the larger studies the individuals who took this supplement had six times lower chance of getting sunburn. In additional studies positive results were shown on allergic skin conditions, and some results for improving long term sun damage.

Can I use this instead of sunscreen?

NO! You ALWAYS need sunscreen and this supplement will never replace sunscreen. The use application for Heliocare all depends on your skin type.

How do I know how much to take?

If you are white skinned and just generally want to be protected it may be a good idea to take 1 capsule in the morning and 1 at night. If you have Melasma, the chronic brown pigment which usually springs from hormonal issues, it appears to be useful to take 2 capsules twice per day. If you are going on vacation, and are going to have more sun exposure than usual, you may want to increase to 5 capsules/day (maybe 3 in the am and 2 in the pm). You can also just try Heliocare to see how it affects your skin, as the safety of the supplement has been well established.

Normally I'm not a big fan of supplements, as I think that eating real food is far superior to anything you can get out of a pill. However, since South America is pretty far and munching on ferns doesn't seem that appetizing, Heliocare seems like a pretty good bet. It's available on Amazon, and at Walgreens.

Kybella is Coming Soon!

The new fat destroying injection, known as Kybella, is coming soon to Skin Renaissance! I am very excited to start using this newly FDA approved medication which is currently approved for the "double chin" area, AND we are hoping it will soon be available for other areas.

Kybella is a synthetic and safe version of a substance that naturally occurs in your body, called bile. Bile’s sole function is to break down fat. Like soap washes butter off your dinner plates, once Kybella is injected into the area, those particular fat cells die, and are unable to store or hold fat ever again!

The beauty of Kybella is that once the injection takes full effect, it not only kills the fat cells, but then tightens up the surrounding area so there is no loose hanging skin. This drug is so new we also don't know how many treatments each person will need. The average is 2-4 treatments spaced approximately 1 month apart. Exact treatment amounts and time intervals will vary for each person.

We should have Kybella available in about a month. Be sure to look for our upcoming Newsletters for the official announcement.

Not sure if Kybella is right for you? Call Christie and make an appointment for a free consultation with me. I will tell you if you are a candidate for Kybella and if you are, we will immediately add your name to our list to ensure you’re contacted when we get our shipment in the office.

We cannot wait to help our patients see the amazing results of this truly revolutionary product!

My Fraxel Experience

As you know by now, I am more than happy to test out whatever the latest technology Dr. Brown wants to offer to her patients. I am the consummate guinea pig. From fillers such as Voluma and Juvederm to laser type treatments such as Derma Pen and TruSculpt, I have tried them all. But I can honestly say, without a doubt (I’m not blowing smoke) ,the Fraxel treatment I had a month ago has shown the most significant difference in my skin. Don’t get me wrong, I love my fillers such as Voluma and Botox but they target a different area.

I actually had Fraxel done over 10 years ago when the technology wasn’t nearly as sophisticated. For those of you who tried it back then as well, you should have fond memories of a blue mask painted on your face to protect you from the laser intensity. And while the pain was minimal, the result was as well. And to top it off, I looked like a member of the Blue Man Group for at least a week (that stuff gets in between hard to reach crevices). I was told that I would definitely need a minimum of 3-5 treatments to see a difference. I wasn’t in a position to dole out that kind of money but was also disappointed that even after 1 treatment I didn’t see one iota of difference.

Flash forward to 2015. Fraxel has literally reinvented itself with updated laser technology. Gone are the days of Blue Man Group paint BUT, more importantly, I have never seen such a dramatic change in my skin after one treatment. I had pigmentation from years worth of sun worshipping and when I tell you that the pigmentation is gone…it’s really gone! Ask Christie, ask Aundrea and of course ask Dr. Brown. And there’s more! Some of the fine lines and wrinkles around my eyes and my mouth, significantly reduced. To give you a tangible example (aside from the before and after pictures below), I normally get Botox every 3 months (maybe 4) but I didn’t need it for over 5 months (yes, both crow’s feet and forehead) because of the effects of the Fraxel Laser treatment.

Last week I went in for some Voluma around my chin (because I had scheduled this appointment before the Fraxel treatment) and Dr. Brown took one look at my skin and said “your face is much fuller now (not swollen, but plumper) so she couldn’t see where I really needed the Voluma. How cool is that? When you read up on Fraxel, the research says it can take between 1-3 months (sometimes longer) for new collagen to form and plump up your skin. I am telling you, it took my skin about a month and I am still seeing improvements.

Can you tell I’m excited about Fraxel? I can’t tell you how great it is to skip wearing foundation and still look like I have even skin tone.

Fraxel really covers a full range of skin problems too. From pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines to deep acne scarring, it really does it all (and literally from head to toe).

Don’t hesitate to book a consultation with Dr. Brown to see if Fraxel could benefit your skin. Trust me, it will not be a waste of your time and if you move forward and have the treatment, it will be one of the best investments you’ve ever made for yourself!

before and after Randi