What's in a filler? Hint....hyaluronic acid

Frequently, we are asked what a filler is made of. Most fillers are hyaluronic acid, a natural substance in the body. It’s an amazing substance that is in our skin, joint fluid, cartilage. It helps our skin heal in response to damage. We inject it as a medical filler for cosmetic purposes of replacing lost volume, lifting sagging tissue or filling wrinkles. It is also injected into arthritic joints to help with lubrication and comfort.

Brand names in the US include: Juvederm, Restylane, Belotero. Some are thicker or thinner and break down at different rates, depending on the area where it is used. When filler is injected in the tear troughs, it can last two years, as the metabolism is slow in this area. Lip injections typically last only 6 months, due to more rapid metabolism from eating and speaking. Hyaluronic acid fillers work immediately as they replace lost volume.

Side effects are typically only bruising, which lasts less than one week. But rarely, others can occur like infection, allergy, or occlusion of a blood vessel.

There are other types of fillers, which I’ll write about at another time. Stay tuned for a future blog.


MonaLisa Touch- An Innovative Treatment For Vaginal Health

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Dr. Howlin was the first to offer the MonaLisa Touch in Michigan and introduced it in 2015 as her 13th laser to the Chelsea Medicine and Laser practice. Since then, Dr. Howlin has done over 900 treatments, restoring women's vaginal health by addressing dryness, burning, painful intercourse and urinary incontinence. 

The MonaLisa Touch is a gentle laser that delivers energy to the vaginal wall to stimulate a healing response, generating new collagen in the tissue and enhancing moisture levels in the vaginal canal. A typical course of treatment is three procedures over 12 weeks.

  • In-office procedure

  • No anesthesia, virtually painless

  • No downtime

  • No side effects

  • Each treatment is < 5 minutes

  • Thousands of women have been treated worldwide since 2008

In both European and U.S. clinical trials, women reported symptom relief after the very first treatment and even greater improvement after treatments 2 and 3.


Dr. Howlin Says....Use Your Sunscreen!

Physical sunscreens are safer and are more effective than chemical sunscreens. Be aware of what type you are using!

UPDATE 5/8/2019: Chemical sunscreens are being absorbed into our bloodstream. Blood levels are detectable a day after using a chemical sunscreen. Be sure to use zinc or titanium sunscreen as they are not absorbed and are a non chemical way of preventing sunburn and skin cancer without putting toxins into the body. This information was published by the AMA this week. It doesn't show that the ingredients are unsafe at this point, but just that they are absorbed into our bodies. 

*Sheer Sunscreen $32- Physical protection for all skin types. Gentle on sensitive and acne prone skin.  *BB Sunscreen $45- UVA/UVB protection. Conceal imperfections and minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pore size.

*Sheer Sunscreen $32- Physical protection for all skin types. Gentle on sensitive and acne prone skin.
*BB Sunscreen $45- UVA/UVB protection. Conceal imperfections and minimize the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pore size.

Chemical sunscreens: oxybenzone and octinoxate are looking like they are harming sea coral and alter the sex hormones of ocean wildlife. Hawaii is banning them in 2021. The FDA finds them safe for people. But we know that the chemical sunscreens denature sunlight to not damage our skin. Preferable is a physical sunscreen to block it without putting chemicals in our body. Remember that the skin is our largest organ and what we put on it can travel into our bodies. 

People have always found the chemical sunscreens thinner and easier to apply and less expensive. Their names are avobenzone, homosalate,  octinoxate, oxybenzone. Note: they are not to be applied to infants < 6 months of age. 

Physical sunscreens contain minerals like zinc or titanium. They are not linked to environmental or hormonal problems. Some good brands that can be used for body coverage are Neutrogena Sheer Zinc, Coppertone Sport Lotion. I've found an inexpensive zinc sunscreen by Meijer. Our office sells a cosmetic grade physical sunscreen that is good for facial use.

Choose broad spectrum sunscreen so that uva and uvb are covered. Uva causes aging and cancer and uvb causes sunburn. Use anything over spf 30 as it blocks 97% of rays. A common mistake is not reapplying after two hours. 

Some companies sell oral sunscreens. Don't rely on them for sole protection. Wear a topical sunscreen too. 

And enjoy the rest of this beautiful summer! 

- Dr. Howlin