Category Archives: Skincare

Fraxel Fractional Micro-Dermal Ablation

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  What is Fraxel Fractional Micro-Dermal Ablation (FMDA) 600u?

Fraxel FMDA 600u is a minimally-invasive laser therapy providing a wide array of treatment options to address many signs of aging, customized to individual needs and concerns, and requiring less social downtime when compared to our “Gold Standard” Fraxel FDDA 135u or physician provided procedures such as rhytidectomy (face lift). It’s the perfect solution for clients who want their skin to look younger, but don’t want to have surgery or can’t afford a lot of time away from work or their social life. Most of us wish we could slow down the effects that aging has on our appearance – and maybe even get a few years back in the process. Fraxel is proven laser technology that can help reverse the visible effects of aging, naturally helping you look as young as you feel. With Fraxel, change isn’t drastic or scary – it’s you, just younger.

What are Fraxel FMDA 600u treatments used for?

  • Minimizing the appearance of age spots, sun spots, freckles and pigmented lesions
  • Reduction of fine lines, wrinkles & superficial scarring
  • Improvement of textural irregularities of the skin
  • Overall resurfacing of the epidermis
  • Collagen and Elastin stimulation

How does the Fraxel FMDA 600u treatment work?

Fraxel FMDA 600u uses a high-intensity carbon dioxide (CO2) laser. Through fractional technology, thousands of microscopic laser columns penetrate the skin to remove old and damaged skin cells. This stimulates your body’s natural healing process, which replaces the cells with fresh, glowing healthy skin. Unlike traditional CO2 lasers, which treat the entire skin surface, the Fraxel laser targets a fraction of the skin at a time (like aerating your lawn), leaving the surrounding tissue intact. This “fractional” treatment allows your body to heal the skin much faster than if the entire area were treated at once.

Is Fraxel Treatment Right for Me?

Fraxel is for clients who want to look rejuvenated and want real results – but don’t want the overt change or extended downtimes that come with surgery.  Fraxel can fit into any lifestyle and current beauty regimen. This treatment is clinically proven to be safe and can be easily managed into your routine with a social downtime of about 5-7 days. This CO2 laser delivers a simple, effective treatment that really reverses signs of aging.

How many treatments are required?

This laser treatment is incredibly efficient and most clients see their desired results with just one treatment! For even more dramatic rejuvenation results with a single session, see the end of this blog for information on Fraxel FDDA 135u with Dr. Christine Kurz.

What can I expect at my Fraxel Treatment?

Prior to treatment, all makeup creams and lotions will be cleaned from the treatment area, and pre-procedure photos will be taken. A topical freezing cream is then placed on the skin to be anesthetized, and oral medication will also be given to help you stay calm and lessen the sensation of the procedure.  After the numbing cream has taken effect (about one hour), the laser technician will begin your treatment. Your laser technician will put special goggles over your eyes to protect them from the intense flash of the Fraxel Laser. The Fraxel handpiece is gently applied to your skin and the CO2 laser is rolled across the skin that is being treated. The procedure itself takes about 30 minutes for the full face.

What can I expect after treatment?

Most Fraxel patients report the sensation of a “light sunburn” immediately after treatment, and in the next few days you may experience swelling and redness, oozing/bleeding and peeling; however, these skin reactions do not always occur with every patient. You may need to schedule time off work to allow the skin to heal, as swelling usually subsides within a week, although redness can last up to a month post-procedure.  Most clients can expect to return to their routine activities within five to seven days. Your therapist will go over post-care and a skin care regimen to help you maintain your amazing results with Fraxel. Proper home care is essential in preventing post-procedural complications.

Are there side effects or possible complications?

The Fraxel laser offers great results because it is an aggressive treatment. Your technician will provide you with specific instructions about what to expect for your particular treatment and how to minimize side effects.

Hyperpigmentation (darkening of skin) is a possible complication of Fraxel treatment.  Causes of hyperpigmentation include:
1. Unprotected sun exposure in the 2 weeks post-treatment.
2. Skin irritants – such as pulling / picking at skin, blow driers, wind, etc. post-treatment.
3. Tendency to hyperpigmentation before Fraxel (Asian, First Nations, African, Mediterranean descent). These patients may have benefit from pretreatment medication to dampen down the melanocytes (and prevent post-procedure hyperpigmentation) for a few days before the treatment.
4. Oil based products placed on open skin. Moisturizers should have water or Aqua as the 1st ingredient. Azure can recomend products for the 1st 2 weeks after the procedure. Avoid retinol before treatment, use gentle cleansers and avoid any active ingredients for 14 days after treatment.
5. Infection of the skin.

Post-treatment, skin is still healing, building collagen and repairing old damage. If hyperpigmentation occurs, it usually starts about 4 weeks after a treatment and is generally very reversible. Sometimes, it is just the way some people’s bodies respond to skin stress states. Low dose hydroquinone cream (2 – 4%) – applied sparingly to the hyperpigmented areas, twice a day for 2 weeks, will typically improve this condition.

How long will results last?

Results are immediate and progressive.  Soon after treatment, the surface of your skin will feel softer, look brighter, and show a more even skin tone, Over three to six months, you will see even more results as the deeper layers continue to heal. Results can last for years depending on individual factors like age and skin condition. Fraxel will improve many of the visible signs of aging and sun-damaged skin; however, with the passage of time and with environmental exposure, skin ages as we do.  If you are exposed to a lot of sun and do not use sunscreen, the underlying issues will return sooner.  We encourage our clients and provide directions to follow an effective preventative skin care regime and keep it protected from the sun, so that the skin will continue to look younger and healthier. Quality sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are excellent protection for overall skin health.

Fraxel Options for Even More Dramatic Results – Fraxel FDDA 135u with Dr. Christine Kurz

AZURE offers an array of skin care options to rejuvenate the skin and give our clients optimal anti-aging results. Fraxel is offered at different levels of intensity in our clinic: Fraxel 600u, as well as the even more powerful Fraxel Fractional Deep-Dermal Ablation (FDDA) 135u performed solely by Dr. Christine Kurz.  The Fraxel 135u is an aggressive CO2 laser that is typically only used by an experienced plastic surgeon. This laser treatment provides the benefits of the 600u treatment and also excels at treating deeper wrinkles, furrows, rhytides, severe photodamage, vascular dyschromia, acne scars, and surgical or traumatic scars. Skin tightening, coagulation and tissue contraction are actually visible during this procedure.  However; with appropriate settings, the 135u Fraxel can also be used on the delicate eyelid skin and around the mouth.  Additionally, 2mm Fraxel is available for bulk ablation in special circumstances determined by Dr. Kurz during skin examination and consultation.

The Fraxel 135u CO2 laser uses the same technology as the Fraxel 600u but with a change in how deep the laser beams penetrates the skin and how much surface area each beam covers. Generally, the Fraxel 135u laser goes deeper with more narrow beams (135 micron diameter); the Fraxel 600u has shallower penetration in wider beams (600 micron diameter).  Treatment depth and energy is customized for each patient’s specific requirements. For more information on Fraxel FDDA 135u, please call the doctor’s line at (250) 561-7224 or visit our sister site


Everything You Need to Know About Laser Hair Removal

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For people who are tired of shaving, tweezing, and waxing to remove unwanted hair, Laser Hair Removal has become the preferred option—and a beautiful solution.

How does Laser Hair Removal Work?

During laser hair removal, a laser beam passes through the skin to each individual hair follicle. The intense heat of the laser damages the hair follicle, which inhibits future hair growth. Lasers offer more precision, speed and lasting results compared with other methods of hair removal. Permanent hair reduction is typically achieved in 4 to 6 sessions depending on individual factors, including colour, texture, hormones, hair distribution and hair growth cycle.

Is Laser Hair Removal Right for Me?

While hair removal treatments have been more popular among women, laser hair removal for men is becoming more popular, as men seek treatment for areas such as their chests, backs and shoulders. Laser hair treatments are effective on virtually all of the areas of the body. The best candidates are individuals with darker hair and lighter skin tones, but this treatment is not limited to these factors.

Laser hair removal is effecteive on dark pigmented hair, and will not treat blonde, white, grey or red hair.


Laser hair removal will not effectively treat blonde, white, grey or red hair.  In some cases, there may be some limited results for dirty blonde hair if there is enough dark hair pigment; however, best results are obtained with darker hair on lighter skin.  Essentially, the laser energy targets the dark pigment in the hair follicle, and if skin is dark (from natural melanin or tanning), the skin pigment may compete with the intended target (hair follicle) for the absorption of laser energy.

Our laser technicians are trained to use both Nd:YAG and Alexandrite Lasers, allowing them to safely and effectively treat individuals with Fitzpatrick skin types I through V. The Fitzpatrick scale is numerically based from I-VI, with I being the lightest colour skin type and VI the darkest.  In most cases a test patch is completed prior to full treatment to determine the most effective and safe laser type and settings for each client’s skin type and hair properties.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type I – White, very fair, skin that always burns in the sun and never tans. Not a common skin type for laser hair removal since most people in this category have blond or red hair. Typically Irish or Eastern European background. The Alex laser is the best option for skin type I clients because the lack of pigmentation means the skin doesn’t hold heat, allowing for higher laser settings and better results.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type II – White, fair skin that usually burns in sun, but can tan with difficulty. This is a much more common skin type for laser hair removal and perfect for treatment with the Alex laser.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type III – Beige skin that tans to brown and sometimes burns. Many individuals fall into this category as long as they have NOT had sun exposure. The Alex laser is great for skin type III clients. Sun exposure will move a skin type III client to a IV and our Nd:YAG laser is a better option for skin type IV clients.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type IV – Medium brown skin tone is the norm. Tans easily to a dark brown and rarely burns. These are usually treated with the Nd:YAG laser due to a higher amount of melanin in the skin.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type V – Dark Brown, rarely burns and tans easily. Skin type V clients are always treated on a Nd:YAG laser because this setting makes laser treatment safe for darker skin types.

Fitzpatrick Skin Type VI – Black skin, never burns.

Why is Laser Hair Removal more expensive than the other methods of hair removal?

This is a MYTH: laser is NOT more expensive, especially when you factor in the value of your time. There is an up-front expenditure for a series of laser treatments – but clients quickly get a return on this investment, while achieving the goal of permanent hair reduction!

As an example; a client who gets bikini waxes every 5-6 weeks would typically spend the same amount on waxing in about 2 years as it would cost for a series of 6 laser hair removal treatments.  And this client would have spent a lot more of their personal time getting waxing services compared to laser!

What should I do prior to treatment?

Before treatment can begin, a laser technician will see you in a personalized and private consultation to make sure laser hair removal is right for you.  Consultations may be completed in advance or, sometimes, on the same day as the first treatment at the discretion of your laser technician.

  • Please shave the area before your laser hair removal session. The area should be shaved as closely as possible so that laser can target the most energy towards the hair follicle and not waste energy on the part of the hair above the skin’s surface.
  • Hair cannot be bleached, plucked or waxed for 6 weeks prior to treatment.
  • If you have a history of HSV (cold sores or herpes outbreaks) close to the area being treated, it is recommended that you take antiviral medication before the treatment.
  • Avoid self-tanners one week before treatment and unprotected sun exposure 4 – 6 weeks prior to treatment.  Use quality SPF 30+ daily on sun-exposed skin that is to be treated. TAN SKIN CANNOT BE TREATED due to possibility of hypopigmentation (white spots)!
  • If you have a history of hyperpigmentation, you may be prescribed topical agents to apply 4 weeks prior to treatment to prevent any hyperpigmentation.
  • You will need to discontinue any medications that may cause light hypersensitivity for a week before each treatment, such as antibiotics (minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline) or Vitamin A compounds (Retin-A/Renova).
  • You may be asked to avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve one week prior to treatment unless medically indicated as these medications can promote bruising.
  • You will be required to discontinue oral isotretinoin (accutane) for 6 months prior to treatment.
  • Laser Hair Removal should be avoided if you are pregnant, have a history of seizures, healing problems or keloid formation, severe dermatitis or eczema (within the treatment area), active infections or open wounds in treated area, have a significant systemic illness, have a history of skin cancer or suspicious lesions, are hypersensitive to sunlight, take anticoagulants or medication that alters wound healing, have received gold therapy, or are experiencing cold sores / herpes outbreaks.
  • Laser hair removal is safe for clients on oral contraceptives (birth control pill) or who are using hormone eluting IUD’s. Related to this – if a client is on any medication or treatment plan that decreases hair growth, as it would in patients who are being treated for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), then there will be a normal amount of hair removal, just like a client without PCOS.  If the client goes off the medication and their hair growth goes up (more hair and coarser) then laser hair removal will be more effective.  For most patients, oral contraceptive use will not change the hair growth noticeably.

What can I expect at my first treatment?

At your laser hair removal appointment, your laser technician will bring you into the treatment room, where you will be treated with either the Alexandrite or ND:Yag Laser, depending on your skin type. All personnel in the treatment room, including both technicians and clients, will wear protective eyewear to prevent the possibility of eye damage from the intense laser beam. Your technician will use the laser handpiece to emit laser pulses directed at the area being treated, and the pigmentation in the hair will absorb this energy, causing it to fall out in the next few weeks. Treatment times can vary from 15 minutes for small treatment areas like the underarms, upper lip or chin, and can last up to two hours for larger areas such as full legs / back.

Does it Hurt?

This is a completely safe treatment causing only minimal discomfort. Everyone has a different pain threshold, but generally, laser hair removal is not much more painful than waxing. Patients often say it is slightly “spicy” or feels similar to the snap of a rubber band. Slight redness or localized swelling can occasionally occur, but this usually subsides within the first 24 hours of treatment. The lasers at AZURE use a cooling mechanism to immediately cool the skin with each laser pulse to minimize discomfort and to help with skin recovery.  Most clients do not require an anaesthetic cream; however, topical freezing cream (such as Emla) can be purchased at a pharmacy and applied before the appointment to make treatment more comfortable. Be aware that using anaesthetic cream is only safe on small areas (like upper lip, bikini or underarms) and in small quantities.  Using topical anaesthetic cream on large areas like the back is not recommended as it can have serious side effects in higher doses.

What can I expect immediately after treatment and in the weeks following?

Following the procedure, the treated area may be red for a few hours or a few days. The area should be treated delicately following treatment and there are no restrictions on bathing except to treat the skin gently, as if you had a sunburn, for the first 24 hours. We recommend that you avoid hot tubs or swimming pool use for 48 hours.  Makeup may be used immediately after treatment unless there is epidermal blistering. It is recommended to use NEW or mineral based makeup to reduce the possibility of infection.  Avoid sun exposure to reduce the chance of hyperpigmentation or darker pigmentation and always be sure to use sunscreen (SPF 30 or greater) at all times throughout the course of treatment. All other hair removal treatment products or similar treatments (waxing, electrolysis or tweezing) should be avoided after treatment, as this can disturb the growth cycle of hair follicles and may even stimulate new growth.

Within about one to three weeks, you should experience shedding of all treated hair. At first, hair will look like it’s growing back in, but it is just coming through the skin to shed.  Exfoliating and/or scrubbing gently in the shower with a loofa can help speed up the process. After shedding finishes, you might experience little black dots still “stuck” in the skin. These are commonly referred to as “pepperspots” and will shed eventually, but may take a bit longer.

After shedding occurs, you should experience a hair-free period for a few weeks, until the next cycle of hair, that was dormant before, starts to grow in. New hair growth will not occur for at least three weeks after treatment.  You will have the option to pre-book your next treatment after your appointment or simply call us to book at the first sign of hair regrowth. This can mean within 4-6 weeks for the upper body treated and possibly as long as 2-3 months, for the lower body treated. Hair regrowth occurs at different rates on different areas of the body.

What is the Hair Growth Cycle?

Under normal circumstances hair growth in each hair follicle occurs in a cycle. There are three main phases of the hair growth cycle: anagen, catagen and telogen. Anagen (active) is the growing phase or when the hair fiber is produced. During anagen, the hair contains an abundance of melanin, the pigment which gives your hair its color. This is the phase during which laser hair removal treatment is most effective. Catagen (club hair) is the period of controlled regression of the hair follicle. This phase is when the lower part of the hair stops growing, but does not shed, and the follicle is reabsorbed. It will be difficult for permanence to be achieved when the hair is in the catagen growth cycle. Telogen is the last of the hair growth cycle. In this resting phase, the old hair falls out in preparation for the development of a new anagen hair. Permanence cannot be achieved when the hair is in the telogen growth cycle. Remember, anagen is followed by catagen, a period of controlled regression of the hair follicle. Ultimately the hair follicle enters telogen, when the follicle is in a so-called resting state. Normally this cycle of hair production will continue for the duration of the individual’s life. However, other factors can influence, promote and inhibit hair production. How well the laser can eliminate the hairs, depends on the skin type/colour, hair type/colour and what part of the growth cycle the hair is in.

How many treatments are required?

Typically, clients require up to 6 treatments to achieve maximum hair reduction; however, results will vary depending on individual factors such as skin tone, hair colour / coarseness and stage of hair growth cycle. Lack of patient compliance (such as not following pre / post procedure instructions or recommended treatment intervals) can also result in more treatments required to get desired results.  Be advised that hormonal changes can cause more hair growth.  Everybody is different and we cannot predict with certainty how many treatments will be required for you as an individual; however, you can rest assured knowing that the best laser technology for your skin and hair type will be used.

What Are the Possible Risks and Side Effects of Laser Hair Removal?

The possibility exists that some side effects or complications can occur given various variables, including: normal itching during treatment, redness for up to 3 days, swelling (around mouth of follicle) for up to 3 days, pain, tingling, or feeling of numbness (from laser cooling), rare crusting/scab formation (on ingrown hairs), bruising purpura (purple colouring of the skin) on tanned areas, infection, temporary pigment change (hypo-pigmentation or hyper-pigmentation) or blistering. Side effects occur infrequently and, as a rule, generally are temporary. If any of the above last for more than 3 days, make sure to contact your provider.

How to Choose a Clinic for Laser Hair Removal

When it comes to laser hair removal, staff training, experience and expertise matters. There is more reassurance when attending a medical directed spa where the physician has qualified estheticians performing laser hair removal. Our staff have all taken Laser Safety Training through the Laser Institute of America and have manufacturer specific equipment training for each laser they operate.  Having your services completed at a recognized medical spa also insures that if you have any side effects, a physician is available to help you.

Laser type also matters; in the mid-1990s, when the first laser was FDA approved for hair removal, it was only effective with lighter skin tones. Technology has dramatically improved since then; however, lasers can’t tell the difference between the melanin in the hair and the melanin in the skin, which is where staff expertise / laser selection comes in.

It is important to look for a laser centre with multiple lasers since no single laser can safely and effectively remove hair on people with all skin types. The Alexandrite laser has been scientifically evaluated as the most effective hair removal laser for light to medium toned skin and the long pulsed Nd:Yag laser has been evaluated as most effective for dark or tanned skin.  At Azure Advanced Aesthetics, we utilize both the Alexandrite laser and Nd:Yag laser for hair removal, allowing us to use the most effective laser type available for the specific needs of each client, considering skin and hair types.  Our lasers are medical grade equipment, with high energy outputs, variable pulse widths and built in skin cooling technology for increased results, comfort and safety.

AZURE has an IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) machine, typically used for skin rejuvenation treatments.  IPL is NOT an effective tool for laser hair removal, but may provide some limited hair reduction as a side effect to skin rejuvenation treatments.  Be sure to inquire with your provider whether or not they are using lasers specifically designed for hair reduction (the gold standard) or lower cost IPL machines (broadband light – not laser).

Note that Azure Advanced Aesthetics is a physician owned and directed facility; therefore, all of our laser equipment is Health Canada approved, CSA approved, and registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia to ensure the utmost in patient safety.


Clear + Brilliant, the Red Carpet Facial

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Simple and Effective Proactive Treatments

Keep your skin looking its youthful best with simple and easy Clear + Brilliant treatments.

What Can the Clear + Brilliant Laser Do for Me?

If you’re battling the effects aging can have on your skin, or trying to address it before the battle even starts, Clear + Brilliant can help. With simple, gentle laser treatments provided by our trained laser technicians, you can help prevent the visible signs of aging and address the overall dulling effects time and the environment can have on your skin.

One Clear + Brilliant session can leave your skin feeling smoother, younger and give you that “radiant glow” that comes from healthy, youthful skin. Routine treatments deliver lasting results that keep others guessing what’s your secret.

Clear + Brilliant treatments can help:

  • Prevent the signs of aging
  • Improve the look of fine lines
  • Improve skin tone and texture
  • Improve skin’s overall appearance
  • Minimize the appearance of pores
  • Improve the appearance of dyschromia

How does Clear + Brilliant Compare to other rejuvenation treatments?

AZURE offers a wide range of skin care treatments – microdermabrasion facials, chemical peels and physician-administered procedures – all focused on keeping you looking your best. Clear + Brilliant is a powerful treatment you can add to your regimen to help keep your skin looking its youthful best. Clear + Brilliant is proven to help improve tone, texture and pore size appearance, and has the power and effectiveness of having multiple microdermabrasion treatments all at once, but with minimal discomfort. You’ll see and feel the difference; smoother skin that lets you put your freshest face forward.

What to Expect for a Typical Clear + Brilliant Treatment

A complete session will take about 75 minutes, beginning with the application of topical numbing cream to the face in order to provide additional comfort. This solution will take about 30 minutes absorb. and once it has taken effect the Clear + Brilliant treatment will begin. Your professional laser technician will gently guide the Clear + Brilliant handpiece across the target area and actively treat your skin for approximately 15 to 30 minutes. Using the patented Intelligent Optical Tracking System, your technician will ensure the handpiece maintains proper contact with your skin and provides a uniform application to all treated areas.

After Treatment:

  1. Immediately post treatment, you may experience some redness and mild swelling, but both typically diminish in about 12 hours.
  2. Over the next few days, you may experience some itchiness or skin sensitivity (to touch or temperature). Both are indications of the natural renewal process and typically dissipate a few days after treatment. Many clients experience a “sandpaper” like feeling of the skin about three days post treatment, this is a normal and temporary part of post-care.
  3. Most typical skin care products and practices can be used immediately after treatment – please consult with our skincare specialists if you have any specific concerns about your home care regimen.

SkinCeuticals Training and New Product Launch!

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Our lovely Dr. Kurz and managing esthetician Brittany have just returned from an amazing SkinCeuticals Training Seminar in Vancouver!

Our team is thrilled to provide the most up to date knowledge on our best-selling skin care line and recommend personalized skin care regimens to our clients.

Find new SkinCeutical products on our shelves, including the amazing Triple Lipid Restore that helps your skin recover its natural fullness, and the new PhytoCorrective Masque, a pigment balancing masque that reduces redness and irritation.



IPL Photorejuvenation

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What are IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments used for?
– Evening out skin tone
– Lightening and removing flat, benign pigmented lesions (freckles, sunspots, age spots and general pigmentation) on the face, neck, chest, hands and other areas of the body
– Lightening and reducing facial vascular lesions, and telangiectasia (spider veins, broken capillaries and red spots ) diffuse redness and rosacea on the face, neck and chest
– Lightening and reducing red scarring, stretch marks, Campbell de Morgans spots or cherry angiomas (red spots of varying size) and Poikiloderma (redness, pigmentation and a spotty look to the neck and/or décolletage)
– Helping to control flushing
– General improvements with uneven and blotchy skin
– IPL treatment also has a lesser effect of improving skin texture & firmness through collagen stimulation and improving pore size by temporarily reducing skin oiliness
– IPL treatments are sometimes beneficial for Acne breakouts, but individual results may vary
– Destruction of pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratosis) when used in conjunction with Levulan (a light activated topical drug) is described in another blog posting
– Note that the ND:YAG Laser is the preferred treatment modality for moderately sized vascular lesions; however, medical grade IPL is a good choice for small vascular lesions, diffuse redness and general overall skin rejuvenation.  The ND:YAG laser provides a single high power wavelength that is targeted at hemoglobin or melanin, but the IPL device (which is not a laser) provides a broad range of colors, not all targeted.
– IPL is NOT recommended for Melasma.  Melasma is the brown splotchiness on the forehead, cheeks, upper lip, or jaw line that is triggered by hormones and light.  Hormones stimulate the growth of cells (melanocytes) that make brown pigment.  Natural light (and IPL) stimulates the production of even more brown pigment (melanin).  The Clear & Brilliant laser would be an option for treatment of Melasma.

How does the IPL treatment work?
The IPL machine emits high energy bursts of light that is absorbed by hemoglobin (the red blood cells in the blood vessels) or melanin (the brown pigment in freckles and age spots).  The light energy passes through the skin and is absorbed by either hemoglobin or melanin resulting in damage to the vessel wall or fragmentation of melanin pigment. These tiny vessels and the melanin pigment are then absorbed by the body, rendering them less visible.

How many treatments are required?
Treatment of benign pigmented lesions generally require 2-5 treatments performed approximately every month or once all the darkened cells have sloughed off.  Vascular lesions or diffuse redness generally require 2-5 treatments at monthly intervals to achieve the best results. This is so we can progressively destroy the vessels without damaging the surrounding skin.
The number of treatments and subsequent results will depend on the condition and area being treated. You can expect to see some improvement with each treatment, but each individual’s response may be slightly different to each treatment. The more sun damage or redness you have, the more likely you are to require more treatments.  IPL machines that are sold to salons and spas generally have less power than the IPL machines sold to physician’s offices and may require more treatments for similar results.

Is Your Skin Suitable For IPL Treatment?
The table below is used to classify skin according to its melanin (pigment) content and the skin’s reaction to the sun. The lighter the skin type, the more suitable it is for IPL treatment.

Skin Type Classification Colour Indication for IPL  
I  Always burns easily and never tans White Best skin for IPL treatment
II Burns easily and tans minimally White Good skin for IPL treatment
III Sometimes burns and tans gradually White Good skin for IPL treatment
IV Burns minimally and always tans Moderate Acceptable skin for IPL treatment
V+ Rarely burns, naturally dark skin Dark Brown+ Not recommended for IPL treatment

Do I require a consultation before I schedule a treatment?
You must be seen in consultation prior to your first IPL Photorejuvenation treatment.  During your consultation any specific concerns or questions will be addressed.  The cost of consultation will be applied against your first treatment.

What should I do prior to my IPL treatment?
– Please shave the area before your IPL session.
– If you have a history of herpes close to the area being treated, it is recommended that you take antiviral medication before the treatment.
– Avoid self-tanners and unprotected sun exposure 4 weeks prior to treatment.  Use quality SPF 30+ daily on sun-exposed skin that is to be treated.
– If you have a history of hyperpigmentation, you may be prescribed topical agents to apply 4 weeks prior to treatment to prevent any hyperpigmentation.
– You will need to discontinue any medications cause light hypersensitivity  for a week before each treatment, such as antibiotics (minocycline, tetracycline, doxycycline) or Vitamin A compounds (Retin-A/Renova).
– You may be asked to avoid taking aspirin, ibuprofen, or Aleve one week prior to treatment unless medically indicated as these medications can promote bruising.
–  You will be required to discontinue oral isotretinoin (accutane) for 6 months prior to treatment.
– IPL should be avoided if you are pregnant, have a history of seizures, healing problems or keloid formation, severe dermatitis or eczema (within the treatment area), active infections or open wounds in treated area, have a significant systemic illness, have a history of skin cancer or suspicious lesions, are hypersensitive to sunlight, take anticoagulants or medication that alters wound healing, have received gold therapy, or are experiencing cold sores / herpes outbreaks.

What is a typical IPL treatment like?
Prior to treatment, all makeup creams and lotions will be cleaned from the treatment area.  Your therapist will put special goggles over your eyes to protect them from the intense flash of the IPL machine.   A cool gel is then placed on the skin being treated.  The IPL handpiece is gently applied to your skin and pulses of light are administered.  Our equipment also utilizes Zimmer cooling technology for increased comfort and safety.  Test spots are utilized to reduce the risk of complications and optimize results.  You will experience a slight sensation as the light pulses are passed over your skin.  The sensation is usually mild and easily tolerated, but there may be some mild discomfort during the treatment (the first treatment typically has the most “zing”).  As your skin begins to clear, the treatments usually become more comfortable.  At the end of the treatment, the gel is removed and the skin is cleansed with a cloth and moisturizer with sunscreen is applied.  If there is any mild swelling, you may be given a cold pack to apply for five or ten minutes.  Typically you may reapply foundation or concealer immediately after a treatment.  Treatments usually take 30-90 minutes, depending on the size of the treatment area.  Levulan treatments follow a different protocol that is described in another blog post.

What can I expect after the IPL treatment?
Your skin may may have a mild “glow” or light sunburn like sensation lasting for 2 to 5 hours after your treatment.  Your skin will often feel smoother and have a more even tone.  The treated area is generally more sensitive to heat for 2 days following treatment.
– For diffuse redness, generally, the skin looks redder after the treatment then gradually lightens within 1-3 weeks. Makeup can be used right after the treatment, as long as it is applied and removed very gently. Rarely, there is bruising, which can take 1-2 weeks to resolve.
– Contact sports or any other activity that could cause bruising should be avoided.
– After treatment of vascular lesions they will typically either disappear immediately or appear grey or purplish in colour.  Vascular treatments generally require at least 3 treatments for best results.
– For freckles and age spots, the spots generally look darker for 3-7 days. Crusting can occur, which may last up to ten days. The lesions will then begin to clear and will generally be resolving at one month. It can take an average of 3-5 treatments to clear age spots.
– Acne prone skin may sometimes have a breakout after treatment.

Are there side effects from IPL treatment?
The main side effects are mild, temporary swelling, redness, an accentuation of the brown spots, crusting, and an occasional bruise or small superficial blister.  Do not pick blisters or skin crusting as this may lead to a scar.  Treated pigmented lesions will typically slough off in 2-3 weeks.  Do not shave the treated area if crusting is evident.  Another side effect of IPL treatment is some hair reduction; however, IPL is not as effective as laser hair removal, and more treatments are generally required to achieve similar levels of hair reduction.
Darker patches of pigment on the skin may occur a couple of weeks after treatment (this is not the immediate darkening of pigment we expect when treating pigmentation). This can last from 2 weeks up to 1 year and can be treated with a special lightening cream. You are more at risk of this occurring if you have a darker skin type.
Whiter patches on the skin can occur. This can last 2 weeks up to 1 year, though also has the potential to be permanent. You are more at risk of this occurring if you have a darker skin type.
Higher treatment levels increase treatment effectiveness, but also increase the possibility of adverse effects.  Test spots can aid in finding the optimal treatment settings.

How long will results last?
IPL Photorejuvenation will improve many of the visible signs of aging and sun-damaged skin; however, with the passage of time and with environmental exposure, skin ages as we do.  If you are exposed to a lot of sun and do not use sunscreen, the underlying issues, will return sooner.  However, if you follow a good preventative skin care regime and keep it protected from the sun, your skin will continue to look good.  Quality sunscreen, hats and sunglasses are excellent protection for overall skin health.  Typically, maintenance IPL treatments are recommended every 6-12 months, depending on individual factors.




Laser Vein Treatments

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Spider veins are small (less than 3 mm) veins often found on the face, thighs and ankles. These veins are typically purple, blue or red and usually appear in three basic shapes: linear, branch-like or spider-shaped.

What causes spider veins?
These veins are often provoked by sun exposure, pressure, hormonal changes, heredity, or other factors. For example, many women tend to develop leg veins after pregnancy due to increased pressure and hormonal changes, or those with rosacea tend to have a weak capillary network under the skin which is often genetic. Some individuals develop a red flushed complexion due to over use or abuse of harsh skin care products while others develop red broken capillaries around the nose due to aggressive extraction. Although the exact cause is often unknown, these spider veins can be safely and effectively treated with the appropriate technology.

How are spider veins treated?
The Nd:YAG laser used at Azure Advanced Aesthetics penetrates deeply into tissue, targeting the hemoglobin in the vein and protecting the surrounding skin with Zimmer cooling technology.  The targeted spider vein is thermally coagulated causing it to collapse, forcing the body to absorb and repair the area.

What Results can I expect?
Laser Vein Removal is very effective when used on appropriate veins.   Most finer or spider like veins can be removed within 1 to 2 treatments. Larger or deeper leg veins may require more treatments.  For some, the veins will disappear completely without any visible trace.  Others, however, may experience some bruising or discoloration which can take up to several weeks to resolve completely.  It may take 2-6 weeks for your body’s healing response to begin and it may take up to 4-8 weeks for your body to absorb and eliminate the coagulated vessels.  Treatments are generally spaced 4 to 8 weeks apart.

Is Laser Therapy painful?
During treatment, you may feel a sensation somewhat like a rubber band snapping.  The Laser system used at Azure Advanced Aesthetics for vein treatments, includes an integrated Zimmer cooling system for increased comfort and to prevent damage to the surrounding skin.

How Long Do the Results Last?
Spider vein removal is permanent; however, those who are prone to spider veins may notice the appearance of new vessels due to genetics and lifestyle / environment.

How do I know if I am a candidate for laser vein treatment?
All individuals are evaluated prior to laser therapy. Spider veins do not cause symptoms and are of a cosmetic concern only. For those who have symptoms, further investigation is done to ensure that they do not have varicose veins. Laser therapy is most effective for the very small spider veins and not used to treat large varicose veins.

What preparations should I take before treatment?
There are no major preparations required before the laser treatment, but you will want to avoid sun exposure, aspirin, alcohol and smoking for at least a week prior to the procedure.  On the day of treatment, avoid all creams, lotions and moisturizers on the area that is going to be treated. Also, wear comfortable clothing that allows easy access to the body part(s) being treated.

What protocols should I follow after treatment?
• Aggressively cool area after treatment
• Apply ice packs or cold aloe vera for comfort or if redness or swelling continues
• If there is no extended redness, blistering, or scabbing, resume make-up, shaving, and regular skin care the next day
• If scabbing of blistering occur, keep moist with aloe or other cream of choice
• Wash the treatment area gently with soap and water. Do not soak.
• Do not shave the treated area if crusting is evident.
• Avoid contact sports or any other activity that could cause bruising of the treated area.
• Avoid sun exposure between treatments. If sun exposure is unavoidable, use a good quality 30+ SPF sunblock to cover exposed, treated areas.
• You may continue with normal daily activities, however, you need to refrain from hot baths or exercise for up to 3 days.
• Compression stockings may be recommended for leg veins.

What are side effects of laser therapy?
The skin above the veins will often have a reddish, cat-scratch appearance. This generally disappears over the next two days.  Laser vein treatment may remove some hair that may be in the treated area.

What are potential complications of laser therapy?
The risks associated with laser vein therapy are minimal. Your eyes will be shielded during the treatments.  A state-of-the-art cooling system is used during treatment, thus the treatments are low risk and relatively pain-free.  Following post treatment protocols will help to reduce potential complications.

Choosing a Provider for Laser Vein Treatments:
When selecting a provider for laser treatments, give your decision the same level of care and scrutiny that you would for a medical procedure.  Even though it is non-surgical, Laser vein treatment is still a complex procedure that requires specific training, knowledge and skill to ensure safe treatment and effective results.  You’ll want to choose a provider with extensive experience and access to a well trained physician for any potential questions or complications.  Typically a plastic surgeon or dermatologist practice has the requisite training and experience for the best outcomes.  A reputable and experienced Laser provider who has access to other skin treatments will know what Lasers can do for your skin and what they can’t.  Each person is unique; therefore, at your initial consultation, your provider should address your concerns in a comprehensive, integrative manner.

The 3 Ds of aging skin

By | Blog, Facials, Laser, Skincare | No Comments

As we age and as environmental factors take their toll on our skin, we begin to notice the 3 Ds in our face: Degeneration, Deflation and Descent.

Aging, genetics, sun damage, smoking and other environmental factors result in a loss of collagen and elastin and an overall decrease in skin quality (degeneration). Often we notice pigmentation (colour) issues, uneven tone and texture, loss of elasticity, loose skin and creases, lines & wrinkles.

Deflation refers to the loss of volume that happens in the face, resulting in hollows under the eyes, flattening of the cheeks, and a more gaunt appearance, with thinner lips.

Gravity results in the descent of facial structures. We start to develop “jowls” or “turkey neck” for example.

Typical progression of the aging face:
Many will experience some hooding and tiredness around the eyes in the 40s.
In the 50s, the cheeks (Jowls) become troublesome.
Finally, in the 60s, the neck (waddle) is often a trouble area.


There are many solutions to correct and reverse the effects of aging and skin damage:

1) High quality sun screen and sun avoidance is the number one defence against aging skin!
2) Potent topical skin care products
3) Dermabrasion and advanced facial treatments
4) Lasers and Radio Frequenct energy devices
5) Injectable Hyaluronic Acid (HA) fillers (commonly branded as Juvederm or Restylane) or fat injections
6) Injectable Botulinum toxin (commonly branded as Botox)
7) Collagen and Elastin stimulators
8) Surgical procedures such as brow lift or face lift.

In-Depth TiteFX Study by Dr. Diane Duncan

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TiteFX (recently renamed as BodyFX) is 40% off at AZURE for the month of June! Dr. Diane Duncan’s in-depth study looks at how this non-invasive fat reduction treatment effectively contours the body for amazing results. Her study found that TiteFX’s revolutionary use of radio frequency heat and oscillating electrical pulses over weekly treatments resulted in clients achieving permanent fat cell destruction, giving them smaller waists and less abdominal volume!

Call us at (250) 277-2290 for more information about how TiteFX can work for you!

TiteFX Study