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Posted by 11.16.14

Beverly Hills dermatologic surgeon David Amron is on a mission. Dubbed a “liposuction expert,” from his enclave in Beverly Hills, Amron performs body contouring procedures with a keen aesthetic eye and superb level of care. Amron is the Founder of Spalding Drive Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology, as well as Beverly Hills Doctors Surgery Center. He specializes in non-surgical facial rejuvenation and is recognized internationally for his unique approach to artfully sculpting and shaping the body for women and men. As a pioneer in the field, he offers multiple types of body sculpting and fat removal procedures that can be done individually or combined, depending on the patient, for a truly customized experience and outcome. Another thing that stands out about Amron is that he is not the typical “Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon.” His well heeled international clientele tout his caring beside manner and the special interest he takes in all of his patients, not only the ones you see on the big screen.

What is lipedema and who is at risk?

Lipedema is an often-misdiagnosed fat storage condition affecting millions of our national and global population. It primarily occurs in the legs, specifically the anterior thighs, knees, and ankles. Often, it will also appear in the upper arms in later stages. It develops the appearance of tree-like, column-like legs, with disproportionate fat storage and a lot of non-pitting edema, or excess swelling. A lot of times there’s a cuff around the ankles in lipedema patients. It’s different from obesity and fat legs. Obesity is being overweight, and fat legs may just be a part of genetic disproportion, but with lipedema, there’s also prominence of swelling, and again, that sort of column-like look to the leg. Commonly there’s a genetic inheritance component to lipedema. It occurs almost exclusively in women, and usually appears after puberty and progressively gets worse. It affects approximately 11 percent of the female population — 17 million women in the U.S. and 370 million women worldwide. For the most part, lipedema is resistant to diet and exercise.

How can it be treated?

Various medical treatments have been met with limited success, and the only real possible cures are tumescent lymphatic sparing liposuction (which many surgeons are reluctant to perform) and water-assisted liposuction (WAL). There are a number of things that have been done, but nothing with the same results. One of the main treatment therapies is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD). It does seem to significantly help with the swelling that comes with lipedema, however, there’s a lot of maintenance involved, and it doesn’t really seem to make a difference in terms of the disease itself. There are several doctors and healthcare providers around the country who are treating lipedema medically. The medical treatment primarily revolves around the use of medicines such as Cimetidine and supplements such as Selenium, as well as others, to reduce the inflammation and swelling. The role of decongestive therapy also involves MLD, leg elevation, and compression is used to reduce swelling.

Why did you decide to get behind this disease and put it on the map?

Lipedema is a very under-recognized condition, especially in the United States, and I’m one of the few doctors with experience in surgically treating lipedema patients. I want to further advance both the knowledge and awareness of lipedema among the medical community, as well as within the general public. There are many treatment centers in Europe, especially Germany, a country at the forefront of initial research and treatment for lipedema patients. Unfortunately, there are very few treatment centers in the nation, but I’m currently in the process of advancing my practice to treat more and more lipedema patients around the world. I’m also setting up an extensive protocol, both pre- and post-surgically, to treat these patients in a comprehensive fashion. Along with that, I am aligning myself with many medical experts around the country, including Dr. Karen Hebrst, who is a worldwide expert in fat disorders, such as lipedema. We’re working together to establish protocols, and also collaborating on studies among lipedema patients to not only advance therapies, but also to increase awareness, so that possibly one day, lipedema might be more recognized by insurance companies in terms of coverage. Lipedema patients are not only suffering from the aesthetic effects of the disease, which creates emphasis on disproportionate areas, but they also suffer in terms of their lifestyles.  As lipedema progresses, patients experience a series of symptoms including: discomfort, pain, numbness, and often immobility. Patients begin to experience a viscous cycle of worsening swelling and pain, such that they can’t properly exercise, which certainly makes the condition worse.

Tell about your experience as one of the first dermatologic surgeons in the U.S. to feature UltraShape in your practice?

I’ve been an expert in liposuction surgery for the past two decades, and in recent years, there’s absolutely been an exciting area of advancement in regards to noninvasively targeting fat. I’ve been observing this area very carefully, and there are several devices that work well. Some are better than others, but UltraShape is the most specific, noninvasive device that exists, and it represents the next generation of approaching fat non-surgically. It’s much more customized and focused on how it works, versus other, more nonspecific modalities. As a key opinion leader for Syneron, the developer of UltraShape, I’m one of the first few surgeons in the nation to offer the treatment. Before UltraShape was released to other surgeons, I already made the decision to incorporate it into my practice as a great alternative for patients who do not want surgery.

What are your patients asking for in terms of the experience downtime, and results in body contouring procedures?

It’s important that patients do their research to select a surgeon they trust — they shouldn’t be quick to make a decision, or fall prey to some price-driven marketing campaign. The patients I see have taken the time to learn and understand the procedure, and they come to me as an expert in the area. I am really here for guidance, and to help patients determine what the best course of action may be, whether it’s surgical or nonsurgical. Patients want a procedure that will deliver the best results, and one that doesn’t involve a lot of recovery time. That’s one of the advantages to some of the noninvasive techniques that are now entering the marketplace. UltraShape is entirely painless and works very, very quickly. In as little as two weeks, patients already start to see improvements in their bodies. In regards to traditional liposuction, when patients understand my approach, which uses local anesthesia as to general anesthesia, they’re often impressed by how little downtime they experience. Patients will leave my office half an hour after their surgeries, and are able to go home and walk around. The next day, patients are usually up and going, and in as little as two days, most are back at work and doing their daily routines, including light exercise.

What are you most excited about in terms of future advances in body shaping treatments and why?

If patients have reasonable expectations, and are evaluated properly, noninvasive treatments provide a great alternative for someone who wants to avoid surgery. Noninvasive approaches are an area of significant growth in the industry, because now, we have the ability to remove and destroy fat tissue. This area is getting better and better, not only in terms of non-surgically removing fat, but also in terms of tightening up the skin. I use a variety of technologies, and we’re seeing fantastic improvements in cellulite in ways we wouldn’t have seen years ago. I’m currently developing a new approach, Integrative Body Contouring, which provides the patient with a more comprehensive treatment. The approach is now more holistic, and instead of doing a liposuction procedure to simply remove fat, Integrative Body Contouring will address the role of many different facets – how overweight the person is, his or her ability to lose weight, as well as the role of exercise and muscle tone. Additionally, proper hormonal balance is critical, so we’re incorporating anti-aging medicine into the treatment, addressing patients who are hormonally challenged and adding corresponding therapy as part of their overall procedure. I’ve always been a purest in terms of all of the new improvements that have entered the marketplace. I always return to the most important factor, which is the trust a patient places in his or her surgeon. I’m very excited about all of the recent technological advances, but again, the most important factor to me will always be selecting the right doctor.

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Posted by 09.28.14

Rebecca Kazin, MD, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of cosmetic dermatology. She is a board certified dermatologist at the renowned Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington D.C. Dr. Kazin is also holds a faculty position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore where she served as Director of the Johns Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center for the past eight years. This year she received an award recognizing her clinical training of dermatology residents in lasers and cosmetics. With her extensive experience as an injector, she was selected to form a national team of physicians who train other physicians on the best techniques. Additionally, she was elected “Top Doc in Cosmetic Dermatology” by her peers for the past two years.

Through her dermatology training at Johns Hopkins, Kazin has become an expert not only in conditions of the skin, but also in the scalp and hair. She spoke with Beauty in the Bag about the evolution of her new hair care line, how men and women age and how she stays so fit and focused.

How did you meet Dr. Tina Alster and come to join her world renowned dermatology and laser practice?

Everyone in my field knows Dr. Alster! I have long regarded her as a personal role model and mentor, as she is one of the original trailblazers in dermatologic laser surgery and founded the first freestanding laser center in Washington, DC. After working at Johns Hopkins for more than a decade, I knew that her practice was the perfect fit for me as it seamlessly combines excellence in patient care with cutting edge laser and aesthetic research that continues to push knowledge in our field forward.

What are some of your special interests in the field of dermatology?

I feel fortunate to have a profession that allows me to combine my love of art with the study of medicine. When I meet a patient, I am often fascinated by how much of my exam is based on the principles of symmetry, proportion and shape. I study each person to see what will restore them to their natural beauty subtly and carefully to achieve their goals without looking obvious or artificial.

Because of my extensive experience with laser and injectable therapy, I am also able to apply my passion for teaching by training other dermatologists and surgeons in the latest proper and safe techniques.

Tell us about your special interest in hair loss and hair and scalp health?

During the past 10 years, I have been surprised about how many of my patients routinely complain about hairloss. On average, we lose 50-100 hairs day, which is a normal part of the natural growth cycle. However, when hair loss becomes more noticeable, there may be underlying causes. The causes can range from daily stress to heredity, styling damage, medications, vitamin deficiencies, and hormones.  My patients also frequently complain about scalp symptoms and voice their frustration by the lack of options available.  I realize that this is an area of great concern to women and men, and that there is a void in the market of products available to manage scalp conditions without leaving hair dry and unmanageable. Products that maintain the beauty and health of the hair regrettably do not adequately treat their scalp. So I am on a mission to help people cope with their hair and scalp health issues.

What changes do you see in practice among women and men as they age?

Much of the changes we see with aging are genetic, so it’s telling to take a long look at your mother and father! Men and women age differently but what is common is that with age there is progressive loss of the underlying bone structure, muscle mass, and collagen layers of the skin. This leads to the appearance of the ‘tablecloth being too large for the table.’ When fillers started booming with Hyaluronic Acid products, we were very focused on treatment of the nasolabial folds but what we’ve realized over time is that it’s the facial volume loss causing the prominence of the nasolabial folds that ages someone. Expect injectors now know to address the face globally to give a much more balanced, natural aesthetic result.

To add to the good news, with age comes hormonal shifts. I always joke- “as women age, they become more like men. As men age, they become like women”….This is because of the relative decrease in estrogen and testosterone respectively. These hormonal changes lead to hair loss where we want hair and hair growth where we don’t. We also see skin dryness and loss of elasticity. The collagen machinery in the skin slows down exponentially so wound healing becomes more difficult. As a dermatologist, I keep all of this in mind when evaluating my patients.

As a busy mother of three, a leading dermatologist and educator, a clinical researcher and product formulator, what are your personal secrets for looking so young and well-rested?

First- Find a babysitter and have Saturday nights out with my husband and friends!

But a close second would be trying to take a little bit of time for myself. I am kind of fanatical about scheduling and organizing, but it typically works to put a schedule in place that gives me a little time on the weekends to have what my husband calls “Me Time.” This is usually some form of exercising followed by a quick coffee with a friend.

I also have become comfortable with the fact that I cannot do it all and I live by the motto ‘it takes a village.’ I rely heavily on help from my parents and in-laws. I also have learned to say ‘No’ to many requests over time. I really try to just participate in committees and organizations that I am truly passionate about and give them my all instead of spreading myself too thin.

I have learned that it’s the quality of time with my three daughters not the quantity.

Lastly, it is a little Botox here, filler there, and maintenance laser treatments to help with the rest!

What technologies and trends are you excited about that may be coming in the near future?

  • Kythera- ATX-101 injections to dissolve focal areas of fat (double chins).
  • Topical ‘Botox’ for wrinkles and sweating (particularly palms and soles where BOTOX injections are very painful).
  • Ulthera (micro-focused ultrasound) for tightening the crepe skin on the chest.
  • Possible laser hair removal method for blond, white or grey hair.
  • Advances in cellulite treatment.


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Posted by 09.09.14

Shaving your legs daily is a non-negotiable beauty ritual in the summer, but even in the winter despite the reduced chance of showing off your bare legs. And with shaving comes a set of questions: How should I shave to avoid nicks and cuts? How often should I shave? What are the best razors to use?

Dr Jody Levine

Lucky for us, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine, who has a private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was there to answer our questions. Here are some of her tried and true insights for the perfect set of smooth legs!

What are the benefits of shaving over using an at-home hair removal gadget?

The benefits for shaving are that it is a quick and easy way to remove hair. It’s also virtually painless if you are using a high-quality razor like those from Gillette Venus, which are less likely to give you nicks and cuts. Regular shaving with the right product is also a great gentle form of exfoliation, which can help keep skin soft. Shaving manually removes the top layer of dead, dry skin cells, helping to reveal beautiful, smooth skin.

Gillette Venus Embrace Sensitive

How often should women shave?

I’d recommend shaving as often as you feel is necessary, as this depends on a variety of factors, including your genetics. Some women will find they want to shave every day, while others may only want to shave a few times a week. Find what works best for you and your skin.

What are the various Venus razors available out there?

There are a range of Venus razors out there to ensure you’ll find your perfect match. I’m personally a fan of the new Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor, which has five-blades for an ultra-close shave and Ribbons of Moisture and Lubrastrip to create a thick cushion between the razor and your skin. This reduces the chance of irritation. If you’re traveling or on-the-go the Venus Snap with Embrace is the perfect razor to drop in your bag.

What tips to make in between shave days last longer?

I would suggest using a high-quality razor with multiple blades, like the Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor, which cuts the hair very close to the skin surface. A close shave should translate into it taking longer for the hair to grow back helping your shave last longer. It’s also important to moisturize right after you shower this will keep your skin smooth and soft in between shaving.




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