What Is PhotoFacial And When Should You Have One?

Have you ever had a photofacial? Do you know what a photofacial or IPL is? Last week I had a photofacial. A couple of my friends asked me what that was, so I decided to write a post on it for any of you ladies who aren’t familiar with a photofacial, or why winter is the perfect season to have one.

What Does A Photofacial Do?

Photofacials are used to treat skin that has sun damage/brown spots, broken capillaries, small spider veins and some forms of redness in the skin. You can treat any area of the body, but the most commonly treated areas are the ones that get the most exposure to sunlight, such as face, neck, chest, backs of hands, arms and shoulders.

In my case I was starting to see brown spots/sun damage on my face, mostly in my cheeks and lower face. In the past I had significant sun damage on my forehead and cheekbones that has completely disappeared with photofacials. This was new damage.

Corinna B Sun Damage

This photo was taken in Paris in September 2017 while we were having lunch outdoors at El Pais. When I saw the photo all I could see were the brown marks/sun damage along the side of my face and my nose. Suitably horrified, I called Sandra Caldwell at Blume Skin Center when I got back home to plan out an IPL strategy. We decided to start treatments in early January and have a second treatment in March. One week after the first treatment I am already seeing a huge improvement.

If You Are Wearing Sunscreen Why Are You Getting Sun Damage?

I am a sunscreen obsessive. Every single day of my life I apply a broad spectrum facial SPF 85-100, and have done most of my adult life. The problem is what was going on in the years prior to that.

My recommended sunscreen, the one I have been using for years and that I have written about many, many times is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100, linked here at Amazon.com

I had several years during which I trusted the efficacy of the SPF 20 that was in my moisturizer and foundation. It turns out that the concept of an SPF built into a moisturizer or foundation giving you actual protection is, well, conceptual. You don’t actually get the protection you think you are getting, if in fact you get any at all.

Then there were the years prior to this where I wasn’t wearing any facial sunscreen unless I was sunbathing or going to the beach. It is these years combined with the SPF 20 in the moisturizer years when the damage that I’m seeing now actually occurred.

The signs of sun damage that are showing up on your skin now are actually from the damage you did years ago.


What Is A Photofacial?

Photofacial uses a light technology called Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL. A technician uses a hand held device to deliver bright bursts of light to the skin. That burst of light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the dilated vessels in broken capillaries and spider veins, and in the excessive pigmentation that makes up the brown spots and sun damage, without damaging the skin.

Does It Hurt?

Photofacials without a numbing cream would hurt. I go to the Blume Skin Centre, and they use a numbing cream first to take away any pain. From that point it just feels like a slight rubber band snap, but not painful. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have no threshold for pain, so if this did actually hurt I probably wouldn’t do it.


What Happens Next?

Once the treatment is done you can just go about the rest of your day. It is super important to stay out of the sun for a while and to have a super strong broad spectrum facial SPF on every day. I recommend photofacials in the winter, not the summer.

You will see what look like coffee grounds coming up to the surface of your skin. These are the damaged areas that have absorbed the IPL light. They will work their way to the surface and then shed away (I was helping mine to move on this morning with my ExfoliKate enzyme mask), leaving you with gorgeous, clear skin.

When my technician, Sandra Caldwell, was looking at my skin she noticed some broken capillaries on the sides of my nostrils and on one of my cheekbones, so she zapped them and they are now gone.

BBL Before and after


Obviously the picture here is not me. This is a before and after that I took from Dr Blume’s website that shows you how effective this treatment can be!

How Many Treatments Does It Take?

Normally it takes from 3 to 5 treatments depending on the severity of the discoloration or damage to the skin. The treatments are scheduled several weeks apart. Once you have completed your initial series you may need maintenance sessions from time to time. You can expect to see a 90% improvement in your skin.

Who Shouldn’t Get A Photofacial?

It is not safe for a person with sun tanned skin or for anyone who may be exposed to excess sun in the weeks following the treatment to have a photofacial, which is why I recommend it as a winter treatment.

This treatment is not advisable for women who are pregnant or breast feeding, for people using Accutane or for 6 months after using Accutane, people with autoimmune or connective tissue disorders.

 What Else Should I Know About Photofacial?

I absolutely do not recommend finding a medspa on Groupon or any other discount service for Photofacials, Ultherapy or any injectibles. The quality of your results depend entirely upon the quality of the machine and the heads used, and the quality and knowledge of the technician providing the service. If you are looking for the cheapest offer you will most likely be getting an inexperienced technician using an older, less effective machine. Read reviews on the places you are looking at and ask friends who have had success with the procedure for referrals.


If you are in Arizona I recommend the Blume Skin Center. If you have been reading this blog for a while then you already know that I have been using them exclusively for years, and that’s where I send all my friends, family and clients.

If you have questions about photofacials call the Blume Skin Center at (480) 699-7999

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.com. See the Disclosure Page to find out how this blog uses affiliate links

The Modern Girl’s Guide To Hair Removal

Summer is here, and that means legs are out, we’re wearing sleeveless tops and swimsuits, skin is bared.

girl white swimsuit pool

image by Brad Olson for Luca Magazine. Makeup by Corinna Cooke

For most of us that means dealing with (and removing!) unwanted hair. There are several options when it comes to hair removal and we want to know the pros and the cons of each, so I asked a specialist, Sandra Caldwell from Blume Skin Centre in Scottsdale for the low down.

This post originally appeared in one of my beauty columns in Luca Magazine

Hair, we all have it, which is the best way to get rid of it?


The basic option for hair removal is shaving with disposable razors. The typical women’s razor can be bought at drug stores in conjunction with shaving cream and post-shave moisturizers for around $25 a month. Most women shave every day or every other day, depending on the how dense the hair is or your how fast the hair grows. At a glance, shaving isn’t a bad deal at around 83 cents and 10 minutes each day. However, after ten years, that adds up to $3,000 and around 27 ½ days of lost personal time. Shaving also has some uncomfortable complications including cuts, irritation, bumps and ingrown hairs.

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Waxing treatments involve a visit to a salon or wax center. The technician spreads a thin layer of wax on the body area and then quickly rips it off in the opposite direction. Women usually try waxing because the results last longer than shaving. If you can acclimate yourself to the pain of waxing, the treatment will give you up to three weeks of no stubble, without the fuss of daily shaving. One of the requirements for waxing is that the hair must be at least ¼” long. That means before you receive a waxing treatment, you must allow your hair to grow and be visible for a week or more. If you have delicate skin, the wax can burn or cause inflammation. The cost of waxing varies. A full leg waxing costs around $65, while the bikini area can cost an extra $50. Depending on treatment area size, hair density, and the type of wax used it can take up to 40 minutes per visit. The

results show that waxing is efficient time-wise compared to shaving, but much costlier. The cost of waxing legs for ten years is over $6,500 with total time of 2 ½ days plus travel time to the salon.

Laser Hair Reduction

Laser Hair Reduction can be the most effective treatment for getting rid of hair on large or small areas of the body. The upfront cost for Laser Hair Reduction is greater that shaving or waxing, but the long-term cost is much less than either. With Laser Hair Reduction, you shave prior to each treatment, so there is no need to ever have visible hair growth. Laser Hair Reduction has some discomfort- it feels like a hot rubber band snap. Thankfully, the treatment is very quick with cold air blowing on your skin to relieve the brief pain. It takes an average of 8 sessions of Laser Hair Reduction to nearly or completely remove body hair, with full legs costing around $2,800 for the series. The time commitment is around 45 minutes per treatment, or a total of 6 hours for eight treatments plus travel time. The $2,800 up front seems like a large sum, but once you completed the treatment that is usually all you will ever need for that area. The average woman will want to have a maintenance touch up laser reduction treatment once every year. No more shaving, plucking, razor burn, or waiting for hair to grow out for waxing.

When you compare the cost, time, and effort of the three methods of hair removal, Laser Hair Reduction saves time and money. The true benefit from Laser Hair Reduction is freedom!

Sandra Caldwell is the Director of Blume Skin and Body is Scottsdale Arizona

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5 Things Women With Perfect Skin Always Do

image by Eric Cassee

5 Things
Women With Perfect Skin Always Do

We all know
them – women with perfect, gorgeous, flawless skin.

They all
live in different places and use different skin care products, so the answer
isn’t a magic serum or lotion or potion. (Although I swear by all the lotions
and potions that I use, and won’t trade in a single one of them!)

There are 5
things that women with perfect skin all do, and that no matter which skin care
products you are using, if you’re not doing these 5 things you won’t make it to
skin care perfection.

They Exercise


They all do
some form of exercise regularly. (Not necessarily running marathons – you have
to be super careful as an outdoor runner to keep your skin and yourself
hydrated and to be saturated in facial SPF) Be it yoga or spin class or hiking
or going to the gym, girls with perfect skin all move their bodies one way or

They Drink Lots Of Water

 jennifer aniston smart water

You can’t
have perfect skin and be dehydrated. It’s a simple equation – great skin needs
tons of water. Just for basic good health your body needs 8 glasses of water
each day, great skin likes a little more.

Girls with
perfect skin tend to shy away from high sugar drinks, avoid sodas, limit coffee
and tea and only drink alcohol sparingly.

They Make Sleep A Priority

Image result for model sleeping
Image via davelackie.com

enough sleep you will never have perfect skin.

JLo, who is
famous for her spectacular skin says she gets 10 hours sleep per night. I
cannot even imagine what it must feel like to have the kind of support with
home and children that enables you to just rack out each night for 10 hours!
For those of us that fall into the mere mortal category 8 hours each night is
the ideal for good health and for great skin.

They Eat Clean 

Image result for healthy eating

What you put
into your body will be reflected on your skin.

Women with
perfect skin tend to eat a pretty clean diet, most of the time. The occasional
slice of pizza or drive through meal probably doesn’t hurt, but in general
these women avoid those foods like the plague, opting instead for diets rich in
fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, quality fats (like avocado).

They Use The
Right Cleanser

 memebox oil cleanser

I can’t
stress how important this is! Sensitive skin, dry skin, irritated skin so often
are caused and exacerbated by using the wrong formula of cleanser. The wrong cleansers
can strip the good oils from the skin, sometimes making the skin desperately
make more oil, other times leaving it roughed up and dry. Women with perfect
skin use cleansers that dissolve and remove makeup and cleanse away impurities
and balance their skin.

My favorite cleanser is Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil, available online at Memebox.com