Professional Micro Needling and Q&A with Dr. Theresa Pacheco

The search is over! I’ve been looking for a doctor I can trust for about a year to help with my pigmentation and get my skin back to where it was just a few years ago. Having a baby made it worse, I swear my skin aged 5 years from the melasma and hormone stuff that go along with pregnancy. Anyway, I’m almost 7 months post-delivery so I figured now is a good time to explore what my options are as far as a safe (I’m still nursing!) treatment to get my skin back on track.

My facialist Tjaden Lotito couldn’t say enough great things about Dr. Theresa Pacheco. She’s an M.D., professor of Dermatology, and researcher on all things related to aging and damaged skin at the University of Colorado Anchutz campus. She knows the skin and non-surgical treatments as well or better than anyone else you’ll find. I liked her right away, she’s down-to-earth and a wealth of knowledge who isn’t there to sell you on anything (they don’t offer packages and I didn’t see any product lines anywhere), just to educate you on what your options are and offer the least invase way to achieve what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for fluff, frills, and a water with cucumber in your glass sort of experience- this isn’t it as you can see by their website, they’re all about the medical side of skin. It’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Dr. Pacheco

Dr. Pacheco

I walked in to see Dr. Pacheco already knowing what I wanted: Fraxel. The ultimate in laser treatments. I’d researched it, I knew all about it, and wouldn’t accept anything else. Fire the thing up and start zapping, I’m ready to go! After a quick look at my skin she said she could do a laser treatment and loves what lasers do for the skin, but I also had other options. One being a combo laser treatment with levulinic acid that would basically give me new skin but has quite a bit of downtime. The other was medical micro needling (aka Derma Rolling!) Now you know I love me some derma rolling and have one at home that I use. The medical treatment isn’t the same as what you do at home though because her instrument has longer needles to create deeper channels in the skin which forces even more repair and better results. Basically, I go in and have a numbing cream put on my skin for about 20 minutes then she rolls the hell out of my skin poking a zillion little holes in it (yes, there is some bleeding) which tells my body to go and make new skin to heal that damage. By the time I leave, my skin will just be a bit red and swollen like a sunburn, and then over the next few weeks and even months I will see an improvement in overall skin quality especially pigment and even fine lines. I can keep up with the results by using great skincare with my at-home roller a few times a week. After seeing some before and after pictures that were pretty impressive, that’s what I ended up choosing. I’m so exited because the cost of this treatment is so much less than I expected to spend and we’re just doing one for now to see how it goes. It’s so important to see someone whose paycheck isn’t dependent upon selling you a service. If you’re in Colorado, this is where I recommend you go, otherwise check out similar doctors and clinics in your area.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

She was also nice enough to answer a few questions I sent her way about treating different skin issues. Check out what she has to say, and click HERE to see her services and to make an appointment.

Q. What treatments do you recommend for pigmentation issues?

A. Medical therapy – Vitamin C but only if a proper concentration. Vitamin A’s but only formulated appropriately. Also, a light device/laser  depending on Fitzpatrick Skin Type and whether the pigment is epidermal or dermal to decide if certain light devices or lasers would work. Old fashioned chemical peels also work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking).

Sidenote: Right after I saw her I went and bought SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, a proven C serum that all doctors I’ve talked to rave about. Don’t skimp on C serums, many are just a waste of money.

C E Ferulic

Q. What are your favorite ingredients that make the biggest difference in the skin?

A. Vitamin A but only when it’s formulated appropriately.Vitamin C but only if formulated with another antioxidant and a proper concentration. There are many other products that have benefit but it really depends on what difference you want to make in regards to skin health.

Sidenote: I’m using Vivant Exfol-A serum at night. An excellent vitamin A formulation that’s really concentrated and doesn’t make my skin red or flakey like Retin A does. I also use it with my derma roller so it has even better penetration.


Q. What about treatments for acne?

A. Medical therapy , alpha hydroxyl acids, Vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory agents. Light device/laser, but there is no laser/light device approved for acne treatment and covered by insurance. FDA device approval is very different than FDA pharmaceutical approval. The ‘heat dispersion’ from the devices control active acne lesions (red pustules, cysts, but not black heads and white heads). The no!no!™ skin device was the 1st device on the market that used ‘heat’ to control active acne lesions. Old fashioned chemical peels work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking again!)

Sidenote: I reviewed the no!no! years ago when it first came out and I love it for hair removal, I didn’t know I could be using it on my face?! Glycolic acid is awesome and Glytone tells you exactly how much Glycolic (aka Alpha Hydroxyl Acid) you’re getting in each product. I’m using their cleanser and moisturizer.


I’m hoping to schedule a treatment for next week where I’ll take pictures (maybe a video?) of the treatment and post it along with some before and after pics as the weeks progress. If you have any questions about micro needling or any other skin treatment, leave them in the comment section and I’ll get them answered for you!

Where to Find Replacement Pads for a Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler

If you have the iconic Shu lash curler (and by now you should), then you probably know that they don’t offer replacement pads for it. I know this because once a year I go hunting everywhere for something that fits its unique design and size and eventually resort to buying a new one which is exactly the reason why they don’t make them I suppose. I get it- it’s something that would otherwise last forever and there’s not as much money to be made on a one time purchase but it’s just such a waste. I think I’ve finally solved the mystery using Shiseido’s replacement pads ($9 for two). It’s the same mushroom design that makes Shu’s so good, the pad is fatter on top than the bottom so it cushions the lashes and provides a lot of stability to get a tighter curl. It isn’t a perfect fit because it stops just a hair short of fitting the entire length of the curler, but it’s close enough to where I don’t notice a difference and best of all it saves you from a purchase you don’t need to make.

Shiseido Eyelash Curler Replacement Pads

Murad Age-Diffusing Firming Mask

There was a time when I would love a good Friday night of beauty. Do my nails, maybe a hair treatment and a face mask topped off with some 20/20 and it was the perfect night. Pretty crazy, I know. It’s not like I don’t do these things post-baby, it’s just that they’re more spread out so they don’t take up big chunks of time that are harder to find. Multi-tasking is the new name of the game so I’ve been putting on a mask before I hop in the shower so by the time I’m ready to jump out it’s ready to take off. All the more helpful because I’ve been using Murad’s Age-Diffusing Firming Mask which isn’t a clay version that takes patience and time in front of a mirror to remove, it’s easily wiped away and even better penetrated by the steam which makes it the perfect shower mate.

It’s meant to firm, tighten, and smooth out the skin with a bunch of fancy ingredients, but all I know is that it brightens and boosts my skin in a way that’s visible right after I use it. It makes my skin really soft too, it’s everything you need in a mask. As long as your skin isn’t breakout-prone, all that heavy clay isn’t necessary.

If you aren’t remembering to use your mask weekly, toss it in the shower and use it there. These mini-spa treatments are so key to the health of your skin especially if you aren’t getting regular facials, it makes such a difference.

My VISIA Skin Analysis

The most horrifing thing I’ve ever enjoyed is probably how I’d describe getting my skin analized by MyChelle’s super fancy VISIA machine at Whole Foods today so I can see what the damage is (literally) with my skin and how I can fix it. Revealed in just seconds was the present and future damage that their line is designed to treat in a natural, but high-tech way. My fantastic beauty advisor explained the results for each of the 8 skin measurements (wrinkles, dark spots, texture, etc.) and then developed a personalized plan for me to achieve better skin based on the mapping. Dark spots and fine lines are what I’ll be tackling before returning in 10ish weeks to re-scan and see the positive changes in my skin. I’m so excited!

Let’s look at this mess I created in my 20′s by: tanning, using tanning beds, not wearing sunscreen ever, buying too-harsh skincare that was basically a step down from acetone, occasionally smoking, and generally not caring about the 35-year old me who now has to figure this thing out.

A snippet of my results. I especially like the part where my hearty Italian nose is accentuated by the drawing around it. Quick, someone get me a frame, this sucker is going above the mantle.

Look, shopping for skincare is confusing- even for me. There’s just so much out there and everyone’s skin is unique, it’s why you’re combing through my blog right now trying to get some sort of help to become less confused about it all. This is so genus, not only do you get someone to answer your questions, but you’re dealing with facts. No guessing, no buying something because your friend likes it, just facts. Here’s your skin now, come on back and let’s see how it’s better. It’s that simple.

Click HERE to find a VISIA near you to experience their FREE (!) skin analysis and bring a friend along who can help you make fun of your results. It’s more fun that way.

Make Your Own Gradual Self Tanning Lotion

Gradual self tanning lotions like Jergens are my favorite kind. No streaks, seamless color, scent-free, and a rich natural looking tan especially if you get the darker formulas and use it daily for a week or so. Its subtlety is the key, too much color all at once is just a recipe for disaster. It’s not magic though, it’s all about ratio- less of the DHA (what turns you tan) and more moisture.

I like the natural self-tanning formula from Nature’s Gate, but I was getting harsh streaks from it just because I’m so damn pale. No problem, I started mixing it with a squeeze of regular body lotion (not a self tanner) and I create my very own custom gradual tanner. Essentially a watered-down version so it isn’t so intense and won’t streak as easily which is what a gradual lotion is all about. I’ve got a good ratio figured out of half lotion and half tanner so now I can just slap it on without worrying about blending or much else. It’s perfect.

If you have self-tanning lotions just hanging around unused because the color is too harsh, try out this easy DIY trick for a no-fail glow.

The Cheapest Face Brush Out There

When picking up a new hairbrush for my daughter recently, I noticed that the feel of the bristles reminded me of something familiar, my Shiseido face brush I used for years. I still recommend that $25 brush to those who want the Clarisonic experience but not the steep price, but this baby brush with the identical feel to Shiseido’s for just a few bucks is an even better value. Just get the softest one you can find and the smallest so it’s more face contour-friendly. THIS one shown below isn’t what I have, but I’m sure it would do the trick.

Shiseido’s face brush.

Use the brush, not the comb on your face $4.