The sun is not always our friend, especially when it comes to skin. Overexposure over time to the sun can cause skin problems, from minor to major.  But the good news is that lasers can solve both minor and major skin problems:  both the purely cosmetic, bothersome spots,  AND the more major,  pre-malignant AK (actinic keratosis), which can lead to squamous cell carcinoma. 


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The above picture is an example of a minor (as far as health is concerned) result of overexposure to the skin. Dark spots like those pictured can form on the face, hands and arms.  A quick pass with the laser causes these spots to disappear.  The laser light causes all the pigment from the spots to rise to the surface of the skin.  Then over a period of 2 or 3 days, the pigment flakes off the skin, leaving healthy skin behind.

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sun damage on arm


This skin condition affects more than 58 million Americans. Those at risk for AK tend to be fair-skinned people who have spent a lot of time outdoors in the sun or who have exposed their skin to indoor tanning radiation.    AK typically appears on the cheeks, bridge of the nose, rim of the ears, back of the neck, bald scalp, lips, the back of the hands, and forearms.

Some patients diagnosed with AK are surprised, thinking, “I never go out in the sun!” But there can be a long delay, even decades, between sun exposure and AK developing.

veins AK photo

facial actinic keratosis

An AK is a rough, dry, scaly patch or grown that forms on the skin. These growths (lesions)  usually become red, but some will be tan, pink, and/or flesh-toned.  Untreated, up to ten percent of AKs develop into squamous cell carcinoma, the second most common form of skin cancer.  In more rare cases, AKs can turn into basal cell carcinomas, the most common form of skin cancer.

The most important thing for AK treatment is early,  preventive evaluation and  treatment.  In the early stages AK  can be treated  preventatively with  intensed pulsed light (IPL).     More advanced cased are treated with chemicals like efudex.  And if left untreated for a long period,  sometimes  surgical excision could be required if the lesion has advanced too far.   Early treatment and diagnoses by a qualified physician will help avoid the latter more drastic treatments.  And give the patient peace of mind that a pre-cancerous lesion is not developing.  The easiest solution is early assessment and IPL treatment.

This is a good time of year to have your skin checked to see if you are at risk. Do this before another season  of sun exposure is upon us.   Dr Fern at Vein & Skin Laser Center, a board certified surgeon, has been evaluating and treating cancer and skin for 30 years.  Call today if you want cosmetic or preventative treatment and evaluation.

This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | February 25, 2016


So, I completely missed the New Year’s Resolution month.  January flew by, and here we are in the Valentine Love month.  In addition to being caught up in the after Christmas blur, I went to Africa last month. So the January blog was lost in the shuffle.  But keep reading and I hope you’ll enjoy the ride with me as I tell you all about where I was in January! DSCN1725 On January 15, two mother-daughter teams boarded a Delta flight for a 10 day trip to Swaziland.  The purpose?  Our little 4-woman team would turn 250 yards of fabric into drapes for a new dorm to house abandoned children  in this country that has the distinction of having the highest HIV rate in the world.  In fact, it has been said that by the year 2020, it could be that Swaziland will be inhabited only by children.  Our little team wanted to be a small part of a tremendous effort.  Heart for Africa is doing a tremendous work in Swaziland and we were invited to join them.  After 22 hours of traveling, we arrive at our destination.  Project Canaan, sponsored by Heart for Africa!  DSCN1735


In the course of the trip we saw first-hand what’s love got to do with it…in other words,  the meaning of this:

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

It is humbling to see those who have given up a comfortable life in North America and Kenya to live 24/7 in this little third world country, serving and meeting the needs of the Swazi people.


And what a wonderful job they are doing!

DSCN1886 Tells the whole story. A 2500 acre plot of land in the middle of African scrub land has been turned into the oasis of Project Canaan.


Here, there is housing and food for  the children,

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and work on the farm for adults in the surrounding community.

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So much is happening at Project Canaan:  medical care, a pre-school, a kindergarten,

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a jewelry-making business,

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an egg center providing 1200 eggs daily for the Project Canaan as well as the feeding centers in the community (good source of protein),

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a dairy,


and carpenter center.  I wish I could show you ALL the pictures!!!

So back to our reason for being at Project Canaan.  We tried to do our part by sewing those drapes…..while enjoying the beautiful Swaziland scenery.

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In addition to serving by sewing, we moms were thrilled that our daughters were able to serve with us!  We never imagined this scenario. So serving became a treat, getting to be with our daughters for 10 whole days!!




We were honored to be able to put to use what we know how to do (sew, iron, pin, cut) to be a part of the bigger picture. And along the way, we got to see the beautiful faces of the children.

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We saw first hand what life is like out in the country.

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Contrast that with  the children who live at Project Canaan.




All of these babies have been rescued from certain death.  How desperate would a person have to be to give birth and then throw a baby in a pit latrine, or leave her on the side of the road?   All these children have a story like this…BUT now they are thriving!

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These are desperate times in Swaziland, and thanks be to God for Ian and Janine Maxwell, saying YES to the call to help.  Their vision has birthed Heart for Africa and the Project Canaan farm.   So while we here are giving LOVE to others, making valentines and sharing special times, breathe a prayer of thanks for those who are showing the GREATER LOVE to the widows and orphans in Africa.

Thanks, Ian, Janine, Brooks, Amber, Kenny, Chris, Jamie, Mark, Anthony, Helen, Aaron, Dennis, Gina and all the Aunties at Project Canaan.  We salute you!  


What’s love got to do with it?  Well..


One fine day, a friend unexpectedly dropped by with these cookies and a lovely planter filled with pansies as a birthday gift….a gift of love!  I’ve never forgotten that happy day!  And, I’ve enjoyed these each year at valentines.  They make a nice big cookie that can be iced.  No need to try to roll these out super thin!


becky blog

Beat together: one cup oil, 2 sticks butter, one cup sugar, one cup XXXX confectioners sugar, 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract, one tablespoon almond extract Add 2 eggs

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Gradually add 5 cups flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon cream of tartar

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(Sidebar: Whenever I use cream of tartar, I remember and laugh.   When my kids were young, I used to make playdough for them, using a recipe which called for lots of cream of tartar.  Once, I had a whole recipe made of  BLUE playdough.  It was about the size of the dough you see pictured above.  My children like to remind me how our poodle ATE THE WHOLE BATCH ….I guess we had turned our backs!  Needless to say, it didn’t stay down, but thankfully I don’t remember the specifics of that!!!)

Back to our valentine cookie recipe.  Wrap the dough (or keep in the bowl and cover the bowl with tinfoil)  and refrigerate overnight.

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Roll out to about 1/4″ (or a little thicker?) and cut with desired cookie cutters.  Place on ungreased cookie sheets.

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Bake at 350 for 6-10 minutes. Watch them carefully and remove as soon as they begin to brown.

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Eat any cookies that are imperfect or too brown.

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Unfrosted, these cookies are good with coffee and adults seem to love them, as they are not too sweet.

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For valentines, I frost  mine with Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting that I tint with red food coloring.

becky blog


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | February 4, 2016


Spider veins often occur across the legs, feet, and face, specifically around the cheeks, chin, and nose.   They are usually in the form of thin red or blue lines or webs, hence their name. While they are not life-threatening, spider veins are unsightly, and the aching and burning sensations spider veins may cause in some individuals can be bothersome.

Vein & Skin pretty before and after legs

Spider veins are caused by increased pressure in the veins. When a valve becomes weak or defective, blood flows backward and collects in the veins. The resulting increase in pressure, called venous hypertension, weakens the blood vessel wall. This causes the veins to enlarge and twist. Larger blood vessels swell into varicose veins, while smaller veins become spider veins.

Heredity is a major factor in developing both spider and varicose veins.  Other factors may place patients at risk. For fairer skinned individuals, excessive sun exposure can cause spider veins to appear on the nose and cheeks. If you’re inactive during the day or have a profession that forces you to stand or sit for long periods of time, you may also be at risk for spider veins. As age increases, the valves and walls in your veins get weaker, increasing the risk of spider veins appearing. In women, hormones, birth control pills, and pregnancy are contributing factors as well.

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                                        live sclerotherapy treatment

Sclerotherapy treatment for spider veins is not what it used to be. The new, improved, FDA approved Asclera and Sotradecol are far more effective and are virtually painless. Asclera is actually considered an anesthetic. Tests show that these new injectables are far more effective than the old saline injections.

Laser treatment is recommended for tiny veins, on the face as well as legs.

If you want an evaluation about which spider vein treatment is best for you, please call Vein & Skin Laser Center at 404-508-4320.

beautiful lots of legs

Serving Atlanta, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Brookhaven, Decatur, Vinings, Duluth, and Johns Creek.


This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | February 2, 2016


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As much as we try to have perfect skin, there are certain natural “flaws” we can’t avoid — WRINKLES being one of them. Wrinkles develop as a result of the collagen and elastic fibers in the skin losing their elasticity. Why?

Age                                                                                                                                           As As we grow older, our skin cells don’t divide and regenerate as quickly, causing our skin to lose its ability to heal quickly and generate natural oils, resulting in a dry and wrinkly appearance.

Sun                                                                                                                            When the skin is exposed to too much sun, the collagen and elastic fibers of the skin are eroded.

Habit                                                                                                                    Repeated facial expressions like frowning or smiling lead to the development of grooves underneath our skin. Over time, these grooves begin to appear as permanent facial wrinkles

Smoking                                                                                                                 According to, smoking speeds up the skin’s aging process.   Nicotine stifles blood flow to your skin, preventing oxygen and vitamin A from nourishing the outer layers. The smoke from cigarettes also damages the skin’s collagen and elastic fibers.

BOTOX can help eliminate wrinkles, particularly in the forehead or area around the eyes. Botox smooths the skin out by calming the muscles beneath the skin.

Forehead        canstockphoto1894457                                                                                                          Repeatedly raising your eyebrows can over time cause fine horizontal lines to appear across your forehead. These lines can become ingrained and make you appear older. Botox lessens raising your eyebrows, which prevents the lines from forming.

Between Eyebrows canstockphoto10584326                                                                                                   

“Hatchet lines” between the eyebrows are perhaps the most common area for Botox use in the face. Untreated, these vertical lines can make you look like you are constantly frowning. But Botox can restore your happy face.

Crow’s Feet                                                                                                                                   Botox Botox injections can also prove helpful in eliminating “crow’s feet,” lines that occur naturally at the outer edge of each eye.


Botox is an effective solution for many people. Find out if Botox is the solution to your skin problems by calling

Vein and Skin Laser Center

 404-508-4320 today!

This post was written by Vein and Skin Laser Center | February 1, 2016