By Laura Janelle Downey

Photography by Artemus Jenkins

Photography by Artemus Jenkins


The other night when I was having dinner at Babalu Tapas & Tacos, a young lady was getting up from her table (located directly next to mine) to leave with her male friend. As they were walking away, I noticed her turn around and walk back toward her table. But when she got closer, she didn’t return to her table, she walked up to mine and said, “I couldn’t leave without telling you that your skin is so pretty. What do you use on your face?” I smiled and told her it’s all in the genes! My mom is Indian and my dad is African-American—a combo I most certainly lucked out with. But while there, I also mentioned a few of the key products that I use.


If you’re in need of a glow, below is a list of my top five go-tos.


  1. Drink plenty of water and say no to sodas, juices, alcohol, and most sweets.
  2. Don’t cake makeup on your face. Let your face breathe.
  3. Wash your face with Dove’s gentle exfoliating “beauty bar for renewed skin.” It has a moisturizing cream component, which helps make my face feel nice and soft.
  4. Use OXY’s cleansing pads. It works daily to prevent acne. Each morning, I use one to wipe off my face. If you could only see the gunk that settles on it! It’s gross. Take care of it with one swipe of the pad!
  5. Moisturize with Estée Lauder’s DayWear. I massage a few dabs of the multiprotection antioxidant creme into my face and I’m good to go for the day. The luxe product also comes with SPF 15. It’s perfect for daily protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays.
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By: Bryan M.

I just recently started noticing a thinner patch of hair at the crown of my head. It was hard for me to accept this because my hair has always been so full. But Dr. Anna Paré assured me this was a normal occurrence for men my age and really helped put me at ease.


Before starting the procedure, Dr. Paré numbed up my scalp and drew blood from my arm to create the platelet rich plasma they would be using for the treatment. The blood is drawn and put into a centrifuge, which helps to create a liquid gold plasma. The plasma aids with stimulating hair growth in the designated areas. Although the actual needle sticks were a little uncomfortable, the speed of the procedure and the idea of using my own platelets to encourage growth was appealing.

I felt comfortable during the entire process. The doctor and assistants were very approachable and answered any questions I had. At each step they let me know what to expect and I felt good in their hands. I have received one out of three treatments and I am still in the “after” part, but there is no discomfort and I am hopeful to see results.


For more on this treatment, check out this Facebook LIVE video with Dr. Anna Paré of Dermatology Consultants.


Details for Dermatology Consultant’s three office locations: 404.351.7546,

2045 Peachtree Rd., Ste. 200, Atlanta, GA 30309

4151 Hospital Dr. Covington, GA 30014

4800 Olde Towne Pkwy. Ste. 250, Marietta, GA 30068


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By: Wyndi Kappes


Whether you’ve thought about lash extensions but never got on the train or are addicted to this ready-to-go look, I guarantee that Amoré Beauty Studio will change the way you look at lashes.

This is not a typical lash and dash experience. You are greeted by Ava B. at the door of her beautiful boutique studio. Instantly all the stress of the day melts away thanks to the calming beige and pink hues that saturate the décor. The ambiance (think plush couches and gold accents throughout) will have you feeling extra glamorous and pampered from the start.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 12.27.28 PMWhisked away to a relaxing room, lay back while Ava gives you different lash options and customizes a look that not only fits your eye shape but also your style. If you are looking for day-to-day lashes or ones to show off at events, she can help you. My makeup-free 10-minute morning routine called for something a little more natural, but even toned-down lashes made a stunning difference.

Instead of a sheet of bulky lashes or even a standard by number and size approach, Ava took the time to craft my eyelashes like a work of art piece by piece and layer by layer. The process took around two hours for a full set but it didn’t seem as long because we chatted and I also took a short nap. The added time and meticulous placement made all the difference. When I opened my eyes I couldn’t even tell the lashes were on. They were weightless and placed perfectly, my vision was unobstructed, and my blue eyes appeared brighter and twice as wide.

Showing off my lashes later that day several people commented that my eyes looked beautiful and that I looked better rested, and overall, happier. I loved that my small eyes took center stage, and overall, I enjoyed the boost of confidence.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 12.27.06 PMLater that day I went for a run and showered and they stayed on flawlessly. When it was time for my nightly routine, Ava sent me home with a goodie bag of lash cleanser, which was ideal for rinsing off the day but keeping my lashes intact. The best part—I woke up the next morning with ready-to-go lashes.





For more on this lash styling experience, check out this Facebook LIVE video with Ava Brodersen of Amoré Beauty Studio.

Details: 678.620.9333,, 280 South Atlanta St. Ste. 300, Roswell, GA 30075

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3 Tips for Combating Oily Skin

By: Alex McCray

While our skin type isn’t something we can change, there are ways we can make the most of what we’ve got. Here are a few things I do regularly as a part of my beauty routine to combat my oily skin.

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 12.20.08 PM


1.     Keep It Clean

Having a clean base is a great starting point no matter what type of skin you have, but especially for those of us who are oily (and acne-prone).


I’ve been a diehard fan of Proactiv since high school. There’s something about the pimple-fighting Benzoyl Peroxide in the cleanser and moisturizer, along with the gentle but deep exfoliating power of the Glycolic Acid toner that makes me feel like I’m really getting that grease off without stripping my skin.


2.     Keep Layers Minimal

I find that when I keep my makeup layers minimal my skin can breathe and tends to produce less oil. Instead of going for a super full-coverage look every day, try to stick to your makeup basics. Do what makes you feel like you look “put together” while leaving as much off your skin as possible.


3.     Go Bare

I also like to let my skin be au naturel. I think letting my skin do its thing every now and then actually encourages it to produce less oil. And sometimes we just have to succumb to the skin we’re born with it.


Hopefully, these ideas will make your relationship with your oily skin a tad less tumultuous.


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By: Josh J.


Varicose veins, spider veins, and blue reticular veins aren’t just a cosmetic problem. They can also cause you to suffer physically with aching, tired, and heavy legs. You may also experience burning or itching. Louis G. Prevosti, MD, FACS, of VEINatlanta sat down with me to talk about my symptoms and the next steps for improving the health of my legs.

Louis G. Prevosti, MD, FACS

Louis G. Prevosti, MD, FACS

I consider myself to be a relatively active person. I work as an engineer but I’m also an avid ballroom dancer so I’m no stranger to being on my feet. One of the problems with the bulging veins in my legs is that they make my legs feel much heavier than they really are. Dr. Prevosti explained that it could be due to the blood pooling in my veins caused to poor circulation.


VEINatlanta offers a free consultation for anyone wondering if their veins could be a problem. Also, if more extensive treatment is needed, most insurance companies cover the cost. After assessing my needs, the next step was to be fitted for compression stockings. This is a noninvasive treatment that helps keep the blood from pooling and potentially creating clots. Dr. Prevosti was very knowledgeable and made me feel incredibly comfortable discussing something I’m honestly a little self-conscious about.



For more on this consultation, check out this Facebook LIVE video featuring VEINatlanta’s Dr. Louis G. Prevosti.


Details for VEINatlanta’s three office locations: 404.446.2800,

1100 Johnson Ferry Rd. NE. Ste. 165, Atlanta, GA 30342

601 Professional Dr., Ste. 170, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

3886 Princeton Lakes Way Ste. 140, Atlanta, GA 30331


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Best Self staffer: Alex McCray

To me, facials fall into one of two categories—relaxing or beautifying. What I loved about the 75-minute Deluxe Supreme Bliss Facial at Pure Bliss Med Spa was that it was both. The facial includes a deep cleanse, skin analysis, cream exfoliation, extractions, and a customized mask with microdermabrasion or dermaplaning and a chemical peel. My esthetician, Amy Lam, truly cleared out all the gunk in my face and catered to the needs of my oily and acne-prone skin. And throughout the facial, head, neck, shoulder and hot stone massages made the experience truly calming.


Right off the bat, I loved that Amy asked me detailed questions about my skin, my skin care, and the issues I have with it. She used that information to tailor parts of the facial to my specific concerns. The facial began with Amy double-cleansing my skin with alcohol. Even though I didn’t wear makeup that day, she told me she always likes to start with a clean base and to get rid of any natural build-up on the skin that could have accumulated throughout the day. Then she went to town performing the necessary evil of extractions.

From there, she used microdermabrasion to help lighten the hyperpigmentation I have on my forehead and to help my skin be smoother. I’d never had microdermabrasion before but it didn’t hurt at all and was very quick. At most it felt like a light scratch or something slightly rough sliding across your skin. She then applied a layer of enzymes, which she said would tingle but I honestly felt nothing (I’ve worn my fair share of plumping lip glosses so I know what “tingly” feels like and this did not feel like that at all). The enzymes helped to aid the microdermabrasion and eat any dead skin.

Next were two masks, a clay mask to detox my skin and unclog my pores and a hydrating mask. Because my skin is acne-prone, she also used a blue LED light to increase the penetration of the masks and to kill any leftover bacteria.

image2 My facial concluded with an amazing massage of my head, neck, shoulders, and face along with a hot stone massage. Amy topped my skin with a moisturizing gel by Skinceuticals to help continue to lighten the pigment, eye cream, and SPF 50 sunscreen. She advised me that my skin may be a little “angry” over the next three days but to be gentle and avoid exfoliation until day four.

Details: $195. 678.515.3653. 6309 Roswell Rd., Sandy Springs.

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By Alex McCray

We recently stopped by SculptHouse to put our muscles to the test. And boy, were they tested when we gave its Woodway Curve® treadmill and Megaformer™strength training combination a try. The award-winning studio’s signature CardioSculpt class tackles a different muscle each day of the week. Managing editor, Laura J. Downey, and I took the CardioSculpt Down class, which focuses on the hamstrings, quads, inner and outer thighs, and glutes.

Twenty-five minutes of strength work on the Megaformer™ had our lower bodies feeling the burn. The constant tension of the springs amplifies the amount of work the muscle has to do and turns simple moves like lunges into complete calorie torchers. This technique makes SculptHouse classes a little extra challenging for beginners but also great for those who are more advanced. Our instructor guided the students (who ranged in age from 20s to 50s) through all the moves and was sure to intervene if someone wasn’t doing something quite right. For the second half of the class, we hopped on the human-powered Woodway Curve® treadmill for intervals of running, jogging, and walking, which was a great way to systematically increase and decrease our heart rates.

Overall, this workout was a winner in our book because of its dual fat-blasting and muscle-building benefits.


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Exhale at Loews Atlanta Hotel
By Laura Janelle Downey
When I think about feeling and looking my best, I turn to the team at Exhale inside Loews Atlanta Hotel. That is why I signed up for the facility’s 60-minute Barre+Yoga class. The full-body workout, which includes everything from strategically moving four-pound weights in a small range of motion to the challenging chaturanga pose, also comes with its fair share of fold-overs, thigh and heel work, and lots of pliés. There were a couple of times where I had to resort to child’s pose because my lethargic body needed a break. But once I had the “You can do this, Laura!” chat with myself, I was back at it as my instructor Stephanie Johnson—in her positive tone and perfect demeanor—called out the counts to another exercise.

After the barre and yoga combo, we laid our backs flat on our mats and stretched. It felt great doing a modified sleeping pigeon pose and more. Plus, my body needed it! From there, I was ready to leave the studio and rinse off in one of the six showers with Exhale products infused with essential oils and vitamins. At this point, I couldn’t wait to experience the 60-minute True Facial. As I relaxed in the lounge before my esthetician Svetlana Smirnova called me back, I savored a cup of tea.
Feeling at peace, I headed back to my treatment room. It was there that Svetlana went to work on my skin. She cleansed my face with iS Clinical’s cleansing complex, which removes everything from oils to the extra junk that lands on my face daily. From there, she exfoliated with a multifruit acid peel from emerginC. Then, she gave my shoulders, hands and feet (paraffin, anyone?) a nice rub before applying Jimm Harrison’s facial treatment serum to my face. This essentially helped to nourish my skin with its shea butter, Vitamin E, raspberry seed oils and more.
After extractions were done—mostly to my T-zone area, a recovery mask from emerginC was applied to my face followed by the luxe hydra-intensive cooling masque from iS Clinical. The antioxidants combined with hyaluronic acid helped to refresh and hydrate my skin. And finally, iS Clinical’s hydra-cool serum was applied to revitalize my face. Plus, the brand’s pro-heal serum advance+ helped to reduce any signs of aging that I might be showing at 40 and it also worked to increase antioxidant protection.

The treatment ended with an application of iS Clinical’s extreme protect SPF 30, which aids in guarding my face from sun damage and smoothing the derma. Overall, I would return to Exhale because its one-stop- shop for fitness and fabulous spa therapies are just one reservation away. The instructors and therapists are highly trained and qualified. I trust the team here to take care of my body both physically and mentally.

Details: 404.720.5000. 1065 Peachtree St. NW., Atlanta, GA 30309;

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Best Self Atlanta will once again host its “30 Days of Healthy, Beautiful Skin” blog and Facebook LIVE series throughout the month of March.

Healthy, Beautiful Skin

We will invite readers to follow along with us for 30 days as our staff visits local med spas and dermatology offices to receive skin care treatments and more. As we complete each day of Healthy, Beautiful Skin, we’ll blog about our experiences to let you know what to expect from each treatment or procedure. We’ll even let you take a peek at some of the services we’re receiving in “real time” via Facebook LIVE! In addition, we’ll be sharing some of our own personal skin care routines and tips.

Be sure to like us on Facebook to follow along each day, or bookmark this post, where we’ll update the links as we go through each day in the month.

If you have favorite treatments of your own, tell us about them in the comments section or on social media with #30DaysofHealthyBeautifulSkin @BestSelfAtlanta!

Day 1                     Day 11                    Day 21

Day 2                     Day 12                    Day 22

Day 3                     Day 13                    Day 23

Day 4                     Day 14                    Day 24

Day 5                     Day 15                    Day 25

Day 6                     Day 16                    Day 26

Day 7                     Day 17                    Day 27

Day 8                     Day 18                    Day 28

Day 9                     Day 19                    Day 29

Day 10                   Day 20                    Day 30


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Dr. Vahan KassabianBy Jennifer Colosimo and Vahan Kassabian, MD, FACS, FRCS(C) Medical Director of Georgia Urology in partnership with Vituro Health

It’s not the most talked about subject around the water cooler … but it’s on more people’s minds than you would think. In fact, according to The American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer among men, after skin cancer. The good news has always been that it can be treated successfully in most cases; but gather round for a new conversation, boys, because now the news is even better.

Dr. Vahan Kassabian, Medical Director of Georgia Urology in partnership with Vituro Health, is the first and only surgeon in the state of Georgia to introduce the revolutionary HIFU procedure to treat prostate cancer. Originally from Canada, where the procedure has been approved for many years, he’s been successfully treating men with prostate cancer for over a decade. Now that the FDA has approved the procedure in the U.S., he brings his niche expertise to our community.

The acronym stands for high intensity focused ultrasound, something Kassabian describes using the analogy of a harmonic scalpel. The result is a truly minimally invasive, outpatient procedure without the side effects or downtime associated with radiation or the general risks of surgery.

Georgia Urology - Prostate Cancer“With HIFU, I am killing as much or as little of the prostate cancer, or prostate gland, as I want, using heat,” said Kassabian. “People go home the same day. They don’t even need to take pain medication. They have a catheter for about 10 days, but they’re feeling great without any of the discomfort or pain associated with surgery.”

To say it’s labor intensive – which Kassabian does – is an understatement. The surgery takes anywhere from two to three hours and uses an impossibly tiny (3mm, to be exact-think a grain of uncooked rice) ultrasound beam. “

There’s a very steep learning curve involved with this procedure,” he said. “But I can avoid damaging surrounding tissue, such as the nerves responsible for erections. As I am treating, I’m looking at it, I’m getting a lot of technological feedback, seeing heat changes, visual changes and more, all in real time.”

Whereas traditional treatment options are surgery to remove the entire prostate gland or radiation to radiate the entire gland, HIFU allows a surgeon more control over how much tissue gets destroyed. Physicians direct the ultrasound energy, also known as sound waves, toward the diseased prostate tissue and burn away the malignancy. As a result, they can destroy only the targeted prostate cancer cells and leave surrounding tissue unharmed.

Surgery without the aftermath is reason enough to book the new surgery with Dr. Kassabian, but the benefits go beyond that. “This is truly an outpatient, minimally invasive procedure,” he reiterated. “But the biggest difference is a very low effect on sexual function.”

According to Kassabian, one year after the procedure, 90 percent of the men he has treated are still sexually able to function – something not guaranteed with traditional surgery to remove prostate cancer. This new procedure also helps patients avoid complications with urinary function and the short and long-term effects of radiation. In turn, it helps patients avoid secondary malignancies, often caused by treatment with radiation. In that sense, it’s also much more in line for people who are taking a holistic approach.

“I am using sound waves to create heat,” Kassabian said. “That’s about as natural
as one can get.”

Learn more at and

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