The Benefits of Cryotherapy

The Benefits of Cryotherapy


At the Ritacca Laser Center, we’re constantly looking for safe, minimally invasive ways to reverse the aging process. In doing so, we often turn to established medical technologies. Many of the methods doctors use to heal injuries and manage chronic health conditions can also encourage cosmetic rejuvenation. This overlap exists because compounds used during healing, like collagen and elastin, are also essential for the maintenance of firm, smooth, and youthful skin. 


Cryotherapy has been used for decades to provide pain relief and prompt tissue regeneration, but it’s only recently been adopted by plastic surgeons and dermatologists. Today, this procedure is used to quickly and painlessly improve the health and appearance of patients.


What is Cryotherapy?


Cryotherapy is a system wherein patients are exposed to hyper-cooled vapors for two to four minutes. This exposure time is sufficient to stimulate the healing process and metabolism, while being too short to induce cold-related injuries. 


Cryotherapy can be applied to the whole body or just specific areas, such as the face. When applied to the face, cryotherapy is often called a “cryofacial” or “frotox.”


What are the Benefits of Cryotherapy?


The primary advantages of cryotherapy over other skin rejuvenation treatments are safety and convenience. No harsh chemicals or injections are used during cryotherapy, and patients can resume their normal activities soon after treatment. Furthermore, cryofacials do not cause the skin to crack or peel. Cosmetically, cryotherapy can grant all of the following benefits: 


  1. Instantly tighter skin.


Extreme cold causes a wide variety of materials to contract, and human tissue is no exception. When cold vapors are applied to the skin, the blood vessels and connective tissues below the epidermis are immediately constricted. This instantly (and painlessly) firms the skin, lifting the face and reducing the visibility of wrinkles. 


  1. No-contact exfoliation.


Under the right conditions, cold air can act as a powerful exfoliant. Cryofacials open clogged pores, induce the natural shedding of dead skin cells, and reduce the production of sebum (skin oil). This creates a radiant, glowing look and helps control acne symptoms.


  1. Increased collagen production.


When the body is subjected to extreme cold, it instantly goes into “panic mode” because it assumes that the skin is being injured (e.g., by frostbite). In its rush to repair potential damage, the body sends a surge of collagen and elastin to the skin’s surface. This collagen and elastin then gets to work, rebuilding and strengthening the epidermis. 


This healing process, which is a fundamental part of how laser and chemical peels work, effectively combats age-related collagen loss. In the weeks following a cryofacial, the skin gradually becomes fuller and healthier. 


  1. Better fat burning.


Our bodies have to burn a lot of calories to stay warm in cold conditions. In fact, being exposed to temperatures cold enough to induce shivering can burn 100 calories in just 15 minutes. Some people therefore use whole-body cryotherapy to enhance their weight loss efforts. The deep cold used during this procedure may burn up to 500 calories per session. However, it’s important to remember that cryotherapy is not a feasible substitute for a healthy lifestyle. Caloric restriction and regular exercise are necessary for weight loss, with or without the assistance of cosmetic treatments. 


If you’re interested in skin rejuvenation but don’t want to deal with downtime or peeling, cryotherapy might be right for you. To learn more about this treatment, contact the Ritacca Laser Center at 847-367-8815.

Skincare Habits to Adopt in the New Year for a Glowing 2019

Adopting better habits can be hard, but changing how you look after your skin has never been easier. Over the last decade, a number of cosmetic treatments have been developed to treat acne, sun damage, and the signs of aging—without discomfort or downtime. We also know more about how the skin works than ever before, so we can develop targeted, effective skincare habits. For radiant skin throughout 2019, check out the tips below:

Three Essential Skincare Tips for 2019

1. Diet Matters

When it comes to cultivating glowing skin, what you put into your body matters as much as the external treatments you choose. Though it’s a myth that specific foods (like chocolate) cause breakouts, research has shown that eating a diet high in processed foods and low in essential nutrients degrades overall skin health. A bad diet increases inflammation, which can in turn worsen acne. Likewise, when the skin is deprived of vitamins, antioxidants, and amino acids, it can’t repair itself as effectively. This allows UV damage and environmental stress to accumulate, causing premature aging. To keep your glow gorgeous, eat a diet rich in whole foods, especially plant-based whole foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

2. Professional Exfoliation is a Must

We now know that exfoliating at home can, unfortunately, do more harm than good. Home-based exfoliation techniques, like scrubbing with abrasive crystals or cloths, can create tiny tears in the skin, allowing acne-causing bacteria to do more damage. These methods also tend to dry out the skin, without replenishing vital oils and nutrients. To really get the full benefits of exfoliation, you’ll need to try a professional treatment like the HydraFacial. The HydraFacial system uses hydrating serums and a special vortex extraction system to vacuum away dead skin cells without damaging the skin. Then, a series of nourishing serums are applied to the skin. These serums contain a number of antioxidants designed to help the skin repair itself and resist the effects of UV radiation and environmental toxins.

3. Schedule Regular Laser Treatments

Laser skin rejuvenation treatments, like the BBL laser, use targeted pulses of light to painlessly dissolve skin cells. The laser essentially “peels away” the uppermost layer of the skin—much like a chemical peel does, but without the same potential for flaking, redness, or discomfort. Over a series of treatments, this process gradually smooths out lines and wrinkles while fading sun spots and other forms of hyperpigmentation.
Laser skin treatments also stimulate the production of collagen, a protein that’s necessary to build strong, healthy skin cells. Because declining collagen levels are to blame for many of the visible signs of aging, having laser treatments repeated each year can potentially delay the need for facelift surgery.

With winter in full swing, many of us are experiencing a range of skin woes, from dryness and dullness to acne (and everything in between). If you’re ready to take charge of your skin health, let us help you make 2019 a glowing year. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with our team of certified skincare experts.

HydraFacial is the Reset Your Skin Needs for Back to School

Problem skin often happens when we least expect it—like right in time for your first week back at school. There’s a reason for this though: Whether you’re prone to breakouts or dryness, summer heat and sun exposure can wreak havoc on your skin. By the time September rolls around, it’s had enough.

Unless you find a way to soothe your skin, you might be in for a bumpy ride of pimples, redness, enlarged pores, and irritation. This is why we frequently recommend the Hydrafacial system to our younger patients: If you have this treatment before the school year starts, you can heal and refresh your skin, preparing it to cope with late nights and stress.

Why Summertime Stresses Your Skin

Most of us blame dry winter air for our skincare struggles, but summer conditions are ultimately a lot more punishing. There’s UV damage from sun exposure, of course, which is hard to completely avoid even with the right precautions. Summer activities take a toll on our skin, too. Long days spent out in the hot sun cause us to sweat more than normal, and this sweat frequently mixes with oil, makeup, and dead skin cells. The resulting liquid clogs our pores, making us more prone to breakouts. Furthermore, when sweat (or water) evaporates, it takes some of the skin’s natural moisture with it. Together, these factors lead to the development of “combination skin” that’s both oily and dry. Treating combination skin with over the counter topical products can easily worsen either dryness or oiliness, depending on the products you’re using.

How a Hydrafacial Can Help

The Hydrafacial system creates noticeable results quickly while still being gentle enough for use on sensitive skin. Unlike other leading skin rejuvenation treatments, it won’t make your skin red or flaky while you recover. Most patients only experience a subtle rosy glow after having a Hydrafacial. It usually fades away after a few hours, revealing refreshed, radiant skin. Still, like more invasive procedures, the Hydrafacial is capable of treating a wide range of stubborn skin problems. It reduces the frequency and severity of acne breakouts, shrinks enlarged pores, and minimizes the appearance of acne scars. Likewise, those with dry skin notice that after having a Hydrafacial, their skin is smooth and hydrated. In mature patients, this procedure is often used to reverse the visible signs of aging.

The Hydrafacial system achieves this versatility by employing a unique multi-step approach to skincare: Every Hydrafacial starts with a form of deep exfoliation called “Vortex Extraction.” During this phase of treatment, a solution containing mild organic acids is used to dissolve excess oil, dead skin cells, and other pore-clogging debris. This debris is then sucked away with the aid of a powerful vacuum tool. Once the skin has been adequately prepared, another serum—this one containing powerful acne-fighting compounds, like salicylic acid—is applied to the skin. This serum eradicates acne-causing bacteria, penetrates into hair follicles to dislodge stubborn debris, and gently abrades the uppermost layer of the skin. This abrasion stimulates the production of a healing compound called collagen, while also removing blemishes and superficial scar tissue.

To encourage optimal healing, nourishing serums are worked deep into the skin during the final stages of Hydrafacial treatment. These serums contain a number of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant phenols—Everything your skin needs to bounce back, stronger and more lustrous than before.

Hydrafacial treatment doesn’t have side-effects, and it can be repeated at regular intervals to ensure consistent results. To learn more about how this treatment can refresh your skin, contact the skincare experts at Ritacca to arrange a consultation.




Stuff Your Stockings With These Great Skincare Products

For many people, opening up a stocking is one of the most enjoyable parts of Christmas. After all, who doesn’t love digging to the bottom of his or her stocking, pulling out a bunch of wonderful little surprises along the way?

As fun as stockings are to open, figuring out what to put in them can prove challenging. After all, if buying one gift for that person who has everything is hard, it’s going to be even harder to choose several small gifts for them. Fortunately, if you feel like you’re running out of stocking stuffer ideas, there’s one option that has virtually unlimited potential: Skincare products. Not only is there an incredible array of different products to choose from, the appeal of skincare products is nearly universal. Everyone wants more radiant, youthful-looking skin.

The 4 Best Skincare Stocking Stuffers for Both Men and Women

Need some help creating the perfect skincare shopping list? We’ve compiled a list of four of our personal skincare “must haves”:

  1. The perfect pigment correcting serum.

Pigment problems, like sun spots and areas of skin discoloration, typically accumulate with age. That’s why almost everyone needs a professional-grade pigment correcting serum like Lytera® 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum. This serum, which can safely be used on all skin types and hues, has been specially formulated to correct even the most stubborn pigmentation issues. Better still, this serum has been designed to enhance the results of many popular dermatological skin resurfacing procedures, like chemical peels and laser skin resurfacing. It can even be used safely alongside some of the most commonly prescribed skincare products, e.g. hydroquinone.

Lytera is 100% fragrance-free and contains no harmful parabens, making it appropriate for use even on very sensitive skin. Lytera also does not bleach or lighten the skin in any way, so individuals with dark skin may use it without worry.

  1. An excellent anti-aging serum

Not all anti-aging creams are created equally. Many inexpensive drugstore creams contain ingredients that can actually dry out and irritate our skin. They’re also typically lacking in the kind of high-quality compounds that are needed to penetrate deeply into the skin and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.

When picking out an anti-aging serum, look for a brand that is rich in natural oils, vitamins (like vitamins E and C), and antioxidants. Just like antioxidants can repair damage done within our bodies, they can help to rejuvenate skin that’s been harmed by the sun, environmental toxins, etc. You should also be aware that serums which contain natural growth factors found in the human body (like Human Fibroblast Conditioned Media) are especially good at restoring the skin’s natural radiance and suppleness. That’s why we love TNS Essential Serum: Not only is it rich in antioxidants and human growth factors, it contains special Hyaluronic Filling Spheres that supply the skin with hyaluronic acid. This acid, which is used in many popular dermal fillers, both traps water (keeping the skin moist and hydrated) and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin.

  1. Neocutis Lumiere eye cream

Even if you regularly moisturize your face, as you get older, you’ll probably find that the area around your eyes needs a little extra TLC… And you’re not alone. Most people struggle with puffiness, redness, and the appearance of fine lines around their eyes as they age. That’s why the Neocutis Lumiere eye cream is the perfect skincare stocking stuffer for virtually anyone over thirty: This nourishing eye serum contains caffeine, hyaluronic acid, and bisabolol—all crucial ingredients that can keep the area under the eyes plump and bright. It’s also specially formulated to treat the very delicate, sensitive skin around our eyes without causing any irritation.

  1. Skincare gift cards

As useful as at-home skincare products are, the simple fact of the matter is that they can’t do everything. Dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have access to skincare technology that far exceeds the effectiveness of anything we consumers can purchase to use at home. Because dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons have the training and experience needed to use injectable treatments (like Juvéderm®, BOTOX®, Radiesse®, etc.), they can penetrate deep below the surface layer of the skin and correct the deeper structural issues that moisturizers and at-home exfoliation kits just can’t reach. Giving a friend or loved one a dermatology gift card therefore grants him or her access to a peerless rejuvenation experience.

If you would like more information on the ways cosmetic medicine can repair skin damage and reverse the visible signs of aging, feel free to contact us. In the meantime, happy gifting!

Specialized Skincare For Men

Let’s face it men and women have different skin that comes along with different skin care needs. Some of the differences between male skin and female skin are skin thickness, facial hair and different hormones which can all play a role in skin oil production, skin sensitivity and the aging process. While men can also benefit from many common female skincare products, the number of products on the market can be overwhelming or appear specifically targeted for women. For most men, a skin care regimen should be simplified and customized to specifically target male skin.

Here are some of our aesthetician recommended favorite products and treatments for better skincare for men.

Skincare for Men: Best Products for Men’s Skin


Cleansing daily is important for several reasons. Cleansing and exfoliating help remove bacteria, excess oil, dead skin cells, minimize pores, improve hydration, and decrease dullness. One of the perks of being a male is that face shaving can benefit the skin because it helps exfoliate. On the other hand this can be opposite with poor shaving techniques which can lead to skin irritations and razor burn. One of our favorite aesthetician picked cleansers for males is Revision Brightening Facial Wash. We love this product because it has Salicylic and Glycolic Acid which exfoliate to decrease breakouts and improve skin texture. It has Vitamin C which brightens the skin and also has antioxidants vitamin E and white tea which help protect the skin from free radical damage and pollution.


Sun damage is the leading cause of aging. Brown spots, fine lines and wrinkles, and broken capillaries can all be attributed to sun damage. Sun damage can also lead to skin cancer which can be serious. Wearing sunscreen daily is important and our favorite aesthetician picked sunscreen for men is Elta UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Untinted. It is formulated with Zinc Oxide and has UVA and UVB sun protection. It also helps calm acne prone skin and is oil and fragrance-free.


Keeping the skin moist and hydrated helps keep the skin balanced which decreases excess oil production or facial dryness which can lead to breakouts and skin sensitivity. Our favorite moisturizer which can be applied at night time opposite of sunscreen in the morning is Neocutis MicroNight. This is our aesthetician pick not only due to its moisturizing and hydrating lipids, but it is also rich with micro-proteins that improve skin elasticity and firmness.

The Next Level in Skincare for Men: Skin Treatments in our Medical Spa

Two treatments that men love at our practice are the BBL photo facial and the Hydrafacial. The BBL photo facial is a laser system that uses broadband light to target a number of skin concerns such as sun spots, uneven skin tone, facial redness, large pores, acne and acne scarring while also stimulating collagen to improve fine lines and wrinkles. The BBL is ultimately one of those best anti-aging treatments as it is reversing signs of aging and changing the gene expressions of cells that are responsible for aging. The Hydrafacial is a relaxing facial treatment that helps target dullness, hydrates, deep cleanses, exfoliates, and replenishes the skin with antioxidants and peptides. The Hydrafacial leaves the skin smooth and hydrated with no downtime. It is the perfect pick me up to look and feel your best before a business meeting or special event.

Better Skincare for Men in Chicago

Here at Ritacca Cosmetic Surgery & Medspa in Vernon Hills, we offer a variety of services and skincare for men. We offer complimentary consultations with our experienced skin care experts that can help tailor a simple skincare regimen just for you. Schedule an appointment today.

Acne Tips and Tricks: Clear skin tricks you never thought of

There are facial cleansers and topical prescriptions for acne, but even those can sometimes be undermined by your makeup, cosmetic brushes and even your pillow. Arm yourself with our acne tips and tricks for clearer skin.

How Common is Acne?


According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 40-50 million Americans annually are affected by acne, and it is the most common skin condition. We often spend a lot of time and effort to improve the quality of our skin with products, cleansing, and treatments. Here are some tips, tricks, and neat products that promote clear and healthy skin.

Acne Tips and Tricks for Clearer Skin


Tip #1:  Your Pillow is a Breeding Ground for Bacteria

We all know we should cleanse our faces before bed to remove makeup, dirt, oil, and debris but did you know that our pillow holds dead skins and bacteria that can cause breakouts?

sleep clean sleepclean pillow acne tips and tricks

There is a pillowcase called the SleepClean Pillowcase that uses silver ion technology leaving the pillow uninhabitable for bacteria. It is hypoallergenic, cotton, and machine washable.


Tip #2:  Use Something Better Than a Washcloth


There is a neat cleansing system on the market called Luna by Foreo.

acne cleansing foreo luna

The Luna removes up to 99.5% of dirt and oil and has a higher cleaning efficacy than a manual cleanse. This advanced cleansing method has been shown to exfoliate, unclog pores, combat fine lines, and improve the absorption of skincare products. There are no disposables such as brush heads on this product either and it’s easily transportable. They make a Luna for every skin type and even one specific to men.


Tip #3:  Clean Your Makeup Brushes the Right Way

acne tips and tricks

Makeup and makeup brushes can be a breeding ground for acne causing bacteria. This neat brush cleansing mat we found from Sigma Spa uses technology that deep cleanses face and eye brushes. The brushes are placed on the mat with cleanser then washed, rinsed, and refined.


Tip #4:  Use Makeup That is Skin Care Friendly

jane iredale makeup chicago


Lastly Jane Iredale is a mineral makeup line that is non-comedogenic and anti-bacterial. They have done testing to show that due to their natural preservatives the makeup does not harbor bacteria or clog pores that can cause blackheads. It also has contains spf to protect our skin from sun damage and aging. The brushes are just as great as the makeup line.


Where to Buy


These products are not meant to treat acne alone but certainly work great in combination with a prescribed acne regimen, or if you are just looking out for preventatives. We offer the SleepClean Pillowcase, The Luna by Foreo, and Jane Iredale makeup here in our practice. Come by to purchase or contact us for details.


Need More Acne Tips and Tricks?


Schedule a consultation at Ritacca Cosmetic Surgery and Medspa for a skin care evaluation. We’ll help you come up with a good treatment regimen and select the right products to help clear up your acne breakouts.