The Secret to Luminous Skin Summertime Skin Care Tips in Charlotte, NC

Skin Care Tips in Charlotte, NCFrom BBQ’s to lazy beach days, summertime means serious fun in the sun! Unfortunately, the sweltering heat also brings to mind sweaty skin, breakouts, and sunburns. If you love the summer but hate the way your skin misbehaves when the thermometer rises, there’s help for you yet! Here are three beauty secrets for achieving luminous skin this summer and beyond:

  • Think inside the box.

Glowing skin is an inside job, and we’re not referring to your vibrant personality! The “Jennifer Aniston” glow requires cellular renewal, which means skin rejuvenation (med spa) treatments and medical-grade skin care products. From Clear & Brilliant® laser treatments to chemical peels, The Refine Institute offers a leading selection of treatments that revitalize your skin from deep within, triggering collagen growth for healthier, younger-looking skin. To enhance and maintain your glow between treatments, we offer Obagi® Medical and Colorescience® skin care and makeup for at-home maintenance and year-round radiance.

  • Take cold showers.

It’s not the most comfortable way to bathe, for sure, but cool water has surprising health benefits. For one, it can shrink blood vessels in your face, reducing redness and inflammation. Jumping into a frigid shower or pool can even help to reduce stress, improving your overall health. According to research, sudden exposure to cold water reduces uric acid levels, which have been linked to gout and kidney stones, and increases gluthathione, an antioxidant that helps the body adapt to stress.

  • Protect yourself!

We love the warm rays for their mood-boosting power and vitamin-D benefits, but make no mistake about it—ultraviolet (UV) rays are enemies, not friends. UV rays silently wreak havoc by causing a host of unpleasant skin concerns, including fine lines, wrinkles, brown spots, age spots, and uneven skin tone. Reduce your UV exposure by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every morning, and reapplying throughout the day when you are spending time outdoors. Since sunscreen wears off with sweat and time, you should never leave home without a wide-brimmed hat and large sunglasses, which provide a crucial physical barrier. They also afford a glamorous touch!

Luminous skin is a cinch if you have the right tools. Let The Refine Institute arm you with the best tricks of the trade. Call us at 704-909-4800 or click here for a skin care consultation today.

3 Expert Tips for Botox and Dermal Fillers Gorgeous Results with Injectables in Charlotte, NC

Curious which non-surgical cosmetic procedure was most popular in 2016?

Drum roll, please…

Botox® earned the number one spot, and dermal fillers came in a close second!

Injectables in Charlotte, NCWe’re not surprised. At The Refine Institute, we understand why dermal fillers and injectables are more popular than ever. We perform expert injectable treatments daily and achieve superb results for our clients. A quick visit with our precise, highly-skilled nurse injector can smooth away lines and wrinkles and plump up sunken contours for months, revealing a revitalized, younger-looking you. What’s not to love about that?

Aside from going to an experienced injector, there’s a little prep work you can do beforehand to ensure you achieve nothing short of fabulous results:

  • Be a Chatty Cathy.

Before every med spa treatment, communicating with your injector is key for ensuring a high level of satisfaction. To get your best results, you and your injector need to be on the same page, and that means taking the time to express your expectations clearly so your injector can help you meet your goals.

  • Eat and drink smart.

From Advil to green tea, certain substances can thin the blood, which can increase your chances of bruising. Some of the most common culprits are alcohol, aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamin E, fish oil, garlic, ginseng, and gingko. Plan to avoid all of these substances for at least 48 hours before your procedure. Not all herbs are bad, though. Starting a week before your treatment, we recommend the herbal supplement arnica montana, which has been used for centuries to reduce bleeding and inflammation.

  • Stay cool.

Applying a cold pack to your treatment areas before and after your session can help reduce swelling and minimize discomfort. Cooling your skin constricts blood vessels, making them smaller and less likely to be affected by the needle. The cold temperature also desensitizes the skin, offering pain relief.

We can’t wait to rejuvenate your appearance! Call us at 704-909-4800 to schedule a consultation or click here to fill out a contact form.

Make Dad Feel Fab! Father’s Day Gift Ideas Charlotte, NC

Father’s Day Gift Ideas Charlotte, NCWant to make Dad feel extra special this Father’s Day? For primping and pampering your favorite fellow on his special day, The Refine Institute is the perfect choice!

Dad works hard helping others, so why not help him relax and ease his mind with a restorative facial? Our Gentleman’s Facial or Signature Facial are sure bets for soothing his senses and revitalizing his skin. This med spa treatment is 50 luxurious minutes of pampering that include cleansing, exfoliation, extractions, anti-oxidants, and massage of the face. So dad can look as refreshed as he feels, our facials can improve a bevy of skin concerns, including fine lines and wrinkles, dull skin, and enlarged pores.

Dad may also delight in a gentle anti-aging skin treatment (not that he needs it!). Clear & Brilliant® laser treatments are a non-invasive solution for turning the clock back on your skin, diminishing dullness and reducing pore size while improving the overall tone and texture of skin. Dad can also have his pick from our wide selection of revitalizing chemical peels, which exfoliate the skin and stimulate collagen production for younger-looking, more evenly-toned skin. Laser hair removal is another great option for the dad who yearns for less hair on his body.

The Refine Institute has so many treatments, it’s nearly impossible to pick just one! So if you’re having trouble deciding, buy a gift certificate and let Dad choose! For more information, call us at 704.909.4800.

Plastic Surgery Tourism

medical tourismWe all love a good deal. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial are hugely popular, clipping coupons isn’t just for your mother, and we all know what BOGO means…buy one get one!

But there are some things you should spend money on. According to the old adage, things that separate you from the ground: shoes, tires, and beds. We’ve got another to add to the list: surgery.

Would you be wary about a coupon for eye surgery? Us too. So why is cheap, knock-off surgery any different?

In order to save a few bucks, many women are traveling to international countries where surgeries are cheaper. But plastic surgery tourism comes with risk.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, at least 19 women suffered from serious wound infections following plastic surgery in international countries, most notably the Dominican Republic.

Recently, a woman in her late twenties travelled to Santo Domingo for a tummy tuck at a cheaper price. She suffered from a pulmonary embolism the day after surgery and died on the operating table.

A tummy tuck? A relatively easy procedure cost a woman her life? That is the risk with discounted surgery. Doctors have fewer credentials, fewer rules and little to no regulations to abide by, and so the ability to offer cheaper prices.

It is simply not worth the risk. At the Refine Institute, Dr. Pratt is a member of the North Carolina Medical Society and truly invested in each patient. He will discuss all your options at your consultation and if surgery is not the route for you, he will discuss less invasive procedures that yeild great results. Smartlipo is one of the procedures that Dr. Pratt offers and The Refine Institute is one of only 2 plastic surgery practices in Charlotte offering it!

You can rest assured your plastic surgery will be by the books, and result in a healthy and beautiful new look.

Liposuction: Numbers on the Rise

471490493Liposuction was 2013’s top surgical procedure, having been performed more than 360,000 times. It continues to be the most popular surgery, coming in just above breast augmentation. With the rebounding economy and the rise of social media and pictures we appear in online, it’s no wonder!

Another reason for the increase in popularity is the shift in the belief that liposuction is “just for women.” Men are realizing that the body contouring procedure can help them achieve a better-looking body, in addition to the diet and exercise they are already trying. According to statistics, roughly 10% of all cosmetic procedures were performed on men in 2012, up from 8% in 2010, and up 106% from 1997, with liposuction being the top procedure for men as well.

One New York based physician even says he has “seen requests for procedures around Father’s Day go up close to 50 percent among men; the highest level than any other time of the year.”

Some men opting for liposuction are not technically overweight, but want to highlight muscle definition. This can include transferring love handle fat to the biceps to cultivate the appearance of muscles. In these cases, liposuction works best with the regularity of diet and exercise.

The world of liposuction is giving way to quicker, safer, and more effective procedures, many that can be done in less than an hour.

Breast Augmentation: Enhance Your Self-Confidence!

Breast augmentation, Charlotte NCBreast augmentation has been in the news a lot lately – and one article we’re really excited about is Kaley Cuoco Sweeting, the newlywed actress of Big Bang Theory and 8 Simple Rules, saying her breast augmentation was “the best decision she ever made”.

In a society where actresses often receive scrutiny for going under the knife to enhance their looks and self-confidence, it is refreshing to hear someone so confident, happy, and secure in their decision to augment the size of their breasts.

Breast augmentation, enhancement, lifts, and reductions are often spoken about in whispered tones or hushed voices. Women need voices like Kaley’s to not only admit to plastic surgery, but shout their happiness with it from the rooftops. It is nothing to feel ashamed about or something women should feel the need to hide. A conscious decision to change something that affects us every day, from uncomfortable bras and back pain to filling out blouses better is a beautiful thing.

At the Refine Institute, we care deeply about the wants and needs of our patients. We ensure they are not undergoing surgery to fulfill someone else’s wants or desires, but purely their own. Breasts come in all shapes and sizes, and if you want a different shape or size, let Dr. Pratt help you achieve those desires!

Tummy Tuck: Ideal for Moms

78327501Moms have the hardest (and busiest!) job of all. And sometimes those pounds can creep up, even while running after little ones, juggling schedules and responsibilities, and balancing kids and work.

Tummy tucks are a great way to improve your self-esteem, energy, and ability to do more things with your children. One mother laments about how miserable she felt before her tummy tuck. She couldn’t ride on the swing, go down the slides, do yoga, hold her child comfortably, or stand in one place for more than a few minutes at a time.

According to the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Phil Haeck, M.D., “The average woman having a tummy tuck in my practice is a young mom under the age of 35 with two small children. She feels that she gave up a lot with changes in her body during and post-pregnancy, and she doesn’t want to have to wait years to reestablish how she used to look. She wants her pre-baby body back now.”

A common post pregnancy condition many women result from is diastasis recti, separated abdominal muscles, resulting in a belly looking “bowed out” and pregnant, even after losing pregnancy weight.

Dr. Pratt knows that there are many questions that may need to be answered before making this decision and he is happy to help! He will review what this decision means to you, how long it will take, what costs you may expect, and what options are available to you. Dr. Pratt is invested in your happiness and will guide you every step of the way.

Mothers give so much to their children. Sacrifice barely begins to describe it. Of course, a body won’t be in the same exact condition post-baby, but the Refine Institute takes pride in helping mothers get closer to their desired bodies. Not only for the new range of activities they’ll be able to participate in with their children, but for themselves.


Plastic Surgery Review – One Patients Story

My husband would always ask me on every birthday, “what would you like as a gift this year”? I kept telling him I would like some Smartlipo and maybe a breast augmentation, just something for myself. So this year, on my birthday, I received a card from my husband and it says, you have an appointment at The Refine Institute.

I was just thinking I was far removed from my self image. You know, is it really necessary, me being a mother of grown children and a grandchild, do I really need this? But to me, it was very important. At The Refine Institute, I felt as if I were part of the family. It was almost like, okay, come on in. We’re happy to see you. Let’s see what we can do to help you. Everybody there is spectacular. I felt very comfortable the minute I walked in the door. They listened and didn’t try and pressure or push any particular thing on me. Speaking with Dr. Pratt, oh he’s just laid back, almost as if you were speaking with an old friend and he puts you so much at ease.

Afterwards, you know, I’m just confident in the way I look. The clothes feel good, the mind feels great. I feel like one person, one self, and I am just thrilled. With that gift, in that birthday card, that was by far, the greatest, the greatest gift I’ve ever had outside of giving birth to my children. It’s been life changing. It’s just awesome. I’m so pleased.

Plastic Surgery Review – Patient Testimonial

I have two kids. I have a four year old and a one year old. Being a mother, it just completely redefines like who you are and what you do and how you look at the world. My body wasn’t what it used to be, especially after breastfeeding two babies for a year. I felt like I needed to do something for me. I needed something for mommy. You know, I have these beautiful babies and do all these things for them like taking them to soccer and I had just gotten a swing set for the backyard. And it’s like okay, mommy needs some mommy time.

I decided to go ahead and get a mommy makeover and got the breast augmentation and got a tummy tuck, and I think it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself. I did a lot of internet research. I wanted to see what people’s feedback were. I looked at a lot of the pictures. At one point I was even considering going overseas to do it, but then I read all the negative feedback. Knowing now how important it is to have a doctor nearby, that’s one of the things that I liked about the Refine Institute. Dr. Pratt was so readily available and his whole staff was so available. And also that Dr. Pratt was not just a plastic surgeon, that he’s also a general surgeon.

Once I called the Refine Institute, Dana was great, the front desk receptionist, she answered all my questions. I had lots of questions. The first time I walked in it just felt like a spa. And I remember sitting in the waiting room and I’m just like, oh gosh, I’m really here. Like, I’m really doing this. And everybody was so nice and so open about their experiences. Definitely loved my experience with The Refine Institute. And I would recommend it to anyone.

Refine Institute Video Testimonial

I’m the mother of two children. My lifestyle is incredibly active and so I exercise probably five to six days a week. I feel like taking care of myself and staying healthy is a great example for my daughters and helps me be the kind of mother and wife that I want to be.

Every practice says they’re committed to customer service, but I felt that a lot of other practices like it was sort of a cookie cutter environment. They weren’t really listening to me. The staff wasn’t really engaged with me. I felt like just another number. I will tell you it’s markedly different at the Refine Institute.

After the first child, very, very few problems bouncing back, but after my second baby I noticed some things that I just couldn’t get rid of. My issues were in my abdominal area. I couldn’t seem to get my abdominal area flat and I worked harder than I have ever worked. I was at the gym six, sometimes seven days a week but that abdominal area just wouldn’t flatten out for me. When I sat down with Dr. Pratt, that’s when he shared with me is that all the sit ups in the world, all the classes in the world were not going to fix this anatomical abnormality really that had resulted from pregnancy.

I consulted with five different plastic surgeons before I chose Dr. Pratt and I instantly knew that he was the doctor that I wanted to have operate on me. I sat down in his office and I didn’t feel rushed. I didn’t feel like this was a cookie cutter environment. I didn’t feel like he was trying to sell me anything. He was listening to what I had to say. He’s one of the most humble, warm, caring physicians that I’ve ever encountered.

I love the communication from the office. They talk you through every step. At no point did I feel in the dark or that I didn’t understand what was going to happen next. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result. It’s actually better than what I anticipated. I tell friends all the time who are considering this, I would do it again tomorrow. I feel confident in my clothing. I feel confident around my husband. I feel excited to go to the beach. It’s life changing.