Are you at a crossroads with your complexion?

Meaning, do you know you have to do something about aging or the quality of your skin, but you don’t know where to go or what products to buy? Maybe it’s bigger than products. Maybe you are considering a chemical peel, Botox, fillers or even surgery. But how do you know the status of your own skin?

Does any of this even work? Photo credit:

I’ve definitely been in question mode where my own skin is concerned lately, and I recently discovered a source for a few answers. There is a software product on the market that lets you know the status of your own skin called the Visia Complexion Analysis. Initially developed for skin care research by Procter and Gamble, it gives you hard, quantifiable data about the surface and sub-surface of your skin. Many medical spas around town use it to guide their patients through the maze of complexion treatment options.

For the last year, whenever I’ve gotten together with girlfriends, we talk about our skin. There seem to be two camps: those with dry skin and those with inexplicable breakouts at an older age. My friend Jill, who’ll you hear more about shortly, is in the former camp; I am in the latter. What we all have in common is a desire to get out ahead of the aging cycle. We want to nip certain things in the bud before the incoming wrinkles or acne scars have wreaked havoc on our tender (young) faces.

As my complexion is still on the mend from my Moh’s surgery a few weeks ago, I enlisted Jill to help me conduct some field research. We went to Physician’s Center for Beauty, where they offer this Visia Complexion Analysis as part of their one-hour free Skin Consultation. Yes, I said FREE.


Don’t you wish it were this easy?! Photo credit:

We scheduled a meeting with Marilyn Cannon, the Skin Consultant at Physician’s Center for Beauty. Marilyn acts as your skin’s “personal trainer.” She makes recommendations for your skin, then customizes your plan to meet your goals. You meet with her regularly to check on your results. (For the record, I like anything with the qualifier “personal trainer” attached to it.)

Our visit began with Jill and Marilyn sitting down to discuss Jill’s current skincare situation and any concerns she wanted to address. Marilyn also asked Jill what she was willing to do in the future to address those concerns.

Jill shared her laundry list of skin issues, and as I sat and listened, I realized that I’ve never noticed any of these “problems” before. But for Jill, that’s all she sees when she looks in the mirror. Aren’t we all this way? What we notice about ourselves is unnoticeable to others most of the time.

And though it’s human nature to get hung up on visible imperfections, it’s the UNSEEN that we need to be the most concerned about. Don’t we all want to know if the products we are buying for our skin are working? Or are we just throwing money down the drain by putting a band-aid on a much deeper wound?


Here’s Jill telling Marilyn what her skin concerns are.

Once the initial Q & A was complete, it was time for Jill to put her entire face inside the Visia camera. Immediately, her image appeared nearby on a big computer screen.

Time to survey the damage.

Then, the computer assessed her complexion based on six different criteria:





UV Spots

Porphyrins (a measure of bacteria on the face, associated with acne)



In the photo above, you can see a percentage number next to all the criteria. This number is obtained by comparing Jill’s complexion data to the data of other clients’ in the database with the same age and skin type. The higher the percentile, the better your “grade.”

Here is a measure of spots, which are basically capillaries that are broken or compromised. If you see Jill’s skin up close, you don’t notice these at all.




And here comes the doozy – the UV Spots. This next picture made us both gasp. First, because she looks like she’s dead and being portrayed through night vision goggles. Second, because there is so much damage that is invisible to the naked eye.


Makes you want to go slather on sunscreen, right?

After discussing all of the other factors, it was time to make decisions about what direction to take.

Marilyn recommended the Obagi skincare line for Jill. She believes Jill will be fully corrected in three to four months with this system. Other clients with more severe complexion issues may opt for chemical peels, Botox or fillers, or surgery. It completely depends on the patient’s needs.

Marilyn explains the Obagi system step by step.

Jill is two weeks into the Obagi program and is scheduled to go back next week to meet with Marilyn. She has a lot of questions, but mainly she says she “feels better that she is at least doing something about her skin.” Can she be on the road to youthful looking skin in three to four months?  Stay tuned and we will follow her progress.


For more information about Physicians Center for Beauty, or to book an appointment with Marilyn, visit this website: