Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)

Let’s talk about skin cancer. It can be a scary topic to discuss, and sometimes it is easier to ignore the subject than to face the truth.

Basal cell carcinoma is one of the most common forms of skin cancer in Canada.  Fortunately, this type of skin cancer is the least dangerous, but that does not mean you can simply ignore it.  BCCs must be treated or they will continue to grow by destroying and invading surrounding skin tissue which can sometimes lead to disfigurement.

Let us start with a little background information on why this type of skin cancer is called a basal cell carcinoma.  Everyone has basal cells, which are found at the bottom of our epidermis.  This type of skin cancer occurs when one of the basal cells develops a mutation in its DNA (the basal cell’s DNA controls the process of creating new skin cells).  When this process is functioning properly, new skin cells are produced in the basal cell; over time, the older cells are pushed toward the skin’s surface, where eventually these old cells die and are sloughed off. When a mutation occurs in the basal cell, the DNA instructs the cell to multiply rapidly and continues to grow when it would normally die off and be shed from the skin.  Eventually, this overgrowth in cells may form a cancerous tumor; this is the lesion that appears on the skin in the form of a basal cell carcinoma.

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the primary cause of this type of skin cancer (if you would like more information on ultraviolet radiation, please see our blog “The Sun’s Relationship with Your Skin”).

Factors that may increase your risk of developing basal cell carcinoma include: chronic sun exposure, frequent or severe sunburns as a child, increasing age, fair skin, personal or family history of skin cancer, radiation therapy, renal organ transplant, and patients whose immune systems are compromised.

What should you look for?  The appearance of this type of skin cancer can vary, but the early warnings sings include:

  • A firm, flesh-coloured, or slightly reddish bump, often with a pearly border
  • A sore or pimple-like growth that bleeds, crusts over, and then reappears
  • A small, scaly patch seen most often on the trunk or limbs
  • The area may have small blood vessels on the surface which give it a red colour

It is important to note that BCCs can look quite different from one person to another; when in doubt, check it out.  Any sore that does not heal within four weeks should be examined by a dermatologist.  Follow your instincts and visit your dermatologist if you see anything new, changing, or unusual on your skin.

Now that you know what to look for, an important question to ask is how do you help prevent this type of skin cancer?  Avoid being in the sun during the hottest hours of the day, wear protective clothing, wear SPF year-round (even when it is cool or rainy out), and avoid tanning beds.  Lastly, it is important to perform self-skin checks at home and report any changes you may notice to your family doctor or dermatologist.

Sometimes the hard topics in life are worth discussing, they might just save a life!

References :,

Improving Your Gut Health & Common Imbalances

So, what’s the deal with gut health? Our digestive system or “gut” is one of the most important systems in our body! It does so much for us, allowing us to digest our food and absorb its nutrients. Our gut is the home of many bacteria, and what we put in our body can heavily influence the balance of good and bad bacteria in our microbiome. 

What are some common causes of gut imbalances? 

  1. Lack of proper nutrients and prebiotics
    Healthy gut flora is diverse, and for optimal diversity it’s important to eat a range of foods, including fruits and vegetables which are a great source of fiber. Prebiotics, or the compounds in our food that support the growth and activity of bacteria, are also important to have. Some sources of prebiotics include chickpeas, oats, garlic, leeks, onion, bananas, and asparagus. Processed and inflammatory foods can create inflammation in our gut, which inhibits digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Alcohol can also wipe out the good bacteria, so limiting your intake is beneficial for improving gut health.
    If you want to add more prebiotic fiber into your routine or you find it difficult to consume enough through your diet alone, there are some great supplement options. Our favorite is the Metagenics UltraGI Replenish
  1. Antibiotics
    Antibiotics are incredibly helpful when used to treat bacterial infections and diseases, but in terms of gut health, antibiotics get rid of the bad bacteria and the good bacteria. Because of this, it’s important to re-establish the good bacteria in the gut if you take antibiotics, and for this reason we recommend taking a good probiotic once your medication is finished (at least 6 hours later). If you have any questions about which probiotic is right for you, we’d be happy to help you with recommendations!
  1. Stress
    We’re constantly told that stress is bad for us, but how does it affect our gut? Our gut is connected to our nervous system which means that when we are stressed, our sympathetic nervous system becomes activated. This triggers a fight or flight response in the body and releases the stress hormone, cortisol. At this point, proper digestion is inhibited, and the stomach produces more acid causing indigestion. In more serious cases, stress can cause a decrease of blood flow to the stomach which can lead to inflammation and imbalance of gut bacteria. 
    If you want to improve your gut health, managing stress (especially while eating) is important. Set some time aside for yourself and have gratitude for what your digestive system does for you. Relax while you eat. Focus on chewing properly to break down your food into pieces that are easier to digest. Even if you’re on the go, try to set aside a few minutes to eat mindfully. 

What Can You Do to Support Gut Flora?

Nourish Your Gut with Nutrients: 
Nourish your gut by eating the rainbow in fruits and vegetables and be sure to include lots of omega 3 foods to help strengthen membranes and reduce inflammation. As we discussed above, probiotics are great for establishing healthy gut flora; they replenish good bacteria, boost immunity, and keep our bowels “regular”. Fermented foods are another great source of the good bacteria and enzymes that benefit our digestive system.
Because of its amazing health benefits, the last food we want to highlight is bone broth! Not only is it chock full of easily digestible vitamins and minerals, the high glutamine content in bone broth helps to protect and maintain our intestinal lining. It’s a great base for many recipes and can be used in more than just soups! If you’re unable to make your own at home, we love  Borderland Food Bone Broth as they are local to Calgary and produce great quality broths. They have many options like grass-fed bison, grass-fed chicken, grass-fed beef, and a bone broth smoothie base! 

Gut Rejuvenating Squash Soup

This recipe is inspired by gut-nourishing food with a yummy bone broth base. It’s an easy-to-digest meal that is tasty and beneficial to our microbiome. Enjoy!

– 1 Butternut Squash (medium to large)
– 2 Onions (small to medium)
– 2 Cups of Bone broth (Homemade or Borderland)
– 1 Small Can of Pumpkin Puree
– 2 Red Apples (your choice)
– 2 Cups Unsweetened Cashew Milk (or coconut milk)
– 1 tbsp Kosher Salt
– ½ tsp Black Pepper
– ½ tsp Ground Garlic
– ⅛ tsp Turmeric
– ⅛ tsp Chili Powder 
– ⅛ tsp Cumin

Topping Options:
– Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
– Hemp hearts
– Light Sprinkle of Cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Get a large baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half and make sure to remove the seeds. Lightly salt the squash and place on the baking sheet with the inside facing down. 
  2. Cut the onion into quarters and place on the baking sheet. 
  3. Cut the apples into small- to medium-sized pieces and make sure the core is removed. Place on the baking sheet and lightly salt along with onions. 
  4. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the squash is tender (easily poked with utensil). Remove from the oven and let cool for 8-10 minutes. 
  5. Scoop out the squash into a big pot and add the onions, apples, pumpkin puree, bone broth, cashew milk, and all spices. 
  6. If you have an immersion blender, blend in the pot until the soup mixture is smooth. A food processor will work as well. We’re looking for a nice smooth texture where all ingredients are combined well. 
  7. Place the pot over medium heat and heat the soup through. 
  8. Serve and add toppings if desired! 

By Natalie Ovics, CHN
Papillon Medical & Dermatology

Summer Skin Check-in

Is it just us, or do you have that inescapable feeling that summer seems shorter with each passing year? Perhaps that fleeting feeling is why we become unabashed sun-seekers taking every opportunity to bask in its warm rays. We doze off on the beach, always opt for the table on the patio, and pop open the sunroof at every chance.

While we fully endorse taking full advantage of the inherent pleasure summer brings, we also know that’s it’s easy to overdo it. It’s probably time for a mid-summer check-in to make sure you’re treating your skin well.

1. Use sunscreen every day. We know you know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure — and that is especially true when it comes to preventing sun damage. To fully protect yourself against harmful UVA and UVB rays, it’s essential to use a high-quality product with an SPF of at least 30.

Daily sunscreen application has come a long way from the smelly, goopy formulas that make you look like a ghost. We carry a wide range of luxury sunscreen products that can help you achieve your specific skin-care goals, including products from ZO Skin Health. Our go-to for summer is the ZO Skin Health Daily Sheer SPF 50 Sunscreen. It goes on nice and smooth and doesn’t leave you oily throughout the day. 

2. Apply sunscreen throughout the day for maximum sun protection. We are in love with any beauty product that serves more than one purpose, that’s why we love the Sunforgettable Total Protection Brush-On Shield SPF 50 by Colorescience. This handy mineral powder sunscreen has a hint of colour and a bit of shimmer to help your skin look its best. Keep one in your car, one in your purse, one at your desk, and one at home to make sure protection is never very far away. 

3. Give your skin some extra TLC with the Teoysal Redensity 1 Beauty Booster — it’s like an Instagram filter for your skin. You might have seen this treatment and its amazing results all over social media and YouTube. Let us assure you, it really is a game-changer!

We use a V2 injector to deliver Teoysal Redensity 1 directly to the face, lower eyelid, forehead, neck, décolleté or hands. This unique product stimulates growth factors while producing hydration and nourishment to the upper layer of the skin. V2 technology also triggers fibroblasts, which encourages the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. In other words, tighter, firmer, glowing skin!

4. Go for a deep clean. Your skin has gone through a lot this summer and, if you’ve experienced a sunburn, dead skin left behind might be giving you a dull appearance. This is when our HydraFacial comes in. Say hello to your skin’s new best friend.

This invigorating treatment deeply yet gently cleanses and exfoliates your skin with a technique similar to microdermabrasion and resurfaces with a mild chemical peel solution. Impurities are then extracted with a gentle suction while the freshly exposed skin is moisturized and then drenched with peptides and antioxidants.

There is no downtime for this treatment, so you can show off your soft, smooth, glowing skin immediately!

5. Nourish your body from within with an IV Nutrition Treatment. No, you don’t have to be Hollywood royalty to take advantage of this truly incredible experience that delivers vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids via an intravenous drip.

Appointments are quick and comfortable, so it’s the perfect lunchtime treatment when you’re feeling rundown or if summer indulgences are making you feel a bit sluggish. Each IV therapy has its own unique formula that is targeted to what you need the most, whether it’s fatigue, dehydration, anxiety, illness, headaches, poor sleep, and more. Contact us to chat about what IV therapy might be right for you.

Show your skin some summer lovin’ and save!

Until September 30, 2019, save 20% on Summer Safe treatments including Beauty Booster and HydraFacial. Call now to schedule in or book a complimentary consultation.  

Calgary: (403) 263-0661
Okotoks: (403) 982-7771

Offer valid on one treatment, per person.