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No Interest/Low Interest Credit – Is It Right For You?

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

I was having fun opening my mail last night.  The first three envelopes were from different credit card companies, and each envelope contained four ready-to-use, pre-printed, “no-interest or low-interest” checks for my convenience.  Gee, it’s so easy – all I need do is sign my name.   I said to my husband, “look at this…unbelievable!  They’re throwing interest-free money at us again!”  He smiles and we spend a few moments joking about the phantom trips we’ll take, etc., but in all honesty, it hit home for me how great credit offers can turn dreams into nightmares if one doesn’t realize the steps to be taken to insure that good credit offers remain great.

We’ve all heard the expression “there’s no free lunch.” Usually a catch is attached to free offers, i.e., “hey, how about dinner and show on us,” (after you spend the next 4-5 hours of your vacation listening to a timeshare pitch)!  Well, in regard to credit offers the “catch” usually comes in the form of penalties and fees.  Credit companies are in business to make money and they cannot exist on profitless credit for everyone, thus it’s important to both read and understand the fine print.

If you never miss a payment deadline for the entire duration of the repayment process, these offers can be advantageous because you pay no or minimal interest while your savings continue to grow; otherwise, watch out!  That no-interest teaser can quickly become a steep retroactive 26.99% with additional $29.99 to $39.99 late payment fees per month if you don’t take the necessary steps to prevent it.   The good news is that penalties/fees are avoidable and good credit offers can be utilized to your advantage.

Simple suggestions to gleam the most from great credit offers while protecting yourself include:

  1. Pay off the entire balance as soon as you receive the bill.  You’ll gain the billing cycle interest free.  An obvious first choice, but not always practical.
  2. Set up an automatic electronic repayment debited from your checking or savings account. An electronic payment receipt from your bank eliminates any doubt that your creditor is receiving your payment on time and their fees or penalties do not apply to your account.  This also eliminates the possibility of your payment sitting in someone’s in-box and not posting or being lost in the mail prior to your payment deadline.
  3. Set up the electronic payment to be received at least 4 days prior to the actual due date. Paying 4 days early allows the extra time for due dates that occur over the weekend or land on a holiday.
  4. If you do not desire to pay your bills electronically, set up a “tickler” calendar specifically designed with flagged mailing dates to ensure your payment is received a day or so early.  For the best result, follow up this method with a call to your creditor to make sure your payment has been posted to your account prior to your due date.  If they say the check has not been received or posted, you have an opportunity to authorize an immediate phone payment in order to avoid penalties.

Today’s savvy consumer can reap the rewards of their great credit score with offers that are convenient and inexpensive.  We at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery and Skin Rejuvenation – Laser Institute in both Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal accept all major credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express) including the no-interest and low-interest credit check offers that come to you in the mail.  We also offer multiple affordable financing options specifically designed for elective medical procedures, and tailored to the individual.

For additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 217.359.7508, 309.662.0436 or 800.252.7123, or visit our financing webpage at https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/financing.cfm, where you can investigate, download and submit your financing application of choice.

G. D. Castillo, MD, FACS, Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Skin Rejuvenation & Laser Institute

Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com Contact us:  https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com/contact.cfm

800-252-7123, 217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana), or 309-662-0436 Bloomington

Liposuction Vs. Abdominoplasty

Friday, July 29th, 2011

 

LIPOSUCTION   VS.   ABDOMINOPLASTY

People and physicians alike have difficulty deciding if liposuction or abdominoplasty is the best procedure when both fat and excess skin coexist.  Generally speaking, liposuction is best when we need to remove a fair amount of fatty tissue from areas where it has accumulated over time.  This would be the upper and lower abdomen, waist area, hips, upper buttocks, etc.   On the other hand, abdominoplasty is used typically when we have an apron in the lower portion of the abdomen and/or loose skin without a lot of fatty tissue in the abdominal area, whether it’s above or below the umbilicus.  Abdominoplasty is most frequently needed after pregnancy where the white tissue that covers muscles (fascia) has stretched out and relaxed.  This allows the abdomen to bulge and so the chief complaint is that of an abdominal “pooch” or loose skin, whether it is an abdominal apron or relaxed wrinkled skin over the abdominal area.

The difficult decision, however, comes when we have someone who has both loose abdominal fascia, wrinkled skin and also an excess accumulation of fatty tissue in the hips, upper buttocks, waist, upper back, and upper and lower abdomen.  In these instances, many times both of the procedures are necessary; HOWEVER, they cannot be carried out during the same surgical setting since extensive liposuction would create injury to the blood vessels that are necessary to keep the abdominal flap (that is, the anterior skin covering the abdomen that is going to be stretched from the umbilicus to the pubic area) in good nourishment.  In such an instance, the best solution is to carry out an abdominoplasty or liposuction first as a staged procedure and later coming back and doing secondarily whatever is necessary.  While this is in many instances the best avenue, it is also costlier and for this reason we tend to avoid it.  Typically, if this is necessary, it would best to carryout the liposuction first since in some instances liposuction will tend to solve both problems.

In our consultations for liposuction and abdominoplasty in Champaign-Urbana or Bloomington-Normal area offices, we do a very complete evaluation of the best procedure on an individual basis, keeping in mind that while to solve most problems both procedures would be necessary, in many instances proper evaluation will yield a good result with only one procedure as long as the right one is used to solve the primary problem, whether it be excess tissue or excess fat.

Dr. G.D. Castillo, Illinois Cosmetic Surgeon

G. D. Castillo, MD, FACS

Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, Skin

Rejuvenation & Laser Institute

Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419

https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com

800-252-7123 (within IL)   217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)

309-662-0436 Bloomington

Excuse Busters! The Top 5 Reasons For Not Using Sunblock

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Excuse Busters!

As Melanoma month comes to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to review the top five most common reasons for not using sunblock.

1.     “I just want to get a little color first”:

Keep in mind that any color changes in the skin, tan or red caused by UV radiation is skin damage.  No exceptions.  This includes color changes created in tanning beds.  UVA rays from both sun exposure and tanning beds will speed up your aging-process. Many of the patients at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic achieve “a little color” by using one of the following:

  • Glo Mineral Sun Kissed or Sunlight Mineral bronzer
  • Glo Mineral Luster Brick
  • Spray tan

2.     “I don’t need to use sunblock because I have dark skin”:

Just because your skin is dark or does not “burn”, does not mean your skin is not damaged by the sun.  It just means that the dark color of your skin conceals the visual signs of damage for a longer period of time than Caucasian skin.  Even though it is true that the number of Caucasians diagnosed with melanoma is higher, be aware that African Americans have a lower survival rate because dark skin shows signs of damage much later.  By the time they are diagnosed with melanoma, it is often in an advanced stage.  It is common to see hyper-pigmentation or sometimes hypo-pigmentation in unprotected skin of color.  Over the years, Dr. Castillo has seen a number of African American patients with dark brown blotches on their skin that could have been prevented by simply applying sunblock on a daily basis.

3.     “I want to make sure I get enough Vitamin D to avoid breast cancer and other diseases”:

Don’t be misled by the plethora of unclear information surrounding the studies regarding insufficient levels of vitamin D in relation to breast cancer and other diseases.  Let’s be clear about a few known facts.

  • Yes, tanning beds were officially named as a carcinogen (causes cancer) in 2009.
  • Yes, UVA radiation is found in tanning beds.
  • Yes, UVA radiation produces Vitamin D.
  • Yes, UVA radiation causes cancer, speeds up your aging process, creates wrinkles, brown spots and spider veins.
  • NO, using a tanning bed in hopes of preventing breast cancer is not a safe, effective or healthy choice.

Indeed, some research has indicated that in patients with breast cancer, a number of them were also vitamin D deficient.  However, the study does not indicate that Vitamin D deficiency is the cause of breast cancer by any means.  It just indicates that some individuals with breast cancer, diabetes, or heart disease are also Vitamin D deficient.

The tanning industry has inhumanly used these studies to instill fear into families whose members have been diagnosed with breast cancer, diabetes and heart disease for the benefit of their industry.  Strangely, their “public service” message about preventing breast cancer by increasing your vitamin D production thru the use of a tanning bed never mentions that as of 2009, tanning beds are now officially listed as a carcinogen (causes cancer!) Surely it must have been as over site on their part, right?

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem like exposing yourself to something we KNOW causes cancer in hopes of decreasing your chances for getting cancer would make a lot of sense.  Observing as the tanning industry is trying to push this unproven, untrue message makes me think that skin may not be the only thing getting fried in the tanning beds.  The truth is that most of us get enough Vitamin D walking to and from our vehicles, walking the dog, just living life.  And for those who need to increase your Vitamin D intake, Vitamin D from foods and supplements are a SAFE, EFFECTIVE way to achieve that without exposing your body to a known carcinogen.

4.     “I’ll be inside all day”:

“Remember that a significant amount of UVA radiation penetrates clear glass and UVA rays are of a consistent strength year-round, rain or shine. UVA rays will penetrate both car and house windows. Some Fluorescent lights even emit low levels of UV rays.  Single envelop, corkscrew shaped, compact bulbs emit the most UV radiation.  If you select the double envelop bulbs, they will provide an extra layer of protection.  Your UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunblock will protect you both outdoors and indoors and should be applied every day as part of your daily skincare routine.

5.     “Sunscreens irritates my skin”:

Avoid using a chemical sun screen. Most often it is a chemical ingredient in the sunscreen that causes irritation.  At Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Clinic, we recommend trying a UVA/UVB broad-spectrum physical sunblock such as medical grade Tisilc with Titanium Dioxide or Zinc Oxide.  Both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are physical sun blockers. Physical sunblocks are less likely to get absorbed by the skin than one of the chemical sun block ingredients.

If you would to take a proactive role in your aging process and the prevention of skin cancer or would like more information on this topic, call our Savoy (Champaign-Urbana area) office at 217-359-7508 or our Bloomington office at 309-662-0436.

Roxanne Hammond

Roxanne Hammond, RMA
Skincare and Laser Specialist
G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington

New Beginnings…

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

As we immerse ourselves in this holiday season and prepare ourselves for a new year, I can’t think of a better time to reflect upon the year past and say thank you so very much to our patients.  In the last 14 years that I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Castillo at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, I’ve learned so much and have had the opportunity to see so many new beginnings.  It’s such an honor to be involved in a positive change in someone’s life.

I’ve heard it said that only celebrities or the very wealthy invest in a cosmetic procedure.  In fact, our community of patients is mainly comprised of everyday people, like you and me, who desire a change.  This change may be subtle but still very necessary for themselves, and will positively impact the everyday quality of life that we all desire and deserve.

A cosmetic procedure or treatment is a very private matter, and I make it a point to respect our patient’s privacy, both inside and outside of our offices.  So I’d like to utilize this venue to once again, thank all of you for the trust you’ve shown in Dr. Castillo and our team at Cosmetic Plastic Surgery.

I wish you all the season’s best and a happy New Year!

G. D. Castillo, M.D.
COSMETIC PLASTIC SURGERY
Become a Facebook Fan of CPS @  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cosmetic-Plastic-Surgery/65943304419
https://www.cosmeticplasticsurgery.com
800-252-7123 (within IL)
217-359-7508 Savoy (Champaign-Urbana)
309-662-0436 Bloomington