Explaining the Science Behind Ultra Femme 360

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Ultra Femme 360 is a safe and effective non-surgical alternative to labiaplasty and vaginoplasty procedures. The Derm Institute offers a comfortable, friendly, and private environment for women to undergo this innovative vaginal rejuvenation procedure. Read our infographic below to learn about the science behind it.

For more information about Ultra Femme 360, contact us to schedule your consultation today.

The Magic of Lasers + Energy Devices

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Lasers and energy devices can do magical things to our skin! From treating brown spots and redness to stimulating collagen production, lasers can improve a range of skin conditions. Dr. Chiu created the below infographic that contains information on skin lasers and energy devices, such as how they work and what they treat. For more information on these procedures, or to schedule a consultation, please contact The Derm Institute.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

Intense pulsed light utilizes highly selective light energy to target brown spots and red areas. It can be used to treat pigmentation, sun-damaged skin, brown spots, age spots, broken blood vessels, facial redness, and rosacea. IPL also brightens and evens the overall skin tone. IPL has a 75% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.


Fraxel delivers fractional laser energy deep into the skin for a simple and effective anti-aging treatment. Fraxel is used to reduce hyperpigmentation, sun damage, facial scarring, and fine lines and wrinkles. Fraxel can also treat actinic keratosis, a common pre-cancerous skin condition. Fraxel has a 71% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.


Infini is a skin tightening treatment for the neck, jawline, and face that uses insulated microneedles to deliver microfocused radiofrequency, which heats collagen fibers and stimulates collagen production. Infini can also improve the appearance of large pores, acne scars, lax skin, and stretch marks. Infini has an 80% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.

Clear + Brilliant

Clear + Brilliant Laser is a revolutionary, gentle laser skin care treatment that has been clinically proven to fight the effects of aging skin. The gentlest treatment in the Fraxel family, the non-ablative fractional resurfacing laser is a beneficial addition to any healthy skincare regimen, great for pore size, melasma, and fine lines. Clear + Brilliant has an 81% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.


3 Ways to Debut a New You in the New Year

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Start the New Year off right and try some of our most popular minimally invasive procedures to debut a new, more confident you. With procedures like the Clear + Brilliant laser, natural fillers, and body contouring, you will be looking your best in 2017.

Clear + Brilliant Laser

The Clear + Brilliant Laser is a gentle laser treatment that fights against signs of aging and discoloration to reveal smoother, glowing skin. Clear + Brilliant Laser has an 87% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.

New + Natural Fillers

New and natural fillers can be exclusively customized to fit your indiviudal needs, including Juvederm Volbella, Restylane Refyne, and Restylane Defyne. Juvederm Volbella has an 86% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.

Fire + Ice Body Contouring

This treatment combines the fat eliminating heat energy of Vanquish ME and the fat freezing technology of CoolSculpting. CoolSculpting has an 83% RealSelf.com Worth It rating.

For more information on these procedures, or to schedule a consultation, please contact The Derm Institute.

New Year, New You

What’s HOT in Skin Rejuvenation? Radiofrequency Energy

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Radiofrequency is the HOT treatment of choice in anti-aging, fighting dreaded sagging, increasing skin tightening, and boosting new collagen production little to no down time.

What radiofrequency procedures does The Derm Institute offer?

protege during treatmentExilis Protégé Elite: This system uses radio frequency (RF) waves to tighten skin, smooth fine lines, and improve texture of areas like the neck, décolleté, upper and lower eye lids, and jawline.  If you noticed increased laxity, or crepy skin in these areas, Protégé will help!

Vanquish ME: This innovative body conturing device uses RF to heat targeted fat tissue and kill fat cells all with no downtime or discomfort.  There is virtually no down time and treatments can address those bothersome areas like abdomen, love handles, thighs, and even the dreaded bra bulge. Treatment with Vanquish ME only takes 1 month. Yes, that’s smoother, slimmer, and contoured areas in just 30 days.

Infini: Our newest system is becoming one of our most popular and effective treatments to tighten the skin, reduce pore size, and contour a sagging jawline or tighten loosening neck skin. Pinpoint microinvasive needles direct heat to induce collagen contraction in areas like the face, neck, and even on the body.

Before & After

How do these RF procedures compare to other treatments like C02 laser or other devices on the market?

No real downtime. In a world where you are always on the go it’s hard to have that “me” time without taking away from work or home activities. RF technology devices allow for you to not only keep your schedule, but also receive effective treatment with little down time.

Minimal to no discomfort. It is always ideal to have little to no pain and treatments like Vanquish and Protégé, and, provide true alternatives to surgical procedures without the pain or risk of going under the knife.  Patients sometimes find these treatments are relaxing while they are turning back the clock on aging!

Effective Results. Each RF device at The Derm Institute offers results that can be seen within 30-60 days. Infini can actually still have results even just 6-8 weeks after the first treatment! Can you believe that? Results get better over time as the body builds more collagen.  Our patients have been thrilled.


How to I learn which treatment is the right one for me?

Schedule an appointment at The Derm Institute with Dr. Annie Chiu, she will provide you an indepth consultation on each device and determine, based off your needs and concerns, what treatment or combination of treatments will optimize your results.

…Shared by Your TDI Team

Tighten up…With INFINI

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Lift Sagging Skin with INFINI Microfocused Radiofrequency

Patient being treated.“I can’t stand to look at my neck”.  These words are uttered by countless women every day.  As a dermatologist, I hear it—day in and day out.  In a lot of ways, I have felt a little helpless because thus far technology for skin tightening has been inconsistent, costly, and unreliable.

Things are changing in 2016, as we introduce Lutronic’s INFINI High Intensity Focused Radiofrequency to tighten skin, lift jowls, address radial smile lines, reduce pore size, and soften acne scarring.  INFINI combines deep microneedling technology with radiofrequency heat to induce neocollagenesis or new collagen production.  I often describe the process to be similar to taking a pair of wet jeans and throwing them in the dryer—thermal radiofrequency literally encourages new collagen fibers to tighten and shrink, resulting in a less tired, more youthful appearance.

So what makes INFINI groundbreaking?  Predictable results.  Other tightening devices on the market, including thermage, titan, exilis, ulthera are completely non-invasive.  Meaning an applicator is applied externally to the skin, hoping to lift or tighten its target collagen layers deeper in the skin.  Because the source of the energy is so far from its target (dermal collagen) when it’s applied outside the skin, some people get results, others are frustrated with no noticeable improvement.  INFINI for the first time utilizes microneedles to penetrate past the outer layers of the skin, and predictably brings thermal radiofrequency energy to the exact target depth of the deeper skin layers for optimal new collagen stimulation, tightening, and improvement.

InfiniBefAfts_More all in a row

We are super excited about this bringing yet another state-of-the-art next level technology to our TDI patients.  Call to chat with us more about it!  Here’s the quick 4-1-1 . . .

What does INFINI treat?

  • Neck and jawline laxity and sagging.
  • Treat accordion-like cheek smile lines.
  • Tighten and rejuvenate the face to give a firmer, smoother appearance with diminished fine lines.
  • Acne scarring. We have seen results comparable and sometimes even better than fractional laser resurfacing.

Infini graphic flow chart.

How many treatments do I need?

  • INFINI procedures take approximately 30 minutes
  • Although some patients see results with 1 session, we recommend optimal sessions of at least 2-4 depending on your individual condition.

What is the downtime?

  • Minimal.
  • Most commonly, redness and swelling occurs for 1-3 days

TDI’s Quickie Guide to Lasers

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LZR_-1Lasers are an ever growing and changing technology using beams of energy to target unwanted skin conditions. Fractional Ablative and Fractional Non-Ablative resurfacing produces finite columns of treated areas in a gridlike fashion, leaving small islands of normal skin intact to shorten healing time and decrease the risk of pigmentation problems.


  • Reverse Premature photodamage and aging
  • Stimulate and tighten new collagen production
  • Improves texture, pore size, scars, and stretch marks

acne_12Ablative lasers are meant to target deeper wrinkles,discoloration and photodamage. Fractionated non-ablative lasers typically produce results with one session with downtime of approximately 7-10 days.

Non-Ablative lasers treat pore size, fine lines, discoloration, scars, as well as stretch marks. Treatment typically requires 3-5 sessions, but downtime is very limited, with only a few days of mild swelling, and a dry, sandpaper like sensation to the skin. Typically makeup can even be worn to cover this.

Fractional laser treatments are one of the Derm Institute’s specialties. There is no cookie-cutter approach–It is important to take into account skin color and ethnic background to achieve the optimal result. Below is a quickie “Cliff’s Notes” guide on lasers.

  1. There is no magic single laser that treats lzr-2everything, pigment, lines, scars, etc are all different targets that sometimes require different lasers. But Fractionated Non-Ablative Lasers comes close to targeting almost all these concerns to smooth and clear the skin.
  2. Fraxel, Artisan, Pearl, Mixto, etc are all name brands utilizing the same type of non-ablative fractional resurfacing technology with slight variations based on provider preference.
  3. These treatments typically require a few sessions but have minimal downtime of approximately 3-7 days.
  4. The Derm Institute recommends strictly following aftercare instructions, including the application of sunscreen or a healing ointment such as Biafine or Aquaphor to reduce downtime.
  5. IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is not technically a laser, but an intensified light source made to target pigment and blood vessels. Downtime is extremely minimal and great results can be achieved in 1-2 sessions.

. . . Shared by the TDI team

Tips for Treating Large Pores

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We all want satiny smooth skin, unfortunately big pores often stand in the way of having that. Here is The Derm Institute’s Tips on minimizing the appearance of large pores.

Skin Care Tips There are a number of factors that will cause large pores, but of the many, there are three main culprits. The first one is age. As we age we will naturally lose the elasticity in the surrounding skin that supports the pores, causing pores to appear bigger than they actually are. Secondly, men are more likely to have larger pores compared to women from their genetic makeup and increased oil production. And last but not least, our body uses a substance called Sebum, which naturally hydrates our skin to prevent from drying. This substance however is very oily and individuals who produce more than average will find that oily skin causes larger pores.


The good news is you can make your large pores appear smaller and here’s some quick how-to’s:

1.  Cleanse:

One of the easiest and quickest ways to reduce large pores is implementing a daily routine of constantly keeping them clean. Use a mild cleanser twice a day and exfoliate so that your skin doesn’t become overly dry.  You can consider a cleanser that contains a gentle lactic or salicylic acid to declog the pores.

2.  Exfoliate:

Removing dead skin cells from the upper skin layer to brighten skin texture and get rid of heaped up cells surrounding and in the pores.  Removing the dull layer of dead skin cells on top of your living skin layer gives you brighter, smoother, more radiant looking skin with a velvety soft texture.  You may want to think about investing in the Clarisonic Mia which uses sonic energy and the vibrations of a brush to pulse your cleanser down into your pores. Oil and clogged pore debris can then be lifted out of the pores.  Empty pores look cleaner and smaller because the black appearance oxidized pore debris make pores look  more obvious.

3.  Treat: 

The use of topical treatments such as retinoids, salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid or benzoyl peroxides will not only reduce the size of the pores but will also aid in the destruction of bacteria that cause acne and treat sun damage.

If you still feel like your pores look big with the tricks I’ve mentioned above. You may need a little extra help. There are many dermatological advances in skincare which has led to the development of a number of effective treatments for large pores. If you have large pores, you may benefit from the following treatments:

4.  Chemical Peels:

Our team at The Derm Institute will work with you to transform your complexion into beautiful, healthy-looking skin. Our chemical peels use varying types of prescription-strength acids including salicylic, lactic, retinol, and trichloroacetic acid to remove your outer layers of dead skin – revealing the fresher, healthier, softer skin underneath.

5.  Fractional Non-Ablative Laser Skin Resurfacing: 

Fractional Non-Ablative Laser Skin Resurfacing works beautifully to create micro-zones of collagen boosting to reveal fresher, smooth skin.  It can minimize the appearance of pores as well as acne scars.  Downtime is minimal with some mild redness and flaking.  Typically a series of even 2 treatments is enough for long-lasting results.

Laser Treatments for Large Pores

View our before and after gallery

6.  IPL Photofacial:

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments are also fantastic for refining the texture and appearance of pores.  Skin feels incredible after even a single treatment.  IPL causes tightening of the pores, gives the skin an overall glow, and addresses any unwanted red or brown spots.

7.  Photodynamic Therapy:

Photodynamic Therapy uses a light activated solution to improve the skin texture by minimizing the size of oil glands on the face.  Typically 1-2 treatments can address pore size significantly, as well as reducing signs of early sun damage.

8.  Smart Makeup:

If you suffer from large pores your first instinct may to immediately reach for that makeup bag to reduce their appearance. But wait! Before you rush into it, double check that you are using the correct products first. What you want is a product that is an oil free formula without a lot of talc, which can actually settle into the pores and make them appear larger.

Dr. Chiu and her medical team are personally involved in every treatment here at The Derm Institute. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about any of the procedures. To learn more about treatments at The Derm Institute or to schedule a free consultation, contact us by phone or email today.


. . . Shared by Dr. Chiu and The Derm Institute Team


6 Steps to Soft, Smooth Skin!

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Whether you want to fade fine lines, get rid of flaky patches, or just up your overall glow, these six procedures can help. From anti-wrinkle procedures to skin-sloughing treatments, here are six ways to keep your skin smooth starting this New Year.

1. Start with something basic, like moisturizer. Some moisturizers are not very moisturizing. A lotion may smell good and look nice, but if you can’t tell you put it on five minutes after you put it on, it’s not doing much. Dr. Annie Chiu recommends switching to heavier, thicker products that contain humectants, which attract moisture to skin, when the weather gets colder. One of our favorite’s at The Derm Institute is, SkinMedica’s Dermal Repair, it works like a multi-vitamin for the skin by using nourishing ingredients to support the skin’s barrier and improve signs of dry aging skin. SkinMedica’s Dermal Repair Cream offers intense skin hydration and helps replenish firmness and moisture.shaving legs

2. Shaving. In the morning: Many women shave their legs with regular bar soap. But soap plus the calcium in hard water forms a gummy coating and makes skin drier than soap alone. Use a body wash, a soap alternative. *The Derm Institute Tip: Shave every day to every other day, with a body wash or shaving cream, with warm not hot water. A razor removes the protective top layers of your skin, along with hair. When you do de-fuzz, choose a four-blade razor — it offers the closest shave, allowing you to use a gentle hand, which preserves natural moisture — and opt for a hydrating shaving cream, not gel.

3. Chemical Peels, a common cosmetic procedure, works by removing your skin’s outer layer by exfoliating the skin and removing dead cells on the surface. Dr. Chiu’s Physicians Blends allows you to enhance exfoliation to promote a healthy, more radiant layer of skin while boosting collagen production. Most peels can be used on any part of the body, the most popular being the face, neck, décolleté, arms and hands.

4. Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Photofacial to address any brown spots or broken blood vessels. Dr. Chiu’s IPL Photofacial utilizes Intense Pulsed Light for a gentle treatment that is safe, painless, and requires no significant recovery time. IPL sends light through the skin to target the undesirable tissue, and leaves the surrounding tissue unharmed. The process is gradual and, collagen production is stimulated, rejuvenating the skin, shrinking pores, and giving the skin an overall glow. After about 5 days of very minimal “beauty downtime”, this procedure will reveal new glowing skin with improved texture, pores and decreased wrinkles. The result is healthier, younger looking skin.

5. Photodynamic Therapy. The Derm Institute uses a LED (light-emitting diode) that healthy-skin-winterproduces a narrow spectrum light to boost collagen, which creates plumper, younger-looking skin, or to kill the bacteria that causes acne. LED photo facials are painless, cool and relaxing, and carry no risks. The best results come after a series of photo facial treatments. LED photo facials are a good choice for people who want to boost collagen or treat acne. Their collagen-boosting, facial rejuvenation properties have been proven with medical research. The results won’t be as dramatic as plastic surgery, but it’s a gentler, more natural, less expensive way to go.

6. If you’re not wearing sunscreen: Start now. It won’t get rid of the lines you have, but it will prevent new ones from forming. Begin using a prescription retinoid cream nightly; Dr. Chiu often recommends Renova because patients find it less drying than other formulas. You’ll notice lines softening in two to three months.


If you want to be more aggressive, you could try Botox, a favorite here at The Derm Institute. Botox is a botulinum toxin that blocks the nerve impulses that cause muscle activity—and expression lines. Dr. Chiu can inject it around the eyes, between the brows, across the forehead; the lines in those areas then fade away over about a week. Fine lines are generally about 20 percent genetic and 80 percent environmental (in other words, brought on by the sun and smoking). They usually occur in the most expressive areas of your face—like around the eyes and forehead.


. . . Shared by Dr. Chiu and The Derm Institute Team




Laser and Light Treatments FAQ

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People ask a variety of questions about laser and light and treatments, most of the answers to these questions depend heavily upon the individual and the type of treatment.
A single answer will not cover all possibilities. In this post Dr. Chiu answers some frequently asked question about laser and light treatments. To learn more about laser and light treatments and to find out what is the best treatment for you contact us to schedule a consultation.

1. Which laser treatment is best for facial rejuvenation and skin tightening?

There is no magical single laser for this question. Lasers are incredibly target specific. If you are looking to even color, an Intense Pulsed Light treatment may be all that is necessary. For acne scarring, pore size, and coarsening, a fractional non-ablative laser can be very effective. The best treatment for overall skin tightening and treatment of deeper wrinkles is the fractional ablative laser resurfacing.

2. Do laser treatments stimulate collagen production?

Laser-light technology has been shown to stimulate collagen production through remodeling of collagen and deep heating of collagen fiber. Post treatment skincare products can also help the collagen synthesis process. We recommend products containing retinoids and growth factors to maintain your investment.

3. What is the best time of the year for laser skin resurfacing?

True resurfacing lasers are often best done in the Fall or Winter, when the skin is not quite as susceptible to sun exposure immediately after the procedure. However, nowadays, with awareness of sun protection, the best time is whenever you may have a few days to a week of “down-time”, depending on the procedure.

4. What is the best laser treatment for scars and large pores?

Fractionated non-ablative lasers can be quite effective for surgical scars, acne scarring and enlarged pores. The treatments are typically done in a series, spaced about one month apart. Fractionated technology leaves very small “islands” of normal skin intact, dramatically decreasing downtime and improving safety in darker skin types.


5. Which treatment is better for chin and upper lip lines: Fractional Laser or Dermabrasion?

A multi-modal approach using both fine line fillers, tiny drops of Botox, fractional ablative laser, and/or deep chemical peels are great ways to improve vertical lip lines, otherwise commonly known as “smokers’ lines”.

6. Which laser is best for neck tightening with minimal downtime?

The laserlift utilizing a minimally invasive technique of removal of fat under the chin area and heating of the skin at the same time from under the skin can produce dramatic results in a single session. This is a new technology that allows a previously difficult to address area to be treated with minimal downtime.

7. What are the potential side effects of laser skin resurfacing?

As with any procedure, laser treatments have certain risks, especially if the treating provider is inexperienced. Potential side effects include burning, bruising, hyperpigmentation and hypopigmentation. Darker skin types including Asians and Hispanics are more prone towards discoloration post laser, so it is important to seek physician level care with someone who is experienced with these skin types.

8. How long should I wait between laser•light treatments?

With experience in how to push settings in a safe manner, some procedures require only a single session. Stretch marks, acne scarring, and surgical scars can require 3-4 sessions, and we recommend doing them about one month apart.

9. Laser skin resurfacing •pros and cons?

Patients considering laser resurfacing for scars should discuss the pros and cons with Dr. Chiu or your dermatologist before proceeding to decide on a plan. This often depends on your specific concern and skin type.
The more invasive the laser, the more dramatic the results can be, however it also comes with greater downtime. Ablative laser resurfacing can produce dramatic smoothing of wrinkles and tightening, but there are also more potential side effects. New fractional technologies has definitely decreased the potential “cons” associated with laser treatments, but realistic expectations, sun protections, and a thorough discussion with your physician is key.

10. What is the best skin aftercare following laser resurfacing?

Generally, after laser treatments, the most important thing you can do for about a week is to make sure the skin stays moisturized and protected from the sun. About a week or two after the treatment it is important to start up with a skin health regimen that maintain and further improve the results from the laser treatment. Products that contain retinoids and growth factors can improve long-term results of laser-light treatments.

. . . Shared by Dr. Chiu and The Derm Institute Team

Top 10 Ways to Cut Down Photo•damage This Summer

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summer-2As the temperature heats up this summer, it’s a perfect time to step up your skincare routine to fight against photo-damage.  Sun exposure over time can not only lead to increased risk of skin cancers, but it can also lead to uneven pigmentation of the skin, wrinkles, and thinning of collagen.

  1. ALWAYS wear a sunscreen SPF 30 or above.  Look for broad-spectrum, yet lightweight products such as Elta MD UV Clear 46 or La Roche Posay’s Ultralight Fluide 45 so it doesn’t feel heavy on the skin as the weather gets warmer.
  2. Talk to your dermatologist about starting a topical retinoid skincare product, as studies shows it can reverse early signs of photoaging, boost collagen production, and diminish fine lines.
  3. Reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours.  It sounds tough, but it is easy with a product like the Colorescience Sunforgettable Powder Brush.
  4. Eat a diet rich in antioxidants:  fresh berries, tomatoes, broccoli, and goji berries to reduce oxidative stress induced by UV exposure.
  5. Boost your skincare regimen with a Vitamin C product, which will not only protect against UV damage, but brighten your overall complexion as well.  My favorites include Skinceutical’s C E Ferrulic Serum or Skinmedica’s C and E Complex.
  6. When engaging in heavy outdoor activities, consider an oral supplement like Heliocare, which have concentrated antioxidant activity to boost your “internal SPF” and decrease your risk of getting sunburned.summer skin care tips
  7. If you have little ones younger than six months old, sunscreen is not safe on their delicate skin.  Consider alternatives like sun protective clothing.  K&J Sunprotective Clothing will keep your little ones sun safe and fashionable!
  8. Chill out in the shade.  Avoid doing heavy outdoor activities when the sun is strongest, between the hours of 10-3pm.
  9. Buy a pair of fabulous sunglasses.  They not only look cool, but protect the eyes from UV damage.
  10. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen . . . Last year’s might be expired.  Don’t keep it in the car, as the heat can breakdown the ingredients that are sun-protective.  Apply a golf-ball size amount about 20 minutes before heading outdoors.


. . . Shared by Dr. Chiu and The Derm Institute Team

Transforming Health and Beauty Everyday

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dr-chiu-thumbDr. Annie Chiu, Board-Certified Dermatologist and Owner of The Derm Institute, welcomes you to her Boutique Style Dermatology practice, where we believe that healthy, beautiful skin should be attainable for every patient.  Serving Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes, our uniquely friendly and compassionate team is committed to delivering superior service and results in an intimate, comfortable, and relaxing setting.  We are dedicated to making our patients feel special, glowing, and happy with their skin every day. At our practice, Dr. Chiu personally consults with every patient, providing physician quality care.

Dr. Chiu specializes in a results-driven approach to skincare and cutting-edge advanced technique cosmetic procedures. Her use of artful, subtle cosmetic rejuvenation with multiple techniques including Botox, fillers, chemical peels, the latest lasers, radiofrequency skin tightening, CoolSculpting for body contouring, and tailored cosmeceuticals, is well known throughout the South Bay and Greater Los Angeles Area. Dr. Chiu is a nationally recognized Master Injector and Advanced Trainer for all your Botox and Filler needs. The Derm Institute also provides the Beach Cities community with a full range of medical dermatology, including a multidisciplinary approach to acne, skin cancer diagnosis, and surgical treatments for benign and malignant growths. Throughout her career, Dr. Chiu has been honored with various top doctor and patients’ choice awards. Read More