Category: Story 1

Cover Q&A : Dr. Tina Pai

Cover Q&A

PROFILE: Dr. Tina Pai

One of Our Top Doctors

The Sonoran Desert is a world away from the tropical climes of Hawaii, but Tina Pai, M.D., is both a native of the 50th state, as well as a long-time resident of the Old Pueblo.

Though she was a drawn as a child toward a career in veterinary medicine, by college — Whittier College in Southern California, where she earned a degree in chemistry — she changed direction toward helping people. She earned her medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, did her internship at the Mayo Medical Center, and then her residency at University Hospitals of Cleveland.

Dr. Pai initially had a practice in Honolulu, but she and her husband, Dr. Mikel Lo (a highly regarded plastic surgeon), relocated to Tucson so that he could complete his medical specialty training. She joined the staff of Skin Spectrum, where she works with Dr. Jodi Comstock, also a Top Doctor.

We asked Dr. Pai about her practice, as well as for some advice about maintaining healthy skin.

What areas do you specialize in at Skin Spectrum?

We specialize in cosmetic dermatology, so our focus is on improving our patients’ appearance. Patients come to us for help with wrinkles, brown spots, acne, dark circles under the eyes, unwanted hair, a double chin, spider veins, love handles, scars, and more.

Although these are cosmetic concerns, often they are a reflection of underlying issues or medical conditions, so our goal is to improve skin health, in addition to addressing what is visible on the skin surface.

We use lasers, injectables, topical products, chemical peels, medications, and nutrition to achieve improvement.

What seems to be the treatment or procedure that you are doing most often these days? Why do you think it is so popular or prevalent?

We’re finding that what makes our patients happiest is what we call “combineese,” or combination therapy.

As we age, our faces change in so many ways. We deflate, which causes shadows and sagging; our skin weakens and wrinkles appear; we develop brown spots and dullness.

We’re fortunate to have many excellent procedures, such as lasers, fillers, and neuromodulators, and they keep getting better. However, most of them address just one aspect of the aging process, so in order to get the best results we need to combine all of these procedures. They work synergistically to turn back the clock and make us look more like our younger selves.

A popular combination currently is the Clear + Brilliant laser, a filler such as Voluma in the cheeks, and a neuromodulator such as Botox or Dysport. Patients like that they look refreshed yet natural, and they don’t have significant visible healing.

What advice do you give your patients about taking care of their skin?

The most important thing we can do is to protect our skin from sun damage, because it not only causes health problems such as skin cancer, but it also causes wrinkles and discoloration. I recommend using sunscreen year round, wearing a hat and clothing to shield skin from the sun, and doing outdoor activities early or late in the day to avoid the strong midday sun.

Another key to healthy skin is to take care of it from the inside. A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (such as leafy greens, olive oil, and berries) helps to fight skin problems such as acne as well as sagging and wrinkling.

What has been one of the biggest developments in dermatology in the past five years?

One of the most fascinating developing areas in dermatology (and all of medicine) is regarding the human microbiome, which is the collective name for the trillions of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microorganisms that reside on our skin and in our body.

In recent years, researchers have identified what the normal microbiome is for a healthy person, and are now learning that the microbiome changes in various diseases. This holds enormous potential for understanding, treating, and even preventing diseases. For instance, an acne vaccine has been developed, based on a bacterium that is involved in causing acne.

Might we someday soon treat rashes by applying bacteria to our skin, or taking probiotics, or eating certain foods? And not just skin diseases, but heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and allergies, all of which are associated with microbiome imbalances. The potential impact is astounding.

Live help

Glass Act

Tom Philabaum — Tucson’s own glass artist extraordinaire who recently retired from glassblowing — shares 10 of his favorite pieces, and explains why they resonate with him.

A life-long artist, Tom Philabaum was fortunate to study in the country’s first glassblowing program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. After graduating, he started Tucson’s first glassblowing studio in 1975. Since 1985, Tom and Dabney Philabaum have been creating, selling and promoting glass art at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio near Downtown. Though Tom retired from a 50-plus year career of glassblowing at the end of 2018, he will continue to paint and fuse glass, and the Gallery will stay open, showing glass art from more than 30 artists from all over the country.


4”h x 3”w Blown Glass








1978- Present Shown: Reptilian Bag Vase * 15”h x 7”w x 6”

“I began exploring the Reptilian pattern in 1978, as an intriguing process with varying outcomes. It became the most long-lived and recognizable body of work in my glass career. It can still be seen in our Gallery in the form of paperweights, perfume bottles, bags, bowls and vases. I never tired of this series as it took on a life of its own and was always evolving and changing.”





2018 20”h x 57”w x 1”d Fused glass with paints & metals on wood base

From the Fused Glass Collage Painting Series “Back to painting again! My latest series involves fusing glass with paints and metals. This current triptych draws inspiration from painters Marsden Hartley and Max Beckman, emphasizing black outlined forms and intense, bright colors. I create these fused glass paintings with a mixture of pure intention and happy accidents.”



1981 9.5”h x 5”w x 4”d Blown Glass Histology Series

“While in graduate school at the University of Arizona, I began exploring biological themes, and was given images of bugs and cells that had been electromagnetically scanned in a UA laboratory. I first painted these images on the surface of ceramic sculptures. In my glass studio, I created images with glass shards and cane on a hot plate to apply on the surface of blownglass vessels and sculptures. Dabney and I enjoy this bag vase every day in our home.”






2011 16’ x 12’ Backlit by LED lights Dalle de Verre – 1”-thick cut tiles of glass joined with epoxy resin Lobby of Likins Hall – University of Arizona

“I still find my installation at UA uplifting. Looking up at the 16-foot-high panels of illuminated glass inspires me, and my intention is to inspire the students who live in this residence hall.”



2010 28”h x 26”x 22”w Blown glass that has been cut, polished & joined with adhesives From the Precarious Rock Series

“My first drive through Texas Canyon clobbered me with the indelible image of precarious rock formations. That inspiration returned to me during my sculptural exploration of shape-making techniques whose consequent was not a vessel. This large semi-transparent sculpture transforms from dark to light, like a sunrise.”





1971 9”h x 5”w Blown Glass Blown at University of Wisconsin Glass Lab

“In 1971, my glass teacher Eriks Rudans told me the story of witches’ balls as they relate to the Salem witch hunts of the 1600s. Glassblowers were inspired to make open-bottomed orbs to hang in windows to magically absorb evil energy. At that time, he cautioned me that one cannot sell “magic.” Regardless, I made hundreds of these mystical, spiritual objects to sell at a craft fair. Just as I finished setting up, a gust of wind destroyed all of the witches’ balls. Lesson learned!”





1997 13.5”h x 6.75”w Blown and painted glass From the Graal Series

“My excitement in discovering automotive enamels that were compatible with hot glass opened up a new avenue to employ “the narrative.” My love of drawing and painting was renewed. The graal glass technique formed the canvas for my subjects, which included “The Blind Leading The Blind,” “Drinking With The Devil,” and homages to other artists, such as this example dedicated to a painting by James Ensor.”





2007 38”h x 16”w x 7”d Cast Glass From the Kiln-Cast Series.

“I began with a wet clay mold, and rhythmically smacked my hand prints over the entire surface to the beat of Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five,” as if I were playing a drum. Making a mold of the resulting clay positive, colored glass was then melted into the negative cavity of the mold. Though everything I make is handmade, this is the only piece where the touch of my hands remains visible.”




21”h x 7”w Blown glass with scavo treatment From the Scavo Series

“As a ceramic artist, I was drawn to the surface texture of wood ash glazes. Translating this to glass, I discovered the Italian technique of scavo, a chemical attack that alters the glass surface from glossy to rough. I liked that. For me, scavo represents a look of instant antiquity.”






1990 18”h x 9”w Hot Coiled Glass From the Handbuilt Series

“My early interest in ceramic hand-building transferred to glass by making slabs and coils of molten glass, and wrapping them into a basket-like form. With no functional value, this series merely celebrated my exploration of working glass in a non-traditional method. The strength and teamwork necessitated by these complicated pieces taught all of us in the studio the value of rhythm, timing and choreography.”





*Currently available for viewing at Philabaum Glass Gallery & Studio

  • 1
  • 2
About Us

Tucson Lifestyle Magazine is Tucson's only glossy, monthly city magazine, targeting Southern Arizona’s affluent residents. With over 35 years of publishing experience, Tucson Lifestyle is committed to showcasing the people, places, local flavors, and attractions that make our city unique.

General Information

Phone: 520-721-2929 x 102
Address: 7000 E Tanque Verde Rd # 11,
Tucson, AZ 85715

Latest Posts
  • Goes With the Territorial

    Goes With the Territorial

    Keeping what was good, and updating what was outdated, was the mission of this makeover. Romi Carrell Wittman The late 1970s — the era of shag carpet, laminate countertops, and avocado green appliances — saw a boom in territorial revival …
  • The Pros Who Know: Citrus State of Mind

    The Pros Who Know: Citrus State of Mind

    The Pros Who Know: Citrus State of Mind Desert Treasures Citrus Groves has been a Tucson treasure since 1947, when local residents could purchase fresh citrus and dates directly from the original 25-acre parcel located along Orange Grove Road. The …
  • November 2019

    November 2019

    Prepare gardens for the cooler temperatures of winter.   PLANT Plant winter color annuals such as cyclamen, primrose, pansies, violas, lobelia, snapdragon, petunia, gazania, nasturtium and sweet pea. Sow seeds for beets, bok choy, bulb and green onions, collards, endive, …