Tuesday, August 10, 2010
There's tried-and-true ways to properly care for your skin, from the right way to cleanse your face, to the best moisturizers and sunscreens.
Before we start with the proper daily 4-step skincare routine, you'll need to know your skin type. How you care for your skin is utterly dependent on the type of skin you have: oily, normal/combination, dry, sensitive or sun- damaged. Find out what skin type you have.
The Basic 4-Step Skincare Regimen
Step 1: Cleansing
Simple is key here. You need to find a good cleanser that your skin responds well to, and stick with it. See the best cleansers for your skin type.
You can find a good cleanser at the drugstore. There's no need to spend $40 on a fancy wash. Avoid bar soaps as they tend to dry out the skin. According to Rona Berg, in her book, "Beauty," a French cosmetics executive once told her, "Soap should only ever touch your skin from the neck down." We agree. Choose a creamy cleanser if you have dry skin or a clear cleanser if you have oily skin.
Be careful not to cleanse too often. Washing at night should do you. If you have dry skin, consider cold cream like Pond's, which the French use. Simply apply cream, then wipe off, no water needed (if you have hard water it can be especially harsh on skin). Most women prefer the water method: Use warm water to loosen dirt and clogged pores. Use a dime-sized bit of cleanser, then rinse with cool or lukewarm water. You'll also want to take off your makeup with a proper makeup remover.
In the morning, a splash of lukewarm water is all you need (we find it's great for removing excess oils from your nightly moisturizing). Never wash your face with hot or cold water (both can cause broken capillaries). Also be careful about overcleansing skin, see signs you are overcleansing your skin.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Exfoliation is the step most people skip in their weekly skincare routine. But trust me, if you start properly exfoliating your skin, you will notice an almost immediate difference. According to Berg, one of the reasons men's skin looks more youthful than women's is because men tend to exfoliate daily when they shave. There are several ways to exfoliate skin: Microdermabrasion, chemical peels and retinoids.
See my list of the best facial scrubs and microdermabrasion kits.
Scrubs work by removing the top layer of dead skin cells that tend to dull your complexion. We find exfoliating skin once a week with a microdermabrasion kit keeps skin glowing year-round. Make sure you use a gentle scrub with tiny grains. Big grains in cheap scrubs can tear skin and cause more harm than good. My favorite microdermabrasion kit is made by Lancome.
In the hour it takes to get a chemical peel, you can take off five years from your face. Can't afford the price tag for a monthly peel? Try some over-the-counter peels that work over the course of a month. I prefer MD Skincare's.
Retinoids (such as Retin-A or the more moisturizing Renova) also work by removing the top layer of dead skin cells while also generating collagen in the skin. "Collagen is the skin's structural fiber," dermatologist Dennis Gross said in O Magazine. "As we get older, it breaks down, creating lines and large pores." Skincare experts disagree on all sorts of things, but most of them consider retinoids to be a miracle skin saver. I'm addicted to Retin-A, which I pick up in Mexico on my yearly jaunts.
Should you use a toner? Some people swear by toners, but many beauty experts do not (I once read a skincare expert claim, "toners are only for copy machines"). Toners are meant to remove all remaining traces of oil, makeup and dirt, but a good cleanser should do this. I firmly believe it's up to you. If you like the way your skin feels with a toner. Buy it. Use it. Enjoy it.
Step 3: Moisturize
While I know of at least one famous beauty editor who swore skin doesn't need moisturizer, basically everyone else I've read disagrees and is an adamant believer in it. A basic law of beauty is that everyone, no matter her skin type, should moisturize. Even if your skin is oily, it will benefit from moisturizers. (The only exception is those with acne). Why? Moisturizers seal moisture into skin (Berg calls this the "Saran Wrap effect"). So how much should you moisturize? Your skin will tell you. When your skin is tight, it's crying out for moisture. Be careful not to overmoisturize -- this can clog pores.
See my list of the best moisturizers on the market.
Are eye creams necessary? Well maybe. Some beauty experts strongly recommend eye creams. Why? The skin around the eye contains no fatty tissue and is therefore very thin and susceptible to wrinkles. Special eye creams are formulated to "thicken" this area. Yet other experts (including the beauty editors of Allure in their new book) claim your daily lotion works around the eyes just as well.
See my list of the best eye creams.
Step 4: Apply Sunscreen
O Magazine ran an article featuring interviews with several top skin care experts and dermatologists (check it out here). Every single one of them said sunscreen was the most important part of your skincare regimen. It was the secret they would pass on to their daughters.
The number-1 cause of wrinkles is sun damage, so it's important to use sunscreen from your early years on even in winter and on cloudy days. A great trick is to purchase two moisturizers: One for night and one for day that includes UV protection. Don't use moisturizers with sunscreen at night, the ingredients are not meant to be used 27/7 and can aggravate skin. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it contains Mexoryl (found in my favorite sunscreen La-Roche Posay) or Helioplex, found in Neutrogena products.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Laser acne treatment is carried out using two different types of lasers. One is diode laser or infrared acne laser and the other is the pulsed dye laser.
Out of the two, infrared laser is used to treat more severe kind of acne. It is also known to be a much more effective acne laser treatment with a success rate of almost 83 percent. It is a successful acne treatment method that is being used in many cases, these days.
Laser stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. In laser acne treatment, a strong beam of light is used to cure acne problems. The treatment uses a V beam and a cool touch laser. V beam produces a laser light that gets absorbed by the red pigment in the skin. While the V beam works to reduce scars with heat, the cool touch laser tightens the skin from he inside as well as the outside.
Thus, the treatment aims at closing the pores to reduce the sebum production and lessen the acne production.
Are their any side effects of this method?
Infrared acne laser treatment is known to be associated with side effects like redness, temporary pain, and swelling that may follow after the treatment. Moreover, patients with a darker skin tone are known to suffer from hyper pigmentation after the treatment. This may lead to darkening of the skin.
How do I know that I need infrared laser?
Whether you need infrared laser acne treatment or the pulsed dye laser treatment depends upon the type of acne that you are suffering from. As per your condition, your doctor can best prescribe if infrared laser treatment is what your skin wants.
How effective is infrared laser acne treatment?
The infrared laser treatment is very effective in treating inflammatory acne. It is known to work for most of the sufferers. However, there have been reports that state that it works temporarily and the lesions tend to get back. But, that again depends on the type of skin that you have and the type of acne that you are suffering from.
Usually, after three treatments with infrared laser, you would get considerable results. The improvement is visible after the first treatment session itself and you would get to see a considerable improvement in your acne condition.
Dry Skin Care Dealing with Skin Dryness
Dry skin has a parched look caused by its lack of ability to retain moisture. Characteristics of dry skin are fine pores, dryness, fine lines, roughness, tight, uncomfortable feeling, and dull appearance. If your skin feels the same, it's a fair bet you've got a dry complexion.
Dry skin is caused by too little sebum in the lower levels of skin and too little moisture in the upper levels. It feels tight and itchy after washing. It requires soothing care to look its best. It is essential to take proper care to hydrate it. Only then you can begin to enjoy a new, softer skin.
Dry skin is very reactive to the environment and hates extremes of cold, heat and wind. It tends to peel and has a tendency to premature aging with the emergence of fine lines and wrinkles. There is a difference between a dehydrated skin and a dry skin. While the dehydrated skin is simply thirsty, dry skin needs extra care in adapting a beauty regime to nourish the weakened corneal layer. While dealing with dry skin, your objective should always be to restore tone to the lipids in the corneal layer.
Every dermatologist's advice: you must cleanse according to your skin type. Dry skin must be cleansed without removing the skin's protective film. So you should opt for a thick milk cleanser and rinse with flower water. Your moisturizing cream should be rich in repairing agents containing ceramides, which reduce the salt content and slow down the evaporation of water in the skin.
Face masks for dry skin:
1. Mix 2 tablespoons honey with 2 teaspoons milk. Smooth over face and throat. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.
2. Mash apricots, mix it with warm olive oil to form a paste. Apply it on your face and leave it for 10 minutes, then wash off.
20 smooth-skin solutions: how to banish everything from rough skin to ingrown hairs - Beauty in Action
Fear not: If you've got an ingrown hair or other embarrassing skin problem, you don't have to resign yourself to living with it. "Women no longer have to accept less-than-perfect skin," explains Birgit Toome, M.D., medical director of the Appearance Dermatology Centers in Austin, Texas; Philadelphia; and Vineland and Voorhees, N.J. She credits recent advances in laser surgery, skin care and prescription medicine for clearing up awkward skin conditions. So now, problems that once seemed like mountains can be smoother than a molehill or gotten rid of altogether.
What they are "Milia look like whiteheads, but they're really superficial cysts under the skin," explains Patricia Wexler, M.D., a Manhattan dermatologist. They usually occur when oil and skin cells, normally sloughed off, get trapped under the surface of the skin. And they're typically found on the face, chest or other areas where there are numerous sebaceous (oil) glands.
Over-the-counter remedy While the only cure is to have them professionally removed, using lightweight gel or lotion moisturizers instead of thick creams can help prevent recurrence. Exfoliating regularly also helps slough off potential milia-causing dead skin cells. Try Olay Age Defying Series Revitalizing Eye Gel ($10; at drugstores), Lancome Impactive Multi-Performance Silkening Moisturizer Lotion ($38; lancome.com) or BlissLabs Quiet Type Exfoliator for sensitive skin ($29; blissworld.com).
Doctor's Rx Your dermatologist will cut a tiny opening in the skin to remove the cyst. A small scab will result. "Don't squeeze it out on your own," Wexler warns. "You'll be left with the milia and a bruise."
What they are Skin tags are small projections of skin that usually appear on the chest, neck, back or under the arms. They can be genetic but tend to show up more frequently on people who are overweight, over 40 years old or pregnant (moles, skin tags and even body hair often grow more during pregnancy). Their appearance may also signal benign intestinal polyps.
Over-the-counter remedy Although there's no home remedy or proven method of prevention, cover the skin tag with a small bandage until you make it to the doctor's office. This prevents clothing from rubbing against it, causing irritation.
Doctor's Rx Skin tags are one of the easiest skin problems to deal with, Wexler says. "They can just be snipped off at your dermatologist's office with curved scissors," she says. "There may be a scab, but it only lasts a few days." Larger skin tags, which are less common, may have to be burned off.
What they are Up to 40 percent of adults suffer from keratosis pilaris, tiny bumps on the upper outer arms and thighs. The condition is genetically inherited and caused when the skin's top layers don't slough off normally. The hair follicles are elevated above the surrounding skin, resulting in a dead-skin-cell backlog.
Over-the-counter remedy Dermatologist Bruce Katz, M.D., director of the JUVA Skin & Laser Center in New York City, recommends using moisturizers with skin-exfoliating AHAs (try BeneFit Wonderbod, $24; 800-781-2336). "It will help make the surface less rough."
Doctor's Rx Some dermatologists prescribe Lachydrin, a 12-percent lactic acid (an AHA) that can be combined with a daily moisturizer. "Microdermabrasion [sloughing skin with tiny sand or aluminum particles] can also help," Toome explains.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Scars from acne can seem like double punishment — first you had to deal with the pimples, now you have marks as a reminder.
It helps to understand the different kinds of acne so you can figure out what to do about different types of scarring: Acne lesions or pimples happen when the hair follicles (or "pores") on the skin become plugged with oil and dead skin cells. A plugged follicle is the perfect place for bacteria to grow and create the red bumps and pus-filled red bumps known as pimples.
Acne comes in different forms:
- mild acne, which refers to the whiteheads or blackheads that most of us get at various times
- moderately severe acne, which includes red inflamed pimples called papules and red pimples with white centers called pustules
- severe acne, which causes nodules — painful, pus-filled cysts or lumps — to appear under the skin
Most serious scarring is caused by the more severe forms of acne, with nodules more likely to leave permanent scars than other types of acne.
The best approach is to get treatment for acne soon after it appears to prevent further severe acne and more scarring. If you have nodules, see your doctor or dermatologist for treatment.
A pimple starts when the pores in the skin become clogged with a type of oil called sebum, which normally lubricates the skin and hair. Acne is common during puberty when hormones go into overdrive, causing the skin to overproduce sebum. Because many oil-producing glands are on the forehead, nose, and chin, this area — the T-zone — is where a person is most prone to pimples.
Here are some tips to help prevent breakouts and clear them up as fast as possible:
- Wash your face twice a day (no more) with warm water and a mild soap made for people with acne. Gently massage your face with circular motions. Don't scrub. Overwashing and scrubbing can cause skin to become irritated. After cleansing, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying an over-the-counter (no prescription needed) lotion containing benzoyl peroxide. This will decrease oil and bacteria.
- Don't pop pimples. It's tempting, but here's why you shouldn't: Popping pimples can push infected material further into the skin, leading to more swelling and redness, and even scarring. If you notice a pimple coming before a big event, like the prom, a dermatologist can often treat it for you with less risk of scarring or infection.
- Avoid touching your face with your fingers or leaning your face on objects that collect sebum and skin residue like your phone. Touching your face can spread the bacteria that cause pores to become inflamed and irritated. To keep bacteria at bay, wash your hands before applying anything to your face, such as treatment creams or makeup.
- If you wear glasses or sunglasses, make sure you clean them frequently to keep oil from clogging the pores around your eyes and nose.
- If you get acne on your body, try not to wear tight clothes. They don't allow skin to breathe and may cause irritation. Scarves, headbands, and caps can collect dirt and oil, too.
- Remove your makeup before you go to sleep. When buying makeup, make sure you choose brands that say "noncomedogenic" or "nonacnegenic" on the label. Throw away old makeup that smells or looks different from when you first bought it.
- Keep hair clean and out of your face to prevent additional dirt and oil from clogging your pores.
- Protect your skin from the sun. It may seem like a tan masks acne, but it's only temporary. A tan can cause the body to produce extra sebum, which may worsen your acne, not improve it. Tanning also causes damage to skin that will eventually lead to wrinkles and increase your risk of skin cancer.
If you're concerned about acne, talk to a dermatologist. Dermatologists offer a range of treatments that help to prevent and clear up acne and acne scars. A dermatologist can help you find the treatment method that's best for you and can also give you lots of useful tips for dealing with acne and caring for your skin type. Some salons and spas have trained skin specialists, called estheticians, who can offer advice and skin care treatments.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Tips for Skin Care and Aging
"Tone and firm sagging skin."
"Restore your skin's own wrinkle control."
Americans spend billions of dollars each year on skin care products that promise to erase wrinkles, lighten age spots, and eliminate itching, flaking, or redness. But the simplest and cheapest way to keep your skin healthy and young looking is to stay out of the sun.
Sunlight is a major cause of the skin changes we think of as aging — changes such as wrinkles, dryness, and age spots. Your skin does change with age. For example, you sweat less, leading to increased dryness. As your skin ages, it becomes thinner and loses fat, so it looks less plump and smooth. Underlying structures — veins and bones in particular — become more prominent. Your skin can take longer to heal when injured.
You can delay these changes by staying out of the sun. Although nothing can completely undo sun damage, the skin sometimes can repair itself. So, it’s never too late to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun.
Keep Your Skin Healthy
The best way to keep your skin healthy is to avoid sun exposure.
Stay out of the sun. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This is when the sun’s UV rays are strongest. Don’t be fooled by cloudy skies. Harmful rays pass through clouds. UV radiation also can pass through water, so don’t assume you’re safe if you’re in the water and feeling cool.
Use sunscreen. Sunscreens are rated in strength according to a sun protection factor (SPF), which ranges from 2 to 30 or higher. A higher number means longer protection. Buy products with an SPF number of 15 or higher. Also look for products whose label says: broad spectrum (meaning they protect against both types of harmful sun rays — UVA and UVB) and water resistant (meaning they stay on your skin longer, even if you get wet or sweat a lot). Remember to reapply the lotion as needed.
Wear protective clothing. A hat with a wide brim shades your neck, ears, eyes, and head. Look for sunglasses with a label saying the glasses block 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s rays. Wear loose, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and long pants or long skirts when in the sun.
Avoid artificial tanning. Don’t use sunlamps and tanning beds, as well as tanning pills and tanning makeup. Tanning pills have a color additive that turns your skin orange after you take them. The FDA has approved this color additive for coloring foods but not for tanning the skin. The large amount of color additive in tanning pills may be harmful. Tanning make-up products are not suntan lotions and will not protect your skin from the sun.
Check your skin often. Look for changes in the size, shape, color, or feel of birthmarks, moles, and spots. If you find any changes that worry you, see a doctor. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests that older, fair-skinned people have a yearly skin check by a doctor as part of a regular physical exam.