Sunday, January 29, 2012

A E Skin Brightening Cream

Many people have concerns over skin discoloration. The most common concern is hyperpigmentation, which is darkening of the skin color. This has many causes including sun exposure (most common), pregnancy, hormones, medications, acne, scars, and more. The discoloration is the skin's natural reaction to insults. In the case of sun exposure, for example, the reaction is a tan or in severe cases a burn.

Many products are available for lightening the skin color including hydroquinone (strongest), kojic acid, alpha-arbutin, licorice extract, coffee berry, and more. A number of them are available over-the-counter in low strength. A common complaint I hear is "I've tried everything for the discoloration and nothing works." This is partially true because the patients have tried a lot of over-the-counter products with minimal to no results. In these cases I recommend stronger products that are available by prescription or through doctors only.

The A E Skin Brightening Cream is a powerful blend of products leading to fast improvement in discoloration. It contains hydroquinone at three times the strength of over-the-counter products (fears of hydroquinone are addressed here). It also contains kojic acid, another brightening agent, as well as tretinoin, which enhances cell turnover and stimulates collagen formation. When used in combination with other products such as exfoliants, antioxidants, and sunscreens and procedures such as chemical peels and photofacials, impressive results can be seen.

This product should not be used in women who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breast feeding.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Hydroxy Acids

Hydroxy acids are products used to exfoliate the skin. They are classified by their chemical structure as either alpha-hydroxy acids or beta-hydroxy acids. Alpha hydroxy acids are typically derived from plant sugars and include glycolic acid, lactic acid, citric acid, mandelic acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. The most common beta hydroxy acid is salicylic acid, which is found in many acne products. Beta hydroxy acids are stronger than alpha hydroxy acids and thus lower concentrations are used.

As we age, dead skin cells accumulate on the surface. This is because skin cell turnover slows down over time. The effect of this is uneven texture and overall dullness to the skin. Hydroxy acids remove the dead skin cells on the surface by breaking the bonds holding them together, resulting in a brighter glow and radiance. They also act in the deeper layer of the skin to stimulate collagen formation improving fine lines and reducing pore size and laxity.

With all of these beneficial effects, hydroxy acids can be used in any skin care regimen. Other components of a good skin care regimen include face wash, toner, antioxidants, retinoids, hydrators, moisturizers, and sunscreen.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Laser Hair Removal on Tanned Skin

Many people advertise lasers that work for hair removal on tanned skin. A common question I get is "Is this true?" The answer is that it is partially true. The reason for this has to do with the physics and biology involved. The target for lasers used for hair removal is melanin. Melanin is abundant in dark hairs (blond and red hairs have a different kind of melanin that does not absorb the light well). Melanin is also produced in the skin when people get a tan. In fact, the tan that is seen after sun exposure is directly due to the increased formation of melanin.

Melanin will absorb the laser or light energy wherever it is. So the melanin in the hair shaft will absorb the energy and destroy the hair. At the same time the melanin in the skin can absorb the energy and burn the skin. For this reason, people with tanned or dark skin require lower energy to prevent burns and blisters. When lower energy is used, there is also a decreased effect in terms of the hair removal. This usually means more treatments will be required.

So while laser hair removal can be done on tanned skin, it is not as effective and more treatments will likely be required if it is done on tanned skin versus untanned skin. Therefore, to get the maximum benefit from laser hair removal, be sure not to tan the few weeks before each session.

Spray tanning will not interfere with laser hair removal because it does not add melanin to the skin. Sun tanning and UV-based tanning is not recommended because it can cause signs of premature aging such as fine lines, discoloration, and laxity and because it increases the risk for skin cancer.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Difference Between Retinoids and Retinols

Retinoids and retinols are structural derivatives of vitamin A which are used topically on the skin to treat acne, to improve fine lines, to decrease laxity, and for overall facial rejuvenation. The action of retinoids and retinols is to stimulate cell turnover, hence removing the dead skin cells on the surface, and to stimulate collagen synthesis, leading to improvement in fine lines and laxity and decreasing pore sizes. They improve the overall health of the skin and are outstanding products to prepare the skin for procedures such as chemical peels or laser resurfacing. Skin heals much faster when people use retinoids.

Retinols, once absorbed by the skin, are converted to retinoids such as all-trans retinoic acid or tretinoin (also known as retin-A). The conversion rate varies from person to person, but is generally 5 - 10 %. Retinols can be found in over the counter products whereas retinoids are available by prescription only in the United States.

The only data available on the action of these products is from retinoids. Retinoids provide better and faster results than retinols. Retinoids can cause irritation to the skin, while retinols are not as irritating. For this reason, some people first starting retinoids begin by using them every other day and slowly ramp up to daily use. Retinoids can cause dryness and peeling, so it is important to provide moisture to and hydrate the skin regularly. They also make the skin more sensitive to the sun, so it is important to use sunscreen every day while using retinoids. Retinoids can be degraded by sun, which is why they are applied at night.

Retinoids come in various strengths and formulations. For example, tretinoin comes in 0.025 %, 0.05 %, and 0.1 % strength, where the higher the percentage, the stronger. Also it comes in cream or gel; gels are absorbed more and are stronger than the equivalent strength of cream.

Other retinoids are available as well. Adapalene (Differin) is less irritating than tretinoin, but also less potent. Tazarotene (Tazorac) is stronger than tretinoin, but more irritating. For these reasons, many people start with adapalene and subsequently transition to tretinoin and then tazarotene.

Retinoids should not be used in women who are pregnant, breast-feeding, or trying to become pregnant.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A E Skin Triple Antioxidant Serum

The A E Skin Triple Antioxidant Serum is an outstanding product to add to any skin care regimen. It contains a unique mixture of vitamin C, vitamin E, and ferulic acid which together neutralize free radicals and provide protection against ultraviolet rays. Antioxidants can also protect collagen from degrading, providing firmness to the skin, preventing laxity, improving fine lines and wrinkles, and decreasing pore size. They also prevent certain types of skin cancers. Using topical antioxidants will provide a youthful radiance to the skin and promote skin health.

Many people say that they do not need topical antioxidants because they take multivitamins regularly. However, orally ingested vitamins go initially to the liver, where they are processed. Then they travel to all parts of the body. So only a limited amount gets to the skin. Of all the parts in the body, the skin needs more antioxidant protection because it is exposed to the sun's ultraviolet rays.

The A E Skin Exfoliating Serum, as in all A E Skin products, contains no preservatives, which is why they have an expiration date of six months after production. Contact us today ( 818-835-1833) so Dr. Alex can start a personalized regimen perfect for your skin.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Top Ten New Year’s Resolutions for Healthy Skin

  1. Wear sunscreen every day. The SPF should be at least 30 and it should have UVA and UVB protection. Use sunscreen even if it’s cold or overcast and even if you don’t go outside.
  2. Wash your face twice daily. Clean skin is healthy skin. Using a brush like the Clarisonic Pro can be six times more effective in cleansing.
  3. Talk to a doctor to start a good skin care regimen.
  4. Use a night cream that contains powerful retinoids (tretinoin or retinoic acid). These prescription-strength products work much more effectively than any over-the counter products containing retinols.
  5. Add a topical antioxidant such as vitamin C to your daily regimen. This will help give your skin a radiant glow.
  6. Exfoliate daily by using products containing hydroxy-acids such as glycolic acid, lactic acid, and salicylic acid.
  7. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Drink at least eight cups of water each day.
  8. Hydrate your skin using products containing hyaluronic acid. Also keep your skin moisturized by using a moisturizer at least twice daily. This is especially important in dry climates and on windy days.
  9. Exercise daily. Regular exercise boosts your metabolism and supplies blood to the skin, making it function better.
  10. Eat healthy. Avoid fatty and greasy foods and maintain a diet filled with vitamins by eating vegetables and foods with omega-3 fatty acids such as fish.