Sunday, May 27, 2012

Changes in Aging Skin, Part 1

As we age our skin changes. In the outer layer of the skin called the epidermis, the skin cell growth cycle slows down, leading to an accumulation of dead skin cells on the surface, giving a rough and uneven texture. When light hits this layer of dead skin it does not reflect, giving a dull appearance. Removing the dead skin cells leads to a smooth texture, a glowing appearance, and overall healthy skin. This can be done in multiple ways. Having a good at-home skin care regimen using retinoids such as retin-A, exfoliants such as glycolic acid, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and sunscreen is the first step to both improving aging skin and preventing further aging. Procedures can also improve the surface appearance of the skin. These include facials, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser resurfacing. A combination of products and procedures work best for most people. Some products should not be used in women who are pregnant or breast feeding. Speak to a doctor to determine what is best for you.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Minimizing Risks for Those with Dark Skin Getting Cosmeteic Procedures

Cosmetic procedures are performed on people with all skin types. Those with darker skin have specific concerns and at the same time specific risks. Such people can get darkening of the skin, or hyperpigmentation, after various insults including sun exposure, acne blemishes, cuts, burns, and even cosmetic procedures. This results in discoloration and an uneven skin tone. These are among the top reasons why people with dark skin see cosmetic physicians. Using brightening agents and other products for several weeks prior to cosmetic procedures minimizes the risk for hyperpigmentation after the procedure. Brightening agents include hydroquinone, kojic acid, alpha arbutin, and licorice extract. Other agents include retinoids such as retin-A, hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid, antioxidants such as vitamin C, and sunscreens. Some of these are available by prescription only while others are available over the counter; and certain products should not be used in women who are pregnant or breast feeding. See a doctor to see what's best for you.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Using Retinoids without Getting Irritation

Retinoids such as Retin-A, Tazorac, and Differin are outstanding products that are useful for a variety of conditions including acne, acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. A common complaint about these products is that the skin gets red, dry, and irritated. While everyone's skin is different, this is a normal reaction by the skin to the product. The product should be used at night, moisturizer should be applied at least twice a day, and sunscreen must be used every day. This is the first step to preventing irritation. Also, I always start from the lowest dose (typically 0.025 % cream) and increase it gradually as tolerated. Another technique is to start by using the product three nights a week; for example Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Do this for two weeks, then increase it to four nights per week for another two weeks, and so on until your skin can tolerate it every night. Those who follow these recommendations will get the maximum benefit from the product, which stimulates cell turnover and collagen production, leading to a softer and more smooth texture and improvement is fine lines, wrinkles, and pore sizes. Women who are pregnant or breast feeding should not use these products.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Elta MD UV Clear Sunscreen

The Elta MD UV Clear sunscreen is an outstanding product for sun protection. It won the 2010 Elle Genius award for skin products. It has an SPF of 46 with broad spectrum coverage, meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB. The active ingredients are micronized zinc oxide and octinoxate. This gives it a light feel without the heavy white residue left by many sunscreens. It is oil free and works well under makeup. UV Clear is cosmetically elegant and appropriate for all skin types. It is unique in that it also contains niacinamide, or vitamin B3, which calms the skin. This makes it perfect for those with sensitive or red skin and those with acne or rosacea. It also contains a form of vitamin E, a strong antioxidant, and hyaluronic acid, which helps to hydrate the skin. It comes in an airless pump tube and a full pump provides the appropriate amount of sunscreen necessary to protect the face. Most sunscreens do not come in this type of container and most people do not use enough sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreens with a minimum SPF of 30 and broad spectrum coverage to protect against fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and skin cancer. The Elta MD line of products is available only through physicians and the UV Clear is a popular item now available at A E Skin.