Posted in Uncategorized, tagged age spots, anti-age, anti-aging, lines on neck, loose skin, Madonna neck lift, neck lift, neck skin, neck wrinkles, sagging skin on February 29, 2012 |
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When I started my anti-aging explorations, I really wasn’t thinking about my neck. It was just there to hold up my head and someplace to hang a great necklace. As I could see changes on my face from Retin A, I could see a clear difference in the skin quality between my cheeks and my neck. Dr Marmur, my uber dermatologist, told me that I could use Retin A on my neck, but it would take at least a year to show genuine results. She also reminded me to use sunscreen on my neck, something I had NEVER done. It just didn’t occur to me.
After several months on Retin A without the big results I saw on my face, we decided to remove the big freckles and age spots with lasers and cauterization. When she finished, my neck looked like it had been attacked by a flock of vampire bats. I wore scarves for several months, even when the weather was warm and sunny. When they healed I was meticulous about using sunscreenon my newly clear neck skin. I have continued using Retin A and while the changes are not as dramatic as on the face, I can see improvements. The chicken skin bumps are smaller, the color a bit better and the general texture is smoother.
The easy to do treatments for the neck are limited. Botox can relax the vertical lines that are are more prominent as the years go by. Fillers can be used on the horizontal lines that deepen over time. IPL and microdermabrasion are not options for the neck and most real changes would need to be done surgically. Procedures to pull and titghten neck skin, the so-called “Madonna Lift”, is the current operation of choice. If you look at recent pix of the performer’s neck, it has the smooth taut lines of a women in her twenties. It’s a beautiful example of cosmetic surgery gone right, but its not on my to-do list. I make my living with my brains, not beauty– and instead of going to a cosmetic surgeon, for now I’m just going to opt for Dr Hermes.
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Its Fashion Flash Monday and this week the host is Kari of Fab Over Forty. This great site has some of the best make-up videos on the web. Recently she uploaded a smokey eye tutorial where I finally learned the ultimate way to apply mascara. I never knew that the goal is to get definition at the roots of the lashes. Following these instructions made my eyes pop! Kari also has an extensive review of spring make-up colors and which work best when you’re over 40.
And if you ever thought about starting your own beauty line, you should read Lessons of a Lipstick Queen by Poppy King. When she was still a teenager in Australia, King came up with a lipstick line that had interesting colors in a matte formulation. Through creative marketing and sheer determination, King built her lipstick into a multimillion-dollar brand. She shares her journey, offering advice and tips to other would-be entrepreneurs. For example she offers advice on the best ways to get finanacing and do’s and don’ts of working with the media and how to be successful at cold calling. King is especially effective when she deals with the inner critic and insecurities that accompany any enterrprise. She shares her own anecdotes of self doubts and discoveries in a way that offers both guidence and comfort.
But perhaps the most important part of the book looks at how to bounce back when plan A fails. After several years of great success, King ran into problems with her partners, and her once vibrant company began to collapse. King reinvented herself, came to the US and went to work as VP for creative marketing for Prescriptives, a line for Estee Lauder. Most business books focus on the upward journey and how to build a brand. Lessons of a Lipstick Queen looks at both sides of a journey and how to keep going.
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Posted in Q&A, tagged a retin, anti-aging, anti-aging skin, Botox, botox injections, exfoliant, exfoliating, how to exfoliate, microdermabrasion, retin, retinal a, retinol, retinol a on February 24, 2012 |
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Question– In a few months I’m turning 50. After half a century, my skin is looking tired and I want to give myself a birthday present. Which would be better, microdermabrasion or Botox? You seem to really like both of them.
Answer– Happy birthday! I do like both microdermsabrasion and Botox, but they are very different anti-aging tools and deal with different problems. Microdermabrasion takes of the top dead layer of skin cells to leave the skin smoother, brighter and softer. In addition, removing these old cells actually stimulates the lower levels to grow. Researchers have noticed that mens’ skin seems to age more slowly than women’s– and they believe that part of the reason is the daily shave which encourages the growth of fresh new skin every day.
Botox injections at problem areas can erase fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eyes and forehead. It can change contours of the face, while microdermabrasion changes the texture and color of the surface of the skin. The two tools actually work very well together– microdermabrasion to improve the texture and color of the skin and Botox to deal with contours that are a half a century old.
Your question actually gets to the heart of my anti-aging journey– which tools and techniques work and how to combine them to get the best possible results. I decided to start on the dark spots and splotches from sun damage- first with Retin A and then with microdermabrasion. When the skin’s surface looked smooth and fresh, I added Botox to erase the lines at the sides of my mouth and around my eyes. You can see these results on the No-Nonsense Beauty BLog Facebook Page. Just click on the Facebook icon.
Microdermabrasion, as much as I love the immediate results, lasts only a few days. For long lasting results, I suggest starting with a low dose nightly Retin A cream. You should see very nice results within six weeks. The skin will look fresher and clearer. Then try the Botox to deal with the after effects fifty years of laughing and talking. And here’s to another wonderful fifty years.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged fitness trainer training, fitness training, Gweneth Paltrow, lafitness, personal trainer, personal trainer certification, personal training certification, personal training fitness, Tracy Anderson on February 22, 2012 |
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When I first saw this video I was mesmerized like a deer caught in the headlights. I never saw a workout like this using just the weight of the arms to define contours. But when you look at Gweneth Paltrow’s arms as well as the arms of the developer of this technique, Tracy Anderson, this is what I want– smooth, firm, non-lumpy arms. It looks hard and I got tired just watching the clip. But after seeing it a few times, I put it on full screen and was able to follow along albeit slower and not for the whole thing. Its quite a work-out, but fun and interesting– a whole lot more entertaining than hositing weights. But I don’t know if this type of exercise should be done everyday. Maybe every other day?
As a matter of principle I don’t take celebrity health and beauty advice. I would rather get my info from people who were trained and licensed, rather than just good looking. But the video got me thinking– what are the credentials I should look for in a person offering fitness advice. When it comes to skin care there are just a few avenues– dermatologist, cosmetic surgeon, esthetician all have established training programs, a few associations and state wide qualifying exams. But when it comes to fitness the field is much more crowded.
There are literally dozens of organizations including National Board of Fitness Examiners(NBFE), Fitnation, Academy of Applied Personal Training Education ( AAPTE), and National Personal Trainer Academy (IPTA). Some like the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) are online programs while others like Hofstra University have a campus based training program. And most of them have their own exam for certification.
And then there are the qualifications for participating in the program. College grad? High school diploma? Just strong? Exercise programs should be based on basic anatomy to yeild good results and avoid injuries. Do you know which fitness credentials to look for in a trainer or program?
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged Bette Davis, Carole Lombard, Fashion Flash, Max Factor, menopause, Menopause Makeover, movie makeup, pancake makeup, Staness Jonekos, Technicolor on February 20, 2012 |
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This week Staness of Menopause Makeover is hosting Fashion Flash. Each time I click on this site, I wish it had been there when I went through menopause. It can be a hard and isolating journey. From the first day you realize that turtlenecks are no longer an option to scary medical reports, menopause is a time when you need a smart, caring friend– and Menopause Makeover is just that. Staness offers great emotional support and state of the art scientific developments in an upbeat and supportive way. The site is packed with accurate, balanced advice as well as some of the best healthy recipes on the web.
Strand Bookstore in NYC is three floors of new and used books, all at discount. Wandering through the aisles last week, I picked up a little biography of Max Factor, the Russian immigrant who many have called the father of modern make-up.
Max Factor was already famous in the in Hollywood as a wig maker when new technologies demanded new types of makeup for the stars. As the silent black and white films evolved into color ‘talkies”, producers realized that a new type of foundation was needed. Existing greasepaint products left a sheen on the skin that reflected nearby colors. For example, if an actress was standing near green trees, her skin would take on a green hue. Because it was so unflattering many stars including Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo and Carole Lombard refused to work in Technicolor. Bette Davis was even suspended from Warner Brothers for turning down the studios first color film. ( I love this stuff).
The man who developed Technicolor personally asked Max Factor to come up with a solution. After several years of intensive research, Factor and his sons developed a foundation that while transparant and matte, was able to hide blenishes and imperfections. It was called Pancake because it was packed like a little flat cake in a little pan. Within a very short time , Max Factor pancake became both the standard makeup for film and a top selling foundation for women around the world. Driven by a real need, the beauty industry came up with a unique and effective product.
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Sweet and juicy, grapefruits have long been a diet staple. But more than just low in calories, grapefruits pack an impressive nutritional payload. They are rich in pectin, a type of fiber known for lowering cholesterol. This citrus fruit is also high in potassium essential for normal blood pressure and vitamin C which the vitamin linked to fewer wrinkles. In fact 1/2 a grapefruit supplys almost 70% of our daily vitamion C needs– at just 30 calories. Usually differnt types of a fruit or vegetable have pretty much the same nutritional content. But grapefruits are different. P ink or red grapefruits ( usually from Texas) are also rich in beta carotene– a precursor to skin- friendly vitamin A. The white grapefruit ( common in Florida) which tastes pretty much the same, has very little beta carotene.
Problem with Grapefruits?
Grapefruits have an unusual impact on common medications– they make them stronger. Apparently, grapefruits contain compounds that inhibit drug metabolism which makes it more available to the body. This impact seems to affect some people more than others so its hard to know if its something you should worry about. The list of drugs which are boosted by grapefruits is long, including Lipitor to lower cholesterol, Synthroid thyroid supplements, codeine for pain, Prilosec for acid reflux and Zoloft for depression. This impact can last for up to 72 hours. Since grapefruit juice seems to be much more of a problem than the actual fruit, current recommendations are to avoid taking medication with the juice. If you take several of these meds, ask your doctor if grapefruits can pose a problem.
Grapefruits also have a reputation as a fat-burner. It only it was true. There are no special enzymes in these orbs that will use up calories calorie or increase fat loss. But they offer enough real nutritional benefits to make them an awesome fruit choice in winter when they are in season.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged arm exercises, arm workout, arm workouts for women, exercises arms, exercises for arms, flabby arms, how to tone arms, how to tone up, tone up on February 15, 2012 |
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Finally an exercise video that excites a couch potato like me. LA based trainer Jackie Warner has a workout DVD ( One-On One Training with Jackie) that includes a 2o minute upper body workout. After watching it curled up in a chair, I actually got up, grabbed my 3 pound handweights and joined in. It starts with a short but targeted warm-up rather than a looong warm-ups seen in other exercise programs. The Warner warm-up focused on the upper body, stretching and activating the arms and shoulders.
Warner clearly explains which exercise does what. The movements are straight forward and even I could follow along. Rather than the traditional 3 sets of 10 reps, Warner does each exercise for about a minute — about a total of 45-60 reps. Its the same number as in standard sets but done continulously for increased intensity. The pace is fast enough to be interesting, but measured enough to allow me to smoothly finish each movement. There were enough reps in each series to allow me to pick them up and get in a true muscle burning work-out.
The 20 minute workout included several cardio intervals and one series of pushups. I skipped both. My muscles were already burning from the weight training and I wanted to save myself to concentrate on the arms. Maybe as the weeks go by, I’ll add cardio and push-ups, but right now I’m not up to them.
Warner has a clearly defined goal for fitness– a v shaped body with strong broad shoulders that narrows down to hard abs and a small waist. All parts of her exercise program are designed to work together to produce this contour. I like the idea of a comprehensive goal to a workout rather than a seemingly random series of exercises.The upper body workout ended as well as it had begun. The cool down was a short stretching session that soothed my quivering muscles.
But will it work?
Last month I took a sobering series of before pix of my not so perfect arms and plan to take another set of pix after a month of doing this 20 minute workout every day. This week I measured the circumference of my upper arm and will take another measurement at the end of the month long exercise program. Some experts have said that exercise will shrink and firm the arms while other claim that they will increase in bulk. We’ll see who is right.
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This week the host of Fashion Flash is Shawna of Female Fat Loss Over 40. Like many New Yorkers, I rely on walking for my daily exercise. Twenty city blocks is equal to one mile and I leave extra time so that I can walk to my appointments and get in some exercise. But when icy winter weather arrives, I have to go indoors and and Shawna has some of the best fitness programs I’ve ever tried. She is especially good at motivating reluctant athletes ( like me) and I feel better rather than achy after one of her workouts. Be sure to check her out as well as the rest of the wonderful Fashion Flash sites.
This weekend I picked up an intriguing little skin care book by an LA based celebrity esthetician. Skintervention by Scott-Vincent Borba has an interesting approach to both diet and skin care. The book is packed with effective tips that are practical as well as affordable. For example, he recommends treating sunburned skin with a milk bath to reduce inflmmation; since caffeine shrinks blood vessels, Skintervention explains how to use leftover coffe grounds to reduce under-eye swelling and dark circles; or my favorite tip is adding antioxidant rich pomegrante juice to vodka to offset the aging effects of alcohol.
Skintervention also has anunusual way of classifying the skin. Rather than the standard dry vs oily or older vs teenager, Borba divides skin into five major categories– acne prone, sensitive, aging, cellulite, and skin in transition. He drills down into each category and offers to tips to prevent as well as treat problems.
Borba includes a few rccipes to illustrate his approach to healthy food and his chocolate shake is a lifeline to chocoholics who need a healthy fix. It combines melted dark chocolate( rich in antioxidants) with skim milk and almond milk and its worth buying the book for just this recipe.
I disagree with Borba that oily skin needs a moisturizer and he loses some credibility when the book repeatedly promotes the authors’ health drinks and mixes. But I really liked the clearly road tested advice that added a a few new tricks to my skin care skill set.
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Posted in Q&A, tagged age spots, akin lightening cream, bleach skin, bleaching cream, bleaching skin, brown spots, dark patches, freckle removal, freckles, how to lighten skin, laser freckles, lighten skin, skin bleach, skin lightening, skin lightening cream, whitening the skin on February 10, 2012 |
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Answer: I love new beauty ideas that are based on good science and BB creams are just such a concept. BB stands for ‘blemish balm” where blemish is defined as a skin defect ( eg dark spots and splotches and acne scars), not just traditional breakouts.
The original BB creams were developed by a Korean dermatologist to help his patients care for laser treated skin. After having both IPL and frying off my freckles with a YAG laser, I had difficulty finding appropriate moisturizers and sun protection products. The treatments made my skin especially vulnerable to sun damage, yet traditional chemical sunscreens were irritating while zinc based formulations left my skin with a weird white sticky film.
BB creams are a genuinely clever idea. They are a zinc based high SPF moisturizer/sun block combo that have a flattering tint. The result? On the skin it looks like a traditional, flattering foundation rather than mime make-up. Most of them are enriched with anti-aging ingredients like anti-oxidants and peptides that also promote healing.
BB creams from Dior, Mac, GArnier and Estee Lauder are promoted not so much for post- laser sensitive skin but as a skin brightener to erase dark spots and splotches. By coating the skin each day with a high 40-50 SPF, the existing melanin in the skin will be breaking down and new melanin will be prevented. The results should be a fresher, clearer complexion.
There is good theory here but does it really work? General skin lightening aka brightness or luminosity, is a hard thing to measure and even harder to capture in a home photograph. To see if BB creams can actually make a difference, I am going to take a Visia imaging scan that can actually see the melanin deposits in the skin.( I’ve posted this type of photo before and there results are pretty startling.) Then I will use a BB cream for a month and then do another Visia photo. If the BB cream actually changes the melanin content of the skin, we’ll all see it.
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Posted in Uncategorized, tagged braces cost, clear braces, cost of braces, cost of invisalign, invisalign, Invisalign dentist, invisible braces, orthodentist, orthodentists, overbite on February 8, 2012 |
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My first two weeks wearing Invisalign were painless, both literally and figuratively. Just four days after I started, I thought I could see changes in the alignment of my lower teeth. I assumed it was my imagination, but by the end of the first 14 days I had objective proof of change. My teeth had been so tightly packed together that I had needed to use the thinnest dental floss to get the job done. By the time I packed away my first set of aligners, I had to switch to a broad floss for optimal dental care.
The Invisalign rules are easy to follow , so easy that I got a bit lazy. Instruction sheets make a point of advising me to always place retainers in the plastic carry case. I followed this rule religiously but toward the end of week two, I took them out to eat dinner and thought I put them on the endd table in the living room. After eating dinner and brushing my teeth, I went to put them back into my mouth, only to find they had disappeared. I searched the house for more than an hour but no Invisalign. Next morning, I found them in bright sunlight– just where I thought I had placed them the night before. They are designed to be invisible and apparently were as hard to see on furniture as they are when worn! I learned a good lesson, and now compulsively put them in their little case when they are not in my mouth.
The second set of aligners certainly cranked up the treatment. They were tight, so tight, it gave me a bit of a headache. I found myself taking it out more often, just to get relief from the pressure. After four days, either my teeth shifted or the device stretched a bit because it felt more comfortable. It is still tighter than the first retainers, but not so much that its a problem. I am so encouraged by the progress I can see in just three weeks that temporary discomfort doesn’t matter.
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