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Archive for May, 2010

The Five Best Anti-Aging Tips

#2 Don’t Age — Exfoliate

The surface of your skin is covered with a dry dead skin cells, stale oil and old make-up.  When this layer is removed, it stimulates the growth of healthy new cells.  If your soap or cleanser doesn’t have the power to take  it off, the skin looks dull, dry and tired.  Even worse, that rate of skin growth slows and  the skin is as old as it looks.  Using scrubbing grains or a facial abrasive pad takes off the  unwanted layer, leaving the skin soft, radiant and healthier. And keep in mind that one of the major benefits of Retin A is its ability to encourage healthy exfoliation of the skin.

  Exfoliation is actually felt to be a key reason that men seem to age more slowly than women.   Experts suggest that daily shaving exfoliates the top dry layer to encourage fresh skin growth.

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#3 — Cover Grey Hair

Whether its scattered white hairs or a full head of silver,  grey hair is one of the most common signs of aging — and one of the easiest to control. Think of the difference in Susan Boyle’s appearance  when  her frizzy grey curls were transformed into a sleek brown style.  Select a shade  that is slightly lighter  than your natural color.  You can use  a mascara-like  wand for  touchups  to cover small amounts of grey re-growth.   (  Color Mark is a great brand  for less than $10).  Bring  a bit of flattering light to your face by adding highlights every six months.

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#4– Don’t Smoke

As if you need another reason to quit smoking.  Tobacco smoke lowers blood flow  that makes the skin look dull and pale.  The toxic chemicals in cigarettes ( there  are 2000 of them, no kidding) provoke free radicals which splinter our collagen and elastin– those fibers that keep the skin smooth and firm.  Even the physical act of  smoking ( pursing your lips around the cigarettes creates the hard-to treat vertical lines around the mouth.  And if you are  pack a day smoker, quitting will save up to $3000/year which can buy  a great new wardrobe.

And I don’t want to forget second hand smoke.  It has been estimated that up to 50,000 people die each year from heart or lung disease due to second hand smoke– so its not much of a stretch to believe that others peoples bad tobacco habits can  age my skin. Next time someone asks me if they can smoke, I’ll say  “Sure, as long as you cover the cost for my new tube of Retin-A”

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The Five Best Anti-Aging Tips

People have often asked  for my  top anti-aging tips.  Is it Retin A?  A  YAG laser?  An anti-aging diet?  I’ve given this alot of thought  and asked the smartest doctors, stylists and make-up artists I know  for their best advice. I’ve now come up with a short list  of  five top age fighters:

#5– Watch How Much You Drink

I love Cosmo night at Dashing Diva ( my favorite  nail place)  and take  too much time pairing the right wine with a great meal, but I can’t ignore that alcohol is toxic to living cells. ( which is why its such a great disinfectant)  Alcohol floods the body with free radicals, slows circulation, robs the skin of moisture and ruptures small blood vessels ( that’s those tiny red lines on your skin)  Most doctors now recommend that women limit alcohol intake to 3-5 glasses per week.  While we have all read that wine has a number of health benefits, beautiful skin is not one of them.

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For the past week I have been happily combining Retin A and  a medium strength exfoliating sponge  and have been delighted with the results.  However I have to  add two notes of caution:

1) For the first four months I  used Retin A  I played it very safe with  Cetaphil, an ultra-mild cleanser and waited up to an hour between cleansing and  my nightly dollop of Retin A.   It worked beautifully, but in cold windy weather I   still got pretty red and raw.  I would never  use  an exfoliating cleanser when starting  a Retin A program. 

2) I just back from a trip  and found that the industrial strength air-conditioning  in the hotel  dried out my skin. Combined with the Buff Puff and my Retin A,  I  woke up to a face full of  dry, white  flakes.  The best way to deal with  this type of flaking is to apply a very rich  cream  for  30 minutes and then wash it off.  I was in a hotel and the sundry shop was not  yet open, so I decided to be a little creative.  I dashed into the coffee shop, scooped  up a couple of tiny takeout packets of mayonaise and  sprinted  back to my room.  I applied the mayo heavily, left it  on for 20 minutes ( I  was so  late already) and washed it off.  Et voila, no more face flakes.  True, I  probably smelled  like a chicken salad sandwich, but no  one seemed to notice. My point, and I do have one, is that  we need to be flexible when working with retinoids. Weather,  indoor heating, and air-conditioning  are just a few issues that can affect the way  your skin reacts to Retin A.  Retin A is the  foundation of great anti-aging skin care, but  you need to be aware of  issues that can pop up.

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I have been using  .o5% Retin A Micro  for almost four months and I have seen great results.  In the past two weeks I have noticed that the  healthy glow has faded a bit.  Its sort of  like a once great diet where you’ve stopped losing weight.  I don’t need to wait  between washing my face and applying this proven wrinkle fighter to my face to avoid irritation. Clearly my skin cells are now rather bored with my treatment. I need to, as Emeril would say, “crank it up a bit”.  I still have  about a quarter of  the $300 tube left and  I really don’t want to waste it.  I did a bit of research and  found that I could use  physical exfoliating tools  like Buff Puff  sponge to enhance the anti-aging effects.   Cleansing my face with a disposable abrasive sponge makes  the skin feel clean and smooth, and the glow is coming back.  I can finish this lower dose Retin A  using  this added boost, but my next subscription will  be for a stronger Retin A product.  I  am looking at two choices:

1) I can move up to .1% Retin A Micro.  This is more than double the strength of the cream I am now using, but still in the gentler encapsulated form.   And still pricey  at $300 a tube.

2) I can switch to the original .o5% Retin A which is naturally stonger.  Its also   much less expensive.  In  my local pharmacy Retin A ( which is now generic) is about $115.  From a Canadian phrmacy, its $40. Nice.  I can put the extra money towards  my next big project  — A visit with the IPL laser.  This is the mildest laser that can brighter the complexion by removing dark spots, remove fine  lines and slightly tighten the skin.

But right now I  have to decide on the next step. Does anyone have experience with  moving up in strength in Retin A?

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Tri-luma is a cream that is a combination of Retin A, hydroquinone ( established skin lightener) and a steroid  to  keep things calm.  It has been shown to successfully lighten unwanted dark areas on the skin– but not for everyone.  When it works it can lighten under-eye shadows as well as brighten a dull patchy complexion.  However it can also be irritating which  may actually  increase pigmentation — creating  more shadows and dark patches.  Definately not the result  I am looking for.

My first two days on Triluma were uneventful.  I followed standard  Retin A protocol and waited an hour after washing my face before applying a small dab of Tri-luma under my eyes.  In the morning  there was no redness or irritation.  I am going to take photos  every week  to note any changes.  The photo on the right is my “before” shot.  This will give me a baseline  for comparison.   My standard for  a successful anti-aging beauty product  is that there are clear cut benefits.   I am eagar  to see if  the dark circles diminish over the next eight weeks.

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