Archive for August, 2010

True story.  Several years ago, I was recruited to do an in-store event for a popular exfoliating  scrub.  The plan  was to  set up a mini spa in a Wal-Mart in suburban Arizona.  I was not really looking forward to it.  I had just finished a before and after project for a publisher and the results were pretty awful with the befores looking better than the afters.   Now I was facing  a crowd of real women  who expected results.

It only got  worse when I  had to wear a little white lab coat with my name stitched on the  breast pocket. As the facialists went to work,  I tried to  hide behind the  bags of dog  food that flanked  the temporary spa.  They were offering a very basic facial  that consisted of an exfoliating scrub,  warm compresses, a peel -off mask and ending with a toner.  As I watched the treatments, I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Women  sat down in the examination chair  with  blotchy, lined skin and left looking smooth and radiant.  The facial took about 15 minutes and the products totaled $30– yet the results were clear and remarkable.

In an  era of lasers, fillers  and Botox,  a small facial can still have big results.  But not all facials are equal.  If you look at the menu of serices at a spa  you will  see  options that include oxygen facials,  peels, dermabrasion, collagen  masks and LED lights.  Do these  things really work?  I will be trying  out  these facial techniques and posting before and after photos.  And because there are  just so many times I can subject my face to another deep cleaning, some friends have offered their  faces for science.   They also have different  beauty issues and I am looking forward to seeing  what  types of facials give the best results for a range of  anti-aging issues.

Do you have you  a favorite type of facial?  Is there anything you would avoid?  Do you make your own facial products?  I would love to hear about your experiences.

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Most doctors dismiss  the idea that moisturizers can prevent signs of aging–  and I believed them. But now new research may change their minds– and mine.  A new study  just published in the prestigious British Journal of Dermatology suggests that untreated dry skin does indeed lead to lines and wrinkles.  Even more interesting, the study found that consistant  use of moisturizers clearly prevented the development  of permanent wrinkling.

Here’s how it works:  Wrinkles develop overtime due to  repeated sun damage, hormonal changes and  repeated useage from facial expressions.  Every time we laugh, eat, shout, smile, talk or squint,  we  are straining the elastin and collagen fibers in the skin.  As the good ( and bad) times  go by, the skin gets quite a workout and temporary expressions become permanently etched in our faces.   Not to worry!  This new study  suggests that regular useage of moisturizers ” plasticize” the skin.  ( Their word, not mine) . This means that moisturizers, by keeping  the skin soft,  can help the skin resist mechanical damage.  In short,  moisturized skin resists  permanent creases from  temporary and repeated expressions.

So what’s  our take away here?  Very simply we should  start using moisturizers early and continue  using them faithfully.  But its  important   to pick a  product that  meets your needs.  If you skin tends  to break out, use an oil-freee formulation. During the day,  I’m a BIG fan of moisturizers with sunscreens.  At night use a moisturizer alone or over a treatment product like Retin A.  Turbo-powered anti-aging  ingredients  like alpha-hydroxy acids, soy extract, or green tea  will create a value-added moisturizer.  But whatever moisturizer you choose,  just use it regularly.

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Has your Retin-A lost its  magic?   For almost four months my gentle.04% Retin A micro  made my skin smooth, firm and  rosy rather than pale.  Recently I noticed   these improvements slipping away.  Dr Marmur gave  me a stronger prescription and I am waiting for its arrival from Canada.  But as I  am waiting, I began wondering if others had noticed if their Retin-A  had lost its mojo.    I didn’t have to wait long for an answer.

This weekend I  met two different women who had lost their faith in Retin-A.  Turned out that they  had been using the same mild formulation for three years.  In fact looking at their skins, I was actually surprised to learn they were using Retin A.   We compared notes  and they are now psyched to  see if a stronger concentration would bring back the results  they saw when they first started.   But the question then becomes, what IS the next step.  Do you change  from a cream to a naturally more powerful gel?  Or do you go up in concentration?  I can’t find any guidelines  for stepping up Retin A over the long run.

What is your experience?  Have you been using the same Retin A formulation  for more than a year?  What did you do?

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The UV wristbands are  on  their way to all  subscribers  who emailed  me their contact information.  They are so easy to use– Apply a dab of  your sunscreen to the top of the strip, and watch the colors change.  As soon as you go into the sun, the band turns a bright purple.   When it fades  to a lavender pink, its a signal  to put on more sunscreen.  When the band is pale, yellowish color, its time to get out of the sun.  Children really seem to like it and run to tell me when its time to put on more sun lotion– which is more fun for both of us than running them down and struggling with them to get more suncreen. 

The wristbands can be hard to find, but I found a cache at a K-mart  near NYU. I still have twenty left, so email me if you want  one.  And  let me know  how they worked for you.

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In the hours after my spray tan was applied,  the color gradually darkened.  As per instructions,before going to sleep ,  I took a shower with cool water  but did not use soap or washcloth.  I  was a little worried  when I saw the water in  my shower  had turned brown as it ran down the drain.  But when I looked in the mirror, I was still beautifully tan.  Over the next few days,  I nursed the tan along with plenty of moisturizer on my  arms and legs. 

I really enjoyed this  look.  My clothes looked better and I felt  I looked  younger and healthier.  After four days, the bronze color  remained on my body, but had  pretty much faded on my face.  Since my neck was still tan  I evened-up the color with a healthy dusting of bronzer.   When my air-brush tan fades and starts to look uneve, I will help it along with an exfoliating scrub.  I have a friend who is a stripper  and she swears by salt scrubs to smooth and polish the skin.  Have you ever tried this?  Is it good?  Gross?

Spray-on tans ( aka air brush tans)  turned out to be one of those small steps  with big results.  I wish I  had the courage to try it years ago.  I’m going to go use it again, not all the time, but for occasions  when I need to look (and feel) amazing– like weddings, reunions or before a beach vacation.  I think it could also be a big mood-lifter  in the dead of  winter when I look so pale  my Mom keeps asking me  how I feel.   I can also see how people can become “addicted” to these things.  After  buying  so many products with big promises  that don’t do anything, it is exhilerating to find something that makes a visable difference.  Do you use spray tans? Have you had any problems?

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Each morning after my shower I have been compulsive about putting on a 30 SPF sunscreen.  My reward?  A  dead white skin tone.   I can  brighten things up on my face with make-up, but my stick white legs are on their own.  I  know that this means I am successfully avoiding sundamage, but I’ve actually used up a big tub of bronzer  just this summer to try get some color.

I tried sunless tanning creams and the results were a splotchy mess.  I decided to go for the gold  and get a professionally applied spray tan.  Several friends recommended Portofino in New York where an individually applied tan is about $60. 

 Following their instructions, I shaved my legs and exfoliated my entire body with a Buff Puff. My skin felt very very clean. I was pretty nervous and asked my close friend Lisa to be my wing man.  When we got to  Portofino, Lisa went shopping next  door and  I stripped down  and put on a tiny black paper string bikini bottom and covered my hair with a big plastic shower cap.    The walls of the small spray room were covered with brown ceramic tiles.    I told  Sylvia, the tanning technician with a beautiful tan, that I wanted a very light color.  She nodded and went to work.  Rather than just standing there with my  arms  streched out, she started to call out  different positions– sort of like a x-rated hokey pokey; “arch your back  and stick out your butt, extend your hands  and bend  your fingers , turnside ways, put out your right foot and bend your knee”.  These bendy positions were important to get the color into body  creases.  The spray itself was a fine cold mist.

I loved it the minute I looked in the mirror.  I had really forgotten  how flattering a  golden, even tan could   be.  The spray tan hid  lines and disclorations and made my skin look firmer.  I  was  especially impressed how much better my  upper arms looked in a sleeveless dress.  After 15 minutes in a spray tan booth, I looked younger  AND thinner. As you can see from the photos, I look tanned, but not like  a new cast member of Jersey Shore. I went home  with a big  happy grin on my face.  But I had to  hurry. It was going to rain and if I got wet know,  my new tan would streak.  I was to avoid water for the next eight hours.

Spray-on tan is one of those not so secret tricks that  make celebs look so perfect  at red carpet events.  It is definitely something  I would do before a big event where you have to  look especially hot like a black tie dinner or high school reunion. I would also think about a spray tan before a trip to look beautiful  at the beach without the health problems of a real tan.  But before I start planning my next date with Sylvia, I want to see how the  tan looks over the next week as it fades away. 

Have you had a spray tan?  How long did it last?  Were you happy with the results?  I’d love to hear your experiences.

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Free Anti-Aging UV Wristbands

I’ve been having  a great time posting my anti-aging  journey  and reading your comments  at No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.  To thank you for all your enthusiasm and support, I want to send out free samples  of  one of my favorite new beauty tools-  a UV Sunsense wristband,  to my subscribers.  I blogged about these  in  July and used them   all summer to  measure how  much sun I am getting and  how well  a sunscreen  is working.  To get a UVwristband band,  just email me  your  full name and address at deb@nononsensebeautyblog.com and I will get  this age  proofing band to you in time for the last  beach days of summer.   New subscribers  are also wecome! 

I’m really looking forward to hearing  how the wristband worked for you.  Did your  regular sunscreen deliver as promised?  Were you surprised how much sun exposure  you  got in your own home?  I really  love these bracelets and I credit them for my first sunburn-free summer.

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