Archive for March, 2011

For the dieter who has been trying to quell hungar pangs with carrot sticks, the Atkins Diet sounds like a dream  come true.  Eat all the steak, butter, cheese, nuts and cream you want and still lose weight.  And people do lose weight.  Bacon and eggs for breakfast, hot dogs ( without buns) for lunch and a steak and small salad with blue cheese dressing for dinner. You get to  eat all those “forbidden” foods and  never feel hungry. And despite the crazy high levels of cholesterol and fat,   Atkins dieters  actually lower their cholesterol and triglycerides.  Crazy! But looking at  the diet from other health factors as well as  skin aging,  Atkins has some huge problems.  It has an almost complete absence of fiber,  vitamin C and vitamin A and a mine-full of minerals.  Because there is no fruit on the Atkins diet, you are also missing out on the powerful antioxidants in colorful foods like berries, oranges and peaches. And while there are supplements that can supply these  nutrients, the NHANES study showed it was  vitamins in the diet and not from supplementation  that decreased wrinkling.  And I can’t forget that high fat diets are linked to increased lines and wrinkles.  With its total focus on protein, the Atkins diet  has always been expensive.  Today with food prices soaring, its  just scary.

One last  thought. About ten yeas ago my husband and I went on the Atkins diet.  In two weeks he lost 12 pounds and looked and felt great.  I lost 3 pounds and wound up in the ER with  my first gallbladder attack.  I’m just saying.

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This week’s host is Shawna of Female Fat Loss  After 40.  Since March is National Nutritional Month I  had hoped that Shawna  would   tackle diets when she hosted Fashion FLash– and I wasn’t disappointed.  She  explored a question that had troubled me  for years– if I followed an aggressive exercise program,  did I need to  watch my  diet?  And  I got  my answer as  Shawna writes about  “training” a bad diet.

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Many derms believe that  make-up and skin care products are  key triggers for adult breakouts. Dubbed Acne Cosmetica, it is usually seen  around the mouth, chin and jaw line. There are three ways  that  an anti-aging product   can  cause teenage  problems:

1.   Too Rich in Oil– 

It’s  probably not news  that heavy, oily beauty aids can block pores and  provoke problems. Some oils cause more problems than others.  Lanolin is at the top of the list, closely followed by cocoa butter, mineral oil,  coconut oil, and jojoba oil.  If you’ve  had frequent breakouts, best  bet would be to go oil-free. 

2. Fragrance–

The perfume additives that are used to scent a product have a  long history of driving acne  eruptions.  They create inflammation and it’s this irritation  which leads to a series of events in the pores  that ends  with red bumps and whiteheads.  Easy solution?  Use  only fragrance-free beauty aids.

3. Inflammatory Ingredients–

Certain ingredients used  in the  formulation of a beauty product have been linked to breakouts.  These include isopropyl myristate( a thickener), ocityl palmitate ( another thickener) and propylene glycol( helps ingredients penetrate the skin)  More recently  certain  new  turbo-powered  sunscreens such  Helioplex  have been linked to acne. 

Before you go blind trying to read  the label ingredients for every product, look for those beauty aids which state that they are ” noncomedegenic”.  This usually means that they have been tested for breakout potential and are formulated without the usual culprits.  In my case, I had switched from   a super gentle oil free moisturizer with a 30SPF to an uber 70SPF with Helioplex.  It was a good idea to go up in SPF, but in  my case not the right idea.

Have you seen your skin react to a skin care product?  Have you found using  oil-free, noncomedogenic or fragrance- free helpful.  What products or ingredients do you avoid?  And most of all I’d love  to hear recommendations of products that don’t cause  acne.

Coming Up– #1 cause of adult acne:

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Its true I love to watch Glee  and relive my high school memories with better music– but  I’m way too old to deal with teenage style  breakouts.  Or am I?  I was trying out  a new  oil free cleanser and  sunscreen   that promised to reduce signs of aging.  Well,  the new combo  gave me pimples and I don’t  count  that as a youthful look.   

I had  taken this photo to show a baseline  photo before a laser treatment.  When I saw  teenage- style pimples next to my wrinkles, I buried the photo  in the  “never use” pile, too embaressed to use it. How could I  put up a photo with  zits when I’m doing  a beauty blog that shows what works and what doesn’t.  But I get so many questions about  acne over 40, I realized that this is a topic that deserves a closer look.

According to  Dr Lefkovits, while acne begins in adolesence, it often persists  for decades.  In fact, about 50% of women over 25   have to deal with  breakouts.  Over age 40, about 25% of  us  have to deal with grey  hair AND  acne.  How unfair is that!  But  while the zits might look the same, the triggers  for breakouts  change over the  years–  and  the tried and true remedies for teenage acne  are not effective for adults.  So not only do  we need to  make different lifestyle changes to prevent acne,  we need different remedies to make our skin  smooth and clear.   It makes sense.  I don’t  have to study for SAT’s  and worry about the mean girls at lunch–   why shouldn’t my skin  care be different.


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Shoe sluts unite!  That’s the battle cry of  Shoedish who is  hosting Fashion Flash today.  This week the site is looking  ahead to what’s new in flip flops. It cold and rainy today, but reading Shoedish makes me  believe that flip flop seson is just around the corner.  When it stops raining, I’m going shoe shopping.

At No-Nonsense Beauty Blog I’ve been getting alot of comments  about my post on vegetarians and skin care. A new study showed that  vegetarians  had  more wrinkles.  It didn’t make sense.  For example,  studies have shown that higher vitamin C levels are linked to fewer wrinkles and vegetarian diets are so high in  “C”  its ridonkulus.  In addition   veggie based  diets are lower in fat and higher in nuts–two proven anti- wrinkle factors.  I’m trying to sort out  the data and comparing different types of vegetarian  eating plans. I have a good friend who  order french fries and  a Caesar salad for a vegetarian lunch.  A co-worker drinks  two shots of grass juice and calls it lunch.  Neither one  has  good skin. Next  I’m going to look at macrobiotic   diets to see where it stacks up for skin care needs.  Do you follow a macrobiotic diet?  How do  you feel it  has affected your skin?

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I have often mentioned my reservations about retinols vs the more powerful retinoids like Retin A.  When applied to the skin, retinols have to convert themselves to  a true retinoid before they can be effective. Researchers estimate that a retinol is only 25% as effective as a Retin A.   For example, a .1% Retinol (  a very common concentration) is equal to a .025 Retin A–  which is actually the mildest Retin A on the market.  And then there is the problem that most retinol products don’t say how much of the power  stuff they actually contain.  You can’t know if a  product is to weak to be effective or too strong and irritating. 

I stayed away from retinol products until wandering in the exhibit hall  of a derm conference, I picked up  free samples of .5% Retinol from Skinceuticals. I was intrigued.  A .5% retinol is at least equal to my current .1% Retin A  Micro. ( I know  this is a lot of  math but  staywith  me– its worth it). And then there was the question of price.  .5% Retinol ( they need to work on the name) is just $50/ tube–  a lot better than the $300 price tag of my Retin A Micro.  But price  is not that important if it didn’t  deliver beauty benefits.  After just three days, I  had new respect for retinols.  I could put it on  shortly after washing my face without developing dryness or irritation–yet I could see a fresher, brighter skin.    What I  loved best about Retin A  is that relieved my pale, pasty skin tones and replaces them  with  pinker, happier looking skin. This retinol product delivered the same “pinking” but without the dryness.

To keep my skin from getting bored, I’ve been alternating between .5% Retinol and .1% Retin A  Micro.  I liked the results so much, that when I had finished my samples,  I paid retail for a full size tube.    Next I want to see if I can use  it before and after an office anti-aging procedure.  IPL and lasers  make my skin especially sensitive and I need to suspend Retin A for as much as a week.  Next time, I’m going to see if I can use .5%Retinol the next day to avoid a break in beauty routinue.  What has your experience been  with retinol products.? How did they compare to Retin A for you?  

For more information, I’ve written a   guide to Retin A.  Like my Facebook  Fan Page and you can download   the four page guide for  free.

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March is National Nutrition Month and I have vowed to eat at least 5 servings of  fruits and vegetables a day.  Its the minimum that most dietary  guidelines recommend and I can certainly see why.  Fruits and veggies are the source for anti-oxidants vitamin A, vitamin C, and then there is their all important fiber content. I was then stunned to  read  new study which found that vegetarians  had more wrinkles than  peple who ate everything. ???

How could that be?  The NHANES study showed that higher vitamin C levels and lower fat intake was associated with firmer, younger looking skin.   Vegetarians  usually eat lots of nuts which are rich in linoleic acid and linoleic acid  was also a key  factor  in fewer wrinkles. Drilling deeper into the topic, I  wondered if  vegetarians could  have  lower protein intake– and  healthy  protein levels were also crucial to fewer  wrinkles in the NHANES study.  And then there is the carbohydrate levels in vegetarian meal plans.  NHANES found that higher carb levels in the diet  was a particularly potent wrinkles maker.  Vegetarian diets  can get plenty of protein by combining grains and beans, but  larger servings are needed to meet protein needs– as much as 11  servings  of carbs a day.  Protein can also be supplied by dairy, but unless  its  the low fat  kind, fat levels  can be higher than needed. All of these factors can be controlled with  detailed  planning, but its not easy. My cousin Nicole  is a vegetarian and thinks that  Caesar salad and french fries is a perfect vegetarian meal.  On the other hand, a vegetarian classmate at NYU typically   drinks a Kale smoothie for breakfast, has  a soy yogurt for lunch and dives into a  huge bowl of  brown rice, sweet potato and steamed escarole for dinner.   If you  are vegetarian do you  have  strategies for balacing nutritional needs?

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