Archive for November, 2011

1.  How does microdermabrasion work?

Microdermabrasion  removes the  top dead dry  layer of the skin a process that benefits different types of skin issues. For oily skin,  it  “de-roofs”  blocked pores  to remove  blackheads and reduce break-outs.  For dry aging skin, microdermabrasion makes the skin look fresh and glowing.  Many experts believe that  removing the top dead layer  of skin signals the skin to grow healthy firm skin. 

2.  Is there a difference between dermabrasion and microdermabrasion?

A big difference.  Dermabrasion is actually considered surgery.  It is  painful and local anesthesia is needed as  a laser removes most of the epiderrmis.  Afterwards the skin is raw, red and a bit bloody for at least a week.  Full healing can take months, but a successful dermabrasion  can lighten dark patches, remove fine lines and erase acne scars.

Microdermabrasion is not nearly so intense.  It is considered a procedure ( rather than surgery) and can be done in an office by a doctor or their assistants.  The full court press microdermabrasion  uses a combination of  suction and metallic crystals.  There are at least a dozen different brands of microdermabrasion devices including Parisian Peel and the Hydra- Facial– my personal favorite.

Here’s how it works:

During an office based microdermabrasion the machine wand blasts the skin with aluminium  crystals or a diamond tipped head.  The attached suction device  pulls the skin to provide  better access as welll as captures the loosened skin cells. Many  microdermabrasion machines also infuse skin care products ( peptide or vitamin C serums) into the treated skin.Microdermabrasion improves the quality  of the skin’s surface.  There is no healing time and you leave the office looking  fresh and radiant.

3. Can I use Retin A with microdermabrasion?

To avoid unnecessary redness, irritation and peeling, you should stop using Retin A  48 hours before and after microdermabrasion. If your skin is dry and/or sensitive you might also want  to avoid other potential irritants including vitamin C, glycolic acid  or scrubbing grains.

4. Who should not use microdermabrasion?

As  good as it is, microdermabrasion can be a problem  if you have certain types of underlying skin care problems.   If you have active rosacea or acne, psoriasis, eczema, open sores or herpes, microdermabrasion can makes these problems worse.  If you tend to develop darkened or discolored patches ( hyperpigmentation) from irritation,  microdermabrasion  may  provoke new pigmentation rather than remove it.

5. Do  home microdermabrasion kits really work?

Most of the home microdermabrasion kits are traditional exfoliators using  scrubbing grains or brushes to remove dry dead  surface skin. Some like the DDF Micropolishing System use a rotary pad with polishing crystals- closely related to the effective office based procedure, but do  not have the suction action of a physicians  microdermabrasion system.  However they are a great budget beauty option.  Most are around $50 $100 for  the kit  while   microdermabrasion with a dermatologist  runs $150-300 per session.


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Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Its Monday, and I am  the host of Fashion Flash this week. Despite the demands of Turkey Day, our bloggers have been very busy:

*Jodell of BLack Cat Plus believes that shades of grey are a must have, most flattering color for plus size silhouettes this holidy season.  Sort of grey is the new black.

* Over at Fabulous After 40, the Glam Gals  offer great style tips  asking ”  Do you love  animal prints, but wondering how to wear them so that  you look tasteful, not tacky? ” 

* Cat of Obsessed With Shoes introduces us to new designer Alain Quilici’s innovative and original designs that offer a fresh prospective on shoewear.

* Shawna at Female Fat Loss Over 40 asks a simple question- “What  makes you fat” She  provides the answers we’ve been waiting for.  And check out the hottie in the bikini ( one of our own Fashion Flashers) who has put this answer into practice.

* Kari at Fab Over Forty reviews  the new L’Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lash Mascara-  Is it right for you and your beauty budget?

* Jackie at Aging Backwards worries about perfectionism.  She’s concerned it can lead to stress and suggests ” why not strive for excellence instead.  Jackie has some tips  to help you feel younger and healthier– excellently.

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The Thanksgiving feast  may seem like a calorie  overload, but there  is a lot of great nutrition packed onto that table.  There are anti cancer fighters in the broccoli and  a boatload of vitamin A  in the sweet potatoes, but  the nutrition king of the Thanksgiving table is the cranberry.

Cranberries  have fiber, vitamin C and manganese, an essential mineral.  But what makes  cranberries  a superstar  its  its antioxidant power.  In fact, out of the 277 most commonly eaten foods, cranberrries has one of the very highest anti0xidant levels.  Since antioxidants reduce risk of heart disease and cancer and raise immunity, cranberries are a true beauty fruit.  

Studies have shown that   cranberries   can prevent and treat urinary infections, reduce risk of blood clots and in the lab seems to kill cancer cells.  Most of cranberries power seem to be   its ability to keep things from sticking togetting.  It prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urthera so that they can’t cause an infection.  In the blood vessels it prevents cells from sticking together so that the  vessels remain clear and unclogged.  This reduces risk of  high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack.  And  its helpful to remember that  healthy blood vessels  are essential to  maintaining healthy, strong wrinkle busting collagen. 

But as gorgeous as they are, cranberrries are not only sour they are bitter.  This means that most cranberry drinks and sauces are packed with sugar.  To  get cranberries health benefits, I sweeten my Thanksgiving cranberry sauce with Agave, a natural faux sugar made from a cactus.  It still has calories, but it is absorbed  much more slowly, so my blood sugar doesn’t spike.   I have type  2 diabetes, so its always important for me  to prevent sharp swings in blood sugar, but  blood sugar surges are also known to damage collagen and increase skin aging, so its actually important for everyone who wants to look good. 

Anti-Aging Cranberry Sauce

Ingredients: 2 cups of cranberries ( one bag), 2/3 cup of water, 1/2 cup Agave syrup, 1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel, 1/4 cup pecans.

Technique:  In small  pan, toast the pecans on a medium flame for  about one minute.  Watch them constantly so that they don’t burn.  Chop  the nuts coarsely and set  aside.  Now combine the water and cranberries in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat, cooking for  6-8 minutes until the skins are all popped.  Take the pan off the heat and add the Agave, orange rind and finally fold in the nuts.  Some cranberries  can be especially bitter so taste  to see if you need additional Agave.

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When I first started  my anti-aging journey I identified a dozen different signs of facial aging. On that list I noted only a single dental problem– stained/ yellowed teeth.  Turns out that changes in our smile are part of  often  unrecognized changes that  make us look older.  The overbite that I see in the mirror was just a symptom of  changing dental contours, rather than the cause  of  my aging smile.

Here’s how it works:  According to Dr Jacquie, the full wide smile of gorgeous celebrities ( think Angelina Jolie, Jessica Alba, Halle Barre, Kate Middleton) is a youthful smile.  As we get older, our smile often becomes smaller as the jaw  loses bone mass, shifting the teeth forward. 

To check this out, I dug out old family photos and there it was– a full wide smile.  As a thirty something Mom, I had a little overbite, but my  broad youthful smile  had two rows of an even white teeth.  Comparing that smile with my baseline  pix from Dr Jacquie, you can see the difference a few decades make.  The overbite is more pronounced  and the side teeth have receded and are barely visable.

Looking at these photos I realized that I certainly under- estimated  the impact of aging on the mouth– and I’m not alone.  Even in New York where you can trip over dermatologists  and cosmetic surgeons, it took me two years to find  a full service cosmetic dentist– someone who is focused on the smile problems of adults.   At Dr Jacquie’s office, I noticed the  beautiful models and actors walking in the door, and I began to suspect I was finally in the right place.   If  the other patients in the waiting room have a curfew and are carrying  that thick SAT book, you’re probably  in the wrong place.

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This week the hosts of Fashion Flash are the Glam Gals of Fabulous After 40.  Today they have featured a must watch video on the right way to wear leggings over 40.  For me it answered the key question–  how  long should the top be  with leggings?   The answer? Anything below the tush.    I wish I  had known that  before snagging a cashmere tunic at a sale which  is   about four inches too short.  I never feel quite right in it and now I know why.  And too short tops are not just a problem for 40 plus.  Last  week a photo of Pippa Middleton featured the young beauty in a  pair of heavy leggings and a gorgeous green pea cut that  barely covered her stomach.  The view  from the rear  was especially  painful.  She could have been spared  that  fashion faux pas  if  she only had watched  the Glam Gals Video.

And today we have added a new Fashion Flash member, Jackie Silver of Aging Backwards.  I  first met Jackie at  the Health and Beauty Expo in New York and I was  little surprised that such a young woman was doing blog on aging. When   she told me that she was   in her mid fifties, I realized that this women  knew her stuff.   Her great site covers nutrition, health, fitness, beauty and spirit and is always full of on-point advice and new developments.  Jackie  is an author, has sold products on QVC and is the co-host of the popular radion show, The Ageless Sisters.  You will enjoy Jackie and  her site as much as I do.

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Soy is a fascinating ingredients in anti-aging  skin care products.  Studies  have shown that its a powerful antioxidant and help the growth of healthy new collagen.  In addition, genistein, a chemical in soy, prevents melanin pigments from attaching to skin cells.  This makes soy a great addition to sun protection and indeed soy  is effective for preventing and reducing  brown spots and freckles of sun damage.  However, soy does not work nearly so well for melasma, those dark patches that usually appear on the cheeks and forehead.   This type of hyperpigmentation appears to be fueled by estrogen and in fact genistein is a type of pseudo-estrogen.  In theory soy might actually  make melasma worse.

So to bottom line it, if you have been a sun baby and have lots of small freckles, soy enriched  moisturizers could  brighten your skin.  If you  have larger patches, especially  if they developed after you’ve been on “the pill”  and or had a baby,  soy  won’t be of that much help.

One final thought.  Some doctors  are concerned that the estrogen-like compounds in soy  could increase risk of breast and ovarian cancers.  They have recommended limiting soy intake in foods and are  now increasing that advice to include soy enriched skin care products.  If you or  your family have a history of breast or ovarian cancer, you might  be wise to avoid  soy based beauty aids.

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This week the host of Fashion Flash is Geri of Fabulous Over Fifty.  I have to admit that I am addicted to starting my day  by clicking through Fab Over Fifty.  It  has a unique mix of world class experts and  women like me that provides both state of the art  info and a sense of shared experiences.  This constantly updated site covers  health, finance, relationships,   beauty, fashion, all from the perspective of women who weren’t born yesterday.

When you click through the other info-packed Fashion Flash sites be sure  to check out the book  Menopause Makeover( Harlequin Press) by our own Staness Jonekos.  This  is a proven, eight step program to deal with the cascade of menopause sumptoms  including  hot flashes, weight gain, brain fog and mood changes.

Staness was just 47 and planning her first wedding when menopause hit her hard.  Not finding the  info she needed Staness created  a menopause master plan.  In her comprehensive  yet easy to read book, Staness explains the latest alternative and medical options in a reader friendly format.  There are  great check lists, journal pages and charts to track you progress.  But what is super special about this book  is the sense of empowerment– changing menopause from a  problem into a celebration of a new beginning. You can read more about Menopause Makeover  on her site of the same name.

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