Posts Tagged ‘anti-aging’

Fashion Flash logoThis week Kari of Fab Over Forty is hosting Fashion Flash.  This  gorgeous site is packed with on point beauty, fashion and fitness information.  This week it includes  an interview with  Bobbi Brown on make-up for women over 50,  a preview of the Estee Lauder Mad Men collection and  and up  close and personal view of the Nude Collection from Dior.  Don’t miss it.

I don’t usually review  random  products, but when Aveeno  offered  me samples of their new skin care options, I couldn’t say no.  Aveeno is one of my favorite brands  and  some of their products are constants in my Beauty Tool Kit.   There is  an ocean of products  out there, but Aveeno usually rise to the top.  

When I got the package from Aveeno, I saw that I  had already reccommended  the Clear Complexion SPF30  BB aveenoCream and The Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer  with feverfew  has been my go-to sunscreen/moisturizer and a star in my Beauty Tool kit.  But there  were new products too, and I was  impressed  with the  real thought and talent that went into them.  

The big green jar of Clear Complexion  Cleansing pads contain  a bit of  salicylic acid to deal with excess oil  and dead skin cells, while the pad itself  offers gentle exfoliation.  This is the perfect  cleanser to use if you are using  an anti-aging vitamin C serum.  It is also a great choice for normal or slightly oily skin.  Its a big jar, but I made space on my already crowded  beauty  shelves for  this well designed  cleanser.  

I am very very picky about wipes that remove  make-up.  Some  are way too oily  while others seem to be drenched in fragrance.   I am  loyal to the Almay Oil-Free Eyemake-up Remover Pads, but  now I’m also  a big   fan of  the Aveeno Ultra Calming Make-up Removing Wipes.  They  have  a  nice big wipe that does a beautiful job of  lifting  make-up that  leaves my skin feeling so comfortable.    If you are  too tired to wash your face before going to bed, keep a package of these wipe by your bedside.  Just  a few swipes as you fall into bed will  give your skin a clean, healthy night. 

The  Ultra Calming Foaming Cleanser is an elegant alternative to Cetaphil  and perfect   to use when you are using Retin A.  I tend to stop using Retin A in sunny weather, but in the fall,  this cleanser will have a spot on my sink.   The Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer  is  just brilliant in concept.  I get so many  questions about the best moisturizer to use  when dealing with acne, and now I finally have an answer.  What makes  this  moisturizer a rock star, is the addition of  salicylic acid and soy complex.  The former is a world  class acne fighter  while the later is  a super soother.  To bottom line it, you get  anti-inflammatory breakout protection even while there are moisturizing ingredients to keep the skin fresh and  soft.   I love  this type  of smart, simple  solution.

There are soooo many products out there that make inflated  promises and  just don’t work at all.  Its nice to be able to give a shout -out to those that deliver real  value.


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There’s  a new anti-aging  laser in town and its called Clear and Brilliant.  Its  from the same company that developed Thermage and Fraxel— and sometimes Clear and Brilliant is described as ‘babyFraxel”.  I’m already a big fan  of “baby botox” so  this laser  is right in my  comfort zone. In addition to smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles by stimulating collagen production, this new anti-aging tool reduces age spots and some types of acne scars.

Like its big sister Fraxel,  Clear and Brilliant  is an anti-aging laser that delivers  energy in a grid pattern.   However  true Fraxel goes deeper, can  be uncomfortable  and requires 3-5 days of healing.  By contrast this new rejuvenating laser   is  never painful and the skin  recovers within hours.     Since baby steps  might as well be my middle name, I was eager to try it out with my super derm, Dr Ellen Marmur. ( Before  proceedure pix  below)

BEFORE C&BTo keep me comfortable, she used a wooden  tongue depressor to apply a thick, 1/4 inch layer of  lidocaine numbing gel.   I remembered using this product for laser hair removal with another dermatologist.  That doctor told me to start applying it an hour before the appointment and reapply it  every 15 minutes until treatment .  I followed the instructions to the letter, delicately dabbing on little  blobs on my chin and upper lip. But the instant  the laser touched my skin it felt like I had been kicked by a horse.    When I saw the thick layer of numbing  goo used  this time, I realized  that I just didn’t apply enough.  Now I know.

After 30 minutes of numbing, Dr Ellen scraped off the lidocaine gel.  My face  felt quite numb.  Not as numb as a shot of novacaine, but definately numb.  As per my request, she  choose the AFTER C&B lowest intensity and started passing the laser tip over my face.  I could feel a slightly warm tingling sensation, but nothing even close to uncomfortable.   To show me the differrence, the doctor moved the laser to an area without numbing cream and it was still comfortable. She continued to move the laser tip over my face  for about   thirty minutes.  My skin felt warm, like a mild sunburn, but when I looked in the mirror I was surprised  to see my face was bright red and swollen.  ( Unflattering  pix  on the right)

When I went left the office, I noticed that the cold winter weather had definitely warmed up.  I took off my scarf and unbuttoned  my coat.  I walked  a few blocks  until I realized that it was  the heat that seemed to be radiating off my face that  was keeping me warm.    Dr Ellen promised that the redness would fade within 3-4  hours — and almost on cue it did.  By the time my husband came home, I was  just a little pink– like I had spent an hour or two in the sun.   The next NEXT DAYmorning,  my face    had a  healthy glow.  ( pix on the left in a red sweater)

A week later there was, as promised, a subtle radiance.  I think the best way to describe  the change was to compare it to the way the skin looks after a great facial.   But unlike a skin facial where the glow lasts   only about a day, Clear and BrilliantONE WEEK AFTER radiance last for months– and seems to  get  better over time. ( One week later pix on right)   This  “lunchtime” laser works by

   stimulating   collagen production and evening  out skin tones.   I was   excited to learn that  it can be especially helpful for the neck area.   This winter I have a big  anti-aging  plan for my neck   that starts with another date with Clear and Brilliant.

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DERMATOLOGY CONFERENCEEach year  in December, the three day Mount Sinai conference on new developments  in dermatology is the holiday gift that keeps on giving. The best of the best   share  what they’ve discovered and how they care for  a wide range of skin, nail and hair problems.  This year the presentations were truely amazing and I got answers to long asked questions including:

* How long do  you need to stick to an acne regimen to determine if its working?  Hint: its shorter than you might think.

* How can I moisturize  the skin without clogging pores?

* Can women of color use lasers?

Founded by Dr Albert Lefkovits, this program attracts worldwide  experts both to speak and to  learn.   What I find is especially helpful is that  most of the speakers focus on  real time practice   and not  just on  lab or bench research.  While its certainly  encouraging that a new formula can help a guinea pig, I  want to know how it will work for me.  And at this conference, there were very few guinea pigs.

In the following weeks I will  be covering   important developments from the conference that include:

* A dummies guide to anti-aging lasers-  which ones are painless,  who  should use them and what results can you expect

* The critical path  for rejuvenation– the order of anti-aging treatments. 

* The link between a tiny insect and rosacea– and what it means  for treatment

* The gold standard for successful acne care

*  How  medications used for arthritis  can get  eczema under control

*  Photodynamic therapy that  deals with   both aging and acne

* Cellulite treatments that can deliver real results

Its  sad but true that we are judged on our appearance. That’s the bad  news.  The good news?   The significant  skin care developments covered at the New York conference certainly level the playing field.

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ChristmasWhen I lived in New Haven, the obesity research unit at Yale had a very simple diet for its in-patient program– boiled turkey and raw vegetables.   I tried it at  home to pare off post-baby weight and in  less than a week  I dropped more than 5 pounds.  Despite  the great results  I could not stay on it for long. It was the kind of diet that I think needs to be followed in a contolled, supervised setting.  But  I always wondered if there was something inherent in turkey that made it especially effective in weight control. 

Flash forward to  Thanksgiving this year and as I  prepped by the turkey for  dinner I wondered about turkeys nutritional profile.   Protein?  calories?  and how did it compare to chicken?  Was it healthier?  More fattening?  No difference?  A little research told me that the Yale  researchers had picked the right bird.

Turkey Nutritionl Profile

One serving of skinless   white meat  turkey has  116 calories, 14 grams of protein and just  ONE gram of fat.  For comparison, chicken breast clocks in at 165 calories, 26 grams of  protein and FIVE grams of  fat.  THe same size portion of of ground beef wrighs in a 230 calories and SIX grams of fat.  Lamb chops have 252 calories and almost 8 grams of fat.  Clearly  the low fat/low calorie package makes turkey  an anti-aging best bet.

But the low fat  profile almost  can  make turkey dry and stringy.  For that reason its sad but  true that too many  recipes for a holiday turkey add a stick of butter for basting– and another stick for the stuffing.  Over the years I’ve tried to find a healthy turkey recipe that would be succulent without adding butter.  I’ve served my share of turkeys that crumbled rather than sliced until I found a fat-free technique that delivered a perfect bird every time.

Bourbon Glazed Turkey

Ingredients:  10-12 pound turkey, 1/2 cup sugar-free maple syrup, 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce, 1 cup bourbon, 2 large onions cut into wedges, 3 large carrots cut in one inch chunks, 1 stalk celery cut into one inch chunks,  2 teaspoons dried rosemary,  a few sprigs parsley,  1 can low sodium chicken broth

Directions: Preheat oven to 350F.   Wash and dry the turkey and  place one onion, one carrot, all the celery, rosemary and parsley into the turkey cavity.  Toss the  rest of carrots and onions in the roasting pan and  place turkey on top of vegetables.   Combine the soy sauce and maple syrup  and spread the mixture  all over the turkey.   Pour the bourbon  and chicken broth into the bottom of the roasting pan  and cover tightly with tine foil.  Cook for 2- 2 1/2 hours without peeking.  Remove the tinfoil  and crank up the heat to  450 and roast another hour.   Use a meat thermometer to check that the bird is throughly cooked.  It should read 170 F in both  the thigh and in the stuffing.

Cooking under the tinfoil and bourbon  /chicken broth  allows the bird to gain rather than lose moisture.  Its the same principle that Yale researchers used when they boiled the turkey, but tastes much better– without added fat and calories.

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While I cover many anti-aging tools, I get so  many questions about Retin A,  I decided to do  a post  covering  the Five Top Questions.  This actually increased the number of questions  that I posted a free, four page  PDF  guide to Retin A.    Retin A Road Rules covers  the basic issues such as  how it works and  who should use it.  The  guide continues with  a step by step program  for  incororating  Retin A into a daily skin care.  For example  to avoid  irritation and flaking you need to wait at least 20 minutes between the time you wash your face and when you apply Retin A before bedtime.  Road Rules also includes a complete  review of the six different types of Retin A , including the pros and cons of each and  how to choose the right one for your type of skin.

Right now you can download the free guide by liking my Facebook Page.  At the start of 2013, I will replace  Retin A Road Rules with  The No-Nonsense Guide to Dark Spots and Splotches.  It  will  look at the causes of different types of hyperpigmentation, and explain  how to even  out skin tone.  The free four page PDF will explore different options including  lasers, IPL, hydroquinone,  Kojic Acid and licorice root.  And it will look at which popular  skin lighteners are  a waste of money  as well as those that can cause more discoloration and scarring.  

Questions  about hyperpigmentation are second only to interest in Retin A.  When I started my anti-aging  journey my first step was a date with a laser to remove larger age spots and freckles.  I’ve used IPL to erase small freckles and   Triluma to lighten under eye circles.  Next week I will be trying out a new type of low level  laser called Clear and Brilliant.  This  device   can be used on the body and is wonderful for dealing with hypigmentation  and sun damage on the chest.  It was featured on Dr Oz, but the show did not reveal before and after results.  I’ll be posting  photos of the entire process — the  good, the bad and hopefully the beautiful.

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I’m so excited to  publish  the very first guest post on No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.  If you are already a fan of Diva Debbi, you know  her flawless style  and always  helpful advice.  If   this  will be your introduction to Diva Debbi, you’re in  for a real treat.

Like me, Diva Debbi tries out  different anti-aging tools and reports on their results.   I have been curious, but a little nervous, about Ultherapy, an FDA approved  ultrasound device that  tightens collagen.  When I learned that DD had tried it out, I  was thrilled when she agreed to repost her experiences on No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.  DD  had Ultherapy on her  eye area and  on her neck.  There are very few non-surgical options for the neck and it was wonderful to add a new option for  neck lines and wrinkles.  In her comprehensive article,  she  offers before and after pics and answers the four key questions:

* How it works

*Does it hurt?

* What changes can you expect?

* How much does it cost?

After reading her post, I’d love to hear  you reactions.  Do you think this is something that you would want to try?

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Over the past few weeks, I’ve  posted my lists for recommended affordable  anti-aging products covering cleansers,  treatments, exfoliators, moisturizers and sun protection.   Now comes the fun  part- how to use them.

The Theory Behind the Practice

When you strip away all the inflated promises and pseudo science, great skin care  has four key goals:

* take off the top layer of dry dead skin cells

* stimulate growth of collagen

* help the skin  maintain a healthy water balance

* protect against UV rays


In the morning you want to clean the face gently and protect it from the sun.

* On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday use your basic mild soap or cleanser.  Wet the face first and work  up a lather on  your skn.  Rinse off with lukewarm water.  Too hot or too cold and you can  damage blood vesses that will lead to redness.

* On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday  clean your mornig face with the exfoliator of your choice.

* Everyday  apply a  sunscreen that has  at least a 30 SPF

Bed time:

At night you want to clean off the days oil and grime and prepare the skin for a  night of treatment.

On Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday  use mild exfoliation ( eg Clarisonic) to clean the skin.   Dry the skin, wait 10 minutes and apply lotion with glycolic acid.  On Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday use basic cleanser and blot dry.   Dab on homemade vitamin C serum.  If the skin feels  tight apply  a recommended moisturizer.

These types of products and this alternating routinue will deliver  a world class  anti-aging skin care routinue at  rock bottom prices.   I estimate that  this  plan will be about $300/year or about a dollar a day.  I save so much  on using effective but affordable products that I can  budget in  a yearly IPL or some Botox  to enhance the benefits of a good daily skin care.  I’d love to hear  about   your favorite drugstore  products.  Most of my favorites  have  come to  me through recommendations of friends.

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