Posts Tagged ‘Ellen Marmur’

Fashion Flash logoThis week Jackie of Aging Backwards is hosting Fashion Flash.  Jackie is one of the best beauty journalists I have ever met.  We can go to the same conference and she will find great  new products and  experts, that never  made  it on my radar.  In fact Jackie introduced  me to two of  my new favorite skin care products– Brush on Sunblock and microfiber  cleansing cloths.  She  also spots trends  months before the rest of us and if you want to read it first, be sure to check out Aging Backwards.

Free Make-up Master Class

Last week I went to a work-shop by master make-up artist Francisco Valera, hosted by Marmur Medical in New York City.  You’ve seen his work in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, W, Marie Claire and Elle and his clients include  Christy Turlington, Kate Moss,Giselle and Sandra Bullock. 

Francisco ( just first name, like Cher or Madonna) used techniques  that I’ve never seen before.  He started by applying a dab of Eight Hour Cream from Elizabeth Arden to the lips.  Fransisco and modelAlthough he  does the lips last, he wanted  to give  the cream time to hydrate the often  dry skin on the lips.   I was fascinated as he used three different shades of the same  cream foundation to cover redness, add light and create definition.

For a daytime  look, he brushed  champagne beige eye shadow on the lids.  Then he mixed the same eight hour cream with a cherry red Chanel lipstick to  produce a translucent yet intense lip color.  To switch to  a party look, Francicso created a delicate smoky eye and “took down”  lip color to a softer neutral beige.  Watching Francisco work, I could see why Christy, Kate and Sandra look so good.

Marmur Medical will be holding a second make-up master class on May 9 2013.  From 5:30-7:00, Francisco  will share the secrets of supermodel beauty and you will go home  with both great knowledge and a great goody bag. To reserve a  seat,  RSVP to Marie.Lum@marmurmedical.com. I’ll be going back  for another session and I hope to see you there.

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UNTREATED ACNE SCARI had managed to get through my adolescent acne without a single  scar.  This  summer my skin decided to act like  an out of control teenager.  By the time it was brought under control, I was left with my very first  acne scar.  Stuck in the lower half of my left cheek, I   hoped that  I could pass it off as a brand new dimple.   But pictures don’t lie  and it was clear that the indentation was it exactly what it looked like — an acne scar. 

Four Types of Acne Scars

Scars develop from acne eruption  when the skin hurriedly tries to repair itself after a pimple  has demolished  existing collagen.  The fast track  repaired collagen  is not up to code and the result is not ideal.   All acne scars are not created equally and there are actually four different kinds:

1. Saucer Shaped Scars— these are depressions in the skin where the collagen repair  has not provided enough tissue to fill in what was destroyed.  This  is what is going on in my sca.r

2. Icepick Scars— Looking like a giant pore,   they are called ice pick scars because they look like they have been made by a thin sharp instrument.   ( Remember Basic Instinct?  That kind of ice pick).   These scars occur because the follicle and oil gland  have  been totally trashed leaving an empty space where the structures had been.

3.  Hypertrophic Scars— Raised, bumpy  often red scars  are  accumulations of badly made collagen from  overlapping cysts.  The body  was so eagar to repair the skin  it worked   too hard and too fast. 

4. Papular Scars—  these white raised  bumps are  especially resistant treatment.

Treating Acne Scars

Each type of acne scar needs its own treatment protocol.  Retin A, sunscreens and lightening creams, can relieve the hyperpigmentation or darkening of the skin   that can accompany scarring.   But the visable signs of collagen disruption need to experience the power of  different types of lasers.

For my “dimple” Dr Marmur zapped the area with Clear and Brilliant laser to lighten the scarACNE SCAR AFTER LASER and  encourage growth of new collagen.  Two weeks later my saucer scar is more  like  my natural skin tone   and  the indention is less deep.   We’re going to try another Clear and Brilliant treatment to encourage a bit more more natural collagen.   Saucer shaped scars can also be leveled off with fillers like Juvaderrm  or Radiesse.  These are generally not permanent solutions but over time, these injectables can also stimulate the growth of  healthy organized collagen.

I am  personally delighted that I do not have any more  acne scars to  repair, but I will be showing  before and after  posts from other women  that illustrate  treatments of the three other  types of scars.  Perfection may not be possible, but  new treatments, especially combination of treatments, can  make a huge difference.

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This week  Kari of Fab Over 40 is the host of Fashion Flash and   she has an info packed post on  the European Waxing Centers.  One has opened in my hood, but  past scary waxing experiences has  made me  keep my distance.  Her explanation of   their waxing  techniques convinced me to make an appointment.  Beach season is right around the corner  and   hair removal is no longer an option.  Kari also  introduced me to an exquisite new  line of products   called  Naked Princess that  are perfect for Mother’s Day. Beautifully designed and packaged  they are designed  to celebrate being a women.  Nice.

And I am so proud of two  Fashion Flash  friends– Jojami Tyler of Fab After 40 is featured in a full page  ad in More magazine.  She is an Aveeno Brand Ambassador for their new Active Naturals campaign to award eight, $10,000  grants to  people in the community who are making a beautiful difference in the lives of their friends and neighbors.  For  more information on this program,  visit  Aveeno on Facebook.

And  before you  spend a day in the sun, be sure to  pick up the May issue of Redbook and read about Dr Ellen Marmur’s  own experience  with skin cancer.  She shares her before and after pix of skin cancer surgery and it is a vivid reminder to wear sunscreen each and every day.   Dr Marmur is not only a dermatologist, she is vice chair of cosmetic and dermatologic surgery  at Mount Sinai Medical Center where she is THE expert on skin cancer surgery.  Her story has a happy ending and  her scar is now virtually invisible. But her message is clear and strong– WEAR SUNSCREEN every day throughout the year.   Dr Marmur and her whole family  also wears  hats and sun protective clothing   to  lower  skin skin cancer risk.  Reading her story,  I think  you will be inspired to   crank up your  sun protection strategies.

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April 22 is Earth Day  which is a yearly reminder that this is the only world we have and need to take care of it.  Online or IRL there is a heavy buzz for green or environmentally concious products.  There is no shortage of opinions about the definition of “green” but the one that works for  me is simple– it should be as beneficial  for the planet as it is for you.

There are green options for practically every  product we use daily.  Recently I was sent  a new brand of skin skin products called Previse.  I usually don’t try out product lines but Dr Marmur ( my Dr Marmur,  is the medical advisor),  so I was in–  and its everything a green treatment line should be.

The green creds start with the packaging.  The bottles were protected with cornstarch peanuts  that decompose in water. ( By contrast, the half-life of the traditional styrofoam packaging material is more than 50 years.)  The tissue paper and the box were made from recycled materials and themselves recyclable. Even the  little sticker which closes the package is made from sustainable grasses and fibers.

Inside the box was a three step set of products  All  were free of phalates, parabens, harsh detergents,  petroleum by-products and pore- clogging silicones.   In short,  it excludes everything you really want to avoid. In thir place  are  botanicals like emolliant sunflower seed oil, anti-inflammatory green tea and water- holding honey.   Formulated with natural antioxidants they felt light and soothing  on my skin.

I usually avoid    fragrance in skin care, so I was very surprised how much I liked the super light  scent of Previse products.  Turns out that  they  are formulated  with aromatherapy principles using naturals like lavendar and YlangYlang to reduce anxietry and high blood pressure.  If you want to “green”  your beauty routinue Previse will show you how its done.

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For the past  month, I noticed that my thumb would get little red spots  that itched so much it woke  me up at night.  As a  health writer I began to wonder if this was the start of a bigger problem like psoriasis, eczema or ( horrors)   even bedbugs.  When I showed  my spotty thumb to Dr Marmur, she smiled and nodded her head.  Her diagnosis?  My skin was so dry it was ready to crack open.   It was a reminder that  what we see as beauty  problems are actually  physical and chemical changes in the body that are causing unwanted consequences.  And the solutions  have to be based on  science, not the latest fad ingrdient or celebrity interview.

What Causes Dry Skin?

For  many years  experts  felt that dry skin was due to lack of  oil and recommended rich creams and lotions to relieve the problem.  Later doctors recognized that it was the loss of water that  produced rough flaking skin– and that the creams acted like a shield  to prevent evaporation of water from the skin.  More  recent  research  has drilled deeper into the issues and determined that chemicals in the skin play different roles  in keeping skin hydrated.  For example hyaluronic acid  is a naturally occuring molecule that  can hold 100x its weight in water.  Ceramides are equally important as they act like glue to keep the cells together and  not flaking off.   It will probably come as no big surprise to learn that as we get older  the levels of hyaluronic acid and ceramides drop sharply.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  Skin care products  now can resupply these ingredients in their formulations.

 Circumstances outside the skin can also  be a bad actor in dry skin  problems.  Windy, cold, dry weather  rob  skin of  its natural moisture.  My long hot  showers actually  made my skin drier.  My Mom  has also been in and out of the hospital and I have been using up bottles of alcohol based hand sanitizer.  The skin on my face and  neck had been exposed to the same external issues, but I had been using  mild cleansers and well formulated moisturizers as party of  my regular  skin care routinue.  My thumb was on its own.

I had been putting a mild steroid cream on  my thumb  spots and covering it with a bandaid.  I was so wrong on so many levels.   The innocent looking bandaid was actually creating a soggy environment that  was  making  matters worse.  Dr Marmur prescribed both a stronger steroid and    super emollient  creams and soaps as well as  a ban on hot showers.  It turns  out that once your skin gets this dry its  hard to treat and will take a  month  to get back  to its own normal.

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Last week I woke up  with bright red splotches on my cheeks and leathery dry patches under my eyes.   I tried using my usual mixture of  a daily  moisturizer mixed with a dab of anti-inflammatory steroid.  No change.  Thinking it was some kind of allergic reaction I mixed some oatmeal in cool water and dabbed the mixture on  my face.   This usually soothes anything, but this time  my skin seemed  to get worse.

I was on my way to call Dr Marmur when I glanced at the hygrometer ( it measures  humidity)  on my dresser and solved the mystery of my mutant skin.  The humidity in my apatment was a surprising 28%.  The unseasonable snow storm  that whipped through the tri-state area had brought cold windy weather that lowered natural humidity.  For healthy skin and airways, indoor humidity should be between 40-50%.  Too high and it  can encourage the growth of mold and dust mites.   Too high will lead to dry skin and respiratory symptoms like reddend dry skin,  sore throat and nose bleeds.

My simple, non-greasy moisturizers were   just  not getting the job done.  My skin was  raw and dry because of low  humidity in the air.  I stopped using all retinoids, vitamin C, exfoliating brushes and brought out the big guns– a jar of shea butter.  After I washed my face at bedtime with Cetaphil and while still damp, I applied a thick layer of shea butter.  I kept it on for 30 minutes, then rinsed  it off. Next morning my skin had returned to normal.  I’m using this  30 minute intensive  ( developed by Dr Marmur) for a few  days  to  make sure  my skin stays hydrated.

The weather soon warmed  up, but real winter is just weeks away.  I’m going to keep my shea butter nearby, ready for the next blizzard of the century.

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