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Posts Tagged ‘IPL’

older and younger womenWhen I started  No-Nonsense Beauty Blog I expected  that most of the people who would be  would  be like me and over 40– way over 40.  I was  pretty surprised  when site analytics  showed that over 30%  of  No-Nonsense visitors were in their 20’s and 50% were under 40.  In fact   the majority of comments and questions  were sent in from smart resourceful  thirtysomething women. Its human  nature to  avoid issues  until they on top of us, but these bright young women are asking all the right questions  years before they  actually have to face them in the mirror. 

Different Answers for Different  Aging

Like everything else  in the body, skin changes naturally over time and its not surprising that anti-aging skin care differs over time.  Under  age 30 our skin is rich in estrogen and natural hydration.  The challenge is not to mess it up.   To prevent aging, women often use overly rich cleansers and night creams which  can provoke the reappearance  of teenage style acne.   Called acne cosmetica, its the trigger in over half of   adult acne problems.  Not only  are breakouts   just not necessary, acne scars  tend to become lines and wrinkles as  we get older.

Rather than drowning still  youthful skin in   heavy anti-aging products ,  good skin care starts with gentle  but through cleansing,  and regular exfolitation with microdermabrasion brush.  At night  use an oil free   glycolic acid or lactic acid lotion.  These ingredients  are like a baby step Retin A.  They shed dead dry skin, hydrate the surface and encourage  collagen and elastin growth. 

Its during the day that  thirtysomethings can take major  steps  to prevent aging. Up to age 60,  between 80-90% of skin aging is due to UV damage– but  using  effective sun protection  will short circuit environmental aging. 

After age 40, the good times and bad leave their mark on your  face. Sun filled vacation days  reappear years later as dark patches, red spots  and crows feet around the eyes. Work and family stress show-up as deepening  lines on  the  forehead  and along the sides of the mouth and chin. That’s the bad news.  The good news?  All of the signs of living can be reversed. But before buying a buffet of creams and serums with  a boatload of anti-aging claims, think about what you skin actually needs.    Before you  swipe your credit card at a store  or make an appointment at a doctor, identify what your skin issues.  Brown spots  and splotches?   IPL, Clear and Brilliant  and Fraxel lasers are different ytpes of lasers that quickly zap discolorations.  Lines around the eyes?  Botox will erase them in moments. Dull pale skin color and fine lines? Retin A will deal with both by reving up  circulation and  boosting   healthy collagen.  And when you’ve done with all the heavy lifting repairs, be sure to protect your investment  with a 30-50SPF sunscreen  to prevent new  UV damage.

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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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This week Staness of Menopause Makeover is hosting Fashion Flash– and you don’t have to be  menopausal to love this site.  Packed with health and fitness info, Menopause Makeover  offers important advice and support for a wide range of medical and emotional issues.  For example,  Staness looks at heart disease risks, breast cancer  care and weight control changes  as we pass birthdays.  Her easy to do and delicious recipes make  staying healthy a lot more fun. 

 The December issue   of  New Beauty magazine has two comprehensive articles that make it a keeper.  I was thrilled  to see that my orthodentist Dr Jacquie was one of the featured experts for their comprehensive piece on new ways to get a beautiful smile.  Using celebrity smiles for examples, the eight page article  explores  tooth  whiteners orthodentic options and even gum surgery.  Dr Jacquie pointed out that Angelin Jolie often uses a red lipstick with blue undertones which tends to make  your teeth look whiter.  She also explains how laser surgery of the gums reveals more teeth to reduce a “gummy” smile.   The New Beauty article  includes recommendations for   several new  ( and affordable ) products including   Optic White from Colgate, a multi tasking toothpast that  reduces  bacterria   as it whitens teeth.  Another intriguing  product is  the Beam Toothbrush, sensor linked toothbrush that captures brushing habits  that can be downloaded into an app.   I was also intrigued by the  the pros and cons of braces that go behind the teeth and the new ten week express Invisalign program. 

New Beauty articles focus on a single topic and  always drill down for  comprehensive  information  on the   causes and treatment of a problem.  Also in the December issue  a terriffic  article on acne scars that  provides photos of different types of scars and  explains the best treatment options.  For example, for  so-called ice pick scars respond well to laser resurfacing while shallow saucer shaped scras can be reduced with Co2 lasers or chemical peels.   Discolored areas  that remain after a  big breakout  often respond well to Retin A or IPL. If you ever  get breakouts, run, don’t walk  to get this issue of New Beauty.  FYI  New Beauty provides  an excellent online video on the causes  and treatment of different types of acne.

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Question:  I have heard so  many horror stories about IPL, but you had great results.  Can you tell me what machine was used and at what settings?

Answer:  I had IPL with Dr Ellen Marmur of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, so I  asked  her to answer this question.  Dr Marmur used the Luminis IPL with two handpieces– the 560nm and the 590nm.   “Both  of them focus on red spots, blood vessels and brown freckles”  she explained.  “The treatment settings vary from patient to patient based on skin color and the amount of the target to be removed.  For example, I use  lower settings for freckles to avoid over-heating the skin.’    Dr Marmur also warned against getting IPL when tanned ”   You need to avoid the sun for at least wo weeks prior to IPL treament ” she warned.

IPL Road Rules

IPL or Intense Pulsed Light is a form of light that is related to laser technology, but  far less invasive.  It operates in the top layers of the skin and can remove unwanted hair, small red lines and spots as well as freckles,brown spots,  and dark patches.    It is practically painless, and leaves the skin a bit red rather than burned and oozy like true lasers.

But there are reports of problems with IPL.  Because the light focuses on pigments in melanin,  women  with darker complexions are most at risk of developing irregular pigmentation.  Even  dark olive complexions  should  proceed cautiously with IPL. 

Choosing  the right setting, device and timing of applications is a learned skill.  I met Dr Marmur though a smart, well-connected  friend  and I have found this type of one to one reccomendation is a great  way to getting  someone  you can trust.  I would also check out  a doctors credentials  to be certain that they have the training they need  to  give you healthy,  beautiful results. For more info on IPL you can also check out an earlier post IPL- Five Top Questions.

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I  had already tried the low and medium settings of the Palovia home laser and barely felt  them on my skin– and  now was ready  to go to the max and try the highest setting. However, these settings while painless had left raised, red splotches which were still around up to eight hours later.  The skin also felt a bit tender as if  it had been sunburned. 

A friend  who knew  her way around lasers thought she knew the source of the problem.  I wasn’t using enough of the gel.  The instructions  said the enclosed bottle of gel was enough for 60 treatments.  It was not that  big a bottle, so I just used  a light topping of gel before zapping my arm with the laser.  I remembered that when I had IPL or lasers with a physician,  they really did slather it on.

I decided to increase amount of gel, but keep the setting at medium.  I pumped the  bottle about six times and applied a pretty thick coating– not as thick as in an office based procedure, but certainly more than I had been using. Treating the same area  on my arm, I applied the laser and pressed the on button.  It worked once, then a notice came up on the little treatment screen  saying ‘Interrupted”. Hmm?  I shook the device and checked the battery, but it was almost full.  I continued with the treatment and almost half the time, the session  was stopped  with an interrupted sign.  Hmm? 

I stopped to check the instruction booklet again. Apparently this sign comes on  when the device it on, but not in contact with the skin.  I began to wonder if  I had  put  on too much gel and it was blocking access to the device.

The results on my skin was also interesting.  I got some red patches, but they were pretty flat and went away within an hour.  In addition, my skin did not feel sunburned.  So I think that the extra gel was definately a step in the right direction, but now the question was how  much should I really be using.  I’ll try again tomorrow.

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Question: I just found out that my old crush is coming to the holiday office party this week. I want to look  amazing.  Would you suggest  IPL or Botox?

Answer:  Both  procedures are very effective, but I would be concerned about doing them right before an important event, especially if its the first time you’ve had them.  Although its called the “lunchtime laser”, IPL can leave red splotches and scabs  that will take a few days to heal.  Botox injections can  hit  a little blood vessels and produce  pretty big bruises.   Rather than doing a full court  press on your face,  If you need to look amazing immediately I would start with  a home microdermabrasion kit  from Clarisonic, DDF, or Neutrogena.  They will polish and refresh your skin and make an incredible difference, especially  if  its not something  you do everyday.    Then  make certain that  you hair is freshly colored, cut and blown  out professionally for the  night of the party. And  I trick I learned  in college,  stop by a cosmetics counter and get a professional makeup.  There’s no charge, but I always  buy a lipstick or shadow since  most stylists work on commission.

If you really want to own the room, make sure  your outfit is new and reflects  current  style trends.  For really great holiday fashion tips check out  Fabulous After 40.

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