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Posts Tagged ‘skin rejuvenation’

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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Q&A2Question:  My Mom  reads your blog and  has been talking about getting Botox  or the “lunchtime laser.”  I want to get  her a treatment for Christmas but don’t know which one to choose.  I can afford  only one  and I want  her to see the biggest results.

Answer:  What a great question and you’re a great daughter! Both  Botox and  Intense Pulsed Light  laser  ( also known as the lunchtime laser) will make a major  difference in her appearance.  The choice depends on the condition of her skin.  If she has spent many  happy hours in the sun, its likely that she has lots of freckles and dark patches.  An Intense Pulsed Light treatment  will literally vaporize this aging pigmentation and leave her skin younger and refreshed.  The results are permanent but brown spots will return if she goes out without sun protection.  If she was not a beach bunny and  her skin  has   lines along the cheeks, forehead and  and around the eyes, Botox will erase them– for about 3-4 months.   Because lasers leave the skin extra sensitive for a few days,  you can also give her a stocking  filled with a gentle cleanser ( eg Cetaphil), sunscreen ( Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin)  and soothing water spray ( eg Dermalogica UltraCalming Spray).

The Right Tool  at the Right Time

Which anti-aging tool to use  and when to use it  was the fundamental question   behind the No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.   Initially, I planned to start with  Retin A  to reve up the circulation and skin growth, add Botox to reduce lines and polish things up by removing  large freckles and age spots with a laser.  But  as it turned out,  lasers work best on darkest spots, so I started the anti-aging journey  by removing them with a   traditional laser and then continuing with  my  plan. 

But in the past  few years since I started, there have been so  many new options  that  my new plan has become  an exploration  of new forms of Retin A, new lasers and new machines that  deal  both singly and in combination with a slew of aging issues.  At a recent dermatology  conference at Mount Sinai, the experts  came up with an effective anti-aging game plan  that started with   gentle lasers like Intense Pulsed Light  to brighten and Botox to smooth the skin.

I’d love to hear which treatment you chose.  Happy holidays!

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When I first heard about LED lights I thought it sounded like a plot line from the Sci-Fi Chanel.  Turns out that red and blue LED (Light Emiting Diode) lights can actually produce physicial changes in the skin. Studies have shown that the wavelengths of red  LED lights apparently activate fibroblasts in the skin,  This is  very good news because fibroblasts  stimulate the growth of collagen and elastin which are essential for smooth firm skin.

Anti-aging LED treatments are offered in spas and doctors offices and need to be used  in a series of appointments.  This can run into quite a bit of money, so I was delighted when the FDA approved  a handheld home LED device.   This week I went to the International Beauty Show and stopped at the LightStim  booth  which was offering a 50% off show special on their well known  LED devices.  I was in.

The LightStim red/amber LED anti-aging device promises to produce  real results in 6-8 weeks.  It needs to be used  3 minutes a day in each area  at least 5X a week.  It can  reduce  fine lines and wrinkles including crow’s feet around the eyes smiles lines  that run from the nose to the chin  and worry lines on the forehead.

During the 6-8 week treatment period, the skin should be washed with a mild cleanser.  At  night, a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid is recommended.  During the day the skin should be protected with zinc or titanium oxide sunscreen.   To prevent irritation, I will need to avoid  using Retin A, vitamin C  serums, and any retinol products.  However I can continue to use  my beloved Clarisonic and in fact the ultrasonic cleanser  is reported to  work beautifully with the red LightStim LED.

Its a big  leap of faith  for me to give up  my tried and true Retin A for another anti-aging tool-  even for a few weeks.  But before I can start, I need to do a test for light sensitivity.  Following  package directions I will position the device at my forearm  close enought to feel the warmth, but not  touching the skin.  If the skin turns red and and redness lasts more than 2 hours I’m light sensitive– and I  can return the device for a refund.  If problems don’t develop, then I’m good to go.

The before and after  photos of LightStim  are impressive.  If you have tried red  anti-aging LED  lights I would love to hear about  your experience.  Did it help?  Were you light sensitive?

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Darkened areas  on the cheeks, dark circles under the eyes, age spots, and  hyperpigmentation  are all basically  the same problem– excess melanin production in the skin.  It  can happen at any age, but as  we grow older  it becomes more of a problem.  While we often focus on lines and wrinkles as signs of aging, clearing  brown spots and splotches  can erase years from your skin. 

While there seems to be a boatload of options, there are basically two different approaches:

1.  Products that inhibit the skin cells from producting melanin.

2.  Procedures that actually remove darkened skin.

One of the  most powerful tools against hyperpigmentation  has been hydroquinone, but  many doctors use it cautiously.   There were reports of increased pigmentation and  allergic reactions  with hydroquinone and  but according to Dr Wendy Roberts  these problems were often due to contamination of hydroquinone products. Doctors found that it was the addtion of mercury to the hydroquinone in unregulated products from Asia and Mexico that was causing the problems.  Mercury is banned in the United States and is never part of skin lightening products made in the US. 

If you still feel uncomfortable about hydroquinone,   there is a  buffet  of new ingredients including azaleic acid, licorice and vitamin C  that have been demonstarted  some ability to remove pigmentation, but not as effectively as  hydroquinone.  However when the two or even three  are combined they can work better than when  used separately and  with  lower risk of side effects.

Lasers of different sorts  have been used to treat hyperpigmentation and  one of the best new  is intermitment  pulsed light or IPL.  This type of light literally explodes freckles and without affecting  normal  skin color.  Dr  Marmur treated my BFF Judith with IPL and the before and after pix  are impressive.

Often the best treatment plan is a combination of therapies.  A camera shy friend,  used IPL to remove post pregnancy  dark  patches near  her hairline and  made sure they stayed away with  a vitamin C  serum at night  to discourage melanin production.  I used a YAG lser  for my bigger lumpy sun spots,  nightly treatment with Retin A to gradually fade small freckles and IPL to even off  skin  color.   You can seem my results in the photo album on my facebook pages.  Just  click the Facebook button.

Curent wisdom seems to be that  there is no one single silver  bullet for unwanted pigmentation.  Best results usually  occur  when  different  products and tools are used in combintion.  And remember, whatever  you do, you must be diligent  using sunscreen every day.  Even a single sunny day can provoke their return.  I know this the hard way.

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It sounds  like a plot of a new Steven Spielberg movie, but its real.  Turns out that our fat is loaded with stem cells  and  that when injected into the face, stem cells actually encourage regrowth  for  healthy fuller contours.  I learned about this and other anti-aging techniques that are  just on the horizon  at a press event hosted by  cosmetic surgery expert Wendy Lewis.  One of the smartest women I’ve ever met,  she assembled a blue ribbon panel  of dermatologists and  surgeons to explain these new wrinkle busters at Waldorf Astoria press conference. 

Park Avenue plastic surgeon Dr Z. Paul Lorenc explored new fillers that  actually stimulated the growth of new healthy collagen.  So when the filler is gradually absorbed, the skin stays smooth and young because of  strong fresh skin cell growth that restores youthful contours.  Dr David Golderg, director of Laser Research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine discussed the role of lasers in cellulite control.  He explained that the lasers don’t destroy the cellulite, but rather tighten the skin, making the cellulite far less obvious– eg less jiggle; Dr Sidney Coleman who is associated with NYU-Langone School of Medicine focused on the benefits of fat grafts to aging, sun-damaged and scarred skin.  Not only do the  grafts restore normal skin  appearance, the benefits become better with time.  Research  indicates that the stem cells in the fat injection are stimulating the regrowth of  healthy tissue.  I was especially impressed by the use of fat grafts to cover up dark undereye circles. Dr Coleman has a grant  from the Department of Defense and he is  using these techniques to repair wounds that soldiers suffered  in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Its amazing to see  once flattened and distorted faces returned to normal.  And  just a side note-  cosmetic surgery techniques that we use today  to turn back time, were originally developed  after World War I  as doctors struggled to repair disfiguring wounds.

But keep in mind that NONE of these new anti-aging developments are legally approved in the US and are still waiting for FDA approval.  ( They are found in other parts of the world and that’s a topic  for another post)  And be aware that non-MD’s are pouring into the field offering   all sorts of anti-aging injections and a wide variety of unapproved techniques.   To avoid dreadful complications ( there were some pretty awful photos at the conference)  make certain you  get treated by a certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon.

And speaking of treatments, today I am actually going to Dr Lorenc for his  super cleansing hydro-facial.  I will post  before and after pix  next  Wednesday.

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Since I started   my anti-aging journey I think that  the most frequent problem which my friends and  co-workers  shared with me  for was the freckles and sun damaged skin on their chest, AKA the  decollete.  Often their chests seemed permanently sunburned and a few had developed  skin cancers which needed to be surgically removed.  Polling my all-star team of dermatologists for a solution, I got a range of different answers.  Some suggested salicylic acid peels, while other suggested Fraxel laser, CO2 lasers  or skin lightening cream.  

Before I vounteered a friends’  chest freckles for science, I decided to try out some of these options  on a large brown spot on my chest.  First approach– a laser.  The series of photographs show  this bad boy freckle before and after treatment.  First photo show that  that its not  that  bad, but in a strapless dress or cami top,  it does look out of place. The second photo is the day after my freckle  met a laser.  The area  was red and aw  but the procedure was not uncomfortable and over quickly.    The  shiny stuff is Aquaphor for  healing.   I wore a bandaid over it for the first week to protect the area from infection and to protect my clothes from the  ointment.

The last photo is 10 days after the laser treatment .  I’ve still got some healing to do.  The brown spots that were removed on my neck and face  healed quicker than on the chest.   I wonder if chest discolorations are more resistant to treatment than those on other parts of the body.  This particular brown spot is in the medial line in center of the body and I know that this  area tends to produce scars  more easily.   I’m really glad that I’m testing out different methods on myself before I involved a friends’ freckles.  Have you ever treated your decollete?  I’d be really interested to hear what worked as well as what didn’t.

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Intense Pulsed  Light (IPL) is a type of photorejuvenation  that uses  a blast of light to remove freckles, unwanted hair and  little red lines on the skin.    Often called the “lunchtime laser”  it does not burn off the top layers of the skin like a tradtional laser and the skin looks beautiful and smooth within a week.    I had IPL  last year in June  with Dr Marmur and was so pleased with the results.  I thought  it made my skin look tighter and fresher and I posted before and after pics on the blog.  My BFF ( best friend with freckles) liked  the changes so much that  she went  for her own IPL date.  I think her results were even better.  Not only does she look 10 years  younger, her skin  has a new radiance.  She is so pleased with the results, that she  has now joined  me in my anti-aging journey.

First we developed a plan.   In the morning  she is using a strong sunscreen  to prevent  the return of freckles.  When she  was in school, BFF was a super athlete.  Her current passion is gardening and she is developing a new style of wall garden.  For either activity  she is often in direct sun, and needs  an uber sunscreen.   At night she is using Retin A to stimulate  circulation and new collagen. After a few months on Retin A, she will have Pelleve and will share the results on No-Nonsense Beauty Blog.  Have you tried out an anti-aging  tool or technique?  It would be wonderful if you could share your experience and before and after photos.  There are so many options out there its hard to know  which work and which are empty promises?  As Mulder would say to Scully–” The Truth is  out there”.

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