Posts Tagged ‘wrinkles’

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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QandA3Question: My chest does not match my face. It’s  discolored with brown, white  and red patches.  I’ve tried moisturizers with vitamin C, skin brighteners with Kojic acid and even broke down and bought  hydroquinone to lighten the skin.  Nothing worked.  Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: I have received  several very similar questions and I  finally  have a good answer.  The Woman’s Dermatology Society arranged for me to  interview  Dr Tina Alster,  the internationally  acknowledged expert in laser dermatology to discuss the best way to deal  with  a discolored  chest or decollete.    According  to Dr Alster, the technical term  for the problem is poiklioderma.  Caused by unprotected sun exposure, its a mash-up of  hyperpigmentation ( brown spots),  hypopigmentation ( white areas), swollen blood vessels ( reddened skin tones), and damaged collagen ( wrinkles).  The UV rays  can lead to this permanent bronzing.While a standard vacation  suntan usually fades by the time you have unpacked,  thus type of hyperpigmentation stays darkened throughout the year. 

If the discolorations are fairly  mild (  often seen under age 30), they may respond to  a series of  office based glycolic peels.  This is not the milder 10% peels that you can buy at the cosmetics counter.  These are the 50- 70% peels that are available in a doctor’s office.  They are adminstered by a  nurse and physician.  This  strong  glycolic  solution is  dabbed on the  chest and allowed to reamin for 5-10  minute. Then a neutralizer is applied to restore normal PH to the skin.

Lasers to the Rescue

   More  pronounced poiklioderma mottling responds beautifully  to a series of Fraxel or IPL laser treatments. Because  chest bronzing is made  up of four different problems, Dr Alster uses the Fraxel Dual in two different wavelengths to treat both white and dark patches as well  as encourage new collagen growth.  To  deal with the redness, Dr Alster may also use  pulsed dye laser or  IPL.     Fraxel will leave the skin bright red and a little sore for 48 hours.  Use a mild cleanser like Cetaphil and moisturizer  like CeraVe   to reduce discomfort and  peeling.   If the skin seems  super dry   you can dab on  a light  layer of Aquaphor.  If the sorenss persists for more than 2  days,   Alster may recommend a mild steroid cream to reduce inflammation.  Whatever therapy is used,  it must be accompanied by an iron bound committment to use a 50SPF sunscreen such as SkinCeuticals Physical Defense SPF50  for both the  chest  and neck.    Freckles and dark spots  have a powerful memory  and unprotected sun exposure will trigger their return.

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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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Question:  Why doesn’t Botox  work  for  me?  After an injection I see a difference  for a week or two, then I’m back to where I started.

Answer:  Such an appropriate question since  this year is the 10th anniversary of the FDA approval of Botox– the  trade name  for the neurotoxin that is arguably America’s favorite anti-aging tool.  When  properly injected, it relaxes the facial muscles including frown lines on the forehead and crow’s feet around the eyes.  Botox can also make changes to the face that makes  the eyes look wider and raise the eyebrows.

The key word here is “properly”.  The face has 40 different muscles- some move up and some  move downward.  The injector  has to know where to position the shots to get the desired impact.

According to Fifth Avenue cosmetic surgeon Dr Paula Moynahan, there are  several possibilities to  your lack of response. 

1.  The injector  is not hitting the right spots on the face.  Botox needs to be in the area of a specific muscle in order to relax a targeted  wrinkle or lift a sagging spot.

2. If you were been tempted by an offer of a discount Botox treatment, it may have been over diluted.  This could make the injection less effective with little  or short lived results.  The  Botox arrives as a hard film at the bottom of a bottle.  The physician adds liquid to the bottle to reconstitute the neurotoxin.  To save  money, an injector may add  extra  dilutant to make the dose go further.

3.  And then there are the people  who are genuinely resistant to Botox.  FYI Botox is actually a brand name and there  is a second FDA approved Botulism A  product called Dysport.  Dr Moynahan  suggests that people who are resistant to Botox  may have  different results with Dysport.

Keep in mind that as good as it is, Botox cannot reverse all the natural and environmental signs of aging.  It needs to be a part of an anti-aging  game plan that includes Retin A and IPL to clarify the skin’s surface, lasers to erase freckles and facial hair and Zoom tooth whitening trays.  And to preserve all these anti-aging  efforts, never  leave the house without a sunscreen.

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I so wish there was a  nutritional supplement  I could take that would make my skin smooth, soft and radiant.   But the links between beautiful  skin and nutrition are more complex than that.  The NHANES study looked at the relationship between health and diet and found that people whose diets were higher in vitamin C, fiber,  protein and linoleic acid  looked  younger and had fewer wrinkles.  But these benefits  were only there  when  the nutrients were from actual food– not where people took supplements.   I know first hand  how hard it is to find healthy food in a world dominated by burgers, tacos, pizza and take-out chinese food.  At lunchtime, I’ve walked for blocks with a rumbling tummy  trying to find a quick bite that wouldn’t shorten my lifespan.   A multi-vitamin supplement can cover  my dietary shortfalls  but won’t really give me the  juice  I need to slow aging.

That being said there are two nutrients which are  vital to good health but are almost impossible to get the amount we need  just from food alone:

Vitamin D-  Repeated studies have shown that low levels of vitamin D are linked  to a wide range of health problems including breast cancer, diabetes and high blood pressure.   For years the recommended daily allowance  (RDA)   has been 800  mg./day, about two servings of dairy products.   We can  create  our own vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, but  our use of sunscreens have actually lowered  vitamin D levels in most Americans.

  A few years ago physicians started  prescribing  vitamin D supplements at a scary 50,000 units/week.  Current recommendations are scaling  back this number to about 3000-6000 units per day.  My recent blood test showed pretty low vitamin D levels but  I hate  BIG pills so I’ve been taking a daily petite gel cap  with 2000 units.  In a few months the  test will be repeated and we’ll see  if these supplements are working.

Calcium– this is arguably  the most important mineral in the body– and we need alot of it. Calcium is essential for strong bones and  teeth. Current recommendations are 1000-12000mg/day for adults and its actually pretty hard to reach that number without  taking in some serously large portions of dairy products.  For example one ounce of cheese has 200 mg, 1/2 cup of  yogurt offers 190mg and 1/2 cup milk clocks in at just 100 mg of calcium.  Reaching  the RDA can be especially difficult for the millions of people who are lactose intolerant.

Calcium supplements usually supply about 1000 mg of  which 400 are actually absorbed.   If you do the math, two ounces of cheese, 1/2 cup milk and a calcium supplement  will get you where you want to go.  However  a single 1000 mg supplement is a pretty big pill to swallow.  Chewable antacids like Tums contain calcium carbonate, one of the most easily absorbed forms of calcium.  Afforadable and convenient,  popping a few Tums during the day  are an easy way to raise your calcium levels to healthy numbers.

Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium which is why they are often combined  in a single supplement.  I find these large  pills daunting  and  stick to  small  vitamin D gel caps and Tums to  meet my nutritional goals.

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This week the host of Fashion Flash is Jackie of Aging Backwards.  What I think makes Jackie unique  is that she looks at the whole self– body, mind and spirit.  Her mission  is to  share ways to have a long  happy life and she does it with  a passion that’s contagious.  Check out her recent posts to learn the stay slim secrets of supermodels  and the best ways to get the anti-aging benefits of fruits and vegetables.

To get the latest anti-aging news make a  date to attend the ” Face to Face” lecture at the 92nd Street Y on March 27 in NYC.  Dr Ellen Marmur, my anti-aging miracle worker, will be sharing her approach to skin care strategies for a radiant, youthful appearance.  From the best and affordable  skin care moisturizers and bleaching creams that you can buy  in drugstores to the latest  high tech  anti aging lasers, Dr Marmur will  give you tools to take  care of your skin safely and affordably.  And  I think the best part of the evening will be the opportunity to  ask her questions.  She has such a seamless  knowledge of anti aging tools and techniques that  her answers are always packed  with useful specific infomation.   For example, when  I wanted to use Retin A for six months and then laser-off  the big freckles, she explained that lasers  work best on darker spots and then I should use the laser first.  Retin A  lightens  irregular  pigments she explained, and the laser will be more effective  if used  when the spots are most prominent.  When my skin healed from the laser ( in about a week)  I could start using Retin A for maximum effect.   To see these results go to my Facebook Fan Page  and click on photos.  

I  will be there on March 27th  and  plan to ask  a question about the difference between serums and moisturizers– besides the price of course.  For more ticket info about the event  you can call  212-415-5500.  I hope to see you there!

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Every New Years Eve  my Mom and Dad would put out a tray of caviar and champagne.  In good years it was a little bowl of Beluga– and in  bad times  ( my Dad was a blacklisted writer) it was a bigger bowl of  red caviar from the supermarket. I have always  somehow believed that  this was  a healthy way to start the  New Year. 

This year, I decided to check it out.  On the plus side all types of caviar from the most expensive ( beluga, seruga and oserta)  to the little jars of red or black fish roe on supermarket shelves,   have about the same  nutritional  profile.  On the  plus side, one tablespoon of caviar has  a full days supply of vitamin B12. But every  animal protein– eggs, chesse, fish, meat and poultry is loaded with B12, so unless you’re a vegan, this is not a key selling point.  A tablespoon of caviar has 40 calories, and about 3 grams of omega 3– excellent since this has been  linked to so  many health benefits.  But here’s where things take a darker turn.  That little tablespoon  has 94 grams of cholesterol ( it is an egg after all).  Since  caviar is often served with  a topping of chopped eggs or in an omlette, you can be delievering quite a cholesterol payload to your body.

And then there is the issue of sodium.   The  priciest caviar at $150/oz  has  200-300 mg of sodium in a scant tablespoon.  The more affordable red salmon caviar ( $8/4oz jar) has a whopping 700-800mg of sodium per tablespoon.

Washing  down   salty caviar with champagne is actually not a bad idea- in moderation.   A study published in 2007  found that moderate consumption of champagne may help preserve brain cells. One last piece of advice.   Because the alcohol is mixed with bubbles in champagne, its absorbed more easily  you can get  get drunker quicker.  Keep in mind that alcohol in any form  attacks collagen and accelerates wrinkling, so limit  your champagne to one delicious glass.

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