Posts filed under Skin Care

Non-Invasive Treatment Options For Melasma

melasmaMelasma is often referred to as the “mask of pregnancy,” but the truth is it can occur at any time. It can be triggered by starting or stopping oral contraceptives, lactation, hormone replacement therapy, thyroid disruptions or perimenopause. Melasma affects 5-6 million Americans annually and the American Academy of Dermatology reports that women account for roughly 90% of those afflicted. It is a hormonal skin condition, but the exact cause is still being studied.

The most common occurrences of melasma appear in young women with brown or olive colored skin. The result is large, dark dense skin discolorations in areas of the nose, forehead, cheeks, chin, or forearms.  There is no physical discomfort associated with melasma, but there is often psychological stress caused by its appearance.

Melasma does not fade naturally over time. It can actually worsen with sun exposure, but fortunately there are several safe and effective treatment options to help address the condition.

Treatment Options

  • Chemical Peels.  Exfoliating the skin through chemical induced peeling with ingredients such as alpha hydroxyl acids, trichloroacetic acid, salicylic acid or resorcinol. These are applied by a skin care professional.
  • Microdermabrasion. Manual exfoliation with a diamond tipped wand by a skin care professional.
  • Hydroquinone (HQ) Cream. A topical bleaching product. It is available over-the-counter and in prescription strength for home use.
  • Topical lightening products.  Other topical products include kojic, lactic or azelaic acids, mulberry or licorice extracts, arbutin and resorcinol.
  • Ascorbic acid. Topical Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and can accelerate results.
  • Retinol. Topically applied it increases cell turnover and accelerates pigment lightening.
  • Sunscreen. Daily use of broad-spectrum sunscreen is recommended. Sun exposure worsens Melasma.

Treating melasma involves a combination of a home care regime and professional treatments. It is important to have patience since melasma can be very stubborn and difficult to treat.

Posted on March 29, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Promotions - March 2014

yellowflowerBuy 5ml of Latisse and get $100 off Juvederm

Buy 5ml of Latisse + one area of Botox and get second area of Botox free

20% off your first Thermage treatment for cellulite

Thermage delivers radiofrequency energy to the affected areas to help melt fat and reduce the appearance of cellulite on your abdomen, thighs, buttocks and arms. Clinical results in patients show a moderate reduction in cellulite in treated areas that's lasts up to two years.

[button link="http://skylarulrichmd.com/contact-us/" color="red"]Schedule Appointment[/button]

Posted on March 7, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Effective Anti-Aging Treatments For Your Lower Face

Your jawline is the foundation of the lower region of your face. As you age, changes to your jaw directly impact your appearance. The loss of volume (collagen, fat, muscle and bone) as you age reduces soft tissue support and creates sagging skin.

Common Signs of Lower Face Aging

  • Nasolabial Folds – These are the two skin folds that run from the side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. They separate the cheeks from the upper lip.
  • Downturned Mouth – The corners of the mouth slope downward, even when facial muscles are relaxed.
  • Marionette Lines – These lines extend from the corners of the mouth vertically down toward the chin.
  • Jowling – Skin and fat that hangs along or below the jawline.
  • Loss of Lip Volume – Thinner lips with small vertical creases that are accentuated with pursing or talking.

While the laws of gravity are difficult to combat, there are some non-surgical treatments that can help address some of these common lower face issues.

Non-Surgical Treatments for Lower Face Aging

  • Botox – This neuromodulator can be used to relax lip lines, lift the corners of the mouth and soften chin dimpling.
  • Fillers – These volumizing products can plump lip lines, soften nasolabial folds, marionette lines and improve jowling and the jawline.
  • Lasers – Radiofrequency, Infared Light and Ultrasound can be used to stimulate collagen in the lower face encouraging tightening and lifting.
  • Surgery – A surgical lower face and neck lift improves facial skin laxity. Surgery allows for tightening of loose muscles and redraping the skin.

Aging of the lower face can be treated with one or more of the above treatments.  Talk with your provider about any concerns you have about aging and your lower face to find the best treatment for you. 

Posted on February 27, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

New Study Shows Alarming Cancer Rates Linked To Indoor Tanning

tanning bedAccording to a recent study, the potential to get skin cancer from tanning beds is substantially higher among young people than previously thought. Those who start tanning before 35 have a 59% higher probability of melanoma, and the risk of getting skin cancer from indoor tanning is higher than the risk of getting lung cancer from smoking.

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) wanted to determine the worldwide prevalence of indoor tanning. They analyzed over 80 studies from 16 countries, including data on over 400,000 participants. The researchers analyzed the popularity of indoor tanning across different age groups, then calculated the probability of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC) in the United States, Europe and Australia.

The Findings

Jama Dermatology published  the study, showing that 35% of adults  participated in indoor tanning and 14% used a tanning bed within the past 12 months. Other findings about indoor tanning include:

  • Nearly 55% of college students used tanning beds, with 43% having done so within the past year.
  • Roughly 19% of adolescents participated in indoor tanning, with 18% having done so within the past year.
  • Overall, women used tanning beds more than men.
  • Could lead to 450,000 cases of NMSC and 10,000 cases of melanoma each year.

Compared To Smoking

Researchers were particularly alarmed at the estimated 450,000 annual skin cancer cases linked to indoor tanning throughout the US, Europe and Australia. That number of skin cancer cases related to indoor tanning is actually higher than the number of lung cancer cases related to smoking.

It’s important to note that the mortality rate for lung cancer is much higher than it is for skin cancer, and the smoking can cause a litany of other health risks besides cancer. With that said, tanning beds are growing in popularity while smoking rates are falling throughout Western countries. Researchers noted the high probability that skin cancer cases related to indoor tanning will exceed the number of smoking-related lung cancer cases in the near future.

Posted on January 28, 2014 and filed under Skin Care.

Four Ways To Treat Browns Spots On Your Skin

woman brown spots sun damageThere’s no way around it. Sun exposure and aging cause brown spots to develop on our skin. The most common areas are those that get repetitive sun exposure such as the face, hands, arms and shoulders. Over time, these spots change from cute youthful freckles into unsightly discolorations.

Using daily sunscreen and limiting your time in the sun can prevent future brown spots from developing. If you already have lots of skin discoloration, consider one of these cosmetic treatment options to rejuvenate your skin.

1. Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a non-chemical skin exfoliation that uses a diamond-tip wand to gently exfoliate the skin. Light suction is used simultaneously to remove the dead skin cells. Microdermabrasion is usually administered in a series of 3-5 treatments done one month apart.

2. Chemical Peels

Chemical peels are a safe and effective treatment for brown spots and other pigmentation problems. They use fruit based acids to gently remove the outer layer of skin. Chemical peels stimulate new cell growth while naturally sloughing off dead cells. They can improve the skin’s tone and texture, improve acne and lighten brown spots, freckles, and melasma. Chemical peels are usually administered in a series of 3-5 treatments.

3. Intense Pulse Light (IPL)

Sometimes call photofacials, IPL uses a light-based device to target unwanted red and brown discoloration in the skin. It can be used for sun damage, brown spots, hyperpigmentation, facial flushing and rosacea. Because it has been shown to stimulate collagen, it is also used to rejuvenate the skin. Three to five treatments are typically recommended at intervals of one month apart. It is important to stay out of the sun in between treatments.

4. Topical Products

There are several effective skin bleaching agents available over-the-counter or by prescription. The most widely used bleaching cream is hydroquinone, but other common products include kojic, azelaic, and lactic acids. Some products are even safe in pregnancy and lactation. Consult with your skin care provider to determin the right topical product for you.

To be safe, it’s best to have a complete head to toe skin check annually by a dermatologist. Between visits look for any spots that are rapidly growing, darkly pigmented, developing irregular borders, or cause itching, redness, tenderness or bleeding. These can be signs of skin cancer.

Cosmetically speaking, don’t waste time and money using make-up to cover skin discoloration. Speak with your skin care provider about the best treatment options for your specific concern, skin type and available down time.

Posted on December 29, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Promotions - December 2013

GiftLook Radiant for the Holidays

Clear and Brilliant is a gentle laser that refreshes your skin from the inside out. The laser energy creates millions of microscopic treatment zones in your skin, replacing damaged tissue with healthy, younger looking skin. The downtime is minimal and the treatment is comfortable, fast and affordable.

Buy 4 Clear and Brilliant treatments, Get the 5th Free

This is a $500 savings!

Tighten Your Skin with Solta Cool Pulse Technology

Our newest radiofrequency laser safely delivers heat to the deep layers of the dermis to reduce sagging, renew contours, and improve the smoothness and texture of the skin's surface. Get natural looking results with little to no downtime. We can safely treat the face, neck, arms, abdomen, thighs and buttocks.

Get $200 off your first Solta CPT treatment

 

Botox is 15% for the month of December

 

[button link="http://skylarulrichmd.com/contact-us/" color="red"]Schedule Appointment[/button]

Posted on December 9, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

How To Rejuvenate Your Aging Neck

woman neckSun exposure, weight gain, and genetics often cause our necks to change as we age. Wrinkles start to appear as the skin becomes loose, fat accumulates under the chin, and vertical neck bands form from the contraction of muscles. The term ”turkey neck” refers to these changes in appearance, and it’s about as attractive as it sounds.

Surgery has traditionally been the only option to rejuvenate the neck, but some non-invasive treatment options are now available to treat these signs of aging.

Products

Topical products or serums that contain growth factors help repair and rebuild the skin’s integrity. Application of growth factors once or twice daily will replenishing the skin with key peptides, antioxidants, and vitamins leading to healthier and more vibrant looking skin. Sunscreen daily is also recommended for preventing sun damage and premature aging of the neck.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)

IPL is a light-based device used to improve the texture, tone, and color of skin on the neck. Treatments take approximately 30 minutes and are repeated at 4 week intervals. A minimum of 3 treatments is usually required to see results. Side effects can include slight redness, darkening of brown spots for a few days, and some irritation.

Botox Cosmetic

Botox is an effective way to treat early muscular changes in the neck. Botox softens tight platysmal bands that appear under the chin and extend vertically down the neck, making it appear more full. Injections are typically recommended 3 or 4 times per year and take about 10 minutes to perform. There is no downtime for this treatment. Side effects may include redness, tenderness, or bruising.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is ideal for neck skin that is very wrinkled from long term sun exposure and aging. It uses an intense beam of light energy to ablate, or wound,  thin layers of skin. As the resurfaced area heals, new skin forms that’s smoother and tighter. A topical numbing cream may be applied before the treatment. If the resurfacing is extensive then sedation may be required. The depth of the resurfacing will affect recovery, which may be as long as 10-14 days.

Collagen Stimulation

There are a few non surgical options for treating the neck. If mild skin laxity is the concern, there are a hand full of devices that target aging of the lower face and neck. These devices use either radiofrequency, ultrasound, or infrared energy to heat the dermal layer of skin. The goal of heating the dermis is to stimulate the production of new collagen, which ultimately improves laxity. These treatments can be expensive and uncomfortable, but ideal for someone not open to surgery. They also offer no downtime.

Surgery

For moderate to severe neck skin laxity, surgery and removal of skin is the best choice. During a surgical lower face and neck lift, the muscles of the lower face and neck are tightened and the skin is redraped and sutured in place. The recovery time for a lower face and neck lift is typically 2 weeks.

Hopefully this overview helps you avoid the dreaded turkey neck. Be sure to consult your skin care provider to discuss customized treatment options.

Posted on October 30, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Promotions - Fall 2013

fillers 10-2013Restylane & Perlane Discounts

For the months of October and November we are offering a promotion on Restylane and Perlane to restore volume to the face, cheeks, lips, hands or earlobes.

  • Buy 1 syringe and get $50 off
  • Buy 2 syringes and get $150 off
  • Buy 3 syringes and get $300 off

[button link="http://skylarulrichmd.com/contact-us/" color="red"]Schedule Appointment[/button]

Posted on October 3, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Botox Gets FDA Approval for Treating Crow’s Feet

There is a new approved use for Botox Cosmetic. Beginning in September 2013, Botox officially received the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) seal of approval for treating crow’s feet. These are lines that form around the corners of your eyes caused by smiling, frowning, or squinting.

Botox has been used cosmetically to treat frown lines with the FDA’s approval since 2002. These are the lines that form between the eyebrows, also know as glabellar lines. Botox is delivered by intramuscular injection through a fine needle. Over the course of a week it relaxes lines or wrinkles caused by muscle movement. Both frown lines and crows feet can be treated at the same time.

crow's feet

Even though using Botox to treat crow’s feet was recently approved by the FDA, providers have used it “off-label” for years, meaning they have used it despite the lack of FDA approval. The FDA’s decision to extend its approval of Botox to treat crow’s feet came after a study conducted by Allergan Inc., the manufacturer of Botox. In the study, 833 adults randomly received either Botox or a placebo injection. The people who received Botox saw a greater reduction in crow’s feet than the placebo group.

Despite the FDA’s approval, it’s likely insurance companies still won’t extend coverage to cosmetic uses of Botox. However, insurance companies usually cover Botox injections for approved medical conditions such as blepharospasm, strabismus (when the eyes are misaligned), chronic migraines, and severe underarm sweating.

The bottom line is, whether you receive Botox injections for medical or cosmetic reasons, you can breathe easy knowing Botox is a safe, FDA-approved product.

Posted on September 29, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Growth Factors 101: How They Work, And Why You Need Them

growth factorsThe outward appearance of our skin is often a reflection of what’s happening below the skin’s surface. Fine lines and wrinkles, loss of elasticity, and uneven skin tone are visible signs of our body’s underlying aging process. While Botox and fillers can do wonders for lines and wrinkles, there is another less invasive option known as Growth Factors.

What are Growth Factors and how do they work?

Growth Factors are natural proteins in our body that promote the growth, organization and maintenance of cells and tissues, including the skin. They act as chemical messengers, communicating with skin cells to stimulate growth. They’re essential to wound healing and skin repair.

When the skin is inflamed, it leads to the generation of enzymes that cause cell damage and break down the skin’s structure. Our Growth Factors are like 911 first-responders, sending out signals that communicate with the fibroblasts (collagen producing cells) to repair the damage and rebuild the skin’s integrity.

If I already have natural Growth Factors, why do I need more?

As we age, our bodies lose the ability to complete the healing process as it did in our youth. Aging causes the decline of Growth Factor levels and our cells don’t receive the communication essential for repair. When they don’t receive the signals from Growth Factors and other proteins and hormones, they either go into hibernation or commit cellular suicide known as apoptosis.

Low levels of Growth Factors cause the skin to appear aged and less full, with more fine lines and wrinkles. Along with replenishing our skin with key peptides, antioxidants and vitamins, Growth Factor replenishment is essential to healthy, vibrant and more youthful-looking skin.

What type of Growth Factors should I use?

Growth Factors have been derived from human, animal, and plant sources. They are usually delivered in a topical serum and applied to the skin once or twice daily. Results from treatment can be seen after 4-6 weeks of continuous use.

Here are a few skin Growth Factors to look for in cosmetic products:

  • Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF): Involved in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and survival
  • FGF: Involved in wound-healing
  • IGF-1: Involved in the thickening of the skin
  • TGF-ß: Involved in collagen production and wound-healing

Today’s advanced skincare technologies not only help us look younger, they can also help reinvigorate essential skin repair processes that can retire overtime. Like a light switch, Growth Factor technologies can turn on the cellular activities to help reverse the aging process.

Posted on August 27, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Thinking About Botox? Here’s What You Should Know

Thinking-About-Botox-Heres-What-You-Should-KnowBotox is the most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure today. Its purpose is to smooth out worry lines or crow’s feet around your eyes that develop as part of the aging process. It seems like the perfect quick fix for wrinkles that make you look tired and older.

With more and more people using Botox, it’s understandable to have some questions or concerns about using it for yourself. Take the following points into consideration if you’re still having second thoughts.

Origins of Botox

“Botox” is a shortened word for Botulinum Toxin, a product generated by the Clostridium Botulinum bacterium. While its use dates back to 1920, Botox has only been marketed commercially since 1997. It was after using Botox in the face to treat muscle spasms and imbalanced eye muscles that the product’s efficacy for reducing wrinkles and fine lines was discovered.

How Botox Works

The word “toxin” is frightening to some, but Botox doesn’t kill nerves. It simply interferes with nerve impulses to temporarily stop facial muscles from contracting. This allows fine lines and wrinkles to smooth out.

To be effective, a medical provider must inject the right amount of Botox into the correct muscle. His or her knowledge of facial anatomy allows for a safe, successful procedure.

Preparing for a Botox Injection

Botox is delivered through a very fine needle that may cause a slight pinching sensation. For most patients, Botox is painless enough that no anesthetic is required. If you are more sensitive, ask your medical provider about applying ice or an anesthetic cream prior to injections.

What to Expect After the Injection

Fine lines typically begin to relax in three to five days, but it may take up to seven days to see more established wrinkles soften. The results last for three to four months. Deep wrinkles may require dermal fillers, in addition to Botox, for an ideal result.

Temporary redness or swelling is normal around the injection sites, and small bruises can sometimes occur. It’s important to speak with your medical provider about other potential risks.

Botox Treatment Cost

Prices vary based on the number of units used and the medical provider you select to perform the injections. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the 2011 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report indicates the average fee is $365 per treated area (crow’s feet, frown lines, forehead, etc.).

The post Thinking About Botox? Here’s What You Should Know appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on July 30, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Effective Face Washing Techniques for Beautiful Skin

Effective Face Washing Techniques for Young, Beautiful Skin There’s more to good face washing than you might imagine. If you’ve had the same routine since your prepubescent years, and the condition of your skin isn’t up to par with your wishes, it’s time to make a change. Follow these easy steps to transform your dull aging skin into beautiful radiant skin.

Selecting the correct facial cleanser

  • Use a cleanser meant for the face, not the body. Your skin is slightly acidic, possessing a pH around 5.5. Many body washes are more alkaline, which can irritate facial skin. Cleansers with the same or lower pH yield the best results.
  • Use a soap-free cleanser, also called a beauty bar, as a face wash with lower-than-skin pH. This is a particularly good choice if you don’t have oily skin.
  • Select an antiseptic wash or other gentle cleanser if you’re prone to acne.
  • Choose a wax- and oil-free cleanser to gently clean your dry or sensitive skin.
  • Ask your healthcare provider for a recommended formula if you have rosacea.
  • Look for fragrance-, oil- and alcohol-free face cleansers, which are must-have features no matter your skin type.
  • Consider a gentle exfoliant, which both cleans and removes the build up of dead skin cells. An exfoliant should be applied in a circular motion and only be used 2-3 times per week. The texture of an exfoliant should be very fine and not rough or harsh.

Prepare to wash your face

  • Pull your hair back with a headband or barrette.
  • Wash your hands to start with a clean palette for applying face wash.
  • Wet your face with warm, not hot, water. Excessive heat dries out the skin.

Use proper face-washing and drying techniques

  • Apply a nickel-sized dollop of cleanser to the palm of your hand.
  • Rub your hands together to evenly distribute the cleanser.
  • Apply the cleanser to your face in gentle circular motions, keeping the product away from your eyes. Use a separate eye makeup remover to prevent irritating the sensitive skin around your eyes and the eyes themselves.
  • Resist the urge to scrub, especially if you have acne, since your efforts to clean deeper could backfire.
  • Cleanse your skin by gently rubbing in small circles with a washcloth or disposable face cloth. Open weaves are gentler on skin than tight weaves. Cleansing brushes are also a gentle option for removing make up, dirt and oil.
  • Rinse your face with lukewarm or even cool water and rid your hands of all soap residue.
  • Pat your face dry with a soft, clean wash cloth or towel. Avoid rubbing the skin, which could cause irritation.

Apply products to your freshly-washed face

  • Your skin is at its most absorbent immediately after washing. To prevent irritation, give it a few minutes to dry before applying topical medication or moisturizer.
  • Select what you apply to your skin carefully. Fragrances and preservatives are most likely to cause allergic reactions. Choose moisturizers that specifically say they are gentle enough to use on your face.
  • Avoid the following ingredients in skin care products if you know you are prone to allergies:
    • Imidazolidinyl urea
    • Paraben
    • DMDM hydantoin
    • Quaternium-15
    • Formaldehyde
    • Phenoxyethanol methylchloroisothiazolinone

Face washing is more than simply grabbing some soap and scrubbing your face down as vigorously as you would to wash your car. With the right techniques and a gentle touch, your skin will look and feel its very best.

The post Effective Face Washing Techniques for Young, Beautiful Skin appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on June 28, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Skin Care Tips to Slow the Signs of Aging

Skin Care Tips to Slow the Signs of AgingNo one wants to look in the mirror and discover a new wrinkle. Unfortunately, aging is inevitable. The good news is that you can take steps to slow down the aging process. Regardless of your age, the following tips will keep your skin healthy and radiant.

Avoid Tanning

While you may feel that you look more attractive and healthier with a sun-kissed tan, sun is the enemy of youthful skin. Basking in the sun can lead to the loss of elasticity and collagen, resulting in thinner and older-looking skin. Unsightly age spots and wrinkles are often the result of exposure to the sun. Rather than laying out or using a tanning booth, try using a sunless tanner or makeup bronzer instead.

Apply Sunscreen

Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily to your skin, which protects against UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are the culprit of premature aging and hyperpigmentation, while UVB rays cause sunburns. Look for a sunscreen with the active ingredient avobenzone, mexoryl, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to ensure UVA protection. You should also look for SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher and make sure that your sunscreen is water resistant. Apply generously to your skin and reapply every two hours.

Wear Sun Protective Gear

The skin around your eyes is much thinner and delicate than the rest of your face. This area is generally the first to show signs of aging. Wearing sunglasses protects this area from the sun and helps to prevent squinting, which is also a culprit of wrinkles. Sun hats are also a great way to protect your face and eyes from the sun. Wear sun protective clothing that is designed specifically to reduce your skin’s exposure to the sun and provides a minimum protection equivalence of SPF 30.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking contributes to wrinkles by constricting the blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients to the skin. It also increases the break down of collagen and is another culprit of wrinkles.

Seek Treatment for Damaged Skin

For those who currently have sun damaged skin, treatment is available. Microdermabrasion, light peels and laser treatments can aid in removing sun spots and acne scars. And Retinoids, derived from Vitamin A, accelerate the rate of skin cell turnover. They aid in inhibiting the breakdown of collagen by increasing collagen production. Ask your provider about prescription or over-the-counter forms of Retinoids.

Prevention is Key

Taking steps to prevent skin damage is the key to healthy, younger looking skin. It’s never too early nor too late to start. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Your skin will thank you.

The post Skin Care Tips to Slow the Signs of Aging appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on May 27, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

How to Banish the Bags and Brighten Your Eyes

beautiful eyes :)

(Photo credit: f-l-e-x)

Are under-eye bags and dark circles making you look tired or older than you are? You’re not alone. Under-eye flaws become increasingly common as we age.

Sometimes the causes are out of our control.

They might be something you inherited. Dark circles are genetic, and pigmentation irregularities that cause under-eye discoloration are particularly common among patients with ethnic skin.

Or they might be the result of allergies or nasal congestion, which can dilate and darken the veins that drain from your eyes to your nose.

The aging process can cause bags and dark circles, too.

As we age, the tissues around the eyes, including some of the muscles supporting the eyelids, weaken and the fat that normally helps support the eyes can migrate into the lower eyelids, causing them to appear puffy. Fluid also can accumulate in the space below the eyes, adding to a swollen appearance.

Thinning skin around the eyes can make the reddish-blue blood vessels that lie below more obvious. And collagen loss in that area exposes the orbital bone, creating a hollow trough that appears as a dark circle.

Other times, however, the causes are completely preventable.

A salty dinner or a night of crying can lead to under-eye puffiness. Everyday habits, such as rubbing your eyes, smoking and excessive drinking, also can contribute to under-eye bags. And too much sun exposure can prompts the body to produce more melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color, causing or worsening dark circles.

10 steps for banishing the bags and brightening your eyes.

You can’t always eliminate these imperfections, but you can minimize them, depending on their cause. Here are some tips:

  1. Stay hydrated. The area under the eye is extremely susceptible to dehydration. Drinking enough water can do wonders for under-eye skin.
  2. Cut back on alcohol, caffeine and salt. Alcohol and caffeine cause dehydration, making dark circles more obvious. Salt can cause you to retain excess body fluid, causing puffy skin and under-eye bags.
  3. Get enough sleep. Although lack of sleep doesn’t usually cause under-eye circles, it does make you paler and more hollow-eyed, so shadows and circles are more obvious.
  4. Use a cold compress. To temporarily reduce dilated under-eye blood vessels that cause puffiness, try a cold compress, two chilled teaspoons or a bag of frozen peas.
  5. Elevate your head. To prevent puffiness that develops when fluid pools in your lower eyelids, elevate your head with two or more pillows.
  6. Use high quality products. To keep under-eye skin hydrated, apply a good hydrating eye cream morning and night. A good concealer under your makeup can help camouflage dark circles and topical bleaching cream may help lighten the under-eye skin.
  7. Restore volume. If dark circles are the result of volume loss, a dermal filler, such as Juvederm or Restylane can improve the area. Fillers lift the skin and prevent light from accumulating in the hollows with no very little downtime.
  8. Reduce wrinkles. To soften crow’s feet around the eyes, Botox works best by relaxing the muscles that create the wrinkles. It can also be used to lift the brows and refresh the eye area.
  9. Improve skin tone.  To improve skin tone around the eyes, try laser resurfacing. While this can be an effective treatment, it does involve significant downtime.
  10. Evaluate surgery. If you have excess skin or fat deposits under the eye, you may need lower eyelid surgery, called a blepharoplasty, to remove it. To see if you’re a good candidate, talk to your health care provider.

The post How to Banish the Bags and Brighten Your Eyes appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on April 28, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

How to Rejuvenate Mature Skin in Your Fifties

Photo by Monique Warner

By the time you reach your fifties, you may begin to feel like your age is written all over your face.

As estrogen levels drop and oil production decreases, the skin becomes drier and more sensitive to changes in climate or season. Collagen and bone loss leads to looser, sagging skin that’s becoming thinner and more uneven in texture. Expression lines no longer disappear after you stop smiling or squinting. Cumulative sun damage leads to increased hyperpigmentation, such as brown spots or red blotches. And menopause can add a multitude of other problems, including extreme dryness, acne and rosacea.

But don’t worry: It’s never too late to prevent future skin damage or stop the progression of damage you may already have. Here are some tips for rejuvenating mature skin.

Use an emollient cleanser. To keep drier skin hydrated, wash your face morning and night with a creamy or foaming non-soap cleanser. And be sure to use lukewarm water, which is less irritating to sensitive skin than hot water.

Moisturize. Mature skin can’t afford to miss out on moisturizer. If your skin looks crepey, try a serum with vitamin C or copper peptides, which promote collagen and elastin production and act as an antioxidant. Serums, in general, are more easily absorbed than creams and lotions. If your skin is very dry, consider a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which forms a moisturizing barrier to keep the skin soft. It’s also important to use a night cream to keep your skin hydrated while you sleep.

Embrace alpha hydroxy acids. As cell renewal slows down, skin can become dull and lifeless. Chemical peels and skin care products containing alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid) encourage new cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, revealing fresher, brighter skin.

Use a retinoid. Retinoid products, made with derivatives of vitamin A, reach deep into the skin to combat and reverse signs of aging. They boost collagen production and speed up cell turnover to fight wrinkles and uneven texture; minimize pores; and reduce brown spots. Ask your skin care provider to recommend a retinoid with an emollient base.

Use sunscreen. Unprotected sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging, and its cumulative effects worsen with age. Wear a broadband (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. Some moisturizers already contain sunscreen. If yours doesn’t, apply a separate one, especially if you use products with retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. Both can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Refill. As we lose volume, wrinkles deepen and skin begins to sag. Dermal fillers can be injected into hollow areas of the face to plump up lines, lips, under-eye spaces and cheeks. For a natural look, use one that contains hyaluronic acid, a substance found in young skin and in the body’s connective tissues. These include Restylane, Juvederm and, for deeper folds, Perlane. To increase their longevity, try Botox, which temporarily relaxes muscles to smooth creases and prevent new ones from forming.

Resurface. Years of sun damage can leave unwanted marks on the skin. Intense pulsed light (IPL) therapy targets unwanted sun damage, brown spots, freckles, facial flushing and rosacea. Three to five treatments are typically recommended at intervals of one month apart. In some cases, laser resurfacing may be needed to smooth out weathered, wrinkly skin, though it can require up to 14 days of down time.

Eat well. What you put in your body affects your skin as much as what you put on it. Omega-3 fatty acids — found in such foods as wild salmon, avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds and spinach — reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds, thus reducing redness and irritation in the skin. Antioxidants — essential nutrients that include vitamins A, C and E, beta-carotene and selenium — protect the skin from free radicals, unstable molecules that damage healthy cells as a result of exposure to pollutants and radiation.

Exercise. As we age, bone density decreases and our metabolisms slow down, so it’s important to get some exercise every day. Physical activity doesn’t just keep you fit and help you relieve stress, it’s a significant contributor to smiling skin, too. Try an exercise regimen that includes both cardiovascular and strength training. If that’s too much, try walking for 30 to 45 minutes a day.

The post How to Rejuvenate Mature Skin in Your Fifties appeared first on RemedyPress.

Posted on March 19, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Understanding Acne

Acne can cause great distress, especially for adult men and women. Although it usually begins in puberty, adults can develop acne in their twenties, thirties, forties or even fifties.

And it can be annoyingly persistent. As one pimple begins to heal, others inevitably appear.

Acne is the most common skin condition in the United States, affecting 40 million to 50 million Americans of all ages, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

But contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by greasy foods, chocolate or dirt. Rather, it is caused by the overproduction of oil, the irregular shedding of dead skin cells and the buildup of bacteria.

Causes and Symptoms

Acne occurs when the hair follicles, or pores, become clogged with oil and dead skin cells. Hair follicles are connected to sebaceous glands, which secrete an oily substance called sebum to lubricate the hair and skin. Normally, sebum travels up the hair shafts to the surface of the skin. But when the body produces too much oil and dead skin cells, they can plug the follicles, creating an environment where bacteria can thrive.

These plugs can cause inflammatory or non-inflammatory lesions on the face, neck, chest, back or shoulders, the areas of skin with the most oil glands.

Acne may appear as blackheads, clogged follicles that are open at the skin’s surface and dark in appearance; whiteheads, clogged follicles that are closed and skin-colored; papules, small, raised, red bumps; or pustules, red, tender bumps with white pus at the tips. Severe blockages that occur deep inside the follicles may result in nodules or cysts, large, solid, painful lumps beneath the skin’s surface. Depending on its severity, acne can cause scarring.

Risk Factors

However, a number of other factors can contribute to and worsen acne.

Hormonal changes — notably in teenagers, females a week before their periods and pregnant women — can cause the sebaceous glands to enlarge and produce more sebum. Certain medications, including corticosteroids, androgens and lithium, also can cause acne.

Direct contact with greasy substances or certain cosmetics, or even the pressure of a cell phone against the skin, can clog pores and cause acne breakouts. Acne also tends to run in families, so if your parents or siblings have it, you may develop it, too. Although stress doesn’t cause acne, it can make it worse.

Prevention

If you suffer from this common condition, don’t fret. Here are some steps you can take to help prevent acne breakouts.

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day. Harsh products and excessive washing or scrubbing can irritate the skin.
  • Avoid oily or greasy cosmetics or sunscreens. Use “water-based” or “non-comedogenic” products. If you wear makeup, use powder instead of a heavy liquid or cream foundation.
  • Remove makeup before going to bed.
  • Shower after exercising. Oil and sweat on your skin can trap bacteria.
  • Don’t touch your face, and avoid resting your hands or objects, such as cell phones, against your skin. Also, keep your hair clean and off your face.
  • Don’t pick or squeeze blemishes. This can cause infection or scarring, and the oils from your hands can cause new breakouts.

 Treatment

If these preventative measures don’t ward off dreaded breakouts, there are numerous treatment options available to eradicate problematic acne. These treatments can reduce oil production, speed up skin cell turnover, fight bacterial infection, reduce inflammation or a combination of the above.

Over-the-counter topical treatments containing benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid may help dry excess oil, kill bacteria and slough off dead skin cells in people with mild acne.

However, for those with moderate or severe acne, prescription topical treatments may be more effective. These may contain such vitamin A derivatives as tretinoin, adapalene or tazarotene; prescription-strength benzoyl peroxide, sulfur, resorcinol or salicylic acid; azelaic acid; or a combination of benzoyl peroxide and topical antibiotics.

Oral antibiotics may be needed in some cases of severe acne, but usually for only a short time. Some oral contraceptives may also be effective.

Cosmetic treatments also can help treat acne. Chemical peels, which involve applying glycolic or alphahydroxy acids to the skin, can help improve acne by removing the top layer of skin, stimulating new cell growth and minimizing scars. Microdermabrasion, a non-chemical procedure, removes the outermost layer of skin using a diamond-tipped wand.

For those with scarring, intense pulsed-light therapy uses a light-based device to heat the dermis and stimulate new cell growth, targeting acne scars and unwanted discoloration.

If you suffer from acne, ask your skin care provider which treatments are best for you.

Posted on February 4, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

Seeing Red? What You Need to Know About Rosacea

Photo by The Thinking Doll/Creative Commons

Photo by The Thinking Doll

A rosy complexion is often thought to be a sign of good health. But red patches on the face may be a sign of something more troubling — rosacea, a common inflammation of facial skin caused by the swelling of blood vessels close to the skin’s surface.

Rosacea is a chronic skin condition that causes redness; small, spider-like blood vessels; small, red, puss-filled bumps on the nose, cheeks, chin and forehead; and sometimes burning and soreness in the eyes.

If left untreated, rosacea can worsen over time. But for most people, rosacea is cyclical, with symptoms flaring up for weeks or months, and then diminishing before flaring up again.

Although many people — often mistaking rosacea for acne and other skin problems — may not even realize they have the condition, rosacea affects approximately 14 million Americans, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Causes and Risk Factors

The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, but researchers believe it results from a combination of hereditary and environmental factors.

It tends to affect those between the ages of 30 and 50 who have fair skin, light hair and eyes, and who experience frequent flushing or blushing.

However, a number of factors can aggravate rosacea by increasing blood flow to the surface of the skin, causing blood vessels in the face to expand. Common triggers include hot foods or beverages, spicy foods, alcohol, extreme hot or cold temperatures, sunlight, stress, strenuous exercise, hot baths or saunas, corticosteroids, and drugs that dilate blood vessels, including some blood pressure medications.

Symptoms

Signs of rosacea include red areas on the face; small, red bumps or pustules on the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin; a red, bulbous nose (rhinophyma); small, visible, spider-like blood vessels on the nose and cheeks (telangiectasia); a burning or gritty sensation in the eyes (ocular rosacea); and a tendency to flush or blush.

But these symptoms don’t appear all at once and they don’t always get worse. Rosacea typically appears in phases. The first stage, sometimes called pre-rosacea, usually begins with a tendency to flush or blush easily, and then progresses to persistent redness in the nose or central part of the face. As symptoms worsen, vascular rosacea may develop, revealing small, swollen blood vessels on your nose and cheeks (telangiectasia). Inflammatory rosacea may follow, revealing small, red bumps or pustules across the nose, cheeks, forehead and chin. And, in some cases, ocular rosacea may develop, resulting in burning and soreness of the eyes.

In rare cases, untreated rosacea may cause permanent effects, such as thickening of facial skin, loss of vision or a swollen, waxy-looking nose.

Prevention and Treatment

There is no cure for rosacea, but symptoms can be controlled with a combination of lifestyle changes and prescription treatments or oral antibiotics.

First, it’s important to identify your triggers and try to avoid them. Although triggers vary from person to person, this likely means using sunscreen every day; avoiding sun exposure and activity in hot weather; reducing stress; and limiting spicy foods, alcohol and hot beverages.

Redness and breakouts can be treated with prescription skin creams containing such medications as azelaic acid or metronizadole or with oral antibiotics, such as doxycycline, minocycline or tetracycline. Redness and tiny blood vessels can be treated with laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments. To protect dry, sensitive skin, your provider may recommend using certain cleansers, moisturizers and sunscreens. Dry, red and irritated eyes can be treated with prescription eyedrops containing cyclosporine.

If you experience persistent facial redness or other rosacea symptoms, consult your health care provider for diagnosis and proper treatment.

Posted on February 4, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

The Hype About Hyperpigmentation

Photo of a melasma patient by USP Hospitales/Creative Commons

Photo by USP Hospitales

A lifetime of sun exposure is bound to leave a few marks. Unfortunately, those marks tend to appear as dark spots and patches on the most visible parts of our skin. But the more we know about what causes them, the more we’ll be able to prevent and repair them.

Hyperpigmentation is a common condition in which patches of skin become darker, usually as a result of increased melanin production.

Melanin — the pigment responsible for skin, hair and iris color — absorbs the sun’s ultraviolet rays to protect the skin from overexposure. In doing so, those rays stimulate the melanocytes in the lower layer of the epidermis to produce more melanin. As more melanin is produced, the skin becomes darker. But too much melanin production can result in patchy discoloration on certain areas of the skin.

Age Spots

Age spots, also called liver spots or solar lentigines, are small, flat, gray, brown or black spots that appear on areas of the face, hands, arms and shoulders most exposed to the sun. While they are more likely to affect fair-skinned individuals and those with frequent or intense sun exposure, age spots are also common among adults 40 and older and those genetically predisposed to their development.

Although age spots are usually harmless, they can be lightened or removed if bothersome. Treatment options include prescription lightening creams, chemical peels, microdermabrasion and laser treatments. However, a doctor should evaluate those that are dark or have changed in size or appearance for signs of melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer. To prevent age spots from forming, avoid the sun, wear protective clothing and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily with a minimum SPF of 30 or higher.

Melasma

The sun isn’t the only cause of excess melanin production. Hormones can play a role, too.

Melasma, also known as chloasma or “the mask of pregnancy,” is a common skin condition characterized by large, brown patches of discoloration on areas of the face most exposed to the sun, such as the cheeks, nose, forehead, chin and upper lip. Although ultraviolet light is a risk factor, the hormones estrogen and progesterone can trigger an overproduction of melanin, causing discoloration on both the face and abdomen. Melasma is particularly common among women who are pregnant or are taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. Women with darker skin are also more prone to the condition.

Although the discoloration usually fades after giving birth or stopping birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, there are numerous treatment options available if yours doesn’t. These include topical steroid creams; skin lightening creams with hydroquinone, tretinoin, kojic acid, azelaic acid or retinol; chemical peels; and microdermabrasion. Laser treatments also can be used to remove the dark pigment. To prevent the condition from worsening, those with melasma should limit their exposure to sunlight and use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 50 or higher.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation

Sometimes, hyperpigmentation results from inflammation that occurs when the skin is injured by a cut, scrape, burn, chemical, or such skin conditions as acne, eczema or psoriasis. In these cases, the area around the wound becomes dark and scar-like during the healing process, resulting in temporary or permanent discoloration. Darker-skinned individuals and those who receive excess sun exposure are most likely to experience post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Although early treatment of the original injury is the best way to prevent it, chemical peels, microdermabrasions and skin lightening creams can be used to treat this type of hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation as Symptom or Side Effect

In some cases, however, hyperpigmentation may be a symptom of something else. Some autoimmune, gastrointestinal or metabolic disorders are known to cause hyperpigmentation. These include hemochromatosis, a hereditary condition that causes the body to absorb too much iron, and Addison’s disease, a rare disorder in which the adrenal gland produces too few hormones.

Certain medications are also known to cause hyperpigmentation. These include birth control pills and hormone treatments, antibiotics, antimalarial drugs, antiseizure drugs, antiarrhythmic drugs used to treat heart disease, and chemotheraphy drugs.

If you’re concerned about changes in skin color, consult your doctor. It’s also important to talk to your doctor about the potential side effects of any drugs you take, and protect yourself from sun exposure when taking medication.

 

Posted on February 4, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.

How to Restore Your Skin’s Resilience in Your Forties

Photo by Aurélien Dauvel/Creative Commons

Photo by Aurélien Dauvel

By the time we reach our forties, fluctuating hormones and decades of lifestyle choices begin wreaking havoc on our faces.

As estrogen levels drop, the skin becomes drier and retains less moisture. The natural loss of collagen and elastin leads to loose, sagging skin that’s becoming noticeably thinner and more uneven in texture. Fine lines and wrinkles deepen around the eyes and mouth. Cumulative sun damage causes increased hyperpigmentation, such as brown spots or red blotches. Put simply, your once-vibrant complexion is losing its youthful glow.

No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop the aging process. But we can make it less visible. Here are some tips for reviving your skin’s resilience.

Re-evaluate your skin type. As our skin changes, our skin care regimens should change, too. Because the skin produces less moisture as we age, those who had oily skin in their teens and twenties may now be dealing with uncharacteristic dryness. When this happens, swap harsh or drying products for those that add extra hydration. Consult with a skin care professional to evaluate your changing needs and reset your skin care regimen.

Hydrate. As we age, our skin becomes drier, so it’s important to stay hydrated. The amount of water needed each day depends on a number of factors, including your health, your activity level and where you live. According to the Institute of Medicine, men generally need about 125 ounces or 3.7 liters of fluid each day and women need about 91 ounces or 2.7 liters. (By comparison, the oft-advised eight glasses per day yields about 64 ounces or 1.9 liters.) But it doesn’t all have to come from plain water — beverages and foods that contain water count, too.

Moisturize. It’s just as important to hydrate your skin each day with a moisturizer or serum. If your skin is very dry, you may want to consider a moisturizer with hyaluronic acid, which forms a moisturizing barrier to keep the skin soft. If your skin is beginning to look crepey, try one with copper peptides, which promote collagen and elastin production and act as an antioxidant.

Use sunscreen. Unprotected sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging, and its cumulative effects worsen with age. Wear a broadband (UVA and UVB protection) sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Some moisturizers already contain sunscreen. If yours doesn’t, apply a separate one.

Exfoliate. As cell renewal slows down, skin can become dull, mottled and lifeless. Chemical peels and skin care products containing alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic acid, lactic acid), beta hydroxy acids (salicylic acid) and retinoic acid encourage new cell turnover and stimulate collagen production, revealing fresher, brighter skin. For a gentler approach, try microdermabrasion.

Embrace retinoids. Retinoid products, made with derivatives of vitamin A, reach deep into the middle layer of skin to combat and reverse signs of aging. They boost collagen production and speed up cell turnover to fight wrinkles, uneven texture and acne; minimize pores; and reduce brown spots.

Remove cumulative sun damage with intense pulsed light (IPL). IPL employs a broad wavelength of light to treat hyperpigmentation without damaging the upper layers of the skin. IPL can be used to treat sun damage, brown spots, freckles, redness and rosacea. It also stimulates collagen production and minimizes pores.

Consider dermal fillers. As we continue to lose elasticity, fine lines deepen and skin begins to sag. Dermal fillers can be injected into hollow areas of the face to plump up lines, lips, under-eye spaces and cheeks. But that doesn’t mean you have to look ‘done.’ For a natural look, use one that contains hyaluronic acid, a substance found in young skin and in the body’s connective tissues. These include Restylane, Juvederm and, for deeper folds, Perlane. To increase their longevity, consider Botox, which temporarily relaxes muscles to smooth creases and prevent new ones from forming.

Load up on omega-3s and antioxidants. What you put in your body affects your skin as much as what you put on it. Omega-3 fatty acids — found in such foods as wild salmon, avocados, walnuts, flaxseeds and spinach — reduce the body’s production of inflammatory compounds, thus reducing redness and irritation in the skin. Antioxidants — essential nutrients that include vitamins C, D and E, beta-carotene and selenium — protect the skin from free radicals, unstable molecules that damage healthy cells as a result of exposure to pollutants and radiation.

 

Posted on February 4, 2013 and filed under Skin Care.