• The Anti-Aging Treatments Pain Scale You Need to Know About

    Discomfort and beauty are always in tension, so we teach ourselves the algorithm of: Is it worth it? We learn the calculations between ouch and better skin (or flatter abs, or a firmer jawline, or…). But you can’t do the math without knowing what kind of pain you’re in for. We went to the people who know best—the patients—to find out exactly what it feels like to be on the receiving end of all those needles, blades, and lasers.

    * Pain Meter runs on a scale of 1-5.

    Botox: An injectable neurotoxin used to temporarily paralyze facial muscles and smooth wrinkles

    The Patient Report: “I get it every four to six months to erase the etched lines on my forehead. Most doctors numb the area first with ice. I dislike that more than the needle—it’s like a brain freeze. Each injection is quick; usually I don’t feel a thing. But the area just underneath the eyebrows really hurts. Like a bee sting. The pain goes away immediately, though. Sometimes I get bruises that last a few days, but I can cover them with concealer. After a week or so, my brow feels a little heavy, like when your hand falls asleep. That’s right around the time people start telling me I look really relaxed, as if I was just on vacation.” —Andrea Modlin, 41

    The Doctor’s Note: “I put a little pressure on each injection site right afterward to help with the sting and get very anxious people to do Lamaze-style breathing. The muscles start to feel kind of stiff, once the Botox kicks in, about five days later. You get used to that after a week or so, and soon you almost forget how to frown. Research even shows that you’ll actually feel happier.” —Ava Shamban, a dermatologist in Beverly Hills

    The Pain Meter: 1

    Restylane and Juvéderm: Hyaluronic acid–based gels injected to restore contours and fullness to the face and lips

    The Patient Report: “My upper lip is much smaller than my lower one. I’ve gotten it filled with Restylane or Juvéderm twice a year for about six years. My first treatment was at a spa, and it was a horror story—they completely overfilled my lips, and it really hurt. I had to go to a doctor for another injection to undo it. Now I always go to a dermatologist. I don’t use numbing cream, just close my eyes and center myself. The needle feels sort of like a splinter, but the pain doesn’t linger. I think a paper cut is worse. My lips are a little swollen for a few hours, but by the next day, kissing and eating feel completely normal.” —Elaine *, 31**

    The Doctor’s Note: “The lips are one of the most sensitive areas on the body, so sometimes we start with an injectable anesthetic. Icing first is often enough, though. Plus, the most commonly used fillers, like Juvéderm and Restylane, have numbing lidocaine mixed in. The temporary swelling of the gel might feel a little creepy but should never be painful. The swelling dissipates after about a week. And if a patient doesn’t like the results, there’s an exit strategy: We can inject an enzyme called hyaluronidase that breaks down the hyaluronic acid completely over a couple of days.” —Shamban

    The Pain Meter: 2

    Kybella: Deoxycholic acid, a fat-dissolving chemical injected to reduce a double chin

    The Patient Report: “I’m skinny, but the fullness under my chin really bothered me. I went in for four Kybella sessions over six months. With the first two, they injected lidocaine before the acid, and I didn’t feel anything after that. I thought the lidocaine increased my swelling afterward, though, so I skipped it for the last two. Without it, the acid felt like a deep, throbbing pain and burned for about 15 minutes. It wasn’t unbearable, but it made my eyes water. There was swelling for a week—a couple days less when I didn’t do the lidocaine—but not so much that people were staring at me. I just wore a scarf.” —Jenny, 35

    The Doctor’s Note: “I start with a numbing cream, then draw a grid across the area of about 20 spots. I inject lidocaine in each one, followed by the Kybella. Once the lidocaine wears off, the area can be achy for a few hours and will sometimes bruise. One hundred-percent of patients have some swelling that can last up to two weeks.” —Anne Chapas, a dermatologist in New York City

    The Pain Meter: 3

    Fraxel Dual Restore: A fractional CO2 laser that diminishes wrinkles, brown spots, scars, and pores

    The Patient Report: “I got a bad sunburn on my chest that left huge, dark sun spots. When a dermatologist suggested Fraxel, I went for it. She used a numbing cream first, but the pain was still an eight on a scale of one to ten. The first zaps weren’t incredibly painful, but the pain kept building as she covered the area. It became almost unbearable. The whole thing took roughly 15 minutes, and once the laser was turned off, my chest felt like it was on absolute fire for an hour. After that, there was no pain. My skin was red for two weeks and felt rough as it healed. A month later, though, my chest had completely changed: The dark spots had radically lightened or disappeared.” —Sarah, 24

    The Doctor’s Note: “The laser makes tiny holes in the skin, so it does create a pinprick-y feeling. We always start with lidocaine cream. We also use a Zimmer fan, which blows supercold air, and I give people squeezy stress balls. Afterward, you may feel badly sunburned for a day. By day three, your skin has a sandpapery texture that lasts a week or two.” —Ellen Marmur, a dermatologist in New York City

    The Pain Meter: 4

    Ultherapy: An ultrasound-based technology for tightening skin on the face and body

    The Patient Report: “Over the last several years, I’ve done Ultherapy three times on my face and neck. The first time, I took Percocet beforehand for the pain, but it didn’t help much. The doctor held the handpiece against my skin and delivered zaps from the middle of my neck to just above my jaw. With each one, there was an intense burning feeling that lasted two or three seconds. Pain-wise, it was an eight on a scale of one to ten. The next two times, I took Demerol; the pain was more like a three—I just felt a hot sensation every time there was a pulse. Afterward, my skin was slightly flushed, but I didn’t need more painkillers. My jawline definitely looks tighter now.” —Amanda, 42

    The Doctor’s Note: “I usually give Valium or Demerol, but some of my patients use no painkillers or sedatives at all. The machine delivers heat into the muscles that tighten up coils of collagen; it feels like a sparkler hitting your skin. We ‘stamp’ it across the face. Most of the time the pain is a four or five out of ten, but you get some zingers of nine. Treating the whole face takes a few hundred pulses—that can wear on you. Most patients see results in about a month.” —Paul Jarrod Frank, a cosmetic dermatologist in New York City

    The Pain Meter: 5

    CoolSculpting: A freezing procedure shown to reduce fat on the abdomen, thighs, and upper arms

    The Patient Report: “I work out and eat well, but I had this ring of fat around my belly, like a life preserver, so I tried CoolSculpting. A vacuum-like contraption—around the size of an iPad mini—sucks in about two inches of your skin, which feels bizarre. The area starts to feel increasingly cold, but not painfully so…then you go numb. I didn’t need an anesthetic or a painkiller. I did three areas—my love handles and the area below my belly button; each one took 45 minutes. The most uncomfortable part was sitting in the same position for three hours. Afterward, my skin was a little red and felt cold for a while, but I went to dinner that night and the gym the next day. About a month later, the life preserver was gone.” —Allison, 28

    The Doctor’s Note: “The best candidates have fat that’s ‘squeezy’—not the hard, beer-belly type. If you make it through the first six minutes of the cold, you’ll be fine. That’s when you go numb. Afterward, we use a massaging device on the area. As the skin comes back to life, it feels sort of good—like your hands warming back up after a snowball fight. You might have some bruising and light soreness, but you can go straight back to work and working out. It takes two to six weeks to start seeing results, and some patients need more than one session.” —Marmur

    The Pain Meter: 1

    Cellfina: A device with a small blade to sever the fibers under the skin that create cellulite

    The Patient Report: “You lie on your stomach, and the most painful part is the injection of the lidocaine. Once that kicks in, you can’t feel anything. The blade’s motorized, though, and the sound—like an electric knife—is jarring. I had 21 dimples treated across my butt and thighs; it took 45 minutes. The dimples were gone immediately. For 48 hours I had soreness, like after a workout, but it didn’t hurt enough to even take Tylenol. The bruises lasted about ten days.” —Mickey Williams, 42

    The Doctor’s Note: “The ideal candidate is under 50, so her skin has enough elasticity to spring back. The device—it looks like a petri dish—hovers over the area being treated and delivers a shot of lidocaine. Then a suction cup grabs the skin and inserts a tiny knife below the skin to cut the fiber that creates the dimple. The sound of the blade is a little disturbing; we offer noise-canceling headphones so you can listen to music. Most patients have tenderness and bruising afterward; improvements are visible in a few days.” —Melanie Palm, a dermatologist in Solana Beach, California

    The Pain Meter: 1

    MonaLisa Touch: A fractional CO2 laser used to treat signs of aging and atrophy on the vaginal walls

    The Patient Report: “I wasn’t experiencing the vaginal dryness that can come with menopause but did this preventively—three treatments, each two months apart. Your feet are in stirrups—like at a pelvic exam—and they insert a probe that’s like a big metal tampon. You feel a slight vibration that’s somewhat pleasant—imagine a very low-intensity vibrator. It was done in ten minutes. I haven’t noticed major differences, but there’s a bit more moisture, and I’ll go in for the recommended yearly touch-up appointment.” —Michele Cloud, 49

    The Doctor’s Note: “Decreased estrogen levels can lead to vaginal dryness and discomfort. This laser triggers cellular regeneration that leads to new blood vessels and more collagen and elastin. Some women feel a little pain around the vaginal opening during the treatment, so we might apply a numbing cream. But others say it feels good; a patient or two has even come close to orgasming. A few weeks after, a lot of women say things feel more ‘juicy,’ and for many, it’s totally life-changing.” —Maria Sophocles, a gynecologist in Princeton, New Jersey

    The Pain Meter: ?

    Originally featured on Allure.com

  • The Skincare Treatment the Victoria’s Secret Models Swear By

    Aside from upping their workouts to twice a day, the lead up to Victoria’s Secret show also involves heavy-duty preening. Angels and models alike head straight for New York facialist, Mzia Shiman, who has been tending to the skin of VS models for the last five years.

    Shiman opts for an Australian-developed treatment, the oxygen facial, to prep the models’ skin. The treatment uses a hyperbaric oxygen machine to deliver serums rich in vitamins and antioxidants to the skin.

    The result reportedly reduces fine lines and wrinkles, leaving skin plump and hydrated. The concept was developed by Australian brand Intraceuticals and is said to combat free radicals and restore elasticity.

    The rise in popularity of the treatment can most likely be attributed to the fact that there are no real risks or side effects from the treatment itself. As a non-evasive procedure, benefits may not be immediately obvious but the treatment is touted as a long-term skin saviour, aimed to help rejuvenate skin rather than as quick fix that produces specific results.

    If you’re after a real-life look at the results, look no further than the faces of the 2015 class of Victoria’s Secret models, including Bridget Malcolm, Bruna Lírio, Vita Sidorkina, Cindy Bruna, Martha Hunt, Alessandra Ambrosio and Elsa Hosk.

    Feature from Intraceuticals.com

  • Black Women May Be Exposed to More Harmful Cosmetic Chemicals

    A new report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests that women of color are using more beauty products containing potentially hazardous chemicals than other consumers.

    The EWG’s Skin Deep database — which allows users to search products that are rated on a toxicity scale from one to 10 — has added 1,177 personal-care products marketed to black women. And while the percentage of “high hazard” products is about the same as the general public, fewer than 25 percent of products for black women scored low (or “safer”) on the scale, as compared with 40 percent marketed to the general public. This suggests that there’s less choice for black women, who may be buying more chemically laden products.

    And while African-Americans comprise 13 percent of the U.S. population, their spending accounts for as much as 22 percent of the $42 billion personal-care products industry, according to the report, which also suggests that black women buy and use more products with potentially harmful ingredients than Americans as a whole.

    In categories of hair relaxers, hair color, lipstick, concealer, foundation, and sun-protective makeup, none of the products analyzed scored as “low hazard,” according to the report. And the worst of the worst are all in the hair product category — relaxers, dyes, and bleachers all had average rankings at the highest risk.

    The report comes as no surprise, says Ni’Kita Wilson, cosmetic chemist and founder of Skinects V-VI, a beauty resource for women of color. “Everyone is aware of the hazards of relaxers — chemical burns are real!” she tells Yahoo Beauty. “At the end of the day, it seems to come down to fragrance, retinyl palmitate (a derivative of vitamin A), and preservatives, along with highly irritating products like relaxers and hair dye — this report reveals the obvious,” she adds.

    Scientific testing on products marketed to black women has also been lacking; most of what exists has focused mainly on the two chemical hair-straightening groups of products known as relaxers and texturizers, which contain ingredients like lye that break down chemical bonds in hair so locks can be reshaped. Advocacy groups cite studies linking chemical straighteners to baldness and increased risk of noncancerous growths in the uterus; and among pregnant women, premature birth and low infant birth weight.

    Among other products like face creams, body lotions, and hair conditioners marketed to black women, the report says many show potentially harmful ingredients that mimic the effects of the hormone estrogen. While this is a common issue cited for the general population as well on the database, the EWG report points to studies that show African-Americans had higher urinary concentrations of parabens than the general population. According to the EWG, parabens are the potentially hormone-disrupting chemicals often used as preservatives in personal-care products. Again, this suggests that women of color are disproportionally exposed.

    In response to the bigger social issue of the higher exposure rates of African-Americans to chemicals, from beauty products to food and the environment, organizations like Black Women for Wellness, West Harlem Environmental Action, and Women’s Voices for the Earth have recently launched as both advocates and consumer resources.

    Originally featured on Yahoo Beauty

  • Broccoli Is the Fountain of Youth According To Scientists

    Scientists in the US claim to have discovered a natural compound found in avocado, broccoli and cucumber that has “remarkable anti-ageing effects in mice” – and could also work on humans.

    The researchers, who have started clinical trials involving a small group of people, said older mice given the compound, called NMN, in their water saw an array of beneficial effects. Their level of physical activity increased, bone density and muscles improved, the immune system and liver performed better, their eyesight improved and they even lost weight.

    The researchers began investigating the properties of a protein called NAD, which is involved in energy production in the body.

    As animals get older, they produce less NAD and it is thought this is a part of the ageing process. Attempts to add extra NAD failed, so the researchers looked for a way to boost its production in the body.

    They gave mice NMN, also found in cabbage and edamame, in their drinking water to see if this would boost levels of NAD and have a rejuvenating effect.

    Asked if this worked, lead researcher Professor Shin-ichiro Imai, of Washington University in St Louis, said: “The answer is basically yes. As a matter of fact, NMN has remarkable anti-ageing effects in mice.

    “Those NMN [fed] mice definitely have longer health-span – entire lifespan, we’re not sure, but if this keeps working in this way they could have a longer lifespan as well.

    “We have shown a way to slow the physiologic decline that we see in ageing mice. This means older mice have metabolism and energy levels resembling that of younger mice.”

    And he expressed optimism that the clinical trials with human subjects, underway in Japan, would produce similar results.

    “Since human cells rely on this same energy production process, we are hopeful this will translate into a method to help people remain healthier as they age,” he said.

    However, while there was no sign of it in the study, there could be a significant catch – NAD might also give an energy boost to cancer cells.

    “Some tumour cells are known to have a higher capability to synthesise NAD, so we were concerned that giving NMN might increase cancer incidence,” Professor Imai said. “But we have not seen any differences in cancer rates between the groups [of mice].”

    The researchers, who reported their results in a paper in the journal Cell Metabolism , added the benefits were only experienced by older mice.

    “When we give NMN to the young mice, they do not become healthier young mice,” said Professor Jun Yoshino, who also took part in the research. “NMN supplementation has no effect in the young mice because they are still making plenty of their own NMN.

    “We suspect that the increase in inflammation that happens with ageing reduces the body’s ability to make NMN and, by extension, NAD.”

    A statement about the research issued by Washington University said “high-grade NMN” for human consumption was not commercially available at present, but added “there’s always broccoli”.

    Earlier this year, a different team of scientists revealed they had managed to extend the lifespan of mice by 35 per cent by removing “worn out” cells from the body that have a destructive effect.

    Originally featured on www.independent.co.uk

  • Male Plastic Surgery Skyrocketing With Pricey ‘Daddy-Do-Overs’

    Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Step aside, Snow White; men are paying closer attention to their reflections and investing in their looks with a newfound openness to cosmetic surgery.

    Over the past 20 years, men seeking nips and tucks have shot up more than 325 percent, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. In order of popularity, men are lining up for nose jobs (rhinoplasty), eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty), breast reduction (gynecomastia), liposuction, and face-lifts, reports the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, and now account for more than 10 percent of plastic surgery patients.

    While women have long felt the social implications of a world obsessed with youth, experts say that men are now feeling more of that pinch. “The reality is that the job market is fierce, and many of my patients come in to look and feel younger to boost their self-confidence,” says New York City plastic surgeon Douglas S. Steinbrech, MD, who specializes in male cosmetic surgery. “Guys want to stay competitive in the board room and feel and look good to clients and colleagues,” he says.

    Is a chiseled jawline the new version of a shiny red midlife-crisis convertible? In addition to CEO and boardroom executive types, Steinbrech sees a lot of athletic men staving off the so-called “dad bod” with a “daddy-do-over” that tightens sagging faces and sucks away love handles and beer bellies that have slowly crept on over a couple of decades. Steinbrech even performs pectoral and butt implants on some male patients who want to recapture the jock look of college days gone by.

    Whatever you may fancy, looking good doesn’t come cheap. Nose jobs, liposuction, and male breast reduction cost anywhere from $5K to $8K each on average, and face-lifts can run about $12,000. Eyelid surgery, which is approximately $5,000, is often an add-on to other anti-aging procedures for a completely refreshed look, since the eye area is often the first and most noticeable area to age.

    Millennial men are also heading in to the cosmetic surgeon’s office, much earlier than generations before them, who often waited until retirement years to address advanced aging issues. They’re much more open and comfortable with the idea of plastic surgery, says Steinbrech. This age group tends to opt for more affordable injectable fillers and “Bro-tox,” which are often priced from only a couple hundred to a few hundred dollars and yet still significantly refresh the fac

    Part of the draw is that cosmetic surgery — when performed by a board-certified and experienced doctor — is having far more natural results on men these days. Fears that you’ll end up looking like an aging D-list celebrity in a tabloid headline are diminishing. This month, Kybella, the recently FDA-approved injectable that dissolves neck fat, has been running a television commercial that stars the impressive before-and-after shots of a man looking to make his genetic double chin history.

    Meanwhile, at cosmetic surgery community RealSelf.com, interest in nonsurgical hair-loss treatments have skyrocketed among male readers, who are most concerned with taking action against their receding hairlines. Consumers visited the site to research and view before-and-after photos twice as much this year as compared with last year, show site metrics.

    Follicular Unit Extraction — or FUE — remains the gold standard for both hair transplantation and hair restoration, says Austin, Texas, plastic surgeon Jennifer L. Walden, MD. SmartGraft is a new device that more quickly harvests hair grafts and places them in balding areas, so hair follicles have a better chance of surviving for fuller results. Either procedure starts at about $8,000 to $10,000 and can quickly rack up much higher, depending on the size of the treatment area and the time it takes to do the procedure.

    Younger men aren’t leaving those hairlines to chance; Walden says she sees more men with premature thinning who want to intercept the process before it gets too visually noticeable. “Patients are more apt to call or consult for hair-loss treatments today and not feel embarrassed — cultural shifts have occurred, and cosmetic procedures are just more accepted and understood by the mainstream public,” says Walden.

    Alex, a 30-something who works in financial services in New York City, recently had the popular FUE hair transplant. As someone who is sharply groomed and who works out regularly, he saw it as an extension of how he likes to present and take care of himself, both in his personal and professional life. “It’s vanity. I didn’t like the thinning and recession of my front hairline, so I handled it,” he tells Yahoo Beauty.

    He paid $11,000 for the procedure and worked from home while recovering for a few days afterward, though he says the raw redness of his scalp took a couple of weeks to subside. And he learned that cosmetic surgery isn’t a magic wand and that expectations must be managed. “It is definitely an improvement, and I’m glad I did it — having said that, I expected there to be fuller coverage of the places where the hair follicles were plugged in,” he says. Would he consider other procedures? “If I felt Botox or a neck-lift were necessary at some future point, I’d consider — and maybe even more, if technology improves,” says Alex.

    With male demand for cosmetic procedures only gaining, we think it’s a safe bet that cosmetic technology will do exactly that.

    Originally featured on Yahoo Beauty

  • Jennifer Aniston’s Best Kept Anti-Aging Secrets

    She’s been called “the sexiest woman alive” by Men’s Health and just this year was named “the most beautiful woman alive” by People magazine. So how does the perpetually gorgeous Jennifer Aniston manage to get hotter (and dare we say even more likeable) with each passing year? In a nutshell: By staying real. The spokesperson for Aveeno sat down with InStyle to talk about her favorite skincare tricks, her no nonsense diet, and the truth about aging gracefully. Here, a cribsheet to the 47-year-old’s best beauty tips:

    Tip #1: Stimulate facial muscles, don’t paralyze them

    Aniston feels that many people “lose perspective” and go too far with Botox and plastic surgery. “Why would you want to atrophy muscles anyway?” she asks. “If you don’t workout, eventually everything drops.” To keep her skin taut and smooth, she swears by microcurrent facials. “It’s like a little workout for your face,” she says. During the treatment, an aesthetician places electrically charged pads on the face to stimulate the muscles, immediately tightening and toning the skin. Two places where you can get the treatment: Mila Moursi Skincare Institute and Day Spa in Los Angeles (Classic European Facial, $300) or the Tracie Martyn Skincare Salon in N.Y.C. (Resculpting Facial, $329). If you can’t find a facialist who offers the service near you, consider investing in one of the new at home facial rejuvenation devices such as Nuface Trinity aka the “5-minute face lift” ($325 at sephora.com). This gadget—which is FDA-approved and clinically proven to improve facial contour—uses the same technology dermatologists and aestheticians use. Treatments take only 5 minutes a day (and trust us: you will see a small but noticeable lift after just one use).

    Tip #2: Focus more on texture than wrinkles

    “I love Clear and Brilliant laser treatments,” says the actress, who believes restoring a youthful glow to your skin is more important than obliterating all signs of expression. The 30-minute, non-invasive resurfacing (which costs roughly $300 a pop) “is a great refresher and there’s very little downtime.” Best of all, “it won’t make you look like a peeled tomato.” Aniston is also a big fan of Thermage (about $2,000), a non-invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency waves to stimulate collagen, smoothing and tightening skin after just one 45-minute session.

    Tip #3: Wear less makeup

    Coco Chanel once famously said, “Before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory” and the same rule could be applied to makeup, according to Aniston. “Less is more,” says the star, who learned the value of “peeling away those layers” soon after moving to Hollywood. “I had a boyfriend who always said I looked better without makeup. It took me a while to feel comfortable enough to remove that armor, but I eventually realized he was right.” Aniston—who drinks three to four 23 ounce bottles of Smart Water a day (she is a brand ambassador) and cites “water, sleep and sunscreen” as her “top three anti-aging tips”—uses only a sheer tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier. “I also love the Armani Face Fabric,” she says.

    Tip #4: Make friends with sunscreen

    “When I was younger, I would slather myself in baby oil and do everything in my power to get a burn. I was just completely uneducated,” says the former tanning addict. Nowadays, “with all the steps we’ve taken to get our skin healthy, it really doesn’t make sense to tan.” Though she still loves to occasionally lie out in the sun—“there’s nothing like that vitamin D boost!”—she always wears sunscreen. She swears by Aveeno’s SPF 50. “It’s not too heavy, and it’s extremely moisturizing. It also smells great and won’t make you look like you’re wearing Kabuki makeup.”

    Tip #5: Eat clean but don’t obsess

    “Everything in moderation,” says Aniston, when asked about her food philosophy. Her diet is rich in organic veggies and lean protein. “Breakfast is usually avocado on Ezekiel toast or a smoothie,” she says. Though she tries to limit dairy and gluten, she isn’t always successful (and doesn’t lose any sleep over the occasional indulgence). “I can’t say the ‘no dairy’ thing lasted very long for me,” she admits with a laugh. “Trying to part me and cheese is a difficult task.” She also allows herself the occasional plate of pasta or Mexican food. “It’s not like I have celiac disease,” she says with refreshing honesty. “For me, not eating gluten is more of a vanity thing. A diet heavy in carbs is not that great in terms of weight.”

    Tip #6: Shift your focus

    When you are lying on your deathbed, are you really going to care about having perfectly taut cheeks or a forehead that’s as smooth as a baby’s tush? Aniston thinks not. Part of growing older and wiser is learning to find value in something altogether different. “When I think about real beauty looks like, I think about women like Gloria Steinem,” she says. “She just turned 82 and she is gorgeous. But her beauty has nothing to do with what she looks like.”

    Article orginally featured on InStyle.com

  • A New Sunscreen Study Finds That It Can Reverse Signs of Aging

    This is not a drill. If you found out that one of the most versatile and effective anti-aging formulas out there was something already sitting in your bathroom cabinet, you probably wouldn’t believe it. And who could blame you? But a new study in the journal Dermatologic Surgery shows that sunscreen—yes, sunscreen—can not only protect your skin but also reverse common signs of photoaging, like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.

    We know you’re probably all like, ” Sunscreen, really?” This is like finding out that your nice, totally dependable, but otherwise very boring colleague happens to be a vigilante superhero in her spare time. The study, sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson’s Skin Research Center and led by dermatologists Steven Wang and James Leyden, showed improvements in the many signs of aging caused by the sun, such as texture, overall tone, and fine lines. With just a daily application of moisturizer with SPF 30, participants saw improvements of 52 percent in mottled pigmentation (a.k.a. sun spots), 40 percent in skin texture, and 41 percent in skin clarity after a year of use.

    This is huge, in part because the daily moisturizer in question provided only hydration and sun protection—and zero anti-aging ingredients. How, exactly, such a straightforward formula (compared to other, active-ingredient-packed anti-agers out there) can give these results is still unclear, but Wang has his guesses. “The most plausible answer has to do with skin’s innate regenerative properties,” he explains. “We know that skin turns over every 28 days. By preventing the continual accumulation of more and more damage, we allow the skin to heal on its own.” The sunscreen gives your skin a chance to indulge in some R&R instead of constantly defending itself from UV exposure and repairing damage.

    Originally featured on Allure.com

  • You’re Doing It Wrong: Laser Hair Removal

    Tweeze it. Wax it. Shave it. Thread it. Flip it. Bop it.

    It’s exhausting just thinking of all of the ways women try to get rid of hair. So, when scientists introduced laser hair removal to the beauty industry, Hollywood stars were among the first to adopt the practice. Celebs such as Chrissy Teigen and Khloe Kardashian rallied behind hairlessness, and thus contributed to the rise in demand of laser tools.

    Now, thanks to discount sites like Groupon, prices are much more manageable. Even mere mortals like us can book appointments at celeb hot spots like SEV Aesthetics, where stars like Karreuche , Vanessa Hudgens and Kylie Jenner often frequent, for just $10 to $150.

    No hair for less money sounds great, right?

    Not quite. Discontinuing hair growth is an intricate science that includes skin tone, hair color and hair texture. Those variables determine the type of laser that is best for a patient’s skin. The wrong laser could leave you burned, with darker spots and more hair. Not cute.

    Be wary of those too-good-to-be-true deals—and read this before you make your next hair removal appointment.

    Here’s How it Works: The laser distributes infrared light into the skin at the selected wavelength setting. The light then transfers into heat as it encounters high amounts of melanin, burning the hair follicles. After about 10 days, the “zapped” hair will emerge from the skin and fall with all of your worries, leaving you silky smooth. Initially, the hair will grow back, but this will subside once you’ve completed your recommended number of treatments.

    Find the Right Laser for You Skin Tone: Generally, lasers detect the contrast between skin and hair, making it most effective for women with lighter skin tones and darker hair (à la the Kardashians). The high-intensity light searches for melanin. Women with lighter complexions, or low levels of melanin, can use the laser without their skin being negatively affected.

    When laser hair removal first rose to fame, women with darker skin, or with higher amounts of melanin, had significantly higher chances of burning or hyperpigmentation. However, there have been technological advances within the market that provides alternative lasers to women with darker complexions. (Read: Find out which lasers the salon has before you book your appointment!

    “Our laser machine has two lasers: a Nd:YAG and an alexandrite,” said SEV Aesthetics owner Sevana Petrosian . “The Nd:YAG doesn’t see color [in the skin]; it only burns the root of the hair. It allows us to service clients from all ethnicities.” You may want to avoid lasers called diode and IPL. “I’d stay away from those,” she added.

    Laser Hair Removal Doesn’t Permanently Get Rid of Hair: Once you’ve completed the sessions, it is commonly thought that your hair will never grow back. This is false. The amount of time before regrowth depends on the person. Hair growth is highly dependent on the hormonal levels. Women with higher levels of androgens, including testosterone, will experience regrowth faster. Most women will require a retouch of the treated area after an average of three years.

    You Can’t Laser All Hair: You can laser hair anywhere on the body, but its effectiveness is dependent on hair color and texture. The infrared light is attracted to melanin, so it will miss hair that is lighter. Blonde and “peach fuzz” may require more treatments without the promise of eradication. It is better to use the hair removal tool on areas with hair is thicker and darker, such as your underarms or bikini line.

    Can a hair-free dream become a reality? Absolutely. You just need the right laser for your body.

    Originally featured at EOnline.com

  • Ever Wonder What You Look Like with Botox or Fillers?

    Generally, before and after photos leave a lot to be desired, whether they’re from a TV infomercial for a workout machine or a magazine ad for face cream. But no before and after photos leave more to be desired—or make you feel even more uncertain—than the ones advertising cosmetic work for Botox, fillers, or other anti-aging treatments. Pictures of results sometimes use better lighting and more makeup to fake improvement, the photos are often only two-dimensional (so you can’t always see what’s changed), and, most importantly, it’s not your face in the picture. But new 3D technologies are aiming to change that. In Australia, plastic surgeon Michael Molton, with the help of a software designer, has recently developed a 3D-scanning camera called the SAFV system, that creates a topographical map of his patients’ faces. The final images can be moved side to side and up and down and are particularly ideal for previewing volume changes in the face after filler in cheeks, lips, or facial lines. And, to predict the muscle-freezing effects of Botox, Molton tells New Scientist that 3D video scanning could be next.

    Other than the thrill factor of seeing a computerized version of your own visage—and wondering whether this might be the next big upgrade for iPhone 8—there’s another major benefit of 3D camera scans: You won’t lose perspective. You know those people, be they celebrities or strangers on the street, who so obviously went overboard with cosmetic procedures and you wonder how they got so off track? These before and afters help doctors track progress and could potentially provide a reality check for overeager patients who claim they don’t see improvements.

    For those curious about going under the needle, the Vectra M3 from Canfield is a 3D technology that’s already available in the US, and doctors can also manipulate your rendering like a real-life Facetune to fill, shrink, and smooth so you can see what the work will look like before you decide to get it done. We can’t think of a better way to try out your own Kylie Jenner moment.

    Originally featured in Allure magazine

  • 5 Mistakes That Are Making Your Skin Super Dry

    Sometime around September my sun-kissed glow from summer starts to fade into a dull, rough mask. Dry patches start to pop up on my cheeks and arms, and my makeup seems to look cakey instead of dewy. In fact, this change in my skin is typically the first sign that winter is coming. Bye, bye combination complexion. Hello, dry skin. “If you have skin that easily becomes flaky, tight feeling, or even rough this is likely from dry skin,”Kally Papantoniou, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist in NYC, tells SELF. When you have dry skin, you have to think about skincare a little differently. Things like physical exfoliants, alcohol, and foaming cleanser can make flaky skin even worse. Here’s a list of daily habits that could be contributing to your dry skin.

    1. Using a soapy or acne-fighting cleanser. The number-one thing that could be causing your skin to dry out is your face wash. Beware of foamy and soapy cleansers, which can strip the skin of your natural oils. “There are some cleansers which are fine for normal-to-oily skin types, but if used by those with dry skin, it can be too harsh,” says Papantoniou. “Toners, face masks, and products that are used to treat acne can also be very drying.” “Oil cleansers wash away what we want to clean but leave behind natural oils and they don’t strip your skin of moisture,” she explains.

    2. Turning up the heat in the shower. Although a super hot and steamy shower can feel relaxing, it can be troublesome if you have itchy, dry skin. “Hot water temperature will leech skin of oils and lead to dry skin,” says Papantoniou. The best thing is to keep your water at a warm-to-tepid temperature. Try this Delta Temp2O showerhead ($70, homedepot.com) that comes with a temperature read out built in. In winter, your space heater can also be to blame. The dry heat sucks moisture from the air and your skin. Consider investing in a humidifier, which helps balance out the humidity in the air.

    3. Applying your skincare products in the wrong order. Getting more moisture is only half the battle with dry skin. You also want to use products that lock in the hydration. So, layering is key. After cleansing, apply a moisturizing serum. Then immediately top it with a cream like SkinCeuticals Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2 cream ($125, skinceuticals.com) to restore essential oils and fats to the skin. “This will help to seal in the hydration and give you moisturized skin for longer periods of time, hopefully all day,” says Papantoniou. If you’re still feeling dry, add an oil as the final step. “Rosehip oil or coconut oil will create a stronger water barrier and may be more suitable for an overnight treatment or winter months.”

    4. Using scrubbing exfoliants. Exfoliants that have microbeads (which are banned in the USA) and small scrubbing particles aren’t the only way to get rid of flaky, dead skin. In fact, over-scrubbing can be harsh on delicate, dry skin types. Papantoniou recommends using a chemical exfoliant that is packed with alpha hydroxy acids. “For the body a lotion with lac-hydrin or a glycolic cream will work great,” she says. “And for the face, a glycolic based cream or mild AHA will be best for dry skin types.” Try AmLactin ($23, amazon.com) as an all-over moisturizer and Philosophy Renewed Hope In A Jar ($47, nordstrom.com) on your face.

    5. Buying skincare products with alcohol as a primary ingredient. Alcohol is also on the list of no-nos for sensitive and dry skin types. That is because the harsh ingredient steals moisture away from your skin. “Alcohol-based products are really good at cutting through oils and can disrupt the skin barrier, this leads to even more dry skin,” says Papantoniou. Take note that dry skin is different than eczema and psoriasis. These conditions are typically characterized by itchy, raised, red, or thick flakes that can sometimes appear crusty. And if your dry skin seems to be plaguing more than just your face, it could be a sign of something that’s internally out of whack. “Dry skin can be a sign of hypothyroidism, diabetes, some medications can actually cause dry skin as well,” says Papantoniou. “If you have dry skin all over the body—not just the face—and it is a new change, I would see a physician just to be sure.”

    This story originally appeared on SELF.