• 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.

  • 4 Things to Do Right Now for Younger Looking Skin

    Experts say that some of our most innocent habits could induce serious damage to our skin. With these little shifts, you’ll outsmart them all and stay smooth and lovely.

    1. Get the Right Indoor Lighting

    We know that the sun’s UV rays cause wrinkles, spots, and skin cancer – but now, news comes that taking shelter indoors doesn’t completely put your skin out of harm’s way. “LED lightbulbs emit moderate levels of UV,” explains Mona Gohara, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. “And the overhead lighting in office buildings and stores gives off a type of light that can trigger melasma, a condition that causes brown patches on the face.” But before you resolve to live by candlelight, know this: Indoor lights are far less damaging to skin than the sun, and it’s easy to cut down your exposure at home. Gohara suggests using low-wattage bulbs or energy-saving CFL bulbs, and installing dimmers for overhead lighting. To protect skin once you leave the house, apply an antioxidant serum every morning – Yes to Blueberries Intensive Skin Repair Serum ($10; amazon.com) is a nice one – followed by a broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. Gohara notes that a mineral formula that contains iron oxide, such as SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 ($34; amazon.com), can help prevent melasma.

    2. Turn Down the Heat

    It sounds like something out of a sci-fi flick: Infrared radiation, or IR, is a part of the electromagnetic spectrum that we feel as heat. “It releases from any object that gives off warmth, be it a grill or a steamy sidewalk – and the hotter something is, the more IR it produces,” says dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D., of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Here’s where things get tricky: Moderate, controlled levels of IR can actually be good for skin, triggering collagen and elastin (which is why you see infrared technology in at-home anti-aging light devices), but excess levels have been linked to skin spots and melasma. So what’s the right balance for a youthful complexion? “You don’t have to toss out your blow-dryer or hot iron; just avoid high heat where you can,” Zeichner says. “Don’t linger in front of a hot stove, and use a headset to chat on your mobile phone so the warm screen isn’t by your face.”

    3. Chuck the Gum

    Your third-grade teacher didn’t know it, but she was giving you great anti-aging advicewhen she told you to spit out your gum. “The motions caused by constant gum chewing can lead to creases around the mouth, even sagging jowls,” says Macrene Alexiades, M.D., president of the Dermatology & Laser Surgery Center of New York. She suggests dialing back to once or twice a week, and chewing for no more than 10 minutes at a time. If you usually grab gum to curb snack cravings, reach for a cup of peppermint tea or water with lemon instead. To soften lines around your mouth, dab on a lotion daily that contains wrinkle-fighting peptides and hyaluronic acid to plump skin – or try Alexiades’s 37 Actives Filler Lip Treatment, which contains both ingredients.

    4. Reduce Tech Neck

    Hold the phone! Our mobile devices may keep our lives in order, but they’re not so kind to the delicate skin on our neck. One study found that on average, we check our phones a whopping 150 times a day, looking down each time. “This repeated folding of the neck skin leads to premature wrinkles and a loss of elasticity there, known as ‘tech neck,’” says Zeichner – one more reason why dermatologists stress the importance of using a neck cream that has retinol or peptides twice a day to keep skin taut. “Blend a nickel-size drop from your collarbone to your jaw with upward strokes so you don’t pull on the skin,” says Zeichner. When checking your phone, hold it at eye level to avoid tilting your neck – or better yet, get off text and call your friend.

    Originally featured on Yahoo Beauty from Redbook