• How I Got Better Skin During My Lunch Break

    What really happened when one editor tried out the noninvasive resurfacing laser treatment called Clear + Brilliant. The cost, the procedure, and the results she experienced, from taut hotness to “Oh, how I glow.”

    Procedure: Clear + Brilliant

    What it is: A noninvasive resurfacing laser treatment that promises to even skin tone, boost radiance, reduce pore size, and enhance elasticity by drilling microscopic holes in the surface of the skin and kicking collagen into healing overdrive. Clear + Brilliant is billed as being preventative—according to proponents, a series of once-a-month sessions can keep early signs of aging at bay—as well as restorative. Derms love it because it can deliver Fraxel-like results after only a single treatment, patients love it because it doesn’t render them social pariahs for a week afterward.

    The cost: $300 and up.

    Editor’s take: Laserwise, I don’t think I’m ready for the big guns, but my skin has been looking decidedly blah lately, a result of frequent air travel and a noncommittal relationship with daily sunscreen. I didn’t enjoy much outdoor fun this summer, but a whole coterie of little brown spots have popped up on my cheeks, eager to join the party nonetheless. It’s time for some zapping, so I make haste to Dr. Brandt Dermatology Associates in New York City.

    First, a nurse applies a topical numbing cream that looks like cake frosting (but tastes, I accidentally discover, like bitter, mouth-deadening sadness); once it’s kicked in, dermatologist Robert Anolik, MD, begins the treatment, gliding the small Clear + Brilliant handpiece across my cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. The sensation is weird but not unpleasant—it feels sort of like there’s an electric cat tongue licking my face—and it’s over in about 10 minutes.

    The Results:

    Immediately after the session, I look and feel like someone who has been way too enthusiastic about roasting s’mores: My face has the same taut hotness that you get from sitting too long in front of an open flame. After a few hours, the heat dissipates, but the redness, and a very mild swelling, remains overnight. For the next three days, my skin feels sandpapery (although strangely not dry) but looks amazing: The discolorations are already gone, and oh, how I glow. There’s no peeling, no blotchiness. By day five my face is noticeably springier and plumper, clearer and more radiant than it has been in months, if not years. Sold!

  • Super Ingredients for Skin Moisture and Hydration

    The ingredients list—consider it the nutritional label of your beauty products. You can find out a ton by glancing at this long list of names and formulations, including what’s going to give your skin the extra hydration it needs. Come summer, after hours spent in a drying chlorine/water combo and out in the sun, it will definitely benefit from a regular treatment of moisturizer and obviously from keeping your body hydrated by drinking water in general. Don’t know what to look for? Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best moisturizer ingredients in skin care products (there’s a bunch, FYI), some of which you may already be lathering on after cleansing.

    Hyaluronic Acid
    In cleansers, lotions, creams and more, hyaluronic acid is clearly a superstar. It’s all about maintaining a moisture balance in your skin, which may surprise you given its “acid” surname. So how does it work? Hyaluronic acid is a humectant, which means it pulls hydration from the environment—and reportedly even deeper in your skin—to the outer layers to plump things up and nourish. Essentially, it helps you hold onto to moisture before it escapes and is found naturally in your skin.

    Glycerin
    This is another humectant to know about (think drawing moisture in!) It’s found in a ton of moisturizers and will help retain moisture and plump up areas of dry skin, meaning it doesn’t just smooth out your skin at the surface. That being said, you’re not going to go to the drugstore and pick up a bottle of glycerin—it’ll most likely be included in a cocktail of other skin hydrating ingredients.

    The Oils
    Oils are huge right now, and for good reason. Some service as beneficial emollients that are very similar to your skin’s natural oil, sebum, absorbing into your skin quickly, softening the surface with providing moisture. Think jojoba oil and it’s placement in a wide variety of moisturizing products. Another plus of oils that many are plant-based and include other skin helping agents such as antioxidants, something that will help prevent free radicals from damaging the barrier of your skin that controls moisture, fatty acids, and vitamins. Some major ones are olive, avocado, coconut, and argan oil.

    Ceramides
    These are lipid molecules found in the matrix of the outer most layer of your skin, which is reportedly linked to the skin’s barrier function—keeping things in and out! And because of that, ceramides have been said to help with the hydration balance of the skin. CeraVe, a well-known line of skin treatments, is based on replenishing your skin with ceramides that have been lost, thus leading to dry skin. Returning this molecule back into the skin will the help your epidermis protect against moisture loss in the future.

    Orginally featured on StyleCaster.com

  • 13 Terrible Skin Habits You Need To Quit Immediately

    You always have the best of intentions with your skin care routine. Each day, you drink water, you cleanse, and you prime. You are doing a lot of things very, very right. Unfortunately, even with a dozen great habits – chances are there’s some really terrible ones sticking around for the ride.

    Avoid clogged pores during a workout:
    It’s a typical problem, we run to the gym without enough time to take off makeup. Working out with makeup on can cause a buildup of excess oil and a higher risk of clogged pores. Certain kinds of makeup contain oils that are more likely to clog pores along the forehead, nose and chin area. “Sweating opens up pores and when there’s a layer of makeup on top of it, combined with dirt and bacteria, it can lead to breakouts categorized as acne cosmetica,” says Dr. David Bank, a dermatologist and author of Beautiful Skin: Every Woman’s Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age and Founder & Director of The Center For Dermatology, Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in Mt. Kisco, New York. Either go to the gym with a clean face or remove makeup prior to working out to reduce chances of clogged pores.

    Avoid picking scars:
    People tend to pick away at them, thinking they will disappear but unfortunately the scar still remains, they are just picking away at the scab underneath. “For smaller scars caused by shaving nicks or deep scratches that are less than six months old, use an at-home silicone cream to help flatten and remove redness. The cream should be applied twice a day for two months in order to get the best results. For more substantial and older scars, the best recommendation is to have at least four sessions of vascular laser treatments or a Fraxel laser treatment to help reduce the scar itself and restore the skin to its natural color,” says Dr. Bank.

    Forgetting your neck and chest:
    The skin on your neck and chest is just as important as your face, and equally as delicate. “Any anti-aging product you use on your face should also be used on your neck and chest!” says plastic surgeon Dr. Joseph Rucker.

    Diet:
    You are what you eat! You’d be surprised how much impact dairy has on the skin. Inflammation-causing dairy can wreak havoc on cystic acne sufferers.”Your best bet: Un-sweetend Almond milk. My personal favorites: Silk Un-sweeted Almond Milk or West Soy’s Un-sweetend Organic Vanilla Soy Milk,” says Jolie Martin, corrective skincare expert at SKINNEY Medspa.

    Picking pimples
    There are many reasons for not picking pimples. It can lead to scarring of the face and if aggressive enough, you will end up with pock marks or hyperpigmentation (dark spots) on your face. “At the very least you will scab your face which is more difficult to hide with makeup than the original blemish,” says Gabriela Santana-Blackburn, Executive Director of Esthetics and Teacher Training at Tricoci University of Beauty Culture. All that pressure on a pimple that is not ready to be extracted can lead to a rupture below the skin surface, which in turn will lead to more breakouts. This can turn into a vicious circle that will lead to your skin never being clear of the problem. You are better off leaving this to professionals who know how to extract properly without the adverse effects.

    Over-exfoliating:
    Exfoliation is a wonderful thing for your skin but too much of a good thing is definitely bad. Over-exfoliating can lead to irritated and flaking skin. This makes putting on makeup a nightmare and can also lead to sensitivity issue. “Sometimes our guests can’t get the facial they need or want because their skin is simply too sensitized and everything burns. We have to soothe the skin and get them to stop exfoliating so that we can do more,” says Santana-Blackburn. Exfoliating at home is best done no more than a couple of times a week using a scrub (with smooth beads and not rough ground shells) or a gentle enzyme or acid peel.

    Watch the blow-drier:
    Extreme heat from the blow-drier can leave you with broken capillaries, which can become permanently broken over time, says Dr. Rucker.

    Sleeping in makeup:
    No matter how tired we are after a long day at work or going out with friends, it is really important to take the time to care for your skin at night. If you have an acne/ oily skin, it is imperative to wash away all that excess oil that your skin produced during the day – not to mention all the makeup that was applied and worn during the day which can lead to clogged pores. You also want to wash away all of the pollutants that skin is exposed to during the day – this is especially important to maintaining youthful skin.

    Resting your chin on your hand:
    Over time, this can lead to sagging, fine lines and wrinkles. Practice good posture and avoid the chin rest.

    Rubbing your eyes:
    Rubbing your eyes can lead to fine lines around the eye area. “Remove eye makeup by pressing gently on the eye with a cotton pad soaked
    in eye makeup remover. Avoid rubbing itchy, tired eyes and instead use eye drops to alleviate the dryness,” says Beverly Hills Aesthetician, Gina Mari.

    The surrounding eye area has the thinnest skin on the face, and it’s the first to show the signs of aging. Pulling on the skin while putting in contacts, applying eyeliner, or rubbing aggressively to remove stubborn eye makeup can unnecessarily create wear and tear on the collagen and elasticity fibers within the skin. “This can cause visible lines and wrinkles prematurely, so be sure to handle this delicate area with care. Also, always apply eye cream with the ring finger (it’s the weakest) and use a gentle patting motion to avoid rubbing and tugging,” says celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau.

    Sleeping on your face:
    This habit can cause unwanted fine lines and wrinkles so always try to fall asleep on your back to avoid unsightly lines that could have been prevented.

    Smoking, chewing gum and sipping from a straw:
    We all know smoking takes a toll on skin, but many people don’t realize how much. Smoking is the most common cause of wrinkles around the mouth, often called smoker’s lines. Drinking from a straw can create similar lines if the motion is repeated enough. “Chewing gum can also cause wrinkles to form around the mouth, as well as create other issues in the mouth structure. Breaking these habits will help prevent premature lines and other signs of aging!” says dermatologist Dr. Joel Schlessinger.

    Licking and nibbling on your lips:
    Dry lips are uncomfortable, but licking your lips is not the best solution. Saliva dries, taking any natural moisture with it, says Dr. Schlessinger. The result is dry, cracked and chapped skin.

    Originally featured on Stylecaster.com

  • The Top Myths About Sun Protection

    When the sun is strong, most of us have the common sense to apply (and reapply) sunscreen, but there are so many misconceptions about SPF. We asked Alicia Barba, MD, board-certified dermatologist, and Stephen Lynch, PhD., research and innovation at SkinCeuticals, to set the record straight on some sunscreen myths so we can all have a safe, happy summer.

    Myth: Dark skin doesn’t need sunscreen/can’t get melanoma

    You might laugh, but this misconception causes a lot of harm. “Darker skin tones are less prone to skin cancer, but this myth means signs are ignored until there’s a bleeding lesion so far advanced that chances of survival are diminished,” says Barba, who urges everyone, regardless of skin tone, to use sunscreen and have their skin checked regularly.

    Myth: A base tan protects you

    Just like the myth that you have to burn once to prevent burning all summer, this is also wrong. Just because you can tan doesn’t mean you should . “A base tan is nature’s way of producing sun protection because you’ve been irradiated,” says Barba. “However, it doesn’t lessen your risk of skin cancer, and you’ll age your skin exponentially with constant sun tanning.”

    Myth: You don’t need to use sunscreen inside

    Barba’s advice is simple: All contact with sunlight requires protection. “Any exposure, from an office or car window to walking from building to building, requires SPF.”

    Myth: The number on sunscreen is proportionate to the number of minutes of sun protection

    Wrong again! The number has nothing to do with exposure time — it’s about the strength of protection against the sun’s harmful rays. “As defined by the FDA, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin relative to unprotected skin,” says Lynch. “It’s a measure of protection a given product provides against UVB-induced damage.”

    Here’s how to do the math — it’s simple, we swear: SPF 15 allows 1/15 of harmful UVB rays to reach the skin. The remaining 14/15 means you’re protecting against 93% of UVB radiation. So SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 prevents 98%.

    Myth: The SPF in makeup is enough

    Think about the amount of sunscreen you apply at the beach and how you cover every inch of skin from ear to ear, neck to hairline. We’re guessing you’re not as heavy handed with your makeup application, so it’s just not enough. “It’s good enough to cover you when you’re walking from your car to work,” says Barba. “If you’re outside longer than 15 minutes, you need higher SPF and must reapply.”

    Myth: One application of sunscreen in the morning is enough for the whole day

    It turns out reapplying is just as important as the first coat. According to Barba, sunscreen gets consumed once the light hits it, which means you have to reapply regularly to remain protected. “If you apply in the morning and are outside for three hours, that protection is gone.”

    Myth: You don’t need sunscreen during off-peak hours

    According to Barba, the sun’s powerful rays beam can cause damage no matter what time it is. Therefore, if you’re outside at any point for longer than 15 minutes, you need to lather up with some SPF. “You can still get burned at 8 am as well as after 4 pm,” she says.

    Myth: Sunscreen on your face, arms, back, and legs is enough

    That’s a great start, but there are a few areas our good doctor would like to add to your SPF coverage strategy, including the ears, nose, hands and the tops of your feet. Also, remember your scalp, especially if you have thinning or less hair. “I tell patients who are balding to wear a hat,” says Barba.

    Myth: Melanoma is only caused by sun exposure

    Not to scare you (OK, maybe a little,) but melanoma can strike without sun exposure, which makes regular skin checks so incredibly vital. “Melanoma between fingers and toes, common in people of color, is typically hereditary,” says Barba. This makes regular mole checks vital for places the sun never shines. “Sun exposure makes the risk higher, but isn’t always the main factor.”

    So, grab that sunscreen and enjoy a little fun in the sun. Just remember these tips and tricks to maximize your sun protection so you can enjoy years and years of easy summers, happy and healthy, in the skin you’re in.

  • Dermatology Recommendedd Skin Treatments for All Ages

    To our knowledge, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow — two celebs in their 40s whose faces look as if they haven’t aged a day since 21 — haven’t gone under the knife for the sake of flawless skin. Their faces aren’t pulled back like masks and their eyes appear to be in the same location they were 20 years ago. But that doesn’t mean their youthful glows are simply the result of genetics and a macrobiotic diet, though we’re sure luck and healthy habits play a major role.

    Beauty experts say it’s quite possible Lopez, Paltrow and countless others have benefited from skin enhancements, which is a polite way of saying, they haven’t had major work done, but few women get to 45 (Lopez’s age) with so few wrinkles, fine lines and signs of hyperpigmentation if they haven’t regularly taken their cars into the shop for maintenance.

    “There are several reasons why women are looking better for longer,” said. Dr. Chynna Steele, a dermatologist and founder of Steele Dermatology. “Lasers and procedures can be part of it, but so is skincare products, and fillers are also a major component. In general, it’s all about addressing very small, minor signs of aging before they get worse and worse, and become major signs of aging. It’s a lot easier to do things to keep the skin looking young, firm, and healthy than to try to fix it once it looks old, saggy, wrinkled, etc.”

    Here’s the lowdown on nine in-office procedures that experts say work wonders.

    In your 20s

    Before you step foot into a dermatologist’s office, Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute says there is one crucial step you should be taking at home — and we all know what that is, right? “When you’re in your twenties, wrinkles may not be your top concern but this is the best decade to maximize preventative measures to slow down the aging clock,” Waibel said. “When someone is in their twenties, it’s a great time to start a good skin care regimen including tretinoin and using sunblock 365 days of the year.”

    Cosmetic treatments recommended for this age group include:

    Vascular lasers may be used in combination with IPL (photofacial) or BBL devices in the same treatment. These remove brown spots and sun damage for optimal skin health in your twenties. “These procedures are lunchtime procedures with virtually no downtime — perhaps a bit red for a couple of days but fine to cover with makeup,” Waibel said. “Starting these procedures early — especially the BBL — has the ability to repair the appearance of aged skin, delay and help prevent signs of skin aging.”

    Chemical peels. In order to maintain good skin texture and tone over time, Steele recommends regular chemical peels, which work by deeply exfoliating the skin’s outer layer (a lunchtime peel), outer and middle layers (medium peel, which requires seven to 14 days to heal) or middle layer (deep peel, which will take between 14 to 21 days to heal). The regenerated skin that appears from beneath the old layer is smoother and less flawed.

    In your 30s

    Botox and fillers. Botox and fillers can address very early signs of aging that you see in the late 20s and 30s, Steele said — including that pesky line between the brows we develop from frowning. “When you’re young you only get the lines when you frown, but as you get older the lines become sort of ‘etched’ in your skin where they are there even when you’re not frowning,” Steele said. “With more time, they become more deeply etched. The best use of toxin is to treat these lines before they become etched — soften the movement so that you don’t pull so hard on the frown muscles. For major celebs who never seem to be aging, they started early with toxin to soften muscle movements with frowning and squinting to prevent forehead lines and crow’s feet from ever really developing in a significant way.”

    Fraxel laser treatments. “The thirties bring noticeable signs of aging, which include skin discolorations as well as wrinkles (crow’s feet, frown lines, smile lines),” Waibel said. “Uneven skin color, dull texture, mildly loose elastic skin and fine lines may be significantly improved with non-ablative fractional (Fraxel) laser treatments. One or two Fraxel treatments per year can return your skin’s glow.”

    In your 40s

    “By the forties it is all out war against aging,” Waibel said. “Aging gracefully requires two to three visits to your dermatologist per year. Sometimes our genetics and healthy lifestyles keep our skin looking beautiful, but for most women some reparative work occurs during this time. In addition to good skin care, sunblock daily, neurotoxins and fillers, more aggressive laser therapy can give us that dewy, youthful skin of our twenties.”

    Laser Resurfacing. This treatment is made of laser light that is broken up into separate beams that treat a portion of the skin’s surface, Waibel said. “These beams send microscopic columns of energy into the skin that destroy the ‘old looking’ skin and the subsequent healing produces fresh skin that looks and feels softer and smoother.”

    Fractional lasers. These lasers give way to dewy skin by inciting new collagen production. They may cause minimal tightening because there is some aspect of collagen production. “Though these treatments do require some downtime, they have the ability to treat and tone skin and get skin back to a youthful state,” Waibel said.

    Article originally featured on SheKnows.com

  • Help Me I’m Pore: How to Unclog, Shrink, and Banish Pores for Good

    You’d be hard-pressed to find an instance where I didn’t use “pores” and “obsessed” in the same sentence—to call it a thorn in my side is an understatement. As a firm believer that skincare is the best makeup of all, enlarged pores are the bane of my existence. But as fixated as I am on them, they still mystify me.

    While I’m committed to tackling the problem at every stage, I want to proceed with caution so as not to exacerbate it like I’ve done in the past. Pores can be so sensitive. To make sure I’m doing *all* the right things, I looked to two experts, celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau and dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., at Schweiger Dermatology Group, to break down exactly how I can get rid of these pore problems once and for all.

    To Unclog

    Exfoliate. “To get blackheads and clogged pores clean, you must get extractions from an experienced esthetician on a regular basis, ideally monthly. Without a doubt, nothing will clean them out more effectively than manual extractions—not even a facial cleansing brush.” —Renée Rouleau

    Do mechanical exfoliation at home. “There are steps you can take at home to gently resurface your skin and prevent dead cells from clogging your pores. Gentle (key word!) brushes will remove build up of dead skin cells and can be done on a daily basis—look for a soft mechanical brush or a gentle over-the-counter skin scrub and make sure your skin is prepped by washing it with warm water and a mild cleanser beforehand. Scrubbing too hard will only irritate and inflame the skin, causing it to look red and puffy. Go slow, and play nice with your pores.” —Rachel Nazarian, M.D.

    Use salicyclic acid. “It’s the best ingredient for penetrating into the pore lining and helping to keep them clean. It’s a keratolytic beta hydroxy acid (BHA) famous for its ability to smooth the skin without causing irritation, reduce acne-causing bacteria, and oil to prevent blemishes, all while penetrating the pores to help clear out impurities.” —RR

    Soothe with steam. “The heat that the steam produces will raise the temperature of the skin, therefore softening the hardened oil in the pore for easier extraction and deep pore cleansing.” —RR

    To Shrink

    Get chemical peels. “Chemical peels help to make the surface of the skin look smooth, which minimizes the appearance of pores—but it also cleans them out and allows them to actually shrink by helping to lift off the dead skin cells which can accumulate and clog them up.” —RN

    Use retinol. “Retinols are Vitamin A based topicals used for their anti-aging and anti-wrinkle properties. In the same way they work for wrinkles, they can plump up skin by increasing collagen production and minimizing the pores. They also decrease oil gland production and size, which can help pores appear smaller. Also, since black-heads can exacerbate the size of the pores, topical retinoids for acne can help clean them out to even out the skin texture and allow the pores to close up and clean out.” —RN

    To Banish

    Use sunscreen. “Sun is a complete pore-size inducer! In every way that collagen helps to support smaller pores, and gives plumpness to your skin, the sun breaks it down and can make pores larger and in some ways “baggier” by decreasing elasticity. Protect your pores (and the rest of your skin) with daily sunscreen—a sun-damaged pore is an enlarged, inelastic one.” —RN

    Try a laser treatment. “Lasers are a fantastic way to address pore problems. Fraxel and Laser Genesis are my two favorite non-ablative lasers for this. Fraxel smoothes out the top layer of the skin like a gentle-sandblaster while stimulating an increase in collagen to plump up from inside. Laser Genesis is a much milder way to do the same thing, working to smooth out the skin and to stimulate the fibroblast in deeper layers to plump up. Because Laser Genesis is so much milder, it would require several more treatments. This is one real way to actually change the size of pores.” —RN

    Originally published in marie Claire

  • Stop! 10 Ways You’re Using Your Clarisonic Totally Wrong

    Dermatologists, beauty editors, and celebrities alike swear by the Clarisonic cleansing brush! However, when Clarisonic cofounder Dr. Robb Akridge met with PopSugar writer Jessica Cruel she discovered something horriyfing…she’d been missing some crucial steps in her daily Clarisonic routine!

    Cleanse more effectively, check out her tips from Clarisonic cofounder Dr. Robb Akridge:

    1) You’re not using enough face wash. The first time you use your brush Dr. Robb recommends filling the entire inner circle with cleanser (about a quarter-sized amount). Then, you can adjust accordingly for your skin type.
    2) You’re not using enough water. Just like your toothbrush, you need to thoroughly soak your Clarisonic in water to get the ultimate pore-cleaning action.
    3) You’re sharing your brush head with your boyfriend. First of all — ew. Just no. Even though the Clarisonic doesn’t harbor bacteria, you would be swapping genetic material in an entirely new way. Just get him his own brush head. If he’s already done the deed, soak your brush head in rubbing alcohol for a few seconds.
    4) You don’t fine-tune your brush head. As an extra step you can remove the outer ring of the Clarisonic brush head and use the inner circle in that tight crevice around the nose. Just beware of extra splashing!
    5) You don’t clean it with shampoo. Dr. Robb recommends cleansing the Clarisonic after every use with a bit of shampoo to keep the bristles clear of residue and oil.
    6) You stopped using it because of a breakout. Transient acne is a potential side effect for first-time Clarisonic users. The stimulation of the skin can cause bacteria to rise to the surface in the form of a pimple. The solution: Scale back your use to once a day, but keep with it. Things should clear up after about two weeks of continual use.
    7) You don’t clean under the brush head. Once a month remove your brush head and cleanse the well below with soap and water to keep everything squeaky clean.
    8) You use your Clarisonic with an exfoliating cleanser. Double the exfoliation is not a good thing in this case. Avoid any cleansers with microbeads or rough particles.
    9) You don’t replace your brushes every three months. Dr. Robb says it isn’t the bacteria you need to get rid of, it’s more about the efficiency of the machine. Over time the bristles begin to clump together, so a replacement is required!
    10) You don’t restart the cycle for your neck and décolletage. Go ahead and push that button again to give your neck and collarbone a good antiaging scrub.

    Originally featured on PopSugar

  • How to Scrub Your Body Like a Man

    Emerging from a harsh winter, men are shedding their clothing and, sometimes if they’re not careful, too much of their skin.

    “You get that fresh and clean feeling from a good body scrub,” said Raymonde Green, a marketing executive in Manhattan. Five mornings a week, he works out at the gym and showers there afterward, a process that involves “a quick scrub with a washcloth,” he said.

    Later on, things get more intense. “I’ll shower again at night and use a hard luffa with this Dove Men’s body and face wash,” Mr. Green said. “It gets a nice lather going.”

    He is not alone in his aggressive scrubbing regimen, but men should be careful about overdoing it, said Dr. David Colbert, a Manhattan-based dermatologist whose clients include the actor Kyle MacLachlan and the interior designer Nate Berkus.

    “Scrubbing is great for skin cell turnover,” Dr. Colbert said, “but I actually have to be careful when I recommend it. Yes, men have thicker skin than women — I mean that literally, not figuratively — and have more oil glands and sweat more, so they should scrub more. But take it easy there, Champ! This is not a competition of who can wipe their skin off.”

    Dr. Colbert recommends that men use a gentle exfoliant once a week. “A luffa or brush is O.K., but it’s a breeding ground for bacteria, so you have to replace it every couple of months,” he said. “I’d stay away from straight pumice stones. You can actually give yourself calluses. It’s just too easy to overdo it with pumice.”

    For he-men who may not know their own strength, there is the Clarisonic Smart Profile face and body brush, a battery-operated device with a long handle and a gently bristled oscillating head. “The machine runs at a certain speed — it’s easier to avoid trouble,” said Dr. Lauri Tadlock, a dermatologist in Bellevue, Wash., and a vice president at Clarisonic.

    Another great option is Skinceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub, a mild gel cleanser with natural ingredients (utilizing diatomaceous earth, since plastic microbeads are an environmental hazard) polishes away dead skin cells

    Springtime is a prime season for men to rid themselves of dead skin. “You actually should never exfoliate during weather extremes,” Dr. Colbert said. “You’re taking a layer off your skin, and it leaves it vulnerable, whether in cold or heat.”

    Orginially featured in New York Times by Bee Shapiro

  • With ‘Text Neck’ Comes…Turkey Neck

    It’s been pretty widely documented that constantly looking down at your smart phone and favorite electronic devices can cause chronic pain to creep up your spine — the term “ Text Neck ” was coined last year when a study showed that craning the neck over a cell phone to text, tweet, or check Facebook can exert from 10 to 60 extra pounds of weight on the head of an adult.

    But there’s another aspect of Text Neck which has not yet been discussed — but which, to the youth and beauty minded, is even worse.

    Dermatologists and plastic surgeons around the country are citing an increase in patients looking to address sagging jowls and wrinkled necks, which they say is in part due to the high tech age. “With such thin skin on the neck, looking down at your phone constantly can cause collagen and elastin to break down and lead to deep wrinkles and sagging,” says Stephen S. Park , president of the American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery ( AAFPRS ).

    We’ll call it Text Turkey Neck.

    The effects of all that texting on your spine can lead to a whopping 60 pounds of extra pressure. Now just imagine how that added weight and movement can stretch your neck skin. (Photo courtesy of Kenneth K. Hansraj, MD)

    While holding and propping devices up to eye level is ideal, there are also other preventative measures you can take to strengthen neck skin’s resistance to repetitive movement. “Topical retinoid and retinol creams stimulate collagen and keep the skin elastic, and formulas with antioxidants fend off potential damage from other aggressors like UV light exposure, pollution and cigarette smoke, which can also lead to premature skin aging,” advises Joshua Zeichner , MD, director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai Hospital Department of Dermatology.

    The trick is to remember to apply these anti-aging creams to your neck daily. Additionally, wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 on your face and neck every day will help protect against damaging sun rays that are the biggest culprit of aging to this delicate area of skin overall; and as a bonus, it will also help prevent skin cancer.

    If you’re seeking a more dramatic intervention, options have abounded in the doctor’s office this past year. “ Ultherapy uses ultrasound energy to heat tissue under the surface of skin, triggering the natural production of collagen to lift and tighten loose necks,” says Doris Day, MD, RealSelf Dermatologist Advisor. Day also says injecting Botox in the chin can tighten the jawline in less severe cases. And all eyes are on the pending FDA approval of ATX-101 , an injectable that permanently reduces small pockets of fat, and has been clinically tested with success on sagging necks.

    Digital device addiction can also lead to chronic pain problems. Tilting your head forward loads an additional 10 pounds on the upper back and neck, which can result in a condition known as Forward Head Posture (FHP), where the normal healthy curve of the skeletal neck is straightened, says chiropractor Evelyn Haworth , DC. “FHP causes the jaw to clench, which can result in TMJ and headaches, and can lead to long term muscle strain, disc herniation, arthritis and pinched nerves,” she adds. Studies have also shown that FHP can result in up to a 50 percent reduction in endorphin production, the natural opiates that help you sleep, experience feelings of well-being, and reduce pain sensations in the body.

    It all sounds like doom and gloom — but better postural habits can prevent and heal damage you may have already done. “When sitting or standing, pretend there’s a spotlight on your upper chest, and shine that light up and forward,” says Haworth. Proper neck positions during sleep can also go a long way in helping. Slumbering on your back with a pillow that supports the curve of the neck is best, and side sleepers should think, “chin up” instead of curling the head forward, she advises.

    Another potential solution: Voice texting. By holding your phone up to your mouth to speak into it without tilting your head downward, you’ll avoid the movement that can cause wrinkles.

    A couple of gadgets exist to address postural neck issues. Prism glasses show a 90-degree downward view, so that you can look straight ahead and see device screens in your lap. And Haworth is the creator of the Kacelia Tru-Align , an at-home floor system that resets posture and spinal alignment to relieve pain by targeting key points along the body with the help of pads and gravity. And let’s not forget that last option — you can put down the device and look up at the world, and simply stand up straighter like mom always told you.

    Article featured by Grace Gold from Yahoo Health

  • Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Lasers (But Were Too Freaked Out to Ask)

    We’re not going to lie—the thought of skin lasers makes us a little skittish. But after hearing that these treatments are the driving force behind Jennifer Aniston and Kim Kardashian’s flawless complexions, we were intrigued. With a long list of questions, we called up Dr. Robert Anolik, a dermatologist from Dr. Brandt Dermatology Associates , to find out what the deal is with these raved-about in-office procedures. Turns out lasers are not only an effective way to improve the surface and tone of your skin—if you can afford them—they’re also not as scary as you think. Thankfully there are less pricey alternatives, too.

    What are the benefits of laser treatments?

    Lasers tackle some of the frustrating skin problems that many of us suffer from, including sun damage, age spots, and even ruddiness, quickly and effectively with minimal recovery time. According to Dr. Anolik, they can also minimize the appearance of wrinkles and acne scars.

    What do lasers actually do ?

    Most skin resurfacing treatments are performed with one of two popular lasers: the Clear + Brilliant Laser , a gentle one great for routine maintenance and brightening, and the Fraxel Dual Laser , a more aggressive variation used to correct skin issues like deep lines and acne scars. Other lasers include the VBeam, which is used to target broken blood vessels, and Ruby, which concentrates on skin pigment molecules to treat hyperpigmentation.

    During a resurfacing treatment, lasers are set to a specific wavelength safe for your skin type and applied to the face in a grid-like pattern. As the laser heats up small water particles on the layer of skin called the dermis, they trigger a healing response in the surrounding collagen fibers, which leads to the creation of new, healthier collagen. The result: brighter, more youthful looking skin.

    Does it hurt?

    The Clear + Brilliant Laser can cause a bit of discomfort, which is why half of Dr. Anolik’s patients choose to apply a numbing cream 15 minutes before their treatment. For the Fraxel Dual Laser, which is more aggressive, patients are required to wear a numbing cream for an hour before sitting down for treatment.

    What’s the recovery process like?

    When the laser’s heat is absorbed into your skin, it triggers a healing response. The great news is that this leads to new, healthy cells. The bad news is that this will result in some inflammation, meaning pink, sensitive skin. “[Inflammation] is often an indication that the response that we want is happening,” explains Dr. Anolik. So if you emerge from your derm looking a little red, don’t panic. For the Clear + Brilliant treatment, patients should expect five hours of recovery before heading back out into the world. The Fraxel Dual treatment leaves patients with dry, irritated skin for up to five days.

    So, what are the risks?

    “The risks are extraordinarily low when these procedures are done properly,” says Dr. Anolik, who stresses that anyone interested in laser treatments should seek out a board-certified dermatologist, who will be able to select the correct laser and wavelength for your skin type and specific issues.

    How much does it cost?

    The short answer is a lot. For a full face treatment, the Clear + Brilliant will run you $1,000, and the Fraxel Dual treatment costs about $1,250. Treating smaller areas like the forehead will cost $500 to $800. For maintenance and mild brightening, Dr. Anolik advises seeing your dermatologist three to four times a year. For those addressing more serious conditions like scarring, he says, some patients opt for monthly treatments.

    Are there other ways to get similar results?

    If you can’t afford (or don’t want to go) the laser route, the next best option is an effective at-home treatment designed to target your problem areas. Dr. Anolik recommends using a targeted serum from Dr. Brandt’s Laser FX series, an antioxidant-rich moisturizer like the xyy face cream , and SPF on a daily basis. The Laser FX products, released this year, include three different serums that target common issues treated with lasers in the office: Bright addresses dark spots and dull skin with Vitamin C, Perfect targets wrinkles and fine lines by boosting collagen production, and Lift helps to firm sagging skin by strengthening collagen fibers.

    Original article featured on BirchBox.com from Maura M. Lynch