Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

How Smoking Ruins Your Skin March 31, 2011

Filed under: Aging,Skin and Skincare — askanesthetician @ 6:14 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I guess I remain surprised that people still smoke.  It has been proven time and again that smoking causes cancer and can kill you – so I ask myself “why do people still smoke?”.  I even know lots of estheticians who smoke which surprises me on so many levels especially since an esthetician knows very well how smoking can ruin your skin.

Let me break it down for you how smoking ruins your skin:  smoking causes your blood vessels to constrict which means your skin literally starts to asphyxiate – you’re starving your skin cells of oxygen.  Since oxygen isn’t getting to your cells in order to help them rebuild they don’t regenerate as quickly as normal and your skin cell turnover slows down.  As you continue to smoke you’ll get fine lines around your lips, and your skin will be rougher and thicker not to mention dull in color.  The carcinogens in the tobacco smoke degrades collagen and elastin, just as sunlight does, so your skin becomes less elastic and more wrinkled over time.  As you smoke you overuse certain muscles in the face leaving you not only with the wrinkles around the mouth, as already mentioned, but with lines between your eyes and crow’s-feet from squinting all the time (see the photo below as an illustration of what this looks like).  Additionally, smoking can make undereye circles worse.  And if all those bad things that can happen to your skin from smoking aren’t enough to convince you to quit smoking also know that smoking is associated with the development of skin cancer because of the build-up of toxins around your face and mouth and the damage caused to the DNA in the skin tissue from the smoke.

I’ll leave you with this statistic as a last thought.  According to The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 23% of smokers think smoking looks attractive, versus 1.5% of nonsmokers.  So smoking does NOT equal sexy.


SourceSimple Skin Beauty by Dr. Ellen Marmur – pages 46-47

Further readingGet Serious with Clients About Smoking Skin Inc.

Does Secondhand Smoke Cause Damage to My Skin? – Renee Rouleau



How Often Do You Need to Change Your Skincare Products? March 28, 2011


If you’ve had the same skincare routine for some time are you doing something wrong?  Is it imperative to change your skincare products periodically? 

The straightforward answer to this question is no.  If your skin looks good and you are happy with your appearance there is no need to change the skincare products you are using.  Your skincare products do not stop working after a certain amount of time nor do they lose their effectiveness in treating your skin over time (as long as they are not expired, of course).  There is no such thing as your skin getting used to a product thus rendering the product ineffective. 

I actually really love Paula Begoun’s answer to this question:

Myth #19:
Your skin adapts to the skin-care products you are using and you need to change to new products every now and then.

Skin doesn’t adapt to skin-care products any more than your body adapts to a healthy diet. If spinach and grapes are healthy for you they are always healthy, and they continue to be healthy, even if you eat them every day. The same is true for your skin, as long as you are applying what is healthy for skin (and avoiding negative external sources such as unprotected sun exposure) it remains healthy.


If you’ve always used a certain moisturizer and it works for your skin by all means continue to use that product.  Of course if you are curious about a new product and that product is formulated for your skin type feel free to try it.  But just because you’ve been using something for 20 years doesn’t mean that you need to stop.


So When Do You Need to Change Your Skincare Products/Routine? 


You need to change your skincare products when something changes with your skin or if you want to treat a specific issue.  For example if you’ve never used or needed a moisturizer before but now you feel that your skin is dry and/or dehydrated you can add a moisturizer to your skincare routine.  Most people might find that they need to change their products as the seasons change.  For instance though I have oily skin I definitely need a moisturizer during the winter since weather can be so harsh for so long in the Chicago area.  But when summer finally comes around I find that I don’t need to use both a moisturizer and a sunscreen – sunscreen is all I need since my skin has enough moisture on its own.  Also as the seasons change you’ll find that you need different formulations for your favorite products – instead of a creamy moisturizer you might want to switch to a gel or serum formulation.  You’ll need to change your skincare products/routine as you age since you’ll want to add products with antioxidants, peptides, and other anti-aging ingredients to your routine.  While you are pregnant and nursing you’ll need to stop using certain products like prescription tretinoin creams. 

Now what if you are like me – a self-proclaimed “product whore”?  I’m last person to tell someone not to try a new skincare product as long as you keep in mind your skin’s needs.  Just because your favorite fashion magazine declared a product the most amazing anti-aging cream ever doesn’t mean you have to or need to try it especially if it will counteract with something that is going on with your skin.  For instance this new miracle product is rich and creamy and you have combination skin with a tendency to breakout then this new anti-aging cream is not for you.  For reasons like that I leave a lot of my product experimentation to my make-up and stick to tried and true products for my skin. 


Further viewing:

This post has written after a friend of mine asked me the above question, but I was actually already toying with the idea of writing about this subject anyhow ever since I saw the following video on WebMD: Switching Skincare Products.



Ingredient Spotlight: Caffeine in Skincare Products March 24, 2011

It might sound funny, but the inspiration for this post came from reading the food magazine Bon Appetit.  There I am minding my own business and looking for recipes (and I must adding asking myself for the thousandths time:  “why did Conde Nast stop publishing Gourmet but kept Bon Appetit around?  This magazine sucks”) when I happened upon a blurb called: Why You Should Put Caffeine On Your Face.  Though I’ve never tried any of the products mentioned in the magazine and find some of the product claims far-fetched, I did realize that I had stumbled upon an idea for my blog.  One never knows when or where you’ll find an idea, right?

If you look at the different skincare products that contain caffeine and highlight caffeine’s powers in their products you’ll notice that caffeine is included in products that claim to tighten and get rid of vexing issues like dark under eye circles and cellulite.*  There is a good reason that caffeine is included in products that make those claims.  Caffeine constricts blood vessels which may help puffy eyes and facial redness.  But I should warn you any change that you see in your appearance because of the caffeine in your skincare product is temporary at best.  The same goes for caffeine in cellulite creams (skip the cellulite creams altogether – they don’t work.  Click on the link below to my post about cellulite cures below for more information on that topic).  On the upside caffeine is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties (like all antioxidants) so applying a topical skincare product to your skin that has caffeine in it will protect your skin from free radical damage.

One of the more intriguing things about caffeine in topical skincare products is that the caffeine may, and this is a big may, have anticarcinogenic properties and may reduce the appearance of wrinkles when applied topically.  This research is in preliminary stages so keep your eyes open for more information on it in the future.  Most of the research about the connection between skin cancer and caffeine has been about when people drink beverages with caffeine but that doesn’t mean that one day there will be conclusive evidence that applying skincare products with caffeine in them will help prevent skin cancer.  One never knows.


Sources and Further Reading:

*  I’ve written posts in the past about both these issues.  For more information see my posts:  Can You Get Rid of Cellulite?  and Can You Banish Dark Undereye Circles?


Why You Should Never Pick or Pop Your Pimples March 21, 2011

Filed under: Acne — askanesthetician @ 6:48 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I have a confession to make – I pop my pimples.  Yes, I tell my clients all the time that they shouldn’t ever pop their pimples or pick at their skin, and though I truly know how bad it is for my skin to pop my pimples I still do it.  Anyone who has ever popped a pimple knows how addictive that act can be.  Once you do it is hard to stop.  But here’s why you should avoid popping pimples and why you should never pick at your skin.

This is the thing – if you pop or pick at your pimples they will take longer to heal and could get worse, you risk damaging your skin by pressing and pushing on it aggressively, you could push the bacteria from the pimple deeper into your skin instead of expelling it, and you really run the risk of having the pimple leave a mark or even a scar.  Believe me I’ve been there – every time I pop a pimple I am left with a post inflammatory red mark in the area of the pimple that sticks around for about six months.  Concealer is one of my best make-up friends.

Having said all that I know how hard it can be to keep your hands off of pimples, particularly the red ones with pus.  Believe me I know – I still have trouble keeping my hands off the ones with pus.  So is there a safe way to pop pimples?  Truthfully – not really.  BUT if you insist on squeezing your pimples you can look for some suggestions on how to do this in the book Breaking Out by Lydia Preston on page 151. 

The bottom line is this – hands off your pimples!  Be patient, apply topical anti-acne products to your breakout, and wait it out.  Your skin will thank you later.


Book Review: The Clear Skin Diet March 17, 2011

One of the earliest posts I wrote for this blog was called:  Is Your Diet Causing Your Acne?, and in that post I basically concluded that there is no connection between diet and breakouts.  Well I have to say that I have changed my mind in regards to the connection between diet and acne.  I now do believe that you can improve your skin, in this case acne, with the help of a healthy diet.

I started to change my mind about the diet-acne connection about six months or so ago when I noticed a change in my skin after I drastically cutback on the amount of dairy that I was eating.  Almost a year ago I started to see an acupuncturist about chronic pain I had in my right shoulder.  Since Traditional Chinese Medicine treats the body as a whole as opposed to just focusing on what is bothering you and looks to bring balance back to the body one of the things my acupuncturist and I discussed was my diet.  She suggested that I cut back on dairy, sugar, and fried foods.  Well this scared me.  I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years, and I love dairy.  I pretty much ate dairy with every meal which isn’t surprising since if you look at vegetarian recipes they seem to inevitably have some sort of dairy in them.  I thought – how could I ever give up dairy?  But I wanted to feel better so I decided to try to cutback on the amount of dairy I was consuming.  I bought almond milk instead of cow’s milk (I absolutely hate soy milk so I wouldn’t even consider getting that) and started eating oatmeal each morning instead of my cup of greek yogurt.  And now the added bonus – anyone who has read the “about” section of my blog knows that I have suffered from acne for the last 20 years or so and this constant skin condition lead me to become an esthetician since I wanted to learn more about skin and skincare and help others as well – as I cutback on the amount of dairy I was consuming my skin started to look much better (and I lost a few stubborn pounds that I hadn’t been able to lose since I had my son three years ago).  No my breakouts have not stopped completely and yes I still follow a strict home care anti-acne regime, but I could definitely see a positive change in my skin.  I was very surprised to say the least.  I also really started to notice, more than ever before, a connection between how stressed out I was and the number of breakouts I had.  So now that I had seen a change in my skin I wanted to learn more.  I finally checked out The Clear Skin Diet from the library and started reading it.

So in many ways the authors of this book were preaching to the choir when it came to me reading this book since I have really started to believe in a connection between diet and health, including skin health.  At times I got very bogged down in the number of studies and scientific proof and explanations that the authors presented in the book, but truthfully I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.  I was glad that the book didn’t just state a connection between certain foods and acne but actually proved that connection by quoting and explaining numerous scientific studies from all over the work (the scope of the research quoted was impressive).  Not only that but the authors of the book did the opposite as well; they thoroughly explained why so many doctors do not believe in a connection between food and diet.  Furthermore, the book goes out of its way to explain how past studies that claimed to prove that there were was no link between diet and acne were flawed and need to be reconsidered.  I really appreciated how much explanation the book contained.  Another thing I liked about the book were the summaries at the end of each chapter so if you didn’t want to read an entire chapter and just needed to be reminded of the key points in a chapter it was easy to do so.

The core point of the book is that the typical American diet which includes fast food, white bread and rice as opposed to whole grains, many foods filled with saturated fats, few vegetables and fruit, a lot of sugar, and many processed foods causes inflammation in the body which then triggers the production of hormones which lead to acne (this is an extremely brief summary of what the book aims to prove).  By changing the foods you eat you can stop this process from happening and thus help to clear up your skin.  The book doesn’t just promote changing one’s diet in order to improve their skin but also mentions leading a less stressed life in order to see an improvement in one’s skin.  The book goes beyond just explaining how diet and stress affect the skin, but also gives lots and lots of concrete tips on how to go about distressing and changing your diet.  It is great that the book doesn’t just say you need to change your lifestyle and/or diet but actually gives you the tools to do so.

I found two parts of the book intriguing.  The first thing I found interesting was the discussion of probiotics (chapter 5: Acne – A Gut Reaction) and acne and the other was the statistical information about the rise of acne in Japan as the traditional Japanese diet has given way to a more Western diet (chapter 7 – The Former Clear Skin Nation – Japan).  I had never given much thought to The trillions of microbes living in my intestines and how they affect my health but now I will.  I am on the lookout for topical skincare products that incorporate probiotics into them; I think we will be seeing more of those in the future.  So far I have found Bioelements Probiotic Anti-Aging Serum which, as the name suggests, isn’t marketed at acne sufferers but rather at people interested in an anti-aging product.  The chapter about Japan clearly presents a quite convincing report on how the traditional Japanese diet that includes lots of green tea, few processed foods, omega-3 rich foods, more fiber, little dairy, and a variety of foods rich in antioxidants protected the majority of the population against acne.  As Japanese food habits have changed and shifted more towards an American diet the rate of acne in Japan has risen tremendously.  As the charts, statistics, and research presented in the book explain this rise in acne with the change in the Japanese diet cannot be mere coincidence.  Lastly, I was also really fascinated by the studies that the authors quoted about the connection between diet and all sorts of other diseases like depression and anxiety.  For so long I have held on to the Western notion that diet, skin, beauty, and mood are not closely related so I was captivated (for lack of a better word) by the whole connection between food and health and not just for the sake of preventing acne.

Now if you are not one to want to read about scientific studies and such you can do two different things with this book:  read the summaries at the end of each chapter and read and follow the action plan for clear skin outlined in chapter 8 of the book.  There is a clear list of foods to include in your diet and which foods you should limit or avoid entirely.  I for one am making sure that I drink my green tea everyday without fail.

The one thing I didn’t really like about the book were the food suggestions and recipes.  I actually found all of the recipes completely unappealing, and I say this as someone who likes to cook and is always on the lookout  for new recipes to try.  Also in the food/snack suggestions dairy is mentioned again and again which is strange, in my opinion, since the book time and again talks about limiting the amount of dairy that one consumes.  Yes, I know the book explains that not everyone needs to completely cut dairy out of their diet and that different types of dairy affect one’s skin differently, but I just felt it strange that so many of the snack suggestions had dairy (or white potatoes) in them instead of someone coming up with a more creative, dairy-free suggestion.

Overall I really liked this book.  I would definitely suggest that if you are struggling with acne and have tried numerous topical solutions, oral antibiotics, etc. to no avail that you seriously consider changing your diet.  Yes, genetics plays a major role in acne (because we all know that person who eats fast food morning and night and never gets a pimple or gains weight, right?  I hate those people as much as you – believe me) as well as hormones, but perhaps the missing link to clear skin really is diet.  Eating healthy will only benefit you – there is no reason not to try the suggestions in this book.  You don’t need to try the actual recipes.  Take the list of good and bad foods and proceed from there.  And do a little meditation in the evenings as well.  Your body will thank you.


More reading, if you are inclined:

  • If you are less interested in effects of diet on acne but more interested in anti-aging be sure to read Dr. Amy Wechsler’s book The Mind-Beauty Connection.  I’ve recommended this book numerous times before in my blog, and I’ll continue to do so.  Her advice about living a healthy, happy life and how that will positively affect your skin, appearance, and psyche is wonderful.
  • Once I decided to give up eating a lot of dairy I went on the hunt for a good vegan cookbook.  I’ve been pleased with most of the recipes I tried in Appetite for Reduction.   The salad dressings in particular are great and so is the baked falafel.
  • Another great source for vegetarian and vegan recipes is Nava Atlas’ website Veg Kitchen.  Her cookbooks are great too.
  • For a concise article about the topic of this book read this article from WebMD Healthy Diet, Healthy Skin.
  • Can Eating Carbs Give You Pimples?Skin Inc.

Is Permanent Make-up Worth the Risks? March 14, 2011

Filed under: beauty,make-up — askanesthetician @ 7:29 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Ever wonder what it would be like to wake-up in the morning already wearing your make-up?  There is a solution if you never want to have to apply your make-up again.  That solution is permanent make-up which is a tattoo done on areas that women (or men) traditionally use cosmetics.  For instance you could tattoo on your eyeliner, your lipliner, and define your eyebrows with permanent make-up.  While permanent make-up has worked out well for some for others permanent make-up has turned into a disaster.

Before considering if permanent make-up is right for you first and foremost you should know what the FDA regulates when it comes to tattoos and permanent make-up and what risks are involved when you seek this type of service:

FDA considers the inks used in intradermal tattoos, including permanent makeup, to be cosmetics and considers the pigments used in the inks to be color additives requiring premarket approval under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. However, because of other public health priorities and a previous lack of evidence of safety concerns, FDA traditionally has not exercised its regulatory authority over tattoo inks or the pigments used in them. The actual practice of tattooing is regulated by local jurisdictions.

During 2003 and 2004, FDA became aware of more than 150 reports of adverse reactions in consumers to certain permanent makeup ink shades, and it is possible that the actual number of women affected was greater. The inks associated with this outbreak were voluntarily recalled by the company that marketed them in 2004. In addition, concerns raised by the scientific community regarding the pigments used in these inks have prompted FDA to investigate the safe use of tattoo inks. FDA continues to evaluate the extent and severity of adverse events associated with tattooing and is conducting research on inks. As new information is assessed, the agency will consider whether additional actions are necessary to protect public health.

In addition to the reported adverse reactions, areas of concern include tattoo removal, infections that result from tattooing, and the increasing variety of pigments and diluents being used in tattooing. More than fifty different pigments and shades are in use, and the list continues to grow. Although a number of color additives are approved for use in cosmetics, none is approved for injection into the skin. Using an unapproved color additive in a tattoo ink makes the ink adulterated. Many pigments used in tattoo inks are not approved for skin contact at all. Some are industrial grade colors that are suitable for printers’ ink or automobile paint.

Nevertheless, many individuals choose to undergo tattooing in its various forms. For some, it is an aesthetic choice or an initiation rite. Some choose permanent makeup as a time saver or because they have physical difficulty applying regular, temporary makeup. For others, tattooing is an adjunct to reconstructive surgery, particularly of the face or breast, to simulate natural pigmentation. People who have lost their eyebrows due to alopecia (a form of hair loss) may choose to have “eyebrows” tattooed on, while people with vitiligo (a lack of pigmentation in areas of the skin) may try tattooing to help camouflage the condition.
Whatever their reason, consumers should be aware of the risks involved in order to make an informed decision.

 A few other things, besides what was mentioned above, should be noted about permanent make-up.  One is that it isn’t entirely permanent; it can begin to fade over time.  Another thing are the risks involved with getting any sort of tattoo.  The FDA website explains the risks as follows:

  • Infection. Unsterile tattooing equipment and needles can transmit infectious diseases, such as hepatitis and skin infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus (“staph”) bacteria*. Tattoos received at facilities not regulated by your state or at facilities that use unsterile equipment (or re-use ink) may prevent you from being accepted as a blood or plasma donor for twelve months.
  • Removal problems. Despite advances in laser technology, removing a tattoo is a painstaking process, usually involving several treatments and considerable expense. Complete removal without scarring may be impossible.
  • Allergic reactions. Although FDA has received reports of numerous adverse reactions associated with certain shades of ink in permanent makeup, marketed by a particular manufacturer, reports of allergic reactions to tattoo pigments have been rare. However, when they happen they may be particularly troublesome because the pigments can be hard to remove. Occasionally, people may develop an allergic reaction to tattoos they have had for years.
  • Granulomas.These are nodules that may form around material that the body perceives as foreign, such as particles of tattoo pigment.
  • Keloid formation. If you are prone to developing keloids — scars that grow beyond normal boundaries — you are at risk of keloid formation from a tattoo. Keloids may form any time you injure or traumatize your skin. Micropigmentation: State of the Art, a book written by Charles Zwerling, M.D., Annette Walker, R.N., and Norman Goldstein, M.D., states that keloids occur more frequently as a consequence of tattoo removal.
  • MRI complications. There have been reports of people with tattoos or permanent makeup who experienced swelling or burning in the affected areas when they underwent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This seems to occur only rarely and apparently without lasting effects.

There also have been reports of tattoo pigments interfering with the quality of the image. This seems to occur mainly when a person with permanent eyeliner undergoes MRI of the eyes. Mascara may produce a similar effect. The difference is that mascara is easily removable.

Another very important thing to consider before having permanent make-up done is the amount of training and experience the person you are going to has had.  That is where things can get tricky.  Neither the federal government nor the FDA regulates or mandates the training or practice of permanent make-up, that is left up to each individual state to determine.  If you really want permanent make-up done be sure to thoroughly check-out the place you do it at.  Ask about training and experience.  I would also ask to speak to past clients.  Make sure the place is clean and sterile.  So many health issues can arise from an unclean environment or instruments.  Make sure you do not put yourself at risk unnecessarily.

**The FDA is hosting a webinar on tattoos and permanent make-up March 15.  If this topic interests you this would be a great way to learn more.**


Sources and Further Reading


New Trends in Anti-Aging Procedures: “Vampire” Facelift and Ultherapy March 7, 2011

I recently read with great interest two articles about new in office anti-aging procedures.  The first article was in Harper’s Bazaar, and it was about a new nonsurgical browlift called Ultherapy.  The second article was in The New York Times Skin Deep series about a new trend in facelifts called the “vampire facelift”.    Neither of these procedures are surgical or invasive.  The so-called vampire facelift falls under the category of “liquid facelifts” which is a facial rejuvenation procedure that normally means fillers and Botox are used to create a temporary change in the appearance of one’s face without surgery.   Ultherapy uses ultrasound technology and heat to lift the brows and rejuvenate one’s appearance.

I’ll begin by discussing the vampire facelift.   Let me quote The New York Times article in order to further explain the vampire facelift:

[this procedure] entails having blood drawn from your arm, then spun in a centrifuge to separate out the platelets. They are then injected into your face, with the hope of stimulating new collagen production. Selphyl, as the system is called, arrived on the booming facial-rejuvenation market in 2009, and is now used by roughly 300 doctors nationwide in the name of beauty, said Sanjay Batra, the chief executive of Aesthetic Factors, which manufactures the Selphyl system.

Why would someone choose to pursue this procedure as opposed to having Botox and fillers injected into their face? 

Ghoulish as the procedure sounds, some patients prefer the idea of using their own blood rather than a neurotoxin or synthetic filler to rejuvenate their faces. “We all want to look better,” said Joan Sarlo, 56, who underwent a Selphyl “vamp-lift” performed by Dr. Lisa A. Zdinak, a Manhattan-based doctor whose specialty is ophthalmic plastic surgery. But the “less unnatural the better,” Ms. Sarlo said. “What could be better than your own blood?”

Some doctors say that fillers taken from one’s body are less likely to cause irregularities and bumps in thin-skinned areas than synthetic ones like Sculptra Aesthetic. But at this point, it’s hard to tell whether “platelet-rich fibrin matrix,” or P.R.F.M. (the medical term for the golden-hued platelets that Selphyl extracts), is an effective filler for hollowed-out cheeks and wrinkles.

But for me the crux of any cosmetic procedure comes down to safety and proof that the procedure is safe through FDA approval as opposed to testimonials and heresy.  And here is where things get messy, excuse the pun, with the vampire facelift:

What’s more, doctors and consumers aren’t clear on where Selphyl stands with the F.D.A. In a YouTube video featuring Dr. John Argerson, a board-certified family medicine doctor who works out of Refine MediSpa in Johnson City, Tenn., tells consumers that Selphyl is a “newly F.D.A.-approved filler” for nose-to-lip folds. And in a December 2009 article in Dermatology Times, a trade publication, Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a board-certified dermatologist, said Selphyl is “a new F.D.A. approved dermal filler.” This week, Dr. Hirsch, who doesn’t use Selphyl in her practice, said that she couldn’t explain why she misspoke, adding in an e-mail that “the lack of clarity between F.D.A. approval versus F.D.A. clearance to market is a key point.”

Indeed. The F.D.A. has not approved or cleared P.R.F.M. derived in a Selphyl centrifuge to be marketed for facial rejuvenation. In 2002, the agency cleared a blood-collection system called Fibrinet, whose platelet-rich byproducts orthopedic doctors then used to speed tissue repair. In 2009, this same machine was born again as Selphyl, and since then, the company promoted it as a way to “reverse the natural aging process.” This week, Shelly Burgess, an F.D.A. spokeswoman, said that Selphyl’s maker would have to file an amendment to get clearance to market its blood collection system in a new way, and no such amendment could be found at this writing.

Asked whether Aesthetic Factors’ marketing of Selphyl for cosmetic rejuvenation violated any F.D.A. policy, Ms. Burgess simply wrote, “As a regulatory agency we would not discuss whether a firm’s claims violate our regulations.”

In light of the fact that there is little to no clinical data that this procedure works as claimed, and furthermore since the FDA has neither cleared nor approved this procedure I would steer clear of doing it until there is such approval.  There are so many safe options for liquid facelifts that there is really no need to try something that is still in trial stages.  Who knows?  Maybe 15 years from now a vampire facelift will be the norm but until then I would suggest that you proceed with caution.



Ultherapy is very different from the vampire facelift described above.  This procedure uses ultrasound heat on your forehead in order to greatly increase collagen production beneath the skin’s surface.  As collagen production increases in that area of your face your brow firms.  Immediately after getting the treatment you will see a smoothing effect, and as your collagen production increases over time your results will improve in the months to come.  And what might be the best news of all, these results are pretty much permanent though some patients may need a touch up in a year.  Ultherapy costs somewhere between $1,000 to $4,000 and has been cleared by the FDA for use on the forehead (according to the Harper’s Bazaar article).  If the machine is used incorrectly a burn could result because of the intense heat generated by the machine.  That heat can also make the procedure less than comfortable. 

According to an article in the April, 2011 issue of Vogue (which I can’t find online unfortunately) Ultherapy can be used on both the face and the neck not just the forehead.  The article explains how Ultherapy works thusly:

Thermal energy bypasses the upper layers of the skin (those conventionally targeted by Fraxel and Thermage), safely heating the underlying connective tissue that lines the facial muscles.  That tissue contracts, resulting in an immediate tighting and, ultimately, a tangible lift.  …  In an attempt to target multiple layers of tissue, doctors then set the device to a shallower depth and make a second pass with the hand piece, this time intentionally aiming its heat at the skin’s upper layers in order to stimulate line-smoothing collagen production.

Furthermore, according to the Vogue article it takes about an hour to complete both the neck and the face using ultrasonic imaging so the doctor performing the procedure can view each layer of the muscle and skin as they work on the patient.  Risks include some swelling and bruising and a feeling of tightness for a few days following the procedure.  And one more thing, the procedure doesn’t feel so great.  It can feel like a hot prickling sensation to intense and short bursts of pain.  

Overall as an option for slowing down the aging process Ultherapy sounds promising.  You can try it out if you feel that your face needs a lift but you aren’t ready for a facelift yet.

One more note – it turns out both of these procedures have been featured on The Rachael Ray Show , How to Look 10 Years Younger,  which has made me wonder – do I need to start watching The Rachael Ray Show in order to keep up with cosmetic procedure trends?  I always thought her show was all about cooking. 


What Does the Future Hold for Home Beauty? March 3, 2011

My March issue of Allure arrived a few weeks ago, and since it is the 20th anniversary issue of the magazine it is overflowing with useful and fun information .  There is a beauty timeline for the last 20 years, an interesting article about the five top American beauty innovators, a comprehensive survey about what Americans consider beautiful, and an article about the power of beauty amidst the devastation of the earthquake in Haiti (unfortunately that last article is not online).  But what really caught my attention was an article entitled Bath to the Future all about the future of home beauty and other beauty innovations making their way to our lives.

I found it fascinating to read the article and to think about what products will one day be available for home use.  Additionally, I think it will be extra interesting to revisit this article in another 10 to 20 years to see which products actually are available and which just remained an idea in the end. 

A few of the beauty ideas mentioned in the article were particularly interesting to me.  Lets start with sun protection.  New homes will soon be built with SmartGlass which will screen out more than 99% of the UVA and UVB rays.  There will also be glass that changes from clear to tinted with the switch of a button thus eliminating the need for privacy shades.  Homes will have spray-tan like booths that will dispense sunscreen and anti-aging creams all over the body.  And even more interesting, to me at least, is the idea that there will be a sunscreen pill one day.  Well sort of a sunscreen pill.  The pill will work in our bodies from the inside out to repair cell damage caused by UV rays.

Get ready for smoother, plumper skin without the need for injections.  In the future when you need fillers you will be able to stick a hyaluronic acid gel patch onto your skin at night in order to plump your skin by the morning.  And a wipe on botulinum toxin, called Revance, will be available to wipe on your crow’s-feet (the wrinkles by your eyes) at home in order to smooth those wrinkles.

There will be home lasers that kill hair follicles just like laser hair removal at spas and medical offices.  Over a period of time they would remove hair permanently.  In addition, there will be an all-purpose device for home use that will deliver a slew of therapies – radio-frequency, ultrasound, laser, and light – that will treat a large number of common skincare and body issues like acne, sun spots, thinning hair, and fine lines and wrinkles.  In addition, there will even be a laser pen for home use that will remove age spots and skin growths.

And get ready for a sensor that reads your skin in order to let you know if your skin is oily, lacking moisture, and how much redness your skin has.  Or a magnifying mirror that is built into your existing mirror.  You will be able to touch a screen that contains a tiny camera in order to zoom in onto your own image.  That screen can also track your appearance over time and even allow you to play around with your features in order to see how you would look after cosmetic surgery.  You could even have personalized make-up lessons in your bathroom.  Make-up instructions would pop up on your bathroom computer and you would watch a step-by-step video instructing you on to apply your make-up.

I don’t know about you, but I am actually very excited to see what the future holds in terms of beauty innovations.  Bring it on!


%d bloggers like this: