Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

What I am Reading Now January 9, 2013

Filed under: Recommended Reading — askanesthetician @ 7:30 am
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The Artist's Wife (Périe, 1849–1887) Reading

I like to use my blog’s Facebook page in order to share articles I read online that won’t make it into my blog, but lately I’ve come across so many interesting things that I thought I would share them here all at once instead of piece meal on Facebook.  (This type of post might become a regular feature on my blog, and it is inspired by The New York Times’ What We’re Reading)

Two articles about diet and skin caught my eye:

New Beauty helps you fix any holiday skincare issues in Help for Holiday Skin Problems.

Looking toward 2013 Vogue talks skin in Promises, Promises: Five Skin-Care Resolutions Worth Keeping in the Year Ahead.

I saw this feature a little while ago, but I thought it was worth sharing since there are vegan beauty products mentioned here that might be new for many readers (they were for me):  My Five Beauty Obsessions: Karim Orange from Well and Good NYC.

Lastly, beauty blogger Jake Sauvage shares helpful tips so that your foundation goes on flawlessly in Beauty FAQ – At the Risk of Sounding Rude – You’re Probably Making One of These Foundation Mistakes …

Read any good beauty tips or articles lately?  Please share below!

 

 

Image from The Metropolitan Museum of Art –  The Artist’s Wife Reading by Albert Bartholome

 

Does Brush On Sunscreen Give You Any Sun Protection? May 24, 2012

The first post I ever wrote for my blog was entitled: Brush-On Mineral Sunscreens – Do They Give Enough Protection?.  In this post I went over the pros (portable, good way to reapply sunscreen over make-up) versus the cons (expensive, perhaps really not giving you enough sun protection) of using mineral brush-on sunscreen.  I concluded the post by recommending these products as a great way to reapply your sunscreen over make-up during the day and while you were on the go.

As much as I have been a devotee to these products for about three years I always had this nagging suspicion at the back of the head that perhaps they weren’t really giving enough protection at all.  One thing that clued me in to this was when I would try to demonstrate on the back of my hand how these products work to a client or a friend you couldn’t even see that I had anything on the back of my hand.  I was also hard pressed to even tell how much product was coming out of the container or if any product was coming out at all.  Additionally though I was a devoted, daily user of my brush-on sunscreen the product was used up very, very slowly which lead me to believe that nothing was really coming out when I was applying it.  So how much sun protection was I really getting?  (On the other hand,  since these products are so expensive that wasn’t such a terrible thing)  Since I also always caution people to never rely solely on their make-up with spf in it for their sun protection needs how different are brush-on sunscreens from make-up really?

While these suspicions were percolating in my head I came across the following from Future Derm in her post The Ugly Truth About Makeup and Moisturizers with SPF:

Why SPF Powders Aren’t Giving You the Protection You Think

Any powder product requires about 14 times the amount of normal powder application to receive the SPF listed on the package.

You see, the average face is about 600cm2 (although that varies from person to person, of course). This means the average woman needs to apply about 1.2g of facial powder to get the SPF stated on the product’s label. However, most women only apply about 0.085g of powder at a time – fourteen times less than you need to get the SPF listed on the package!

Of course, there are always two sides to every debate.  In the June issue of Vogue they write the following about brush-on sunscreens in a mini article entitled Summer Skin Savior: Sunscreen in a Brush (page 119):

The fact that sunscreens lose most of their efficacy after approximately 90 minutes in the sun is something most of us prefer not to think about, since we feel we’ve done our duty applying a thin film, under our makeup, at the about 8:00 in the morning.  Is anyone really going to slather on another layer over foundation?  (Exactly.)

This summer, salvation comes in a brush.  The new powder sunscreens – lightweight mineral blends that provide chemical-free broad-spectrum protection (ideal for sensitive skin) thanks to micronized zinc oxide and titanium dioxide – are the ultimate multitaskers.  They dust on invisibly over makeup (some even come with a hint of bronze), and ingredients like silica and cornstarch absorb excess oil, leaving a smooth matte finish.  “I use them a lot because I hate a four o’clock shine,” says Debra Jaliman, M.D., author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets From a Top New York Dermatologist.  She’s also a fan of the high levels of zinc: “Physical block is like wearing a shirt on your skin.  You really get so much more protection.”  Plus, she adds of the slim tubes, “it’s something you can throw in your bag, and it won’t spill because it has a brush.”  Reapplying just got really easy.

Reading what Vogue has to say does make for an interesting argument, but as for what they have to say about these powders not being messy that simply isn’t true.  I’ve tried a few of the brush-on sunscreens and had the tubes crack and break causing the powder to pour out all over my car and bag.  Not fun, definitely not mess free.  But also the Vogue blurb reads like an ad for the sunscreens as opposed a well researched and science backed article.

Because of the reasons stated above in the Future Derm post, I started experimenting with reapplying cream or lotion sunscreen mid-day over my make-up and found that this worked fine.  My make-up stayed intact.  I still have a brush-on sunscreen in my bag for on the go touch-ups, but I’ve decided that I shouldn’t rely on it even as a way to just reapply sunscreen during the day since I wasn’t really sure how much, if any, sunscreen protection I was getting when using the powder.  Instead I have it with me for emergency reapplications of sunscreen and for cutting down on mid-day shine.  I still do think that using a brush-on sunscreens is better than not using anything at all and going out in the sun without any protection, but I definitely would advise my readers to use a lotion or cream sunscreen first before using this kind of product.

In my search to find a quick, easy, and effective way to reapply my sunscreen I decided to purchase Shiseido’s Sun Protection Stick with SPF 35.  This is a solid and very portable sunscreen that you can just swipe across your face making reapplication a snap, and in my opinion, you also are getting real sun protection when using this product.  (I heard about this product from one my favorite blogs Scatterbraintures so thanks Rae!)  I decided to get translucent shade and was actually disappointed when I got the product and tried it for the first time since it actually looked white on my face until I rubbed it in well.  I’ve used this stick sunscreen on my son and niece as well and you could definitely see where I had applied it on their faces.  The so-called translucent shade left a distinct white cast on their skin (on the plus side, using a stick sunscreen on a child is very easy)  So I suggest perhaps getting one of the tinted ones.  The tinted shades can also be a perfect, light make-up for some people so that is an added bonus.  (I also just discovered Sun Bum Sunscreen Stick which is oil-free but haven’t tried it yet)

I think that life is only worth living if you are constantly learning, and learning comes from questioning.  So dear readers – after much thought and research I have to conclude that purchasing a brush-on sunscreen isn’t such a great idea.  Carry your lotion (or stick) sunscreen with you and reapply as needed.  That is the only way you will be sure that you are really protected from the sun.  Save your brush-on sunscreen for getting rid of mid-day shine.

Image from thesnowmag.com

 

Back in Vogue – Retin-A April 16, 2012

While we are in pursuit of the latest and greatest skincare ingredients and the newest products that promise to miraculously give us perfect skin overnight we can lose sight of the tried and true skincare ingredients and products that really work as promised.  Case in point – Retin-A.

Vogue magazine recently published an article about Retin-A extolling its virtues and explaining its history:

All retinoids—the umbrella name for a class of compounds that encompasses retinol, retinoic acid, retinyl palmitate, retinol aldehyde, and a host of others—are derivatives of vitamin A, one of the body’s key nutrients. Vitamin A’s mighty chemical makeup was identified in 1931, and the man who isolated and described it, Swiss chemist Paul Karrer, was rewarded with a Nobel Prize for his efforts. Retinol was a slightly rickety compound, prone to quick degeneration when exposed to oxygen and light. But by the 1960s, researchers were metabolizing retinol into its more stable (and more active) cousin retinoic acid and were beginning to understand its tremendous power in skin-care applications. Retin-A—a brand name for retinoic acid (also known as tretinoin)—was FDA-approved in 1971 as a prescription-strength treatment for acne, but dermatologists noticed almost immediately that a lot more than just breakouts were vanishing. Scores of patients began reporting a reduction in fine lines and hyperpigmentation, and the stampede began.

“Vitamin A is the go-to skin-care ingredient,” says Jennifer Linder, M.D., a Scottsdale, Arizona, dermatologist and chief scientific officer for the clinical line PCA Skin. “The best anti-ager is sunscreen; the next is vitamin A. Nothing else approaches it,” she says. Virtually all skin-care experts agree on this point—and in today’s world of peptides, growth factors, glacial water, and extracts from rare Corsican flowers, that’s saying a lot. “You can imagine that the question dermatologists get asked every single day is ‘What really works?’ ” says Linder. “Retinoids trigger change in the skin to make it look clearer and more youthful; they actually help skin get back to a healthier place. And there’s strong, strong clinical data behind that.”

What does Retin-A do exactly for the skin that is so effective?  Allure sums it up well:

HOW IT WORKS: Retinol speeds up cell turnover, sweeps away the dead cells that cause dullness, and boosts collagen and elastin by stimulating cellular repair at the deepest level of the skin. It also pumps up circulation by increasing blood-vessel formation, so skin looks healthier.

While Retin-A is the most effective anti-aging product on the market and can help erase both fine lines and acne for some people it can be irritating.  Known side effects of Retin-A include redness, irritation, dryness, and flakiness.  Keep in mind, though, that these side effects do not last forever.  After a few weeks, once your skin adjusts to the product, you will no longer experience those side effects.

Also remember that there are numerous prescription strengths and non-prescription versions of Retin-A available so there really is a formulation out there for everyone.  Once again I’ll turn to the Vogue article to explain:

In an attempt to tame the wildness of retinoic acid, researchers revisited its milder parent molecule, retinol. For decades it had been neglected as a skin-care ingredient because it was even trickier to stabilize than retinoic acid. The genius of retinol, researchers realized, is that it isn’t active when applied to skin. Retinol goes on in an inert form and is then switched to on-mode by your own skin. Your cells receive the retinol, hang on to it until they’re ready, and then convert only what they need into retinoic acid. This has tremendous benefits, says dermatologist Dennis Gross, M.D.: “It dramatically reduces the negative effects of retinoic acid—the peeling, sun sensitivity, redness—but has all the same fundamental results. It just takes a little longer to get there.”

The latest breakthrough has been in making retinol stable enough to live in a bottle with other active ingredients. (Until recently, says Linder, some over-the-counter products touting retinol as an active ingredient were largely ineffectual, as the retinol frequently degenerated well before application.) In the past few years, cosmeceutical companies have made big advances in the microencapsulation of retinol: The retinol molecules are each surrounded by a tiny polymer film, like a slim-fitting suit of armor that protects it from light, oxygen, and other aggressors. When you apply the cream to your face, you create chinks in the armor, which frees the retinol to do its work.

There are so many different ways to adjust Retin-A or retinol use.  You do not have to use it every night to get great results.  If you live in an area that is cold during the winter you can use your Retin-A twice a week during that season and then bump up your use during the summer when the weather is warmer and there is more humidity in the air.  You might need to experiment a bit, but in the end you’ll figure out the right strength and how many times you need to use it a week in order to see great results with your skin.

I love Retin-A so much (I use a prescription version that is 0.05% strength and apply it three times a week at night) that I always wonder why everyone isn’t using some version of Retin-A or retinol.  If you haven’t tried Retin-A yet consider it, and if you have used Retin-A or retinol in the past but stopped figure out a version that will work for you.

Sources and Further Reading:

My Related Post:
  • All About Retinol  – a relative older post of mine, but a goody (if I do say so myself)

Image from prescriptionmedications.biz

 

Way Over-Priced Moisturizers – Who Buys This Stuff and Why? November 17, 2011

Filed under: Skincare products — askanesthetician @ 6:50 am
Tags: , , , ,

I read the article “Complexion Perfection: The Statement Piece of the Season May Be Your Moisturizer” from the November issue of Vogue with mounting horror.  The article gives the reader a rundown of the newest and most expensive facial moisturizers on the market.   By expensive I mean $490 for one ounce of a product (Guerlian’s Orchidee Imperiale Longevity Concentrate).

Let me give you an example:

… when scientists at Chanel heard about Vanilla planifolia, a plant coveted by local women in Madagascar, they headed straight for the northern tip of the island to study its winding vines, which grow along the trunks of the region’s cocoa tree.  Realizing the potential of its antioxidant-packed vanilla fruit to address multiple signs of aging – fine lines, hyperpigmentation, and dullness – they set up high-tech greenhouses and began cultivating their own plants.  Today, each podlike fruit grows to precisely fourteen centimeters before it’s picked and rushed to the lab in the South of France, where technicians extract only the single most antioxidant-rich molecules from the mix – and slip them into Chanel’s Sublimage range of products, including La Creme ($390) and, this fall, the new Masque Regenerant Fondamental ($190).  …

La Prairie’s new Cellular Power Charge Night ($475) dispenses freshly oxygenated retinol from a silver dual-chambered pump reminiscent of the look of one of Balenciaga’s sleek geometric cuffs.

You might be asking yourself, as I did, how can one justify spending that much money on a moisturizer and who actually buys this stuff?  I can’t answer the second question, but the article does quote Manhattan esthetician Eileen Harcourt as saying:

Listen your skin is your best accessory.  You wear it 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  It’s not a bag you can retire to the back of the closet when it starts to look banged up.

Now though I happen to agree wholeheartedly with the quote above, I could never ever use that as a justification to recommend that someone buy a $400 moisturizer or anti-aging serum.  There is absolutely no reason to spend that much money on a skincare product!  When a non-prescription product is priced at more than $150 I start to get suspicious about what you are truly paying for.  Now some cutting edge skincare ingredients, like growth factors and peptides, drive the price of a product up dramatically you always have to look at your ingredient list to make sure that the ingredients that are meant to make a real difference in how your skin looks and feels are present in the product in a large enough percentage in order to justify you buying the product in the first place.  Don’t run after the newest and flashiest products.  Skincare companies constantly have to come out with new products in order to look like they are making great innovations irregardless if that is true or not.

Interestingly the article makes its own comparison to a cheaper product that also totes amazing benefits for the skin:

When developing their Anew Genics Treatment Cream, the scientists at Avon zeroed in on research performed at the University of Calabria, in Italy, that uncovered a highly active youth gene in the area’s unusually long-lived population.  “It’s not that some people have a youth gene and some people don’t,” explains Glen Anderson, Ph.D., the company’s executive director of global R&D.  “These genes are present in every cell of every human being.  The point is that some people are predisposed to a higher expression of them.”  Linked directly to the mitochondria (the “energy power plants” of the cell), the genes are ultimately responsible for everything from the generation of healthy collagen to the production of hyaluronic acid.  Seeking to increase their activity in the skin, Anderson’s lab screened thousands of molecules before settling on the two now formulated in each jar of Genics.  And according to test subjects, it worked: Just three days of use revealed smoother, more radiant skin.  The price: $38.

So definitely give a lot of thought to the purchase of a skincare product that costs more than $150.  Consider your motivation behind the purchase – is there really proof to back-up the claims the manufacturer is making about the product or are you just chasing the newest thing on the market?

Further Reading:

Related Posts:

 

 
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