No more rough stuff

Loved the movie, but skin care shouldn't leave you as bruised as rollar derbyThe rough treatment some women give their skin never ceases to amaze me. They rub it raw or burn it red. They let estheticians and medical facialists squeeze, poke, and scorch their lovely faces – all in the pursuit of loveliness. Quelle horreur! Now there are conditions, such as serious scarring, that may require serious intervention and resurfacing. But in the normal scheme of things, I have seen better results from tender loving care.

Not everyone agrees. There are doctors who will sell you laser treatments that burn, and prescribe so-called anti-aging potions that burn and itch. Even Retin A and glycolic acid can be used gently. There are two schools of thought, but in my opinion, skin that has been burned red and “regenerated” never looks quite right.
I prefer doctors who prescribe more gentle treatments. I gravitate towards experts who start with a gentle peel and gradually increase the strength, so that your face is never more than a little red and peely. It may take longer to get the fresh, luminous skin you want if you have neglected your complexion, but it’s worth the wait.
Never underestimate how much you can improve the appearance your skin; it is never too late or too early to start. Finding the right beauty makers to give you guidance is essential. You can’t be too fussy. The fit has to be right. Ask friends with gorgeous skin who they use. Make-up artists for prestige lines can often recommend good doctors. Dermatology at its best is as much an art as a science. You want to find a doctor who is an artist; one who really cares about making skin beautiful. Not all of them do.
Be sure to peruse websites carefully before making an appointment. Never be afraid to ask prices ahead of time, most anti-aging and even acne treatment may not be covered by insurance – even in Canada. Don’t be discouraged. There are so many options these days, so a doctor should be able to offer you several choices to perfect your skin, one of them in your budget. Avoid any office that uses the hard sell. You can tell a lot over the phone.
Don’t be offended if a doctor mentions Botox or fillers, unless you are very young. They are effective safe tools for making patients look younger without surgery. Done properly, they look natural and are very safe. You might be surprised how many women – and men – discreetly use them. But, if you are not interested, a good doctor will cheerfully move on to another option. And never be afraid to walk away from anyone you are not comfortable with. Believe me. I have. There are many approaches and doctors; one is right for you.
Not all doctors’ visits will result in costly in office treatments either. One problem that plagues women of all ages is hyperpigmentation or ugly brown spots. They can happen at any age from too much sun or hormones. Women hate them and after you are in your mid-thirties, they can be very aging.
Until recently the only effective over-the-counter treatment for these spots was hydroquinone. And even if you went to dermatologist they just offered you very strong hydroquinone cream. Now, stronger pricy prescription creams are available that combine hydroquinone with other ingredients. They are more efficient at removing the spots, but they also have serious side effects for some women. Some derms offer peels or special laser treatments to remove or reduce the dreaded spots.  
Even though numerous studies have found hydroquinone to be safe, it has been banned in some countries, such as France and South Africa. Its use has raised concerns about an increased risk of cancer and ochronosis, or darkening of the skin.
I have friends who have had their skin darkened with hydroquinone.
That’s why I have been very interested in the new product developed by  Standford University. Lumixyl is a complex of oilopeptides that has been found to significantly inhibit tyrosinase, the rate-limiting enzyme in melanin production. In other words, it stops what produces unwanted brown spots.
I have tired Lumixyl on my own sensitive skin. I am seldom in the sun and never without SPF 50. But occasionally on vacation I will get small patches of hyperpigmentation from strong sun despite my precautions. The Lumixyl Brightening system is fabulous. I think is most exciting new product I have seen in years. The combination of glycolic acids and the Lumixyl peptides makes fast work of any discoloration without disturbing side effects. According to studies done by Lumixyl, it takes eight weeks to see significant improvement for moderate or severe hyperpigmentation. There are great before and after shots with clear medical lighting on their site. I got rid of my little patch in week, but it was very light and I took prompt action.
The Lumixyl Topical Brightening System has four products, including Active-Prep Cleanser, the Topical Brightening Creme, GlycoPeel 20 Rapid Exfoliating Lotion, and Moisture-Lock Sunscreen SPF 30.  
This system is available only from doctors office at his time, but I would recommend it to women dealing with moderate to severe brown spots that have not responded to over-the-counter products such as Olay Definity. The Olay product is excellent and well-priced, but it may not remove stubborn cases of hyperpigmentation.
Darlings, whatever your complaints – acne, oily skin, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, spots, dry skin – you can improve your skin and have a beautiful glowing complexion. We have the technology and you can do it on any budget. But be gentle and kind. You are precious.



Get the most from a facial

Kara BrannonTaking care of your skin is important. Treating yourself to a facial can yield benefits for months, especially if you follow up with a good regime at home. If you are looking for a bargain, do not be tempted to go to a chain for your skin or massage. In my opinion, they are never good value. Stick to small independent local operators to get the best value for money. Kara Brannon of KB Skincare operates a small boutique here in Atlanta. If you have ever wondered about the difference between an enzyme facial or a glycolic facial, or how to be sure you have chosen a good esthetician, then don’t miss a word of this exclusive interview.
DD: Who can benefit from a facial?
KB: Everyone, even if they only occasionally treat themselves to it.  At the very least, a facial can provide a much-needed relaxing escape from life.  At best, a facial can leave you cleansed and exfoliated with radiant skin.
A good facial must include some form of exfoliation, whether manual or chemical.  All of our skin has a cell turnover rate that can be increased or manipulated through exfoliation.  It is through exfoliation that pores become unclogged, new skin emerges, and skin appears healthier and glowing. Even if there is minimal exfoliation, the experience of a facial should be relaxing and a time for one to take time out from their hectic life.

DD: What is the difference between a glycolic facial and an enzyme facial?
KB: The difference lies primarily between the components of each. Glycolic acid is found in sugar cane and is a member of the Alpha Hydroxy Acid group.  Fruit enzyme peels may contain AHA acids but are also composed of antioxidants and vitamins along with an enzyme which increases the chemical reaction taking place.

Both are effective in smoothing rough dry skin, improving the skin’s texture from sun damage, and treating acne.  They both come in various strengths (percentages) based on the desired effect and condition of the treated skin.

DD: What types of fruit enzymes are used in facials and what are the benefits?
KB: There are many different enzymes used in facials.  Many enzymes are derived from various fruits. Similar to the benefits fruits have when they are eaten, they benefit our skin in the same way when applied topically. Some fruit enzymes contain a high level of antioxidants in them. For example, the blueberry.  When used on the face, the antioxidants can prevent free radicals from entering the skin.  The grape has long been associated with reversing the age process and keeping skin look young.

DD: What is a back facial?
KB:A back facial is essentially the same as a regular facial. It is often an area of the skin that is problem-prone, but neglected due to its limited accessibility.  Often backs can have a problem with clogged pores due to sweating during exercise. And there can be a lot of sun damage on the back, too.

Treatment of the back includes steaming, hot towels, analysis, a form of exfoliation, extraction, and a massage. Based on the products or type of exfoliation used, this area can improve and become more balanced.  I suggested the client purchase a body wash containing an acid for exfoliation between treatments, and a tool that can effectively reach and cleanse the back area.

DD:  How soon before a special event should you book a facial?
KB: The truth is that is depends solely on the type facial performed.  A basic facial with manual exfoliation and extraction can be done the day before an event, whereas peels can take days or weeks to bring the skin to its optimal condition.

I usually book clients three days before their event to allow plenty of time for any redness or pimples to subside.

DD:  What skin conditions can facials improve?
KB: Facials can solve or help a variety of skin problems.  Facials aid drastically in the treatment of mild to moderate acne.  Through chemicals and extractions, acne skin can be balanced and the pores can be unclogged.  Facials also aid in the removal of blackheads and millia (small closed white-headed bumps) through the softening of the skin and careful extraction.

Facials that include peels can help soften fine lines, reduce age spots and the appearance of sun damage.  They can also radically change the texture of the skin. People with severe acne should consult a dermatologist before getting a facial. Once the acne is treated by a doctor, regular facials can help keep the pores unclogged. People who have rosecea can also benefit from facials as long as the esthetician is knowledgeable about which products and peels are appropriate for this type of skin.  Proper treatment can help top calm redness.
DD: How do you know if you are getting a good facial with a qualified professional?
KB:  There are several signs that can indicate a bad facial. You may even spot signs before the treatment starts. Make sure the environment is clean and the instruments used in the facial are not lying out, but in alcohol or some other sanitary container.  Always ask to see the esthetician’s license if it is not displayed.  It is also useful to ask the esthetician how many hours in school it took him/her to become licensed. The state of
Georgia requires a minimum of 1,000 hours whereas neighboring states only require 200 hours. Yikes!
Other signs may not be clear until the facial is underway or afterwards. For example, if there is pain during the facial, speak up. Certain peels may cause a degree of discomfort , but the esthetician should warn you.  The same can be said for extractions.  Pain could also be a sign of an allergy to the products being used. Also, post-facial, there should not be any new broken capillaries. If this occurs, the extraction method was not done properly. Finally, if you were not told there would be any down time after the facial and you are red the next day, you should contact the esthetician as soon as possible.

For more information

Peel your skin problems away


When it comes to fighting the battle scars of age, leave it to a dermatologist to come up with a sure-fire, no-nonsense approach.  I am very impressed with AB skincare by Dr. Craig Austin of New York. Dr. Austin is an experienced dermatologist and dermatopathologist.
I started having glycolic peels in my 30s. I was lucky enough to have doctors who thought it was unnecessary to subject normal skin to harsh, burning chemical peels. (Those who need to remove scars may need more extreme treatments.) My doctors believed that frequent gentler peels could be effective and result in softer, prettier, less-traumatized skin. The philosophy has served me well. My skin is firm, youthful, and relatively unmarked.
The AB Skincare line is simplicity itself. The basis of the line is a 10 percent-strength glycolic facial pads. There are also 15 and 20 percent glycolic acid pads for hands and feet, as well as acne treatment pads that combine glycolic acid with salicylic acid.
According to Dr. Austin, the daily use of the pads is the equivalent of an in-office peel. The treatment helps reduce fine lines and hyper-pigmentation, and stimulate collagen production. I love the pads; I find them the perfect way to keep my skin fresh between treatments with my own derm or cosmetic acupuncturist. It’s also economical. Many ineffective peels cost almost as much, and many peel products sold over the Internet are plain unsafe.
Dr. Austin’s AB Skincare glycolic pad regime gives results that are identical or superior to the light or “lunch time” peels offered in many doctors’ offices and salons.  
The line also has a great eye cream. AB eye has all the right stuff: anti-oxidants, Vitamins A, C and E, green tea extract, and CO-Q 10. It has a super luxe feel due to its high hyaluronic acid content. It hydrates instantly; you can even use it to plump your lips. Austin is one skin doctor who did not miss a trick.
If you are looking for an economical way to try glycolic peels – or gave them up because of the expense – this line is for you. Currently there is a 10 percent holiday discount on all products.
Tip: Never toss a pad without getting the good from it. After you finish wiping your face, use the pad to wipe your décolleté and the back of the hands. Also don’t forget to use sun block; you will be extra sun-sensitive after any exfoliation treatment.