Instant results

No mask can replace lost collagen. The best mask isn't a substitute for cosmetic injections or surgery, but it can leave your skin looking plump, dewy, and delicious.  And that is fabulous for an at-home beauty treatment that takes only minutes. A mask can give you instant results when you need them, before a night out, an important meeting, or any type of occasion.
Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Mask is one of our favourites. It is an almost-magical combination of minerals, potent marine collagen, and botanicals that instantly firm, plump, and hydrate the skin.  

Top doc’s guide glowing skin

Dr. Jeannette GrafStop Aging, Start Living by Jeanette Graf M.D. with Alisa Bowman is like having a really smart dermatologist for a friend. Dr. Jeanette Graf is a well-respected cosmetic dermatologist who is often quoted in beauty and fashion magazines. In her book, she confesses to be a beauty junkie who learned the hard way that beauty starts from the inside out.

Dr. Graf shares her recipe for great skin. It involves vitamins, minerals, fresh fruits and vegetables — andgreens powder. She believes that too much acid is the enemy of great skin and robs you of you glow. She tells you exactly what to take and how to test for the right PH to get your glow back!
This informative little volume includes tips on how to slow down aging and select the right products for your skin, and other professional trade secrets.
Dr. Graf’s boon names products and gives precise instructions on to how to take care of your skin, unlike other experts whose books frustratingly give only general recommendations. She also recommends products at all price points.
This is good book of basic skin care wisdom for any woman looking for guidance. Also check out Dr. Graf’s website:

Spa at home

SkinSync is a new  line of spa quality and spa-tested skin care products designed to be used at home.  

SkinSync has four product lines to tackle different skin concerns such as aging, hyperpigmentation, and dryness. They also have specialty products such a heightening peel, and a time-released retinal and lip plumper. The line uses top-quality ingredients that are found in many of the best medi-spa lines.
I liked both the light, but penetrating Pro-A Age Defying and Pro-B Brightening eye creams. They leave the eye area moist-looking and refreshed. The day creams have an SPF 30 which makes them effective sun protection for most women, and that alone is a good recommendation.
SkinSync is a good option for women experiencing the first signs of aging. The line is well-priced for quality ingredients. The pricing is good for the high quality of the ingredients.
Prices range from $29 for a cleanser to $85 for the brightening peel.


Banish fine lines

Daily use of sun block and targeting fine lines and wrinkles with an effective skin care regime are among the best ways to maintain a beautiful, healthy-looking complexion. Retinol is one of the most effective wrinkle fighters available.
The new Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Intensive Deep Wrinkle Treatment with Retinol combines Retinol with her patented anti-aging formula, MMPi-20 to target fine lines and wrinkles while transforming dull skin into a more radiant complexion. Created by Dr. Wexler, MMPi20 counters the destructive enzymes that cause our skin’s collagen to sag and age. 
According to the company, a clinical study showed the treatment left deep wrinkles looking visibly smoothed, pores instantly minimized, and skin feeling firmer, more elastic and illuminated. 
Dr. Patricia Wexler is a renowned dermatologist whose services are sought by celebrities and socialites. Now, you can you can try her expertise at a fraction of the cost of a visit to her exclusive New York office. Her entire targeted skin care range is available at Bath and Body Works, and online.
Recently, I also tried the Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Anti-Aging Sensitive line. I really liked the MMPi20 Comforting & Renewing Serum created to decrease skin’s reactivity while visibly diminishing signs of aging. It did not irritate my super-sensitive skin at all. After using it for few weeks I can report it does subtly firm and leaves skin looking fresh. I also like the Soothing & Renewing Night Cream. It is very gentle and effective.
Dr. Patricia WexlerThese products are excellent value for money. You can buy targeted products for specific skin issues or try a starter kit for about $40. Patricia Wexler M.D. Dermatology Intensive Deep Wrinkle Treatment with Retinol will be available at the end of the month.

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

Your 30s and 40s

Darlings, now you need to get serious. I have combined these two age groups because depending on your life style and genetics, I have observed that skincare needs are much the same. Women with oily skin may find their skin does not change until they reach age 35 to 37. They can easily continue using the same regime they used in their20s. Sometimes in their 30s, most women start to notice the subtle signs of aging. This is the time to address them. Revaleskin with  coffeeberry

You can use a regime from one line or mix products from several lines. The key is consistency. Use an anti-oxidant product every day to combat environmental damage. You may want to luxe-up to something like Revaleskin. It’s laced with coffee berry extract which is a very potent anti-oxident. Another line that I really like is Environ from South Africa. Their Ionzyme range is blend of potent retinols, antioxidants, vitamins, botanicals, and light but rich moisturizers. This line is not inexpensive, but it is good value. It costs $300 for a three- to four-month supply. This line comes in graduated strengths and can be used by women age 30 and up.
Pro-X the new range by Olay can be an attractive option for affordable but effective anti-aging skin care. This new range of products is impressive and the result of serious research. The Olay scientists looked at how and why skin ages. They concluded that the key to good-looking skin is restoring the skin’s moisture barrier and increasing cell turnover. The Olay scientists discovered that when the outside surface of the skin or the stratum cornea is damaged the inside layers of cells are focused making repairs. This results in aged appearance, as the skin cells are distracted from making new fresh skin cells. When the skin is protected by the right ingredients the cells can function making new cells and restoring the skin. The Pro-X line has many products so you can design your own regime. Desing your own prefessional regime
The science and ingredients are impressive and similar to what you would get in more expensive products and some unique innovations: Niacinamide, N-acetyl Glucosamine (NAG), peptides, caffeine, and Hexamidine. A few of us tried these products. We all like them and find them an excellent option.
Lierac Parishas a great range of anti-aging products. They are gentle but effective and offer an elegant range of options for the woman who really wants to step up her regime. Biotherm makes a wonderful range of skin care: Rides Repair and Reminerale Repair are fabulous effective anti-aging lines. They are light in texture. They offer streamlined regimes perfect for a busy woman. Biotherm’s Multi-recharge is full of ginseng and like a vacation for tired skin.
 A gentle peel
L’Oreal Paris Revitalift addresses the early sings of aging too. If you are looking for a serious product to battle crow’s feet and other furrows try Advanced Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair SPF Day and Advanced Revitalift Deep-Set Wrinkle Repair. The products combine luxurious hydration with Pro-Retinol, Pro-Lastyl to stimulate elastin, and Vitoptine an Indian herb that helps increase collagen. This is an effective product and perfect if you a developing fine lines. Be sure to use good sun protection.
Do not tan. Use a self tanner. If you already have sun damage see a dermatologist for a prescription for retina-A or maybe even photofacials to correct the damage. There are various options and not all are pricey. But the sooner you address the damage, the better your results will be.
Remember to use antioxidants in the daytime and maybe at night too, but to keep AHA’s and Salicylic for the night time. Serums are concentrated anti-aging ingredients often a combination of anti-oxidants, botanicals, vitamins, and minerals. They are always applied first to clean skin. I quite like serums; they make my skin feel wonderful. Estee Lauder’s Night Repair is excellent value. It is full of anti-oxidants. Lancôme has just introduced a new serum called Geneifique. It is the result of 10 years of research. It works to boost proteins found in younger skin. It’s all very scientific and expensive. We haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds interesting. The original Cellex-C has also proven to be an effective serum over years. It is pricey, but the results are consistent. Women with dry skin may prefer La Roche-Posey Active C line. It also has high potency vitamin, but delivered in a silky base and is a good value. 

A “Paris” peel that won’t leave you feeling roughed up

If you have shied away from peels and products containing hydroxy acids because they always leave your skin red and irritated, perhaps you should try the French approach to beauty. French women are ritualistic about their skin care. They won’t tolerate treatments that leave their faces ravaged. They know better. The French approach is one of gentle, effective daily dedication.Lierac Paris Comfort Peel Wrinkle Smoother

Lierac Paris Comfort Peel Wrinkle Smoother uses a unique time-release formula designed for maximum effectiveness and optimum tolerance. Used morning and night, it can help diminish fine lines, even skin tone, and leave skin moisturized – but with none of the redness usually associated with peels.
Their formula uses a Lierac Labs innovation: glycolic acid encapsulated in Cyclodestrins. Cyclodestrins are a natural molecule from the breakdown of sugar-starch. It also contains a new generation of salicylic acid anchored in Acacia gum macro-molecules. The acacia gum allows the salicylic acid to exfoliate without causing irritation. The final ingredient is urea, which is often used as a moisturizer as it helps bond water to the skin. At the 10 percent concentration used, it also has a keratolytic action that helps break the bonds between the skin cells for more rapid renewal.
Lierac Paris Comfort Peel Wrinkle Smoother is gentle but effective. It is the perfect product, if you have tried and found other peels too harsh. It is also a fabulous choice for a woman who prefers elegant, European-style, preservative-free skin care.