Less (Makeup) Is More

The goal of cosmetic dermatology is to restore skin to a natural, more youthful appearance. In fact, one of the principles of the profession is that once an unusual or unnatural look is created – often in the over-pursuit of bothersome wrinkles

identified by the patient – you’ve done more harm than good. The human eye and brain are extraordinarily adept at picking up on abnormal and asymmetric facial features in others. As an example, think of the last person you saw with huge duck lips or gigantic cheekbones from filler injection. The injector had good intentions, but that patient spent a lot of money to look awful.

In my practice, I love it when ladies comment after laser facial resurfacing that they’re wearing much less makeup and feel wonderful. However, it’s equally frustrating when I’ve seen them have outstanding results yet they return for their follow-up visit wearing gobs of thick, expensive foundation. It’s an addiction. No better than the lady with duck lips, all that makeup isn’t fooling anyone.

TIP: ÜBreak the makeup addiction. Anything more than a light application is unnatural appearing and almost always worse than wearing no makeup at all. If you suffer from sun spots, fine lines, and tired skin, dermatologists and other cosmetic providers have exciting technologies that can significantly enhance your natural beauty and significantly improve whatever you’re trying to cover.

This Is The Season To Be Beautiful

Winter is known for its harsh and drying effects on the skin. Irritated, flaky skin and chapped lips are all part of the routine winter skin phenomena that require more work to keep healthy. However, did you know that winter is also the best time to improve the appearance of your skin with a cosmetic laser procedure?

Ultraviolet radiation easily causes darkening of the skin (known as postinflammatory hyperpigmentation) after any traumatic injury or inflammation of the skin. Individuals who tan easily are particularly susceptible to this type of injury-induced discoloration. In terms of both intensity and duration of sunlight, ultraviolet radiation levels are at the lowest levels during wintertime. Examples of procedures that are ideally performed during the fall to wintertime period include laser procedures to remove hair, brown spots, red spots, as well as skin resurfacing lasers that improve the complexion and firmness of the skin.

Dermatologists will typically recommend that patients start thinking about what they would like to improve about their skin during the summer time and start planning for and undergoing the actual procedure(s) during fall and wintertime. Many laser procedures can take several treatment sessions spread over several months, so careful planning is key. Talk to your local dermatologist about your particular cosmetic concerns and plan out a schedule that maximizes the positive outcomes of that procedure. You’ll be ready to show off a fresh and rejuvenated look just in time for spring.

Hands Off!

Have an unsightly acne pimple on your face? Resist the temptation to squeeze it and/or rub multiple over-the-counter products on it.

The first step in that pimple was a plug in the hair follicle (called a comedone), and it happened days or weeks ago. What you see now is the result of inflammation from your immune system, and it won’t go away overnight no matter what you do. It’s the unfortunate truth.

Popping pimples may be satisfying, but it most likely prolongs the misery: everything you see erupt also gets shoved down into the deeper layers of the skin. Harsh toners, astringents, and blemish removers only serve to make inflammation worse.

TIP: Warm compresses, steam, prescription medications or light treatment from your dermatologist, and ultimately time are your best allies in the war against unsightly zits. Remember, hands off!

Food For Thought (And Skin)

Both late-night infomercials and well-respected thought leaders in aesthetic dermatology frequently focus on topical formulations to promote beautiful skin. Some of these recommendations are based on hype and conjecture (the former) or peer-reviewed, meaningful science (the latter).

Regardless, diet and overall wellbeing often go unmentioned in the conversation. When discussed, heavily promoted fad diets and sensationalized miracle foods only serve to confuse the matter, making it hard to know which way to turn.

Keep it simple and follow this tip – skip the celebrity endorsements and follow the rules of nature. Diets high in high-glycemic carbohydrates and sugars are both pro-inflammatory and harmful for us. Instead of hoping that a hot new super-food will improve your skin, follow a diet that’s natural, organic, and unprocessed.

This does not mean “no carb.” It does mean abandoning foods that are mass-produced in a factory. Instead of a protein bar, try organic chicken. Instead of pasta, substitute delicious fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts.

Premature wrinkling, acne, and pigment problems may be partially linked to your on-the-go diet. Take the time to prepare natural meals and put down that bagel: you’ll feel better, have more energy, and your skin might thank you.

Protect Your Skin With Sunscreen

From both a medical and cosmetic standpoint, daily use of sunscreen is one of the most important steps in your skin care routine. Sunscreen contains physical and/or chemical ingredients that block the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun from damaging your delicate skin cells. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to both skin cancer as well as premature aging of the skin.

Sunscreens should ideally be broad spectrum, meaning that it blocks both ultraviolet A, which causes premature aging, and ultraviolet B radiation, which causes sunburn. The recommended labeled sun protection factor (SPF) should be at least 30. SPF factor denotes the strength of the sunscreen in its ability to block out the harmful ultraviolet radiation. With an SPF of 30, 97{aea2b696391fa39cb967d30fcd6aba4dbca06caf6246edcd5037966107a3d780} of incoming UV radiation is blocked. Although higher SPF factors block out more UV radiation, the incremental benefit of increasing SPF factors actually plateaus, such that SPF’s higher than 50 provide negligible additional protection.

UV radiation exists during all seasons and weather conditions. Because UV radiation is invisible to the human eye, you cannot judge the amount of UV radiation present based on how sunny the day appears. Hence, it is important to use sunscreen on a daily basis regardless of season or weather condition, especially to exposed body areas such as the face, neck, and forearms. It is important to remember that although sunscreen helps protect the skin from harmful UV radiation, it does not make the skin immune from sun exposure. Sunburns are still possible if there is an extended period of sun exposure.

So which sunscreen should you use? The right sunscreen is a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen that is most compatible with your skin such that you feel comfortable using it every day. Ask your local dermatologist for a recommendation on the best sunscreen product for your particular complexion and cosmetic needs.

Mirror Mirror On The Wall…

I always wonder why fancy hotel rooms have a backlit 10x or even 20x magnifying lens hanging from the bathroom wall. I tell my patients: if you have one of these in your home, throw it away.

Commonly, people who own these devices (young women especially) cannot help but pick, tweeze, and poke at real or perceived blemishes on their face when their reflection is viewed at great magnification. The result is chronic inflammation, non-healing skin, and, ultimately, permanent scars.

These mirrors do much more harm than good. When was the last time someone came up to you, put their nose a few inches away from your face, and looked at you with a magnifying glass? Never, of course. Humans interact at a healthy social distance.

TIP: Standing at your bathroom sink is as close as you should get to a mirror at home; leave the magnifying lenses to your professional aesthetician or dermatologist.