A New Tool to Fight Acne

Acne Acne– it affects more than 90% men and women, but there is   small comfort in numbers when you wake up with new  bright red bump on your face.  And while  acne affects so  many of us, we seem to  react  differently to standard acne plans.   Because  what works  for  you  may not work for  me, I  was so  happy to learn of  an effective  new tool in our anti-acne arsenal.

IlluMask is a light therapy  mask that is backed up with solid science.  The face shaped mask is studded  with mostly blue  LED lights. FDA approved, it targets acne in two ways:

1. It reduces the production of inflammtory  chemicals called porphorins. At its core, acne  is an inflammatory process and any way we can reduce inflammation will interfere with the appearance of new pimples.

2. It kills the acne causing  bacteria.  Certain bacteria in the pores are very irritating and trigger  oil production and a  flood of  inflammatory chemicls

IlluMask for Different types of Acne

acne before IlluMaskFor mild acne, the mask  can be used alone without the need  for additional medication. According to cosmetic surgeon  Dr  Z Paul Lorenc who has studied the device, the skin is simply washed with a  mild cleanser like Cetaphil  and used for 15 minutes a night for 30 days. Studies  report  a decline of 75-100 percent of lesions.acne after treatment For moderate to severe acne it can be used in addition to  an established routine that includes Retin A, salicylic acid and antibiotics.  IlluMask can also be very helpful for acne during pregnancy.  Many  effective  acne  care ingredients incuding Retin A, salicylic acid, and antibiotics  are not safe   for the  unborn baby.  Chemical-free  blue  light can  help you clear  up  the skin  during those critical nine months without any risk of birth defects.

Blue light acne therapy  has been around for several years. It is available from a dermatologist, but are very expensive and rarely covered by insurance.   Other blue light home devices have a very small treatment area. You will need to hold it in different areas for 5-10 miutes and move it around your face.  Not easy. IlluMask covers the entire face and a nightly treatment is  just 15 minutes.   And I saved the best part for last– Its  just $29.95, lasts for 30 days and is available at Wal-Mart, Ulta and  Target and online from Amazon.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Barbara of Best of Everything After 50 is hosting Fashion Flash. Last week  she was on Dr Phil and this week ( Tuesday)  she  will on  the Doctors talking about   bladder  issues that is  one of the  silent issues  that  many women face as they get older.  She is also  spokeperson for the national Osteoporosis  Foundation and her series of exercises  on Youtube  are so important  for good bone health She is a courageous and positive voice for women over 50 and I am so proud that she is  part of Fashion Flash.

Fashion Flash Book Review:  Face Value by  Hema Sundaram, MD

Some of the most serious questions  on skin care  that come to  my blog are from South Asian  men and women.  Many deal with the appearance of dark paches that spread and darken as time goes by. Even more troubling, the standard acne and anti-aging treatment often  make South Asian skin  problems  even worse. I am always looking for experts  that can help me answer the sometimes frantic questions.

When I found Face Value by  South Asian dermatologist Hema Sundaram, I hoped I had found a great source of much needed information. Browsing thru the book I was intrigued  by  her case studies and the original  way she created individual treatment plans.  I flipped through the book  looking for before and after photos to  support her claims of success.  I discovered there were no photos,  no illustrations, no graphic of any kind.  For a beauty book, this is a serious problem.

I was even more disappointed that there was not a single reference  to the unique skin care needs to men and  women with darker skin tones.   I t seems like every dermatologist in NYC has published a book that covers  pretty much the same material.  It’s unfortunate that  this author  did not use her unique cultural perspective  to provide an original and much needed book.

I have  covered a number of skin  problems for women of color  including the  safe use of lasers,  the value of arbutin for skin lightening and  these best way to use Retin A for acne. In the next few weeks I will be archiving them in a new tab  so the info will  be quickly available.  When it comes  to beauty, the truth is out there.


What the Heck is Niacinamide?

Question and Answer logoQuestion:  What is  niacinamide and what can it do for  my skin?   I bought a moisturizer that promised to lighten dark patches.  Then I  read about another product that claimed niacinamide improves acne AND  smooths  fine lines.  Can niacinamide do all of these things?  None of them?

Answer:  Niacinamide  aka nicotinic acid is a form of vitamin B3 (aka niacin).  This vitamin is  essential for healthy skin, nerves and digestion.  Lack of niacin can lead to skin inflammation and nerve damage and over time severe lack of nacin  will lead to pellegra.

On the surface of the skin, niacinamide has a wide range of benefits.  There are   good clinical studies that show nicinamide can reduce inflammation of acne.  In fact a  study  showed that a 4-5% niacinamide gel is as effective as clindamycin in reducing acne– and without the concern  of developing bacterial resistance. Nice.

But wait there is more. Niacinamide also inhibits melanin production. Over time, is can effectively reduce splotches of melasma and sun damage.Niacinamide also does indeed promote cell growth and repair that leads to firmer, smoother skin.

And I have saved the best for last– niacinamide stimulates the production of both ceramides and  hyaluronic acid.  These two super natural moisturizes decline as we get older– a  major cause of increased dryness.  Net result?  Niacinamide can certainly claim  to be a great moisturizer.

Niacinamide– THe Big “But”

On paper, niacinamide seems like your skin’s new best friend.  But there is a problem.  You need a 4-5% formulation and  at that level  it can be irritating and turn your skin quite red.   Many commercial  products avoid the issue by using only a very small amount of  niacinamide– which unfortunately  produces very small results.

One brand, Nia24 has modified the niacinamide molecule to reduce irritation yet maintain benefits.   Nia 24  products have 4-5% niacinamide and provide both  impressive clinical studies to back up their claims  and  before and after photos.   Nia24 is  available online and is often sold by dermatologists and plastic surgeons.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoThis week Mirabai  of Moving Free with Mirabai is hosting Fashion Flash.  These days it seems that all a trainer needs is a  lap top and a smart phone–  no credentials, no experience, no  references needed.  This is why I  have so  much  confidence and  admiration  for Mirabai.  She has more than  four degrees and 20 years of experience.  And what I think  makes her extra special is that  she  still bubbles with   a passion and enthusiasm  for  health and exercise  programs.  Mirabai  has created  fitness programs for children, heart patients, word class athletes, and  new mommies.  She knows   how every bone, muscle and ligaments  works and her science based  yet entertaining  approach  always  works, never hurts.  Check out her site for great advice and videos.  You’ll  thank me.

Fashion Flash book reviewFashion Flash  Book Review: Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville

October is National Vegetarian  Month and I have been reviewing  vegetarian cookbooks for  both taste and ease.  I started  with the classic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by the justly famous  Deborah Madison.  She was the founding  chef of the ground breaking  Greens restaurant in San Fransisco. The style and cuisine at Greens  took  vegetarian restaurants  where they had never been before.  The vegetables and  herbs were organically in their own  Green Gulch Farm

When I found  Field of Greens, by another Greens  chef, I was  thrilled.   The range of recipes   was  breathtaking–butternut squash soup  with apple confit, linguine with  orange-saffron butter and corn cakes with smoked cheese and chilies.  As a frustrated farmer, I was so grateful  for the real time gardening tips that accompanied   numerous recipes.

The recipes are glorious but   much more complicated  than in the earlier book by Deborah Madison.  Most recipes  in Field of Greens have at least 18  different ingredients and  many have as  many as 35 . Not only  does this make each recipe time consumming, they are pricey. ( By contrast,  the recipes  from Vegearian Cooking for Everyone usually need  6 ingredients including salt, pepper and olive oil). For example,  Somerville uses leeks rather than onions.  Since leeks are   at least 4X more expensive than onions,  this raises the cost of  each course.   In addition to  more ingredients,   many of the recipes  call for complicaed pre-recipes to complete  a dish.  For example,  squash  turnovers  call for homemade dough and corn soup  calls for  homemade corn stock.  The recipes are wonderful, but this is definately not  for weekday meals.

Fashion and Beauty Support Breast Cancer Awareness

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month  and the fashion and beauty community is  providing  support in literally hundreds of events and initiatives:

Caner fundraiser from HalsbrookHalsbrook Fund-Raising Pop-Up Store for Cancer Center

In  recent years,  shopping ceased to be fun for me.    Stores seemed to be  packed with clothing that  fit neither my  life nor  my  body.  I could  not find  comfortable, flattering   suits, dresses or shoes that  projected  who I was and what  I did.  Where once I would   stagger home with bags of great  picks,  I often returned home  empty handed.

When I discoverd Halsbrook.com, it was like the mothership calling me  home.  My newest favorite online retailer, Halsbrook   has a beautiful  selection of clothing  for women over  40.  It takes  you from the beach to the boardroom with  age appropriate style that is sophisticated but never dull.   And to help me pull it all together,  Halsbrook offers  over  two dozen  style plans for  a wide range of  places and activities.

This  type of style  can carry a significant  price tag.  Not to worry.  This week, a Halsbrook pop-up sale to benefit  Memorial Sloan Kettering, will offers racks of clothing  at  up to 70% of their original prices.   The sale will include  St John  coats, dresses from Carolina Herrera and Peter Som, St James striped tees and Armani jackets.

It was dizzying , but I kept my head and came home with a  cashmere swing sweater in camel, an oversized  link necklace  and  a multi colored  Palua Ka evening bag(  just $59). I had admired these beauties  on the website and now they live with me.

The pop-up sale will run Friday and Saturday   at the Society  Boutique at 1440 Third Avenue ( between 81st and 82nd street) For more  information, please call 212-535-1250.  And if you miss  the Halsbrook  pop-up,  check out the always temping sale section on Halsbrook.com.

Skin care during cancer treatmentSkin Care  During Cancer Treatment

When Merilyn Konnerth  could not find products to soothe  her radiation and  chemo  treated skin, she teamed up with her pharmacist  father to create her own.  Called  Skin in Treatment,  it eliminates  all irritating ingredients ( eg glycolic acid and alcohol) and relies on natural oils and antioxidants.  She  is now a finalist in the Martha Stewart Made in America Contest.  This event is designed to support local artisans and homemade products.  There are 25   categories and Merilyn is a finalist  in the beauty category.  She is inspiring and her products  are wonderful.  Please  take a moment and  click  VOTE before October 15  to send  her some love and support.




Don’t Miss Fall Fashion Event

POSH Fall Fashion SaleLast May I hit the famous POSH sale that offers designer clothing at a fraction of their original price tag.  Its an astonishing fundraiser for the Lighthouse Guild that  has raised millions since it started over 40 years ago.  My haul included a totally Audrey silk  flowered Nina Ricci  dress  ($75) and a six foot beaver scarf by Prada ( $90).  I thought I was going to have to wait a year for another sale but I was  wrong.  This week, POSH will host  its three  day Fall Fashion Sale from October  10-12. Admission is FREE and it will be  held at their east side campus at 110 East 60th Street, between Park and Lexington Avenues. For more info  call 212-821-9300.

I had a chance to preview the sale  and on  just one rack I  found a red  Heidi  Weisel pantsuit  ($60), a navy Stella McCartney dress ( $75) and a  simply perfect navy Armani suit  ($120). There is also a large selection of equally wonderful men’s clothes that included a cache of Hermes ties.  I can’t wait to go  and I hope to see you there!POSH sale includes men

Free! No-Nonsense Acne Guide by Deborah Chase

acne questionsWhen I first started No-Nonsense  Beauty Blog, I thought I would focus on anti-aging  issues such as  lines,  wrinkles and  age spots.  As  it turned out  my readers  sent in the most amazing questions from  a wide range of   beauty issues including sunscreens for sensitive skin,  best options for “age spots”, the differences between  Marula oil and  Argan oil and  which body shaping device   is  best  for saggy upper arms.  And the #1  topic?  The causes  and  treatment of acne.

Over the past four years it  has been  fascinating and  fulfilling to search out the most  up to date   answers  to a problem that affects  most people at some  point in their lives. Now I have  compiled  all this basic info in a  five page guide to acne care. You can download this guide for free  when you subscribe  to No-Nonsense Beauty Blog. You can subscribe using either the pink bar at the top of the page or the sign-up box in the side bar. And if you are already subscribed, we will automatically  be sending  it to  you in an email.

The No-Nonsense Acne Survival Guide  explains  the causes of acne  and how    well-known   acne medictions  work on differenent aspects of the acne process.   It reviews the seven   key types of acne treatments–  how they work and the best way to  work them into a skin care routinue.  It  will show  which work well together and  which need to  be used at separate times.

The No-Nonsense Acne Survival Guide

There are  four basic acne profiles and each  one needs a very different treatment plan.  The No-Nonsense Acne Survival Guide  describes the key signs of each profile and the important variations for  care.  For example, simple, mild acne  with  just a few scattered  spots, can  be   handled with over drugstore  benzoyl peroxide.   As things get serious, acne  needs combo’s  that  attack the  probem  from  different directions.

Beating back acne takes not only the right  medications, but using them in the most effective order.  For example  the No-Nonsense Acne Survival Guide explains  how and when to use  Retin A, antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide  at the same time.  Hint:   split  them up for day and ight use.

No-Nonsense Acne Survival Guide  includes the answers to the five most frequent acne questions including the role of diet,  how to find  a sunscreen that  does  not cause breakouts and  the pros and cons of scrubbing grains.

This guide covers  the  most  popular questions and problems, but if you have    additional questions, please  get in touch with  me.  If I don’t know the answer, I will find an expert that does.

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

Fashion-Flash-logoTHE VAGABOND SONG

There is something in the autumn that is native to  my blood

Touch of manner, hint of  mood,

And my heart is like a rhyme

With the  yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time

I am so excited to be  hosting Fashion Flash  in the fall.  I  love the sense of  renewal  that comes  in the autumn  and our  bloggers feel the same:

* There  is a chill in the air.  Josephine of Chic  At Any Age wants us to look chic and we stay warm  as she offers  great advice on choosing  the best new winter coat.

* Now that fall has officially arrived, Cindy of Prime Beauty  shares her list of her top ten fall lips and tips.

* Jodell of Black Cat Plus is excited to  see animal prints, ethnic patterns and geometric prints among  the trends plus size women will see in the Fall

* Fun vests are one of the biggest trends of the fall. Pam of Over Fifty, Feeling 40  explains  how and why they help us transition to cooler weather.

* Falling leaves are beautiful but falling  hair is not.  Positive Living Advocate Barbara Hannah Grufferman of Best of Everything After Fifty wants  women to know that its quite common to lose some hair  as we get older.  Not to worry!  She has some great tips on why it can happen and what we can do about it.

* Fall is the perfect time  to exercise outdoors.  Try adding  this easy strength training  autumn  workout designed by Mirabai of Moving Free with Mirabai.

* Fall is the start of soup weather  and Melanie of Society Wellness  has some of the best soup recipes  you will find online.   She even provides instructions so that  you  can modify  her recipes to  make them vegan,  gluten-free or increase protein.  My newest favorite is  vegan potato kale.  Just thinking about  it  makes my mouth water.

* Its fall  and to Kari of  Fab Over Forty that means sweater weather.  Today she shares  her five favorite  sweaters to wear when  leaves  start to  change colors.

* A beautiful fall setting can be inspiring in so  many ways.  Marylou of Second Lives Club shares  how one writer has created  an autumnal  environment that illuminates her work.

* Fall is definately time to try something  new and Diva Debbi shares a new  lash system that will produce  the fullest, fattest, lashes everyday… guaranteed.

* Jackie of Aging Backwards sniffs around to discover the benefits of fall inspired  aromatherapy.