Sunscreen Follies

How much sunscreen  do you use on your face?  A dab or two on your cheeks and forehead?  A nickel-sized blob?  I have often read that experts recommend  using one tablespoon on the face and two tablespoons for the body.  Last week while I was making Linzer cookies, I was measuring out butter and one tablespoon looked like a pretty big lump to apply to  my face.  It got me thinking.  I know that butter is 100% fat so perhaps a creamy lotion would absorb more easily.  I squeezed out a tablespoon of my favorite sunscreen and dumped it on a saucer.  As you can see from the photo, its quite an impressive puddle of cream.

In the name of science ( and beauty)  I applied  it to my face– … Continue Reading…

IPL: Final Results

Check it out!  Eight days after my lunch date with an IPL laser, my skin looks wonderful, even without make-up.  Its smooth, with a youthful type of radience and even  rosy skin tone.  Gone are the enlarged pores and it even seems firmer.  I really love the results and they were worth the healing time.  However IPL is  not something that should  be done right before a big event like  a wedding or a highschool reunion.  I would schedule it  at least two weeks before a special day  for a maximum glow. Although the recommendations are to resume normal skin care ( eg Retin A,  chemical sunscreens) within three days, I had a few  red spots so I waited a week.  I  just started back on my Retin A   and had no problems.  … Continue Reading…

IPL Laser, Day 4

By Day 4   I decided to use a Buff Puff to remove the freckle debris.  I can see clear signs of improvement in the skin. 

It looks poreless and feels very soft.  There are a few red areas of irritation which I can easily cover  with a dab of concealer. IPL is recommended for early signs of aging and I can now see why.  I  have been using Retin-A for more than five months and  a YAG laser to burn off larger freckles.  The  heavy  lifting done, the IPL laser was able to gently but effectively refine  my skin.

Lunchtime Laser, Day Two

 The next morning I was happy to see the red splotches were gone, but now there were a shower of tiny brown spots on my nose and cheeks.  These are exploded freckles and  areas of discoloration. ( See photo) 

I know this means that my skin will  have a pinker more even color, but at this point its disconcerting.  They are supposed to fall off in a day or two.

While the after effects of the IPL laser is far less severe than a traditional laser, I wonder if the concept of  “lunchtime laser” has been ovesold.  I don’t know where you work, but I think my colleagues and clients would notice my new spots and splotches.  Next time  I am going to have  this type of anti-aging  procedure … Continue Reading…

The Anti-Aging Lunchtime Laser

I’m really happy with my Retin-A treatd skin but I’ve become greedy.  I asked my anti-aging  guru, Dr Marmur  of Mount Sinai, for micro-dermabrasion and she suggested  the IPL laser — aka “the lunchtime laser”.  Unlike the industrial strength CO2 laser, the IPL is non-ablative which means  that it does not remove whole layers of skin.  This makes healing much easier and faster.

Using bursts of  light of  different wave lengths, the IPL laser can remove freckles, brown patches, redness,  and enlarged pores.  As an extra bonus, IPL produces a bit of tightening for a  more youthful contour.  It is especially effective  for  signs of sun aging  when you’re in  your 30’s and 40’s.

I was told  to stop using Retin- A  three days before the procedure.  One hour  before my appointment, I applied lidocaine cream to numb the area.  Remembering my first painful laser exerience, I literally frosted my face with the numbing cream.   Dr Marmur  covered my eyes … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Sunscreen Cheat Sheet #7

 Waterproof/ Water-resistant- Unlike fragrance-free or alcohol free which are pretty  self explanatory, waterproof/water resistant is a bit more complex.  Even  an industrial strength sunscreen will not be able to deliver on its promise if its washed off by perspiration or a dip in a pool.  So waterproof/water resistant ( and its cousin sweatproof) means that  this sunscreen  will have  some staying power on the skin.  However its ability to withstand moisture is not permanent- which is why  the usual recommendation is to reapply sunscreen every few hours.

Bottom Line:  waterproof/water resistant is  an important feature if you’re using sunscreen  around a pool or beach or in hot weather. When its cool and dry, water resistance is not a key factor– but remember as  long as there is sunlight, even in winter, you need a daily sunscreen.

Anti-Aging Sunscreen Cheat Sheet# 6

#6. SPF — This is the big Kahuna of sunscreen terms.  Seeing   “SPF”  on a package gives  you confidence in a product- maybe too much confidence.

Here’s how it works:  SPF stands for “sun protection factor”.  An SPF 15 means that you can stay in the sun 15X longer without burning.  If you start burning after 10 minutes  of sun exposure, then a 15 SPF  means you can spend 10 x 15 =150 minutes in the sun without burning.   But this sounds better than it is.

Many factors affect how much sun protection you actually have in real time– how much you use, if you’re near water or sands which reflects light,  as well as heat, humidity and time of year.  To me the most interesting things I learned is an SPF 30 is not twice  as good a 15 SPF.  Who knew?

I think that the best way to view an SPF is as proof that this product has actually been … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Sunscreen Cheat Sheet #5

Chemical/Physical Sunscreen —  Chemical sunscreens ( like Parsol) absorb UV rays before they can damage skin cells. Physical sunscreens  such as zinc oxide stay on the skin’s surface and reflect UV radiation away from the body. But wait, there’s more.

Most chemical sunscreens  such as Homosalate and methoxycinnamate ( that trips lightly off the tongue) protect against UVB rays.  However there are a two chemcial sunscreens Parsol( Avobenzone) and Mexoryl  which  protect against UV A rays.   This is why most sunscreens have so many active ingredients– no one ingredient can do it all. 

Physical sunblocks are made of minerals  such as zinc ocide and titanium dioxide that can block both UV A and UVB rays.  However,  how well they work depends on the formulation.  The thick, white zinc oxide paste is highly effective, but certainly not something you can use all over the body.  Micronized forms of these  mineral sunscreens look fine but … Continue Reading…