Question: What are BB creams?

Answer:  I love new beauty ideas that are based on good science and BB creams are just such a concept.  BB stands for ‘blemish balm”  where blemish is defined as a skin defect ( eg dark spots and splotches and acne scars), not  just  traditional breakouts.

The original BB creams were developed by a Korean dermatologist to help his patients care for laser treated skin.  After having both IPL and frying off my freckles with a YAG laser, I had difficulty finding  appropriate  moisturizers and sun protection products.  The treatments made my skin especially vulnerable to sun damage, yet traditional chemical sunscreens were irritating while  zinc based formulations left my  skin with a weird white sticky film. 

BB creams are a genuinely clever idea.  They are a zinc based high SPF moisturizer/sun block combo that have a flattering tint.  The result?  On the skin … Continue Reading…

IPL– Safe and Beautiful Results

Question:  I have heard so  many horror stories about IPL, but you had great results.  Can you tell me what machine was used and at what settings?

Answer:  I had IPL with Dr Ellen Marmur of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, so I  asked  her to answer this question.  Dr Marmur used the Luminis IPL with two handpieces– the 560nm and the 590nm.   “Both  of them focus on red spots, blood vessels and brown freckles”  she explained.  “The treatment settings vary from patient to patient based on skin color and the amount of the target to be removed.  For example, I use  lower settings for freckles to avoid over-heating the skin.’    Dr Marmur also warned against getting IPL when tanned ”   You need to avoid the sun for at least wo weeks prior to IPL treament ” she warned.

IPL Road Rules

IPL … Continue Reading…

Exploring a New Freckle Fighter

I was intrigued by a new freckle fighting cream called Elure.  There are  good clinical studies that it can lighten dark patches in 7-28 days.  Elure gets  its power from a type of naturally occuring enzyme derived from tree mushrooms.  Called legnin peroxidase, it acts by breaking down melanin  in the skin cells.  Unlike hydroquinone, this enzyme is non irritating  and shows no skin sensitivity.

We all know that excess pigmentation is linked  to sun exposure.  What is less well known is that as we get older there is an increase in dark spots and splotches due to a slowdown in the rate of cell growth. In our twenties cells turn over every 28 days.  By the 50’s, the cycle is extended to 45 days.  This means that darkened … Continue Reading…

Can Women of Color Use Retin A?

I get frequent questions from Asian and Latina readers who are interested in using Retin A , but are concerned about the side effects.  On one hand Retin A has the ability to lighten  dark patches  and make  the skin look fresher and brighter.  On the other hand Retin A can be very irritating– and deeper skin tones tend to develop darkened areas when inflamed.

There’s a boatload of conflicting advice about the topic and I needed  an expert to provide answers.  Asking my colleagues  in beauty for the best source of information, I was referred to the noted Chicago-based cosmetic surgeon, Dr Seven Dayan.  In addition to seeing patients, Dr Dayan is the founder of DeNova Research, a center that  has extensive experience studying skin care in … Continue Reading…

Tri-luma- Five Top Questions

1.  Can I use Tri-luma on  my chest?

In theory, yes but its not going to be that effective.  A chest with lots of freckles and age spots will need more help than Tri-lima can  provide.  Once areas of hyperpigmentation become raised and lumpy, you’re going to need some kind of  laser or IPL to deal with them. 

2. Can I use Tri-luma and Retin A together ? 

It  depends. Tri-luma already contains Retin A to increase cell turnover, hydroquinone to break down  and discourage pigment formation and a steroid to keep down inflammation.  If you are using Tri-luma  under  your eyes, you can  then apply Retin  A to the other facial areas.  If you have areas of discoloration on your cheeks and forehead, you can use Tri-luma on these areas, but not at the same time you are  using Retin A. It won’t do a  better  job and will  make you … Continue Reading…

Reversing Summer Aging

I’m happy that the summer heat wave is over, but my skin seems parched, dazed and well, somehow older.  According to my amazing derm Dr Ellen Marmur, the change in weather  has sent my skin into shock.  After months of sun, heat, sweating, chlorine, from the pool, and summer allergies, my skin is dull dry and tired.   Even more troubling, a few dark patches on my nose  that had been removed by laser,  have made a comeback.     I was all set to slather on my new stronger Retin A to jump start a better complexion, but  Dr Marmur  had a different two prong approach:

Step 1:  Take off the old dead layer of dead, dry and discolored  skin cells with a mild  office glycolic peel or microdermabrasion

Step 2:  Add  moisture, moisture and more moisture.  To this end  during the day I am to use a rich sunscreen such … Continue Reading…

What The Wood’s Lamp Revealed

This week I had a consultation with  Dr Neil Sadick who  used a Wood’s lamp to examine  my face.  The light showed a few things I expected and one that I didn’t.  The lamp cast a purple glow on my skin and we could see areas of hyperpigmentation ( brown spots) and fine lines that were not visible to the naked eye.  What surprised me was the presence of areas of hypo-pigmentation– actually  areas of  lack of melanin.  Turns out  that UV rays  can actually destroy the cell’s ability to produce melanin.  Areas of too much and too little melanin contribute  to a less than even complexion.   You can’t  see irregular color, but it makes the skin  look less fresh and even.  Retin  A is known to reduce  excess pigmentation, but Tri-luma is another option that is especially effective for brown  patches.  I  used it to deal with under eye … Continue Reading…