Beauty Time– How Long Does it Take To Work?

Last month I was dealing with a hair trigger skin  that seemd to develop red splotches at the slightest  provocation.  It went on for weeks until I tried Metrogel and the problems ended  overnight.  This was obviously great news but  it set me thinking– “how long should it take  to get results from a skin care treatment?”

The answer  obviously depends on the problem and the cure:

1.  Tretinoin ( aka Retin A) — Tretinoin is approved for both acne and anti-aging, but the time frame is significantly different.  Its no secret  that I am a big fan of tretinoin and  I feel that its the foundation of an anti-aging plan.  It clarifies  the surface, fades dark spots, encourages collagen growth and stimulates circulation.  Used 4-7x/  week, you may start seeing … Continue Reading…

Question and Answer– Retin A and the Eyes

Question:  If I can’t use Retin A ( aka retinoid) on my eyes,  what  can I use?

Answer:  I answer every email  that I get at  No-Nonsense Beauty Blog, but this one  is so relevant for all of us, I wanted to  put it in my Q& A.  While its  true that you can’t use  straight retinoids around the eyes,  a combination product of retinoids, a steroid and hydroquinone  known as Triluma can  deliver anti-aging benefits.   Triluma’s claim to fame is its ability to erase  dark spots and patches, but the retinoids  also  may build collagen and reduce wrinkling.  For reasons that are not clear, Triluma is  no longer available commercially, but a  full-service pharmacy can compound it specially for you.  I  did just that and uploaded up post about the process on March 28, 2012.

Triluma (  branded or custom made)  can only be used for  three  months at … Continue Reading…

Does Hydroquinone Cause Cancer?

Each time I do a post on  skin lightening and mention hydroquinone, I get a flurry of concerned emails warning  me against using it.  Often  they point  out that hydroquinone can cause cancer and was banned in Europe.  Yet  the usually  quick to pull the recall trigger FDA still permits hydroquinone to be sold here– both in over the counter  formulations and in prescription only preparations.    I was both confused and worried.  Digging into the literature and talking  to a few trusted experts, here is the current  take on hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is considered the most effective skin lightenens currently available and is one of  the very few on that acts by preventing melanin formation. There are three problems associated with hydroquinone:

1)  Tthe British Cancer Journal published  a study that linked  very high doses of hydroquinine to cancers in mice.  A second similar study found similar … Continue Reading…

Triluma– What happened?

Triluma, a combo of hydroquinone, Retin-A and a steroid was one of the first anti-aging tools I tried.  I used it successfully to reduce my dark circles and was planning to keep using it, but my dermatologist Dr Marmur said that I  needed to take a “Triluma Holiday”.  Apparently, it cannot be used  for more than three months at a time.  Then the skin needs to take a rest for three months before using it again.  But when I tried to refill my prescription, the product was “on back order”  at every pharmacy in NYC.  I began to hear from people who also reported they could  not get Triluma.  What  happened?

There was no FDA recall and no announcement from Galderma, the manufacturer of Triluma.   I kept digging and found that  Galderma itself  announced a recall of all its Triluma products made by a sub-contractor, Hill Dermaceuticals.  Apparently, Hill reported to Galderma that one of the  critical … Continue Reading…

Kojic Acid– Can it lighten my skin?

Kojic Acid  has been around for almost  100 years.  It was originally discovered by Japanese scientists  who were working on different fermenting methods  to turn malted rice into sake.  As the story goes, the scientists noticed that spots and freckles on their hands disappeared after working with Sake production.  Kojic Acid has been a popular Japanese beauty aid for generations.  In recent years we’ve learned that Kojic Acid acts somewhat  like hydroquinone by preventing melanin  formation.

Research has shown that Kojic Acid can be effective but it has its problems.  On the one  hand it tends to be unstable and high concentrations are often needed to be an  effective spot buster.  On the other hand, Kojic can be very irritating and is known  to cause allergic reactions.  Often the best solution is to combine lower concentrations of Kojic acid with other skin lighteners like soy or hydroquinone.

If you want to try … Continue Reading…

Does Everything Cause Dark Circles?

Apparently in addition to genetics, stress, age, salty foods, sunlight and skin type, allergies  can also trigger  dark under eye shadows.  I  had brought my dark circles under control with Triluma, a combo of Retin A,  hydroquinone and a steroid to keep things calm.  After three months of  use, you could see a real change.  However  Triluma can only be used for three months at a time and then  you need take a three month holiday before it can be used  again.  Its that strong.

In the meantime, I made sure to use a 20SPF sunblock under my eyes and avoided  pizza  and chinese food– two high salt foods– that were big dark circle triggers for me.   When my  three month Triluma holiday  was over, I  didn’t need  to  use it … Continue Reading…

Measuring Tri-luma

Looking  at my facial imaging photos  ( posted on Oct 8), I saw that that there were two  dark patches under my eyes–  also known as  under eye shadows.  It showed that this was not from indentation creating dark hollows, but true accumulations of sun damage and melanin.  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  This  is the job that Tri-luma was  born to handle.

I had  used Tri-luma last  spring and was pleased with the results, but  this triple powered crem cannot be used indefinately, so I had stopped using it for several months.  I also realized that dealing with  hyperpigmentation under the eyes is not a short term problem.  The cells which produced so much melanin have a very long memory.  They are born to make melanin and given  the right circulstances  — sun exposure and stress– the cells again fill up with  dark pigment.   

But this time, I have another tool.  I … Continue Reading…