Do I Really Need to Use A Sunscreen in Winter?

Q&A2Question: I am a 45 year old South Asian women. I now live near Chicago  and the weather is  usually  grey and very cold.  My cousin says I still need to use a sunscreen and I think its unnecesary  at this time of year.  Who is right?

Answer: Umm, I tend to stay out of family arguments, but  in this case I have to say your cousin is right.  The UV rays are  hitting our skin all year  round.  While  your melanin rich complexion  provides protection from sun aging and skin cancers,  even weak UV rays  can  provoke  unwanted patches of darker pigmentation known as hyperpigmentation or melasma.    Brown spots and splotches  are an increasing problem  for  skin  of color.  Rather than spend a good part of your beauty dollar on  products that promise to  brighten and even out the skin tones,  prevent hyperpigmentation … 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…

Can A Soy Moisturizer Brighten My Skin?

Soy is a fascinating ingredients in anti-aging  skin care products.  Studies  have shown that its a powerful antioxidant and help the growth of healthy new collagen.  In addition, genistein, a chemical in soy, prevents melanin pigments from attaching to skin cells.  This makes soy a great addition to sun protection and indeed soy  is effective for preventing and reducing  brown spots and freckles of sun damage.  However, soy does not work nearly so well for melasma, those dark patches that usually appear on the cheeks and forehead.   This type of hyperpigmentation appears to be fueled by estrogen and in fact genistein is a type of pseudo-estrogen.  In theory soy might actually  make melasma worse.

So to bottom line it, if you have been a sun baby and have lots of small freckles, soy enriched  moisturizers could  brighten your skin.  If you  have larger patches, especially  if they developed … Continue Reading…

New Help for Old Hands

I had my freckles ( aka age spots) lasered off the top of my hands and posted the progress on my blog.  I was very happy with the results, but wondered how IPL ( also called  photo rejuvenation) would have worked.   To answer that question, Dr Lefkovits offered to use IPL on the freckles of a friend.

I knew just who to call.  Judith has had my back since we worked together in advertising. Dealing with some pretty difficult clients, she was always the island of calm in any storm.  Since I started my blog, Judith  has been an enthusiastic supporter and when Dr Lefkovits  made the offer, I punched in her number on my cell.  Tall and slim, she is a terriffic … Continue Reading…

IPL– Five Top Questions

IPL laser treatments are one of the fastest growing anti-aging  office proceedures.  When I  had IPL and posted the before, healing and after  photos, I received more questions than on any other topic.   IPL is often described as the “lunchtime laser”, but its really a bigger deal than say,  a manicure.   What I learned from the experience should  give you the tools to get the beautiful results  you want

1.  Can I have IPL while pregnant?

It’s not recommended.  IPL has never been tested during pregnancy and few if any dermatologists would do the procedure during these critical nine months. If anyone says they will do  it at this time,  run.

2.  Can I have IPL on my hands?

Yes, it works beautifully  on the hands and probably heals faster than the YAG laser I used on my hands last month.  However IPL is more expensive than the traditional laser treatment on the same area.

3. … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Hands, part 3

The day fter the laserering of my hands, the spots feel totally healed.  They still look pretty red, but  they are not at all painful.  Rather than cover them  up with the dressings Dr M gave me, I decided to  use the same concealer that worked so well when I  lasered the age spots on my face– and off I  went for the day.

The no- bandaid decision was probably not my best idea.  The concealer quickly wore off and I realized that my raw laser treated hands  were getting way to much exposure to UV rays.  I ducked into Hampton Chutney, an UWS restaurant for lunch and was halfway thru my sandwich and perfect Indian ice coffee when  a preganat woman stopped by my table.

“Excuse me, but … Continue Reading…

Younger Looking Hands, Part 2

When it comes to lasers, by this time I know the drill.  If I had been using Retin A or Triluma on my hands, I would have had to stop 2-3 days earlier.  One hour before the treatment I dabbed on a numbing cream made with lidocaine. ( Its available only with a prescription).  Dr Marmur slipped on a pair of  red goggles, gave me  a pair to put on  and aimed a YAG laser at the top of my hands. I hardly felt a thing.  I’ve got a pretty low tolorance to pain, so if I say somethings doen’t hurt, trust me, it doesn’t hurt.

As I sat  in the treatment chair, the spots turned white and crusty.  Dr  Marmur gave me  tubes of Aquaphot to put on the fried spots and  a packet of  large, self adhesive  bandaids to  cover the tops of the hands.  By the time I was at the … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Hand Care

When I was just starting out as a beauty writer, a very elegant Conde Nast editor told me that ” hands give away  your true age”.  Back then, her mark went right over my head.  Today I get it. While Retin A and IPL have polished my skin smooth, my hands are wrinkled, veiny and dotted with brown spots.

I have been fairly diligent  about using sunscreen on my face, but pretty much forgot about my hands.  Like a textbook description of sun damage, the back of my hands  have wrinkles and age spots. According to my derm, Dr Marmur,  the spots  may fade in a bit over the winter, but will come roaring back even darker  in the spring.  Best treatment?  Another date with a laser .  I will get … Continue Reading…