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…

The Beauty Power of Protein

The NHANES diet study/health study is the gift that keeps on giving.  This large, long term study found that,  in addition to the link between aging skin and vitamin C and linoleic acid, women with low protein intake  had an increase in aging and wrinkled skin.

The RDA for protein for adults is about 50grams a day– an amount  easily met with a large broiled chicken breast.  Inadequate protein levels are pretty rare in  the US and Europe and at first it was hard to see how this low protein  issues applied  to me ( Given that I practically live on broiled chicken breasts).  But then I spent the weekend with a vegan friend and by Sunday night I realized that  these types of restrictive diets  can be very low in protein.  Here’s what Trudy ate:

Breakfast:  Cream of wheat cereal, 1 glass  orange juice

Lunch: Avocodo, tomato and onion sandwich on pita bread, 1 Granny … Continue Reading…

Moving Up to Big Girl Retin A

My  new  Retin A prescription (.1%) arrived this week and I am getting things in order to try it out.  I have my mild Cetaphil cleanser, Aveeno Ultra Calming Sunscreen for daytime and Fresh soy enriched moisturizer at night.  I’m a little anxious since  this is the first time  I have used a generic product from Canada but the cost saving were irrisistable.  My Retin A from the north  was $44 including shipping.  At my local CVS, brand name Retin A was almost $200.    I have big plans for that $150 difference.

I am  also doing a little experiment. Today, celebrity dermatologist Dr Neil Saddick  is examining my face with a Wood’s lamp which will highlight  the areas of  sun damaged skin.  I will  use my new big  girl Retin A and in a month, plan to  check the progress  with the Wood’s lamp again. When I first started to use Retin A, I could see   real changes in the … Continue Reading…

Moisturizers CAN Prevent Lines and Wrinkles

Most doctors dismiss  the idea that moisturizers can prevent signs of aging–  and I believed them. But now new research may change their minds– and mine.  A new study  just published in the prestigious British Journal of Dermatology suggests that untreated dry skin does indeed lead to lines and wrinkles.  Even more interesting, the study found that consistant  use of moisturizers clearly prevented the development  of permanent wrinkling.

Here’s how it works:  Wrinkles develop overtime due to  repeated sun damage, hormonal changes and  repeated useage from facial expressions.  Every time we laugh, eat, shout, smile, talk or squint,  we  are straining the elastin and collagen fibers in the skin.  As the good ( and bad) times  go by, the skin gets quite a workout and temporary expressions become permanently etched in our faces.   Not to worry!  This new study  suggests that regular useage of moisturizers ” plasticize” the skin.  ( Their word, not mine) . This means that moisturizers, … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging At Any Age — The Fabulous Forties

Right now on the newstand the models on the cover of three top magazines are over 40– Julia Roberts  in Elle and the two Jennifers, Aniston and Lopez, in Glamour and Bazaar. Its not just that these women look great  for 40.  Ladies,  this is what 40  can look like today.

And this is true despite the fact that 40’s  are the start of true aging.  Up to this time,  beauty problems were  pseudo-aging from external  factors such as  sun exposure, cigarettes, alcohol use, stress and diet.  Now there is internal aging that affects how we look.  Our skin is getting drier and losing the ability to hold onto moisture. Fat pads under the eyes are shrinking which can increase under-eye shadows.  As the circulation starts to slow down, there is a decline in natural radiance.  Smile lines  appear when you are not smiling and squint lines frame the eye when its not sunny.

Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Aging Plan- The Thirties

This is the time to explore gentle anti-aging options.  Use the daytime  to apply  an elegant sunscreen.  At night take the opportunity to rotate treatment with different anti agers  that  include  peptides, soy, retinols and vitamin C.

In the Morning:

* Wash your face with an effective cleanser that works with your skin type.  If your skin tends to be dry, look for  a product like Cereve Hydrating Cleanser.  Normal  or oily skins will respond well to Cetaphil Gentle Cleansing Bars.

* Rinse face throughly with three to four  handfuls of lukewarm water.

* Protect your skin with a broadspectrum oil-free suncreen.  In the summer do a full court press SPF 70 like Aveeno Positively Ageless Sun Block with Enviroblock. Awesome!  In less sunny seasons, you can dial  back  the  SPF and use  Aveeno Positively Radiant Triple Boosting  Serum SPF30. ( and its got soy!)

* Dab on under-eye concealer that fortified with sunscree  such … Continue Reading…

Antioxidants- Great Hope or Overpriced Hype

antioxidantsYou  see antioxidants advertised  in practically everything from baby cereal to low-carb beer.  Some experts believe that  antioxidants can prevent cancer,  heart disease and aging.  Other scientists are  rather dubious about the health benefits of antioxidants.  As with  most things in life– the truth  lies somewhere in between.

Antioxidants    have the ability to subdue unstable molecules known as free- radicals.  These bad boys  are molecules that have lost an electron. Free radicals crash around cells interferring with routinue functions such as growth, repair and immunity. Things calm down when  antioxidants  provide the missing electron.

There is no shortage  of antioxidants in  our environment. The short list  of antioxidant- rich items  include   vitamins A, C and E, olive oil, salmon, green tea, red wine tumeric and sunflower seeds. We have lots of  laboratory studies that show anti0xidants can protect cells … Continue Reading…