Budget Beauty Guide- Anti-Aging Sun Protection

I’m thinking of producing a tee shirt that reads: ” Up to age 60, 90% of skin aging is due to sun damage”.  Seriously, its that important.

Effective sun protection  creams and lotions are the only non-prescription product that the FDA allows to make anti-aging claims.  But buying a powerful  yet effective  sunscreen can be daunting.  Go into any pharmacy and you’re met with a long  wall of options.  Waterproof?  Oil-free?  Broad spectrum, Fragrance-free?  I covered this material  before in a series of Sunscreen  Cheat Sheets, but once you have picked the right formula, then you want to  get the best possible price.  Remember you need to  use sun protection each and every day and you need to use it fairly generously.   If you’re not using up  a 3 ounce bottle in three months, … 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…

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

This week the host of Fashion Flash  is Shawna of Female Fat Loss Over 40.  And if  there is a time  of year when we really need Shawna it’s during the Christmas holidays. Seriously, it seems that every  holiday activity has its own  high calorie food.  We  fill up stockings with sweets, tie  candy canes on presents and  warm up after ice skating with hot chocolate.  And then  there are goodies in Christmas songs and stories–  the plum pudding in A Christmas Carol,   the dancing sugarplums in the Nutcracker, and  of course there is that  runaway gingerbread man.   And unfortunately, there are no traditional Christmas exercise  and nutrition programs– until now that is.  This week Shawna  has  focused on  tips to stay in shape in times when the  only non-fattening thing on the table  seems to … Continue Reading…

Sun Protection in Real Time

I recently went to the summer meeting of the Americn Academy of Dermatology in NYC.   There were  a number of new areas of research on the horizon, but frankly at my age, I am looking  for new anti-aging tools I can use right now.  And I got  just that type of  info at presentation on skin  of color by Dr Wendy Roberts of Loma Linda University. 

Most of Dr Roberts presentation  focused on the pros and cons  of different types of lightening agensts– all good info that I will be using to answer  related questions on an upcoming Question and Answer post.  But the BIG IDEA   came up when Dr Roberts   addressed ways to prevent pigmentation.  The audience of mostly female derms  shared their  concerns that patients were just  not  using and or not reapplying their sunscreens.  Dr Roberts suggested  adding … Continue Reading…

Q&A– What is new about the new sunscreen guidelines?

I tend to distrust new guidelines.  They are often painfully bureaucratic and tend to makes  things less understandable and  more expensive–eg food pyramid to food plate  But these new FDA sunscreen guidelines  make good sense. Whoever came up with these revisions, decided to focus on five important areas:

1.  The term “Broad Spectrum”-  this means that the sunscreen   protects against against both UVA rays ( which cause skin aging) and UV B rays ( which produce tanning)– and both cause skin cancer.  Currently there are no guidelines as to what this has to mean for a product.  The new guidelines  requires thatfor a sunscreen to be broad spectrum it must  contain agents that provide  protection against both types of rays and to state that degree of protection on the label.  So you might see a label that says SPF15 for UVA and 20SPF … Continue Reading…

Anti-Aging Bracelets

A while back there  was a fad for copper bracelets that were  supposed to cure arthritis.  Pretty silly.  This year I’ve discovered bracelets that can genuinely help prevent signs of sun damage.   These disposable plastic wristbands  monitor how much sun exposure you are getting– and since 90% of  ski aging is due to UV raays, this little band  is a true beauty aid.  Called SunSense they give you two important pieces of info–1) It  lets you kow how much sun you are getting and 2) it shows you  how well your sunscreen is working.  Here’s how it works:

1.  Before going ouside, wrap the band around your wrist and then apply sunscreen to your body and  on the band.

2.  When you go out in the sun the band turns … Continue Reading…

New Respect for Retinol

I have often mentioned my reservations about retinols vs the more powerful retinoids like Retin A.  When applied to the skin, retinols have to convert themselves to  a true retinoid before they can be effective. Researchers estimate that a retinol is only 25% as effective as a Retin A.   For example, a .1% Retinol (  a very common concentration) is equal to a .025 Retin A–  which is actually the mildest Retin A on the market.  And then there is the problem that most retinol products don’t say how much of the power  stuff they actually contain.  You can’t know if a  product is to weak to be effective or too strong and irritating. 

I stayed away from retinol products until wandering in the exhibit hall  of a derm conference, I picked up  free samples … Continue Reading…

No More Aging Sunburns

The UV wristbands are  on  their way to all  subscribers  who emailed  me their contact information.  They are so easy to use– Apply a dab of  your sunscreen to the top of the strip, and watch the colors change.  As soon as you go into the sun, the band turns a bright purple.   When it fades  to a lavender pink, its a signal  to put on more sunscreen.  When the band is pale, yellowish color, its time to get out of the sun.  Children really seem to like it and run to tell me when its time to put on more sun lotion– which is more fun for both of us than running them down and struggling with them to get more suncreen. 

The wristbands can be hard to find, but I found a cache at a K-mart  near NYU. I still have twenty left, so email me if you want  one.  And  let me know  how they worked … Continue Reading…