What’s The Problem With Sunscreens?

sunscreens should be applied before hitting the beachThe sunscreens that we are told to use every day are now the focus of two respected consumer watchdog  organizations.  And they came up with two very different  lists of problems and recommendations.  Now what?

The venerable Consumer Reports reviewed  more than 60 lotions, sprays and sticks , all with an SPF over 30.  After rigorous testing ( more rigorous than required by the FDA) they reported that a startling 43% failed to deliver on their promised SPF.  Even more surprising, only 25% of mineral based sunscreens reached expected levels.  By contrast 58% of chemical sunscreens met promised protection levels. While better than the coverage than mineral sun protection formulations, its still leaves  much doubt about your protection on a sunny day.

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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…

Its Fashion Flash Monday!

This week Staness of Menopause Makeover is the host of Fashion Flash.  What makes  her site unique is the blend of nutrition and health issues specifically for women over 40.  Her personal touch makes it fun and easy to read, and her hard hitting health research make it a site you can trust.  I also  have to admit I’m almost addicted to her recipe for turkey chili.  When the weather turns  cold as it thas this week in NYC, I scramble for the ingredients to make  up a big pot.

Fab Over Forty has another  must read article in  Fashion Flash–  IMO the best article I’ve seen on cellulite creams.  It explains what creams and machine can and cannot do and how they  make changes albeit temporary, in your skin.  I … Continue Reading…

Best Facial Ever

I’m always looking for the ideal facial.  Not infrequently, I leave the facial looking a bit splotchy and/or greasy  And the next moring  I wake up with… breakouts. But I still kept looking.  I wanted something that would  make my skin  look fresh, poreless with a  pink, not red glow.  And this summer I found it at the office of Park Avenue cosmetic surgeon, Dr Paul Lorenc. Famous for inventing the endoscopic browlift, Dr Lorenc is a  physician who believes in combining non-invasive anti-aging  tools like the Hydrafacial with surgical options.

 The Hydrafacial is considered the third generation of  microdermabrasion.   It  has about seven steps, each  one offering different but related benefits.  The Hydrafacial combines  a unique type of   tip with an array of products.  The spiral tip ( see pix) rotates on the skin … Continue Reading…

Friday Question and Answers

Question:  Help!  I’ve got a painful sunburn.

Answer:   Despite our best intentions, sunburns  happen.  Its all to easy to forget to reapply  sunscreen  during the day and by the time  the sun goes down,  you’re red and achy.  To deal with the sunburn I suggest   assembling a little sunburn emergency kit in advance.  You need just five affordable and easy to find items:

1.  Aspirin

2.  A real live Aloe Vera plant

3.  A  jar of Shea butter

4. A box of  Quacker’s Oatmeal

5.  Green tea bags

Here’s the drill:   When you realize that you’re fried, take two aspirin.  This will reduce  the inflammation which is  the root of the pain and damge  to your skin.  Then fill a tub with lukewarm water and swish  a handful of oatmeal into the water.  Get in and soak for 20 minutes.  Oatmeal is one of … Continue Reading…

Anti- Aging Beauty Questions

With the return of  warm sunny days,  I’m getting a flood of great sunscreen questions.  Since 90% of  skin aging  is due to sun exposure, UV protection is just about the smartest thing we can do to avoid  wrinkles and dark spots.  But it can be harder than  just grabing a tube of goo and dabbing it on.

Question 1: Help! I know  I should use sunscreen, but they makes my skin break out.

I know about that  first hand. Its so unfair.  If you have oily or acne-prone skin, some sunscreen formulations can provoke breakouts, even in women over 40.  You should start by looking for oil-free formulations. Check the labels and avoid ingredients like beeswax, petroleum, parafin  and shea butter.  But oil  isn’t the only problem.  Breakouts over 40 are  the result of inflammation, rather than the hormone/bacteria axis, so  other … Continue Reading…

Sunscreen in Real Time

Now that  sun filled days are here, I am wondering  how much sunscreen do I really need to use.  Many expert recommend one tablespoon for the face and  a total of two tablespoons for  both face and body.   To test  it out, I  measured out one tablespoon  of sunblock and dumped it on a small plate.  Then I went to work, dabbing it  on my checks, nose, and chin. I avoided my bang covered forehead.   At first, things went fine.  My skin seemed very happy  with the  extra moisture  of the sunscreen.  But as I applied more and more, it started to pile up on the surface until it looked like frosting — or clown make-up.

One of my biggest concerns when using sunscreen has been wearing make-up over it.  Not infrequetly, foundation, powder or blush … Continue Reading…