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Urge to Pick? Do This Instead

Woman picking on a pimple

Pimples have power. They may not have a brain or even much of a height and girth, but they do have power. It’s in the way they sit on your face smugly looking at you as if to say, ”Whatcha gonna do about it?” Nothing? Impossible. You won’t let it talk to you that way, you’re going to squeeze it to within an inch of its life until the pus comes squirting out and exploding on the bathroom mirror.

Now you’ve shown it, but what do you really have to show for it? It may be somewhat less noticeable but in reality, it’s even more insidious. Now, it has the potential to form a scar that could stay with you for the rest of your life. There must be a better solution.

Sure, it’s hard to keep yourself from squeezing a zit that’s just screaming, “Pop me,” but picking at your zits is not a game you’re likely to win. No matter how satisfying the short-term release, its simply not worth the long-term consequences. On that note, we bring you “Do This Not That: Acne Edition.”

What is a Pimple?

Besides being a flaw that interrupts what you’re convinced would be an otherwise flawless complexion, a pimple is an inflammatory response to the invasion of bacteria inside a pore. The redness and tenderness are symptoms of the inflammation. They’re Mother Nature’s way of telling you not to interfere. Unfortunately, few of us do what our mothers tell us to.

So, here’s what we know about skin. We know that:

  • Skin is covered in pores
  • The glands in the pores pump out sebum, or natural oil, to the skin’s surface to protect and lubricate.
  • Sebum is removed naturally by good bacteria on the surface of the skin and by daily cleansing.

Blocked Pores Happen

That’s what happens in a perfect world, but as we know, the world from perfect.  When there is an excess of dead skin cells inside the pores, the sebum doesn’t flow as nature intended. Pus forms as a by-product of the dead skin cells and bacteria.

Infographic on open comedone versus closed comedone (on skin)

The glands in the pores continue to pump out sebum, but now the sebum becomes trapped inside.  The once friendly bacteria become not so friendly. If left unchecked, they will destroy the surrounding tissue.

Mother Nature to the Rescue

But does the body leave the skin undefended? Heck, no! Our blood flow increases, sending an army of white blood cells to the area to show the bacteria whose boss. The swelling and tenderness are the body’s way of telling you not to pick. Sadly, many of us have self-destructive impulses.

Resisting the Urge to Pick

So, it’s a no brainer, right? If we can only keep in mind that the inflammation response is there for a reason, we will refrain from picking our zits, and our skin tissue will live happily ever after.

That’s easier said than done. Most of us need handcuffs to resist our urge to pick. Happily, there are more socially acceptable methods.

  • Keep your hands busy

Do we really need another reason to use our cell phones? It may not be the healthiest social behavior, but then again picking zits isn’t either. If Crushing Candy keeps you from crushing a zit, we say go for it. Activities like crosswords and reading are also good ways to keep your hands busy.

  • Limit your mirror time

It’s true: we reflect on our pimples the most when we’re looking at our reflections. Hair styling, makeup application and touch-ups, selfies, and the occasional check for the errant hair leave a lot to of time for reflection. When you have a ripe pimple, long looks in the mirror can end up getting ugly. If limiting facetime proves difficult, try taping a sticky note on the mirror to remind you to look but not touch.

  • Replace the Urge

If you feel like you’re about to pop, it may be a good idea to have a rubber band around your wrist. In many cases, urges are based on impulses that come and go rather quickly. Sometimes all it takes is a little diversion. Try wearing a rubber band around your wrist and snapping it gently when the urge overtakes you. Alternatively, try clenching your fists for about 30 seconds.

  • Covering Your Hands

Who wouldn’t rather play dress up than play with her zits? When it comes to keeping your fingers off your face, wearing evening gloves around the house puts the fun in functional. And guys, if three quarter opera gloves are not your thing, try covering your primary fingers with small adhesive bandages. These will make it harder to pop pimples and put an oil-free barrier between you and your skin.

How to Prevent Pimples 

If an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure, then preventing a zit from starting is worth a whole lot of salicylic acid. The best way to stop picking is to stop the zit from forming in the first place. Here’s a quick guide to tackling your zits before they hit the surface.

Preventing Whiteheads

Pus is a dirty word. It’s the collection of gunk (dead skin cells, bacteria, and sebum) that forms when a pore is blocked. The white head is a tiny packet of pus. If you split it open, you may be opening up and Pandora’s Box of acne. When the gunk oozes out, it can land inside other pores and cause more whiteheads.

Infographic on the stages of acne

A better way to fight whiteheads is by keeping your pores open. Here’s how salicylic acid can help:

  • Salicylic Acid dissolves dead skin cells and oil to get inside pores to clean them out.
  • While salicylic acid deep cleans the pores, it shrinks the diameter of the pore, making it less likely to get clogged in the first place.
  • Consistent use will provide for continuous whitehead prevention. Your pores will remain clean and the pore refining qualities will prevent further whiteheads from forming.

Sometimes “asking for a whitehead” doesn’t require a formal request. There are things you may be doing every day that are increasing your risk for whiteheads that you aren’t even aware of. Here are some ways to make yourself seem a little less desperate.

  • Whiteheads can form as a reaction to heavy or irritating skin products. If you are using a foundation or moisturizer, make sure it is oil free.
  • Massage cleanser in for a minimum of 30 seconds. That will help loosen up the dirt and dead skin cells for a deeper cleanse. The Resveratrol Vitamin C Cleanser would be perfect for this, as it helps to loosen dirt and clogged pores without drying the skin out.
  • Rinse shampoo thoroughly, especially along your hairline. We all know how bangs can cause pimples. Oil from hair and hair products can leak into pores in your forehead and form zits around the hairline.
  • Never pop a zit before its time – we’ll discuss this later.

Preventing Blind or Deep Pimples

If the whiteheads are the ugly, the deep pimples are the bad. Although they may look less insidious than whiteheads, deep pimples come from the inside and can be stubborn and painful. Also, because they take time to show their heads, they can bother you for a lot longer time period than whiteheads. The only good way to fight them is from the inside out.

Blind and deep pimples are often hormone related. Keeping hormones balanced can keep your deep pimples from forming in the first place. Here are some deep secrets on targeting your deep pimples:

  • Keep blood sugar levels stable and eat a lot of protein, especially at breakfast time.
  • Limit your intake of refined carbs and sugar that cause blood sugar levels to spike.
  • Contraceptive pills can have a negative or positive effect on the skin. Speak to your doctor to find out how you can use them or stop using them to improve your blind pimple count.
  • Sweat it out. If you can exercise to a sweat daily (wash your face before), you can detoxify and keep your hormones balanced.
  • Cinnamon can decrease high levels of blood sugar. Sprinkle some on your oatmeal or in your morning coffee.

Is There A Right Way to Pop Pimples?

The general rule of thumb with pimples is “ignore them and they’ll go away.” If you have the patience, your pimples will eventually live out their 3 to 7-day lifespan and fade quite naturally. The only problem is, not many of us have the patience. But if you’re going to take zit popping into your own hands, you should know there is a right way to do it.

Leave It to the Pros

Pros already know the right way to do it. They put on gloves, lance the pimple using a sterile needle and squeeze out the contents with an instrument known as the comedone extractor.

Dermatologist examining pimple of young woman's face

But if you can’t get an appointment before the zit goes away, even the best dermatologist can’t help you. If you can’t resist the temptation, according to dermatologist Cynthia Bailey, there is a way to DIY it safely:

  1. Picking a pimple before its ready is sort of like picking fruit before its fully ripe. You won’t get the full benefits nor the level of satisfaction. When a firm whitehead appears, the time is right for picking. It means the pus is close to the surface and ready to be drained.
  2. Wash hands thoroughly using warm water, soap, and a fingernail brush.
  3. Sterilize a straight pin using a lighter or match. Let it cool, then wipe it with rubbing alcohol. Swab the zit with some alcohol as well and apply some for your fingers.
  4. Dry your hands and wrap them with a clean tissue.
  5. Hold the needle parallel to your skin and pierce the tip gently at the very tip of its center.
  6. Squeeze the pimple with your fingers applying the least amount of pressure you need to get the job done. If the pus doesn’t come flowing out with ease, abandon the project immediately. The zit is not ready to be popped.

Conceal It with Noncomedogenic Makeup 

What do you get when you cover a zit in heavy foundation and powder? You get a mountain of makeup and a smothered pore. If you choose to camouflage your zit using makeup, there are ways to keep it natural looking and breathing naturally at the same time.

The first tip is to start with a noncomedogenic cover-up. That means it won’t block your pores. Hollywood makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown advises, “When you’re trying to hide a pimple, your goal is to take away the redness, rather than flatten out the zit.” Overapplication may take away the redness, but it won’t decrease the volume.

When she attempts to hide blemishes on her clients, she uses a dry concealer, rather than a creamy one that matches their skin tone. Even though she generally uses her fingers to apply makeup, a flat brush with short bristles is her weapon of choice for zit coverup. “That way,” She says, I can get the concealer right where I need it without leaving a fingerprint behind.” Blend the concealer beyond the limits of the blemish for a smoother appearance.

How to Treat a Pimple

Remember that treating a pimple does not necessarily mean treating it badly. There are many ways to cure a pimple without abusing it. The top three are:

  • Benzoyl Peroxide: Over the counter treatment, targets surface bacteria that aggravate acne.
  • Retinol: Vitamin A derivative to treat blackheads and whiteheads. These are mostly prescription only.  There is an OTC version of Differin now available.
  • Antibiotics: Antibiotics can be topically applied to the skin or taken orally to control surface bacteria and reduce inflammation. They work best when used together with benzoyl peroxide and/or retinoids and are generally available by prescription only.
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The Perfect Skincare Routine for Your 50s

Beautiful smiling middle-age woman on the couch

Whether or not your intention is to be able to galavant around the world wearing minimal amounts of clothing or to simply remain looking youthful and beautiful, the maintenance of your skin is very important, more so as you age. Collagen levels naturally deplete and skin starts to sag as a result. Why it never seemed to happen to J-Lo is anybody’s guess.

But if J-Lo can do it, so can you. Here are some tips for skin care in your 50″s that may have Jennifer asking what your beauty secrets are.

Women’s Skin In Their 50s

In your thirties, estrogen levels dip. By the time you reach your forties, your estrogen levels are at drought stage. By the time you reach your fifties, menopause rears its ugly head (usually around the ages of 51 and 52) and it’s estrogen out, testosterone in. You lose one-third of your collagen within the first five years of menopause. Skin won’t bounce back the way it used to and it’s likely to lose its moisture and radiance. (Collagen is the connective tissue that gives structure to your skin- basically). Inflammation is also at an all-time high, which makes skin more vulnerable to the ravages of the sun, smoke, and pollution.

This can play out in:

  • Thinning, drying and loosening of the skin
  • Stretched pores
  • Sagging or hooded eyelids
  • Hollow eye sockets
  • Spider veins
  • Age spots
  • Small bumps on the skin, patches, and skin tags
  • Peach Fuzz

Although that may not sound pretty, there are many women in their fifties who manage to maintain their beauty (i.e. Christie Brinkley, 58; Michelle Pfieffer, 53, and Iman, 56, and probably a few hot grandma’s out there). The key is in finding the right skin routine, exercising, and maintaining a healthy diet. 

Skincare Products

Women in their fifties have been there and done that. They are fully prepared for whatever life throws at them, wrinkles, sagging, brown spots and fine lines included. And by prepared, we mean they have a fully stocked vanity to fight every single one of them. Here are some of the skin products you can expect to find in the medicine cabinets of the fifty and fabulous:

  • Barrier-Boosting Ingredients

Not only does skin suffer from collagen depletion when you reach your fifties, but it also loses ceramides, fatty acids, and cholesterol. Take them all away and you’ve got inflammation, dehydration, and a fully compromise skin barrier.

  • Probiotics

As estrogen levels get lower, pH levels get higher. According to New York City dermatologist, Robin Gmyrek, “Particularly, as we move into our 60’s, the skin’s outermost layer, which is normally acidic, becomes more alkaline, further weakening the moisture barrier, and exacerbating dryness and sensitivity.”

How can we prevent these pH levels from totally breaking down the walls of our skin? The answer is probiotics. Dr. Gmyrak says,” Probiotics have been shown to produce acidic molecules, like fatty acids, which can help restore youthful pH to the skin, so it can better retain for improved suppleness and glow. They also get bonus points for preventing oxidative damage and fighting inflammation to protect elastin and collagen. Dermatologist Whitney Bowe credits probiotics with the ability to hinder trans-epidermal water loss to “hydrate skin from within.”

  • Oil-Based Everything

Applying serum using a small dropper

At fifty, skin is going to crave moisture. It’s all about oil-based cleansers, serums, creams, and any other skin product you might find with the word oil based on it. Aesthetician Kristin Holey posits that creamy cleansers are best for over fifty clients who are not interested in “removing anything but makeup at this point.”

  • Enzyme-Based Exfoliation

Despite the fact that your estrogen production may have slowed down, you may be happy to know that your skin cells are regenerating. Because of this, you’ll want to keep sloughing the dead ones off by exfoliating. When doing so, go for something mild. Many women in their fifties fine enzyme peels work well for them by exfoliating gently without peeling or stripping the skin.

  • Lines and Sagging

Place your hands on either side of your jawline and pull up and out towards the ears, or don’t if you go by the “ignorance is bliss” ideology. We can already tell you that you’re going to see sagging skin around your mouth and chin and all the lines and folds that accompany them.

To prevent the complete downfall of your face, use collagen-boosting ingredients like peptides, retinol, stem cells, and growth factors and keep the skin plump with loads of hyaluronic acid. If you already have a wrinkle in time and no time to un-wrinkle it, the Resveratrol Shiraz Instentic Non-Surgical Syringe is packed with exactly all these amazing skin-plumping ingredients, plus Dimethylaminoethanol Tartrate (DMAE), which has the instant ability to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. 

  • Brown Spots

Spotting spots on your skin? As you age you may find unwelcome visitors cropping up along your hairline, on your chest, and on the tops of your hands. Whether you believe the hype or not, (HQ got a bad rap when it was banned in South America), hydroquinone is still considered the best ingredient for skin lightening and the fading of brown spots.

However, you’re not on board with hydroquinone, you may want to try the next best thing. Arbutin is a natural ingredient which turns into hydroquinone when it is absorbed by the skin. So are plant extracts such as mulberry, white mulberry, bearberry, and madder and white mulberry.  These are all good options to consider for their skin-brightening properties.

  • Mouthing Off

Can talking cause wrinkles? Maybe not specifically, but the constant movement of the mouth, along with its relative inability to hold on to product (think of why your lipstick always comes off) can make it very susceptible to damage. One of the most common complaints among women over fifty is the appearance of fine lines above the upper lip. Target these with a collagen-rich product specifically designed for lines around the mouth.

  • Going Neck and Neck with Aging

Woman touching neck in front of mirror

To use a separate neck cream or not to use a separate neck cream? Apparently, that’s the skin question to be decided. Experts say “no.”  They say it’s not what’s in the cream you put on your neck, but rather its consistency. The neck has very thin skin and no oil glands, which makes it especially prone to drying, sagging, and wrinkles. Doctor’s orders? Grab the thickest cream in your house ( so long as it’s not sour cream) and smother your neck with it twice daily. Top it off with a moisturizing retinoid once or twice a week to thicken the skin.

What’s Behind the Mask for Women In Their 50’s

As we mature, our masks mature with us. No longer are we seeking the acne masks of the naïve adolescent,  nor are we interested in the oil controlling masks of idealistic twenty-somethings.  Our masks cater to our needs and tackle pertinent issues. We need to find masks that will take care of our skin properly.

Ingredients

In order to do that, it is important to find a mask with the right ingredients. Generally, the main concerns for women over 50 are hydration, Inflammation, and wrinkles. Our handy dandy list below will help you find the masking ingredients that target each one:

Hydration

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Ceramides
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Aloe
  • Urea
  • Oils
  • Lactic Acid

Inflammation

  • Aloe
  • Green Tea Extract
  • Cucumber
  • Chamomile
  • Vitamin E
  • Niacinamide
  • Centella Asiatica

Wrinkles

  • Hyaluronic Acid
  • Vitamin E
  • Retinol
  • Collagen
  • Vitamin C
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid
  • Niacinamide
  • Dimethylaminoethanol Tartrate (DMAE)

Easy Tips For Women In Their  50’s

Like we said above, women in their fifties really don’t need tips on doing anything.  With that in mind, here is a list of “suggestions” for those looking to achieve timeless beauty.

1) Wear Sunscreen

We know, you’re probably at the stage where you’re giving this advice to your kids. But, really how can we write about a perfect skin routine for women in their fifties without mentioning sunscreen?

Don’t worry, we won’t tell you about how nothing damages your skin more than sun exposure, or how it’s the leading cause of skin cancer, brown spots and wrinkles and we’re not even going to tell you about how you should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50. We know you know all of that stuff. In fact, we’re not even going to mention the fact that you should wear it every day, rain or shine, and reapply it throughout the day.

Illustration of effect of sun protection on skin

The best sunscreens are the kind that combine both physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients, of course, because these would help prevent damage caused by both UVA and UVB rays.

Remember how we said that it’s all about moisture at fifty?

Well, it applies to sunscreen too! You can easily find moisturizers with sun protection benefits. The Resveratrol Zinfandel Radiance Cream is a good example, as it offers an SPF 30 while delivering a potent mixture of all those skin-loving ingredients that help to fight UV damage, such as vitamin A and E, green tea, and resveratrol.

What we will tell you, however, is how good it’s making your face look. Keep up the good work!

2) What Works on Crow’s Feet?

Nobody’s going to fault a woman in her fifties for using Botox, dermabrasion, or getting a little nip and tuck once in a while. On the other hand, no one’s going to fault a woman over 50 for saying “Screw it” to plastic surgery and injections altogether. Women in their fifties can do whatever they want-  it just comes with the territory.

The truth is that no matter how many creams you put on, and how expensive they are, they’re not likely to rid you of every wrinkle, crow’s feet specifically. While some choose to embrace their smile lines their like a badge of honor (see Cameron Diaz rockin’ them like their the latest trend), some would rather turn them down a notch.

Botox is not only effective on crow’s feet. Injections and fillers can work a plethora of wonders on your face. They can lift your eyes, plump your cheeks and lips and fill in marionette lines around your mouth. In fact, some people are so astonished by what fillers can do, they wear a constant look of surprise. Plus, we all know the horror stories.

The bottom line: When it comes to Botox, you’re the one calling the “shots.” Do what makes you happy and feel good about yourself.

3) Stay Healthy

Of course, you can do whatever you want when you’re in your fifties, but that probably shouldn’t include starting to smoke cigarettes or eating boxes of assorted chocolate while lying in bed.

If you’re cheating on your diet, skimping on your exercise, or overloading on processed food, your skin is going to be the first tell. The most important part of any skin routine is staying healthy. Eat your veggies, take your vitamins and get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise in at least five days a week. Your skin is going to love you for it.

  

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Back-to-Office Skin Care 101

Thoughtful young woman with glasses and dark hair holding a cup of coffee

So it’s back to the office, and you’re not the only one that’s having a hard time with it. Your skin is going ballistic. The days of endless sun and open air have been replaced with days of endless cubicles and commitments. Can you keep your rosy glow without losing your desk job?

Of course you can. Back to the office doesn’t have to mean pasty-faced and serious. You can keep your radiance and your job at the same time. Here are some tips on skincare for the office environment. We’ll leave the maintenance of your sanity up to you.

Air Conditioning

What do you get when you put a bunch of stressed out guys in three piece suits in small cubicles?   You get a lot of reasons to blast the air conditioner. Good for them, but not always so good for you. Even if your body temperature runs high, the air conditioning is going to wreak  havoc on your skin.

Air conditioning dries air and reduces humidity. That takes a toll on the outer layer of your skin causing to become dry and lose elasticity.

Infographic on dry skin

What can you do? Unless, you work in an old folks home, turning the AC down is not an option. Can you actually keep your skin moist and supple without short circuiting the thermostat? When the going gets tough, the tough get going… outside!

  • Try taking air conditioner breaks periodically. That may just mean walking outside on a break and giving your skin some time to recover. FYI: five minutes outside can reverse the damage done by eight hours of work. Skin is very dynamic).
  • Also, bring along a spritzer, you know those adorable little spray bottles that you can put in your purse for a little hydrating pick me up? Bring those. You’ll sometimes find them marketed as ‘face mists’ or ‘body mists’ – they’re basically humidifiers for your skin.

Stuffy Air

Do you ever notice that no matter how much air conditioning is blasting in the office, there’s always one room that seems to be vacuum packed? It’s almost as if all the cool air from that room was sucked into the other room, leaving two undesirable extremes.

Stuffy air happens, mostly in closed off rooms that lack ventilation, and it’s just as insidious to skin as air conditioning. If your office is not one of the more oxygenated in the building,  a humidifier may be in order.

Elegant humidifier on table

Running a humidifier adds moisture to dry air and keeps your skin, mouth and nose from drying out and there are tons of desktop appropriate ones available. They also clean the air of free radicals and pollutants that can lead to premature aging.

Icky Germs

If you thought sharing doorknobs with your office mates was a good way to exchange germs, just think about how much yucky bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites that can be transferred through office equipment. You’re sharing key boards, printers, phones – hey, even the walls can be a prime hangout for bacteria, not to mention the sinks and toilets!  That can lead to skin irritations, blemishes, and laundry list of health problems.

Got disinfecting wipes? Start early in the day by wiping down all the desktops, photocopiers, desktops and any other shared office equipment. Who cares if you co-workers call you a germaphobe? They’re just air conditioning fanatics anyway.

Also make sure to wash your  hands regularly during the day and clean your face thoroughly before retiring at night. Don’t even think of touching your face during the day. That’s a surefire way to transfer germs cell phones to skin cells.

Bad Lighting

We all know that no one’s skin looks good under fluorescent lighting, but did you know it could  make your skin look bad – period? Experts say that you’ve got more UV rays inside the office than you do outside – especially if you’ve got one an office with a window view.  Put concentrated exposure to the sun and indoor lighting together and you’ve got a virtual cocktail for hyperpigmentation,  wrinkles and premature aging.

Only SPF 50 can save you now. Wear it every day and keep some at your desk to reapply every three to four hours.

Poor Beverage Choices

Unless your boss keeps a food processor in the office, the chances of you drinking a smoothie at your desk is unlikely. You’re much more likely to find a coffee machine and soda dispenser. However, all the really popular kids hang out around the water cooler, and you probably should too.

Caffeine certainly perks you up, but it doesn’t do the same for your skin. Caffeinated drinks and sodas don’t only get their energy jolt from caffeine, they get it from sugar – both of which don’t play well with your skin.

Tired woman working while drinking coffee

There may be no better feeling than the bubbly sensation of soft drink hitting a parched throat. However, while sugary sodas are quenching your thirst, their also releasing cytokines you’re your blood, which decreases the amount of collagen and elastin in your skin. Inflammation, sagging skin, and wrinkles (oh, my!).

No matter how cold it gets in that air conditioned office, don’t think about warming yourself up with a nice cuppa Joe. Caffeine is only going to exacerbate the moisture robbing effects of the AC air on your skin. Green tea packed with antioxidants may be a better way to defend yourself and your skin against dehydration. However, if you must stand your coffee grounds, at least keep it to one or two cups a day.

Unfortunately, the best skin option also happens to be the blandest. Water has no caffeine to perk you up, no fancy bottles or cans to use for accessories, and no taste to speak of. In fact, if you’re taking the water cooler route, you might even end up drinking it from a paper cup. Double yuck!

Luckily, there is something you can do to up the water’s coolness factor. Bring your own bottle and create your own fruit cocktail.  Here are four top choices for adding a little zest to your H2O.

  • Cucumber Strawberry Water: Slice up some cucumbers and some strawberries for a little color contrast and a flavor both refreshing and sweet.
  • Lemon Lime Water: Hey, put this in a water carbonator and you might even think you’re drinking a diet 7-Up! Use ½ lime and ½ lemon for 4 cups of water. Lemons and limes are known for their potent flavors and are best when used in moderation. Get your eight cups a day in and you’ll have made use of the whole fruit.
  • Blueberry Orange: Here’s a  funky little combo.  Ripe slices of orange dotted with bursts of blue. You’ll want to snap a pic to post on social media.
  • Blackberry Mint: Perhaps the most exotic of the recipes. With the mint flavor, you can  imagine you’re sipping on a Mojito in your office.

For best results, mix or muddle fruits with the back of wooden spoon to help release the flavors.

Screen Squinting

Do you ever catch your reflection in your computer screen and find you’re squinting back at yourself? Squinting is not the most attractive image, nor the most age defying practice. When you squint, you get crow’s feet even if you don’t have them already (albeit temporarily).  Ever heard the expression, “if you don’t stop (insert unattractive facial expression here), you’re face is  going to stay that way?”

Woman squinting in front of laptop

It’s true that squinting too often can lead to permanent fine lines around the eyes and wrinkles between the brows. It’s also true that hunching over a computer monitor can cause neck muscles to shorten, leading to the dreaded turkey neck. Is there any way to stay tech savvy and young looking at the same time.

Cutting down on squinting can take years, and a lot of pressure off your eyes – even if it means swapping out your contacts for you old horn rims. In addition to that, make sure to apply generous amount of eye cream in the morning to maintain elasticity around the eyes. Look for products with vitamin C and green tea extract, such as in the Resveratrol Age Defying Eye Serum, as these two ingredients will also help to brighten up the area around the eyes. 

Wondering what’s the correct way to apply eye cream?

The best way to do it would be to place a few dots around the eyes, and then gently pat this into the skin using quick, successive dabbing motions. This helps to prevent unnecessary tugging of the skin.

Illustration on how to apply eye cream

As for the neck, try applying some firming cream under your chin before retiring in the evening. If unsure of the best neck firming cream to use, start with the Resveratrol Sauvignon Blanc Neck & Chest Cream. Thanks to the combination vitamins A and E, and antioxidant-rich Resveratrol, this cream can go a long way in reducing the look of neck lines and wrinkles.

Sitting Still

Sitting is the new smoking? Save the drama for your mama. There are certainly a lot more preventable deaths caused by smoking than there are by couch surfing. However, while sitting in and of itself has not so far been proven fatal, it can have a negative impact on your skin.

Exercise is responsible for the healthy glow that comes from increased blood flow to your skin. Perspiration gets rid of toxins and helps cleanse the skin of dead skin cells, making way for new ones. Lack of exercise can lead to an increase in age spots. Could the sit-and-stand desk be the new botox?

Apparently not. According to studies, employees can stand for 40 to 45 minutes a day without seeing a positive impact on their health. Unfortunately, when working, you might as well stay seated. Sitting is not as harmful as the lack of physical activity in general.

As for treadmill desks – what could go wrong with that? Ever try to draft a budget while walking uphill? The best way to make up for those stagnant eight hours is to use the eight others (with eight taken out for sleeping) to exercise as much as possible. Walk run, hit the gym, whatever it takes. Keep the work and the workout separate.

Tips For Office Skin Health

Now that we’ve addressed the occupational hazards to your skin, let’s address the arsenal of products you should keep at your desk to keep them from getting out of hand. Here are some expert tips for keeping some of the dryness out of the regular workday.

1) Use a Non-Fragranced Moisturizer

Moisturizer good. Fragrance bad. When skin feels dry and tight, a moisturizer will restore hydration to your skin. Trade the fragrance for humectants like urea and glycerin that help absorb moisture from the air. What you’ll lose in scent, you’ll make for in naturally beautiful skin.

2) Take Steps to Keep Away Further Irritation

If the air conditioning is causing your skin to become irritated, it’s best not to compound the problem by using heavily scented products. Steer away from harsh perfumes, soaps and strongly fragranced detergents that will dry your skin further.

3) Stock Up on Facial Oil

What do you find in the desk drawer of a working woman who takes care of her skin? How about a few paper clips and a bottle of facial oil?  To troubleshoot those particularly bothersome dry spots, keep facial oil handy to apply as needed. Use your fingertips to locate the particularly dry areas on your skin, and massage in oil until fully absorbed. 

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Essential Vitamins for Perfect Summer Skin

Beautiful young woman in white dress in the garden

When summer comes, you know you have to make some changes. Lighter clothes, more sunscreen, less foundation, more air conditioning. But what about your vitamins?Going from cool weather to intense heat means your body has different needs, and different needs mean different nutrients. The right nutrition can help to protect your body for summer specific dangers like sun exposure, wrinkles, and skin cancer, and even help the body fix daily cell damage. Read on to find out how the right vitamins may help you to outsmart summer heat.

Vitamin C

Research support in the fact that vitamin C helps the body handle heat stress stems back to the 1930’s. For decades, vitamin C has been known to reduce the likelihood of heat related ailments like heat rash and heat exhaustion, and can also be used to treat already existing heat rash. Daily vitamin C intake also allows the body to adapt to the heat more quickly by lowering body temperature.

Additional research shows that vitamin C may also be a natural anti histamine, and may help lessen seasonal allergic rhinitis symptoms, while its antioxidant effects may help protect against cell damage by stimulating collagen production for cell growth and repair. These antioxidant benefits may also assist in protecting skin from sun damage and photo aging.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E has antioxidant benefits to help prevent UV damage to skin when topically layered under sunscreen, before sun exposure, as well as on its own after. It has been shown to have similar anti allergy benefits to vitamin C, especially in relation to nasal symptoms and asthma.

Vitamins D

Vitamin D increases the density of the skin, which means fewer wrinkles, and  explains its regular addition to anti aging skin car products. The most common way to get vitamin D is through sun exposure. Too little sun exposure may result in a vitamin D deficiency, which increases the risk of skin cancer. Recent research shows that vitamin D3 may prevent cells from growing and dividing, protecting us from breast, colorectal, and skin cancer. In fact, according to a recent study, women who took vitamin C supplements daily had a 57% reduction in risk of developing melanomas.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A (retinol) may also protect against melanomas. Researchers found that people who took daily vitamin A supplements had a 60% lower risk of developing melanomas than those who did not.

Vitamin A is also one of the best options for combatting photo aging, fine lines, and hyper pigmentation. Those who use vitamin A  in its compound form, retinol,  will already know the benefits it can have on the skin. Vitamin A can help the body make much needed repairs, including those from sun related damage, helping skin maintain elasticity and restoring collagen.

What changes are you making to help you get through the summer? Let us know how you survive when the mercury goes up.

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Plan for Perfect Wedding Skin

Beautiful red-headed bride with bouquet of red roses

There are a few things things most wedding planners can’t help you with, something more important then the who, what, when, and where, of the wedding, and that’s the how: how you look, that is. Weddings mean getting in shape, looking your best, and that includes your skin. But good skin takes a lot of work, and chances are the stress levels aren’t going to make it look any better. Luckily, some dermatologists have it all figured for you. Read on to find out what treatments you should be scheduling and when in order to wake up with perfect skin on your big day.

Twelve Months Before The Wedding

  • This is the ideal time to schedule any procedures that might require downtime, such as:
  • A chemical peel: Chemical peels can kickstart the exfoliation process. They  get your cell turnover going, guaranteeing you blemish free, glowing skin on the big day.
  • Micro needling with Plasma: Although not for the faint of heart, micro needling with platelet rich plasma is a one-size-fits-almost-all treatment that uses the cells in your own blood to promote growth of cells for an even complexion.
  • Remember to communicate with your dermatologist. It is important that he or she knows your goals so you’re on the same page about which treatments will bring your desired results.

Six Months Before the Wedding

  • If you missed out on the micro needling or peel, there is still time for that, as is there time for other rejuvenating treatments, such as lasers or IPL’s.
  • Six months should provide you with enough time to recover from the first treatment, which tends to require the longest downtime, and still leave time to receive one or two more treatments before the wedding.
  • Start planning and thinking about rejuvenating and healing treatments that help to maximize the results you get from these treatments when the skin begins to shed, in the not too distant future.

Three Months Before the Wedding

  • At this point, you should not be introducing anything new to your routine; concentrate on healing from the treatments you’ve already received.
  • This is a good time to have the last dermaplaning session.

One Month Before the Wedding

  • Have the last of the professional treatments; do not plan or receive any more.
  • Stay away from deep peels and extractions, and spend your time using exfoliating products and other skin nourishing formulas.
  • Ask your dermatologist, aesthetician for any last minute tips to get the bridal glow on your big day, and what you should do to get rid of those evil stress induced blemishes that might pop up the week before the wedding.

Good luck, congratulations, look beautiful, and remember, it’s all about that bridal glow! And, for those in the know, let us know how you prepped your skin for your wedding!

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The Best Diet for Your Skin

Young woman eating salad in the kitchen

Ah, the buffet table. The never-ending choice of culinary options, healthy and unhealthy.  What do you pick? Is it the item you like best, the one that is best for you, or a combination of both? Why don’t you ask your skin? The skin is the largest organ of the body, and the outer fingerprint of inner health. That means that when it comes to food choices, your skin should have a lot of input. What would your skin pick from the buffet table? While you can’t directly ask it, luckily researchers have done a lot of the work in  taking the guesswork out of it for you. Here is a sample of what they have to say.

Olive Oil

You may have heard of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and its superfood status. That comes in part from its reputation as an anti-ager for the skin. According to a 2012 study in PLOS One, women who consumed more than 2 teaspoons of olive oil per day showed 31% fewer signs of aging that those who ate less than one teaspoon. The fat in olive oil is 75% mono saturated fatty acids, which have been shown to decrease skin aging, and the antioxidant polyphenols in the oil help to fight free radicals which can contribute to the aging process.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes are another great addition to your Skin Menu. A 2008 UK study showed that people who consumed 5 tablespoons of tomato paste and a tablespoon of olive oil daily, for a period of 12 weeks, showed a 33% greater increase in sun protection than those who ate only olive oil. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which has been associated with increasing the skin’s natural SPF. Note: Cooking tomatoes raises lycopene levels.

Chocolate

Chocolate, good for your skin? Apparently, aside from the sugar level, chocolate is a definite skin friendly ingredient. The flavanols in chocolate contain antioxidant properties to improve circulation and keep skin hydrated. In fact, women who consumed a flavanol-enriched cocoa powdered drink for a 12-week period reported less skin dryness and roughness compared to those who did not drink the cocoa. While the test group consumed the equivalent of 3.5 ounces of dark chocolate, Lisa Drayer, MA, RD, suggests keeping chocolate consumption down to a one ounce portion to reap the benefits without the calories.

Oatmeal

If your idea of a typical breakfast is a bagel and jelly, you may want to rethink your choice. Apparently the bagel and jelly combo is a double threat to the skin, offering refined carbs which stimulate insulin and androgens in the body. Drayer says,”Elevated androgens cause sebaceous glands in the skin to secrete more oil that gets trapped inside pores, causing pimples.” Apparently, this is not the case with oatmeal, although experts advise swapping out the brown sugar for natural fruit.

Sardines

Big things come in little packages. One serving of sardines contains 1.5 grams of omega-3 fatty acids, putting it at the top of the list of good fat sources. Like other fatty fish, sardines are rich in an anti inflammatory omega-3, called DHA. Dr. Jessica Wu, MD, says, “inflammation is now known as the root cause of acne.” Eat sardines for clear skin.

What’s your skin menu like? Let us know what the best diet is for your face. We want to know!

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Are You Considering a Tattoo Removal?

Young red-headed woman with tattoos

Think before you ink! You may have heard the advice, but how many of us actually heed it? Out of the 30% of the people in the US who have at least one tattoo, 25% claim to regret getting it. Is it the name of a scorned lover, a neck tattoo that might disqualify you for the job you want, a picture of your mom that looks more like your dad? Whatever your reason for wanting a tattoo removed, you need to be prepared for the consequences. Here is a more in-depth look at tattoo removal.

How Does Tattoo Removal Work?

Tattoo removal works by employing lasers that break up pigment colors with the use of high-intensity beams. Because black tattoo pigments absorb all laser wavelengths, black is the easiest to treat. Other colors must be treated with selected lasers depending on pigment color.

The first step in tattoo removal is a consolation. Arrange a meeting with a trained professional.  He or she will evaluate your tattoo and give you some advice about the process. The number of treatments you will need will be based on the size, age, and color of the tattoo. The color of your skin and the depth of the tattoo pigment will be important factors affecting removal technique.

The Process

This is what you should expect to happen in a tattoo removal session:

  1. You will be given protective shields for your eyes.
  2. Your skin will be tested so the technician can determine which energy treatment will be most effective.
  3. A laser will be used to pass intense light pulses through the top layers of the skin. These will be absorbed only by the tattoo pigment.

Small tattoos should require only a few pulses for removal, while larger ones will need more. Either case will involve several visits to get rid of the tattoo completely, although you will notice progressive fading after each treatment.

The Pain

No pain, no gain. Laser tattoo removal can be painful, but it usually does not call for anesthesia. You may want to apply your own topical anesthetic beforehand. Treatment should be followed with an application of an ice pack to soothe the affected area and an antibiotic cream or ointment is suggested to prevent infection and irritation. Be sure to cover it with a bandage and use sunblock on it when outside.

The Side Effects

When it comes to tattoo removal, laser treatment is the safest because it only targets the pigments in the tattoo. However there are a few side effects:

  1. Risk of Infection – There is always a risk for infection at the tattoo removal sight, and a slight chance of a permanent scar.
  2. Incomplete Removal – More often than not, traces of your tattoo will remain after the process. Usually certain colors will respond more effectively than others. Black and blue tattoos offer the best potential for complete removal.
  3. Hypopigmention – Hypopigmentation sometimes results from tattoo removal, which means that the treated skin will become a bit paler or darker then the rest of your skin.
  4. Cosmetic Tattoo –  Tattooed lip liner, eye liner, and eyebrows may get darker after primary treatments. However, they do tend to fade after additional sessions.

The Doctor

As in all health procedures, it is important to find a reputable doctor. Find a good dermatologist or cosmetic surgery center, preferably with a recommendation from you primary care physician. Insurance will not cover it in most cases, as it is not usually considered medically necessary, Be sure to discuss the charges and obtain the associated costs in writing before treatment.

Have you undergone tattoo removal? Thinking about it? Let us know!

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Should You Get a Facial?

Woman enjoying a facial treatment in the spa

The facial is a time to sit back relax, turn off your mind and let some expert hands do the work for you. But maybe don’t turn off that mind too quickly. You need to be a savvy customer even when you’re looking to let your cares fall away. You need to keep one eye open, even if you’d prefer to keep both eyes closed. Here are some things you need to take into consideration when you’re thinking about a facial.

What Should A Facial Do?

You will commonly hear women talk about relaxation as an integral reason for getting a facial. While relaxation may be a large component of the facial experience, a relaxing facial does not necessarily mean a good facial, and relaxation should not be the main goal behind getting one. A smart consumer will look for a facial that will:

  • Clean Your skin
  • Remove and soften whiteheads and blackheads through manual extraction
  • Restore hydration to skin
  • Plump skin and smooth out wrinkles with a high quality moisturizer
  • Exfoliate skin with a scrub, peel, or peel off mask
  • Fade discolorations, reduce wrinkles and improve skinrone with the use os an AHA or BHA treatment

Another sign of a good facial is the application of sunscreen. A skilled aesthetician will be sure to finish his or her work with a healthy layer of sunscreen containing only zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as the active ingredients to prevent irritation, due especially to the fact that a woman’s skin is most sensitive after the application of certain anti aging ingredients.

What A Facial Can’t Do

From the way some magazines and beauty consultants talk about facials, you might think there is little that they can’t do, but the truth is that facials do have limitations, and they may not even be much more effective then what you can do at home. A facial cannot:

  • Cure Acne
  • Cause discolorations to disappear
  • Replace cosmetic procedures like lasers, Botox, and dermal fillers
  • Treat redness and rosacea
  • Firm sagging skin
  • Get rid of puffy eyes and dark circles
  • Detoxify skin

Good Aesthetician, Bad Aesthetician

Now this is where it starts to get scary. You never want anyone performing any kind of procedure on you when they don’t know what they’re doing, and no one wants to be the guinea pig for a novice facialist. How will you know if you’re getting a good guy or a bad guy?

An aesthetician who knows his or her trade will start by asking you about your skin. He or she will want to know whether your using medications and what you’re doing to care for your skin, as these should all impact the way he performs his work. Look out for an aesthetician who incorporates any of the following into your facial:

  1. Skin steaming, which, especially with extremely hot steam can make skin refer or result in broken capillaries
  2. Unnecessary aggressiveness with acne extractions that can worsen clogged pores or push blemishes deeper into your skin
  3. Essential oils, which may irritate your skin
  4. Alcohol, menthol, or camphor, which may also irritate skin, damaging collagen and destroying substances your skin needs
  5. Facial rejuvenation devices, which he or she may not know how to operate

Another sign of a good fail is an expert massage. The art of massage is taught at state accredited aesthetician schools, and a good aesthetician should be well versed in it. A good facial massage should never involve tugging or pulling skin, which can compromise skin elasticity.

What do you think constitutes a good facial? Let us know about your best (and worst) facial experiences. We love to hear it!

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The Benefits of Resveratrol for Your Skin

Beautiful young woman with long dark hair in the park

Often members of groups get referred to by their distinctive qualities. There’s the brainy one, the cute one, the shy one, you get it. If that holds true for antioxidants, resveratrol may be most accurately deemed “the fun one.” Why? Because resveratrol is the one that’s found in wine and chocolate, and those things are probably slightly more fun than the fruits and vegetables that most antioxidants are derived from. Here are some facts about the “fun antioxidant.”

What is Resveratrol?

Resveratrol is an antioxidant found in Japanese knotweed, red grape skin, peanuts and blueberries. It is produced by plants to to protect them against environmental stresses, and it may do the same for humans. Antioxidants fight age-related damage from free radicals by neutralizing them. Japanese knotweed is the largest resveratrol producer, although you may prefer to get yours in wine.

In Red Grapes and Wine

Red grapes are one of the plants that produce resveratrol to protect against sun damage and fungal disease, which is why wine has a higher level of the antioxidant that most other foods, however small the content. Red wine contains less than 1 to 2 mg of resveratrol per eight ounces, which is still more than the amount found in white wine. Because red wines are fermented with grape skins for a longer time than white wines, antioxidants like resveratrol are more likely to be extracted into the wine, leading to a higher resveratrol concentration in the red stuff than the white.

Humidity is another factor contributing to resveratrol content. It is theorized that grapes grown in more humid environments produce more antioxidants to address the higher rate of fungus growing in these areas. The more resveratrol, the more antifungal properties.

For Wrinkles

Because resveratrol possesses natural antibiotic properties, it works to detoxify the body cleansing it of contaminants and pollutants. This helps skin to maintain elasticity which reduces the appearance of existing wrinkles while preventing new ones from forming.

For Anti-Aging

One of the most-studied resveratrol-related phenomena is its ability to stimulate the SiRT1 gene, which is the gene that kicks in when people lose weight. It is believed that this same gene can slow the aging process. While studies on these benefits are still tenuous, the cardiovascular health benefits of resveratrol have been well documented and are accepted widely.

Sources

Resveratrol is available in dietary supplements from grape seed extract, red wine extract, and Japanese knotweed extract. However, the quality found in these supplements has been know to vary. The antioxidant is not absorbed well orally and the amount the body is able to take in varies with the process of micro ionization the supplement undergoes. It is also available as a transdermal patch and in solution form.

Have you tried the “fun antioxidant” yet? What do you think? Give us your resveratrol feedback.

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Skin Care Changes to Make in Your 40s

Pensive beautiful woman on the patio

Your skin is going to act its age, no matter what. Try as you might to reason or trick it, your skin knows when it turns 40, and it’s going to act like it. Your hormones are going to produce a lot less of the stuff that they’re supposed to be producing to keep your skin form, and you need to find ways to compensate if you’re going to stay young looking.  Here are some of them.

Commit to A Healthy Routine

By the age of 40, you probably already have your skin routine pretty much down, but you might want to add a few things to it. The 40s may be a good time to start using a skin serum, eye cream, at-home peel or mask, if you don’t already.

Manage Facial Hair

Unfortunately, hormonal changes can often lead to an increased growth of facial hair.  Safe removal methods include waxing, threading and dermaplaning, all of which you may want to consider if peach fuzz is getting to be a problem.

Use High Quality Ingredients

As you age, your tastes mature, and skin care is no different. The poor-quality stuff just won’t cut it anymore. You need to look for potent, proven formulas that plump skin, boost metabolism and increase collagen production. Retinol, peptides, and red rice extract are all expert-recommended anti-aging ingredients, and exfoliation with acids is important for boosting cell turnover.

Vasodilators

You might think of vasodilators as spices for your skin. Ingredients like ginseng and peppermint work to boost circulation by dilating the blood vessels with nutrient-rich blood, giving skin that extra tang to help it stay glowing and invigorated.

Use Skin Lightener On Brown Spots

Brown spots are one of the less glamorous side effects of the aging process. Melanocyte cells decrease approximately 10% after the age of 30, causing irregular pigmentation and dark spots.  Natural skin lightener with vitamins C and E applied under sunscreen can fade brown spots and provide four times the protection of sunscreen alone.

Eat An Antioxidant-Rich Diet

The best antioxidants for the skin are found in grapes, broccoli, tomatoes, berries, and sweet potatoes, so be sure to get plenty of those!

Schedule Regular Skin Treatment

Although a good percentage of effective skincare can be done at home, an occasional professional consultation can be life changing. Not only can professionals provide top quality treatment, they can also offer advice tailored to your skin and recommend products that will make a huge difference.

How do you help to trick your skin into believing it is still in its 20’s? Let us know!