January 2010 - Posts
If you suffer from acne, I don’t have to tell you how aggravating it is to fight a stubborn pimple only to find that the mark left behind is even more stubborn. Post-blemish discoloration is a primary concern among those battling acne since marks following a breakout can last for weeks, months or even years. Unfortunately, as we age it takes even longer to eliminate these unsightly spots and this makes for very bad news since more and more people are experiencing breakouts into their 30s and 40s. The good news is that post-blemish discoloration is the easiest form of hyperpigmentation to treat, much easier than freckles or sun spots. Often times these marks will go away on their own over time. The better news is that there are skin lighteners on the market that can reduce fading time and even out your complexion.
It’s important to understand that skin lighteners treat colored marks left from a pimple, not scars or pit marks. If you have acne scars, you will not see a difference using lighteners. However, you can expect to see an improvement in color and clarity.
Hydroquinone is the most powerful skin lightener available. This chemical skin bleaching agent is very efficient at lightening areas of discoloration on the skin. The most effective products combine hydroquinone with glycolic acid for ultimate fading of post-blemish marks. The acid promotes the sloughing of dead skin cells to turn over darkened skin cells faster. It also allows the hydroquinone to penetrate deeper and work more effectively. Glycolic acid is also great for preventing new breakouts as it eliminates dead skin cells that can clog pores. There are quite a few products that utilize this effective combination. Murad Post Acne Spot Lightening Gel is made specifically for post-blemish marks. DDF Fade Gel 4 is intended for all types of hyperpigmentation but has gotten rave reviews from those suffering from post-breakout discoloration. The results have been reportedly fast and impressive.
What’s the downside to hydroquinone? Without a doubt it’s the irritation experienced by many with sensitive skin. Chemical lighteners should be used cautiously and sparingly. Rather than applying it to large areas of the skin, it’s best to spot treat only where you need it. If you experience irritation, you should discontinue immediately. If you are using benzoyl peroxide to treat and prevent active acne, be very careful when attempting to add additional products to your skin care routine as irritation can occur.
Is there a good alternative to hydroquinone for those unable to tolerate the strength of chemical lighteners? Fortunately, the answer is yes. Kojic acid, a natural ingredient found in mushrooms, is also highly effective at breaking up excess skin pigment. It is also generally well tolerated by even sensitive skin types. After first reading about kojic acid, I wondered if a natural and gentle ingredient could be effective at treating my stubborn skin spots and found my answer after trying SkinCeuticals Phyto+. I had a particularly stubborn spot above my lip and after only two weeks I noticed that it was starting to fade. Kojic acid does take longer than hydroquinone to be effective so you’ll want to give the product a full two months to start working. Stick to a routine of applying the product twice a day, morning and night and if you persist, you will likely see those unsightly spots begin to fade. If you want to increase the effectiveness of kojic acid, remember that glycolic acid will boost your results. I like to combine SkinCeuticals Phyto+ with MD Forte Facial Lotion III with 30% glycolic acid. If you’re new to using glycolics, start with MD Forte Facial Lotion I and work your way up to levels II and III as tolerated.
Some people are too sensitive to use glycolics at all and if that’s the case for you, stick with the kojic. You’ll get the lightening benefits without the irritation.
Protecting your skin from the sun is extra important when lightening the skin. Sun exposure increases skin pigmentation and can darken spots even more. If you want to lighten and protect at the same time, try a product like philosophy a pigment of your imagination spf 18.
As frustrating as post blemish marks can be, know that there is a good solution with today’s available skin lighteners. The trick is to make the commitment to attack these marks and stick to a routine. If you persist, you have a great chance at achieving a clearer, more even complexion.
We have had a bit of a cold and dry snap in my neck of the woods and that tends to leave me with rough cracked skin.
I finally ran out of one of my favorite hand cream but managed to acquire a new one just in the nick of time and it has saved me!
I have written about Avene before and here is a pitch for another great Avene product - Avene Cold Cream Hand Cream. All of Avene Products are developed from thermal spring water with healing and soothing properties. It’s a great line for hypersensitive skin. I find that if I apply the cream right before I go to bed, I wake up with soft, supple hands. If I don’t use it, my hands are red, dry and cracked. Ouch!
If you’re suffering the same effects of winter or have trouble with dry cracked hands all year round, this really is a life-saver. Based on customer Avene Reviews, I’d say I’m not the only one who thinks this way.
There’s a lot of talk about exfoliation in the skin care world but despite all the talk, a large number of people do not exfoliate regularly. Maybe you’re one of the many who wonder what purpose it serves and if it’s really necessary. While we can certainly live without it, regular exfoliation can make a huge difference in the look and feel of the skin. Those of us who exfoliate regularly can attest to the benefits of adding regular exfoliation to our skin care routine.
Exfoliation involves the sloughing off of old, dead skin cells. When done effectively, regular exfoliation can reduce acne breakouts, soften fine lines, brighten dull skin and even out discoloration in addition to allowing other skin care products to be absorbed better and therefore work more effectively. Knowing all of that, why would anyone skip this essential skin care step?
There are two different kinds of exfoliators, physical and chemical. Physical exfoliators contain abrasive particles that remove dead skin cells when gently massaged into the skin. Chemical exfoliators, on the other hand, contain ingredients that loosen dead skin cells so they can be washed away. New on the market today are enzyme exfoliants which gently remove dead skin cells without causing any irritation.
With all of the exfoliants on the market, how do you choose one that’s right for you? If your skin is tolerant and you don’t have active acne, I have found that products combining physical and chemical exfoliation work best. One of my favorites is Dr. Michelle Copeland Microdermabrasion Formula which adds alpha hydroxy acids to its exfoliators for maximum effectiveness. I couldn’t believe how fabulous my skin looked after using this product only once. Not only did it leave my skin incredibly smooth and soft, but my complexion looked more even and my pores smaller. I was also left with a nice healthy glow.
Active acne sufferers should avoid physical exfoliators and opt for chemical exfoliation since physical exfoliation can aggravate breakouts. A great choice is MD Skincare Alpha Beta® Daily Face Peel/2 steps. This product is actually best when used every day and contains two different treated pads that are applied to the skin, one after the other. You benefit from 5 different kinds of acids for super effective exfoliation. I’ve been delighted at how great my skin looks with regular use of the daily peel pads while at the same time amazed at the lack of irritation thanks to added ingredients that soothe and moisturize.
If you’ve avoided exfoliating due to hyper sensitivity or tight, dry skin, you’ll love the new enzyme exfoliants on the market. You can use these products without the fear of irritation as they do no harm to live skin cells. Tracie Martyn Enzyme Exfoliant is one such product that’s perfect for the most sensitive skin. In addition to leaving you with a smooth, soft complexion, this treatment actually calms and soothes irritation and even reduces facial redness. It’s also suitable for acne prone skin. Now you have no excuse not to exfoliate.
Do you hate pantyhose as much as I do? I’ve always thought that the guy (it had to have been a guy) who invented them should be strangled with a pair. I’m sure he’s long gone by now but this uncomfortable invention lives on.
You may work in an office where you don’t have a choice but if you’re not forced to wear nylons, there are alternatives when it comes to making your legs look great.
While visiting a historical museum, I learned that during World War II when there was a shortage of nylon, women turned to leg makeup. Today technology has improved upon that idea and there are great products out there that can camouflage imperfections and leave legs looking even and flawless.
Dermablend Cosmetics makes a body makeup called Dermablend Leg and Body Cover that can be applied to any area of the body, not just the legs. I was amazed at how well it covers even the nastiest of skin imperfections like spider veins. The product goes on smooth, doesn’t feel heavy or sticky and it stays put. I was a little concerned about the color rubbing off on my clothes but once the product dries, it doesn’t smudge and is even water resistant. The makeup stays in place all day provided you use the Dermablend Loose Setting Powder Setting Powder.
Has anyone heard of any other corrective cosmetics for the body? Air Stocking used to make a spray-on nylon but that product doesn’t seem to be around any longer.
I say to everyone, throw those nylons in the trash! With good alternatives, who needs them?
Tonight is one of those nights when I need some extra pampering. After a long, hard day in the office I couldn’t wait to bolt so that I could treat myself to a nice and relaxing facial. This ritual always makes me feel clean and refreshed.
As you may know by now, I have oily, congested skin and am constantly looking for new products that deep clean and leave my skin feeling unclogged. However, my skin is slowly becoming more sensitive and susceptible to drying so I also seek out treatments that are gentle.
One of my favorite choices is Bliss Steep Clean. That is what I chose for tonight since I can always count on Bliss to make my skin feel good. As the name suggests, this mask is great for purifying congested skin and controlling oil. However, it doesn’t dry tight and irritate like so many other deep cleansing masks I’ve used.
I have often found that harsh, overly-drying treatment masks actually make my skin even oilier than before. This is because my skin reacts to the harsh ingredients by producing additional sebum in an attempt to create a balance. This is absolutely counter-productive which is why gentle is the way to go.
When using the Bliss Steep Clean, you only need a small amount of the blue and yellow mask. Blend it until it turns a uniform green before applying. It goes on smooth and feels soothing the whole time it’s on the face. You can also apply it to the chest, shoulders and back if you want to feel pampered all over. I like to soak in the bath tub and let the product do its job while I relax. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that a mask hasn’t done its job if it hasn’t dried completely. This one stays moist even though it’s ready to wash off after 15 minutes.
Considering how gentle this Bliss product is, I’m always amazed at how squeaky clean my skin feels after rinsing. It also feels soothed, smooth, and very refreshed with absolutely no irritation. What’s more, my pores actually look smaller and tighter. No wonder I love this mask!
I always feel so much better when my skin feels good. Now I am off to bed to get a good night’s sleep before I need to tackle another day at work.
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