All posts in to believe or not to believe

November 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

Hyaluronic acid is a crucial moisturizing and nutrition-providing substance found throughout the skin. By age 50, we have lost much of this valuable skin component. Hyaluronic acid has recently been in the news as filler to inject into the skin to correct wrinkles. What I am discussing here is the use of HA in skin creams. Widely used as a humectant or moisturizer in skin creams, HA is an excellent moisturizer.

Whether or not topically applied HA is actually taken up by the dermis and contributes to the total skin content of HA is unknown. In my opinion, it is unlikely, in view of the fact that the very pure forms of HA that we inject into the skin as fillers are biodegraded in a matter of 6 to 9 months and injections have to be repeated to maintain the correction of wrinkles and deep facial lines. If we could restore the HA content of our skin, improvement in moisture content, firmness and suppleness would result.

I think it is unlikely that any cream, gel, or other topical agent can restore the HA lost by aging. Estrogen has bee reported to increase HA synthesis in the skin, but the dangers of estrogen replacement outweigh this potential benefit. Creams containing HA are wonderful moisturizers but do not pay a premium expecting the cream to reverse aging by regenerating the HA content of your skin.

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Dr. Brooke Rutledge Seckel, M.D.
Save Your Face
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October 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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Firmness

Firmness is lost when the skin falls short on all three counts of moisture, oil and nutrients, or when its metabolism is sluggish. To improve firmness, make a habit of applying treatment creams and face packs that will help provide these needed components. Also, actively use serums to plump out your skin from deep down in the dermal fibers.

Dust, air conditioning, and UV rays are all archenemies of your skin. Before going out, be sure to put on day cream to protect your skin from these perils, as they can result in dry or tired skin that lacks firmness and luster.

Foods that can improve firmness include meat, fish and dairy products, as they include proteins to boost cellular activity within the skin. Foods rich in vitamin C can also help.

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Chizu Saeki
The Japanese Skincare Revolution
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August 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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Healthy Habits

Before you prepare each meal, hold up three fingers and say to yourself: “I need a protein, a god source of carbohydrates, and a small amount of unsaturated fat.” Therefore, your typical meal should consist of a piece of chicken or fish, fresh vegetables and fruits, and a small source of monounsaturated fats such as olive oil or a few nuts such as almonds or macadamias.

Add a habit called grazing -eating four to five small, well-balanced meals a day – and you’ll keep your insulin levels balanced. The value of eating several small to medium meals is that you never overload your body with sugars or other nutrients. Even when you’re eating healthy foods, you can have too much of a good thing. If you eat a very large meal, for example, you fill your gastrointestinal track with food, which then loads your bloodstream with sugar, which makes your insulin levels spike. So it’s best to eat small quantities of food throughout the day.

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Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D.
The Wrinkle Cure
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May 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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Women who wear makeup sometimes use a cleansing cream or makeup remover before they wash their faces. I don’t think this is necessary, unless you use a very greasy or waterproof makeup. A water-soluble cleanser and warm water will remove most types of foundation. The fewer things you use on your skin the better, and in most cases there’s no reason to use two cleansers.

If you must use a makeup remover, then apply it only where you need it. For instance, if you have black circles under your eyes from your mascara, then use an eye-makeup remover on the skin beneath the eyes.

Many people believer that tugging on their skin can cause wrinkles, and so they always use an upward and/or circular motion when cleansing. I’m not sure where the idea that massage, even quite vigorous massage, cause wrinkles comes from, but of all the things that contribute to aging skin, rubbing or pulling or massaging it aren’t anywhere near the top of the list.

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Dr. Howard Murad, M.D.
Wrinkle-Free Forever
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March 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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What is Facial Rejuvenation

To rejuvenate is to make young or youthful again or restore to an original or new state. True facial rejuvenation, for the face to be made young or youthful or restored to an original state, requires correction of all of the above facial aging changes. The problem with most wrinkle cures and anti-aging therapies available today is that they address only one or two of the five major facial aging changes – skin texture changes, pigmentation, fine lines & wrinkles, deep facial lines and loose skin.

Treating one or two of the aging changes is a partial treatment and achieves only a partial result, not true facial rejuvenation. For example, a face-lift tightens the facial skin, but you simply have tightened old looking skin when you are finished – better, but still old looking. Some laser procedures can remove brown spots and blood vessels and refresh the skin, but wrinkles and sagging skin are unchanged, the face still look old. Botox can remove your frown lines and crows feet, but Botox does nothing about pigment, blood vessels and loose skin and other wrinkles. Fillers like Restylane, Sculptra and Radiesse can soften deep lines around the mouth and nose, but do not address any of the other changes.

Wrinkle creams and fad diets achieve the most disappointing results. All would agree that sun block, a healthy diet, lots of water, and anti-oxidant vitamins are important for your health. If you started when you are 16 or 18 years old these preventative therapies may help prevent facial aging. But once you have the physical signs of aging more aggressive therapy is required to reverse them and rejuvenate the face.

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Dr. Brooke Rutledge, M.D.
Save Your Face
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February 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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In the field of dermatology, skin discoloration is one of the most difficult conditions to solve. The medically sanctioned ingredient to tackle the problem is called hydroquinone. It works by inhibiting the manufacture of new pigment cells. However, it doesn’t do anything for dark spots once they’ve appeared. Pigment cells have about a six-week life span, after which they break down and are replaced by new cells. So if hydroquinone is prescribed, and the formation of some of the new pigment cells is inhibited, dark spots may fade from your complexion over time. The typical prescription dose of hydroquinone is 4 percent, but even at that strength it is only moderately effective. Sometimes, combined with glycolic acid, its effectiveness improves a bit, but I have yet to speak with a patient who was completely satisfied with the outcome of any prescription fading cream.

So why, you may ask, isn’t hydroquinone prescribed in a higher strength?

The answer is that if the percentage is increased it becomes very irritating. It’s a classic case of damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Hydroquinone, by law, cannot be sold over-the-counter in more than 2 percent strength. So you see, if it works only moderately at 4 percent strength, it’s no wonder that the high-priced department store brand creams with only half the power are not effective. This time, as I said, the cosmetics industry can’t be held entirely at fault.

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Dr. Adrienne Denses, M.D.
Secrets For Ageless Skin
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January 11 –
To believe or not to believe

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Are Facials Helpful At All?

A facial can make you feel great – someone gently massaging your facial muscles while applying toners or masks. Extractions from your pores and mild exfoliation can brighten your complexion. But I’m not crazy about the prospect that bacteria may be lurking in such a busy setting. Choose your salon very carefully. If you get facials too frequently, they can start to become irritating, and even cause broken blood vessels. I also believe that many products used in salons are highly comedogenic, causing blocked pores and irritated skin. Go ahead and treat yourself once in a while, if these appeal to you, but I do not recommend more than one or two per year, at most.

It would be equally beneficial to your complexion if you opted instead for a full body massage. This gets your blood circulating, pumps oxygen into your muscles and tissues, and relaxes you even more than a facial does. Massages detoxify by increasing lymph flow into the body’s waste bin, that is why frequently after a massage one has to urinate, even though there has been no increased hydration.

If you’re pampering yourself at a salon, go for the massage instead of the facial from time to time. Your complexion will benefit, and so will the rest of you. Massage stimulates the flow of lymph, which is the clear liquid that you might see when you squeeze a pimple and the blood disappears. Lymph has its own circulatory system and is mechanism for removal of waste and toxins from your skin.

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Dr. Gregory Bays Brown
About Face
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December 10 –
To believe or not to believe

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The medical community knows that the percentage of active ingredients is critical for the product to be effective. All scientific efficacy studies on cosmetics ingredients have to be reported by naming the exact percentages of the active ingredients. This is because we know that if, for instance, the retinol or the glycolic acid percentage does not reach a certain level, their presence is entirely meaningless from the perspective of performance. It might as well be missing and will do just as much good. If it is present in the right percentages, however, it may irritate some people initially before the product starts to deliver results, which may drive up product returns, the worst fear of cosmetics executives. Also, the right percentages will definitely drive up product price because some of the active ingredients cost in the thousands per kilo.

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Dr Adrienne Denese, M.D.
Secrets For Ageless Skin
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November 10 –
To believe or not to believe

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Women who wear makeup sometimes use a cleansing cream or makeup remover before they wash their faces. I don’t think this is necessary, unless you use a very greasy or waterproof makeup. A water-soluble cleanser and warm water will remove most types of foundation. The fewer things you use on your skin the better, and in most cases there’s no reason to use two cleansers.

If you must use a makeup remover, then apply it only where you need it. For instance, if you have black circles under your eyes from your mascara, then use an eye-makeup remover on the skin beneath the eyes.

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Dr Howard Murad, M.D.
Wrinkle-Free Forever
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October 10 –
To believe or not to believe

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Hydroquinone, while the most powerful bleaching agent, actually does not bleach the skin. It inhibits a pigment-forming enzyme so that new cells don’t darken. But it has had its bad day in the spotlight, which is why it’s banned in Japan, European Union countries, and Australia. In 2006, the FDA proposed removing it from its safe ingredient list for over-the-counter formulas (if it does become banned, it will still be available as a prescription).

The reasons are potential carcinogenicity and a very rare side effect, called ochronosis, that can occur with long-term use, especially in people of color. Instead of a lightening effect in the treated area, some people experience the opposite – a darkening or bluish hue. The studies that gave hydroquinone bad press were on rodent data for ingested hydroquinone, and most doctors (including me) think it’s too big a leap to say humans who use this in a topical form are at serious risk, but it is certainly possible. Most of us consume hydroquinone daily in foods such as berries, coffee, wheat and tea.

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Dr Amy Wechsler, M.D.
The Mind-Beauty Connection
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