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FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

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Have a burning beauty question? Chances are someone else has the same one, too. That’s why we at BeautyStat put together this fabulous page of Frequently Asked Questions. There is a lot of great expert info and advice in here, so be sure to scroll through each of the sub-headings. Still don’t see the answer you need? Email us at info@beautystat.com or post your question to our Facebook Fan Page Wall and we’ll be sure to get right back with you. Thanks and Happy Reading!!

SKIN CARE

We asked you if you could have any type of beauty expert (skin, hair, makeup artist, etc) cornered in an elevator for 30 minutes, what kind of expert would you want and what would you ask him or her?  Many of you had questions for a dermatologist so we brought in our resident dermatologist, Dr. Ellen Marmur to help.

What is the best skin care advice that you give to your patients?

My best skin care advice to my patients is to simply simplify! Know what skin does, how it works, and it’s basic architecture first. Then shop for your skin care products knowing more than anyone selling them so you chose based on good knowledge over marketing.

What is the best way to treat very sensitive skin that needs both early anti-aging intervention AND treatment for breakouts around the jaw line and chin? Thank you in advance!

In my book you can read my tricks for how to do exactly what you asked. Sensitive skin does not disqualify you from anti-aging products (yeahhh!!) but you need to use them wisely. First, be sure your sensitivity isn’t actually an allergy—ask your dermatologist for an easy, painless patch test. Then try using Epiduo or for your breakouts twice a day to the spots as necessary. For anti-aging try a product with a retinol. Refissa CR (prescription) is new—it has a medium strength retinoid plus a strong emollient to prevent dryness and irritation of the skin. Give it a shot!

What is the best cure for under eye bags? Collagen?

Big bags or little bags? Right under the lashes? Or down above the bony rim of the orbit? Some bags can be camouflaged by using fillers around them. Collage is no longer used. The best filler for this area is called hyaluronic acid. It is considered an off label use and should be injected only by core cosmetic physicians—dermatologist, plastic surgeons, facial plastic surgeons, and ENT surgeons. But it’s absolutely beautiful when done for the right person. If you have bigger bags under your eyes, you may be a good candidate for eyelid surgery called blepharoplasty. Ask your dermatologist for advice, but don’t worry, there are ways to fix the bags! Otherwise, topical creams may not be satisfactory to you so save your money for the right procedure.

I recently noticed that the pores on my checks that are closer to my nose are more prominent than the rest of my face (they are on both sides of the face). Can you advise what I can do to minimize or shrink my pores? It is more noticeable when I use powder foundation, the skin looks dry and rough.

Did you know that these may not be pores but my actually be hair follicles?? The density of hair follicles is greatest in the midline of the face—the nose and the medial cheeks. Tiny, almost invisible hairs grow there and and often we think they are pores. The good news is you can definitely minimize the pore size by doing several things. Exfoliate twice a week with a creamy exfoliator, use a retinoid at night, be excellent with sun protection everyday, moisturize with your favorite gentle creams twice a day, and try the pore strips (Biore)! They will remove any protein, oil, or dead skin from the top of the skin and allow the pore or opening of the follicle to constrict tightly. The Rolls Royce of treatments you can do for large pores is a series of Fraxel laser resurfacing procedures. This will plump up your collagen and build up your elastin—both have the effect of tighter pores and a smooth complexion.

I am constantly trying to create that perfect dewy look that all the celebrities seem to wear so effortlessly. While I have tried many of the suggested techniques (mixing a shimmer in with moisturizer or foundation, cream blush, etc), I am really searching for a few all-time favorite products that can help one achieve such a glamorous glow! What specific beauty finds would you recommend?

This is actually easier than it sounds. Rule #1—simplify. The last thing you need is dry, irritated, over-exposed skin when trying for the dewy look. Rule #2—exfoliate, moisturize, protect with sunblock. Rule #3—use self tanner (Clarins is a favorite.) Rule #4—use a serum. Serums have illuminators in them that give a dewy sheen. Rule #5—keep your make-up light and sheer (try Laura Mercier for the natural look. She has wonderful sand colored eyeshadows and bronzers that may be great for you!)

Do fat cells create oilier skin? In other words, is it true that the fatter you are the oilier your skin?

It is sooo not true that more body fat causes oilier skin! Oil glands are very much genetic and hormonally stimulated. Yes, hormones are related to obesity, but there is no data to support that oily skin is more common in people with higher percentage of body fat. If you want help with oily skin, your dermatologist has great tricks for you. Accutane (very low dosage) helps, Plexion pads twice daily are great, and oil free mineral makeup is good for oily skin types.

How do you treat milia? When I look it up it seems more common for newborns but I am referring to milia associated with acne. Any reason why it develops? Thanks!

Milia with acne are actually called closed comedones. They are little cyst under the skin. Open comedones look black because the air oxidizes the protein in the cyst thus the dreaded blackheads. Comedones are partly due to a problem with skin turnover, meaning retained skin on the surface, leading to clogged pores and cysts. You should see your dermatologist first to confirm this diagnosis. Then you should come up with a simple routine that can protect, enhance, and troubleshoot! My favorite new product for your issue is Epiduo cream (prescription). Try to do 2 chemical peels a year and use non-comedogenic products to maintain your perfect skin!

I’m confused about chemical sunscreens vs. physical sunscreens. Are you better protected from sun damage when you wear a broad spectrum chemical sunscreen or when you wear a physical sunscreen? For maximum benefits, should you layer physical sunscreen over a chemical sunscreen? Are there products on the market that combine both types of sunscreen in one product? Thanks for your help!

There are chemical sunscreens and physical sunblocks and yes, use them in combination for the best protection. Sunscreens are chemicals that intercept the UV ray and turns it into heat so it evaporates off the skin’s surface without penetrating and causing havoc. But sunscreens get used up the more sun it converts, like gasoline in a car runs out the more you drive. So reapply every 1-2 hours. Physical blockers literally rest on top of the skin and block the sunlight from penetrating through them. Zinc and titanium oxides are two examples. They don’t run out or get used up like sunscreens but they wipe off due to water or sweat, so they need to be reapplied every 1-2 hours, too. Each chemical has it’s strengths and limitations so a combination is the best way to go. Unless you invent the ideal sunscreen with one molecule that perfectly protects the skin from the sun, use a combo of sunscreen and sunblock.

When should you start using more aggresive treatments like AHA’s and peels?

AHA’s and chemical peels are superb in young people with acne, or very, very old people over the age of 30 :) who need a little help with pigmentation from hormones or fine lines. Peels can be very light to very strong and I love them, but only let a very experienced doctor do them for you.

I need advice for Baby Boomer skin! How can I reduce the signs of aging skin?

Ok, so baby boomers are in their 40’s and 50’s right? And therefore, your skin aging is showing up as brown spots, wrinkles, and perhaps a little laxity of your cheeks. This is a great question and I wrote an entire chapter on it in my book (SSB). Essentially, your routine must focus on protection, moisturizing, and trouble shooting. Protect with sunscreen every day of the year, moisturize twice a day, and trouble shoot away those signs of aging. Laser or peel off the brown spots and wrinkles. Use a retinoid to prevent new ones. And simply, you are good to go!!!

How does one get rid of whiteheads for Baby Boomer Skin? Mostly cheek bones area?

I have those too! They are called milia—little, white, closed cysts that are just under the skin. If you have just a few, then yes, professional extraction is the easiest thing. If you have a lot, then you need a master plan. Exfoliate daily with a gentle exfoliator (like Sanitas lemon creamy exfoliator), use a retinoid at night (the new Refissa cream looks amazing, it’s a prescription), have one good chemical peel with your doctor or a Fraxel resurfacing treatment, and be sure to remove make-up from your skin at night (Clinique’s milk creamy make up remover is nice!)

These can result from sun damage, make up, or injury to the skin. Good luck!

I have a question strictly about redness in the skin. I have redness more around my nose and on my cheeks. Is there a treatment I can do to get rid of it?

All redness is not created equally. If you have any other issues like flakey skin, pimples, or symptoms like itching or burning along with the redness, you should ask your dermatologist to you make a diagnosis. Rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis, and allergic or irritant contact dermatitis can look red. Sometimes—rarely—it can be more serious. So have that redness checked. But, yes! If it is just lucky red skin, then we can treat you with intense pulsed light and pulsed dye laser! Some people uses anti-inflammatory creams like Finacea or metrogel to help reduce redness too. I’ve had good luck using Fraxel laser to reduce redness as well—which also replaces sun damaged skin with new, healthy skin, and helps tighten, smooth, and lift the skin.

Dr. Marmur is the Chief of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at The Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City and specializes in skin cancer surgery, cosmetic surgery, and women’s health dermatology. She’s also the author of Simple Skin Beauty: Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin .

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Herbal Treatments for Acne

  • Calendula soap, made from marigold flowers, is good for helping to clear blemishes.Wash with it twice a day, using warm water alternating with cold water.
  • A combination of calendula and witch hazel also makes an excellentcleanser. Mix equal parts of liquid calendula extract and distilled witchhazel and apply this to the lesions three times a day.
  • Make a goldenseal and tea tree oil paste by mixing ½ teaspoon of powderedgoldenseal root with 12 drops of tea tree oil. Apply the resulting pasteto the acne lesions and leave it on for twenty minutes minutes before rinsingit off. Repeated twice a day, this has been found to be extremely effective.
  • A combination astringent lotion made by mixing equal parts of liquidmarigold and chickweed extracts and distilled witch hazel can be applied to blemishes three times a day.
  • Use a clay masque for deep cleansing. Mix 1 teaspoon of green clay in a little water, until a paste is formed. Apply this to areas of oily skin and leaveit on for fifteen minutes before washing it off with warm water.
  • Lemon juice diluted in water has an antiseptic effect when applied twice a day.

From: Dr. Jeanette Jacknin, http://www.JJMDskincare.com

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Herbal and Conventional Treatments for Acne Scars

  • Mederma, a topical gel containing a proprietary botanical extract made from onion and allantoin, can by applied to a scar three or four times a day.  An improvement in the color, texture, appearance, and flexibility of the scar should be noted sometime between eight weeks and six months of treatment. This product is available over the counter. It works best on newer scars.
  • Applying calendula gel or cream to an acne scar twice a day reduces inflammation and increases healing in an early scar.
  • Kojic acid, a mushroom derivative that has been used in Japan for years, has been found to be as effective as hydroquinone for lessening the appearance of age spots, with less irritation and other side effects. Use it as directed on the label.
  • Dab fresh lemon juice twice a day on the pink acne scars with a cotton swab.  It is thought that the mild citric acid is just strong enough to safely peel off the epidermis, revealing fresh new skin underneath.
  • For a slightly stronger solution, mix together 1 teaspoon grated horseradish root, ½ teaspoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon vinegar, and 3 drops rosemary oil. Dab this on your acne scar spots.
  • Glycolic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids have also been used to exfoliate areas of dark age spots, revealing younger-looking skin underneath.
  • Tretinoin (Retin-A) gel increases cellular turnover to peel away age spots and stop new spots before they get started. In a recent ten-month study of fifty-eight people with age spots at the University of Michigan Medical Center, most had lightening of their spots after one month, and 83 percent had significant lightening after ten months.

From: Dr. Jeanette Jacknin, http://www.JJMDskincare.com

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All About Eczema

Eczema is a general term that describes inflamed skin, commonly used as a synonym for dermatitis.  There are, however, many causes and forms of eczema. They are all linked by the symptoms that are observed- skin that is itchy, dry, cracked, and inflamed.

The most common forms of eczema are atopic eczema (typically genetic, common in childhood); contact eczema (caused by exposure to both irritants and allergens); and xerotic eczema (more common as we age and worse during winter).

How To Treat This Condition?

The key to treating eczema, regardless of the type, is to work to restore the skin barrier.  Moisturizing helps not only to hydrate the skin and prevent water loss, but also to reestablish the skin’s defense system to prevent irritants and allergens from entering the skin to create further itching and inflammation. It cannot be stated strongly enough that the most important step in treating eczema is to moisturize, moisturize, moisturize.

How do I decide what type of product to use?

Moisturizer selection should be adjusted according to environmental conditions and the severity of eczema.  In general, the thicker the product the better.  Lotions tend to have higher alcohol content, and though they spread more easily, they can sting when applied to inflamed skin and are often less effective than creams and ointments at hydrating the skin. Creams and ointments tend to have more of an occlusive effect- that means that not only do they add moisture to the skin, but they prevent water from evaporating and they lock-in moisture.

Moisturizers are most effective when they are applied after a shower or bath. Make sure to pat the skin dry and don’t rub vigorously.  Leave a little bit of water on the skin and apply the product liberally, from the neck down.  In general, try to push the envelope and use thicker products at night.

What are some eczema treatment tips?

* Take shorter, more temperate showers and avoid standing in the direct stream of hot water for an extended period of time as it can significantly dry your skin.

* Get a humidifier for the bedroom at night.

* Pamper yourself! Studies have confirmed the negative impact that stress can have on the skin.

* Avoid fragrance when your skin is inflamed.

* Use a mild, gentle cleanser and avoid over-washing.

If you have tried all of the above measures and you have skin that is persistently red, itchy, dry, or inflamed, it is a good idea to make an appointment to see a dermatologist.

Dr. Adam Geyer is a board certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and an Instructor in Clinical Dermatology at Columbia University.

http://www.adamgeyermd.com/

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All About Dark Spots, Freckles and Discoloration

Dark spots are one of the biggest beauty concerns among women today.  In order to get the 411 on this huge concern, BeautyStat’s CEO, Ron Robinson, contacted NYC dermatologist Dr. Adam Geyer.

Ron:  What causes dark spots?

Dr. Geyer:  Melanin is the pigment that imparts the visible color that we see in our skin.  The levels of melanin increase in response to exposure to UV light (this is why we get tan) and serves as a defense against further damage from UV radiation.

Dark spots (or hyperpigmentation) are caused by

1) over-production of melanin

2) increased or irregular distribution of melanin

3) increased retention of melanin in skin cells

Ron:  Are there different types of dark spots?

Dr. Geyer:  Yes, dark spots can be characterized as either localized or diffuse. Localized dark spots can form as small, defined spots.  These include the spots that form after having an acne breakout. Diffuse dark spots are less defined and can cover larger areas of the face.  These are more commonly seen in patients with a high degree of UV exposure and in individuals with skin of color.

Ron:  How do you prevent dark spots on the face?

Dr. Geyer:  Most, but not all of the dark spots that we develop on the face are entirely preventable!  True, dark spots (such as moles) come from our genetics, others come from inflammation in the skin (such as from old acne marks), but most are derived from the cumulative effect that UV radiation has on our facial skin. The first and most important step in preventing these spots is to use a sunscreen every day.  I cannot emphasize enough that sunscreen is the most essential component of any skin care regimen and it is the primary defense against developing unwanted brown spots.

Ron:  Are products that contain Hydroquinone good for treating dark spots?

Dr. Geyer:  Hydroquinone has traditionally been a key ingredient in many skin brighteners and bleaching creams. It is available in over the counter preparations in the US in 2% concentrations, and by prescription at 4%. However, hydroquinone has been banned in many countries in Europe and Asia because of studies showing a possible carcinogenic effect of the agent when given systemically to animals, and there is a proposal in front of the FDA here in the US to ban use of this ingredient in new over the counter products. Though the risk of malignancy from the use of hydroquinone is thought to be exceedingly rare, if at all, hydroquinone-free alternatives are increasingly being sought.

Potent Hydroquinone-free ingredients known to brighten the skin’s appearance include vitamin C, licorice, calcium pantetheine sulfonate, arbutin, kojic acid, ellagic acid, soy, and mequinol and alpha hydroxy acids.  However, I must reinforce that any attempt to fade pigmentation must be coupled with rigorous sun protection- otherwise progress will be minimal.

Ron:  Do you have any final tips?

Dr. Geyer:  Yes, here are 6 useful tips.

1)    Use a broad spectrum UV protector 365 days per year is a must.  Reapply your sunscreen if outside more than 3-4 hours. This is important in terms of prevention, but also to prevent recurrence of brown spots that have already been treated.  If reapplying sunscreen during the day is difficult because make-up is worn, consider switching to a tinted moisturizer with SPF.

2)    In addition to the daily use of an appropriate sunscreen- efforts should be made to wear sun protective clothing when outdoors- such as hats and long-sleeved, breathable clothing- and to limit extended outdoor recreational exposure during peak mid day hours, when UV rays are most intense.

3)    Exfoliate your skin (either mechanically or chemically) at night.  This not only helps to encourage removal of retained melanin in the skin, but it will allow the other active ingredients in your regimen to penetrate deeper and work better to remove the brown spots.  Doing so at night will help to minimize any added photosensitivity of the skin during daytime hours.

4)    Products with vitamin C are great for morning application as they have both antioxidant and natural photo-protective effects.

5)    If using a Hydroquinone base product, care should be taken when applying the agent to avoid developing a light halo around the existing darks spot by applying medication too liberally.

6)    Be patient! There is no quick fix. Fading of brown spots usually takes months- so stick with your regimen and even consider taking some “before” pictures so you can see just how much progress you are making.

Dr. Adam Geyer is a board certified dermatologist specializing in medical and cosmetic dermatology. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology and an Instructor in Clinical Dermatology at Columbia University.

http://www.adamgeyermd.com/

Ron Robinson is a cosmetic scientist who has worked for some of the biggest beauty companies in his 20 year career. In order to help women find the right beauty product for their skin, he created BeautyStat.com.  An online beauty community that allows women to exchange beauty advice as well as get personalized beauty product recommendations.

http://www.facebook.com/beautystat

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HAIR

What are the best shampoos for different hair types?

Dry, Damaged, Weak:

Pantene Pro-V Shampoo and Conditioner – $7.99 each

I’m impressed with this shampoo and conditioner because Pantene’s clinical studies show that it makes hair significantly stronger in the just a few weeks.  It contains a unique polymer called Cassia that works by forming a netting around each hair strand to condition and protect it from breakage.  Pantene studies also show that it improved hair strength 10 times more than other shampoos and conditioners.  Plus it contains a lot less silicone so it won’t weigh hair down.

SunSilk Hydra TLC Shampoo and Conditioner – $4.99

This shampoo and conditioner provides good performance at a good price.  Both shampoo and conditioner contain Keratin and a blend of amino acids that work to help smooth and nourish dry hair.

Aveda Dry Remedy Shampoo and Conditioner – $24.00 each

When you use the Dry Remedy system, Aveda studies show that it can instantly improve dry hair by up to 63%.  The formulas contains Buruti oil and Pomegranate which work to help moisturize and condition dry hair,

Oily:

Kairos Clarifying Complexion Clearing Shampoo and Conditioner – $24.00

This line is really unique because not only does it help to control oily hair but it also treats forehead and upper back acne breakouts that can occur as a result of having oily hair.  The line contains Zinc Sulfate to control excess oil production as well as Tea Tree oil, Lactic acid and medicated Salicylic acid to help treat acne and prevent future breakouts.

Aubrey Organics Green Tea Shampoo and Finishing Rinse – $9.98 each

This line is great for oily hair and scalps but won’t over-strip.  It contains organic Green Tea and Nettle extract to nourishand tone the scalp and Organic Aloe Vera and Almond Protein to replenish moisture.

Korres Sage and Nettle Shampoo and Conditioner – $18 each

This line works to control oil levels by enhancing the health of the hair and scalp.  It contains a clinically tested licorice-derived extract that controls oil as well as Sage, Birch and Burdock extracts that work to clean and protect the hair.

Color-Treated:

Loreal EverPure Shampoo and Conditioner – $6.99 each

This new line is great for color-treated hair more because of what it does NOT contain.  It’s free of sulfates and salts that can strip hair of color. It contains naturally derived cleansing agents and botanicals to help you maintain your color for up to 32 washes.

Matrix Biolage Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner – $16.50 each

This line gently cleanses while preserving color.  It contains bee pollen, kelp and other botanical extracts that work to help maintain color.  And it’s gentle enough for everyday use.

Frederic Fekkai Technician Color Care Shampoo and Conditioner – $23.00 each

This line protects color in 2 ways.  It contains a blend of Apricot, avocado, calendula and peach to make color treated hair softer, smoother and shinier. And it contains an exotic botanical has been shown to prevent color fading and weakening due to UV exposure.

Answers by Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and BeautyStat CEO

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All About Hair Color

Do you think at-home colors have gotten better over the past few years (almost salon quality/relatively goof-proof)?

Yes.  The ultimate goal of any hair color is to provide lasting, natural looking color while leaving hair shiny and healthy.  It’s important that women first know what they want their color to be and how long they want it to last.  And to understand the condition of their hair currently ie is virgin or semi colored or permanent colored or whether it’s permed.  From there, they can decide on the best route to take.

What innovations/advancements in home hair color have happened that have changed the DIY dye experience for the better? (Less harsh chemicals? Better conditioning agents? Etc?)

New hair coloring formulas smell better because companies are able to use less of the offensive smelling ingredients (like ammonia) and/or better fragrances to mask the odor.

They are also easier to apply. Products are specially packaged with easy to apply squeeze bottles, and combs and brushes, which  allows for simple application.

And we are seeing more hybrid formulas.. formulas that are a blend of semi and demi permanent dyes….. meaning that they can cover grey but use lower amounts or no peroxide….this minimizes the possible damage to hair.

One great example is Clairol Advanced Gray Solution.  The product has a unique technology called SynAIRgy technology that combines the benefits from both semi and demi-permanent color to create a whole new kind of dye system – one that reacts with oxygen in the AIR (instead of a developer) to form a larger molecule able to penetrate more deeply into the hair shaft. It uses no peroxide, no ammonia and delivers true, full-scale rich color to the hair without compromising hair’s health.

What is gentler about the latest home hair colors?

Low / No ammonia or peroxide means less stripping of hair so hair health is not compromised.  Remember that in order to lighten hair or have color last a long time, you need to use a permanent or demi perm dye….. these dyes use ammonia or peroxide or both to open up the hair cuticle to let the new color in…. this opening of the hair cuticle can compromise hair health making it more susceptible to damage from sun, other hair treatments, other processes, etc.

How have conditioners improved too? What should consumers look for?

Conditioners have improved by being able to restore the protective layer that was stripped away by the ammonia or peroxide. Many good conditioning agents are in the Silicone family.  Some botanicals and natural oils condition and moisturize as well.

I’m particularly impressed with Pantene’s new line of shampoos and conditioners for color-treated hair that contains a new polymer that helps restore the layer that is stripped away and makes hair able to absorb more silicone to condition and protect it.

Answers provided to Women’s Health Magazine, by Ron Robinson, cosmetic chemist and BeautyStat CEO

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