By now, your skin has started to reflect the harshness of the change in climate, and once the bit of color from summer fades, we sometimes see all kinds of "badness". Even those of us who try our best to protect our faces from summer's rays, know that we have a bit of a glow after summer's end that can hide some common skin problems. Plus, the naturally paler color of winter skin can expose common pigmentary problems, large pores and fine lines. Our skin is drier due to less humidity in the air and the colder air and winds of winter. Bottom line...winter is typically the perfect time to correct hyperpigmentation, provide hydration and smoothing, and to more deeply correct the signs of aging, which are all more noticeable during the winter.
I have asked my wonderful staff to list some of their favorite skin care products, and they are found below..."Staff picks"!!! Enjoy the list, and as always feel free to ask us about any skin care advice specific to your needs.
CYNTHIA...lists Dermesse Sugar Scrub among her favorite cleansers. She uses it every day, and who wouldn't want skin like hers...porcelain, I call it! For face, she likes Dermesse Creme Cleanser, especially after laser or chemical peels.
MELANIE, JULENE AND RITA...like Dermesse Cleanser Gel for the refreshing feel it gives oily skin.
CYNTHIA...likes SkinCeutical's Revitalizing Toner for its nice cucumber extract scent (which is a natural emollient with calming, soothing agents - maybe that's why she is so unflappable), as well as its lavendar oil (which is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial). She says, "it also contains horsetail, which speeds connective tissue repair...hee haw!" (never mind that's a noise a donkey makes, not a beautiful horse, Cynthia)
MELANIE, JULENE AND RITA...seem to be in agreement again, that we like Dermesse Toner. It leaves a refreshed feel to the skin and is carefully pH-balanced with the cleanser to set the stage for easier absorption of the corrective products apllied later. It also closes pores to prevent some of the day's damage and helps to control breakouts.
CYNTHIA, JULENE, MELANIE AND RITA...we all apparently agree, hands down, that Neocutis' product for hyperpigmentation, Blanche, is the best. It works to fade brown spots, hyperpigmentation and melasma from a unique combination of ingredients, including 4% Hydroquinone and Melaplex. Also, as Cynthia points out...it is formulated with anti-oxidants and hydrates the skin with shea butter and jojoba oil, is steroid free, fragrance free, and non-comedogenic. If you have an intolerance to hydroquinone, like I do, then Kojic acid is a great substitute and can be found in SkinCeuticals' Phyto Plus. OR...the alternative to a topical for hyperpigmentation is of course to use the laser (Sciton, of course)- for this we would recommend a series of treatments with BBL (broadband light).
CYNTHIA and JULENE...SkinCeuticals' Retexturizing Activator, used morning and night, improves texture and tone by stimulating enzymes that promote desquamation while hydrating the skin via hyaluronic acid and Kombuchka (say THAT 3 times after a Cocktails and Consults evening) to promote its natural barrier functions. It basically smoothes, resurfaces and moisturizes skin, all at the same time! Cynthia says, "This product is UNBELIEVABLE, and I like to use it every day as well as right before a laser or chemical peel."
MELANIE and JULENE...Dermesse Exfoliator, which contains a unique blend of alpha-hydroxy acids, gently smoothes skin and is available in 2 strengths.
RITA...likes Dermesse Sugar Scrub for body, and the Dermesse Exfoliator for face.
SKIN SMOOTHING AGENTS:
CYNTHIA...likes NIA 24's Skin Strengthening Complex Repair Cream, because it has the Pro-Niacin to strengthen the barrier function of skin, as well as vit A to improve texture and elasticity, anti-oxidants green tea and rosemary, and ceramides, evening primrose and wheat germ oil to moisturize the skin. Phew. CYNTHIA and JULENE like SkinCeuticals' A.G.E. Interruptor and A.G.E. Eye Cream (at night only) due to their ability to improve the creping and thinning of our "mature" skin due to an aging process in older skin called glycation, when excess glucose molecules cause collagen and elastin fibers to stick together leading to the formation of Advanced Glycation End-products (A.G.E.) ie, bad things, which cause wrinkles, ick. Also, we both like Neocutis' product Lumiere for eyes, which contains Swiss technology growth factors and proteins specifically well-suited for smoothing the delicate eye area. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which is a natural hydrating agent.
YOUNG MELANIE...thinks her skin never looks smoother and pores smaller than when she uses a combination of Dermesse Cleanser Gel, Toner and Exfoliator!
RITA and JULENE...say "Retin A baby!!!" A longtime favorite skin smoothing agent is good old retin A. Many patients find its precursor, retinol, available in different strengths, to be easier and less drying to use, but you can't argue either's effects of deep penetration to the dermal layer where wrinkles begin.
***special note to self...for the fastest skin smoothing known in these parts, the Sciton laser is a quick way to smoothe skin utilizing laser peels and profractional treatments, alone or in combination! (Stay tuned for my next blog)
SUN DAMAGE AND DNA REPAIR:
CYNTHIA, JULENE, MELANIE and RITA...we all seem to agree on this one, Nia 24 Sun Damage Repair is a nutrient-rich cream that delivers intense moisture while it improves the appearance of photo-damage on the decolletage, shoulders and hands. As Rita says, results are seen very quickly and within 6 weeks! This product works very well in combination with our laser packages to visibly add to results (when used between laser treatments).
***special note to self...one of the nicest things to add to a good home skin care program, is to work in a couple laser resurfacing treatments a year to slowly eliminate the sun damaged layers
SUNPROTECTION AND SUNBLOCKS:
CYNTHIA...likes CE Ferulic Serum in conjunction with either Dermesse or Nia 24's Mineral Sunscreens.
JULENE...likes Dermesse Sunblock SPF 30.
MELANIE...likes SkinCeuticals' SPF 50.
RITA...likes Nia 24 also, because it is not oily and it absorbs instantly.
CYNTHIA and JULENE...love the combination of SkinCeuticals' Hydrating B5 Gel and masque, because they contain hyaluronic acid, the body's natural hydrator, to bind moisture to the skin. It is often used along with vit C treatments, and is oil-free.
***note to self...if one can improve the overall health of the skin over time, it really will need less topical moisturization, so most moisturizers will only need to be used in the dead of winter when nature's elements are most harsh!
There you have it! The experts have spoken! But, always after that ONE FAVORITE recommendation, for those of us on a budget who want just a few really good products, I asked each of my staff what single product for each area would they go back into a burning building to save (if they knew they could still get out alive, and the family and household pet were already safe!), and here is what it distilled down to...
CYNTHIA...Phloretin CF is her all-time favorite because it is a serum, it is both preventive as well as corrective, and as an anti-oxidant, it helps to prevent and correct the aging process by supporting elastin and collagen synthesis, while increasing cell turnover, thus giving her skin its radiance and firmness (did you know she's really 75?) Cynthia uses it at night, and notes that it also contains vit C to help with inflammation and in prevention of skin cancer.
JULENE...realizes that although it is expensive, like Loreal says, "it's worth it!" I absolutely LOVE Skin Medica's TNS Essential Serum. I can tell the next morning if I've used it or not, because of the smooth, glowing look it gives my skin. Really. It contains the renowned growth factor formula TNS Recovery Complex in one chamber and APS Corrective Complex (a potent mixture of anti-oxidants and peptides) in the other. The combination - and it comes out together in one expensive little clump of liquid gold - has been clinically proven to improve tone, texture and elasticity, and to work on brown spots and wrinkles, as well as to tighten skin and help it regenerate and protect itself. What else is left to fix? Although this is my all-time favorite single nighttime product, I love mixing it up and using a good serum or cream several nights a week, like Neocutis Bio-Gel, Bio-Serum, or Hyalis, or SkinCeuticals' A.G.E. Inrerrupter. And yes, my cosmetics closet looks like a pharmacy lab.
MELANIE...is a big fan of Dermesse Exfoliator, and says she has man-eating pores the night after she forgets to use it!
RITA...stands by A.G.E. She likes the A.G.E. Interrupter, A.G.E. Retexturizing Activator, and A.G.E. Eye Cream the best.
for the EYES:
CYNTHIA ...A.G.E. Eye Cream AM and PM. She likes the fact that it is good for menopausal skin and that it contains blueberry extract to help prevent future wrinkles in the very thin eyelid skin. (But won't we sell less Botox Cynthia? How can that be good?)
JULENE...likes a serum under make-up for daytime use and a cream at night for extra moisturization, so I like Skin Medica's Uplifting Eye Serum in the morning. RITA likes this too, because it is not oily, and because one tiny drop will take care of both under eye areas, so it lasts a long time. I like either Neocutis' Lumiere at night or SkinCeuticals' A.G.E. Eye Cream.
MELANIE...likes Skin Medica's Eye Repair Cream the best, because it begins to work immediately, and she sees fewer fine lines as early as the next day.
for the NECK:
CYNTHIA...likes Neocutis' Bio-restorative Hydrogel with PSP (processed skin proteins), or Bio-Gel, because it restores a refreshed appearance to aged, stressed skin.
JULENE...likes Neocutis' Bio-restorative Skin Cream (Bio-Cream)) with PSP, for the same reasons, but I just like a cream on the neck rather than a gel, because I think it hydrates better, and lasts longer.
MELANIE...likes SkinCeuticals' A.G.E. Interrupter, because it is not oily and feels like silk! It works very well to diminish fine lines and wrinkles.
RITA...likes A.G.E. Interrupter. (She didn't say why, so I guess you'll just have to ask her. She is a woman of few words SOMEtimes.)
Lastly, I asked the girls to comment on any category I forgot, and Cynthia mentioned the wisdom of a good old skin peel periodically. I think this is a very good alternative for those who do not desire the downtime of a facial laser procedure, or the cost. Although the laser procedures go deeper, the 3 minute Skin Medica Peel is great. It can be modified to be either an Illuminize Peel, a Vitalize Peel, or a Rejuvenize Peel, depending upon the strength of the acid chosen and the depth of penetration. A peel can be formulated to produce varying degrees of exfoliation based on each patient's individual needs, but works on tone, texture, acne, hyperpigmentation, melasma, large pores, fine lines and wrinkles.
Call us with questions!
Ho Ho Ho and Fa La La! Have a wonderful holiday season full of blessings everyone!
Julene, Cynthia, Melanie and Rita