July 2008 - Posts
I've had an overwhelming favorable response to my last two articles entitled "Quest for the Best…" so I thought I'd do a whole series. If anyone has a particular product type they would like me to research and rate, please place your requests and ideas below in the comments section. As for me, I've been pondering the best products for crow's feet, dark circles and lower eye puffiness. I think I'll start my research right now! I want to find the best, as I've been a little too broke lately to head to the medical office for Botox. Not to mention, I'd rather do it with a topical product as opposed to injecting the botulism toxin into my body. Don't get me wrong; I do love Botox; but I do indeed have my concerns and would much rather find the best product I can use without any worry. I have no known allergies to any topical ingredients so I'd just prefer to find an effective anti-aging eye cream. I also need to watch my spending so my pocket book will also appreciate saving 10 bucks a unit. Especially since I usually need about 50 units every couple of months. Had I done the math a long time ago I would have saved about two or three thousand dollars a year. I know from being in the cosmeceutical business for over 25 years there are indeed effective topicals that have conducted trials and have studies that prove their success and effectiveness. In fact, I would venture to say the only reason why it seems that I do have such fabulous results from what I thought was my Botox was more likely a synergistic effect from using great products at the same time. I certainly have my favorites already, but want to be more objective than subjective in my research. Let me give you a great example of my successful results of using what I consider the best anti-aging skincare creams on the market. I get a kick out of this story even though it was seriously devastating at the time. It was last holiday season and I was in what I thought was a serious relationship. Well, it turns out my significant other at the time took a woman close to half my age (and his as well) to his company Christmas party. I found out by glancing at an email he accidentally left on my computer screen. I felt so old and undesirable; not to mention betrayed. I got in my car and drove to the near by 7-11 convenience store to buy a bottle of wine. The very day I got the news that what I construed as a man trading in the old for the young; I was asked for my ID to buy wine! I was dumbfounded but so delighted as well as vindicated. I told her I'd be happy to go out to the car to get my ID but that the child I was holding was my grandson and that I wasn't too far from turning 50. She was amazed and said, "You look so young!" Talk about a Godsend! I've wanted to return to that store to tell her about her impeccable timing. I think she would have gotten a kick out of her unknowingly saving a woman's self esteem. She asked what I had done surgically and I legitimately told her it was truly the new science in cosmeceutical skincare. I had never had cosmetic surgery except for breast augmentation years ago. I knew it couldn't be Botox at the time because I hadn't used any since the summer 5 months before.
Even beyond the fact that I was asked for my ID to buy alcohol with grandson in tow. I realized I wouldn't trade my age or who I am or what I look like to be a twenty something girl for all the tea in China. Additionally, it hit me over the head that this/his behavior was HIS poor self-esteem, not mine! I remember once hearing a joke about the difference between a man and woman when it comes to dating someone much younger than ourselves is that we (women) know we look like idiots! The joke's on you mister! I'm laughing all the way to my car to get my ID, and something tells me that hasn't happened to you in a couple of decades.
After wrinkle repair the most sought after beauty treatment would have to be for stretch marks.
The other day my girlfriend and I were chatting about what treatments, procedures, and/or products we would love to have if we had all the money in the world and could have whatever we wished for. I was sure I would concentrate on my nasolabial folds and crows feet and as well as I know her I thought for sure she would want bigger, firmer boobs and erase her forehead lines. Instead, we both surprised each other and said we wanted our "stretch marks to go away," at the exact same time! I got to thinking that it is indeed one of the most sought after skin concerns that people have asked me about over the years.
We know about expensive and risky in-office procedures such as tummy tucks, laser surgery, and chemical peels but are there any alternatives? Are there any topical products that work well and that we can use in the privacy of our own home? I only want to spend the money if they're actually going to work which led me on my latest quest to find the best products targeted to reduce the appearance of stretch marks. Keep in mind that the products I've reviewed below are to target existing stretch marks not necessarily for preventing them at the outset. I will review preventing stretch marks in the near future.
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceGreat customer reviews in terms of satisfaction. Pricey but well worth it.
RemarksWorks well. I'm a believer!
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceWorks well! Priced right!!!
RemarksVery affordable. My pick for the best overall in terms of price and results.
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceWorks fabulous; a little pricey.
RemarksIf you can afford; buy it!
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceGreat product at a reasonable price.
RemarksBuy two before the word gets out!
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceStretch Mark cream of choice; priced moderately considering large quantity..
RemarksTwo words; Love it! Need another reason to buy it? It's an amazing cream for wrinkles as well.
Product TypeStretch Marks
Effectiveness & PriceGreat customer reviews in terms of satisfaction as well as priced right.
RemarksBrand is considered one of safest for use during and after pregnancy depending on individual products.
Product TypeStretch Marks and Cellulite
Effectiveness & PriceWorks well! Priced right considering it targets both stretch marks and cellulite!!!
RemarksMost users absolutely love it! You usually can't go wrong with any products made by Murad.
Product TypeScarring, Stretch Marks and Skin Slackening
Effectiveness & PriceWorks fabulous; Priced right!
RemarksGreat collagen builder. Works cumulatively.
Product TypeStretch Marks and Body Moisturizing and Firming Cream
Effectiveness & PriceGreat product at a very low price.
RemarksYour skin will glow!
Product TypeStretch Marks and Wrinkles
Effectiveness & PricePricey but gets the job done! Most users see results in 8 weeks. Would've gotten a rating of 5 if the price were a little lower. But with this one; you get what you pay for!
RemarksFour words; Love it! Buy it!
Having a child who was allergic to my breast milk and had oozing eczema at age 3 weeks, I know how frustrating and miserable eczema and dermatitis can be. I remember using extremely strong corticosteroid creams on my little infant (that her pediatrician prescribed of course) and was so worried about any side effects but at the same time couldn't let her itch and be miserable and not use them. She was allergic to just about everything so she was always itching and it was so sad. Of course we eliminated anything we knew that she was allergic to (after skin and RAST testing) over the years but still her dry, itchy skin would always return. She saw the best allergists in the state and one told me to buy plain old Crisco and it will moisturize her skin really well and may help with the itching. It did indeed help with her dry skin but I'm not so sure it helped with the actual eczema itself. As she got older she did get slightly better and by the time she was 10 or 11 I was already well versed in the skincare business and was working in a dermatology office. I started getting a little more savvy in what really seemed to be working for the patients with the different causes of dermatitis and what seemed to work for them. There wasn't any particular thing that worked for everyone because some people were even allergic to the topical creams that were used to normally treat it. Dermatitis isn't always caused by allergies. Most often it is caused by contact with certain substances that irritate the skin. Typical irritating substances are acids, alkalis (such as drain cleaners), solvents (such as acetone in nail polish remover), strong soaps, and plants (such as poinsettias and peppers). The best treatment would be to avoid contact with the irritating substance or allergen (in the case of allergic dermatitis) however that isn't always possible. I've found that if you can't get to a dermatologist during an episode you may find relief in some OTC topicals. You may want to try a few products I've found that worked for my daughter. I also researched websites and customer ratings on the ten products I've found work well to read customer ratings to see if they concur with what I've experienced with my daughter. However, obviously, the ideal scenario is to get proper diagnosis and treatment from your dermatologist or family physician. If it is a child you especially need to get advice from their pediatrician. I am not a doctor but I do have some experience in what worked for us and thought it might be nice to do a little research with what has helped us as well as others. This is a comparison chart of products that people have said worked for them with dry itchy skin. However, this is only to be used as a guide to help you; it is not a substitute for medical advice, which is not only advised but also paramount to proper treatment. There are many rashes and an absolute diagnosis is the only way to know exactly what is going on with your skin. Here are not only my favorite products that target dermatitis but also many others who have given their input into customer ratings on skincare websites.
Product TypeA hydrating cream which helps with dry, itchy skin.
Effectiveness & PriceThis company also makes a lotion which is great for those with combination to oily skin. The lotion is also ideal for men who tend to opt for a lighter cream. Priced reasonably for both lotion and cream.
RemarksThis moisturizer can't be beat in my opinion. It helps with redness, dry itchy skin and is priced well. It is backed by reputable, published dermatologists and has helped many people not only with problems such as itchy, dry skin but also those who say they suffer with rosacea. In my opinion, your best bet is to go with the AtoPalm kit. It comes with their Cleanser, the cream, face cream, and the lotion.
Product TypeFabulous body cream for smoothing, exfoliating and rejuvenating by using 17 amino acid based acids that penetrate nourishing properties into the skin, according to manufacturer.
Effectiveness & PriceCompetively priced.
RemarksCustomers seem to concur with manufacturer. High marks in customer ratings. Many who say they'll never use anything else. Manufacturer recommends a patch test before use.
Product TypeMoisturizer for fragile skin.
Effectiveness & PriceGreat customer reviews in terms of satisfaction. Large quantity and priced right.
RemarksWorks well. Protects and heals.
Product TypeA cream commonly used for post skin treatments such as chemical peels and micro- dermabrasion. Also used for dry itchy skin such as sun and windburned skin and allergic contact dermatitis.
Effectiveness & PriceReasonably priced.
RemarksDoctors and patients alike are impressed with the beneficial effects of this product.
Product TypeFor extremely dry, cracked and scaly skin. Also suggested use for eczema.
Effectiveness & PriceGreat customer reviews in terms of satisfaction as well as priced in the medium range.
RemarksWorks well. I'm a believer!
Product TypeSoothing toning and refreshing mist.
Effectiveness & PriceWorks well! Priced right!!!
RemarksAffordable. A favorite for relieving symptoms of rosacea and eczema, according to customer reviews.
Product TypeAnti-itch moisturizer.
Effectiveness & PriceWorks fabulous; moderately priced.
RemarksIf you itch and have no sensitivity to hydrocortisone cream, buy it!
Product TypeCalming and redness reducing complex.
Effectiveness & PriceGreat product. A little pricey, but worth it.
Product TypeSoothing, calming and strengthening cream for sensitive skin.
Effectiveness & PriceNewer science in skin care; priced moderately.
RemarksTwo words; Love it!
Product TypeMoisturizer for dry, irritated skin associated with atopic dermatitis.
Effectiveness & PriceRepairs and restores and is steroid free; priced moderately.
RemarksCustomers say skin feels better the moment they apply it.
One of my friends asked me if I had any advice on treating KP, otherwise known as keratosis pilaris. For years he has experienced red bumps on the back of his arms and legs. Although I had heard the term before, I didn’t have much experience with this common skin condition. While KP is a fairly minor problem and certainly hasn’t adversely affected my friend’s life (I have to say that I have never noticed despite the numerous occasions I’ve seen him in shorts and a tank top), the bumps are pesky and at times unsightly and so it’s only normal that one would want to seek out a remedy.
Red bumps (often referred to as “chicken skin”) associated with keratosis pilaris occur when protein builds up on the skin and plugs the surrounding hair follicles. Most people, like my friend, experience KP on the upper arms and thighs but apparently the signature red bumps can also pop up on the face as well as other areas of the body.
The best way to keep KP under control is by continually exfoliating the affected area to prevent protein from building up. Exfoliation is a simple way to manage the condition although it’s absolutely not a cure.
From what I understand, physical exfoliators such as scrubs can aggravate active KP so they should probably be used as a preventive when the skin is clear rather than as a treatment for existing bumps. Chemical exfoliants like alpha and beta hydroxy acids can be used daily to manage KP and are most effective when applied morning and evening.
One of the few over-the-counter products designed in part for KP sufferers is dr. brandt pore effect. The salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) in the product is commonly used as an acne treatment and is highly effective at shedding dead cells and clearing pore blockage.
Although most salicylic products are indicated for the treatment of acne, they can all be used to treat keratosis pilaris. Alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid can also be used despite the usual indication for dull complexions and fine lines.
I’m willing to bet that many of you out there have keratosis pilaris and don’t even realize it. Often it’s mistaken for acne. I’d love to hear about any experiences and effective treatments from those suffering from KP.
Handy ideas for the toothbrush. I often get those multi-packs of cheap toothbrushes at the Dollar Store because I live at the beach and have a lot of visitors come stay with me for a few days and I've found that the one thing they seem to forget is their toothbrush. The multi-packs consist of anywhere from 3 to10 toothbrushes so they don't all get used. However, they don't go to waste. I've put the extra ones to good use. I've discovered some great beauty ideas where they come in quite handy. Use one as an eyebrow brush sprayed with a little bit of styling gel. They'll stay put just the way you want them to. With your second spare; use as a jewelry cleaning brush. You'll be able to get down in those areas you can't normally get to. Lastly, you can use your own actual toothbrush because all you need to do is make sure while brushing your teeth each morning that you brush your lips as well. We all know to brush our tongue but how many have ever thought of the lips? It removes those little chapped pieces of rough skin and it even makes them appear a little extra pouty afterwards. So just when you thought the only use other than brushing your teeth with a simple toothbrush (other than using the old discarded used ones for cleaning sinks and tile grout) we now know what to do with our leftover unused ones!
Today I thought I'd share with you my all time favorite beauty tips. Here are my top 5:
#5. Use the little bottles of conditioner you get and save from your hotel room(s) to shave your legs with. It makes for a softer, smoother shave than even shaving cream; and when you use these little sample bottles you aren't spending a dime.
#4. Use a strawberry to whiten your teeth. Mash one ripe strawberry to a pulp and mix in ½ teaspoon of baking soda. Use the mixture to brush your teeth and leave on for 5 minutes. Next brush your teeth with regular toothpaste and rinse. May be repeated once weekly.
#3. Hate those little blackheads on your nose? More than likely they really aren't blackheads but mascara that has fallen off your lashes and has creeped into the pores on your nose. Simply saturate a cotton ball with your favorite eye make-up remover and wipe your nose. Voila!
#2. Cut a lemon in half and press your elbows into the two halves. After about 5 to 10 minutes you'll be left with whiter, brighter, softer elbows. Afterwards apply a firming body lotion.
And my number one favorite beauty tip:
#1. For all day lip color melt a teaspoon of petroleum jelly and stir in an envelope of raspberry or cherry kool-aid. Allow to cool and apply to lips with a lipstick brush.
People constantly ask me if I were to eliminate one step from my regimen, what would it be? I have to say that most definitely it would be the toner step. And quite honestly, most of the time, I really do. I feel that there really isn't much residue left after cleansing and exfoliating and I'm not quite sure about the theory that it brings the skin back to its normal pH. I usually keep Witch Hazel on hand if I do feel I want to tone or clarify. It's cheaper and it's what I used in the day spa most of the time. Witch Hazel has tons of good uses, one of which is dampening cotton balls and using them as eye pads like you may do with chamomile tea bags.
I'd rather spend my money on a mist for my face, for use throughout the day. It's hydrating, refreshing and also sets your make-up. Take a look at Osmotics Firming Tonic Facial Mist. You'll look fresh and hydrated throughout the day!
Haven't you always assumed La Roche Posay would be a very expensive line (albeit a very good line)? I know I always have. However, check this out. Two of the best eye products on the market are made by them and are quite inexpensive. They are results-oriented quality products but priced cheap! I'm pretty sure they're comparable in price, if not cheaper than some of the eye products you would find in your local pharmacy.
The best products I know of for puffy eyes and dark circles are both made by La Roche Posay. For puffiness check out Hydraphase Eyes and for dark circles and wrinkling try Active C Eyes. Priced at just $24 and $33 respectively, you can't go wrong. Most eye products of this caliber are in the $100 range. Need one more reason? They're great for contact lens wearers and women with sensitive eyes. These two gems are skin care must haves!
Once you go Booster Caps you won't go back to any other retinol products. Especially those of us with sensitive skin. Philosophy was already one of my favorite lines, but I'm thinking Booster Caps is one of my favorite products.
These power packed capsules will boost your nightly regimen and you'll wake up with softer, more plumped up skin and it will approve skin tone and lines over time. If you buy one product this Fourth of July weekend, buy this product. You will have yet another reason to celebrate!
After my daughter passed away I wanted everything in my kitchen to be pink in honor of her. It was her favorite color. In fact, most of the 1400 people who attended her funeral service wore pink. One boy even wore a pink tuxedo. I was so blessed and honored to know that I lived in such a supportive wonderful community.
I had pink dishes, pink decorations, pink picture frames of her and pink cooking tools. One day I spotted a pink KitchenAid mixer but at $240 my best friend talked me out of it. I suppose she had a good argument, going on to remind me that I don't bake or cook all that much and I really didn't need it. So I listened and didn't make the purchase. To make up for it she brought me two cans of Campbell's Tomato Soup in pink wrappers honoring breast cancer month. I set them on the counter and smiled. My daughter would have loved those cans so much!
Since I'm in the beauty biz and I write about it daily I'm constantly perusing beauty and skincare websites and magazines. I noticed an increase in pink makeup and beauty utensils (such as tweezers and brushes, etc.) and packaging. I'm sure it's probably for breast cancer awareness, which is wonderful, but for me it's also for my girl. While checking out SkinStore.com I noticed a pink Clarisonic Skin Care System and a darling pink polka dot Tweezerman pair of tweezers. The strange thing is I love and own both of those items but don't have the newer pink colors. But when I saw them I got to thinking about how much I wish they were available when I got mine. Having said that I thought I could at least let my readers know about them. Not just that they're pink but that they're fabulous! My face feels so incredibly clean when I use my Clarisonic (albeit white!) and I never miss a hair when using my Tweezerman tweezers. In fact, whenever I use my friends or my mom's tweezers and they're just typical tweezers from a drug store I realize how important it is to pay a few extra bucks for a pair that actually works. Once I let them try mine, they're sold. Same with Clarisonic. For a treat I bought some extra brush heads for my family so that they can use them or for an even better treat I sometimes give them a facial with it. Now my family feels they can't do without one. However, only one actually purchased one, the others still try to use mine with their brush. I can't say as I blame them. But what I really wish is one of them would buy a new pink one and trade with me so I can transform my bathroom into another beauty shrine for my girl. One of the girls who spoke at her memorial service said that my daughter's favorite saying was "beauty hurts!" But I can attest that you will have an incredibly clean face by using the Clarisonic System and it does not hurt you and you will certainly look more beautiful. However, I'm not sure I can say with all honesty that plucking doesn't smart a bit! But at least when you use Tweezerman you almost always get that little straggler stuck on your eyelid or between your brows the first time and the whole hair comes out. So you don't leave a shorter broken hair there, you virtually always get the whole enchilada! And if memory serves, when you get the bulb and all, they sometimes do not grow back.
So my dear readers if you are in the market for a system that cleanses your skin better than you can ever imagine; please try the Clarisonic Cleansing System, not just because they have a new pink one, but because your skin will feel and look better than you could ever have imagined. Also, check out Tweezerman if you're ever frustrated with the tweezers you have at home. It's so wonderful to actually grab the hair and successfully remove it. And if you have no preference in color, please buy the pink ones for me, my girl, and the fight against breast cancer!