Glad You Asked!

Skin care routines are like your closet.  A couple of times a year, you need to switch out pieces that don’t fit the season.  Fall is the season to slough off all of those dead skin cells after months of summer exposure. Dead skin cells are like road blocks that prevent anti aging products from being able to absorb into your skin and start correcting.  Now is the time to think stronger chemical peels, laser treatments and powerful topicals.  It is also a great time to get into your Dermatologist for your annual skin care check.  If you need some recommendations let me know.  Also, at your next appointment with me, bring in all of the products you are currently using and we will go through them together, update your regime, and come up with a personalized plan for you.

I keep a noteboook in my treatment room with common questions patients ask me.  These are excellent questions and I think most people have the same ones ,so I’ve chosen a few to cover in this blog…so here we go…..

Yes, I wear sunscreen everyday, it’s in my make-up.”   No, No, No !  Stop the make-up/ sunscreen partnership.  This is a common fallacy that many of us choose to believe for convenience sake.  Make-up doesn’t count as a sun protector!  Sure, your skin is covered up but unless it is specifically designed to incorporate SPF protection, the make-up will do next to nothing to protect your skin from the sun. Make-up alone does not provide enough coverage,  you would need seven times the normal amount of foundation and 14 times the normal amount of powder to get the sun protection factor on the label.  And just a FYI, that’s a- l- o- t  of make-up.  Apply sunscreen then your make-up. Period.

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When I break-out what do I use as a zit zapper? – Pimples happen.  So do you treat with Benzoyl Peroxide or salicylic Acid?  When choosing a zit zapper this is what I tell my patients – Benzoyl Peroxide pulls double duty, it exfoliates with benzoic acid and kills bacteria with oxygen to clear pores of dead skin and oil.  If your blemishes are deep and filled with puss, this is your guy.  It can however, be super drying and irritating.  So, for minor more superficial break-out ‘spots’ try salicylic.  This ingredient is a milder option for skin cell turnover.  Oh, and if you have only a minor break-out in your T zone, don’t slather your entire face in either….unless you want to be reallllllly dry. 

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 How does bleaching cream work?”– Let’s start from the beginning.  Melanin in your skin (released by melanocytes) is a key component of our bodies defense against sun exposure. These dark patches on the skin are called solar lentigenes, hyperpigmentation, or less formally, sun spots. If you neglect sunscreen or have neglected sunscreen in the past, (or used your make-up as your sunscreen….)chances are you have a few of these sun spots on your face, neck and hands. People with darker skin tones may experience these solar lentigenes as patches of ashy or gray skin. Your mother may have referred to them as “liver spots,” but these darker areas have no connection with liver function. Instead, they are mostly the result of sun damage, much like a freckle that appears after a summer in the sun. Occasionally, these darker patches appear on the face and neck as a result of hormonal changes (most often due to pregnancy) and also appear after injury and blemishes heal on darker skin. Melanocytes release melanin when it gets triggered by an enzyme known as tyrosinase.  Melanin-inhibiting ingredients most often attempt to stop this enzyme before it spurs an increase in melanin production. The most effective way to fade spots actually involves a combination of sunscreen, tretinoin and hydroquinone.  “Bleaching” products lighten skin by causing a chemical reaction that blocks melanocytes causingthe over production of malanin. So, they really don’t “bleach” the skin, they just stop the pigment from being produced.  If your Tide Bleach Pen runs out…no, your skin bleaching cream is not going to get the red wine out of your white shirt. You get my drift.

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“If I have a gluten sensitivity should my products be gluten free?” No. Gluten-containing skin care products and cosmetics aren’t a problem for people with Celiac. Unless you eat them.
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“I didn’t peel after my last chemical peel” –  If you don’t peel every time you get a peel it doesn’t mean the peel wasn’t effective. This happens more with the lighter peels, but even when you don’t experience visible peeling, there is microscopic peeling happening. Don’t worry, it’s still working!
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I don’t use a moisturizer because I’m oily and afraid I’ll break out” – I know, finding balance for acne-prone skin can be frustrating.  First off,  when our face produces oil, it is not the same as hydration of the skin.  A moisturizer increases water content in the skin and prevents further moisture loss when infused with natural humectants.  Pore clogging sebum is thicker, attracts dirt and debris, allowing skin cells to become occlusive causing the endless battle with acne.  Sebum is the food for acne bacteria, so keeping it to a minimum is a good thing.  But here’s the bottom line, oily skin is not hydration but a reaction to a lack of it.  And if you are using acne products which tend to exacerbate this condition by drying the skin, your skin will start to produce more oil, perpetuating and even worsening the vicious cycle of sebum production. By moisturizing daily, you will regulate your oil production so it doesn’t overproduce sebum. Try different moisturizers to see which formula your skin prefers, but don’t skip this step!  Be aware that many moisturizers for acne contain alpah hydrpxy acids, salicylic acid and retinol, or other exfoliating ingredients. These ingredients could be helpful in improving acne, especially mild or comedonal acne, by increasing cell turn over but if you are using a topical acne medication from your Dermatologist, some of these ingredients may not play well with your prescription, so  it’s better to use a moisturizer without exfoliating ingredients unless you clear it with your Doctor.
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