October 20, 2010

All-over beauty: The easiest way to get gorgeous skin from head to toe

I came across this article today and thought it'd be nice to pamper myself.  However, sometimes I feel these types of articles is a shameless promotional plug for products, especially if only one or two products are listed.  However, that's my personal opinion.  LOL.  I am a terrible sales person.

While most of us make at least some effort to keep the skin on our faces clean, moisturized, and well-maintained, the rest of our bodies, and any specific skin issues, often fall into a state of at least semi, if not full-on, neglect.

Oh, no!  I am guilty of this!

That's a big beauty blunder, according to experts—since the skin, head-to-toe, is our largest organ, it's also one that can make us look inadvertently older and less healthy than we really are. "The skin differs, depending on where it is on the body," says dermatologist Maria Tsoukas, MD, PhD, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, "so it requires specialized care."

You already know what the first two words from any credentialed pair of lips will be: "SPF 30". Beyond that, here's a guide to a full-body radiance:

Big Complaint: Fine lines and age spots
Expert Fix: Amidst the slew of products that promise youth, the one dermatologists agree you should try (at least if you're not going to see a doctor) is an over-the-counter moisturizer with the vitamin-A derivative Retinol–unless you're pregnant, in which case you should check with your doctor.  "Retinol exfoliates microscopically and helps the complexion look fresh," explains Pamela Jakubowicz, MD, a dermatologist at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. She also recommends lotions with soy for discoloration and old acne marks. "There are some studies to show that soy helps with sun spots," she says.

Big Complaint: Crêpe-paper texture
Expert Fix: "Oh, you mean the chicken skin?" asks Bella Schneider owner of LaBelle Day Spas & Salons in the San Francisco Bay area. "The first thing I recommend is to tone the neck muscles, because when you build volume, the skin tightens and you really get a lift."  To that end, Scott-Vincent Borba, a celebrity esthetician who has worked with AnnaLynne McCord and Ashley Greene, prescribes a daily exercise anyone can do:  Try to touch the tip of your nose with your tongue 50 times while massaging in moisturizer or cream using upward strokes to the jaw line.

Big Complaint: Mottled cleavage
Expert fix:  Poikiloderma of Civatte may sound like a comic-book villain, but it's actually the medical term for that reddish, spotty, crinkly skin between your breasts—the result of chronic sun exposure—and it affects the neck as well. "You can use face products here," says Heidi Waldorf, MD, associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital's department of dermatology in New York, "but more gently. Since the neck and chest have fewer oil glands than the face, start slowly with the retinols, and be sure to moisturize."  In a low-neckline emergency, redness-disguising self-tanner or bronzer can also save the day.    

Big Complaint: Back acne
Expert Fix: Cleanse once or twice a day with a drug-store wash containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. "These ingredients can help remove the oils from the skin, decrease inflammation, and reduce bacterial growth," says Andrea Cambio, MD, a dermatologist in Bokeelia, Florida. "Don't scrub because you can irritate grumpy bumps into a worse breakout." Jakubowicz notes that for the same reason, you probably shouldn't go any higher with the benzoyl peroxide than 2.5 %. She also suggests making sure that your hair products aren't somehow dripping on your back and contributing to the problem (Isopropyl myristate is one ingredient to look out for). And Waldorf adds that when you exercise, it's important to wear lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics, and rinse off as soon as you're done. "If the problem persists," she says, "see a dermatologist because you may need a prescription cream or oral medication."

Big Complaint: Sandpaper elbows
Expert Fix: Exfoliate like a demon and smother with butter—that's the basic idea. Here you can scrub. And when you're done?  "Shea butter, cocoa butter, and Vaseline are great for these spots," says Jakubowicz. For extra softening, Schneider suggests covering your moisturized elbows with cellophane for 10 minutes. "I don't think anybody has more patience than that," she says, "unless you love to lie around and be wrapped."

Big Complaint: Old-lady hands
Expert Fix. Tsoukas tells her patients using retinol products on their face to rub the last little bit into the backs of their hands, although the skin there is thicker and more resistant to improvement. Schneider is a big believer in olive oil for beautifying the hands (use fine quality oil and rub into the skin thoroughly.) To address age spots, for those who don't want to use hydroquinone products, she suggests making a lactic acid lightening paste of whole milk, a little full-fat yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. "Massage into your hands really well," she says. "And then just stick them into a warmed pair of cotton gloves for about 10 minutes." 

Big Complaint: Stretch marks
Expert Fix: To be honest, there's no magic bullet here. Shea butter, cocoa butter, and Vaseline may help prevent stretch marks. Once you have them, though, they are very difficult to treat, says Tsoukas. Prescription-strength retinoids can help a little. Whether various lasers are worth it is debatable, but she has found that the Fraxel can lessen redness and improve texture.

Big Complaint: Ugly calluses
Expert Fix.  As designer heels teeter higher, our calluses grow thicker. Medicated salicylic acid pads (Jakubowicz suggests using 40%) can soften the really tough skin. For general care, manicurist Marsha Bialo, who's known for keeping the extremities of stars like Jessica Alba and Jessica Simpson camera-ready, has a routine. Start by soaking your feet in clean, soapy water and patting the skin dry. You'll need two foot files. These come in different grits—the higher the number, the finer the texture—and ideally, you want to start with a coarser file and finish with a softer one. "File gently," she coaches. "Rather than sawing back and forth, I like to go around and up, making a C motion, so I don't scar the skin."  After you polish the area smooth, massage your feet with moisturizer—you don't need anything fancy, A&D ointment for babies works wonders, Bailo says. "Women always forget to do this. But beautiful feet? What a kick."

So, it appears I have my work cut out for me!

Article link here.



"Smile on!"

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