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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Basics of Hair Removal

Tweezing generally doesn’t make hair grow back darker, and it’s a perfectly adequate method of hair removal if you have only a few stray hairs on your chin. However, it can be tedious and time-consuming if you have a lot of ground to cover. To make it easier, invest in good tweezers and a high magnification mirror. Tweezing is easiest after a hot shower or bath. If the growth is a little heavier, you might try other temporary methods. (Shaving is effective on your legs, but not a good choice for your face.)

In addition to plucking, your options include waxing, bleaching, and chemical depilatories. Waxing keeps hair at bay four to six weeks. Plucking, bleaching, and depilatories last about two to three weeks or less. Each method has pros and cons. Waxing removes hair quickly and smoothly but can be painful and expensive if you get it done in a salon. You also run the risk of damaging your hair shafts and getting ingrown hairs. Bleaching is pretty easy, but it can burn and sting if you leave it on too long. Be sure to use a product made especially for the face, not the arms or legs. It’s a good option if your hair color contrasts with your skin color. The day before, test a patch on your inner wrist to make sure you don’t get redness or swelling. You should do a patch test with depilatories as well. These products, which come in aerosol, lotion, cream, and roll-on preparations, contain a chemical that dissolves the surface of the hair, separating it from the skin.

Read instructions very carefully; leaving a depilatory on too long can irritate your skin. Also, make sure you get a preparation made specifically for the part of your body you’re targeting. A product aimed at hair on your legs could well be too strong for your face. In any case, you shouldn’t use depilatories around your eyes or on inflamed or broken skin.

For longer-term hair removal, you can hit hair follicles with the more expensive options of lasers or electrolysis. Lasers work best when you’re attacking dark hair on pale skin; however, some newer methods target other skin and hair combinations. It usually takes several treatments to get at hair in different stages of growth. Electrolysis also takes several treatments and can be painful; if your technician isn’t properly trained, you could get an infection from an unsterile needle or even scarring. And both of these procedures can be costly. For either, be sure to check the credentials of the operator. Most states require people to be specially licensed to perform these procedures. If you can, get a recommendation from a dermatologist or your physician.

You may have seen ads for face creams and moisturizers that claim to slow hair growth. Try these products and see if you notice a difference. They may not actually slow growth but rather make it less obvious. That could be enough for you. If it isn’t, you might ask your doctor about prescription medications to slow hair growth. One of the newest is Vaniqa (eflornithine HCl). After about eight weeks, you may find that you need to tweeze or wax less frequently.

Ways to Conceal Blemishes Acne

It happens when you least expect it. You wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and discover a very visible pimple. Ouch! It not only hurts, it looks painful, too.

Don’t fret. There are several quick and easy beauty products that will help you hide breakouts so that you can go about your day without feeling self-conscious. Of course, serious acne needs treatment, but whether you’re waiting for it to take effect or just have to deal with the occasional zit, camouflage is as close as your foundation, concealer, and a face powder.

Shopping for Concealers: Best Advice

“Be careful in choosing your makeup,” advises Scott Gerrish, MD, a nonsurgical skincare specialist with offices in Virginia and Maryland. “Some makeup contains oil or other ingredients that can make your acne worse. Make sure that you select quality makeup and consult an esthetician or dermatologist when in doubt.” Foundation can be a workhorse beauty product for you; read labels and look for formulas that provide blemish-fighting ingredients and offer better coverage.

  • Buy foundation concealer, and face powder that are meant to work together. All three should be in the right shade to match your complexion; test the color at your jawline. You don’t want to draw more attention to your flaw by wearing a shade that’s too dark or too light for you.
  • Test the foundation and concealer on a hidden spot on your face or neck to be sure there is no allergic reaction.
  • Carefully wash with your usual face cleanser, gently pat dry, and apply anyacne medication that you may be using.
  • Use a concealer first and apply with a makeup brush or sponge — don’t use your fingers, as they can transmit oil and germs that could lead to more acne. “Gently dab a small amount of concealer directly onto an acne spot and then carefully blend it with a small makeup sponge,” says Helga Surratt, president of About Faces Day Spa & Salon in Towson, Md. Let it dry thoroughly.
  • Next, use a makeup sponge to gently dab on your foundation; this technique keeps you from disturbing the concealer. If you wear foundation all over your face, apply it and take a step back to see if you need an extra dab right on the pimple. If so, blend it in very carefully at the edges. If you’re wearing foundation just to camouflage the zit, fan out the edges to avoid leaving any demarcation lines.
  • Use a large makeup brush, says Pam Messy of Mary Kay Cosmetics in Maryland, to lightly apply an oil-free powder to set the makeup and remove any traces of shine from the foundation.
  • Clean brushes thoroughly and toss the sponges or carefully clean them to avoid transferring oil and germs.

What to Do When Acne Is Severe

Special products are available for camouflaging severe acne. These products contain silicone and other ingredients to help hide redness and scars. Consult your dermatologist for advice on the best beauty products to use in conjunction with the acne medications and/or topicals you’re using to combat severe acne. You want to make sure that your beauty products are enhancing, not taking away from, the effectiveness of your treatments.

The next time you have a blemish or two on your face, don’t think you have to pull down the shades and hide at home. Instead, reach for your beauty-product arsenal, and perform your best vanishing act.

Ways Make Gray Hair Gorgeous

One fine day, the inevitable may occur: You could see strands of gray in your hair. After the initial shock, you may ask yourself this question: To dye or not to dye?

But coloring is not the only gray hair treatment available. Dyed hair requires regular touch-ups and can be expensive to maintain; if covering up the grays doesn’t appeal to you, then it’s time to abandon the old and embrace the new — a fresh and flattering gray hairstyle.

What’s really important to remember, says Maurice Dadoun, creative director of the Melrose Place Fekkai Salon on Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles, is that hair is probably your greatest accessory. Take this opportunity to really change your style.

If you want to keep your natural gray hair color, he suggests getting a fresh, new look. “You have to have a modern style,” says Dadoun. “It could be graphic, edgy, or modern, but it cannot be something simple.” Without style, gray hair color can make you look older, he warns.

Enhancing Gray Hair Color

You have options to brighten gray hair without resorting to coloring it, says Sharon Dorram, co-founder of Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Downtown salon in New York City. You can opt to blend in other shades with the gray — either highlights or lowlights, depending on your natural color.

What’s most important is to balance hair color with your skin color and eye color. If you don’t, the hair color will be off.

Gray Hairstyles: Get the Right Look for You

Part of the allure of going gray is no more worrying about touching up roots and repairing the damage done by dye. With the right gray hairstyle and products, maintenance can be kept to a minimum.

Making it shine. When hair goes gray, its shine and texture are both affected. Dorram says gray hair can look dull because it doesn’t reflect light. Also, gray strands come in a little thicker, frizzier, and coarser. “That’s why grey hair strands stick out,” says Dadoun.

Both experts have recommendations for gray hair shampoos, the starting point for great gray hair treatment. In addition to their respective salons’ own brands, other gray hair shampoos to consider are Nexus Dualiste and Avon’s Lotus Shield.

If you have fine hair, Dorram says, use a volumizing shampoo and skip the conditioner, which can weigh hair down.

Styling tips. For gray hair that looks glam, it’s all about the style, and that often depends on texture.

  • With fine hair in particular, keep it short. Fine hair that’s allowed to grow long will end up looking unhealthy, says Dorram. Dadoun suggests an above-the-shoulder length for all women who want to stay gray — in his opinion, even if your hair has good texture, wearing it long will age you. Protect your strands by using a low setting on your hair dryer, and don’t ever pull hair.
  • If you have curly hair, don’t try to fight it. Use a shea butter shampoo, style hair while it is still wet, and let it dry naturally. Use a finishing product with olive oil to give the curl definition and shine.
  • If you have thick hair, Dadoun says, don’t wash too frequently — if you wash too often, your hair will become brittle and dry. Shampooing once a week is fine. A shea butter-based shampoo is good for thick hair, he says. “The concentration of shea is so rich; you feel intense moisturizing.”

Dadoun also recommends that women who want to use products to enhance gray hair color talk to their hairdresser about the right choices to make.

Special treatments. Dorram says vitamin E oil, available at your local drugstore, will improve the shine and health of damaged gray hair. If your hair is really damaged, she suggests leaving it on overnight. Apply the vitamin E oil to your hair, wrap your hair up with a bandana, and then go to sleep. In the morning, wash the oil out.

Dorram also recommends a conditioner called Phytobaume by Phyto: “It’s natural and has no harsh agents — you’ll see good results. I love their detangler.”

Dadoun says the outer covering, or cuticle, of gray hair is very porous. This means gray hair can attract pollution which may turn hair yellow or orange. To keep hair perfectly silver gray, use purple or violet-colored products to take out the yellow and an apple cider shampoo on occasion to rebalance the hair’s natural pH. Dadoun also recommends taking vitamins B6 and B12 and fish oils, which are good for the skin and hair.

Growing Out Dyed Hair

If you’ve colored your hair in the past, but are ready to go natural, you have options. Dorram suggests using highlights or lowlights to blend with your natural hair color, an option that won’t give you roots. Dadoun suggests taking a more drastic step: Cut your hair off — the only way to really remove color. You’ll also want that new style to go with your “new” shade.

Chemical Peels For Younger and Smoother Skin

The effects of a chemical peel range from simply making skin look brighter and fresher to literally peeling years off your skin. Collectively, chemical peels are among the most popular nonsurgical cosmetic procedures, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

Chemicals peels use varying strengths of acids to lift away the top portions of your skin, says Mohiba Tareen, MD, a dermatologist at Advanced Dermatology, P.C./Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery and clinical instructor of dermatology at Columbia University, both in New York City. The goal is to reveal younger, smoother-looking skin.

And there are plenty of options to choose from, starting with a mild glycolic chemical peel you can give yourself at home to a deeper trichloroacetic acid or TCA chemical peel available at a doctor’s office. Consider the pros and cons and healing time of each type to help you decide if a professional chemical peel is right for you.

At Home Chemical Peel

Home chemical peels won’t give you the significant results you can get from professional chemical peels, but they can help your skin look brighter and fresher, Dr. Tareen says. You can choose from salicylic acid, lactic acid, and glycolic acid chemical peels.

  • Pros: For most people, home chemical peels are safe and can make your skin look better. They’re also very affordable. Most cost under $50, and some are even under $20.
  • Cons: The results won’t be as significant as what you would get at a spa or doctor’s office. Also, peels that are higher than 50 percent acid can cause scarring, especially if you have darker skin, so be sure to buy a peel that’s a lower percentage of acid, Tareen says. If you’re a woman of color, read the label and search for a chemical peel specifically made for your skin tone.

Chemical Peels at a Spa

The professional chemical peels you get at a spa tend to be mild to medium peels, which can help you look brighter and fresher and help with wrinkles and scarring, Tareen says. How much skin is lifted away depends on the strength of the peel being used, how heavily the chemicals are applied to the skin, and how long the chemicals stay on the skin’s surface.

The mildest peels used at a spa will probably contain glycolic acid or another alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). A TCA chemical peel will penetrate more deeply than AHAs.

Although prices vary, chemical peels at a spa may cost $70 to $400, depending on how deep it is and where you’re getting it done.

  • Pros: Light and medium peels are safe and fairly painless. You may only feel slight stinging or tingling from the chemicals. You can also leave the spa and go about your normal day after getting a light or medium chemical peel, but be sure to use sunscreen.
  • Cons: Because of the risk of scarring, Tareen doesn’t recommend getting a peel that’s higher than 50 to 60 percent acid at a spa. And if you’re a woman of color, she recommends going to a dermatologist for a chemical peel to lower your risk of scarring.

Chemical Peels at the Doctor’s Office

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons offer light, medium, and deep peels. If you’re looking for a deep peel that will make your skin look significantly younger, Tareen recommends going to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon rather than a spa.

  • Pros: A trained doctor or surgeon will know what type of peels to use that are best for your skin tone, lowering your risk of complications like scarring, changes in pigmentation, or infection. A doctor is also the most qualified practitioner to give a deep peel, which involves treating the skin with a high concentration of acid for about an hour, then covering the area with petroleum jelly or adhesive coverings that stay on for one or two days. You’ll need to have your heart rate monitored during the procedure. And you’ll have to go back every day for dressing changes, Tareen says.
  • Cons: A doctor’s office will be the most costly option, depending on how deep a chemical peel you choose. A light peel may cost up to $300, while a medium peel may cost between $500 and $1,000 at a doctor’s office, Tareen says. A deep peel can be as much as $3,000, but the effects can last for up to 20 years. Keep in mind that the deeper the peel, the longer the recovery time.

Treating your skin with an acidic solution can cause some serious complications, so it’s important to know the risks of doing it at home, at a spa, and at a doctor’s office. Following these guidelines will help you decide what’s best for you.