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Sun Block and Photoprotection

29 Apr

Everyone should be wearing sun block. But is that enough?

Prolonged unprotected sun exposure damages cell DNA. Not only does this result in premature aging, but can also cause melanoma and other skin cancers. I am a HUGE believer in wearing sun block (and not just in your make-up… that really doesn’t count).

When Buying Sun Block

If you’re not wearing it year round (which you should be), you should replace your sun block every year. Products can break down from heat exposure and from not being stored properly. It’s worth doing. You want to make sure you’re getting the best protection you can. Check your bottle for the following:

  • “Broad Spectrum” (protects from UVA and UVB light)
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Zinc Oxide or Titanium Dioxide (physical blocks)

For more on sun block read It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).

Avoiding White Residue

I know people hate the white residue you get from zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, but these ingredients really are the best for sun protection. If you don’t like the white residue on your face, consider either buying a tinted SPF or buying a product that has a micro-ionized formula (smaller particles). I’ve found people really love SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50. It’s really light weight, doesn’t smell, and doesn’t leave a residue. The product retails for about $34, so it isn’t super expensive either.

C E FERULIC

While on the subject of SkinCeuticals products, and sun block, I have just started using their C E Ferulic serum. C E Ferulic contains ferulic acid, an antioxidant that doubles the synergistic benefits of C E – neutralizing free radicals, building collagen, and providing improved antioxidant protection. No other antioxidant technology has been shown to deliver comparable levels of photoprotection. This product has won multiple awards including:

  • Allure Best of Beauty Three-Time Award Winner Category: Best of Skin Care – Serum
  • InStyle Editor’s Pick – 2011 Best Beauty Buy Best Antioxidant Serum
  • NewBeauty – Beauty Choice Award The Best Anti-Aging Antioxidant Product

Although retinol (Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.) and sun block are the only topical products proven to prevent fine lines and wrinkles, I think a good anti-oxidant is almost equally important. For those of you who prefer not to use a retinoid in the summer months, C E Ferulic is definitely a good product to add to your beauty routing; it is outstanding in conjunction with sunscreen!

**Products can break down if not stored correctly (like I said before) and pharmaceutical grade products like C E Ferulic should never be bought online. Just like it’s worth it to buy new sun block, it’s also worth the few extra dollars to know your product wasn’t exposed to extreme temperatures, tampered with, or expired. Talk to a medical aesthetician if you’re interested in learning more about C E Ferulic!

Why Is Photoprotection Important?

Photoprotection is a measure of a product’s ability to neutralize free radicals and protect against oxidative stress (which can be caused by UV rays). Oxidative stress leads to premature aging, hyperpigmentation, and loss of elasticity… my three biggest fears!


Recent Studies Reveal We May Not Be As Protected As We Think:

  • People don’t apply enough sunscreen to achieve full SPF. Real-life application of an SPF 20 sunscreen yields an SPF of only 3 to 4.
  • Even when applied properly, sunscreens only block 55% of free radicals.
  • Considering what we now know about sunscreens, photoprotection is more important than ever.

The sun is stronger than it used to be, and protecting your skin is not an option. It’s time to add an anti-oxidant to your daily skin care regiment!


XOXO, LK

Safety during Pregnancy: What You Should and Shouldn’t Include In Your Beauty Regiment

6 Sep

It seems like it’s in the water with co-workers and friends (as evidenced by the three pregnant ladies to the left from Sylvestre Franc). I’ve had a lot of questions about what is and isn’t safe to do when you’re pregnant in regards to skin care products, laser, and injectables. It is understandable that women want to look their best during this time and hormonal changes during pregnancy can sometimes result in acne, unwanted hair growth, melasma and other skin problems. So what is safe to use and what isn’t?

Not surprisingly (to me anyways), there really is not a lot of information on product safety during pregnancy. The FDA rates products on their risks during pregnancy as follows:

Rating Definition

A

Controlled Studies Show No Risk.  Studies in pregnant women show the medication causes no increased risk to the fetus during pregnancy.

B

No Evidence of Risk In Humans.  Studies in pregnant women have not shown increased risk of fetal abnormalities despite adverse findings in animals or in the absence of adequate human studies, animal studies show no increased fetal risk.

C

Risk Cannot Be Ruled Out.  Studies are unavailable and animal studies have shown a risk to the fetus or are also lacking. There is a chance of fetal harm if taken during pregnancy but the potential benefits may outweigh the potential harm.

D

Positive Evidence Of Risk. Studies in pregnant women have demonstrated a risk to the fetus. However, the benefits of therapy may outweigh the potential risk such as in life-threatening situations.

X

Contraindicated In Pregnancy. Studies in animals or pregnant women have demonstrated positive evidence of fetal abnormalities. The use of the product is contraindicated in women who are or may become pregnant.

Skin Care Products

Most skin care products fall into the Class C category; however, some products are recommended by doctors not to be used during pregnancy (although there is not enough evidence for or against them).


Not Recommended:

  • Retinoids
    • In A Practical Guide to Dermatological Drug Use in Pregnancy (Zip, MD, FRCPC) category B topical such as erythromycin, clindamycin, and benzoyl peroxide were recommended over topical tretinoin. This study states reports of congenital malformations in infants whose mothers used tretinoin during the first trimester.
    • This ingredient is found in anti-aging products such as moisturizers, and acne products.
    • Chemically a form of vitamin A, which in high doses can cause birth defects.
    • Oral retinoids, such as isotretinoin (Accutane, an acne treatment), are known to cause birth defects.


  • Beta Hydroxy acids (Salicylic Acid)
    • Ingredients used for their exfoliating and acne-treating properties. They penetrate deep inside the pores and clean out excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause acne, blackheads and dull-looking skin.
    • High doses of the acid in its oral form have been shown in studies to cause complications and birth defects.
    • Small amounts applied topically are considered safe (over the counter face wash for example), but peels containing Salicylic Acid are not considered safe when pregnant.

  • Hydroquinone
    • Clinically used for pigmentation for conditions such as melasma, and it is used cosmetically as a skin-whitening agent. Although a large percentage of this topical agent is systemically absorbed, the use during pregnancy does not appear to be associated with increased risk of congenital defects. This finding, however, is based off one study, with a small sample size (so it is recommended to avoid hydroquinone during pregnancy).


Safe

  • Vitamin C, Glycolic acid, and Lactic Acid: derived from fruit and milk sugars, considered nontoxic.

  • Hyaluronic Acid. This is a product your body naturally produces (which means its safe). Because of its molecular size, hyaluronic acid cannot penetrate the skin’s surface, and it is not systemically absorbed.


  • Benzoyl peroxide. Only 5% of topical benzoyl peroxide is absorbed through the skin. It is completely metabolized to benzoic acid within the skin and excreted.

Self-Tanners

Dihydroxyacetone is a color additive that is found in self-tanning products to produce an artificial tan. Color develops following topical application. These products contain dihydroxyacetone in concentrations ranging from 1% to 15%, and when applied topically, systemic levels are minimal (0.5%), and are considered safe to use.

Hair Removal and Bleaching Agents

  • Sodium, calcium, and potassium hydroxide, which are also found in depilatory creams, disassociate into sodium, calcium, potassium, and hydroxide ions, which are all present in the human body. Topical application of these products would not disrupt serum levels and would not be considered a problem for use during pregnancy.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Hair-bleaching creams contain low concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, making it unlikely to be systemically absorbed. In addition, should it be absorbed, hydrogen peroxide is rapidly metabolized. Therefore, use of these products during pregnancy is not expected to be a concern when done in moderation.
  • Laser has some controversy as to whether or not it’s safe; again, there isn’t a lot of information. Lasers do not penetrate very deep and there is not chemical exchange into the body. One interesting thought from me, (not speaking from personal experience) the body becomes more sensitive during pregnancy, and some laser treatments hurt to begin with. I’m not sure I’d want to get laser under those circumstances!

Botox and Fillers

The safety of Botox injections during pregnancy is unknown (Class C), and while I wouldn’t recommend intentionally getting Botox injections during pregnancy, many women receive injections prior to being pregnant or when they do not know they are pregnant, and have not had any problems. Botox Cosmetic has never traveled systemically, and works only on the muscles into which it has been injected. Therefore, one could presume it is safe to undergo this procedure. But I still don’t recommend it.  Unless you’re planning on having a “Toddler and Tiara” baby.  Then it’s ok.

 

xoxo,

not pregnant LK


Botanical Ingredients in Skin Care Products

13 Feb
Ingredient Known Benefit    
Aloe vera Soothing, regenerative, moisturizing
Arnica (Arnica montana) Regenerative, soothing, antiseptic, stimulating
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Regenerative, soothing, antiseptic
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cooling, sedative
Carrot (Daucus carota) Purifying, regenerative
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) Moisture-binding, soothing, softening, tightening, anti-inflammatory
Geranium (Pelargonium sp.) Strengthening (capillaries), smoothes, decongests
Hops (Humulus lupulus) Calming, restorative, estrogenic, antiseptic, emollient, astringent
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Anti-inflammatory, regenerative, strengthening, softening
Lemon (Citrus limonum) Antiseptic, purifying, lymphatic stimulant
Menthol (Mentha piperita) Antiseptic, analgesic, calming, cooling, circulation stimulant
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Antiseptic, cooling, analgesic, calming
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Regenerative, astringent, calming
Sage (Salvia officinalis) Antispasmodic, astringent, antiseptic, cooling
Spearmint (Mentha viridis) Anti-septic, cooling, analgesic
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Antiseptic, germicidal, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Stimulating, regenerative, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Anti-inflammatory, wound-healing
Yucca (Yucca schidigera) Anti-inflammatory, soothing

I know there are some people out there who love anything that is “natural” (and they live in Cambridge) and love things such as “botanicals” (I don’t know why I put that in quotes… but it seems grammatically correct?).

Botanicals in Skin Care

Botanical extracts support the health, texture, and integrity of the skin, hair, and nails and are the largest category of pharmaceutical/cosmeceutical additives. (I guess people in Cambridge aren’t the only one’s who love natural products!)

All medicine (including the creams for your skin) come from either nature or are manmade in a lab (in Cambridge?). Penicillin comes from a mold derivative; Botox comes from a bacteria derivative, ect. Ect.

Nature provides us with plants that have very important functions in healthcare. Here’s a chart with some of those plants. (In other news… I found out I can type something in Microsoft and upload it directly to my blog! I’m so excited! My posts are about to be more visually pleasing!!! Charts and graphs and clip art and stuff!)

Hydrating Ingredients in Skin Care Products

30 Oct

It’s getting cold out and like I said ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!  Both of these things necessitate hydrating products for your skin.  Here’s a list of ingredients your cosmeceutical/pharmaceutical skin care products should have in them!

Alpha Lipoic Acid – a powerful antioxidant that destroys free-radicals before they can destroy cells.  Alpha Lipoic Acid also enhances the potency of Vitamin C and E.  It occurs naturally in green, leafy vegetables.

Lactic Acid – A multi-purpose ingredient used as a preservative, exfoliant, and moisturizer, and to provide acidity to a formulation.  In the body, lactic acid is found in the blood and muscle tissue as a product of the metabolism of glucose and glycogen.  It is also a component of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor.  Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid occurring in sour milk and other lesser known sources such as beer, pickles , and other foods made through a process of bacterial fermentation.  Lactic acid has better water intake than glycerin.  Studies indicate an ability to increase the water-holding capacity of the corneum layer is closely related to the absorption of lactic acid; that is, the greater the amount of absorbed lactic acid the more pliable the corneum layer.  However, other research has shown that lactic acid can indeed inhibit melanin production separate from its action as an exfoliant on skin.

Superoxide Dismutase – Used in cosmetic preparations to prevent drying and aging of the skin without causing irritation.

Ubiquinone (Idebenone) – Potent antioxidant with effective anti-aging & anti-wrinkle properties, reinforces collagen & elastin production of connective tissue, potent moisturizer (liposomes penetrate into skin preventing water-loss).

Vitamin C – A well-known anti-oxidant.  Synthetic analogues such as magnesium ascorbic phosphate are among those considered more effective as they tend to be more stable.  When evaluating its ability to fight free-radical damage in light of its synergistic effect with vitamin E, vitamin C shines.  As vitamin E reacts with a free radical, it, in turn, is damaged by the free radical it is fighting.  Vitamin C comes in to repair the free radical damage to vitamin E, allowing E to continue with its free radical scavenging duties.  Past research has indicated that high concentrations of topically applied vitamin C are photo protective, and apparently the vitamin preparation used in these studies resisted soap and water, washing, or rubbing for three days.  More current research has indicated that vitamin C does add protection against UVB damage when combined with UVB sunscreens.  This would lead one to conclude that in combinations with conventional sunscreen chemicals, vitamin C may allow for longer-lasting, broader sun protection.  Again, the synergism between vitamins C and E can yield even better results, as apparently a combination of both provided very good protection from UVB damage.  However, vitamin C appears to be significantly better than E at protecting against UVA damage.  A further conclusion to draw is that the combination of vitamins C, E, and sunscreen offers greater protection than the sum of the protection offered by any of the three ingredients acting alone.  Vitamin C also acts as a collagen biosynthesis regulator.  It is known to control intercellular colloidal substances such as collagen, and when formulated into the proper vehicles, can have a skin-lightening effect.  It is said to be able to help the body to fortify against infectious conditions by strengthening the immune system.

Vitamin E – Considered the most important oil-soluble antioxidant and free radical scavengers.  Studies indicate that vitamin E performs these functions when applied topically.  It is also a photo-protectant, and it helps to protect the cellular membrane from free radical damage.  In addition, vitamin E serves a preservative function due to its ability to protect against oxidation.  This benefits not only the skin, but also the product in terms of longevity.  As a moisturizer, vitamin E is well-absorbed through the skin, demonstrating a strong affinity with small blood vessels.  It is also considered to improve the skin’s water-binding ability.  In addition, vitamin E emulsions have been found to reduce trans-epidermal water loss, thereby improving the appearance of rough, dry, and damaged skin.  This vitamin is also believed to help maintain the connective tissue.  There is also evidence that vitamin E is effective in preventing irritation due to sun exposure.  Many studies show that vitamin E topically applied prior to UV irradiation is protective against epidermal cell damage caused by inflammation.  This indicates possible anti-inflammatory properties.  Lipid per oxidation in tissues may be on cause of skin aging.  Vitamin E, however, appears to counteract decreased functioning of the sebaceous glands and reduces excessive skin pigmentation with is found to increase linearly with age.

Vitis Vinifera – Grape Seed ExtractAnti-Oxidant – Moisturizing, nourishing properties due to high levels of linoleic acid.

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