Tag Archives: retinol
Video

Retinols. Because I love them.

4 Nov

Retinol products are the best topicals as long as you use them safely. This means under the guidance of a skin care professional.

I start with my secretary voice… I’m nervous. Video blogging is hard!

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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


Prepping Your Skin for a Peel

28 Jun

It’s not exactly the best time of year to be doing chemical peels (or laser treatments) because most people want to be outside enjoying the sun. But I’ve been doing a lot of training with Alexis Robertson, the Massachusetts rep for Image Skin Care, and I just finished reading a book she gave me on Chemical Peeling. So I had to post something before I gave her back her book! Stay tuned for more posts on different types of Peels or start researching with   ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!.


ßAlexis is peeling Andrea Purcell, an excellent aesthetician in North Reading at Stephanie Cogliano on Main Street. Andrea is a candidate for a peel in the summer because she has prepped her skin, and she will not be in the sun. She is a trained professional.

Why Peel?

Chemical Peels are great ways to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, clear up acne, and fade hyperpigmentation. But before you have a peel there are a few things you should be using on your skin to prep it. This will ensure you get the best results from your peel. Ideally, these products should be started two to four weeks before a peel, depending on the state of your skin to start and the type of peel that you will be receiving.

Prepping is important for several reasons.

  • It will reduce wound healing time.
  • Allow for more uniform penetration of the peeling agent.
  • Decrease the risk of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • Enforce the concept of a maintenance regimen and determine which products your skin tolerates.
  • Establish compliance and eliminate inappropriate peel candidates.

So what products should you be using to prep your skin? Here’s a little guide.

Retinoic Acid

(ex. Retin A, Trenitoin) By now you should know how much I love retinol! The use of Retinoic Acid 2 weeks before a TCA peel will speed up re-epithelization of cells (which prevents infection). Since Retinoic Acid thins the top layer of dead skin cells (stratum corneum), it allows for better penetration of the peeling agent. Retinoic Acid has also been shown to have some skin lightening effects. It is also my FAVORITE skin care product.  More on Retinoic Acid (my fav!).

 

AHA’s

(ex. Glycolic acid) AHA products also thin the stratum corneum and allow better penetration of peeling agents. They also have been shown to have some skin lightening effects.

*My Favorite Product EVER is an AHA/RETINAL Blend:


MD Reconstructive Repair Crème. Hands down best product on the market.

Bleaching Agents

(ex. Hydroquinone, kojic acid) These products are not exactly bleaching your skin. They inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in the production of melanin, making hyperpigmentation reactions less likely. Personally, I love kojic acid, it smells like Mexico. No, not the dirty part… the part that smells like Piña Coladas. We will from now on refer to this product as the Cancun of skin care. Minus the hangover.

Currently, there is some controversy over the use of hydroquinone. It should not be used for long periods of time, or on pigmentation that is caused by hormones (also known as melasma). Be careful with this ingredient. It’s used in a lot of medical product lines (like Obagi… which I’m not a fan of).

Sunblock

Get used to it. SPF BABY! Remember stick to physical blocks with Zinc.  It’s Sunny Out! (A Post in Honor of Sun Block).

So why is it important to establish a baseline?

By starting on products prior to peeling, a baseline can be established as to what your skin normally tolerates when it’s not inflamed or irritated. Also it establishes some good habits, like the need to wear sunscreen. If you go in for a peel, and you don’t wear sunscreen, you are going to be in some serious trouble. The same goes with using Retinol products. But, it all honesty, we sometimes ignore home care instructions because we don’t understand why we are being told we need to do something. We need a consequence before we follow a rule. Well… I forgot sunscreen one time while using retinol. I won’t do that again. Caused my own little chemical peel. Not pretty.

Noncompliance is a HUGE problem in health care. And chemical peels can be dangerous if you’re not going to listen to post care instructions. If you can’t follow a few instructions before a peel, you certainly aren’t going to follow them after. This just proves to you and your skin person that you are not an eligible candidate for a peel. But if you CAN follow instructions, it gets you into a good regiment which you will need to continue post peel. Remember, your skin cells are constantly cycling, and therefore it is extremely important to ALWAYS be taking care of them.

This is not a one and done procedure (like liposuction is… lol.).

“Youth No Longer Wasted On the Young”


Love LK.

P.S. I am sticking to being brunette. But I’m keeping my twitter name as @Boston_Barbie. I will forever be a blonde (and a child) at heart. You can follow me and Alexis at @ImageSkinCareMA.

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