Archive for the ‘Acne & Breakouts’ Category

Why toner matters

       
Monday, July 11th, 2011

Toner can help clear up your skin.For many of us, achieving a clear complexion feels like a far-fetched dream. If you had acne in your teens and still get zits in your 20s, 30s or beyond, you might be wondering why washing your face and using over-the-counter products isn't banishing your blemishes. But whether you suffer from uneven skin tone, large pores or acne spots, there's one product that can take your cleaning routine to the next level and clear up your skin in no time – toner.

Toners are designed to cleanse your skin of the last dregs of oil, dirt and makeup that your face wash may have left behind. Many toners are made with glycolic or salicylic acid, natural ingredients that can help exfoliate skin and reveal a healthier, cleaner complexion. A good toner will also cause your pores to constrict, keeping out dirt and bacteria, and leave your face feeling refreshed and cool.

Toner should be applied before bed, after you've washed your face. The easiest way to apply a toner is to squeeze some onto a dry cotton ball and wipe it across your face until it comes away clean.

If you you want consistently clear skin, incorporate a toner into your beauty routine today.

Join the liberation movement against summertime beauty bummers

       
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

Join the liberation movement against summertime beauty bummersThis July 4th, consider expanding your concept of what independence means. Civil liberties, democracy and the ever-resounding “no taxation without representation” are all wonderful freedoms to champion, but on a slightly less weighty note, where are you in your struggle for the freedom to live without unpleasant beauty issues?

If there’s a thing or two you’d love to change about your appearance, consider this Independence Day your official call to action against unsightly blemishes of all varieties. Here’s a comprehensive list of the top beauty bummers that plague women in the summer, as well as a few things you can do about them.

Spider veins: Varicose veins may be something you’re confronted with all year round, but at no other time do they become more oppressive than when you’re out on the beach in your skivvies. If you’re determined to restore your legs to their former glory in time to hit the waves, realize that the main cause of these uglies probably has something to do with your genes (sorry Mom). What you can do is exercise often and eat well, which generally helps to promote healthy circulation. Elevating your legs for extended periods of time may also help in the prevention category. If you’re already afflicted with spider veins, however, you can try products before resigning yourself to laser surgery. Phytomer Beautiful Legs Blemish Eraser Cream enlists the aid of pearly particles to minimize the appearance of red and blue veins.

Cellulite: Together with its cousin Varicose, Cellulite is an oft-unwanted guest at the party. Before you go reaching for your dreaded beach cover-up, keep in mind that you’re hardly alone. Cellulite often has little to do with how in shape you are, and it afflicts even the thinnest of women. Beyond this, there are very few proven ways to get rid of cellulite for good, although diet and exercise are known to help reduce the appearance of dimples. If you’re looking for a quick fix before you hit the pool, try a product such as DS Laboratories Oligo.DX Cellulite Reducing Gel. The active ingredient targets the subcutaneous layer to visibly reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Oily skin and acne. Yes, with the balmy weather comes a bit of extra shine you didn’t bargain for. Fortunately, this is pretty easy to control. A mattifying serum is great for use under your makeup if your skin is seriously oily. In all other cases, a bit of primer topped with translucent powder should do the trick. Just be careful that you’re not using any makeup products that may clog your pores, as oily skin often comes with an additional unwanted consequence. If you’re prone to acne in the summertime, wash your skin and body with a face or body wash containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. If you keep up with your exercise routine and avoid processed sugar, flour and other fatty foods, you may also see a marked reduction in breakouts.

Lackluster skin and hair. Even if you have no time to keep up with your tanning routine (hopefully from the bottle, at that), there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to sport a healthy glow, especially in the summer. Check in with your health routine (diet and exercise – do we sound like a broken record yet?) and evaluate your skincare products. It’s generally a good idea to exfoliate once or twice a week (any more will likely lead to sensitivity), and make sure you’re moisturizing every day (even if it seems like you’re sweating bricks). Beyond this, a highlighting cream for your face can help add a bit of luminescence where you’re lacking it, and a high-moisture hair mask used weekly can help make your locks glisten.

What you really need to know about acne-prone skin

       
Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

 What you really need to know about acne-prone skinIf you've been living with acne-prone skin, chances are you've picked up a pointer or two on how to tame your flare-ups. Whether these tips and tricks have any grounding in valid practices is another matter altogether, we're afraid.

Avoiding cheese and chocolate may or may not be a good idea – when it comes to diet, there's no relationship between food and acne that's totally proven, but the general consensus is that processed white flour and sugar is far more likely to lead to some unwanted spots.

Toothpaste? If it's worked for you in the past, we won't stop you, but there's more evidence that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are destined to work.

As for skipping the moisturizer? By no means is this a good idea. According to StyleList.com, it's a myth that "applying moisturizer will add to the oil on acne prone/oily/sensitive skin. You want to keep your skin moisturized and balanced so skin doesn't keep accumulating excess oils."

Making the case for mineral makeup

       
Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

Making the case for mineral makeupThe turn of our cultural attention onto the amazing properties of mineral makeup hasn’t come without its price. Having been touted for some time now as the leader of the natural makeup revolution, mineral makeup is now drawing some criticism from health and beauty experts who say this organic stuff might have some dangerous pitfalls. Navigating this field of information may be tricky, but learning some basic facts and arguments will help you wrap your head around the current debate.

On one hand, mineral makeup appeals to the increasingly “green” sensibilities of our society. As we turn away from processed foods, non-biodegradable materials and energy-sapping materials and practices, we’re that much more likely to see the appeal in a new variety of cosmetics that promises to come directly from the Earth, sans dyes, preservatives and chemicals. Mineral makeup touts itself as being better for the skin, with the ability to actually improve one’s complexion over time. It blends more seamlessly into the skin than most standard liquid foundations, producing a healthier, more natural-looking glow unrivalled by the makeup of the past.

While all of this may indeed be true, health experts are concerned that these so-called Earth-friendly products aren’t necessarily human-friendly. Not every natural compound necessarily agrees with our bodies, and the same goes for mineral makeup, which can contain trace amounts of harmful substances. The loose powder composition of most mineral makeup means that we musn’t merely be concerned with the effects these products may have on our skin when absorbed through topical application, but the trace amounts of minerals we can inhale when bringing this product so close to our faces.

“The little particles, fibers, get into the peripheral, the small parts of the lungs, and irritate cells,” pulmonary specialist Dr. Hugo Montenegro told ABC News.

According to the news source, the two substances of concern to the Environmental Working Group are bismuth oxycholoride and mica. The former is actually a by-product of lead and the latter is dangerous when inhaled in large quantities, hence why miners and construction workers wear masks when they work.

Some beauty experts suggest sticking to liquid mineral makeup formulas if these potential respiratory complications are of concern, but the debate continues to rage on where effectiveness is concerned.

“Those who love it rave about the light, natural, long-lasting glow that simply can’t be duplicated by other types of makeup,” Web MD observes. “Others, however, complain it’s drying, irritating, and accentuates wrinkles and adds years to your appearance. Some say the colors have an ashy undertone that is a particular problem for ethnic skin types.”

Even health experts are divided regarding the supposed “purity” of such formulas, with some maintaining that the absence of irritants makes it kinder to the skin, while others claim that mineral makeup is hardly different than the makeup women have been using for years, the news soruce reports. Experts maintain that mineral makeup is especially advantageous for those with sensitive skin conditions such as acne and rosacea, which encounter a calming effect thanks to the non-comedongenic properties of the natural ingredients. Plus, for those with skin conditions, mineral makeup is undeniably desirable for its ability to provide near-perfect-looking coverage.

So what’s the verdict?

According to Web MD, you should take care to read the label, as with any beauty or food product. Not all mineral makeup companies actually steer clear from using fillers and preservatives. If you can find a brand that stays true to its promise withoutthe use of mica or bismuth oxycholoride, what’s not to love?

Preventing breakouts

       
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011

Keep your face breakout free with the right makeup.Acne: The scourge of middle-schoolers everywhere! Many of us hope that as we exit our teens, we can say goodbye to our zits, pimples and blemishes, but that isn’t always the case. For many men and women, acne can persist well into their 20s and even 30s. Why can’t you get rid of your persistent breakouts? It might have something to do with the lotions and makeup products that you’re using.

When you’re stuck with a stubborn blemish, it’s only natural to search for the thickest concealer that will hide your embarrassing spot. However, you may be better off in the long run if you resist smothering your blemish in creamy makeup. If you must wear concealer, search for a product that is non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores. Always apply it with a clean brush, not your fingers, to avoid spreading dirt and bacteria. The same rules apply with foundation – use a clean makeup sponge, and choose something light that won’t cause new breakouts.

To prevent pimples, be sure to wash your face thoroughly at the end of the day. Don’t sleep in your makeup – it’s sure to cause you new zits. Instead, use an acne-fighting cleanser, toner and a gentle makeup remover to be sure that you go to sleep with a fresh face that can heal while you rest.

Lastly, never pick a zit! You may think that popping those suckers will make them go away faster, but the opposite is true – and touching your face can lead to new breakouts.

Yet another reason why sunscreen is important

       
Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Yet another reason why sunscreen is importantBy now, it's probably ingrained in everyone that sunscreen is the name of the game. Since day one, we're lectured to never go to the beach without it, and some particularly health-conscious folks won't even get the mail without a touch of SPF.

The reasons all mostly pertain to the prevention of skin cancer – beyond that, no one really wants to deal with painful sunburns. But did you know that wearing sunscreen can also have some benefits when it comes to minimizing the appearance of blemishes?

Spending time in the sun can actually make pimples more obvious-looking, according to Allure.com. "Be vigilant about wearing sunscreen," the news source suggests. "Any kind of skin discoloration will get even darker if you go out in the sun unprotected."

To tame the redness and general unsightliness of blemishes, resist the urge to pick, dab on some medication, spot it with concealer and of course, follow your daily sunscreen requirements (a bad sunburn can trigger acne, too).

Blackhead treatments to try for yourself

       
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Blackhead treatments to try for yourselfNo beauty bummer has raised more collective groans than acne, and within that category, it's arguable that blackheads are the most difficult to remove among all other blemishes. Worry not, however. There are steps you can take to treat and prevent blackhead breakouts, ranging from top-shelf products to at-home solutions.

According to the Arab Times, mixing equal parts of groundnut oil with fresh lime juice helps prevent blackheads from forming. Meanwhile, you can treat existing breakouts with masks made of fresh ground up fenugreek leaves or a paste of sandalwood, turmeric and milk.

Of course, these aren't the most tried and true methods, and if you're not willing to undergo trail and error, reach for an apricot scrub, facial peel or other specialized acne product.

Cellex-C Speed Peel Facial Gel combines exfoliating and hydrating properties to help reduce the appearance of blackheads and minimize pores. B. Kamins Chemist Clear Control Anti-Blemish Pads offer a more targeted solution to eliminate blackheads and imperfections.

Expert tips for cloaking those zits

       
Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Expert tips for cloaking those zitsAh, the age-old problem of blemishes – how to treat them, how not to touch them, how to cover them up with makeup, how to prevent them from happening in the first place and keep those suckers at bay for good.

It's not uncommon for zit-troubled ladies to resort to every trick in the book. Many of you, undoubtedly, have probably tried the toothpaste maneuver at some point in your lives. But believe it or not, sometimes the most effective way to conceal a pimple is really the simplest one of all.

A red pimple can be knocked out with a yellow-tinted concealer, so don't try to combat like with like. With clean hands, dab the product onto your blemish with a brush or your finger in a circular motion, and then add more foundation on top as you normally would – using your finger may seem counter-intuitive, but your body heat will help break down the concealer and allow the product to blend more seamlessly into your skin. Setting with translucent powder will help keep your makeup intact and prevent your skin from becoming oily.

Additionally, a makeup product designed to treat and respond to breakouts can be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. Murad Acne Treatment Concealer treats blemishes as it hides them and works to prevent future breakouts.

Skin through the ages: An everywoman guide

       
Thursday, February 24th, 2011

Skin through the ages: An everywoman guideYou know your skin is sort of a big deal – it is the biggest organ on your body, after all, and having an out-of-this-world glow can make the difference between feeling beautiful or just so-so.

We wash, we exfoliate, we moisturize, we tone – we drink our eight glasses per day in hopes of achieving that ever-elusive perfect, dewy sheen.

The older we get, the more we have to adapt our habits to our skin’s ever-changing needs. That’s why it’s so important for women of all ages to be equipped with the proper knowledge to respond to the changes taking place in their bodies – the skin of a 20-year-old has different needs than the skin of a 47-year-old, but with the proper techniques, every woman can feel like a queen.

According to StyleList.com, “thanks to technology and all that we know about aging today, firm and glowing skin isn’t something you have to leave behind in your youth.”

That doesn’t mean having youthful skin comes without its own bag of issues, however. Many 20-year-olds are still plagued with occasional blemishes.

New York dermatologist Dr. David Bank told StyeList that young women might look for gentle cleansers that contain alpha hydroxy acid, glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide, such as Neova‘s Acne Cream.

As you get into your 30s, it’s a safe bet you’ll see less and less of the angry red stuff, but your skin might be less capable of restoring itself. This is about the time when blotchiness, dryness and tiny fine lines begin to appear.

To combat these dulling effects, Dr. Tina Alster recommends focusing on exfoliation and moisturizing, while Dr. Bank mentions that most of the stuff you used in your 20s to fight acne can also still be beneficial for anti-aging purposes. Retinol creams and glycolic acid are especially suited for fine lines and blotchiness, the news source reports.

Those who begin to notice signs of rosacea at this age are advised to avoid a self-diagnosis and to visit a dermatologist. Skin-care professionals usually have the most effective treatments for this inflammatory condition. If you do decide to self-medicate, you can use products such as Phytomer‘s Rosee Visage Toning Cleansing Lotion and Accept Neutralizing Cream.

Women progressing into their 40s may see a marked progression of the aging effects they experienced in their 30s “due to weakening of collagen and elastin fibers, loss of fat and muscles, and coupled with gravitational pull,” Dr. Banks told the news source. “It’s not surprising that you will begin to see signs of sagging eyelids, drooping brows and hollowness under the eyes.”

The best advice is to up the strength of the exfoliation and moisturizing process, opting for subtle dermabrasion formulas with microcrystals and moisturizers with lots of glycerin. Bank recommends looking for formulas with anti-oxidants such as grape-seed extract or vitamins A, C and E, the news source reports.

Women aged 50 and over may begin to see more pronounced wrinkles as the moisture and fat content in their skin begins to wane. At this point, lathering on oil-rich moisturizers is a safe bet for the skin, which isn’t as prone to break-outs as it was years ago. Alster recommends products with collagen-building ingredients, such as retinoic acid, and hydrators like hyaluronic acid.

Bank says there’s something to look forward to in your 60s, which may bring skin less prone to hormonal fluctuations and a more defined bone structure. To prevent the dryness and itchiness associated with this age, look for creams with shea butter or serums with phytoestrogens, the news source reports.

Once you’re in your 70s, you can leave the soap behind. Look for soap-free cleansers that will help you retain as much moisture as you can – adding a vitamin C serum can help you with sunspots. Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum will do wonders for blotchiness and uneven skin tone.

And if there is one thing that you do take away from all of this, remember to always put on sunscreen. Applying SPF 20 or greater can be your number one defense against aging, no matter what birthday you’ll be celebrating this year.

Blast away acne scars with these expert tips

       
Friday, February 11th, 2011

Blast away acne scars with these expert tipsAs though having acne wasn't bad enough, some of us may have to live with unsightly scars following the conclusion of our pimple-ridden teenage years. Fortunately, you can properly stock your makeup arsenal with products and tricks to help you blast the scars away for good – or at least until you wash your face at night.

According to StyleBistro.com, "good foundation is key to hiding acne scars," but most formulas will work even better if you start with a primer. A primer isn't the same thing as a foundation – it actually helps even out the texture of your face while minimized pores and scars.

Next, the news source recommends dabbing concealer on with your fingertips, as the natural heat from your hands will help the product blend into your skin.

A good foundation will seal the deal, and StyleBistro recommends Giorgio Armani's luminous silk foundation.

As always, set with a pressed powder. A mineral-based powder such as Youngblood's Mineral Rice Setting Powder can be just the thing you need to create a flawless finish.