Archive | June, 2010

Tips on how to fight adult acne – Yoshiko Roth-Hidalgo

14 Jun

When you are in your mid-thirties and you are like me, still battling or again battling pimples and break-outs, you are in good company.  One in five women between the ages of 25 and 40 suffers from adult acne.  Adult acne is not different from teenage acne in that the same key factors are involved:  Hormonal activity which has an effect on our oil glands, blocked pores, acne bacteria and inflammation.  While teenage acne is the result of hormonal changes as a person enters puberty, adult acne is the result of sometimes unexpected hormonal fluctuation, for example due to stress, reaction to birth control, pregnancy, etc.

What makes adult acne tricky is that the skin of a person in his/ her 30s or 40s is different from teenage skin.  Some adults may not even have really oily skin, their skin might be more sensitive, and they may also be very concerned about fighting aging in their skin.

So while we certainly know how to fight blemishes with over-the-counter acne products we get at the drugstore (medicated cleansers, purifying masks, salicylic acid creams, benzoyl peroxide spot treatments, etc.) the challenge with adult acne is how to most effectively treat the blemishes while respecting more mature skin, and just as important, help it look and feel young.

Here are some tips how to approach adult acne with a skincare program.

First of all:  If you have persistent pimples or inflamed cysts, you should see a dermatologist as soon as possible to avoid scarring and further damage to the skin.  Severe acne is a medical condition that needs to be treated with prescription ingredients like retinoic acid (e.g. Retin-A, Tazorac).  For blemish-prone skin and occasional break-outs, a good skincare program and over-the-counter products usually bring significant improvement:

Cleansers:  Keep it simple and gentle

Contrary to a stubborn myth, acne is NOT caused by dirty skin, so stay away from harsh cleansers.  Also, if your skin is dry and sensitive, skip the medicated cleanser and stick with a simple, gentle, sulfate-free cleanser that will cleanse thoroughly but won’t strip.  No matter how convincingly medicated acne cleansers promise not to dry out your skin, I find that they do and that the subsequent dehydration exacerbates the appearance of roughness, lines and wrinkles.

Exfoliate in moderation

Freeing skin of dead skin cells that can clog pores is crucial in preventing blemishes from forming.  Gentleness and moderation are key.  Exfoliate no more than 2-3 times a week.  If you have sensitive skin, no more than once a week.  Choose scrubs with perfectly round exfoliating beads or alternatively, if your skin is not overly sensitive, alpha-hydroxy or beta-hydroxy peels.  However, if your issue is not occasional blemishes but inflamed acne pimples and lesions, stay away from scrubs altogether.  Scrubs can further exacerbate the inflammation of the skin and spread the bacteria.

Hydrate without oil

It’s tempting to not moisturize when you see pimples, but it’s important to keep skin hydrated, no matter what your skin type, even if you have break-outs.  If you are concerned about clogging pores, choose an oil-free moisturizer that hydrates with hyaluronic acid.  This wonder-ingredient draws vital hydration to the skin without overwhelming with oil, plumping lines and making  skin supple.

Spot treat – in more ways than one

Salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are proven pimple-fighters, so use them for targeted spot treatments on clean skin before you put on moisturizer or sunscreen.  At the same time, do spot-treat age-prone areas or dry areas unaffected by pimples, with products that are more emollient or more concentrated.  Examples are the eye area, the area around the lips, forehead, etc.  This way, you can effectively combine your acne treatment and anti-aging treatment.

Protect from the sun

A tan may make pimples look less prominent, but there is actually no clinical evidence that sun exposure helps acne.  Unprotected sun exposure does raise the risk of skin cancer and premature aging the sun damages.  Plus, many acne treatments make skin more sensitive to sun light.  Therefore, apply a sunscreen of at least SPF15 daily that is oil-free and light in texture.

Green tea extract – a super multi-tasker?

While green tea extract has been clinically proven to have great anti-aging, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, recent research suggests that it also has anti-bacterial properties comparable to benzoyl peroxide without the common side effects.  While more research needs to be done to prove this effect, this is still promising news for people with sensitive skin and adult acne.

High-tech gadgets

For high-tech lovers, a few electronic devices have popped up on the market that promise to quickly clear up pimples, such as Zeno’s Pro Acne Clearing Device ($185), a battery-powered medical device to treat inflamed acne pimples.  It delivers a targeted dose of heat to the acne pimple, which kills the bacteria and is said to significantly clear the pimple within 24 hours.  Sounds like the perfect solution!

At the end of the day, there is no one magic bullet for adult acne, but rather, a multi-pronged approach involving gentle and multi-tasking products, targeted medicated treatments and a balanced life-style.

What is your secret to fighting break-outs?  Let us know!

Easy ways to stay sun safe (from excuses we always make!) – Metta Murdaya

13 Jun
bad sunburn

This JUARA Girl was bad bad bad! Never do this.

Despite all we know about UV protection and taking care of your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we all goof up and get burned. I admit, (see pic) that I did. On one vacation a while ago, I got a pretty horrific burn,  so I implore to you – don’t lose to bad judgment like I did, and fall for the (common) excuses people make to procrastinate putting on protection. Have you fallen victim or used any of these excuses? Well don’t. If a picture tells a thousand words, may the photo of me here be that one. Ouch.

“I’m only in the sun for like, 2 hours. No biggie” Wrong. I was only out in the sun for 2 hours too when I got this burn.

“It’s cloudy out.  I don’t need protection, I won’t burn.” Wrong. UV rays still pass through the atmosphere, rain or shine. Plus, burning isn’t the first sign of sun damage, it’s usually the 3-alarm fire point as the damage started much earlier.

“I already got the tan, I won’t burn.” or “My skin is darker, I won’t burn.” But you’re still getting the same amount of damage whether you burn or not! And yes, you still can burn! (Had enough of my ‘you can burn!’ jingle yet?)

“I’ll have another drink on the beach, please…” Sounds like the dream vacation, but be careful with that one – if you get burned, dehydration commonly comes with it. When you drink alcohol, you can become dehydrated and it can exacerbate the sunburn. I was at a wedding the evening before, and was dehydrated the next afternoon when I went to the beach. Plus, I was in the water for almost 2 hours – a double whammy of UV rays + dehydration seriously leaving me open to bake – an added risk for beach swimmers.

So – help yourself protect yourself. Many of us DO apply sunblock – just not enough, nor often enough. So here are some tips to keep you on your sun protection game more easily:

1. Carry a small tube of sunblock in your purse in an often visited pocket so you have no excuse not to apply, or reapply every few hours. Get a higher SPF than you think you need, because chances are, you’re not applying enough so your SPF won’t be as effective for as long as you think it is. (Ie: Too little of the SPF 50 might work more like an SPF 30… Too little SPF 15, and it might not work at all…) My personal favorite sunscreen brand: La Roche Posay. Also, they’re having a “Save our Skin” campaign, raising awareness about sun protection and reducing skin cancer here. Join the cause of SOS from La Roche-Posay, and they will make a donation, and to organizations  like the the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) and The Skin Cancer Foundation, that also educate the public regarding proper sun safe behavior.

2. Wear a hat, or carry one with you when you go in the sun. Too bulky? Check these rollable visors out, poppable in your bag and they’re not cheesy! Not a replacement for sunscreen, but it’s convenient added protection with fashionable benefits.

3. For you product junkies out there, try different sunscreens that you know are good and keep them in often visited locations – and keep sampling! It makes applying sunblock fun, like you’re shopping for your favorite sunscreen! (Did I like the one in the office better, or the one at home? Hmm, need to try again, and again…) I flip between my Garnier, La Roche Posay, and ROC, compare scent, texture, feel, it’s fun.

4. Take the remembering out of reapplying – set daily alarms on your phone/blackberry/iphone for several times a day to remind you to put on sunscreen. You can get creative with your messages, “For eternal youth, reapply sunscreen NOW!” And with that tube in your bag, should be no problem. Or do it via post-it notes in places you visit often before leaving a building (medicine cabinet at home, office computer, work locker, etc.) You can also make fun notes for your friends/family that way too

5. Pass this to a friend – make a pact when with friends to commit to helping each other stay protected! When you reapply that you email/text/call them to remind them to do the same. Don’t you all want to stay youthful looking?

Note: Beachgoers need to reapply more often, especially if you go into the water. And for every colorful alcoholic drink you have, make sure to drink several glasses of water to rehydrate!

Side note: I also get asked “Do you have anything that can help my burn?”  The answer is YES – The Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is an excellent cooling and hydrating, (oil free!) serum to soothe and calm burns). That was my savior!

Any tips you have to make staying sun-safe fun?

Sun Protection You Can Wear: Clothing – Jill Sung

8 Jun

This JUARA Girl’s got it covered!

What should I wear? I go through this decision process on a daily basis – and there’s no limit to how many outfit changes I can make just to go to the grocery store… But what I should be thinking, and have been more, is how much UV radiation is out there and what’s the best way to protect myself from sun damage.  (For those of you just joining this UV foray, find out more about UV rays how to check the amount you’re receiving in last month’s blogs.) Moving on, did you know that clothes offer UV protection? It’s actually pretty easy to incorporate into your daily summer wardrobe.

UPF: Ultraviolet Protection Factor: What is it?

UPF indicates how much of the sun’s UV radiation is absorbed. A fabric with a rating of 50 will allow only 1/50th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. This means the fabric will reduce your skin’s UV radiation exposure significantly, because only 2 percent of the UV rays will get through.

What’s the UPF of my clothes?

Tightly knit/thickness: Lightweight and loosely-woven fabrics do NOT offer much protection from the sun. A white T-shirt provides only moderate protection from sunburn, with an average UPF of 6 (16% of sun’s rays pass through). On the other hand, a dark denim has about  UPF 1,700 – basically complete sun block. In general, clothing made of tightly-woven fabric best protects skin from the sun. The easiest way to check fabric protection is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate your clothes – and your skin! And thicker fabrics such as velvet in black, blue or dark green have an approximate UPF of 50. Also, if it doesn’t cover your skin, it’s not protecting you! Long sleeves are obviously better than short sleeves…

Color: Darker-colored fabrics are more effective than lighter ones at blocking out the sun. For example, the UPF of a green cotton T-shirt is 10 versus 6 for white cotton.

Fabric Content: What the clothing is made of matters. Unbleached cotton contains lignins, special pigments that absorb UV. Shiny polyesters and even thin, satiny silk can be highly protective because they reflect radiation.

Activity: If your clothes gets stretched during activity, like yoga, the fabric will lose some of its protective ability because it becomes thinner and more transparent to light. Also, wet clothing can lose up to 50 percent of its UPF, so a wet T-shirt provides a UPF of only 3, allowing 33% of UV rays through to your skin. (Thanks to Skin Cancer Foundation for all their help!)

What other clothes protect from the sun?

Not only can you buy high-tech sun protective clothing made of special weaves with colorless dyes that provide UPF of 15-50 protection, you can actually wash sun protection into the clothes you currently own, and for cheap! $2 buys you a colorless additive, Sun Guard, that provides a UPF of 30 (blocks more than 96% of UV) to your laundry for up to 20 washings!

Next up, what else to wear…with clothing must come accessories! What else can you do? Any more fun sun facts we should share?