Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

By Nicki Zevola, Pennsylvania, Skincare Expert

Nicki Zevola is a beauty expert and the founder of FutureDerm.com, where she provides clear, well-researched information about beauty+skincare, fashion+style, nutrition+fitness, and personal development from a different perspective from most in the blogosphere. Named one of the top beauty bloggers since 2009, Nicki is also a medical student (M.D.) with an estimated graduation date of May 2013. Continue reading her full bio


5 Surprising Skincare Facts You Didn’t Know (Until Now!)

1. Mixing certain skin care ingredients inactivates them.

Even if you hated science classes, you have to keep in mind that skin care is the product of somewhat advanced chemistry, subject to pH imbalance, unexpected reactions, and the like. For instance, many cosmetic chemists do not recommend using products with alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, and retinol together. This is because retinol is most active at a pH of 5.5-6.0 (Journal of Investigative Dermatology), while glycolic acid has an optimized pH at 3.83 (Cosmetic Dermatology). Another problem is using a heavier skin care product under a lighter one. High concentrations of certain occlusive agents like petrolatum and mineral oil prevent the ingredients in the lighter serum from reaching your skin as effectively. Most dermatologists thereby recommend applying the lighter product first.

2. You should never apply self-tanner before going out into the sun, unless you use a sunscreen first.

Most self-tanners work by using dihydroxyacetone (DHA) as the main ingredient. According to a 2007 study published in Germany, DHA causes the skin to release 180% more free radicals once exposed to the sun. Therefore sun protection is extremely important when you have used self-tanners containing DHA within the past 24 hours.

3. There is no such thing as 100% SPF protection from a sunscreen.

According to dermatologist Dr. Rachel Herschenfeld, M.D., the percentage of protection you get is 100 – (1/SPF number)*100. I know that looks complicated, but let’s take SPF 30 for example:

Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/SPF number)*100
Percentage of protection = 100 – (1/30)*100 = 100 – 3.3
Percentage of protection = 96.6

Using that same principle, SPF 50 provides only 98% protection, and SPF 100 provides 99.9%!  Keep in mind this is the amount of protection provided when you apply a whole shot-glass full of sunscreen for your entire body and reapply religiously every 2-3 hours. As such, it’s safe to say there is no such thing as 100% sun protection from a sunscreen.

Check out two more facts you didn’t know!  Continue reading →

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

Skincare Tips from Renée Rouleau: New Year Skin Resolutions

Savvy, smart, and always knowledgeable, Renée Rouleau is my go-to for all that is skincare. She’s a celebrity esthetician with her own line (I love her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!), and she also regularly updates her blog with skin care tips and tricks.

Make this the year for healthy, beautiful and glowing skin with these 10 New Years’ Skin Resolutions from skin care expert, Renée Rouleau.

1. ALWAYS WASH YOUR SKIN AND MOISTURIZE AT BEDTIME

Research indicates that the skin repairs itself most effectively at night, so you want to put your skin in the best possible condition for its repair. For those who are too tired to wash off their makeup at night, try this! Your nighttime routine doesn’t have to be done minutes before you hit the bed. Wash your face when you get home from work, or even after dinner. Do it earlier rather than later! Washing off the day’s dirt and grime and nourishing your skin with good moisture and nutrients will give your skin a chance to renew while you sleep. And remember, quality moisturizers (without clogging ingredients) will not suffocate your skin.

2. WEAR A MOISTURIZER WITH SUNSCREEN DAILY

Studies indicate that 78% of the sun exposure we get in a lifetime is incidental exposure. You may say, “I’m not out at all during the day.” Just working in your home or office near windows, walking to your car, and even driving in your car will subject you to unnecessary UV damage. Windshields do nothing to protect you from UV rays. Daylight exposure is the #1 cause of premature skin aging so a minimum of SPF #15 should be used 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or out.

Check out eight more resolutions worth making! Continue reading →

Friday, November 26th, 2010

Skincare Tips from Renée Rouleau: Undereye Bags

Savvy, smart, and always knowledgeable, Renée Rouleau is my go-to for all that is skincare. She’s a celebrity esthetician with her own line (I love her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!), and she also regularly updates her blog with skin care tips and tricks.

The skin under the eyes is extremely thin and fragile and can have under eye bags, puffiness, lines and wrinkles. Of all the areas of the face the eye area can be the most problematic.

What are under eye bags?

The term “bags” refers to loose, sagging skin under the eyes that has lost its firmness.

Why do bags appear?

Bags start out in the early years as under eye puffiness and over time, the connective tissues that attach the skin to the orbital bone deteriorates resulting in loose, sagging skin. Bags start to show around the age of 50, when the skin naturally starts to lose its tone. For many individuals, bags are hereditary and for others it can be from years of allergies that caused them chronic puffiness around the eyes.

What can I do to help reduce bags?

Since bags are loose skin, it’s impossible to restore that loss of elasticity once the bag is formed. Cosmetic surgery will give you the most noticeable improvement.

What can I do to prevent bags?

  • To prevent bags, you must prevent puffiness and keep the skin from losing tone:
  • Get your thyroid checked. Under eye bags may be related to a thyroid function. Hypothyroidism (an under active thyroid) causes myxedema which makes changes to the connective tissues, which causes a loss of tone in the under eye area. Consult with your doctor.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Being tired at night results in yawning and yawning makes the eyes tear. The excess fluids around the eyes will cause puffiness which weakens elasticity under the eyes accelerating under eye bags.
  • Control your allergies. One of the biggest contributors to under eye puffiness (and eventually bags) is from allergies.
  • Avoid smoking. Smoking inhibits circulation and is the major cause of oxidative stress in the body resulting in a weakening of collagen and elastin fibers.
  • Use eye care products containing skin-firming peptides. Peptides renew skin’s firming mechanisms to return skin to a more youthful-looking appearance. Use Renée Rouleau Firming Eye Therapy—a new and improved formula!

How do I reduce puffiness?

Place a bag of frozen peas over the eyes. Cold temperatures constrict blood vessels, preventing the flow of fluid into tissues and diminishing puffiness in the process.

So if you are someone who has many, many skin care products that leave you without any real results, it’s simply it’s very difficult to entirely reverse bags using topical products. So prevention is key.

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Skincare Tips from Renée Rouleau: Reducing Blackheads

Savvy, smart, and always knowledgeable, Renée Rouleau is my go-to for all that is skincare. She’s a celebrity esthetician with her own line (I love her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!), and she also regularly updates her blog with skin care tips and tricks.

My 3-Step Plan for Reducing Blackheads by Skin Care Expert, Renée Rouleau

Of all the skin questions that I get asked, “How do I get rid of my blackheads?” has to rank near the top of the list. Blackheads are a fact of life; almost all of us have them and we all hate them.

What is a blackhead? Blackheads are large, open pores containing oil that has oxidized from the air causing it to turn black. Contrary to what most people believe, it’s not “dirt”, it’s simply oxidized oil. You can remove the blackhead but once the oil fills back up in the pore, the air will cause the oil to oxidize again and now the blackhead is back.

Here’s my three-step plan for removing blackheads and keeping them away:

Step 1: Remove the blackheads

Whether you remove them yourself (gently, of course) or have a professional facial, they must be manually extracted.

In a professional facial, your esthetician will raise the temperature of the skin by applying warm steam to the skin and performing a facial massage to “melt” the hardened oil within the pores to make for easier extractions. When the skin is properly prepared, extractions shouldn’t leave the skin with significant red marks. A cooling mask post-extraction will help to calm the skin and reduce any visible redness.

For do-it-yourself extractions, it’s best to remove blackheads after a shower since the skin temperature has been raised. After showering, apply a thin coat of the heaviest moisturizer you have to the skin. By using a rich moisturizer, it will create a temporary occlusive seal to keep the heat trapped in the skin, which for extractions purposes is necessary. Next, cover the area with cellophane/plastic wrap and apply warm, damp towels for five minutes. Remove the plastic and wrap tissue over each forefinger and gently squeeze to remove blackheads. To avoid creating squeeze marks, be sure to relocate the position of your fingers. For example, position fingers at 3:00 and 9:00 and then 5:00 and 10:00. You can then apply a cooling gel mask to reduce any redness.

Step 2: Use acid-based products to keep pores clean

Once the pores are clean, it’s important to incorporate products into your routine that use acids, such as AHA’s and BHA’s to keep them cleaned out and prevent the oil from filling back up so quickly. Skin care products with acids might include cleansers (such as Renée Rouleau AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel), serums and peels (like Renée Rouleau Triple Berry Smoothing Peel). Be sure the products are gentle and do not contain SD Alcohol 40 or Denatured Alcohol. Note: Do not use any acid-based products for at least 24 hours after manual extractions.

Step 3: Prevent oil from oxidizing

This part is key in lessening the appearance of blackheads. As I mentioned, a blackhead is oil that has oxidized and turned black, so if you can prevent the oil from oxidizing, the oil will not turn black (or at least as quickly).

Antioxidants used in skin care products have many benefits such as encouraging collagen production, lightening discoloration (brown spots) and slowing down the production of skin-damaging free radicals, but one surprising benefit is their ability to prevent oil from oxidizing, hence the name antioxidants meaning ‘anti oxidation’. When choosing antioxidant products, look for formulas containing Vitamin C, however be sure it’s stable, doesn’t sting or irritate the skin or change color (such as brown) in the bottle over the course of time. Renée Rouleau Vitamin C & E Complex uses three forms of stable, no-sting Vitamin C which makes this product not only suitable for preventing blackheads, but for sensitive skin too.

So there you have it – my professional plan for removing blackheads and keeping them from being so noticeable and re-appearing so quickly.

Note: Blackheads will slowly re-appear over time, so it’s important to get regular monthly facials to get the pores manually cleaned

Monday, September 20th, 2010

Skincare Tips: How to Reduce Blemishes by Renee Rouleau

I’m so pleased to be able to feature another video from Renée Rouleau. She is so knowledgeable and approachable as an esthetician with her own skincare line (which I’ve used over the years and been impressed–her new Luxe Mint Cleanser is the boy’s current favorite, too!).  This time, she gives us tips on reducing blemishes.  There’s something I need to take notes on!

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Skincare Tips from Renée Rouleau: Tips for Reducing Under Eye Puffiness

Savvy, smart, and always knowledgeable, Renée Rouleau is my go-to for all that is skincare. She’s a celebrity esthetician with her own line (I love her AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel!), and she also regularly updates her blog with skin care tips and tricks.

Go to bed early to avoid yawning. Every time you yawn at night, it increases fluids around the eyes resulting in tears. When you stay up too late and yawn excessively, those fluids increase swelling making you puffy in the morning—no different than if you cried a lot.

Sleep on two pillows. Keep your head elevated by sleeping on two pillows at night to reduce under eye puffiness. This helps to reduce fluid retention in the eye area so you’re less puffy in the morning.

Avoid using rich and greasy eye creams. Many companies formulate eye creams with rich oils to compensate for the lack of oil glands around the eyes. Although this moisture is so needed, the heavy oils can migrate into the eyes while you sleep and cause you puffiness when you wake up in the morning. The solution? Avoid the ingredients mineral oil and petroleum in your eye creams and don’t apply too close to the lower lash line. (Another problem with heavy eye creams containing these ingredients is that the oils can weigh down the delicate skin tissue and over the course of time, can weaken elastin fibers causing premature wrinkles.) All Renée Rouleau eye creams are very hydrating—but not greasy.

Ditch the cucumbers. They don’t contain any miraculous puffiness-reducing properties but they do have a gel-like consistency (from the seeds) making it good for retaining cold temperatures—and it’s the cold that reduces puffiness. Since it’s the cold that reduces puffiness, you can grab anything out of your refrigerator (ice, bag of frozen peas) and it will do the trick—as long as it is held on the area for at least 10 minutes. (Note: The only type of puffiness that can be reduced from cold, is puffiness that is not normally there—like when you wake up in the morning. Unfortunately, there is no cure for chronic puffiness/bags except cosmetic surgery.)

Avoid eating salty foods at night. Avoiding salty foods (especially at night) can definitely help prevent under eye puffiness when you wake in the morning. Excessive sodium causes water retention resulting in excessive swelling of the eye tissue. If you are trying to avoid puffiness of the face (especially before a special event), it’s best to avoid salty foods at night and drink a lot of water to flush your system.