Fall Is Here, Time To Change Skincare Products In Your Vanity

What I Wore: The Editor

Fall is finally here. It’s time to change the clothes in your wardrobe to knee-length pencil skirts, motorcycle leather jackets, and animal print handbags, says Vogue. It’s also time to change your skincare products, says @dermdoc.

Most of us associate changing seasons with changing wardrobes, but it’s also the time to evaluate your skincare routine. Humid, warm air will change to dry, cool air like greens to reds on maple trees. Your skin is a living organ and actively responds to these environmental changes.

  • Dry air means your skin will produce more oils to protect itself.
  • Cool air means that previously flushed skin will pale.
  • Less sun means that thick skin will shrink.
  • Less ultraviolet B light means that tanned skin will fade to allow for maximum vitamin D production.

When you start packing away your shorts and spaghetti strap dresses, remember that your skin needs you to pack away some of your summer products.

  • Dryer, thinner skin is more sensitive; consider exfoliating less frequently. Some scrubs or at-home microdermabrasions should be reduced to once every few days or week.
  • Some retinoids like Retin-A or Renova, can be reduced from every day to every other day to minimize irritation in fall and winter.
  • Listen to your skin. Is it increasingly red and stinging as the weather changes? You might have to stop some peels or toners completely until springtime.
  • Consider switching soapy facial washes to soothing or creamy facial cleansers.
  • Change from a lotion moisturizer to a cream moisturizer. If you haven’t moisturized every day, then you should start now.
  • Use a facial moisturizer, particularly if you’re prone to acne or have excessively dry facial skin.
  • Depending on how far north you live and on your skin tone, you might be able to cut back on sunscreen for winter. Although complete sun protection is the best way minimize all damage to your skin, wearing sunscreen year-round may not be necessary. If you’re not sure, talk to your dermatologist.
  • Remember that even in winter, at high altitudes and where the ground is covered with snow, ultraviolet light can be strong, more like summertime sun. So you always need sunblock when skiing or snowboarding.

Photo credit: FCC, Jessica Quirk

Poison Ivy Is Having A Great Year

Poison ivy is growing faster than ever. That’s not the bad news. The tormentingly toxic plant is also packing more rash-inducing resins than ever. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, of global warming fame, is the cause.

Plants take in carbon dioxide (CO2) and release oxygen. More CO2 leads to happier plants. Because of increased CO2, trees now grow about 10% larger. Poison ivy now grows nearly 150% larger. This is because vines love CO2, which leads to larger-than-ever poison ivy plants. If you’re allergic to poison ivy as I am, then the risk of running into the virulent vine is greater than ever.

But it’s football season, and crisp nights mean the poison ivy growing season is nearly over. So, you’re safe, right? Wrong. You might think you’re less likely to get poison ivy in the fall. I used to think that too until I learned the hard way.

When I was in college I worked as a landscaper to pay my rent. Every fall, without exception, I got my worst poison ivy rash of the year. For a guy who could spot poison ivy at 100 yards in the dark, it always surprised me.

The reason is that the poison in poison ivy stays active long after the leaves fall and plant is dead. When you think you’re raking maple and oak leaves, you often don’t realize you’ve got fallen poison ivy leaves mixed in, like a dye-pack in a stack of $100 bills waiting to explode when you touch it. Fortunately for me there are no leaves to rake in downtown San Diego.

What’s the worst case of poison ivy you’ve had?

Do you have any home remedies for treating poison ivy?

Have you noticed more poison ivy this year?

Photo: Steve and Sarah Emry

Super Glue, Super Smooth, and the Bald Truth

1. One of the funniest moments of my first decade of life was when my grandmother accidently super-glued her finger to her tooth while trying to fix her dentures. If we had eHow back then, I could’ve told her how to get the super glue off her finger. Instead, I just went back to my Atari. That is, when I could breath again.

2. Less is more, says Cosmo. After polishing your face smoother than marble with this new microdermabrasion, you’ll be able to go makeup free by carrying your own glow. Just don’t over-do it.

3. Dr. Bernstein breaks down baldness on Men’s Health.

Sweating Out Your Toxins

Can you sweat out toxins?

The guy next to me on the bike yesterday morning was working like Lance Armstrong in training; he had laid towels on the floor to absorb the impressive perspiration he was generating.

He shouted over to me: “I’m hitting it hard to cleanse out the toxins from last night. Too much Captain Morgan and Buffalo wings, ya know?”

“Really,” I said.

“Actually, I’m a dermatologist, and sweat does not contain any toxins,” I said to myself so that he could not hear. (Gym decorum dictates men do not correct men in the middle of a workout — especially if prefaced by “Actually, I’m a dermatologist”). I left him to his aerobics and wrote this post in my head while I finished mine.

You might not want to believe me, but it’s fact: you cannot sweat out toxins. Sweat is composed of 99% water and a tiny percent of salt, urea, proteins and carbohydrates. Salt, proteins and carbohydrates are natural. Urea is a by-product of protein metabolism and is non-toxic. It’s regulated to keep your blood at a healthy pH. Most excess urea is eliminated in urine (hence the name) and a small amount is in sweat.

Toxins like mercury, chemicals, alcohol, drugs, and spicy BBQ sauce are eliminated by your liver and intestines.

Sweat glands, all 2.6 million of them, regulate your temperature — they’re not designed to expel toxins.

The primary ingredient in sweat is pure water. The water evaporates from your skin, cooling you. Excess sweating doesn’t eliminate excess salt or help hangovers. By forcing your body to copiously perspire, you’re only forcing your kidneys to save water (and ironically actual toxins) elsewhere. The water that ends up in the towel on the floor is the precious water you needed to stay hydrated, not a puddle of poison.

In some ways sweat is the opposite of toxic, it’s a vital fluid. When you are working out hard, replace it. I recommend water, not Captain Morgan Rum.

Photo: Lafrancevi

Healthy Skin Site for Kids

Kids Skin Health Site

Math, reading, writing, dermatology. It’s back-to-school time, and any medical student will tell you it’s never too early to start learning dermatology. Here is a website from the American Academy of Dermatology to teach the little dermdocs in your house. It has information kids can use for homework, tips for healthy skin, and even a few games. Thankfully they didn’t require me to submit my “Skintastic Game” score to get into derm.

5 Questions to Ask At Your Medical Spa


True or False (answers below):

1. Botox and laser treatments are easy and can be done by an aesthtician or spa staff.

2. A physician must be present at all times in a spa that performs procedures.

3. Chemical or facial peels are safe and can be done in a beauty salon.

The term “spa” is derived from a town in Belgium where healing waters have been used to promote health since Roman times. “Spa” is now loosely used to describe any relaxing environment or beauty salon where rest, health and beauty are promoted.

At one time it was easy to distinguish among a beauty salon, barber shop and a doctor’s office. Not anymore. As cosmetics has become more medical and medicine has become more cosmetic, the two have met in the ubiquitous Medi-Spa. An establishment labelled a medical spa or medi-spa is generally one where medical procedures are performed or medicines are administered in the pursuit of beauty.

There is nothing inherently wrong with extending the field of medicine to include the state of beauty. Nor do I think it is problematic for the field of cosmetics and aesthetics to use medicine and surgery to accomplish its goals of making you more beautiful. But as a consumer, the burden is upon you to know what you are buying and from whom.

The allure of income from cosmetics is great, and physicians of all specialties have incorporated it into their medical practices. Gynecologists offer Restalyne, opthamologists offer Botox, family practice physicians have laser hair removal in their offices.

You do not need to be a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to perform cosmetic medicine. In Southern California there is even a pediatrician who treats cellulite (on adults, of course). This does not mean that he is unqualified to perform your cellulite treatment — he might be quite good at it.

More concerning is the fact that many people with no medical license are performing procedures. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to ask what qualifications and experience people treating you at the medi-spa have so you can make an informed decision.

Anytime an injection is given, a prescriptive device (such as a laser) is used, or a drug is prescribed, a licensed physician must be responsible for your care. Only licensed providers such as registered nurses, nurse practioners, or physician assistants can perform procedures. Other staff such as medical assistants or aestheticians are not licensed and are prohibted from practicing medicine.

The next time you go to the spa, be sure to ask the following questions for your safety:

  1. Who is performing the procedure?
  2. What is his or her license?
  3. What experience has he or she had?
  4. What are some complications or bad outcomes that have occurred?
  5. Is a physician present in the facility or nearby to assist if there is a problem?

Photo: Axel Hecht

Answer to questions 1-3: false.

Eating Sunscreen, Dirty Makeup, Bad Botox and Bedbugs

Post image for Should You Eat Sunscreen?

  • Summer is over. What should you do with all that left-over sunscreen? Don’t eat it. Nano particles in some sunscreens can be harmful to your insides according to the fabulous Beauty Brains.
  • Are you a dirty girl or is it just your makeup that’s dirty? Dr. Baumann gives you tips on keeping cosmetics clean.
  • Ewwwwh! Bedbugs are everywhere. What the heck are bedbugs anyway? And no, they are not from undocumented immigrants.
  • Bad, bad, Botox. Bella Sugar breaks down Botox maker’s bad behavior. How often do you think Big Pharma goes too far in marketing their drugs?