4 Tips to Use Retinoids the Right Way

Can’t tolerate your retinoid? Here are 4 tips on how to use retinoids the right way.

Can’t tolerate your retinoid? You’re not alone.

I prescribe a lot of retinoids because they work. Originally intended to treat acne, we now know that retinoids are an effective anti-aging treatment as well, reducing fine lines, wrinkles, and spots. Yet, many of my patients who start on retinoids contact me within a week to complain that their face is red and peeling.

They’re not allergic or intolerant to the retinoid. In fact, redness and peeling are both signs that the retinoid is working. It’s actually sloughing off old skin to reveal new skin underneath. That doesn’t mean they or you have to suffer.

Here are 4 tips to use retinoids the right way:

1. Take a break. If your face is flaking like a Noreaster or looks wind-burned, then take 5 to 7 days off. When you resume the retinoid, use it every third or fourth night. You’ll get the same benefits without the discomfort.

2. Stop using all of your anti-aging and acne products, especially those containing glycolic acid, salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide, unless otherwise directed by your physician.

3. Before applying a retinoid at night, be sure your face is washed and completely dry. This might require waiting a few minutes after washing. Apply pea-sized or smaller dabs of retinoid on your forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin and gently massage into the skin. Do not apply to your eyelids or lips.

4. Always wear sunscreen when you’re using a retinoid, even in winter, as it significantly increases your sensitivity to the sun.

Photo credit: FCC, Alyssa L. Miller

6 Tips for Choosing the Right Facial Moisturizer

Here are 6 steps for choosing the right facial moisturizer.

Beauty potion?

Last week I explained why you need a separate facial lotion in addition to body lotion. That was easy. Now comes the hard part: Buying one. If your drugstore is like mine, there are scores to choose from. I’m here to make the process a little easier for you.

Here are 6 steps for choosing a facial moisturizer:

1. If you have sensitive skin, then look for fragrance-free and oil-free moisturizers, such as Eucerin’s Daily Protection with SPF 30 (about $8) or Aveeno’s Ultra Calming Facial Lotion with SPF 15 (about $16).

2. If you’re prone to acne, then look for moisturizers labeled “non-comedogenic,” which means they won’t clog pores. Consider Neutrogena’s Rapid Defense Acne Clear Facial Lotion (about $7) or Eucerin’s Daily Protection with SPF 30 (about $8), the latter which is both fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

3. For normal to oily skin, choose a non-greasy, water-based moisturizer with silicone-derived ingredients, such as dimethicone. Consider Neutrogena’s Rapid Defense Acne Clear Facial Lotion (about $7) or Cetaphil DermaControl Moisturizer SPF 30 (about $15) which has a matte finish to combat shininess.

4. For dry to very dry skin, try heavier oil-based products made with mineral oil, glycerin.  or hyaluronic acid. For dry skin, consider Oil of Olay Active Hydrating Cream (about $15) and for very dry skin, try old-fashioned facials creams such as Pond’s Dry Skin Cream (about $7), or moisturizing creams made with shea butter or olive oil.

5. Be flexible. Realize that many factors affect your skin, including weather, hormones, medications, and age, so if your moisturizer doesn’t seem to be working, consider trying a different one. In fact, you may like a heavier one for the cold weather months, and a lighter gel or silicone-based one for warmer weather.

6. Save your money. You don’t have to buy expensive designer facial moisturizers. Whether it’s $50 or $15, they’ll likely have the same active ingredients. Most over-the-counter facial moisturizers are under $20 and do the job. In fact, one of my most frequently recommended products is Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 30 (about $15). It’s in my bathroom drawer at home.

And, remember, always apply facial moisturizer to still-damp skin after cleansing and allow to set for several minutes before applying make-up.

Got any facial moisturizers you like? Please share them with us in the comment section below.

Photo credit: FCC, daniela vladimirova

Can I Use My Body Moisturizer On My Face?

You should have two moisturizers: A lighter facial moisturizer and a heavier moisturizer for your body.

Lotion

I’m always encouraging patients to save money on skincare products and to keep products to a minimum. When it comes to moisturizer, however, more is better. You should have one for your body and one for your face. Here’s why:

Body moisturizers are generally heavier and greasier because they’re designed to cover large areas of skin that are less sensitive than your face. Applying body moisturizers to your face can lead to irritation, clogged pores, and acne.

Facial moisturizers, in contrast, are designed to be lighter, less greasy, and non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). They’re best for people with sensitive or acne-prone skin and good for just about anyone else.

You don’t have to spend lots of money for a designer facial moisturizer. Most over-the-counter ones work just fine.

Next time, I’ll share 6 tips for choosing a facial moisturizer.

Photo credit: FCC, Inglis

Is Your Hand Sanitizer Causing Hand Dermatitis?

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are effective reducing the spread of disease, but overuse can lead to severe hand dermatitis.

Hand Sanitiser Cloud

They’re everywhere: airports, schools, hospitals, movie theaters, and on many people’s key chains and backpacks: hand sanitizers.

A recent article in Cosmetic Dermatology titled “Rethinking Hand Sanitizers” looks at the benefits and drawbacks of hand sanitizers.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers when used properly do help prevent the spread of disease.  They’ve been endorsed by the World Health Organization and have played an important role in reducing the impact influenza and other infections.

Unfortunately, hand sanitizers are also a major cause of hand dermatitis which can lead to severe dryness, burning, redness, and cracked, bleeding skin.

So, should you stop using hand sanitizers? Not yet. They’re still less drying than soap-and-water hand washing. Instead, try this: Use hand sanitizers when necessary. And moisturize frequently.

If you develop a raging case of hand dermatitis, then follow these steps:

1. Stop using hand sanitizers, unless absolutely necessary.

2. Treat your hands to thick moisturizing creams, such as Neutrogena Hand Cream, and apply repeatedly throughout the day.

3. At night, apply a thick moisturizing cream or a healing ointment such as Aquaphor to your hands and wear cotton gloves to trap moisture in the skin.

4. It may take up to 2-3 weeks for your hands to heal at which point you can start to safely use your hand sanitizer again. But don’t stop the moisturizing, unless you want to keep repeating steps 1-3.

Here’s a video that shows you how to properly use hand sanitizer.

Photo credit: FCC, bratha

What the FDA’s New Sunscreen Labeling Rules Mean for You

How to read the FDA’s New Sunscreen Labeling Rules

The FDA has recently released new sunscreen labeling rules. Here’s what important for you to know:

1. Sunscreen vs. sunblock: Only “sunscreen” can appear on the label. “Sunblock” will no longer be allowed since they can’t block the sun or prevent skin cancer and aging.

2. Broad spectrum: Look for sunscreens labeled “broad spectrum” which means it protects against both skin-burning, cancer-causing UVB rays and skin-again, cancer-causing UVA rays.

3. SPF of 15 or higher: Only sunscreens with an SPF 15 or higher can claim to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.

4. Water Resistant: Sunscreens can no longer claim to be “waterproof” or “sweatproof.” A “water resistant” claim must specify whether it provides 40 or 80 minutes of protection.

Photo credit: FCC, TomPurves

There is No Such Thing as Waterproof Sunscreen

Beginning soon, sunscreen manufacturers will no longer be able to use misleading words such as “waterproof” or “sweatproof.”

Have you ever applied a waterproof sunscreen, gone for a swim or a jog, and ended up with a sunburn? That’s because there is no such thing as “waterproof” sunscreen; it’s a misleading term that overstates the product’s effectiveness, and the FDA is putting a stop to it.

Beginning soon, sunscreen manufacturers will no longer be able to use the words “waterproof” or “sweatproof” on their products. Instead, they will be labeled “water-resistant” and specify either 40 or 80 minutes of protection. Moreover, if sunscreens are not water-resistant, they will have to carry a warning stating so.

Photo credit: FCC JunCTionS

Do Spray Sunscreens Really Work?

Spray sunscreens work only when applied properly.

Do spray sunscreens really work?

Yes, if used properly. That’s because some people apply spray sunscreen on their skin the way grandmothers apply Aqua Net hairspray to their beehives — tightly closed eyes and lips, swirling arms, and chemical cloudbursts. Done this way, most of the sunscreen ends up in the air, not on your skin.

Here’s how to properly apply spray sunscreens:

1. Hold the bottle 6 inches from your skin.

2. Spray evenly.

3. Rub it in.

Don’t forget to cover your hands, feet, ears, and around your hairline.

Photo credit: FCC, joccay.