What’s the Difference Between an Antiperspirant and a Deodorant?

Are you using an antiperspirant or a deodorant? Do you even know? We have two types of sweat glands and two types of deodorant. In this video I’ll explain the difference and how to choose the product best for you. Please note that I’m a lifelong fan of Dove products and that I’m a consultant to Unilever, the company that makes Dove Men +Care.

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

5 Things You Should Know About Organic Beauty Products

“All natural. Certified organic. Made from natural ingredients. Pure botanicals. Chemical free.”

You might guess I’m standing in the farmers market. Nope. I’m in the health and beauty aisle at Target. The ubiquitous all-things-natural trend has overtaken the cosmetic industry. How do you know what is real and what is marketing hype? Here are 5 things you should know about organic beauty product labels:

1 – Labels that say “natural ingredients” or “botanicals” are not certified organic. These statements are not regulated. Most natural ingredients used in beauty products are actually modified in a lab. Truly botanical ingredients, like you’d pick in your garden, are usually unstable and would spoil like food.

2 – Natural doesn’t always mean better. Would you buy: Poison Ivy Eye-Cream? Stinging Nettles Anti-Itch Gel? The most toxic and allergy-inducing ingredients are naturally occurring substances, not manufactured ones.

3 – There are many standards of “organic.” USDA Certified Organic is the gold standard. Products with this label must be at least 95% organic and must not contain toxic ingredients. Products that are less than 95% but at least 75% can be labelled “made with organic ingredients.” If your product is not certified by the USDA, then inquire who certified it — some businesses will certify a product for a fee, which some people find improper.

4 – Organic products can still contain non-organic ingredients that are harmful. Your shampoo might be mostly organic, but it can still contain preservatives or fragrances that can cause a rash.

5 – All natural and organic beauty products are not necessarily more effective. The most potent skin care ingredients are prescription products, which are not organic.

There is value to choosing beauty products that are labelled organic — they may be better for you, and they’re probably better for the planet. Ultimately, the choice is yours. So now that you know what “organic” means on a label, at least it will be an informed choice.

Which of your products are organic? Do you think they are better? Why?

Photo: Rick Harrison

Gluten-Free Skin Products And Cosmetics

I just returned from the International Association of Culinary Professionals Conference in Portland, OR with @foodblogga (she was at the conference, I was just there to eat Voodoo Doughnuts). One of the hottest topics in food now is the gluten-free diet.

Gluten sensitivity isn’t new; it was first described in the first century AD. Celiac disease (the medical diagnosis for gluten-sensitive patients) was known in the 1880’s.

Despite the recent attention, true gluten sensitivity is uncommon and affects < 5% of the population. People who are sensitive to gluten develop an autoimmune reaction to wheat, barley, rye and other grains which leads to inflammation of their small intestine. Some gluten-sensitive people actually develop a rash called dermatitis herpetiformis (we derms love the big names, don’t we?).

Being the only dermatologist at this food conference (weird, huh?), people wanted to know: “If someone is gluten sensitive, must they also avoid applying cosmetics or using products that contain gluten?”


Gluten sensitivity is specific to your intestines; applying gluten to your skin will not trigger a gluten reaction. You can trigger a reaction if you eat your cosmetic, which is not that crazy when you consider that lip balms or toothpaste can contain gluten.

Other gluten-free products including shampoos, conditioners, makeup, etc. are unlikely to have any significance. If you develop a rash from your cosmetics, then see your physician — allergic contact dermatitis to fragrance or preservatives might be the cause for your rash.

If you develop a rash after eating several Maple and Bacon Voodoo Doughnuts, it was the gluten.

Photo: Bern@t (flickr)