Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ways to Fight Acne

It is a complex problem that is made more complicated by the varying severity of acne from person to person. The diversification of the acne problem (whether minimal or severe) is one of the reasons why acne treatments fill up pharmacy counters today. Although some work better than others, we don’t really know for sure how well a particular acne solution is going to work.

Acne treatments, from store brand to company brand, are everywhere. Sufferers scramble to find the latest trends in acne medicine. A few years ago, cleansing pads were introduced during an era of topical applications. Today, the newer course of action involves seeking out alternative acne remedies as an answer. Many alternative remedies have been proven to do well in curing the skin. Amongst a few alternative acne treatment include natural acne remedies and herbal acne treatments.

Natural treatments claim to have lesser side effects than medications. On the average, natural treatments take longer to work than dermatologist prescribed medications so keep that in mind. Masques and gels form a part of the natural treatment contingent and many of them give off the aura of spa like treatments as well. Today, many natural treatments emphasize the experience of having something cool soothe your face while having healing properties at the same time.

Herbal acne treatments are typically more powerful than natural treatments, but take the same time to work. Alternative acne treatments should be considered for everyone suffering acne. It is a way to avoid the side effects of medication and who knows if it will work for you. It is important to keep in mind that there is little scientific proof that supports the claims of both natural remedies and herbal remedies. Medical solutions will always be backed by scientific proof.

In addition to using alternative acne treatments, it is important to pay attention to your diet. It has been proven that reducing the amount of inflammatory foods leads to less acne. Rubbing tea tree oil and powdered oatmeal into your blemishes have been proven to work as well. Don’t pay attention to the myth that says poor hygiene is the cause of acne. Remember, acne starts beneath the surface of the skin as a result of bacteria and oil buildup. By having the knowledge firsthand on your condition, you are better equipped to acne free skin tomorrow.

Stopping Aging Before it Begins

20s and 30s are the New Face of Cosmetic Surgery
With almost everyone intent on slowing the aging process, increasing numbers of young people, both male and female, are opting for treatment. The idea is to actually stop aging before it even begins, therefore the trend is one of preventive plastic surgery. Julius W. Few, M.D. an assistant professor of plastic surgery at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine located in Chicago believes this trend is sure to continue.

Young people in their 20s and 30s are opting for Botox injections to slow or stop wrinkles, choosing to get these injections at the first sign of wrinkles. Botox stops the muscles from contracting by blocking the transmissions of signals from the nerves to muscles.

Some cosmetic surgeons believe that by starting this early will result in less work being needed later on. Dr. Few believes that using Botox or other similar anti-aging treatment to control wrinkles early on may prevent the development of deeper creases as the person ages.

In addition to Botox and other dermal fillers, the younger generation is also big on microdermasion and laser skin resurfacing so as to remove the outer signs of aging caused from environmental factors. It is a well known fact that sun exposure causes the skin to age, so by resurfacing, it is hoped that this effect is minimized.

The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) statistics for 2006 had 102,068 persons aged 19-34 opting for laser skin resurfacing and 9,156 of those 18 and younger also getting this procedure done.

Statistics from the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for 2006, shows that the number of Botox injections for persons aged 19 to 34 was 505,363 and 7,915 for persons aged 18 and younger. For other soft tissue fillers such as Restylane the numbers were 260,988 for the 19 to 34 age group and 5,423 for those aged 18 and under.

Another top anti-aging procedure for the 19 – 34 age group was microdermabrasion with 249,877.

Vice president of The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) believes in starting patients young, guiding them towards proper skin maintenance as a first step. Others in the industry also believe that proper protection from the sun and caring for the skin is the best way to help minimize the amount of work that may be needed as persons reach their 50s and 60s.

How Young is Too Young to Use Anti-Aging Products?

With the sales of anti-aging products continuing to climb, the skin care and anti-aging industries are churning out more creams, serums and lotions than we can count. So why are teens so interested in using the same anti-aging products when they already possess plump, radiant, smooth skin that’s free of fine lines and wrinkles?

For one thing, being a teenager involves caring about personal appearance - as well as being more appealing to the opposite sex. It’s hard for young girls to resist magazines ads, commercials and billboards advertising beauty products that are guaranteed to maintain a youthful and sexy complexion, while snagging the perfect dream guy. With celebrities dishing out their anti-aging beauty secrets, many girls (and guys) want to get a head start to make sure they, too, can look young forever. Even though this may seem like a harmless and even positive change from a parent’s point of view, be cautious of the anti-aging products you allow your teen to buy.

The main items a teenager’s daily skin care routine should consist of are: cleanser, toner, moisturizer and the typical acne or blemish treatments. The use of sunscreen or skin care products containing SPF is vital, as this age group is the most prone to developing skin cancer in later years. The signs of aging and skin damage related to UV rays don’t present itself until much later on in life, so it’s crucial that teenagers make sure they keep their skin protected at all times.

Other than these key items, teen skin doesn’t need much else. However, there are a few anti-aging products that are completely harmless for teens to use:

· Eye Cream: Like adults, teens can suffer from under eye puffiness, irritation and even fine lines. When using an anti-aging eye cream, be sure to read the label and take note of the ingredients. Gentle, natural ingredients are ideal. Make sure the product isn’t formulated for mature skin, as this skin type tends to require higher concentrations and may contain chemicals that are too harsh for young skin.

· Firming Cream/Lotion: Usually meant for sagging, dull skin, teens can also benefit from using firming creams and lotions. There are a number of trusted brands that can be found in the drugstore that won’t irritate or harm a teenager’s skin.

· Microdermabrasion: Whether it’s done professionally or using an at-home kit, microdermabrasion has grown to become popular with people of all ages. Gently exfoliating the top layers of the skin to reveal healthier skin cells, even tone and smooth rough, damaged skin does not pose a threat to teens. If done at home, carefully read the directions and do a patch test first.

Before investing in any anti-aging product, consult with a dermatologist and address any concerns you or your teen may have. As long as you stress the use of sunscreen daily as well as a healthy skin care regimen, your teen’s skin will be perfectly prepped for the long term so keep them away from anti-wrinkles creams, serums, peels, and other products designed specifically for mature skin.

Anti Aging : Wrinkle Fillers: The Next Fountain of Youth?

There are many options on the market today for reducing those fine lines and wrinkles that seem to make their way to our faces by the time we are celebrating the mid-life crisis. Some are topical in nature, and some are surgical. One procedure that many are turning to is a wrinkle filler, which will give similar effects to surgery without the need for a general anesthesia and a long recovery period. While wrinkle fillers have been used for many years now, the technology of the procedure is constantly advancing and improving to make the process safer and longer lasting. If you would like to say goodbye to some of your deeper lines and wrinkles, perhaps a soft tissue filler procedure is the answer for you. But before you make an appointment for your wrinkle filler, there are a few basics that you should know about this process.

As you age, your body begins to lose collagen, which is the process that contributes to the lines that begin to develop on your face as well as to your sagging skin. Without collagen, your skin cannot maintain the elasticity of its youth. It stands to reason that by injecting collagen back into the skin, you would be able to effectively erase some of those signs of aging. This is essentially what a wrinkle filler will do, although the substance that is injected will vary, based on the type of procedure that is done. According to many of the manufacturers and doctors who perform wrinkle fillers, there are a number of areas that will effectively respond to this type of treatment. Wrinkle fillers work best on moderate to deep lines and wrinkles, as well as sunken cheeks and crow’s feet. For mild lines and defects, a topical agent is generally recommended first, since it is less invasive than injections.

Types of Wrinkle Fillers

There are a number of different types of wrinkle fillers on the market today, and they will vary based on the substance that is injected under the skin to replace the collagen that is lost. Most will use collagen that is human or bovine in nature, or will contain a base ingredient called hyaluronic acid or HA. The material used will determine how long the procedure will generally last (anywhere from three months to a year or more), how likely you are to have an allergic reaction to the injections, and how expensive the process will be. If you are considering a wrinkle filler procedure, talk to your cosmetic surgeon or dermatologist about which procedure might be the best for you. In the case of a wrinkle filler injection, it will pay to collect your facts and seek professional advice before making a final decision.

Aging Gracefully with Oily Skin

If you have ever searched the drugstore shelves for a skin care product that will diminish wrinkles while effectively battling potential acne breakouts, you know that these products are few and far between. The truth is that anti-aging products for oily skin are not exactly a big market. Part of the reason is that oily skin does not always tend to show those fine lines as early as drier skin might. The other is that many of the ingredients that are used to treat wrinkles are apt to cause breakouts as well. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can successfully win the battle against aging even if your skin tends to be on the oily side.

The first step in finding a good anti-aging product for oily skin is to determine exactly how oily your skin type is. If you suffer from frequent acne breakouts, your skin may run on the very oily side, meaning that you will have to exercise additional caution before putting any new product on your face. However, if your pimples are few and far between, you may be able to get away with one of the standard anti-aging products on the market without causing any additional problems with your complexion. This will most certainly make it easier for you to find an effective anti-aging product for your oily skin.

Hope for the Acne-Prone

Even if you do tend to lean to the very oily side of skin care, there are products out there that may work effectively on your skin. The problem is that you may be experiencing dry skin on the surface, while the inner layers are still fairly oily. This means that you may need to find a way to moisturize that drier top layer of skin without adding to the oil problem below. Your best bet is to find a moisturizer for your face that does not contain any wax, oil or lipids. This way you can keep your top layer of skin hydrated effectively without the worry of adding oil or clogging pores.

There are other factors that can come into play when fighting the effects of aging with oily skin. First, keep in mind that harsh cleaning will dry the skin out and lead to lines and wrinkles much earlier. Do not wash your face more than twice a day and avoid harsh soaps that will lead to excessive dryness. UV rays can also wreak havoc with your skin, leading it to age much sooner than necessary. Always wear sunscreen when you are outdoors, and make sure it is one that will work well for oily skin. It is also a good idea to limit hot showers to once a day, and avoid wearing more makeup than necessary. All of these habits will reduce dryness while treating oily skin.

Wrinkles and pimples don’t have to show up on your face at the same time. By exercising some precautions in the area of skin care, you can fight the effects of aging while keeping your oily skin in check.

Beauty and Skin Care for the Woman on the Go

Being “Miss Busybody” is one thing, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your skin care. Whether you’re the stay-at-home mom who has to be everywhere at once, the top executive with endless meetings or the multitasking college student burning the midnight oil, there are helpful tips for staying beautiful on the go.

Time management is essential in any routine so the best way to accommodate your skin care regimen into your daily hustle and bustle is to save yourself time by planning ahead. Lay out your makeup items and skin care products you know you’ll need the night before. Display your products on your bathroom sink and arrange them in the order that you’ll be using them so you don’t skip anything. By already having your morning skin care and makeup items set up, all you have to do is wake up instead of wasting minutes looking for your favorite beauty item. It also helps to coordinate your makeup colors with the next day’s outfit ahead of time as well so you know that your look will be complete.

Use simple skin care and makeup items that don’t take forever to apply. Practice your makeup application until you feel so confident that you can do it in your sleep.

Showering at night saves you tons of time in the morning, so all you have left to do is cleanse, tone and moisturize. Learn to multitask effectively by using products like 2-in-1 cleansers that also exfoliate or tone. This frees up a few steps out of your morning skin care regimen. To help set your makeup more effectively, allow your moisturizer to sit on your face for at least five minutes prior to application. This helps makeup set better. While you’re waiting for your skin to completely absorb the moisturizer, start working on your hair and/or brush your teeth. By the time you get your tresses tamed and your smile bright, you’ll be all set to go for makeup.

Skip time-consuming eyeliner and opt for a light coat of mascara and stick to one shade of eye shadow. Dab on some lipstick or gloss. When it comes to foundation, one of the quickest ways to apply it in a hurry is to dot your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin. Then use a clean sponge to smoothly blend. Check in a mirror using a bright light to make sure there are no streaks or other problems spots. If foundation takes too long, go without and sport the natural look. The most radiant skin happens when your skin isn’t covered with layers of foundation, powder and concealer. If you don’t have the skin to pull off the “au naturale” look, then remember that less is more.

Summer Skin and Your Worst Enemies

Summer is vastly approaching and while we may love the warm weather, our skin will eventually pay the price. Sunburns and ticks are no stranger to summer weather or our delicate skin. Protection and first aid care are a must and while we hope you won’t have to face summer’s worst enemies, we’ve prepared a guide, just in case.


If you’ve ever stayed out in the sun without SPF for too long, then you know the consequences. Pale or dark skin, it doesn’t matter, sunburn can happen to anyone and eventually it can lead to skin cancer if you don’t protect yourself now.

Protect – Be sure to wear an SPF of 15 or higher and apply every two hours when you are out in the sun. Don’t forget the face and don’t skimp out on it. If you’re going to be out in the water, be sure to apply the SPF before and after you are in the water. Also, remember to wear sunglasses that will block UV light. Wear a big floppy hat to protect your face and ears. If you can, stay out of the sun when it’s at its harshest, which is usually between 10am and 3pm.

Symptoms – Generally sunburn symptoms will appear in 1 to 6 hours after being out in the sun. Your skin may look pink or red and hot to the touch. If you have severe sunburn you may be a very dark red with swelling and blisters. You may also have fever, an upset stomach, dehydration, headache and dizziness.

First Aid – Get out of the sun immediately. If your sunburn is minor, place a cool wet cloth on the burn or take a cool bath since showers could be very painful. Afterwards, apply an Aloe Vera gel to the affected areas. If you’re running a fever or have pain, take a medication such as ibuprofen and drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to re-hydrate. If the sunburn is severe and the blisters become infected, seek a medical professional immediately.

If you continue to expose yourself to sunburns, you could end up with wrinkled and saggy skin, brown spots, or skin cancer.


If you’ve never been exposed to those little blood-sucking parasites known as ticks, then you’re lucky! Ticks can be found living in tall grass, woods and mountains. They will attach themselves to you, latching onto your skin and digging in. Most tick bites are not dangerous, but there are a few that can cause serious illness.

Protect – To prevent a tick bite, stay away from tall grass or any areas that are infested with ticks. If it is impossible to stay away from the area, wear pants that are tucked inside of your boots or socks and a long sleeved shirt. You can also use an insect repellant meant for ticks, on your skin and clothing.

Symptoms – If you have a tick bite, you may feel pain and see some swelling where the tick has attached itself. You may see a very small bump with redness and experience some itching that should go away within a week. If you begin to experience headaches, chills or a fever or have any other flu like symptoms it could be the sign of an illness from the tick and you should see a medical professional immediately.

First Aid – If you find a tick on you, remove it immediately by soaking a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and clean the area around the tick. Next, grasp the tick as close as possible with a pair of tweezers and gently pull it out. Once you have removed the tick, dispose of it by lighting with a match or flushing it down the toilet. Clean the infected area with rubbing alcohol and cover with a bandage if needed. If the tick bite is bothersome you can apply an ice pack to the bite. If you cannot remove the tick or left part of it’s body inside of you, seek medical help.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!

How to Make Your Woman Feel Beautiful

Perhaps those Valentine’s Day flowers and chocolate didn’t prove to your precious that you are indeed the man who thinks she is the most beautiful woman in the world, but never fear. Each day is an opportunity to make your woman feel beautiful. Below are a few tips to help you on your way.

Compliment a Facial Feature that you Rarely Recognize

Although you may constantly let your lady know that you love her lips, as the days go by it is important to let her know you love all of the things about her. Compliment an aspect of her face that perhaps you secretly love but she never sees you looking at, like her jaw-line or her cute and petite ears.

Pay Attention to a Place on her Body that often Goes Neglected

Do you always kiss your woman on the cheek when you see her? Mix it up and kiss her on her neck or her temple when greeting her as well as her cheek to let her know you think she is a special part of your day.

Give her a Foot Massage

Feet are often an overlooked and underappreciated part of a woman’s body. She will know you think she is beautiful when you insist on pampering her by giving her feet some loving attention. Who knows, you may even get a massage in return.

Find a way to Improve her Beauty Sleep

Sleep is a time for feeling relaxed, tranquil and beautiful. Whether you spend the nights next to your sweetheart or you kiss her goodnight and sleep alone, do something that will help her fall asleep and think of you thinking of her. Get her bath salts to soak in before bed or candles to scent the room before she dozes off.

Gift her with Something Unique Chosen Especially for her

Choosing a beautiful gift that is uncommon lets your lady know that you think about her as more than just a stereotypical girl. If you normally gift flowers from a fancy store, consider bringing her most favorite meal instead with flowers you handpicked for her. Instead of the typical gift of jewelry for her birthday, give her the gift of a spa day and special night out to let her know you are really thinking of her.

Friday, July 13, 2007

First Wine Therapy Skin Care Line Combining Cosmeceuticals and Organics to Unveil at Cosmoprof

Herbwalk Inc., the creator of OLAVIE Chardonnay Wine Therapy spa products and treatments, is unveiling its new face line, Le Vin at Cosmoprof in Las Vegas on July 15, 2007. Le Vin is the first wine therapy facial skin care line in the market to combine cosmeceutical ingredients and organics to deliver physician-grade results.
Herbwalk Inc., the leader in antioxidant wine therapy skin care, announces the unveiling of Le Vin™, the first wine therapy face care line combining cosmeceuticals and organics at Cosmoprof North America in Las Vegas on July 15, 2007. By using high concentrations of peptides and organic herbal extracts, Le Vin™ is the first organics-based skin care line to deliver physician-grade results.

There will be six products initially in the Le Vin™ line: 1) Toning Cleanser, 2) Tri-Enzyme Exfoliation Mask, 3) Intense Hydro-Recovery Mask, 4) Eye Serum, 5) Face Serum, and 6) Face Cream. The first three will be for professional use only while the latter three are for both professional and take-home care. Unique to Le Vin™ is the patent-pending Vita-Vino Actif™. This super potent anti-oxidant complex is a unique combination of vitamins, Chardonnay grape seed extract and resveratrol, which brings about robust performance in stimulating cell regeneration, reducing wrinkles and fine lines, evening out skin tone, and protecting against free radical damage. Vita-Vino Actif™ can be found in the Eye Serum, Face Serum and Face Cream. In recent months, the popularity for Herbwalk's body line, OLAVIE™ Chardonnay wine therapy spa products, has manifested into a growing international sensation that has resulted in widespread media attention in both wine and beauty industries. Magazines that recently featured OLAVIE™ products and spas offering OLAVIE™ body treatments include major American and foreign publications such as Lucky (2/07), Life & Style (3/07), Gala (Germany, 5/07), and Wine Enthusiast (7/07). "I am glad that people are finally waking up to amazing benefits of wine therapy in skin care," says Ken Heng, Director of Marketing and Sales at Herbwalk Inc. "When we first started selling to spas, many people thought wine therapy only belonged in the wine country. However, with the tremendous success many of our clients have been experiencing in non-wine producing areas as diverse as Nashville, TN and Colorado Springs, CO, many spas are finally realizing skin care can be fun and effective at the same time!"

Originating in wine country, wine therapy uses grape seed extract for anti-aging purposes in skin care. According to research, grape seed polyphenols, which are antioxidant compounds found in grape seeds, form a protective layer on the skin and stimulate the renewal of cells and collagen. Polyphenols also clear up free radicals, which damage and age cells.

OLAVIE™, exclusively incorporating the specific Chardonnay grape seed extract in its spa products, has had great success outside of wine country in the US, Canada, and Mexico -- being featured in popular hotels and resorts including The Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton. "We believe the reason wine therapy is taking off in the hotel/resort spa market is that this treatment concept is the only one that can take advantage of cross-marketing opportunities offered by their Food & Beverage and Events Departments," says Ken Heng. Le Vin™ will be available at select medical spas and high-end spas starting August, 2007.

Herbwalk is the leader in wine-based spa treatments and products. For more information, visit the company's website at or contact Joe Senart at 303-809-9811 or Joe.Senart(@)

Elizabeth Arden Releases New Skin Care Cream

Written by OJ Fagbire

A new skin care product, Intervene Pause and Effect Moisture Cream and SPF 15 Lotion, was introduced into the market by Elizabeth Arden, designed to "stop time" when a woman feels her most beautiful.

The cream and lotion are only part of an Intervene beauty line that slows the aging process and allows women to look younger longer while working to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The Intervene 3-in1 Daily Cleanser Exfoliator Primer was created to gently remove layers of dead skin from the face and let the fresh look of new skin shine through, everyday.

Elizabeth Arden Releases New Skin Care Cream

Written by OJ Fagbire

A new skin care product, Intervene Pause and Effect Moisture Cream and SPF 15 Lotion, was introduced into the market by Elizabeth Arden, designed to "stop time" when a woman feels her most beautiful.

The cream and lotion are only part of an Intervene beauty line that slows the aging process and allows women to look younger longer while working to prevent the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The Intervene 3-in1 Daily Cleanser Exfoliator Primer was created to gently remove layers of dead skin from the face and let the fresh look of new skin shine through, everyday.

Janie Lawrence tests the latest weapons in the war on cellulite

Is your body free of cellulite and ready for the summer? No, nor is mine, although I've lost count of how many women's magazines have posed that question since March.

Cellulite: does the future have to be orange peel
Get rid of cellulite: try these spa treatments

Such is the obsession with the orange-peel effect that there is now a plethora of treatments available.

According to Dr Trisha Macnair, reporter for Radio 4's Case Notes, they are all pointless and we're wasting our money.

"Cellulite is highly related to oestrogen and begins in puberty. It's a change in the skin when you get more fibrous tissue beneath the surface and tiny fibrous tethers pull on it. It's a natural ageing process."

Not surprisingly, Kristin Schaefer Centofanti, head of research and development for Ultratone, disagrees.

"That's like saying once you're flabby, you'll always be flabby. It's such a defeatist attitude."

Ultratone uses electrical impulses to target particular areas of cellulite.

"Electrical activity is intrinsic to all living processes.

If we mimic this impulse with a machine we can transform the body."

So, con job or beneficial treatment? There was only one way to find out.

Would our cynical volunteers be swayed by three sessions of the latest salon treatments?


From £80 per treatment
(020 7436 3936;

This is really mesotherapy without needles. A gel, a blend of herbs, vitamins and minerals, was applied to the area to be treated.

The idea is to push this through the skin using an electric current, so I had to place my hand on a small mat and immerse it in conductor gel.

The front of my thighs have always been a bit lumpy and stored extra water which gives them a bloated and mottled effect.

I was very doubtful that a treatment could improve their appearance, but I'm astonished at the results. My skin looks so much younger and smoother. Kate Molloy

From £35 per treatment
(020 7935 0631)

Pads with a small electrical pulse are attached to different muscles.

It feels weird because your muscles contract and move on their own and you get localised pins and needles, although it wasn't unpleasant and the strength of each pad could be adjusted.

After the second treatment several people told me I had lost weight.

I noticed a smoothness to my cellulite and everything seemed firmer. Alex Molloy

Gerard's seaweed treatment
From £50 per treatment
(Call 020 8202 2020 for your nearest salon.)

First you're exfoliated front and back, then smothered in seaweed and wrapped in clingfilm.

After the seaweed is removed there is a vigorous massage. It was very relaxing and I could ceertainly see and feel a change in skin texture after the first treatment.

After all three there was a very visible change. I'd have the treatment again. Catherine Ashby

Accent radio frequency device
From £150 per treatment.
(0800 028 7222;

I was assured that the treatment would "melt away my fat" and my skin certainly got warm enough.

First some oil was applied to my skin and then a machine warmed it up to 40 degrees. Another machine then delivered electrical pulses to the heated area.

I could see a difference in the texture of my skin afterwards and it definitely felt smoother, but I didn't lose any inches. Suzanne Noble

Crystal Clear
£75 per treatment; new spa opening in Mayfair
(08705 934 934;

The magic ingredient is a hand-held machine that gives sharp pinches to dimpled thighs and bottom.

It didn't shift my cellulite entirely, but I did notice a 30 per cent improvement in skin tone and texture, thanks in part to a deeply relaxing massage.

Best of all two pounds had dropped off. Casilda Grigg

The latest in home treatment: Lasers

By Shari Roan/Los Angeles Times
Laura Beard was flipping through a women's magazine when an advertisement caught her eye. It sounded simple enough: Aim a laser at individual blemishes — in the privacy of one's home — and the skin will clear up within a day or two.

The cost, $150, gave her only slight pause. If the device worked, it would save her the time and money she spent on acne treatments and dermatologist visits for herself and her daughter. "I have very dry skin, so I have to be careful about using acne remedies with benzoyl peroxide," says the 53-year-old Memphis woman. "This sounded so positive."

With the evolution of laser technology, do-it-yourself personal care has entered a new realm. Consumers can now calm acne flare-ups, plump facial wrinkles and restore thinning hair with a variety of hand-held devices. Others in development could treat superficial wounds, relieve pain and remove body hair.

"This field will grow because we have discovered how to channel the power of light and cause reactions in the skin and hair," says John Carullo, director of marketing for Sunetics, manufacturer of a hair-regrowth device. "It's quite an exciting industry, and it's on the verge of exploding."

Home hair and skin appliances using lasers or, in some cases, heat, can spare consumers from tiresome trips to the doctor's office and may be less costly, over time, than monthly in-office facials and hair treatments. But they won't work the same kind of magic that can be conjured up with more high-powered tools. And some may even be a waste of money.

"It's a matter of degree," says Dr. Harold Brody, a clinical professor of dermatology at Emory University in Atlanta. "If people are trying to treat mild conditions, it may help. But if it's something severe, they will need the help of a dermatologist."

The popularity of in-home treatments mirrors the use of medical devices by physicians, says Dr. Wendy E. Roberts, a Rancho Mirage, Calif., dermatologist and assistant professor of medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center.

"I think eventually these could be effective for home use," she says. "But right now, there are questions about the efficacy of some of these systems. There's a lot of hype."

Consumers may have especially high expectations for home lasers.

Lasers release a special form of light in a single wavelength; by contrast, normal daylight consists of varying wavelengths. Hot lasers, the kind used by health professionals in the treatment of skin resurfacing and tattoo removal, are high-energy devices that cause heat damage to the skin, triggering a healing response.

Cool lasers are sometimes called low-level lasers or low-level light therapy. This type of laser doesn't damage tissue and is safe to use at home. They work by passing a beam of light through the skin to reach cells below the skin's surface and stimulate the body's natural healing processes. Energy produced by cool lasers appears to prompt the production of collagen and ATP (the energy source needed for cellular functions), promote blood circulation and boost the release of growth factors and the removal of waste products from cells.

"I sincerely doubt any of these things are so aggressive that they would produce side effects," says Brody. "But the effectiveness is going to be mild too."

Consumers may think that Food and Drug Administration clearance means the devices work similarly to those used by doctors. But FDA clearance of this type means only that the manufacturer has submitted some data showing effectiveness for the device's intended purpose. Usually this means the device is based on similar, proven technology. Devices that do not have FDA clearance may only be proven as safe.

For example, devices to stimulate hair regrowth for balding men have been sold over-the-counter for years although manufacturers couldn't claim the devices helped regrow hair. The approval in February for the HairMax LaserComb was a milestone because the manufacturer produced scientific data to show the product had some effect in growing hair.

But not every light-based hair and skin device has received FDA clearance.

"Consumers need to ask enough questions to make sure what they are getting is truly efficacious," says Dr. Mark Solomon, a plastic surgeon in Philadelphia and spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. "Over-the-counter devices don't hurt anybody, so you can sell them. But that doesn't mean they work."

The American Cancer Society has warned that low-level light therapy products in particular are being touted for conditions for which there is little or no proof that they help, such as pain relief, inflammation, smoking cessation, herpes, high blood pressure and migraines.

Although there is some research supporting the effects of low-level laser therapy for hair regrowth and acne, there is little or no data to support other uses, Roberts says.

Consumers should seek a doctor's advice for persistent skin or hair problems, Brody says. A home device could lighten a skin lesion that is actually a melanoma skin cancer or remove scaling skin, the symptom of another type of skin cancer.

Hair removal

Professional laser hair removal is a $2.7 billion dollar business, and makers of home laser devices hope to tap into the market. In December, the FDA cleared a home device from Gillette, but the device won't be available this year.

"We are not going to launch something until we are 100% satisfied with everything about the device," says Kelly Vanasse, a spokeswoman for Gillette. "We're still working on it."

The concept behind laser hair removal is that light emitted from the device is absorbed by the dark pigment in the hair follicle. The energy is converted to heat, causing the hair to fall out in a couple of days. Repeated treatments are needed to target the hair follicles in their various stages of growth.

Some data suggest that the hair that grows back is lighter and finer, but it's not clear how often the hand-held device will have to be used.

Professional laser hair removal treatments can cost $300 or more per treatment (several are needed), but can eventually eliminate shaving.

A Pleasanton, Calif., company called SpectraGenics is already selling a home-use laser hair removal device outside the country. The company is seeking FDA clearance to sell the device in the United States, says Robert Grove, president of SpectraGenics.

"Laser hair removal in an office setting is an enormously successful enterprise," he says. "The convenience of doing laser hair removal at home we think will be of great interest."

Hair regrowth

About 55 million American men have some degree of hair loss, thus creating a potentially big market for an effective at-home treatment.

The HairMax LaserComb may be an option for men who don't want to pay for hair restoration surgery but who also don't have high expectations. It delivers a specific wavelength of light that stimulates the hair follicle, says its manufacturer, Lexington International.

In studies by the manufacturer, the device increased the number of thick hairs in 93 percent of 120 users. The average increase in hair density was 19 hairs per square centimeter — roughly a 20 percent improvement in someone with thinning hair.

The device costs $545 and must be used 10 to 15 minutes a day, three times a week to maintain the effect.

In contrast, laser hood treatments, which are available in clinics and cover the entire scalp, can cost hundreds of dollars per treatment and need to be repeated at least twice a week.

Hair transplants provide a more permanent solution but typically cost thousands of dollars. Topical medications, such as Rogaine, run about $10 per bottle for the generic but produce only modest results for some users.

The laser hair comb is not backed by randomized, controlled studies done by independent researchers, says Dr. Paul Cotterill, president of the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. The device may be best suited for men who are serious about hair regrowth, such as those who undergo hair transplantation and want to augment the result at home, he says.

"This new laser comb won't hurt, and it may help at maintaining hair," Cotterill says. "But I want to see third-party studies — studies that have not been done by the people who produced it."

Other laser hair regrowth devices are on the market but haven't received FDA clearance to make claims of effectiveness. Sunetics, which sells the Laser Hair Brush, is applying for FDA clearance, says John Carullo, the company's marketing director.

Acne treatment

The two home-based laser acne devices on the market — ThermaClear and Zeno — are not meant to help prevent acne or improve chronic acne, but simply to treat existing blemishes. Both are based on laser technology used by dermatologists and use controlled bursts of heat.

"Unlike topical products, the heat device is able to penetrate the layers of the skin," says Peter Scocimara, chief executive of Therative, which makes ThermaClear. "This will not prevent the onset of new acne lesions. People still need comprehensive therapy."

Most dermatologists think the devices are handy for people who want to treat the occasional, untimely pimple. The burst of heat, which isn't painful, destroys the bacteria in the pimple and helps the skin heal faster.

Zeno, the first device to receive FDA clearance, in 2005, clears 90 percent of blemishes in 24 to 48 hours, according to its manufacturer, Houston-based Tyrell Inc. ThermaClear will heal acne two to four times faster than normal (normal varies among individuals) than if left untreated, according to its manufacturer, Therative in Livermore, Calif. The devices don't work on blackheads, whiteheads or cystic acne.

Both Zeno and ThermaClear cost about $150. No studies have been done comparing the devices with topical or oral acne treatments.

Skin rejuvination

RejuvaWand, which purports to soften facial wrinkles, sends red and infrared light into the skin in four-minute treatments. The device, which became available in February for $200, is designed to stimulate cellular production of collagen, plumping up wrinkles and thin skin.

RejuvaWand has not received FDA clearance although the manufacturer, Light Dimensions in Palo Alto, Calif., has applied for the designation.

The company recently announced the conclusions of its own clinical study of 36 women showing that 67 percent reported an overall average improvement of 13 percent in facial wrinkles and skin texture.

The improvements increased slightly after 60 days of use. The device must be used daily for 60 days and twice a week thereafter to maintain the effects.

"If you look at what we're doing — a nonthermal, nondestructive type of energy applied to the skin — we're getting a statistically significant amount of improvement," says Dr. Leonardo Rasi, a laser surgeon in Redlands, Calif., who performed the study under contract with Light Dimensions but who has no other financial ties to the company.

But, he says, "this is not going to replace all doctors' lasers and light treatments."

Other doctors are dubious. In-office treatments, such as laser treatments, filler injections and face-lifts, can be painful and costly — ranging from about $500 to thousands of dollars — but produce results that are substantial and predictable.

The small amount of improvement cited in the RejuvaWand study may not impress consumers any more than the results they get from over-the-counter skin creams.

"Theoretically, this could work," says Dr. Wendy E. Roberts, a Rancho Mirage, Calif., dermatologist and assistant professor of medicine at Loma Linda University Medical Center. But, she says, more detailed studies are needed.The latest in home treatment: Lasers

Treatment for acne scars

by Sebastian Foss

There are several forms of treatment for acne scars in current usage.

Dermabrasion is a cosmetic medical procedure in which the surface of the skin is removed by abrasion (sanding). It is used to remove sun-damaged skin and to remove or lessen scars and dark spots on the skin. The procedure is very painful and usually requires a general anaesthetic or twilight anaesthesia, in which the patient is still partly conscious Afterward, the skin is very red and raw-looking, and it takes several months for the skin to regrow and heal. Dermabrasion is useful for scar removal when the scar is raised above the surrounding skin, but is less effective with sunken scars. Acne No More Click Here - To Cure Acne Holistically

In the past, dermabrasion was done using a small, sterilized, electric sander. In the past decade, it has become more common to use a CO2 or Erbium:YAG laser. Laser dermabrasion is much easier to control, much easier to gauge, and is practically bloodless compared to classic dermabrasion.

Fractional Laser resurfacing is a procedure which wounds the skin using microscopic pulses of light to wound the skin. Over the course of several treatments scars are softened as the body regenerates the areas of microthermal wounding. Several lasers are now on the market such as the Fraxel Laser, Affirm Laser, and Pixel Laser.

Laser resurfacing is a technique used during laser surgery wherein molecular bonds of a material are dissolved by a laser.

Chemical peels

Punch techniques

Subcision is a process used to treat deep rolling scars left behind by acne or other skin diseases. Essentially the process involves separating the skin tissue in the affected area from the deeper scar tissue. This allows the blood to pool under the affected area, eventually causing the deep rolling scar to level off with the rest of the skin area. Once the skin has leveled, treatments such as laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion or chemical peels can be used to smooth out the scarred tissue.

Acne is more commonly found in the western countries especially of the American and European continents. This could be because of a higher genetic disposition in these areas. There are many natural and ayurvedic treatment of acne. Many herbs and medicinal plants mentioned in are very effective in acne natural cure.
§ Application of buttermilk on the affected regions is also helpful.

§ Prepare a mixture of nutmeg and red sandalwood in water. Apply this mixture on the face.

§ Application of a paste of thorns of the semolina in milk for three consecutive nights will help reduce the eruptions.

§ Application of a paste of thorns of the semolina in milk for three consecutive nights will help reduce the eruptions.

Herbs for Acne

§ Sarsaparilla

§ Red Clover

§ Yellow Dock

§ Burdock

§ Dandelion Root

Dry Skin and Eczema Treatment Laundry Tips

Did you know that your clothes could be causing or exacerbating your dry skin or eczema? Here are some laundry tips that could prevent itching, flare-ups and infection. Along with a good dry skin treatment product that helps retain natural moisture and keep out irritating chemicals, changing your laundry habits could be all you need. Here’s how you do it.

One of the biggest offenders is new clothing. New clothes often contain impurities, excess dye, chemicals that help the material maintain its shape or wrinkle less easily, and so on. These chemicals can dry the skin, and can also irritate existing dry skin conditions or cause eczema flares. Washing new clothes before you wear them removes these irritating substances. This also applies to sheets, pillow cases and other bedding that touches your skin.

Always use fragrance free detergents and soaps. Contrary to what you might think, that ‘lemon’ scent is not from lemons, and that ‘spring fresh’ scent is not from newly mown grass and wildflowers. Soaps and detergents are scented with toxic chemical sprays that irritate dry skin and exacerbate eczema.

Whatever your laundry detergent, make sure you rinse twice to ensure all of the detergent is out of your clothes before you put them on.

When buying clothes and bedding, choose natural materials – cotton, wool, silk and hemp – but go organic. You may have heard of ‘green’ clothing. Green does not refer to the color; it refers to the fact that the fibers were grown without chemicals. Before the ‘green’ clothing movement, about 25 percent of the world’s insecticides and 10 percent of pesticides were used to grow cotton. More than 84 million pounds of pesticides were used in just one year, and seven of them were known carcinogens. All those chemicals wind up in our clothes, and they’re hard to get out.

Wearing green clothes can help prevent and treat dry skin and eczema and reduce eczema flares.

Using the laundry tips above, and using a good eczema and dry skin treatment that helps prevent absorption of any chemicals you can’t avoid could be all the skin treatment you need. Give it a try!

Keep your feet healthy and be a sole survivor

YOU'VE bought those glamorous thonged flip-flops, funky sling-back wedges and vertiginous strappy sandals. You've even clipped and painted your toenails in the must-have colour de jour.

But feet are among the hardest-working parts of our body, yet often the most neglected - just ask Victoria Beckham who was recently snapped with her bunions squashed into high-heeled sandals.
Bunions, blisters, cracked heels, nail fungus, nasty odours, calluses, hard discoloured skin - there's nothing nastier than catching a glimpse of a stomach-churning foot ailment, ruining a perfect look.

And if your tootsies have spent their adult lives cocooned in boots, crammed into dangerously-high heels or even let loose in sweaty trainers, the chances are they will need a complete overhaul when it comes to the summer unveiling, with three out of four of us suffering from some sort of foot problem.

Most of us take a whopping 18,000 steps every day and walk 100,000 miles in our lifetime so it's crucial to take care of our feet to prevent serious problems developing. And no, a simple pedicure or dousing in moisturiser will not do. Only chiropodists and podiatrists, who specialise in foot health, can treat and solve the nasty medical conditions that plague many a foot.

These foot doctors not only solve problems but also prevent them from recurring through specialist care and knowledge.

"Your feet are in shoes most of the time and people often don't look after them, seeing them as something at the end of their legs," says Edinburgh podiatrist, Anne Sibbald of Natural Therapies, a foot doctor for more than 20 years. "What we forget is that, as we're walking, our feet hit the ground at an approximate acceleration rate of 30mph and that's why it's so painful if you stub your toe.

"Feet are also very good shock absorbers too."

Edinburgh podiatrist Toni Blacklock, of the Edinburgh Podiatry Clinic, agrees and adds: "Feet are the last part we wash in the shower and are often forgotten about when moisturising.

"Why? Because unless they remind us they're there, they're taken for granted and, if something goes wrong, everything stops. There's little worse than sore feet."

According to Toni, neglecting our tootsies doesn't just lead to bunions and sore knees, it can also have more serious consequences. Foot problems are directly associated with back pains and with hips so damaged they might eventually need to be replaced. Ultimately, poor foot care can result in limited mobility.

Anne continues: "If you don't look after your feet, long term you can get chronic problems, which not only affect your feet but your knees, ankles, hips and even the back. By looking after your feet at an early stage, you're less likely to get problems."

Anne, who's also the Edinburgh secretary for the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, stresses that because the feet are the most overworked and overlooked part of the body, people should sign up for an annual check-up to prevent rather than cure ailments.

"Podiatrists can actually check to see if you're likely to get problems and advise early on," she adds. "Think of it as a check-up because, if your feet go wrong, it can cause huge amounts of problems and impact upon your daily life."

And if you think hard skin or cracked heels are fine, you should think again.

"Hard skin, if left too long, isn't good either," says Anne. "In diabetics, it can lead to ulceration under the hard skin. Hard skin in general can hide serious problems. And cracked heels can end up leading to cellulitis and other infections."

According to the NHS website, both chiropodists and podiatrists are qualified to diagnose and treat abnormalities of the lower limb, as well as give advice on the prevention of foot problems and foot care.

Chiropodists are available at The Scholl Total Footcare Centre, where they diagnose and treat every foot problem imaginable. Tonic Health on Commercial Street has a podiatry clinic, as does Medicalternative. The Bruntsfield Chiropody, A1 Chiropody and the Brougham Foot Clinic are all popular clinics too.

However, once any foot problems are solved, it's time to visit a pedicurist - the experts of the beauty world at keeping feet in top condition.

Salon LA, on Broughton Street, offers some of the very best foot care in the Capital and its pedicure experts treat both men and women.

All their deluxe pedicures are carried out on a throne chair - a New York-style massaging leather "throne" with a hot spa foot soak attached. The luxury pedicures treat the skin and nail area to ensure feet not only look but feel their best.

A foot soak in eucalyptus spa crystals and exfoliation soften and reduce the build-up of hard skin, followed by the expert shaving offhard skin, leaving a baby smooth appearance.

Massage then stimulates the foot and leg and the treatment is finished by intensive nail and cuticle work. The treatment lasts one hour and 15 minutes and costs £35. Also try Agnieszka (Anoushka) at Urban Angel on Lord Russell Place. Pure Nail and Beauty, at Ocean Terminal and on Lothian Road, is another place where your feet can be pampered but staff at the salon urge clients to visit a chiropodist first.

Foot expert Debbie Mason says: "We are professionals at making your feet look their finest but we cannot sort out foot problems.

"It is always best to see a chiropodist first to resolve any medical ailments before they get serious.

"The medical treatments will leave your feet in a condition that will benefit greatly from pedicures. By working side by side we can achieve optimum results."

But Toni says: "While a pedicure will make feet look and feel nice, a podiatry treatment will rejuvenate them in addition to assessing and treating everything for the now and for the long-term. We address all."

• An appointment with Anne Sibbald of Natural Therapies costs from £25. Telephone 0131-476 7272 to book. For an appointment with Toni Blacklock at the Edinburgh Podiatry Clinic (Medicalternative), call 0131-225 5656

HIGH heels are an essential part of a female's wardrobe - lengthening pins and minimising rears. They have long been the party essential. But high heels often become "killer" heels, leading to problems such as blisters, corns, calluses and foot pain.

But according to the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, women can enjoy their love affair with heels and save their soles. Here's how:

1. Limit high heels for special occasions.

2. Never wear high heels for more than eight hours a time.

3. If the heel feels too high, never wear it.

4. Everyday wear heel height shouldn't be more than 4cm to 5cm.

5. Shorten your stride in high heels. This will minimise damage to your feet.

6. Let the experts advise on the right size shoe. Sizes vary according to the brand and style, so have them correctly fitted and check that there is up to half an inch of space in the shoe beyond the longest toe, and that the shoes are not too narrow.

7. Give feet extra special attention during and after wearing high heels. Exercise the calf, heel and foot muscles by stretching them out to increase circulation and help them relax.

8. Regularly give your feet a moisturising massage after wearing high heels to help foot muscles relax and put back some of the essential moisture lost to backless or open-toe shoes.

Natural Skin Care Treatment in the Sun - To Block or Not to Block?

With summer now solidly underway we’re all using more sunblock. However, it has now been confirmed that absorption of the toxic chemicals in most sunscreens doesn’t stop at the skin: absorption continues right into the bloodstream and the organs. What are your options? Natural skin care treatment – including natural sunscreen and a good shielding lotion that helps keeps chemicals out.

The study, published in The Journal of Chromatography, tested four common sunscreen ingredients. The results showed that all of these ingredients were absorbed through the outer layer of the skin, and at least one of them penetrated through the skin to be later detected in the bloodstream and urine.

When you consider the number of years we use sunblock, this is not a healthy situation. What are your options? Any skin care treatment product should be free of toxic chemicals, and sunscreens are no exception. The combination of a natural sunscreen and a good shielding lotion should keep you well-protected, and healthy.

The best sunscreens contain minerals that deflect or reflect the sun. Titanium Dioxide is the most common sun reflector used in natural sunscreens. It bounces the UV rays off the body and thereby prevents sunburn and absorption.

The other ingredient you need in natural sunscreen is para amino benzoic acid (PABA) ester. Its primary function in sunscreen is to absorb the UV rays, thereby preventing them from penetrating to the skin. PABA is very safe. In fact, it’s part of the B vitamin family and is produced naturally from folic acid.

These ingredients provide an SPF of 25, and block both UVA and UVB rays.

Where does the shielding lotion come in? Right before the sunblock. A good shielding lotion bonds with the outer layer of the skin to form a protective layer that locks in natural moisture and prevents absorption of chemicals. And since it does not wash off in water, you can depend on its protection for hours without reapplying.

Protecting yourself with natural sunscreens and other natural skin care treatments could prevent skin cancer and the myriad of problems created by an overload of toxic chemicals. Choose the right products today, and it could save you years of worry and illness tomorrow.

by Professional Free Press Release News Wire

One in three do not protect their skin from the sun

More people than ever are worried about skin cancer yet one in three do not use sunscreen to protect their skin, a survey has revealed.

More than 75,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the UK each year, and recent research predicts that the incidence of melanoma skin cancer will treble in the next 30 years.

Yet the The Institute of Cancer Research, who polled 2,000 people, found half of those surveyed did not know any signs of the disease.
The Institute's SAFE campaign found 60 per cent of those questioned were more worried about skin cancer now than they were ten years ago. But a third of people do not use sunscreen when sunbathing, one of the key ways to protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) light and avoid skin cancer.

However, the message about the dangers of sunbeds (another source of harmful UV light) is getting through, with 82 per cent saying they do not use them.

Professor Richard Marais from The Institute of Cancer Research said: "These results reflect the fact that people are deeply concerned about skin cancer, but that many people still do not know how to look after their skin.

"The number of people getting skin cancer is rising dramatically, so it is vitally important that everyone is aware of how to protect themselves from the harmful rays of the sun.

"Most cases of skin cancer can be avoided, and if caught early enough the disease can be treated. That is why everyone should know the signs and symptoms of the disease and visit their doctor immediately if in any doubt."

About 2,000 people die from skin cancer every year in the UK. There are two types of the disease: melanoma and non melanoma. Non melanoma is the most common, affecting 67,000 people a year in the UK, and is usually treatable with surgery.

Melanoma is the more serious form, affecting 8,000 people in the UK every year. If not caught and treated early the cancer can spread to other parts of the body and be fatal.

Professor Peter Rigby, Chief Executive of The Institute of Cancer Research commented: "The Institute of Cancer Research is conducting cutting edge research to help find better treatments for skin cancer. Many important breakthroughs have been made but there is still much more to do. That is why we urge people to support the SAFE campaign so that we can keep up the good work."

To find out more about the SAFE Campaign log on to

What to look out for: If you notice any of the following changes you should visit your GP immediately:
• New sores and lumps that do not heal after a month
• Spots, sores or moles that bleed, itch, develop a crust or hurt
• Unexplained skin ulcers
• New or existing moles which appear to be growing or changing shape
• New or existing moles which are a range of shades of brown and black
• New or existing moles which are larger than 6mm in diameter
• New or existing moles which have jagged edges