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Monthly Archives: October 2016

Tips to Choosing the Right Skin Care for You

Selecting skin-care products can be a daunting task, what with all the choices filling pharmacy aisles. You’ll find dozens of over-the-counter products with such labels as “maximum strength,” “clinical strength,” and “original prescription strength” — plus seemingly identical products that are available only by prescription. What do all these labels mean, and how do you know which product is the best one for you? Here are some answers.

How Much Active Ingredient?

The active ingredient in an over-the-counter product is often the same as the one found in its prescription counterpart, but at a lower dosage. Over-the-counter dandruff shampoo contains a lower dosage of the active ingredient ketoconazole (1 percent), while the prescription-strength versions contain 2 percent. In hydrocortisone anti-itch cream, the maximum over-the-counter dosage is 1 percent, while prescription-strength creams contain 2.5 percent. According to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations, once a product’s active ingredient reaches a certain percentage — such as 1.5 percent for hydrocortisone, or 2 percent for salicylic acid in acne treatments — it requires a prescription from a doctor.

Sometimes It’s Just a Marketing Strategy

Because the FDA does not closely regulate over-the-counter skin-care products, a company can label a product “maximum strength” or “clinical strength” for any reason it sees fit — and the label is no guarantee that the product will actually be any stronger than others on the market. The best way to find out whether you are really getting the “maximum” strength of an ingredient is to check the ingredients label, says Robyn Gmyrek, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. “Compare the label with other products on the shelf,” says Dr. Gmyrek, and check the percentage of the active ingredient in each product.

Although an increase in the active ingredient in a product of 1 percent may not seem as though it would significantly affect the strength, it can, says dermatologist Doris Day, MD, director of Day Cosmetic, Laser and Comprehensive Dermatology in New York City and a professor at NYU Medical School. For this reason, it’s best to test a new skin-care product by applying a dime-sized amount on your forearm, to see if it causes a reaction.

Prescription Products Must Be Approved by the FDA

For the FDA to approve a product’s switch from over-the-counter to prescription-strength status, regulations require a company to show that even a slight increase in the amount of active ingredient (for example, 1 percent) “changes the structure or function of the skin.” All prescription products are reviewed by the FDA and have gone through numerous clinical trials, says Debra Jaliman, MD, a New York City dermatologist. The FDA also decides what dosage level constitutes a prescription. Some OTC products may be labeled “original prescription strength,” which means a prescription from a doctor was once required, but the product is now available without one.

Finding the Right Product for You

How do you know which product to try? Stronger dosages can have harsher effects on your skin, so it’s generally safer to start with a lower dosage. Try the basic OTC product for a minimum of two weeks to gauge the results, then move on to a maximum- or clinical-strength product, if necessary, or request a prescription, says Dr. Day. For acne, you should expect to wait a little longer — from four to six weeks — to see results. And if any product irritates your skin or makes symptoms worse, see your doctor immediately.

3 Ways to Use Color Mascara

 So you’ve been wanting to try color mascara, eh? Maybe you just bought some, or maybe you’re eyeing that cute green, cobalt, or burgundy shade online. But…how do you wear color mascara without having it be such a Look? Is there a way to wear color mascara for a subtle pop of color without having everyone for 300 feet know you are WEARING BLUE MASCARA?

Why, yes. Yes there is. You can combine a color mascara with your regular black or brown mascara, making your lashes look different and interesting without getting too bright. Color mascara in class or an office? Definitely! Color mascara for a meet-the-parents dinner? Why the heck not?

Just the tips

Grab your normal, everyday black mascara, and sweep it on your top and bottom lashes. Next, try a crazy color! We went with Inglot Cosmetics Colour Play Mascara in 02 Green, which is a highly pigmented, almost electric green, and applied it just to the tips of the top and bottom lashes. Presto! A subtle-yet-still-visible color on the tips of your still-proper eyelashes. You can’t even see it unless you get pretty close, but when you do, it’s like your entire soul suddenly gets how awesome this is.

Halfsies

For a more obvious look that is still not in “Rainbow Brite” territory, try swiping your top lashes with black mascara and putting color mascara on just your bottom lashes. This can be fun to try with gently varying shades, say, black on top and navy on bottom, or add a cobalt on the bottom for a little more oomph. This works especially well with blue shades, because they’ll make the whites of your eyes look brighter, the same way blue-based red lipsticks will make your skin tone look cooler. “You look different! But…why?” – Everyone at work.

Let’s Blend

Your black mascara is about to get a facelift. Sweep on a coat of black mascara, and then do a second coat of a vibrant color mascara of your choice (what about purple? or burgundy?) Look at that! Is it black mascara? No. Is it color mascara? No….or is it? Adding a coat of color mascara to black makes the black appear multifaceted and a bit more interesting, without making you commit to Krazy Kolor Lashes all the way.

Tips to Find Right Skin Moisturizer for Your Skin

 Feel overwhelmed when you want to buy skin moisturizer for your dry skin? That’s no surprise, as there are dozens to choose from at the drugstore and hundreds more at high-end cosmetics and department stores — creams, lotions, ointments, some with sunscreen, others with an exfoliant. Choices range from the basic $1.50 jar of petroleum jelly to a $500 five-ounce tub of designer skin moisturizer. And all the options in between can make your head spin.

While choosing the right skin moisturizer may seem confusing, it’s actually very simple if you follow a few guidelines, says dermatologist Monica Halem, MD, of ColumbiaDoctors Eastside in New York City. Dr. Halem’s first rule of thumb? Don’t spend too much money.

How a Skin Moisturizer Works

Cleansers and moisturizers are the most important skin products, particularly for softening dry skin. A skin moisturizer works by sealing moisture into the outer layer of the skin and by pulling moisture from the inner layers of skin to the outer layer.

Key ingredients that seal in moisture are petrolatum, mineral oil, lanolin, and dimethicone. Glycerin, propylene glycol, proteins, urea, and vitamins help attract water into the outer layer of the skin.

Some skin moisturizers also contain an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), which exfoliates dead skin, says Francesca Fusco, MD, assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and a spokeswoman for the Skin Cancer Foundation. AHAs are a good choice if you have very dry skin.

Finding the Skin Moisturizer For You

It may take some trial and error, Halem says, so be patient. Follow these guidelines as you shop and, if you’re not getting the results you want, try a new one the next time:

  • Note the first five ingredients. Look for common active ingredients, such as lanolin, glycerin, or petrolatum, Dr. Fusco says. Glycerin is less likely than lanolin to cause an allergic reaction, she says. She also recommends picking a moisturizer that’s made by a reputable company.
  • Go for added sunscreen. Protecting your skin from harmful sun damage is one of the best things you can do to keep your skin looking young, so buy a moisturizer with a sun protection factor of at least 30. You’ll have to do some searching, but more companies are offering face and body moisturizers with sunscreen, Halem says.
  • Make it skin-type appropriate. The skin on your face is thinner and more sensitive, so it’s a good idea to use a different moisturizer on your face than you do on your body, Fusco says and recommends buying one that’s labeled “non-comedogenic” because it won’t clog your pores. Of course, choose one that’s right for your skin type. If you know you have sensitive skin, it’s always a good idea to look for a moisturizer labeled hypoallergenic. If you have oily skin, go with a light, oil-free moisturizer. If you have dry skin, get something richer. And if you have combination skin, go with a lighter moisturizer for your whole face and dot drier areas with a heavier cream, Fusco says. Keep in mind that you may need a lighter lotion in the summer, and a cream or ointment in the winter.
  • Consider using a moisturizer with retinol before bed. Retinol is vitamin A for your skin, Halem says. It works by increasing the speed at which your skin cells turn over. You can find it over the counter or by prescription, but use it carefully as it may cause a skin irritation, red skin, or dry skin.

Relief by Prescription

If your skin is very dry, consider a prescription moisturizer. Prescription moisturizers contain the AHA lactic acid, which softens the top layer of your skin and can do a better job if over-the-counter moisturizers aren’t working for you, Fusco says. AHAs such as lactic acid and glycolic acid can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Tell your doctor if you experience burning, irritation, red skin, itching, or a rash.

Another prescription option is a barrier cream, which contains humectants that hold on to moisture longer, Fusco says. Barrier creams penetrate a little deeper than standard moisturizers, she adds.

When to Moisturize

Once you find the right product, moisturize every day and you’ll go a long way toward preventing dry skin and even camouflaging wrinkles. While a skin moisturizer can’t get rid of wrinkles — because wrinkles begin much deeper in the skin due to collagen loss — it can plump up the skin and minimize their appearance, Halem says.

Whichever moisturizer you choose, it will work better if you apply it to damp skin. Think about a sponge that’s dried out, Fusco says. If you put moisturizer on it, it won’t go anywhere. But if you soak the sponge in water and coat it with moisturizer, the sponge will absorb it. Your skin works the same way, happily lapping it up.

How to Do Winged Eyeliner

 The classic cat eye, though a popular makeup style that’s been around for decades, can be a huge pain to master. It seems so effortless—just finish off your eyeliner with a neat little wing for instantly bigger, brighter eyes. Easy, right? Not for those of us whose failed attempts at a flawless feline flick end with makeup remover and a lot of frustration.

Fortunately, there are products out there that make winged eyeliner much easier to get right. For the tutorial below, we ditched our tricky liquid liner in favor of Inglot Cosmetics AMC Eyeliner Gel, a richly pigmented gel liner that dries to a long-lasting matte finish. The creamy texture makes it easy to paint on a perfect cat eye in just a few minutes. Plus, it’s smudge-proof, crease-proof, and waterproof. (Pro tip: To keep your Eyeliner Gel fresh, partially peel back the protective liner on top of the jar without fully removing it. If needed, you can also moisten the product with a few drops of Duraline.)

To get you started on your way to becoming a winged eyeliner pro, here’s a tutorial on how to use gel eyeliner to draw a classic cat eye.

Step 1
Start by using an angled eyeliner brush, such as Wayne Goss Brush 08, to line your upper lashes. Dip the brush into your Eyeliner Gel and draw a thin line that hugs the base of your lashline.

Step 2
Next, draw a slightly thicker line from the inner corner to the outer corner of your eye. This line should start out very thin and get slightly thicker as you continue towards your outermost eyelash.

Step 3
Draw a thin wing that points up and out from the outer corner of your eye. The wing’s tip should angle up towards the end of your eyebrow. Use a pointed cotton swab dipped in Bioderma Sensibio H2O to clean up any mistakes and carve out a crisp, sharp flick.

If you’re a beginner, you can also map out your cat eye with small dots before tracing over them with eyeliner.

Most importantly, keep practicing! Experiment with the thickness of your line and the angle of your wing to discover what looks best with your eye shape. Winged eyeliner can seem difficult at first, but it gets easier with time—especially if you start with a gel eyeliner, which tends to be more forgiving than liquid or pencil.