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Category Archives: Beauty

Illegal Silicone Injections Can Be Deadly

The 30-year-old woman arrived at the Henry Ford Hospital emergency room in Detroit out of breath and coughing blood.

It didn’t take long for doctors to figure out why: The woman admitted to having been at a party at a hotel five days prior at which she — and others — received injections of liquid silicone to “enhance” the buttocks and various body parts.

The silicone was not the medical silicone that is sometimes used for implants, but the type easily procured at hardware stores like Home Depot. The fat solvent used to make the silicone had quickly traveled to her lungs and gotten stuck in the airways, resulting in “silicone embolism syndrome,” or clots, in this case, in the smaller vessels in her lungs.

The syndrome, admittedly rare, was first seen in transsexual men wanting to augment their breasts in the 1970s.

“There are two types of side effects [that can result from silicone injections],” said Dr. Angel Coz, the pulmonary and critical care specialist who treated the woman. “Lungs is one of them. The other goes to the brain. The mortality in lungs is close to 20 percent but in the brain it’s close to 100 percent.”

This woman, who was attempting to augment her buttocks, was one of the lucky ones. She survived after receiving steroids, said Coz, who is slated to present information on the case Monday at the American College of Chest Physicians’ annual meeting in Honolulu.

Others have died.

“We’ve been hearing about this,” said Dr. Malcolm Z. Roth, president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. “There are ‘pumping parties,’ involving high-volume injections to fill up the face, lips, cheekbones, chin or breast. Often it’s buttock enhancement and often it’s not sterile.”

And these illicit procedures may be on the rise, thanks to a slow economy and pocketbooks that aren’t full enough to afford licensed plastic surgeons, said Roth, who is also chief of plastic surgery at the Albany Medical Center in New York.

“It’s really a white-coat deception,” Roth said. “Sometimes the person doing the injections claims to be a physician from another country and in some cases the patient knows very well it’s not a physician but, feeling they can’t afford to go to a legitimate board-certified plastic surgeon, they find a short cut.”

Two other, similar cases of patients developing complications after silicone injections are also being presented at the meeting this week.

One involved a 22-year-old woman who showed up at the UCLA Medical Center emergency room, also with shortness of breath. This quickly progressed to right ventricular failure of the heart and the patient died despite the physicians’ best efforts.

Most likely, the silicone and solvent had damaged the lungs, leading to collapse of the heart.

This patient had had injections in her buttocks from “a doctor in Mexico” earlier that day, a friend told doctors.

The researchers presenting the case said this is the first documented case of right ventricular failure from silicone injections.

The third case was a 23-year-old woman with the familiar symptoms, shortness of breath and cough, who had had several silicone injections in her buttocks.

She was diagnosed with silicone embolism syndrome but, after receiving oxygen and steroids and spending five days in the hospital, recovered and went home.

According to Roth, patients should “run away from these procedures.”

“You don’t do medical procedures in a hotel room or garage. This procedure is illegal,” he said. “Patients need to do their homework and check the credentials of the professional they’re considering for their cosmetic procedure.”

“This is something that is not done by doctors,” added Coz. “It’s completely out of the realm of what any physician would do.”

7 Best Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

Dry winter air can wreak havoc on your skin — leaving it dry, itchy, and irritated; but there are many simple ways to combat dry skin causes and help keep your skin feeling moist and supple all winter long. Here are 7 ways to get started.

7 Best Tips for Healthy Winter Skin

1. Invest in a humidifier. Using a humidifier in your home or office will add moisture to dry winter air and help keep your skin hydrated. Run a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in, including your bedroom.

2. Lower the thermostat. When it’s chilly outside, what’s the first thing you want to do? Crank up the heat! But central heat can make the air in your house even drier. Try setting the thermostat at a cool, yet comfortable setting — 68°F to 72°F — to maintain healthy skin.

3. Skip hot showers. Although it may be tempting to warm up with a long, steamy shower, hot water dries out your skin by stripping it of its natural oils. Instead, take a 5- to 10-minute lukewarm shower (or bath). You should also avoid using excessively hot water when washing your hands — if the water causes your skin to turn red, it’s too hot.

4. Choose cleanser wisely. The wrong soap can worsen itchy, dry skin. For instance, steer clear of regular bar soaps, since they tend to contain irritating ingredients and fragrances. Instead, start washing with a fragrance-free, moisturizing cleanser or gel. You can also prevent winter skin problems by using less soap, so limit your lathering to necessary areas, such as your hands, armpits, genitals, and feet.

5. Modify your facial skin care regimen for the season. During the winter months, choose cream-based cleansers, and apply toners and astringents sparingly, if at all. Many astringents contain alcohol, which can further dry your skin. Look for products that contain little or no alcohol — unless your skin is excessively oily. At night, use a richer moisturizer on your face.

6. Moisturize frequently. Maintain healthy skin by moisturizing after washing up. “Blot skin dry and apply a thick moisturizer within a few minutes after bathing to seal the water into the skin,” says Linda Stein Gold, MD, director of dermatology clinical research and division head of dermatology at Henry Ford Hospital, West Bloomfield, MI. “It’s best to use a cream or ointment in the winter. Lotions are better in warmer, humid climates. And don’t forget your hands,” says Dr. Stein Gold. “Constant washing will cause the hands to take a beating. Apply hand cream after each washing, and wear waterproof gloves when washing dishes or cleaning around the house.”

7. Apply sunscreen — even in winter. It is still important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays on cold, dreary days in winter. Before going outside, apply a moisturizing, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to all exposed areas of your body.

How to Managing Dry Winter Skin

Winter brings cold, crisp days, fun seasonal activities, and snowy nights spent by a warm fire. But not all elements of winter are so enjoyable. For one, there’s dry winter skin, which can be exacerbated by the cold winter air outside and warm, dry air inside. This year, do your best to guard against the factors that cause dry, itchy skin.

Winter Itch Factors: How to Prevent Dry Winter Skin

Start by addressing the factors that irritate dry skin. Consider your indoor and outdoor environments, your skin care regimen, and even what you wear.

Low humidity. As temperatures fall, so do humidity levels, and the loss of moisture can cause your skin to become dry and itchy. Heat from furnaces, radiators, woodstoves, and fireplaces can also suck the moisture out of the air inside your home, which can dry out your skin even more. Put moisture back into the air by using a humidifier in the rooms you spend the most time in — both at home and in your office.

The loss of your skin’s natural oils. Washing your hands and showering frequently can actually strip your skin of its natural oils. One of the best ways to combat dry, itchy skin and keep your skin moist and supple is to moisturize it immediately after you wash your hands or take a shower. Moisturizers work by sealing moisture into your skin, so just pat your skin partially dry with a towel — don’t rub skin dry as this can remove your skin’s protective oils — and apply a moisturizing lotion or emollient to your damp skin.

Inferior moisturizers. Not all moisturizers are effective at alleviating winter itch. Water-based lotions and creams don’t lock in moisture as well as the oil-based ones. Thick, emollient moisturizers that come in ointment form typically contain the most oil, which makes them a smart choice for really dry skin. Petroleum jelly is a good example of this type of ointment-style moisturizer. Apply a small amount to your skin and be sure to rub it in well. If you prefer to use a moisturizing cream, look for one that contains petrolatum, mineral oil, or glycerin.

Chapped lips. Your lips are often the first to succumb to cold winter air. Find a lip moisturizer that you like and apply it often. Barbara R. Reed, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center in Denver, CO, and in private practice at Denver Skin Clinic, recommends an emollient-based moisturizer for the lips that is soothing and has no irritants. “I do not recommend products with menthol or phenol as they may be irritating.”

Itchy fabrics. What you wear may also contribute to your dry, itchy skin. “Some people have very sensitive skin that will itch with certain fabrics, especially rough ones like wool,” says Dr. Reed. Reed suggests that before you put on a potentially irritating piece of clothing you should gently rub the fabric against your cheek to see if it feels scratchy and causes your skin to itch. If it doesn’t cause a reaction, it’s probably a safe choice. Remember that an itchy wool blanket can irritate your skin, too. For a more restful sleep, you can use a top sheet as a barrier, encase the blanket in a cotton or cotton flannel duvet cover, or switch to a cotton comforter.

Overdressing. As you dress for winter weather, remember that it’s not just what you wear, but how much you wear that can irritate your skin. Overdressing in winter can lead to overheating and sweating, which can further aggravate dry skin. If it’s cold outside, dress in layers. First, put on a thin shirt in a lightweight and breathable fabric, such as cotton or a polypropylene material that can wick moisture away from your skin. Put on a sweater for your next layer, followed by a fleece pullover or a jacket. When you come back inside, shed one layer at a time until you are comfortable.

You don’t have to accept dry, itchy, or flaky skin as a normal part of winter. By managing the factors that cause dry winter skin, you can eliminate your winter itch and enjoy healthy skin throughout the winter months.

5 Tips to Protect Your Skin

You need to protect your skin because of the vital role it has protecting your body. Skin care doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming, and can quickly become second nature, like brushing your teeth.

These five skin protection tips can keep your skin looking and feeling great, by guarding against a slew of skin woes, from chapped skin to prematurely aging to skin cancer.

1. Limit Sun Exposure

You’ve heard the message a zillion times, and there’s good reason for that unrelenting repetition. Ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun cause many types of skin damage:

  • Skin cancer
  • Wrinkles
  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Discolorations
  • Benign growths

Using skin care products that offer ultraviolet protection is one of the best ways to help keep your skin looking fresh and youthful:

  • Use sunscreen every day and reapply regularly whenever you’re outdoors for extended periods.
  • Cover skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, pants, and wide-brimmed hats.
  • Stay indoors when the sun is at its most intense, usually between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Keep in mind that tanning beds are just as harmful as direct sunlight, as they also emit ultraviolet rays.

2. Stay Hydrated

Keeping your skin moist is essential to skin protection. Skin that is properly hydrated retains pliability and prevents chapped skin or scaly, flaky skin:

  • Drink lots of water. This is key to hydrating your skin.
  • Use the right moisturizing cream or lotion for your skin type and apply it right after drying off from your bath or shower. Avoid products that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, as this ingredient removes natural oils needed by your skin.
  • Take warm (not hot) showers or baths, and limit them to between 5 and 10 minutes. It seems counterintuitive, but exposure to water actually dries out your skin. If dry skin persists, consider cutting back on the number of baths you take.

3. Take Health Precautions

Cold sores are caused by a viral infection of the skin bordering the lips, while bacteria can contribute to acne and other skin conditions. Practicing skin protection means paying close attention to what touches your skin, to lower your chances of exposure to germs:

  • Don’t share any personal items, such as lip balms or toothbrushes.
  • Don’t share drinks with other people.
  • Avoid touching your face with your fingers or with objects like telephone receivers that have been used by others.

4. Use Gentle Skin Care

Washing your face is important to remove dirt, oils, germs, and dead cells. However, scrubbing your face causes irritation that can lead to chapped skin that, in turn, can leave skin vulnerable. For best results, you should:

  • Wash your face twice daily with warm water and a mild cleanser.
  • Gently massage your face with a washcloth, using a circular motion.
  • Rinse thoroughly after washing to remove all soap and debris.
  • Pat your skin dry — don’t rub — then apply your facial moisturizer.

5. Know Your Skin

Pay attention to odd freckles, moles, and growths on your skin, and consult your doctor if you notice any changes. For example, a change in a mole can indicate potential skin cancer. Be sure to treat any cuts that may occur to prevent infection. Other skin conditions that merit a dermatologist visit include frequent acne, inflamed or irritated dry skin, and skin rashes and irritations that don’t go away, as these could be signs of one of the many types of dermatitis, or skin inflammation.

With proper skin care to pamper skin from the outside and with a good diet to nourish from within, skin protection comes down to a few simple steps. But should you ever notice any problems, get medical attention to resolve them quickly and avoid putting your skin at risk.

Tips to Care for Your Skin Type

Makeup experts and skin care specialists refer often to various skin types — dry, oily, combination — assuming you know which category you fall under. Your skin care regimen depends on your skin type, but not everyone has a good understanding of their skin. As a result, their skin care plan is more of the hit-or-miss variety.

Know Your Skin Type

Unsure of what skin type you have? See which description fits you best:

  • Dry skin. “Dry skin can be flaky and easily irritated. It’s more sensitive,” says Linda Franks, MD, director of Gramercy Park Dermatology and clinical assistant professor in the department of dermatology at New York University School of Medicine in New York. She says if your skin has these qualities and also tends to react to some (or all) of the skin products you have tried, you have dry skin. The extreme version of dry skin is sensitive skin.
  • Oily skin. The primary test for determining if you have oily skin is when you start to feel some oil on your face. Most people can feel a little oil by late afternoon, but if you feel oil around midday, you have oily skin. Oily skin rarely reacts negatively to skin products like dry, sensitive skin types do. It has slightly better natural sun protection, but is also prone to acne.
  • Combination skin. If the description of dry skin matches your cheeks, but the description of oily skin matches your “T-zone” (nose and brow area primarily), you have combination skin.

Matching skin care to skin type is important. Dr. Franks notes that there are two commonly used skin care products that just about everyone can steer clear of: toner and too-frequent exfoliation, both of which can strip away the protective layers of your skin. If you have a good skin care regimen, you don’t need either one, although you could plan for a semi-annual exfoliation as seasons change.

Caring for Dry Skin

Dry skin needs babying and lots of tender, loving care. Here are the key components of dry skin care:

  • Cleanse. Use a gentle cleanser. You should be able to cleanse at night and not have to cleanse again in the morning. “Mild cleansers are best for all skin types,” says Franks, who recommends Purpose, Dove bar soap, or Cetaphil cleanser. These cleansers should easily remove makeup as well as dirt.
  • Apply retinol. “Stick to a retinol for anti-aging. Retinol can be very good for dry skin,” says Franks. However, not everyone with dry skin can use retinol products due to sensitivity. If irritation appears, the frequency of use can be decreased.
  • Apply products with hyaluronic acid. “The other thing that can go on underneath a moisturizer is a hyaluronic acid product. That molecule is very hydroscopic — it pulls water in around it. That would be a great augmenting moisturizer for someone with dry skin,” says Franks.
  • Moisturize. “The stratum corneum, which is the dead skin cell layer that protects the surface of the skin, tends to get easily interrupted with dry skin. You want to try to repair that,” advises Dr. Franks. Look for moisturizers that contain phospholipids, cholesterol, and essential fatty acids. She recommends CeraVe Moisturize in the morning (with an SPF of 30) and more moisturizer before bed, using a thicker cream, such as Olay’s Regenerist.
  • Proceed with caution. It helps to take your time adding new products to your skin care routine, says Franks. Try them one at a time and wait to see if you get a reaction before adding another new product.

Caring for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you’ll have an easier time finding skin care products that won’t irritate, but your challenge is managing the oil:

  • Cleanse. People with oily skin or acne should wash with a gentle cleanser morning and evening. Franks offers this tip for cleansing properly: Use your fingertips and rub it in for 30 seconds before rinsing.
  • Use salicylic acid. Apply an alcohol-free salicylic acid product, such as a Stridex pad, or a salicylic acid medicated cleanser on the oily areas of your skin. Do this two or three times a week.
  • Apply retinol. Retinol products also cut down on oil production and reduce the appearance of large pores. They are a good anti-aging choice for those with oily skin, who are less likely to find them irritating than those with dry skin.
  • Moisturize. Use an oil-free moisturizer with SPF 30. “One of my favorites is Complete Defense in the Olay line,” says Franks.

Caring for Combination Skin

People with combination skin will follow the same basic routine, but have to make it a balancing act, drawing from skin care routines for both oily and dry skin:

  • Cleanse. Stick to gentle cleansers. “Do not use a medicated cleanser at all — keep it mild,” says Franks. Once a day should be fine unless you have significant oil in some parts of your face.
  • Spot-treat with salicylic acid. Apply this to the oilier areas of your face every other day.
  • Moisturize. Go for oil-free products with SPF 30 and spot-treat the drier areas of your face with richer moisturizer.

Take some time to develop the skin care routine that’s right for your skin type. If you are still unsure of how to care for your complexion, talk to a dermatologist about the products you are using and how they affect your skin. With a little work, you can achieve a healthy glow, no matter what your skin type.

Simple Acne Treatment Tips

If you have acne, you’re among more than 70 million people in the United States who have suffered from this skin condition at some time in their lives. It is so common that acne affects about 80 percent of Americans 20 to 30 years old. During the teenage years, acne is more common in boys than in girls, but in adults it’s more common in women.

Despite the fact that it’s so commonplace, there are many misconceptions about acne, says Guy Webster, MD, PhD, a clinical professor of dermatology at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia and founder of the American Acne and Rosacea Society.

Getting to the Root of Acne

Whether you call it acne, pimples, or zits, in order to treat the condition, it’s important to understand the causes:

  • Clogged pores and bacteria: In your teens, the glands in the skin begin secreting sebum, an oily substance. This normally comes out through the pores, but in some people, sebum clogs up in the pores, allowing a bacterium, called P. acnes, to begin to grow.
  • Hormones: In your teen years, hormones start changing and affecting your body, including causing acne. This also happens during pregnancy, which explains why pregnant women or women having their periods often have acne breakouts. Hormones released during stressful times can also cause acne.
  • Genetics: You may be more likely to develop acne if your parents had acne when they were younger.

The Right Acne Treatment

There are many ways to take care of acne, depending on what causes it and how bad it is. Moderate and severe acne usually needs acne treatment recommended by a doctor, but mild acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and a few pimples can usually be treated at home.

Dr. Webster says one big misconception is that acne is caused by dirty skin. “The goal is not to scrub acne away,” he says. “If you scrub, you’re taking off skin, and there’s a reason for the skin being there.” Skin is a protective barrier.

Here are some tips that Webster shares with people who have acne:

  • Wash gently; don’t scrub.
  • Use a gentle soap to wash your face.
  • Wash with your hands, not a washcloth or “scrubby.”
  • Use a 5 percent benzoyl peroxide product.
  • Treat your whole face — don’t “spot treat.” This way, you’re treating pimples still under the skin but not yet visible.

And what should you stay away from?

  • Facial scrubs of any kind.
  • “Face puffs” or abrasive pads.
  • Expensive cosmetic regimens that people try to sell you.

Acne Treatment: Other Tips

Other tips to keep acne from getting worse:

  • If you’re a male, be careful shaving.
  • Don’t pick or scratch at pimples.
  • Avoid the sun. While many people feel that sun exposure makes their acne better, this is not always so. The rays can also cause other unwanted issues, such as premature aging and skin cancer.

When Should I See a Doctor for Acne Treatment?

According to Webster, if the pimples are leaving scars or if your treatment isn’t working, then it’s time to see a family doctor or dermatologist.

And while acne is a bummer, it doesn’t have to take over your life; take action and take control of your skin.

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.