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Posted by 04.13.14

New York City cosmetic dentist Debra Glassman, DMD, is well known for her sparkling smile as well as the signature feminine touch she provides to the smiles of her patients—many of whom are women. Of late, Glassman has joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of ProNamel Toothpaste, to draw attention to the deleterious effects that acid erosion can have on a smile and the surprising foods that can contribute to acid erosion.

She answered some questions about the new campaign, the latest and greatest in cosmetic dentistry, and what a healthy smile really looks like for Beauty in the Bag.

Here’s what she had to say:

Why does our oral health matter so much?

Taking care of your teeth is essential for so many reasons. By routinely flossing, brushing and using mouth rinse, you can decrease your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and cancers. Also, it’s especially important for pregnant women to take care of their teeth, because not doing so can lead to low birth weight in babies and even miscarriages.

What does a healthy beautiful smile look like?

While I see beautiful smiles every day, a healthy one results from regular brushing, flossing, and going to the dentist. I recommend flossing before brushing, so any leftover food particles can be cleared away in the rinsing process. It’s also a good idea to use a soft-bristled tooth brush and change out your tooth brush every three months; six months for electric tooth brushes.

What are some of the newest trends in cosmetic dentistry?

We’re seeing lots of of pre-filled whitening trays which are very user-friendly and especially great for travelers. These trays whiten teeth eight to 10 shades whiter through half hour-a-day usage over a 10-day period. Invisalign is also an invisible way to straighten teeth, and because of the trays and excellent technology, we can now speed the process up by 40-50 percent, making it quicker and more comfortable for patients.

We also have the ability to do crowns and bridges without using any metal and instead using all white, very strong materials. These substances look like natural teeth and make it easier for dentists to see future decay and diseases at a very early stage.

Do any of the over-the-counter products (whitening strips, for example) make a difference?

OTC products work if they’re the proper choice for the patient. For example, whitening strips work well on small teeth, because they cover the entire tooth and crevices between teeth. Strips are not good for larger teeth, because they can’t cover the whole area for whitening. Those with larger teeth should instead use gels so that all of their teeth are covered and the whitening will be even. As always, make sure to follow product directions properly. I also personally recommend using ProNamel toothpaste, which is specially formulated to strengthen tooth enamel and can help reduce your risk for acid erosion. It’s also the #1 dentist-recommended brand for protection against the effects of acid erosion.

What does acid erosion do to a smile?

Acid erosion is a condition where your tooth enamel can become weakened and softened, which can then be more easily brushed away over time. While only a dental healthcare professional can assess tooth enamel appropriately, the five signs of acid erosion that you should be on the lookout for include tooth enamel that is weakened, thinning, transparent/see through, yellowing, or dull. And what’s surprising is that everyday foods and drinks, even healthier choices like oranges, apples, and other citrus fruits that are high in acid, yet common in today’s modern diet, can increase your risk for acid erosion.

Fortunately, you don’t have to make any dramatic changes to your lifestyle or diet to reduce your risk for acid erosion. Ther are five simple, proven steps that everyone can take to help reduce their risk for acid erosion.

 What are these steps?

1. Don’t give up healthy food in your diet, particularly fruit, but do take a fresh look at how you eat it.

2. Don’t swish, swirl, or hold acidic foods in your mouth for too long.

3. Many drinks, especially carbonated ones, can contribute to acid erosion. Try drinking through a straw or substituting the soft drinks with water or milk.

4. Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking and make sure you’re using a soft-bristled tooth brush.

5. Consider using a fluoride toothpaste, like ProNamel, along with a fluoride mouthwash, to help protect your teeth from the effects of everyday acidic foods and drinks

How can you tell if you consume too many acid-rich foods in your diet?

All Americans should know their own Acid Truth—they should consider how many acid-rich foods they are consuming per day and how they can best take action to reduce their risk. That’s why I encourage everybody to visit to take a 4-question quiz to determine their own Acid Truth.

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Photo Credit: Mario Kimball with his wife Takako


Posted by 04.06.14

Living in Japan and learning about the traditional Japanese healthy and conscious lifestyle inspired Mario Kimball to create Valia Skincare, a brand that combines natural topical ingredients and supplements to promote beauty. The line’s premise is that skincare is not just about what you put on your skin, it’s about living your best life. Valia products use alternative ingredients like enzymes and minimal chemical agents to reduce their environmental impact. Here, Mario tells Beauty in the Bag about his experience in Japan and his product philosophy.

The origin of Valia has a very interesting story beginning with you living in Japan. Where are you originally from and how did you come to live in Japan.

If you have a pleasant experience eating something you have never tasted before, your life will be lengthened by seventy five days. Better than a feast elsewhere is a meal at home of tea and rice. I remember in college, I had the opportunity to work with a classmate at her house, she was Asian. We were working on our college thesis together and her family offered me dinner. I had never had a home cooked Japanese meal before, the food was so different then what I usually eat on a daily basis. I felt a cleansing in my body, from that point, I was always interested in Asia.

I had an opportunity to work in Japan, so I moved there and was able to truly experience the culture. Their way of eating was totally healthy and their thinking was completely opposite to what I thought.

To make a long story short, I met a beautiful Japanese lady, who became my wife. We talked a lot about health, beauty, and fashion. The idea of Valia started developing through the stories she told me about her family; her grandparents were farmers. They had a love for everything natural and also I was taught the secret of their beauty and what they use to maintain their beauty. We wanted to incorporate these ideas into something we could share with people. We wanted to bring those ideas to the US through health and beauty so we created Valia.

We also collaborate with Marc Ching, our founding herbalist; he oversees all our supplements and helps carry out some of our skincare preparation.

What is the beauty philosophy behind Valia Skincare?

There is an aesthetic definition of beauty in terms of ideals and proportions that most people agree upon. We believe in subtle but significant improvement in each person’s unique appearance. Our Founding Herbalist Marc Chin incorporates this idea using ingredients from the mountains, the oceans, and the earth that are inspired from Japan.

Is Valia a natural or organic skincare line? How does it differ from other skincare lines in its category?

The plant and mineral substances used to make Valia skincare products are 100% natural and carefully chosen based on several factors, including effectiveness and ecological impact. Extra care is taken to ensure that each product supports your skin’s natural balance and function. Later this year, we will be extending our line of products to cover masks, body washes, eye creams, hand and foot creams, shampoos and conditioners, and also baby lotions and baby body washes, each made with the finest ingredients.

The difference between Valia and other brands is identified in our tagline: Beauty in Bloom. We believe in nurturing our bodies from the inside out as a lifestyle, and in developing natural skin care as well as supplements for total health, beautiful skin, and weight management. Our supplements are free from wheat, gluten, soy, synthetic colors, flavors and sugar.

Can the Valia 3-step regimen be used with more aggressive anti-aging products, like ones that contain retinol?

Retinol is a component of vitamin A and is known for its ability to dramatically improve the appearance of skin by smoothing away wrinkles, decreasing fine lines, even out rough spots, and bringing back a natural color and tone to the skin. Based on a person’s skin, if it is oily or dry, and the seaso, retinol can be used with the Valia regime. Layering the products can be helpful to ease dryness and using them once in the morning and at night before bed will better balance the skin.

How is your mission of sustainability represented in the range?

In order to ensure environmental sustainability, we strive to protect ecological systems, encourage economic development, and maintain community wellbeing.

Our products are inspired by traditional Japanese remedies that focus on holistic healing. We believe beautiful skin is created from the inside out. We carefully craft our formulas using these remedies and back them up with scientific research. As a result, our product development includes only the purest, plant-based ingredients and essential oils that promote radiant, youthful, and healthy skin. Our formulas are free from GMO ingredients, alcohol, artificial colors, fragrances, and animal by-products. We believe every person has the potential for naturally healthy, beautiful skin.

Our packaging is made with only low-impact recyclable materials. Our bottles are 100% recyclable and manufactured with an amber color to protect products from direct sunlight and extend their shelf life. Our boxes are made from environmental folding board that is FSC certified with 100% post-consumer fiber and free from chlorine. Packaging and labels are printed with vegetable-based ink.

We believe in the ethical treatment of animals and use only 100% natural, plant-based ingredients. Our products do not contain parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, propylene glycol, phthalates, MEA/DEA/TEA (ammonia compounds), artificial colors, fillers, alcohol, or fragrances.

What’s next for Valia? What would you like to be doing in 5 years?

In the next few months, we’ll be extending our supplement line and will have 10 more natural health supplements. Later in the year, our skincare line will increase—caring for the body, face, and hair. We will also launch a baby line, mid to late 2015, which will increase our premium supplement line. We are hoping to open our first Valia store in late 2015/2016.

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Posted by 03.30.14

Ask San Francisco-based dermatologist Jason Emer, MD to list his favorite skincare products and he can go on and on … and on. It is clear that he knows his stuff, and truly appreciates what the right products can bring to the table.

Emer often recommends the very same products that he uses on himself to his patients. Of course, there is more to his practice than his stellar product picks. He is widely sought for his expertise in lipocontouring, body sculpting, and fat transfer. Another niche of Emer is “sports dermatology” or the treatment of various skin conditions that are caused or worsened by sports-related overuse or injury. He also caters to growing numbers of male patients who are looking to prevent skin cancer, improve their appearances, and turn back the hands of time through neuromodulation, facial fillers, lasers, and skin tightening devices. When he is not seeing patients, Emer is lecturing across the globe and running clinical trials that will help advance the field of dermatology.

Emer spoke to Beauty in the Bag about his practice, his background, and, of course, his product picks. Here’s what he had to say:

What is sports dermatology?

Sports and physical exercise can be associated with a wide variety of skin problems. Sports dermatology is the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of skin conditions related to athletics. For example, sports-related skin conditions can result from mechanical trauma or from exposure to environmental and infectious agents. Making the appropriate diagnosis requires familiarity with characteristic clinical presentations, which may not be initially apparent to dermatologists unfamiliar with skin problems related to athletic activities.

How did you become interested in sports dermatology?

My lifetime involvement in athletics and physical exercise influenced my interest in taking care of patients with similar backgrounds who had concerns for preventative skincare/health.

What is the biggest trend you are seeing in your practice today?

I am increasingly observing men of all ages presenting to the office not only for skin cancer prevention visits but also for preventative anti-aging treatments including aesthetic peels, fractional laser, neurotoxins, and fillers. I have had an increase in men desiring body contouring procedures such as abdominal and flank liposculpting, breast (gynecomastia) surgery, sweat reduction treatments, eyelid surgery, skin tightening procedures, and laser hair removal. Men appear to be less ashamed of their desire for a more attractive appearance than in the past.

What are your go-to skincare products?

To be honest, it depends on what skin conditions, if any, we are trying to treat. However, for the majority of my patients interested in anti-aging and preventative skincare treatments I recommend a daily glycolic cleanser. My go to cleanser is either Jan Marini Bioglycolic Face Cleanser or Dermaceutic Foamer 15. These cleansers are non-irritating and help enhance normal skin exfoliation, which improves the penetration or benefit of the other products applied to their skin. All my patients are recommended to have a vitamin A/retinol containing product at bedtime. My favorite prescription agent is a tretinoin gel (Atralin), approved for the treatment of acne, but has anti-aging properties by exfoliating the skin more rapidly and supplying moisture through its fish oil additive. Some physicians also believe topical retinoids are skin cancer prevention agents—the jury is still out. My favorite non-prescription product is SkinMedica Retinol Complex or Glo Therapeutics Retinol CS, which also contains 5% glycolic acid. These products refresh and brighten the skin, giving it a glowing, softer appearance. In the morning, I recommend a vitamin C containing product to help decrease skin pigmentation and supply extra sun-protection factor. My patients have gotten great results from the Obagi Professional-C serum products or SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF. Other products I love, recommend, and use myself include:

  1. SkinMedica’s TNS essential serum for anti-aging.
  2. DNA Youth Recovery Facial Serum from PrecisionMD for its anti-oxidant properties and DNA repair capabilities, reversing the signs of aging such as wrinkling and textural changes.
  3. SkinMedica’s Lytera Skin Brightening Complex or Pigment Gel HQ free from PCA skin care for improvement of skin tone and texture, without the use of hydroquinone ,which many consumers are afraid of and sometimes is irritating.
  4. Jan Marini BioShield for post-procedural (peels, lasers, microdermabrasion) skincare that is not greasy, primarily because of its silicone-based formulation, and has skin growth factors to promote faster wound healing and decreased recovery times.
  5. EltaMD Laser Balm is formulated with petrolatum, wax, and paraffin, and is a fantastic humectant. It is ideal for those who like greasy products and feel they are more protective and hydrating, especially for more aggressive procedures
  6. Nia24 Intensive Recovery Complex or SkinMedica’s Redness Relief Calmplex for facial, neck, or chest redness. Especially great after laser procedures and for those patients with very sensitive, easily-irritated skin.
  7. Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant is an exfoliating rice-based powder formula that micro-exfoliates dead skin cells, leaving the skin smoother, softer, and brighter.
  8. EltaMD UV Aero is a zinc sunspray that makes applying sunscreen easy, plus its non-greasy and transparent (no residue).
  9. Headhunter Products that are non-irritating and easy applying sunscreen facial balm and sticks products that fit easily into your bag. Perfect for the person on the go!

What is your most popular treatment these days?

Neuromodulation with Botox, Dysport or Xeomin is my most common non-invasive cosmetic procedure. Coming in a close second are soft tissue fillers and fractional laser (Fraxel) treatments. Body contouring procedures such as liposuction/lipocontouring of the abdomen, flanks, arms, and neck, and upper eyelid surgery (blepharoplasty) are my most common invasive procedures.

When is your busiest time of year and why?

I am quite busy all year round. However, liposuction/lipocontouring procedures such as abdominal etching is most common 3-6 months before the “beach” months and more aggressive laser procedures such as carbon dioxide resurfacing are less popular in the summer months.




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