Photo Credit: skinlaser.com
Rebecca Kazin, MD, is a nationally recognized expert in the field of cosmetic dermatology. She is a board certified dermatologist at the renowned Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington D.C. Dr. Kazin is also holds a faculty position at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore where she served as Director of the Johns Hopkins Dermatology and Cosmetic Center for the past eight years. This year she received an award recognizing her clinical training of dermatology residents in lasers and cosmetics. With her extensive experience as an injector, she was selected to form a national team of physicians who train other physicians on the best techniques. Additionally, she was elected “Top Doc in Cosmetic Dermatology” by her peers for the past two years.
Through her dermatology training at Johns Hopkins, Kazin has become an expert not only in conditions of the skin, but also in the scalp and hair. She spoke with Beauty in the Bag about the evolution of her new hair care line, how men and women age and how she stays so fit and focused.
How did you meet Dr. Tina Alster and come to join her world renowned dermatology and laser practice?
Everyone in my field knows Dr. Alster! I have long regarded her as a personal role model and mentor, as she is one of the original trailblazers in dermatologic laser surgery and founded the first freestanding laser center in Washington, DC. After working at Johns Hopkins for more than a decade, I knew that her practice was the perfect fit for me as it seamlessly combines excellence in patient care with cutting edge laser and aesthetic research that continues to push knowledge in our field forward.
What are some of your special interests in the field of dermatology?
I feel fortunate to have a profession that allows me to combine my love of art with the study of medicine. When I meet a patient, I am often fascinated by how much of my exam is based on the principles of symmetry, proportion and shape. I study each person to see what will restore them to their natural beauty subtly and carefully to achieve their goals without looking obvious or artificial.
Because of my extensive experience with laser and injectable therapy, I am also able to apply my passion for teaching by training other dermatologists and surgeons in the latest proper and safe techniques.
Tell us about your special interest in hair loss and hair and scalp health?
During the past 10 years, I have been surprised about how many of my patients routinely complain about hairloss. On average, we lose 50-100 hairs day, which is a normal part of the natural growth cycle. However, when hair loss becomes more noticeable, there may be underlying causes. The causes can range from daily stress to heredity, styling damage, medications, vitamin deficiencies, and hormones. My patients also frequently complain about scalp symptoms and voice their frustration by the lack of options available. I realize that this is an area of great concern to women and men, and that there is a void in the market of products available to manage scalp conditions without leaving hair dry and unmanageable. Products that maintain the beauty and health of the hair regrettably do not adequately treat their scalp. So I am on a mission to help people cope with their hair and scalp health issues.
What changes do you see in practice among women and men as they age?
Much of the changes we see with aging are genetic, so it’s telling to take a long look at your mother and father! Men and women age differently but what is common is that with age there is progressive loss of the underlying bone structure, muscle mass, and collagen layers of the skin. This leads to the appearance of the ‘tablecloth being too large for the table.’ When fillers started booming with Hyaluronic Acid products, we were very focused on treatment of the nasolabial folds but what we’ve realized over time is that it’s the facial volume loss causing the prominence of the nasolabial folds that ages someone. Expect injectors now know to address the face globally to give a much more balanced, natural aesthetic result.
To add to the good news, with age comes hormonal shifts. I always joke- “as women age, they become more like men. As men age, they become like women”….This is because of the relative decrease in estrogen and testosterone respectively. These hormonal changes lead to hair loss where we want hair and hair growth where we don’t. We also see skin dryness and loss of elasticity. The collagen machinery in the skin slows down exponentially so wound healing becomes more difficult. As a dermatologist, I keep all of this in mind when evaluating my patients.
As a busy mother of three, a leading dermatologist and educator, a clinical researcher and product formulator, what are your personal secrets for looking so young and well-rested?
First- Find a babysitter and have Saturday nights out with my husband and friends!
But a close second would be trying to take a little bit of time for myself. I am kind of fanatical about scheduling and organizing, but it typically works to put a schedule in place that gives me a little time on the weekends to have what my husband calls “Me Time.” This is usually some form of exercising followed by a quick coffee with a friend.
I also have become comfortable with the fact that I cannot do it all and I live by the motto ‘it takes a village.’ I rely heavily on help from my parents and in-laws. I also have learned to say ‘No’ to many requests over time. I really try to just participate in committees and organizations that I am truly passionate about and give them my all instead of spreading myself too thin.
I have learned that it’s the quality of time with my three daughters not the quantity.
Lastly, it is a little Botox here, filler there, and maintenance laser treatments to help with the rest!
What technologies and trends are you excited about that may be coming in the near future?
- Kythera- ATX-101 injections to dissolve focal areas of fat (double chins).
- Topical ‘Botox’ for wrinkles and sweating (particularly palms and soles where BOTOX injections are very painful).
- Ulthera (micro-focused ultrasound) for tightening the crepe skin on the chest.
- Possible laser hair removal method for blond, white or grey hair.
- Advances in cellulite treatment.
Photo Credit: beautyinthebag.com
Shaving your legs daily is a non-negotiable beauty ritual in the summer, but even in the winter despite the reduced chance of showing off your bare legs. And with shaving comes a set of questions: How should I shave to avoid nicks and cuts? How often should I shave? What are the best razors to use?
Lucky for us, celebrity dermatologist Dr. Jody Levine, who has a private practice on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, was there to answer our questions. Here are some of her tried and true insights for the perfect set of smooth legs!
What are the benefits of shaving over using an at-home hair removal gadget?
The benefits for shaving are that it is a quick and easy way to remove hair. It’s also virtually painless if you are using a high-quality razor like those from Gillette Venus, which are less likely to give you nicks and cuts. Regular shaving with the right product is also a great gentle form of exfoliation, which can help keep skin soft. Shaving manually removes the top layer of dead, dry skin cells, helping to reveal beautiful, smooth skin.
How often should women shave?
I’d recommend shaving as often as you feel is necessary, as this depends on a variety of factors, including your genetics. Some women will find they want to shave every day, while others may only want to shave a few times a week. Find what works best for you and your skin.
What are the various Venus razors available out there?
There are a range of Venus razors out there to ensure you’ll find your perfect match. I’m personally a fan of the new Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor, which has five-blades for an ultra-close shave and Ribbons of Moisture and Lubrastrip to create a thick cushion between the razor and your skin. This reduces the chance of irritation. If you’re traveling or on-the-go the Venus Snap with Embrace is the perfect razor to drop in your bag.
What tips to make in between shave days last longer?
I would suggest using a high-quality razor with multiple blades, like the Venus Embrace Sensitive Razor, which cuts the hair very close to the skin surface. A close shave should translate into it taking longer for the hair to grow back helping your shave last longer. It’s also important to moisturize right after you shower this will keep your skin smooth and soft in between shaving.
Thirty years of practice has led Idaho-dermatologist Carl Thornfeldt, MD, to a conclusion about skin disease and aging: much of it can be attributed to the breakdown of the skin’s natural barrier function and chronic inflammation. He treats skin disease with prescriptions but for obtaining maximum skin health he focuses on rebuilding the barrier function. Enter, Epionce, the skin care system that Thornfeldt created to repair the barrier and fight inflammation. The comprehensive range is infused with botanicals and can be customized to address a variety of conditions, including acne, eczema, hyperpigmentation, psoriasis, rosacea, and, of course, skin aging. Here, Thornfeldt tells Beauty in the Bag about his professional background and his insights into maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Please tell us about your background. Why did you choose dermatology as your specialty?
I have struggled with dermatitis since I was a child. When I was a teenager, there were very few options available for treating dermatitis. The most common therapies were tar and sulfur being applied to the skin. It was a very challenging time for me and dramatically impacted me. I vowed I would grow up and try to find a better way to help people like me.
As a physician, how do you describe healthy skin?
I describe healthy skin as skin that has proper function and structure—the way it was originally intended to be. After all, the skin’s natural number one purpose is to interface between the dry air environment and our fluid filled body. If this barrier does not function properly, skin diseases occur. When the skin is healthy, other things we describe as “problem skin” tend to go away.
What inspired you to create and launch Epionce? How does it differ from other skin care lines?
I was inspired to create Epionce because I wanted something better for my patients. When I started as a physician, it was hard to help my patients get completely clear and maintain remission of their skin disease because so many of the prescription products adversely affected the skin barrier, really hindering their quality of life. Over time patients would rather just deal with the disease state than manage the medical options that have been available. This led me on a quest to answer the question—if we could optimize the structure and function of the skin, can we prevent skin disease and skin aging? Due to the complexity of the multiple processes we see as damaged skin, unique botanical ingredients were formulated to reverse these processes. Ultimately, to have products that improve skin is what led to Epionce. When I gave samples to my patients to try for their skin diseases, months later they came back asking for the “wrinkle” cream. We realized that Epionce was not only for diseases and conditions, but also anti-aging. We confirmed what Dr. Albert Kligman first published in 1988 that inflammation is critical in driving skin aging.
To my knowledge, no other skin care line addresses the underlying causes of how the damaged skin barrier and chronic inflammation contributes to skin disease, various conditions, and aging the way that Epionce does. We use a blend of unique botanical ingredients that work synergistically to reverse the abnormalities and to provide optimum therapeutic benefit to the skin. Then we did what no one was doing at the time—we started doing clinical studies against market leaders, including prescription products.
Can damaged skin really be repaired? What ingredients are effective in fighting signs of age?
Because of the world we live in, our skin will continually be exposed to things that will cause damage to the skin. So, while the skin absolutely can be repaired, it does require regular attention to continue the repair process.
The premise behind Epionce is that signs of aging are triggered and driven by both a damaged skin barrier and chronic inflammation in the skin. So, Epionce uses a variety of botanical ingredients delivered at therapeutic concentrations to specific skin cells to address both of those issues. Some of the ingredients we use that help repair the skin barrier are avocado, safflower, meadowfoam, and quercetin. Some of the ingredients that help stop chronic inflammation are date, apple, flax, and rosa canina.
Are there any new skin care technologies on the horizon that you find particularly promising?
I’m intrigued with some of the new research on proteonomics, metabolomics, and glyconomics. The theory seems good, but of course I will want to see the blinded clinical trial data with statistical significance of the finished product before coming to any conclusions about the use of that technology in skin care. Too often there is a lot of hype or buzz before enough research has been done. Many people have spent money on products that make promises based on theories that don’t pan out. That is why I fought so hard for Epionce to have conclusive clinical studies so I can say with confidence to my patients that they will see results, and it’s not just a fad.
What’s next for Epionce?
There is a lot of ongoing research into the functionality of the skin, and how to optimize it. We are always looking at ways that we might be able to improve how our products impact the skin for maximum therapeutic value. I always say, my patients never come in asking to get 40% clear from their disease or condition; they come in asking for 100% clearance and they want to stay clear. I am always pushing myself and my team to reach for that.