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Posted by 04.14.14

April has been designated Rosacea Awareness Month for good reason. The common but poorly understood skin condition affects more than 16 million Americans, yet most of them don’t know it. That doesn’t keep them from suffering from the condition, especially the emotional pain of a chronically red and/or sometimes broken out face.

In a recent survey of 1,675 rosacea patients conducted by the National Rosacea Society, 90% said that the condition’s effect on their appearance has lowered their self-confidence and self-esteem. Eighty-eight percent reported suffering embarrassment, not to mention a whole range of other negative feelings, including, frustration, anxiety, helplessness, depression, anger, and isolation. In fact, 52 percent of the respondents reported that they had avoided face-to-face contact because of the disorder.

Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, a vast array of lifestyle and environmental factors can trigger flare-ups, including sun exposure, hot or cold weather, wind, alcohol, and spicy foods.

“There are different versions of rosacea so each treatment is tailored to that patient’s needs,” said New York City dermatologist Lori Brightman. “But for all rosacea sufferers, you want to avoid triggers such as sun, alcohol ,extreme hot or cold weather, stress, spicy foods, fragrance or menthol, and hot beverages.”

In addition to trigger control, medical treatments range from topical creams and ointments to in-office light or laser treatments, depending on the severity of the condition. The different types of rosacea encompass subtype 1 (moderate to severe redness on the face), subtype 2 (pumps or pimples on the face), subtype 3 (thickening of the skin), and subtype 4 (watery or irritated eyes).

“Obviously, the redness is from ‘leaky, abnormal’ blood vessels so the best treatment would be to get rid of those faulty vessels,” said New York dermatologist Cheryl Karcher. She recommends treatment with Intense Pulsed Light or a KTP or Cutera Excel V Laser. “We also use BOTOX to decrease flushing by relaxing the muscles that dilate the vessels in both the face and chest,” she added.

For topical, temporary control of redness, many doctors recommend the newly popular prescription Mirvaso Gel from Galderma. “The new topical Mirvaso Gel is amazing for redness. Use it in the morning and it will keep redness away for twelve hours,” said New York City dermatologist Lisa Airan.

Oral and or topical antibiotics can be prescribed for the anti-inflammatory benefits—not their anti-bacterial action. In addition, topical sulfur based, azeleic acid, or antifungal-based medicines can help control the redness and pustules. “For some with severe cases of flushing/burning, oral cardiovascular medicine can help reduce the blood vessels from dilating,” Dr. Brightman said.

Many physician-dispensed skin care or cosmeceutical lines feature products specifically formulated to target rosacea. “Rosaliac AR Intense by La Roche-Posay is a light serum that is great for patients with oily-normal skin and wears well under makeup,” said Maryland dermatologist Valerie Callender, who is also president of the Women’s Dermatologic Society. For dry/sensitive skin, she recommends CalmPlex by SkinMedica, an emollient cream that can be used at night.

The ZO Medical® rosacea protocol involves products to control oiliness and breakouts. Cebatrol™ Oil Control Pads feature 2% salicylic acid and anti-inflammatory agents. Beverly Hills dermatologist Zein Obagi also recommends using ZO Medical’s Glycogent™ for rosacea prone skin, which is an exfoliation accelerator engineered to reduce inflammation.

Another popular choice is PCA Skin Anti-Redness Serum which contains aldavine, capparenols, and bisabolol to reduce inflammation, redness, and hypersensitivity. It also works wonder for relieving sunburn. Clinical results show a 50 percent reduction in redness over an eight-week period.

Exuviance by NeoStrata has just launched a new serum as well. Exuviance AntiRedness Calming Serum contains Canadian willow herb, tripeptide, and brown and red algae extracts to help calm redness-prone skin. Follow with Exuviance Ultra Restorative Crème, which relies on gentle polyhdroxy acids to soothe dry and easily irritated skin.

Even cleansing rosacea-prone skin must be handled with a lot of TLC. The gentle CLn Facial Cleanser is formulated with glycerin and skin conditioners to wipe away dirt while soothing and helping skin retain moisture.

For covering up, mineral makeup, such as the Jane Iredale brand, treats red and inflamed skin gently and with titanium dioxide for UV protection. Omaha dermatologist Joel Schlessinger also recommends Phytomer CC Crème Skin Perfecting Cream, a blend of skin care and makeup that offers coverage plus broad-spectrum sun protection.

Although it can’t be cured, rosacea can be controlled. If you are dealing with mild redness, try over-the-counter treatments that contain green tea, licorice/licorice root extract, chamomile, feverfew, and mushroom extract for relief. And remember to stay out of the sun to minimize future UV exposure which also causes flare ups.

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Posted by 04.07.14

That innocent bystander on your sink—the hand soap—now is getting its due. Several brands are introducing beautiful varieties that now are on par with shower gels in their look and feel, and certainly in their ingredients. Since hands get extremely dry with repeated washings, hand soaps by nature tout “moisturizing” benefits like a Superbowl commercial. Here are some we love:

L’Occitane Verbena Cleansing Hand Wash ($20)

This pale yellow number is formulated with a vegetable base and is gentle enough to use on a baby’s hands.The sparkling lemony aroma of verbena gives cleansing hands that zing, and while it’s a pricier hand soap than most, it’s worth it for that non-cloying fragrance alone.

Softsoap Décor  Collection ($2.99)

LHS_Decor-CollectionPhoto Credit: Softsoap

While I’ve purchased nearly every variety of Softsoap for my house, including the honey versio,n which is ideal for my parched hands, the new Décor collection adds luxury to the sink for a fraction of the cost of more expensive options. The scents are upscale—Peony & Plum, Orchid Petals & Mint Water, and Wild Basil & Lime—and the transparent bottles with wallpaper-like patterns of  flowers make these rectangular bottles pop like bits of jewelry on the kitchen sink.

Diptyque Softening Hand Wash ($38)

DiptyquePhoto Credit: Diptyque

The brand that gave us Tubereuse candles and gorgeous coffrets indulges us with yet another way to enjoy fragrance. This amber-colored softening hand wash is aromatic, mild, repairing and comes in a hard to miss bottle. It is formulated with lavender water which purifies and comforts the skin and also features honey extract.

Disclosure: Softsoap samples were provided for editorial consideration by Colgate-Palmolive.

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Posted by 03.20.14

It’s spring, at last, and time when young women’s minds turn to thoughts of renewed beauty. Personally, I gravitate towards the latest scientific-ingredient potions, but lately I’ve been giving all-natural skincare products a whirl. These luxurious all-natural formulas contain high-performance ingredients sourced from sustainable farms around the globe to smooth, brighten, restore, and battle the signs of aging, while also keeping the body and skin healthy. The brands below are free of parabens, sulfates, petrochemicals, and synthetic ingredients, and after trying some of them I may just abandon a few of my high-tech formulas and think you will, too.

Kora Organics

Victoria Secret model Miranda Kerr was unhappy with organic skincare brands out on the market so she decided to create her own and launched KORA Organics, which debuted in the US in the fall of 2013. The line uses good-for-you ingredients such as noni, a fruit packed with nourishing anti-oxidants, as well as rosehip oil, sea buckthorn, green tea, lavender, and chamomile. The 21-product all-natural line consists of body and face products that feel gentle and good on the skin. One of my favorites is the calming lavender mist that gives skin an extra moisture boost with soothing essential oils and antioxidants. Products range from $25 to $160.

mezEYELINER_viperVapour Beauty delivers on-trend colors and botanical-rich non-comedogenic formulas that look and feel great on the skin. The line contains everything you need to get a flawless look—foundation, lipstick, blush, and glossy nail polishes—all made with 70 percent of organic ingredients and 30 percent of vitamins and mineral pigments, plus the purest food-grade ingredients. Try the Mesmerize Eyeliner in Viper (a rich plum shade and part of the spring 2014 collection), containing anti-inflammatory chrysanthemum, eyebright, and horsetail herb. Prices range from $16-$90.

Products of the eco-certified luxury skincare brand Amala (means most pure in Sanskrit) are packed with active botanicals found in their purest state to fight the signs of aging. The eco-luxe line can be found at some of the country’s most high-end spas and boasts five collections each containing a key ingredient to target a specific skin concern. For spring, try the brightening face polish made with narcissus, raspberry seed, and algae extract to help diminish dark spots and give skin a healthy glow. Products range from $18 to $248.

jmo_greentea&calendula_RightJohn Masters Organics has been creating eco-friendly hair care since the ‘90s with over 49 products that now spans to skincare and pet care, all free of synthetics and harsh ingredients. Packed with organic oils and pure botanicals, the products smell fresh and vibrant while keeping hair and skin healthy and protected. Try the Green Tea & Calendula Leave-in Conditioning Mist containing broccoli seed oil and a slew of certified organic botanicals to make hair soft and shiny without weighing it down. Products range from $6 to $48.

Most of the ingredients in Tata Harper’s luxe organic products are grown on the 1,200-acre company farm in Vermont and manufactured in small batches in their own lab. Each product in the all-natural skincare line—serums, moisturizers, cleansers, toners, eye creams, masks, and lip products—contain nine to 29 powerful active ingredients with really beautiful natural scents. One of the newest products, Love Potion, an all-natural sensual perfume, is an aromatic blend of 10 aphrodisiac essential oils such as davana, ylang ylang, jasmine, and atlas cedarwood,which are said to boost mood and promote attractiveness.  Products range from $24 to $365.

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