Tag Archives: vitamin C

Acne: 6 ways to Troubleshoot when you’re breaking out

Trouble-shooting causes of acne and breakouts is one of my favorite things to do. It’s a fun challenge, like trying to solve a mystery. I’ll always start by asking LOTS of questions, and keep it up until we get an ah-ha moment.

Below is a list of some of the things I ask patients about. If you’re having trouble with acne, try troubleshooting your routines and products.


1) Liquid Makeup
It’s a mean cycle: you break out, so you need to cover up. But liquids and creamy formulas can contribute to congestion, causing another breakout. Remember that oil is sticky, and in an acne scenario, dead skin cells and debris are already getting glued down with oil. Frequently, more coating on the surface can cause more congestion and breakouts.

Contrary to popular belief, there are mineral powder foundations that deliver high coverage. My faves for great coverage without contributing to acne:

Tip: Try a liquid foundation brush with these powders to lay down more opacity/ coverage where you need it. 


2) Over-Extraction

Not every blackhead or follicular deposit is going to cause issues. And that little tiny blemish won’t actually ruin your day. If you tend to break out, Hands Off!

See an esthetician for a pro extraction and ask for a conservative session. Hard truth to swallow: If you break out after a facial, (or home extraction) it might be because of over-stimulation… NOT because the skin is “purging” – an idea you’ll hear suggested from time to time. Bring post-facial-breakout feedback to your skin care pro and they can adjust appropriately for your next treatment.IMG_9357

Tip: The use of Tretinoin, retinol, or another treatment product recommended by your doctor or esthetician can act as a pre-treatment and make extractions easier on you… and your facialist.


3) Benzoyl Peroxide and Spot Treating:

Benzoyl Peroxide is a great acne treatment. However, it works as a preventative by killing off pimples in the early stage. (Zits can take up to 90 days to form). Sometimes we feel like it helps as a spot treatment because it can be drying to an acne lesion, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you’re not applying it all over. My favorite BPO is in the Obagi Clenziderm System because it’s a solubilized BPO, not a micro-crystal (like other BPO). It’s 1/10,000th the size of a standard BPO crystal – this means it penetrates most effectively into the follicle. Give it a try!


4) Bar Soap:

I’ve never met a bar of soap that I liked. Picture a bar of soap: waxy and skin-coating, dry-looking, or simply sitting in a little pool of water getting mushy: whatever it is, we just don’t get along- and neither should you.

Two things about bar soap:

1) Just to physically get it into bar-form, the pH here has to be higher than other formulations like creams, gels, or liquids. This means that they can be more drying. Lets not freak out your skin any more than we need to.

2) Bacteria likes to live on bars of soap. Doctors don’t seem too concerned with this from a disease-proliferating perspective (washing your hands with bar soap seems to be fine), but if we’re trouble-shooting, we’re trouble-shooting. I say, use a liquid, non-soap cleanser instead.


5) Use of Topical Vitamin C:

Topical Vitamin C’s are great as a brightening product and anti-aging measure, but you should avoid this one when troubleshooting breakouts. In my experience, vitamin C’s are not always acne-friendly and are not often recommended for those who break out easily.

That being said, Vitamin C’s are great to lighten acne marks (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or PIH) from old breakouts.  If you currently have active acne, get your breakouts under control first, and then consider choosing a formula meant for all or oily skin types. I prefer Phloretin CF for oily types. 


6) Makeup Sponges

If you’re breaking out, ditch the sponges – they harbor bacteria. If you are currently in the sponge club, really, try brushes! You can get much better coverage and get much more mileage out of your makeup. Just be sure to clean them regularly.

My favorite brush cleaners are:

IMG_9322Tip:  If you HAVE to use a sponge, grab a bag of disposable wedges, snip them in half (so you get double the use) and throw them out EACH TIME you use them.


If you’ve exhausted these possibilities and you’re still having trouble, see your dermatologist. They will troubleshoot further and might look at additional factors like hormones.  They might also prescribe a topical or oral medication as well.

Until next time, stay fabulous my friends!

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These Villains are the cause of skin damage, Part 2

If we want to look at our anti-aging practices from an informed and discerning perspective, it’s good to know what’s going on in there that causes wrinkles (and other not-so-fun manifestations of skin aging). So far, we know about three main things that happen in the skin when damage is caused. Click HERE for the 1st Villain I wrote about. Here’s the 2nd biochemical phenomenon in my series:

•    The Villains: MMP’s

MMPs: Don't let them get your collagen!! At theProductPro.com

MMPs: Don’t let them get your collagen!!

Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) are enzymes -envision Pac-Man!- activated by inflammation.  Inflammation can be caused by elements like UV exposure and infrared radiation. MMPs are not cool because they contribute to the breakdown of collagen. And as if that wasn’t bad enough… they also work to inhibit new collagen formation.

For a scholarly article type of resource, check out this white paper on The National Center for Biotechnology Information website. They say Matrix-degrading metalloproteinases are key mediators of collagen degradation that is observed in photoaged skin. Key mediators? Oh man!!
Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 6.51.42 PM

Yikes! What to do now???

Don’t freak out, its just one of the biochemical phenomena that results from CHRONIC damage and UV exposure. Let’s be proactive about this…  Since we know MMPs are expressed as a result of UV and IR, we have a shot at preventing by using great SPF and using antioxidants. Click here to read more about some of my fave go-to antioxidants. And stay tuned for another edition of Skin Damage Villains, coming soon!

Antioxidant products at Theproductpro.com

Nobody FREAK OUT… we have Antioxidants on our side! 

Until Next Time, Stay Fabulous (and Informed!) my friends!

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Vitamin C: it’s not just for breakfast… Products that Prevent

The best product-related helpers to prevent damage to the skin are arguably antioxidants and sunscreens, which both help prevent the formation of free radicals in the first place, and also help neutralize these offenders.

Picture a knight in shining armor, swinging a sword at an evil free radical, he’d be considered the antioxidant.

How can we ever thank you, Antioxidant?! At theProductPro.wordpress.com

How can we ever thank you, Antioxidant?!


My go-to, long-standing favorite antioxidants are topical Vitamin C’s.

 Topical vitamin C’s are known to have many benefits, including:

  •  Neutralizing free radicals, preventing skin aging
  •  Helping to maintain normal cellular turnover
  •  Helping to build collagen
  •  Lightening and brightening the skin
  •  Reducing inflammation
  •  Decreasing transepidermal water loss (your skin won’t leak moisture so much)

Here are just a few I love:


The Need-To-Know:

How to Use Vitamin C: Use Vitamin C in the mornings after toner and before moisturizers and sunscreens to help defend skin from the onslaught of pollutants, sun, and all kinds of other threats that you’ll meet out there during your busy day.

Think: I’m drinking my OJ in the morning, My skin needs its Vitamin C in the morning, too!

Mom always said: Drink Your OJ! ... but dont forget your morning topical C! at TheProductPro.wordpress.com

Mom always said: Drink Your OJ! … but don’t forget your morning topical C!

Oh, and don’t forget the neck, chest, and the backs of the hands… they need protection, too.

Buyer Beware: Even though Vitamin C is a sort of ‘knight in shining armor’, it’s also really unstable… always about to oxidize and die. Be sure that you don’t go with just ANY vitamin C. Those that have published research or from reputable companies are the best bet.

Oxidation: If you’ve got a water-based C (L-ascorbic) like CE Ferulic, for example, be sure you toss it when it starts to turn orange/amber in color.  This assures that your product isn’t weakened or *GASP* causing oxidation. This is an ANTI-OXIDANT, for goodness sake.

Acne Patients Beware: Vitamin C’s are great for many people, but acne patients should avoid: even though Vitamin C’s are great to lighten acne marks from old breakouts, they are not the best choice for those currently breaking out. If you currently have active acne, get your breakouts under control first, and then consider choosing a formula meant for all or oily skin types.

Stay safe in the sun out there – and Until Next Time, Stay Fabulous My Friends!

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3 Fast Facts: Obagi C Clarifying Serum

I started 3 fast facts because I could go on forever about some of these products… which can make writing about them a little daunting.  Instead of overthinking (and therefore procrastinating), I’ll just use this category to finally touch on some of my favorite products & three reasons you might love them too! 


Obagi C-Clarifying Serum

Obagi C-Clarifying Serum

What can I say except: WOW. This little powerhouse is amazing, and the only of its kind on the market.

Obagi C-Clarifying Serum: With Marketing like this, how could it NOT be fabulous?? at theProductPro.wordpress.com

Obagi C-Clarifying Serum: With Marketing like this, how could it NOT be fabulous??

➢ Fact 1:

The first and only:

Its unique formula features 10% Vitamin C combined with prescription strength 4% Hydroquinone, the Gold standard treatment for dark spots and discoloration. Prescription strength means that the product is able to penetrate the dermal layers to reduce the over-activity of melanosomes.

Translation: Not only will the Vitamin C work to lighten and brighten, but the power of RX lighteners are in your corner too. It’s really under-rated, in my opinion: This product is not only neutralizing free radicals and protecting the skin, improving the appearance of age spots and hyperpigmentation! What more could you want??

➢ Fact 2:

It works. And Fast:

In studies, this product was mostly observed effective at about 4 weeks. In reality, I observe patients (and on my own skin!) notice changes much faster than that. Some people swear up-and-down that they see significant lightening and brightening as soon as a few days! Expect results to continue to get better for up to 4 months. The prevention benefit will continue beyond that, as long as you’re still using it.

➢ Fact 3:

Two sizes fit most:

Originally (way back) only available in one formula, this serum is now-a-days available in two ‘flavors’: Normal to Dry and Normal to Oily, they’ve thought of everyone here! It will help treat multiple kinds of darkened skin:

  •  Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Post Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (the ‘stain’ that’s left over after a blemish for example)
  • Melasma

 

Until Next Time, Stay Fabulous, My Friends!

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3 Fast Facts: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

I started 3 fast facts because I could go on forever about some of these products… which can make writing about them a little daunting.  Instead of overthinking (and therefore procrastinating), I’ll just use this category to finally touch on some of my favorite products & three reasons you might love them too! 


Three Fast Facts About: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

Skinceuticals CE Ferulic at TheProductPro.wordpress.com

Dr. Pinnell’s baby: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

➢ Fact 1

This fantastic product is a topical antioxidant used to protect the skin from future damage, promote cell renewal, and increase the build of collagen. Distinguished Duke professor, faculty-member, chemist, and Dermatologist, Dr Sheldon Pinnell published more than 200 articles and studies on topical antioxidants.

Known (by me, at least!) as the grandfather of topical antioxidants, Dr Pinnell developed this product based on much of his research. This serum has gone on to become and remain the cornerstone of Skinceuticals collection. Dr Pinnell had formulated the perfect C Serum: the right PH, the right percentage of C, and the perfect C-stabilizers: Vitamin E and Ferulic acid.

This emollient-like serum can be perfect for normal-to-dry skin types. Side note: Most reviews on the product describe it as ‘featherweight’, but I find that most oily- types find it too heavy, likely because of the Vitamin E.

➢ Fact 2

I love this formulation in particular because of its reservoir effect: once it is in the skin, it stays there for about 3 days- which makes it great for sweating runners and outdoor-lovers. This also says to me: “It really gets in there!”

(Keep things consistent and apply every day though).

➢ Fact 3

It also reduces inflammation in UV-irradiated cells. Slather this on afterwards if you happen to get a sunburn on vacay in Barbados. (But I know you won’t get a sunburn, right?!)

Here’s a link to learn more about it (the science!)

 

Until Next time, Stay Fabulous, My Friends!

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3 Fast Facts: Skinmedica TNS Essential Serum

I started 3 fast facts because I could go on forever about some of these products… which can make writing about them a little daunting.  Instead of overthinking (and therefore procrastinating), I’ll just use this category to finally touch on some of my favorite products & three reasons you might love them too! 


 

 

Three Fast Facts About: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum

This all in one product is a heavy hitter in the fight against skin damage!

This all in one product is a heavy hitter in the fight against skin damage!

➢ Fact 1

All-in-one-awesome:

TNS Essential serum is product is used to correct, protect from future damage, promote cell renewal, smooth, lighten and increase collagen.

I personally call this fantastic product ‘The Mercedes of anti-aging products’. Not only is there Vitamin C in here, but lots of other potent goodies, too. Users will benefit from ultra-high concentrations of growth factors, 7 antioxidants, peptides, and super-potent  alpha-arbutin for lightening and brightening.

➢ Fact 2

 

Antioxidants both ways:

The antioxidants found in Essential Serum include ergothionine, green tea extract, blackberry leaf extract, saccharomyces ferment filtrate, coenzyme Q-10, tocopheryl acetate (E) and tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate (lipid-soluble C), which are all free-radical fighters.

Just like SkinMedica’s C & E Complex, there’s a combo of water- and lipid-soluble antioxidants here.  This is good because the water-soluble antioxidants can weave down between skin cells. The lipid-soluble’s are meant to actually enter the cell through its membrane. The two types of action here means that you’re covering your bases and in for a better result.

➢ Fact 3

In a hurry?

Essential serum is essential for the gal (or guy) on the go. A combination of both the beloved TNS Recovery Complex and APS corrective complex in one. This super-covenient dual chamber packaging is like those toothpaste/gel combo pumps that pump out both products simultaneously. One pump and both the APS serum and the Recovery Complex are dispensed.

Oh, and for the instant-gratification lovers out there: hyalauronic acid plumping spheres are present in this all-in-one serum. Buh-bye, fine lines!

 

Check it out here

Until Next time, Stay Fabulous, My Friends!

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3 Fast Facts: Skinmedica Vitamin C & E Complex

I started 3 fast facts because I could go on forever about some of these products… which can make writing about them a little daunting.  Instead of overthinking (and therefore procrastinating), I’ll just use this category to finally touch on some of my favorite products & three reasons you might love them too! 


 

 

Three Fast Facts About: SkinMedica C & E Complex

This satin-finish antioxidant feels like a makeup primer

This satin-finish antioxidant feels like a makeup primer

➢ Fact 1

This fantastic product is a topical antioxidant used to protect the skin from future damage, promotes cell renewal, and increases the build of collagen. Topical vitamin C’s have been known to reduce inflammation (think rosacea and post-sun exposure) and brighten the skin. These are usually great for everybody with the exception of super oily skin types, and some very sensitive or fragile types.

➢ Fact 2

Usually Vitamin C is really unstable… always about to oxidize and bite the dust. In this case, the vitamins are suspended in a silicone (dimethicone suspension) base so they are gradually released throughout the day and won’t oxidize. This assures that your product isn’t weakened or *GASP* causing oxidation. This is an ANTI-OXIDANT, for goodness sake. But don’t become oxidation paranoid, you’re safe with this formula.

There are 2 forms of beneficial C in there, too… lipid soluble and water soluble. Covering our bases here.

➢ Fact 3

The above-mentioned dimethicone suspension is not just a great delivery system, it feels like an awesome makeup primer! This super-satin finish will make you look forward to applying it. Use it in the AM’s to protect against the onslaught of free-radical threats that you’ll meet in your day. Your skin will thank you for it!

Here’s a link to learn more about it:

http://www.skinmedica.com/skin-care-products/vitamin-ce-complex

 

Until Next time, Stay Fabulous, My Friends!

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Obagi Inservice today at Erickson Cosmetic Dermatology Chicago

Thanks, Laura (our fabulous Obagi rep/expert)

We always LOVE hearing about the most current updates and developments in the skin care science realm!

Yours Truly,

The skin care pro’s at Erickson Cosmetic Dermatology, Laser & MedSpa

=)

 

PS: we’re crazy about the Gentle Rejuvenation products!

(For more on Obagi Gentle Rejuvenation, here’s a link: http://obagi.com/patients/product-line/gentle-rejuvenation/results and here’s a link to another post about the Gentle Rejuvenation Vitamin C fortified SPF (click to follow the link)!

Jennifer and Elizabeth at Erickson Cosmetic Dermatology

E and Jennifer say: Thanks Laura (our fabulous Obagi rep/expert)! We always learn a ton! And we’re crazy about the Gentle Rejuvenation products!

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E’s 3 Current Faves: a Sunscreen for Everyone

Here’s a blog post I wrote for work, Erickson Cosmetic Dermatology. Enjoy! =)

chicagoderm

Hi, Elizabeth for Erickson Cosmetic Dermatology here!
I think many of us thought it would never happen, but Spring is upon us… and the sun is out Chicago! Well, it’s THINKING about it. =)
Though it’s important to be aware of daily sunlight exposure all year-round, the thought of daylight in Chicago after this winter is suddenly inspiring! So, I thought I would take a moment to share some of my favorite daily-use facial sunscreen products.

My favorite for a smooth, powdery finish (AND there’s bonus Vitamin C!!!):
Obagi Medical Products Gentle Rejuvenation Fortified Sunscreen. 

This awesome makeup primer-consistency Sunscreen is fortified with Vit C. This is like winning the  multitasking skin care lotto! This awesome makeup primer-consistency Sunscreen is fortified with Vit C. This is like winning the multitasking skin care lotto!

This is sunscreen is unique because it features the ever-important antioxidant Vitamin C in its broad spectrum, matte finish sunscreen formulation.I love this one for it’s fresh, almost citrusy (yet subtle) scent. This line rocks, by the…

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