In the know: Beauty

October 10th, 2013

Source: Pregnancy and Newborn

You asked, the professionals answered.
Produced by Erin Shea Long

What is the best way to remove blackheads and whiteheads without using salicylic acid?
A: I like doing an exfoliating mask in the shower. When you come out, your skin is prepped for extraction if necessary. I recommend using cotton swabs instead of fingers so you don’t damage the skin with your nails.
—Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection and celebrity facialist in New York City

How bad is it to skip washing my face at night and sleep in my makeup?
A: Our bodies use the time we sleep to repair themselves from days of pollution and stress. If you don’t wash your face, you won’t give the body a chance to perform that very important function—and you will regret it as you get older!
—Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection and celebrity facialist in New York City
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Can I get rid of that pesky baggage I’m carrying under my eyes now that I have a newborn?
A: Under-eye puffiness and dark circles can be caused by many factors. Lack of sleep, allergies, genetics and the natural aging process all conspire to create dark circles. There are different treatment approaches, depending on the problem. For lack of sleep, the solution is obvious. To improve the look of tired, puffy eyes, try a cool gel mask or even cucumbers to reduce fluid build-up. Seasonal allergies can also cause eyes to swell and become congested, so daily use of an over-the-counter antihistamine will help within two weeks. If genetics is the issue, an eye cream for dark circles may be helpful as several contain bleaching agents to gently lighten the skin. For the most severe cases, laser treatments can be performed, but they require months of recovery.

The natural aging process can cause several unwanted changes to the under-eye area. For thinning skin, which increases the visibility of underlying blood vessels causing dark circles, eye creams with retinol or peptides can help stimulate a bit of collagen to thicken the skin. There are also at-home laser devices that can stimulate collagen to improve the fine wrinkles at the crow’s-feet area. For eyes that are becoming recessed, causing a hollowed tired look, dermal fillers (such as Restylane) are the best option.
—Elizabeth Tanzi, MD, co-director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery in Washington, D.C.

How do I create the coveted smoky eye?
A: There is a classic elegance to a sultry smoky eye and every mom should feel confident wearing it. Smoky doesn’t necessarily mean dark, so you can really use any color scheme you desire—all that matters is the gradation of shades. Pick a color—black, brown, tan, taupe or grey—and create a gradation of color over the lid. Start with the lightest tone at the center, medium hue in the crease, and darkest shade at the lash line for definition. Make sure everything is buffed and smudged, as you never want to see where one color ends or begins. Top off the look with a coral-peach blush for healthy color and apply a soft nude lip color to complement.
—Sonia Kashuk, founder of Sonia Kashuk Beauty and makeup artist in New York City

What can I eat to make my appearance healthier?
A: Eating foods with a lot of sugar and carbs (white bread, pasta, potatoes, sugary sodas) will make your blood sugar and insulin levels spike. This triggers a cascade of hormonal effects that lead to excess oil, clogged pores and breakouts. In fact, studies have shown that women who suffer from adult acne are especially sensitive to dietary sugar and carbs since they already tend to have high levels of blood insulin.

If you choose healthy snacks that are lower in sugar and higher in protein, your blood sugar will be more balanced so your skin will break out less—plus, you’ll be less hungry. If you are at risk for gestational diabetes, it’s even more reason to choose your snacks carefully.

Collagen keeps your skin firm and smooth, so eating collagen-building foods will keep your skin looking good, even when you’re feeling tired. Since collagen itself is a protein, I recommend eating chicken, lean meats, eggs, fish and plant proteins like lentils, beans and nuts to help your body make strong collagen. In addition, vitamin C is an essential co-factor that your body needs to produce healthy collagen. Be sure to eat plenty of citrus fruits, strawberries, papayas, kiwis and red peppers.
—Jessica Wu, MD, author of Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days and dermatologist in Los Angeles

What is the most effective way to fade a C-section scar?
A: At-home: After surgery, I give every patient this lightweight gel to help heal damaged tissue—it can also be used for the face, fine lines, antiaging and evening skin tone.

Procedure: The V-Beam* does wonders for C-section scars and you can be treated as soon as the sutures are out.
—Stafford R. Broumand, MD, FACS, cosmetic surgeon in New York City

What are these unsightly spider veins and how can I squash them?
A: Spider and varicose veins are caused from malfunctioning valves. Our veins have one-way valves that prevent the backflow of blood. Once these valves stop functioning properly, blood flow is disrupted and the veins dilate. These veins can be hereditary, but can also be caused by obesity, hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause, constipation or excessive straining on the toilet, increased intra-abdominal pressure from doing sit-ups without elevating your legs, improper breathing technique while doing squats or lifting heavy objects, and spending a lot of time on your feet.

You can minimize your risk by watching your weight, exhaling while lifting objects, maintaining a diet high in fiber, spending minimal time on the toilet, and wearing medical graduated compression stockings. It’s best to start with mild compression (up to 15 to 20 mmHg) and see your physician if you feel you need something stronger. Also, when sitting at home, try to elevate your feet to aid the flow of blood out of your legs and give your veins some relief.

The best and most effective treatment is an in-office procedure called sclerotherapy. A solution is injected into the veins to break them down for bodily absorption. Since your body has already made alternate routes of appropriate blood flow, these veins are not functional and serve little purpose in proper circulation.
—Soheil Simzar, MD, dermatologist at Ava MD in Santa Monica, California

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