The Pretty Pimple http://theprettypimple.com your skin care and dermatology resource Mon, 29 Oct 2018 18:34:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 http://theprettypimple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/cropped-pretty-pimple-icon-small-32x32.jpg The Pretty Pimple http://theprettypimple.com 32 32 How Long Does It Take For Skin Care Products To Absorb? http://theprettypimple.com/long-take-skin-care-products-absorb/ http://theprettypimple.com/long-take-skin-care-products-absorb/#respond Mon, 29 Oct 2018 13:54:51 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4928 You’ve done your research and chosen skincare products formulated for your skin type. You’ve washed your face, and it’s finally time to pat those new serums into your skin — but should you put them on immediately? How soon after can you layer on your moisturizer? What if you’re layering several serums? The short answer:…

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You’ve done your research and chosen skincare products formulated for your skin type. You’ve washed your face, and it’s finally time to pat those new serums into your skin — but should you put them on immediately? How soon after can you layer on your moisturizer? What if you’re layering several serums? The short answer: It depends on the type of product and ingredients in it. The long answer: Well, that’s exactly what we’re getting into below.

Which skincare ingredients are absorbed into the skin?

Not every skin care ingredient has the ability to be absorbed into your skin. Your stratum corneum is pretty tough — that’s the outer layer of your skin and it’s about 20 layers thick and chock full of proteins and oils that form a difficult-to-penetrate barrier.

Every ingredient will first come into contact with your stratum corneum, but whether or not it’ll actually be absorbed depends on how large its molecules are. Ingredients that have small molecules — like vitamin C, vitamin E, and retinol  — are able to be absorbed into your skin cells. Other ingredients, like petroleum (aka Vaseline jelly) are meant to sit on the surface of your skin and create a barrier against irritants.

What other factors play a role in the absorption of skin care products?

Some products utilize technology that helps them be absorbed into your skin. Ingredients like ethanol, acetone, and sodium lauryl sulfate break down your skin’s protective barrier so that chemicals can penetrate into deeper levels of your skin. That being said (and not surprisingly), products with these ingredients are sometimes irritating.

Thankfully, there are less irritating ways that skincare brands have discovered to ensure products absorb into your skin. Some peptides are able to cause a temporary disruption to your skin barrier, which allows products to penetrate deeper, without the irritation.

Liposomes are another method skincare companies utilize to ensure a product gets absorbed into your skin. They’re a type of nanotechnology that allows chemicals to be surrounded by a lipid bilayer, and that bilayer is able to work its way into the lower layers of your skin — known as the dermis.

Meanwhile, nanoparticles are itsy-bitsy chemicals that can easily squeeze past proteins in the upper layer of your skin and be absorbed by your hair follicles. You can look for all of these on product labels if skin absorption is something you’re concerned about.

How long does it take for skin care products to absorb?

In general, dermatologists say that it takes about 30 minutes for most skin care products to be fully absorbed into your skin. If for some reason, you decide to wash your face within 30 minutes of applying a serum or cream, you’ll need to apply it again.

So what does this mean for layering skincare products?

The good news is, while it takes about a half hour for skin care products to fully absorb, that doesn’t mean you have to wait a half hour between each step in your skincare routine. Your skin is capable of handling the application of multiple products within quick succession of each other. The general rule is that thinner products are more easily absorbed while thicker products sit on top of your skin, so always work your way from thin consistency to thick.

Still, there are some minor exceptions. In the following situations, it’s a good idea to wait a minute or so before moving on to the next step in your skincare routine.

If you notice that products start to ball up when you apply them one after the other, then it’s best to wait a little while for the first one to start to absorb before moving on to the second product.

Allow sunscreen to absorb for a minute before applying makeup.  Applying makeup too quickly after sunscreen could minimize your SPF’s effectiveness.

Acids need extra time to absorb before moving onto moisturizing. Because acids (alpha hydroxys and beta hydroxys) are quite powerful, consider waiting approximately 20 minutes before applying a moisturizer on top.

Finally, acne treatments need some time to work. If you’re using a benzoyl peroxide acne treatment (like the SLMD Skincare BP Lotion), wait until it’s fully absorbed (a minute or two, at the least) before slathering serums or moisturizers on top.

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Botox vs. Fillers: What’s the Difference? http://theprettypimple.com/difference-between-botox-and-fillers/ http://theprettypimple.com/difference-between-botox-and-fillers/#respond Thu, 25 Oct 2018 16:07:42 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4917 At this point, you’ve probably at least heard the word “Botox” before. Depending on your belief in (or dismay of) injectables, those five letters likely conjure a few different visions: frozen foreheads, wide-awake expressions or — if all goes well — a “did she or didn’t she?” refreshed face. But if you want that last…

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At this point, you’ve probably at least heard the word “Botox” before. Depending on your belief in (or dismay of) injectables, those five letters likely conjure a few different visions: frozen foreheads, wide-awake expressions or — if all goes well — a “did she or didn’t she?” refreshed face. But if you want that last ideal, you may not know whether to seek Botox or the other popular injectables group: dermal fillers. Are they the same type of injection? Which one is right for you? Here’s everything you need to know about these needle-based treatments.

What is Botox?

Let’s get the confusing part out of the way: Botox is a brand name of botulinum neurotoxin, the neurotoxic protein produced by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, a highly poisonous biological substance. Poisonous, you say? And people inject this… into their face?! Well, yes and no. Different strains of this bacteria produce eight distinct neurotoxins. One of the strains, purified botulinum toxin A (Botox) — along with two other brands of botulinum neurotoxins (Dysport and Xeomin) — got the thumbs up from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat everything from eye conditions to severe sweating to migraine headaches to fine lines and wrinkles.

How do Botox, Dysport, and Xeomin work?

When injected into our muscles, these neurotoxins temporarily paralyze the muscles, preventing the muscle from contracting. So when they’re injected into the muscles on our face, they prevent them from continuously moving and causing those fine lines and wrinkles to form. Or, for most people when they are getting Botox, prevent them from getting deeper.

How do Botox, Dysport and Xeomin differ?

Dysport is believed to work faster (effects appear in one to three days versus Botox’s three to five days) and spread more quickly, making it a preferred choice for larger treatment areas. Xeomin is believed to have less risk of allergic reaction. Speaking of reactions, injectable neurotoxins do come with a laundry list of potential side effects that includes everything from itching to fever to nausea, so be sure to speak with your dermatologist or board-certified plastic surgeon about them.

Why use Botox?

If you’re looking to reduce fine lines and moderate to severe wrinkles caused by facial expressions, Botox is the preferred treatment. Those dreaded glabellar lines (the “elevens” between your brows), forehead lines, and moderate to severe crow’s feet (those lines around the eyes) respond well to Botox and other neurotoxin injectables. However, Botox effects are temporary. Depending on the individual, you may need to repeat the treatment every three to six months to maintain preferred results.

Okay, so what about fillers?

You can decipher a good amount of what dermal fillers do by their name: they fill. What do they fill? During the aging process, our body produces less of what makes youthful skin glow: collagen (which keeps skin plump), elastin (which keeps skin tight) and hyaluronic acid (which keeps skin hydrated).

A lack of these three essential ingredients in our skin causes it to sag, dry out, and develop lines, folds, and wrinkles. Here’s where fillers step in: When injected into lines and wrinkles, fillers containing hyaluronic acid (Restylane, Belotero and Juvederm), synthetics (Radiesse) or collagen (Zyderm) add volume to the air, essentially filling in the hollowed depression. Dermal fillers of varying thickness and substance target a variety of problems, from delicate fine lines to deep smile lines. Hyaluronic acid fillers tend to last anywhere from 9 to 12 months, whereas synthetic fillers can last 12 to 14 months and address deeper, more stubborn areas.

While all dermal fillers tend to have similar side effects, like redness, bruising and swelling at the injection site, hyaluronic acid tends to be considered the safest while collagen has been known to cause allergic reactions and synthetics can cause disfigurement if not administered correctly. (Reminder: Always consult with your professional about potential side effects.)

Why use facial fillers?

So if facial fillers also help to diminish fine lines and wrinkles, how are they different from Botox? Whereas Botox targets lines caused by facial expressions, fillers combat lines that are unchanging, like sleep wrinkles on the chin and cheeks, laugh lines and lip lines. Patients who want to restore volume or structure to their face (like plumper cheeks or lips) that they lost due to aging or an active lifestyle would also benefit from fillers.

So which do you want: Botox or fillers? The reality is your dermatologist or plastic surgeon will likely prescribe a mixture of both to target specific areas with the end goal of giving you a youthful yet natural appearance.

Here’s What Getting Botox Is Really Like

Thinking About Getting Juvederm? Here’s What To Know About This Facial Filler

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Blepharoplasty Basics: Here’s How Eyelid Surgery Works http://theprettypimple.com/blepharoplasty-basics-heres-eyelid-surgery-works/ http://theprettypimple.com/blepharoplasty-basics-heres-eyelid-surgery-works/#respond Tue, 23 Oct 2018 15:35:10 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4900 You know the saying, “Your eyes are the window to your soul?” Well, the skin around your eyes is basically a window to how old you are. Here’s the thing: The skin surrounding your eyes is super-delicate, making it one of the first places to show signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin. So…

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You know the saying, “Your eyes are the window to your soul?” Well, the skin around your eyes is basically a window to how old you are. Here’s the thing: The skin surrounding your eyes is super-delicate, making it one of the first places to show signs of aging like wrinkles and sagging skin. So is there anything you can do to get your eye area back to looking like it did in your younger days? If you’re dealing with severely sagging or baggy skin around your eyes that make you look tired, it’s time to learn all about blepharoplasty, a.k.a. eyelid surgery.

First things first, though… why is my eye area is starting to droop?

The skin around your eyes becomes less elastic as you get older, and because it’s not quite as springy any more it starts to sag. Elastin is a protein found in skin, and you produce less of it as the years go by. Plus, the elastin you do have starts to lose its shape. You make tons of facial expressions day in and day out, stretching out the elastin constantly.

Everything from pollution to UV exposure can damage your elastin and accelerate the aging process in this delicate area. This decrease and breakdown in causes skin to wrinkle and droop underneath your eyes and extra skin to hang from your upper eyelids. Enter blepharoplasty.

Why You Should Use An Eye Cream — & How To Find The Right One

Blepho-what?! What the heck is blepharoplasty?

It’s an eyelift, otherwise known as a surgical procedure you can get to rejuvenate your eye area. During the surgery, a doctor will remove excess skin that’s causing drooping. There are actually a few different types of eyelifts.

An upper blepharoplasty involves removing extra skin from your upper eyelid, a lower blepharoplasty involves removing extra skin and fat from beneath your lower lash line, a lower lid pinch blepharoplasty involves removing excess skin (but not fat) from underneath your lower lash line, and a transconjunctival blepharoplasty involves removing under-eye fat (but not excess skin) to address genetic under-eye bags.

What can I expect from eyelid surgery?

For any of these versions of an eyelift, your doc will use local anesthesia and then make an incision to remove the skin and/or fat. The incisions will either be underneath your lashes or behind your eyelid, so you won’t be able to see them once they’ve healed. Before cutting into you, your M.D. will mark exactly where they’ll be removing skin, fat, and muscle so that you know what to expect. They’ll evaluate your facial features (such as your bone structure) to determine exactly where to remove excess tissue. You’ll be given local anesthesia, so you’ll need to have someone with you to take you home once the surgery is over. If you’re having surgery on both your upper and lower lids, it may take up to two hours.

Am I a good candidate for eyelid surgery?

It depends. If your upper eyelids are puffy, you always look tired, or you have lots of extra skin on your upper eyelid, then an eyelift might be right for you. Sometimes, sagging skin may lead to vision problems if the excess skin starts covering your eyes, and in that case, blepharoplasty could also be a good option for you.

What’s the downtime like post-blepharoplasty?

You may experience swelling and bruising for a few days post-eyelift, and blurry vision or tearing is also possible in the first few days. The incisions could also show up as red marks, but they’ll fade once they’re fully healed. Using cold compresses and taking OTC painkillers are two options for dealing with any post-procedure pain. You should be back to your normal self within two weeks.

What results can I expect from a blepharoplasty?

While an eyelift can offer rejuvenation, you shouldn’t expect it to magically take years off your appearance. That being said, results are long-lasting. Still, it’s a good idea to up your skincare game (if you haven’t already!) by wearing a sunscreen with SPF 30 regularly. Yes, that means every day! This will prevent future sun damage that can lead to sagging skin.

Dr. Ashley Steffens, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

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Fact or Fiction: We Put Some Common #SkincareHacks To The Test http://theprettypimple.com/fact-or-fiction-safe-diy-skincare-hacks-dangerous/ http://theprettypimple.com/fact-or-fiction-safe-diy-skincare-hacks-dangerous/#respond Mon, 22 Oct 2018 15:01:01 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4847 We’ve told you about the dangers of toothpaste, mouthwash, and undiluted apple cider vinegar when it comes to skin and hair care, and we’ve gushed over the benefits of tea bags, honey, and oatmeal. But the internet is full of crazy-sounding skincare “hacks” — seriously, skincare Reddit is a weird place — so we are…

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We’ve told you about the dangers of toothpaste, mouthwash, and undiluted apple cider vinegar when it comes to skin and hair care, and we’ve gushed over the benefits of tea bags, honey, and oatmeal. But the internet is full of crazy-sounding skincare “hacks” — seriously, skincare Reddit is a weird place — so we are back to confirm and debunk some wacky “tips” that have taken the internet by storm.

The Hack: Shaving cream to soothe sunburn

Fact or Fiction? Fact… mostly

There aren’t any studies to back this claim up, but it makes sense that this method works for people. The number one ingredient in shaving cream is typically water, which (duh) can be very hydrating. Shaving creams usually have soothing ingredients like palm oil, coconut oil, glycerin, and aloe — all of which are great moisturizers and can help repair damaged skin. Another common ingredient is menthol, which can have a cooling effect that can soothe discomfort from burns.

But, there are some caveats to this method. We’re going to sound like a broken record here, but sunburns should be avoided at all costs. They cause all sorts of skin damage — everything from melanoma to signs of aging. Just because you have a “hack” to heal your burns doesn’t mean you should lighten up on your sunscreen. Read the ingredients on your shaving cream to make sure there’s nothing that’s going to irritate or make your burn worse — added Fragrance and alcohol are two known irritants to avoid.

All that said, there are plenty of healing lotions and after sun balms that are specifically formulated to sink into your skin and heal burns, whereas shaving creams were formulated to sit on your skin for just a few minutes before they’re washed off. In other words, sure you could use some shaving cream in a sunburn emergency, but don’t rely on it to entirely heal or soothe your skin. And if it starts burning or itching, wash it off… stat. 

The Hack: Rubbing alcohol to treat acne

Fact or Fiction? Fiction, for sure

It’s a common misconception that since acne is caused by the presence of bacteria, applying a strong antiseptic like rubbing alcohol can clear up breakouts. But in reality, rubbing alcohol is too strong and can irritate or dry out your skin, which is actually counterproductive to treating acne. When your skin dries out, a natural reaction is for your body to overproduce oils to rehydrate it, which can lead to even more clogged pores and breakouts. Plus, some acne, like blackheads, are actually clogged pores that aren’t caused by bacteria. So don’t listen to people who argue that diluted rubbing alcohol may be beneficial to treat acne — stick to dermatologist-approved ingredients, like the salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol in the SLMD Skincare Acne System.

The Hack: Cold showers to help acne

Fact or Fiction? Fact

It’s well known in the dermatology community that extremely hot showers can strip the skin of oils faster than a lukewarm or cool shower. Hot showers dehydrate your skin and lead to brittleness and dry skin. When your skin is dry your body then tries to overcompensate, by producing sebum to hydrate and lubricate. If you’re acne-prone, that can result in more breakouts. There are some other helpful shower hacks to prevent acne, like using products labeled “cleansers” instead of traditional soaps to help retain moisture (the SLMD Skincare Salicylic Acid Body Wash is a great one), and washing your most acne-prone areas after you condition your hair.

The Hack: Rosehip oil to reduce scarring

Fact or Fiction? Fact

Essential and natural oils have caused a lot of debate in the skincare community, and larger health community as well. Many providers are conflicted on whether or not they actually have health benefits, but there’s some compelling evidence that rosehip oil can actually do wonders for your skin. There is naturally-occurring vitamin C in rosehip oil, which is known to stimulate collagen production and even out skin tone. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory and contains omega-6 fatty acid, which is believed to help regulate sebum levels. 

The Hack: Hydrogen peroxide for skin lightening

Fact or Fiction? Fiction, full stop

Hydrogen peroxide is great to treat burns, cuts, scrapes, and infections, but please, please do not use it to lighten skin. Hydrogen peroxide is dangerous and potentially deadly if accidentally ingested, and can damage your eyes if they come into contact with the chemical. There are more serious risks associated with long-term use, and the concentration necessary to achieve a skin-lightening effect put you at an extremely high risk of burns and scars.

Instead, use skincare products that were actually created to help lighten hyperpigmentation (those pesky dark marks) and sun spots: retinols, vitamin C, hydroquinone, and AHA exfoliators are a great place to start!

The Hack: Citrus juice as a skin brightener

Fact or Fiction? No, no, no

This one is a big no-go, according to our own Dr. Sandra Lee, otherwise known as Dr. Pimple Popper. It’s a common misconception that citrus juice can “bleach” the skin when exposed to sunlight, but it can actually do other harm, too. “Lemon, or more specifically lime, can cause a phytophotodermatitis,” Dr. Lee explains, “This is a type of rash that’s activated by the sun. It’s why people get a rash in a drip like distribution when they make margaritas on the beach and the lime drips down their arm. Crazy, huh?”

The bottom line… 

Listen, we get it. DIY skincare hacks are great for saving money and making better use of some of the supplies you might already have at home. We’re just here to remind you that it’s important to know the potential risks — and sometimes outright dangers — associated with some of these home remedies. That’s why it’s best to check in with your dermatologist before you make any drastic changes to your skincare routine, even if it’s something “natural.”

 

Six Dr. Pimple Popper-Approved DIY Beauty Tips That Actually Work

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Everything You Need to Know About Blood Vessel Removal http://theprettypimple.com/everything-need-know-blood-vessel-removal/ http://theprettypimple.com/everything-need-know-blood-vessel-removal/#respond Mon, 15 Oct 2018 14:25:36 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4815 Have you noticed little red lines creeping and crawling across your nose, chin or cheeks? This bothersome network can be attributed to broken blood vessels — also known as telangiectasia, broken capillaries, and spider veins. Once they make an appearance, these tricky, thread-like nuisances don’t always go away on their own. In fact, they can…

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Have you noticed little red lines creeping and crawling across your nose, chin or cheeks? This bothersome network can be attributed to broken blood vessels — also known as telangiectasia, broken capillaries, and spider veins. Once they make an appearance, these tricky, thread-like nuisances don’t always go away on their own. In fact, they can actually increase in number over time, causing your skin to take on a ruddy, blotchy appearance.

Luckily, dermatologists can zap broken blood vessels into oblivion. Here, we explore what causes blood vessels to “break” and the treatments that help stop this unsightly network from growing.

What causes broken blood vessels?

First things first: Blood vessels don’t “break.” Instead, the usual suspects — we’re talking prolonged UV exposure, genetics, and the natural aging process — can cause the walls of your healthy blood vessels to atrophy (that’s the scientific word for stop working) and dilate. Dilation is a sudden widening and constricting that makes your blood vessels become visible under the skin. But it doesn’t stop there. Increased estrogen hormones during pregnancy, the skin condition rosacea, injuries that cause bruising, excessive heat through weather changes or exercise, and exposure to chemical irritants can also dilate blood vessels. But we’re not done yet: Alcohol consumption, even when moderate, can contribute to broken blood vessels, and severe binge drinking can worsen the condition. Even vomiting or violently sneezing can create intense pressure in your face, causing blood vessels to dilate and break! Because there’s a laundry list of potential causes for a capillary to “burst,” visiting your dermatologist to determine the underlying condition will help you figure out your best mode of treatment.    

I’m definitely seeing a web of red forming on my face. How can I get rid of it?

The good news: Various in-office treatment options exist for blood vessel removal, and are often used in tandem to best address your needs. Vascular laser therapy is a preferred treatment plan for blood vessels but naturally, there are different lasers from which to choose. The VBeam, a pulsed dye laser, emits a 595-nanometer wavelength of light energy that passes through the epidermis and some of the dermis (up to 1.2 mm deep) and works like a heat-seeking missile. More specifically, the hemoglobin that’s found in red blood cells absorbs the wavelength of this laser, while other nearby structures don’t. This allows it to pinpoint its target effectively, without disturbing the surrounding tissues. This light energy is converted to heat energy, which then “destroys” the offending blood vessels and its surrounding vessel walls. Depending on the VBeam pulse duration your dermatologist recommends (there are two), you can either “one-and-done” your removal by rupturing the blood vessel quickly in one visit, but this causes bruising for five to seven days. Or, you can use the non-purpuric lower heat setting, which won’t bruise (meaning no downtime!) but is less immediately effective and requires several treatments.

Courtesy of medsharelaser.com.

Another common laser is the KTP laser, which is a solid-state laser and has a wavelength of 532 nanometers. It’s effective at treating vascular lesions (such as spider veins and telangiectasias) in a purpura-free manner — which is doctor speak for without causing bruising. It’s also popular for removal of lentigines (sun spots) and other small pigmented lesions.

Other, newer sophisticated solid-state lasers, such as the Excel V, offer two wavelengths (532 nanometers and 1064 nanometers) of light — it’s a combination of the KTP laser we mentioned above and the Nd:Yag laser — and it can target a wide range of vascular lesions, including larger blood vessels that appear as red webs and bluish vein-like threads. Typically, only one to two sessions are needed to achieve desired results. Downtime is nil, with skin left pinkish for a few hours where treated.

Aside from lasers, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL), which delivers various wavelengths (between 500 and 1200 nanometers) in each pulse of light instead of just one wavelength like a laser, can be used for blood vessel removal as well. However, because their energy output is scattered, they aren’t as effective at hitting one target (like blood vessels), yet they could be a good option for patients who are looking to tone down redness, hit hyperpigmentation and zero in on sun damage all at once. These are ideal for people struggling with rosacea or conditions like poikiloderma of Civatte. You might need three to six treatments spaced a month apart, depending on the severity of the broken capillaries.

And if you’re worried about pain, “snap” out of it: Both IPL and laser treatments tend to feel like a rubber band snapping against your skin. Since sessions are fairly quick (as little as 5 to 20 minutes), it’s a small amount of discomfort.

So, do my broken blood vessels disappear right after treatment?

Unfortunately, lasers and IPL aren’t magic. They will cause blood vessels to fade, but it may take several weeks or even months for them to disappear. This will be contingent on the type of treatment and amount of treatments you’ve gotten. And just know that, depending on the underlying cause, more broken capillaries could form in their place.

Is everyone a candidate for blood vessel removal?

If you take certain acne medications, you’ll be asked to put these on hold leading up to the treatment. Sadly, darker complexions don’t fare well with some lasers; the heat used to zap blood vessels can actually cause pigmentation, darkening the area. However, it’s always smart to talk with your dermatologist about your available options and what best meets your needs. With so many choices available, there’s definitely a safe and effective way to target your broken blood vessels.

Dr. Betty Yan, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

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What’s The Deal With Hair, Skin & Nail Supplements? http://theprettypimple.com/hair-skin-nail-supplements-effective/ http://theprettypimple.com/hair-skin-nail-supplements-effective/#respond Fri, 12 Oct 2018 18:27:16 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4809 Freshy glowing complexions, sturdy nails, and strong, healthy locks are huge cosmetic priorities for many people, so it’s no wonder vitamin and supplement blends are so popular. But do you know what those hair, skin, and nail supplements actually have in them? Who should be taking them, and are they actually effective? We’ve got answers!…

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Freshy glowing complexions, sturdy nails, and strong, healthy locks are huge cosmetic priorities for many people, so it’s no wonder vitamin and supplement blends are so popular. But do you know what those hair, skin, and nail supplements actually have in them? Who should be taking them, and are they actually effective? We’ve got answers!

So What Are Hair, Skin, and Nail Supplements?

Our hair, skin, and nails all have one thing in common — keratinocytes. Keratin is a protein that’s created by our body. On our skin, it creates a protective barrier to protect our largest organ (and really, our entire body) from the elements and other external threats. Our hair and nails are made up almost entirely of keratin.

In order to keep our keratin, and its source, healthy, the body requires certain vitamins and minerals. Enter hair, skin, and nails supplements to help get the job done.

Most formulas contain a blend of natural antioxidants, namely vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E. In addition to these standbys, many brands bulk up their formulas with fatty substances such as fish oil, which contains Omega 3 and can help improve brittle hair and nails or increase your hair’s shine. Collagen is another common ingredient, as it helps with the cell renewal process, and can contribute to the elasticity and strength of our body, including our hair and nails.

Many brands will also include essential repairing minerals, like manganese, selenium, and niacin, all of which are also suggested when aiming to keep acne-prone skin under control. Perhaps the biggest heavy-hitter of the bunch, however? Biotin, and other B vitamins, which are commonly used to help people struggling with hair loss.

But… Do We Really Need Supplements?

The world (and beauty industry) seem to be split on this issue. There are many who firmly believe no, you probably don’t need these types of supplements, and that’s because most people ingest enough of these vitamins in their basic daily diets anyway, so adding more will likely not make much of a difference.

That said, many others swear by the effects and benefits of including a vitamin-rich supplement in their diet. Denver-based hair stylist Sam Labella makes a case for supplements rich in certain ingredients, especially if your hair and nails don’t seem to grow very fast. “I have found that collagen, as well as biotin, can be very helpful when clients need help with slow-growing hair,” she says.

Some people who have deficiencies in certain vitamins and nutrients could also stand to benefit from the added boost. According to this article from Consumer Reports, if you find yourself on antibiotics often, or take anti-seizure medication, you might notice hair thinning, breakage, or even loss over time. A biotin and vitamin-based supplement could certainly help with those issues!

Skincare Supplements: Craze or Cure?

Okay, But How Do I Find the Right Hair, Skin or Nails Supplements for My Body?

Shopping for hair, skin, and nail vitamins can be a daunting task if you don’t know what to look out for, but these simple tips to keep in mind can make shopping for supplements a simple task!

Find the right formula.

Most vitamins and supplements are pressed into pills for convenience sake, but your choice will go further with a loose, unmanipulated formula. “Look for liquids or powdered versions as your body will absorb more than with a pill,” suggests LaBella. These versions may also contain fewer fillers, like sugars, gelatin, or corn syrup.

Know your ABC’s.

Supplements can boast a wide variety of ingredients that will supposedly work wonders on your skin and hair fibers. You may find it best to keep it simple by looking out for products containing vitamins A, B, C, and E. All of these vitamins are rich in antioxidants and work to stimulate cell turnover and growth.

Look for the right fats.

Healthy fats arrive in the form of oils (remember that fish oil and omegas we mentioned before?). Foods such as flaxseed, fish, avocado, and coconut (or supplements that contain these foods) can provide protection for weak hair, skin, and nails.

The Bottom Line

Supplements are a great way to boost your bod, but, reminds LaBella, “nothing compares to caring properly for your existing hair.” What are the best ways to do that? Keep heat and chemical treatments to a minimum, allow for some time between washes to prevent over-drying, ditch the synthetics bristles for brushes using natural materials, and treat your hair to a nice, indulgent conditioning every now and then to minimize breakage, and strengthen those strands.

Taking care to incorporate foods containing your daily recommended dose of A, B, C, and E vitamins can go a long way in maintaining hair, skin, and nail health. Our favorites include sweet potato, nutritional yeast, citrus fruits, and almonds, but do a little research and create what’s best for you!

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Can You Get Rid of Stretch Marks? http://theprettypimple.com/can-get-rid-stretch-marks/ http://theprettypimple.com/can-get-rid-stretch-marks/#respond Sat, 06 Oct 2018 00:01:24 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4762 Oh, stretch marks. If you’re anything like us, then chances are you’ve felt self-conscious at some point or another about having stretch marks be visible when you’re wearing shorts or a bathing suit. Of course, almost all of us have stretch marks somewhere on our bodies, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! But is…

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Oh, stretch marks. If you’re anything like us, then chances are you’ve felt self-conscious at some point or another about having stretch marks be visible when you’re wearing shorts or a bathing suit. Of course, almost all of us have stretch marks somewhere on our bodies, so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about! But is there anything you can do to get rid of these marks on your skin? Here, learn about what causes stretch marks and whether or not you can do anything to say goodbye to them forever.

What do stretch marks look like?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of stretch mark causes and treatments, let’s back up a sec and paint you a picture of what stretch marks look like. Stretch marks are indented lines that can appear on areas like your stomach, boobs, hips, butt, and thighs. They’re usually pink, red, or purple in color when they first appear, but they fade over time to a white or grayish hue. While you might not like how stretch marks look, the good news is they’re not painful and they’re absolutely innocuous.

Why do I have stretch marks?

Stretch marks form when your skin suddenly stretches. More specifically, when your body grows, the fibers in your skin stretch to accommodate that growth. Your skin actually tears when this happens, so deeper layers of your skin become visible. Hello, stretch marks.

Women are more likely to get stretch marks than men, and genetics also play a role (thanks, Mom!). Stress is involved, too. Your adrenal glands produce something called cortisol, aka the stress hormone. Cortisol is converted into cortisone, which weakens skin elasticity and makes it easier for stretch marks to happen.

Stretch marks often occur during pregnancy and puberty, which makes sense when you think about it — your body changes a whole lot during both of these periods. When you’re pregnant, your skin has to stretch to accommodate a baby, and when you’re a teen in puberty, you often experience growth spurts or rapid weight gain.

Even if you’re way past your teen years, gaining weight quickly is another common stretch marks cause. Meanwhile, medical conditions like Marfan syndrome (a genetic disorder) and Cushing’s syndrome (a hormonal disorder), weaken your skin’s elasticity, making it easier for stretch marks to form.

Finally, using steroid creams for prolonged periods of time can up your risk of getting stretch marks, because these creams decrease the amount of collagen you have in your skin — and collagen is what keeps your skin strong.

Is there anything I can do to get rid of stretch marks?

Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to completely get rid of your stretch marks. That being said, there are steps you can take to fade their appearance. You’ll have the best results with in-office treatments at your dermatologist’s office. Unfortunately, lotions, creams, and oils don’t have any scientific evidence backing them up, although it probably doesn’t hurt to try and apply these products.

If you do want to apply a cream, ask your dermatologist about a prescription retinoid. This ingredient helps encourage collagen production and works best on newer stretch marks. Just keep in mind that it can cause irritation and shouldn’t be used when you’re pregnant.

One dermatologist treatment often used on stretch marks is pulsed dye laser therapy, which stimulates collagen and elastin growth. This treatment works best on newer stretch marks. Fractional photothermolysis is another in-office laser treatment that can be used to lessen the appearance of stretch marks. If you have older stretch marks, microdermabrasion — polishing the top layer of skin with crystals to reveal newer skin underneath — could be an option for you.

What about preventing new stretch marks?

There’s not a whole lot you can do to prevent new stretch marks from forming, but maintaining a healthy weight is ideal for curbing your risk. Talk to your doc for strategies on keeping a steady weight.

The bottom line: Stretch marks are super-common, so don’t let them stress you out if you do have them. Show off your skin proudly, marks and all!

Dr. Betty Yan, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

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Those Dark ‘Moles’ Could Be Dermatosis Papulosa Nigra http://theprettypimple.com/dermatosis-papulosa-nigra-dark-spots-dark-skin/ http://theprettypimple.com/dermatosis-papulosa-nigra-dark-spots-dark-skin/#respond Thu, 04 Oct 2018 16:23:44 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4743 Do you have dark skin? Are you seeing dark, pigmented spots on your skin? Do these dark spots on Morgan Freeman’s face look familiar? If so, you might be encountering dermatitis papulosa nigra (DPN), a type of seborrheic keratosis that manifests on the dark skin of those of African and Asian descent. You may be…

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Image courtesy of marriedbiography.com.

Do you have dark skin? Are you seeing dark, pigmented spots on your skin? Do these dark spots on Morgan Freeman’s face look familiar? If so, you might be encountering dermatitis papulosa nigra (DPN), a type of seborrheic keratosis that manifests on the dark skin of those of African and Asian descent. You may be freaked out by these skin spots, but don’t be — it’s actually a quite common skin issue.

In fact, studies list the incidence in the adult black population at about between 10% to 35%. And though these marks aren’t dangerous, people do seek out treatment because the lesions associated with the condition become more numerous and obvious with age. So, let’s take a look at this condition, and find out what you can do if you want to have your spots removed or treated.

I’ve got all these brown moles on my dark skin! What are they?

Firstly, don’t worry, they’re not moles — although many people think they are. Because they aren’t moles, they don’t have the potential to turn malignant, aka cancerous. Dermatosis papulosa nigra, or DPN, consists of soft, dark brown, flattened or dome-shaped macules (discolored areas) or papules (areas of discolored and textural changes in your skin) that can be 1-5 millimeters in diameter. They appear smooth at first, but with age may become wrinkled and rough.

These dark spots are often found on the upper part of the face, including on the eyelids, neck, chest, upper back, and sometimes on the upper trunk. DPN lesions can appear as just a few isolated spots or number in the hundreds! They can start showing up in puberty, but if you have dermatosis papulosa nigra lesions, they’ll probably peak in number in about your sixth decade. Women get DPN at about twice the frequency of men, and there’s a genetic predisposition to the condition.

Image courtesy of dermquest.com

Is DPN dangerous or harmful?

The good news is, these lesions caused by dermatosis papulosa nigra are benign and superficial. Generally speaking, they shouldn’t cause you any irritation or pain. Still, some people feel that they don’t look great. And the one piece of bad news? They don’t go away on their own. And regardless, you’ll still probably have to have them checked out to make sure they aren’t another condition that simply looks like DPN.

What causes dermatosis papulosa nigra?

Basically, DPN appears on a cellular level like a seborrheic keratosis — benign, wart-like growths with a variety of clinical appearances, often caused by the excess proliferation of epidermal cells. But there are differences between seborrheic keratoses and dermatosis papulosa nigra. For example, DPNs usually develop at an earlier age, yet aren’t often seen in children. Most researchers believe that DPN is a variant of seborrheic keratosis.

Specifically, doctors believe DPN is caused by a defect in the nevoid development of the pilosebaceous follicle, a great number of which are found on the face and scalp. Come again? Basically, the pilosebaceous follicle is a unit in our skin, and it includes a hair follicle and a sebaceous gland. Sebaceous glands are what create sebum (our natural oils) to lubricate and protect our skin.

What should I do about my dermatosis papulosa nigra?

Well, you actually shouldn’t worry! If DPN is what you have, it’s not a big deal, at least in terms of your health. Still, you may wish to go to your doctor for a differential diagnosis. A medical professional can diagnose it visually, or take a biopsy just to make sure your mole-like spots aren’t something more insidious.

More often, people seek out treatment because they think DPN is unsightly. Electrodessication, considered to be the standard procedure here, consists of an electrode attached to the skin to dehydrate epidermal tissue. Other possible therapies include cryotherapy, snip excision, curettage, and dermabrasion. Lasers have also been utilized to create electrodessication that can treat DPN.

 

But if you’re going to go the cosmetic removal route, you must make sure you choose a doctor with knowledge of and — experience working with — ethnic skin issues. Lasers especially often work by targeting areas of the skin based on wavelengths of liGHT (color). Increased melanin content on dark skin provides less contrast for laser targeting. If done improperly, this can lead to hyperpigmentation (darkening) or hypopigmentation (lightening). The other treatments mentioned may also involve risks of this kind, including scarring.

You’ll have to be realistic about how well treatments will work, as it may be difficult to completely get rid of DPN. Minimizing the look might be the best that you can do. Before you visit the dermatologist, prepare yourself! And if you can, learn to love yourself the way you are — dark spots and all.

Dr. Betty Yan, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

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Got Thin, Peeling, or Cracked Nails? Here Are 6 Reasons Why! http://theprettypimple.com/got-thin-peeling-cracked-nails-6-reasons/ http://theprettypimple.com/got-thin-peeling-cracked-nails-6-reasons/#respond Tue, 02 Oct 2018 15:37:17 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4733 Getting a manicure is one of the best ways to pamper yourself — but if your nails are thin, peeling, and cracked, one of the most enjoyable experiences becomes anything but. After all, nails that aren’t in tip-top shape aren’t exactly #ManiMonday worthy. Or, if you’re a guy or the naked nail type (hey, no…

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Getting a manicure is one of the best ways to pamper yourself — but if your nails are thin, peeling, and cracked, one of the most enjoyable experiences becomes anything but. After all, nails that aren’t in tip-top shape aren’t exactly #ManiMonday worthy. Or, if you’re a guy or the naked nail type (hey, no judgments) it can be frustrating, or even embarrassing, to have nails that look so distraught. And you’re not alone! According to medical research, nearly 20% of the world population suffers from weak, brittle nails. But why the heck are your nails breaking so easily?

Below, we’ve rounded up the top causes of weak and splitting nails… and what to do to strengthen yours.

1. You Have a Gel Manicure Obsession

Gel manicures look gorgeous, and they last longer than traditional ones, making them a great option for vacation. The thing is, they’re not so good for the health of your nails. In fact, they can actually lead to brittleness, peeling, and cracking. It’s not exactly the gel polish that’s to blame — this type of manicure has to be removed with acetone, which is also weakening. Plus, nail technicians will scrape and file and attack your nails pretty dramatically to attach and remove all that gel, which isn’t great for your nails, either. 

The fix: If you have a standing appointment at your nail salon, take a break and let your nails breathe between gel manicures. Switching to traditional nail polish may also help. Finally, keep your nails moisturized between gel manicures by regularly applying lotion or oil to your nails and cuticles.


2. You Pick Off Your Nail Polish

Peeling off polish (whether gel or traditional) when your manicure starts to chip isn’t just getting rid of a pretty coat of polish. You’re also removing part of the top layer of your nails, leading to thinning. Hey, we’re all guilty of doing this from time to time, but we’re just here to warn you: your nails will suffer. It can take months for your nails to grow back healthy. No thanks!

The fix: Do not, we repeat, do not peel off your nail polish. Try a non-acetone polish remover to take off traditional nail polish without weakening them any further.

3. You Always Clean or Wash the Dishes

Cleaning your kitchen and bathroom is a necessary chore, but repeated, prolonged exposure to chemicals found in cleaners as well as soap and water could be weakening your nails, leaving them brittle and prone to splitting.

The fix: This one’s easy — throw on a pair of rubber gloves before scrubbing. This will prevent chemicals, soap, and water from touching your nails (and skin!) while you clean.

4. You Don’t Have Enough Vitamin B7 (aka Biotin)

Sometimes, breaking nails is caused by a vitamin or nutrient deficiency. The most common one is vitamin B7, and there’s a water-soluble version you might have heard of: Biotin. It’s important for the health of your hair, skin, and nails, which is you may have heard of it specifically when it comes to these types of supplements marketed toward women. There’s validity there: Biotin helps our body to convert the food we eat into glucose, which is what our body uses to produce energy. Biotin also helps us create the building blocks of protein — fatty acids and amino acids — and activate the metabolism in the roots of our hair and the cells of our nails.

The fix: Another easy solution — add a biotin supplement to your daily vitamin routine. The daily dose to treat brittle nails is 2.5-5 mg a day, and there are tons of options out there, from traditional horse pills to sugary gummies.

5. You Use Your Nails as Tools

If you tend to use your nails to scrape, peel, or pry things off, then you leave yourself open to breaking them. Hey, we get it.

The fix: Well, it’s sort of a duh, but we’re here to encourage you to use actual tools, like scissors, for prying, peeling, or scraping, instead of your nails. Keep them cut short to prevent further injury, too.

6. You’re Getting Older

You can’t stop the hands of time, and sadly, nails often become thinner as you age. According to a study published in the journal Canadian Family Physician, brittle nails are common, and more frequently found, in older people.

The fix: Apply a nail hardener to strengthen thinning nails caused by aging, and take some of the other measures we’ve already mentioned here, like laying off the gel manicures from time to time, wearing gloves when cleaning, making sure you get enough biotin, and using hand lotion or cuticle oil frequently.

And with that, we’re confident your nails will be strong and crack free in no time!

Dr. Ashley Steffens, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

Why Do My Nails Turn Yellow?

Here’s Why You Keep Getting Ingrown Nails

 

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Ear Repair Surgery: How to Mend Torn and Stretched Earlobes http://theprettypimple.com/ear-repair-surgery-mend-torn-stretched-earlobes/ http://theprettypimple.com/ear-repair-surgery-mend-torn-stretched-earlobes/#respond Mon, 01 Oct 2018 14:05:03 +0000 http://theprettypimple.com/?p=4723 If you’re anything like us, you probably got your ears pierced as a kid… and again as a teen. But if you wore weighty dangling earrings day in and day out for years on end (or if you were edgier than us and used gauges) you may be dealing with torn and/or stretched earlobes as…

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If you’re anything like us, you probably got your ears pierced as a kid… and again as a teen. But if you wore weighty dangling earrings day in and day out for years on end (or if you were edgier than us and used gauges) you may be dealing with torn and/or stretched earlobes as an adult. Not only is having stretched lobes less than ideal lookswise, it also makes putting anything into your lobes impossible. Ugh, so not fair! Ready to be able to wear earrings once again? There is a way. Find out if ear repair surgery is right for you, as we’re answering common questions about the procedure below.

First things first: What causes earlobes to tear or stretch?

Unlike other parts of your ear, your lobe doesn’t have any bone or cartilage — it’s made entirely of skin and fat. That makes it way more susceptible to tearing. Constantly wearing heavy earrings, getting a piercing too close to the edge of your lobe, or trauma (say, a baby tugging and pulling at your earring — ouch!) can all cause tears. Sometimes, these tears go all the way down to the bottom of your lobe, splitting it in two.

Meanwhile, stretching is most often caused intentionally by wearing gauges (we know, this was totally cool when you were younger). Either way, putting on a pair of studs is a no-go if your earlobes are torn or stretched. But, like we said, you might be a candidate for ear repair surgery if this sounds like what’s happened to your ears.

I want to wear earrings again! What should I know about ear repair surgery?

The good news is, ear repair surgery is a relatively minimal procedure that should only be slightly uncomfortable. It’s done in a dermatologist’s practice or plastic surgeon’s office and you can go home immediately.

To start, your doc will inject your earlobe with a numbing anesthetic. Then, they’ll cut out the skin around your tear, remove any tissue that has stretched, and sew your earlobe back up with tiny stitches (sans piercing hole). This process takes anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on the severity of your tear.

Dr. Sandra Lee (who you might know as Dr. Pimple Popper) frequently performs ear repair surgeries — and really enjoys doing the procedure!

“I love these types of surgeries because they’re like this fun puzzle, where you have to look at the person’s ears to really figure out how to properly make incisions and cuts to get their ear lobe back to a perfect state,” explains Dr. Lee. “I love that kind of challenge, and I love how happy people are to get their regular, not stretched earlobes back!!”  

Below is Noelle, one of the patients that Dr. Lee helped on her TLC reality show, right after her ear repair surgery!

Here is a video of Dr. Lee performing an earlobe repair surgery on a patient who wore ear gauges for many years.

What’s the recovery process like?

More good news: there’s really no downtime. You can go about your day as soon as the surgery is over! That being said, you might experience mild pain immediately afterward, but OTC meds (we’re talking ibuprofen here) should help alleviate your discomfort. For the first day post-surgery, you’ll have to keep your ear covered in gauze. After the first day, you should clean your lobes and apply an antibiotic ointment every day to prevent infection — and you’ll need to visit your doctor a week later to have your stitches removed. Until you have your stitches removed, don’t sleep on your ear or place too much pressure on it, either. You may notice a teeny bright red scar on your earlobes once your stitches have been taken out but, over time, this will heal.

Can I get my ears pierced again?

Depending on your situation, you might even be able to get your ears pierced during the surgical process, but it’s often recommended that you wait at least four to six weeks before having your ears pierced again. You’ll want to make sure your ears are completely healed before going near a piercing gun (or needle) once more. Keep in mind that your new holes won’t be placed in the same exact spot as the old ones — that way you won’t risk tearing your lobes again.

How can I prevent earlobe tears in the future?

While there’s no denying that giant hoops or long dangling earrings are seriously stylish, they’re not the best options if you want to avoid tears in the future. Rock a cute pair of lightweight studs instead — and enjoy showing off your lobes once again!

Dr. Ashley Steffens, a dermatology resident at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine (SIU), helped contribute to the accuracy of this story.

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