Tips & Wisdom
Treating Acne with Over-the-Counter Medications
Latisse for Longer Eyelashes
Superficial Chemical Peels: The Appealing Peels
Dermatologist-Recommended Soap Tips
Acne Skin Care Tips
Aging Skin - What You Need to Know
Over the counter (OTC) anti-acne therapies do have their place in acne control.
Typically containing benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, or astringent -- ingredients which have proven safe and effective through the years -- nonprescription acne medications can be especially useful for those suffering from minor, scattered acne breakouts.
On the other hand, for those plagued by persistent and widespread flares or deep, cystic, painful, and potentially scarring outbreaks, there can be no substitute for a consultation with a dermatologist to tailor the use of prescription medications in order to treat the specific problems of the patient.
Fortunately, we have the relatively recent introduction of a variety of topical prescription preparations that have proven quite effective for controlling and suppressing acne. These include combinations of topical antibiotics and retinoids, topical antibiotics and benzoyl peroxides, as well as new delivery systems to increase the penetration and efficacy of the individual ingredients while minimizing their potential for causing skin dryness or irritation.
There is also a next generation set of oral antibiotics that offer the advantages of potentially fewer side effects and even the convenience of once-per-day dosing.
Visit Dr. Nelson Novick's website at Younger Looking Without Surgery.Learn More
In my experience, Latisse® has proven to be an effective and relatively easy-to-use product for promoting true eyelash growth and lengthening.
Since there is no FDA requirement for prior ophthalmologic examination, and reports of eye problems quite rare, most of us who prescribe the product routinely do not request an eye check prior to initiating treatment. However, as a rule, I am cautious about prescribing it to anyone with a history of eye inflammation of any kind, rosacea (an adult acne condition that is sometimes associated with eyelid irritation), and dry eyes. In such instances, I typically insist that they get clearance from their eye doctors before beginning Latisse®.Learn More
During this time, I have found that concentrations below 50% do little for the skin. For this reason, for more than 25 years, I have used full-strengh glycolic acid peels.(70% is the maximum concentration).
In properly selected patients, these superficial chemical peels, when performed in a series of 6-8 at twice monthly or monthly intervals, work well for clearing acne, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, folliculitis on the chest and back, fading postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, “sun spots” (solar lentigines), melasma, as well as for other indications. They can also contribute to an all around smoother and more lustrous appearance with essentially no downtime, when performed properly for chronically sun-damaged skin.
These superficial peels typically engender little to no downtime and patients literally can return to work or social activities immediately following treatment–making these peels the ultimate “lunchtime beauty fixes.”
Patient satisfaction tends to be extremely high, and superficial chemical peels have stood the test of time. They have, in fact, recently making a strong comeback in spite of all the marketing hype and glitz for lasers, including Fraxel, and other energy-based devices that are relatively expensive treatments and a good deal more device manufacturer backed marketing hype than hard science..
Daily, at-home use of topical glycolic acid products in lower concentrations may further enhance skin luster and radiance, complement the fading process, and accelerate the overall pace of improvement. Learn More
In general, toilet soaps do what they are supposed to do—that is, they help to clean off grease, grime, and cosmetics. They also tend to be quite inexpensive. However, these soaps as a rule are rather alkaline (basic, as opposed to acidic) and have the potential to be irritating; overusing them can lead to irritation by affecting the skin’s acid mantle. Fortunately for most people with normal skin, natural skin acidity returns to normal very shortly after the soap is rinsed off. If you have especially sensitive skin, or if you are using drying acne medications, however, you may find basic toilet soap too irritating.
There is an additional problem with toilet soaps for those who live in a hard-water area—that is, one where the water contains naturally high amounts of calcium or magnesium minerals. Sticky and potentially irritating residues resulting from the chemical interaction between toilet soap and hard water may be deposited on your skin and in sink basins. If you choose to use toilet soaps under these circumstances, I advise you to rinse your skin with copious amounts of water. Using synthetic detergent soaps (pages 34—35) or conditioning your water are alternatives. Learn More
- Use mild soaps and don’t overwash or overscrub your skin.
- Avoid abrasive sponges or washcloths.
- Use only oil-free moisturizers, oil-free or gel foundations, and powder or gel blushes.
- Don’t pick, squeeze, or pop your pimples.
- When in doubt, or if your problem is severe, seek professional help.
- Restrict astringents to occasional and sparing use.
It is important to reemphasize here that vigorous scrubbing, the use of harsh soaps (and so-called acne soaps), and the use of washcloths or polyester scrub brushes, in a misguided attempt to wash away or dry up acne, leads to dry, chapped, flaking skin— skin that is too dry and tender to withstand the often slightly drying side effects of most antiacne topicals. The notion of scrubbing away at acne is so ingrained in many people that when their skin does grow dry and chapped from overwashing, they choose to give up using their medications rather than cut back on washing.
Without question, certain cosmetics, particularly heavy, oily makeups, aggravate acne by clogging pores. Dermatologists call this condition acne cosmetica. At one time, many doctors advised patients with acne to avoid using any makeups at all. Nowadays this need no longer be the case. However, when choosing cosmetics, be sure to look for oil-free or water-based formulations and specifically for products advertised as noncomedogenic (i.e., noncomedone forming, nonacne forming). These have been tested by daily application to the skin of a rabbit’s ear for several weeks to determine whether or not they cause acne. Allercreme, Almay, Clinique, Dermage, and Revlon produce noncomedogenic cosmetics for people with oily or acne- prone skin.
Excerpted from Super Skin–A Leading Dermatologist’s Guide to the Latest Breakthroughs in Skin Care, by Nelson Lee Novick, M.D.Learn More
Most people could easily describe the outward appearance of an aging face: changes in facial shape; increased prominence of certain features, such as the nose; decrease in the vertical height of the mouth; recession of the gums and teeth; and loss of hair and skin color. In addition, you frequently find accentuation or wrinkling of the natural action lines of the face, sagging, jowl and pouch formation, generalized dryness (often severe), and laxity and inelasticity of the skin.
Dermatologic researchers and others interested in the aging process are actively investigating the precise nature of the structural and functional alterations in the skin that account for aging. Although we have learned much in the past decade, we do not, unfortunately, have all the answers yet. We do know that as skin ages, it tends to produce fewer new cells, and that damaged cells are repaired less quickly and less effectively. At the same time, cells in the horny layer lose some of their ability to adhere to one another. The epidermis and dermis become thinner, and the horny layer becomes less protective, dryer, and rougher. Furthermore, melanocytes become fewer in number, accounting for the development of patchy areas of skin-color loss.
Aging also results in changes in the fat distribution of the skin. Thinning of the subcutis occurs in certain areas, particularly the face, hands, feet, and shins, which means that the skin no longer feels as thick as it did before. Fat is typically redistributed to the waist in men and the thighs in women. At the same time, basal metabolism slows and life-styles become increasingly more sedentary. These changes result in the appearance and persistence of unsightly bulges.
Age affects both hair color and hair growth. Hair graying and whitening, like skin color loss, is linked to age-related decreases in melanocyte numbers and functioning. Most people (women as well as men) also experience thinning of their hair, perhaps a slowing growth rate of their hair, and even the thinning of the caliber of their hairs in certain locations. Conversely, in some areas, such as the ears, nose, and eyebrows of men, and upper lip and chin of women, previously fine, barely perceptible hairs often become thicker, more visible, and cosmetically compromising.
Equally dramatic changes in the dermis occur with natural aging. Cell numbers generally decrease and the dermis becomes thinner; as a consequence, the dermis is less capable of retaining its moisture content. In addition, the number of dermal blood vessels decreases and nerve endings become abnormal, leading to altered or reduced sensation. Wound healing is likewise generally compromised and there is usually a reduced ability to clear foreign materials and fluids. Finally, increasing rigidity and inelasticity of dermal collagen and elastin fibers contribute to wrinkling and sagging of the skin. Although some people mistakenly maintain that the loss of tone in the muscles responsible for chewing, laughing, eating, and so on contributes to the development of wrinkles and sags, this is untrue. Performing muscle toning or isometric exercises has absolutely no beneficial effect in eliminating or reducing wrinkles and sags.
Finally, the amounts of eccrine and apocrine sweat secretion become diminished with age as the number of eccrine glands and the size of apocrine glands decrease. As a consequence, the need for antiperspirants and deodorants is lessened. Sebaceous gland output diminishes, contributing in part to the generalized dryness and roughness so characteristic of aging skin.
The more you know about your skin and what happens to it as the years go by, the less likely you will be to fall for exaggerated or phony claims for skin-care products or services. You will also find this information useful for better understanding the chapters that follow. Simply knowing something about skin basics enables you to be a more discriminating consumer, which in the long run can save you a lot of time, money, and dashed hopes.Learn More
Nelson Lee Novick, MD is a board-certified NYC dermatologist providing care to patients in New York City with offices in the Upper East Side.
Dr. Nelson also serves as Clinical Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City, Attending Physician, and a former OPD Clinic Chief within the department of dermatology of the Medical Center.
Dr. Novick has been honored with listings in Who's Who in America for more than two decades, and he has been listed in Consumer Research Council of America’s Guide to America’s Top Physicians--2003-2006 and Guide To America’s Top Dermatologists--2007-2008.
He has also received awards from his peers, including for Excellence in Teaching; Outstanding Patient Care; and the American Academy of Dermatology’s prestigious Leadership Circle Award.
Dr. Nelson Novick has been the author and senior editor of numerous scientific articles, medical textbooks and chapters. In addition, he has written nine trade books, over a hundred articles, and more than a half dozen audiotapes on skin care. He has by-lined for many popular magazines and newspapers, such as Good Housekeeping and Reader’s Digest, served as an FAQ expert for WebMD.com.
Nelson Lee Novick, M.D.
Dr. Nelson Novick provides dermatology care for patients in the Upper East Side of New York City and at the Cosmedispa location in Israel.
Our office appreciates the opportunity to serve you and to meet your special skin care needs. Our goals are to combine personalized attention with the highest quality of professional care using the latest proven therapeutic advances, techniques and methods for:
- Treating Hair, Skin, and Nail Problems
- Achieving Total Facial, Neck, Chest and Hand Rejuvenation without surgery