Beauty is in the eye of the beholder...and those of us holding the mascara wand.

After two decades of covering the beauty industry, I've come to learn what makes it so alluring. Finding the perfect shade of makeup to match your skin tone, adding a swipe of eyeliner to give your tired eyes a lift, discovering an innovative new product line, or indulging in a totally luxurious spa treatment. My experiences have been documented in magazines, newspapers and websites worldwide. I've tested newly formulated products in the lab, explored hair removal options, shopped for lipstick, added shine to my hair and succumbed to massage marathons--all in the name of beauty. I've written press releases, hosted makeover events and co-authored a Do-It-Yourself Beauty book (Alloy). On this blog, I write about products and services that I come across every day as well as those that have been provided by publicists or the companies that make them. Either way, I write what I think. I hope to share some of my insights--and bring you the latest, greatest beauty news right here. Join me in the quest to find all things pretty.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

expert advice: peel appeal with Dr. Jennifer Linder

Sometimes I find myself looking in the mirror and wishing I could turn back the clock a bit. I would love to be able to erase all the results of late night partying, excessive sunbathing and summers as a lifeguard at some of the most chlorinated pools in town. What I really need is to start with a clean slate--in other words, give my skin a fresh perspective. So I turned to Dr. Jennifer Linder, M.D., a dermatologist and Chief Scientific Officer for PCA Skin, a company known for its skin peels, to ask for her beauty advice. "There is no reason to be afraid of chemical peels, especially superficial chemical peels," says Linder. "If done correctly, they are not only incredibly safe but also affective with minimal downtime. There are several different kind of peels from superficial chemical that trigger only mild flaking with minimal downtime to deeper chemical peels that result in more redness, peeling and therefore may require some downtime. Many people do not realize that there is a huge difference between these two types of chemical peels. The superficial chemical peels can be very effective--especially when performed in a series--and are, therefore, my favorite peels to recommend. In contrast, the peels that patients are more commonly nervous about are the deeper chemical peels that trigger more peeling and redness. Patients still get a nice result but they need to be prepared for some downtime with deeper peels. The word chemical can sound scary as well but it is important to realize that many of the chemicals that are used for peeling are the same ones that are found in natural foods we eat like citrus, sugar and milk.

Different methods of chemical peeling have been used for centuries, starting with Cleopatra who used lactic acid peels to keep her famous face looking fresh. Fortunately, we now have truly identified the most beneficial solutions for topical use. Some of the deeper peels can be aggressive and these have lead to the fears surrounding chemical peel treatments. These concerns were only heightened when Samantha on Sex and the City had a deep chemical peel. These deeper treatments can create a significant amount of discomfort, redness, downtime and visible flaking. Because of possible side effects of the deeper peeling solutions, these treatments should only be administered by a physician. In most circumstances this type of aggressive treatment is not necessary. On the plus side, there are superficial and medium depth peel options out there that do not create this effect.
In general, I recommend superficial chemical peels especially if you are skeptical of or nervous about peels. I recommend asking for superficial peels that are blended with other beneficial ingredients such as skin brighteners (to reduce discolorations), hydrating ingredients and skin-strengthening antioxidants. These added ingredients will increase the outcomes and decrease the risk of side effects. I personally recommend PCA SKIN’s comprehensive line of chemical peels. They truly are the gold standard for peels and there are multiple options for the technician to choose from so you will get a treatment catered to your specific skin concerns.

PCA requires all skincare professionals to take training before purchasing the treatments so you know you are receiving the treatment from someone who knows exactly how to administer it for the safest, most dramatic results. You will still get the exfoliation benefits of a typical chemical peel without the downtime. These types of treatments allow you to return to daily life immediately following their application and the result is healthy, beautiful skin. I personally have a PCA Peel once a month because it leaves my skin healthier and more glowing. There is absolutely no reason to be afraid of superficial chemical peels.
Superficial peels can be used to treat all types of skin conditions such as acne, hyperpigmentation, visible aging and even rosacea and sensitive skin. Anyone with normal skin is also a candidate for preventative treatments to help prevent early onset of visible aging. Superfical peels can also be use to maintain results once a skin condition has been cleared.
The deeper, more invasive treatments I referred to are typically only necessary for those with severe textural scarring and very deep wrinkling. I personally prefer injectable fillers for these types of issues over these more aggressive peels because of the possible side effects. In general, superficial chemical peels, especially the PCA peels are beneficial for all skin types and ethnicities. One can be absolutely confident that they will have beneficial outcome that results in healthier more beautiful skin." If you're still hesitant about trying a skin peel but would love to learn more about PCA Skin products, try the newest product in the collection--just launched last month. PCA Perfecting Face & Body Hydrator SPF 30 is a UVA/UVB moisturizer with pigment control. Loaded with five melanogenesis inhibitors--bearberry, licorice root extract, kojic acid, mulberry root extract and lactic acid--it works to reduce existing skin discoloration while preventing future hyper pigmentation.

PCA SKIN daily care products are available through physicians and licensed skin care professionals throughout the United States and on For a referral to a clinical practice that carries PCA SKIN products and professional treatments including PCA Peels, call 1.877.PCA.SKIN (722.7546).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

feet first

With summer just around the corner, you might be stocking up with sunscreen, bug spray and a collection of your favorite colored flip flops. But you're probably forgetting about a very important accessory for warmer weather. Relief for your feet! I know, it's not the first thing on your list...but think about it: It gets hot out there, your feet sweat (as gross as it sounds, it's true!) and they might even smell a bit. Not to mention all the calluses and blisters you get from trekking around town in wedges, platforms and your favorite sandals all day long. To the rescue: FootWorks, a collection of footcare products you can't live without, from Avon. Start with the Green Tea & Mint Exfoliating Scrub ($3.99) to retexturize skin and leave it feeling softer and smoother. The tiny granules are gentle on your skin but really get the job done. Then try the Green Tea & Mint Cooling Moisture Lotion ($4.99), a cooling foot lotion with green tea extract that moisturizes skin and dries super-fast! Plus, it really cools as it works and leaves your feet smelling minty fresh (sounds like a toothpaste commercial, but it's better than smelling sweaty!). If you don't have time for this elaborate footcare routine, just spritz feet with the Green Tea & Mint Invigorating Spray ($4.99) for quick, cooling relief! Check out to make your purchase.