Hair, Complexion, I Love You Both, But....

Something’s gotta give! Since moving to Decatur, Illinois from Lakeland Florida, I have learned a lot about my skin and hair. Even though I have a strong dislike for humidity, my skin and hair LOOOOOOOVE humidity. It seems like being a Florida baby and resident for most of life has made my skin and hair more dependent on and used to constant moisture than I ever would have imagined. July through September wasn't that bad, but I had to switch up my skin care routine completely. I went from using generic, cheap stuff to Clinique Three Step and Clinique Moisture Surge just to keep my skin from going haywire. My skin seems to enjoy the summer, and as long as I kept my hair tied up (for the most part) and moisturized with glycerin packed products like Oyin Juices and Berries, I was good to go! Then came fall, and winter and my skin and hair have gone berserk. I’ve had to change my hair routine and added some oil to my water and glycerin mixes to get a bit more longevity out of moisturizing my hair. It worked for a bit, but then my skin started breaking out like crazy! I am not talking about one zit dropping by to say hello, but one zit and his/her auntie, brother, cousin, mom, and sometimes a couple of bad ass kids too! Family clusters of pimples have just been popping up all over my face and I have been sporting toothpaste to bed every night trying to dry them out. It has been working, but I have never, EVER had this problem with my skin. I have gotten to the point where I am considering chopping it off to a length that will keep it out of my face! I love my hair and I am proud of my length and texture, but I’ll be damned if I choose long, thick hair over having clear skin. AAAAAAGH!
Dolls, what do you think I should do?!?!?

Celebrity Makeup Artist Tia Dantzler is Natural!

**And the winner is... Mylah!!!
Congrats diva! Send me your contact info to [email protected]!**

Tia before...
Tia writes:

As I prepared for a girls trip to HOT New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival, it was evident, that I needed a perm to maintain my straight situation. Little did I know, July 1st 2009, would be the last time I allow someone to perm my hair. My journey has been filled with lots of ups and downs because I've had to adjust to my straight hair going completely curly. It felt like a shocker to me because I'm used to sleek & perfectly straightened hair and then suddenly I had to learn how to maintain my "birth hair". So many emotions have been stirred in the pot since I made my decision but I will not look back. Being a makeup artist has helped me create a look for myself that would help me be more comfortable with my look so I wanted to share some tips with you to help accentuate your features & to keep you encouraged along the way.

Tia after!

Often times when you big chop your skin is so much more visible to the eye so I encourage you to maintain a daily skincare regimen to keep your skin fresh & flawless.
  • Keeping your eyebrows groomed is a great way to frame your face and give it balance. If you have thinner brows, try filling them in with some brow powder for a natural defined look.
  • Adding a couple of coats of mascara to your lashes can really open up your eyes and give definition. Play around with colored mascaras as it's a great way to introduce color to your eyes.
  • If you face is a litter fuller, try contouring in the hollows of the cheeks with a slightly darker powder than your natural skin tone to help create dimension. After contouring follow up with a highlighting powder on top of your cheek bones for a soft, dewy glow.
  • Lastly, rock a BOLD lipstick. It's just something about rocking a BOLD lip color that really screams confidence.
Nothing speaks louder than knowing and believing that you are beautiful just the way you are!

About Tia:
Tia Dantzler is a celebrity makeup artist, beauty expert and brand ambassador. She has worked with notable talents in both the entertainment and political worlds. Her brushes have touched the faces of everyone from President Barack Obama (on more than one occasion), Sen. Joe Lieberman, to Maxwell, Viola Davis, Common, Loretta Devine, Magic Johnson, Sherri Shepherd, Keke Palmer, Chandra Wilson and Kanye West. Tia’s work is most recognizable on Academy & Grammy Award-winner, Jennifer Hudson. She also works with top Fashion Photographers such as Annie Liebovitz Peggy Sirota and Matthew Rolston when called upon. Her work has been seen on most red carpet events, such as the Oscar’s, Grammy’s, BET Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards, NAACP Awards and many more. Tia has worked on TV/Film sets, Fashion Week, National Ad Campaigns, Commercials, Print & Music Videos. For more of Tia's tips please visit at and for updates on her work visit her at



Tia says play up your eyes, and what better way than with Smoke & Mirrors Beauty lashes?! The likes of Jennifer Hudson, Keri Hilson and Kim Kardashian rock them regularly, and here's your chance to win a full set (8 pairs $108 value)! In the comments, tell me your New Years Eve plans! That's it! And tonight, at 10pm, I'll choose a winner!

For those of you that need your lashes NOW, head over to the Smoke and Mirrors Beauty site for 30% off of 3 or more pairs with code- NYE.

Pics of S&M lashes in action!

I'm Dark Skinned, I Can't Wear That...

by Rachel Odem of Makeup by RachelO

Yes, you read the title correctly, and as a licensed skin therapist and makeup artist, this statement makes me cringe. Why do dark skin women think their complexions limit their choices when it comes to makeup colors?

Recently, as I was doing a bridal consultation and helping a client with color suggestions, she made the statement, 'I have dark skin so I can't wear a lot of colors'. I wanted to shake her and say, 'snap out of it, beautiful, you can wear any color you want'. Dark skin is gorgeous and as a matter of fact, I love to play with pastel colors like pinks, oranges and reds on darker skin.

As some of you may know, I enjoyed working with Ebony Magazine on the September 2011 edition Beauty Awards issue. While flipping through the pages I came across the above photo and it stopped me dead in my tracks. I thought of every client with dark skin I had ever worked with... I just wanted to show them this photo and say BAM! Do you see this? This model is beautiful with vibrant colors and so are you.

Do you feel your complexion limits your choices in makeup colors?
Share your comments and concerns below.

Pump Up Your Winter Skin Care Routine

by Sherrell Dorsey of

While the beautiful wonders of winter can mean hot cocoa by the fireplace and lots of great dinners with your loved ones, it can also be the best time to take pride in pampering your skin. With harsh weather on the loose and your favorite pair of boots covering up your feet, it can also be a great time to get a little lazy. But don’t settle for dry, rough or brittle skin.

Kick your beauty game up a notch and take special care with four ways you can fight winter weather and keep your skin radiant even in the cold.

  • Exfoliate – Just because you’re covered up, it doesn’t mean you’re supposed to get lax on your exfoliation game. Keep your hands, feet and legs super soft with a brown sugar and olive oil scrub during your daily shower.
  • Night Time Loving – Take your shower before bed and lay on the body butter or coconut oil nice and thick. Strap on your socks, a long pair of pajama pants and even a clean pair of manicure gloves to seal in the moisture for soft hands, feet and legs over night.
  • Fish Oil –Chocked full with Omega-3s, taking a daily fish oil supplement can help keep your skin supple with a natural, radiant glow that will make your skin look like it’s been on vacation. My favorite is Nordic Naturals.
  • Masquerade - Treat your face to spa time at home with kitchen remedies. Tighten pores, reduce the appearance of wrinkles and pamper your skin with an egg white mask. Once a week mix up your egg white mask, add some essential oil like lavender or your favorite scent and spread evenly with a makeup or mask brush. Leave on your mask for five to ten minutes to tighten on your face, rinse off with cool water and moisturize with a natural oil like almond and olive.

What do you do to keep your skin soft, beautiful and radiant during the winter time?

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, Sherrell writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow Sherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at


CN Says:

My routine doesn't change much from season to season. I've learned that for my sensitive skin, less is more. I simply wash with water... just water and moisturize with Cetaphil Daily Facial Moisturizer (spf 15). That's it. Whenever I add extra steps I get pimples or fine bumps.

Best Acne Treatments for Clear Skin

by Allison Cooper of

Acne is an ongoing problem that many teens and adults deal with on a daily basis. In fact, the American Dermatologist Association states, “that 85% of teenagers (between the ages of 12 and 24) suffer from acne and many are bullied because of it.”

It is stressful, embarrassing, and many teens and even adults are being treated differently for it. There is no need to jump to extremes in order to deal with this problem, though, since there are many great non-surgical acne treatments available.

On the quest to find the answers about resolving this skincare issue, I contacted Dr. Glenn Kolansky, a board certified dermatologist currently practicing in New Jersey. He offers his tips for the best acne treatments and products as well as expert advice about teenage acne.

Allison: How would you compare over the counter acne treatments such as Proactive to treatments that can be bought at drugstores?

Dr. Kolansky: Proactive is just OTC strength benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which are the same products drugstore brands use. These are mild products, but have benefits because they clean the skin and kill bacteria. They are especially beneficial when the patient is not using anything to clean their skin. Just the act of cleaning the skin, decreasing dirt and oil, has shown a benefit in acne treatment.

Medicated acne treatments containing retinoids work in both inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne lesions because they have anti-inflammatory and comedolytic activity and modulate keratinocyte proliferation. Topical antibiotics can reduce inflammatory responses from acne.

Allison: Which over the counter acne treatments do you recommend?

Dr. Kolansky: I recommend OTC options that include benzoyl peroxide in products or topical creams. Washes such as Neutrogena acne wash contain 2% salicylic acid. Many house brands and OTC products contain both.

Often most products are very similar. Just using these products can provide benefit, but often prescription strength medication, retinoids or antibiotics are necessary.

Allison: How do antibiotic acne treatments work?

Dr. Kolansky: Antibiotics such as the tetracycline (minocycline and doxycycline) decrease acne bacteria, but there is concern of bacterial resistance, so combination therapy may decrease this risk. Tetracyclines have also been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects.

Allison: What are your best suggestions for non-surgical treatments for teens to help get rid of acne scars?

Dr. Kolansky: Acne scars can be improved with fractional and abalative laser treatments. Fractional lasers may require multiple treatments and the healing time is usually 3 to 5 days.

Abalative laser, including the erbium-yag and the CO2 laser, require fewer treatments, but have more down time. Pulse dye lasers can be used to reduce the erythema, or redness, remaining from acne.

Allison: Can you explain how pixel lasers work to get rid of acne scars?

Dr. Kolansky: The pixel laser can soften acne scarring. It is a fractional laser that creates micro-injury to stimulate collagen. It can provide benefit for mild to moderate acne scarring. Deep scars, or ice-pick scars, may require deeper lasers or other methods for skin improvement. Redness can be decreased or softened with a pulse-dye laser such as the V-Beam by Candela, with resulting improvement in texture.

Allison: How do blue light treatments with or without levulenic acid work?

Dr. Kolansky: Blue light therapy is a new treatment option for acne patients. Propionbacterium acnes produce porphyrins as part of their normal metabolism. It is thought that when blue light hits the acne at a wavelength of 405 to 420 nm, photoexcitation of the porphyrins generates free radicals that are bactericidal against P.Acnes. Blue light may also have anti-inflammatory properties as well. There are home blue light devices that when used along with other treatments can be an effective acne treatment option.

Aminolevulinic acid (ALA) is applied to the skin and accumulates in sebocytes. When the ALA is applied to the skin, it is converted to protoporphyrin IX. It is then activated by blue light. In one study used twice weekly for four consecutive weeks and patients achieved inflammatory lesion reduction of 59 to 67 percent. Many patients tend to keep this response for 6 months or longer. However, many of these studies have been with a small group of patients.

Allison: Are there any mail order acne clearing scams that we should look out for?

Dr. Kolansky: Most all mail order treatments bill your credit card on a monthly basis and send the medication even if you do not need it.

Allison: Are there any other suggestions that you can give to teens that are having acne issues?

Dr. Kolansky: Teenagers should not squeeze or pick at their pimples as this may result in scarring. Treatment by a professional, sooner rather than later, often results in clearing of the skin with less scarring. Different acne treatments may work better for different patients.

The thought that acne is part of being a teenager is simply not true, and early treatment is the best option. It is also important to remember that treatment even when little acne remains can keep your skin clear. A good skin care routine, including washing after sports or athletic activities as soon as possible, may result in fewer breakouts. When you seek acne treatments, check that a dermatologist is actually treating you.

Have you dealt with acne? Which methods, natural or otherwise, work for you?

Take the Guess Work Out of Choosing Foundation

by Sherrell Dorsey of Organic Beauty Vixen

With the myriad product lines on the market it can get a little overwhelming as you begin to navigate makeup counters looking for the right foundation to match your skin tone. You can simply head to your favorite cosmetics counter and ask for a makeup application. Sephora, MAC and Aveda are great places that have well-trained staff and make-up artists that can help you. Simple applications are usually complimentary but some lines do charge a small fee for a sitting so be sure to ask prior to booking. View Entire Article

Can Retinol Products Heal Your Skin?

Via by Joyce Clements;

Retinol products are wonderfully healing for your skin, if you know how to use them. Everyone can benefit from them, whether you have dry, sun-damaged skin or an oily acne-prone skin type. It can be a love-hate relationship, however, and if you abuse these products, you’ll never see the fantastic results they can achieve.

What is Retinol?

Retinol is another name for Retin-A, a vitamin A therapy treatment. It also has a variety of other names such as Retinoid, Tretinoin, Clindamycin, Differin, and Tazorac. Retinol is used in numerous products to help clear acne, reverse sun damage, help with hyperpigmentation, unclog pores and smooth and refine your skin texture and tone. I prefer to use medical grade retinol products because you will see the effects quicker, and if you are spending the money you should use the best you can afford to buy.

How to Use Retinol

The purpose retinol products is to remove dead skin cells, thus renewing skin texture and tone. Yes, you will peel, but you want to peel to smooth the skin. If you use these products every day and night, however, it will cause excessive redness and irritation, and you’ll hate them. Use retinol products every other day at only at night or just several times a week.

When you first start a retinoid program, begin slowly, alternating days or even going a couple of days between applications. You can use a hylauronic acid hydrating product to lessen the drying effects or apply a moisturizer to your skin if you are a dry skin type. Definitely use a hylauronic acid formula for normal-oily skin types to hydrate and prevent breakouts.

Tips and Cautions

Retinol products can also cause your skin to be sun sensitive, and you can cause more damage by exposing your skin to the sun while wearing a product containing Retin-A.

If you have oily-acne skin, always choose a gel formula; do not use cream formulas. Now if you are a normal-dry skin type, a cream may be your perfect choice, except if you are prone to breakouts. Then you’ll want to use a gel formula.

Yes, you may break out a little because you are peeling. Any blemishes you already have will come to the surface. Stick to the program and what a wonderful difference it will make to your complexion!

I'm Black, Do I Need to Wear a Suscreen?

by Sherell of Organic Beauty Vixen

...Yes, but beware of toxins!

I’m going to be completely honest with you. I just started actively wearing sunscreen a little over two years ago. I didn’t think it was a big deal to go out of the house without protection against the sun’s rays. Women in my family always said “black don’t crack”, so I assumed, like many of my brown-skinned OBV’s that I was naturally protected from the sun with the added benefit of always looking at least ten years younger than my actual age.

It wasn’t until I read this article on blacks and skin cancer that I got a rude awakening about the reality of how our “black don’t crack” adage is clearly causing us to danger ourselves with exposure to the sun. So now, because when we know better we do better, I do my best to lather up my sunscreen before greeting the day.

Before you go and run to grab that sunscreen understand that not all sunscreens are created equal. In fact, typical sunscreens are full of potential cancer-causing ingredients like Oxybenzone, which can cause leucocytosis, anemia, and can reduce organ weight and Para-Aminoabenzoic Acid (PABA), a known carcinogenic. The Environmental Working group did a study revealing that 84% of sunscreens are actually harmful to human health.

Protect yourself by using a physical sunscreen versus a chemical sunscreen. Check out the video review I did last summer talking about my favorite sunscreen.

For other options, check out this great list from the Environmental Working Group for finding the best and safest sunscreens.

If you aren’t sure about what’s in your sunscreen check to see how it rates on the Cosmetics Database. Keep your beautiful brown skin protected and your health as well.

Have you ditched your toxic sunscreen for a natural one?

Sherrell Dorsey is a natural beauty expert, writer, speaker and advocate of health, wellness and sustainability in communities of color. In addition to creating, writes beauty articles for Tyra Banks's beauty and fashion site, Jones Magazine, and Posh Beauty. Follow SherrellSherrell on twitter at and connect with her on facebook at

Why Moisture is Good for Your Skin, Too!

Joyce Clements of Naturallycurly writes;

Curly haired people understand the importance of moisture for their hair because it turns frizz into soft beautiful hair. Your skin needs moisture, too! Now this is the tricky part—all skin types, just like hair types, are not created equally. It all depends on how you take care of your body, hair and skin. They work together so you can be your healthiest.

Besides needing lots of water, your skin needs everything it takes to maintain a healthy body because your skin is the largest organ in your body. Your lifestyle affects your skin and the sun is the most damaging—even tanning beds will make you look old before your time.

The best way of keeping your skin beautiful is to keep it adequately hydrated. You need to feed your skin nutrients and drink lots of water to help maintain a youthful look.


Clean Makeup Brushes=Clear Skin!

Joyce Clements via;

General rule: keep your beauty items clean

Let's start with how to wash your makeup brushes. And I know that a lot of you don’t, which is one reason you may have breakouts and probably the reason why your makeup is not blending smoothly.

Keep it simple

Yes, there are makeup brush cleaners on the market, but let me save you money by using a tried-and-true cost-saving way of renewing your brushes and killing that nasty bacteria that can cause skin breakouts.

Liquid anti-bacterial dishwashing liquid. This is the stuff you use for washing dishes in the sink, not the version for dishwashers. Some people say hair shampoo is good for washing brushes, but shampoo doesn’t normally have anti-bacterial qualities that kill bacteria.

Hair Products That Cause Acne

Joyce Clements of Naturallycurly writes:

Want beautiful hair and blemish-free skin? Then you need to become a detective—actually a cosmetic ingredient detective.

The truth is that some ingredients may cause problems for you and not for other people. At the end of this article, we’ve included a list of ingredients that have been shown to cause acne. Or you can purchase a book on cosmetic ingredients for future research.

Try to Keep it Simple

If you have acne, do not use products that add any oil to your skin or hair. Ingredients labels don’t underline the acne-causing ingredients. When looking at products and acne treatments, always look for “non-acne” or “non-comedogenic.” Not oil-free, because it may still contain ingredients that cause breakouts. Stay away from isopropyl myristate, oils, and silicone, petrolatum, PVP, CVP and copolymer ingredients. Also sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are ingredients to avoid.

Wash and condition your hair before you wash the rest of your body. Do this to wash off any residue that hair products may leave on your skin. (Just think how hard it is to get grease off of dishes, you normally need to wash it several times to be grease-free.) It’s the same with hair products—they will leave a residue that can cause breakouts IF YOU ARE PRONE TO ACNE. Really clean the skin well to rid it of any product residue.

Click here to learn about the 10 Hair product dos and don’ts for clear skin!

Hair and Makeup Rescue 911

by Miss Lycia of All Day Natural

Ladies, stop what you’re doing right now. Don’t walk…run to your bathroom. It’s time for a cosmetics overhaul. That Wet-N-Wild lipstick you’ve been wearing since the 8th grade? Chunk it. It’s killing your lips. The “all-purpose” vaseline you slather on your skin? Petroleum is great for fueling cars, not so much for your body.

Thanks to our friends at Skin Deep, here is a list of ingredients to avoid in your products. These ingredients have caused severe allergic reactions and been linked to cancers, as well as complications with the nervous system:

1) Hair dyes with ammonia, peroxide, p-phenylenediamine, diaminobenzene; all
dark permanent hair dyes

2) Liquid hand soaps with triclosan

3) Nail polish and removers with formaldehyde

4) Lotions and creams with lactic, glycolic, AHA, and BHA acid

5) Hair products with parabens or “-paraben”

6) Shampoos or soaps with sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate

7) Lipsticks and eye makeup with synthetic dyes (D & C)

Does that mean you’re destined to live a bare-faced, ashy life? No! There are a plethora of resources on the web, including natural hair and beauty and healthy living sites. Many of these have reviews on safe products that look good on you and are great for you. Here’s to a healthy (and beautiful) you!

What types of “safe” cosmetics have you had success with?

Skin Care Regimens

Jennifer writes:

Nikki, your skin is so clear and even. What's your regimen?

CN Responds:

Believe it or not, I don't have a skin regimen. I'm not a makeup person, and while I may dibble and dabble in the occasional eyeliner or mascara, I don't wear any foundation. There's a tinted moisturizer by SmashBox I like (and recommend), but still usually opt for a bare face with a dab of lip gloss.
With that said, I cleanse my face twice daily- - with water only most days, and probably twice a week with
Cetaphil's Daily Facial Cleanser. I also love the Yes to Cucumbers Face Cleanser Towelettes. I apply Cetaphil's Daily Facial Moisturizer every morning after washing my face, and pure shea butter every night before retiring. That's it!

I've never had acne prone skin, but my monthly visitor usually brings about a HUGE, monstrosity of a pimple... right in the middle of my chin. I let it do what it do, because when popped, leaves a horrible hyper-pigmented spot that lingers for months. For my skin, less is definitely more.

That's mine, what's yours? Does it change with the seasons?

Detoxify Your Beauty Regimen!

Susonnah of writes:

A beauty regimen is an excellent place to start dabbling in natural products, as the average individual slathers, lathers, rubs and sprays up to 10 different skin care products on his or her body every day. This means that the average woman is exposing her skin to up to 130 chemicals in her daily beauty routine. As a result, women absorb up to five pounds of chemicals a year. One solution is natural products. But what should a consumer look for when going to buy natural products?

Find out, HERE!

Healthy Food for Healthy Skin

There’s more to caring for your skin than just applying lotion. Having a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet can help your skin look beautiful and stay healthy. ShopSmart magazine compiled a list of six skin-smart diet tweaks that you should keep in mind for your next trip to the grocery store.

Check out the list HERE!

Dr. Perry Talks Skin Cancer Prevention

Skin Cancer Prevention 101 and Sun Protection

"Don't worry about a thing,

'Cause every little thing gonna be all right.

"Don't worry about a thing,

'Cause every little thing gonna be all right!"

Rise up this mornin',

Smiled with the risin' sun,

Three little birds

Pitch by my doorstep

Singin' sweet songs

Of melodies pure and true,

Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou :")

-Bob Marley's lyrics to “Three Little Birds”

Mr. Robert Nesta Marley (aka Bob Marley) is one of my lifelong favorite artists. He was a very earthy and spiritual man who passed away too early. Fortunately, his gifted messages will always live on through his music. Did you know he passed away from Malignant Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer? Are you as shocked as I was to learn about this part of his history? Given his desire to always impart important messages to assist us in life, I am sure he would want us to understand the importance of enjoying the sun in a healthy way and to prevent skin cancer.

The main reasons to protect against intense sun exposure is to prevent skin cancer; however, other benefits of doing so include a reduction in areas of discoloration/uneven tone, and the prevention of photo aging. Sun protection is best achieved by using the appropriate clothing (long sleeved shirts), wearing sunglasses, a wide brimmed hat and judicious use of sunscreen. Sunscreens have come under some scrutiny and there are some misconceptions about their ability to protect the skin without preventing Vitamin D deficiency. The last step of Vitamin D synthesis occurs in the skin and requires UV light (sunlight). Sunscreens, contrary to popular belief, do not prevent the absorption of 100% of the sun’s rays. They do protect against a portion of the most harmful rays that we expose ourselves to on a daily basis (even on a cloudy day). We receive enough Vitamin D in dietary sources to offset the prevention of adequate Vitamin D formation by the use of sunscreen. In addition, most women should already be taking Calcium and/or Vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis (thinning of the bones), especially if there is a family history of such.

It is recommended that to get adequate protection, one wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 15. SPF 30 affords more protection and I often recommend that patients who are more likely to get sunburns rather than tan OR patients with issues of discoloration use it instead of SPF 15. Sunscreen should be applied thirty minutes before going outside and reapplied every two hours while remaining out. Sunscreen should be reapplied after swimming, even if it says waterproof.

Daily use of a facial moisturizer with sunscreen (also used on the hands and chest, if exposed) is also a great way to protect from damaging rays. We are all exposed to UV rays daily, even while driving in a car.

Recommended Products:

-Titanium Dioxide is one of the best physical sun blocking ingredients.

-Neutrogena makes great sunscreen products. Cetaphil and Aveeno have great moisturizers with sunscreen. For those with sensitive skin, Vanicream has a great sunscreen without irritating preservatives, fragrances and dyes.

-Although Shea butter purportedly has some sun protective effect, the amount of protection afforded has not been determined.

Rates of skin cancer have been increasing, possibly due to the destruction of the ozone layer. We are all being subject to more intense and harmful ultraviolet rays. Although melanin (skin pigment) is thought to afford some degree of protection, it is certainly not completely protective. Any individual who notices a rapidly growing mole (nevus) or a newly appearing mole which is asymmetrical, has irregular borders, a variation in color, or a diameter greater than the size of an eraser on pencil should have it evaluated by a dermatologist. These changes could indicate Melanoma. Any new appearing growth which is very rough, scaly, exhibiting bleeding or crusting should also be evaluated, as these symptoms may indicate a Basal or Squamous Cell skin cancer. An annual complete skin examination by a dermatologist and periodic self-exams (including the palms, soles and mouth) are great ways to maintain skin health.

Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546).

Dr. Perry's Guide to Caring for Dry Skin

A Guide to Caring for Dry Skin

When the ash monster comes to visit, you know you need to get busy moisturizing. Dry skin is not only uncomfortable and unappealing; it indicates a lack of attention to your personal well being. We’re all busy these days, but caring for your dry skin can make you feel better and proud that you care enough about yourself to do something special . . . just for you. The following tips can also be used to show your love and concern for someone special. I remember when my late maternal grandmother was in her last days. I bonded with her by massaging her frail, dry hands with thick, fragrant creams. She loved it and did I. Her hands had baked many a cake and wiped many a tear. They deserved all the TLC they could get. So do you!

As the seasons change, so must our skin and hair care regimen. In warmer weather, lighter moisturizers are needed to effectively moisturize without occluding the pores and creating a heat rash. In cooler, dryer weather, more intense moisturizing treatment is required to reduce the irritating effects of dry skin.

Managing dry skin involves three basic steps:

1. Cleansing with mild, nondrying cleansers
2. Gentle exfoliation with body scrubs and a pumice stone for your dry feet (1-2 times per
3. Moisturizing, moisturizing, moisturizing!!

Body washes which contain emollients are a wonderful way to clean dry skin. There are so many products available for this process. Many companies offer products which contain a line of three items for each step. Lucky us!

Exfoliating requires applying a nice body scrub and using a loofah to gently massage away the dead skin cells which cause scaliness. A pumice stone can be used to exfoliate the thick skin which builds up on the soles of your feet.

There are three levels of moisturizing:
  1. Intense- Ointment based products trap moisture onto the skin surface most effectively. These products should be applied to soaking wet skin and massaged in. The extra water on the surface of the skin should be lightly towel dried. You may feel a bit sticky for a few hours until your skin absorbs the moisture. Using an ointment based product on hands and feet then covering with cotton socks overnight provides an intense moisturizing treatment for hard-to-treat areas of dryness.
  2. Moderate- Cream and butter based products are moderately effective in maintaining skin moisture. They can be applied to towel dried skin or during other times of the day. During winter months, it is a good idea to apply a cream based product after hand washing to keep hands soft and supple.
  3. Mild- Lotions and oils are the least effective in maintaining skin moisture; however they are the easiest to apply. These products are better reserved for warmer weather, as they do not tend to occlude the pores as easily as ointments and creams.
If your skin is very sensitive, be careful of using products that have heavy fragrance, as doing so may cause irritation.

Some recommended products:

Dove Body Wash

Neutrogena Sugar Scrub


Pomegranate Body Butter

Pomegranate Sugar Scrub

Pomegranate Polish

For ALL of you strictly natural ladies:

Maile Kawai- - Great body scrubs and emollients in flavors like Lilikon lemongrass, Coffee Macadamia Nut, Sugar Cane Ginger

Pure Fiji- - Sugar scrubs in yummy flavors (Coconut Milk and Honey, Pineapple, White Ginger Lily, and Mango). You can coordinate with the Hydrating lotion, Shower gel, Nourishing oil, and Room mist!

Kai- - Body polish, Body butter and lotion, and Body wash.

Hope this information helps you stay smooth and sleek!

Until next time . . .

Take care of yourself, so you can care for others. Do your best to be your best. The better you are, the brighter the world gets.

Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546).

Dr. Perry on Ethnic Skin and Acne

Our Resident MD is back and she's talking ACNE.

War and Peace

When you’re ticked off, the last thing you need is to be picked on, pushed around, and squeezed until you burst, right? Same thing for a zit! Picking fights with your breakouts puts you at war with your skin. Your skin will respond by becoming discolored, scarred and possibly infected to show its displeasure. Who needs that? You must LOVE that pimple into submission! Here’s my advice on how to give acne prone skin the care it needs to glow.

Acne (Acne Vulgaris) breakouts are caused by excess oil production usually caused by hormonal shifts. Although acne is most common in teenagers, some adults suffer from an onset way beyond the teen years. In people of color, breakouts can often lead to persistent discoloration long after the bumps have resolved. The face, chest and back are the most common areas of acne breakouts due to the fact that these areas have a high concentration of sebaceous (oil producing) glands. Unfortunately, these are the same areas where residue from hair products can block pores and lead to breakouts (Pomade Acne). A gentle skin care regimen utilizing the correct product ingredients can assist in controlling most mild breakouts. Moderate and severe breakouts usually require the assistance of a dermatologist. There are so many effective medications available to control breakouts these days.

Over the counter product ingredients which help acne prone skin are: Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Glycolic Acid. Neutrogena oil free acne wash and Clean and Clear are a basic cleansers which contains salicylic acid. The Proactiv skincare line contains Benzoyl Peroxide. The mdskincare line contains a great group of natural fruit acids. Be careful with using new products on your skin. I recommend performing a test area for 3 full days on a small area under your chin before using a product over your entire face. This helps to determine if you have sensitivity or are allergic to the product. Sometimes, newly treated acne skin become dry, sensitive to the sun and a bit irritated. A light moisturizer with sunscreen of SPF 30 (Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Purpose and Aveeno) each morning may assist in reducing this problem. Sunscreen can also help protect discolored areas from becoming darker, prevent photo aging and protect against skin cancer. Although shea butter has a natural sunscreen property, the extent of protection has not been determined. Try and avoid toners and astringents which contain alcohol (witch hazel included). These can dry out the surface of the skin which can lead to a worsening of acne or irritated skin. Facials are fine, but do not allow the technician to squeeze or pick affected areas and ask what product ingredients are being used. There is a great, cheap product that I recommend if one wants to have the feel of a spa experience, but the convenience of doing it at home for a fraction of the price- Queen Helene Grapeseed Extract Facial Peel Off mask. Be sure to apply a moisturizer afterward.

What to do when you have a big one? First of all, back away from that mirror, and put your guns down! Spot treatment with a Benzoyl Peroxide containing cream and Hydrocortisone 1% cream to reduce the inflammation quickly can reduce the chances of discoloration. Really big lesions can be treated with a cortisone injection by a dermatologist to reduce the swelling and pain quickly. Persistent areas of discoloration can be lightened with product ingredients specifically used for this purpose (hydroquinone, azelaic acid, kojic acid, licorice root extract or bearberry extract). Recently, hydroquinone has come under increased scrutiny and has fallen out of favor in some circles. It has been a mainstay of treatment for lightening areas of dark discoloration. The other ingredients listed above are naturally occurring substances. If discoloration persists, see a dermatologist. You may need a prescription strength regimen chemical peel or laser treatment to assist.

As always, keep your skin well-hydrated and well-nourished by drinking enough water daily, taking a Multivitamin supplement and maintaining a balanced diet.

Until next time . . .
Take care of yourself, so you can care for others. Do your best to be your best. The better you are, the brighter the world gets.

Disclaimer: This information does not serve as a substitute for individual medical care by a physician. This article is an informative guide to point you in the right direction. All product recommendations and advice are suggestions which may or may not work for your individual needs. Specific medical issues and concerns should be addressed by your health care provider. Patricia Perry, M.D. is a dermatologist in private practice in Southern California who can be reached for consultation at 2625 W. Alameda Ave., Suite 504, Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: (818)559- SKIN (7546). The contents of this article are the literary property of Dr. Perry and are copyrighted.

Preserving Your Sexy...Some More....

Hola Chicas!

Of all the threads on NaturallyCurly, this is among my fav 5: What Beauty Tip Would You Give Yourself at 25?

One of the most frequent tips offered up was to utilize sunscreen...and all year round! I've definitely stepped up my sun protection game since reading this thread, but finding one that is 'effective', 'non-hazardous', non-whitening (I hate a white film!), and not ridiculously expensive, has been quite the challenge. Trust me.

I started my search on CosmeticDatabase ... in an attempt to find the least hazardous one, considering I'd be applying it liberally to my face on a daily basis.

The first one I tried, Badger SPF 30, has a hazard rating of Zero and was reasonably priced at Whole Foods. Unfortunately, it refused to absorb and I was left with a thick white film on my face. No go.

I then tried Olay Complete Defense SPF 30 and Neutrogena's Healthy Defense...but I'm pretty sure mine had the Helioplex technology. Both were almost perfect... non-greasy, smelled great, moisturizing, but only partially absorbed. If I used too much of the Olay, I was always left with a white haze around my mouth and nose. If you have a lighter skin tone, or are simply ready to experiment with Sunscreens, I would definitely look into these two. I'll probably re-purchase the Neutrogena this week.

My fav, Olay Complete Spf 15 for Sensitive Skin has a lower SPF, but readily absorbs, leaves my skin soft, and doesn't cause break-outs. It's definitely worth looking into! Between this and my 100% pure Shea Butter (which also has some sun protection properties), I should be set for the summer. On serious outdoor days, I'll probably turn to the Neutrogena. I use my sunscreen in the morn, and the Shea at night before bed.

I hope this gives you gals a starting point. All the products above have hazard ratings of less than 5.

Later Gators,

If you have a favorite sunscreen please leave it in the comments with your review.

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