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Let’s Talk Pits…And How To Make Ours Look And Feel Prettier

Written on March 5, 2014 at 3:05 pm , by

Our underarms are often one of the most-overlooked places on our bodies. Besides shaving and swiping on deodorant, we don’t usually treat our armpits to any special skin care routine. Dove Advanced Care Deodorant is setting out to change that. They’re launching a new campaign—“Dear Armpit”—to encourage women to finally speak out about the way they feel about this mysterious place. To celebrate, they are offering women tips on how to give themselves a “PitiCure” (more on that below) and helping them to see their armpits in a new light. You can join in on the conversation, too, by tweeting your thoughts to @Dove with the hashtag #deararmpit. We recently stole some time with NYC-based dermatologist, Dr. Ellen Marmur, who has partnered with Dove to improve women’s underarm care. Read on for her expert tips.

Let’s talk about how the “Dear Armpit” campaign is helping raise awareness for taking care of your underarms.
“So we’re launching this campaign by having real women put on sleeveless blouses and sleeveless tops and taking a photo in a photo booth and raising their armpits and getting a ‘PitiCure.’ As a dermatologist, I have been telling my patients for so many years how to take care of their skin, and the armpit skin has its own list of issues that no one talks about. Every time people shave, especially if they’re using an old razor, they are stripping away about 36 perent of their skin’s surface cells, not just the hair, so they’re stripping their skin and causing irritation. Then you’ve got the underarm sweat, which has salt and enzymes, and you’ve got any debris from your clothing and things rubbing in that area that can lead to rashes, which can cause the skin to get thicker, which we call alligator skin. Once you get any irritation or redness, that can lead to blemishes, meaning brown discoloration, in the underarm and I think that leads people to feel really embarrassed and ashamed about wearing certain clothing.”

So what exactly is a “PitiCure” and how can someone give themselves one at home?
“So the ‘PitiCure’ is Dove’s way of making it really lovely and easy to think about. The idea is that it’s like a pedicure, where you take special care of your feet, which also used to be considered ugly; the ‘PitiCure’ is a way to take care of your armpits. It is a three-step process, where you might do it three times a week.

1. In the shower gently wash, not scrub, the underarms to get rid of any impurities or debris using your favorite cleanser.

2. Rinse with warm water and pat dry. With my patients and in general, people forget to dry their skin thoroughly after their bath or shower and they leave water droplets under their arms that can trap water and lead to further problems with the skin.

3. Apply Dove Advanced Care Deodorant ($5, drugstores) which is a multitasker and I think this is the ‘Aha!’ moment which is that your underarm care can have a multi-tasker: a deodorant, an antiperspirant and the nutrient moisture. Swipe it on just three times and that is enough to give you 48 hours of protection.

I think it doesn’t occur to most people to actually moisturize their underarms but this is where you can prevent those issues. No one ever tells you how much deodorant to put on but if you do, say, five swipes, you’re going to end up with residue which can irritate you as well, physically, and if you do only one swipe, you’re not getting enough of the product.”

Is there any danger with deodorant penetrating the skin’s surface?
“That’s a really good question. I want to go back to the basics, where skin’s number one function is to protect. So the skin has all these myths about it, like that it breathes or that it absorbs; nothing absorbs into the skin easily. So, products that you put onto your skin, they go into the top dead surface cells, but they actually don’t penetrate down into the vessels, where the blood vessels would absorb it into the body. And even the tiny ducts, they have their own skin-lining them, so you’re still not absorbing the product. I asked that same question and I looked into the data, because I also want to be counseling in a safe way, so we’ve been looking into studies. The ingredient that has led to controversy is the aluminum ingredient and it’s found in the body, but it’s considered to be in the body because of the foods we eat, and that does make sense that you’re eating food that goes into the gut and the gut’s main job is to absorb, but they weren’t able to detect any absorption, especially around the armpit where you would get it from applying deodorant.”

And what if you have any nicks from shaving? Is there any risk from applying deodorant over that?
“The deodorant has a powder ingredient in it, and powder itself causes bleeding to stop. Like if you cut your finger and put baby powder, or even baking powder, it actually causes the blood to clot. So it is safe in that sense, it’ll stop the bleeding and the moisturization and glycerin that’s in the nutrient moisture will actually help it heal faster. If it’s a huge gash, see your dermatologist. You definitely don’t want to try to fix something like that yourself.”

 

Head-To-Toe Dry Skin Solutions: Arctic Weather Edition

Written on February 11, 2014 at 11:40 am , by

With not one but two polar vortexes under our belts, those of us in the Northeast are cold, cranky and, well, feeling anything but sexy (think chapped lips, cracking hands and flaky legs—gross). We’ve rounded up some of the most moisturizing potions to keep your skin happy and hydrated because, let’s face it, winter has only just begun (wah!).

Face: CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion ($14, walgreen.com)
This dermatologist favorite provides a controlled release of essential ceramides and other skin-soothing ingredients throughout the day so your skin stays supple from the time you eat breakfast until you hit the sack.

Lips: Mustela Hydra Stick ($10, sephora.com)
Protect your pout with this convenient little stick. Made with cold cream, shea butter and beeswax, it infuses moisture into your lips or anywhere your skin needs it (like around your nose or even your cheeks). Tuck it in your pocket for quick touch-ups while you’re shredding the slopes (or after you’ve endured a rough commute).

Hands: Fresh Brown Sugar Hand Cream ($19, sephora.com)
If only mittens could keep your hands both warm and moisturized. Slather on this rich lotion, which contains shea butter and vitamin E to prevent moisture loss. The caramel and brown sugar scent is intoxicating, yet 100 percent guilt-free!

Body: Jergens Crema Deep Conditioning Shea Butter Body Cream ($7, drugstore.com)
Turn your post-shower routine into a little daily indulgence with this tub of luxurious body cream. Rich shea butter quenches scaly skin, and it absorbs quickly so you can slip into your coziest sweater/leggings combo and prepare to bear the elements.

Feet: Soap & Glory Heel Genius Amazing Foot Cream ($16, Sephora stores)
Sleep your way to softer heels with this yummy foot cream. Just massage a generous amount onto clean feet, slip on cotton socks and drift off. Macadamia oil, menthol and orange and lemon fruit acids will work the night shift so that come morning, your soles will be soft and soothed.

Hair: Kérastase Masque Nutri-Thermique ($18, keratase-usa.com)
Often we’re so focused on taking care of our skin in the winter (the flakes!), we neglect our strands. This heat-activated deep-conditioning hair mask nourishes  locks from roots to tips and protects your mane from drying-out in the future. Yes, please!

Other Problem Areas: Avéne XeraCalm A.D. Lipid-Replenishing Cream ($32, dermstore.com)
Specially created for eczema-prone skin, this cream will soothe, relieve discomfort and soften tender skin. It’s safe for use on the face and body on infants and adults. Whether you have eczema or not, this cream has your dry spots covered (literally)!

 

—Chelsea Burns, beauty intern

Favorite Find Friday: Nude Skincare Purify Toning Water

Written on January 3, 2014 at 9:00 am , by

When it comes to my nightly skincare routine, I have one goal: get it done as quickly as possible so I can hit the sack. So when I attempt to add new products into the mix, they never last very long because I get tired of the extra step…until I was introduced to Nude Skincare Purify Toning Water ($26, sephora.com). Toners remove excess oil and dead skin cells that may be left behind after washing. You simply put a few drops on a cotton ball and swipe it across your face and neck then follow up with your moisturizer or night cream. It is formulated with natural ingredients, like cinnamon, ginger and burnet root to help purify your pores and balance oil production. I have not only seen improvement in the tone of my skin but I’ve also noticed my skin looks smoother and gets less oily. Well done, toner, you have officially landed a permanent spot in my highly coveted nightly skincare routine.

—Chelsea Burns, beauty intern

Favorite Find Friday: Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

Written on November 1, 2013 at 11:51 am , by

I know everyone claims this, but my skin is super sensitive so I’m careful with my makeup routine as to not disturb—what I like to call—the red-faced monster. That’s why I love when skincare companies venture into color because you get the best of both worlds. After some trial and error, I found the perfect match for my skin came in a pretty gold tube labeled Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm with SPF 45 ($39, sephora.com). Its airy texture glides on so smoothly, you can barely feel it, yet it provides enough coverage to mask imperfections. Plus, it has a high level of broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sun protection (a must). I apply it every morning, and especially when I ski because it protects my face from the glare of the sun on the slopes (yet I still look like a fresh-faced snow bunny when I take a break in the lodge with my friends!).

—Chelsea Burns, beauty intern

Favorite Find Friday: Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask

Written on October 25, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Winter is right around the corner and I can already feel my skin cringing at thought of the harsh elements. So when I saw the Fresh Crème Ancienne Ultimate Nourishing Honey Mask ($130, Fresh.com) I couldn’t help wanting to slather in on my face ASAP. This luxe pot of sweet goodness, which contains two and a half tablespoons of pure honey, melts into skin to deliver up to six hours (according to the company) of nourishment. It’s also packed with Echinacea extract, which helps improve skin’s resilience to environmental aggressors like pollution and smog (a big plus for big city dwellers!). While I’m leery of thick masks due to my oily, acne-prone skin, this one didn’t clog my pores or trigger a breakout, since honey is actually a natural antibiotic and works to pull out dirt and grime while also healing existing acne marks. Before bed, I smooth it over cleansed, damp skin and leave it on for ten minutes before rinsing with warm water. I wake up with a radiant glow. Warning: the mask’s super-sweet honey fragrance may cause a midnight snack craving!

Stacy London’s Tips for Triumphing Psoriasis

Written on October 21, 2013 at 9:00 am , by

Photo Courtesy of Stacy London

You probably know Stacy London as the vivacious stylist on TLC’s hit show, What Not to Wear (the series finale aired this past Friday). But what you may not know is what drew London to the fashion industry in the first place. Turns out, she’s been battling a chronic autoimmune and skin disease—psoriasis—for the majority of her life and found comfort in sparkly, shiny pieces. Here, she opens up about her struggles with psoriasis and the ways in which she’s helping others also affected by it with the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign, which features educational resources, style advice and a dermatologist finder for the estimated 7.5 million American men and women living with psoriasis. Bonus: she spills on her best beauty tips and recent hair change, too.

Tell us about your experience with psoriasis and how it’s affected your life?
“I was diagnosed when I was four, so it’s been in my life my whole life. As much as people know me for something completely different, it is very much a part of my identity. You know, the heartbreak of psoriasis is a well-known thing. Being diagnosed at the age of four, I really didn’t understand what was happening. I just knew there was something wrong with me because I had these bumps on the back of my ears. So it started as something that made me feel weird and certainly made me feel different than other kids. That is definitely something I started to internalize very early. As I got older, my skin got worse and by the time I was 11, I was basically covered from the neck down in red scales and it was a much harder time because at that age, I was conscious of what I looked like. I had very severe scalp psoriasis so I had to cut off all my hair. So here I was, a little girl with a crew cut wearing turtlenecks and long corduroy pants even in the summer just to hide. That’s when that feeling of really being different and having children and adults react badly to me, that I really started to suffer from it. You know psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. It takes consistent and constant management but also, it’s emotionally devastating. I think that definitely drew me to fashion. Because, feeling sort of like a monster, I wanted all things pretty and sparkly and shiny and perfect and what better place than fashion to find that? I can say now, I don’t think I thought that consciously at the time. It’s sort of a compensatory desire that I didn’t feel good about myself and my self esteem was very low that I gravitated to something that I thought would certainly make me feel better. But when I wrote about psoriasis in my book, the biggest thing for me and that I really empathize with is that you kind of give up when you have psoriasis and the idea that you are ruled by a disease rather than you having control over it. The idea specifically was to manifest this concept of empowerment by creating a style guide that is specific to people who may not care about showing off their psoriasis or may be looking to cover up their skin but to feel relevant and not necessarily trendy but modern and feel like they’re participating in the same fashion trends that other people are. So it’s a great topical guide to what’s going on with an eye on making sure you’re paying attention to materials that could irritate your skin or the length of a skirt that may be more appropriate if you want to cover your leg a little bit more; things through the lense of someone who has experienced psoriasis themselves and wanted style, not just to hide in but to feel beautiful in. Because I think I spent my childhood hiding in turtlenecks and long corduroys and really I wish I had known to use style to feel better not just as armor.”

Tell us more about the “Uncover Your Confidence” campaign? 
“It consists of the style guide, one, but it also consists of the dermatologist finder which is about taking control. You know I have been in the care of many dermatologists for over 40 years and it took me a long time to realize that not all dermatologists specialize in psoriasis. Psoriasis is a skin disease and an autoimmune disease. So it’s a much more complex situation. Part of getting the right kind of treatment is to see the right kind of doctor and dermatologist specifically. So one of the things we wanted to do was to help people find the right kind of dermatologist. Part of that idea is that we are asking you instead of learning helplessness, to learn hope and to embrace the idea that just because you may think somebody couldn’t help you the first time you went to visit a dermatologist, that doesn’t mean you saw the right one. The same thing with thinking about your style, like you can’t wear black because God forbid you have scalp psoriasis and it’s going to look like a snow storm hit your shoulders. The campaign offers ways in which to deal with these kinds of things instead of feeling like you have to give up; accepting the situation and then building creatively both your style and, in the process, creating more self-confidence.

Switching gears to beauty. How has the disease affected your beauty routine?
“It’s funny, you know I talk about covering up, and beauty plays such a significant part. It’s kind of ironic because you feel anything but beautiful with psoriasis. For me, one of the things I learned very early on is that I needed to get some sun. As long as I got a little bit of sun, it really improved my skin and my mood. I found that moisturizing creams were not as good as oils. Oils absorb into the skin better, especially when you’ve got really, really dried plaques that can crack and bleed. The other thing is just moisture, period. In the winter, especially when you have dry heat, humidifiers have been essential to me. It’s super important. Since it’s an autoimmune disease, there are other things that you can do just besides the moisture. You need to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, that you’re eating properly; you need to exercise; you need to think holistically about your whole body.”

Do you have beauty products that help you feel confident when you’re having a bad day?
“Two favorites: Antonia Burrell Natural Glow Cleansing Oil ($102, beautyhabit.com) and Radiant Light Serum ($98, beautyhabit.com). If I look super ruddy or flaky, it has worked miracles for me in terms of evening my skintone. The other thing I think is really important with psoriasis is it gets very red. So I recommend using a green tinted concealer to cut the red and then put your foundation over it. I find if I wear anything too orange-y, like an orange-y red lip, that makes my skin look even redder so I tend to go for blue-red tones if I’m going for a red lip. I will say at the moment I’ve been jonesing for By Terry lipsticks (prices vary, beautybar.com). The colors are so saturated and glorious. And I do love Giorgio Armani Blushing Fabric Liquid Blush ($39, giorgioarmanibeauty.com) in the peach shade, #3. It makes you look like your glowing from the outside in.”

Photo Credit: Instagram @ritahazan

You’ve recently made a major hair change, debuting lighter ends. Can we discuss?
“I cannot believe that this has taken hold like it has! I mean, do people know that Syria is happening? I’ve gotten really lovely notes like ‘Bravo!’ and then all these people are like, ‘What’s wrong with you? You’re going through a mid-life crisis.’ I’m telling you right here, right now, you have the exclusive: one, that picture is an Instagram picture. If you’ve heard, there are filters so it looks a little crazier in that picture than it actually is. Number two, I am having a mid-life renaissance and that is why I’m like, ‘It’s time for a change, why not?’”

Dove Helps Girls Feel Unstoppable

Written on September 30, 2013 at 10:46 am , by

As women, we know the power of a confidence boost, whether it’s receiving a compliment on your new haircut or the rush you feel after dominating your morning run. But for some young girls, feeling confident doesn’t come easy, especially during those tough adolescent years. In fact, 6 out of 10 girls stop doing what they love because of anxiety about their looks. That’s why Dove is reaching out to the next generation of women with the “Let’s Make Girls Unstoppable” program to empower girls and inspire killer confidence.

As part of the program, Dove is kicking off their 4th Annual “Self-Esteem Weekend” on October 3rd through October 6th for girls in New York City. The weekend will include workshops lead by Self-Esteem Ambassador, Jess Weiner, an inspiring mix of songs from DJ Diamond Kuts and a custom menu from a top young chef, Kid Chef Eliana. For more information on the NYC event, click here.

Dove is also launching their first-ever limited edition “Confidence is Beautiful” Self-Esteem product collection (including the classic, moisturizing formulas of bar soap, body wash and deodorant we love) available exclusively at Walmart stores this September, which supports self-esteem programming for Girl Scouts, Boys & Girls Clubs, and Girls Inc. to make sure they reach at least 15 million girls by the year 2015. If you are not in the NYC area, you can find your local self-esteem workshop at www.dove.com/girlsunstoppable.com. Confidence is contagious; so let’s help pass it around!

 

—Chelsea Burns, beauty intern

Favorite Find Friday: Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Scrub

Written on September 27, 2013 at 11:01 am , by

Once a month, I see my derm for a glycolic peel to keep my skin looking glowy and to help keep acne at bay. He swabs the concentrated gel on my face and after just a few minutes, my skin looks refreshed and feels baby soft. So that got me thinking— maybe I should care for the skin on my body in the same way as I care for the skin on my face. Enter: Cane + Austin Retexturizing Treatment Scrub ($42, caneandaustin.com). With a 10% concentration of glycolic and gentle micro-beads, this super scrubber exfoliates on a chemical and a physical level. I keep it in my shower, massage it into my arms and legs in a circular motion and then let it sit for a few minutes before rinsing. The rough patches on my elbows and knees are instantly smoother and my skin in general looks brighter. Insider tip: if you’re like me and occasionally like to dabble with self-tanner, this product doubles as a great prep before application or as an eraser to help blend noticeable streaks.

Co-Founder of Flywheel, Ruth Zukerman, Shares Her Fitness & Beauty Secrets

Written on September 19, 2013 at 2:03 pm , by

Photo courtesy of Zukerman

Ruth Zukerman, a leading fitness instructor for over 25 years, values health and wellness in her personal life but loves to share it with others even more. In 2006, she co-founded the popular indoor cycling studio Flywheel, which now has 24 locations nationwide and is rapidly growing. Her latest adventure: teaming up with the classic skincare brand Olay to spread the word about beauty and wellness to the fitness world. We stole a few minutes with her to chat about two of our favorite things: Spinning and beauty.

What interested you in teaming up with Olay?
“Basically, I was introduced to several of their products, particularly the Olay Ultra Moisture Body Wash ($6, olay.com). It’s an amazing product for anyone in fitness because it’s so moisturizing and there’s a longterm effect. There are a lot of days where I shower two to three times and I always worry, especially as I get older, about dry skin and the toll it takes on your skin when you take a lot of showers. I use it now exclusively and it’s just kept my skin looking great. It makes my skin glow and it smells amazing.”

How do you incorporate wellness into your life through beauty?
“Well, I would say first and foremost, I’m pretty simple when it comes to that and it’s about looking healthy, feeling clean and  not wearing a lot of makeup in class. I wear waterproof mascara and some lip-gloss and once in a while, maybe in the winter, an oil-free foundation. That much is fine when you sweat because you do sweat so much in class. And I just really like to keep the look natural.”

Do you have any tips for getting out of the locker room fast post-workout?
“If you can shower quickly, I would recommend using the Ultra Moisture Body Wash because it’s a two-in-one thing since you don’t have to take the time to apply moisturizer afterwards. Aside from that, maybe spray in some dry shampoo to give hair a fresh look. During the workout, most of our riders wear either a bandana or we have sparkly headbands that we sell at our studios that look great and keep the hair away from your face. What I always recommend in terms of low maintenance is putting your hair back so it’s out of your face and then after class, taking your hair down and you can sort of blow dry around the hair line and it really preserves your hair.”

What beauty trends are you seeing all the active women rock in your studios?
“The ponytail is probably the most popular style and as I said, it looks great with those glittery headbands or sparkly bands. Braids are pretty big right now and I notice that a lot of our Boca and Miami instructors wear their hair in braids with a bandana and it looks amazing. It’s a great way to keep the hair away from your neck when you’re sweating so much.”

Do you have any post-workout must-haves?
“I would have to say the Olay 4-in-1 Daily Facial Cloths ($7, olay.com) because they’re so quick and easy, especially if I don’t have time to shower, I just head to the bathroom and give my face a quick wipe down and I feel good.”

Pro Waxing Secrets and How Hair Removal Affects Your Workout

Written on September 17, 2013 at 10:24 am , by

Ever wonder how your wax might be affecting your workouts, or vice versa? Us, too. So we tapped Noemi Grupenmager, Founder and CEO of Uni K wax centers (with locations in California, Florida and New York) to get the scoop on how your hair removal habits and your hustle in the gym are related. Below, she spills some of her best waxing secrets as well as offers tips to help you get your sweat on while still maintaining soft and smooth skin.

For an athlete or someone who enjoys working out, what are the benefits of waxing over shaving?
“A big plus is that waxing is safer than shaving and will help you avoid the daily risk of nicks, cuts, ingrown hair and razor burn that can irritate you while you’re working out and wearing tight clothing. Waxing removes hair below skin level making it a fairly long-lasting method of hair removal. Results can last from three to six weeks, which is ideal for those of us who swim regularly, or want to save time in the shower after a workout.”

Should you refrain from certain workouts like cycling or Spin class after a Brazilian or bikini wax?
“With the right wax, you can enjoy any workout without a worry. I have my own trick to ensure clients can go straight to the gym after their service. Uni K uses an all-natural elastic wax made for sensitive areas and after the elastic wax is removed, we apply an individual ice pack, which closes the pores quickly to minimize any redness or irritation. We then apply a gel made from cool and calming cucumber, chamomile and calendula extract to comfort, refresh and hydrate the waxed area. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory, prepping your skin to feel even better and more ready for a workout (or the beach, etc.) than when you walked in! If you don’t have access to Uni K, simulate these treatments on your own by bringing a cold pack and a cucumber-rich moisturizer to use post-wax. It’s important to note that hard wax or strip wax can irritate the skin more than elastic wax, so if you do feel uncomfortable after using those types of waxes, opt for a workout that doesn’t stress the bikini area and start spin class again the next day.”

Can swimming—in the pool or ocean—post-wax cause irritation?
“Typically you can go swimming and not experience any post-wax irritation. The secret is to apply wax at body temperature so it doesn’t burn or aggravate the skin. This calms and gently opens pores, and using the cold pack described above closes them again, so you’re no more vulnerable to irritants in the water like chlorine or salt. Just be mindful that tight swimsuits can increase the likelihood of an ingrown hair.”

I was just going to ask, can tight leggings cause ingrown hairs? If so, how can you treat or avoid them?
“If you wax regularly, you will have a slim chance of getting an ingrown hair. However, tight clothes, like workout leggings compress the hair against your body most of the time, and the chances of getting an ingrown hair increase. Don’t stay in your wet swimsuit or sweaty leggings longer than necessary after your workout. Exfoliating regularly will help to diminish your chance of getting an ingrown hair. I do recommend avoiding exfoliating one to two days before and after you wax because the wax will exfoliate your skin while removing unwanted hair. If you do experience ingrown hairs, try a gel formulated to gently exfoliate, like Uni K Ingrown Hair Roll-On ($22, unikwax.com).”

Often after any type of facial wax (eyebrows, lip, chin, etc.) and a workout, a breakout ensues. Is there any way to avoid post-wax zits?
“To minimize breakouts, choose a wax that is not hot, contains no chemicals, is gentle on the skin and does not cause discomfort. It’s also important to hydrate with plenty of water and moisturizers before and between waxing to achieve a better hair removal result and reduce any irritation. Avoid applying retinol products to skin 24-48 hours before facial waxing. Retinol is the purest form of Vitamin A, and while it’s a great ingredient for treating adult acne, it’s extremely potent and even applying a thin layer makes skin more sensitive and prone to redness and irritation.”

If you wax your underarms, is it okay to use deodorant immediately? 
“Yes, it is okay to use a deodorant after waxing as long as the deodorant itself is not irritating for you. When considering what type of deodorant to use, it is always better to use bars and roll-ons over sprays, as sprays tend to be more harsh and difficult to control during application. Try to choose products that contain natural ingredients and skin soothers (like aloe, chamomile, cucumber, etc.) without synthetic fragrances which can be irritating to some people.”