Ask the Expert: Beauty

February 8, 2008 8:10:05 AM PST
Consumer Health and Beauty advocate Marie Czenko Kuechel answers questions on beauty and skin care for men and women.1. What are the pros and cons of hair removal options?

Many variables to judge what is right for you (will mention how each works, put up graphics, will touch on specific points:

Shaving:

Pros:

Inexpensive $2

Provides exfoliation

Treat a large region

Can result in irritation

Cons:

Results last a day at best

Risk of nicks and cuts

Treat regions, not single small areas

Depilatories:

Pros:

Inexpensive $10

Leaves skin smooth

Do-it-yourself

Cons:

Smelly and messy

Results last up to one week

Time consuming

Waxing:

Pros

Results last 1-2 weeks

Treats small regions

Leaves skin very smooth Best done professionally

Cost $20-$80

Cons:

Painful

Treats large regions

Cost $20-$80

Not suitable for male facial hair

Not suitable for scalp

Needs regrowth to be effective

Electrolysis:

Pros:

Can be permanent

Treat individual hairs

All skin and hair types

Cons:

Expensive $100++ per session

Not good for larger areas

Trained professional

Time consuming

Repeated treatments

Risk of infection Laser Results: Pros Cons

months to years

Good for small areas

Good for large areas

Repeated treatments

Newer lasers for fair hair Darker hair responds best

Good outcomes

Facial or body hair

Readily available

Cons:

Expensive $100-$150++ per area

Not suitable after waxing

Can result in pigmentation changes

Do not do if you have any tan

Safety: burns are possible

Choose medical setting

2. Do hair growth treatments really work?

Shampoos:

Cannot grow new hair

Hair outside the follicle is dead

Shampoos coat or treat the hair for enhanced fullness

Shampoos maintain hair strength for less breakage

Shampoos treat the scalp

Benefits are lost when not in use

Rogaine:

Can delay or prevent hair loss

Best at early stages of hair loss

May promote some new growth

Requires strict adherence to defined program

Can be messy

Appropriate for men and women

FDA approved

Over-the-counter

Benefits are lost when not in use

Propecia:

FDA-Approved prescription drug for men only

Reduces DHT, a hormone

Can delay or prevent hair loss

May promote some new growth

Like any medication: discuss side effects with your doctor

Benefits are lost when not in use

LED, Laser:

LaserMax is FDA approved to encourage hair growth

Best for thinning or early stage hair loss

Over the counter

Variable results

Requires strict adherence to defined program

Research is promising, but not yet conclusive

Bottom line: See a doctor at the first signs of hair loss, treatments are variable: trial and error may determine what works best for you.

3. Men's skincare is often claimed to be stronger than women's is that true and is there anything unsafe to use?

Basic difference between men and women's skin: Men grow a beard and have more prominent hair follicles on the face. Some claim men have a slightly higher or more alkaline skin pH, be heredity really determines where you are on the pH mantle. Men's skincare is not stronger. Some products are designed to address the irritation that comes with shaving and the added opportunity for bacterial growth in hair follicles. Other products are designed to have no feel: men don't like the feeling of rich creams. Men's skincare is packaged for men, it is scented for men, it is designed to attract men and that is why it is often separate from women's skincare. It is perfectly safe to interchange.

What is not safe is using a product that irritates your skin, over use of product or mixing too many products. Additionally, women who are pregnant or nursing should never use skincare with retinoids or retinol (vitamin A derivatives) or hydroquinone (a bleaching agent)

4. How do I get rid of dark circles under my eyes?

Dark circles cannot be simply erased. They are the result of heredity, shadows under the eyes, and dilated or visible blood vessels. In some cases dark circles are the result of iron deficiency. The best means is 3 steps:

Avoid things that make dark circles worse:

  • Get plenty of sleep, but don't sleep flat

  • Don't smoke

  • Avoid caffeine

    Treat delicate under-eye skin gently. Use produces designed to reduce fluid retention and puffiness and that can constrict blood vessels close to the skin surface. Look for ingredients like peptides, and seaweed or other botanicals with iodine that naturally constrict vessels and reduce fluid. Look for words like "brightening" on the label.

    Cover them! Mineral cosmetics are protective, have great staying power and look natural. Choose a shade that is close to your natural skintone, and use natural lighter eyes shadow tones to brighten the overall area.

    Don't use a lighter shade then your natural skin-tone to cover dark circles or put dark eye shadow above. This creates a very unnatural look and the contrast of shadow and concealer will only draw attention.

    Injection of a dermal filler, like Cosmoderm or Restylane can help to put a cushion between the vessels and the skin. But for very fair, or thin skin, this can actually change dark circles to a more gray rather than dark cast.

    Eyelid surgery to restore the lower eyelid and place fat in hollows that create dark circles is a serious, more permanent solution that can produce remarkable results in the hands of a qualified and skilled plastic surgeon.

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