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Beauty Q&A: Laser and Cosmetic Dermatologist, Heidi Waldorf's Gives Expert Tips

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Ever wanted to pick the brain of a dermatologist to get all your skin care queries answered? Well, the wait is over. Laser and Cosmetic Dermatologist, Heidi Waldorf took some time to answer a few FAQ's, debunking myths, giving advice, and providing all the beauty facts to back it up. Check out what tips she had to share with BeautyPress and let us know what you think!

So tell us Heidi, what are some top skin solutions to calm reddened skin? 

The option depends on the cause of the redness, but in general if the skin is red and irritated, start with bland moisturizers - avoid exfoliating or irritating ingredients like acids or retinoids. Instead, look for hydrating and sealing ingredients like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, petrolatum, and dimethicone in cream or ointments. Other calming ingredients include feverfew (as produced by Aveeno - the plant is actually very irritating, so the components need to be broken down), chamomile, aloe, niacinamide, and soy. Over the counter cortisone cream containing 1% hydrocortisone will reduce inflammation as well and cool compresses can be temporarily soothing, but must be followed with moisturization. 

Does lasers on hyperpigmentation really erase the spots caused by too much indoor tanning? If so, how does it work? 

Lasers do not 'erase' anything. However we can use a combination of lasers, light sources, chemical peels and topical cosmeceuticals, as well as prescription topicals to improve ultraviolet damaged skin. Redness caused by tanning is from the proliferation of blood vessels as the skin tries to repair itself. Redness can be treated with pulsed dye lasers or intense pulsed light. But if those red spots are also scaly or sensitive to touch, they may actually be precancerous growths (actinic or solar keratoses), which will not respond to vascular lasers or lights. Those can be treated with fractional resurfacing, photodynamic therapy, topical chemotherapy, or immunotherapy agents.

Brown spots are caused primarily by UVA damage. These discolorations can be discrete or focused 'freckles,' 'age spots' (lentigenes), or mottled brown discoloration like the permanent bronzing seen with chronic exposure, as well as on the cheeks, forehead and upper lip from melasma. Individual brown lentigines can be treated with a pigment specific laser or intense pulsed light. I prefer using a nonablative resurfacing laser like the Fraxel Dual, which improves the skin quality and texture in addition to reducing the number of precancerous lesions present. These devices/procedures can be combined to improve color and texture. Regardless of the procedures, routine vigilant sun protection and a good topical maintenance regimen is critical to be successful and reduce the reoccurrence of the problem.  

What are some top juices to drink for stellar skin? 

Sorry but there are no juices, beverages or foods that have been scientifically proven to improve skin health or appearance. Some people say that their skin looks and feels better after juicing - that may be the case if they have been eating badly (fast food, too much caffeine and alcohol), which is often associated with inadequate sleep and a lot of stress. But if that same person just ate a balanced diet, their skin would likely look the same. I have fantastic skin and drink almost no juice. My 98 year old grandmother has gorgeous soft skin without ever having had a procedure - is it her daily dark chocolate? Decaf coffee? Fresca? No, it's the fact that she has great genetics and never messed them up with ultraviolet exposure, cigarette smoking or yoyo dieting. So my recommendation is to keep well hydrated inside and out, eat lots of different color foods (i.e., green veggies, fruits, etc.), keep up protein, complex carbs, calcium, and don't drive yourself crazy!  

What are some great chocolate facial treatments? 

Chocolate should be eaten, not applied to the face. We talk about dark chocolate containing anti-oxidants, however there is no evidence that any component of chocolate in any form applied to the skin will get absorbed. The chocolate facials are just marketing. 

What are the top medical spa procedures forecasted for 2014? 

The top procedures in aesthetic dermatology offices will continue to be soft tissue augmentation and neuromodulator injection, particularly as we have more products available and patients are now more knowledgeable in how to pick a well-trained physician with an artistic eye to get a natural look. There are more and more devices to improve color and texture, tighten and reduce fat with minimal downtime. 

Thanks Heidi! Look out for more beauty Q&A's coming soon!

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