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All You Need To Know About Laser Hair Removal

By | skin | One Comment

To laser or not to laser, that is the question. As a life-long waxer (bikini) and shaver (underarms and legs), I was suspect of the laser movement. I mean, I had literally just become comfortable with someone waxing my lady parts! But everyone was doing it… and loving it (laser, I mean), and so I decided to see what all the hype was about.  After all, I absolutely loathe shaving — and if there was a service that could provide me with hair-free legs, bikini, and underarms, well, what did I have to lose?

Off of a referral from a friend, I enlisted the ladies at Sev Laser Aesthetics, a favorite of Kylie Jenner’s, to get me to that hair-free happy place. They said it would take between 6-8 sessions, every 4-6 weeks, and I had to come religiously to see results. In other words, no skipping a month. I could get on board with this. They also said that yes, it was uncomfortable, but with each visit, the hair would decrease so the pain would lessen as well. So, basically, I just had to get through the first few visits and then I’d have less hair. But how much does it hurt?  We’ll get to that in a moment.

First, the facts:

What laser did I use? I was treated with a Cynosure Apogee Elite laser which has both ALexandrite and Yag. “Alex laser is the fastest of all the laser types. It’s good for treating larger body areas among patients who are of light-to-olive complexion,” explains Sev, owner of Sev Laser Aesthetics. “It is one of the most widely used hair removal lasers.Yag wavelength is universally agreed upon to be safest for ethnic skin individuals where hair laser removal using Alexandrite wavelength is thought to be the superior among the current technology. With Cynosure’s Elite, you will be able to achieve the best of both worlds.”

How many treatments will I need? According to Sev, it takes about 6-8 treatments, but it’s different for each person and body part. Legs are usually the first to stop growing and areas like the face and back need more treatments. You’ll want to continue touch-up treatments for patches of hair that continue to grow. If you become pregnant after doing laser, you may have to return to full laser treatments as pregnancy can cause new hair to grow from the roots.

What’s the prep? “The areas being treated must be completely shaven before your appointment because we are targeting the root of the hair and not the hair that’s out,” explains Sev. “You can not wax prior because waxing pulls the hair out by its root and we are left with an empty hair follicle which means there is nothing to burn and you would be wasting your time and money.” You can not be on any kind of antibiotics and you need to stay out of the sun for 10-14 days before your treatment, this includes tanning beds and spray tans. Finally, don’t exfoliate the area seven days before treatment.

What’s the post? “Always wear sunblock on treated areas,” says Sev. “No hot showers, saunas, steam rooms, or workouts immediately after treatment. And no sun exposure for 10-14 days post laser. Shave the treated areas 10 days after treatment. It will help to pull out all the dead hair.”

CONS

I’m going to start with the cons of lasering, as they are few but important. Firstly, it does hurt, and anyone who tells you differently is lying. On dark, tough, rooted hairs it feels like someone is smacking a rubber band directly onto your skin. On less hairy areas, it’s more of a constant stinging feeling, like micro-needling. The latter is tolerable, the former, not so much. I had to squeeze a roll of paper towels and use a lot of curse words to get me through the 45 minute treatment. Bikini and ankles hurt the most (and continue to be rather painful), underarms and upper thighs aren’t so bad.

Another con is that you have to stay out of the sun entirely. So I’d suggest not starting your laser treatments during summertime. I’m not a huge sunbather anymore so this wasn’t as annoying for me as it may be for some, but even wearing shorts in the days leading up to your appointment can wreak havoc on the procedure. Basically, ideal lasering conditions are when your skin its its palest and your hair is its darkest. Hence, the zero sun thing.

When the laser is working its best, it smells like a mixture of burning hair and skin. The scent can be pretty intense, although I didn’t mind much because I knew it was working.

PROS

I’ve completed 8 full treatments and am onto my second touch-up and I am happy to report that I am 95% hair-free! The laser worked the fastest on my underarms, then bikini, and then legs. Due to melasma, I cannot laser my face (insert sad face here).

Lasering makes skin feel silky smooth – this isn’t why you laser, but it’s definitely an added bonus, especially when a man’s hands run up the side of your leg.

After my very first laser treatment, the hair on my bikini line grew back and then fell out and I was hair-free up until my next treatment. My leg hair definitely grew back and needed to be shaved in between treatments, but now it only comes back in patches around my ankles, knees, and sporadically on the bone. I haven’t had to shave bikini or underarms in between treatments since after the 5th for underarms and the 6th for bikini, and the hair on my legs is so thin that I don’t even bother shaving between touch-ups.

For me, bikini waxing can be pretty painful and expensive and hair grows back within a few weeks. Lasering is painful, but it’s almost the same price as waxing and the hair grows back way slower and less thick. So, it’s not even a question: I’d choose laser over waxing any day of the week.

For me, lasering was 100% worth it. The pain pales in comparison to the results: smooth, hair-free legs, bikini, and underarms. I never have to worry about whether I can show my legs or not because (gasp!) I forgot to shave. My legs are always ready to be seen. I can wear a bikini year round, without having to book a waxing appointment or jumping into the shower for a quick shave and getting gnarly in-growns. Every day I am summer – and sexy-time – ready. What a f*&^ing relief.

Laser all the way to smooth, hair-free skin!

*Sev Laser is located at 8428 Melrose Pl, West Hollywood, CA 90069

Rosacea: 5 Things To Avoid This Summer + Gift Card Giveaway!

By | skin | No Comments

Taking care of your skin is challenging, regardless of season. But for the 16 million Americans with rosacea, a skin condition that can cause persistent facial redness, bumps and pimples, among other symptoms, summer can be an especially tricky time. Along with barbecues and bikinis, summer also brings many elements that can actually trigger rosacea symptoms. But not to worry. We called on nationally recognized dermatologist Dr. Doris Day, a Galderma consultant, who gave us these suggestions for five key things to avoid this summer. While these tips are geared toward those with rosacea, we can all benefit from them.

Spicy Cocktails – Food triggers for rosacea vary widely, but common ones include certain alcohols, spicy food and cheese – familiar ingredients for beloved summer barbecues.

Toner – Since many toners contain alcohol, a known irritant for rosacea, it’s best to avoid them altogether – but don’t skip the moisturizer. Look for one containing lipids like ceramides, which are great for rosacea-prone skin.  Fun fact – Galderma developed a Rx treatment, Soolantra® (ivermectin) Cream, 1%, that treats the inflammatory lesions of rosacea, and Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream is actually the basis for the vehicle.

Bikram Yoga – Since excessive heat, humidity and exercise can make rosacea worse, avoid workouts that turn up the temps. Consider more mild workouts – and weather conditions – instead, like vinyasa yoga or pilates.

Over-Scheduling – Summer is all about letting loose and balancing work and play, so don’t let your jam-packed schedule stress you out. Unfortunately, stress is a common cause of rosacea flares.  So relax and enjoy summer without overdoing it and your face will thank you.

Self-Diagnosis – Many people with rosacea think they have acne before being correctly diagnosed by a doctor.  Some even self-treat their rosacea with over-the-counter products or use cosmetics to conceal instead of treat, which can make rosacea worse. Getting professional help is essential; a dermatologist can recommend a prescription treatment that’s ideal for your symptoms.

Learn more about rosacea and treatments on the Break Up with Your Makeup page. While you’re there, be sure to vote for your favorite no makeup selfie and story, and you could WIN a $500 gift card.

Sponsored Post: This post is part of the Break Up with Your Makeup program sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P. You should discuss any medications with your doctor.
Important Safety Information (Soolantra)
Indication: SOOLANTRA® (ivermectin) Cream, 1%, is indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. Adverse Events: In clinical trials with SOOLANTRA Cream, the most common adverse reactions (incidence ≤1%) included skin burning sensation and skin irritation. Warnings / Precautions: Not for oral, ophthalmic or intravaginal use.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit WWW.FDA.GOV/MEDWATCH or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Win A Trip To The New York Film Festival!

By | makeup | One Comment

I’ve partnered with Galderma Laboratories, L.P., leading skincare company and makers of prescription rosacea treatments, and they’re giving away an all-expense paid trip FOR TWO to NYC for the New York Film Festival this fall!

To enter, head on over to their site and share your no makeup selfie, plus a few sentences on how you stay confident even on your toughest skin days. No need to cower in a corner or cover up with makeup because you’re not alone – rosacea affects 16 million Americans, and Rx treatment can make all the difference. Let’s start a dialogue, share your stories!

Contest brought to you by Galderma Laboratories, L.P. makers of topical Mirvaso® (brimonidine) Gel, for persistent facial erythema associated with rosacea; systemic Oracea® (doxycycline) Capsules, the only oral papulopustular rosacea treatment approved by the FDA and Soolantra® (ivermectin) Cream, a once-daily, antibiotic-free product indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lesions, or bumps and pimples, of rosacea.
Important Safety Information
Important Safety Information – Soolantra® Cream
Indication:
SOOLANTRA® (ivermectin) Cream, 1% is indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. Adverse Events: In clinical trials with SOOLANTRA® Cream, the most common adverse reactions (incidence ≤1%) included skin burning sensation and skin irritation. Warnings/Precautions: Not for oral, ophthalmic or intravaginal use.
Important Safety Information – Mirvaso® Gel*
Indication:  Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha-2 adrenergic agonist indicated for the topical treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older. Adverse Events:  In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) included erythema, flushing, skin-burning sensation and contact dermatitis. Warnings/Precautions:  Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud’s phenomenon, orthostatic hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s syndrome.  Alpha-2 adrenergic agents can lower blood pressure.  Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease.  Serious adverse reactions following accidental ingestion of Mirvaso Gel by children have been reported.  Keep Mirvaso Gel out of reach of children.  Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use.
*Each gram of gel contains 5mg of brimonidine tartrate, equivalent to 3.3 mg of brimonidine free base
Important Safety Information (Oracea® Capsules)
Indication: ORACEA® (doxycycline, USP) 40 mg** Capsules are indicated for the treatment of only inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) of rosacea in adult patients. ORACEA Capsules do not lessen the facial redness caused by rosacea. Adverse Events: In controlled clinical studies, the most commonly reported adverse events (>2%) in patients treated with ORACEA Capsules were nasopharyngitis, sinusitis, diarrhea, hypertension and aspartate aminotransferase increase. Warnings/Precautions: ORACEA Capsules should not be used to treat or prevent infections. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken by patients who have a known hypersensitivity to doxycycline or other tetracyclines. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken during pregnancy, by nursing mothers, or during tooth development (up to the age of 8 years). Although photosensitivity was not observed in clinical trials, ORACEA Capsules patients should minimize or avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. The efficacy of ORACEA Capsules treatment beyond 16 weeks and safety beyond 9 months have not been established.
**30 mg immediate release & 10 mg delayed release beads
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit WWW.FDA.GOV/MEDWATCH or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

4 Tips To Tell If Those Bumps Are Rosacea Or Acne (+ a Fun New Selfie Contest!)

By | skin | One Comment

In-between weather tends to create in-between skin – not entirely dry, but not overly hydrated, either. Spring is definitely the time when our skin starts acting up… and when we sit glued to our magnifying mirror (throw that thing away already!) truly stumped over the red, blotchy bumps popping up seemingly out of nowhere. So, the question remains: Are we going through a breakout or is this actually rosacea, a skin disorder that affects about 16 million Americans?

We turned to Mary Erhard, Director of Medical Communications at the National Rosacea Society, and asked her to break down the breakout process — on both acne and rosacea!

1. Location, Location, Location. While both rosacea and acne appear on the face, rosacea is almost always exclusively seen on the face, appearing on the cheeks and nose or sometimes the chin or forehead. Acne, on the other hand, may also appear on the back, chest and shoulders. While none of these locations are ideal, they can give you an idea of which condition you may actually have.

2. Consider the Signs. While both conditions may involve bumps and pimples, rosacea patients also typically experience redness, flushing and blushing. Unlike with rosacea, acne generally comes with blackheads as well.

3. Let’s Get To the Cause. Although the cause of rosacea is unknown, research suggests that there are multiple triggers for the inflammation associated with the condition, such as (but not limited to) sun, alcohol, spicy food, exercise and generally harmless, microscopic Demodex mites that naturally appear on everyone’s face. On the other hand, acne is usually the result of hormonal changes and pores getting clogged and is NOT, as is often mistakenly believed, influenced by diet or not washing one’s face enough. (In fact, over scrubbing can actually make the acne worse.)

4. The Good News? Both Can Be Treated. In very mild cases, it’s possible to manage acne with drugstore remedies, but a good rule of thumb is to go to see a dermatologist if this regimen hasn’t improved skin after two weeks, because it is likely that a prescription treatment will be needed. If you suspect you may have rosacea, it is essential to see a dermatologist for diagnosis and appropriate care, as the disorder requires prescription medical therapy — and acne treatments can make rosacea worse.
If it’s the bumps and pimples of rosacea that have been giving you grief, your doctor may prescribe the newly FDA-approved Soolantra® (ivermectin) Cream, 1%, which is specifically designed to address the inflammatory lesions of rosacea, or Oracea® (doxycycline) Capsules, the only oral papulopustular rosacea treatment approved by the FDA.

And now for the fun part! If you have rosacea, or think you might, share your (brave!) no makeup selfie and a short message on how you stay confident even on your toughest skin days, for a chance to win an all-expense paid trip to NYC for the NY Film Festival this fall.

Sponsored Post: This post is part of the Break Up with Your Makeup program sponsored by Galderma Laboratories, L.P. You should discuss any medications with your doctor.
Important Safety Information (Oracea® Capsules)
Indication: ORACEA® (doxycycline, USP) 40 mg* Capsules are indicated for the treatment of only inflammatory lesions (papules and pustules) of rosacea in adult patients. ORACEA Capsules do not lessen the facial redness caused by rosacea. Adverse Events: In controlled clinical studies, the most commonly reported adverse events (>2%) in patients treated with ORACEA Capsules were nasopharyngitis, sinusitis, diarrhea, hypertension and aspartate aminotransferase increase. Warnings/Precautions: ORACEA Capsules should not be used to treat or prevent infections. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken by patients who have a known hypersensitivity to doxycycline or other tetracyclines. ORACEA Capsules should not be taken during pregnancy, by nursing mothers, or during tooth development (up to the age of 8 years). Although photosensitivity was not observed in clinical trials, ORACEA Capsules patients should minimize or avoid exposure to natural or artificial sunlight. The efficacy of ORACEA Capsules treatment beyond 16 weeks and safety beyond 9 months have not been established.
*30 mg immediate release & 10 mg delayed release beads
Important Safety Information – Soolantra® Cream
Indication: SOOLANTRA® (ivermectin) Cream, 1% is indicated for the treatment of inflammatory lesions of rosacea. Adverse Events: In clinical trials with SOOLANTRA Cream, the most common adverse reactions (incidence ≤1%) included skin burning sensation and skin irritation. Warnings / Precautions: Not for oral, ophthalmic or intravaginal use.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit WWW.FDA.GOV/MEDWATCH or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
All trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

Laneige BB Cushion + A Giveaway!

By | skin | 18 Comments

A flawless complexion is an endless battle with a plethora of factors to consider. There’s the genetic lottery, skincare products and regimen, foundations, concealers, tinted moisturizers, BB creams and the like, and then there’s more aggressive dermatological procedures like lasers and peels. Basically, if you’re not born with perfect skin, trying to achieve it can cost almost as much as a mortgage.

Until now. Enter the Laneige BB Cushion, a 5-in-1 product that brightens, covers, hydrates, and protects with an added SPF of 50. It’s not a tinted moisturizer, or a foundation, or a BB cream. Laneige’s BB Cushion is like the best of all three. In fact, it’s touted as one of the first mainstream BB cushions, and you apply it in much the same way as you would a pressed powder; from compact to skin, using a snazzy sponge and dabbing the formula onto face to create a seamless, airbrushed, no-makeup look.

The BB Cushion does a fantastic job of giving a flawless complexion without any of the cakiness. Since you get to control the amount of coverage – layering creates more – I usually do a light pat around my entire face, focusing a bit more on under-eyes and blemishes. The consistency is slightly wet, so pairing the BB Cushion with a cream blush gives that coveted dewy effect. A few swipes of mascara, a bold brow, and some tinted lip balm, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer no-makeup-makeup look.

And now for the fun part. I’ve teamed up with Laneige to give two lucky readers the chance to try this very special skin perfecting BB Cushion, with a retail value of $34! If you don’t win — or can’t wait for your flawless complexion, purchase here.

TO ENTER:

Leave a comment below with your email address by May 12, 2015 at 6PM EST. 

*All entrants must be 18-years-old or older to enter. Winners will be contacted via email on May 13, 2015. Winners are chosen at random.

 

Drugstore Finds: The Winter Edition x Target

By | skin | 6 Comments

I am so honored to have taken part in this Target collaboration of my favorite beauty items for winter skin. As any avid readers of my site know, I am a huge fan of drugstore finds (I dedicate an entire section to this here), and while some of these Target picks aren’t actually under $10, they are still much more affordable than their prestige counterparts… and they do just as fabulous of a job. Everyone can have beautiful skin, a glowing complexion, and gorgeous strands, without paying a mini mortgage to get it.

Target’s beauty section is truly stellar: They carry some of my favorite natural brands like Weleda, California Baby, and Burt’s Bees. I’m a firm believer that you never have to sacrifice health for beauty and I’m elated that Target agrees with me.

Check out my winter beauty must-haves here and head on over to Target to stock up.

GIVEAWAY: Recreate Your Own Merged Braid And Win!

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’ve teamed up with Refinery 29 and Regency Beauty Institute for a weekly beauty challenge with some pretty amazing prizes. This week’s challenge is the merged braid.

Here’s how I created my look:

Note: If you’re a braiding novice, don’t worry, this style can be achieved easily without ever french braiding!
1. Working from a center of side part, take your bangs area, pull them to the right and braid. Secure the bottom with a rubber band.
2. Split your hair into pigtails. Take the left section of hair and braid. Secure with a rubber band.
3. Pull the braided left pigtail behind your head and over to the braided bang section and the unbraided right side of the pigtail.
4. Braid it all together into a side braid.
5. About mid braid you will notice that the rubber band from the left pigtail braid will budge through. Feel free to remover the rubber band and continue braiding.
6. Secure the merged braid and voila! – Easy as that, you have a gorgeous 3 braided ‘do.

Now it’s your turn!

DETAILS FOR ENTRY:
1. Recreate your own version of the above “Merged Braid” look
2. Take an Instagram photo of your hair look
3. Hashtag the photo with #ShareBeautyContest

WHAT YOU’LL WIN:
– $1,000 Sephora gift card
– Beauty Makeover – makeup (location of services dependent on winner’s home address)
– Blow out (location of services dependent on winner’s home address)
– Mani/pedi (location of services dependent on winner’s home address)
– Facial treatment (location of services dependent on winner’s home address)
– Spa Treatment (location of services dependent on winner’s home address)

To follow the #ShareBeautyContest, click here. For more on the merged braid contest, click here.

Rosacea Skincare Tips + Enter For a Chance to Win a Trip to the Emmys!

By | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Taking care of your skin is so important, especially in the summer when you’ve got the sun, heat and outdoor activities. About 16 million Americans suffer from a skin condition called rosacea, which causes persistent facial redness among many other symptoms.  New York City dermatologist and Clinical Associate Professor at New York University Langone Medical Center, Dr. Doris Day, gave us these skincare tips.  While the tips are geared toward those with rosacea, we can all benefit from them:

Calm the Skin: Skin with rosacea is more sensitive and likely to react to ingredients in both prescription medications and skin care products, so talk to your dermatologist about what options are best for you. Moisturizers containing lipids, such as ceramides, are usually well tolerated and can improve the skin barrier, which is often compromised in people with this condition.

Be Picky about Sun Protection: It’s a fact that daily sunscreen is a must, but not all sunscreens are created equal. Not only are some better than others, but many contain ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin with rosacea. The best bets if you are prone to rosacea, are sunscreens that contain transparent zinc oxide and moisturizing ingredients, like niacinamide, and are fragrance-free and non-comedogenic.

Eat and Sleep Well, Stay Hydrated: It may sound basic but not getting enough sleep can make you look older because sleep is when your body repairs itself. Alcohol, sugary foods and processed foods can affect the skin’s ability to repair itself and cause premature skin aging, so try to eat a balanced diet and indulge rarely. For the occasional late night out, alternate a glass of water or carbonated water with every alcoholic beverage.

I’m working with Galderma, the makers of Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33%*, on a program to educate people about treatment options for rosacea. Mirvaso is the only FDA-approved treatment for the persistent facial redness of rosacea. Check out the below to learn more about Mirvaso and enter for a chance to win a trip to the Emmys!

Important Safety Information
Indication:  Mirvaso® (brimonidine) topical gel, 0.33% is an alpha adrenergic agonist indicated for the topical treatment of persistent (nontransient) facial erythema of rosacea in adults 18 years of age or older.  Adverse Events:  In clinical trials, the most common adverse reactions (≥1%) included erythema, flushing, skin burning sensation and contact dermatitis.  Warnings/Precautions:  Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with depression, cerebral or coronary insufficiency, Raynaud’s phenomenon, orthostatic hypotension, thromboangiitis obliterans, scleroderma, or Sjögren’s syndrome. Alpha-2 adrenergic agents can lower blood pressure. Mirvaso Gel should be used with caution in patients with severe or unstable or uncontrolled cardiovascular disease. Serious adverse reactions following accidental ingestion of Mirvaso Gel by children have been reported. Keep Mirvaso Gel out of reach of children. Not for oral, ophthalmic, or intravaginal use.
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
*Each gram of gel contains 5 mg of brimonidine tartrate, equivalent to 3.3 mg of brimonidine free base.

About Beauty Banter
Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.