Cause: Heredity, hormonal irregularities and chronic stress are contributing factors.
Rx: Women with mild adult acne should keep an eye out for over-the-counter cleansers, creams, lotions and gels that contain benzoyl peroxide (it dries up existing pimples and kills acne-causing bacteria), or salicylic acid (it unclogs pores and prevents lesions).
Good product choices: L’Oréal Plenitude Shine Control Foaming Face Wash, Clinique Spot Healing gel and Neutrogena Pore Refining Cream. Mild-to-severe acne responds well to prescription treatment. Some of the most effective prescripiton remedies are: antibiotics, retinoids (Retin-A, Renova or Accutane), oral contraceptives and anti-inflammatory medications (corticosteroid injections).
When it comes to makeup — whether you have mild, moderate or severe acne — always look for products labeled non-comedogenic (non-clogging) or non-acnegenic (nonacne causing). Clean cosmetic brushes regularly in a solution of soapy water and throw out any old, contaminated makeup.
Definition:Tumors of the skin, the majority of which are benign. They can be flesh-toned, brown, black or bluish black; some moles are flat and smooth, others are raised, hairy or rough.
Cause: Heredity, hyperpigmentation (larger than usual amounts of melanin) and excessive sun exposure. If you notice yours changing, see your doctor immediately &151; it could indicate malignancy.
Rx: A dermatologist can safely and easily remove moles by cutting them out or slicing them at the skin surface and destroying the base with an electric needle. Each procedure is relatively quick and painless and can be performed in a doctor’s office.
Melasma (or “mask of pregnancy”)
Definition:Melasma are harmless, flat, smooth, brownish splotches that usually appear on the face, forehead, and temples.
Cause: Pregnancy, oral contraceptives or sun exposure.
Rx: Melasma that doesn’t fade after the first few months past pregnancy, or is a result of the Pill can be treated with bleaching products containing hydroquinone (in products from companies like Decleor, Merle Norman and M.D. Formulations), mild chemical peels or laser resurfacing. Wearing sunscreen is recommended to avoid further damage.
Definition:Dilated blood vessels, facial redness or deeply rooted acne-type blemishes at the center of the nose, cheeks and chin.
Cause: Stress, sunlight, extreme temperature changes, hot beverages, alcohol, spicy foods, hormonal changes and pregnancy are probable catalysts.
Rx: Steer clear of anything that causes the skin to flush (see above). Doctors can also prescribe oral tetracycline and topical benzoyl peroxide to reduce pimples and shrink swollen blood vessels. They may also dispense hydrocortisone creams and sulfur lotions to curb facial flushing and swelling.
Definition:Small specks of excess pigment anywhere on the body.
Cause: Heredity, hyperpigmentation (excess melanin in the skin) and excessive sun exposure.
Rx: If you’re prone to freckles, wear sunscreen and avoid the sun. Skin-bleaching or tretinoin products (Retin-A or Renova) can help diminish very dark freckles.
Definition:Fine lines, wrinkles, a dull complexion and loss of elasticity in the skin.
Cause: Extreme sun exposure, an unbalanced diet, lack of sleep, smoking, drug abuse and excessive alchohol consumption.
Rx: Look for products that contain alpha or beta hydroxy acids, antioxidants or retinoids; they help speed up cell renewal. Check out Estée Lauder Fruition, Clinique Turnaround Cream or Avon Clearly C. If your fine lines are stubborn, ask your dermatologist about prescription creams, like Retin-A and Renova.
Looking for a more substantial change? You may need a more invasive procedure: Botox injections contain botulinum toxin and are shot into wrinkled muscles to temporarily paralyze them and create a smooth surface. Collagen injections fill out unwanted creases and furrows with a natural fibrous gel made from the dermis of cows. Chemical peels smooth out rough skin and minimize fine lines. Laser resurfacing uses an ultrapulse C02 laser to scan skin layers deeper than a chemical peel. Note: These procedures should be performed by a dermatologist or plastic surgeon.
Dry, chapped lips
Definition:Extremely dry, flaky split skin on the mouth.
Cause: Habitual lip licking, cold weather, excessive sun exposure, colds or allergies.
Rx: Sucking sugar-free hard candy will help keep you from licking your lips if this is the cause. Apply petroleum jelly or a lip conditioner before bed. Be sure to choose lipsticks with moisturizing formulations and sun protection. Avoid dry, indoor air or frigid, outdoor air during the winter months.
Age spots (liver spots)
Definition: small splotches of pigment on the face, hands, décolleté and upper back.
Cause: Heredity and excessive sun exposure.
Rx: Treatment options include over-the-counter or prescription skin-bleaching products, Retin-A, chemical peels and laser correction. To avoid further damage, using sunscreen is recommended.
Definition:Blackheads, whiteheads and cysts.
Cause: Fluctuating hormones, improper diet, stress or improper cleansing.
Rx: Wash your face using a benzoyl peroxide cleanser and follow with a acne spot treatment lotion. For whiteheads and cysts, try using a Retinol moisturizer to slowly exfoliate the outer layers of the skin. Otherwise, a visit to the dermatologist is recommended.
Definition:A bluish, grayish or brownish cast under the eyes.
Causes: Extra-thin under-eye skin, hyperpigmentation (the presence of larger than usual amounts of melanin), fatigue, bad circulation, a cold or other ailment.
Rx: After using an eye cream and before applying foundation, dot the under-eye area with a color-correcting underbase. Pale yellow hides bluish or grayish circles and light blue or mauve covers up brownish bags.
If you’re looking for a bigger change, see a dermatologist. Some prescription bleaching creams, vitamin A derivatives or in-office chemical peels can result in noticeable improvements.