Category Archives: Skin Care

Reader Rave: Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub

goldfaden md doctor's scrub

All this week I’ll be featuring the beauty products that you, my gorgeous readers, covet and just can’t live without.

First up: Goldfaden MD Doctor’s Scrub, $75

“I’m loving the Doctor’s Scrub. It feels like I’ve just had a facial every time I use it! If my skin weren’t so so sensitive, I would use it everyday. I also love the gritty texture (the ruby crystal) it actually feels like it’s working as I’m scrubbing. Also, you can’t beat a natural product! Perfection!” — Colleen

Do you have a beauty product to rave about? Please share!

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The Beauty Problem Solver of This Week is …

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque 3The Product: Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque, $35

Why: Although I’ve been lucky enough to escape the polar vortex by living in SoCal, I did get a nice taste of it while visiting New York City last month. And, that’s where I was first introduced to this masque. Perfect timing, indeed. Not only was my skin dehydrated from a long flight, but it was immediately blasted by frigid air. A recipe for serious dryness.

After a day of trekking around the city in the cold, I slathered a very generous amount of the gel-textured mask on my skin after cleansing. (I love overdoing it when it comes to masks, it just seems more luxurious to apply a nice thick layer.) This hydrating mask contains fountain plant, which is used in Chinese medicine to clear heat and irritability in the body (if only this mask could do that, too!), but in this formula, it increases your skin’s ability to attract moisture from the environment and hold on to it.

After applying the mask, I let it set for 10 minutes, as the directions suggest, and then I wiped away most of it (but not all!) before bed. The remaining product is meant to be left on your skin while you sleep. Though I did stick to my pillowcase a bit — I should have removed a bit more before hitting the hay — my skin felt like butter the next morning. It was the tall glass of water my thirsty skin needed. Now that I’m back in Calif. I use it when my skin feels a little extra dry from all of the acne-fighting topicals I’ve been applying lately. Works wonders for that tight, dry feeling.

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“Do You Know of Any Good Exfoliating Toners?”

peter thomas roth gentle complexion correction padsA colleague recently asked: “Do you know of any good exfoliating toners? I bought a huge bottle of Mario Badescu a while ago, which works, but i’d love to pick your brain.” — Jackie

My answer: I’m a long-time fan of Mario Badescu and have actually used their toners on and off for years. But, I’ve actually been using a Peter Thomas Roth product that’s pretty darn good. The product: Peter Thomas Roth Complexion Correction Pads, $36 (for 60 pads). The pads contain a 10 percent glycolic acid and .5 percent salicylic acid concoction that’s blended with soothing ingredients like arginine, allantoin, aloe vera, chamomile and green tea. So, this isn’t one of those does-nothing toners. With this combo of ingredients, you’ll keep skin pimple and blackhead-free without totally overdrying or irritating your skin. I’ve been using these for about a month now, and the breakouts I mentioned previously, have been more under control than usual. And, the pad form makes the extra step of using a toner so much more convenient. I say, give ‘em a try and let me know what you think.

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How to Deal With Neckne (Neck Acne)

turtleneckI have (what I’m calling) neckne. Yup, neck acne. It started when I was pregnant and I thought it was exclusive to that crazy hormonal period. But, after taking a brief hiatus after my son was born, it returned. It’s beyond frustrating because the neck traditionally isn’t a place where people break out. That’s due to the fact that we have less oil glands in our neck skin. After chatting with dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, M.D. though, I’ve learned why neckne happens and how to treat it.

Graf explained that neckne isn’t all that uncommon in adults. She too has battled with it. “I wore a turtleneck for a year,” she said. What’s different about neck acne though is that it’s the plugging of the hair follicles as opposed to the clogging of pores. But, let’s get into what causes it and how to deal with it:


There are two types of acne that commonly appear on the neck area. The first might look like smaller, minor little breakouts – similar to ones you might find on your back. This type is often caused by sweat or clothing not made of cotton (like scarves, turtlenecks). The second type is of the large, painful, cystic variety. These breakouts are caused by hormonal shifts that might take place during adolescence, pregnancy, post-pregnancy when you have estrogen withdrawals or perimenopause, according to Graf. “Stress also makes it worse,” she adds. I, unfortunately, have the second type.


If you have the first type of breakouts — the minor, smaller pimples, those can be eradicated pretty easily. You’ll basically treat the area in the same way you’d treat backne (back acne). Stick to wearing cotton fabrics (which are breathable and less likely to plug hair follicles) and treat the skin on your neck with a salicylic acid-based product. Even one of the sprays designed for use on the back would work, according to Graf. Try Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray, $8.99. You’ll also want to be sure to regularly exfoliate the area by using a gentle, chemical exfoliant like glycolic acid. Try Glytone Exfoliating Lotion, $40. And, always gently cleanse and moisturize the area morning and night. “The skin on your neck is dryer to begin with, so you need to add moisture,” urges Graf.

If you have the larger, cystic acne like I do, it’s going to take a few more dollars and doctor visits to keep them under control, says Graf. “There’s not a lot you can do at home,” she says. Your first move should be to see a dermatologist. They will be able to prescribe a topical or oral antibiotic to help prevent additional breakouts. She has even prescribed Spironolactone (aka Aldactone), which is actually a potassium-sparing diuretic that is commonly used in combination with other drugs to treat high blood pressure. It’s taken orally and she’s seen really good results from it. (Side note: I took this years ago and it seriously worked. I had forgotten about that until Graf and I talked.) A derm can also inject any current cysts with cortisone in order to help them heal faster.

In addition to the prescriptions, you’ll want to take vitamin D3 (or at least make sure you have a good supply of D3 in your body), which controls the anti-microbial (bacteria-fighting) system in the skin. And, if you do take an oral antibiotic, pair that with a probiotic, says Graf. She also totally believes that a good diet can improve skin, so stick to a high fiber, low sugar/dairy diet. Things like soda, refined foods and sugar can cause breakouts, so those should be avoided. And, drink lots of water (Graf recommends water with lemon) and take time to de-stress with meditation, yoga or whatever helps you chill out a bit.

Have different skin gripe? Tell me about it in the comments and I’ll chat with a derm to get some expert advice for you.

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