You might be thinking, “It’s been a little quiet lately.” Well, it turns out that it is a lot easier to have a Heidea than to turn it into a written blog post. But isn’t that the way with most things? How often do we see a new product and say, wow, why didn’t I think of that beauty idea? But viewing just one or two episodes of ‘Shark Tank’ will tell you there’s a lot more that has to happen between having an idea and making it happen. So, in honor of smart beauty ideas (that probably didn’t come easily!), this Heideas post is about three deceptively simple fixes to available products or treatments that we now take for granted but, in retrospect, have been life-changing for cosmetic dermatology patients (and their cosmetic dermatologist!).
- Removing makeup in one easy sweep. Although it can be made complex, it can be as simple as pulling a pre-moistened makeup-remover towelette out of a resealable package. These soft, non-oily disposable cloths are great for daily use when you are just too tired to think about leaning over a sink. They’re ideal for after yoga or tennis to remove sweat and oil, after work to freshen up before date night, and for travel (not a liquid!). Available with textures ranging from soft to exfoliating, they can be used to clean your face whether or not you wear makeup. Dr. Heidi Tip? Transfer a few from the ‘makeup remover’ package to a clear ziplock and put them in the kids’ backpacks, or husband’s gym bag.
- Moving up the technical spectrum, the Clarisonic brush revolutionized cleansing. Talk about a crowd pleaser! Prior to the Clarisonic, I’d have endless conversations trying to convince patients not to scrub. Patients would show me steel wool-like exfoliating puffs and sharp fruit-pit scrub cleansers. A good ground rule is that if it is uncomfortable on your hand, you shouldn’t use it on your face. Et voilà – the Clarisonic, a beauty idea most of us can’t get enough of. An electric toothbrush on steroids, the Clarisonic is a rechargeable ‘sonic’ spinning, vibrating brush with a choice of speeds and replaceable brush tips that can be used with any cleanser. My mom and her mom were Dove girls and my dad, a derm, so I expected my skin to feel soft, not tight or irritated after washing. But for many people, skin isn’t clean unless it ‘feels’ clean, tight and dry, or was scrubbed raw. Fortunately, two minutes with an appropriate cleanser and a Clarisonic, or one of the many other similar devices now available, and the skin is clean but still healthy, not stripped. Dr. Heidi Tip: Cleaning devices like the Clarisonic can also help patients kick the ‘acne picking’ habit and can reduce ingrown hairs in the beard.
- The In-Office ‘Eraser’ (That Reduced Downtime and Risk)
Of course, not everything can be done at home – we’ve always had some ‘big gun’ procedures to improve the worst sun damage and scars and now the name Fraxel has become as commonplace as Kleenex among the aesthetically knowledgeable. It’s been around for a decade and has become the standard of care for refreshing skin color and texture. But what changes make the fractionated Fraxel so different from prior laser ‘peels’? Past devices removed entire layers of skin and left a significant wound, raising the risk of infection, scarring and pigmentation change with extended periods of healing and downtime. Fractionating the laser resurfacing treatment means that only a fraction of the skin is treated while the untreated areas maintain appendages, hair and oil glands, and pigment cells. These important, untreated zones provide the cells and factors that speed healing across the treated ones, reducing downtime. The result? Great skin, happy patients, and less risk – a beauty idea that upped the ante. At Dr. Heidi’s: In my office, the Fraxel Dual, is a perennial favorite among anyone who wants to erase the evidence of teen or 20-something tanning, especially on the face, neck, chest, arms and hands. Complete a series to get the results you want, then maintain and improve further with either an annual Fraxel or monthly or quarterly Clear & Brilliant treatments, what we think of as the ‘baby Fraxel’. Or split the difference and do our new ‘rapid recovery Fraxel’ (RRF) – by adjusting the settings, downtime can be reduced to 48 hours and the effects of one regular Fraxel achieved with two RRF.
Cleansing wipes. The Clarisonic. Fractionated lasers. What’s the next big beauty idea that will become the new standard? We might not even know that it’s something we need. But then, like this Heideas, it will be here and then we will have trouble remembering a time when it wasn’t!