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Skincare – SPF, Aging & Botox

So we’re back with part 2 of our skincare series! Last week, Dr. Lillian Khan, renowned dermatologist and brand expert for Ponds Arabia, talked us through all our favourite skincare topics; skincare Myths, skin-types, exfoliation, daily care and eyecream.

This week she kindly answers all our questions about SPF, botox, facial fillers and pigmentation, woohoo!

1.       Can the use of regular skincare really improve the texture of skin and slow down the aging process?

Yes it can, thanks to extensive scientific research and many cosmeceutical companies and their labs that are constantly looking for that modern source of the fountain of youth. Scientists were able to develop products with ingredients that can help maintain youthful skin and reverse signs of aging.
But! you have to keep in mind that even with years of research, all what they have developed are products that can slow down the aging skin but not totally stop it. There is also a lot of focus on prevention methods rather than reversing methods.

2.       How important is SPF and what factor should we wear?

Its very important!  SPF (sun protection factor) is basically a measurement of how much protection the sunscreen provides from getting sunburn from UVB light. A sunscreen with SPF 15 provides 93% block from UVB, SPF 30 blocks 97%, SPF 50 blocks 98%, SPF 100 blocks 99% of damaging UVB light. A more practical explanation would be if a person normally would turn red and start burning from sun exposure in 10 min then with a sunscreen of SPF 15 it would take him 150 min to turn red. SPF is only a measurement of UVB (sunburn causing rays) protection not of UVA (aging causing rays).

That is why you have to read the labelling of the sunscreen very carefully and get the one with a broad spectrum sunscreen that covers for both. It should be an SPF of at least 30. Apply it on all sun exposed areas of your body thoroughly 15-30 min before going out in the sun. Sunscreens lose their effectiveness after around 2 hours so you need to reapply it frequently. As for the exact amount I will quote the American Academy of Dermatology AAD: “One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.”

3.       What is pigmentation and how do we prevent it/reduce its appearance?

Pigmentation is the change in skin tone in the form of spots, patches, or over all skin colour. It is either an increase in skin melanin (which gives us our skin colour) or skin colour cells (melanocytes).
There are many causes of pigmentation, some examples are self induced (picking on pimples), enviromental (sun exposure), genetic (freckles), and hormonal factors.

In some cases you cant really prevent it from happening because of the genetic factor or the hormonal influence such as in pregnancy or taking contraceptive pills which can cause in predisposed individuals a condition called melasma. But most common pigmentation conditions become worse and darker with sun exposure, so its best to avoid it.
If you have any kind of pigmentation its always advisable to seek the evaluation of a dermatologist because there are different causes and different treatments that is best to discuss it with them.
As for over the counter creams you can start brightening creams but don’t rush the results give it a trial of at least a month or so. Most creams are slow in showing effects. If no improvement occurs then consult with your dermatologist to discuss other additive options of treatments including in clinic office treatments such as peels or lasers.

4.       How important are regular facials?

I like regular professional facials every two weeks. It is a good base unless you are on a specific treatment plan which requires more frequent visits that is placed for you by a well qualified beautician or your dermatologist addressing a certain condition that you have. Some people like to do professional treatments on a weekly basis, I find that to be a bit too harsh on the skin unless its a very basic facial. Home facials on the other hand can be done weekly if its done with a gentle cleansing exfoliation (e.g. Pond’s age miracle regenerating facial foam), toner, mask, and finishing off with a good serum (our Pond’s age miracle concentrated resurfacing serum is a good choice) according to your skin type.

5.       What do you think about botox? Why should we use it? Should it be used preventatively? Why are so many people unsure about Botox? Is it dangerous?

Botox is one of my favourite clinic treatments that I offer my patients very often! Its gives me  as a cosmetic dermatologist satisfying results for me and my patients once the effect starts showing. It can give them a mini face lift, a more youthful look, smooths out their wrinkles, opens up the eyes by lifting the mild sagging over the eye lids, and other. I do suggest it also to my patients as a preventive measure because by using it regularly it can help in delaying wrinkles from appearing.
Some of my patients are unsure about Botox because of the fear of losing the full expressions of their face, that can happen but most dermatologist’ these days have been using a method in which patients don’t have to lose all expressions. The other issue of concern with some which is also a favourable side effect to others is the quizzical eye effect or over lifting of the eye brow and that can easily be adjusted in the touch up sessions.

There is a long list of  warnings and possible side effects placed on the Botox label which I will refer you to the official Botox website in this link:
My over all personal and work experience with this product has been good when being used for cosmetic reasons. But my advice is to discuss it thoroughly with your dermatologist if you are considering it, and get a full consultation before you take your final decision.

6.       What are facial peels and fillers? What age should we start using them?

Facial peels are three types; superficial, medium, and deep. Most of the peels that are done these days are the superficial ones especially with the emergence of rejuvenation techniques using lasers. There are several types of chemical peels in terms of composition every doctor has his or her preference on what they like to use. My favourites are AHA, and TCA peels. Its used for many reasons to treat acne, pigmentation, wrinkles, and for rejuvenation. It can be started when problems start to appear that would be the best time.
Fillers are products that are used either for correction of what we lost or the enhancement of what we have. There are many products with many formulations. The most popular formulation is hyaluronic acid. Others are poly-L-lactic acid and calcium hydroxyapatite.
Any age above 18 can use it as needed to correct a problem such as wrinkles, fat loss in the face due to aging or disease,  a more youthful look to the hands, enhance the lips, correct defects on the nose and many other off label indications.

7.       What advice would you give to someone in their mid twenties who is just starting to look after their skin?

Its never too early to start looking after your skin or too late for that matter. Start the habit of getting into a good facial care routine that is appropriate for your skin type. Treat any dermatologic skin condition early and learn with the help of your dermatologist how to be able to control it with the proper medications. Never pick on your pimples because you can cause scarring. And stop tanning because of the sun damage that you cause in this early age you will pay for it later on and it will become more difficult to treat then. Start using gentle formulations of antiaging creams in your mid twenties it will help you in your thirties.


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  • Reply FitznBitz

    Could you recommend a “gentle formulations of antiaging cream”? I’m 24 and use a antiwrinkle night cream. I figure I might as well have an anti wrinkle night cream than just a regular one? Does it make a big difference what ones?

    August 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm
    • Reply Sunnysky_16

      Same question from me 😉 I also need a recommendation for an antiaging cream, I’m 25 and I have combination skin + frequently pimples on my chin.

      August 29, 2011 at 3:30 pm
  • Reply Skinnipeach

    fantastic post! so informative. defo directing friends to this post!

    August 30, 2011 at 8:05 pm
    • Reply Anonymous

      Thanks Peachy! I love skincare posts myself, getting a bit obsessed as I get older..! Haha

      August 31, 2011 at 4:03 pm

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