Stop the on-again, off-again relationship with your products

You ditched a product because….

1. It left your face red and irritated. Some ingredients, like retinol, inflame skin on purpose (to shed damaged outer cells or kick-start production of skin-plumping collagen), and it can take four to eight weeks to build up a tolerance, says Jeanette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist in NYC. Stop using it until skin returns to normal, then “reintegrate it into your routine, using only a pea-size drop every other night followed by a gentle moisturizer,” says Dr. Graf.

2. You didn’t see results. “On average, you won’t see a visible skin change for about four weeks,” says Amy Wechsler, M.D., an NYC dermatologist. If, after that, you still see zilch, schedule a quick trip to your dermatologist’s office (or see a trusted aesthetician) to be sure it’s right for you.

3. You didn’t like its smell or texture. Playing with the product in-store (via a communal tester or requesting a single-use sample) is your best bet. Other ways you can curate:’s Skin Care IQ (an online consultation that helps you zero in on new faves by calling out ingredients, types, textures, and fragrance-free options) and the OG product-reviewing website

4. You found something newer and cooler. Indulge your impulse-purchase habit with samples. A monthly subscription service (like Birchbox or Glossybox) lets you test-drive products and spring for a full-size version of something you love. Also helpful:, which includes three free samples with your order.


If you just hate it, these retailers offer the best return policies- even for opened products. Just stash your receipts.

1. CVS and Walmart: full refund, no questions asked.

2. Sephora: full refund within 60 days; store credit up to 90 days.

3. Macy’s: full refund for unopened or barely used products.

4. Target: exchange on a case-by-case basis.

5. Nordstrom and Walgreens: refund or exchange on a case-by-case basis.

6. Ulta: full refund within 60 days; store credit thereafter.

This was originally published as “Playing the Skin-Care Field?” in the August 2015 issue of Cosmopolitan

This beautiful young lady had inflamed and non-inflamed acne that took several weeks longer than normal to finally clear.

Once acne breakouts are under control, it takes 3-6 months to help fade the marks with OTC products and light epidermal peels. She has been diligent about her home care routine and regular treatments.  Because she did not want down-time, she chose to continue having treatments at your best skin rather than go to a dermatologist and get laser.

It was worth the wait.   Now that her skin is smooth and breakout free, she spends a fraction of the time applying makeup!

Before treatment. March 17, 2014

Before treatment. March 17, 2014

After 14 treatments. October 10, 2014

After 14 treatments. October 10, 2014


After 22 treatments, July 10, 2015

IMG_4067 - Version 2

Before treatment. March 17, 2014

IMG_4677 - Version 2

After 14 treatments. October 10, 2014


After 22 treatments, July 10, 2015

This client had primary inflamed acne. A combination of salicylic acid + benzoyl peroxide was used to achieve this result within 6 months.  (Hydroquinone was added after 7 weeks)

Before Treatment

January 29 – Before Treatment


May 14 – After 5 treatments


June 6 – After 6 treatments

Without a doubt, these are the basics!

Thank you Skin Laundry for sharing this helpful info in your January blog…

Wash Every Night or Keep Make Up Wipes Handy

Unfortunately, forgetting to wash your face before you go to bed is easy–we’ve all been there and done it. Whether out of laziness or inebriation, we’ve all had that moment where we’ve woken up in last night’s make up. But, it’s a horrible habit that needs to break because it’s arguably the most counter productive thing you can do on your quest for glowing skin. The best way to ensure you go to bed with a clean face is to stock up your dresser or night stand with make up removing face wipes. That way you don’t have to leave the comfort of your own bed to cleanse your face!  Select wipes that are chemical free, as some may contain irritating ingredients.

Use More Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a lot more versatile than we think! It isn’t just great for keeping our immune systems strong, but it’s also one of the best natural anti-aging remedies. When applied on the skin, vitamin C flushes the layers with antioxidants that protect the skin from free radicals, or the dreaded particles that cause us to age. Vitamin C can do a lot of other things for the skin, too–aside from preventing the signs of age. It can also reduce the appearance of brown spots, support collagen growth, reduce inflammation and increase the effectiveness of sunscreen and boost your skin’s defense against UV exposure. Needless to say, using an all natural topical vitamin C product is, without a doubt, something to fit into your skin care routine, as it will shield your skin from all kinds of environmental factors, like pollution and sun damage!  My favorite Vitamin C Serum is Rhonda Allison C Peptide Complex $44

Get Sleep

One of the best things you can do for your skin is get six to eight hours of sleep a night. A good night of shuteye has a number of healthy and rejuvenating benefits, but when it comes to your skin, sleep can make all the difference. While we’re snoozing the night away, the body works hard to replenish our cells, including the ones in our skin, allowing it to look renewed in the morning. When we lack of sleep our skin tends to sag, bags or circles form under the eyes, and our overall complexion can appear lusterless. Stress is also a repercussion of not getting enough sleep, which also effects the skin’s appearance because it can make you look older– not good. So make sure you catch some Z’s for your skin health!

Don’t Wear Expired Make Up

Like food or flowers, make-up goes bad. And, unfortunately, make-up and make-up brushes are a hotbed for bacteria. As you already know the importance of cleaning your make-up brushes, another important habit to rid yourself from is keeping and wearing expired make-up because it infests the skin with all kinds of harmful bacteria. Wearing old makeup can lead to acne breakouts and potential eye infections, like conjunctivitis (eww!). So as a rule of thumb, don’t save your fancy make up for a special occasion–just use it! The faster you use your make up, the fresher it will look on your skin. Otherwise it will become harmful to your beautiful complexion.

Here are some recommended make-up shelf life guidelines:

  • Mascara: two to three months.
  • Powder based products (i.e. eye shadow, blush): two to three years.
  • Lipsticks: two years, but you can increase its longevity if you refrigerate it.
  • Eye and Lip Liners: up to three years.
  • Liquid foundations: up to one year

Avoid Sugar

Sugar is a widespread addiction among Americans who consume an average of 150 lbs per year!  Unfortunately the effects of this over-consumption can cause glycation in the skin which occurs when sugar binds to the collagen and elastin to create oxidative stress that accelerates skin aging.

The internal inflammation that sugar causes can contribute to redness, wrinkles and dryness.  I understand that removing sugar from you diet can be difficult because I have done it myself; however you will be rewarded with improved overall health and well-being.

The word has been out for a while–sugar (and dairy) are bad for your skin.

Don’t just take my word for it, do your research!

Here are three helpful articles to get you started:

1. Huffington Post

2. Dr. Hyman

3. NPR








Over-The-Counter Topical Acne Products May Cause Hypersensitivity Reactions – check out these recommendations…

The FDA warned in June 2014 that the use of certain acne products containing the active ingredients benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid can cause rare but serious and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions or severe irritation. The over-the-counter (OTC) topical (applied directly to the skin) acne products of concern are marketed under brand names such as Proactiv, Neutrogena, MaxClarity, Oxy, Ambi, Aveeno, Clean & Clear, and as store brands. They are available as gels, lotions, face washes, solutions, cleansing pads, toners, face scrubs, and other products.

Based on the information reported to FDA, it cannot be determined if the serious hypersensitivity reactions were triggered by the acne products’ active ingredients, benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, the inactive ingredients, or by a combination of both. FDA is continuing to monitor and evaluate this safety issue.

Risk: Hypersensitivity reactions such as throat tightness; difficulty breathing; feeling faint; or swelling of the eyes, face, lips, or tongue may occur with use. Consumers should also stop using the product if they develop hives or itching. The hypersensitivity reactions may occur within minutes to a day or longer after product use.

These serious hypersensitivity reactions differ from the local skin irritation that may occur at the product application site, such as redness, burning, dryness, itching, peeling, or slight swelling, and that are already included in the Drug Facts labels.


  • Before using an OTC topical acne drug product for the first time, apply a small amount to one or two small affected areas for 3 days to make sure you don’t develop any hypersensitivity symptoms. If no discomfort occurs, follow the directions on the Drug Facts label.
  • Work with a licensed Esthetician to help you select the best products for your skin type and monitor your dosage and your progress as you go through treatment.
  • Instead of salicylic acid, I use mandelic acid which comes from bitter almonds. Select products from manufacturers that use organic or high quality raw materials in their formulations without excessive chemicals and pore-clogging fillers. BiON Therapeutics offers an effective line of acne products without benzoyl peroxide.

This client came to me with mostly inflamed breakouts.  His home care routine included Mandelic Acid and Benzoyl Peroxide.  He received a total of 6 treatments spaced two weeks apart to obtain this result two years ago.  Since then he returns for maintenance treatments every 8-12 weeks to stay clear.


This client had already received 2 treatments when this photo was taken


After 4 more treatments


This client had already received 2 treatments when this photo was taken


After 4 more treatments
















Before Treatment

Before treatment – hormonal acne


After five treatments using Rhonda Allison and Vivant products After Ten TreatmentsAfter Ten Treatments