Editor’s Pick: How to cover acne and imperfections!

I wish I could be one those Gisele-types. You know the kind of girls that run out the door with perfectly tousled curls and just a smidge of tinted moisturizer and a lick of lip gloss. Alas, like so many others out there, I have dark circles to conceal, acne blemishes and scars to camouflage and a sunkissed complexion to fake!

In another post, I’ll talk about the products and treatments I’ve found to be super helpful in tackling the blemishes and imperfections themselves. But in this post, I wanted to share the makeup & method I use everyday that I think is great at covering even the worst of breakouts and making me feel pretty again

After moisturizing (and letting it sink in for 10 minutes) I always start with a small amount of primer. It makes such a huge difference in how your makeup goes on – and makes it last all day long. I currently use the Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer, which I think is particularly good if you tend get an oily t-zone like I do during the day. I’m also a fan of the lightweight water-based Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer Light & the velvety Smashbox Photo Finish Color Correcting Foundation Primerin green, which aims to minimize the appearance of redness.

When it comes to covering up the skin on my face, I believe there shouldn’t just be a thick blanket of foundation. However bad you think your skin is, there are always areas that aren’t actually affected by acne (and I like to think as a beacon of hope that one day all the skin on my face will be that ‘normal’!) For me, that is my forehead, the sides of my face and usually my upper cheeks.

I found this amazing how-to video by top celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge in which she shows how to cover up acne in the most effective and yet beautiful way. She has a similar philosophy in which she says camouflage just the affected areas of your skin – and emphasize glowing, natural looking skin for the rest of your face.

She too advocates starting out with a sheer foundation all over just to even out the skin tone and building up the areas with blemishes either with concealer or foundation. I’ve tried a few foundations but I always end up coming back to the Estee Lauder Double Wear Light (right now I blend shades 2.0 & 3.0 together for a warm neutral) I like that it’s specifically oil-free, non-acnegenic, non-comodogenic, controls oil, resists smudging & never melts off. I can apply it in the morning and make it through a workday, workout and dinner and never have to touch it up or reapply concealer.

I warm the foundation on the back of my hand and then use a foundation brush to apply the sheer layer of foundation all over. I bought the No.7 Foundation Brush while I was in the UK (which Lisa actually uses in her video too). I then use a damp beautyblender sponge with a gentle patting motion to apply more coverage where I need it and just to blend the edges. If you haven’t tried the beautyblenderyet, I highly recommend it. It is absolutely amazing and I would never do my base without now.Obsessed.

how to cover acne makeup

I then apply concealer under my eyes and just to the more obvious blemishes (with the sponge & foundation, sometimes you don’t even need to add concealer) I like the Chanel Correcteur Perfectionand the Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-In-Place Flawless Wear Concealer. After waiting a few minutes for the foundation to settle, final step is to set everything with some loose translucent powder. I use the velour puff to gently press a tiny bit of powder over the blemishes just to set it in place (otherwise a brush might dislodge the concealer) and then dust a little bit over the rest of my face using a large fluffy powder brush. I currently use the Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder. Try to dust in a gentle downwards motion rather than buff in circles as you may get more powder trapped on the ‘peach fuzz’ hairs on your face and make your base looked more caked on.

So that’s the base done and now you start to do all the fun stuff like beautifying your eyes or contouring your cheekbones. More importantly, you can stop worrying about whether everyone is staring at your bad skin (they’re not) and get back to enjoying your day!

I’d love to hear about your favorite products so please leave your comments below!

Pilates, Body Fat Stem Cells & Coconut Oil? Make Your Chest Look Its Best!

Pilates

As this year’s awards season rolls around, chances are every actress will have her own personal Golden Globes on display. Fortunately, Hollywood’s top dermatologists and facialists are on hand to dish out lasers, treatments and peels to ensure they rock a delectable decolletage in front of the cameras. Here are their top tips to keeping cleavage wrinkles (eek!) at bay and skin toned and firm (Hint: ditch the push-up bra!)

The neck and cleavage area always has been a sure tell of aging. After all, no one is immune to genetics and gravity’s pull. And no amount of makeup or exercise can affect neck cords and deep cleavage lines (though sunblock, of course, can help prevent fine lines and pigmentation damage). But in 2015, there are a multitude of ways to improve the skin from the chin down — called the decolletage — ranging from less invasive topicals and microdermabrasion to chemical peels, lasers and even surgery.

Beverly Hills facialist Ronit Falevitch likes exfoliation for the decolletage: “When you remove dead skin, you get new healthy skin.” To get rid of lines and pigmentation in the area, he advises weekly glycolic peels, microdermabrasion and vitamin C, followed by hydrating honey masks and “light therapy that stimulates collagen.” An alternative is “a mix of hydraquinone and Retin-A, a cocktail I mix up as a topical” (neck-only treatment is $150; face, neck and chest, $500). Olga Lorencin Northrup, owner and top facialist at Kinara Spa on Robertson Boulevard, adds a special secret ingredient to her microdermabrasion machine, an oxygen-sodium bicarbonate serum ($300): “We call this a ‘poreless neck and chest facial.’”

For deeper lines, Falevitch recommends a chemical peel, while Northrup opts to add a 20-minute microcurrent: “It’s a fine electrical current that lifts the muscles underneath, a nonsurgical face-lift” for the decolletage. She says clients “really see a difference” after three treatments ($900).

“Using the stem cells of one’s own body fat as an injectable to plump skin… The fat is extracted by liposuction from the thighs or belly and injected with the serum into cleavage lines, for an almost permanent filler effect.

To combat visible loss of collagen and elastic fiber — i.e., the sags — Beverly Hills dermatologist Peter Kopelson recommends photodynamic therapy, which combines the use of an intense pulsed light (IPL) machine with a substance called Levulan to remove brown spots ($800). “The light energy, when applied in a series, also activates collagen and tightens loose skin,” says Kopelson. Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Lawrence Koplin, another proponent of IPLs, explains that they “injure and make the skin heal itself. For the girl who’s been too long at the beach, the top layer of the neck and chest can be addressed by the IPL.” Plus, there’s no downtime. Procrastinators — or last-minute switchers to low-cut gowns — can undergo the treatment on Golden Globes day (and many do) for a quick tightening effect.

Now, what about those two deep cords in the neck that often start to appear on women around age 45? Kopelson applies Botox every two or three months to relax them ($800 to $1,200, depending on the severity of the cords), a very popular treatment among women and gay men, he notes. But Kopelson adds that there’s a reason why fillers aren’t injected into those valleys caused by cords in the neck and chest area: “You don’t want to cause bumpiness; the neck and chest area have very thin skin.” (Other doctors, such as plastic surgeon Leif Rogers, are not averse to using ultra-fine and thin fillers, such as Belotero, for decolletage wrinkles; $850 per syringe.)

Lasers have varying degrees of intensity, with stronger therapies including the Pearl and the Erbium, Kopelson’s favorites. Beverly Hills dermatologist Harold Lancer is an advocate of laser peels for serious grooves, from fractional Erbium, Venus or Diva lasers (all three are great for peeling and tightening) to an EndyMed 3DEEP laser, which uses little gold pins to create tiny wounds that rev collagen output for healing, ironing out crepey texture and chest lines along the way.

An advanced turkey neck can benefit from the newly FDA-cleared ultrasound technology called Ultherapy ($4,500 for face and neck), which tightens the area around the jawline with more energy than lasers, says Rogers. It treats deeper layers of skin with little visible healing, and can take three months for best results. “It even has a breast-lifting component,” he says.

For deeper neck and chest wrinkles, Koplin believes in using the stem cells of one’s own body fat as an injectable to plump skin ($8,000 to $14,000). “Stem cell nanostem serum improves the skin rather than injuring the skin,” he says. The fat is extracted by liposuction from the thighs or belly and injected with the serum into cleavage lines, for an almost permanent filler effect.

An even more invasive treatment is ThermiTight ($4,500), which delivers radio frequency under the skin with a probe, heating tissue to the point where it increases collagen. “After that, it’s only surgery,” says Rogers, “a little incision under the chin, cut the muscle a little, tie it together, and you have a new neck by platysmaplasty,” or neck lift. It seems that for some pronounced neck bands, only a good old-fashioned lift will do ($6,000 to $8,000).

Yet the laser-, voltage- and needle-averse need not despair. Lifestyle changes, such as cutting out sun exposure, smoking and alcohol, can help (although nothing can prevent lines in the breast area caused simply from sleeping). A low-fi tip from Northrup that anyone can try — and women over 50 should — is massaging in nutritive serums or oils (coconut oil “is fantastic for the chest”).

Lancer also recommends a high-protein, low-carb and no-added-salt diet to improve skin texture, and Pilates to keep the musculature under the skin firm, making it tighter. And please note, ladies, that according to Lancer, push-up bras can cause cleavage lines, and breast implants make them even worse! Lancer adds that, whatever you do, “the skin has to match from the dinner table up” — meaning, if women are having facial treatments, they would be wise to also treat the neck and chest or their skin tones won’t jibe: “It’s a dead giveaway.”

The Secrets to Extending The Sexy Youthful Appearance of Your Neck and Cleavage (side sleepers need to read this!)

Neck

Do you give your body the same level of attention as you do your face? Chance are you’re overlooking two of your most important assets. Literally! “The decolletage is first to show signs of aging,” says celebrity skincare specialist Sonya Dakar. To extend the sexy youthful appearance of your neck and cleavage, follow these essential expert tips.

“Wrinkles are caused by a combination of factors,” says dermatologist Dr. Donna Bilu Martin, M.D: “sun exposure, smoking, genetics, and aging, and those on the chest are no exception.” Luckily, though, today there are many options available to prevent and improve the appearance of chest wrinkles.

SKIP THE SUN

First and foremost, stay out of the sun. “The single most important thing you can do to protect your skin is use sunscreen and limit sun exposure. A broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays should be applied daily, and more often if swimming or sweating.”  Dr. Martin recommends MD Solar Science Tinted Mineral Gel; ($23.95: MdSolarSciences.com).

DEFY GRAVITY

Are you a side sleeper? If you’re catching your 40 winks every night in this position, then you likely already have visible fine lines between your breasts, and maybe even premature sagging. “Gravity pulls breast weight together causing unattractive vertical lines on the chest,” says Bernice Cohen RN, BSN, PHN at AVA MD in Beverly Hills. “Sleeping with a comfortable bra or supportive camisole can help.” If you get uncomfortable wearing a bra at night, try a specially designed breast pillow – yes, really!  The Intimia Breast Pillow ($59.95; Intimia.com) and Kush Support ($24.99; KushSupport.com) fit snuggly between the breasts to cushion and prevent sagging. These may be particular helpful for women with natural breasts C-cup and above, and those pregnant or with breast implants.

PRESS REWIND

Once the skin is protected, it’s time to start reversing existing damage.  Apply products that contain active ingredients to plump, smooth and firm skin around the bust and décolletage. Dr. Martin recommends NIA 24 Sun Damage Repair for Décolletage and Hands, which contains antioxidants such as white tea, anti-inflammatory Pro-niacin, and lightening agents such as licorice, mulberry, and bearberry.  Applied nightly, it can help improve the appearance of sun spots and chest wrinkles.

NIP+FAB Bust Fix has been flying off the shelves in the U.K, earning the nickname, ‘boob job in a tube’. It works by stimulating the naturally-occurring fat cells in the breasts, thus adding fullness to the cleavage area. $15.95; Target.com

RETINOL, SET, GO!

Vitamin A creams – known as retinoids – are proven to increase cell turnover, repair damaged skin, and help fine lines and wrinkles.  Dr. Martin suggests starting out with a small amount nightly, as they can be irritating at first.  Retinoids can also increase sun sensitivity – just another reason why wearing sunscreen is important.  Also, pregnant or nursing women should not use retinoids. Try SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex: $52.25; Dermstore.com.

LIGHT SAVER

“If you’ve got sun damage as well as lines and wrinkles,  fractionated non-ablative lasers are a great option,” says Cohen. The Fraxel Dual Re:Store creates fresh, new skin minimizing lines, wrinkles and skin discoloration. “Downtime is a week to 10 days but the results are phenomenal. Skin resurfacing on the décolletage lasts a few years.”

TURN UP THE VOLUME

Finally, fillers can be used in the chest to fill lines and areas of volume loss. Cohen likes to use Sculptra or Restylane in the décolletage area as treatment has little to no downtime and both look natural. Fillers injected in this area lasts about 6 months. However, “this is an off-label (non-FDA approved) use of the filler,” advises Dr. Martin.