Mandelic Acid: An Essential and Gentle Skincare Ingredient

People use various over-the-counter skin care products to treat and combat dark spots, acne, wrinkles, dullness, and other skin care problems. While OTC products can include many ingredients, manufacturers use several core ingredients, including mandelic acid.

While experts agree that mandelic acid is beneficial, there is not much research supporting the specific advantages of this particular alpha hydroxy acid. Still, researchers tend to agree that the compound is gentle on the skin and is promising in treating skin texture, acne, hyperpigmentation, and premature aging.

Understanding the Origins of Mandelic Acid

Derived from almonds, specifically bitter almonds, mandelic acid is an AHA used primarily in treating acne. It differentiates itself from other AHAs by being gentle on the skin, limiting occurrences of irritation. As a gentler AHA, mandelic acid is an ideal ingredient for people with sensitive skin.

The acid is so gentle on the skin because it is among the most extensive AHA compounds. The size means mandelic acid has a slower penetration rate, resulting in less irritation.

Benefits of Mandelic Acid

Like other AHAs, mandelic acid is good for accelerated cellular turnover. The compound effectively exfoliates the skin, removing dead skin cells. By removing dead cells and exfoliating the skin, the compound helps speed up the body's natural turnover processes, meaning users end up with younger skin cells and a more youthful appearance.

Additionally, the helpful acid promotes collagen production. Collagen is the primary protein found in connective tissue and skin. The increase in collagen can help balance complexion and appearance; however, evidence of such changes is anecdotal.

Potential Uses of Mandelic Acid

While there are many potential uses for mandelic acid, it is primarily used for acne treatment. The AHA helps regulate sebum production, reduce inflammation, and unclog pores, all contributing factors to breakouts. In one study, researchers found that a chemical peel containing 45% mandelic acid was as effective as one using 30% salicylic acid. The study also found that mandelic acid had fewer side effects and was more effective in treating inflammatory acne.

For some, mandelic acid may also play a role in improving skin texture, reducing hyperpigmentation, and lessening fine lines and wrinkles. However, more conclusive research is needed in these particular areas.

Mandelic Acid Side Effects

Despite being gentle on the skin, mandelic acid can affect people in different ways. Many consumers using products containing mandelic acid will have no problems, but others might experience adverse side effects, such as:

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Redness

Sometimes, the appearance of symptoms, especially after several days or weeks of use, results from overuse. Most side effects subside when you limit your use of the product. However, you should stop using the product and talk to your dermatologist if problems persist.

Mandelic acid is a promising and popular skincare ingredient. It is among the largest AHAs molecularly, slowing penetration and making it gentler on the skin. It is known to be effective in treating inflammatory acne and shows promise in treating hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and aging. While used in several OTC skincare treatments, consumers should consult their dermatologists before starting any new therapy.

This Is Why Your Moisturizer Stopped Working

Most women and men in the U.S. (75%) have problems with dry skin during winter. When you're trying so hard to protect your skin, why can it sometimes seem like moisturizer isn’t doing anything?

4 Signs Your Moisturizer Isn’t Working

Hydration is an essential part of skincare. These four red flags mean your moisturizer isn't working correctly.

Rough or Dry Skin

Healthy, hydrated skin should be three S's: soft, smooth and supple. If your hands feel closer to sandpaper than silk, it’s a sign your skin needs TLC urgently! Rough, dry or cracked skin has been stripped of its natural protective oils, and your moisturizing routine isn’t helping.

Peeling

Sunburns aren’t the only reason your skin can peel. Peeling means the epidermis — the top layer of skin — has been damaged. Dryness or irritation from harsh ingredients can be responsible. Hand sanitizer can cause both.

Bumps or Acne Breakouts

For some people, moisturizers cause a different problem: clogged pores. Hydrating your skin is still important, but it’s better to choose a lighter product with “oil-free” on the label. Honey, lactic acid and glycerin are great ingredients for avoiding breakouts.

Burning Sensation or Rashes

Moisturizers should never make your skin burn, tingle or itch. The effect should be completely the opposite — a calming, comfortable sensation you look forward to. If you notice irritation or red spots after applying a beauty product, it usually means you have a mild allergy to one of the ingredients. People with sensitive skin should opt for moisturizers that are non-allergenic and fragrance-free.

6 Reasons Moisturizer Doesn’t Always Work

Why aren’t your skincare products delivering the results they promise? These six reasons may be the cause:

  • Washing needs to go hand-in-hand with moisturizing: Every time you wash, you need to moisturize. Period.
  • Skipping nutrients doesn’t do your skin any favors: Eating too much fast food can leave your body low on essential vitamins for healthy skin.
  • Overdoing heavy creams can make skin dependent on moisturizer: Giving your skin too much of a good thing can make it stop producing natural oils. Don’t apply heavy creams every day.
  • Underestimating cold or dry weather hurts your skin: Applying moisturizer once a day in cold weather is almost the same as doing nothing. Your skin needs more.
  • Aging lowers your body’s natural hydration: As you age, you need to increase your moisturizing routine. Increase the quantity of skin-healthy vitamins you get as well.
  • Not protecting yourself from UV rays is worse than you think: UV rays can damage your skin even if you don’t get burnt. Put on sunscreen when you’re spending time outdoors.

6 Tips for Supple Skin All Year Long

Boost skin hydration with these six simple steps:

  • Feed your skin: Make sure you're getting sufficient vitamin E, protein and omega-3s in your diet.
  • Be a skin whisperer: Stick with moisturizers and ingredients that work for you, no matter what's trendy.
  • Cleanse and hydrate: Remove dirt, oil and makeup from the skin, and then apply moisturizer.
  • Apply when wet: Using skin lotion when you get out of the shower or while your hands are still wet locks in extra moisture.
  • Massage: Help moisture and nourishing ingredients penetrate better with a gentle massage.
  • Exfoliate more: Get rid of dry, dead skin cells that block lotions from absorbing correctly. Moisturize after exfoliating.

Great skincare ingredients don't have to be expensive. Glycerine, petrolatum and shea butter are among the best for hydration, and they're within reach of most people.

5 Easy Tricks To Fight Under-Eye Bags

Do you ever get startled when you look at your reflection in the mornings? Dark and heavy bags under your eyes can make you look more like a zombie than a living, breathing person. Fortunately, there are things you can do to fight under-eye circles and puffiness. Here are five easy tricks that work well for me. Hopefully, they’ll help you get your youthful under-eyes back as well!

1. Reduce Your Salt Intake

Sometimes, water retention can lead to inflammation in various parts of the body—including under the eyes. If you notice your under-eye bags seem to get more noticeable after eating high-salt meals, take steps to reduce your salt intake. I know, salt makes everything taste better and it’s hard to cut back on it. However, there are a lot of great substitutes for salt, including salt-free seasoning blends that pack in lots of flavor with the use of herbs and spices.

2. Try a Neti Pot

This tip may sound weird (what does your nose have to do with your eyes, right?) but it might be your secret solution to getting rid of your under-eye bags. A neti pot is a pretty simple (and ancient) remedy you can use to clear out your sinuses. Sometimes puffiness under the eyes can be a direct result of sinus inflammation from seasonal allergies, infections or colds.

Neti pots use saline water to rinse out your sinuses. Just follow the instructions that come with your pot to get started. Be careful not to use tap water, since this increases your risk of contaminating your sinuses with a dangerous amoeba. Instead, always use distilled water with your neti pot.

3. Supplement Your Diet With Collagen

Collagen is the protein that’s responsible for keeping our skin elastic and stretchy. It’s the most abundant protein found in the human body, but we start producing less of it as we age. Decreased collagen is one of the main causes of under-eye bags.

You can get more collagen in your diet or boost your body’s production of collagen by eating foods like chicken bone broth, leafy greens and wild-caught salmon. If you already eat these foods and still struggle with under-eye bags, it may be time to add a collagen supplement to your diet.

4. Try a Cold Compress

When you need to reduce under-eye puffiness right away, one of the best things to do is apply a cold compress to your eyes. I personally like to use cucumber slices because they contain antioxidants that can help fight the effects of aging. They also feel very soothing to the entire eye area. It may seem weird to put food on your face, but give it a try. You won’t regret it!

5. Remove Your Makeup at Night

My final tip for fighting under-eye bags is to remove makeup at night—without exceptions. It’s easy to fall straight into bed after a night of partying or a busy day running errands, but leaving all that stuff on your face can irritate your eyes. It only takes a few minutes to remove your makeup, so get into the habit today.

These tricks are all pretty simple, but they can become powerful tools for combatting under-eye puffiness. Give them a try today. Your eyes will thank you.

Lip Flip Versus Lip Filler: Which Option Is Right for You

Full, luscious lips are a trademark of beauty all over the globe. Because of the beauty standard, many people will try anything to increase and perfect the look of their lips, including the application of excessive makeup or even plastic surgery.

One of the most popular methods for achieving a fuller lip is with Botox treatments, traditionally lip filler. However, there is a growing trend that focuses on flipping the top lip upwards, providing a similar result. The option that best suits you might vary from that which suits your friends.

Understanding Lip Flip

The lip flip procedure uses a neuromodulator injected above the upper lip into the orbicularis oris muscle — the muscle that allows you to roll your lips under or make a kissy face. The injection of the Botox or Dysport will cause the muscle to relax, which results in the upward roll of the lip, exposing the vermillion and creating the appearance of more volume.

Despite the relative newness of the term "lip flip," the procedure is not new. Therefore, any hesitation you might have regarding a lack of data is unfounded. Doctors have been successfully performing lip flips for years. While there are some warnings floating around on social media, the professional consensus is when working with a qualified injector, there are minimal risks.

Understanding Lip Filler

While a lip flip requires the injection of a neuromodulator into the area above the lip, a lip filler uses a dermal filler injected directly into the lip area to increase volume. A lip filler is a gel-like substance, and according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, there are various brands that all achieve unique aesthetics. For instance, polylactic acid-based products are excellent for adding volume to thin lips, while hyaluronic acid-based fillers help plump and redefine borders.

Fillers will also change the firmness of your lips. The thicker the filler is, the firmer the lips. Also, the longer the filler lasts will also have an effect on the texture of the lips, with longer-lasting options resulting in firmer lips.

Additionally, lip fillers tend to be more versatile than neuromodulators like Botox. Fillers allow surgeons to accentuate specific parts of the lip, such as the Cupid's bow. It is also possible to fill parts of the lip that help accentuate dimples. Finally, fillers can be used on both the top and bottom lips to add volume.

Choosing Between the Two

The lip flip is a more subtle option, and it is most beneficial for patients with an upper lip that tends to tuck under when smiling. Lip filler is the brute force option, and you will notice the difference.

While choosing is difficult, it is essential to note that it is unnecessary. You can use both options concurrently. However, if you are on the fence about changing your look, consider starting with the lip flip to see how you like the subtle change. Also, remember that neither option is permanent, so no harm, no foul.

Do you think you will try a lip flip or use lip filler? Comment below.

My Top At-Home Beauty Devices

I firmly believe you don’t have to undergo expensive surgical procedures or visit the spa every week to have incredible skin. My skin used to look pretty wrinkly, dehydrated and dull, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. Through trial and error, I discovered which at-home beauty devices work well and which aren’t worth my time and money.

To help you avoid making the same mistakes I did, I decided to compile a list of my favorite at-home beauty devices. They actually work and can transform the appearance of your skin. You’re welcome.

Jade Facial Rollers

OK, I have to admit that I used to think jade facial rollers were just a scam. After all, what could rolling an elongated jade stone across your face possibly do for your skin? But after reading articles about all the benefits jade rolling can provide, I decided to at least give it a try before I dismissed it as a waste of money. I was pleasantly surprised by what I experienced.

Though jade rolling didn’t give me miraculous results right away, after doing it for a few weeks I started to notice a difference in the appearance of my skin. It turns out that jade rolling helps to stimulate lymphatic drainage, reduce puffiness and promote blood circulation.

All of these benefits helped make my skin look firmer and less puffy. Plus, the cold roller feels amazing on your face first thing in the morning.  Since a jade roller is such an inexpensive beauty tool and provides such great benefits, it makes it onto my list of top at-home beauty devices.

Facial Steamers

If you’ve never used a facial steamer before, you’re in for a treat. These fairly simple beauty tools aren’t complicated to use. You just fill the steamer with purified or distilled water, turn it on, and put your face over it. Easy-peasy. Here’s what regular facial steaming sessions can do for your skin.

  • Promote blood circulation
  • Hydrate the skin
  • Open up your pores and soften blackheads so they’re easier to remove
  • Promotes production of elastin and collagen
  • Helps your body absorb skincare products more effectively
  • Relieves sinus congestion
  • Releases sebum that’s trapped in your skin’s pores
  • Soothes and relaxes the skin

There are different techniques you can try to get the most out of your facial steamer. Try putting a big fluffy towel over your head while you’re steaming to trap the steam around your face. For best results, keep your steaming sessions to between five and 10 minutes.

Microneedling Tools

Microneedling is incredible for stimulating the production of elastin and collagen. A microneedling tool (also called a derma roller) is a handheld tool with a roller that’s covered with tiny needles. Though that may sound scary, it’s not very uncomfortable (depending on the size of needles you use). For at-home use, you should stick to derma rollers with needles that are no larger than 0.5mm. This will help ensure you don’t injure yourself or increase your risk of infection.

To use a derma roller, carefully follow the instructions that come with your roller. With appropriate use, you can expect to see improvements in your skin. Some people report improvements in the following:

  • Acne scarring
  • Stretch marks
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Thinning hair
  • Enlarged pores

If you feel like you could use improvements in these areas, consider investing in a derma roller. Just make sure you carefully sanitize your derma roller before and after each use. This will minimize the chances of infections.

There are so many great at-home beauty devices out there, but these are just a few of my favorites. I recommend them to anyone who is serious about improving the health and appearance of their skin at home.

7 Ways To Care for Your Natural Gray Hair

Most people will reach a point in their lives when their hair begins to turn gray. While some will view this transition as tragic, attempting to hide their gray hairs through plucking or dying, others will embrace the gray, often having a bolder style for it. 

While you might want to embrace your natural gray hair, you must remember that gray hair is different from the rest of your hair. Gray hair tends to be more brittle and requires more care and attention. Therefore, to help you on your gray hair journey, you can follow seven tips for gray hair maintenance.

1. Experiment With Style

Because gray hair is a different texture than your youthful hair, you might find that your previous hairstyles do not work. It might take you a while to come up with a hairstyle you like with your fresh gray color. If you want some assistance, talk to your local hairstylist, they should be able to offer some suggestions.

2. Ensure Proper Nutrition

Gray hair is typically accompanied by hair loss and thinning. Because of the new challenges you are facing with your hair, it is more important than ever to ensure you are getting proper nutrition. Talk to your doctor to figure out what nutrients you need and whether a multivitamin would help.

3. Use the Right Products

Gray hair can dehydrate quickly. Therefore, it is crucial to use a moisturizer daily. Additionally, you want to use gentler products that are specifically designed for gray hair. 

Additionally, gray hair is usually quite porous, meaning it is sensitive to contaminants. Without the correct products and hair care routine, your hair can start to yellow. To prevent yellowing or dull hair, consider using a special shampoo for a shinier finish.

4. Protect Against Sun Exposure

Gray hair burns easily, which is why you often see mature ladies wearing hats or headcovers. When hair burns, it can turn yellow. Unfortunately, yellow caused by burning can take months to correct. Many hair care experts suggest putting your hair into a braid so it can be entirely covered by a hat.

5. Expect Texture Changes

Gray hair will not have the texture you were used to with your youthful hair. In most cases, gray hair is dry, brittle, and often frizzy. It can also become coarse. However, despite the bad news, gray hair can be quite beautiful, with a unique sheen that is unattainable by other means. As long as you care for your hair, it will remain healthy, shiny, and gorgeous.

6. Avoid Heat

While you might have used hot blowers and irons to style your hair in the past, you will need to account for your gray hair's different texture and condition. Gray hair burns easily, so you will want to avoid extreme heat.  

When using styling tools, you should control the temperature so it doesn't exceed 350°.  Additionally, avoid spending too much time in one area. It is also beneficial to use a heat protection spray first.

7. Use Satin Pillowcases

While many women do not consider a satin pillowcase when they go gray, it is an excellent option for protecting the integrity of the hair. The satin creates less friction, protecting the hair from breakage.

Gray hair is nothing to fret over. It is a natural part of aging, and with the right tools and routine, gray hair can be beautiful.

How do you feel about gray hair? Comment below.

The 5 Benefits of Blotting Sheets: Some Obvious, Some Not

As one of the first forays into makeup and skincare as a teenager, blotting papers were a staple for the oily skin years of high school and beyond. The thin, square tissues were and are highly absorbent, capable of clearing away access oils and leaving your face with a matte-like complexion. 

While many women left blotting papers behind with their high school days, now is the time to reconsider them. Over the past several years, blotting sheets or papers have become more sophisticated, with producers formulating the sheets with more ingredients, providing greater benefits to your skin. 

One of the many reasons women gave up on blotting papers was their effect on makeup, often rubbing it away or dulling and swearing it. The modern changes include formulas that still sop up excess oil, but now your makeup is left alone. Now, these helpful sheets have oil-fighting ingredients, like charcoal, willow bark, rice, flaxseed, and cotton, powder-containing papers to freshen up your appearance, and sustainable materials.  

While the assumption is that only those with oily skin can benefit from blotting papers, that is not the case. These magical little sheets offer several advantages.

1. Removing Excess Oils

Blotting papers maintain their essential function: to eliminate excess oil from the skin’s surface. While there are some cautionary tales about using blotting sheets too frequently, the newer iterations allow for frequent use without many of the problems associated with earlier versions, like dry skin or excess oil production. 

Newer papers help to moisturize and nourish the skin while removing unwanted oil and shine. When used properly, the blotters will restore a healthy matte finish to your complexion.

2. Improving Lipstick Longevity

Blotting paper can also help your lipstick last longer. The powder containing papers absorb surface oil but leave your lipstick. For the most impact, apply your lipstick, blot with the paper, and apply a second coat. Because the paper absorbs the emollients and oils from the lipstick, it will remove the sheen and leave the pigment, providing long-term coverage.

3. Sealing or Setting Your Makeup

One of the most significant problems with using blotter sheets in the past involved makeup. Many times, women using the papers would notice the papers taking away the makeup or damaging the look. However, with powder-coated sheets and other ingredients, modern blotters can not only remove oil; they can set your makeup, taking away the shine and providing a more sophisticated matte finish.

4. Replacing Dry Shampoo

While not necessarily a typical use for blotting papers, they can act as a stand-in for your dry shampoo if you forget it on your way to the gym. After your workout, take a couple of papers and rub them on your scalp and hair to remove excess oils and sweat. The papers should help freshen up your locks.

5. Cleaning Your Phone

Granted, blotting sheets are designed for use on the skin, but the chemical makeup and ingredients of the sheets also make them ideal for cleaning your cellphone. People spend a lot of time on their phones, meaning that oil can transfer from the skin to the screen. Also, the oil will attract dirt and dust to the phone surface that transfers back to your face when in use. Using blotters on your phone cleans the screen, removing the risk of transference. 

Blotting sheets are among the most helpful skincare and cosmetic car tools. While you do not need to use them all the time, they are handy to have in your purse, bag, or pocket.

What do you think of blotters? Comment below.