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Fixes to Put Your Best Face Forward
According to the information on the back of my shampoo bottle, 15 percent of women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day. I find that hard to believe. As far as I know, none of my friends have ever done that, and I think I would have run across at least one person sending themselves flowers by now, if almost one out of every seven women did. This is not to say that I can't understand why some women would want to send themselves flowers. Valentine's Day can magnify insecurities about being loved and feeling attractive. Fortunately, there are a few quick fixes that can still make a difference in the appearance of your skin in time for the big day.
A few simple steps can improve the appearance of your skin even at the last minute. Avoid overdrying with soap or toners. Instead, use a gentle, hydrating cleanser, such as Cerave. Or exfoliate with a mildly abrasive scrub like Dove Gentle Exfoliating Daily Facial Cleanser. Always use a moisturizer, especially if you are going to apply makeup. Hydrated skin looks and feels smoother, and make-up is easy to apply evenly and smoothly on moisturized skin. If you plan ahead and give yourself some time, there's even more you can do.
Botox is well known as a quick, reliable way to smooth lines on the forehead and around the eyes. But did you know that it can improve your smile? Botox can be used to lift the corners of the mouth that turn down with age, turning an unintentional frown into a content, happy expression. It can also be used to make an asymmetric smile even, to smooth "smoker's" lines around the mouth, and to prevent the upper lip from riding up and showing too much gum line with smiling. Botox can also lift the tip of the nose and smooth a wrinkled chin. Botox in the lower face must be administered with care by a physician who is familiar with these applications to avoid interfering with normal expressions, but in the right hands it is a home run.
Light-based procedures continue to evolve, and many provide significant improvement with little down time. If you're still committed to waxing or plucking to remove dark facial hair, consider laser hair removal. Multiple treatments are required for the best results, but hair is usually noticeably thinner after each session. Nd:YAG lasers, such as the LaserGenesis, can improve facial redness and skin texture. Many patients see improvement after one or two treatments, although optimal results are seen after a series of 4 to 6 treatments. Broad-spectrum light sources, such as the Titan, can help to firm sagging skin under the chin and on the neck. Improvement continues for three to six months after treatment, but may be noticeable soon after the first treatment. You can leave the doctor's office and go right back to work, or play, immediately after any of these procedures.
Even when you can put your best face forward, Valentine's Day can be challenging, and this, unfortunately, can be reflected in your skin. Conditions such as acne, rosacea, psoriasis and eczema are known to become worse in some people when they are under stress. If you suffer from one of these problems, make sure to be consistent with your treatment regimen to minimize the effects of stress around any important social event. Don't worry too much, however, about tasting chocolates from your valentine. Conventional wisdom holds that chocolate is bad for your skin. In fact, recent studies of diet and its effects on the skin have implicated consistently increased dairy intake with acne flare-ups. One study showed that restricting high glycemic foods (such as those containing sugar and white flour) is associated with improving acne. There is no evidence, however, that occasional consumption of sweets makes acne consistently worse. And for most of us, indulging in a bit of chocolate will just make Valentine's Day a little sweeter.
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