Category Archives: skin care

Darling, Don’t Be So Sensitive!

Sensitive skin can be a real pill to manage.  First, you have to decide whether your skin is simply sensitive or sensitized.   If your skin is rosy and stings with most products and has been that way since you remember slathering on your first fancy clinique moisturizer back in the day, you likely have sensitive skin.  If you are a skin care junky, have had more chemical peels than Joan Rivers, and just recently started noticing more redness and break outs then you are most likely suffering from sensitized skin.  I speak with great wisdom as I myself frequently destroy the acid mantle that protects my fair skin in effort to remain wrinkle free with various peels and creams.  If you feel the wrath of angry skin post procedure or general sensitivity there are ways to tame the beast, but it does take precious time- something those of us that enjoy peeling our faces off monthly tend to lack.  Here is the plan:

1.  Don’t panic.  Your skin will naturally repair its barrier function.    It could take more than a full skin cycle, so you could be sensitive for 30-45 days or more.

2.  Avoid all known sensitizers!-  Absolutely, positively, no matter how tempted you may be at the Sephora counter- DO NOT buy any new creams to fix the breakouts, dry skin, rash or redness.  Your skin needs a break.  No chemical peels, tretinoin, glycolic acid, lactic acid or microdermabrasion.

3.  Read your stinkin’ labels!  If your cleanser contains Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or Sodium Laureth Sulfate, chunk it.  It is a well-known skin bully and is no doubt adding to your plight.  Despite the fact that it is the main ingredient in laundry detergent, is labeled as a cancer causing agent in California, and is used explicitly because it is loose and cheap, SLS is an all too common ingredient. Read the labels even if the cleanser is labeled for sensitive skin.  FYI- I was surprised to discover that my favorite sensitive skin cleanser by Obagi lists SLS as the 4th ingredient- bummer!   Even Cetaphil, the gold standard gentle cleanser recommended by dermatologists, is loaded with this foul beast.  It is a travesty!

4.  Mind your diet.  Common foods that damage your precious skin and cause the dreaded inflammatory response: Sugar, red meat, gluten &  alcohol (I almost left that last one out because it upsets me so much;).

5.  Look for soothing ingredients in your makeup and moisturizer such as  bisabolol, aloe, chamomile, green tea, & red clay

6.  Do not use a wash cloth (usually contains detergent leftover from laundry), the beloved Clarisonic, a loofah or any other skin cleansing tool.  Use your delicate little paws to cleanse.

7.  See your esthetician for monthly facials to keep breakouts at bay and let her know that you battle sensitivity.

Derma Darling Recommended Products for Fragile Vixens (contains zero SLS):

Oxygenetix Foundations and Moisturizer (Sincerely the best makeup and moisturizer that I have ever come across for lighter skin tones that are sensitive and acne prone) It is hard to get your grubby paws on, but if you email me- I have connections;)

REN Canendula and Arctic Blackcurrant Seed Cleansing Milk

Jan Mirini C-Estam Cleansing Gel

Jan Mirini BioClean – Non Glycolic Acid Cleanser

Sexy Green Drink for Glowing Skin!

Raw green smoothies are all the rage in the beauty industry.  Daily guzzling of rich antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals will no doubt nourish your skin from the inside out.  Raw foodies have long since discovered that consuming live raw greens and fruits give them a truly radiant glow.  To get your own glow try, this shake daily instead of your usual breakfast.  I am using my trusty food processor and blending it for about 5 minutes.  It’s delish!  I recently found a book by Kimberly Snider called the Beauty Detox Solution.  It is full of great tips, recipes and tricks on how to increase your consumption of raw leafy greens to get you skinny and glowing!

Derma Darling’s Sexy Green Smoothie

1 bunch of  baby kale

1 small bunch of spinach

1 apple

1 mango

3 stalks of celery

1 pear

1 cup of water

Are You Using the Best Cleanser For Your Skin?

First a quick A & P lesson: What does your skin do for you?  A cool .05 inches thick, it protects your body from alien invaders, expels toxins and locks in water so that you don’t shrivel up like a prune.  The layer that we are most obsessed with in the beauty world is the saucy little horny layer known as the stratum corneum.  It is called the horny layer because the cells are cornified  and rough in order to serve it’s protective purpose.  This is the layer that is continuously being sloughed off.  The cells are held together with sticky fatty glue making your most glamorous layer of skin waterproof.  Overlying the stratum corneum is the acid mantle. This is a very thin layer of fatty  (oil), sweat, and proteins with an acidic ph of 4- 6.5.

How Cleansers Work:  Your cleanser must be formulated with the pH of the acid mantle in mind….A pH higher than 7 is alkaline and very drying to skin, while a pH of 5-7 will be more moisturizing.  If your cleanser leaves your skin feeling tight and dry after washing your face- it is stripping the acid mantle, and you need a new cleanser. Check your labels- look for ingredients that are known to effectively and safely clean the skin>> isohexadecane, DEA, and sodium lauryl sulfate. Never use soap to wash your face (most soaps have a pH of  9 or higher!)  Cleansers are not all created equally and must be formulated for your skin type.

Choosing Your Cleanser: 

Oily and acne prone skin- clearly has more fats, bacteria, and grime to clear away.  Your face wash should contain salicylic acid and/or alpha hydroxy acids such as lactic acid or glycolic acid. Recommendations: AHA/BHA Cleansing Gel by Renée Rouleau, Facial Wash Oily/Problem by PCAdD Budget Beauty OptionAlba Pineapple Skin Enzyme Facial Cleanser.

Dry and sensitive skin- needs a cleanser with properties that moisturize.  Look for creamy formulas containing emollients and/or lactic acid.  Recommendations: Skinceuticals Gentle Cleanser, Boscia Soothing Cleansing Cream, Obagi’s Rosaclear Sensitive Skin Cleanser.  dD Budget Beauty OptionCetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser.

Combination Skin– A glycolic acid cleanser should work great for you.  Recommendations-Vivite Facial Cleanser, Peter Thomas Roth Glycolic Acid 3% Facial Wash . dD Budget Beauty Option: Smart Essentials Pore Purifying Facial Wash by Aveeno

What is in a Smashing Skin Care Routine?

Skin care.  Sounds easy enough.  Slather on lotions, creams, serums and sunscreens in hopes of slowing down the heavy hand of age, and hope for the best.  Hope for the best? Hope is not exactly who I want in the ring as I fight off father time.  I want heavy hitters and appropriate ingredients that will help me maintain my dewy fresh skin and make my foes a little jealous!  Enter the routine:

Cleanse-  Your cleanser needs to be chosen based on your skin quality: Are you Oily, Dry, Sensitive, or combination.  Dry skin tends to do well with creamy cleansers.  Oily and problem skin does well with low PH washes and lactic acid.  Sensitive skin does best with very mild cleansers with calming ingredients.

Exfoliate- Only the finest of exfoliants should come in contact with your precious face.  Steer clear of coarse grainy exfoliators such as St. Ives.  These particles nick the skin and cause irritation and redness. Choose exfoliants that are gentle and only use them up to 3 times weekly.  Also build in retinoids at night and/ or glycolic acid as daily chemical exfoliators (to be used after toning).  The best approach is to allow your dermatologist, nurse, or esthetician assist you in choosing exfoliation appropriate to your skin type and quality.

Tone- this step restores the PH balance of the skin and  prepares your skin for the absorption of other ingredients.

Treat- Remember “clear before creamy!” The order of application is very important! Serums, gels, creamy serums, lotions, then creams for best penetration!

Moisturize- acts as a barrier.  petroleum is not the most popular kid in class, but this heavy-duty moisturizer is a must for dry skin.  Water based formulas that are non-comedegenic are best for oily skin.  Sensitive skin formulas should contain chamomile, bisabolol, or green tea and clay.

Protect- look for a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 and Zinc or Titanium based, and don’t skimp!  Sunscreen is the single most important product in your arsenal.  Every single day, you must put on sunscreen no matter if you plan to be outside or not. My clients hide from me if they have a tan or sun burn because I threaten bodily harm:)


My Skin:  Oily, sensitive, acne prone.

My Routine:  I am a skin care junkie, but no matter what I rotate in or out of my routine this is what I end up going back to.

Day: Obagi- Rosaclear Gentle Cleanser, Obagi- Toner, PCA Rejuvenation Serum, Obai C-serum 10% (only around my eyes) followed by IS Youth Eye Serum, Obagi Rosaclear Calming Hydrator, PCA Perfecting Proctection SPF 30.

Night: Obagi- Rosaclear Gentle Cleanser, Obagi- Toner, tretinoin 0.25%, Obagi Rosaclear Calming Hydrator

Weekly: PCA gentle exfoliant 3 times weekly

Monthly: Facial with extractions

Yearly: VI Peel 2-3 times a year

Day 2 of my 3rd VI Peel of the year. ~

Bags you don’t want on your christmas list! Squash those under eye youth bandits.

“I just want to get rid of these under eye circles. Nothing I have tried works!”….I have heard this cry of desperation no less than 3 times a day for the last 6 years. I like to call these unwanted under eye bags the little pillows of debauchery, because they always show up when you have had more than a glass of wine, a shake of salt, or less than a solid nights sleep. There are different types of under eye circles and they have their own catalysts. Which of these do you think are your plague?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               1. Bags- These youth stealers may be bulging fat pads or simply fluid sacs caused by age, genetics, salt intake, sleeplessness, allergies or a combination. 
2. Dark circles caused by pigmentation- Usually hereditary, these can also be caused or worsened by sun exposure and mishandling the delicate skin.

3. Dark circles caused by blood vessels- This can be hereditary as well as lifestyle. Other likely culprits can be thin delicate skin, smoking,  loss of collagen, allergies, and vasodilators ( alcohol, Viagra, grapefruit, Minoxidil)

Once you have determined your bag style you can start taking steps to reduce them!  The main lifestyle factors that you will wear on your face are: smoking, sun exposure, poor diet (high sodium, prepackaged, super processed foods), dehydration, lack of appropriate skin care, and lack of sleep.  You must take control and stop these big fat no no’s or you will be throwing your money away on treatments.  I promise.

Cosmetic treatments that work like a charm:

  • Medium Depth Chemical Peels-  I swear by the VI peel for my under eye rejuvenation.  It removes lines and lightens pigmentation
  • Pixel Fractionated Resurfacing- Builds collagen and removes lines like a dream.
  • Dermal fillers-  Fills in the dark trough under the eye.  This is an incredible treatment and is very popular at the studio where I work.  My doctor uses the softest of the fillers and totally revamps tired eyes in a quick 15 minute treatment.

Derma Darling Recommended Products:

Obagi’s C-serum 5% 

Obagi’s Elastiderm Eye Treatment

Skinceuticals AOX Eye Gel

PCA EyeXcellence

I am also a huge advocate of make up artistry just like our favorite celebrities.  By following the above recommendations and combining stellar camouflaging techniques, you can be bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and maintain your ladylike image by hiding any sign of your indiscretions;)  Try this under eye concealing Kim Kardashian tutorial by stellar makeup artist Huda Heidi Kattan.


Follow my blog with Bloglovin

huda beauty

By Huda Heidi Kattan

I’m one of those people, when you gain a pound, it shows all over my face, literally! My cheeks get huge, my eyes puff up, it’s not a happy story. When I was pregnant, most people had no idea I was pregnant from my neck up, even though I was HUGE, I contoured my face so much, that it looked really slender!

View original post

Glycolic Acid for celebrity perfect skin….ahem minus the photoshop wizard.

Glycolic acid has the very desirable talent of “softening” fine lines (that is esthetician and nurse speak for:  Don’t even think it’s going to eradicate ALL of those wrinkles).  Sun damage and the faux mustache known as “melasma” is also nipped in the bud.  This is done over a series of treatments, and  I typically will recommend anywhere from 6-8 peels, spaced around 3-4 weeks apart with 40-60% glycolic acid.   Chemical peeling of any type dissolves the desmosomes (sticky glue) that hold the skin cells together.  These peels also strip lipids that make up the acid mantel that protects us from bacterial invasions and dry skin, so you must replace what you take away.  Following a peel,  a rich anti-inflammatory moisturizer should be part of your recovery with a healthy fat dollop of sunscreen.  Stay off the actives that you have bought and use religiously because you are a very well-educated DermaDarling follower for 7-10 days  (vitamin c, AHAs, retinol, and hydroquinone) .  The peels range in price from $120- 250 each depending on your city. I would highly recommend getting a package of 6 to save some cash, since you know you are going to have to have more than one.   Glycolic acid should be a considered addition to your bag of tricks for smooth gorgeous skin.  Celebrities rumored to be fans of Glycolic acid: Cher, Janice Dickenson, Naomi Campbell.

You are not a candidate for a glycolic peel if:

You have sensitive skin

You want instant results

You want no social “downtime”

You want nothing less than a blooming miracle

You are standing in front of the counter at the nail salon asking about their LivingSocial glycolic acid discount



I will be teaching an advanced chemical peel course at the Elaine Sterling Institute the first week in November.  For more information on how you can advance your esthetic career please call ESI at 1-877-233-5246

Salicylic acid kicks acne in the teeth, but what about wrinkles?

Even Megan Fox battles the skin gods. Salicylic acid peels should be in her arsenal.

Dubbed by cosmetic chemists on the well toured Chemists Corner blog as ” The most versatile [topical compound] for cosmetic formulators”, this feisty little acid is a gold standard for acne control with anti aging benefits.  Salicylic Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid   (BHA) has been proven to stand up against Alpha Hydroxy Acids (glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids) when it comes to skin cell turnover and improving skin tone and texture.  How does it work and who will it work for?  BHA is oil soluble and penetrates that slick layer covering oily skin in order to get deep into the pores for exfoliation and to speed up skin cell turnover. For comparison, AHAs such as glycolic acid are water-soluble and better suited for dry, weathered, sun damaged skin that has been thickened with the elements and genetics.  So, yes!, Salicylic Acid (BHA) exfoliates to not only reduce acne but over time helps to reverse photo damage and smooth pesky wrinkles as well.

Great salicylic Acid products and chemical peels to clear your skin and soften those lines:

PCA Clarifying Mask and the PCA Pumpkin Peel

Obagi Clenziderm 2% salicylic Acid treatment

Obagi Blue Radiance Peel

V.I. Peel

Derma Doctor Aint Misbehavin’ Serum

Gemini’s Hot Little Beauty Horoscope

Your childlike fascination with the world around you has you pondering where your life is headed and what the meaning of it all is, you must remember that you have options!  You are full of life and vitality right now as you take on the world like it’s a piece of cake!  Put more emphasis on networking this month as more and more opportunities will fall in your lap, especially since your witty charm makes you the center of attention.   Since you are feeling so fabulous and unstoppable, consider adding a little flair to your wardrobe!  Something feminine yet powerful and hell, why not be a little quirky…If you’ve got it, you’ve got it!  Try a cute high fashion version of the bowtie with an ultra femme skirt on your next after work drink date.  Since you are on top of the world right now, you may not have time in your busy schedule for down time for skin maintenance such as with a chemical peel or laser treatment.  Put that on hold till fall and look into Obagi’s C-RX system for gals on the go that can’t deal with flaking but want a refreshed and rejuvenated appearance.   Also, your mate could be needy this month since you are jet setting the social scene.  Take a minute to let them know that you care.  Enjoy this hot month Gemini!

Finally, The Anti-aging Laser Treatment for Skin of Color

You are right to be wary of a laser beam pointed at that delicate dark skin of yours.  The increased risk of scarring and keloids are extremely high in light brown to dark brown skin.  Melanocyte reactivity and fibroblast reactivity demand respect when undergoing rejuvenation procedures.  Take heart, that fibroblast reactivity makes you a great candidate for skin tightening with infrared laser technology because you have the ability to build more collagen quicker than your paler counterparts.  In fact, dark skin responds better to this treatment than any 0ther skin type!  Finally, an anti-aging laser treatment specifically for dark skin types! 

How does it work?

We slowly heat the skin to cause inflammation to the dermis while leaving the epidermis unscathed with a series of treatments.  3- 6 months after your treatments, new collagen formation has caused that lovely little lift in the neck, jaw, smile lines, and around the eyes.

Does it hurt?

Not at all.  Clients describe a sensation similar to a hot stone massage.

Is there any downtime?

Absolutely not.  This is truly a lunch time procedure. – providing you have a 2 hour lunch to account for the 45 minute procedure and the time it takes to reapply makeup and eat a turkey sandwich on whole wheat while braving Atlanta’s lunch hour traffic crunch.

~  Laser treatments on skin of color  whether you are Hispanic, Asian, Indian or African American carry serious risks of pigmentation changes and keloid scar formations.  Please ensure that your medical esthetics professional has loads of experience and has been specifically trained in safely treating darker skin types IV-VI.