Follow Dr. Neal Schultz's Advice For Better Skin

Dr-Neil-SchultzSince visiting Dr. Neal Schultz's new Peel Bar last month, I've seen him in office three times.  Seem a little extreme?  Maybe it is, but I'm anal about my skin and apparently, addicted to glycolic peels.  As one of the most intelligent men I know, Dr. Schultz hosts DermTV webisodes where you can get his advice without paying a visit to his NYC office.  Have a question about your skin? You def want to check it out.  Personally, I was battling dark spots from acne.  Gross!  Oh, you too? Here's the advice I got...


Live in NYC?  You can find Dr. Neal Schultz at 1130 Park Ave.

The 411 on Laser Tattoo Removal

Since my post on Identity Regret, I've gotten a lot of questions on tattoo removal in general so I reached out to Dr. Jeremy Brauer to find out more about the process and everything else you need to know about getting a tattoo removed.  The advancements in laser technology amaze me and yes, you really can get rid of a whole tattoo.

According to the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, over 63,000 tattoo removal procedures were done in 2012 alone and since 1 in 5 American's have at least one tattoo, the number will begin to climb.  

How do lasers get rid of permanent ink?

Laser tattoo removal is based on the theory of selective photothermolysis, in which the individual ink particles preferentially absorb the particular wavelength of light that is emitted by the laser.  A photothermal reaction results, meaning the particle heats up and ultimately shatters.  With the newest tattoo removal laser, the PicoSure, pulses of energy are delivered to the ink in a matter of picoseconds, allowing for a second effect, known as a photomechanical, or photoacoustic, effect where the ink particles literally fracture into tiny particles.  The resulting broken down particles (by either method) are then eliminated by the body’s lymphatic system.

How safe is it for your body to absorb the fragments since tattoo ink isn't regulated?

This is a great point - and one few think about before, during or even after getting a tattoo.  We really do not know what is injected into your skin.  The FDA is charged with regulating the ink and pigments, but by their own admission, this has not traditionally been done.  You can go to the same parlor on the same day, ask for the same tattoo in the same colors and could possibly have different particles injected.  The most commonly reported side effects of tattoos are allergic reactions and scarring, but the process of getting the tattoo also carries the risk, however rare, of transmission of infections such as HIV and Hepatitis C.

What colors are the hardest to remove and why?

Until recently, blues and greens were amongst the most difficult colors to remove, requiring as many as 20 treatments to achieve considerable clearance.  Fortunately, those colors have now become amongst the easiest to treat using the novel picosecond 755nm PicoSure laser.  Now I’d say it would be the white and skin tone pigments, because of a phenomenon known as paradoxical darkening, in which those colors turn the tattoo a dark gray instead of improving. 

Is it really possible to fully remove a complete tattoo?  

Yes.  It is important to establish realistic expectations when discussing tattoo removal.  The skin has been altered in the area that the tattoo was placed, and where it will be treated by laser.  When we discuss “complete” clearance,  sometimes a “shadow” may still be evident in the area.   A better way to think of it is that at a quick glance one may not notice a tattoo was once present, but if you look closely enough one may be able to tell that something was previously present.

 What should one expect when going in for treatment?

In general, in our practice, a photograph is taken at the first visit and every visit thereafter before treatment.  The area is then anesthetized with local administration of lidocaine and epinephrine, unless otherwise contraindicated.  From this point forward the session should be pain free.  The laser treatment is then performed, usually in a matter of minutes, followed by application of Aquaphor healing ointment and a bandage.

After a laser session, what should a patient expect from the treated area?

Immediately after the tattoo is treated there will be a whitening effect  that typically fades after about twenty minutes.  The area may be red and swollen, and possibly bruised.  This area may also blister and crust over before healing.  During this time Aquaphor should be applied and covered with a bandage.

How long should they wait between sessions and why?

Session frequency is dependent upon several factors.  Most importantly is the patient, and their experience after a treatment.  The individual’s skin tone as well as how the tattoo looks after each treatment, and whether they experienced any side effects can influence how often we choose to treat.  At a minimum tattoos are typically treated no sooner than four weeks apart, but can be treated as infrequently as every eight weeks or more, depending also on the patient’s schedule.

Are there side effects to tattoo removal?

When discussing the risks of the procedure, it is important that one understands the risk of scarring, increasing and decreasing the pigment both of the skin containing the tattoo as well as the skin immediately adjacent to the area to be treated.

How are different skin tones affected by the laser?  Does it work on everyone?

These lasers have developed to preferentially target pigment, say instead of blood vessels.  This includes pigment from tattoos as well as naturally occurring pigment, and is the reason why a potential side effect is disruption of the normal pigment in the skin.  The greater the contrast between the tattoo and surrounding skin, usually the lower the risk.  Lasers can work on individuals of all skin types, but it is extremely important that the right device as well as parameters are selected and technique performed.

How is PicoSure different from other tattoo removal lasers?

The biggest difference between the PicoSure and other lasers is the pulse duration, or the amount of time the laser is emitted and able to be absorbed by the target – the tattoo particles.  It is though that this particular pulse duration allows for destruction of the ink particles in a novel fashion, by fracturing them into even tinier fragments, making for easier absorption and elimination by the body.  Additionally a shorter pulse duration means that there is less time for the surrounding, uninvolved skin to be damaged by energy that might escape beyond its intended target.

3 Pieces of Skincare Advice from Madonna's Dermatologist, Dr. Brandt

When I landed my first job as the Beauty Assistant at Cosmopolitan, my first breakfast meeting was with Dr. Brandt, Madonna's derm.  Intimidated as all hell, I sat with him at the Four Seasons over berries and coffee and picked his brain about acne.  Last week I had the opportunity to learn about two new skincare lines he's coming out with this fall and wasn't the least bit shy grab him for a quick one-on-one. 1. When it comes to correcting pigmentation, timing is everything 

"Patients are coming to me wanting to get rid of their pigmentation.  Truth is, you can't do anything now if you're going to keep going to the beach. You need to wait until the summers over.  Then we can do lasers and retinol.  Otherwise, it's a waste of money."

2. SPF alone isn't enough protection in the summer

"If you're going to the beach for eight hours and reapplying your SPF, you're still going to get color.  Color is damage.  SPF only protects you about 97 percent.  Plus, the heat alone can give you color. Wear UPF clothing and hats and limit your time outdoors.  I don't want to ruin your life, but you have to really balance it out."

3. You're not applying enough sunscreen

"Most people apply about 1/4 the amount of SPF they need.  You need one teaspoon for your face, one teaspoon for each arm and about two teaspoons each leg.  Make sure to reapply it on your face because you always miss areas."


Tan Skin is Damaged Skin, The Shocking Truth that I Swear By & You Should Too

Tan skin is damaged skin.  There's almost nothing I crave more than a "healthy" bronzed glow.  Especially during this time of year.  The way I used to feel, warm and relaxed inside the tanning bed day after day throughout college... those days are long gone.  Tan skin is damaged skin.  Damaged.  I can't stress it enough and feel many people hear it but don't actually comprehend it.  The "it won't happen to me" mentality is far too common.  But guess what, it will. As a BeautySweetSpot reader, you know how passionate I am about skin cancer awareness.  Last year's "Confessions of A Former Tanorexic" blog post lead to a Good Morning America feature and much more.  This week, as I prepare to vacation in Puerto Rico with my fiance, I'll be getting spray tanned before we go and of course, taking all precautions to practice safe sun while there.

“Skin cancer isn’t formed from just severe burns, continual tanning can play a role as well,” advises Dr. Marina Peredo.  Trust me, and if you don't believe me, trust the dermatologist.  Especially as the weather warms up and you begin to desire some color, remember tanned skin is damaged skin.  If you are at a higher risk for skin cancers, Dr. Peredo recommends her patients receive a full body check every six months to monitor any suspicious spots.

I Replaced All of My Skincare with This and So Far, It's Worth It

When it comes to skincare I'm a snob and why wouldn't I be?  My dermatologist is my BFF and I have the whole market at my fingertips.  Literally.  I'm used to using a combination of highs and lows like expensive anti-agers from SkinCeuticals with drugstore day creams with SPF like CeraVe.  Always up on the latest technology and trying to "age gracefully" I seek out nothing but the best.  Recently, I had an experience that blew my mind with a brand that has a cult following, but one I never thought I'd get into and did something I never thought I'd do. I have my mom to thank for this one.   My real BFF's (not my dermatologist) mom is a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant and advised my mom to start using their new Time Wise Repair Collection.  After about five weeks of using the entire collection, she looked different.  I can't even explain it.  Her skin looked vibrant and even her dry cleaner asked her what she was doing.

Jealous, naturally, I worked with the Mary Kay PR team and asked to try the new collection.  I actually swiped my medicine cabinet and placed all five pieces of the collection in it.  After only two weeks of use my skin feels softer, looks more supple, alive and any little imperfections like pimples or cuts are healing quickly.  What is going on?  I have to give it a fair eight weeks to really see the impact, but am super impressed by what's happening already.

The collection includes the below for $199, which is a great price for all of the skincare.  You need to work with a Mary Kay Beauty Consultant to obtain the products, I recommend Fran Dellegrazie and you can find her here:

Foaming Cleanser Lifting Serum Day Cream Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Night Treatment With Retinol Eye Renewal Cream


The Best Tinted Moisturizer, Hands Down

Last week after I had my Fraxel treatment my derm handed me a goody bag, or maybe it was a 'trust me, you're going to need this bag.'  Besides moisturizers, SPF's and ointments there was a tinted moisturizer from a brand I've never heard of.  How could I have never heard of it?  Really?  She swore to me that it was her favorite and told me to try it.  Since my derm is my new BFF (come on, my skin is in her hands!), I trusted her and gave it a try.  Well, now it's my favorite new tinted moisturizer too. The product – Revision Intellishade SPF 45 Anti-Aging Tinted Moisturizer, $50.  It comes in original and matte versions and just replaced my Laura Mercier one.  Why?  Because it's lighter, has an SPF of 45 and has anti-aging properties.  The intellishade formula acts like a one size fits all t-shirt and adapts to your skin tone.

I typically don't like wearing makeup on my face (and yes, I count tinted moisturizer as face makeup) unless I'm in front of a camera for a gig and need to, but this doesn't count for me.  It's literally moisturizer that adds a bit of a healthy glow and evens out my skin tone.  The one downside?  You can't get it online or in stores!  It's sold through dermatologists offices and medical spas, but you can locate one near you here.  Trust me, it's worth a trip!

Everything You Need to Know About Sunscreen Including the New FDA Regulations

I'm completely obsessed with knowing everything there is to know about my skin, aging, sun damage and SPF.  My derm, Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz, can back me up on that as I'm constantly picking her brain and bugging her for more and more info.  My days basking the sunshine are over and I now understand everything there is to know about protection  – sun protection to ensure I don't age any quicker and never welcome skin cancer.  Of course, I had to share her knowledge with you, because it's beyond interesting and helpful. Incidental sun exposure received during everyday activities accounts for approximately 80% of an individual’s lifetime exposure," states Dr. Ilyse Lefkowicz.  "Therefore, I always recommend applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher on a daily basis in order to help prevent skin cancer and aging."

When shopping for SPF you want to look for three things:

  • Broad-spectrum protection (protects against UVA and UVB rays)
  • Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or greater
  • Water resistance


Broad spectrum is super important (UVA and UVB coverage) because the different types of rays do different types of damage that can both lead to skin cancer.  UVA rays can prematurely age your skin, causing wrinkles and age spots and can pass through window glass.  UVB rays are the primary cause of sunburn and are blocked by window glass.

"Because most people don’t apply sunscreen the way they are supposed to (most apply less than 1/4 of the amount they should, , I always advise my patients to use a higher SPF," Dr. Lefkowicz comments.  The proper dosage is about a shot glass full, or an ounce, to cover your entire body.

To break it down, Lefkowicz explains that SPF not only indicates how much longer protected skin can resist getting red than unprotected skin, but also what percentage of UV rays are screened.  An SPF 15 screens 93% of UV rays whereas an SPF 50 protects against 98% UV rays.  Her thoughts on an SPF 100?  Well, doubtful it can do much better than 50.

Beginning in 2013, you’ll see several changes to sunscreen labels required by the FDA.

  • For a sunscreen to carry the claim that it can prevent skin cancer and sunburn, it must offer both: 1) broad-spectrum coverage 2) an SPF of 15 or higher.
  • The FDA will ban companies from claiming that a sunscreen is “waterproof” or “sweat proof.” This is simply not possible. You’ll now see the term “water resistant.” The label also must state how long the water resistance lasts, either 40 or 80 minutes.


Dear Jeannine... How do you find a dermatologist and self tanner?

I can't even begin to tell you how many questions I receive daily from women and men (yes, men too) about beauty and grooming.  So many that it encouraged me to start a "Dear Jeannine" column.  They come in from all angles: Facebook messages, emails, Twitter DM's and even Linked In.  I'm honored and humbled and love answering them!  If you have a question, the best way to submit is to go through BeautySweetSpot's Facebook Fan page.  From now on I'll be answering them all and occasionally publish Q&A's on the site.  Here's the first one:

Hi Jeannine!

I just read your article about tanning beds and I have to admit, I not only love them, I have one. In my house. Yeah, I know. I might as well smoke a pack of cigarettes a day! BUT, I recently had a moment where I felt the desire to embrace my fairness! I have not gone in a month and am feeling exactly as you described. Ugly, fat and unattractive. I am fighting the urge to hop back in. I wanted to try a couple of things you mentioned - a dermatologist and a self tanner. How did you find a good dermatologist? What self tanner do you recommend?

Thanks in advance for sharing. Your articles are fun reads!


Dear L,

Thanks for writing and for reading my Confessions of A Former Tanning Bed Addict post.  I had a feeling people would be able to relate to my experience.  First of all, I'm so proud of you for not tanning this month.  Not only is it unhealthy, but tanned skin isn't even attractive any longer... it's the glow you seek.  Get rid of that tanning bed asap (think of the new shoes you can purchase by selling it)!  Try St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse for body and Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads for Face (he has body ones too that are equally as awesome).

To find a dermatologist in your area, check the Academy of Dermatology's website.  You can also find free skin cancer screenings in your area there.  Hope this helps!




Dissecting the Perfect Skin Care Dose

How often do you squeeze out your face wash or moisturizer and end up using just a bit too much, or way too much?  I normally just judge by what feels right, but truth is there is a formula and overuse can cause irritating side effects where as underuse can make your products seem like they're not effective.  I'm really impressed by a new Clearasil product that embraces technology to give you the perfect dose of face wash and spoke with Dr. Dendy Engelman to find out just how much of our skincare products we should be using. Clearasil's PerfectaWash distributes the perfect dose of salicylic acid face wash for each use so it takes out the guess work. When it comes to treating acne or using a face wash with salicylic acid in it, over use is the biggest problem.  But when you use too much, you dry out your skin causing it to produce more oil and therefore, more breakouts.  That's why dosage control is imperative.  All you do is run your hand under the dispenser and it acts like an automatic sink by distributing the perfect dose of face wash.  Genius!  You can get it now on Amazon and check out their FB page for other offers.  It launches in drugstores in a few months.

When it comes to the rest of your skin care, here's a break down of how much you should be using:

  • Serum - four drops
  • Eye cream - an orange seed sized amount between both eyes
  • Moisturizer - a grape sized amount depending on how oily your skin is
  • Retin A -  a green pea sized amount and dot it all over your face before rubbing it in
  • Daily SPF for face - a grape sized amount if it's not included in your moisturizer

How To Keep Your Rosacea Under Control

Last week I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jeanine Downie to discuss rosacea and apparently there was a lot I didn't know!  Since the sun is one of the biggest causes of rosacea and the heat can also trigger it, I felt now, as we ease our way into summer, would be a good time to share how you can control it.

Rosacea affects about 16 million Americans regardless of their ethnicity and while the sun is one of the main triggers, stress is right up there as well and although it can't be cured, it can be controlled.

"There are three things people with rosacea need to do to keep it at bay – know their triggers, exercise and start treating it early,"  remarked Dr. Downie.  As soon as you start to notice signs of rosacea (redness, raised red bumps) seek help from your dermatologist.  It gets progressive with age if left untreated.

For many, triggers are the sun, heat, red wine, spicy food, caffeine, certain cosmetics or spa products and hormonal fluctuations.  Of course, triggers vary from person to person, but understanding what affects you is important.  And the three things that are known to reduce stress, which enhances rosacea are exercise, vacation and massages.  Exercising daily will significantly decrease your stress level, but since you heat up during exercise, be sure to drink ice cold water through out your work out.

People with rosacea often start with trying to use products like Mario Badescu Control Cream.  However, if keeping your rosacea under control on your own isn't working out, you may need a prescription.  Many dermatologists are beginning to prescribe Oracea, the first FDA approved oral medication that helps reduce inflammation.  Patients have been noticing better controlled rosacea in just three weeks.

Take Action to Prevent Skin Cancer

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month so it is my duty as a journalist to bring a few important messages to your attention.  First and foremost it alarms me to know that 50% of Americans still don't use sunscreen when one if five people will develop skin cancer during the course of a lifetime. If you are one of those people or know someone who is, take the time this month to get educated or educate someone and help save a life.  For about six years I lived in a tanning bed daily and basked in the sun slathered in nothing but oil.  My first journalism job in the beauty department at Cosmopolitan magazine may have saved my life.  I know it seems like a stretch, but my boss (and the whole staff) forbid me to tan.  We had to practice what we preached at Cosmo... safe sun.  Five years later, I don't walk out the door without an SPF of 30 on my face (even in the rain) and haven't stepped foot in a tanning bed.  Embracing my new self (pale) and learning to practice safe sun, I am now very thankful for that experience because who knows what could have happened.

This week, I had my first full body skin check by a dermatologist.  Getting braver with the years, I'm ready to face good or bad news and take action.  You should too.  One person dies of melanoma every hour and it can be prevented if caught early enough. With regular skin checks this doesn't have to happen.

La Roche-Posay recently launched so you can join the cause.  For each person that joins the cause, a donation is made to the Women's Dermatologic Society and Skin Cancer Foundation to help educate people on sun protection.  You can also find out information on sun safety and locate a derm near you to get your skin checked.  Do yourself a favor, be responsible about your skin.