Q: Can You Develop an Allergy to Cosmeceuticals Over Time?
A: What you’re probably experiencing if you suddenly develop an adverse reaction to an alphahydroxy-acid product, vitamin-C serum, or retinoid (i.e., Retin-A or retinol) after using it for a while is increased sensitivity, not necessarily an allergy, says Jeannette Graf, M.D., a dermatologist in private practice in Great Neck, NY. The reason? Many of these products disrupt your skin’s normal way of functioning, which, though it may provide instant benefits, leaves you less able to tolerate environmental aggressors (not to mention sunlight) with continued use. “Irritation is never desirable,” says Dr. Graf. “Don’t think you need to get worse to get better.” If you suffer from redness, itching, or puffiness as a direct result of applying a product, discontinue using it immediately. Contact your dermatologist if the reaction doesn’t subside in two days.
Q: What’s the Point of Wearing Sun Protection as an Adult if 80 Percent of Damage Happens Before Age 18?
A: Sun damage is a two-hit process, says Dr. Ostad: True, most damage does happen during childhood, but it is sun exposure as an adult that brings the damage to the surface in the form of sunspots, discoloration, wrinkles—and cancer. Limiting your sun exposure (and wearing a fullspectrum sunscreen of at least SPF 30) in adulthood will help to hide, and even reverse, the sun sins of your youth.
Q: Can Botox Prevent Wrinkles?
A: Yes—but only where there is a muscle contraction (Botox works by freezing muscle contractions), such as beside the eyes, between the eyebrows, or across the forehead. Regular creasing does eventually leave a permanent line, says Dr. Brandt. Botox will do nothing, however, to ward off fine lines across the cheekbones, which can only be “prevented” by using sunscreen, not smoking, and using products that encourage collagen production.
Q: Will Shaving My Bikini Line Make It Grow Back Faster?
A: Shaving will make hair grow back faster than waxing, says Lidia Tivichi, an aesthetician at the Kimara Ahnert salon in New York City. When you wax, you damage the hair follicle, which retards growth. You’re also nabbing hair deep below your skin’s surface, which makes it reappear more slowly.
“Providing you don’t have hormonal issues that cause hair growth, the longer you wax, the more sparse it will become,” Tivichi says. “Eventually, hair will hardly grow back.”
Q: Is Permanent Makeup Safe?
A: There are few serious health risks, but there are some aesthetic ones, says Dr. Katz. First, much like a tattoo, permanent eye- or lipliner will fade and blur over time, so eyeliner may grow to look more like eyeshadow, says Dr. Katz. You must also beware of laser treatments after getting permanent makeup, says Dr. Brandt. The iron pigment in the makeup can darken if lasers are used on the area—and that effect is irreversible. Moreover, permanent makeup can break up under the skin and “float” around the face, although this may not be obvious until lasering is done and you end up with black spots on your forehead. Proceed with caution.