Create Your Own Spa Day At Home

Airdate: 2/10/11

Treat yourself or your Valentine to a relaxing spa day from the comforts of your own home! We'll share the secrets to creating a tranquil atmosphere, giving the perfect pedicure, pampering your skin and much more.

Paula Begoun: Good evening here in Seattle, I'm Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop. And I'm feeling very, very good today. It has been two weeks now that I am on my new lifestyle change program. And I've been pretty good about it. I have actually, I'm feeling a little cocky; of course, lord knows I have spent my life going on and off of lifestyle changes.
00:00:29 It is a better, we call them lifestyle changes now because you don't want to say diet. Because diets start and stop and you are supposed to stay on them always so it is really about lifestyle. And so every show I am going to just give a couple minute highlights of how we are all doing because I am sharing this all with you. Some of you all are already doing it, for example a listener emailed us with a great suggestion for the new Greek yogurt stuff I'm eating, pretty much daily.
00:01:07 About a half a cup with bananas and some frozen fruit sometimes because you can't get fresh all the time in season. And I'm not putting Splenda in it. I bought some organic jam, that is just jam, no sugar; it is just concentrated fruit with a little Pectin and I mix that in – two table spoons. It is only 30 calories, 30, 45 calories for a tablespoon.
00:01:35 And I mix it altogether and I drizzle just a little bit of honey because sugar is sugar and it is still calories. And it is delicious. It is a kick. I love it. Oh, and the other thing I'm doing, so I did reduce my salt. I've actually been really good at reducing my salt. I'm not so good about reducing soy sauce. Because my boyfriend and I, we live at Chinese restaurants and Thai restaurants and Korean restaurants which is really good because you get a lot of fresh veggies.
00:02:05 We ask them not to do oil and they are pretty good about not doing that. But, soy sauce, I've got to watch out. And instead of white rice, always ask for the brown rice. Always ask for the brown rice. So I am good about that. And I'm using about, I would say less than half the amount. I mean I don't even want to tell you how much Splenda I would normally put in a cup of coffee; it is embarrassing. So I'm not doing that anymore.
00:02:28 I never use sweetened soy milk anyways, so I have tried some honey in my coffee. So half a Splenda. But you can't imagine how much Splenda I used to put in my coffee. And I actually have had coffee without anything in it which really shocked me the other day. So I am working on that. Now the major thing and I know I need to get off the couch and get away from my email and my writing, but exercising – ugh. You know, Desiree, I'm sorry I just kind of jumped into my Desiree.
00:03:00 Desiree, my producer and assistant, Desiree you are a little exercising nut over there.
Desiree Stordahl: Well, I try. I try to get to the gym at least three to five times a week.
Paula Begoun: Ah! I just drive by the gym. I just –
Desiree Stordahl: But you know what, Paula? It is amazing how much better my energy is if I work out that day.
Paula Begoun: You think I don't know – who on God's earth that watches a talk show doesn't know that if you exercise you have more energy?
00:03:34 You have less energy than when you don't. Getting off – you know some people just have a movement gene. Like my older sister and I, if we have the choice to move or sit on the couch, we will sit on the couch and talk for hours. My younger sister, on the other hand, if she is sitting around for more than just a few hours she is like, "I've got to get out of here. I have to go move. I have to go!" She is jumping up. I'm telling you, there is a movement gene that some people have.
00:04:05 But I'm working on it. I'm working on it. I actually did put my tennis shoes on , my gym shoes on yesterday. I thought that was a step in the –
Desiree Stordahl: That is a step at least.
Paula Begoun: It took exercise to tie those suckers. So at least I'm going to get dressed to do the movement and see if I can then get downstairs. It is really close, too. I don't even have to get in the car to exercise.
00:04:30 Okay, Bryan Barron, who is making himself beautiful for his wedding. He doesn't know how gorgeous he already is. Even Ben is telling him how gorgeous he is but he is doing cute little things to his wonderful face. Bryan Barron, my better half, how are you?
Bryan Barron: Hi.
Paula Begoun: Hi, you want to share with everybody what happened? I guess you have to, I just –
Bryan Barron: Yeah, sure. I'm kind of painted into a corner here.
Paula Begoun: I'm sorry Bryan.
Bryan Barron: So I went to my dermatologist this morning and had an IPL – Intense Pulse Light treatment. And ended up with some fairly significant swelling and bruising. Paula was pretty shocked when she saw my face. It looked like I had been in a fight on my way to the office.
Paula Begoun: Oh my god, I thought, wait, he is getting married and he is fighting with Ben? Who hit him? It wasn't good. It wasn't good.
Bryan Barron: But it was very, this was not my first IPL. I have actually had several in the past few years but it has probably been a year since my last one and this was my first time at this new place. And they have quite a good reputation, so I didn't have any trepidation going to see them. And I'm not blaming the practitioner. I think that if anything there wasn't enough discussion before the treatment. I think maybe their one error was assuming that because I had it done before and didn't have any significant side effects that they could kind of go hog wild this time.
00:06:06 And that was a mistake.
Paula Begoun: And what Bryan means by hog wild is turning up the energy –
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Discussing the different energy levels. Because different machines produce different energy levels and that might have been part of it. And I actually do think the bruising will – you actually have improved since this morning.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: So I think that it is temporary and it is not – but, yeah, we all, Bryan walked in and said, "What?!" and you just had that look on your face, like can't I just go home now.
Bryan Barron: I have too much to do today.
Paula Begoun: You do. What an intense day. Products. And, oh geez, improving our Web site, so people can understand how to find our products and what they do and BeautyPedia that is free access now.
00:07:06 Just so many things going on and it is just thrilling. But yes, keeping us all exhausted. I was running around just yelling answers to meetings as I was walking down the hall. But the other thing, just one other thing about the diet thing, and then I want to talk about the spa day at home and take your calls and give you free products.
00:07:30 That I'm also reducing – you know I am actually pretty good. I don't use butter. I don't use – If I do use oil it is olive oil and it is just a very little bit and it is extra virgin and sometimes I will put a little flaxseed oil in my yogurt or my oatmeal or something like that. But I'm pretty good about oil but I'm not good when I go to restaurants, particularly Asian restaurants, and say, "No oil." In fact, it takes awhile. You have to say no oil several times because just nobody asks for no oil at an Asian restaurant usually.
00:08:05 So, I am getting even better about no oil. But the thing I am trying to give up, and now I'm feeling guilty when I take it out of the refrigerator, I do use I Can't Believe it is not Butter. I will never forget the first time I used I Can't Believe it is not Butter, I remember going, I didn't know what I was using and I said, god, this tastes just like butter – I can't believe it is not butter. And my sister said, well that is what it's called. I said, "You're kidding?! What a great name for a product."
00:08:30 But it isn't healthy. It is not something you should, and you actually tend to overuse it. So I –
Bryan Barron: Your digestive system is saying, "Uh, yeah, I believe it." You can't believe it is not butter but you should see what it looks like from down here.
Paula Begoun: And really what it is not doing for you. Just because it is not butter – I remember when I wrote my first book, "Blue Eye Shadow Should be Illegal," and was first going on talk shows and talking about the insanity in the cosmetics industry.
00:09:02 Ivory soap at the time, I don't know if anybody listening is old enough to remember Ivory soap, but Ivory soap used to advertise itself as being 99 and 44/100 percent pure. And then that was the big tag line. And then went on to how wonderful it was, but it never answered the question, 99 and 44/100 percent pure WHAT? I mean, okay, so it is pure, and as it turns out what it was was pure soap, it was pure lie and lard, which obviously doesn't sound anywhere near as sexy as 99 and 44/100 percent pure.
00:09:37 So I kind of feel that way about I Can't Believe it is not Butter. It is like, okay, so it tastes like butter but you know, you shouldn't be eating it anyway. It is not health food just because it is not butter. Just like margarine for certain isn't health food just because it is not butter. But the thing I'm trying to do with bread now, I buy whole grain bread, fresh.
00:10:00 I have a grocery store quite near that makes fresh bread that is really dense but not heavy and no sugar, whole grain, multi-grain bread. And I'm using, I bought some very fancy aged balsamic vinaigrette, now it was pricey, it was pricey, but because it is aged you don't need very much of it and instead balsamic vinegar can kind of taste tart and too briny, this has a slight sweet silky, not as acidy taste when the balsamic vinaigrette is aged.
00:10:36 God, I feel like I am sounding like Rachael Ray. Okay, so I am now on to my third week of health and have my new healthy lifestyle. I'm going to try to get off the couch. Taking a spa day. So the issue of taking a spa day is getting the bath part right. And also letting go of how – you read about it in fashion magazines or you read about it, you see ads on television.
00:11:01 It never works the way it does in the pictures. First of all, just getting a white robe to look that fluffy and clean all the time and a white towel wrapped around your head so perfectly that doesn't slip off – it just never quite works like it. If you go after the effect as opposed to the pleasure, it is going to come up flat. Or you are not going to do it as often as you could do it because you are trying to make it into a production number instead of a relaxing 10-minute, 15-minute event –
00:11:35 That really a 10 to 15 minute soak, even five minutes. I'm a bath taker, in fact just talking about this subject I just long for my bathtub. I love bathing. So this is actually all about me and my love of creating spa days at home. So I – just thinking – now I am losing my train of thought because all I can do is see myself in the bathtub.
00:12:02 But the idea is to make it an experience, a realistic experience. I never have time to light a candle. Maybe once a year I light a candle. When I used to try to do the lighting candle bit, the amount of time it took to light the candles, blow them out, get the smoke out of the room –I remember once I lit so many the smoke detector went off. They don't tell you that when you are doing the fashion magazines or the ads on television for spa and body care products.
00:12:36 And also you have to be very careful about putting – bubble bath is nice but dish detergent is better. Bubble bath doesn't foam up as well as dish detergent. A little bit of dish detergent which often is the same kind of ingredients you get in a bath, bubble bath salts or bubble bath –
00:13:00 So the bubble bath is designed for you to use more of it, and the dish detergent you actually just need to use a little bit. I know it sounds, oh it is dish detergent, it's going to be bad. It's not – in fact, because you need so little of it it is actually better for your skin. And one of the other things about the fragrance bath salts is too much fragrance is bad for your skin, is particularly bad for the genital area. The vagina doesn't like heavy fragrance. It is irritating.
00:13:28 So you don't have to do any of that. If you need some fragrance around you just take some of your perfume and spray it around the tub and then you will have that wafting fragrance and you don't have to put your skin at risk. And bath salts, do Epsom salts. First of all, it is cheap. And, it actually has health benefits for the skin and muscles, far better than what if any bath salts, the fancy fragrant bath salts can have.
00:13:58 So you can make it simple because it is really the feeling of that five or 10-minute soak that is just so great for skin. And as it turns out, doing more frequent, less duration soaks in a tub, creating that spa effect is better for your skin because long soaking, long times in a tub soaking your skin is actually bad for skin. It doesn't help your skin.
00:14:31 It actually water-logs skin. Skin actually breaks down. It actually isn't good, particularly for dry skin. You have to be careful with bath oils. First of all –
Bryan Barron: Paula, sorry to interrupt.
Paula Begoun: No, no, interrupt. I'm carrying on.
Bryan Barron: In terms of soaking, how long is too long? What is a good barometer?
Paula Begoun: You know there is not a lot of good research on that one. But I think going much over 30 minutes is a real mistake and I would keep it under 20.
Bryan Barron: So should you pay attention to how your skin is looking when your fingers start getting pruny?
Paula Begoun: Well, then you have really been in too long. I mean I would like you to get out before your fingers get pruny. I take a – and especially when the water is warm. And you want it – and too hot is not good for your skin because you are not only over-soaking it, you are burning it. But when it is a really good, warm bath, you really can't stay in much longer anyway.
00:15:26 But on a routine basis it is just not good for skin. So that once a week, once every other week. Because personally I take baths as often as I can because one is I don't make a production number out of it. And so I take baths almost every day unless I am really running late because I brush my teeth, I floss my teeth, I do everything while the tub is running. And then I get in, I soak for about five minutes, I finish up all the cleaning stuff and then I'm done.
00:15:57 So for me, god, I would miss soaking in a tub. So I think you can have spa experiences, that relaxing feeling far more often than we allow ourselves because we think it has to be a production. And also be careful about putting bath oils. If you do put a bath oil in – well, don't put a bath oil in. They are expensive, they are unnecessary, they are highly fragranced. If you want to put a little oil in you can put just a little, itty bit of olive oil, almond oil, canola oil, even mineral oil. Just don't put much more in than a teaspoon because you are going to slip and slide when you get out.
00:16:30 Your feet are going to be greasy. You are going to have to take a shower. It is a mess. So that, I think, is an unnecessary touch and I think it makes your bathtub schmutzy and messy and so I don't think that that – actually screw it. Forget the bath oil. It is more of a problem and just wastes time and creates more work which negates the wonderful spa experience you want to have. So get in the bath. You want to turn on relaxing music before you get in the bath, that's great.
00:16:59 I would put the Epsom salts in obviously before you get in. And just relax for five or ten minutes. Five minutes. I mean I'm telling you, you can really start your day in a much, much better place. Then, when you get out of the tub, towel off gently. Oh sorry, I almost forgot. So if you want to exfoliate in the tub with a scrub, I don't recommend a scrub. I think it is messy in the tub. I'm not a big housecleaner. A wash cloth and a gentle body cleanser.
00:17:31 We are going to give away a lot of body products today from Paula's Choice, our body butter, our body cleanser, our shave gel. We are going to load you up with the great gentle products for your skin, but a wash cloth is enough of a scrub. Don't use a luffa. Luffas are, especially the natural luffas, actually it is the natural luffas that tend to be the ones that build up, that you don't clean them – who cleans those things.
00:18:02 And they build up bacteria. They can actually transfer staph to your skin and staphylococcus bacteria and cause problems. So a clean wash cloth, scrub down, wash yourself up, get out, gently towel down. No need to scrub away at your skin with a towel. And then there is also no reason to put on a moisturizer on your body over wet skin.
00:18:29 In the old days we used to believe that putting on a moisturizer over wet skin allowed the moisturizer to trap the water in the skin, but I mean without – it is a technical explanation but generally what we know about skin now is that it isn't about adding water to the skin that makes skin healthy. It is about helping repair skin so it is able to keep water in the skin.
00:19:02 It's own water content which is about 30% of the skin. You put water in, the skin is not going to hold on to it very well anyway. So it is about this constantly putting on products with ingredients that help repair skin so skin can hold on to its own moisture content. Oh, by the way, when you shave your legs, don't exfoliate because I am going to recommend stronger that you use either an alpha-hydroxy acid or a beta-hydroxy acid product over dry skin, at least every other day.
00:19:33 Even every day for some skin types. Oh, your skin is going to be so smooth and wonderful and particularly for women who have bumps on their legs and thighs or their back side. Well Paula's Choice has the 2% BHA Salicylic Acid based body lotion, a BHA body exfoliant, oh my gosh. They will go away. You will be shocked.
00:19:58 Everything I'm recommending, especially keeping the bath oils out, the salts, over-scrubbing, luffas off of the skin, particularly where you have these red bumps on your arms, you are going to be shocked the difference in what I am recommending and using a body exfoliant with the BHA, well particularly from Paula's Choice because I think I made a beautiful one, but also from we recommend others on
00:20:30 Don't shave your legs and then put on an AHA or BHA over it. Well, definitely not an AHA. You can try a BHA because BHA has anti-inflammatory properties. So that can actually work, that can actually work quite well. Am I forgetting something? I know I am forgetting something but we should probably take some calls. What am I – Bryan, what am I forgetting guys? Help me?
Desiree Stordahl: Did you want to talk about the at home pill, the AHA?
Paula Begoun: Oh, can you believe I forgot that? See! I need you guys.
Bryan Barron: Oh, Desiree, you are on your game.
Paula Begoun: It takes a village; I tell you, it takes a village. Okay, so here is what it is. Part of a spa experience, you think going to a spa you need to get a facial and use cellulite wraps which are just a joke; you might as well just wrap up your pocketbook and throw it down the toilet because those things are a waste of time and money. But what isn't a waste of time or money are the peels, the professional peels that they do at spas or doctor's offices.
00:21:33 Those can actually be quite wonderful for skin. Research about higher concentrations of AHA is impressive. Now at home you don't want to use high concentration AHA peels because that is tricky. You want to know when to get it off. You want to have experience. If you are going to go to a salon or spa you definitely don't want somebody they just hired yesterday that has never applied a chemical peel to someone's face before.
00:21:57 But at home an alpha-hydroxy acid peel can be incredible. You will wake up the next morning, I mean you won't believe how wonderful you skin can feel. So on we recommend other people's 10% or 15% or 20%, no higher than 20%. Actually no higher than 15%. MD Formulations, Bryan, makes 20% alpha-hydroxy acid solution kind of product?
Bryan Barron: Yes, it is either them or it is MD Forte.
00:22:30 Really MD Forte is the line to look to if your skin seems to scoff at 10% AHA products and you want to try something a bit more potent. MD Forte would be the most reliable brand because a lot of companies, like the Spanish line, Natura Bisse, comes to mind. They used to tout their 40% at home peel. And although the product may in fact contain 40% of an alpha-hydroxy acid, if the pH is too high for it to work, which pretty much makes the high percentage irrelevant –
00:23:06 It is not going to do what you want it to do.
Paula Begoun: Well and thankfully they have –
Bryan Barron: Thankfully so.
Paula Begoun: Very expensive Neiman Marcus line, it didn't do what it was supposed to do because if it really did contain a 40%, which we actually never believed, that would eat your skin up in a heartbeat. You couldn't control that. Because even at a doctor's office it is going to burn and you are going to have some down time with that higher concentration peel.
00:23:33 But a lighter weight and one that is really formulated to do what it says at a 10% or 15% concentration used on the face after you get out of the tub and you are dried off and cooled off. And you gently clean your face and follow the steps – a gentle cleanser, gentle toner. Make sure all of your eye makeup is off. You don't want to have anything in the way of getting the peel to the skin.
00:24:00 Well it is not going completely – you have to test it to make sure it can go around your eye because it is a product that is really doing something to skin. And then you put the peel on. You put the AHA from Paula's Choice. Use our 10% AHA system and you put that on and you can either leave it on overnight or you can take it off after 10 minutes depending on your skin type. The reviews from our product line on our Web site has just been astounding.
00:24:30 We can barely believe it. in fact we will be giving away some of these today so you guys can test it out for yourself if you already have it or if you already have it we will give you some more. What else am I supposed to – that's it – I covered everything, right?
Desiree Stordahl: That's it. We are ready to go to callers.
Paula Begoun: Let's do that.
Desiree Stordahl: Alright. Our first caller is Sherry from Tennessee.
Paula Begoun: Hi Sherry.
Sherry: Hello. Hey Paula, how are you doing?
Paula Begoun: I'm good. How are you from Tennessee?
Sherry: I am just so excited to be on the phone with you. This is great.
Paula Begoun: Thank you. What can I do for you?
Sherry: Well, I turned 40 a few weeks ago and I am freaking out a little bit over my face and so I started going to a dermatologist, just for wrinkles. And I started off with a retinoid cream and wanted to start a skin care product regimen to go along with it. And the dermatologist and everyone in the office said that in order for the Retin-A product to be truly effective that I would have to use something from their office called Obagi Nu-Derm.
Bryan Barron: Uh.
Sherry: And I think you are familiar with that. And everyone I have talked to says, "Oh, it's the bomb, it's wonderful."
Paula Begoun: Okay, so separate from whether it is the bomb or not, which I take is a good thing.
Sherry: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Yeah, okay. So separate from that, I take it you have read some of my books and you know my work a little bit.
Sherry: I have read your books. And every time I buy one I end up giving it away. I mean I love your books. And I read all of the reviews.
00:26:00 And I saw that they had dollar signs next to it –
Paula Begoun: But separate from the reviews, I want you to be a cosmetics cop now. You are going to become part of the Paula's Choice team
Sherry: I'm so excited.
Paula Begoun: They told you in their fancy white little uniforms in a dermatologist office that a retinoid only works or can only work really well with Obagi.
Sherry: Right.
Paula Begoun: What's wrong with that picture?
Sherry: Well it does sound like they are trying to sell me a product.
Paula Begoun: It does. What about how truthful could that statement really be?
Sherry: I figured that that statement in itself, talking about just Obagi wouldn't be that truthful. But I was wondering, too, if the products from their office, if it would be more effective. And so I have been looking at the ingredients and trying to figure it out and thank goodness --
Paula Begoun: Okay, let me give you the Cosmetics Cop, you know the Paula's Choice team's answer.
Sherry: Okay.
Paula Begoun: So here is the what the problem when anybody, it is worse when it comes from a dermatologist because I find it unethical, but anybody who tells you "these are the only products that do this," it is just nonsense. Thousands of products, and these are the only – that's like saying, "Only our car will get you to the grocery store. You only buy a Honda and it is the only way you are going to show up at school."
00:27:32 Of course it is not true. That is a bizarre statement. That's number one. Number two is, retinoids, Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac, Retinol in skincare products have been around and researched for years and years. There isn't one study saying that the best way to get results from Retin-A or Renova or any other retinoid is because of Obagi.
00:28:01 Even Obagi doesn't have a study saying that theirs is the way to get Retin-A or Renova or whatever you are using that is a retinoid, a form of Vitamin A, to work on your skin. It is just insanity. I want to go and shoot that office. I mean it just makes no sense. It's not true. They lied. Or they are stupid. You can never tell sometimes whether somebody is just plain fibbing or they are stupid.
00:28:32 Maybe they do believe what they are saying. There is no research to back it up and just logically given the tens of thousands of skincare products out on the market it is not true. So, are retinoids good for your skin? They are great. You absolutely don't need Obagi. And even Obagi – I mean Obagi has products, don't get me started on Obagi. You don't need Obagi, they lied. They just lied. Would you like me to give you some Paula's Choice products that I think can help? And then of course you can always check out –
00:29:01 You know Beautypedia is free now. You could go check out the other products we have reviewed. But you so don't need to spend that kind of money on Obagi to get the benefits from using a retinoid, because a retinoid is a great thing for your skin. That and a sunscreen and many other things, an exfoliant. But yes, you so don't need –
Sherry: Well they told me, they said, "We can tell who uses Obagi when they walk in the door," and I was like, hmm, I wonder what they think I use.
Paula Begoun: Of course they can tell who uses Obagi because they have sold it to them and they are their patients. What a statement! I mean I don't know how you would be able – so everybody else in the world, boy, these people were hustling you. You must have had "sucker" writing on your –
Sherry: I did not buy it. I said no.
Paula Begoun: You know, I'm sorry. You know I get riled up. I apologize. I do get riled up.
Bryan Barron: And it can be very intimidating. I mean having just come from a dermatologist office this morning –
00:30:00 I mean I didn't get the product hustle but you know when you are going there for a treatment or you are going there for health, you have a genuine vested interest in thinking that they have your best interest at heart. And that coupled with the whole professional, medical atmosphere, the fact that you are the patient, they are the "teacher," I definitely understand why consumers get intimidated and are just willing to nod their head and listen to whatever they recommend because the mentality is, well, they must know best.
00:30:34 I mean I'm the one that is coming to them for help.
Sherry: Right.
Paula Begoun: Sherry, you were getting an unusual hard sell. Because to say to somebody that I know that you have bad skin because you don't use Obagi – and the only people in the world, you know 6 billion people in the world and the only ones who have good skin are the ones who use Obagi. I mean –
Sherry: And they do, they do have beautiful skin. All of these ladies. I mean they have gorgeous skin.
Paula Begoun: Okay, so would you like me to tell you what kind of a hustle that is, given what you just said?
Sherry: I would love to hear.
Paula Begoun: They don't hire people with bad skin. And – they don't, why would they? Nobody has acne, is the rare woman given the number in the world who have acne, nobody has acne behind the counters. And even when someone has a lot of wrinkles behind the counters, it is not like you want to ask them about what to do about wrinkles.
00:31:29 I mean they just, they are not going to, there is no 70-year-old women behind the counters. But nonetheless, especially having been to many, many, many dermatologist offices over the years, especially with all of the cosmetic procedures they have, I can't tell if it is because of the skincare or because of the cosmetic procedures or because of who they hired.
So I get how we get seduced. And it is so seductive when you see things like that.
00:32:01 When you go to different offices or different experts and in this situation I think if they hadn't had been so pushing, you probably would have ended up buying Obagi, but I think they just came at you – I mean I would have rather you checked out Beautypedia first before you did.
So this is, I have to take another call, but let me, what products of mine are you using, Sherry?
Sherry: Right now I have the toner, the Resist Toner, and the moisturizer that goes along with it, the Barrier Repair.
Paula Begoun: Okay. And are you using the cleanser from the Resist line?
Sherry: No, not yet. I have combination skin, really oily in the T zone pores.
Paula Begoun: Okay, so I'm going to send you our skin balancing cleanser and I do want you to try our 10% AHA. Desiree, what is the name of our 10% AHA. I can never remember.
Desiree Stordahl: The Resist Weekly Resurfacing Treatment with 10% AHA.
Paula Begoun: Oh, I love Desiree. So I am going to give you that. And you can use it, follow the instructions on the little insert you will get with it, because you can use it more than once a week depending on your skin type. And then are you using any of our BHA products?
Sherry: No, I use, let me see I am using BHA from Neutrogena.
Paula Begoun: Oh, mine is better. There are great BHAs out there but no way around it, I have some of the best ones out – because people just don't make BHAs. I have like 8 of them. So I am going to send you our 2% BHA gel and our 2% BHA liquid to play with. When you use the 10% AHA you don't use the gel. So you alternate them. And then I'm going to send you some of our body care products. I'm going to send you our beautiful body butter which is really beautiful. Our slip into silk body moisturizer and our lip exfoliant and lip balm.
00:34:05 Which isn't really the body, it's the face, but I'm sending it to you anyway. And I have to take another call.
Sherry: Oh, I'm so excited. Thank you.
Paula Begoun: So glad you saved yourself from – no again it is not that Obagi has bad products, we rated some of them great, but damn, it is not because retinoids work that you need to use Obagi. Thank you for calling Sherry.
Sherry: Thank you, Paula.
Paula Begoun: Desiree, next caller.
Desiree Stordahl: We have Tara from Utah.
Paula Begoun: Tara.
Tara: Hi.
Paula Begoun: Hi, how are you?
Tara: Good, how are you?
Paula Begoun: Good, what can I do for you?
Tara: Well I actually have a couple of questions, one that kind of goes along with your last caller about the Retin-A. I have a Retin-A Micro that I try to use at night and stuff but I get flakey skin from it very easily. So my question was does that mean it is too irritating for my skin or is that just because it is doing its job?
Paula Begoun: No, Retin-A doesn't work by causing – no skincare product works by causing flaking. That is a problem if you are using it and it is causing flaking. Tell me Tara what other skincare – So Retin-A, Renova, all of the different versions and Differin and Tazorac, all of the different types of medicines, prescription products that contain a form of Vitamin A, in this case Retin-A contains Tretinoin.
00:35:30 Differin which is another one contains Adapalene, so these different forms of Vitamin A, medical forms of Vitamin A do something very significant in skin. It absorbs in this ingredient, Tretinoin, and tells skin cells to behave better. Sun damaged skin, getting older, skin cells, and sometimes just because you have oily skin or whatever kind of skin you have, you make skin cells that aren't so healthy be –
00:35:59 Tretinoin, the Vitamin A, absorbs into skin and actually tells the cell to make better cells. And it is wonderful for many different types of skin. But because it is actively doing something it is hard on skin. Skin can react. Not everybody can use it.
But often we make it, because you are using products that can be irritating, that might contain alcohol or peppermint or mint, or harsh cleansing agents or scrubs, we make it almost impossible to be successful using the Retin-A, Renova, Differin or Tazorac because we are using skincare products that make the skin irritated.
00:36:36 You put Retin-A on, "oh-ah," it just goes crazy. So, what are you using to take care of your skin, because it matters. You make the Retin-A and Renova work for you.
Tara: Well I was just wondering if it is maybe just a little too dry and it mostly will peel around my chin and it is usually after I use a couple of days. But when I am using I use, to wash my face at night I usually use Clinique Mild Liquid Face soap, not the bar but the liquid one.
Paula Begoun: Wait one second, Tara. Bryan, we rated that pretty well, didn't we?
Bryan Barron: I'm sorry, which product?
Paula Begoun: The Clinique Mild Liquid Cleanser.
Bryan Barron: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Okay, so you are using Clinique's Cleanser, go on.
Tara: So I use that and then I will use either your Toner the Skin Balancing which I love and then I recently just started using the, I will use that one or I will use the Resist one because I thought maybe that will help with the flaking.
00:37:37 So I use one of those, and then I usually will use one of your beta hydroxy products, so I use either the liquid with the CLEAR Regular Strength 2% or I recently just bought the BHA lotion because I thought maybe that will be more moisturizing and maybe I can put the Retin-A on after that.
00:38:04 And I did do that a couple nights and it helped I thought.
Paula Begoun: Did it help but not enough?
Tara: Yes. I don't use it very often because if I start getting the flaking then I kind of just back off it. And I don't know if I need to build up a resistance to it or no –
Paula Begoun: So you are doing all the right things.
Tara: And then I also use your, which I must say I just love, love, love, the HydraLight Moisturizer.
Paula Begoun: Yes, you are doing everything, there is nothing that you are doing that I would – you have a gentle cleanser going, you are doing the toner so you are not loading you face up with heavy moisturizers and the HydraLight is a lightweight moisturizer and the lotion alternative for the BHA. Many dermatologists would say that a BHA and retinoid or an AHA and a retinoid. In fact, I have written extensively about why an exfoliant and a retinoid like Retin-A or those other ones I mentioned can be so beneficial for skin.
00:39:11 However, even if you are using all of the right products, and I know I just carried on about using the right products, the problem can be that some people just can't tolerate the retinoids. I can't. I tried. I mean I know how beneficial they can be and I have tried. And my skin just, no matter what I have tried and I have even tried cutting back because that is the thing you can do.
00:39:37 Instead of using it every day you use it every other day. And that is absolutely an option because you would still be getting a good deal of benefit. It doesn't have to be every day. So, yes, cutting it back is absolutely the option. And yet some people do build up, after you have used it awhile, you cut back, every other day, every two days, and then build up again and see how your skin does –
00:40:01 That is absolutely a great way to go about it. But even doing all of that for my skin type, it didn't work for me. So some of it is you just have to experiment, give it a try, but you are doing everything right. I'm going to send you a whole bunch of body products from Paula's Choice to play with because this was our spa day experience.
Tara: Yes, and I was going to say, real fast sorry. The reason I actually did call in is because I get these little really, from dry hands, cracks around my fingers, little –
Paula Begoun: Okay, so I'm going to send you our beautiful body butter. Keep it on the side of your bed and at your desk and in the car. Because when your hands are like that you have to keep them moist. But you might – I am going to give you a couple other suggestions. You might have to talk to a dermatologist anyway but generally they are going to tell you what I am about to tell you.
00:40:57 Is go to the drugstore and pick up some Lanacort or Cortaid. Bryan, wasn't there a new cortisone topical over-the-counter cortisone cream we recommended on another show that I am just blanking out about?
Bryan Barron: Yes, I know which one you are talking about. I can't think of the name. But I have seen it. I spend way too much time in drugstores and I have seen it on the shelves and it is with the other cortisone products, so if you can find the Cortaid or the Lanacort and you are in Walgreens or Rite-Aid or one of the other big ones, chances are you will see it there.
00:41:31 I think it is made by the Cortaid people.
Tara: Okay.
Paula Begoun: What is it like, for sensitive – Bryan will see if he can find it before. Listen through the end of the show; Bryan will see if he can find it. But take a topical cortisone cream and rub it into your fingertips in the morning and in the evening. Along with that, with the body butter, I think it will make a huge difference. Thank you for calling, Tara.
Tara: Thank you so much.
Paula Begoun: Alright. Bye-bye. Desiree, next caller.
Desiree Stordahl: Beth from Florida.
Beth: Hello?
Paula Begoun: Hi Beth.
Beth: Hi.
Paula Begoun: Beth is my middle name.
Beth: Oh wow. Maybe that give me hope.
Bryan Barron: Aw.
Paula Begoun: Beth you are cute. What can I do for you?
Beth: Well I really, the last three months I have been really having some quite bad acne. And I don't know what to do. I have actually stopped using all products and I am kind of freaking out. It is never ending.
Paula Begoun: So start from the beginning. You are how old?
Beth: I'm 39.
Paula Begoun: You are 39 years old. And you started breaking out, just nothing changed, life didn't change?
Beth: Just the last three months my acne has just been really, really bad.
Paula Begoun: So you had acne before?
Beth: Oh, yeah, but not like this.
Paula Begoun: Oh, not like this. Okay, I got it.
Beth: It's relentless.
Paula Begoun: And it is on your face, chest, neck back? All over?
Beth: No, just my face thank god.
Paula Begoun: Okay, just your face. And are they small little pimples, deep heavy pimples, describe the kind of acne you have.
Beth: Well currently on my face I have one that is kind of cystic and then the rest of them are kind of not that big of a deal. They are like the little ones.
Paula Begoun: Okay, alright. And have you noticed a change in your periods, your menstrual cycle? Have you noticed a change of any kind?
Beth: I mean, yeah, definitely a little bit lighter, on the lighter side. Yes.
Paula Begoun: Okay, and that is not because you have changed the pill or anything?
Beth: No, I'm not on any kind of birth control.
Paula Begoun: Oh, you are not on any kind of birth control?
Beth: No.
Paula Begoun: Alright. So if birth control can be an option we will talk about that in just a second. Because there are birth control pills that have research showing that they are particularly helpful or controlling acne. So now Beth have you been using any of my products?
00:44:00 Whose products were you using before you started breaking out?
Beth: Well, I went through a period of time where I was using Hauschka which was really good but then, I don't know, I just stopped really using any products at all.
Paula Begoun: So what are you doing to take care of your skin now? Anything?
Beth: I just have this one thing I bought recently. It is Desert Essence. It is supposed to be good for acne. But that is about it.
Paula Begoun: It's not good for acne.
Beth: Well, yeah, I stopped using that too. I'm willing to start over. I'm just disgusted with everything.
Paula Begoun: I know it is frightening. I know it is frightening. Believe me, I have spent my life dealing with this. I can have no more – okay, so here is what I want you to do. So one of the things I need you to do is go to and you need to look up the articles we have written about acne. To make it easy for you I am going to have Desiree send you the links to the articles you must read about acne.
00:45:02 Because you must use products that can handle the symptoms that cause acne without making matters worse. And it is too long of an explanation over the radio to teach you all about that. And I have spent my career researching, I cite the articles we quote that is based on the information.
00:45:27 A product isn't good for acne. It is whether or not the ingredients in it are good for acne. And they have to meet certain criteria, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, no irritating ingredients, no lotions or creams or fatty acids that clog pores, on and on and on.
And it takes experimenting. But you have to know what to experiment with. So over the counter the best you can do is gentle skin care products, a Benzoyl Peroxide product and a Salicylic Acid product.
00:46:00 And you have to follow it step-by-step and go slow and see how your skin does and then if those don't work you shift around and then there is dermatologic options you need to consider. So here is what I'm going to do, Beth. Desiree is going to send you the information and the next time we do a show on acne you absolutely have to listen. I'm going to send you the products from my Clear line, the cleanser and the two different toners. There is an extra strength and a regular strength.
00:46:33 Well it is not really a toner it is an exfoliating solution. It is a salicylic acid based solution to exfoliate, reduce redness, improve/reduce irritation, reduce oil production. And then benzoyl peroxide to kill the bacteria that is causing, the benzoyl peroxide product to kill the bacteria that is causing the acne bacteria that is creating the blemish.
00:47:00 And my products, but you can also – I'm going to send you my products. You also can go on and look up other acne products that meet the criteria of no irritants/irritating ingredients like peppermint and alcohol to stimulate oil production. So many acne products contain ingredients that are bad for acne. It is actually frightening. And I'm also going to send you just the cleanser works for a lot of people. We get great reviews on our cleansers, but I'm also going to send you our Skin Balancing cleanser just so you can experiment with that.
00:47:33 And I would like you to get started on that. And see how you do. Stay in touch with Desiree and let's see if we can't walk you through some options from Paula's Choice. And then from there, if Paula's Choice can't help you, if my products can't help you, we have definitely reviewed enough products and medical treatments for acne that we can help walk you through experimenting because it takes experimenting to find what works for acne.
00:48:01 So we will start you on our Clear products and a couple of other choices and we will send you some body care products to play with so you can do some relaxing good stuff to your body while you are trying to figure out what to do for your skin. And you will stay in touch with us so we can help.
Beth: But you think a lactic – I have done a few lactic acid peels, do you think that is good?
Paula Begoun: No, I don't think that is good for your skin. First of all, are you talking professionally or you are talking about you bought personal products?
Beth: I got some peels from the Internet.
Paula Begoun: Don't do that. Don't do that. For a couple of reasons. One is, I don't know, without knowing which products you are using how much lactic acid was or wasn't in it and what pH. I don't know if they were effective. I mean you can see if we reviewed them on Do you know the name of them just off hand?
Beth: Yes, it is Infinite Skin Care.
Bryan Barron: Not familiar with it. There are a lot of Web sites out there selling "professional peels" for use at home. And some of these sites are fly-by-night operations. Some of them have received Cease and Desist letters from the FDA because they are making drug claims or they are selling adulterated products. And there have been a fair number of consumer complaints from people who do damage up to and including burning their skin from using these very strong peels in their own homes thinking that –
00:49:33 Well, at least I'm saving money and I can do this myself. But, oh, man it can backfire.
Paula Begoun: Or they products that don't do anything because –
Bryan Barron: Exactly. That is the other end of the spectrum is that there is a high chance if you are not buying from a reputable site and/or company that is forthcoming about how much AHA or BHA their product contains and what the pH is why that matters, it is really a buyer-beware type of situation.
Paula Begoun: And then we feel strongly that the research is clear that salicylic acid along with benzoyl peroxide is state of the art for acne. Salicylic acid. Again, you would have to go to the Web site to look up the research and to look up what we say about acne and blemish fighting products.
00:50:26 But the other thing is that when it comes to acne, what you use, so I take it these lactic acid products that the peels, that they weren't, you didn't use them regularly?
Beth: No, I did like a series and actually my skin looked good and I was doing pretty decent. And then I stopped doing the peels, giving my skin a rest because I do that –
Paula Begoun: Okay, that doesn't make sense. Skin doesn't need to rest. Skin doesn't rest. It is kind of like saying my body is tired of eating so I am going to rest for a couple of weeks.
00:51:00 Your skin needs healthy ingredients or ingredients to help reduce the acne, to kill the bacteria because bacteria is just going to grow back. So it is possible that you did run into a good lactic acid product and we don't know the one you are using. But if it did work, or it to continue working you would have to use it regularly. I don't like recommending lactic acid or glycolic acid for acne. Now that doesn't mean it can't work for some people. I mean Proactiv is based on using an alpha-hydroxy acid, and glycolic acid for exfoliation.
00:51:33 The research about salicylic acid for acne is very compelling. It is an anti-inflammatory, it exfoliates and exfoliates in the pore. And it reduces irritation. It is an anti-inflammatory ingredient as well. AHAs don't have that property, those properties. Again, it is too long to go into but I'm going to send you our BHAs to play with, benzoyl peroxide. Whatever you do that works after reading that article, it is about consistency. There is no logic to giving your skin a rest from what it needs to be healthy.
00:52:06 So give this stuff a try. You are going into your 40th year beautifully. We are going to help you. And thanks for calling Beth.
Beth: Thank you.
Paula Begoun: You are welcome, dear. Oh, the Internet. Stephanie is asking an interesting question. Is Stephanie, there is Stephanie. I'm going to – let's see, I don't know how to click on Stephanie.
Desiree Stordahl: There we go.
Bryan Barron: Before we start talking to Stephanie, I did find the name of that cortisone product.
Paula Begoun: Oh yeah?
Bryan Barron: And so it is by the Cortizone – Z-O-N-E – Cortizone 10 brand. And it is their hydra-tensive natural aloe formula healing.
Paula Begoun: Right. That's what it is. It had a better base formula. It was a better skin care product than Cortaid and Lanacort.
Bryan Barron: Right, and it comes in a larger tube. The Healing Formula is the one to pick. They also offer a soothing formula and unfortunately the soothing formula contains some fragrant plant extracts that aren't going to be the best for you if have itchy dry skin.
00:53:07 Yes, so look for the Cortizone 10 Hydra-tensive Healing Formula. It has the green stripe on it.
Paula Begoun: Right. So Stephanie, Stephanie are you there?
Stephanie: Yes.
Paula Begoun: Hi Stephanie, how are you?
Stephanie: Hi, I'm great.
Paula Begoun: So dry brushing before you get into the shower or after the shower. That is what you are asking.
Stephanie: Before, what I saw was something before the shower. So you kind of start at your feet and brush up they say, like brush towards your heart.
Paula Begoun: Brush towards your heart?
Stephanie: Yeah, like start – it all kind of –
Paula Begoun: Why?
Stephanie: I don't know. It's a circulation?
Bryan Barron: Yes, exactly. It is about moving because you are supposed to brush pretty aggressively and it supposedly is about moving the circulation towards your heart.
00:54:00 It kind of doesn't make sense. I mean your circulation pretty much knows what to do on its own. I mean unless you have a medical problem –
Stephanie: It's supposed to exfoliate as well.
Bryan Barron: Yeah.
Paula Begoun: I'm sorry, that is just too funny. So two things. First, there is no reason not, I mean there is nothing bad about it. It doesn't do much.
00:54:26 Because you are kind of abrading – I don't know what brush, is it a brush you buy from them?
Stephanie: It is just a bristle brush.
Paula Begoun: See the problem, without seeing the product, the problem with using things like luffas, or these dry brushes I've seen or just anything that is too aggressive on the skin, what you are in essence doing is tearing at the skin. Skin doesn't like to be torn at. That is why chemical peels like an alpha-hydroxy, glycolic or lactic acid, or a beta-hydroxy salicylic acid which they are just brilliant for skin because they exfoliate –
00:55:05 They get dead skin cells off that don't come off normally as they should, either because of age or sun damage or oily skin. So they are brilliant and they don't tear into skin. So I think it is a problem to tear and – but again, there are some brushes out there that are rather soft, they don't – I mean they exfoliate to some extent and they don't tear into skin. I just don't –
00:55:31 I just think it is a waste of time. I hate wasting time. Time is precious. I hate doing anything that doesn't have productivity.
Stephanie: Right.
Paula Begoun: So I want to try to get one more call in. So Stephanie, let me send you some Paula's Choice body products. I'm going to send you our 2% body weight – Desiree, tell her the products I'm going to send her because I can never remember the names. The 2% BHA body lotion, what is it called?
Desiree? Desiree? Hello?
Desiree Stordahl: There we go. I lost connection for a little bit but you are talking about the Weightless Body Treatment.
Paula Begoun: Okay, I'm going to send you that, the Slip into Soap Moisturizer. Good, because if you don't remember the products we are all in trouble. The Beautiful Body Butter. I'm going to send you our all-over shampoo, hair and body shampoo. Our conditioner and our – well I'm just going to send you the whole lot. You will get a lot of products to play with –
00:56:35 And the 2%, what's the name of it Desiree?
Desiree Stordahl: Weightless Body Treatment with 2% BHA.
Paula Begoun: So that is your body exfoliant. Give that a try because it moisturizes and gets off dead skin cells. You will love it. You will love me. Whatever you don't want to use because I am sending you too much stuff, give to somebody you like.
Stephanie: Oh, I will use it. I promise.
Paula Begoun: Alright Stephanie, take care. Desiree, next caller. Real quick. Something fast.
Desiree Stordahl: Okay let's see. I lost a call. Okay, Allison from California.
Paula Begoun: Allison, what can I do for you?
Allison: Hi, I will try to make this quick. I got laser hair removal probably six or seven years ago and I got three treatments on my upper lip. And I just never felt like it made any difference at all. And I'm wondering –
Paula Begoun: Say that one more time. You had a laser hair removal treatment, three different times on your upper lift and you felt it didn't work?
Allison: I felt it did not work. And I have considered going somewhere else.
Paula Begoun: Go somewhere else.
Allison: Yeah, but the problem is that I have dark skin, my skin looks darker up there now and I don't know if it is from that treatment, all the waxing and things that I have done. I also had a baby a couple of years ago. So I don't know – I mean I don't know what to do about that, but I also don't know if I can go back and get the treatment again.
Paula Begoun: You are right. You don't know. So here is what you got to do. You need to find a really great dermatologist. Because too many things are complicating to figure out the answer. So your goal right now, I'm going to send you a whole bunch of body care products to play with while you are figuring out your lip, because I don't have enough time to go over all of what is happening, but yes, it is hard to pinpoint it down. Laser hair removal when done right really does work but it is very hard to tell what is causing darkening. You can't back and have it done until somebody figures out what is going on for you. But it works, nothing like laser hair removal.
00:58:35 Oh my god.
Allison: Yes, I got in other areas and it worked wonderfully. So – I don't know.
Paula Begoun: You have to find out what is darkening because it could be the baby hormones and stuff like that. Alright, thank you for calling and enjoy, Allison, all of the body products we are going to send you. You are going to get a whole big kit. So I only have a very brief time. I'm Paula Begoun, the Cosmetics Cop with my Paula's Choice team, Desiree Stordahl and Bryan Barron.
00:58:58 Next week we are going to be talking about menopause and mature skin. I'm not – well, we will tell you all about what mature skin is. Menopause, hot flashes, night sweats, the whole bit. We are going to help you feel younger even while your hormones are telling you you are older. On the 24th we are going to talk to James Todd from the Gene Jaurez, international hair stylist. Make us have the best hair salon experience. Get the hair design and cut and style we want. So you can be honest with your stylist and not leave feeling intimidated.
00:59:28 On the third, this is great, you are going to love this show. Splurge versus Steal: Identical cosmetics that are inexpensive but work as good if not better than what you can buy at the department store. Thanks everybody for listening. I love you. I love doing this. Really, this should count as aerobics, I'm telling you. So staying beautifully informed, we will talk to you next week. Thanks for listening. Good night.
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