Why I Gave Up Using Gel Nail Polish


shutterstock_108965735It’s the beginning of sandal season!  With the arrival of spring, many women will be heading to nail salons for a manicure or pedicure.  Spring break, Easter, Mother’s Day and graduations are all good reasons for wanting to pamper your fingers and toes.  Are you one of the millions of women who will choose to use a gel polish?  If so, there might be cause for you to reconsider that choice. I would like to share a personal experience. One I hope many of you will keep in mind as you head to nail salons this spring.


I have been getting manicures regularly for about 25 years.  Several years ago, I jumped on the gel polish bandwagon.  Gel polishes wear like iron.  They don’t chip, stay shiny and look flawless for at least 2 weeks.  I loved them, and although they cost twice as much as a regular manicure, the wear factor was worth it.  That was until an ‘age’ spot on my hand began to grow larger and darker.  There was something about it that did not look right so I went to see my dermatologist.

shutterstock_174193424It only took minutes for him to recognize that it was basal cell carcinoma.  Since I have very few spots or discoloration (Thank you Alpha Hydrox!), he asked me about manicures.  I told him I had been getting manicures for many years and had been using the new gel products for some time.  He shared that he was seeing a large increase in the number of women with unusual spots and discoloration on their hands.  He believes it is due to the UVA drying lights used with gel polishes.  Gel manicures use UVA drying lamps and are the same kind of ultraviolet light used in tanning beds. He immediately used cryosurgery to freeze the large dark spot. I was glad I had it checked but I left there knowing that I’d had my last gel manicure.

Of course, everyone is different.  Many women will use gel polishes without ever having a problem.  But is it worth the risk?  There are other reasons for reconsidering a gel polish manicure, as well.  Here are a few things I have since learned about gel polishes and UVA drying.shutterstock_175464287

  1. The UVA light used to dry the gel is known to damage skin cells much the same way as tanning beds.
  2. UVA lamps are not regulated and the wattage varies so the level of UVA exposure is unknown and inconsistent.
  3. Photo aging comes from UVA exposure. In other words, your nails might look great but the UVA exposure will cause the skin on your hands to age more quickly.
  4. Gel polishes block oxygen to the nail causing nails to become discolored, thin and brittle.

Some dermatologists suggest using a sunscreen before applying gel polishes. Another option is to wear UV-protective gloves with the fingertips cut off so only the nails are exposed to the light.  Neither of these is fool-proof and does not address the other concerns about gel polish like thin nails.  I still enjoy a manicure especially with today’s fun colors but I have not used gel products since that visit to the dermatologist.  A few polish chips seems like a small price to pay for stronger nails, younger-looking hands and a lower risk of skin cancer.



Posted in aging, Beauty, dermatology, hands, Nail care, Skin care, Sun exposure, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy New You!

shutterstock_125831666Is taking better care of your skin on your list of New Year’s resolutions?  What does that mean?  Does it mean washing your face before bed?  Could it mean wearing sunscreen every day?  Or does it mean committing to a daily skin care routine? Taking better care of your skin is not just one thing.  Like a healthy diet, it means doing a lot of little things that add up to healthier, fresher, younger-looking skin.

So let’s try a different approach to taking better care of your skin this year.  Why not focus on one resolution each month? It is easier than trying to change all your bad habits at one time.  Here are some suggestions for making changes to your skin care routine in 2015!

In January – Take off your make-up at the end of the day. Make-up traps skin oils, dirt and environmental pollutants to cause acne and dull skin.

shutterstock_229874356In February – Moisturize after washing your face and body.  Hot water can strip skin of natural oils leaving it dry and tight. Replace lost moisture with a lightweight lotion even if you have oily skin.

In March – Start wearing sunscreen every day.  It is easy and it is the best way to reduce and prevent signs of premature aging.

In April – Shower after exercise!  Trying to squeeze in a work out at lunch? Sweating is good.  It helps get rid of toxins but don’t let those toxins just sits on your skin too long.  It will lead to acne and blemishes.

In May – Exfoliate regularly.  Obviously, we recommend using AHAs to exfoliate skin but you can use gentle scrub as well. Be sure to exfoliate all parts of your body for soft, glowing skin from head to toe.

shutterstock_74417245In June – Clean make-up brushes regularly.  Brushes hold skin oils and become a breeding ground for bacteria.  Wash them at least once a month with lukewarm water and a mild soap.

In July – Take care of your hands.  Hands often take a beating and can give away your age. Give them a little extra TLC every day.  Use a SPF on your hands during the day and rich lotion on them at night.

In August – Stick to a program for at least 6 weeks.  That’s how long it will take to see a reduction in fine lines, acne improve and skin lighten.  Patience and diligence will pay off with a skin care routine.

In September – Schedule an annual skin check-up.  Follow up by doing a monthly self-exam as well.  Never let unusual moles, bumps or rashes go to long without seeing a dermatologist.

In October – Keep your hands off your face!  The germs and bacteria on your hands wind up on your face causing acne and irritation. Ohh, and clean that cell phone with anti-bacterial wipes for the same reason.

In November – Take care of your lips!  Use moisturizers and lip balms that have an SPF. Lips are the thinnest skin on the body and are more susceptible to sun damage than any other part of you.

shutterstock_158499944In December – Be aware of alcohol consumption. Alcohol leaves you dehydrated causing dryness, bloating and redness.  It also make some skin conditions like rosacea and broken capillaries worse.

At the end of 2015, your skin can look better than it has in years. By focusing on just one small change each month you can develop new skin care habits that will last a lifetime.  Just like a healthy diet, these changes are lifestyle changes that promise to make you healthier, younger-looking and truly comfortable in your own skin.  Best wishes and Happy New You!





Posted in acne, Anti-aging, moisturizers, Skin care, Skin care routine | Leave a comment

NEW! Doesn’t Always Mean Better

shutterstock_158149559Have you started using Alpha Hydroxy Acids yet?  You should!  Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs as they are commonly referred to, have been around for more than 20 years. They are made from natural fruit acids and are one of the simplest, easiest things you can use to help improve the appearance of skin. They are a natural chemical exfoliants.  AHAs gently loosen glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface.  Removing the dead skin cells sends a message to the body that it needs to produce new cells.  This promotes cellular turnover and brings newer, healthier, fresher skin cells to the surface so skin looks radiant and glowing.

These are just a few of the benefits of using Alpha Hydroxy Acids:

  • They work on all skin types.
  • They help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • They help to even skin tone and texture.
  • They help skin feel softer and smoother.
  • They help to improve acne or problem-prone skin.
  • They help to unclog pores.
  • They help to reduce the appearance of scars.
  • They help to increase collagen production.
  • Unlike other skin care treatments, you will continue to see improvement the longer you use them.

shutterstock_108925463So why should you use Alpha Hydrox over another brand of Alpha Hydroxy Acid?  Alpha Hydrox products are formulated with the proper pH level. All of our formulas include other highly effective ingredients like hyaluronic acid.  We are committed to making only effective high quality products. Best of all, Alpha Hydrox products are truly affordable.  All our products are less than                                                                                           $20 and many cost about $10.

Don’t believe us?  Find out for yourself!  Read the reviews on Amazon.com or dermstore.com.  Watch the video reviews on YouTube or visit our Facebook page and read what others have said about our products.  Then decide for yourself.  New isn’t always better.  Alpha Hydrox has been around for more than 20 years for one very good reason; it’s still The One That Works!

For our full line of products and more information visit http://www.neotericcosmetics.com/alpha-hydrox/products/new-generation.html

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AHAs and the Sun

shutterstock_149502233 At Alpha Hydrox we want to help you to make good, well-informed decisions about skin care products and how to use them.  We have recently found that there seems to be a lot of confusion regarding AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids) and whether or not they increase sensitivity to the sun. We thought we would take this opportunity to clarify the information.


AHAs are natural exfoliates.  They are derived from natural ingredients like sour milk, grapes and sugar cane.  When used in skin care products, these natural fruit acids loosen the glue-like bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface of skin.  If you are not using AHAs as part of your skin care routine the top layer of cells is fairly thick.  This thick layer of dead cells is the body’s natural way of providing protection from the sun.

When you begin using an AHA treatment product, it gradually exfoliates the layer of dead cells from the skin’s surface.  AHAs allow newer, fresher, healthier cells to come to emerge.  That’s a good thing. The newer, healthier cells are what makes your skin look younger and more radiant. Skin feels softer and smoother.  Fine lines, wrinkles and dark spots are less noticeable. As unwanted cells are removed, however, so is your natural protection from the sun.

sheer silk AHAs do not make you more sensitive to the sun.  They simply remove the layer of dead cells.  There are ingredients that do make you more sensitive.  For example, retinoids, also known as retinol or Retin-A can cause significant sun sensitivity.  Many people will stop using retinoids in the summer for that very reason.  Although, sun exposure any time of year is equally  damaging.


If you are using an alpha hydroxy acids as part of your daily skin care routine you must wear a sunscreen to replace what is lost from the dead cells.  Some people think that if you are using AHAs at night, you do not need to wear a sunscreen during the day.  At Alpha Hydrox, we suggest that you wear a sunscreen every day year round. We all know that the sun can damage skin and accelerates the aging process. Why take chances when wearing a sunscreen is so easy?  You can still enjoy feeling the sun on your face.


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Let’s Face It


For most people in their early to mid twenties, skin care is not of big concern, although it should be! It is difficult to worry about taking care of your skin. In particular, if you have good skin at this age, it’s easy to neglect a good skin care regiment. This raises the important question, if you have good skin, when should a person start using skin care products to avoid the signs of aging later?

It is never too early to take the necessary steps toward maintaining the good skin that you have now to preserve it later on! Ask anyone from older generations if they wished they had taken better care of their skin at a younger age, and they will probably say yes. If they had started using skin shutterstock_101538550care products earlier on, they would not be faced with issues such as skin cancer and sunspots today.

If you want to maintain the good skin that you have today, then you need to take the necessary precautions now, such as using skin care treatments. Making little adjustments now, like always wearing sunscreen, will make a big difference down  the road! Things such as wearing a hat   outside to protect your face from the damaging UV rays from the sun and always removing  makeup before you go to bed are key factors to maintaining flawless, radiant skin throughout your life!


Posted in aging, Beauty, Uncategorized, women, wrinkles, Youth | Leave a comment

Under My Skin



shutterstock_184661720When it comes to beauty, trends seem to focus on the outer appearance. From spring fashion tips to makeup must haves, we are surrounded by outer beauty themes.  That is why we would like to suggest a changing the focus on health and beauty. Rather than highlighting outer beauty concepts, let’s consider ways to nurture inner beauty. We are going to dive under the skin and concentrate on the things we do not see, like the importance of breathing. Hopefully, focusing on inner beauty will lead to a healthier and happier you, from the inside out!

There seems to be a major focus on being skinny these days. Instead of focusing on losing the pounds, why not focus on becoming fit? Strength training for example, is a great way to stay in shape and has a positive impact on your mental and emotional health. Strengthen your core to achieve more than just a six-pack and your body will thank you later. In addition, maintaining adequate strength and flexibility supports simple daily activities like getting in and out of bed. Having a strong core leads to better posture and less back pain which contribute to feeling beautiful.

Inner beauty also includes taking the time to take care of yourself. Annual doctor appointments are important and allow your inner beauty to shine through. Make yourself a priority and remember to schedule those pesky annual exams.

Good health and a sense of inner beauty can be as simple as remembering to breathe. Breathing may sound like an easy thing to do and an automatic function.  The truth is breathing affects virtually every part of shutterstock_167632622the body. It helps to reduce stress and calm the mind. So, breathing properly is very important.

You can also be healthier from the inside out by simply enjoying nutritious food. Having a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables affects your physicality and helps you  to stay healthy. A healthy diet not only fuels your body but it also gives you the nutrition you need to feel your best.

So, lets change the conversation on beauty trends, and focus more on inner beauty! Beauty is more than just skin deep! What does inner beauty mean to you?


Posted in Beauty, breathing, Culture, happiness, Health, healthy food, inner beauty, Natural, outer beauty, Uncategorized, women | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Thoughts on Aging Gracefully

shutterstock_61408123We have all heard the phrase, ‘aging gracefully’. But what does that really mean?  Truth be told, it is different for everyone.  Men age differently than women.  Health, lifestyle and financial resources are often factors.  For many, aging gracefully means focusing is on appearance.  Do I have wrinkles?  Is my skin sagging?  Am I overweight?  These questions are often a result a youth culture and mixed messages from the media. These questions, however, do not really reflect the essence of ‘aging gracefully’.

After reading a variety of articles, blogs, forums and quotes on aging gracefully, the answer seems run much deeper than simply deciding whether or not to have plastic surgery.  Here are some of the thoughts and phrases on aging gracefully that were expressed over and over again by women of a certain age.

  • I am not going to pretend I’m younger or apologize for my age.  I’m going to celebrate it!
  • Aging gracefully is being authentic.1
  • I know myself better and I know how strong I am.  That’s aging gracefully
  • Aging gracefully is a result of living gracefully.
  • I know the joy of feeling comfortable and confident.
  • Aging gracefully is trying new things, traveling to distant places, letting go of anger and forgiving others.

Blogger Grandma Briefs writes, “When it comes to aging gracefully, forget the face creams and hair color and exercises. The physical manifestations of what others see as we rack up the years.  Instead, I prefer to focus on a different kind of trait that others see…..attitude.”shutterstock_140839714

Thoughts on aging gracefully, were somewhat different among younger women. Their comments were often a bit negative maybe even a little backhanded.

  • Aging gracefully is looking old, but embracing it.
  • Growing old with a smile on your face and hiding all the aches and pains.
  • Aging gracefully means being the best you can be, preferably, naturally.
  • Showing signs of aging, but still moving forward in life is aging gracefully.

Huffington Post blogger Janie Emaus writes of her mother, “I hope that younger women will look at me the way I look at my 80-year-old mother. I’d like for them to notice the laugh lines around my eyes and know that my life was filled with humor and that every wrinkle on my hand tells a story that only I can tell.”

Sue Ann Cooper is the founder The Red Hat Society, an organization dedicated to a playful, joyful life for women over 50.  She encourages women to not make a split-second judgment on appearance.  “Many women have had incredible lives and careers and still have a great sense of humor and a lot of intellect, and the culture, will write them off: “Oh, she’s an old lady and she’s overweight.”shutterstock_19551583 (1)So where do you find yourself on the spectrum of ‘aging gracefully’?  

This weekend is Memorial Day weekend and the beginning of summer in most parts of the country.  As a woman of a certain age, how will you spend the summer?  Will you don a bathing suit?  Will you worry that the sun will make your wrinkles and age spots more noticeable?  Or will you wear a hat, go for a hike and end a summer day with a dip in the pool as you dream of your next adventure?




Posted in aging, Attitude, Beauty, Culture, hands, Health, Natural, Skin care, summer, Travel, women, wrinkles, Youth | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment