How to treat dry cracked fingers

Have you ever experienced dry cracked fingers or thumbs?  Many people who live through cold, dry winters are plagued by this malady.  As a recently retired dermatologist I know lots of easy tricks:

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  1. The first and best approach involves prevention. By this I mean wear gloves as much as possible to avoid hurting your hands. Thus I always told my patients that as soon as the outside temperature dropped below 50 degrees, they need to start wearing gloves when outdoors. So when I walk the dog, or get the mail, or take out the trash, etc. I wear gloves. I usually wear cashmere-lined leather gloves because they’re soft and relatively warm. These black gloves are from Lands End. I love them because the’re supple and they have that special design on the index finger which allows me to use my phone with my gloves on.

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2. Wear gloves when washing dishes or using cleaning supplies. I actually have gloves hanging from all my under sink cabinets so I’m not tempted “just this once” to skip them. The dishwashing detergents and cleansers are very irritating to the hands. These blue gloves are called Bluettes and they’re great for doing dishes and other house work.

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3. Whenever I wash my hands I apply hand cream right afterwards. I use several different hand creams depending on where I am. Here are photos of a few of my favorites.

4. Carry a tube of hand cream in your car so when you’re at a stop light you can cream up.

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5. Once the cracks occur, the best trick I recommend is to seal the cracks as soon as you notice them with a drop of Skin Crack Care. This will temporarily seal the skin edges so the crack won’t hurt so much. It’s especially helpful to apply this right before bed so that more healing can occur while you sleep.

6. Lastly if all this doesn’t do the trick, go see your dermatologist as they can prescribe a steroid cream that will help decrease the inflammation and aid in healing.

I know as a long-time eczema sufferer, cracked fingers and thumbs hurt A LOT!   These tricks work but they’re a bit tedious.  Give them a try.  If you know someone else who suffers from this condition, please pass on my blog post.

Thanks!

Dr. Julie 

Affiliate link disclaimer 

Please note referral and affiliate links in my posts may generate a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.  Thank you!

The Best Lipstick 💄 Ever!

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I just returned from a visit to Florida where I stayed with a girlfriend and her hubby, and another great friend. We had a lovely laid back time and they teased me that I was the only person they knew who kept reapplying her lipstick.  When I explained that in fact I just apply it once or twice each day they were shocked.  They demanded that I “spill” about my “lipstick tricks”.

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My lipstick is the best one I’ve ever found.  It’s  Maybelline’s SuperStay 24 Color.  The shade I usually wear is 010 Reliable Raspberry.  This stuff actually lasts 24 hours if I don’t remove it!  I know, I know you’re thinking I’m kidding.  Or you’re thinking it dries out your lips...  But I’m not kidding!  It’s a terrific product.  And I’ve figured out several tricks to make it the Perfect Lipstick 💄. 

  1. Start with clean smooth lips. If you’re lips are rough,wet them with a soft wet washcloth. Rub off any dry skin. Pat dry.

  2. Apply the lipstick by opening the side of the Maybelline SuperStay 24 that has the color on it. Put on a thin coat. Smack your lips together and then only reapply to the areas that are devoid of the tint.

  3. If you accidentally “missed” your lips and applied product to the skin around your lips, now is the time to clean up those mistakes by using the Almay makeup remover tips. These ingenious swabs contain a small amount of makeup remover in them. You simply snap off the tip and hold it upright to allow the liquid to flow into the opposite remaining tip. Then you gently swipe it over the areas you wish to correct.

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4. Once you like the way you’re lips 👄 look, apply the “gloss” that’s on the other end of your Maybelline Super Stay 24. What I like about this step is the gloss isn’t shiny or sticky. It just gently hydrates your lips and doesn’t stain your wineglasses, coffee cups or grandkids when you kiss them!!!

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5. At night when I remove all my makeup I take one Almay oily makeup remover pad and gently rub it all over my lips to remove the product. Then I wipe that off with a Kleenex or cotton pad.

6. Lastly I apply some Baby Lips clear lip balm while I sleep.

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Now I know you might be thinking this seems like a whole lot of work for a lipstick.  The reason it’s TOTALLY WORTH THE TROUBLE is because it looks GREAT all the time.  AND you don’t need to find your eye glasses every time you eat or drink something to reapply.  For the most part whenever I eat a meal, I just reapply the “gloss” side.  I only reapply the color if I see an obvious spot where it’s worn off.

Lastly the way I transport this routine is as follows:

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I purchase these lipstick cases from Amazon.  In these I carry several of the Almay makeup remover swabs as well as these dental floss sticks.  The case has a mirror so I check my lips and teeth, clean them and reapply the Maybelline color if needed, clean any mistakes, gloss up and am good to go.  Thus in my purse I carry the actual Maybelline Super Stay 24 and the little lipstick case.  Worth the trouble. I promise.

The very last suggestion I have for you is in order to pick your color, you might have to head to Walgreens or CVS for the first time to see your color options.  After that use Amazon for all of it.  That’s what I do.

If you click on these items in this post as an Amazon affiliate I’ll get a teensy commission, but at no extra cost to you. Thanks!  Please let me know below in the comments if you like these lip products or if you have an even better solution!  💋 💋 💋 

XO!

Julie

This is What Dr. Julie Uses Everyday

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As a very recently retired dermatologist I am often asked what do I really use on my face and neck for an anti-aging skin care routine? This is it. This is what I do each morning and night.

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you have to search in multiple bins, drawers and purses to find your products? We all WANT to get on top of our game but things tend to hide from us frequently in “plain view”. So what’s a girl to do? Look no further. Here’s the skinny and even better here’s how to avoid the “lost crap syndrome”. I headed over to Homegoods and bought several black divided baskets; one for the AM routine and one for the bedtime ritual.

First is the morning basket. It contains six products. I know I hear you saying, “six products, is she nuts?”. The answer is EACH product I use personally every morning before my makeup and they take several seconds (total) to apply. And THEY WORK! (This week I was filling out a dermatology resume form for an upcoming meeting so I thought for those of you that have never seen my skin close up I would include this very recent photo of me at 62. I believe I have good looking skin and skin care products have played a big role in my success. You be the judge.)

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These are the six products I use each morning. Many used to be only available in doctors’ offices but now all these items (in this entire blog) are all available at Amazon except Latisse. (Yay!).

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For purposes of photographing the items I actually just used the boxes of the Neocutis products. This was because the silver bottles due to their curved shape don’t show as well as their boxes. I arranged them in the order that I apply them. The first product is Microfirm and it is applied to the entire neck and décolletage. (All the Neocutis products are in airless pumps so they don’t oxidize and change colors.). The skin on the neck and décolletage is very thin, delicate and prone to sagging, wrinkles, and creasing. This product is creamy but not greasy and easily rubs in and does not stain your clothing. It contains antioxidants, moisturizers, exfoliant and MPC. MPC is Neocutis’ blend of peptides to make more elastin (helps the laxity of the skin), boost collagens III and IV (helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles), and forms thin loose skin. It contains Vitamin C, Argan oil, and Jojoba oils which infuse moisture in the skin.

Over this I apply No. 7 Restore and Renew Face and Neck Serum. This feels like a primer, very smooth and it has skin firming and lightening properties.

Product number 3 is Obagi Clear and it has been around for thirty years!! It has hydroquinone 2% and it lightens dark spots without lightening the surrounding normal skin. I just apply it to any brown spots on my face, neck, hands and chest.

Product number 4 is Olay Regenerist Whip with SPF 25. I like this as a moisturizer and Sunscreen. It has some collagen peptides for anti-aging and easily applies over the aforementioned items. I use it all over my neck, and décolletage.

Products number 5 and 6 are both from Neocutis. The first, Microday goes all over my face. It is tinted and acts like a makeup primer (helps makeup go on smoothly and stay in place), as well as a sunscreen. It contains the MPC mentioned above in the neck product Microfirm, so it defends against free radical damage, has Vitamin C and E, green tea extract, and skin plumping hyaluronic acid. The last product Microeye targets the delicate skin around the eyes. It hydrates the skin and reduces fine lines and wrinkles. I apply it from my brow bone, over my lids and right down to my under eye (“bag”) area. All these items go on so quickly that by the time I put the lids back on and pop them back in their AM basket, I’m good to go with my actual makeup ( stay tuned for a future post on those goodies).

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Now here’s the nighttime routine. I know it looks like a lot. I’ll be as brief as I can but I SWEAR each item serves a useful purpose and thus are USED by me nightly.

The first product I use at night is Almay eye makeup remover pads for long lasting and waterproof makeup. These pads are great but I only use them on my LIPS to remove my long-wearing lipstick (future blog). Once I remove the lipstick with a few swipes of the above pad, I then grab the second item which is a cotton pad. This gently removes the excess oil and lipstick residue. Next I tear open the Systane Lid wipes. These are AWESOME at removing my waterproof mascara because they don’t cause my eyelids to flake. I learned of these from my new ophthalmologist who thought I had a skin condition called seborrheic blepharitis. Imagine being a dermatologist for 30 plus years and intermittently having flaky eyelids!!! All this was solved in one visit with these pads!!

Back to my nightly ritual: Once my lips and eyes are clean, I apply a small amount of Neocutis’ exfoliating gel cleanser to my heels and if any is left over the rest goes on my dry shins. To give this a two minutes to work, I floss my teeth with Glide floss (so smooth, doesn't fray) and brush my teeth.

Once the two minutes of teeth brushing are completed I typically hop in the bath or shower for a quick wash. I use Dermalogica Special gel cleanser and I love how it leaves my face clean but not tight. I rinse the heel and shin exfoliating gel off and pat dry all over. I then slather on Glytone body lotion on my body, arms, legs, and feet. Then for my face I apply Latisse to my eyelids and eyebrows. This enhances my eyelash and eyebrow hair length and thickness. (When you initially start this you use it nightly. After the first four months you only need to use it twice weekly to maintain the cosmetic result). To my entire face, eyelids, neck and décolletage I apply a small amount of Roc’s RetinaRl Correction Sensitive Night Cream. This is the BOMB! Retinal is a mild form of RetinA and has decades of research as the best anti-aging product ever developed. It stimulates collagen, lightens dark spots and makes the skin recreate its earlier beauty. But in most cases RetinA is VERY irritating, making the skin red and chapped. THIS product by Roc is well-tolerated by me and I highly recommend it. I apply Neocutis Microserum over the Roc Retinal on my face, neck, and décolletage. This product is a “night cream” that isn’t greasy but has the highest concentration of MPC of this line. Lots of collagen and elastin production while I sleep. Lastly I apply Baby Lips lip balm to moisturize my lips. Finally, I’m ready for bed! Yay, me!

PS. As a retired dermatologist I recommend that NONE of these products be used by any woman who is either pregnant, attempting pregnancy or nursing without the EXPRESS approval of your obstetrician or pediatrician.

PPS. As I mentioned ALL these items are available at Amazon. But if I were you I would GO SLOWLY with this routine. Just to save you unnecessary trouble. You should really try ONE product every THREE or FOUR days, continually adding until you’re finished acclimating to this plan. This way if you get red or irritated you’ll be able to pinpoint and eliminate just the offending culprit. Let me know how it goes and if you think I am right on all this. We’re all learning. I’ve tried hundreds of products (as a dermatologist they were all free so I wasn’t influenced by price) and this routine though daunting is really effective and in my mind FUN! Good luck!

XO Dr. Julie

Wedding arms and other tips...

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Recently I went to a lovely wedding.  I was talking to a guest and she remarked that she never feels comfortable wearing a sleeveless dress to dressy events because she feels her arms are too crepey.

She asked me if I had any easy dermatological tricks for that.  I said that as we age we all tend to lose laxity in our skin due to sun damage as well as loss of skin thickness due to the effects of menopause.  We lose bone density in all our bones including our arms   and our skin gets laxer and dryer. All this results in loose skin that’s too drapey in nature. 

There are numerous longer term options to improve this that I’ll discuss in a later post. But for this post I’ll tell you exactly what I do before a big event.

    1.    For two weeks before the event I do this very simple Tracy Austin five minute exercise routine using one or two pound weights.  This increases the muscle tone and improves the skin laxity.

    2.    For the same two weeks in the shower.I gently wash my arms all over with Glytone mild gel cleanser.  I rinse well. Pat dry and within five minutes I then apply Amlactin ultra smoothing  intensely hydrating cream all over my arms.  This actually hydrates the dry arm skin and increases collagen production.  Collagen is part of the support system of our skin and tends to decrease as we age.  (This is great to use all year round on your skin and will gradually improve the texture of all aging skin). On the face it can sometimes sting so other options will be discussed on “My favorite skin products” post.

    3.    Then on the day of the event I apply Remede Body Contour lotion preferably right after a long ten minute soak in a warm bath.  The bath hydrates my skin. Then again I pat dry and within five minutes I liberally apply this to my arms and legs.  I discovered this little gem on vacation with my husband in Hawaii.  It was included in my spa treats.  I LOVE this product as it gently tightens your skin for the next four or five hours.  If you’re the mother-of-the-bride and still in the thick of photos take a quick time-out and go reapply to those exposed arms while touching up your makeup (put it in a travel-size bottle).

    4.    When you take any photos try to put your hand on your hip. What this does is it makes your arm look thinner as you’re not squishing your arm against your side which looks less flattering.

Here you see me (and my arms) wearing a royal blue gently ruched sleeveless dress.  I love the color and the style is very flattering as well as forgiving. 

I paired it with a silver lame wrap, a long strand of pearls, a pearlized clutch with a rhinestone clasp and a pair of kitten-heeled silver Stuart Weitzman sandals.  The purse is actually white but because of the pearly quality it reads silver especially when paired with the silver shawl.  

My last tip is that with any sleeveless top to insure that your bra doesn’t peak out I have a dress maker or tailor put in lingerie straps that snap over my shoulder strap of my bra,  and secure it to my dress shoulder seam.  Another option is to buy these shoulder strap retainers (Amazon).  These are cool as they’re transferable from one outfit to another as they just pin onto the inside of your dress shoulder seam.

Hopefully these tips will improve the skin of your arms so you can feel more comfortable rocking that sleeveless dress.  My goal for 35 years as a cosmetic dermatologist was not to have the patient look like a teenager, but just to look as good as possible for their current phase in life.  

Happy Wedding Day!!!