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{Our Skin}

What's the real skinny on great skin? FOF spoke to top scientists to get the truth - not the trends.

Facial Hair? Melasma? Barnacles?!

Wilma Bergfeld, M.D.
Cleveland Clinic Center, Anatomic Pathology

Wilma Bergfeld, M.D. is a Senior Dermatologist and Professor of Dermatology at the Cleveland Clinic. She is also the Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Dermatopathology Fellowship. Dr Bergfeld’s specialty interests include clinical dermatology, dermatopathology, hair disorders, androgen excess, photoaging and cosmetic dermatology.

FOF skin issues can be . . . scary. Let’s face them together.

Posted on August 04, 2010

A whole new crop of skin issues can arise after fifty, says Dr. Wilma Bergfeld, MD, senior dermatologist at The Cleveland Clinic. Here, she shares the 5 most common and explains what you can do about them. The good news: they’re all fixable if you face them head on.

  • Image

    Rosacea can give you a permanently
    "flushed" appearance.

    1. Rosacea.
    “During menopause, women who get hot flashes can experience facial flushing. As the blood vessels across the cheeks and face continually fill up with blood, they can become permanently dilated, also known as rosacea. Once the blood vessels are damaged, they’re irritated by anything that causes flushing, including alcohol, spicy food, caffeine and hormones. This can progress into red bumps (papular rosacea) due to infectious agents such as mites found in hair follicles. Your body mounts an inflammatory response to the agents, but it can’t get rid of the problem, so it stays inflamed.” 
    • Solution: “Laser treatments in your dermatologist’s office can get rid of the dilated blood vessels. To treat the bumps, wash your face every day with a detergent cleanser—not just a toner or makeup remover. If you have oily skin, try an acne cleanser. For dry skin, use a moisturizing cleanser with no fragrance, such as Cetaphil, Ceraphe or Aveeno. A peel can also reduce the bumps; Neutrogena makes a nice one that works.” 
  • 2. Skin sensitivities. “As women age, they often begin using “anti-aging” products that may exacerbate skin problems. Fair skin populations—light hair, light eyes—have to be exceedingly careful with what they use on their skin. Anti-aging ingredients such as acids or salts can actually burn their skin or cause hives. On the other hand, women with oily skin can end up with acne from heavy, “hydrating” moisturizers.  
    • Solution: Make sure you pick an anti-aging product that’s marketed to your skin type. Labels like “for oily skin” and “for dry skin” really matter. Pay attention to that marketing.
  • 3. “Barnacles of aging.” “I use this term to describe the increase in tumors—benign and malignant—that we see with aging skin. Brown spots—such as freckles or moles—grow and develop a warty character. These are actually tumors. They’re normally not dangerous, but they can be confused with melanoma. If you have one that’s worrying you, get a biopsy.  
    • Solution: “Once formed, these ‘barnacles’ can be peeled or frozen off by your doctor. The best way to prevent them is to maintain your health and immunity by eating a good diet, exercising, staying out of the sun and maintaining a healthy vitamin D level. Anti-aging products can help by maintaining the strength of your skin, and helping it act as a barrier.”  
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    In 2009, the paparazzi caught FOF
    Madonna in a "hairy" situation.

    4. Facial hair.
    “As your estrogen diminishes, testosterone can dominate, resulting in increased facial hair, especially on your chin, upper lip and cheeks.”
    • Solution: “Excess hair growth can be treated with hormone replacement as well as some topical agents like Vaniqua, an enzyme inhibitor, or Aveeno Postively Smooth moisturizer, which uses soy to reduce hair. I don’t recommend plucking or even waxing, because any tugging can cause pimples which can leave discoloration. Instead, I recommend using a men’s electric nasal clipper. Women can trim all over their faces without leaving any marks. If he hair is really dark or thick, I recommend laser treatments. 
  • 5. Melasma. “These are dark skin discolorations--brown patches—that can appear on the skin, especially for Asian or Indian women.”
    • Solution: “Bleaching creams such as hydroquinone and Retin A will lighten these dark spots and peels are helpful as well. To prevent them, be vigilant about protecting your skin from the sun with a strong physical sunblock containing zinc or titanium oxide.” 

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Teri Newman - post on 19:09 on 11/28/2010

Easy and cheap skin softening
"I prefer baths to showers and I like to soak. I used Vaseline bath oil products which are nice but the best thing is my baby oil spray. I put generic baby oil in a spray bottle and "mist" my legs, arms, etc., and rub it in. After drying off, it leaves my skin soft and supple and no itchy, dry skin in the winter. It locks in the moisture from the bath and leaves me baby soft!"
tobylance@msn.com - post on 15:59 on 02/06/2012 replied to Teri Newman

Easy and cheap skin softening
"Teri, What an absolutely fabulous idea. I use baby oil after I shower but never considered putting it in a spray bottle. The misting will certainly be better than my current method. Thank you ever so much for posting. You have made my day!!!!!"
Dreamatology - post on 16:57 on 10/06/2010

"I suffered from Melasma after my kids were born... I was able to get rid of sun damage with an OTC solution (until now, only Obagi has been available which is prescription only) The #1 cause of aging is sun damange... because it collects beneath the skin's surface and doesn't reflect light.... leaving your skin dull and aged... I do have a solution, but I don't like to market on these kinds of fabulous networks... friend me if you want to know more..."
yvonnej - post on 23:38 on 09/05/2010

puffy eyes
"is there anything new for bags under the eyes?"
cobrateacher - post on 14:40 on 08/10/2010

Permanent treatments are't permanent
"A couple of years ago, I spent a small fortune to have laser treatments for facial hair. The dermatologist said they would be permanent. Not only were they not permanent; the hair grew back heavier and darker than before! I'll gladly try your solution to the problem!"
hananghaddar - post on 18:09 on 08/05/2010

"I am in my 30's and i noticed a facial hair growth after i started taking birth control pills. Will Vaniqua help me get rid of the hair? Thank you."
rodiehl - post on 12:58 on 08/05/2010

Adult Acne
"What about adult acne?? Sometimes I feel I need to go back to high school. Right now all of my chin and jaw are covered. Benzoil Peroxide only helps a bit."
KAPUMAKA - post on 12:42 on 08/05/2010

BetsyG - post on 10:26 on 08/05/2010

"any solutions if you have spent your previous decade plucking facial hair will vaniqua and shaving help now?"
Q&A with Olay: Get a Total Body Glow with Dr. Peredo
Aargh! What is happening to my skin?
Facial Hair? Melasma? Barnacles?!