Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

During the winter, we rely on physical and chemical barriers to shield our skin from inclement weather. However unpleasant the snow, rain, or wind may be, the approaching season is far more unpleasant, because the arrival of spring means one thing – we can no longer hide behind pants and blazers.

That in mind, we are making a head start on skin-baring preparations, with a survey of the latest firming and smoothing treatments. From drugstores to spas, a vast array of cellulite treatments and smoothing lotions compete for consumer dollars, but all products are not created equal, and efficacy isn’t a woman’s only concern.

Smoothing agents simply take moisturizing creams and lotions to another level, by adding chemicals and natural ingredients that stimulate collagen and reduce inflammation, leaving supple skin and a uniform complexion.

Skin Medica’s TNS line (Tissue Nutrient Solution) includes the Recovery Complex Body Lotion, one of the few products on the market bringing complex cosmetic technology to body care products. The soft lotion leaves skin utterly smooth and blends in the perfect amount of time, but it seems they left the lab smell in the bottle. Another Medica body product, the Ceramide Replenishing Treatment, contains lipids, soybean oil and olive fruit oil. Meant for extremely dry, even cracked or scaly parts, like elbows and heels, this lotion leaves a matte finish and absorbs extra fast. The Healing Garden’s newest line, Body Definition, also contains ceramides, in addition to AHAs, but the line’s signature ingredient, Pro-Firma3, is a plant-based complex. This line is a thicker variety of body treatments, halfway between a lotion and cream; ingredients like sweet almond oil contribute to the lasting scent. But if you’re just looking for extra moisture year round, go natural with Tahitian Noni’s Moea Body Butter. With a consistency that matches the name, this citrus smelling salve is great for hands and feet, or dry skin anywhere, and leaves a light sheen that’s appropriate for summer.

For more than moisture, cellulite creams will temporarily tighten and tone skin, thereby reducing the appearance of dimples or folds. Nuxe recently released their anti-cellulite cream gel with the usual protagonist, caffeine, but also implemented Amazonian plants that treat and prevent the buildup of fatty deposits. The product contains Jangli seeds, an Indian plant said to eliminate fatty deposits when combined with caffeine. The bonus is a new smell that resembles brewed black tea. Avon’s Cellu-Sculpt is a member of the caffeine cult, but also contains ginkgo boloba and ginseng root, and performs like the competition. Babor’s new skin care line includes two relevant products, STOP cellulite gel and Firming Bust Gel. The cellulite gel smooths well, as most caffeine-based product do, but it’s the algae in the bust gel that produces real results. The product may be unnecessary for those size b or smaller, but for women who support full coverage and dread bikinis, this is a must-have. While it won’t emulate a surgical lift, it actually tightens the dermis thereby firming the bust area. Full figured women know what it’s like to lose form when lying out, especially in a string bikini. With consistent use, this product helps maintain bust form because as the skin tightens, the sagging lessens. It may be temporary, but it’s safe to say most any woman would welcome perky breasts in a bottle.

Whatever route you choose, extra moisture and toning agents are key. At the very least drinking more water, exercising, and moisturizing with richer products will help fill lines and dimples. Products with caffeine and plant extracts are effective because they make skin more taut. While the effects don’t last forever, it’s worth investing in an anti-cellulite cream before summer starts. Daily use for a few months before, and during beach weather will not only prepare you for the bikini, but will also ease the dressing room blues.

The Skin Medica regimen is prescribed and supervised by dermatologists. Information on products and participating physicians is available at http://www.skinmedica.com or by calling 888-867-0110

The Healing Garden Body Definition is sold at drugstores like CVS and Walgreens. Products range from 5 to 7 oz in size, and range from $6.75 to $12.95.

Tahitian Noni products are sold exclusively through their Web site, http://www.tni.com or by calling 888-869-9254. Products range from $22 for 3.4oz toners to $40 for .7oz serum.

Nuxe http://www.nuxe.com

Avon Cellu-Sculpt is $16 for 6.7oz and is available at http://www.avon.com or 800-for-avon

Babor 6.7 oz STOP cellulite gel is $65 and the 3.4oz bust firming gel is $40, available at Nordstrom, http://www.babor.com or by calling 888-222-6790

Originally published April 2005
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