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Questions & Answers with Dr. Irwin

Recently I got to ask Dr. Irwin, of Skin Tour, a few questions about skincare. She gave me some great answers.

1. What are ceramides and what do they do for your skin?
Ceramides are a type of fat (lipid) that is found in many cell membranes (the outer cover). When they are put on the skin in the form of a cream, they help to seal the spaces between the dead cells in the outer skin layer (stratum corneum). This helps the skin to retain moisture better and that’s useful for dry skin or patients with eczema.

2. What are the key anti-aging ingredients to look for in a night time moisturizer?
The key ingredient at night is still a Vitamin A cousin like Retinol (try to get a 1% cream), Renova, Retin A or the generic tretinoin. More than anything else these Vitamin A cousins have been shown to reduce wrinkles, reduce precancerous growths and help to prevent skin cancers. It makes your skin healthier overall and helps to reverse prior sun damage. If more moisture is needed, pick one compatible with how oily or dry your skin is.

3. What ingredients best treat hyperpigmentation?
This is a controversial question because the most effective (best?) treatment for too much pigment is still hydroquinone usually in a cream that is at least 4%. These can only be gotten in the United States by prescription. If hydroquinones are used too long or in too high a concentration, they can cause side effects. Thus the controversy.

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    • http://fiercenerditude.blogspot.com/ Vijaya

      I use a ceramide heavy lotion called CeraVe, and its helped my eczema immensely. I also use tretinoin at night.

      These were some awesome answers, though I sort of wish she’d explained the side effects of hydroquinone.

      • Phyrra

        I’ll probably get tapped to do another Q & A with her. What’s tretinoin?

        • http://fiercenerditude.blogspot.com/ Vijaya

          Tretinoin is the generic for Retin-A. =]

    • http://cheapchickpicks.blogspot.com eRiN

      I agree with Vijaya, since the side effects were mentioned in passing I’m now very curious as to what a “real” doctor has to say about it compared to internet gossip …

      Also, if you do get to do another post like this, I’m curious about argan oil. I did a little thing on my blog about it and was contacted by a Josie Maran rep claiming that their oil is somehow different from the rest, cold-pressed, blah blah blah. I’d love to know what a derm thinks about the whole thing – is it worth the hype, is there any real difference between brands who sell pure argan oil at different prices, etc!

      • Phyrra

        Yes, there’s another skincare Q & A coming up ;)