Thursday, November 19, 2009

American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery Opposes Cosmetic Surgery Tax

/PRNewswire/ -- As negotiators on Capitol Hill try to find ways to fund a health care overhaul, a 5% tax on cosmetic surgery has been introduced on Nov. 18 as part of the Senate's proposed health reform bill, introduced by US Senator Harry Reid (D-NV). The American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery strongly opposes such taxes and urges legislators to consider the following points:

-- A tax on elective cosmetic procedures is an unreliable, risky revenue
source that has no proven record of raising projected revenues.
-- The difficulty of defining elective vs. medically-necessary cosmetic
surgery. There is a blurry line between what procedures are considered
medically-necessary and those that are elective.
-- Retention of highly-skilled physicians is at risk. Physicians face
many challenges in operating their practices on a day-to-day basis.
Turning them into tax-collectors is an additional burden on these
-- Cosmetic surgery is not a specialty for only the wealthy or the vain.
In fact, the median income for those electing to have cosmetic surgery
is dropping.
-- Despite the fact that more men are seeking cosmetic procedures than
ever, the largest portion of patients are still working women, who
would be unfairly targeted by such taxes.
-- A large portion of those being taxed would be the baby-boomer
generation. And as this age group continues to age, the more interest
will be generated in cosmetic procedures. It is important to note that
the age bracket are most likely to vote in elections is the same as
those who are electing to have cosmetic procedures.

"Activating a cosmetic surgery tax is not the solution to funding a health care overhaul," states AACS Immediate Past President Dr. Steven Hopping. "While it appears that this is currently a serious consideration, this idea concerns us."

Such a tax has been proposed in numerous states over the years and rejected after examining the feasibility. The only state to approve such a tax has been New Jersey, which has failed to realize proposed profits from the bill and faces opposition from the same legislators who approved it in the first place.

"Implementing such a bill would be a bad idea for patients and physicians," Hopping said.

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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A new you for the new year

(ARA) - With the New Year just around the corner, could it be time for a new you? Have you been wearing the same outfits, in the same order? Has your hair and make-up regimen remained unchanged for the last decade? Reinventing your style can give you a new attitude and outlook. And with a few simple updates, you shouldn't have to worry about breaking your budget.

A new style does not mean a whole new wardrobe. "You can start with garments you already have in your closet," says Anne Hankey Forman, fashion marketing and management instructor at The Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago.

"Mix up the way you wear your pieces," suggests Art Institute of Philadelphia fashion instructor Karen Karuza. "If you always wear a white blouse with a black skirt, try wearing a lavender sweater."

Adding new accessories can bring last year's - or last decade's - outfit back to life. Mary Jo Miller, department chair of fashion and retail management at The Art Institute of Atlanta, says: "Scarves, hats and gloves make your current wardrobe more up-to-date." Shoppers may want to consider getting those accessories in purple, the hot color this season.

Karuza agrees: "Accessorize! Accessorize! Accessorize!" She recommends costume jewelry, belts and colored tights as well.

A new pair of trendy shoes is another simple way to update your look. "They're a fun and easy item that makes you look trend forward," says Forman. And what is the hottest foot trend this season? Both Forman and Miller agree you can't go wrong with the over-the-knee boot. Miller suggests, "Wear them with your skinny jeans, dresses, jackets and leggings from last year's trends and have an instant update."

What about getting professional help to update some older garments? "Make sure the garment is worth it," cautions Forman. Karuza agrees that the garment has to be a high enough quality to justify the cost of a great tailor.

If you can spend a few extra dollars on some new garments, Miller offer this advice, "It's critical that you remain true to your own style and remember that not every trend works on every body." Forman adds: "Dress for your body type, invest in classics, think about what makes sense for your lifestyle and dress for the life that you have."

And instead of looking just to your closet for a new look, take a look in the mirror. Both Miller and Forman agree that a different hairstyle and new make-up can dramatically change and update your style.

When reinventing your style, what's the top "don't"? All three fashionistas agree - do not overspend.

They suggest you create a budget and stick to it. Make sure the trends you buy today are still wearable tomorrow. And don't sacrifice quality for quantity. Karuza cautions, "Don't spend a lot or over-invest until you've test driven your reinvention!"

If you're a fashionista looking for a career in style, learn more about options at The Art Institutes schools by visiting

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saving Face 101: How to Customize Your Skin Care Routine With Your Skin Type

/PRNewswire/ -- Finding the right skin care routine starts with understanding the unique needs of your skin type. For example, people with dry skin can benefit from applying moisturizer several times a day; whereas, those with oily skin might need to apply a lightweight moisturizer only once a day, if at all. Customization is key, and dermatologists can help people of all ages and skin types select products based on their individual skin care needs.

Speaking today at the American Academy of Dermatology's SKIN academy (Academy), Sonia Badreshia-Bansal, MD, FAAD, a dermatologist in private practice in Danville, Calif., discussed the importance of an individualized approach to good skin care and offered basic tips for the most common skin types.

"No matter what your skin type, using daily moisturizer and practicing year-round sun protection are vital to maintaining healthy, glowing skin," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "That's because with adequate hydration and use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, the skin has the advantage of protecting itself from free radicals and harmful ultraviolet radiation that cause skin damage, discoloration, premature wrinkles and even skin cancer. Over time, a careful and consistent skin care routine with products designed for specific skin types can gradually improve the overall health and appearance of the skin."

Combination Skin Tips

For many people, their skin has areas that are dry and oily, which is classified as combination skin. With this skin type, the forehead, nose or chin might be oily, but the cheeks could be dry. For combination skin, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal recommends using a mild cleanser that minimizes sebum removal. In addition, a medium-weight lotion with broad-spectrum sunscreen containing many different sunscreen ingredients is beneficial.

"To improve skin texture, prevent fine lines and wrinkles, and help even skin color - especially to help lighten dark spots - an over-the-counter retinol cream or a prescription tretinoin cream can be used during the evening skin care regimen to maintain skin health and prevent future damage," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "However, when beginning use of tretinoin, the strength should be gradually increased due to its potential to irritate the skin, followed by vigilant use of a moisturizer to help offset any dryness or peeling."

Dry Skin Tips

For dry skin, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal recommends washing the face twice a day with a gentle cleanser or creamy wash with mild detergent. She suggests applying a moisturizer with sunscreen once a day right after cleansing while the skin is still damp, as this can help seal in moisture.

"If the skin begins to feel tight, reapplying moisturizer midday will help to improve skin hydration," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "A sunscreen-containing moisturizer in a smoothing cream formulation that contains antioxidants, plus dimethicone, grape seed oil or petrolatum, which prevent water loss from the skin, also is helpful."

In some cases where the skin is very dry, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal noted that cleansing the face at night - when it is the dirtiest - may be the only time necessary to wash the face to prevent stripping the skin of its natural oils. If so, she advised rinsing the face with cool water in the morning to help maintain natural oils.

When exfoliating flaky skin, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal suggested that exfoliating once a week is sufficient. Since dry skin can be sensitive, gentle retinols should be applied sparingly to start - such as every other night - along with a moisturizing cream to help even skin tone, texture and color while continuing to hydrate the skin.

Oily/Acne Prone Skin Tips

Oily or acne-prone skin, which is prevalent in teenagers and many adults, requires careful observation to ensure the skin responds favorably to products and the overall skin care routine. For example, some people with oily or acne-prone skin need to wash their face as much as two to three times a day. On the other hand, over-washing the skin also can lead to increased oil production, so a balance must be achieved based on an individual's skin care needs. In general, using an oil-free, non-comedogenic foaming cleanser that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide is imperative to prevent breakouts.

Dr. Badreshia-Bansal said that contrary to popular belief, oily skin may still require a moisturizer. She suggested a moisturizer that is lightweight and non-comedogenic (does not block pores) that contains sunscreen, which has a dual function as a moisturizer and sun protector when applied every morning. Reapplying a sunscreen during the day is necessary to ensure continuous sun protection.

Exfoliating oily skin once or twice a week is sufficient, but Dr. Badreshia-Bansal cautioned that it is not necessary during acne breakouts, as the mechanical friction caused by exfoliation can make acne worse. She added that for skin that is prone to acne, avoiding products with cocoa butter, cinnamon and coconut oil will help prevent breakouts.

To help soften fine lines while reducing future breakouts, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal suggested using a retinol gel or serum nightly. "Your dermatologist can help recommend gentle and effective products that work together to improve the appearance of oily skin and help prevent acne," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal.

Sensitive Skin Tips

For sensitive skin, washing the face once a day should be enough to keep the skin clean. Dr. Badreshia-Bansal noted that exfoliation is not necessary and can worsen already sensitive skin.

"Avoiding products that contain fragrances, soap or alcohol will help patients with sensitive skin maintain skin health," explained Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "Calming ingredients, such as green tea polyphenols, chamomile, and aloe are beneficial and, as a general rule, the fewer ingredients in a product the better."

In the morning, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal suggested applying a cream-based moisturizer to dry skin to help prevent or reduce irritation. Active ingredients found in skin care products penetrate more deeply into damp skin (which often can be beneficial in normal skin), but this can cause more irritation in individuals with sensitive skin. In addition, products containing acids, such as lipoic acid, glycolic acid and salicylic acid, may be irritating to sensitive skin. For that reason, caution must be taken with any skin care product containing these types of active ingredients.

To help prevent fine lines and wrinkles and help reduce irritation, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal recommends using a mild retinoid every night followed by a moisturizer to stimulate collagen production.

Skin of Color Tips

For people with skin of color, there are differences in skin anatomy, physiology, and function that can influence how skin care products react with the skin. Even though skin of color is more resilient in many ways, it also is more sensitive to irritant reactions from harsh chemicals and active ingredients, such as glycolic acid which can lead to exaggerated stinging and potential hyperpigmentation (or darkening of the skin).

Dr. Badreshia-Bansal noted that daily moisturizers are a must, since darker skin has a tendency to appear "ashy" when it is not well lubricated. Creams and lotions applied after showering when the skin is slightly damp can help lock in moisture.

Since skin of color is more prone to discoloration and slow healing and scarring from trauma, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal stressed that sunscreen should be used vigilantly by people of color to prevent further sun damage and hyperpigmentation. She suggested that micronized zinc or titanium-based sunscreens will provide the most effective protection.

"People of color, especially those with darker skin tones, mistakenly believe that they don't need to use sunscreen since they generally don't sunburn," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "The fact is that sun damage still occurs in people of color, which can be very difficult to correct. More importantly, studies show that skin cancer is even more life-threatening when it develops in this population, because people with skin of color often ignore the early warning signs - thinking they are not at risk."

In addition, skin lightening products can help lighten discolorations - such as a thin film of kojic acid or a cream containing hydroquinone. However, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal cautioned that patients should be careful not to over-irritate the skin with these products, which can worsen discoloration and acne, particularly in skin of color.

Regardless of skin type, Dr. Badreshia-Bansal finds that a few simple skin care tips can be beneficial in improving the overall appearance and health of the skin.

"I recommend keeping the skin care routine very simple, being very gentle with your skin, and avoid irritating, over-washing and over-scrubbing the face," said Dr. Badreshia-Bansal. "Finding moisturizers that contain sunscreen in a single combination product does the job of two products and are excellent for all skin types. The key is to find the skin care routine and appropriate products that work the best for your individual skin type, which is where your dermatologist can help get you started."

For more information on improving the appearance of your skin, go to the "AgingSkinNet" section of, a Web site developed by dermatologists that provides patients with up-to-date information on the treatment and management of disorders of the skin, hair and nails.

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