Just what the doctor ordered
A huge range of cosmetic products are on sale at every price you could imagine. Katie Byrne asks the experts for their advice on what really works for skin, hair and teeth
Women are overwhelmed with a choice of lotions, potions and wonder creams, all promising to leave them looking fresh-faced. But what really works? Is a cream that sells for €100 any more effective than a high-street version.
After all, Kylie Minogue uses Pond's Cold Cream every day, upon the advice of her mother.
What really works for sun damage and age spots?
"I would advise a skin lightening serum, which normally contains Kojic Acid, or hydroquinone, which can only be prescribed by a doctor. These help to lighten pigmented spots. I would also combine it with a retinol cream (vitamin A), which increases cell cycle turnover. Retin-A (again, only available on prescription) comes in three different percentages: 0.025pc, 0.05pc or 0.1pc. Some people find it a little too harsh and they can become red, tight, dry and flaky.
"However, I really like the combination of retinol with a skin lightening serum. Retinol is brilliant for acne patients, sun-damaged patients and wrinkles. We recommend that you only use it twice or three times a week. It's a really good thing to be introducing to your skincare regime after the age of 30 and a very handy product to have in your arsenal.
"RoC has a retinol formulation but, to be honest, if you can buy it over the counter and you're not counselled on it, it's probably not going to be strong enough. These two products make you more photo-sensitive, so you need to be wearing an SPF of at least 30. I'd recommend RoC or La Roche Posay."
Dr Clare Cushen, cosmetic doctor, Beacon Dermatology (www.beacondermatology.ie) >Pregnant women are advised not to use retinol products.
What really works for ageing skin?
"There are so many products our there and I can see why people are confused. The problem is that, while they have anti-ageing ingredients, they don't cross the dermal/epidermal junction. They will work if they get to where they need to be, but they can't get there. They sit on top of the skin and they end up irritating the skin a lot of the time.
Dr Jane Mulrooney works alongside her sister, Kathryn, at The Clinic, Sandymount Green; call 01 219 6050
What really works for rosacea-prone skin?
"It depends on the type of rosacea, of course. Without looking at the specific patient, I would usually recommend that people try products such as the Calmance range by RoC (pictured: Soothing Moisturiser, €13.55 at good pharmacies), or the Rosaliac range by La Roche Posay. They are two of the most commonly prescribed ranges.
Dr Rosemary Coleman, Blackrock Clinic; call 01 283 2222
What really gets rid of stretch marks?
"I have never known a cream to reduce stretch marks. You need to get into the dermis and kick off collagen, so most of the topical applications aren't going to work.
(Derma rollers,can be bought online. We found the lowest priced on eBay. Always apply a strict hygiene programme when micro-needling and never share your roller with another person.)
Dr Patrick Treacy, The Ailesbury Clinic. www.ailesburyclinic.ie
Do whitening toothpastes really work?
"I don't think they do, based on the premise of how they work. They are either abrasive or they contain peroxide. The peroxide needs to sit on the teeth for at least 7/8 minutes and nobody brushes their teeth for that long. The best way to whiten your teeth is with a home whitening kit or laser whitening in a clinic.
"For home-whitening, I like Opalescence. I find it works quite well. Remember, though, the mouth trays supplied with home kits aren't customised and they can be quite loose. I'd recommend that you get a customised tray from a dentist. The effects are better and it's better value because you can just buy a refill kit when necessary."
Dr Vicram Sisodiya, Blackglen Dental; call 01 294 6444
Do leave-in conditioners really work?
"No. You need to condition the hair, rather than coat it with something that will reflect light and make it feel soft. A wash-out conditioner will have a humectin effect, which means that it will draw moisture into the shaft which has a protective rather than a cosmetic effect.
Deborah Whelan MIT, operates and manages the Galway Trichology Clinic, and is a lecturer in Hair Science. (www.trichologist.ie)