As the cooler weather arrives and we have to turn on the heat many people are prone to dry and itchy skin.  This can be minor for some people and more of a disaster for others who struggle with dry skin to start with.  It can lead to flare ups of atopic dermatitis (eczema) and create cracks in the skin (creating a break in the barrier and possibly leading to infection).   There are numerous approaches to minimizing and alleviating the problem.

You may need to alter your skin care routine from the warmer months to the cooler months.  Using a milder cleanser and avoiding toners with alcohol is a good start.  If you are a fan of exfoliating, a more gentle approach may be helpful.  Finding a cleanser that is moisturizing for both your face and body is also helpful.

As tempting as it is to take a long steaming hot shower or bath when you are chilled to the bone, it will only make your skin drier by breaking down your skins lipid barrier.  It is recommended to minimize the amount of time bathing and to avoid temperature extremes.  Additionally, putting a moisturizer on immediately after bathing when the skin is still slightly damp can help to trap in the moisture.

Ingredients to look for in moisturizers include:

  •  Glycerin
  • Sorbitol
  • AHA
  • Petroleum/Petrolatum
  • Urea
  • Lactic Acid
  • Olive Oil
  • Jojoba Oil
  • Shea butter
  • Hyaluronic Acid/Sodium Hyaluronidase
  • Dimethicone
  • Lanolin
  • Aloe Barbadensis
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Mineral Oil

It is also helpful to avoid heavily fragranced products.

A few face/neck/décolleté creams we love and recommend here at Toccare/TOC Medical Spa include:

There are products that are specific to body areas.  For instance, hand creams tend to be heavier than face creams.  Our hands (and feet!) have fewer oil glands so require more moisture replacement.  Make a habit of moisturizing at bedtime as this allows the skin to absorb the moisture during your sleeping hours.

Lips can be a particularly irritating area when they loose moisture.  Sealing in moisture and always maintaining a barrier is the best way to treat lips.  We tend to lick our lips more as they become irritated.  This actually makes matters worse by breaking down the barrier even more.  Keeping a lip balm on your person is the best defense.  I love Lip Drink™ by Jane Iredale.  It is moisturizing, has an SPF from titanium dioxide and tastes like lemonade!

Diet is part of the solution as well.  Eating foods rich in Omega-3 fats can help your skin maintain a lipid barrier.  Avocados, fish, nuts, olive oil, flax seed/flax seed oil and sardines are all sources of Omega-3 fats.    Additionally, drinking plenty of fluid is helpful.

If an area becomes particularly dry and irritated it may be time to try over the counter hydrocortisone cream.  This usually manages minor irritation and eczema.  If irritation persists, it is advisable to seek the care of a dermatologist.


undereye circles

Under eye circles are something we often have inquiries about in medical aesthetics.  There are a number of “pearls” that can help alleviate the problem.

Determining the cause helps plan the appropriate strategy to minimizing the appearance of these pesky circles.  The following are all possibly to blame:

  • Heredity/Genetics
  • Sun Damage
  • Allergies
  • Vascular/Venous congestion
  • Thinning skin
  • Volume loss under the eyes
  • Cheek descent
  • Smoking
  • ETOH
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Dehydration
  • Swelling or bulging of the fat pads

There is some level of improvement that can be obtained for most of these issues.  Heredity/Genetics obviously  “is what it is”, but one can minimize the circles still.

Sun protection would be the number one piece of advice.  If there is excitement of the melanocytes (which create pigment) the circles will only look worse.  Additionally, the UVA/UVB rays from the sun break down collagen and elastin thinning the skin.  Sunscreen to the area and a good pair of sunglasses can only help.

Allergies can be addressed with antihistamines.  Both oral and the use of antihistamine eye drops can alleviate swelling and redness that may be contributing to your under eye circles.

Vascular/venous congestion is common and shows easily under the thinner skin which surrounds our eyes.  An eye cream with caffeine can help.  We love Lumiere by Neocutis here at Toccare.  A good eye cream and sunscreen can also address thinning skin.  There are also lasers that can target vascular issues. (VBeam, IPL, Yag)

Volume loss and cheek descent are effectively addressed by restoring the midface/cheek and tear trough volume with dermal filler.  We commonly safely place filler in both of these areas.  Generally the filler lasts up to a year in these areas and makes a significant difference.

The ETOH and smoking are no brainers.  Eliminating or cutting back on either of these will only help.

Sleep deprivation is  something most of us wish we could improve on!  Adequate sleep does help and sleeping with your head slightly elevated is that much better.

Drink plenty of water as dehydration is also a culprit!

Finally, swelling or bulging of the fats pads are best addressed with the assistance of an eye surgeon.  There comes a time when the best remedy involves the expertise of a surgeon.  This involves a period of down time but is the most effective way to resolve herniated fat pads in the lower (and upper) lids.  I will be doing a blog on the whole blepharoplasty experience soon.  In the mean time, TOCaustin.com is a great resource of information about procedures and our surgeons here at TOC.

Other ingredients to look for in eye creams include vitamin C and small % of retinols.  Both of these ingredients help to build up collagen.  Kojic acid and licorice can also help brighten the skin.

There are also great ways to conceal circles when you can not just eliminate them.  Look for color correcting eye makeup products meant to minimize the appearance of dark circles.  When removing eye make-up always be gentle as the skin around our eyes is thinner and more fragile.

Hope this helps those of you who are aggravated by under eye issues!

Have a great weekend!  Off to Fredericksburg, Texas for some wine tasting and girl time!


dawn JI photo

Mineral Make-up has been around long enough now that just about everybody has heard of it.  There are an uncountable number of products that are marketed as mineral make-up.  There are not, however, that many lines which are truly natural mineral lines.

We carry the Jane Iredale™ line at Toccare and I am a long time fan of this product line.

Here are a few of the reasons I love this line:

  • Cruelty Free throughout the entire manufacturing process with no third party testing
  • Broad spectrum sun protection
  • Pure mineral pigments
  • No talc, No fillers
  • Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Approval
  • Natural preservative
  • No parabens
  • No nano sized particles
  • No synthetic dyes
  • Buildable coverage
  • Multiple formulas of foundation
  • Broad range of colors for color matching

For those of us who like to wear make-up every day it is reassuring to know the products that sit on our skin all day are not bad for our health and can actually have skin benefits.   The additional sun protection is very beneficial. The Jane Iredale™ line has a product called Powder Me SPF™ which I always keep in my car for sun protection touch up.  Because it is a powder it can be kept in the car and not break down like a liquid sunscreen would when the temperatures soar.  (a real problem in Texas)

Powder Me SPF

There are numerous “star” products in this line and we all have our personal favorites.  The following are a few of mine:-)

The Daytime Eye Shadow Kit

daytime eyeshadow kit

This is a versatile eye shadow kit as it has basic neutrals that can create a natural every day look or be used to create a more dramatic look using the darker shades in the palette.  All of the colors are matte so there is not an issue with accentuating skin texture issues of the upper lid with iridescence.  Additionally, The darker shades can be used with a liner brush to line the eyes.

Dream Tint®


Dream Tint is a tinted moisturizer for every day light to medium coverage.  It sets nicely, diffuses light, hydrates and has SPF 15.  It is perfect for the days when you do not want a fuller coverage.  Dream Tint, mascara and out the door!

Glow Time™ and Smooth Affair®

glow time and smooth affair

Glow Time™ and Smooth Affair® are products that I like to use for more full coverage.  I use them together as the Glow Time™ alone can feel too heavy.  This combination provides amazing coverage and lasts all day.  The Glow Time™ contains beneficial skin ingredients including grapefruit extract, apple extract and bitter orange.  The titanium particles create a luminous finish.

Just Kissed®

just kissed

Just Kissed® is a cool product.  It looks unpigmented but once applied it adjusts to your pH and creates a customized, natural looking tint.  This product can be used on the lips, cheeks and eye lids.  It hydrates with olive and avocado oils.  On days that I do not want to spend a lot of time getting ready I find this product is a great option.



Since it is well established that the sun is not good for us in any kind of excess it has become common for people to self tan.  I like Tantasia® for adding some color (especially to my pale legs) to look like I have had a little sun.  (without the damage of actually having UVA/UVB exposure)  This product goes on smoothly with a gel like texture and has a pleasant citrus scent.  There is a little of that self tanner smell as the color develops but is honestly not as strong smelling as other self tanners I have used.  Develops in to a natural (not orangey) color:-)

Purepressed® Mineral Foundation

Radiant Pressed Powder

I have had a pan of Radiant in my make-up bag since I can remember.  It is a great foundation with buildable coverage.  I often wear it alone or on top of Dream Tint®.  I have used numerous Radiant powders down to the pan.  Favorite:-)

That is a quick synopsis of mineral makeup:-)  If you have ever wondered about it I hope this helps!

Have a great week-end!  Austin City Limits for me with my dear friend Elspeth and her daughter Julia!  95 degrees and sunny so I will have my sunscreen and a big hat on!