Friday, June 27, 2014

June Reader Questions

Dear Green Derm,

I hope you can help me with this. I use the Arcona Tabula Pads every morning and night to exfoliate my skin. My girlfriend says this is a toner and it doesn't actually exfoliate yet I SEE the dead skin cells and flakes with my own eyes. This is all I use to clean my skin and I'm really curious why I see all this stuff come off if it doesn't exfoliate, provide me some clarity?

Your girlfriend is half right. Arcona's pads can be simplified as toner soaked cotton pads. Toners when used alone can condition your skin and disinfect. It's a big of a stretch to call it cleansing, but not too far fetched as the pads indeed help get a lot of stuff off your face similar to cleansing wipes. The reason your girlfriend is only half-right is because of two reasons:

1. This product contains lactic acid which offers chemical exfoliation.
2. The cotton pads when swiped over skin offers physical exfoliation.

This is why you're seeing the dead skin accumulation on the pads. Something I want to point out is, if this is all your use to clean your skin and you're seeing dead skin regularly with cleansing, you should consider investing in a good cleanser which will help clean deep down (some with enzymes or acids can also continue to break down dead skin cells).


I have keratosis pilaris on my legs and as it is summer, I would like to work to get rid of this so I can go to the beach or pool in confidence instead of hiding behind wraps. Are there any good solutions?

Keratosis Pilaris is firstly a very common skin condition that many people have, so you should definitely not feel like you have to hide. Now I have good news and bad news. The good news is that this condition is often benign and will fade as you get older (in fact, a lot of women say it significantly goes away with hormonal changes during their first pregnancy). The bad news is that it is difficult to fully treat so the common method of treatment is managing and improving the condition. In terms of solutions, dry skin tends to intensify this condition so moisturize your skin. The best option is to use a moisturizer that also contains an exfoliant to break through that excess layer of accumulated protein. There is a good product on the market that I am not associated with in any way called AmLactin which is an Alpha-Hydroxy moisturizer especially made for this condition. It isn't green but it's the best product on the market (in my opinion) to help manage this.

I have a daughter who will inherit and her parents bad skin genes (both of us had terrible teenage skin), are there any steps I can take to prevent this? 

Prevent is smart but depending on how old she is right now, be careful not to go overboard. Most young kids have resilient, durable skin that shouldn't be tinkered with too much. I recommend gentle cleansing and a good sunscreen as preventive measures that will go far in her adult life. Beyond that, I think you two should look for a dermatologist so there is a professional who will be prepared to help your daughter when the time comes and her skin begins to change. Also start preparing a list of the do's and don'ts that you wish you could have had when you were going through these things so your daughter can avoid making the mistakes you've made (such as picking at pimples, using 5% BP solutions, so forth) and keep only the good behavior. Finally, no one has perfect skin and going through that at times painful transition from childhood to adulthood is a part of life. Your daughter will be fine and she will have parents who will serve as a resourceful pool of knowledge when she does need help.


  1. Great to see that you are back, I love your honest answers.

  2. Hi there, I have recently found your blog but never commented. Firstly THANK YOU for such insightful and thoughtful views on skincare with a balanced approach to greener lines. Secondly, having gone through the archives (amazing stuff!) I was horrified by the twitter debacle and would like to add my support to you (and affirm I will never purchase from a brand that showed such a lack of respect for people, and frankly could make such stupid public decisions - it makes me question their judgement all round). Thirdly, Thank you for saving me from myself! I went all green and the skincare part is awesome after much trial and error. But I was still seeing some congestion and spots on my cheeks and milia under my eyes and finally realised that using green makeup, while great for my ethics, was terrible for my skin. So I have come round to a more balanced approach which works for my skin - finding what works for me instead of being absolutist about what I "can't use" - you're posts were instrumental in helping me do this. Lastly, a question .... eye creams. I am in my late 30s and need to start hydrating my eyes more as I can see fine lines and they feel dry and am starting to feel the fear of wrinkles ;-) However, I am concerned about using my Yuli serums around the eyes as I suffer from milia (post RMS) and so feel worried about using oil products around the eyes. Do you have any recommendations - because eye creams are, as you know, now astronomically expensive - which is fine, IF they work.... Apologies for the long post. Thank you for everything you do

  3. I'm glad you mentioned cleansers. I always feel like if a cleanser leaves a film or doesn't wash away completely that my other skincare is a waste as it can't penetrate the barrier left behind by the cleanser. For this reason, I try to avoid balms and even some cream cleansers. Is this necessary or am I overthinking?