What's the best way to beat blackheads? I feel like I've tried everything, and sure enough, they always come back! Dr. Haley Answers


Blackheads form when a pore becomes clogged with dead skin cells. Normally, dead skin cells shed, but when the body makes excess oil (sebum), cells can stick together inside the pore and become trapped. This sebum-skin cell combo turns black when it oxidizes on exposure to air. It has nothing to do with dirt, and scrubbing your face uncontrollably will just make your skin inflamed and aggravated.


1. Excess oil, often caused by an increase in hormones, especially testosterone or cortisol

2. Adherent dead skin cells

Anything that addresses these two causes will help reduce the number and severity of blackheads. Gentle exfoliation is the simplest thing to do to remove the dead skin cells and oil trapped in your pores.

Salicylic acid wash and toner:

Salicylic acid is attracted to oil and is excellent at lifting off the excess skin cells from the pores. If you are really oily and your skin can handle it, use both a cleanser and toner twice a day. Keep the cleanser in contact with the skin for two minutes before rinsing. For those with sensitive or combination skin, I recommend a cleanser at night and a toner in the morning only. Use the exfoliating cotton rounds with your toner for an enhanced effect. My favorite: Derivations Purifying Cleansing Fluid and Toner.

Manual exfoliation: The Clarisonic brush uses sonic technology to gently vibrate and loosen the plugged pores. Most other imitation brushes will be too abrasive and aggravate the skin. Despite the initial investment, the brush should last many years and only needs a replacement brush head every three to six months. Use two minutes twice a day with your cleanser.

Topical Vitamin A: Prescription strength vitamin A derivatives (tretinoin, Retin-A, Atralin, Differin or Tazorac) are the most potent. These products enhance cell turnover so the dead skin cells don’t have the chance to adhere and get stuck in the pores to develop into blackheads. This will make the pores also appear smaller. Products containing retinol over the counter are less potent but still work. These vitamin A derivatives also help smooth the complexion, reduce brown spots and build collagen. The challenge with these products is that if too much is used or it is used too frequently, the skin may actually look worse— with excessive peeling, redness and burning. I recommend a gradual approach, choosing over-the-counter retinol nightly for a month and graduating slowly to a prescription-strength product under professional guidance. Using an oil-free moisturizer over it, once dry, is acceptable. It can take three to six months to see really good results, but when you get there, your skin is on autopilot! My personal belief, since these products have so many benefits, is to start in your 20s and continue forever, except avoid use in pregnancy.



Do you really want to prevent wrinkles or soften your existing wrinkles?


Can this be done?  The answer is yes.  Yes, one can soften their existing wrinkles or prevent new wrinkles!  How?  The answer is Vitamin A or Retinol.  Decades ago Retinol was used as prevention against acne.  Skin specialists discovered that Retinol not only fought acne, but also banished wrinkles as well as sunspots.

Anti Aging

If you are using an anti-aging cream check your ingredient list to see if Vitamin A is in the list.   Retinol attaches to skin cells and forces them to behave like younger, healthy skin cells.   Forcing a skin cell to behave like a younger skin cells reduces existing wrinkles, softens fine lines, unclogs pores, strengthen aging skin, and banishes sunspots.

How does Retinol work?

The skin converts topically applied retinol to retinoic acid or tretinoin, which is the same as the prescription drug: Retin-A.

Studies have shown that topically applied retinol reverses the aging signs both physiologically and photoaging, including: wrinkles, thinning of the underlying dermis, and loss of skin elasticity.  Retinol is also proven to stimulate collagen production and the formation of Hyaluronic Acid, which keeps the skin tissue plump and hydrated.  In addition, Retinol is shown to improve cell turnover and cell renewal.

Retinol is a necessary ingredient to reverse effects of time on the skin.  This is the ingredient soften existing wrinkles and prevent new wrinkles from occurring.

Diligence is necessary when using an anti-aging product with Retinol, results are not magical, however, with continued use, visual results will occur. 



Why Do I Have Cellulite? Dr. Haley Answers:


If you have cellulite, you are not alone. Cellulite affects more than 85 percent of all women to some degree. It is characterized by alterations to the skin surface, presenting as dimpled or puckered skin, primarily involving the thighs and buttocks.


Understanding how to best treat cellulite starts with understanding its causes. After all, you need to know your enemy before you can figure out how to defeat him. Doctors currently believe that cellulite is caused by a combination of coexisting factors. There is no consensus on what exactly causes cellulite, but these are the current ideas.

The architecture of the connective tissue. In women, bands of connective tissue are oriented longitudinally, from the muscle to the skin. These bands separate fat into channels. As the fat layer enlarges, these bands pull the skin down towards the muscle and squeeze the fat, pushing it up toward the skin surface and creating an uneven appearance of the skin.


Hormones. Hormonal changes (especially estrogen) in women that occur after puberty promote fat deposition in the hips and thighs and make the elimination of fat particles deposited in these areas difficult.


Disturbance of the lymph and blood circulation. Anything that reduces blood flow to these areas causes fluid buildup (edema). Swelling increases the volume of fat, thus making the protrusions more obvious. External toxins including alcohol, tobacco and caffeine inhibit movement of fluid from these cellulite prone areas.


Dietary habits. High-sugar and high-refined carbohydrate diets tend to make cellulite worse, possibly through tissue edema.


Genetics. Blame it on your parents. If your mom has more than your friend’s mom, you are likely to have more cellulite than your friend.


Chronic inflammation. Have you ever run into a friend who had been through a stressful time? You can see it on her face— weathered, unhealthy, dull skin. This is the result of stress and inflammation on the skin. The visible appearance of cellulite has as much to do with the health of the skin as it has to do with fat. If you have thick, healthy skin overlying the layers of fat, cellulite will be less obvious. Unhealthy, thin skin = more cellulite exposed.


Sedentary Lifestyle. Weak, flabby muscles don’t support the overlying tissues and results in more skin irregularity.




What Can I Do About Cellulite?

Cellulite creams, also known as firming creams, are your secret weapons for smoother looking skin. When used correctly along with proper diet and exercise, these creams are proven to improve the texture, elasticity, and the overall appearance of skin. Derivations Skincare has developed a way to reduce the presence of fat cells internally and diminish skin imperfections such as, cellulite, stretch marks, and scars.

The most effective way to use the cream is to body brush your skin, shower, and then immediately apply a great moisturizer, such as Derivations Firming Body Cream.

Derivations Firming Body Cream is of the world’s best skin firming insider secrets from around the world combined into one single body cream.



 This highly targeted treatment cream, for the active woman, firms and reduces the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.

-       Minimizes the visibility of stretch marks

-       Firms skin to reduce appearance of cellulite

-       Replenishes skin and boosts collagen


Active Ingredient

Caffeine tightens loose or stretched skin while breaking down fat cells and removing toxins.

-       Collagen helps maintain skin elasticity.

-       Sea Kelp firms sagging and wrinkling skin.

-       Vitamin A is absorbed through the skin, which results in an increase in collagen.

-       Astaxanthin repairs and protects from free radical damage

-       Shea Butter provides moisture and healing properties.

-       Rosehip Seed Oil reduces scars and fine lines by infusing vitamins into the skin.


What are effective ingredients to treat skin discoloration? Dr. Haley answers:

Unevenness of skin tone is the number one complaint from women. There are dozens of products to help with discoloration, which often make promises that can’t be kept. Unfortunately, even the best products will take two to three months before improvement is noticed. I will highlight some of the key ingredients to look for so that you can be your own skin-care expert.

Brown spots on the face generally are a result of three factors:

1. The sun: sun spots (large looking speckled freckles called lentigines).

2. After trauma: Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition in which an injury or inflammation attracts pigmentation to the area when the condition resolves (i.e., acne, rash, trauma).

3. Hormones: Melasma may occur during pregnancy or with birth control pills and presents as large brown patches over cheeks and forehead.

The quickest way to treat sun spots is with an Intense Pulse Light device, IPL or “photofacial.” This device may make the other two causes of pigmentation worse, as these are caused by inflammation and can unpredictably darken from any irritation to the skin.

All types of discoloration have one thing in common— strict sun protection and avoidance are mandatory. No matter the cause of your discoloration, those pigmented cells are programmed to darken immediately with ultraviolet light and heat. You may spend a month successfully evening out your complexion and one day in the sun will ignite those pigment cells to fire up and darken. So, seek shade, enjoy the outdoors early and late in the day, wear a wide-brimmed hat and apply a sunscreen with SPF 30-plus with zinc oxide every single morning. My favorite daily sunscreens are EltaMD Physical, Daily or Clear.


What are lightening agents to treat skin discoloration? Dr.Haley answers:


1. Hydroquinone: Inhibits pigment (melanin) formation. The most widely available ingredient with 2 percent strength over the counter and 4 percent through a dermatologist. Hydroquinone works well, but has been under scrutiny for questionable health risks with long-term, widespread use. Risks include allergy, skin irritation and potential to darken skin. It is best to use for two- to three-month bursts and use a safer alternative the rest of the time. It is not safe to use during pregnancy.  Derivations products do not contain Hydroquinone.

2. Arbutin: A natural form of hydroquinone derived from plants, including bearberry, blueberry, mulberry and cranberry. Has similar mechanism and effects as hydroquinone with better safety profile.  Derivations Brightening Creme contains Arbutin.

3. Kojic acid: Antioxidant that works by breaking down the pigment in the skin and preventing its production. May cause skin irritation and is unstable in many formulations.  Derivations Purifying Cleansing Fluid and Brightening Crème contain Kojic Acid, which are effective in treating discoloration.

4. Licorice (glabridin): Non-toxic and slows pigment production, and is anti-inflammatory.

5. Glutathione: An antioxidant that inhibits pigment production. Difficult to absorb into cells, it is enhanced with vitamin C or E. N-acetyl cysteine orally will also boost its level.  Derivations Brightening Crème contains Glutathione.

6. Niacinamide: A form of vitamin B3 that inhibits the transfer of pigment to the skin’s upper layer. Also anti-inflammatory, reduces acne and increases skin moisture.  Derivations Hydrating Cleansing Fluid and Ultimate Rejuvenation Night Crème contain Niacinamide.

7. Azelaic acid: Also works for acne and selectively works on overactive melanocytes so it won’t affect normal pigment on skin.

8. Vitamin C: An antioxidant, also protects from sun damage but is unstable.

Penetration of these lightening agents will be enhanced if you apply a product that will exfoliate and loosen the bonds of the top layer of the skin. Plus, exfoliation will provide a healthy glow to skin and remove those top layers containing old pigmentation. Look for products containing retinol and glycolic acid.

Avoiding sugar is also helpful in controlling skin discoloration, as a sugar molecule is needed in pigment production. Other dietary changes, which may assist, include consuming foods with carotenoids and vitamin C.