Hannah's Blog

How Often Should I Change My Skin Care Routine?

December 30, 2018 / 8:16 am

How often you swap out your skin care products depends on several factors, mainly the environment and your skin type.

If your city has four distinct seasons, you need two sets of products to get thru the year. A gel cleanser and light serum will control oil on warm and humid days but a cream cleanser and more moisture will be necessary during cold and windy months.

If you spend the majority of your time in a steady climate, you can have one routine for the entire year. So when should we try something new?

There is a common myth that skin gets used to a product and it stops working as well.

Your skin will not build up tolerance to a topical product. You shed the top layer of skin every 28-35 days, the product is interacting with “new” skin on a regular basis.

When we start using a new product, we see the most visible results in the first 30-90 days. Then the results plateau but the product is still doing its job. If you stopped using the product and your old skin conditions returned, you would realize how well it was working.

If you feel like your routine isn’t working as well as it used to or you are developing new skin issues, schedule a consult with a professional.

Most people need an entire range of new skincare products at least once per decade. Your routine from college isn’t going to serve you very well in your 30’s!

How to Fake a Full Night of Sleep

December 16, 2018 / 8:09 am

When you don’t get a full 8 hours your skin suffers. During a busy holiday season, lack of sleep will start to show in your skin.

1. Plan in advance. Look at your schedule for the week to see when you have the dreaded combination of late night + early morning commitments. Stay extra hydrated and cut back on salty food the day your sleep will be short. Also, consider skipping the alcohol at your evening event!

2. Wash your face when you get home, no matter how late. Traces of eye makeup will add to puffiness and irritation the following morning.

3. When you wake up, fill a large bowl with cold water, add some ice cubes and submerge your face for a few seconds. This jolt you into reality, get the blood flowing to your face and color in your cheeks.

4. Have 16oz of water before your first cup of coffee. It’s amazing how much better you feel when well hydrated!

5. Chill your jade roller in your bowl of ice water for a few minutes and give yourself a quick facial massage focusing on any puffy areas.

Do I Need To Wear SPF In The Winter?

November 18, 2018 / 8:12 am

In a word, yes.

UVA rays are present whenever there is sunlight. What are UVA rays?

The easiest way to remember is:

UVA rays = the part of sunlight that Ages your skin

UVB rays = the part of sunlight that Burns your skin

Winter sunlight may not be strong enough to burn your skin (or give you a tan) but it still affects your skin.

UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB rays and cumulative exposure does contribute to the development of certain types of skin cancer.

Additionally, if you are using a physical SPF (like you should be!),  it will work as a physical barrier against the wind and cold.

Find an SPF product you like and commit to wearing it 365 days a year!

DIY Coconut Sugar Body Scrub

October 21, 2018 / 8:25 am

Two close girlfriends had baby showers this summer and I set up a DIY body scrub station as a party favor at both parties.

This gave me the opportunity to play around with a lot of fun ingredients and make new combinations for yummy DIY body scrubs!

I’ve always favored sugar over salt as an exfoliating agent and found that adding finely shredded coconut is effective and aromatic.

Here is one of my new favorite combinations:

Makes about 4oz.

5 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons rose petals (I buy dried rose petals and run them through a food processor)
4 Tablespoons avocado oil
5-6 drops geranium essential oil

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Store in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Can be kept in the refrigerator if you don’t plan on using it up within 4-6 months. Not recommended for use on the face.

Preparing For A Chemical Peel

October 7, 2018 / 8:03 am

A professional chemical peel is part of many skin care rountines; they are effective when getting ready for a big event like a wedding or to soften the signs of aging.

A chemical peel you receive from your esthetician falls into one of two categories:

  1. Superficial peels are left on the skin for 2-6 minutes then neutralized with water or a neutralizing agent. These are often part of a facial treatment and a popular example is glycolic acid.
  2. Medium depth peels are more aggressive and self-neutralizing. They may produce several days of shedding skin and a popular chemical peel is this category is the Jessner Peel.

Medium depth, self-neutralizing chemical peels are very effective for a variety of concerns. Hyper-pigmentation, acne, acne scars, fine lines, wrinkles, and skin laxity can all be improved with peels from this category. 

Your esthetician will determine which blend of acid is best for your skin type and concerns. There are many chemical peels available, most use combinations of TCA, retinol. salicyic, lactic, and mandelic acids.

If you are prone to cold sores or know you have oral herpes, take preventive medication for 2 days before having a medium depth chemical peel. Some peels can initiate a flare up.

During the treatment, multiple layers of solution will be applied to your skin with time for each layer to dry between applications. Your esthetician will use a fan to cool your skin and minimize discomfort.

Your skin will be protected with sunscreen after the chemical peel is applied. You cannot wash your face or sweat for at least 5 hours so schedule your appointment accordingly. You may have a chemical peel in the evening and safely sleep with the solution on your face. Thoroughly wash it off the following morning before showering or working out, you don’t want the solution to run into your eyes!

Over the next 36-48 hours, your skin will feel tight and smooth, maybe a little warm. The tight skin begins to shed around the mouth first since your facial movement helps loosen the dead skin. The shedding continues to the cheeks, forehead, and hairline over the next few days.

Schedule your chemical peel when you have no important events for the following 10-14 days.

Some skin types take longer to start the shedding process, some have a “second shed” (day of light but visible dryness) after the major shedding is finished. Skin can be unpredictable so give yourself ample time to heal before any important events.

While your skin is shedding, use gentle, hydrating products. Cream cleanser, calming moisturizer, and physical sunscreen is all you need.

Don’t use products with active ingredients for at least 14 days after your chemical peel. 

Contact your esthetician if you have any questions or your skin has a bad reaction. Allergies aren’t common but they do happen!

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Skin Care Advice For My Younger Self

September 23, 2018 / 8:28 am

Looking back a few decades, what skin care advice would I give my 25-year old self?

If I could turn back time, I would:

  1. Be more diligent about sun protection. I lived in Los Angeles for 10 years and applied SPF daily but could have done more to protect my skin. I rarely wore hats or long sleeves when hiking outdoors and, looking back at old photos, my skin was consistently a few shades darker. I’ve reversed most of the visible damage but keep my fingers crossed when my dermatologist is checking my scalp every year!
  2. Start taking care of my neck and chest in my earlier. I recently saw a photo from my 33rd birthday, the skin on my jawline and neck was so taut! At the time I was focused on keeping my acne from flaring up, I didn’t consider much below my chin.
  3. Stop picking my acne. It’s simple. But so tempting. A pimple picked lasts twice as long as a pimple left alone. Not to mention the scars.

And now for the good news!

Here are a few things I’ve been consistent with and feel like it’s paid off:

  1. Start using eye cream at a young age. You don’t need to start as a teenager like I did but ingredients in eye cream do a lot more to prevent than correct. Start before you have visible damage and be diligent to get results.
  2. Commit to Retin A and Retinol…for life. To control my acne as a teenager, I used Retin A when it was new to the market. I suffered thru initial redness and flaking but it helped my acne and the residual marks. When I got into the skin care industry, I learned about the different types of Vitamin A derivatives both prescription and over the counter. This ingredient has proven over time to be the gold standard in both acne management and anti-aging.
  3. Crystal Micrdermabrasion treatments are key. I credit crystal micrdermabrasion with clearing up residual acne scars and getting my large pores under control. I got certified in the treatment in the late 90’s (when it was new to the United States) and had as many sessions as my skin could handle. All these years later, if you want resurfacing with no downtime, it’s still the best option.

Is Natural Deodorant the Right Choice For You?

August 26, 2018 / 8:17 am

Way back in high school, I bought a deodorant crystal because they were trendy. I faithfully dampened that rock and rubbed it under my arms yet I still smelled funky at the end of the day. I quickly returned to my stick of Secret and haven’t looked back since.

Working in close proximity to clients all day, having body odor is not an option. I need deodorant that works well for a long period of time!

My job involves reading a lot about personal care ingredients and how they interact with our bodies. A study showed a possible link between the aluminum in anti-perspirant and Alzheimers. Then a study disproved the link between anti-perspirant and Alzheimer’s.

It’s difficult to know what to believe but many people are opting for an aluminum-free deodorant just in case.

After 30+ years of relying on anti-perspirant, I noticed it wasn’t working as well for me. Being a skin nerd, I did come digging. Over time, sweat glands begin to rely on the product and stop producing odor killing bacteria. Anti-perspirant was affecting my skin microbiome!

I decided to see if I could find a “natural” product that worked well enough for me to use during a workout or a work day. The body needs an adjustment period of 2-3 weeks when switching to from an anti-perspirant to a deodorant. It all made sense, during this time the odor killing bacteria would begin to flourish again.

Anti-perspirant controls odor and wetness. It contains aluminum particles to block the sweat glands and keep you dry. The controversy is over whether these particles absorb into the body or stay put on the surface of the skin until you wash them off. Some “all natural” brands make anti-perspirants; these still contain aluminum. One lists it as “recycled aluminum”, no joke!

Deodorant controls odor but not wetness. Most “natural” brands use ingredients like baking soda, coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils.

Always read the ingredient panel, the statement “all natural” does not require any approval.

For the sake of my clients, I experimented on my days off. It was easy to try a new deodorant during a morning workout; if I wasn’t offensive by the time I got home I knew I was on to something!

It took some trial and error, one product left me smelling like rancid baking soda and I learned I am really partial to deodorant in a stick form, not a cream or spray. I found a natural deodorant with no aluminum that I like, I’d give it a solid 7/10.

I switch between the natural deodorant and my old anti-perspirant depending on my schedule for the day. My anti-perspirant works better since I use it less often and I’ve let my natural bacteria flourish. If I have a long workday plus an event after, I don’t need to reapply. On shorter days, I’ll opt for the deodorant.

Non-aluminum deodorant brands are everywhere right now. If you’re considering making the switch, give your body time to adjust. Introduce the new product gradually during times when you won’t be embarrassed if you end up with a little body odor.

 

 

How to Soothe End-Of-Summer-Skin

August 12, 2018 / 7:53 am

The end of summer is close, it’s been fun but your skin isn’t looking or feeling it’s best.

Even if you have oily skin, you’re probably dehydrated. Travel, alcohol, and warm weather all suck precious moisture from our skin.

This is the one time of year you don’t have to be acne prone to have clogged pores. All of the above plus extra sunscreen will make sure of that.

Now is a great time to have a deep cleansing and hydrating facial. Treatments like microdermabrasion and LED light therapy are perfect for End-Of-Summer-Skin. Hold off on deeper chemical peels and hydroquinone-based lightening products until after Labor Day.

If the heat has triggered your melasma, now is a great time to start using a hydroquinone-free lightening product. These products will start to gently even your skin tone without photo-sensitivity. Save the stronger products and treatments for the fall and winter months.

Your home care routine should include a gentle enzyme exfoliation 1-3 times a week (depending on your skin type) followed by a hydrating mask.

Antioxidant serum and physical sunscreen are important year round. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to swap these products for lighter versions during the warmer months.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

What I learned from my “Botox Vacation”

July 29, 2018 / 8:27 am

Full disclosure, I’m a fan of injectable neurotoxins. In the hands of the right doctor, they are a great tool to for people who want to look youthful.

I had my first Botox treatment at 35 years old. The vertical line on my forehead had been there long as I could remember, getting more pronounced with each passing year. The prospect of softening it was intriguing.

The procedure itself didn’t feel as invasive as I expected. It took about 10 minutes and the result was subtle. I was so happy with the results, I continued to have injections every 5-6 months.

I’ve paired Botox with other anti-aging treatments (chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and LED treatments) and I’m generally happy with my face a decade later.

Then I had two Botox treatments in a row where the results changed dramatically. My eyes looked heavier and my forehead too frozen. I discussed it with my dermatologist but the corrections he made didn’t really help.

Unsure of what to do, I took a “Botox vacation” and let my face go back to its natural state.

I was curious; had a decade of paralyzing my forehead muscles affected their movement? Was Botox really “preventative” like some doctors said? Would my forehead be smoother than it was before?

My “Botox vacation” lasted a nine months. During that time, all the movement returned to my forehead; I’m happy to know my muscles still work! The heaviness left my eyelids as the Botox wore off but the vertical line on my forehead also returned.

Does my forehead look better now than it would have if I didn’t get all the injections over the past decade? Not necessarily.

I decided to see a new dermatologist and he used a different injection pattern to lift my brow while still softening the vertical line. I’m happy with the results and will probably get back on my regular injection schedule but it’s also nice to know what my face looks like without a little help!

The Sacred Spring at Glanum

July 15, 2018 / 8:35 am

Even when on vacation, I can’t help but check out all things spa and wellness related! I love the history of bath houses and thalassotherapy.

The Glanum archeological site near St Rémy de Provence, France is home to the remains of a healing sacred spring as well as ancient Roman Baths so I had to have a look.

The Sacred Spring was an underground cave with water flow and an additional tunnel that channeled wind. The wind created a noise that caused the people in 200 BC to considered it “devine”. They decided the “devine water” must have healing powers so an alter was built around the cave.

Over the years, this alter became more elaborate, eventually with stairs leading down to the water and treatment areas surrounding it.

Roman solders would travel from all over to receive treatments with the “devine water” for gout and other illnesses. They often stayed at Glanum for months and it was customary to leave a gift of a carved stone pillar in exchange for treatment. These pillars often included engravings of legs which led historians to figure out the water was used to treat disorders of the legs.

Next to the Sacred Spring, there are stone slabs (ancient massage tables) thought to have been used for massage and water treatments. The indent near the top held oil for the treatment.

Around 75BC Glanum became a popular destination for its Roman Bath house. The bath house was for rest and relaxation, not just healing purposes like the spring. Men used a mixture of sand and olive oil to exfoliate their skin before soaking in the pools of water.

The history is fascinating and the site is beautiful. I recommend checking it out if you’re in the area!

The Best Skin Care Routine for New Mothers

July 1, 2018 / 8:24 am

As a new mother, the best skin care routine can be the last thing on your mind. Feeding your baby and getting enough sleep take priority!

When life gets busy for any reason, products that do double (or triple) duty are key.

While breast feeding, continue to avoid all the topical ingredients you steered clear of during your pregnancy.

It is not uncommon for a new batch of hormonal acne to crop up after giving birth. Your skin may also be sensitive during this time so find gentle products that balance oil production.

During the first few weeks (or months), keep it simple. Cleanse your face twice a day, use an SPF moisturizer during the day and a simple moisturizer at night. Set a realistic goal for yourself and build up to your old routine when you have more time and energy.

I love vitamin therapy: fortifying cleanser for most skin types. It removes makeup (including eye makeup) and rinses clean. The cream formula is gentle yet it won’t clog pores.

Suntergrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen is my favorite all in one daytime moisturizer plus SPF. It has antioxidants and zinc oxide which help prevent pregnancy related melasma from getting worse. There is a tinted version if you like a little color.

After cleansing at night, I recommend a simple hydrating cream to calm the skin that won’t clog the pores. moisture therapy: calming repair cream is good for most skin types and can be layered with a serum if you have more time.

Once your baby is sleeping thru the night and you have more than 60 seconds for skin care, add a vitamin C serum and exfoliate 1-2 times a week with glycolic acid. These products with begin to diminish any lingering discoloration from melasma or acne and brighten the skin.

Visiting The Lavender Fields of Provence

June 3, 2018 / 8:31 am

Lavender has been called “the soul of Provence”. This region in the South of France currently grows a large percentage of the world’s lavender supply.

On a recent trip to the area, I couldn’t pass up the chance learn a bit about this popular plant. I’ve worked with essential oils for over two decades but haven’t had the chance to see this kind of production up close.

Since WW1, the French Government has encouraged lavender farmers in the area. Farmers cleared almond orchards to make room for lavender. The leaves, flowers, and essential oil from the plant have many uses. Lavender flowers are even an ingredient in the popular cooking spice “Herbs de Provence“.

The plants bloom in late June and are harvested in early August so July is considered peak time to see the purple fields. During our trip in early May, we saw purple flowers starting to bloom but quickly learned these are lavendine plants, not lavender plants.

Lavendine is a hybrid of lavender and camphor. The two were blended to create a heartier plant that can flourish in a wider range of climates and has a longer growing period. This creates a less expensive end product that is used to scent mass produced soaps, candles etc.

 

You must find “lavande vraie” (literally translates to “lavender true”) for 100% pure lavender essential oil. The expert I spoke with near the village of Les Baux de Provence insists only “lavande vraie” has the medicinal healing qualities the lavender plant. Lavendine will not produce the same results for relaxation, help with inflammation, wound healing etc.

Next time you find yourself in the South of France, I highly recommend learning about the local lavender farmers. It’s a beautiful part of the local culture!

 

My favorite (simple) skin care tool

May 20, 2018 / 8:33 am

I love it when I find a simple skin care tool that delivers real results.  Currently, my jade roller is that tool!

You can use it over a sheet mask for extra product penetration or with your favorite serum for a face massage. It’s a fun addition to my daily routine, my face instantly feels less puffy and smoother.

A general rule of thumb for facial massage is move up from the jawbone and away from the center of the face. 

I do four passes with my jade roller on each of the areas above. Once you get the hang of it, you can complete your entire face in a few minutes.

What’s your favorite way to use your jade roller? 

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

How Do I Treat My Melasma?

April 29, 2018 / 8:31 am

Melasma is a very common concern among the clients I see in my studio.

Often called “the mask of pregnancy”, the discolored patches of skin are triggered by hormonal activity and sunlight.

The first step in any treatment plan is to determine what triggers your skin discoloration.

If hormonal fluctuations cause the discoloration, it is considered melasma.

If the discoloration is from acne inflammation, it is considered hyper-pigmentation. A treatment plan for hyper-pigmentation will include products and treatments to keep the acne under control, as well as treat the pigment left behind.

Adequate, daily, sun protection is a part of the treatment plan for discoloration. The sun is a trigger for any melanin disorder, regardless of the trigger. SPF with a physical ingredient is more effective at controlling pigment than SPF with a chemical ingredient.

Treating melasma is a two step process. First, remove the existing pigmented skin and second, prevent new pigment from forming.

Melasma pigment is removed with varying degrees of exfoliation using microdermabrasion, chemical peels or lasers. The best treatment for you depends on your skin tone, your lifestyle, the amount of downtime you are comfortable with, and the amount of money you are willing to spend.

Melasma is controlled with religious sunscreen application, regular exfoliation, topical vitamin c and a rotation of hydroquinone and botanical skin lightening creams. A consult with a skin care professional will determine the best routine for your skin and your lifestyle.

Lifestyle is an important consideration for melasma treatments. You can erase all the pigment spots you currently have only to see them return after an hour unprotected in the sun. If you spend a lot of time outdoors, please consider a more moderate approach.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

What is Melasma?

April 1, 2018 / 8:41 am

What is melasma? How is it different from hyper-pigmentation or freckles?

Melasma is a dark patch of skin, usually triggered by hormones and sun exposure. Hyper-pigmentation is a dark patch of skin, usually triggered by inflammation (such as acne) and sun exposure. Freckles are dark patches on the skin, often present since birth but they get darker with sun exposure.

The one common denominator? SUN EXPOSURE! Any unusual melanin activity is made worse by excessive, unprotected sun exposure.

The first step to treating discoloration and preventing new discoloration, no matter what the cause, is adequate sun protection.

The next step is to determine the root cause. Are you using hormonal birth control? Is the hyper-pigmentation showing up in areas where you previously has acne? This helps determine what treatment products are best for you.

Melasma triggered by pregnancy or birth control will usually begin to fade on its own 3-6 months after hormone levels have returned to normal.

Hyper-pigmentation from inflammation can take a few weeks to a few months to fade, depending on the melanin content of the skin.

A comprehensive routine of home care and professional treatments is the best way to treat both melasma and hyper-pigmentation.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Do Skin Care Gadgets Work?

March 18, 2018 / 8:28 am

Skin care gadgets are popping up everywhere, but do they work?

Derma-rollers, skin tightening devices, and LED masks; you can purchase many devices to treat yourself in the comfort of your home but how do they compare to professional treatments?

Any device approved for sale to the public isn’t going to be as powerful as the professional version. Yes, even the ones sold on Amazon labeled “professional”. To obtain a professional machine, you must show the manufacturer your license and receive proper training.

Instructions on most home-use devices will tell you daily use is required to see results. This is important. Ask yourself “Will I devote 15 minutes every day to this machine?” before making the investment.

It’s better to spend your hard-earned money on a few professional treatments instead of a closet full of expensive gadgets you don’t use!

Home-use devices like facial cleansing brushes, skin tightening devices and LED masks can be beneficial if you use them properly (and daily!).

Avoid home-use microdermabrasion machines and microneedling. When you pierce the surface of the skin, there is a risk of scarring and infection. These are treatments best left to the professionals.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Anti-Pollution Skin Care

February 18, 2018 / 8:54 am

Anti-pollution skin care is a trending but what does it mean?

Environmental pollution at an all time high; how does it affect your skin?

No matter where you live, air and water quality are getting worse and a weakened ozone layer has strengthened the intensity of the sun.

How does skin care protect you from environmental pollution?

Proper cleansing and hydration of the skin is the first step.

The skin is one of your largest organs and it’s primary function is protection.

Clean, hydrated skin functions at an optimal level to protect your system from pollution. Dehydrated skin has a compromised barrier so it becomes more susceptible to damage from environmental pollution.

Antioxidants like green tea and vitamin c help fight free radical damage from environmental pollution.

SPF with a physical ingredient like zinc or titanium dioxide helps provide an invisible barrier between your skin and the environment. These ingredients provide the best protection from the sun as well.

Use a cleanser that removes your makeup, sunscreen, and the traces of dirt from your day. When clients tell me they don’t wash their face at night because they don’t wear makeup, I tell them to run their finger across the window of their car after driving around all day. All the same particles end up on your face!

The combination of an antioxidant serum and a physical sunblock will provide the best protection from the elements on a daily basis. Save the heavy, anti-aging creams for nighttime when your skin is in repair mode.

Do you have questions about your skin and what products you should be using? Have an Online Skin Care Consult with Hannah!

Radioactive Skin Care?

January 7, 2018 / 8:44 am

This article documenting the radium skin care trend from the 1920’s and 30’s is fascinating.

“Radior” Chin straps are guaranteed to contain Radio-active substance and Radium Bromide. If placed on the face where the skin has become wrinkled or tired the radio-active forces immediately take effect on the nerves and tissues. A continuous steady current of energy flows into the skin, and before long the wrinkles have disappeared, the nerves have become strong and energised, and the tired muscles have become braced up and “ready for service.”

(Radior advertisement, 1915)

It was thought to literally give you a glowing complexion!

Should I get Botox?

December 17, 2017 / 8:31 am

Clients of all ages ask me “Should I get Botox?”.

The answer is never a simple yes or no. First, think about what you are trying to change.

Botox will temporarily soften lines on the glabella, the forehead and the “crows feet”. It works by paralyzing the muscle so it is considered to be very effective.

However, just because you’ve paralyzed a facial muscle and no longer have a wrinkle, you still may not look the way you expected. It may require several session to perfect the injection pattern and get the results you want.

Botox relaxes the muscle under the skin but does not treat the surface of the skin. If you are unhappy with the texture of your skin, have large pores and discoloration Botox alone will not make your skin perfect.

You will need to have a treatment every 3-6 months depending on how fast your body metabolizes the product. Injectables are very effective anti-aging tools but consider the overall cost when adding them to your routine.

If you decide to try Botox, find a reputable dermatologist who does a lot of injections. The science behind injection patterns and dosing is constantly being adjusted for better results. Choose a doctor who is up to date.

Avoid discount websites and deals that seem too good to be true, this is your face!

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