Category Archives: Retail Products

Makeup for men?

Recently, I realized half of my tinted moisturizer sales were to my male clients.

Men want to put their best face forward even if it means having some help. More companies are actually creating makeup lines for men but venturing into this realm can be daunting.

As with anything new, start simple. The new breed of tinted moisturizers are great (often called BB cream or CC cream), they provide light coverage to even skin tone and decrease shine while providing all the benefits of an SPF and moisturizer. My personal favorite is Suntegrity.

If you have a pimple or any area where you need more coverage, use a concealer. This is a product with more pigment designed to camouflage imperfections. It is not meant to be used in large areas.

A light application of tinted face powder will provide some coverage and reduce shine. Be careful not to get heavy handed since excess powder can cake in the creases of your face during the day.

Consult a professional if you have a difficult time finding a color that matches your skin tone.

When applying any tinted product, avoid the beard area if you have stubble. The product will get caught in the hairs.

Avoid wearing any tinted product when you are working out, it will run and discolor your shirt collar and towels.

Wash your face with a product designed to dissolve makeup in the evening.

Makeup can be fun, embrace it!

“Should I replace my products all at once?”

Q: Should I replace my products all at once? Or integrate them slowly? Also, do I need to use the same brand for my entire skincare routine?

A: It depends on your skin and your skin care goals.

When our skin changes radically due to environment or hormones, more than one new product may be necessary and it is okay to incorporate more than one product into your new routine.

If you are adding a new product for increased anti-aging benefit, changing only one product at a time can give you a better idea of the results you are getting (or if your skin is reacting badly).

You do not need to use the same brand of skin care products for your entire routine and the only person that will tell you otherwise is an eager salesperson!

“I can’t afford expensive skin care products, help!”

Q: What can a person on a budget do for better skin??

A: More expensive products generally contain a higher level of effective ingredients. In some cases, a potent $60 night cream will last you 3-4 months. A more diluted $30 version might last 6-8 weeks so the overall investment is similar. If you find a product that is out of your price range but you really love what it does for your skin, consider using it every other night (or day). While this isn’t ideal, you will still get most of the benefits of the active ingredients. On the opposite days, substitute with a less expensive, neutral moisturizer like Cereve.

Here are a few of my favorite products that can be found at the drugstore and paired with more active products for optimal results:

Cereve Cleanser: both the Hydrating  and Foaming Cleanser are great and inexpensive. For a long time, Cetaphil was considered the best drugstore cleanser but I think Cereve makes a better product. Their formulas protect and enhance the skin barrier with ceramides. Cereve PM, provides a nice amount of hydration without clogging the pores.

Aveeno makes a quality line of light SPF lotions for day use. The Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30 is a favorite among my male clients.

Vitamin C is my favorite antioxidant ingredient and most people benefit from using it on their skin.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a good,
low cost alternative in this category.

Vitamin C requires advanced technology to stay stable in a lotion or serum, if the molecule isn’t stabilized, the vitamin C oxidizes when it is exposed to air. Vitamin C serum is one place where I recommend you splurge!

If you are in your 20’s make sure you are using an eye cream at least once a day, Neutrogena makes some nice ones. If you need a product that will correct some of the signs of aging, look for an eye cream with peptides that works on a deeper level. If puffiness is your issue, I’ve never found anything better than Yon-Ka Phyto Contour.

Find a routine that fits your time and budget and stick with it!! It’s better to use products you can afford on a daily basis than slack off when you run out of the fancy stuff and can’t afford to replace it.

Diamonds, gold…and skin care?

Do expensive ingredients really mean better skin?

The past ten years have seen an increase in luxury items being added to skin care and spa treatments with the promise of a better complexion. Caviar cream, 24 carat gold body wraps and most recently, black diamond skin serum.

Many of these ingredients provide a temporary benefit. I’ve worked with a line of caviar products that do a wonderful job of plumping the skin before a major event, great for a “red carpet facial”.  Likewise, diamond particles fill in fine lines and wrinkles as well as reflect light which gives the skin a youthful glow when the product is applied.

However, there are no long term studies that suggest these type of ingredients penetrate the outer layers of the skin or do much for the long term health of the skin.

If you have a special occasion or feel like indulging, go for it! If you’d like more bang for your buck, use proven ingredients like antioxidants, peptides and retinols.

The top 3 sunscreens for your face

Since summer is upon us once again and recent studies show its anti-aging effects, everyone is talking about sunscreen.

My top 3 favorite sunscreen products for the face:

For daily use I like Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30. With 20% Zinc Oxide, it provides the most complete coverage I’ve found yet it sheer enough even for dark skin tones.

If you like a tinted moisturizer with SPF or a “BB cream” try Suntegrity “5 In 1” Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen SPF 30. Available in light and medium.

If you hate the feel of sunscreen try IS Clincal Eclipse SPF 50. This ultra light lotion is a favorite among my male clients.

Enjoy the sun this summer but make sure you’re protected!

What’s wrong with organic skin care?

Nothing! I think many organic products are lovely.

However, there are several reasons my products are not certified organic.

Skin care products can be divided into two categories: maintenance and corrective. Maintenance products help to maintain the current condition of your skin while corrective products correct issues like acne, melasma, and the effects of aging.

The majority of my work centers around corrective skin care. My clients want to improve, not just maintain, their skin.

Corrective products need to contain high performance ingredients to be effective. High performance ingredients are dose dependent so they must use chemically standardized plant extracts.

These ingredients do not meet the guidelines set forth by the FDA to be considered “organic” however, they are not “toxic” either.

Vitamin C is a perfect example. It is readily available in citrus fruit yet the potency of juice from an orange can vary greatly. Recreating a the l-ascorbic acid molecule in a lab allows the manufacturer to guarantee the effectiveness of the dose each and every time. This lab created molecule is identical to that found in nature while still being chemically standardized. The color, pH, odor, solid content, viscosity and levels of specific performance related chemicals are consistent. This assures you get results from your skin care products!

That being said, there are some toxic ingredients to look out for when choosing your skin care products. Parabens have been linked to certain types of cancer, sulfates can be drying and harsh to the surface of the skin. Many inexpensive, widely used preservatives contain formaldehyde.

“Do I need to use a toner?”

Q: Do I need to use a toner?

A: First, I want to clarify the difference between an astringent and a toner. An astringent contains mild exfoliating ingredients and leaves the skin feeling tingly after its applied. A toner is mild, usually  without alcohol, and designed to balance the PH level or soothe the skin. Excessively oily or acne prone skin can benefit from an astringent with active ingredients designed to remove oil and treat acne like salicylic acid.

Dry or combinations skin types can skip the toner. If your feel your face is still dirty after cleansing, wash it again. Just like shampoo directions: lather, rinse, repeat. We always cleanse the skin twice during professional treatments; the first cleanse removes dirt and makeup, the second cleanse cleans the skin. If you like the feeling a mist on your face or the smell of a particular toner (which can be lovely!) then by all means, use one! However, I don’t think they are necessary
for the health of your skin.

And more importantly, skipping the toner allows you more time to spend applying important products like eye cream!

Antioxidants: Who? What? When? Where? Why?

Antioxidants are the trendy skin care ingredient right now. Here’s a simple breakdown to determine if they are something you should be adding to your routine.

Who?
Everyone. Especially those over the age of 30, smokers, and sun worshipers.

What?
Superfruits like Goji berries, Acai berries, coffee berries, white and greens teas and COQ10 are examples of ingredients that neutralize free radical damage. Damage from free radicals is the common denominator is most skin issues.

When?
Every day. Use an antioxidant product under your SPF to enhance it’s protective properties and at night under your moisturizer to repair cellular damage while you sleep.

Where?
On your face, neck and decollete.

Why?
To neutralize environmental damage from free radicals, reduce inflammation,  calm acne, moisturize the skin and prevent wrinkles.

What’s in your skin care products?

Many people are concerned about what they put in as well as on their bodies. I often hear clients say “I want to skin care products with ingredients I recognize.”

Reading skin care product labels is like deciphering a secret code. Ingredients are required to be listed according to the official dictionary for cosmetic ingredients known as the International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients (INCI), which was established bythe Personal Care Products Council in the 1970s.

For some ingredients it is easy to figure out what the common name is and in other cases it is downright impossible. This website provides a handy breakdown of the current INCI categories so you can look up ingredients you may not recognize.

There are over 17,000 names in the current dictionary. Here are some examples, along with their INCI names, as well as clues to figuring out what the ingredient is:

Licorice root extract = Glycyrrhiza Glabra Root Extract

Grapefruit oil = Citrus Grandis  Peel Oil: think of “Grand Citrus” or “Large Citrus.

Rose hip seed oil = Rosa Canina Fruit Oil: rose hip seed oil  is extracted from the seeds of the fruit of the Dog Rose shrub. Dog Rose-Canine-Canina.

Oat bran = Avena Sativa Kernel Extract: where the brand name “Aveeno®” comes from!

Bearberry = Arctostaphylos Uva Ursi Leaf Extract

Once you start to recognize some of the common ingredients,  shopping for skin care products will become easier.

Makeup Tips

For an esthetician, I am NOT a naturally inclined makeup person!

Over the yeaphoto 2 copyrs I have picked up a few useful makeup tips that I often share with my clients so I thought I’d share them with you.

Healthy skin has it’s own glow that shouldn’t be covered up but I love the idea of a tinted moisturizer to even things out. I haven’t found one that makes me feel like I am getting enough sun protection so I make my own. I take a good sized dollop of my favorite sunscreen and mix it with a small amount of foundation.

I apply the mixture like lotion, all over my face then follow with a light dusting of mineral powder to reduce the shine. It evens out my skin tone while providing adequate sun protection for a day in the city and not making me look overly “made-up”.

I admit to having a bit of an eyelash fetish so mascara is an important part of my daily routine. Clinque High Impact Mascara is my current fav, in black of course (I don’t understand the point of brown photo 1mascara!).

I apply mascara to the top side of my top lashes, then the underside of my top lashes and touch up and areas I’ve missed. Coating both sides gives a much bolder look than just coating the under side.

What are your favorite makeup tips? Please share them in the comments below!

Ethnic Skin Care

Everyone’s skin tone is unique, from light to dark and everywhere in between, we are a blend of our biological parents. Of course, these differences affect our choice of makeup, but should they influence our choice of skin care?

In 1975  Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a dermatologist at Harvard Medical School,  developed a scale to classify a person’s complexion based on tolerance to sunlight. Dr. Fitzpatrick studied skin pigmentation and did pioneering work in treatments of many skin ailments. Today, we use the Fitzpatrick Scale to determine whether or not a patient is suited for various professional treatments.

The Fitzpatrick Scale uses the skin’s reaction to 10 to 45 minutes of sun exposure to classify skin type.

  • Type 1 burns easily and never tans
  • Type 2 burns easily and tans minimally
  • Type 3 burns moderately and tans gradually
  • Type 4 burns minimally and tans easily
  • Type 5 rarely burns and tans easily
  • Type 6 deeply pigmented skin that never burns

The Fitzpatrick scale is a widely used system of classification and is crucial when performing treatments like chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Darker skin is more likely to experience post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation if treated too aggressively without proper preparation.

Once we classify the skin type on the Fitzpatrick scale, we look at other factors like skin density (thickness), oil production and laxity.

As a general rule, Melanin increases skin density and thicker skin tends to be more prone to oiliness yet I have found many of my darkest skinned clients sensitive to aggressive exfoliation.

I recommend a gentle cleanser without sulfates for my Asian and African American clients. The goal is to clean the skin without stripping healthy oils. Gentle exfoliation is also important, weekly use of a white clay mask will help remove dead skin cells while calming reactive skin.

A broad spectrum SPF is very important, even for the darkest of skin tones. UVA rays are present from sunup to sundown, 365 days a year, all around the globe; these rays are the primary cause of premature aging.

Many of my darker skinned clients are concerned with dark patches, increased melanin makes the skin prone to dark spot or hyper-pigmentation. These dark spots are a direct result of inflammation caused by acne or sun exposure and commonly occur during pregnancy or in women that use hormonal birth control.

Prevention is key. Daily use of a broad spectrum sunscreen will help prevent new spots from forming and existing spots from getting darker. Add a Vitamin C Serum under your SPF to boost it’s effectiveness as well as provide a gentle brightening action.

Nightly use of a Retinol or prescription Retin A will remove mild pigmentation. The combination of Vitamin C Serum during the day and Retinol Serum at night is effective for most mild cases of pigmentation.

If your pigment spots are more severe, you can employ a regimen of professional chemical peels and hydroquinone based products to even your skin tone. Consult with a professional before your start a more aggressive regimen, some lighteners can actually have the opposite effect when not used properly on darker skin tones.

Gluten Free Skin Care?

Gluten-free diets are increasing in popularity. In the US, 1 in 133 people are intolerant to gluten, which is also know as celiac disease.

What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and millet.

There is controversy about whether individuals with celiac disease need to avoid topical skin care products containing these wheat proteins. Oral consumption of gluten can cause eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis which is sometimes called “gluten rash”. Some people worry about cross contamination i.e. using a hand lotion with wheat proteins then preparing food.

If gluten in your skin care is a concern, avoid ingredients like barley, wheat, and triticum. Oats and oatmeal do not contain wheat protein but are usually processed in a facility where cross contamination is possible.

Wheat germ oil is commonly used in skin care products but the wheat protein has been removed so it shouldn’t cause a reaction.

It is best to avoid lip balms(and any products that may be ingested) that contain wheat proteins.

All of my products are gluten free and I recommend Intense Moisture Therapy to sooth eczema rashes.

Do you have any personal experience with gluten intolerance and skin care? Please feel free to share!

Do I need to use the same brand for all my skin care?

Q: Can I mix skin care products from different brands or do I need to use the same brand for all my skin care products?

A: Yes. If you like a product and it works for you, use it. They only person that will tell you different if the person trying to sell you a their entire line of products!

That being said, be careful of using multiple products that have similar ingredients. the most common example of this is using more than one product to exfoliate and ending up with irritated skin.

What’s the difference between Retin A and Retinol? And should I be using one?

Q: I hear a lot about Retin A and skin creams with retinol…should I be using one? And what’s the difference?

A: There are a variety of skin care products on the market that incorporate Vitamin A derivatives, commonly called retinols or retinoids. These products benefit the skin in multiple ways but most importantly they increase skin cell turnover. This increased cell activity helps prevent blackheads, smooths fine lines, lessens the appearance of wrinkles, and lightens pigment spot from age or acne.

Tretinoin (the generic name for Retin A) is a prescription retinoid. Tretinoin is sold under several brand names: Retin A, Retin A Micro, Renova, Atralin to name a few. These products require a prescription so your dermatologist will determine which one is best for you based on your skin type.

Many over the counter products contain retinol. Nightly Therapy is one of my best selling products, it contains time released retinol and is safe to use around the eyes.

Most people can benefit from incorporating a retinol into their skin care routine. Retinols should always be used at night since sunlight breaks down the active ingredients. SPF must be worn during the day because the increased skin cell turnover will leave your skin less protected.

If your have no breakouts and very few fine lines, use a light retinol once or twice a week at night to exfoliate and help prevent the signs of aging.

If you have acne, visit a dermatologist and get a prescription for tretinion.

If you are fighting more pronounced signs of aging, use a retinol every night. Layer it under your moisturizer if your skin is dry.

Retinols are a great tool for increased skin health!

“I have red bumps on my upper arms, help!”

Q: I have red bumps on my upper arms. They get worse during the winter and got really bad when I was pregnant. It’s embarrassing to wear sleeveless tops! What can I do to treat them? Help!

A: Red bumps that appear on the upper arms are known in the medical community as keratosis pilaris. It is a very common problem, often due to genetic factors and can be easily kept under control. The bumps arise from excess keratin production which can clog the hair follicle. Use a gentle cleanser and a glycolic body lotion on the affected area to keep the skin smooth and clear.

If the problem persists or worsens, make an appointment to see your dermatologist.

Skin care for the great outdoors

Does your idea of a fun weekend include a Saturday morning ocean swim followed by a short hike and mountain biking on Sunday?

Outdoor activities require specific skin care considerations.

I cannot stress sun protection enough. And I mean thick, white, water-resistant sunscreen that you would never wear on a day to day basis. Yes, it may clog your pores but it will also help prevent a myriad of skin conditions ranging from unsightly Melasma to serious skin cancers. I like the Suntegrity Face Sunscreen for the face and Neutrogena SPF 70 for the body.

Both of these products utilize a physical sunscreen ingredient. A physical block (like titanium dioxide) contains particles that do exactly that, physically block the sun light. This also helps protect your skin from other elements like wind and cold.

Before you get dressed in the morning, apply SPF lotion to your face and entire body. This will ensure you don’t miss crucial areas on the edges of your active wear. Use a full 2 ounces to cover your body and a blob the size if a quarter for your face, neck and ears.

Re-apply often; immediately after an water-based activity or every 1-2 hours. I like spray sunscreens for re-applying on the body, it’s easier if you are wearing cycling gloves, have dirty hands etc. SPF sticks are helpful to for re-application to the face.

Wear a hat with sun protection, sun glasses with adequate coverage, long sleeves, and a high neckline when you can. If you have short hair, thin hair (or no hair!) don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your scalp.

After you activity, your first order of business is to clean your face. Keep facial cleansing cloths in your bag for a quick wipe before you head home.

Once you are able to give your face a good washing, use a gentle cleanser to cleanse twice. Lather, rinse, repeat. This will ensure your skin is clean without over drying.

Exfoliate on a regular basis. Use an enzyme peel 2-3 times a week and a gentle toner daily to keep dead skin to a minimum and pores clean.

Do skin care products really expire?

The simple answer is yes.

However, there are many factors that can extend the shelf life of the fabulous products you work hard to be able to purchase!

Most skin care products have a symbol on the label that lets you know how long the product is good once it’s been opened: the most widely used icon is a jar with and open cap and a number on it. The number denotes how many months the product is guaranteed from the day you open it.

Most products are good for 6-24 months once they have been opened. Packaging plays a large roll in how this number is determined. An airless pump keeps a product fresh for much longer than a wide mouth jar. The less contamination (for the air or your fingers), the longer your product with stay fresh and stable.

If a product changes color or separates, chances are good that is has expired.

Vitamin C is difficult to keep stable and has a short shelf life. It oxidizes (turns brown) when it is no longer effective.

Most skin care products are sold in containers determined to be the amount an average person would consume, with regular use, in a 3-4 month period.

If you are worried about your products expiring before you use them up, stick with items sold in pumps and tubes instead of jars and store them in a dark, cool environment.

Is there a downside to using expired products?

Again, the simple answer is yes.

When a product is past the expiration date it is no longer effective. For something like a basic moisturizer, this isn’t a concern but for a product containing sunscreen or retinol it’s important to make sure the active ingredients aren’t past their prime.

Skin care from the neck down

I share a lot of information about skin care for the face but what about the rest of your body? Here are few tips just in time for winter!

Use warm water when you bathe or shower. Hot water will dry your skin which causes flaking and itchiness. Skin on the body doesn’t have as many oil glands as the face so it becomes dry more easily.

Use soap or body wash only on the important areas, using too much of these products will dry you skin. If you have chronically dry skin, try a body wash that contains colloidal oatmeal which soothes the skin.

Use an unscented body lotion or cream every day. I like CeraVe Moisturizing Cream when my skin is dry. I specify unscented because most commercial scents contain alcohol which is drying. If you like a scented cream, add a few drops of an organic essential oil. Use a moisturizer with SPF on any areas that will be exposed to the sun during the day like arms, hand and chest.

For rough heels, knees and elbows, I alternate between Glycolix Elite 15 Percent Body Lotion to exfoliate the skin and a rich cream (like RAW Cocoa Butter) to moisturize. Glycolic lotion is also helpful when treating rough, bumpy patches on the upper arms (usually a result of dry skin).

Make sure you are drinking enough water during the winter months. Moisturizers work to seal in moisture so you need to hydrate from the inside out for the best results. And remember, any non-caffeinated beverage, fruit juice or soup counts towards your daily water intake!

“What do YOU use?”

Several times a week, a client asks me “What do you use?”.

I have a closet full of products, most of them are given to me by product reps trying to get (or keep) my business; if I really like a product it goes in the “I’d pay retail for it!” category.

My recommendations vary depending on skin type, but here is a breakdown what I’m currently using:

Daily:

I wash my face during my morning shower with iS Clinical Cleansing Complex. I use a few drops of iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum Advance+ under my sunscreen. I’m a sunscreen junkie, I love Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen and Primer: I mix it with a bit of my foundation for a customized tinted moisturizer.

I wash my face when I get home from work (before I head to the gym or yoga). I use my Vitamin Therapy Fortifying Cleanser, the sulfate-free formula uses soy and avocado oils which dissolve dirt, oil and makeup. I’ve always been too lazy to use a proper makeup remover and this does the job! If my skin feels especially dirty, I wash twice: lather, rinse, repeat.

My nighttime routine varies. I always use my Firming Peptide Eye Therapy but I change it up between Nightly Therapy Retinol Complex and iS Clincal Youth Complex.

Every 8-12 weeks:

I like to have a cleansing facial every 8 weeks, I always need extractions!

I give myself a Jessners Peel or a South Beach Peel 3-4 times a year, covering my face, neck and decollete area. This keeps my melasma and fine lines under control and stimulates collagen production.

I’ve attempted to self-administer an Iderm treatment or Microdermabrasion and the results are comical! Some things are better left to the professionals.

Every 6-8 months:

I use Dysport on the vertical line on my forehead. The result is more subtle than Botox and only require maintenance every 6-8 months.

photo 2 copyIn 2008, I had an Affirm CO2 fractional laser treatment on my entire face, eyelids and neck. The doctor I worked with needed a test subject for his new laser; I don’t advocate an aggressive procedure like this for most people in their 30’s.

That being said, the results were amazing!

The laser eliminated all of my hyper-pigmentation, most of my residual acne scars and tightened my skin more than I was expecting. My face swollen and flaky for a week but considering the downtime versus the results, I will do it again in the future.

 

As I (rapidly) approach my 40th birthday, I try to keep my expectations reasonable. I do what I can to keep my skin healthy and youthful but I refuse to make it a full time job; balance is important. The routine listed above does a lot for my appearance but so does my healthy diet, regular Bikram Yoga practice, Zen meditation and general attitude towards life; don’t take it all so seriously!