Category Archives: Retail Products

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:


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!

The Eyes are the Window to the Soul…

And how are you caring for your “window frames”?

The tissue around the eye area is delicate and has fewer oil glands than the rest of your face. A cream specifically formulated for the eye area is an important part of any skin care routine. And remember; eye cream does more to prevent than to correct the signs of aging!

I suggest my clients use an eye cream as part of their routine, both morning and evening, beginning as young as their mid twenties.

Darkness under the eyes is a common concern, lack of sleep and lack of hydration are the most widespread culprits. The structure of the eye socket makes the under eye area ideal for lymphatic fluid buildup, which causes darkness and puffiness under the eye. Drinking enough water (half your body weight in ounces every day) and using an eye cream with caffeine are the best ways to conquer this lymphatic fluid buildup.

Some dark circles are not caused by fluid buildup but by excess pigment (often called “hyper-pigmentation”), this is very common in darker skin tones. An eye cream with a lightening agent, like vitamin C or hydroquinone, will gradually brighten the eye area. Pair it with an exfoliating agent like retinol in the evening for better results. Make sure these ingredients are in a cream approved for use around the delicate eye area!

Fat loss in the face is common as we age and can lead to hollow looking eyes. A hyaluronic acid based filler like Juvaderm or Restylane will fill in the area. Hyaluronic acid is naturally present in the skin so these fillers are safe and have no risk of allergic reaction. Injectable fillers are very effective in the eye area and the results can last up to a year.
Fine lines, wrinkles and sagging all have the same root cause: break down of collagen in the tissue. This breakdown is caused by the aging process, sun exposure and dehydration (including dehydration caused by cigarette smoke and alcohol consumption).

The sooner the skin receives support from topical serums and creams, the better chance you have to delay this breakdown. Peptides mimic broken collagen molecules; when applied topically, your skin generates new collagen cells to repair itself. Choose an eye cream that contains peptides for firming and fighting wrinkles.

Deep wrinkles in the eye area, often called “crows feet” can be treated in several ways. Professional exfoliation using chemical peels or microdermbrasion will soften them and Botox or Dysport can be injected in the area to temporarily limit the muscle reaction. This process needs to be repeated every 3-4 months.

Neck Creams are the new black.

Have you noticed many skin care brands have introduced a “neck cream” ?

Skin care trends come and go. After many years in the industry, I see cycles similar to those in fashion: to quote Heidi Klum “One day your in, the next day you are out”. Neck creams seem to be the trend of 2011.

Are they necessary?

Well, yes and no.

As clients approach their late 20’s, I encourage them to add at least one anti-aging product to their routine. Vitamin C serum is my favorite since it works beautifully on combination skin, helping to combat blackheads while providing antioxidant protection and boosting collagen production. This type of serum is suitable for the neck and decollete as well, so there is no need for a separate “neck cream”.

As we age, oil production decreases and a heavier cream may be necessary. Most of the neck creams I have seen on the market claim to be “firming”: I don’t buy it. In order to noticeably firm the skin, the collagen must be activated with a heat source, like a laser, and the results are gradual. I have yet to see anything, applied topically, that actually firms the skin.

That being said, I love to see people paying attention to the neck and decollete area! Too often, our routine stops at the jawline. Use your night cream on your face, neck and decollete (it’s never to early to start: topical products do an amazing job at preventing aging but are far less effective at reversing it). Also, incorporate these areas into your daily sunscreen application.

The only products designed for the face I don’t recommend for the neck are retinoids and AHAs. The neck has fewer oil glands than the face and can be more easily irritated. Embrace this trend and start taking better care of your neck and decollete area!