Category Archives: Skin Care

How did people protect their skin before sunscreen?

Do you ever wonder how people protected their skin from the sun thousands of years ago?

Clothing, scarves, and shade were early methods of protecting skin from the sun. However, applying products to the skin for additional protection also started thousands of years ago.

Early civilizations used a variety of plant products to help protect the skin from sun damage.

Ancient Greeks used olive oil to protect their skin from the sun and to condition it after sun exposure. Modern science tells us olive oil has an SPF of 7-8 (and this protection breaks down when the oils is heated) so it is NOT considered effective protection from the sun but given their options, it was better than nothing.

Ancient Egyptians used extracts of rice, jasmine, and lupine plants. Again, these ingredients offered low levels of sun protection but were proven to be very beneficial to the skin and are still used in skin care products today.

Burmese women have used Thanaka cream to protect from sunburn for over 2000 years.  Thanaka is a creamy paste rich in vitamin E and is applied on the face in pretty designs. It also provides a cooling sensation and has anti-inflammatory properties to calm acne.

Zinc oxide, a popular sunscreen ingredient today, was being used for medicinal purposes as long ago as 500 B.C.E.

In the 16th century, pale skin was very important to the the upper class. The clothing of the era covered the body from head to toe but ladies were required to wear uncomfortable Visards to protect their skin from the sunburn when traveling in open carriages.

Thankfully, by the 17th century parasols and bonnets had become popular as a means of protecting the face from the sun.

The production of sunscreen as we know it today started in the 1940’s. More user friendly versions appeared on the market by the 1960’s and in the 1970’s the formulas protected against both UVA and UVB rays.

When faced with options like a Visard or a can of greasy “red vet pet” I’m happy to have my Suntegrity!

How do I treat my back acne?

“How do I treat my back acne?’ is a question I often hear from clients.

The first step is to figure out what might be aggravating the skin on your back.

Do you shower soon after working out or do you sit around in sweaty workout clothing?

Sweat is full of things our body wants out of our system. When we sweat, our skin starts producing more bacteria to neutralize the sweat. More bacteria plus a layer of dried sweat (ew!) left to sit on our skin for too long isn’t doing the back acne any favors.

Do you wear cotton or sweat-wicking fabric when working out?

See above. Take every precaution possible to keep sweat off the area.

Do you wash your back after conditioning your long hair in the shower?

Wash and condition your hair, rinse. Pin your hair up if you need too. Then wash your back with your medicated body wash. Heavy conditioners can leave a residue on your back that can clog pores.

Do you wear your “dry clean only” clothing multiple times between cleanings?

It may look clean and smell clean (and we all want to save a few bucks on dry cleaning) but the build up of sweat and dead skin could be contributing to your problem. Also, some back acne reacts poorly to dry cleaning fluid all together. Try layering a cotton camisole under your dry clean only tops.

Does your laundry detergent or fabric softener have fragrance that could be irritating your skin?

Try unscented laundry products.

So, you’ve made all the lifestyle adjustments, how should your back for the best results?

Use a medicated body wash once or twice a day depending on the severity of the breakouts. Spot treat the breakouts as necessary. Use a clay mask and a home glycolic treatment once a week to keep the pores clean. And have a Back Facial once a month.

 

 

 

 

 

My Anti-Aging Eye Routine

As I approach my mid-40’s, I see more signs of aging in my eye area so I’ve stepped up my anti-aging eye routine.

The delicate skin in the eye area is 10 times thinner than the skin on the rest of the face. This skin is also in a constant state of movement, so fines lines or “crows feet” are commonly one of the early signs of aging.

I’m not opposed to surgery or injectable solutions but I’d like to save surgical options for my next decade and I have mixed feelings about the results I’ve seen from Botox for “crows feet”.

Eye lifts were in the list of the top five esthetic surgical procedures performed in the United States in 2016 according to statistics from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

While working to expand my online store last year, I tested many eye creams and ended up with irritated eyes on a few occasions. I learned a lot about what ingredients work and which ones to skip.

The right combination of topical peptides, anti-inflammatory ingredients, and stimulants can give this delicate area the extra boost it needs to get me thru my 40’s without going under the knife.

This is the routine that has made a visible change for me:

Morning:

Alchemie Forever Rejuvenating Eye Balm
This lightweight eye balm is perfect for daytime. The antioxidant rich formula protects against environmental assaults while the Vitamin K reduces the appearance of dark circles.

Evening:

sowd therapy for skin: firming peptide eye therapy
The creamy formula uses Matrixyl 3000 to stimulate the cell renewal that slows with age. It also contains anti-inflammatory ingredients so you wake up with less puffiness. When I have an extra few minutes, I use my Jade Roller to massage the eye area before applying.

Weekly:

Patchology Energizing Eye Patches
These are amazing! The patches are embedded with gel-activated galvanic micro current technology, after 20 minutes my eyes look years younger. I use them once a week or before I have an important event.

Dietary changes:

I eliminated 90% of the added sugar in my diet and reduced my alcohol intake to 1-2 drinks per month. Cutting out alcohol isn’t a problem for me, I enjoy drinking less as I get older but I love sugar and seem to crave it at times. I discovered a calcium/magnesium supplement helped curb my sugar cravings so much.

Keep up your water intake and eat a large quantity of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. When you becomes dehydrated, your eyes are the first place it shows!

15 Minute Pre-Event Facial

Need a 15 minute pre-event skin boost?

Follow this quick and easy routine for a GLOW that lasts all night!

1. Remove your makeup, if necessary. Wash your face with warm water and IS Clinical Cleansing Complex, pat dry.

2. Apply one Glycolic Gel Pad all over your face, allow glycolic serum from pad to dry for 5 minutes. If your skin is sensitive, rinse. If you use glycolic acid on a regular basis, move to the next step without rinsing.

3. Apply one Illuminate Flash Masque Sheet. Gently rub an ice cube over the sheet mask for a cooling sensation, concentrate on any areas where you may have puffiness (like around the eyes).

4. After 5 minutes, remove the sheet masque and massage any remaining serum into the skin. Apply Suntegrity Moisturizing Sunscreen and Primer and you’re ready for makeup!

Stress and Your Skin

The fast pace of modern daily life creates stress and your skin will suffer if you don’t take time to balance your activity with some downtime.

What is your favorite way to take a time out, create balance in your life and help your skin when life gets overwhelming?

When my life is at “peak stress”, time is always scarce. I embrace daily wellness tips I can incorporate into my routine without taking up much time.

Water

When you wake up in the morning, you are dehydrated, no question.

Reach for a large glass of room temperature water before you start on the coffee and keep sipping throughout the day.

This insures you stay hydrated and helps keep your energy levels up, I drink less coffee if I start with water and feel better overall.

“Clock Out”

Decide on an electronic end time for your day and stick with it.

This is the time your phone gets turned off (use an auto-reply for your email if you need too), stop checking social media and replying to text messages. There is nothing that can’t wait until you “clock in” the following morning.

This gives your brain some much needed downtime and gives your skin a break from screen time.

Treat Yo’Self

It’s not the time to throw caution to the wind and run to the nearest department store with your credit card or break your diet with an entire cake but do a little something special for yourself.

I usually default to getting a manicure for a few reasons; I won’t regret it when my credit card bill comes next month, I’m forced to set aside my phone and relax while my polish dries and for the next week my pretty hands make me feel like I’m pulled together when I may be on the brink of disaster internally!

Mask

A face mask makes everything better. Throw it on while you’re brushing your teeth, washing your hair, even while you are reading this blog…

Skin Care: Daily, Weekly, Monthly

Skin care can be overwhelming. It’s difficult to know what products you should use and when you should use them. What should you use every day? Once a week? Monthly?

And what about professional treatments?

Every skin is as unique as the person it belongs too and can react differently in different environments. Here are some basic guidelines to help you determine how often you should be using each product in your routine.

Daily:

  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Serum
  • Eye Cream
  • Moisturizer
  • SPF

Weekly:

  • Exfoliate with an enzyme or chemical exfoliating product
  • Mask

Monthly:

  • Have a professional facial treatment with your Esthetician
  • Perform a self mole check

Yearly:

  • Have a mole check with your Dermatologist
  • More agressive treatments like laser resurfacing or chemical peels

Have a consult with your Esthetician and Dermatologist to determine the exact routine that is best for your skin type. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments below!

Bridal Skin Care

Wedding preparation can be overwhelming, it’s important not to overlook your bridal skin care routine. Makeup can conceal many flaws but bumpy, clogged pores will show thru any foundation.

Start at least 6 months before your big day.

If you’re having regular skin care treatments, 6 months is enough time to ramp up for a wedding. If you’re starting from scratch, give yourself 8-12 months.

Have a consultation with your esthetician to determine the combination of treatments required to achieve your skin care goals. This may include chemicals peels with several days of downtime after each session so plan accordingly.

Schedule consultations with the people you hire for hair and makeup (of course!) as well as anyone you plan to hire for eyelash extensions, spray tan, nail services etc. The week before your wedding is not the time to experiment with a treatment you’ve never received before.

Make a budget and commit to your routine.

Get a price for your professional treatments up front, many spas offer a discount if you pre-pay for all your services in advance. Factor in the cost of the home care products your will need to boost the results of the professional treatments. Wedding costs add up quickly and you don’t want to be forced to skimp on your skin as a result!

Don’t forget your back and chest.

Consider the cut of your dress and plan to treat any area that will be exposed. Back or chest acne may require several treatments to go away completely. If the skin on your body is generally good, have a body scrub the week before your wedding to remove dead skin.

Plan your treatments the week-of in the correct order.

  • 4-5 days before: Massage, body wrap, hair color, eyelash extensions
  • 3 days before: body scrub, manicure + pedicure, facial
  • 2 days before: spray tan

Relax and enjoy your big day!

The most important step of all.

 

Skin Inflammation

Skin inflammation is a positive skin reaction, it shows your skin bringing more blood cells to an infected area to fight bacteria. However the end result causes considerable damage to texture and appearance of the skin.

How can we calm inflammation, fight bacteria, and prevent damage in the skin?

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Historically, topical steroids are the first line of defense to fight skin inflammation. Studies show long term use of topical steroids can have negative effects, which include suppressed immune function and thinning the skin.

Certain compounds that occur in nature have anti-inflammatory benefits and can be used topically without the negative side effects of prescription steroids.

Botanically-derived antioxidants with anti-inflammatory properties include L-Ascorbic Acid (found in citrus), Quercetin (found in apples), Resveratrol (found in wine), Epigallocatechin Gallate (found in green tea), and Bisabolol (found in Chamomile).

Everyone should use an daily antioxidant regardless of skin type. Two of my favorites are antioxidant therapy and IS Clincal Pro Heal Serum.

Daily antioxidant use protects your skin from environmental damage and controls inflammation.

Layer an antioxidant serum under your SPF during the day. Antioxidant ingredients boost the effectiveness of your SPF and help prevent free radical damage from pollution.

Why not make January #maskmonth?

January is the perfect time for new beginnings, why not make it #maskmonth?

I encourage my clients to use a mask once a week in their home care routine, with so many options to choose from this shouldn’t be a problem.

Awhile back, I realized I was getting lazy about my masking routine. I stocked up on my favorite sheet mask, clay mask and charcoal mask and committed to following my own advice for a month.

I’m loathe to admit it but goofy photos for social media is a great motivator for #maskmonth!

It didn’t take the whole month to see the difference in my skin. After two weeks of consistent masking my face was glowing.

My tips for #maskmonth:

1. Custom blend your masks! When I have a client with combination skin in the studio I add a pump of antioxidant serum to a balancing clay mask for added nourishment. Experiment at home.

2. Five minutes is all you need. 10-15 minutes is great if you have the time but put on a mask and brush your teeth/wash your hair/trim your toenails then rinse.

3. Create a mini-facial at home. Exfoliate then mask, your skin will look amazing! Add eye patches to target the under eye area.

4. Take a goofy photo for social media, get your friends to join the fun of #maskmonth!

Three Ingredients For Younger Skin

Antioxidants

The skin requires a healthy dose of antioxidants every day to prevent new damage and reverse prior skin damage. Layer your antioxidant serum under your SPF for added sun protection.

Retinol

Retinol helps increase skin cell turnover which in turn encourages collagen production. The end result is smoother, brighter skin with less breakouts and clogged pores.

Sunscreen

Everyone needs sun protection, end of story. If you don’t spend much time in the sun, an SPF 15 in your daily lotion is fine, if you get more exposure bump it up to SPF 30.

What’s Your Skin Type?

Have you ever wondered how skin type is determined?

The amount of oil you produce is one of the major factors.

Dry

Dry skin types will benefit from washing with cool or warm (not hot) water using a cream based cleanser and treating with a serum followed by a creamy moisturizer. Serums have a thinner consistency and are more readily absorbed into the skin to deliver moisture to the lower layers, the moisturizer is designed to lock hydration in place.

PRO TIP: A common mistake is to assume dry skin does not need to be exfoliated. Exfoliating with an enzyme mask 1-2 times per week helps remove dead skin build up and allow products to penetrate better.

Normal

If you are lucky enough to fall into the normal category, chances are it won’t last forever! A gentle cleanser and moisturizer twice a day as well as an SPF during the day will keep your skin in great shape. As you age or experience hormonal changes, you can add to this routine to deal with the changes more easily since you have already established a routine.

PRO TIP: Do you fall asleep without washing your face? Get in the habit of washing your face right when you get home from work/gym/happy hour, BEFORE you sit down on the sofa to watch TV. Your skin will thank you!

Combination

Combination skin is a very common, oil in the T-zone yet dry on the cheeks. Use a gentle, foaming cleanser to get rid of the oil build up in the T-zone without over drying the cheeks. A treatment moisturizer with vitamin C will help prevent the excess oil from oxidizing in the pores and causing blackheads while keeping the cheeks from getting flaky.

PRO TIP: Use a white clay mask once a week to balance the skin, it will absorb excess oil from the oily areas and gently exfoliate dead skin from the dry patches.

Oily

Oily skin may be the most frustrating of all the skin types but the excess oil keep skin from getting wrinkles for much longer. Activated charcoal face wash helps absorb excess oil without over drying the skin, you can leave the cleanser on like a mask for 1-2 minutes for extra oil fighting power. Follow with a light antioxidant serum plus SPF during the day.

PRO TIP: Use blotting papers throughout the day to absorb excess oil without disturbing your makeup and SPF.

In-Flight Skin Care Tips

women with dark hair looking out the window of an airplane

What’s the best routine for your skin while in an airplane?

 

The night before

 

Wash with your normal cleanser and exfoliate with an enzyme mask. Apply a balancing clay mask or a hydrating gel mask depending on your skin type.

Drink a lot of water.

 

The day of

 

Layer a hydrating serum under your moisturizer on clean skin before the flight. Skip the foundation and concealer, apply a light layer of tinted moisturizer if you need some coverage.

Drink a lot of water.

 

During the flight

 

For flights 5 hours or under, reapply your moisturizer at least once (wash your hands first!). Continue to drink water and skip the alcohol.

For flights over 5 hours, clean your skin with a cotton ball and toner mid-flight then reapply your hydrating serum and moisturizer. Drink more water.

 

After the flight

 

Repeat the enzyme mask + hydrating or balancing mask routine and continuing using the hydrating serum under your moisturizer.

Always pack travel sizes of your regular products when traveling. A foreign climate is not the time to introduce a new product to your routine.

And have a glass of water!

Why are plastic micro beads banned in the United States?

President Obama recently signed a bill that banned the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products, this is great news for the environment!

How do plastic microbeads affect the environment?

This animation from The Story of Stuff illustrates it quite well. In short, the beads are too small to be filtered out of the water system and clog the gills of fish in the ocean or in the case of the smaller beads, become food for the fish and end up as part of our sushi platters.

What does this mean for skincare?

For many of us, nothing.

I’m not a fan of mechanical scrubs for exfoliation so I don’t retail any products that contain plastic microbeads. I prefer an enzyme or chemical product to exfoliate the skin.

Many companies are reformulating their mechanical scrubs to contain organic material. The downside to organic material is the pieces aren’t as uniform as plastic so they have a greater chance of causing micro tears to the skin.

Skin care for a hangover…

With the holiday season quickly approaching (or did it start last night??), now is the time to think about how to look good on the outside when one too many cocktails left you feeling bad on the inside.

The most important factor is hydration. Drink water!

I like to add an electrolyte boost like Emergencee. Have a few large glasses of water before you start drinking coffee to get your system moving.

If your face is puffy, ice is your friend.

Fill your bathroom sink or a large bowl with cold water, add some ice cubes, pin your hair back and dunk you face for a few seconds.
Repeat.
Repeat one more time if you can stand it (of if you’re still asleep!).

Hydrate your skin. Use a serum under your moisturizer, you will be more dry than usual. Alcohol depletes the water from the fat layer of your skin.

Use extra eye cream. I love Yonka Phyto Contour for the stimulating effect the rosemary has on puffy eyes.

Wear a light layer of makeup but don’t overdo it, you may feel you’re hiding but it can just bring more attention to your tired face!

How can I fix my broken capillaries?

Q: How can I fix my broken capillaries?

A: Broken capillaries are a very common side effect of sun damage and aging. People with thin skin are more prone to getting them.

The only true method for getting rid of broken capillaries is laser treatments. There are many creams on the market that claim to remove them but nothing has been proven.

Laser treatments for broken capillaries are relatively quick and not very painful. They may leave a bruise for a few days after so plan accordingly. Consult a dermatologist or plastic surgeon to determine how many sessions will be necessary to get the results you desire.

Like most skin issues, broken capillaries are easier to prevent than they are to correct.

Use a sunblock with a high percentage of physical block all year and avoiding extreme temperatures. Keep alcohol consumption to a minimum since this also dilates the capillaries which will weaken them over time.

24 Hour Skin Care Diary

Curious about what I use on my skin?

Here is my 24 Hour Skin Care Diary: a typical day in the life of my skin.

day copyMy morning face routine is simple: vitamin therapy fortifying cleanser, Youth Serum and Suntegrity.

I love all three of these multi-functional products, products that have more than one function means fewer steps in the morning!

Vitamin therapy fortifying cleanser gets rid of any traces of eye makeup I may have missed the night before and it cleanses without over drying my combination skin. I can actually wash my eyes with it to remove makeup, it’s that gentle.

Youth Serum provides both immediate smoothing and long term anti-aging benefits which makes it the perfect choice under makeup.

Suntegrity is a 3-in-1 SPF/moisturizer/makeup primer so after I layer this on my skin look smooth and luminous. I almost feel like I don’t need makeup…almost.

I’ve been adding a bit of firming peptide eye therapy because my eye area has been extra dry with the crazy weather we are having in San Francisco.

body copyFor my body I use Malin + Goetz Lime Body Wash in the shower, it’s gentle and I love the lime scent (plus it makes an excellent bubble bath when you have time to indulge!), followed by body therapy antioxidant lotion. To prevent dry heels and elbows this stuff is magic, I apply it 3-4 times a week.

On work days I keep my makeup simple. Suntegrity 5-in-1 tinted SPF provides just enough coverage and color (and additional SPF protection). Mascara is my thing and right now I’m obsessed with Full, Fat Lashes by Charlotte Tilbury. I add a little eyeliner, blush and lip gloss from NARS and I’m good for the day.

I do my evening skin care routine as soon as I know I am in for the night.

If I get home from work and start hanging out, watching TV or reading a book…I end up too tired to do my full routine so I’ll skimp on something. I’ve been much better about my evening skin care routine since I started doing it as soon as I get home.

night copyI love IS Clinical Cleansing Complex in the evening. It removes my makeup as well as the dirt from the day, I always cleanse twice: once to remove the dirt and makeup, once to cleanse the skin.

Right now I’m using Malin and Goetz Resurfacing Glycolic Pads to exfoliate most nights. The 10% glycolic acid keep my combination skin free from acne and blackheads.

If I’m feeling dry, I’ll add moisture therapy on top of the glycolic acid once it’s dry.

I got some IS Clinical Youth Eye Complex as a gift so I’ve been using that at night, it’s rich and hydrating but doesn’t irritate my sensitive eyes.

I like IS Clinical Youth Complex on nights I don’t use the glycolic pads.

That’s an typical day in the life of my skin as I approach my 42nd birthday, what are you using on your skin?

Do I need to clean my makeup brushes?

YES.

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This poll is shocking! Makeup brushes can harbor bacteria and dirt which are transferred onto the skin and eyes when you use them.

Makeup brushes that you use everyday should be cleaned every 3-4 weeks.

Rinse your brushes in lukewarm water to remove residual makeup. Focus on the actual bristles and avoid the base of the brush as much as possible since this can weaken the glue over time.

Squirt a small amount of your facial cleanser in the palm of your hand and gently swirl the brush tip in the cleanser to work up a lather.

Rinse the brush tip under running water.

Lay your brushes flat on a cloth to dry, reshape the bristles as necessary.

I wash my brushes in the morning after I’ve used them so they will be dry by the following morning. If they are still damp, a quick pass with the hair dryer does the trick!

 

What’s the difference between BB Cream and CC Cream?

And now there’s DD Cream!

BB = Beauty Balm

CC = Color Corrector

DD = Daily Defense

The bottom line is, these products are new versions of good old fashioned tinted moisturizer.

They can have the added benefits of anti-aging ingredients, anti-acne ingredients, makeup primer and antioxidants but the categories themselves don’t mean that much.

Try a few different products to find one that provides the makeup coverage you prefer but don’t rely on one of these creams for sun protection, layer it over a lightweight SPF to make sure you face is protected.

 

How to Prepare for a Chemical Peel

1. Schedule a consultation with your skin care professional to determine the best chemical peel for your skin type and the results you want to achieve.

2.Schedule the peel when you have enough downtime to allow for any flaking and peeling that may occur in the days following the treatment.

2. Follow the pre-peel skin care routine prescribed to you. This usually includes retinol creams, Retin A or Hydroquinone products to start the renewal process and increase the benefits of the chemical peel.

3. Stay out of the sun! Wear at least an SPF 30 every day.

4. Stop all exfoliating products 3 days prior to your chemical peel appointment.