Most people can benefit from some type of chemical peel.
Chemical peels are the preferred treatment to address many skin conditions like acne, fine lines, wrinkles, scars, hyperpigmentation and melasma.
There are many types of chemicals peels to choose from, the trick is finding the right one for your skin and your concerns.
When it comes to chemical peels the more results you want to see, the more downtime you will have after the treatment! There is no magic solution that will erase years of damage without a period of redness and flaking after the application. Sometimes a series of lighter chemical peels will achieve similar results to one more aggressive peel, this may be a better option for sensitive skin types.
Schedule a consultation with your skin care professional to determine what is the best option for you.
It’s no secret I love coffee and I refuse to believe it has an adverse effect on the skin, but now it appears science is on my side it a way I never imagined.
A recent article in the New York Times talks about a study that indicated coffee consumption may lower melanoma risk as much at 20 percent!
Time for my afternoon latte…
Are your hands clean when you apply your skin care products?
Applying face cream (and even acne medication!) while you still have residue from hair products or body lotion on your hands can create a pore clogging environment on your face.
Wash your hand thoroughly before you apply your face products, or apply them before you apply your hair and body products.
Clean hands = clean skin = clean pores!
Inflammation is one of the key factors that leads to aging skin, hyper-pigmentation and a variety of other skin issues.
The study of epigenetics shows how lifestyle choices can drastically affect our gene reactions when it comes to the aging of the skin. Inflammation is one of the key factors in this aging process. It plays a large part in the break down of the protective barrier of the skin, DNA damage and hyper-pigmentation.
On a daily basis, we are exposed to stimulus like sun light, HEV light from electronic screens, pollution and cigarette smoke.
Many skin care products currently on the market designed to target hyper-pigmentation don’t take this into account. If we don’t address the root cause of inflammation, we can’t repair the compromised skin barrier and ultimately, control the hyper-pigmentation.
All the new information we have about aging, inflammation and hyper-pigmentation leads us back to antioxidants. They should be incorporated into your day time and night time routine for total protection.
A moisturizer designed to repair the skins barrier is also important for overall skin function.
Chemical peels and microdermabrasion can do wonders to lighten existing hyper-pigmentation but it’s important to incorporate anti-inflammatory skin care products for long term results.
Stem cells are a controversial topic, here’s a great article from MedEsthetics Magazine about their use in anti-aging skin care products.
Firming Peptide Eye Therapy is a gentle, anti-aging eye cream that employs plant extracts and peptides to firm and protect the delicate eye area.
The delicate skin in the eye area does not contain as many oil glands as other areas of the face so a cream designed especially for the area is necessary to hydrate the skin and prevent the breakdown of collagen.
The area inside the eye socket also lacks the structural support provided to the rest of the face which is one of the main reasons the signs of aging are first visible around the eyes.
Peptides are the building blocks of collagen so when applied topically, the skins own collagen is motivated to produce. Daily use of Firming Peptide Eye Therapy will render both short and long term results.
Q: During the winter months, my skin gets very dry. If I use an extra layer of moisturizer, will it help?
A: Most moisturizer is full of ingredients designed to repair the skin barrier and seal in moisture, the molecules are too large to be absorbed into the lower layers of the skin.
Serums are lighter in consistency and designed to be more readily absorbed by the skin so adding one underneath your moisturizer will do a better job of getting the hydration where you need it.
Pro Heal Serum Advance + by IS Clinical is one of my favorite serums for most skin types. It adds extra moisture and vitamins, reduces inflammation and redness.
For dry skin on the body, adding an oil like jojoba or grapeseed oil to your regular body moisturizer can give you the extra boost you need during the winter months. I like these two oils because they are lighter and mix well with lotion.
Of course, making sure to drink enough water during the cold winter months is also an important part of keeping skin hydrated. Focus on getting half your body weight in non-caffeinated, non-carbonated, (non-alcoholic!) ounces of liquid per day.
Q: Can I use body lotion on my face?
A. Body lotion and face cream are formulated differently.
Body lotion contains occlusive ingredients which seal in moisture, helpful for the skin on the body since it doesn’t have as many oil glands as the skin on the face.
The occlusive properties of these ingredients can lead to clogged pores on the face, even for people with dry skin. Face cream is designed with the specific balance of the skin on the face in mind so it is less likely to clog the pores.
It is better for most skin types to use two separate products.
With less than a month left the year, now is a good time to start thinking about New Years Resolutions. Does your skin play a part in yours?
Here are my suggestions for the Top 5 Skin Care Resolutions:
1. Love your skin!
First, (and this is super important!) pick one thing about your skin that you absolutely love. I battled acne in my teens and my 20’s which means that in my 40’s I get to enjoy the benefits of all that extra oil production. It’s important to take a moment and appreciate what we love about ourselves!
2. Wear a product with at least SPF30 every day.
Concerned about controversial sunscreen chemicals? Choose an option with a physical block and pair it with Vitamin D in your multivitamin. This is important year round, no matter wear you live. When the sun is out, you are being exposed to UVA rays which are the rays that damage your collagen and cause premature aging.
3. Get to the dermatologist for a mole check, especially if you’ve never had one.
The frequency of recommended mole checks varies according to your age, history of sun exposure and family history of skin cancer, your dermatologist will tell you what is right for you. Monthly self exams are also recommended.
4. Schedule a consultation with your esthetician.
How long has it been since you’ve reviewed your skin care goals? Sometimes we can go for years using the same skin care products and receiving the same treatments without stopping to check in and see if they are still right for us.
5. Set small skin care goals so you can achieve them.
Overhauling your entire routine is tough, pick one or two things to work on. Washing your face before bed is a great place to start! Got that down? Exfoliating at least once a week is super important too!
Make this the year of great skin!
With cold and flu season approaching, skin care habits can go out the window when we don’t feel well.
I often get clients returning after a bout with sickness and they don’t understand why their skin is dull and clogged, “I didn’t DO anything, I was in bed all day”. Exactly. You’ve got to DO something, even if it’s the bare minimum, to keep your skin in shape while you’re sick.
* Wash your face twice a day with a gentle, exfoliating cleanser. I know, you are just lolling around in bed, but your skin is still shedding cells and you have germs all over. Wash your face, please.
* Change your pillowcase every day. See above. Not only will it help your skin, it will give you a germ-free place to rest your head.
* Moisturize your face at least twice a day, more if needed. Your skin will be more dry than normal; a fever, cold medicine, blowing your nose, all these aspects of being sick will dry out your skin. Use a calming moisturizer for your entire face and don’t hesitate to do double duty with an unscented lip moisturizer on your dry, chapped nose.
*Lay off the exfoliating products until you are feeling better, they can sensitize your skin even further. And by all means, wait until you are well to get your next treatment, your esthetician will thank you!
Smart phone, tablet, laptop, TV: does all this technology affect your skin? We interact with these gadgets for hours every day, often at very close proximity to the delicate skin on our face.
We know about the dangerous effects of UVA and UVB light from the sun, but what about the HEV rays from our electronics?
Recent scientific evidence suggests that High Energy Visible (HEV) light at the wavelengths that the eye perceives as blue to violet is harmful to skin when exposed for long periods of time. The result is what is becoming known as an “HEV burn” and can accelerate the signs of aging.
HEV light has been shown to generate the same amount of free radicals in the skin as those produced by UVA and UVB combined. Like UVA, HEV light does not generate the immediate visible “burn” triggered by UVB, but it may accelerate photoaging. While the effect of UVB radiation is associated with direct damage to the DNA, the cellular damage caused by HEV radiation is less direct and is associated with the generation of free radicals and the induction of oxidative stress.
How do I protect my skin fro HEV damage? The good news is, you probably already are!
Antioxidants designed to prevent UVA damage do double duty to prevent HEV damage so products like Antioxidant Therapy and Daily Therapy have you covered. The big shift in the industry is to start recommending these products be used more often and at a younger age than we previously thought.
This graph from the September issue of Skin Inc Magazine shows the relative degree of exfoliation of common methods. I love the visual it provides!
There are two categories of sunscreen ingredients, physical and chemical.
Physical sunscreen ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide protect the skin by reflecting the light rays.
Chemical sunscreen ingredients like avebenzone and oxybenzone absorb the light rays to protect the skin from damage.
Physical sunscreens do a better job of protecting the skin from sun damage and chemical sunscreens allow products to have a lighter feel and be water resistant. Many popular brands use a combination of physical and chemical sunscreen ingredients to produce the most user friendly product.
As an esthetician who works with a lot of clients suffering from hyper-pigmentation or melasma (often called “sun spots”), I am a fan of physical sunscreens. There is less opportunity for allergic reactions and they are safer for acne prone/sensitive skin as well.
Q: After getting a facial, I never want to “ruin” the results by putting on makeup afterwards. Is this a real concern? Is wearing makeup that bad for my skin?
A: Back in the days of pancake makeup, full coverage products earned a bad reputation. It took loads of cold cream and harsh cleansers to remove them at the end of the day and they were prone to clogging the pores.
Most modern foundation, especially tinted moisturizers and BB creams, are actually fortified with ingredients that are beneficial to your skin like SPF and antioxidants.
When you apply these products over a treatment cream or serum, the foundation will even out your skin tone without interfering with your skin.
There are exceptions to this, foundation that is designed to give a lot of coverage for a photo shoot for example. I don’t recommend using this type of product on a daily basis, a thick foundation can clog pores and cause breakouts, not too mention it is difficult to remove in the evening. Save it for a special occasion.
As far as applying makeup after a facial, it really depends on the treatment you received. Some treatments, like a self neutralizing chemical peel, require that the skin be left untouched for 5 hours post treatment.
If you are going back to work or out to dinner after a basic facial, there is no downside to applying a small amount of tinted moisturizer or powder.
A popular misconception is that the pores are “open” after a treatment. Pores don’t “open” and “close” like little doors all over your face. The do expand and contract with heat and cold but a good facial will include the appropriate mask followed by high frequency current and moisturizer with SPF before sending you out into the world so your skin will be protected from whatever you choose to apply.
1. Cleanse your skin using a light gel cleanser. Make sure to remove all traces of eye makeup, dirt and sunscreen during this initial cleanse.
2. Cleanse your skin a second time to clean the skin. You can use the same gel cleanser or a more nourishing cleanser if you have combination skin.
3. While the skin is still damp, apply a thin layer of an enzyme exfoliating mask. Relax for 3-5 minutes, take this time to chill out and make yourself a cup of tea. Take the leftover hot water and dampen a washcloth for your face. Place the warm washcloth over your face (with the mask still on) for a few minutes and let the heat expand the pores and help the enzyme work. Remove the enzyme mask with the washcloth, then rinse with clean water. If your skin is oily, apply an exfoliating toner with a cotton pad.
4. Apply a thin layer of a white clay balancing mask on clean, dry skin. You can use a facial brush if you like the feeling (and the look of an evenly applied mask). Allow the mask to sit for 8-10 minutes. Take this time to relax, lie on the floor in Savasana (like the Panda) take some deep breaths, have another cup of tea or soak your feet in a mineral salt bath.
5. Using the washcloth if necessary, remove the clay mask then rinse the skin well. Apply an eye cream around the delicate eye area then a treatment moisturizer or SPF moisturizer depending on the time of day.
6. Enjoy your fresh, clean complexion! This home facial routine should be done once a week for best results.
You may have seen skin care products on the market that contain stem cells derived from either plant or animal sources. While stem cells derived from animal or human sources remain controversial, plant stem cells are proven as a safe and effective way to energize skin cells and reverse many signs of aging.
Plant stem cells are undifferentiated cells which carry the entire DNA gene expression of the plant and can morph, or differentiate, into any cell type to help the plant regenerate. This ability makes them invaluable for cosmetic applications since they can address multiple concerns.
These cells can be cultured in a laboratory setting where the concentration of phenylpropanoids—active substances created in response to injury or trauma—is multiplied in these cells by 1,000 times or more. As the stem cells are cultured in this manner, their chemical purity is also enhanced allowing for more influence in safety, control and standardization. When the finished product is applied topically, it works to trigger self-renewal in human skin.
The Mung Bean sprout, or Vigna Radiata, contains all the important substances for regeneration and protection of stressed skin making it’s stem cells particularly effective for skin care applications. The next generation of products from sōwd:therapy for skin will contain this potent extract, coming soon!
This is a fascinating case study from The New England Journal of Medicine that shows Unilateral Dermatoheliosis, essentially sun damage occurring on one side of the face.
The man in the picture was a delivery truck driver for 28 years.
UPDATE 5/24/15: An article from New Beauty about the dangers of sun exposure while flying.
“Adult acne” or acne, as I call it, is very frustrating!
We grow up thinking pimples are something that affect us as teenagers and we will eventually grow out of it when we become adults. This is often not the case, especially for women.
Hormone fluctuations brought on by stress or our monthly cycle can bring on a breakout like I’ve illustrated in the “selfie” above! I have access to amazing products and am vigilant about doing everything “right” yet once in awhile, the left side of my chin still gets the best of me.
What can we do about it?
Regular Cleansing Facials are the first step. Schedule them the week before you normally experience a hormonal breakout. The timing different for everyone, sometimes it the week before your cycle, sometimes it’s the week of your cycle. Pay attention and book a preemptive session with your esthetician to get your pores cleaned and possibly a glycolic peel to combat excess bacteria.
Minimize your stress level. Figure out what you need to do to relax on a regular basis: take a yoga class, go for a walk, meditate, sit with a cup of tea and a good book. These activities help to lower your cortisol levels which in turn lower your stress hormones and will decrease you chances of having a stress related break out.
Relax, it’s good for your skin!
Q: I keep seeing posts on social media that say coconut oil is a safe, non-toxic alternative to sunscreen. Is this true?
A: Coconut oil has a naturally occurring SPF or sun protection factor of between 2-8 depending on the quality of the oil.
A quality version of carrot seed oil can contain up to SPF 40 but the high cost and strong scent of this oil makes it a less popular choice. Not to mention, coconut oil seems to be on trend lately, much like olive oil was in the 90’s- which ironically has a similar SPF of 2-8!
An SPF rating of 8 will protect you for 8 times as long as it takes you to begin to turn pink without protection. For someone like me, that’s about 5-7 minutes in full sunlight on a hot day so I would be reapplying coconut oil every 45 minutes. It takes me about 10 minutes to properly apply sunscreen to my entire body so you get the picture.
Native tribes used natural oils mixed with clays and bark like thanakha in Burma for protection from the sun. The skin builds it’s natural resistance to the elements when exposed to them for long periods of time as well. Our culture spends the majority of our time indoors so our skin can be especially sensitive to overexposure. Experimenting with non-proven sunscreen methods can be dangerous and increase your chances for skin cancer in the future.
Non-nano particle zinc oxide is a proven sunscreen ingredient that will insure you are protected from the cancer causing rays of the sun without exposing your body to possible endocrine disrupting ingredients. Look for a product containing at least 15%, like Suntegrity.