Spring Clean Your Skin Care Routine

YOUR WARDROBE ISN’T THE ONLY THING YOU NEED TO CHANGE.

It’s spring! Time to box those boots, store those sweaters, and clean those corners. But what about your personal products? Since your skin changes with every season, it’s the perfect time to change your skin care routine, too.

Throw Out Old Products. Most lotions and potions have a one to two-year shelf life, but cluttering your cabinets with products you’re “saving for later” is just not worth it. Bacteria could grow. Expiration dates could pass. And efficacy could degrade. Toss ’em! Like that box of Benadryl that expired in 2010 and those pants that “may fit again one day.”

Switch Your Moisturizer. Dry winter skin caused by heaters, ski trips, and colder climates clearly calls for a heavier moisturizer. But the temperate weather and humidity of spring means your oil production should normalize, and you’ll want a lightweight moisturizer to keep things balanced.

Trade Your Retinol for Peptides. Retinol is the gold standard for anti-aging. But using it during sunny seasons can be dangerous, increasing the likelihood of pigmentation and chemical burns. Spring is a great time to switch to a peptide product that will continue triggering collagen production without the risks of retinol.

Get a Facial. There’s no better way to prep your skin for spring than with a facial. Slough off dead cell buildup, clear out impactions, and get advice on what your skin needs this season.

New You X2

THESE POPULAR RESOLUTIONS ARE GOOD FOR YOUR SKIN, TOO.

Efficient? Productive? Multitasker? If these adjectives describe you, then you need a New Year’s Resolution that pulls double-duty. Check out these suggestions below. At face value, they’re clearly good for you. But the kicker is that they’re good for your skin, too.

Stop Smoking. Next to sun exposure, smoking is the biggest provocateur of premature aging. It asphyxiates the skin, which causes clogged pores, collagen breakdown, wrinkles, and a dull, lackluster appearance. Also, the constant puckering creates vertical lip lines that are impossible to erase.

Eat Better. Carbs and sugar kick-start a process called glycation, whereby sugar molecules bind to protein structures in your skin. This makes them weak and dysfunctional, which surfaces as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance. They also cause a spike in blood sugar, which triggers the hormones that stimulate oil production and breakouts.

Quit Drinking. Excess imbibing has been linked to Rosacea, dehydration, and not washing your face before bed–all of which lead to inflammation that can break down collagen, create wrinkles, and provoke acne.

Get More Sleep. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body increases its production of a hormone called cortisol. And when your cortisol levels get too high, inflammation ensues. This can trigger acne and eczema and psoriasis flare-ups. Additionally, the resulting dehydration from too few ZZZZs causes puffy eyes and dark circles.

Take More Time Off. Countless studies have been done on the effect of stress on the skin. And they all say the same thing: stress causes a chemical response in your body that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. So book that extra vacation. Spend a “sick day” at the spa. Your face will thank you!

The Truth About Organic Skin Care

“ALL-NATURAL” IS NOT ALL GOOD

The topic of organic skin care is a hot one. The media and marketing have painted a horrific picture of “chemicals,” parabens,” and the “toxic” nature of any product that is not “all-natural.” So I completely understand why people have switched to shopping at Whole Foods for their beauty needs. But I stand steadfast on my personal pulpit. Organic products are not good for your skin, and they don’t deliver results.

Blasphemy, right? Now don’t get me wrong, I love botanical and natural ingredients. But these ingredients must be combined with their synthetic brothers and sisters to actually work.

The Skin Won’t Absorb Natural Ingredients Without Help. Eating blueberries, carrots, and the like is great for the body. But the skin is not so hospitable. If your skin doesn’t recognize an ingredient applied topically, it will reject it in the form of allergenic reactions, acne, irritation, and the breakdown of collagen. In order for the skin to accept and absorb these unknowns, they must be mixed with biogenic ingredients (ingredients found naturally in the body) as well as lab-derived delivery systems designed to penetrate.

Chemicals and Parabens are Not Evil. In fact, they create stability in products that make them safer to use and more effective. You might have heard about some studies that said parabens were endocrine disrupters linked to breast cancer. But did you hear that these studies were later disproven? No, because the media didn’t want to admit that they jumped the gun on creating a panic. Thus cosmetic manufacturers were forced to go paraben-free, not because they were dangerous, but because the truth was swept under the rug.

Organic Products Don’t Deliver Results. It’s true. They’re simply unable to incorporate and use active ingredients such as peptides, retinols, and vitamins to fight aging. And natural ingredients that have beneficial properties like blueberries (antioxidant) or sulfer (anti-inflammatory) just won’t penetrate without the help of cosmetic chemists and lab-derived bonding ingredients. So get the best of both worlds…use products that contain both!

It’s Peel Season!

TIME TO GET TOUGH ON FACIAL FLAWS.

Everybody knows how much I love peels. This versatile form of chemical exfoliation sloughs off dead skin while triggering new cell production. Why is this important? Because almost every facial flaw–from acne to congestion to wrinkles to pigmentation–is rooted in exfoliation. And now that summer is over, it’s the perfect time to start sloughing!

Myth: Peels are Scary! I understand that the concept of a “peel” is a little foreboding. But there are so many wonderful options today that allow you to choose a pace that suits your lifestyle. You don’t have to peel to get results. In most cases, you won’t peel at all. And you definitely won’t look like Samantha from Sex & the City.

Light Peels. These can be added on to a facial or received a la carte. We offer AHA (lactic/glycolic), BHA (salicylic), and pumpkin peel formulations to ensure the perfect fit for your skin type.

Medium-Depth Chemical Peels. These stronger lactic peels from industry-expert PCA Skin are a great choice when you want to get a little more aggressive. We offer both TCA and Jessner formulations that are completely customizable. They take a little at-home prep work, and work best when done in succession, but can dramatically improve your skin with little to no downtime.

As an interesting side note: we get a lot of calls from people asking percentages on our peels. The strength of a peel has more to do with its ph level than the actual percentage. A 10% glycolic, for example, can be a lot stronger than a 30% glycolic if it is formulated with a lower ph. So if you are one of those people shopping for peels on Amazon, be very careful. These ph levels are rarely divulged so you don’t know what you are really getting.

Friendly Fare

Eating Your Way to Better Skin.

We’ve all heard the phrase, “you are what you eat.” Sure…we get it. Eating well and drinking lots of water lead to a healthier body. Not a lot of argument needed. But what some of us don’t realize is how much food affects our skin. Check out some Do’s and Don’ts below:

Try These:

Salmon. Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fatty fishes like Salmon help combat inflammation that can break down collagen and elastin. They also strengthen the cell membranes, allowing the cells to hold more moisture for a brighter, plumper, and more youthful complexion. Can’t stomach this seafood staple? Try fish oil supplements instead.

Kale. Kale is one of the best sources of lutein and zeaxanthin, nutrients that absorb and neutralize the free radicals created by UV rays. It’s also rich in Vitamin K, which helps diffuse dark under-eye circles. Plus, just one cup gives you your entire day’s requirement of skin-firming Vitamins A and C.

Dark Chocolate. This sweet treat is rich in cocoa flavanols, plant compounds that help protect your skin from UV damage, fight free radicals, and increase blood flow. Dark chocolate also helps reduce stress hormones that can lead to collagen breakdown (wrinkles) and excess oil production (acne).

Avoid These:

Dairy. Lactose intolerance isn’t the only side effect of your love affair with dairy. While yogurt, milk, and other items have plenty of health benefits, certain hormones in dairy products may stimulate the overproduction of oil that can lead to clogged pores and pimples.

Sugar. Cake. Cookies. Alcohol. Certain sweets kick-start a process called glycation, whereby sugar molecules bind to protein structures in your skin. This makes them weak and dysfunctional, which shows up on the surface as wrinkles, sagginess, and a loss of radiance.

Gluten. Oh sigh…how I love my bread. But high glycemic-index foods have been linked to both acne and wrinkles. First, they cause a spike in blood sugar, which triggers the hormones that stimulate oil production and breakouts. Second, just like sugar, they trigger collagen breakdown through the glycation process discussed above.

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Summer’s Over…Why Wax?

On goes the debate over hair removal. Should I wax? Should I shave? What about laser? Can I get away without hair-tending in the winter? Should I tell my friend that Movember is just for men? Well, as expected, estheticians are cheerleaders for waxing year round. And here’s why:

1. Waxing lasts longer than shaving.
Clearly it makes sense that if you remove the hair from the root, it takes longer to grow back. 21 days longer, to be exact. And if you wax consistently, your three hair cycles sync up so you’ll get even more time before those hairs show their heads.

2. Waxing makes hair thinner.
If you shave every day, the constant stimulation of the hair follicle triggers a “healing” reaction where the body floods the follicle with nutrients designed to make the hair stronger. Waxing is done much less often, therefore less stimulation. Over time, yanking out the hair also retards the follicle so hair becomes thinner and may even stop growing entirely. Doesn’t that sound nice?

3. Waxing leads to fewer ingrowns and irritation.
We’ve all dealt with razor burn and ingrown hairs caused by frequent shaving. Waxing can definitely help reduce this since there’s no constant scraping of the skin.

4. Laser overpromises.
Of course there are people who are satisfied with their results, but I have a lot of waxing clients who have tried it and are still showing up on my table. That kind of says it all. Since laser is attracted to pigment, you need really dark hair and really light skin. And it takes a lot more sessions than they say. And after all those sessions, often the hair is not completely gone! I know waxing isn’t permanent either, but at least it’s a lot less expensive.

Check Out Our Waxing Services >>

 

Seeing Spots?

Take a stand against pigmentation

Uneven skin tone is probably the most hated facial flaw amongst women today. And it’s also one of the most difficult to treat. Even if you have success in lightening those stubborn spots, one week in the sun can often bring them back. So what’s a gal to do? The first step is to understand how melanin works, and accepting that if you choose to fight it, it’s a battle that lasts a lifetime. Sigh.

Hyperpigmentation and Sun Damage
Inside our skin we have pigment cells called melanocytes that determine the color of our skin. They also serve as protectors, manufacturing melanin whenever our skin experiences some sort of “injury.” And just like with a tan, the melanin slowly fades away once the injury has healed. But if the skin is injured repeatedly by sunburns, sun exposure, or recurring acne lesions, the melanocytes go into a sort of permanent overproduction that never stops. Some spots can take up to 20 years to develop, and the darker your skin tone, the more melanocytes you have, thus the more prone you are to pigmenting.

Melasma
Often mistaken for sun damage, Melasma is a form of hormonally induced pigmentation that can occur any time hormones change. Pregnancy, lactation, contraceptive use, perimenopause, and menopause can all trigger the body to produce more melanin, resulting in large, dark patches that look like symmetrical stains on the skin. And while the sun doesn’t cause Melasma, it can definitely bring it out.

Treatments
Once pigment becomes permanent, meaning the Melanocytes have entered the state of ongoing overproduction, fighting it becomes multifaceted. First, you have to exfoliate the skin to bring the damaged (discolored) cells to the surface. Microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and exfoliants like Retinol are my favorite methods. But just like a penny at the bottom of a pool, as the cells rise up, they often look darker and more distinct before they fade away.

Next, you need to break up and lighten the melanin clusters in order to reduce their appearance. Vitamin C, Arbutin, and Licorice Root all do a good job in this department. Finally, you need to suppress new melanin production with ingredients like Hydraquinone, Kojic Acid, or Niacinamide.

With these simple steps, and a little patience, you can achieve some dramatic results. Just remember to stay out of the sun!

Hello, Hindsight?

SKIN CARE ADVICE FOR MY YOUNGER SELF.

Recently I had the pleasure of interviewing receptionists. And when I asked these 20-somethings if they ever get facials, I was shocked when most of them said, “not really.” I couldn’t believe that taking care of their skin wasn’t a priority. And then I thought, “I was no different at their age.” Which made me ask…if we could go back and advise our younger selves about skin care, what would we say?

Julie: “Wear SPF 30 every day.”
Can I get a hallelujah? Now I will admit, if I’m going to be inside all day, I don’t wear sunscreen. But any time spent outside can trigger melanin production, break down collagen, and cause “sun damage.” What does that look like? Wrinkles, brown spots, and skin cancer, baby! And you’ll spend thousands of dollars trying to get rid of them down the road.

Erin & Colleen: “Cleanse your skin every day, especially before bed.”
Totally agree! So many young people tell me that they don’t wash their face before bed. But going to bed wearing makeup, oil, pollution, and the dirt from the day, and then rubbing in your face in your pillow all night, is just a recipe for clogged pores and irritation.

Judy: “Don’t smoke!”
It’s true. Smoking asphyxiates the skin which leads to clogged pores, dehydration, and collagen breakdown. And those vertical lines around your lips? Totally caused by puffing and puckering.

Amal & Kimia: “Go easy on the makeup / don’t wear MAC.”
Sorry girls (and MAC), but they’re right. I know heavier brands like MAC give good coverage and have amazing hues, but it really is the most comedogenic (clogging) makeup out there.

Kelley: “Get regular facials.”
I know they seem like a luxury in your teens and 20s, but facials really do make a difference. It’s all about skin wellness and prevention. Just like going to the dentist, you need to see an esthetician to help keep your skin healthy. If you can’t afford it, ask for a facial for your birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. At the very least, get some good products to use at home.

Suzanne: “Don’t use drug store products.”
It’s true. Products sold to the masses are not designed for “you.” They’re either “inert” so as not to fry everyone’s face, or they have a lot of alcohol and cheap ingredients. I know they appear more affordable, but you’re paying a different price in the end. You can get amazing products from your local spa for just a little bit more, and they are so much better.

Adrienne, Sandy, & Nancy: “Hydrate / moisturize early in life.”
So many young people don’t use moisturizer because they are afraid of breaking out, or because their skin is “fine.” But hydration is essential to keeping your skin healthy and functioning properly.

Kristin: “Start using Eye Cream before you think you need it.”
Oh crow’s feet…how you taunt me every time I look in the mirror! Using eye cream in your 20s helps keep fine lines from forming in the first place.

Bruno: “Take high quality fish oil and Alpha Lipoic acid”
Good advice! Both supplements are anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant, which helps repair cell damage. And Fish Oil increases oil production to hydrate your skin from within.

 

SPF BS

4 myths about sunscreen debunked!

1. The higher the SPF the better. I hear this a lot. Here’s the deal: SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV rays, SPF 30 blocks 97%, and SPF 50 blocks 98%. Go any higher and there’s barely a detectable increase in protection. In fact, the FDA has proposed new labeling rules that cap SPF at 50+. And remember that the higher you go, the more chemicals you introduce into your skin. Is an additional 1% protection worth it?

2. Pick physical sunblocks over chemical sunscreens. Hmmm, not necessarily. I like products that have both. The physical ingredients (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) provide a wall between you and the sun, which is great! They also start working immediately, unlike chemical sunscreens that take 20-30 minutes to absorb into the skin. But physical sunblocks can also feel thick and look pasty, making them harder to wear. Chemical ingredients (oxybenzone, avobenzone, PABA) are absorbed into the skin and filter/deactivate UV rays. When you combine the physical and the chemical ingredients together, you get an easier-to-wear powerhouse product that protects from all angles.

3. But chemical ingredients cause cancer, don’t they? Once again, the organic activists have extrapolated scientific findings to the point of absurdity. A widely publicized study claimed that chemical ingredients mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system. But in that study, oxybenzone was directly fed to mice in huge doses, not applied to the skin. And while oxybenzone can be absorbed through the skin, it is absorbed in much smaller concentrations. No study has ever shown it to cause cancer in humans. It’s also worth noting that none of the major health organizations have recognized the findings.

4. My moisturizer/makeup has SPF, so I’m covered. There’s a dirty little secret about dual-purpose products that the manufacturers won’t tell you, and it’s all about dilution and efficacy. An SPF goes into your moisturizer as 30…that’s what the bottle says anyway. But there are a lot of ingredients in moisturizers that don’t play well with SPF ingredients, breaking them down and turning your 30 into more like 7. Additionally, SPFs are very drying, thus counteracting the hydrating properties of your moisturizer. And don’t even get me started on SPFs in makeup and how nobody applies a thick enough layer to get that level of protection. Bottom line: keep your SPF separate.

Skin Care for Men

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Metroman!

Chances are your man isn’t as committed to skin care as you are. I’m guessing  that his regimen involves a bar of Irish Spring in the shower, or at best, swiping your $100 serum and using half the bottle in one application. And I’ll bet that getting regular facials is about as common as braiding your daughter’s hair. In honor of Father’s Day, let’s examine how good skin care can make him look and feel like a brand new man. And let’s face it, some days wouldn’t YOU like a brand new man?

Histology of men’s skin: So we all know that men have more testosterone. But what does this mean to their skin? Well to start, a thicker epidermis, more oil, and larger pores. These factors, along with shaving and a lack of sunscreen, can lead to significant issues if left unchecked.

Do they even care? Most men brush off vanity like crumbs on the kitchen counter–in front of their women anyway. But when they’re on my table, they really do open up about crows feet, sunspots, blackheads, redness, and wrinkles. Who knew that they actually think about their facial flaws and genuinely want to fix them? They just won’t admit this to you.

How can you help him? Get him in for a facial. I’m sure you’ve had the frustrating experience of giving your man advice that gets completely dismissed until a professional tells him THE EXACT SAME THING. For some unexplainable reason, the power and potency of this phenomenon is even stronger during a scalp massage. Hmmm…? We’ll convince him that skin care is not just for metro guys named Thad carrying messenger bags, and send him home with a simple regimen that even he can follow.

Book Him a Facial >>