Skin

Ultrasound Technology for Skin

Woman Receiving Ultrasonic FacialThere’s an amazing technology that any beauty therapist or Esthetician should be familiar with—ultrasound. If you’ve ever seen a pregnancy ultrasound, you’ve seen images created by sound and vibrations. In the spa world, ultrasound is primarily used to penetrate products into the skin.

The skin’s outermost layer—the stratum corneum—is waterproof and makes it hard to penetrate water-based products or nutrients into the skin. Some argue that lotions and serums can’t be penetrated beyond the first few keratinized layers of the epidermis. But an ultrasound machine can penetrate products deep into the skin, helping with a host of skin problems including dehydrated, damaged, mature, photo-aged, and acneic skin.

This machine uses extremely fast vibrations to penetrate serums, lotions, and creams for optimum skin health. Unlike older galvanic machines used to penetrate the skin, ultrasound is not painful or scary. In fact, you can barely feel the machine going to work. This newer technology works with more than just water soluble ampoules and serums. It can also help penetrate oil soluble products into the skin.

There are currently many other uses for ultrasound in the beauty industry. It’s used for anti-cellulite treatments to burn fat, and can dramatically reduce the appearance of scars.

If you are looking to incorporate machines into your esthetics practice, this is an amazing choice. It will keep your clientele very pleased and help them glow!

How I Took Control of My Skin

Product - Clinique Number 4

I have extremely oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and I have always had a difficult time finding products that work for me. Products formulated for acne would always irritate and over dry my skin to the point of it becoming flaky. It was a constant battle to find a good system that controlled the oil and breakouts but still left me hydrated. This battle continued until I found my way to Clinique.

I was skeptical at first because Clinique is a brand directed towards sensitive skin. I had it in my mind that something made for sensitive skin could not possibly help control the excessive oiliness of my skin. I was so wrong.

Clinique has a few different skincare systems. They have their regular three-step system that is broken down into four groups and numbered one through four.

  1. very dry skin
  2. dry to normal combination skin
  3. oily combination skin
  4. oily skin

They also have an acne line. I was still nervous about over drying my skin so I avoided the acne line. I tried their 3-step system using number four. This system consisted of a gel cleanser, a clarifying lotion (similar to a toner), and the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.

I used these three products twice a day, morning and night. To see a difference in your skin after switching skincare products, it is recommended that you use the products for at least one full month. This is so your skin has a chance to go through one full cycle of renewal which on average is 28 days. I kept this in mind when I began using the products.

However, in two weeks I saw a dramatic difference in my skin. I was not having consistent breakouts, my skin was nowhere near as oily and it wasn’t dry either. I’ve been truly happy with this skincare regime. I switched my skin care system to Clinique five years ago. I have tried others in the meantime but I always go back. It really works.

Cucumber for Healthy Skin

Woman with Cucumber on Eyes

Cucumber slices can fight dark circles and puffy eyes.

Cucumbers may do more for your skin than for your palate. These fruits, members of the melon family, have properties that soothe and soften the skin. For an easy do-it-yourself skin treatment, reach into your refrigerator and pull out a cucumber. You can use it to make a toner, or a mask, or simply lay slices over your eyes to help you look refreshed.

  • Antioxidant Power

    The older you get, the fewer antioxidants you have in your skin to fight wrinkles and sun damage. Because your skin has the ability to absorb antioxidants, cucumbers can help restore some of these. Cucumbers are a source of several compounds that fight inflammation and aging, including cucurbitacins and cucumerin.

  • Vitamin Rich

    Cucumbers contain vitamin C, an antioxidant. They also have plenty of vitamin K—also an antioxidant—which fights dark circles under the eyes. That’s why a couple of cucumber slices placed over tired, puffy eyes in the morning helps you look refreshed. Vitamin B-5 is another compound found in cucumbers that helps your skin retain moisture. The vitamin A, or retinol, in cucumbers fights dark spots and freckles because it helps control your skin’s production of melanin.

  • Wrinkle Fighter

    Cucumbers are a source of silica, which, as a precursor to collagen, can help fight wrinkles. A May 2011 issue of the “Archives of Dermatological Research” published a study concluding that the presence of ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, makes cucumber juice a particular effective ingredient in anti-wrinkle products. You can add cucumber juice to your favorite lotion; or make a toner by grating a cucumber, straining out the juice through cheesecloth, and mixing it with an equal amount of witch hazel or rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply it to your face.

  • Skin Irritations

    Cucumbers have high water content and a cooling quality, making them appropriate to help soothe mild burns, particularly sunburn. They can also reduce swelling and relieve minor skin irritations.

Skin Serums with Nanosomes

Illustration showing how tiny nanosomes penetrate skin.

Products encapsulated in tiny nanosomes can more easily penetrate deeply into the skin.

Many of us have heard of incorporating serums into our skin care regimens and some of us already have. Serums are a crucial step in taking care of our skin. They have a more highly concentrated blend of active ingredients than, say, a moisturizer. Serums have smaller molecules that absorb into the skin quickly. However, just like with most skin care products, serums are water-based, while our skin is oil loving. So, most of the time, the product sits on top of our skin and doesn’t penetrate much deeper.

What can you do to get your skin to absorb more of the ingredients and reap the benefits from your serum?

You could use a dermaroller before applying serum, but that’s not something your skin would be able to take every day. You could also use an ultrasound device to help penetrate the product deeper into the skin, but maybe you don’t want to have to purchase another tool.

Both of those methods are great but the easier way is by using a serum with nanosomes—which may also be called microspheres or nanospheres.

Nanosomes, made from phospholipids by using nano-technology techniques, are extremely small single or double bilayer liposomes. They encapsulate active ingredients; and, due to their tiny size, can penetrate skin to deliver products much deeper. Nanosomes aren’t just in serums either, they can also be found in sunscreens and moisturizers. When searching for products with nanosomes, it will always say on the bottle that it contains them.

Use Your Lymphatic System to Reduce Cellulite

Female Lymphatic SystemCellulite is a particularly unattractive disorder of the subcutaneous tissue. Typically, it is caused from an excess of toxins stored in the fatty tissue. It presents as a rippling or cottage cheese appearance typically in the thighs and buttocks and can be difficult to get rid of. Women are especially prone to cellulite because we store more fat; it can be seen on even the thinnest of women.

For ladies who seek to improve the appearance of stubborn cellulite, it’s all about harnessing the power of your lymphatic system.

First, good old fashioned cardiovascular activity is a great way to get the lymphatic system moving in order to move those toxins out of your body. Running is an excellent way to accomplish this; it gets your heart rate up high enough to increase circulation, thereby increasing the movement of lymph. Any time you’re raising your heart rate and doing cardio exercises, you are helping to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Another approach is through massage therapy. Having a Swedish massage helps to drain toxins and move the lymph–which carries fat–out of your system. If you are fortunate enough to receive massage on a regular basis, it can tone muscles as well as remove toxins that are sitting below the skin. Not only is massage relaxing and beneficial to the nervous system and muscular tissue, but it is a healthy way to eliminate waste products in the body. Be sure to drink plenty of water following a massage in order to expedite the removal of wastes.

A third way to improve the appearance of cellulite is via dry brushing. Dry brushing uses a brush or gloves on dry skin in light sweeping motions to help the lymphatic system to do its job. Start on the legs or arms and always brush towards the heart. This practice can be done daily, and is a beneficial practice for anyone looking to detoxify.

Fruity Face Masks

Woman with Avocado Face Mask

Here are a few easy face masks you can make with just a few things you most likely already have in your kitchen. All you need is a few fruits and veggies and, for the last three, a blender. These starter masks are all pretty much good for any skin type, So get creative and find the one that fits your needs best!

  • Avocado Mash: mash ½ of a ripe avocado with 2 tablespoons of honey and apply to the face. Leave on skin for around 20 minutes and rinse off
  • Banana and Honey Mask: Mash one banana with 1 tablespoon of honey and mix until it forms a smooth paste. Apply to face and set for 10-15 minutes. Rinse off.
  • Milk and Honey Mask: Mix together plain yogurt and honey. Put it on your face and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
  • Pumpkin Pie: In a blender, combine 2 cups canned pumpkin, 4 tablespoons low-fat vanilla yogurt, and 4 tablespoons of honey. Apply to face and leave on for 10 minutes, then rinse off.
  • Berry Blitz: In a blender, combine ½ cup frozen or fresh berry mix (strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries or all three). Add ½ cup plain yogurt and 1 tablespoon of honey. You can drink the rest or double the ingredients for a full on smoothie and face mask mix.
  • Cucumber mask: In a blender, blend one peeled cucumber until it has a jelly-like consistency. Apply to skin for around 15—20 mins and rinse off. This one is best if applied when cold.

Facial Process

Getting a Facial

A facial is not necessarily something that someone has to have to live. Rather, it’s a gift—to oneself or to others. It is like having a spa day or treating yourself to some relaxation.

As an esthetician, I know that performing a facial is very precise and has many small details to which you need to attend. It is important to follow each step by step procedure and make sure the facial is relaxing, yet beneficial as well. Some components of a facial include cleansing, a refinement, steaming, massage, a masque, a skin analysis, etc. Missing any of the steps can result in an incomplete service and a sub-optimum result.

For a basic one hour facial, the esthetician’s step by step process goes as follows:

  1. Opening ritual: Begin the facial with some calming inhales and slow exhales to relax the client in a calm setting. Offer them a calming essential oil that will remind them of something they can relate to in a positive way. They should be very relaxed before starting the facial.
  2. Cleansing: Cleanse the skin with an appropriate cleanser based on the consultation with the client. The skin has yet to be analyzed, so the cleanser has to be picked based on what you know their skin can tolerate.
  3. Analyze: After toning, analyze the skin with a magnifying lamp and determine their skin type, temperature, tone, dehydration level, and any other concern they have or you see.
  4. Refine: After determining what needs to be addressed, decide on a choice of products and determine which refinement and masque to use during the facial. Apply the refinement for seven to ten minutes depending on the client’s skin condition.
  5. Massage: After removing the refinement and toning the skin, move into the massage. Start from the décolleté up to the neck, from the bottom of the face and then upwards. It is important to use enough oil to smoothly move your fingers but to not slip across the skin.
  6. Masque: The masque is one of the most important parts of a facial. This is usually something that complements the refinement done or help to heal any extractions or intense work performed on the face. This also lasts after application for seven to ten minutes.
  7. Closing ritual: When the facial has come to an end, help the client adjust back out of relaxation and provide them with some stretches and movements to help them get ready to leave.
  8. Finishing touch: Before your client leaves, a nice thing you can do is provide a minimal makeup touch up. Offer them a quick lip, mascara, blush, etc. They will appreciate the offer and will remember the gesture.

Treating Keratosis Pilaris

Arm with Keratosis PilarisEveryone wants smooth, healthy skin. If you’re bothered by pesky little bumps that feel rough to the touch, you’re not alone. Those bumps might be keratosis pilaris — check with your doctor or dermatologist to be sure. While the bumps are harmless and painless, they can be difficult to treat.

This condition is common in children and young adults and can sometimes resolve itself by early adulthood. It is important to have a skin specialist or dermatologist examine your skin to make a concise diagnosis.

If you run your hand along the back of your arm and it has a bumpy or rough texture, you could have keratosis pilaris. The bumps are often in patches and can resemble a “goose-like flesh” or “chicken skin”. They appear white and are somewhat hard to notice from a quick glance. They are most commonly found on the back of your arms, although they can also be found on the cheeks, thighs, and buttocks. They can become red, but are not painful, and are generally not itchy or cause any kind of discomfort.

These bumps can also become inflamed, and can scar if they are picked at or scratched. Keratosis pilaris is caused from the build-up of keratin under the skin’s surface. The keratin develops a scaly plug that blocks the hair follicle at the opening. The result is bumpy skin.

If you have keratosis pilaris, you want to know how to get rid of the problem. While keratosis pilaris is not curable, you can lessen the appearance and signs. It can be challenging to treat, but you can usually reduce the appearance of the bumps and redness over time.

A topical retinoid therapy using Vitamin A can promote cell turnover and keep the follicle from getting plugged. A topical exfoliant or medicated cream containing alpha-hydroxy acids and moisturizers can soften the dried out skin and remove dead skin cells. Green tea also helps reduce the visible redness and bumps associated with irritated dry skin and keratosis pilaris.

Being consistent with your skin care will help keep your keratosis pilaris under control and replenish a smooth skin finish. Before trying medical grade products to treat this skin disorder, I would definitely recommend trying just a simple exfoliating scrub; this alone can do wonders for your skin tone and texture.

When using an exfoliating scrub, apply generously to the affected area and rub in with your hands in an upward motion to slough away dead skins cells more effectively. Do this one to two times weekly and apply a moisturizer after to keep the skin hydrated.

Skin Foods

StrawberriesBeing in the Esthetics program, my focus is on skin care. We spend many hours learning about the skin on different levels. We study skin diseases and disorders. We study the various types of skin based on hydration, or lack thereof. We spend a lot of time learning about ingredients and products to put topically on the skin to address and balance each person’s unique issues.

It’s also very important to treat the skin from the inside out. It’s important for the skin to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. But what are good foods and herbs that can enhance and beautify the skin?

Certain foods have powerhouse ingredients that keeps the skin supple and smooth and help to fight age related damage.

Per serving, strawberries have more anti-aging vitamin C than oranges or grapefruit. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition shows that people who eat foods rich in Vitamin C have fewer wrinkles and less age related dry skin than those who don’t. Vitamin C fights free radicals, which damage cells and breaks down collagen, leading to fine lines. You can also apply a berry mask for smoother, more hydrated skin.

Olive oil is another powerhouse for the skin. It has antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. You can use it topically to soften skin and create more radiance. It is also wonderful as a lipgloss or for rough patches of skin that may occur on the elbows or knees.

Another excellent addition to the diet is green tea. It is filled with antioxidants. There are studies that show drinking green tea may reduce your risk of skin cancer. Green tea contains tannins which act as an astringent. When applied to the skin it can reduce puffiness. You can use this feature of green tea on your eyes: chill damp tea bags in the fridge and put on eyes for 10 to 15 minutes.

Stay aware of what we put both in and on your body.

Home Facial Massage Techniques

Facial Self Massage Woman

Facial massage can be used to help stimulate and strengthen facial muscles in order to maintain muscle tone and help more mature skin to become bouncy and plump. In addition to muscle toning, facial massage has other benefits. It can help flush out toxins that exist in the lymph fluid just below the skin’s surface. Pressure point massage can help calm angry and congested skin.

If you can afford bi-weekly or monthly facials, then you can reap many of the benefits of facial massage during your treatments. In between treatments, however, you can make a habit of giving yourself a calming, purifying, or stimulating massage at home. Making this a nightly or weekly routine gives your “at home” regimen a boost. All you need is your nightly moisturizer or creme and a few basic movements. Once you have cleansed, toned, and applied your nightly serum, grab some of your moisturizer and follow these guidelines.

There are four basic Swedish massage strokes that you can incorporate into your massage routine. Don’t be afraid to get creative. As long as you aren’t too aggressive, any routine you come up with is sure to be beneficial.

The first movement to know is effleurage. This is a soft, smooth, gliding motion that can be used to warm up the muscles, as well as to calm muscles and move lymph. Remember when massaging to always move in an upward motion, as we want to counteract the effects of gravity that tends to drag our muscles downward.

The next massage movement is called petrissage. This is a kneading and pinching movement. Apply this movement near the jaw muscles to ease tension in the masseter, as well as to stimulate muscles around the jawline. In addition petrissage can be used to stimulate oil production in dry skin types or help to expel excess oil in more impure skin types. Pinch and knead in areas where these imbalances occur.

The third massage movement is called tapotement or percussion. This is a light tapping movement over areas that you wish to stimulate muscles. It works well to tap with all ten fingers—almost like playing the piano—around the cheeks, forehead, and very lightly around the eyes. This movement is amazing for toning muscles, as well as maintaining muscle tone in younger skin types.

The last massage movement is friction, which are small movements using controlled pressure over a certain area. It can be very soothing and relaxing. Use light pressure and compression along the cheekbones and the temples to ease tension. This will feel amazing and you may ease facial tension that you did not know you had.

Test out these basic Swedish massage strokes at home before going to bed. Just remember to be gentle, to work against gravity and, if you have extra sensitive skin, take care with the more stimulating movements.

Can ‘Expensive’ be Cheaper?

Tarte Cosmetics Product Collection

Before I started at Cinta Aveda Institute, I’d buy all my cosmetics from the Ulta Beauty Store. Ulta displays their pricy, high end cosmetic lines and products on the left side of the store. To the right, they have typical drugstore lines like CoverGirl, Maybelline, and Rimmel London. To me, makeup has always been a “Want to Have” rather than a necessity, so I always went for the cheaper side. I figured I could find some pretty descent stuff for a low price. For years—and I mean years—I had used Rimmel’s liquid foundation and CoverGirl’s pressed powders. I was happy with the products and I never noticed any problems that I might be having with them.

Once I started school however, some of the first topics we discussed were makeup. To my surprise, I found that it is a lot more important to use good quality makeup than I thought. I learned that you shouldn’t judge a line based on their price, and that the more expensive products can be the best for your skin. The cheap makeup I was using was actually the reason I was breaking out so much, and the more I broke out, the more makeup I used.

I finally decided to take the plunge and shop on the expensive left side of Ulta. To my surprise, a lot of the brands I was interested in weren’t that much more expensive. On top of that, I wasn’t going to need as many products. I started trying bare minerals first. I used that for a couple weeks, but it made my skin itchy and it basically covered up nothing. I used so much of it that it only lasted me 2 weeks. So I went back to find something I knew would be healthy for my skin and still give me perfect coverage.

I tried Tarte Cosmetics and instantly fell in love. Tarte has easily become one of my absolute favorite makeup brands and has really transformed my face. Tarte is made from Amazon clay which helps to really get the coverage you want, but it’s not heavy on your skin. You barely notice it’s there. It also lasts the entire day and doesn’t get greasy-looking. Finally, the company is socially aware. It does many things to help people and the environment with their profits. I love Tarte and my skin finally looks and feels great because of it.

Steam Your Face With Herbs

Face Steaming

When Spring arrives, it will bring an array of useful medicinal herbs and flowers. For skin health, one of the easiest ways to incorporate these herbs and flowers is to use them in steams. Even if you live in the city and don’t have the fresh plants around you, you can have these herbs on hand. They should be dried and stored in glass jars out of direct sunlight.

Why is it Important to Steam?

One benefit is that the vapor imparts a glow to your complexion, and you will find that your skincare products penetrate deeper and work more effectively. The heat and moisture also open the pores freeing dead skin, dirt, and bacteria. It brings toxins to the surface. Oily and acneic type skin can greatly benefit from steaming—it helps get rid of both blackheads and whiteheads by opening plugged pores and softening blockages. Those with rosacea, severe acne, sensitive skin, or coronary issues should skip steam or consult with a doctor.

The process of steaming is very simple. Bring a pot of water to a boil, toss in a handful of fresh or dried herbs and flowers, simmer for two to three minutes. If you are using essential oils, remove the water from the heat before adding a few drops of the oil. Move the water to a comfortable location where you can sit alongside and keep your face 8 to 12 inches above the water, drape a towel over your head and the bowl to hold in the steam.

Some good herbs for use in a steam are rose petals, chamomile, lavender, sage, calendula blossoms, fennel seeds, and rosemary leaves. There are many more options but do your research first. Steaming too often or placing your face too close to the water can lead to broken blood vessels. Once a week should be sufficient. Follow with a splash of cold water and pat dry. You can then apply your serum, facial oil, or moisturizer.

Introduction to Micellar Water

Micellar Water Brand ExamplesIf you follow fashion week beauty or even some beauty vloggers, you may have heard of micellar water. Bioderma is the most well known brand. I first read about it years ago when it was only available in Europe. But as soon as I got my hands on a bottle, I wondered how I had ever lived without it.

Micellar water is made up of micelles—tiny oil droplets suspended in water. They get rid of makeup, oil, and dirt from your skin with no need for rinsing. It doesn’t leave an oily residue on your skin nor does it dry it out. It’s also gentle enough to use as an eye makeup remover. Micellar water is great for sensitive skin types since it is formulated without harsh chemicals and soaps. However, if you are wearing heavy makeup, you’ll still need to wash your face or use makeup wipes in addition to micellar water.

I like to use it at night after washing my face for gentle, extra cleansing. It gets the traces of makeup that my cleanser may not have removed. I also use it as a substitute for washing my face in the morning, as I believe in a more gentle morning routine for skin.

It’s great a substitute for toner to freshen up and cleanse your skin without irritation while traveling.

Micellar water is no longer hard to find. As it has risen in popularity, many American cosmetic companies have released their own micellar waters.

Developing a Skincare Routine

Skincare Routine Application

Finding the perfect skincare regimen can be a hassle. Here are four essential must haves for developing the perfect routine to have flawless skin.

  • Skin Cleanser

    There are many face washes on the market for oily skin. I would recommend a gel cleanser. If you’re acne prone, it can contain salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. For sensitive or dry skin, you can use a cleansing milk or cream cleanser that is much more gentle and moisturizing.

  • Toner

    Start with a spray toner. These are easier to use and it’s just one or two spritzes and you’re done! Toners are good because they restore the PH balance in your skin and can be firming as well.

  • Moisturizer

    SPF, SPF & SPF! Make sure your moisturizer has sun protection factor in it. Depending on its strength, you may need to reapply it throughout the day. Also make sure it’s not a chemical SPF which can cause free radicals that can irritate and damage the skin.

  • Eye Cream

    Eye cream can be selected depending on your needs. There are a wide variety on the market, designed to treat different problems. Some are for moisturizing, some are for dark circles, some for puffiness, and so on.

Oh, and ask for samples! A lot of cosmetic stores offer take home samples so you can try out products before you buy them.

Make Your Own Lotion Bars

Homemade Lotion Bars

Have you ever used any of Lush’s scented lotion bars? Amazing, right? Those lotion bars are super easy to make at home and half the price!

Lotion bars are solid at room temperature like a bar of soap, but when rubbed on the skin, they melt leaving your skin super soft and moisturized. You can add any mixture of essential oils to customize the scent. You can even add coffee beans to make a massage bar. These are fun presents, and can easily be made for baby shower gifts, birthdays, Christmas gifts, or just for yourself.

Did I mention the directions are super easy to follow? This recipe can be adjusted to make any quantity that you’d like. I make mine with 1 part=1 cup so I used 1 cup of coconut oil, 1 cup beeswax and ⅓ cup each of shea butter and cocoa butter (you could also just use 1 cup of any for the individual sized bars). I also added some vanilla essential oil. I set them in silicone baking cups, though any mold or shape would work. The recipe I used made exactly 12 lotion bars. You can store them in any plastic container. I keep mine in the fridge, labeled so nobody tries to eat them!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup shea or cocoa butter or a mix of both together equal to 1 cup
  • 1 cup beeswax
  • 1 tsp. vitamin E oil (optional)
  • 30 drops of essential oil like vanilla (optional)

Method

  1. Combine all ingredients, other than the optional essential oils, in a double boiler or a glass bowl over a smaller saucepan with 1 inch of water in it.
  2. Turn the burner on and bring the water to a boil. Stir ingredients constantly until they are melted and smooth.
  3. Remove from heat and add the optional essential oils. Gently stir until essential oils are incorporated.
  4. Carefully pour into molds or whereever you will be allowing the lotion bars to harden. I used silicone baking cups, though any mold will work. Different shaped molds can be used for holiday gifts (hearts for valentines, flowers for Mother’s day, and so fort) or made in a square baking pan and then cut into actual bars.
  5. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds.

† If you add an extra ounce or two of beeswax, you get a thicker consistency, which leaves less lotion on the skin when used.

The Benefits of Tea Tree Oil

Tea Tree Oil

Since I started school, my friends have been asking for my recommendations on skin products. In particular, I have one friend with acne prone skin that suffers frequent breakouts. She has always struggled for clearer skin.

I started researching key ingredients more than product lines, hoping to find an active ingredient present in many products that would help her. I found tea tree oil, which has became one of my best friends because of all its benefits on the skin and for hair. Instead of using harsh topical ointments, like benzoyl peroxide, I suggested she tries an organic remedy. I recently heard back from her that tea tree oil has helped more than any other acne product she’s ever used!

Not only does tea tree oil help with acne, but it’s also great for use on eczema, psoriasis, ingrown hairs, itchy/flaky scalp, and fungal infections.

It kills bacteria in the skin, making it a natural alternative to benzoyl peroxide. Tea tree oil is much cheaper than speciality products, usually only costing between $3 and $10, and there are plenty of great products which contain tea tree oil as their main active ingredient. Here are a few I like:

  • Pure Tea Tree Oil
  • The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil line
  • Dr. Bronner Tea Tree Liquid Soap
  • Tea Tree Shampoo and Conditioner by OGx
  • Tea Tree Oil Skin Ointment from Vitamin Shoppe
  • Tea Tree Water from Lush

Tea tree oil may not be for everyone. It can have major side effects and is extremely harsh on the skin if used incorrectly. If you have sensitive skin, try diluting your tea tree product with water.

I have had outstanding results since I started using tea tree oil products, especially treating my dandruff and dry scalp, as well as on my constantly dried-out cuticles. I encourage any one suffering from dry skin, dry hair, dry scalp, acne prone skin, and even any rash or irritations to add a little tea tree oil to their lives.

Benefits of a Monthly Facial

Woman Receiving Facial

Unless it’s for a special event, most people don’t understand the benefits that a good professional facial can offer. They wait until they see a skin problem—weird breakouts, dry itchy skin, dark spots—before coming in for a facial. But these frustrating problems can often be prevented by receiving proper monthly facials combined with counseling on correct home care products.

Unless you have a specific skin concern you are trying to work on, such as acne, or hyper-pigmentation, then once a month is an ideal schedule for a facial. Your stratum corneum—the outermost layer of visible skin—completely renews itself about every 28 days. During this time, your skin cells are being replicated from the treated cells to replace the old cells. If you give your skin a head start with a great facial, your skin cells will replicate the now healthier cells. This results in a better complexion. Also, most skin products can take up to six to eight weeks to start to treat active skin cells. But by speeding up the renewal process with a facial, you can make these products work faster and more effectively.

Here are my top ten reasons why you should consider receiving monthly facials:

  1. Facials allow you to relax. They feel live heaven, and are healing to the soul. The power of touch, massage, proper technique, and professional products can heal.
  2. Facials increase circulation of the blood under the skin. That allows the skin to facilitate the renewal of skin cells.
  3. By manipulating the lymphatic system that lies just under the skin, facials can decrease waste underneath the skin that can cause puffiness and fluid accumulation. Facials also aid in detoxification.
  4. A good facial and facial massage can help smooth fine lines and promote collagen production—the builing block of the skin—to prevent premature aging, wrinkles, and sagging.
  5. A facial cleanses the pores on a much deeper level than home care. Even non-acneic skin can use a good deep cleanse. Extractions–cleaning out the pores–can help maintain clear skin and prevent acne formation and the appearance of larger pores. When left unchecked, pores can start to stretch and widen with the accumulation of oil and debris.
  6. Facials provide deeper exfoliation than you can achieve at home. Exfoliation smooths the skin, allows for deeper penetration of moisturizers or serums, unclogs pores, improves the skins ability to retain hydration, and evens skin tone.
  7. Receive counseling from a professionally trained esthetician on the best products for your skin that you should be using at home. This alone is worth the investment, as the skincare industry can be a difficult and expensive area to navigate without assistance.
  8. Facials can help even skin tone and lighten dark spots. Dark spots visibly age our appearance.
  9. Facials slow the aging process. They allow your skin to feel healthier, smoother, and look more radiant. Facials reduce fine lines, age spots, and relieve dehydrated skin. With these benefits, facials make us feel better about our skin. With the use of exfoliation, massage, and the penetration of nutrients and antioxidants, facials also fight to reverse aging. We will all age, but we can do it more slowly with glowing, firm, and hydrated skin.
  10. Although they are not a miracle in an hour, facials do give you a fresh start to a healthier and balanced complexion. Regular facials help you maintain optimal skin health.

The Beauty of a Rose

Rose IllustrationFew people can resist a rose. Fragrant, soft, blooming full–it demands that we smell it, touch it, and stop to admire its beauty. It is an iconic flower and also has a myriad of different uses in skincare. The Greeks and Romans would put rose petals in their baths to perfume them. In distilled forms, roses have been included in both in cosmetics and medicines for centuries.

Rose essential oil is important for more than its attractive scent. Rose helps rejuvenate and replenish skin. It can make your skin as soft and velvety as the petals. It also has anti bacterial, anti fungal, and anti viral properties. Rose water is known for its health and beauty benefits. You can pour rose water into a bath, or use it as a toner, or use in cosmetic formulations of lotions and creams. It can help treat acne and acne-prone skin. It also has cleansing properties. Rose oils help reduce swollen spots or redness on your skin. It has calming properties perfect to sooth rosacea and eczema.

When you’re next inhaling the fragrance of roses, or stopping to admire their beauty, give a little thought to the other properties of this amazing flower. Consider adding rose oil to your beauty regime.

Oil Cleansing

Oils in BottlesMany of us have been conditioned to be afraid of using or having oil on our skin. A visit to a store’s skin care section bombards you with oil-free products to treat acneic skin types. Many of these products strip skin of their natural oils. This can create problems for the acid mantle, which in turn, causes our skin to produce more oil to balance the natural lipid layer of the skin.

Contrary to popular belief, oil dissolves oil. Oil cleansing can be greatly beneficial to acneic skin types and can be moisturizing for drier skin types. For oily skin, try cleansing with a three parts mixture of castor oil to seven parts of sunflower seed oil. For dryer skin types, vary the proportions two parts to eight.

Castor oil is quite drying, so you want to make sure you mix it with a nurturing oil for the skin. Sunflower oil is best, but it can be replaced with any type of vegetable oil.

Massage the mixture into your skin for a few minutes, focusing on the more congested areas of your face, and gently remove with a hot, wet washcloth. Use hot running water to clean the washcloth, and again gently remove any additional residue on the skin. When massaging the face, it is best to work in upward motions.

Some other good oils to try are flaxseed oil, argan oil, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, to name a few. Each oil has its own benefits and can be mixed in combinations for added benefits.

The Skinny on Water

Exotic Waters in FlasksThese days, there seems to be a lot of mindfulness around the water we drink. When shopping at your local market, there are endless options for an individual to choose from. For our hydration, there are bottles labeled spring water, sparkling water, alkaline water, even black water is available. With the endless options at our fingertips, how do we chose something as simple as drinking water, and what is the difference between these choices?

If you have never stopped to consider what distilled water will do for your body versus what mineral or alkaline water will do, this blog post may answer some questions for you. For most people, the words “distilled water” are synonymous with purity and cleanliness. However, distilled water may not be the best choice to hydrate and quench your thirst. Distilled water has undergone a process of distillation, in which you take hard water, or water full of different minerals (good and bad), and turn it into soft water by means of vaporization and condensation. This new water is pH neutral and contains no traces of minerals. Because our bodies need minerals such as calcium and magnesium in order to hydrate and maintain the health of our cells, you can see why distilled water is not the optimum choice for providing the body with nutrients. Furthermore, distilled water has the ability to attract minerals to it. This means it can collect the bodys minerals as well as toxins and flush the system clean. This water may be great for a temporary cleanse, but living on distilled water can be quite harmful.

On the flip side, there is “mineral water”. Most of the time, these are carbonated water, with a varying degree of mineral content. This water is normally bottled at the source and contains minerals that our cells need for optimum hydration. Our muscles, cells, bones, and tissues need these minerals in order to maintain health, so choosing a mineral water labeled high mineral content is a great choice when seeking hydration.

Another choice, and by far the best choice of drinking water, is water that is labeled “Alkaline Water.” Alkaline water has a higher, stabilized pH normally of about 8-9. This alkaline pH means that this water contains many electrolytes, the key to our body’s hydration. Our body needs these chemicals in order to transmit electrical messages. When at all possible, this is the water that will give the body the most nutrients, and provide the cells with much needed energy. In addition the alkaline pH will help to provide balance from so many acidic foods that we eat and drink, such as coffee, chocolate, meat, and dairy items. An individual with chronic dehydration (often seen through fine lines on the face) should strive to drink water that is alkaline to balance and hydrate.

Lastly, if tap water is the only option, using a filter can help to rid the water of heavy metals that can be harmful to the body. In addition, a slice of lemon can alkalize your water, and provide your body with a healthy jumpstart each morning.