Skin

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.

Coconut Sugar Body Scrubs

Body Scrub Jar Contents Closeup

These are homemade sugar scrubs, straight from nature’s pantry. These scrubs should last you at least two months if not longer. All you need, beyond coconut oil and sugar, are some cute jars and a label. Add the ingredients found in one of the following variations to create a variety of scent combinations, or invent your own!

Coconut Sugar Scrub

Ingredients

½ cup white or brown sugar

¼ cup coconut oil

Method

Mix all ingredients and store in an air tight jar.

Use one tablespoon of the mixture as needed in the shower. Scrub skin with the mixture and rinse will. This awesome scrub will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.


Brown Sugar Variations

Spicy Cinnamon Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Vanilla Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract


White Sugar Variations

Lemon Hand Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

15-20 drops (or more) of lemon or bergomot essential oil

This is great after washing dishes.

Vanilla Lavender Relaxing Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

1 teaspoon vanilla essential oil or real vanilla extract

15 drops lavender essential oil

Relaxing Rose Scrub

½ teaspoon vitamin E oil

½ teaspoon rose essential oil

Psoriasis and High Frequency Electrotherapy

High Frequency Electrotherapy MachinePsoriasis is a very common chronic skin disorder. It causes skin cells to reproduce too quickly resulting in thick, dry, scaly patches that can be red, white, or almost silver in color. These patches are itchy and can be painful, but most of all, they can be embarrassing for the person affected.

I have suffered with psoriasis on my scalp and neck for a few years now, and I’ve tried many different treatments including creams and ointments both over the counter and prescribed by physicians. The results have always been the same. They help for a while and then, in a few weeks, the symptoms and my embarrassment return.

Recently, I’ve started a new treatment. It is called High Frequency Electrotherapy which uses an electric current to stimulate the surface of the scalp and local blood circulation, improve the process of nourishment, stimulate local glandular activity, and supply heat to sooth the nervous system of the scalp. These benefits all help decrease the irritation and symptoms of psoriasis.

I’ve personally been doing a high frequency treatment for 10 minutes three days a week for the past three weeks. I’ve seen a significant reduction in my symptoms—enough that I’m finally comfortable wearing my hair in a ponytail which I have not done in years! I highly recommend high frequency treatments for anyone with psoriasis. It’s been a life changer for me.

Choose the Correct Sunscreen Product

Drawing of Sunscreen Bottle

Although many only use sunscreen during summer months, sunscreen is an essential skincare product we should use every day of the year. Of course the sun is brighter during the summer, so it is especially important then, but sunscreen protects against skin damage from UV radiation all year round.

It is advisable to apply sunscreen at least 15-20 minutes before going outside to allow the drying time on all exposed body areas. Re-apply every two hours when exposed to the sun in general, even on cloudy days as 80 per cent of UV rays can penetrate the clouds. When out on a beach, it is advisable to re-apply sunscreen every 15-20 minutes. Wash your face or wipe off the area with a wet tissue before re-applying.

But different skin types should use different types of sunscreen. Here’s how to choose the right sunscreen for you according to your skin type.

  • If you have normal skin:

    Normal skin types are the least problematic. The tissue does not reveal any traces of oil and looks clean, smooth and has a good circulation and a healthy complexion. Opt for a cream-based sunblock. In case of oiliness, dab with a tissue to remove the excess oil.

  • If you have dry skin:

    Dry skin has a low level of sebum and can be prone to sensitivity. The skin has a parched look because of its inability to retain moisture. The skin usually feels tight and uncomfortable after washing unless a moisturizer or cream is applied. Lotion or moisturizing SPF is the best choice for dry skin. When opting for the right sunblock, one has to keep in mind that a certain thickness is required in the base to protect the skin from sun damage. With this in mind, always opt for the ones that are thick and not light (matte finish, for example). The higher the range of the SPF, the more oily the formulation.

  • If you have oily skin:

    Oily skin is one of the most problematic skin types. The face has spots of facial oil, normally located in the t-zone. The face usually looks greasy, thick, coarse, and shiny and also has large enlarged pores and tends to breakout in acne. For oily skin, gel or aqua-based SPF formulations work the best. These have a drying effect and do not make the skin look greasy.

Fading Dark Spots on Skin

Product - Murad Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumI’ve always been a picker. I can’t leave my skin alone and try to pick things that don’t even exist.

I’ve been using all these different products over the years, pro-active brightening spot treatment, Derma’e and other concoctions.

I walked into my favorite beauty supply and a friend of mine handed me a sample of Murad’s “Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum.” I saw my dark spots and pick marks start to fade in just two days. I couldn’t believe all the good it did for me in such a short amount of time. Murad’s product has really been a discovery for me.

It has two active ingredients: Hydroquinone, which is a progressive and intense bleacher, and Glycolic Acid. You have to use Hydroquinone sparingly because its effect can wear off; three days using it and two days off. Glycolic Acid is an AHA, which gently exfoliates the skin and sloughs away old skin cells.

This product doesn’t only get rid of old skin but helps renew skin as well. Though I love Murad products, I realize that what helps foster good skin and not having any dark spots is to also use vitamin C and exfoliate at least twice a week to help promote cell turnover and get rid of bacteria buildup.

For anyone out there who hasn’t found their answer to dark spots, I suggest using this Murad product. It worked for me.

Aloe Vera — a Powerhouse for the Skin

Aloe VeraEveryone is probably very familiar with Aloe Vera as a treatment for burns. However, Aloe Vera has a host of other skin and body healing properties. The Ancient Egyptians called it the “plant of immortality.”

There are many studies that back up the effectiveness of Aloe Vera in treating a variety of skin conditions, from flaky or dry skin, cosmetic ailments, and scalp problems.

Aloe treats sunburns through its powerful healing activity at the epithelial level of the skin, a layer of cells that cover the body. It helps the skin to heal quickly.

Aloe acts as a moisturizer without giving it a greasy feel, so it is perfect for anyone with oily skin. Aloe is also great for treating acne. The gel contains two hormones Auxin and Gibberellins. These two hormones contain wound healing and anti-inflammatory properties. Aloe is used to effectively heal chronic skin problems, such as psoriasis, acne, and eczema.

Aloe Vera is also widely used in anti-aging products. Aloe leaves many antioxidants including beta carotene, and vitamins C and E, that help improve the skin’s natural firmness and helps keep the skin hydrated. Aloe also lessons the visibility of stretch marks.

Besides being an effective skin treatment, Aloe is nutrient rich for good health. The solid material contains over 75 different nutrients including vitamins, minerals, enzymes, sugars, antraquinones, or phoenolic compounds, lignin, saponins, sterols, amino acids, and salicylate acid. It also helps to aid in digestion when taken internally.

Aloe Vera is one amazing, medicinal plant that anyone who cares about health and skin wellness should know about.

Do-It-Yourself Bath Bombs

Homemade Bath Bombs

Always on the go, we are so time sensitive that we never stop and smell the roses. But before we can take care of others, we must take care of ourselves.

I’ve found that a great way to relax is to take a luxuriating bath. Aromatic therapy can take you on a pleasant ride to a land of peace and tranquility. Many companies make bath salts, bombs, and oils; but you can customize your experience by creating you own.

Here’s how to create your own bath bomb.

Ingredients

  • 1 & ¾ cup baking soda
  • 2 cups cornstarch
  • 1 cup citric acid
  • food coloring
  • essential oils–peppermint or lavender for a stronger scent, lemon or grapefruit for a weaker scent.

Equipment

  • spritzer bottles
  • glass bowl
  • baking molds

Method

Sift baking soda, citric acid, and cornstarch to remove chunks.

To make different tints, fill small spritzer bottles with water and add about 6 drops of food coloring to each.

Pour 1 cup of sifted powdered mixture into a glass bowl. Lightly spritz, stirring after each spritz, until powder is the desired color. Add water slowly so mixture does not fizz. If mixing two tints, alternate colors as you spritz. Check the consistency of the powder with your fingers; when it can be tightly packed or shaped, stop spritzing. This may take a little while.

Add 5 drops essential oil for stronger scents or 6 drops for weaker ones. Mix well. Firmly pack mixture into small baking molds. I use ¼ cup for each fizzy, which is good for one bath. Allow mixture to set for two hours, then pop out of the mold carefully. Repeat, with different tints if desired, for remaining powder.

After you’ve made your batch, take one and enjoy it in a bath!

Smoking and Skin

Please, No SmokingSmoking harms nearly every organ of the body. Some of these harmful effects are immediate.

Did you know second-hand smoke is even more dangerous than the smoke you inhale when smoking? second-hand smoke doesn’t go through the filter at the end of the cigarette, it just goes directly into your lungs. The levels of nicotine, tar, nitric oxide, and carbon monoxide are at least twice as high in second-hand smoke.

If you smoke, or if you breathe in second-hand smoke, you’re getting a lot of skin damage. The collagen destroying enzymes (MMPs) ramp us when exposed to tobacco smoke, causing increased wrinkling and visible aging of the skin. Aging of the skin means that it droops, develops wrinkles and lines, and can become dry and coarse with uneven skin coloring and broken blood vessels (telangiectasia). Smokers often appear gaunt and develop an orange or gray complexion.

Women who smoke have a harder time getting pregnant and, if they conceive, can harm the health of their baby. Smoking can also lead to early menopause, which increases your risk of developing certain diseases like heart disease.

Smoking delays wound healing, including skin injuries and surgical wounds. It increases the risk of wound infection, graft or flap failure, death of tissue, and the formation of blood clots.

Smokers have bigger bellies and less muscle than non-smokers. They are more likely to develop type two diabetes, even if they don’t smoke every day. Smoking also makes it harder to control diabetes once you already have it. Diabetes is a serious disease that can lead to blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, and amputations.

As if lung cancer wasn’t enough, you need to know that smoking causes much more than just lung cancer.

Seven Best Plants for Skin Care

Here is my list of the seven best plants for skin care, most of which we use during facials and waxing at the Cinta Aveda Institute.

Aveda Plant Ingredients

  1. Aloe Vera is the top medicinal plant on my list. It is common in lotions. Aloe soothes and hyrdrates. The gel of an aloe plant contains nutrients vitamins A, C, and E; folic acid; zinc; and potassium.
  2. Lavender works to soothe your skin. It also has antiseptic properties that make it great for cleansing.
  3. Roses do more than smell good, they also boost the health of your skin. Rose is good for hydrating skin and it also helps soothe overworked skin. Rose is a great toner and can ease redness and irritation from breakouts.
  4. Calendula can relieve dryness and make your skin look and feel more hydrated. It also boosts blood flow and is used to treat burns.
  5. Tea tree oil is an ideal choice for treating acne. You can also use it as an alternate to deodorant. At the Cinta Aveda Institute, we use it after we wax a body part, to prevent breakouts and ingrown hairs.
  6. Witch hazel is great for cleansing your face. It helps clear away dirt, bacteria, and debris that can lead to breakouts. It’s also great for relieving skin irritation and fighting inflammation.
  7. Neem oil can help if you suffer from chronic skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, or recurrent breakouts. Neem oil has a lot of antioxidants, which means it supports healthy, youthful-looking skin.

Commercial Deodorants Have Chemicals

Homemade Deodorant

How is your Deodorant working for you? Do you use a commercial deodorant product advertised on television?

How would you feel if I told you that most of those deodorants contain cancer-causing ingredients? Well, it’s true, they do. Many contain preservatives called parabens that cause hormone disruption—specifically, they mimic estrogen—and can cause DNA damage that could lead to breast cancer. You can recognize parabens in the ingredient list: methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, or benzylparaben.

And do you think it’s good for your armpits not to sweat? No it’s not good. If you’re using an antiperspirant, it blocks your sebaceous glands from producing the sweat that should to help cool the body. You may think you will sweat more if you don’t use an antiperspirant; at first you will, but once your body becomes regulated and back to its natural state, you will not sweat as much and the odor will reduce.

When you decide to do the switch, you will notice changes. Aluminum is the main antiperspirant ingredient in almost all deodorants. Aluminum-based compounds are used to plug up sweat glands. Aluminum may be harmful when placed on to the skin or the breast; it also mimics estrogen-like cells that cause a hormonal effect which may contribute to breast cancer.

Now, remember, what you eat comes out through your pores. So even if you’re using a natural deodorant, if you eat greasy fast food, you’ll most likely still have an odor. Your body cleanses by expelling the toxins through your pores as well as your digestive tract. So eat healthier and you won’t have as much odor. A natural deodorant can mask the occasional scent.

Chlorophyll is also a natural plant-derived ingredient. Chlorophyll can be found in plants and gives them their green color, and it may help protect the body from cancer from the inside out. When ingested, it helps oxygenate the blood and cancer cells don’t thrive in oxygen. So eating a lot of leafy greens will help and act as an internal deodorant.

So which natural deodorant should you use? That all depends upon you. What scents do you like? Are you sensitive to certain oils or plants? If you’re still not sure, make a list of your likes of herbs and oils that help as a natural deodorant. You can even make your own; it’s very simple and cheap and you can have a lot left to make more in the future.

Here is a simple recipe that I use:

  • 1 cup coconut oil (antibacterial)
  • 1 cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup arrowroot powder
  • 10 drops tea tree oil

Just put it all in a cup and mix it all together and you will have a natural, healthy, safe, deodorant!

You can put it in a jar and use a scoop to get it out and rub onto your under arms.

Remember that it will take about 12 days to acclimate your body to the use of natural deodorant. So, be patient, and know that you will be reducing your risk of breast cancer by switching over to natural deodorant.

The Benefits of Microdermabrasion

Female model with exfoliated skin.

If you’ve never heard of Microdermabrasion, it is an amazing machine that can help to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, increase the production of collagen and elastin, smooth out and retexture the skin, and help to diminish sun spots, scarring, and other discolorations. This machine creates a mechanical exfoliation using small crystals as well as vacuum suction. The vacuum sucks the skin up while the crystals work to exfoliate dead skin cells and imperfections.

Exfoliation is important for all skin types, including the most healthy of skins, to ensure the process of cell turnover. As we age, the rate of our cell turnover—or the amount of time it takes new skin cells to reach the surface and replace the old, dead ones—becomes slower and slower. For this reason, we all need a little help with desquamating the old skin cells. Microdermabrasion is an excellent way to slough off those dead skin cells to reveal a more polished and lively skin tone.

Another benefit of this treatment, in comparison to other forms of deeper exfoliation such as chemical peels, is that there is relatively no downtime. You can leave the spa the same day with a glowing and fresh complexion.

These treatments can be done alone, or in conjunction to an anti-aging, skin brightening, or deep cleansing facial. It is also extremely beneficial when compared with a gentle peel, to really stimulate cell turnover, as well as to decrease pigmentation and sun damage. In addition, for desirable results, it is necessary to have more than one treatment. Microdermabrasion is a progressive treatment, requiring anywhere from two to twelve treatments to see the desired change in your skin.

Check out your local spa scene to see which spas offers this amazing service.

There are a few things to consider to make sure your treatment goes off without a hitch:

  • Make sure your treatment is followed up with some kind of hydrating product. For full facials, a nice hydrating mask is perfect following microdermabrasion, as exfoliated skin can drink up all the nutrients of the mask. For shorter services, a hydrating serum or rich moisturizer can do the trick.
  • It is also crucial that a good sunscreen be applied following your service, as exfoliated skin is more susceptible to sun damage. Aim for at least an SPF of 30, but SPF 50 is ideal.
  • Furthermore, as one of the goals of this treatment is to help to reduce sun damage, it might be a good idea to avoid prolonged time in the sun for a few days.

Five Things You Should Know Before Your First Brazilian

Brazilian Wax Bikini Area

Brazilian waxing has definitely become the newest craze in the beauty industry. In fact, it is becoming a regular routine for women, who simply like to remain bare! If you have never been waxed before and are thinking of taking the plunge, there are definitely some things you should know before going in for your treatment. As someone who worked at a waxing salon for over a year, there are a few things that I noticed from clients who were new to waxing; had they had a little bit of information, their first time would have gone a little bit ‘smoother.’ Here are five tips that you should know before getting your first Brazilian wax.

  1. If you are a shaver, you have to give your hair adequate time to grow out before your first Brazilian wax. Many clients transitioning from shaving to waxing do not know that they cannot shave before waxing. Your hair must be at least as long as a grain of rice in order to wax, and often times you will not get a clean wax if you have shaved the week before, because your hair will be on different growth cycles. In addition, the short coarse hair, due to shaving, may cause the experience to be a bit more painful. To ensure a more flawless and easy wax, let your hair grow out as long as possible first.
  2. Some estheticians do not give their clients a rulebook for the delicate twenty-four hours after having a Brazilian wax. Because you have removed the hair from the follicle, and did some light exfoliation, the open hair follicle is susceptible to bacterial invasion. Typically it takes about twenty-four hours for the follicle to close up again. So during that time period, avoid steam rooms, taking hot baths, and hot yoga. These types of environment create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. On a side note, a lot of clients who have had bacterial infections assume that it is the spa’s fault for using contaminated wax when, more likely, that is not the case. We all carry various strains of bacteria on our body, including staphylococci, the bacteria responsible for staph infections. Bacteria cannot penetrate solid, intact skin so normally our body is not in danger of infection. After waxing however, the skin is more vulnerable to this bacteria, so this advice is particularly important. In addition, avoid sexual activity for twenty-four hours, as this is a very easy way to spread bacteria. It may be tempting to show off your clean wax, but give it a day to heal up!
  3. Exfoliation in between waxing sessions is key to ensure you do not get ingrown hairs. When shaving, ingrown hairs are not as big of an issue because the hair is not being removed from the root, it is simply be shortened. So there is still an open pathway for that hair to grow back in. With waxing, the hair is being completely removed from the follicle, so sometimes the new hair gets trapped underneath the skin, which can cause an infection or inflammation. The way to prevent this is to exfoliate and remove dead skin cells. About two days after your wax, it is okay to begin exfoliating the area. You may use a scrub in the shower, or scrubby gloves—making sure to clean the gloves after each use to avoid bacteria—or you can use an exfoliating solution with something like salicylic, lactic, or glycolic acid to digest dead skin cells. Exfoliating will help your bikini area remain smooth and healthy.
  4. Another new concept for people transitioning from shaving to waxing is the idea of letting the hair grow in between waxing. The typical time period between Brazilian maintenance is four to six weeks, but that can differ depending on your growth cycle, which may be a little messed up due to shaving. Between those four to six weeks, let your hair grow back in to ensure a nice clean wax. It may be an adjustment for some, but you will get used to the waxing cycle and come to love it!
  5. Lastly, it might be helpful to take a Tylenol or ibuprofen about thirty minutes before your first waxing appointment. This well help to ease the pain of the first time wax, as well as help to stop inflammation. Also remember to breathe and try to relax!

Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel

Aveda Product - Perfecting Plant PeelI love Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel, and every client I do this on absolutely loves the way their skin looks and feels immediately after. Powered by plants, Aveda’s Perfecting Plant Peel system performs like 30% glycol without the redness and irritation. It is a facial masque which actively smoothes with instant exfoliation and radiance. This can be performed as a standalone 30 minute service or an add on to our signature facials. Your skin will have an amazing glow immediately after the service.

I believe you get the full plant peel when used with the steamer. I like to apply the plant peel and let the client sit under steam for about seven minutes, while I do a hand/arm massage. When the seven minutes are up, I spray the activating spray over the face and massage it in so it warms up. I like to combine this with the hydrating mask mixed with a little Outer Peace Cooling Masque to cool and hydrate the skin after. When the client looks in the mirror they immediately notice smaller pores and a glowing face. I always get excited to see the look on their face when they see their skin. If you feel the client could benefit from this peel, you should always recommend and explain the amazing immediate results they will get. It is an extra $10.00 on top of the facial price, but I promise it is worth it.

Is Your Sunscreen Safe?

It’s almost spring and summer will be right around the corner. The one thing we always hear during the spring and summer months is “Wear Sunscreen!” Ok, we know the the risks of not wearing sunscreen but do we know the risks of wearing it? Everyone thinks that sunscreen is all upside with no downsides. Unfortunately, sunscreen comes with many risks.

Most store-bought sunscreens contain harsh cancer-causing chemicals that cause aging and damage to your skin. For instance some of the most well-known and widely-used sunscreen in the U.S. have some chemical ingredients that may be extremely harmful and could cause serious problems. What are the ingredients that may be harmful? There are many, but here is a list of the ingredients that I try to avoid:

  • Oxybenzone: This is a chemical penetration enhancer that provokes a reaction when exposed to the sun’s UV rays. When absorbed into the skin, it can provoke an eczema-like reaction that sometimes spreads beyond the exposed area and can stay on your skin well beyond your time in the sun.

  • Octinoxate: One of the most common ingredients in sunscreen, it helps other chemicals to absorb into the skin. It can disrupt hormone balance when mixed with water—perhaps by jumping into a pool while wearing sunscreen. It can also produce free radicals which can damage your skin and cell tissues.

  • Retinyl Palmitate: A derivative of vitamin A, Retinyl Palmitate is supposed to improve the sunscreens performance against UV damage but actually, when exposed to the sun, it can break down and create free radicals that damage cells and DNA, and possibly cause cancer.

  • Paraben Preservatives: Parabens are in many products and could be very harmful. They can cause allergic reactions, hormone disruption, and are suspected to be a major factor in breast cancer.

Now that you know that there are risks, please make sure to look at the ingredients to make sure the product is safe for you and your loved ones. The Environmental Working Group does an annual study of sunscreens and they provide a list of healthy sunscreens and brands that you can research yourself. They also provide a breakdown of the ingredients of the various products and why they are safe for you.

Get out there and enjoy these glorious seasons, but use a safe and effective sunscreen so you can fully enjoy the sun without hurting yourself or your skin.

Acne is a Map to Your Body’s Systems

No one likes to break out. There are many different reasons why we breakout and what can be causing it. People can breakout in the adolescent years or as an adult and if you are really unlucky you might breakout in both.

Some causes of Acne are:

  1. Hormone Changes
  2. High Stress Levels
  3. Diet
  4. Products and Cosmetics
  5. Medications
  6. Environmental Factors
  7. Not Having Proper Cleansing Habits

If you want to know why you are breaking out, simply start by taking a look in the mirror. Where our acne presents itself can say a lot about its root cause. After doing some research, here are some locations of breakouts and what they can mean.

  • Forehead: Digestive System and Bladder

    In order to improve acne in this area, you may need to consider a diet change or an increase in your intake of water. Consider cutting back on processed foods-that can really help clear up this area.

  • In Between the Eyebrows: Liver

    An allergy often manifests itself as acne in between the eyebrows. Consider a detox of sorts. Cut down on your alcohol consumption, eat lighter foods, and consider any foods to which you may have developed an allergy (such as dairy).

  • Temples and Ears: Kidneys

    This is a quick fix: cut down on coffee, soda, and other sugary beverages, and drink pure water instead. Hydrate your body and you should see a significant decrease in acne around your eyes.

  • Nose: Heart

    Acne on your nose could mean high blood pressure or high cholesterol. Try cutting back on red meat and increase your intake of foods with Omega 3’s like avocado and fish. Additionally, because your nose is so porous, make sure that your makeup isn’t expired or try a different kind if you don’t see better results.

  • Cheeks: Respiratory System

    Acne in this area usually also points to allergies. If allergies aren’t the culprit, consider keeping your body at a neutral temperature rather than allowing it to overheat. Avoid spicy foods and add more green veggies to your diet.

  • Outside or Corners of the Mouth: Hormones

    This zone is difficult to eradicate because hormones can be hard to control. However, getting enough ZZZ’s at night, keeping skin clean and moisturized, and a balanced diet can help. Sometimes birth control can be the cause as well.

  • Chin: Stomach

    Because this area is associated with the stomach, increasing the amount of fiber in your diet, drinking more water, and generally detoxing your body may help clear up this area.

In truth, you’re fighting your acne from the inside out! If your issue is truly internal, no amount of creams and cleansers will clear up your face anyway. The right skin care routine does make a big difference, but it won’t be a quick fix. Clearing up adult acne will take time, dedication, and lifestyle changes.