Skin

4 Skin Types and the Products that Fit Them

Treatments for skin ranges due to the different skin types. Knowing your skin type will help determine the correct products and treatments necessary. There are only four different skin types: dry, oily, combination and normal.

Dry skin is characterized by small to no pores, superficial lines and minimal acne. Treatments for dry skin include humectant ingredients, and should include regular exfoliation. Dry skin can also be sensitive to certain products, ingredients and treatments. This means extra care needs to be taken when considering less abrasive products and treatments as to not irritate the skin.

Oily skin is characterized by larger pores, overly active sebaceous ducts, and acne prone. It is best for people with oily skin to use more soluble products such as salicylic acid, and should use gel or foam when choosing cleansers. Those with oily skin generally have lower pH levels, so it is best to find products that balance it. They should also wash regularly because of their higher predisposition to bacteria growth.

Combination skin is characterized by oily skin conditions in the forehead and nose region, and dryer condition on the cheeks and chin. It is the most common skin type, and is best to find products that balance it. Use a cream cleanser if you are going to use a salicylic acid treatment. Those with combination skin should choose between either stronger exfoliants or frequency of use.

Normal skin is neither oily nor dry. They have normal pore size and regular oil production. Product and treatments should be used to maintain the acid mantle because it is typically at ideal levels. Those with normal skin should be more concerned with maintaining, instead of trying to fix different levels through treatments and products. So one of the larger concerns for normal skin is irritating it through more harsh treatments when not needed.

Recalling My First Facial Client Experience

I was transitioning from the Esthetician intro phase to the alpha phase, and it couldn’t be scarier, even though I felt pretty prepared when I left the intro phase.

The first day of being an alpha, I already had a client. What do I do?! Suddenly everything I had learned the last ten weeks went out the window. Elemental Nature? What’s that? To add more worry and stress, I realized that my first booked client was a male client! All I’ve been working on were female faces; I’m not ready for this! I was completing psyching myself out. Nobody noticed I was a nut case. Nope, I was cool as a cucumber on the outside. Internally, I wanted to melt and die.

The time came, and a huge part of me hoped the client canceled for some reason, any reason…please! But of course, Life likes to see you squirm. I saw my client standing at 6 feet 2 inches and the size difference did not play into the intimidating factor at all…Luckily, he was super nice and I performed the facial like I would normally, except massaged downward in the direction of the facial hair growth. I’m pretty sure I may have forgotten a step or two, but you have to be like Dory and “just keep swimming!”

Before I knew it, the facial ended, and I was so relieved! Excitement came over me because I did it! And I didn’t fall flat on my face. It really is not as terrifying as you anticipate it to be. After the facial, I discussed some of the beneficial products for his skin, and he ended up purchasing all of them! I felt such a glee after finishing my first client’s facial.

A few tips I would share would be to follow the facial steps as best as you can. If you don’t remember a step, just keep moving and perform the steps you DO remember. The client doesn’t know if anything went wrong unless you start acting like it is. Secondly, make sure to apply pressure and check the pressure with your client during the massages. Nobody likes to be lightly touched when he/she knows they’re coming in for a facial or massage. Lastly, be warm and friendly to your guest regardless of how you’re feeling. Check your issues at the door and put a smile on your face when you greet your guest. Good luck!

8 Tips You Should Know Before Your Next Brazilian Wax

When I started the Esthetician program, one of the things I was looking forward to was learning how to wax, specifically a Brazilian wax. For those who don’t know, a Brazilian wax is when all the hair is removed in the pubic area, front and back. Here are some tips to ease anyone on having this service performed for the first time.

1) Even though it is possible, avoid having a Brazilian wax before or during your period due to pain sensitivity.

2) Let your hair grow to a ¼ inch in order for the wax to grab better.

3) Before the service, exfoliate the area to release any hairs trapped under a layer of dead skin cells.

4) If you would like to reduce the pain, you can take a pain reliever 45 minutes before your waxing appointment.

5) Remember to breathe and relax during the service, tensing up makes it worse.

6) Do not wear any tight clothing or do anything that will cause any friction or sweat in your waxed area for the next 24 hours.

7) After the first 48 hours, exfoliate your waxed area to avoid ingrown hairs

8) Don’t shave in between your Brazilian waxing services.

The Difference Between UVB and UVA Rays and Their Affects on your Skin

One of the biggest misconceptions about sunscreen is that it is only for the pool or beach. In fact a lot of you adults don’t incorporate it in their beauty regimen at all. The number one reason for again is from sun damage and it’s much easier to prevent now then correct the later.

People think that if they aren’t in direct sunlight then they don’t need to apply sunblock for the day. Unfortunately what they don’t understand is that we are exposed to sun rays directly and indirectly. Sun rays can reach you driving in your car, sitting inside work, or anywhere there can be windows.

Here are some facts about the sun rays:

There are both UVA and UVB that we are exposed to daily. UVA rays are called the “Aging Rays”. They are constantly present, no matter the season or the weather. If you think you can’t get sun damage on a cloudy day then think again. They are so powerful that they also penetrate some clothing and even glass.

Also UVA rays are the rays responsible for the signs of aging because they are able to penetrate much deeper into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells beneath. While people think their skin looks younger when it’s tan, the reality is each tan gives your skin irreversible damage, and you will see its damage later in life. When you think of UVA rays, think sun spots, leather skin and wrinkles!

UVB rays are the rays you can blame when you get a sunburn. Unlike UVA rays, these rays aren’t always the same strength year round. They are more prevalent in the summer months; however they are able to reflect off water or snow so it’s always important to protect yourself. UVB rays are responsible for causing most skin cancers.

Do yourself a favor and start protecting yourself with the proper sunscreen. People always think the higher the sunscreen number, the more protection they have, but that isn’t always the case. It’s good to choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen of 30 SPF that contains both UVA and UVB protection. UVA radiation is less powerful than UVB, but it penetrates deeper into the skin. Small daily doses of UVA causes long-term skin injury, even without signs of sunburn. UVA light is used in tanning booths.

Choosing to use a protection every day is the single most important thing you can do to prevent sun damage and skin cancer.

My Top Three Favorite Skin Care Products from Aveda

Everyone who has ever used Aveda knows that every ingredient in their products are natural, safe, and leaves you feeling beautiful.

Aveda oils smell delicious and also serve to improve your skin. After being enrolled in the Esthiology Program at the Cinta Aveda Institute and having months of practice on myself and others, these are some of my choices for their top products and why.

Botanicals Kinetics Exfoliant:

This is a non-abrasive liquid that helps exfoliate the surface cells for a smooth and clear complexion. I love how this product keeps my skin smooth without stripping it! To keep your skin looking fresh we all need to exfoliate more, so this is a great step to add to your beauty regimen.

Your skin will look softer, smoother, and more supple. BK Exfoliant is great for all skin types, and can be used one to two times a week after cleansing.

Intensive Hydrating Masque:

This is my favorite Masque with Aveda! Everyone needs to moisturize and sometimes just using creams are not enough. It’s a great way to pamper yourself in between facial visits, using it after traveling on a plane, or giving your skin more of an intensive boost of moisture. It contains Hyaluronic Acid in it that will smooth and plump your skin. It is more than 1,000 times more moisturizing then your regular moisturizer! Remember, when you hydrate your skin, you keep it looking young! This masque is also great for all skin types.

Beautifying Composition Oil:

Most people think that if you put oil on your skin you will break out. NOT true! Our skin is actually lipid-loving and if you properly moisturize with the proper oil, it can keep your skin balanced. Sometimes your skin can be too oily because the sebaceous glands are working overtime to send moisture to the acid mantle to balance out the PH level.

I like to apply it before I use my moisturizer as a chap stick all over my body. The Beautifying oil has a lovely aroma of rosemary and bergamot that I can smell all throughout my day.

How to Make a Papaya Refinement, Avocado Honey, and Lemon Mask

avocado_papaya (2)You never know what produce may be lying around your kitchen that can bring wonders to your skin. One of my Instructors informed me of the amazing benefits that Papaya has when you combine the seeds with apple cider vinegar. It can make an amazing refinement for the skin. I just happened to have a papaya in my kitchen and added it to my juice because it has great internal benefits. I tried the papaya refinement and followed with an avocado and honey mask and it left my skin feeling very soft and glowing.

Papaya is a great source of Vitamin A and helps in the removal of dead skin cells along with breaking down the inactive proteins. Papaya seeds like the fruit itself are high in proteolytic enzymes, which have wonderful medicinal values. Apple cider vinegar has innumerable healing and curative powers and is also antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties.

Here’s how to make the refinement and mask:

Ingredients:

1) 1/2 papaya

2) Papaya Seeds

3) 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar

4) 5 tbsp of water

Slice the papaya in half, scoop out pulp and seeds, add a couple of table spoons of apple cider vinegar and grind the refinement in a blender of your choice until it reaches a pasty or cream like consistency or a consistency that allows you to apply the refinement all over the skin (You can also include the peel of the papaya as it has some amazing benefits to the skin such as it is also rich in Alpha-Hydroxy Acid that offers great anti-aging benefits)

Apply for 25 minutes on your face and then rinse off. This will help with reducing all those unwanted pimples and inflammation. Follow with the Avocado and honey mask for hydration. Avocado is loaded with vitamin E, healthy fats and antioxidants to help keep the skin smooth; the lemon juice contains citric acid, which may help “brighten” the skin, and the honey helps brighten the skin and also thoroughly cleanse with natural antibacterial/antimicrobial properties to it.

Avocado and Honey Mask:

Ingredients

1) ½ Avocado

2) 2 tbsp honey

3) 1 tbsp lemon

Simply mash and combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and apply to your face. Be careful around your eyes (as with all products). Let the mask sit on your face for about 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water. Follow with your favorite moisturizer. (I Recommend the Aveda All sensitive moisturizer or Tourmaline Serum)

Try adding papaya to your juice or eating it, it makes an even bigger impact on your skin because you are treating the internal parts of your body. One step at a time while taking care of the external parts of our skin and incorporating a healthy diet will achieve greater results.

10 Veggies and Fruits to Juice for your Skin

juice (2)When you take a sip of a delicious glass of juice it can make you feel as if the world has stood still for a moment. At least that is how it feels for me. My father introduced me to juicing when I was kid and it was something I became fond of, until he started mixing greens into my juice. I sometimes couldn’t stand all the concoctions of strong fruits and veggies (example: ginger, beet, kale, grapefruit mixed in with apples, berries and bananas) because all I wanted was apple or orange juice. As I got older I started to realize how important all of those nutrients were and how beneficial those fruits and vegetables are for the body.

What we put into our bodies is just as important if not more than what we put topically onto our bodies. In my opinion juicing is a great way to get the nutrients not only your body needs but your skin needs too. I recently invested in a Ninja Bullet not too long ago and I am having a blast making different recipes for masks to treat my skin and for juicing and I must say I have noticed a significant difference. I have also been eating a much healthier diet and what I have learned is in order to achieve amazing skin you have to take into account the internal and external factors to get the results you want.

Listed Below are 10 of the best veggies and fruits to juice for your skin

1. Carrots are a powerhouse of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.

2. Beets are one of the most effective cleansing vegetables available for your liver, and beet juice is even said to help regenerate damaged liver cells. In the long run, anyone looking for how to get perfect skin cannot ignore the importance of the liver. Drinking fresh beet juice mixed with other vegetable juices regularly is one of the simplest ways to heal this vital organ.

3. Celery juice is highly cleansing, alkalizing and detoxifying to your body. It is especially rich in silica, a trace mineral needed for beautiful skin and healthy hair and nails.

4. Kale is one of the most powerful vegetables around and definitely benefits your skin with its high levels of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

5. Cucumber is an extremely hydrating, cooling and alkalizing vegetable for eliminating toxins. It is high in silica and other beneficial trace minerals for reducing inflammation and improving the softness of your skin and the strength of your hair and nails.

6. Pineapples are a sweet and delicious source of antioxidants like vitamin C for better skin. It’s important to juice pineapples with their cores as this part contains the enzyme bromelain which helps breakdown undigested proteins – a potential source of liver stress and skin problems.

7. Tomatoes are classed as a fruit and their juice is rich in the skin protecting antioxidant lycopene. Also highly beneficial for your heart, tomato juice is especially good to have before going out in the sun for long periods as it helps protect your skin from UV damage.

8. Papaya juice ( as I mentioned in my last blog ) is a tropical tasting shot of vitamin C, vitamin E, lycopene, beta-carotene and various minerals and micronutrients. Papayas also contain a similar digestive enzyme to pineapples called papain that assists in breaking down inflammatory foreign proteins. Highly recommended for soft and beautiful skin.

9. Lemon juice has many health benefits, including assisting digestion, detoxification and elimination, providing alkalizing minerals and antioxidant vitamin C and helping your liver to produce more bile to digest fats.

10. Apple is actually an extremely healthjuice (2)y fruit, high in antioxidant flavonoids like quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin.

These fruits and vegetables are not only beneficial for your skin’s appearance, but they also reduce the risk of skin cancer.

How CIDESCO Made Me a Better Esthetician

cidescologo (2)When I first enrolled in the Esthiology program here at CAI, I never thought I would one day be near my completion of CIDESCO. I had never considered this career path until a small introduction to the program piqued my interest. It goes to say, CIDESCO has given me far more than what I thought I was ever capable of learning.

Although I believed that the health of skin was important, I didn’t quite realize how all of your body’s cells–and not just your skin cells–individually function and work together to create one big functioning unit. Turns out, that your skin is actually a giant billboard advertising the overall health of a person, not just the external damage that may be done to the skin. Basically, instead of looking only at the body’s outward appearance, I have been able to explore my clients’ lifestyles and pinpoint why their skin shows signs of distress, and how to correct conditions through choosing the correct ingredients and suggesting small changes.

I also never thought that I would want to specialize in the field of skin care. I first wanted to have a hand in everything-mMakeup, facials, and waxing- however I simply could not choose. I thought I wanted to be a ‘well-rounded’ esthetician who knew something about everything. This, as my educator Maria has put it, is being ‘a jack of all trades, and a master of none.’ I have certainly gone through a process and change of direction with my initial career goals, but I realized that I have learned exactly what I needed to in order to get me there.

Looking back at this roller coaster ride, that is CIDESCO, I have zero regrets. I doubt I would have gone as far as I have without the education, experience, and knowledge that CIDESCO has given me. The choice I made to enroll at Cinta Aveda has certainly been rewarding, and also career-wise, life changing.

What You Don’t Know About Salicylic Acid

220pxfountainspringswintergreen (2)The other day I decided to find out more information about salicylic acid. I was curious about what this popular ingredient actually does. As Esti students we learned that salicylic acid is contra indicated for pregnant women and those with sensitive skin issues. Salicylic acid is mostly found as a featured ingredient in acne care as in the Aveda Outer Peace line and in one of my favorites, the Aveda Liquid Exfolient.

So what is Salicylic acid? Salicylic acid is a peeling agent that causes exfoliation or shedding of the outer layer of skin. Salicylic acid is also used topically in the treatment of acne, dandruff, corns, and warts.

As a beta hydroxy acid (BHA), it has the ability to penetrate into the pore (AHAs do not), so it can exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin, making it effective for reducing blemishes, including blackheads and whiteheads. Salicylic acid has shown an ability to improve skin thickness, barrier functions, and collagen production, it also functions as an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial.

Most salicylic acid on the market today is synthesized from petroleum derivatives, traditionally salicylic acid has been derived from white willow bark or wintergreen. Aveda’s salicylic acid is naturally derived from wintergreen (methyl salicylate). The partridge berry, or Teaberry, was used by the American Indians for pain and fever. In the nineteenth century wintergreen was considered a cure-all.

Guest Blogger, A Beautiful Whim: How to Get your Makeup to Last Longer with Aveda Botanical Kinetics

June 15, 2015
By

botanicalKinetics_600x500One of the most common questions I get asked about wearing makeup is how to get the makeup to last longer and how to achieve a flawless finish.  The answer is not to seal your face with a finishing spray or apply heavy base products.  The key to long lasting and flawless makeup lies within how you care for your skin and prepare it for the application of makeup.  Usually, makeup gets applied during the morning rush and sometimes there’s simply not enough time to incorporate steps into the morning routine that set the stage for a day where makeup still looks good by the lunch hour.  Aveda’s botanical kinetics skim firming and toning agent will consolidate more timely steps in the preparation process and also address common skin concerns including dry and oily skin.  The toning mist is a versatile, natural product that can be used regardless of skin type.

Let’s focus on the morning routine for a moment.  The necessary steps to produce the best cosmetic result are to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. Typically, when using moisturizers you need to wait 10-15 minutes before proceeding with your makeup application so the skin can fully absorb the product.  Otherwise, your makeup doesn’t blend well or adhere to your skin.  This prevents you from achieving a flawless finish.  Also, do you know what’s in the moisturizers and other products you are using?   Often, they can produce superficial and temporary results from chemicals additives.  What’s the result?  Eventually, your skin produces more oil and pores becomes clogged leading to break outs.

I hear a lot of complaints from people indicating within four to five hours of applying their makeup, it appears to have worn off or it breaks up as the skin produces oil.  It’s especially problematic during warm and humid weather.  We’ve all been there!  You start applying powder to improve the coverage and reduce shine but the next thing you know, the powder is caked on and the makeup looks patchy.  What was intended to beautify has resulted in an obvious mess. Personally, I have gone as far as removing and reapplying products midday (secretly in a bathroom stall) but this an unrealistic solution.  It’s simply a matter of having the right balance of time and products and understanding what your skin really needs.

skin tonerTo achieve a flawless finish and get longer lasting wear from your makeup, adequate hydration and a good toner can be applied to cleanse the skin, minimizing the production of oil and keeping your skin healthy.  The quality of your cosmetics and the techniques used to apply them also factor in but regardless of the quality of your cosmetics, if you aren’t caring for your skin properly, you’ve set yourself up for disappointment. The Aveda botanical kinetics toning agent is a regular part of my morning and evening regimen, instead of applying a separate toner and moisturizer. You can see in these photos from one of my makeup tutorials that I achieved a flawless makeup application using the Aveda product to prepare my skin and this makeup lasted all day.  I often spray the Aveda mist on my face and neck to prepare my skin and I use a moisturizer at night.  A good toner and moisturizer are certainly beneficial and highly recommended but it’s important to know what is in those products that you are applying to your skin.  Look closely at the products you are using today.  The ingredients appearing first on the list is what the makes up a majority of the product.  Do you know what they are?  You may be using products that contain harmful additives causing you to chase cycles of dryness, breakouts, and effects of product build up on your skin.

I love the clean and refreshing feel I’m left with after using the Aveda product.  Witch hazel, white oak, and peppermint leave my skin feeling awake and revitalized and the mist contains natural moisturizing agents.  This simple spray creates the perfect canvas for makeup. Skin is hydrated, ph-balanced, and absent of unnecessary products with mystery ingredients.  While the Aveda mist is ideal for all skin types, those with oily skin will notice a reduction in oil build up with regular use.  Before applying your makeup, cleanse your face and spray your neck and face with the mist.  Gentry pat it into your skin with clean fingers and begin your normal makeup routine.  It’s as simple as that.  For best results, also apply the product after your nightly cleanse.  I’d like to know if you can resist applying it only twice daily; I keep a bottle on my nightstand and use it more frequently because I love the herbal scent and the refreshing feeling after I spray it on my skin.  By the way, you don’t have to limit the use of the product to your face.  I like to spray the mist on my chest and occasionally the back of my neck as well.  Have you used the Aveda botanical toning mist and if so, what do you love about it?

The Benefits to Hard and Soft Wax

Hard waxes are available in blocks, disks, pellets, or beads. They are considered a no-strip wax. They must be liquefied before they can be used. Hard waxes are available at different melting points to address the needs of normal and sensitive skin. The harder the wax, the more heat it requires to melt it. Small, individual wax heaters are available and can be placed in each treatment room. The used wax is discarded after each service.

Some estheticians prefer hard waxes. They are gentle enough for the face area, yet strong enough to be used on hard to remove, coarse hairs. Some like to use it on th bikini and underarm area. Estheticians generally use soft wax in larger areas, such as the back and legs, and hard wax in smaller areas, such s the eyebrow.

Hard wax is thicker than soft wax. It is first applied against the hair growth, then back in the opposite direction in a figure eight pattern. The hair is gripped as the wax dries and tightens and lifts off without sticking to the skin. The follicle is not distorted when pulled in the same direction as the hair growth pattern. Hard wax is especially effective in areas where hair grows in multiple directions or skin is thin or fragile. Some estheticians apply and remove the hard wax in the same ddirection as the soft wax. Application depends on the area to be waxed and how coarse the hair is. The direction for pulling the hard wax off is more forgiving than soft wax. Hard wax is the only wax recommended for Brazilian waxing, although I personally prefer soft wax to avoid tweezing.

Soft Wax

One of the most common methods of hair removal is soft, or strip, waxing. The main detractor to using soft wax is that it can be irritating to the skin because the ingredients, such as rosins, can adhere to the skin. Soft waxes have a lower melting point and come in tins or plastic containers. If they come in plastic containers, they can be melted slightly in the microwave to make it easier to pour the wax into a wax heater or warming pot. With this method, a thin coat of wax is applied on the skin and removed immediately with a muslin, pellon, or cotton strip before it cools.

One of the benefits of soft wax is that it feels warm on the skin and the heat dilates the follicle for easier removal. The quick application of soft wax is known as speed waxing and is more comfortable for the guest. Faster procedures save time, lead to more revenue, and more satisfied clients.

6 Face Cleansers you Have to try

June 5, 2015
By

shutterstock_80750635 (2)There are so many different face cleansers on the market? How do you know which one is best for you and your skin type? Here is a general breakdown and description of some of the different type of cleansers available:

1) Foaming: Foaming cleansers are great for someone with oily-prone skin. They work up to a nice lather, with little amount of product. However, they can tend to be quite drying sometimes, so if you have dryer skin, it is not recommended.

2) Non Foaming: Non-foaming cleansers generally come in a gel or lotion, and are great for someone with dry or sensitive skin. These are the most gentle cleanser, however it is one of the most ineffective for removing stubborn makeup or sunscreen–so make sure you also have a makeup remover!

3) Oil Cleansers: Oil cleansers are generally the most deep cleaning cleansers. They will remove make-up, dirt, and even water-proof sunscreen.

4) Cream cleansers: Great for someone with dry skin who wants to keep their skin looking and feeling moisturized after washing it.

5) Gel: A gel cleanser is cool and refreshing and great for someone with combination or oily skin. If you lather up with this cleanser, it will take off makeup and debris without drying the skin.

6) Scrubs: Scrubs are the deepest cleanse you can get in your own sink. You want to use a scrub only twice a week to remove any build up on your skin and in your pores. Make sure when shopping for a scrub cleanser to look for something with round beads so you they do not scratch your skin.

3 ways to apply Aveda’s Beautifying Oil

beautifying_oil (2)Before Attending Cinta-Aveda Institute, I used a variety of different brands and products to remove my makeup. I started using Vaseline and a makeup removing cleanser from Nu Skin then I switched to Neutrogena oil free makeup remover and cleansing wipes and then, I switched to Garnier Fructis makeup wipes. Some of those products dried out my skin or some did not fully remove my makeup, especially around the eyes.

When I began learning about Aveda’s products in my intro class and we started performing facials on one another, I fell in love with Aveda’s beautifying oil because it was the perfect makeup remover. It literally removes everything including waterproof mascara. It has worked better than any of the other products I’ve listed above and is also very versatile. You can use it as a makeup remover for the entire face. It can also be used as a pre-cleanse and massage oil.

When using Aveda Beautifying Oil, I recommend these three ways to apply the product:

1) use a wet cotton rounds and apply a moderate amount of the beautifying oil to the cotton rounds
2) begin removing foundation or powder from the face by first weting your face
3) then apply the beautifying oil and proceed with an Aveda cleanser of your choice. I prefer the All Sensitive Cleanser or the Botanical Kinetics Cream Cleanser.

Some other additional ways that I use the beautifying oil are to add moisture to my scalp and the ends of my hair before I take a shower. Did I also mention that it smells fantastic? The balanced aroma consists of lavender, rosemary and bergamot. Other great ingredients include organic soybean oil, organic olive oil and organic safflower oil. This product also relieves dryness, restores moisture, and leaves the skin feeling soft and supple. We sell this amazing item in our experience center for $30, however if you are a student you can use your discount to try it out. Have fun giving it a try!

You Are What You Eat

What we eat and drink can radically change the appearance of our skin. Eat the right foods and we witness glowing, clear skin. Eat the wrong foods and our skin loses its elasticity, becomes puffy and red. By simply changing what we put on our fork, we can control the texture, pigment and firmness of our skin. How do you start? Radiant skin happens when we supply our body with the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. They build the skin’s structure and prevent it from free radical damage and inflammation.

Alcohol and coffee can be dehydrating to the skin, and can be toxic to your skin. Sometimes the best thing you can change in your diet is just drink more water. Drinking more water can even help your body remove toxins, plump the skin, and keep you looking hydrated. The only difference between a grape and a raisin is water.

Protein is also important. The amino acids that make up the protein are needed to support the collagen and elastin in the skin. Without sufficient protein, the skin starts to lose its vibrancy and elasticity. Eating dark green leafy vegetables also helps provide your skin with antioxidants, clear toxins, and regulate hormones. Yellow fruits and such as Papaya, pineapple, peaches are loaded with vitamins and help with cell turn over. Meanwhile, avocados are loaded with good fats, vitamin E, and they help protect your skin from developing spotty pigmentation.

Achieving radiant clear skin doesn’t always require running to the store to purchase expensive products. It starts in your kitchen first. It isn’t limited to only some, but can be for all. It starts with good eating habits; getting proper vitamins, proper sleep, and of course water, water, water!

The Strange and Beautiful World of Skin Writing

Dermatographia UrticariaDermatographia Urticaria—commonly known as skin writing—while only affecting a very small portion of the world’s population, makes for one of the most intriguing conditions of the skin one could imagine. Recently, artist Adriana Page Russell—who herself has the disorder—published photographs of her own, displaying how beautiful a skin condition can be.

Dermatopgrahia is characterized by extreme hypersensitivity, sometimes leading to welts and inflammation of the skin, with only the slightest scratch or pinch. This allows for the ability to ‘write’ or ‘draw’ on one’s own skin, without permanent damage, or feel even the slightest sensation of pain. As a result, this condition allows for the most beautiful and strange designs to be traced along the body, which then disappears in a matter of about twenty to thirty minutes.

Many of the causes of Dermatographia are unclear, however it can be caused by an allergen. Nevertheless, these allergens are often unknown. Penicillin and emotional stress can also to be attributed to the cause of the condition. Development of the disorder can occur at any point in life, and may even go away on its own.

Though symptoms aren’t ncessarily severe, those with Dermatographia can be prescribed a standard treatment of antihistamines. However, this treatment is usually only offered if symptoms become bothersome. Currently there is no real permanent cure available, however, artists like Russell have found away almost to embrace this condition by utilizing the unkown. What may have been considered a disfiguring disorder in the past, has become a work of art in the present.

A 4 Step Process on How To Perform Extractions

For years my mother always told me to leave my face alone and not pick at it. She often told me that doing so would leave a scar my face. Of course she would always wait to tell me this right in the middle of my extraction process. Naturally, mothers are always right in the end, but in this case it was not because I was performing extractions, but because of my process.

I have severely oily skin, which clogs those big pores on my nose and frequently causes blackheads; a challenge for a lot of people. In order to clean those pores, extractions must be performed but there is a healthy way to do so.

Here is my process:

1) CLEANSE:

First cleanse your skin with your regular cleanser. I recommend doing this while you are actually taking a shower so your skin can be exposed to as much steam as possible.

2) REFINE:

This is a VERY important step in the extraction process and one I used to forgo. Refinement is an exfoliating process and it should aid by helping to open pores up and hopefully, pull out impurities. A great product I use and highly recommend is AVEDA Deep Cleaning Herbal Clay Masque. It is best to apply this product to your nose after the cleansing step while you are still in the shower. Once done, go ahead and finish your shower.

3) EXTRACT:

After stepping out of the shower, take some warm water and rinse off the AVEDA Clay Masque. Then begin performing your extractions with your index fingers. Be sure NOT to be on top of the black head, but instead make sure that your fingers are around it. Gently apply pressure until you push the excess oil out. It should come out fairly easy. If it difficult and you start seeing pierced skin or trauma it is not ready and you should stop to prevent any further damage to your skin.

4) POST-EXTRACTION WIPE:

Now we must wipe or cleanse the nose with an antibacterial wipe. I use the AVEDA Outer Peace Acne Relief Pad because it is already ready to go. It even has tea tree oil in it, which acts as an antimicrobial.

I then take a quick peek in the mirror to make sure I didn’t miss anything, followed by my usual 2-hour routine that I can’t help continue before I am ready to walk out the front door.

A Catalog of Skin Disorders

Skin Cancer

Cancer is the uncontrolled replication of cells into tumors. These tumors can invade surrounding tissue, spread throughout the body, and are sometimes fatal.

Skin cancer is the most common variety of cancer in humans; it accounts for almost half of cancer diagnosis is in the United States. The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that one in five American adults will have skin cancer at some time. About 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of of those diagnosis approximately 110,000 are for malignant melanoma and 890,000 are for other skin cancers. Unfortunately skin cancer kills about 11,000 people per year.

Skin cancer is cancer in the stratum basil of the epidermis, cancer of the keratinocytes in the epidermis, or cancer in the melanocytes of the epidermis. Basal cell carcinoma is by far the most common type of skin cancer. That accounts for about 75% to 90% of all skin cancer cases. It is a slow growing tumor of epithelial cells in the stratum of the epidermis. It does not metastasize and is not usually dangerous, although if the tumor is left untreated it can become threatening. Basal cell carcinoma has an extremely high survival rate if lesions are removed before they invade deep tissues. It is usually cut out with a scoop blade or a laser. The tumor producing cells can also be killed off with liquid nitrogen or with radiation. Basal cell carcinoma doesn’t spread through the body, so the risk of making the situation worse is nonexistent.

It is important to see a dermatologist once a year for a skin check.

I was recently diagnosed with skin cancer on my upper lip. It was a very scary time.

Burns

The severity of burns is graded by how deep they go, how much surface area they cover, and what part of the body has been affected. Burns are graded in three levels of depth: 1st degree, 2nd degree and 3rd degree.

  • 1st degree burns are sometimes quite painful, but it is only a mild irritation of the superficial epidermis characterized by redness but no blistering. Mild sunburn is perhaps the most common example of a first degree burn. Overexposure to the sun damages cells in the epithelium, setting up an inflammatory response. This leads to pain, heat, redness, and swelling. Sunburns generally heal in three days. Sometimes it can cause flaking and peeling of the skin.
  • 2nd degree burns involve damage to all layers of the epidermis, and possibly some of the dermis as well. Symptoms include redness, blisters that appear instantly, edema, and pain. Second degree burns often lead to permanent scarring.
  • 3rd degree burns go through the dermis or beyond, destroying hair shafts, and even nerve endings. In addition, one of the special problems with third-degree burns is that they tend to contract rapidly, forming a continuing little scar tissue even with quickly executed light skin grafts.

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease with occasional acute episodes in which cells and isolated patches replicate too rapidly. Where normal skin cells are replaced in the cells every 28 to 32 days, psoriatic skin cells divide every two to four days. The result is a pile up of excess cells that are itchy, red or pink, and scaly. This condition comes and goes, and presently no permanent cure is available, although it has recently been classified as an immune disorder.

This disease affects six to seven million Americans and is most common in white people. About 150,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Some cases have a genetic link. It is most commonly diagnosed in the middle years, but it has been seen on tiny babies as well as quite elderly people.

Most people have it in a mild form; only about 20% report their cases as moderate to severe. Plaque psoriasis is a very common condition; most people have at least some of it. It takes the form of raised pink or red patches that grow over a long period of time. They may be itchy, but they are seldom very uncomfortable unless they are in an acute stage, when they can inch and create a severe burning sensation. Most plaques are on the knees or elbows, but they can be found on the scalp, trunk, palms, soles, and even in the mouth. While there are no permanent cures for psoriasis, there has been a lot of research done to help eradicate this disease.

Herpes Simplex

Herpes simplex is a viral infection resulting in painful blisters on a red base. They develop around the mouth, genitals, or other areas.

Oral herpes is transmitted through oral or respiratory secretions. Genital herpes is transmitted through mucus secretions during sexual contact. In either case, a person’s first outbreak usually occurs up to 20 days after exposure, and is called primary herpes. A primary herpes outbreak may be very severe or almost unnoticeable.

Most cases of oral herpes are picked up during childhood, and the new carrier may never be aware of his or her infection. In extreme cases, the primary infection may be accompanied by fever, swollen glands, and many painful sores that may last two to six weeks.

Herpes is famous for being contagious. The virus can remain infectious outside of the body for several hours. Most adults in the United States have probably already been exposed to some form of the herpes simplex virus.

No vaccine against herpes has yet been developed. Antiviral drugs suppress viral activity and shorten the duration of an infection, but they don’t prevent future outbreaks. Keeping as healthy as possible between outbreaks is an important way to reduce the frequency and severity of herpes episodes.

Impetigo

Impetigo is a bacterial infection of the skin. It is usually seen in infants and young children. Lesions usually occurred around the nose and mouth, sometimes inside the nostrils or ear canals.

Although it is often begins on the head, impetigo can affect the skin anywhere on the body. Red sores with small blisters appear, typically around the mouth or nose. The sores are itchy but not painful. The blisters rupture and are liquid; a characteristic yellow-brown crust that resembles honey develops. Left untreated, the sores heal in about three weeks, leaving no scars.

Mild forms of impetigo can be treated with a topical anabiotic cream. But if the blisters have spread over much of the body, and especially if there are other signs of systemic infection, oral antibiotics are prescribed.

Impetigo can have serious complications, including renal failure, meningitis, and cellulitis, if it is isn’t treated carefully. Impetigo often appears where the skin has been damaged. Any wounds should be cleaned thoroughly, treated with anti-bacterial ointment, and covered. The lesions must be kept clean and dry and crusts removed as soon as possible because the moisture underneath the crust harbors bacteria.

Children with impetigo are encouraged to stay home from school and avoid contact with other children for at least 24 hours after they begin treatment.

Boils

Boils are a large and painful infection that usually occurs one at a time. A cluster of boils connected by channels under the skin is called a carbuncle.

A boil typically begins as a hard painful, red pinkish lump that develops over a day or two. For the next several days it increases in size, and the center of the abscess fills with pus and bacteria. It may grow to the size of a golf ball.

Boils—also called furuncles—are local staphylococci infections of the skin. They often occur at sebaceous glands or hair shafts that are clogged by dirt, dead skin cells, or other debris. They can also begin wherever the skin has been compromised by a cut, scrape, or friction. Boils usually occur in areas where hair follicles are numerous, and where friction, in combination with sweat, can irritate and damage the skin. They are most common in the axilla or groin.

Treatment for boils usually begin with topical antibiotics and hot compresses. It is important never to try to squeeze or pop a boil. It could force the infection deeper or across the surface of the skin.

Unless it is surgically drained, the boil will spontaneously rupture and resolve. Large infections that penetrate into deep layers of the skin may leave a permanent scar.

Extractions!

It was once said that a facial is not a facial without extractions. What are extractions, you ask? Let’s take a deeper look into the histology—or the study of the structure and function of the skin— to better understand what is happening when your esthetician “extracts” you.

The skin has two main layers, the top layer (really five layers) is the layer we touch and it is called the epidermis. The layer below the epidermis is the dermis.

The five layers of the epidermis are the stratum corneum, stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, stratum spinosum, and the stratum germinativum. Below the stratum germinativum layer lies the dermal layer, or dermis.

Estheticians are only licensed to work with the epidermis, so the dermis is reserved for the domain of doctors and nurses.

Excepting the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, the lips, and the eyelids, the rest of our skin surface has hair follicles from which our body hair grows. Hair follicles penetrate into the dermal layer and the hair grows out of the follicle, exiting through the epidermal layer. Along with hair in the follicle is also sebum, or the oil our bodies naturally secrete. Our skin secretes the most oil from our noses, foreheads, and backs, so these areas are common locations for extractions to take place. The sebaceous glands secrete oil into the hair follicle, which then travels up to the surface of the hair follicle and hair shaft to the stratum corneum layer, or the top layer of the skin.

Sometimes, especially for people with oily skin types, a hair follicle becomes clogged with keratinized or dead and hardened skin cells, also known as a blackhead. This can result from a lack of exfoliation. Estheticians are allowed to remove hair and also remove sebaceous matter and blackheads from the skin.

During a facial, the esthetician must prepare the skin first for easy removal. This includes cleansing with warm water and an appropriate cleanser, and using steam for 8 to 10 minutes while the exfoliating mask is removing the top layer of keratinized skin cells. Then the extractions may begin.

The esthetician must wear gloves for the extraction portion of the facial because there is a possibility of a small amount of blood to surface with the extraction. The esthetician may either use an extract ion tool or wrap his or her pointer fingers in a sterile, cotton disposable cloth on top of the gloves.

The extraction happens when either the tool or fingers apply pressure to opposite sides of the extraction site and a downward and inward massaging, milking-like motion is applied. If the skin has been properly prepared and the client’s skin is somewhat hydrated, the blackhead will emerge. It can be as long as a few millimeters in length, and sometimes even a centimeter or more. The purpose of removing blackheads is for a refined appearance of the skin and also to prevent the blackhead from possibly becoming a whitehead, or a pus-filled, closed comedone, commonly called a pimple. Once it evolves into the whitehead stage, your esthetician can no longer extract it.

After the deep cleansing extraction process, your esthetician may apply an astringent or bacteria-killing product like tea tree oil to the extracted area. Lavender essential oil may also be applied to calm and soothe the skin in some cases. The result is a fresh, clean complexion and a smooth skin surface.

If you are looking for a deep cleansing, transformative skincare experience, then make sure the next time you book a facial, you ask for extra time for extractions. They usually take about 15 to 20 minutes for a full, thorough extraction session on oilier skin types. This may reduce the time your esthetician can spend on the relaxing part of your facial like the hand and arm massage. Your esthetician will surely charge more for extra time during your facial, but it will be worth it!

Enbrightenment for Skin Lightening and Hyperpigmentation

Aveda Enbrightenment Skincare Line of Products

I love Aveda’s Enbrightenment line simply for the way it feels! Not only does this line of products leave your skin feeling great; it brightens the skin, helping to even out the tone and fade dark spots. The cleanser is amazing. It’s creamy and non-stripping, leaving skin feeling moisturized and hydrated. The toner is just as wonderful. It’s alcohol free and hydrating, prepping the skin for the correcting serum and moisturizing lotion or cream. Though both the lotion and cream moisturize the skin without being too oily, the cream is a bit heavier: best for those with drier skin.

As a budding esthetician, and a lover of this line, I had to investigate the ingredients to see what makes these products rich and creamy while brightening the skin. Aloe barbadensis leaf is known for its healing benefits, and it is the first ingredient in all of the products in the line. In addition to aloe, featured ingredients include caprylic triglycerides, shea butter, and rice bran oil, helping to make this line feel silky, while moisturizing and nourishing your skin. Because they are brightening products, I expected to see familiar lightening ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root or glycolic acid, but I didn’t. Instead, there were ingredients that I wasn’t familiar with such as genetian root extract, mulberry leaf, and aphyllum nodsum leaf extract. I decided to go to the Aveda website to see if they were the active skin brightening ingredients. This is what they had to say:

100% naturally derived Plant-Powered Brightening Blend including Ascorbyl Glucoside (a vitamin C derivative), mulberry root, and grape extracts to help diminish the appearance of discoloration and dark spots.

Salicylic Acid and Glucosamine help promote surface cell turnover.

A soothing aroma made predominantly with organic lavender, sustainably sourced sandalwood, organic rose geranium and organic rosemary essential oils also helps soothe and calm the skin.

Step 3 in the enbrightenment skin care system which is clinically proven to improve skin’s clarity by 52% and diminish the appearance of dark spots by 34%

Beta-Hydroxy Acid (Salicylic Acid)

Salicylic acid exfoliates skin and can improve its texture and color. It also helps with acne.

Sounds great right?! But do these ingredients alone help to lighten the skin? Are they effective in lightening all types of hyperpigmentation? And how do they compare to other types of lightening agents and methods?

Before beginning a skin lightening regime, it’s important to know the cause of discoloration, and the best way to treat it. There are many things to consider. Choosing natural versus synthetic ingredients may effect the amount of time you need to use the product before seeing results, or the type of results you should expect to see with prolonged use. You also need to consider the complimentary care you’ll need in order to maintain the results. Finally, you need to be aware of contraindications, or possible allergies to certain ingredients.

Hyperpigmentation

Being natural, the ingredients in the “brightening blend” gently help to even out skin tone, fading dark spots—hyperpigmentation—caused by sun damage. The Enbrightenment line may not be beneficial for other forms of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage can appear in a number of ways: lentigenes, chloasma, and melasma.

Solar lentigenes are small yellow-brown spots caused by exposure to the sun. Chloasma, also called liver spots, is increased pigmentation from sun exposure or from other causes. Melasma, a type of chloasma, is triggered by hormones often occurring during pregnancy or because of the use of birth control. It appears on the face during pregnancy. It usually fades over time, but is worsened with sun exposure. It is also said to be more prevalent in men and women of Native American descent (on the forearms) and in men and women of German or Russian Jewish descent (on the face).

Solar-caused hyperpigmentation usually effects the top layers of the epidermis and can be effectively treated with natural ingredients. However if the damage is deep and effects the dermis, more aggressive treatment may be necessary. Lasers, microdermabrasion, chemical peels and ingredients like hydroquinone may be used when seeking more aggressive treatments.

A Closer Look at Aveda’s Ingredients

Ascorbyl glucoside, a stable form of vitamin C, is made by combining vitamin C with glucose. It is an antioxidant and, when applied on the skin, it breaks down into L-ascorbic acid (pure vitamin C) which has powerful antioxidant properties and inhibits the synthesis of melanin.

Mulberry leaf extract is a tyrosinase inhibitor which aids in reducing melanin production. It’s non-irritating to the skin, and works best in combination with other skin lighteners.

Grape seed extract is effective in lightening skin pigmentation due to UV radiation. Taking grape seed extract internally is also effective in reducing hyper pigmentation due to melasma when taken for 6 months.

Salicylic acid exfoliates the skin, helping to promote greater skin clarity and luminosity.

Beta hydroxy acids are less irritating than alpha-hydroxy acids, yet have similar results in improving skin texture and color. However, people who are allergic to salycylates (found in aspirin) should not use products containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may cause an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis. Pregnant or nursing women should not use products containing salicylic acid.

Other great ingredients in the Enbrightenment line that help to reduce hyper pigmentation are ascophyllum nodsum extract and aloe vera. Ascophyllum nodosum extract, a seaweed, actively reduces melanin synthesis and pigmentation of synthesized melanins. It also eliminates the pigmented scales. It offers anti-radical protection against aging of skin.

Aleosin, is a C-glucosylated 5-methylchromone, a component of the aloe vera plant. It is a naturally mild tyrosinase inhibitor, with no cytotoxicity recorded. It is best combined with other ingredients, due to its hydrophilic (has an affinity for water) nature.

It may take up to eight weeks, or several months of regular use, before seeing results. However, your complexion will look dewy, hydrated and have a noticeable glow and brightness immediately after first use. For added results, using the Enbrightenment Intensive Massage Masque once every two weeks boost the effects of the line. To maintain results, use a moisturizer with SPF to protect your skin from the sun and reoccurring hyperpigmentation.

Like I said, this line is amazing! I highly recommend it.

Manuka Honey: The Miracle Ingredient

Honey in JarsManuka honey is known all over the world for its soothing, healing, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties. It is produced from the nectar of wild manuka trees in New Zealand. The manuka tree is also known as the tea tree, which many people know of for the powerful anti-inflammatory oil that it produces.

Manuka honey has been known to heal acne as well as wounds and even stomach ulcers. Manuka Honey is also a humectant, meaning that it helps the skin retain moisture, making it perfect for dry, flaky, irritated skin including eczema. It also helps balance the skin’s pH and contains amino acids that help to exfoliate the skin. In recent studies, Manuka honey has been shown to promote healthy structural growth collagen in skin cells, making it ideal for aging skin.

This honey is a jack of all trades, great for dry skin, inflamed skin, aging skin, and acne-prone skin types. It is different from other raw honeys because it has stronger antibacterial properties. Manuka honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidiase, which produces the antibacterial, antimicrobial ingredient commonly known as hydrogen peroxide.

Manuka honey comes in different bioactivity strengths ranging from 5 to 25. The higher the strength, the stronger the antibacterial properties. It is best to use a strength of 12+ or above when using the honey topically on the skin. It is also best to use raw, organic, and non pasteurized honey because pasteurization kills the enzymes that make it good for the skin.

Manuka honey can be used in many ways. It can be used as a face wash, or as a masque, or a spot treatment. When used as a mask, it is best to apply and leave on face for 20 to 30 minutes. Or spot treat and leave on overnight.