Skin

Extractions vs. Waxing

Lately, the girls and I—all current Alpha’s—have been discussing the “great debate.”

What do you find more personally satisfying, performing extractions or waxing?

Personally, I love popping zits: extractions.

There, I said it. You can think I’m weird, gross, and all sorts of other things. But I’m positive there is at least a 75% chance that you secretly enjoy picking at your skin. For those who don’t, and rely on your estheticians, don’t worry. I’m a professional (in training). I now know the correct way to unblock clogged pores by pressing lightly to release a comedone—and I know when to stop. For safety, I use sterile equipment, wear gloves, and clean the area with preventive products from Aveda.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “How can you find unclogging pores pleasurable?”

There’s science behind it! Many theories have been proposed as to why it can be pleasurable from primitive habits from our remote past to grooming as a sexual stimulant.

I favor the theory expounded by Helen Fisher, author of the bestselling book “Anatomy of Love: Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray.” She explains that among hunter-gatherer societies, the brains and physiques of females are simply better at the fine motor-coordination necessary for good grooming, as well as certain other skills such as picking berries and making textiles. “In primate societies, females groom more than males: their children, their relatives and individuals that they are going to copulate with,” she says. “And they’ll do it for hours.”

If you are curious, you can read more at Salon.com—“In grossness and in health: Psycho-dermatology, female gorillas, and why women love to pick their boyfriends’ zits.

Extractions, to me at least, are very relaxing. But the other half of the Alpha ladies prefer performing waxing services for different reasons. So the debate continues—where do you stand?

“Acne” Skin

As an esthetician, I come across many different skin types and problems, the most common one being “acne.” I put acne in quotes because I see very few clients who I would classify as actually having acne, even if they think they do.

People with oily skin tend to have larger pores. They are therefore more prone to blackheads and breakouts. Because there isn’t any way to physically reduce pore size, they really need to exfoliate and regulate their oil. I recommend they use something with at least 2% salicylic acid, either in pads or as an astringent. This helps eliminate the bad bacteria, as well as clean the skin and strip the oil. Another product I recommend is a clay mask at least once a week, depending on oil production. Clay helps to absorb excess oil.

Another skin type I see commonly is classic combination skin. These clients have active oil in all or some of the T-zone, and are usually dry or dehydrated on their cheeks and neck. For these clients, I still recommend a mild exfoliation daily on the oily areas as needed. This doesn’t need to be as strong as 2% salicylic acid, but that depends on how your skin handles the exfoliation. Then I suggest they do a hydrating mask once a week to help with their lack of moisture.

The key to controlling acne breakouts is to exfoliate followed by some kind of moisture. Even though you want to strip the oil from your skin, you don’t want to over strip, as the oil we produce is a natural protectant. I also recommend getting facials once a month because they offer the deep pore cleanse and hydration that you can’t get at home.

Spotlight on Acne Spot-treating

Honey

I’ve personally suffered from acne all of my life, from cystic to hormonal, stress-caused, and everything in between. Since a young age, I have always required rather harsh treatments that have been potentially caustic both to my skin and internally as well. I have always looked for ways to treat my breakouts between visits to my esthetician. While searching for a more holistic approach to treating my acne, I have come across a few spot treatments that are safe to use on a daily basis.

Raw honey contains high antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which helps to reduce bacteria within and around a breakout. To use, swab a small amount of raw honey onto a cotton q-tip, and press it onto your blemish. Leave the raw honey on for 15 minutes, and then rinse with cool water. Repeat this process for a few days, or until noticeable results occur.

Aspirin is great for large, painful cystic acne. The chemical composition of aspirin is very similar to that of salicylic acid, a very common topical treatment for acne. Using aspirin topically to treat acne also reduces swelling and redness that accompany a breakout. Crumble one aspirin tablet, and add in a few drops of purified water until you’ve created a paste-like consistency. Swab a small amount onto a cotton q-tip, and press it onto your blemish; leaving it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off the aspirin paste with cool water, and re-apply this mixture each morning and night until signs of your breakout subside.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil (melaleuca) is an incredible essential oil that has been around for quite some time. It has amazing healing components that kill bacteria and it has many benefits. It can reduce and prevent both acne and fungal infections of the nail (onychomycosis). It helps to kill lice and scabies. And it treats ringworm infection, athlete’s foot (tines pedis) and many other infections. If you have almost any type of infection or sore or itch, you should use tea tree oil to kill the bacteria that lives in the infection.

If you have a sore throat, take a bath and add it to the bath water. Tea tree oil’s healing properties and nutmeg scent will help treat the itchiness of your cough and reduce the inflammation in your throat, making it easier to breathe and sooth the soreness of your throat. Tea tree oil works by killing the bacteria and fungus that lives in the infection. This reduces your bodies allergic reaction to that bacteria or fungus.

In rare cases, tea tree oil can cause its own allergic reaction such as a rash or redness that is mildly itchy and appears as a blister. Some people have gotten severe blistering from tea tree oil. When you stop using the oil, the rash will dry up and go away on its own. So you probably want to make sure that you’re not allergic yourself before using a lot of it.

Tea tree oil should never be taken orally. Some reactions from ingesting tea tree oil include drowsiness, confusion, hallucinations, coma, weakness, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach ache, blood cell abnormalities, unsteadiness, and severe rashes. Tea tree oil should never be used on pets, children, or by women who are pregnant or are breast-feeding.

My personal experience with tea tree oil has not been that great. After coming to the Cinta Aveda Institute, I started to experiment with essential oils including lavender, rose, and tea tree oil. After my face routine which included exfoliating and using toner, I would apply a couple drops of tea tree oil on my palm and dab it all over my face. At first, it was great. I noticed it would dry out some acne and it helped get rid of it much quicker then usual. But after about two months of using tea tree oil in my daily routine, I started to get this strange blistering on my forehead and cheek. At first I thought it was a staff infection, but I looked online and found my symptoms exactly matched the allergic reactions of others to tea tree oil.

Even though I like the oil, I am one of the unfortunate people that are allergic to it. I have noticed, however, that if I dilute the oil with some exfoliating toner, I don’t get any type of rash!

High Frequency

High frequency is a very useful, effective, and simple machine that is very beneficial to the client. When used properly, it can be used every day.

The machine consists of a glass electrode that can be used for different purposes. Within the electrode, there is neon or argon gas, and when turned on you can see the color of the gas and hear it. It has an oscillating current that is at a high frequency of over 10,000 Hz. — hence the name.

There are two ways the machine can be used: the direct or indirect method.

The direct method benefits the skin of acne prone clients by minimizing the population of the bacteria on the skin. The electrode is applied directly to the face using talcum powder or gauze to help with slip over the skin. It is most effective against papules — not whiteheads — because there is no chance of the possible spread of bacteria. This is done for about 5 minutes.

The indirect method is much more relaxing, and is more suitable for the mature or dehydrated client. The client holds the electrode while the therapist massages them. It is important to ensure that contact is not lost or else you could shock the client, which is the opposite of relaxing. This method is very stimulating to the skin without drying out or causing overstimulation.

Both of these methods can be done every day, as long as you don’t over stimulate the follicle which could be damaging rather than beneficial.

These machines are sold by themselves or as part of a multi-functional machine.

I Don’t Need Botox in my Twenties—And Neither Do You

This is my personal opinion but I believe getting botox in your 20s is way too early.

I think that both men and women become their sexiest after thirty. So why mess with your face now?

In our 20s, we make the biggest skin mistakes. Those mistakes actually create wrinkles versus preventing them. I’m not saying it’s time to start chemical peels and microdermabrasion now, but little things here and there—and maybe some big things—will help you avoid going for the botox needle in the near future.

Here’s a list of lifestyle tips to follow if you’re serious about anti-aging or want to slow it down a bit.

  • 1. You Don’t Need a Cigarette or a Drink to Party

    I’m not saying be a bore and don’t go to parties. You’re only young once! When you’re older, it’ll be more awkward to explain. But while partying, make healthier choices.

    Say no to smoking.

    No, seriously. Not only will your health thank you, your face will love you. Smoking constantly deprives the skin of oxygen and vital nutrients. So some smokers appear pale, while others develop uneven coloring. Youth is about glowing skin and having makeup free days. And trust me, 20s are very youthful if you do it right. As for wrinkles? Smoking basically destroys any collagen or elastin which means your skin starts to drop and those laugh lines or forehead lines will be set in stone—actual hard lines.

    Also why do smokers generally have more eye wrinkles or crow’s feet than anyone else? The warmth from lighting up cigarettes and squinting to keep smoke out of your eyes contribute to visible crow’s feet. Meanwhile, chemicals from inhaled tobacco cause internal damage to the skin structures and blood vessels around your eyes.

    Alcohol consumption is no better. People can have allergies to salicylates which is usually found in wine whereas hard liquor and beer don’t let your body properly metabolize, resulting in puffiness and breakouts.

  • 2. Enjoy the Sun…with Caution

    I’m not saying to live under a rock for good, but there are safer ways to enjoy that summertime sun. You have to be smart and safe when you decide to lay down and get some color. Sun exposure is a major cause of premature aging.

    According to Dr. Arthur Perry, a Plastic Surgeon, “It is the ultraviolet light (UV) contained in sunlight that is responsible for much of the aging of the skin. Chronic UV exposure causes wrinkles, splotchy pigmentation, visible capillaries (telangiectasia) and loose, rough skin. UV causes damaging substances called free radicals to be produced. UV also depresses the natural antioxidants in the skin, contributing to more damage. Ultraviolet light damages your genetic material (DNA) every time you are in the sun. To convince yourself, compare the skin on the back of your hands with the skin on the inside of your upper arm. The upper arm looks better in everyone.”

    So stay safe with UV-Protection Sunglasses, a big stylish hat, a generous and constant re-applied amount of Sunblock/Sunscreen with UV Protection and take breaks from the sun. Note that just because the spf number is higher, does not mean you don’t have to re-apply it as often! As for tanning, though a little bit won’t hurt you—Vitamin D, whoo!—there’s always the option of tanning salons. But see this article from the New York Times.

  • 3. Sleep Deprivation—You Only Live Once

    Whether it’s starting work, going to college, or enjoying $5 Fridays, we lose sleep: for a good reason or not. We tend to sleep a lot less after we turn 18 and that continues until our 30s or beyond. One of the first places that lack up sleep shows up is on the face—those dark circles and bags under the eyes and sagging skin are all signs of aging and lack of sleep. Besides for sleep deprivation affecting your brain, it also prevents you from making the best decisions during the day time—maybe you grab the sugary cookie over a healthier option for that quick pick-me-up. Sleep deprivation is never a good idea.

  • 4. Dieting and Lifestyle

    Yo-yo dieting is a sneaky contributor to aging. Whether you’re Vegan, Paleo, Carnivore, or whatever else is healthy: stick to it. No heartbreak, reunion, wedding, or anything with a timeline is worth either:

    1. Starving yourself for days or weeks to fit into whatever. Your Health is much more important than That Dress.
    2. Emotional eating—candy, fast food, or any other “moping friendly” snacks.

    “Rapid weight gain or loss can cause visible changes in the skin, such as stretch marks and laxity,” says Dr. Jennifer Linder, a dermatologist. Healthy living is nature’s beauty treatment. “If you drink plenty of water and consistently eat a healthy diet, your skin will look better.”

    Also, now that you’ve embarked on a healthy lifestyle, it’s time to start taking vitamins and dietary supplements—One A Day, vitamin D, biotin, etc.

    Along with a balanced diet, an exercise plan will also help with your skin, thanks to that sexy thing we call sweat. “Increasing blood flow to any area of the body promotes the metabolism in that area, and it makes sense that [when you exercise] toxins would get flushed out and cells will heal and grow faster,” says dermatologist Dr. Jessie Cheung.

  • 5. Skin and Makeup

    Whether you wear makeup everyday or every once in a while, there is a correct way to take care of your skin before and after makeup.

    This is a personal opinion but buying a foundation that is on the “cheaper side”—i.e. less than 20 dollars—for daily use is not a good idea. If it will be on your face daily, make the investment and get a good foundation for your skin. Please be willing to drop the money whether it’s a mineral powder foundation or a liquid. How you apply it is very important as well. Roughly applying makeup can torture skin. Rough handling can cause wrinkles and fine lines to appear from harsh handling. Be gentle to your face, especially tugging around the eyes.

    If you can, once a week take a day off from your makeup to let your skin “breathe.” Because of school or work, I wear makeup almost five days a week, but the second I’m off, I reach for a makeup wipe and go home prepared to do my nightly routine. Do not wait until bedtime to wash cosmetics off. The longer makeup stays on your face, the longer it will clog pores and the more likely skin blemishes will occur. A good idea for that makeup off day is to make that the day you do your eyebrows or use any home masks or facials.

    Forgetting to take off your makeup off at night ages your skin! You may find it tempting to fall into bed after a busy day—or a late night on the town—without cleaning your face. But skipping a cleanser at night can lead to breakouts later. During the day, environmental toxins, like dirt and pollution, build up on skin and invade pores. This can cause complexion problems. So don’t hit the sack before you wash. Use a good cleanser and save your skin. Keep a box of cleansing towelettes bedside for added convenience—simply swipe and sleep.

    Taking your makeup off correctly goes hand in hand with having a good skincare routine that has a cleanser, exfoliator, moisturizer, and whatever else works for you.

But life shouldn’t just focus on whether or not you’ll look twenty forever. And who wants to, anyways?

The best anti-aging secret? Being stress-free.

Relax, crinkle your nose, and enjoy your days!

Beauty Behind Ice

Freeze your flaws away by trying out an ice facial treatment. Ice can be used to treat a wide variety of skin conditions from blemished to aging, and it can be done simply from home. Depending on what you’re looking to treat, ice can provide some major benefits.

  • For blemished skin—Hold an ice cube directly on a problem area to reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain from deep, cystic acne. Wrap an ice cube in a plastic bag, and hold it onto the blemish for 10-15 minutes for results.
  • For tired eyes—wrap an ice cube inside a clean wash cloth and hold over your eyes for 10-15 minutes to reduce swelling—or “bags” under your eyes. For a more powerful effect, brew caffeinated tea and freeze it into cubes, following the same instructions.
  • For dry/flaky skin—Create an icy scrub which will produce an awakening, cooling effect that’s perfect for mornings. Combine a few ice cubes with a few pieces of papaya into a blender to make your exfoliant. The ice pieces act as a mechanical exfoliant, while the natural enzymes in the papaya will act as a chemical exfoliant, to help further smooth the texture of your skin.

Ice cubes held to female face.

3 Steps to Prevent Ingrown Hair After Waxing

An ingrown hair occurs when a shaved or tweezed hair grows back into the skin, causing inflammation and irritation.

Sometimes, dead skin can clog up a hair follicle. That forces the hair inside it to grow sideways under the skin, rather than upward and outward. Ingrown hairs aren’t serious. But they can be irritating and embarrassing.

Here is three steps to help prevent them before they start:

  1. Exfoliation is key; use a good quality scrub before and then 24 hours after your treatment. A product I love is Aveda’s Caribbean Therapy Body Scrub applied with a loofah mitt. Ideally, you will already be exfoliating the area already. But if you are not, you can start your regime the same week as your scheduled service. Just don’t start on the same day. Twenty-four hours after your wax, you will want to exfoliate again. Continue to do so a few times a week, depending on your skin’s sensitivity and hair type.
  2. Apply a product that contains salistitic acid to the area with a cotton round. This step clears out the pores and helps to prevent the area from getting infected. The product I prefer to use for this step is “Tend Skin.” This is my go-to anytime I wax my bikini area, underarms, and even my face.
  3. Moisturize with a product that is free of perfume so it does not irritate the skin. Applying a light layer will be sufficient. It’s important to avoid over moisturization as this can clog pores and create even more irritation.

The Difference between Sunblock and Sunscreen

The difference between sunblock and sunscreen is often misunderstood. Sunblock and sunscreen are considered to be synonymous terms, which is not the case. As the names imply, one blocks the sun’s rays and the other screens them. Sunscreens keep most rays out but let some in. Sunblocks physically reflect the sun’s rays from the skin.

There are chemical sunscreens and physical sunblocks. The sunblocks are generally made from more natural mineral ingredients. The FDA currently approves 17 ingredients for sun protection, some physical, and some chemical. Making an informed choice requires familiarity with the differences. To make it more confusing, some brands are blends of sunscreen and sunblock.

Chemical sunscreens absorb UVB rays. A common chemical used for this purpose is PABA: para-aminobenzoic acid. They are starting to more commonly contain UVA blocking ingredients also.

Physical sunblocks provide a physical barrier to ultraviolet radiation by reflecting that radiation away from the skin. They protect against UVB and UVA light. They are often made from titanium dioxide or zinc oxide and have an opaque color and thick consistency. This thickness does cause them to be hard to camouflage on the skin, often showing as a white, possibly streaky, residue visible on the skin. They wash off less easily than chemical sunscreens, which deter some from using them. They are the natural option though, and they are probably the best option for people with sensitive skin who may be allergic to the common ingredients in chemical sunscreens.

Either sunblock or sunscreen can be equally effective at protection from the harmful effects of sun exposure, as long as they have an SPF rating of at least 30.

Nice hands, Grandma!

Aveda Hand Relief Product

Just kidding, that headline was kind of rude.

On a serious note, when we think of anti-aging regimens, we think of serums, eye creams, night creams, and so on. When used correctly, a great skincare routine can really turn the clock back on your face and neck, and help prevent premature aging.

Radiant skin? Check.

Healthy, bouncy, hair with not a gray in sight? Check.

Soft, spot-free hands? Whoops.

Oh hands. If one day I decide to lie about my age, you will be my dead giveaway. Hands show the signs of aging faster than other parts of your body. They physically go through much more. Whether they handle chemicals, are used for manual labor, or are chaffed from winter winds, our hands need protection too.

Now is the best time to add an extra step in your PM routine.

Aveda launched the Hand Relief™ Night Renewal Serum as a new way to improve the texture and evenness of your hands while you catch up on some sleep. Skin loses hydration throughout the night, which is why it’s the best time to pull out the big guns with heavier serums and creams. Before you know it, your alarm goes off, and your hands look like you’ve never worked a day in your life.

The benefits include:

  • Visibly reduce dark spots
  • Moisturizes and plumps to smooth fine lines
  • Andiroba oil protects skin’s natural moisture barrier
  • Refreshing aroma with certified organic orange, lavandin, and eucalyptus

Plus, unlike thick hand creams, this serum absorbs into skin instantly without leaving a greasy finish behind.

It doesn’t hurt that the usage is so easy. You massage the serum onto your clean hands thoroughly and…hit the pillow. You worked hard and so have those hands.

Show them a little love.

A Passion for Waxing

December 4, 2014
By

In addition to the passion for extracting sebum that I mentioned in my last blog entry, I have discovered a deep love for another type of extraction—hair! Yes, it turns out that I love waxing. Waxing everything from nostrils to navels, brows to buttocks. I guess I’m just an instant-gratification, conquistador-type chick.

To be honest, I thought waxing was something that would creep me out or even disgust me. But it turns out that I didn’t even know myself as well as I thought I did. It’s a blast.

This could also be because I’m a hairy gal myself. At least, I would be if I weren’t to wax. I’m like a little, hairy monkey. And I know how much I love a fresh wax. What’s more satisfying than going from legs that feel like scouring pads to legs that feel like a baby’s bottom? Not much, if you ask me. It’s right up there with creme brûlée … being fed to me by a certain man with the last name Elba. Yeah, it’s that good.

So why not bring that joy to others? If I can, for a second, make you feel like you’re yachting in the south of France with a bunch of supermodels at your every beck and call—why the heck not?

Aveda’s Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme

Aveda's Hand Relief Moisturizing CremeOne of Aveda’s best sellers—and rightfully so—is “Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme.” This is one of my all-time favorite hand creams.

Being a hairstylist takes a toll on your hands. We are constantly washing them and thus stripping our skin of its natural oils and moisture. The best thing about Aveda’s Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme is that I only have to use it two times a day: once in the morning and once before bed. I find that if I apply it once in the morning, it locks in moisture so well that I don’t feel the need to use it again until the end of the day. It’s said to last through three hand washes, which is great for anyone who works with their hands!

One of the main ingredients in Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme is licorice or “Glycyrrhiza glabra,” which is also known as “sweet wood.” It acts as an anti-irritant. This product really is great for all skin types, even for those of you with sensitive skin! The only thing you should be aware of is that it does have a thick consistency. But two to three minutes after applying it, you can already feel that it has fully absorbed into the skin, leaving your hands feeling smooth and silky soft.

So if you’re looking for a new hand cream this season, you really should try out the Aveda’s Hand Relief Moisturizing Creme. It works wonders!

Natural Remedies

Some of the most cost effective and naturally beneficial skin care for all skin types can be made from ingredients you can typically find in your own pantry. Some of my favorites include:

Skin Care for Dry Skin

  • 1 banana, mashed
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt

Leave this combination on for 20 minutes and rinse with cool water.

A Firming Toner for Aging Skin

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups purified water

Paint this mixture onto your face and neck and let dry.

A Calming Milk Mask for Rosacea or Red, Irritated Skin

  • Vitamin D milk
  • 2-3 drops rose oil, optional

Soaking a clean cloth the milk until fully saturated. Optionally, add in rose oil for added aroma and more calming effects. Wring out the cloth lightly, being careful not to remove too much of the milk. Lay the cloth over your face and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse your face with cool water.

Brightening for Oily Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • ½ a small lemon, juiced

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

Brightening for Dry Skin

  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • A few drops honey
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, almond oil, or olive oil

Mix together the ingredients and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes. Then rinse face with cool water.

A Gentle Exfoliant

  • ½ cup hot water
  • ⅓ cup oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 small egg

Mix ingredients together. Apply a thin layer to the face with a brush, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, moving your hands in circular motions to gently exfoliate. Use this mask once a week to remove dead surface cells.

The History of Exfoliation

Exfoliation is the process of removing the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin through either chemical or mechanical methods.

Mechanical exfoliation, the process of exfoliating the skin by hand by scrubbing with something abrasive, has been practiced all over the world and throughout history. American Indians used dried corncobs. The people of the Comanche tribe would use sand from the bottom of a river bed to scrub the skin. Polynesian people would use crushed sea shells.

Mechanical exfoliation was practiced in ancient Egypt where they employed a variety of methods. Pumice stones were popular abrasives as well as other minerals such as alabaster particles, and scrubs made from sand and the aloe vera plant.

Exfoliation through chemical means, as practiced today, is a science constantly updated with new technology and ingredients. But the practice itself also has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt when sour milk, which contains lactic acid, was used as a chemical exfoliant. Cleopatra is famously said to have frequently bathed in it.

In the Middle Ages, people commonly used old wine for its exfoliation properties. Old wine was effective because of its tartaric acid content. Various natural remedies of these kinds, containing naturally occurring levels of alpha hydroxyl acids, were the norm until the late 1800s. That’s when German dermatologist Paul Gerson Unna began scientifically formulating the earliest forms of chemical peels. His pioneering research with salicylic acid is still used today.

In the early 20th century, dermatologists began to experiment with phenols in chemical exfoliation. That remained popular through most of the 20th century.

Natural Cleanser with a Twist

Your face is the first thing people see when they look at you. Whether you are forty, twenty four, or fourteen, you don’t want to walk around with acne on your face. I have pimples and blackheads sometimes, so I know that when someone looks at me, they are thinking: “Why didn’t you take care of that before you left the house?” But you’re not really supposed to pop pimples, and when pushing out blackheads, you should be sure to steam your face first for fifteen to twenty minutes.



I’m always reading up on new things, and lately I’ve run across this natural way to cleanse the face that’s especially good for people with super sensitive skin. First, I steam my face and take a cotton cloth to gently push the blackheads out of my face once I’m finished. Then I rinse my face with slightly cold water. (Using water that’s too cold isn’t good for your face. You’re trying to close the open pores on your face, but you shouldn’t shock and stun your pores with extra cold water.) Then I’ll take about one fourth cup lemon juice, a half teaspoon of baking soda, and about a nickel sized dollop of honey. I mix them all together and gently start to apply and massage into my face. After two to three minutes of massaging, I’ll rinse my face. Then I’ll blot my face with a towel that has a light color to make sure it’s properly cleansed. For toner, I use witch hazel which is the best natural toner out there. Then I’m done. 

This cleansing ritual also works really well for people with chest and back acne too.

I’m taking Biotin. It’s helped my hair grow, but it has also helped my face. I’m not as oily and, at the end of the day, my skin feels a lot better—it feels firmer, replenished, and hydrated.

Try this little home remedy for yourself and let me know what you think.

Lemon Mask Setup

Summer to Winter Skin Adjustment

Climates are changing as we invite autumn in. Here in California, where we only really have two seasons, we experience Indian summers into October. The weather seems to be getting warmer versus taking a step back to cool off.

Other places that do not experience Indian summers actually have four seasons and are starting to become chilly. People there are preparing their homes to greet the snowy nights.

So our topic is climate change! Sudden climate changes can leave skin and hair a bit dull if not treated head on. So how does a warmer or cooler climate affect your skin?

Let’s meet the skin first. When dealing with extreme temperatures, the skin goes into a panic. She’s a tough cookie, but when it comes to dealing with drastic change, she puts her defense up.

Most people forget that the skin is an organ and its job is to protect above all. It acts as an external shield to the inner organs to keep the body within a normal temperature (37°C, 98.6°F) at all times. When the skin suddenly shifts locations to wildly different temperatures, it reacts. It happens all the time. Walking indoors from the hot, humid weather to a cool, air-conditioned building and, within a couple of seconds, the skin must adjust. Oh skin, don’t we all!

Whatever climate the skin is faced with, being moisturized is very important. The moisture—consisting of fatty acids, lipids, and natural oils—should be between pH level 4.5 and 5.5 (acidic) which is enough to repel bacteria. Doing this successfully depends on external factors (e.g. moisturizers) and internal factors (e.g. water bottles galore).

Sunscreen should always be used daily, no matter the weather and climate! And in any climate, moisturize the skin and make sure you’re drinking enough water.

Now, when the weather is warm, your skin reacts by sweating, which cools down the body. Heat and your skin tends to butt heads. This is the time where most breakouts occur because your skin is in overdrive producing oils already so people think: “Why even moisturize? It’ll only clog pores even more and cause more bumpity bumps.”

You do want to avoid the thicker, heavier creams for moisturizing during the warmer climate and stick to something light and noncomedogenic. But you still have to moisturize your skin. Botanical kinetics™ hydrating lotion is a great option because this quick-absorbing lotion—which contains emollients derived from coconut, jojoba and other naturally-derived ingredients—replenishes moisture with a gentle touch. Camomile and lavender blend helps promote a soft, supple skin texture.

Remember those tips for warmer weather. But now let’s add humidity. Moisturizers that contain humectants—a hygroscopic substance used to keep things moist—is ideal for humid weather. They prevent the loss of moisture so the skin retains the natural moisture it already has. According to a Mayo Clinic article, you should look at the ingredient list for urea, glycerin, aloe vera, or alpha hydroxy acids.

But if you actually live where fall transitions into winter, your skin functions differently. Circulation becomes sluggish which results in sensitive skin. Remember, your skin just went through a season of hot weather and is about to adjust to the colder weather. Keep those summer products to the side, or even toss them to avoid using them after expiration, and grab the thicker creams for the cold air.

In a 2011 article, Jessica Krant, Assistant Clinical Professor of Dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center said, “Winter brings dryness from every direction, which sucks the moisture out of our skin, lips, hair and even our eyes.” She makes a series of suggestions on how to combat the effects of winter cold.

In an article from HealthDay News, Dr. Amy McMichael, a dermatologist at the Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, offered the following tips for protecting skin during the winter months:

  • Switch to a thicker facial and body moisturizer.
  • Do not use indoor tanning beds.
  • Limit alcohol consumption and avoid hot beverages to minimize rosacea flare-ups.
  • Laser and chemical procedures are available that can help treat rosacea, melasma (a kind of skin discoloration) and other skin problems.
  • Take advantage of off-season or post-holiday sales on sun-protective clothing to help protect your skin all year long.

The Daily Glow, which is now EveryDayHealth, released a report on the Best and Worst Skin Cities. There’s also an infographic.

San Francisco is number two, yea!

Embracing a Holistic Approach Toward Skincare

November 20, 2014
By

When I first enrolled at Cinta Aveda, I knew that I had an obscure fondness for extracting sebum from the skin—and that’s it. I wasn’t too sure that I cared much about creating an urban retreat “getaway” type of experience, or making people feel at ease, or even treating people’s skin and creating long-term solutions addressing their concerns. I really just wanted to squeeze gunk out of pores and call it a day. Boy, has that changed dramatically!

Don’t get me wrong, I still love extractions. However my educators, along with experiences with my clients, have shaped my outlook to one that’s much more holistic: to treat the client in his or her entirety. Now I want to not only address the skin in its present state, but to address the roots of any problems—whether it be lifestyle, stress levels, medications, overall attitude, etc. One’s skin, after all, is an organ. It absorbs external free radicals, and is a reflection not only of the foods and beverages you put in your body, but also of the hormonal highs and lows, emotions, sleep quality, and an endless list of other life circumstances. To neglect these forces, therefore, would leave my work incomplete.

Personally, I think the holistic outlook will prove to be much more effective—for the mind, body, and soul. I am so grateful to have had by horizons broadened during my time here at Cinta Aveda, and I look forward to incorporating the mission of Aveda into all of my future endeavors.

Home Remedies for Dry Skin

October 15, 2014
By

Home Remedies for Dry Skin include Avocado

In this entry I will be discussing how to remedy dry skin at home. As the weather changes and we move into the winter months, I am sure we will all notice a change in our skin. When our bodies have trouble holding in the water and oil that it needs to keep skin moist, we end up with dry skin. One main reason you could have dry or scaly skin is due to low humidity. Heating and air conditioning can also contribute to dry skin.

  • Baking Soda

    A baking soda soak is a folk remedy to relieve itching and dry skin. Add one cup baking soda to a tub of hot water. Soak for 30 minutes and air dry.

  • Oatmeal

    Adding instant oatmeal to your bath will soothe your skin. The oats are packed with vitamin E, a nutrient vital to healthy skin.

  • Coconut Oil

    This can improve the moisture and lipid content of skin. Best applied after shower to lock in the moisture or add a spoonful to a bath for a 30 minute soak.

  • Avocado

    Since avocado is a natural emollient, it can hydrate and even prevent dry skin. You can use as a moisturizing mask one to two times a week. Mash half of the avocado and apply it directly to your face and body. If you are looking for more hydration, add a teaspoon of honey which will add moisturizing benefits to the skin.

  • Water

    Drink lots of water. It helps to keep your body hydrated and can alleviate dry skin. Eight to ten glasses daily is the minimum quantity, but it is ideal to drink more!

How Do I Conceal My Problem Skin?

How do I conceal my problem skin? While there is no fast fix for acne, eczema, or bad sunburn, I found some great cover-up advice that will help skin look its best. It’s all about the prep!

  • Acne

    Make sure skin is hydrated by mixing oil-free moisturizer with foundation containing salicylic acid. To apply, use your index finger to pat mixture into the skin. Let it set for 30 seconds then look for any dry skin flakes and remove with tweezers. Don’t use powder to set the foundation—the chalkiness factor can amplify any blemishes.

  • Eczema

    You want to apply a moisturizing cream cleanser onto a makeup-removing wipe. Rub all over the face in a circular motion. Then rinse with cold water. Blend moisturizer onto the skin with fingertip. Next combine a dollop of foundation with a pea-size amount of moisturizer. Rub your fingers together to blend together, and then pat onto skin, applying evenly. Using foundation with a moisturizer is a soothing yet effective treatment for concealing and breakouts.

  • Sunburn

    Rub fresh Aloe Vera Gel over the burn and let it sit for 30 minutes. This will allow the skin to cool, and will calm the redness. Aloe also helps expedite the healing process of the burn. You will then apply a creamy moisturizer on top. Select a foundation two tones darker than your normal skin tone to cover the redness. You should wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 daily to avoid burning in the first place.

As you can see, each skin ailment’s resolution is about mixing a moisturizer with a foundation. I hope this information helps.

Acne

September 27, 2014
By

Acne before and after

Acne can affect you in many ways, both emotionally and physically. I myself have gone through the troubles and frustrations that acne can bring. I’m going to explain the different types of acne and how to help your skin heal, as well as give some tips for prevention.

Acne has four grades of severity:

  • Grade I—Minor breakouts, minimal comedones (black heads), a few papules (pimples).
  • Grade II—Many comedones, and occasional papules and pustules.
  • Grade III—Red and inflamed, many comedones, papules, and pustules. Better to get treated by a dermatologist.
  • Grade IV—Cystic acne. Cysts with comedones, papules, pustules, and inflammation are present. There is a higher risk of scarring and deep pitting. This grade of acne can only be treated by a dermatologist.

There are many ways to help with the symptoms and treatment of acne. It’s very helpful to keep your skin clean and have a good skin regimen. Facials are recommended once a month or as needed. A healthy diet is also good to keep in mind. Use products that are noncomedogenic. Avoid too much sun exposure and it can also help to reduce stress. And don’t pick your blemishes. Not only will you prevent the infection from spreading, but you will reduce the chances of scarring, and you’ll decrease the healing time.

Acne is a constant battle but if you take the right measures in keeping your skin clean and hydrated with the right products you can definitely win the fight.