Health

DIY Brightening Face & Body Scrub

Lemon, Sugar, Olive Oil, Honey are the ingredients of this scrub.

I know we can always buy scrubs at a store for convenience but it’s always fun to do it yourself from time to time. And also, a lot of times, you don’t really find that one scrub or product you are looking for. So here is a quick and easy lemon and sugar face and body scrub for you to try.

This is what you’ll need:

  • ½ fresh lemon
  • ½ cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of organic honey
  • 1 medium-sized Tupperware bowl with lid

Add lemon juice and olive oil into a bowl. I like to use glass Tupperware as it makes for easy storage.

Add the honey and whisk or stir quickly until the ingredients bind together into a medium thick consistency.

Add in the sugar and mix. If you sense that there is not enough sugar to get the scrubbing done, add a bit more. Again, this is a personal preference.

You can add or subtract the amount of olive oil and honey that you use depending on how thick you want your scrub to be. I would keep the lemon to the juice of one half of a freshly cut lemon for every ½ cup of granulated sugar.

Benefits of the Ingredients:

  • Lemon—A natural source of Vitamin C; an ingredient commonly used to lighten sun and age spots and even out skin tone; A natural astringent that tightens pores and brightens the complexion.
  • Sugar—A natural exfoliator; a natural source of glycolic acid which evens out skin tone, cleans pores, and improves overall skin texture by removing dead, dull skin cells.
  • Olive Oil—High in Vitamin E which soothes and heals skin; a natural moisturizing ingredient often used for its anti-aging benefits.
  • Honey—A natural source of anti-oxidants making it a perfect ingredient for age prevention; a natural humectant so it locks water into the skin keeping the complexion hydrated; the antibacterial properties benefit acne-prone skin by reducing breakouts.

Well, now that you’ve gotten the ingredients and the great benefits, I hope you try it and enjoy making it. It sure saves you a whole lot of money!

Balancing Morning Rituals

Aveda Blue Oil

No matter how busy or fast-paced life may get, it is important to take some time out of your morning for yourself, to get centered and ready to take on the day ahead. Even if you have just a few minutes, a little bit of wellness can change the nature of your entire day. Here are some quick, stress-free rituals for the morning.

  1. Blue Oil Balancing Concentrate

    This Aveda blend of peppermint and chamomile helps to relieve stress and increases your energy level. Rub a few drops of this oil into the palms of your hands. Cover your mouth and nose with your hands and take three deep inhalations. This is the perfect ritual for those on-the-go and can also be used on the skin for a cooling sensation that helps with muscle relief.

  2. Camel Pose

    Camel pose is a yoga pose that opens up the air passages in your lungs and gives you a deep back stretch. This is perfect to do just as you wake up. To perform this pose, sit on your knees. Reach your hands back and hold your ankles. Arch your back and lean your head back. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat 3 times.

  3. Drink a Glass of Warm Lemon Water

    Drinking a glass of water in the morning is a great alternative to tea or coffee and helps to rehydrate your body. Lemon also helps digestion and the warmth of the water will help calm and warm the body.

  4. Seven Minutes of Exercise

    Exercise in the morning is very important because it releases stress relieving hormones called endorphins. Recent studies show that seven minutes is just enough to get your energy up without making you groggy for the rest of the day.

Implementing just one or all of these rituals into your morning routine can give you a fresh start to your day and help your body and mind feel revitalized.

The Truth About Cellulite

Everyone I ask has a different theory about cellulite. Some say is genetic, while others argue it only depends on how healthy your diet and exercise regimens are. The truth is that all these factors affect your body’s reaction to cellulite but, unfortunately, this uncomfortable condition affects the majority of women and is considered “a disease of the connective tissue initiated by cyclic hormones of the menstrual cycle.”

Cellulite appears when collagen fibers that bind fat to the skin stretch and tear, allowing fat cells to expand. This condition might be worsened by factors such as: the stress hormone cortisol (very common nowadays), gender differences in fat storage (women can store more fat than men), metabolism in the top layer of fat, and the structure of connective tissue in these areas. In other words, depending on how our bodies react, cellulite can appearing in our thighs, hips, and buttocks as soon as our hormones start new processes.

The purpose of this “not so easy to understand” explanation is to make people realize that there are multiple causes of cellulite and that the solution to it needs to also be “multiple.” This means that if you have heard that topical caffeine, for example, is very good to fight cellulite, it needs to be accompanied with other ingredients to be able to see fast and noticeable changes in your skin, otherwise it can be a lost battle.

Here is a useful list of ingredients that can help fight cellulite:

  • Topical Glycyrrhetinic Acid: targets fat storage in response to stress; derived from licorice root.
  • Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum): reduces swelling and inflammation, and improves circulation.
  • Gotu kola (Centella Asiatica): stimulates collagen production to strengthen the support structure, reduce inflammation, and improve blood vessel tone.
  • Topical Caffeine: has anti-inflammatory qualities and helps in drawing excess fluid from fat cells to improve the skin’s appearance.

Although these ingredients will be very helpful in cellulite reduction, is very important to remember that a healthy diet, increased water intake, and regular exercise are also key factors in controlling the appearance of cellulite in our bodies.

Which Chakra Are You?

Certain groups of people are very knowledgeable as to what chakra is and the purpose and benefits from these body mists.

Aveda has five different chakra scents:

  1. Grounded
  2. Nourished
  3. Intention
  4. Harmony
  5. Expressive

Someone had to explain to me that, after smelling all five scents, the one that smells most pleasant to you is the one that you need most.

  • Chakra 1 is located below the stomach. This one helps one feel more grounded to take care of our basic needs. This one will help those who need to slow down.
  • Chakra 2 is located in the stomach. This one helps those feeling disconnected to themselves.
  • Chakra 3 is located above the stomach. This is where we set our intentions and desires. This one will help with feelings of impatience and anxiety, or with mental blocks.
  • Chakra 4 is located in the center or the heart. This is connected to feeling empathy and love for others around you. This one will help those who feel unconnected to people or depressed.
  • Chakra 5 is located in the throat. This one helps those in need of help expressing themselves or getting into their creative mode.

I personally like all of the chakra scents, they all smell natural and earthy. For some, they may smell too strong or “unfeminine.” But I think everyone should give chakra a try. It works similarly to aroma therapy. So go to your closest Aveda shop and find out which chakra you are.

Skin Care Tip: Wear Sunscreen

If I could emphasize one skin care tip to everyone, it would be to apply sunscreen! I come across many people who ignore this task, carefree since they are youthful and have beautiful skin.

Primarily because I love the sun, I am a huge advocate of sun protection. In order to continue enjoying the warm kisses of the sun while still slowing down the aging process, I make sure I always apply some type of broad-spectrum sunscreen on my face and my body. And don’t forget the ears!

There are two types of sunscreens: a physical sunscreen that reflects the sun’s rays, and a chemical sunscreen that absorbs the rays and scatter them. I lean more towards natural products, so my preference is to use a physical sunscreen. However, any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.

For sunscreen to be effective, it should be applied at least 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. In addition, it should be re-applied. For many women, re-applying is difficult, since they’re already wearing makeup. However, the makeup also acts as another barrier against the sun. If you will be having prolonged sun exposure without reapplying, throw on a big, fashionable hat. Also remember to apply sun protection even on cloudy, overcast days because the UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds.

I like to kill two birds with one stone, so for the last few years, I’ve been using tinted moisturizer with a minimum of 15 Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which gives me protection and light coverage. For more coverage, you can use a facial moisturizer with SPF and apply your favorite foundation over it. Protect your face and skin now, so that years from now, you’ll need to do less work to maintain your beauty!

How to Protect Your Skin with Natural SPF Oils

Natural sunscreen oils are much better to use as sun protection compared to artificial sunscreen creams. These oils contain Sun Protection Factor (SPF) that helps to protect the skin from darkening. The SPF number gives you the estimated amount of time that you can stay exposed to the sun without getting burned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to be exposed to the sun fifteen times longer than you could without protection. Some oils have a natural SPF in them and most of these natural sunscreen oils also have other benefits on the skin.

  • Almond Oil—SPF 5

    Almond Oil

    Almond oil can give your skin a lot in terms of nourishment. Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E which keeps your skin soft and supple.

  • Coconut Oil—SPF 8

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    Coconut oil is one of the most versatile natural oils. You can cook with it, and apply it on your skin and hair. Coconut oil provides sun protection to your skin and it also protects your hair from nasty sun damage.

  • Raspberry Seed Oil—SPF 30

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    Raspberry seed oil is an essential oil that is rich in both Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. Aside from providing sun protection, it also helps prevent stretch marks on your skin.

  • Carrot Seed Oil—SPF 40

    2015-02-06_Carrot_Seed_Oil_60_150x127

    Carrot seed oil is a vegetable oil that has the maximum amount of SPF. It is also rich in antioxidants and has very good antiseptic properties.

  • Avocado Oil—SPF 15

    Avocado Oil

    Avocado oil has a high percentage of mono-saturated fats. These fats form a protective layer over the skin to prevent sun tanning.

  • Olive Oil—SPF 8

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    Olive oil is the healthiest oil for your heart. Even when it comes to your skin, olive oil can provide limited sun protection and unlimited antioxidants to repair cellular aging.

Wellness

When I began as a student at Cinta Aveda, first thing in the morning we would go into the main room and conduct “morning wellness.” This normally consisted of meditating before we began to dive into our long day ahead.

We still continue to have ‘wellness’ during theory as Alphas. I love it! Not only is it a pick-me-upper from the long mornings, it allows me to look internally to make sure that I have a positive mindset. I truly believe that we—people in general—give off energies. And being in the beauty industry, estheticians must have a positive vibe so that we can care for our clients and give them the best service even if they are having a bad day. We intake that negative energy and in return fill them will new providential energy.

Major factors to our health are our perceptions and attitude. Jen, one of Aveda’s beautiful instructors, showed us a Youtube video “The Science of Happiness—An Experiment in Gratitude” that demonstrates how happiness can affect people.

This video made me think of myself and how I can continue to strive for good chi and find outlets to let go of the collected energies from our long days on the spa floor.

First is a hot shower to wash any unworthy emotions and promote a good night’s rest. On occasion, a glass of red wine or sleepy tea is needed. I think we need to focus our energies in the morning, since most of us wake up tired, sluggish, and dreading the day ahead of us. Apart from getting more sleep, there are a few quick and easy things we can do to help start our days off on the right foot.

  1. Wake up to great music. I think most of us are energized and motivated by great music.
  2. Floss. A lot of people don’t floss everyday. If you do floss first thing in the morning, that tiny action can make your mouth tingle and can make you feel like you’re doing something great for your health. Because you are.
  3. A quick workout. Yoga. Ten sit ups, ten push ups, and ten squats.
  4. A quick note. Write a quick note to your significant other, friend, or to yourself. Starting the day expressing gratitude for the little things in your life can make you amazing.
  5. Eat breakfast. Too many people skip out on breakfast, but it really boosts your mood and metabolism.
  6. Smile. Say good morning to strangers.

Setting the tone for the day is so important and it begins as soon as we wake up. Do what makes you feel good and alive. Get moving and attack your day with a smile.

The Benefits of Oil Pulling

Coconut for Oil Pulling

Oil Pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic oral hygiene ritual that originated in India dating back over 3,000 years. This ancient practice is now making a comeback in the modern world. In 1992, Dr. F. Karach M.D. reintroduced this ritual claiming that it not only is great for your oral hygiene but it can cure a slew of illnesses.

This process entails first choosing your oil. Most people prefer coconut oil due to its antibacterial properties. You take a tablespoon of oil and swish it around in your mouth for ten to twenty minutes per day and then spit it out. For some, this can be a definite struggle. Having oil swished around the mouth for that amount of time can be a bit nauseating. But, if you can stomach it and stick to a daily routine, the benefits outweigh the difficulties. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Oral Hygiene: Oil pulling pulls the bacteria and toxins out of your mouth. In the long run, this will reduce the buildup of plaque and prevent tooth decay. Not only that, this ritual gives you whiter teeth, healthier gums, stronger teeth, and fresher breath, as well as helping to prevent cavities and gingivitis.

  • Clear Skin: Any type of skin issue or rash can be reduced dramatically due to the detoxifying effect of oil pulling. By removing toxins from your body, your skin’s complexion will glow.

  • Detoxifies the Body: Our mouth is a gateway, and it’s where inflammation and diseases can form. By removing these toxins before they get a chance to spread, the body will experience a complete detox.

  • Reduced Headaches: Headaches can occur from numerous causes, but one of them is the body going through toxic stress. By the elimination of toxins through oil pulling, headaches can be significantly reduced.

Real Men Get Facials

Men with facial masks on.

When I offered to give my guy friends’ free facial treatments at school, their responses were, “I’ve never gotten a facial treatment before, how does it feel?” or “Do I need to cleanse my skin before hand?” My answer to them were the same—“It makes you feel cleansed and relaxed, and no, the whole point is that I cleanse your face and give it some pamper.” Yet none of them has actually come in for a free facial treatment.

Guys, I know most of you don’t even have a regular skin care regimen at home to properly cleanse your face. So I recommend you go out there now and find one! You need a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and maybe an eye cream, too. Why? Just like us women, you’re a human being with skin that can get dry, dull, oily, dehydrated, or for those with combination skin, everything in between.

Then schedule your first-ever facial treatment. There is nothing to be shy or afraid of; it’s really relaxing. A facial treatment is not only deep cleansing for your skin, but we also help you find the right treatment for your skin by analyzing it: is it dry or dull? Does it suffer from inflammation, hyperpigmentation, dehyration, and so forth. After each facial, you’ll see and feel the results—you’ll be amazed, trust me!

If you’re having trouble finding the right skin care regimen, I recommend trying Aveda’s Botanical Kinetics Purifying Crème Cleanser, Botanical Kinetics Skin Firming Toning Mist, and Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion.

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?

Just Make the Cut!

Before and After Trim

Many of my clients are attached to their hair, and I get it! Trust me. But, I’ve come to learn a couple of important things about hair cuts:

  1. While growing, hair stays healthiest if it is well maintained. Styling with heat can severely damage your hair but, by keeping up with regular trims, you eliminate all of the damaged ends. Split ends have the potential to split up the entire hair strand, all the way to the root. This causes those unattractive fly-aways that everyone hates! Keep up on the trims.
  2. Chemically over-processed hair has a tendency to not style well. This can be especially true for clients that have had their hair highlighted to the moon and back. Those ends break as a result of what we call a chemical cut. This results in a really weak perimeter and even weaker styles. Volume is easily achieved with a fresh hair cut. With a strong perimeter, hair looks healthy and full.
  3. Nothing renews confidence like a fresh hair cut and a new style. Ever feel a little off? Like you just aren’t completely happy? Something as simple as fresh bangs can give you a new outlook and a large boost of confidence. Sometimes that’s all you need for a pick me up!

So next time your stylist tells you that you would see some serious benefits with a hair cut, take a leap of faith: Make That Cut!

“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.

Aveda’s Wellness Approach

Aveda treats the entire body. A little history is that the word Aveda is derived from the Sanskrit word Ayurveda or “life knowledge.” It’s the ancient healing tradition of India. We want each guest to be a reflection of their own life experience’s through mental, emotional, physical, and environmental. The result will reflect on their health and the appearance of their skin.

Aveda’s techniques and products are used to identify and treat any imbalances in the elemental nature of each individual.

  • Physical level: Research has shown that massage can reduce the levels of stress hormones in the body. The power of touch is a big element in the Aveda’s treatments. We want to make sure our pressure is at your comfort level and that you feel comfortable.
  • Mental level: During times of stress, our skin is the last tissue to receive nutrients, leaving it dry and dehydrated. Aveda-designed treatments will help people recover from stress, move forward, balance, and improve the appearance of their skin. Aveda uses opening and closing rituals, aroma sensory, and mindfulness to move to a more balanced state.
  • Emotional level: Aveda’s treatments begin with the sensory journey. The goal is to find aromatic essences that can trigger the release of hormones that promote a feeling of relaxation and well-being. The sense of smell is closely associated with memory.
  • Energetic level: Aveda spa experiences and approaches are built upon good intentions. On the energetic level, Aveda works to create balance for each guest by focusing on the present moment.

“Our mission at Aveda is to care for the world we live in, from the products we make to the ways in which we give back to society. At Aveda, we strive to set an example for environmental leadership and responsibility, not just in the world of beauty, but around the world.”

I love how Aveda gives back to this world. If we take something away from it, we want to give back to it. That’s why I chose Aveda and why I’m staying with it!

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!

Beauty Sleep

You can moisturize, drink optimal amounts of water, and wear sunscreen daily. But if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you face an uphill battle.

Human growth hormone is produced at night during sleep. If we don’t get enough sleep, our cells cannot rebuild and repair themselves. Sleep deprivation also causes stress. This prevents the flow of blood and nutrients to the skin, as well as causing weight gain which also puts a strain on the skin. The quality of sleep is also important. The sleep must be optimal, alternating between REM and deep sleep to reap sleep’s anti-aging benefits.

The skin’s hydration balance is regulated during sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to the skin becoming overly dry or oily. The immune system is also weakened by lack of sleep. This can lead to skin conditions and disorders. Inflammation increases without sleep, opening up a host of aging, acne, allergy, and autoimmune problems. Inflammation can lead to the breakdown of collagen and hyaluronic acid, causing the skin to prematurely age and sag. Lack of sleep can even compound the effects of sun damage—your skin cannot combat it as effectively without adequate levels of sleep.

Sleep is clearly an essential part of beauty—and should be given as much importance as nutrition and a proper skin care regimen.

What if you know how essential it is, but still can’t get enough sleep? Try sticking to a regular sleep schedule, with a daily relaxing routine before bed. Avoid TV and electronic devices before bed; stick to reading before bed. When you’re ready for sleep, ensure the room is dark. Exercise earlier in the day, and avoid food, caffeine, and nicotine at night.

How many other beauty treatments are free?

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!

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.

Homemade Coffee Exfoliant

In my previous blog post “First Day,” I mentioned that I exfoliate not only to clean my skin well but also because it boosts my confidence. I suffer from a common skin condition called Keratosis pilaris, often called KP, in which a protein in the skin called keratin forms hard plugs within the hair follicles. Keratin is a cream colored natural protein in the skin, but in KP, the body produces excess keratin which surrounds and entraps the hair follicles in the pore. This causes the formation of hard plugs in a process known as hyperkeratinization. Most KP bumps contain a hair that has become an ingrown hair because the keratinized skin “caps off” the hair follicle. The hair is prevented from exiting and it grows encapsulated inside the follicle.

KP is harmless, and medical treatment is neither needed nor necessary. Most people, myself included, just cope with it. Others seek out cosmetic alternatives including urea, lactic acid, glycol acid, tretinoin, laser therapy, vitamin D, or tropical retinoids. I’ve been dealing with KP for so long that it no longer bothers me. My own regimin is taking long, hot baths or showers followed by deep exfoliation of the areas of KP with a coarse washcloth or stiff brush. This helps unplug my pores.

My favorite exfoliate is a homemade concoction of coffee scrub. Since I drink a lot of coffee and I also exfoliate, why not kill two birds with one stone?

  • 1 cup coffee grounds
  • ½ cup white or brown sugar
  • 1 cup coconut oil

Mix all the ingredients together thoroughly. After bathing or showering, massage the scrub on your wet skin and rinse with warm water.

After exfoliating with the coffee scrub, your skin will be soft, hydrated, and ready to be bared in your favorite warm-weather ensembles.