SkinSense Wellness Blog
Read on to learn about the latest news and tips to stay healthy, happy and ageless. We scour our trade journals and consult with many other health professionals to make sure the advice and recommendations we make are safe and beneficial. If there are any topics you would like to hear about, please let us know.
After working out, shower immediately. Cleanse the face and apply a hydrating sunscreen before leaving the gym. Running errands straight away without doing this causes breakouts and irritation.Clients prone to back breakouts should bring a clean t-shirt to change into.
Always cleanse your skin in the morning. During the night your skin goes to work repairing itself and absorbing the treatment products you have applied before bed. And there is such a thing as indoor pollution that can be equally as unhealthy as outdoor. So a gentle cleanse in the morning gets rid of any residue and gives you a fresh start.
Never go to sleep without cleansing off the day’s make-up and pollution. According to the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, every night you don’t cleanse your skin, you age three days more quickly. And yes, I am trying to scare you into the bathroom!
Always exercise before a facial – working out afterwards can cause additional break-outs.
Wipe off your cell phone several times a day. It attracts dirt and make-up that can cause clogging. Have a special holder for your phone so that it stays cleaner and is easier to find.
Always wash your hands before cleansing your face.
Tools to Help:
Carry travel sizes of cleanser, toner and moisturizer/SPF in your gym bag and a clean t-shirt.
Store wipes in your bag to keep your cell phone clean. Hand sanitizers can work too.
Use ear buds whenever possible.
As we all know, oxygen is essential for life. It makes up about 20% of the air we breathe, depending on where we live. But it is important when discussing skincare treatments to differentiate between oxygen entering the body through respiration versus the benefits of topically applied oxygen. When applied in too large amounts to the skin, oxygen can have a detrimental effect and produce free radicals.
However, at SkinSense we use a controlled and measured delivery system that enhances penetration without forming free radicals.
This solid state oxygen treatment uses no hydrogen peroxide or gas wands and all the activity is generated by enzyme action which suits a variety of skin conditions.
Here are the main benefits:
Stimulates collagen production by increasing cellular activity. This reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.Calms rosacea and acne by reducing bacteria levels on the skin surface.
Ideal for deep cleansing clogged, congested and acneic conditons.
Speeds recovery after laser treatments, peels and microdermabrasion.
Facilitates the absorption of active ingredients applied after treatment.
Tightens the skin surface and leaves the complexion glowing and refreshed.
Oxygen can be performed as regularly as once a week, but results are evident after just one treatment. In other words oxygen facials are the perfect tool to combat the pollution and stress of city life and provide all of us a welcome opportunity to have a continually healthy, glowing complexion.
Today we have some great tools available to tackle the aging process on both the top and in the deeper layers of the skin – all in one session.
At SkinSense, microcurrent has become a very popular electrical protocol that we offer to all our clients interested in keeping the skin firm, toned and youthful. Originally used in the medical field to treat stroke victims, Bells Palsy and for pain relief of injured muscles and tendons, we perform microcurrent as a stand-alone treatment or as an add-on to other facial protocols.
Here are the main benefits:
Tightening – the low-level electricity combines with our bodies’ own electrical impulses to trigger movement – rather like taking your skin to the gym for an exercise session.
Glucose production – microcurrent can also trigger a chemical reaction at a cellular level that enhances the production of ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) by almost 500%. This is the fuel that energizes all cellular activity in the body and is essential to cellular health.
Microcurrent has a very calming effect on Rosacea and skin which tends toward redness and irritation.
It can also soften scar tissue, improve circulation and get rid of puffiness by stimulating lymph flow which clams environmental sensitivity and allergies.
Topically, AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) can be naturally derived but in skin care today are mostly synthetically produced. The most popular AHA’s are Lactic and Glycolic acids and we also use Mandelic acid at SkinSense.
The main benefits are:
Treatment of sun damaged skin and pigmentation.
Normalizing hyperkeratinization – skin that appears over–thickened and dull.
Increase in exfoliation of dead skin cells which tends to slow with aging.
This combination of topicals and electricity has an immediate effect on the skin – benefits that make the skin appear immediately youthful and radiant and that also last long past the day of treatment. We are currently offering this combination treatment for $130.00 – a savings of $70.00 – so book now and Spring forward with a magical glow!
I get asked this question by a client at least once a day at the spa… Are home skin care devices just for people who can’t afford a facial or maybe are too busy to go to the spa? Will I get the same results I get here at Skin Sense?
Technology is always changing and improving. Ultrasonic cleansing brushes and hair removal devices have had the best track record so far according to Philips and Wendy Lewis & Co Ltd., two global aesthetics consultancy companies who track these devices. That might be because results are immediately tangible – less hair, cleaner pores – and fit easily into one’s daily routine – cleansing and shaving.
Anti-aging devices are a little harder to assess and some are so high-tech that they need FDA approval. Many of these devices are quite costly as well ($500.00- $1,000.00.) They also need to be used 10-15 minutes a day for several weeks before seeing results. And some of the more sophisticated devices could potentially damage your skin if used incorrectly or on the wrong skin type/color.
Maybe most important – how many times have any of us purchased workout equipment with the best of intentions only to have it collecting dust three months later? Compliance and consistency are your skin’s best friend. I think only the most disciplined and leisurely of us could comply with the recommended use of these home devices. And honestly, isn’t a relaxing 75 minute treatment at Skin Sense where we use the most cutting edge and proven electrical equipment more appealing and doable for the majority of us? See our post “Electricity R” post.
So in conclusion, I don’t think we have reached the point where the fountain of youth can be found in our bathrooms or anywhere at home. But I do think that at home devices, once proven safe and effective, can be used by the disciplined client as an adjunct to a regular skincare routine while prolonging the benefits gained from regular visits to Skin Sense.
Do you get an occasional pimple or are you dealing with full blown acne? With the help of our in house acne expert, Nancee Daly, we have comprised a list to keep your skin clear and healthy any time of the year.
No HOT yoga when dealing with acne. Yoga practice is great for keeping the mind and body de-stressed which in turn controls hormonal activity. But HOT yoga, where there is excessive heat and sweating can cause more break-outs and irritate an already unbalanced skin. Heat also ages the skin so keep it cool.
Probiotics, as already mentioned, help to restore some of the healthy bacteria (Microbiota) that antibiotics can wipe out. The Microbiota are essential for maintaining our immune systems so find a probiotic formula that contains at least 50 billion cultures and as many bacteria strains as possible.
Cleanse thoroughly every night – if necessary two to three times before toning and make sure that the cotton pad you use to tone is completely clean before moving on to the rehydrating and rebalancing phase.
Add a holistic approach with Reishi mushrooms, red clover, peppermint, saw palmetto, black cohosh and green tea. These all control the presence of androgens and can reduce the severity of acne.
Watch the sugars in your diet. Simple sugars in particular are highly inflammatory. Candy, sodas, ice cream, alcohol and white foods are the main culprits. Dairy foods can also exacerbate acne and check that any supplements that you are taking do not contain iodides.
We recommend that our male clients sterilize their razors after each use and that our female clients make sure that every trace of make-up is washed off at the end of the day. This often means several cleansing steps and plenty of toning.
Make-up brushes should be washed every week and most important NO PICKING!! Check out my post “Stop picking on me”. When a painful break-out begins to erupt, ice it for 15 minutes 2-3 times a day. This will not only help to reduce the severity but also the scarring.
Change pillow cases at least twice a week and wipe off smart phones with an antiseptic wipe after each use.
Finally make sure you hydrate inside and out. Plenty of water keeps the system flushed and healthy and a light topical serum or hydrating lotion will help to rebalance the skin. Don’t eliminate moisturizers. The right one will help, not hinder, the healing process.
Hormones and acne:
Puberty is often associated with acne break-outs and at SkinSense we regularly counsel teenagers about skin hygiene and sensible dietary choices as we clean their skins. But many male and female clients develop acne later in life after navigating puberty and pregnancy without any problems. This can be due to excessive stress and in women it frequently signals approaching menopause, as estrogen levels drop allowing more free testosterone to take control.
Tip: Spironolactone (Aldactone) is an effective oral androgen blocker that helps to control this kind of late onset acne. (For women only.) Ask your doctor for details.
The formation of an acne lesion occurs when the skin is oily and begins to shed excessively, clogging the pores and supplying a food source for Propionibacterium (p. acnes). This creates inflammation and an immune response.
Identify the type:
Comedonal, Inflammatory and Cystic acne are the main categories used to define this condition. For the first two, a mix of topicals including salicylic, lactic and glycolic acids, with tea tree and camphor for spot treatment is very effective. Sometimes oral antibiotics are necessary to treat inflammatory acne but don’t stay on these for too long and always take a good probiotic at the same time. The redness and scarring is easily treated with an over the counter or prescription retinoid. Build slowly – one or two nightly applications a week – to avoid irritation and always wear a sunscreen during the day.
With both Comedonal and inflammatory acne regular cleaning and rebalancing facials are really helpful to bring the breakouts under control. At SkinSense, we often use a Mandelic Acid peel and an enzyme treatment that incorporates Niacinamide and Pumpkin extract to get rid of scarring. Oxygen facials are also great for a deep clean, killing bacteria, calming and revitalizing the skin.
Cystic acne is a more serious type of acne with deeper inflammation and a higher risk of scarring. It needs to be tackled quickly. If after three months oral anti-biotics don’t do the trick then Accutane is often recommended. Aczone is a topical medication that is non-irritating, reduces inflammation and can be used along with Accutane. Accutane does have some potential risks for certain individuals so make sure your dermatologist explains these to you and monitors you closely while you are on the medication. Gentle cleaning facials are useful in these cases to clear the skin and calm any redness.If Accutane is not a choice you would make, then there are other options and lifestyle plays an enormous role in how you can rebalance and correct acne.
No-one likes a furry lip, heavy brow or hairy chin!! At SkinSense we take care of these areas using a blend of waxes depending on the skin’s sensitivity. A well manicured brow can make all the difference to the shape of the face and for extra emphasis we often tint the brows at the same time. We encourage our clients to come in regularly every two to three weeks to prevent in-between tweezing at home as this can spoil the shape.
For the extra delicate skin and client, we will happily tweeze the brows although this obviously takes a little more maintenance.
Quick tip: Nancee Daly, our veteran facialist, uses a light application of oil on the brow and lip area before waxing sensitive skin. This diminishes redness.
Chin hair often increases along with stress levels and hormonal shifts especially menopause, and in some cases facial hair can become darker at these times. We are cautious at SkinSense about removing facial hair with wax. It can cause break-outs and irritation on more sensitive clients so we often do a very small area to start with. We avoid waxing facial hair on acne conditions – this can exacerbate the break-outs and cause further problems.
Quick tip: Vicki DiPietro, our Brazilian wax expert, often uses two types of wax on lip hair particularly if it is coarse – hard wax first and then our resin wax to follow.
We do not use a honey wax as some clients are allergic to honey and we make sure that clients stop using all prescription and over the counter retinol topicals one week before their waxing appointment. This prevents any skin being lifted along with the hair. Clients on Accutane cannot have any waxing services while taking the drug.
And as for the rest of the body, we offer underarm, regular and Brazilian bikini waxing (see my post: “Wax on, wax off”) full arm, leg and back waxing. Back waxing is very popular with our male clients and as with all our waxing services we counsel our male clients carefully. Exercising before treatment is very important to avoid break-outs and wearing a light cotton shirt rather than a synthetic material post treatment is less irritating to the newly waxed area. Salicylic acid, camphor and tea tree lotions are great for calming any irritation.
We recommend body waxing every 3-4 weeks depending on re-growth. And it is true over time regular waxing does diminish growth. Like many things in life consistency counts!
Great skin requires commitment and discipline – two words that can strike terror in a lot of peoples’ hearts. But the benefits always outweigh the effort. Follow these twelve tips and you will be beaming from ear to ear.
Have regular ( preferably monthly) customized facials and take care of your skin AM & PM.
Use sun screen.
Drink half your body weight in water.
Take your vitamins AM & PM.
Eat at least three fruits and five vegetables a day and keep your diet 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.*
Get to bed by 10.30 pm at least five nights a week.
Exercise at least four times a week for an hour.
Don’t pick your skin.
Don’t drink sodas.
Hang upside down for fifteen minutes every day. (Yoga counts).
*Read “Stop Aging, Start Living” by Jeannette Graf, M.D.
When reading skin care product labels these days it helps to be a chemistry major. However, not all of us are. So here are some useful tips to clue you in to what you are using to look gorgeous every day!
Although most ingredients are listed in order of their concentration, manufacturing companies today are not required to list percentages. So as a general guideline, pay attention to the top five ingredients to inform you of the product’s main functions. Most active ingredients are also listed separately – for example, sunscreens and acne products. But just to confuse the issue, not all active ingredients have to be near the top of the list and can be beneficial at lower levels. Certain botanicals, vitamins A, C and E are good examples of these ingredients.
Know that there is a difference between ‘fragrance free’ and ‘unscented’ products. The first claim means that raw ingredients used have had their odors removed before blending in a formulation and contain no fragrance at all. The second claim refers to a formulation where ‘masking’ or ‘neutralizing’ agents have been added to the formulation to disguise any odor. Although fragrance free products tend to be more costly, the investment is worth it if you have very sensitive skin. Another point to make here – ‘hypoallergenic’ doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the product won’t cause a re-action. Skin can be sensitive to just about anything! I often see a client who has been using the same products for years and suddenly finds that their skin has become sensitive to those trusted products. Anything is possible and it depends on the expertise of your facialist to find a regime that works for you.
Buy date-stamped skin care products when possible or mark the date of purchase yourself especially on those items that last for a while. Products are supposedly manufactured with a shelf life of two years but it is impossible to know when the product was actually sealed and left the factory for distribution or how long it has been shelved. As a general rule and it hotter climates, keep nothing past six months ( prescription and highly active products no longer than three months) and buy what you need rather than stock piling products. As a precautionary measure, store unopened products in the refrigerator.
Skin is a mixture of oil and water. Therefore an oil-free formulation has to have something in it that will adhere to the skin. Silicone is generally a good substitute in these cases. If you have a real problem with oils, use serums, water based products or powder formulations.
Word to the wise – all products claiming to be organic are not created equal!! Great as they are, by nature, organic formulas tend to show some inconsistencies in both texture and smell with each new batch. Well formulated cosmeceuticals tend to be more consistent and just because you can’t pronounce an ingredient doesn’t mean it is a bad addition to a product. Some of those chemicals are extremely necessary and most are completely harmless. When shopping for organic, look for the NSF and USDA symbols both of which guarantee high organic content in the formulas.
Whatever you use keep in mind that during the day your products should hydrate and protect. At night they should correct and treat.
Stress is a normal psychological and physical reaction to the ever-increasing demands of life. We all experience varying levels at different times and in many situations. Under these circumstances the brain’s hard-wiring system kicks in. When it perceives a threat, the brain signals your body to release a burst of hormones to fuel your capacity for a response. This has been labeled the “fight-or-flight” response and is a normal bodily reaction that is meant to protect us. However, because we now live in a world of nonstop stress most of the time, our alarm systems rarely shuts off!
Without stress management and over time, high levels of stress lead to serious health problems including a myriad of skin issues.
Hormones, neuropeptides and other signaling molecules released during stressful times may be second only to sunlight in aging the skin. And the really bad news? Women are more prone than men. That means wrinkling, loss of tone and increased levels of sensitivity, particularly as we age.
Additionally, proteins and DNA in the epidermis and dermis urn can cause acne, rosacea, psoriasis, eczema and hives.
Feeling bad about the way we look makes us less social and more isolated. This aloneness diminishes the production of Oxytocin, the bonding hormone. And as I mentioned in my last post, encourages compulsive picking and other bad habits.
What to do?
It is unrealistic to imagine we can ever live a stress free life but we can commit to developing coping skills that maintain balance, even at the worst of life’s moments.
Here are six of my favorites:
Getting outdoors and in touch with nature. Hiking, gardening, sitting on a park bench all reconnect us with our natural surroundings.
Breathing deeply. Not just when we are really stressed but at regular times throughout the day.
Disconnecting from social media for a day or if that sounds unimaginable, half a day!
Changing your mindset. When a challenge presents itself, think of it as an opportunity for personal growth.
Have a supportive tribe so you don’t waste time with negative or toxic people.
And finally, my new favorite, get out your colored pencils! Adult coloring books are all the craze right now. They can relief stress and anxiety as well as reconnecting you with your inner child. Check out “Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt and Coloring Book” or “Enchanted Forest: An Inky Quest & Coloring Book”. They are great fun and thoroughly engrossing.
Confucius once claimed: “True quality of life comes from lasting harmony between body and mind.” This is a goal worth aiming for.