I have been part of the skin care industry for a long time. When I first trained as a facialist, the products and protocols we learned were a lot less sophisticated than they are today. Even though we had botanicals and essential oils to work with and some of the electrotherapy that is still being used currently, the ingredients were not as advanced and the machines not as various or highly calibrated.
I have a lot more tools in my tool box these days which makes my work even more rewarding than ever. My favorite anti-aging stars include peptides, ATP, oxygen, stem cell extract, hyaluronic acid and the old favorites, Retin-A, collagen and elastin. Ultrasound and microcurrent have also reaped great benefits for many of my clients along with galvanic and high frequency that work with even the most sensitive of skins. It is all about getting the skin, by stimulating its natural physiology and chemistry, to produce new cells, amino acids and proteins in larger quantities over longer periods of time than is normal with intrinsic aging. In other words, younger looking skin that defies our chronological age!
Good news indeed. What this requires however, is a balanced and judicious approach to just how much stimulation you subject the skin to and who is advising you about the different methods. Constant abrasion with lasers, aggressive topicals and peeling agents creates too much trauma, can damage the skin and increase sensitivity and pigmentation. Protocols have to be mixed and alternated in order to achieve optimum results and we have a lot of ‘smart’ skin care formulas today that can send messages to cell receptors in the skin which makes aggressive topical treatments unnecessary. WE need to respect the skin as a fully functional and self regulating organ. For example, using microcurrent and galvanic electrotherapy with oxygen, peptides and hyaluronic acid during the summer months, coupled with anti-oxidant serums/cremes and sunscreen at home can prepare the skin for winter peeling protocols that would repair sun damage AND boost cell production.
One final and very important tip: avoid any products that combine any form of Retin A with sunscreen. ALL Retin-A products (this includes, Tazarac and Differin) must only be applied at night.
Take a look at what you have in your bathroom and on your next spa visit, review your home care routine with your facialist. Effective skin care requires discipline, planning and commitment – it is a habit that has to be repeated every day at home and every month at the spa to reap the rewards. Luckily, the rewards show up much more quickly today because of the technology and expanded knowledge we now have about the anatomy and physiology of the skin. And other people will notice the improvement in your skin too – I promise!
As many of you know, the color lavender is featured heavily at SkinSense – on our stationary and in the decor of the rooms and hallways. It is calming to use and to look at and we do use it in great quantities in all our treatments and products.
Lavender has had a very interesting and varied history. There are many biblical references made to the plant as a protection against evil and temptation. In terms of its remedial track record, Pliny the Elder, back in Roman times, recommended lavender for menstrual problems, upset stomachs, kidney disorders, jaundice and dropsy. As the plague took hold of Europe many grave-robbers who plundered the victims bodies, washed in lavender vinegar and even though they came in contact with the disease more than most people, they rarely died. In Tudor times, the plant became connected with love and romance. Lavender was tucked under lovers’ pillows and married couples’ mattresses to encourage passion.
By the nineteenth century, lavender finally appeared in the very respected London Pharmacopeia. During the First World War, when modern antiseptics became scarce, lavender was often used to dress wounds. Also around this time, the French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, made the word “aromatherapy” popular in the 1920’s when he treated a self-sustained laboratory burn with lavender. He then went on to treat severely wounded troops who had suffered extreme burns from mustard gas during combat.
Aromatherapy is the science of using distilled essential oils to treat both physical and emotional ailments. The aroma of each oil triggers a response through the limbic system and the active property of the oil can treat a wide range of skin problems from acne to dryness.
Here are a few great recipes for you to use at home;
General Fatigue – fill a diffuser with water and add four drops each of orange, spearmint and lavender oils.
Hangover – place a cool compress of equal parts geranium and lavender on the forehead.
Insomnia – bath in lavender, rose and lemon – eight drops each – and then sprinkle lavender on the pillow case before going to bed.
More recipes next time…