“The only ex I need in my life is my exfoliator.”
Did someone say New Kids on the Block? Yes, there’s a new kid on the block… the skincare block, that is. And while it’s not the popular boy band of the 90’s it has uh-oh-oh!!! the Right Stuff. They are Polyhydroxy acids (PHAs) and are considered “cousins” of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). They also happen to be one of the latest trendy beauty ingredients touted to banish fine lines.
What are they?
PHAs are chemical exfoliants, often used to remove the unwanted cells on the skin’s surface resulting in a more even skin tone and texture. The most common PHAs are galactose — a naturally occurring sugar that skin uses to synthesize collagen, lactobionic acid — derived from oxidized lactose (milk sugar), and gluconolactone — a powdery substance extracted from gluconic acid, found in animals and corn.
What do they do?
PHAs are a chemical exfoliant. And exfoliation helps to slough away dead, dull-looking skin resulting in reduced hyperpigmentation and improved skin texture. They are related to alpha and beta hydroxy acids but because they are formed from larger molecules, they penetrate the skin more slowly and without irritation.
PHAs hydrate skin. They support the skin’s barrier function, which locks in moisture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
PHAs also help skin-care ingredients penetrate deeper into the layers of your skin, thus boosting their efficacy.
And, PHAs have antioxidant and humectant properties that help undo and prevent UV and pollution-induced free radical damage to collagen and skin resulting in an anti-aging effect. Over time this can soften fine lines and wrinkles.
Wow!!! Sounds like another great tool for the skincare toolbox.
Here’s a recap on their benefits:
- They’re Gentle Giants: They stay on the surface where they do a great job without traveling quite as deep as a straight-up AHA.
- Non-irritating: If you have sensitive skin, you’ll probably be able to apply a PHA with little-to-no stinging or irritation.
- Keep Skin Moist: PHAs are humectants (meaning they retain moisture reserves) and offer a great way to capture that healthy glow!
- They’re Anti-aging: These acids may be best known for their exfoliation properties, but their real claim to fame should be that they come armed with tons of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
How do you apply them?
PHAs are used in a wide selection of products, and in a few different ways. They are best applied to the skin at night to give them sufficient time to loosen the bonds between the outermost epidermis. They can be incorporated into any product type — liquid exfoliant, toner, mask, or moisturizer, which can be layered on top.
PHAs can also be combined with retinoids when treating acne or photoaging but be guided by your skincare professional when using PHAs this way to avoid any irritation.
A lot of AHA solutions will have PHAs in them in order to clean up the surface-level debris AHAs miss. PHAs are also added as an extra exfoliating factor to a non-exfoliating product like a cleanser so that dead skin cells are washed away when rinsed off. And PHAs are often the main ingredient and selling point.
If you’re looking for a natural, nontoxic compound that could positively influence cell turnover and keep your skin clear and healthy, PHAs might be the way to go!
For more skincare tips, call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701, or check out our other blogs on Medium. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are ready to welcome you all back.
“All you need is love but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
Hi, my name is Marion Simms… and I’m a chocoholic.
In America, we love any excuse to eat a lot of chocolates, Valentine’s Day being one of them. Who can refuse those sweet treats in heart-shaped boxes? If your chocolate consumption concerns you, then it’s worth examining what the impact of all that indulgence will have on your skin.
While it’s true some women may notice a breakout a few days after eating a chocolate bar, sugar is to blame in this case, not chocolate. A diet high in fat and refined sugars, like those found in candy and chocolate, can kick sebum production into high gear and trigger inflammatory responses in the body — both of which are known to increase the risk of breakouts.
To get some clarity let’s start with a couple of interesting facts. A lethal dosage of chocolate for a human being is about 22 lbs (or 40 bars of Dairy Milk). On the other hand, one Smartie or an M&M would be enough to kill a robin or a blackbird. And if you eat a chocolate bunny every day you obviously run the risk of becoming uhm… well rounded.
However, David Asprey in his Bulletproof blog, explains many benefits of chocolate. Here are a few of them…
- Chocolate can improve your mood, cognitive performance and give you an energy boost.
- It is good for your cardiovascular health because of the polyphenols in cacao which can increase HDL cholesterol (or good cholesterol).
- And chocolate can help you maintain glowing skin by modulating healthy blood flow.
In a study, two groups of women consumed either a high flavanol (dark chocolate) or low flavanol (milk chocolate) cocoa powder for a period of 12 weeks. While the low flavanol group showed no change in markers of skin health, subjects in the high flavanol group had on average 25% reduction in UV-induced erythema (sunburn) after exposure to a solar simulator. The high flavanol group also recorded increased skin density and thickness, as well as better hydration and less transepidermal water loss — the evaporation of water through the outer layer of the skin.
Milk chocolate is definitely high in sodium and cholesterol but contains more calcium. Dark chocolate has less calcium but also much less cholesterol and sodium.
One of my favorite facials is a chocolate enzyme treatment which includes a blast of oxygen as well as an application of pure cacao powder. With the combination of the antioxidants (when you indulge!) working from the inside and the brightening, tightening benefits happening on the outside, you are guaranteed a healthy, glowing complexion.
As my dear Granny used to say: “A little of what you fancy does you good”. I say enjoy a moderate indulgence of darker chocolate — anything above 65% cacao — and reap the benefits of this much-loved treat. When eaten in the right quantity it can actually be considered a health food.
“Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant… so chocolate is a salad.”
For more skincare tips, check out my other blogs on Medium, call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701 or visit our website. We offer a virtual consultation, in-salon treatments, and home service facials to our valued clients.
“If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us tickets.” — Mel Brooks
I love travel more than anything but flying… not so much. Flying is exhausting, it makes me feel icky, squished, and I get grumpy. To be honest, if only I could teleport, I would! No one loves long flights. And the things that flying does to my skin… it makes it very dry and dehydrated, prone to breakouts, and at times puffy.
Here’s how it actually sabotages our skin.
On the ground, depending on where you live and the time of year, humidity can range from 25% to almost 100%. The relative humidity in a plane is around 10%. When our environment — both inside and out — is low in humidity, the air, in turn, lacks moisture, which can cause dryness and discomfort. This dryness can occur anywhere affecting the face, lips and hands.
The low humidity in the cabin not only affects those with dry skin. In excessively dry situations, our oil glands can overcompensate, causing increased oil production. When this happens to an already oily complexion, the excess oil can combine and stick to any build-up of dead skin cells and other impurities lingering on the skin’s surface, which can then clog pores and lead to post-flight breakouts.
On the plane we are much closer to the sun and still very exposed to UV light particularly if we are seated by the window. Remember there is no cloud coverage at that altitude and no atmospheric protection.
Plus, dehydration paired with sitting in one position for a long time can cause fluid retention leading to puffy, swollen-looking skin, especially the feet.
With masks still a part of the travel protocol in the foreseeable future, even the most resilient skin can suffer.
So here are a few tips to help your skin survive flights.
- Get a really deep cleaning, hydrating facial 3–5 days before you leave. At our salon we offer the Hydradermie, a deeply penetrating galvanic treatment that does it all.
- The night before a flight, treat your skin to a hydrating mask. Slather on body lotion and condition your hair. Do the same thing the night of your arrival and if the skin has become cranky during the flight, apply a clay mask that has a more corrective, rebalancing formula.
- Before boarding, make sure your skin is super hydrated — eye crème, serum, moisturizer and sunscreen. And if you are comfortable doing this, lightly dust on a mineral powder for extra protection.
- If you have oily skin use a light serum after you have cleansed and toned, and any corrective topicals (for example, salicylic acid, topical antibiotic) before putting on your sunscreen and mineral powder.
- Use a calming mist with hydrating ingredients that can be spritzed liberally without the risk of drying. Do not use water to spray on the skin during the flight, it only dehydrates it.
- Don’t forget to drink copious amounts of water to hydrate from the inside out. Avoid alcohol, tea and coffee and order a light meal.
- We now know that airborne coronavirus particles do not stick to surfaces as we once thought. However, I would still recommend sanitizing your seating area when you get on the plane.
- During the flight sanitize your hands regularly and wash and use hand sanitizer every time you use the facilities. Keep your hands off your face as much as possible. And refrain from cleansing and re-applying during the flight except hand crème and lip balm. (Pack small containers so that security does not confiscate them).
- One final hurdle to clear is baggage claim. Use hand sanitizer after collecting your luggage. And once you have reached your destination, take a shower or bath to start your trip clean and refreshed.
Happy Travels and stay safe!
For more skincare tips, visit our website, call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701, or check out our other blogs on Medium. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are ready to welcome you all back.
“Out of all my body parts, I feel like my eyes are in the best shape. I do at least a thousand eye rolls a day.”
Making eye contact with everyone I meet tells me a lot about the person. I find it fascinating and I am certainly not alone in this. The results of a survey in the U.S., taken to find out what men and women notice first about the opposite sex, put eyes at the top of the list. This does not surprise me. And as an aesthetician, I can tell if the person cares enough to include the skin surrounding the eye area in their daily skincare routine.
This area is thinner, contains fewer oil glands and muscle tissue. It’s also delicate and often very sensitive to the environment and anything you put on it. Lack of sleep, exercise, and eye strain show up as dark circles, wrinkles and puffiness and eyes are the first area of the face to show tiredness. Layer seasonal allergies on top of all this and eye skincare can be a nightmare!!
Here are a few eye-skincare tips to keep them bright and young-looking.
1. Keep them moisturized. Cleansers and moisturizers for the face do not cut it. They are often too heavy and can cause those annoying little white bumps (called milia,) irritation and swelling. Eye creams, on the other hand, are often formulated with enough active ingredients that may help reduce wrinkles and fine lines without any irritation. Some ingredients to look for are:
a. Golden root, argania spinosa, Summer snowflake bulb, caffeine, hydroquinone, kojic acid, and vitamin C to reduce the appearance of dark circles.
b. Caffeine, green tea and coffee berry polyphenols, dipeptide-2 (Eyeliss), and willow herbs to help reduce puffiness.
c. Biopeptides to tighten.
d. Evening primrose and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.
e. Tuberose to revitalize tired eyes.
f. Argan oil, retinol, and peptides to stimulate collagen production resulting in plump and lift.
g. Antioxidants to help reduce free radicals triggered by UV rays, smoking, and pollution
2. Be gentle. When applying skincare products, start on the lids going from the inner to the outer area, circling under and into the side of the nose. Same with cleansers which are best used on a damp cotton pad. We know waterproof mascara can be challenging to remove but harsh makeup removers should be avoided.
3. Wear sunscreen. When applying sunscreen, don’t forget the upper eyelid. This is one of the most overlooked areas. Also consider investing in a pair of sunglasses that offers UV protection. This can help protect not only your eyes but also the skin around them from unwanted UVA and UVB rays.
4. Get a spa treatment. There are some great treatments that target the eye area using thermal therapy and microcurrent. These treatments use super light serums that penetrate with the help of the heat and electrotherapy. And when done consistently, can make the eye area look toned and firm.
5. Keep a healthy lifestyle — get enough sleep, eat healthy, and exercise. Try regular exercise that involves hanging upside down — yoga and downward dog for example. They can really make a difference because they defy gravity and reverse the blood flow.
6. Retire devices that emit blue light — computer, cellphones, televisions, one hour before bedtime. And consider using blue-light blocking glasses if your work demands hours of screen time. Blue light, known as high-energy-visible light (HEV), not only strains the eyes but can also accelerate the aging process and cause dryness.
Lastly, if topical treatments simply aren’t working, consider nonsurgical options like botox, fillers, and laser resurfacing.
For more skincare tips, call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701, or check out our other blogs on Medium. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are ready to welcome you all back.
“If you’re feeling blue try painting yourself a different color.” — Hannah Cheatem
When I think of blue light, I am reminded of the time I was driving on Wilshire Boulevard at night and from my rearview mirror I saw the flashing lights of a police car signaling me to stop. My violation — over speeding. That was terrifying! Never will I do it again.
But we are talking about a different kind of blue light. This particular blue light is a form of visible light, also known as high-energy visible (HEV) light. It is one of the several colors in the visible light spectrum, the others are red, orange, yellow, green, indigo, and violet. Blue light represents about one third of all visible light — a pretty high percentage — so blue light is practically everywhere.
By far the largest source of blue light is from the sun itself. But we also get it from artificial light sources such as LED light bulb, fluorescent bulbs, your flatscreen tv, your laptop, your tablet, your cellphone, all these digital devices that you have in your hand and keep in your house.
Both natural blue light from the sun and artificial blue light during the day can boost attention, reaction time, and moods. But studies to date show blue light from electronic devices can lead to changes in your skin cells, including the production of free radicals and break down of collagen. This speeds up the aging process — wrinkles, fine lines, dilated pores, and loss of firmness. Even exposures as short as 60 minutes can trigger these changes. Too much blue light could also lead to pigmentation especially in deeper skin tones.
The other concern about blue light is it’s ability to disrupt your sleep cycle, also called the Circadian rhythm. It does this by suppressing melatonin, a protein necessary for promoting restful sleep. And we know how vital our beauty sleep is. Here’s how to protect your skin from blue light…
During the day:
- Use a Vitamin C serum every morning.
- Wear a mineral sunscreen that contains Zinc Oxide, with an SPF 30. It also helps protect skin against UV rays — which pose a serious threat to skin. Sunlight and electronic devices reach skin both indoors and out, so it’s important to protect your skin even if you’re indoors most of the day.
- Add antioxidants to your diet, brightly colored fruits and vegetables, and take vitamin supplements to counter free radical damage that occurs from UV and visible light.
- And expose yourself to lots of bright light during the day — this will keep your circadian rhythms functioning properly and help you sleep longer and more deeply.
- Use dim red lights for night lights. Red light does not interfere with melatonin production as much.
- Don’t use bright screens two hours before bed. This may be a practice that is hard to break. But better to read a book (an actual paper version) before you go to sleep.
- If you work a night shift or have to use lots of electronic devices in the evening, consider wearing blue-blocking glasses that filters the blue light wavelength. These glasses are now readily available online or at most reputable opticians and are very reasonably priced.
- Lastly, install blue light filter apps or activate the night shift/night mode on your smart phones, tablets, and laptops.
For more skincare tips, check out my other blogs on Medium or call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are ready to welcome you all back.
“I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I get older… YOUNGER.”
I have resolved to grow old gracefully. What do I mean by that? Apart from lying about my age (which oftentimes, I don’t remember anyway), I am committed to taking care of my skin and my overall health — none of the harmful products and treatments. And I’m just as committed to taking care of my client’s skin, keeping it healthy with that youthful glow.
On the subject of youthful-looking skin, at Skinsense we’re obsessed with the anti-aging benefits of microcurrent, and we use it a whole lot. It has been a long-standing star on our electrical stage and so I thought it might be helpful to talk about what it does and how it compares and works with that now (in)famous muscle relaxer, Botox.
Renowned skin physiologist and cosmetic chemist, Dr. Pugliese, maintains that micro-current creates lots of activity on a deep, dermal level where all our serious aging problems begin. It stimulates the fibroblasts, cell of connective tissues, which significantly increases the production of collagen and elastin — the skin’s structural proteins — and also GAG’s — glycosaminoglycans — the viscous material in which protein is embedded.
The other great advantage of using micro-current is that it boosts the production of ATP — adenosine triphosphate — the glucose type fuel responsible for all cellular activity. Other benefits include promoting waste removal, healing, and circulation. And not often mentioned but something that we have noticed with using micro-current at our salon is its ability to calm rosacea and irritated skin.
The result… a more youthful, even textured and plump complexion.
Microcurrent has been used for decades to treat everything from wounds, paralysis, migraines, twitchy eyes, and chronic pain. It operates on a sub-sensory level, which allows the electrodes to glide over the skin with little discomfort. Maybe sometimes a slight pulling or twinge in the dental and neck zones, but the intensity can be adjusted to suit the client’s pain tolerance and can work on the lowest frequencies with great success.
A series of six microcurrent treatments booked bi-weekly or weekly is generally recommended at first to start re-educating the muscles. Regularity of treatment obviously depends to some degree on each clients’ availability. After the first series, micro-current can be added to other facial routines or done every few months to tighten and boost muscle tone.
We recommend clients wait two weeks after receiving Botox before having micro current to avoid any product transference or migration.
Botox on the other hand, does not work directly on the muscles. It binds to the neurotransmitters preventing them from signaling muscles to contract. Done once or twice a year it can knock out expression wrinkles very effectively. But when done too often, it can cause muscular atrophy, where the muscles become slack. This is where electrical stimulation from microcurrent devices help.
How effective are at-home microcurrent devices?
Although not as potent electrically and considering they are being used by untrained hands, if used consistently, these tools can certainly deliver the promised benefits.
Along with a healthy lifestyle and a good product regimen, including topicals that contain peptides and a variety of anti-aging ingredients, microcurrent can restore fullness and muscle tone while Botox can soften expression lines.
Overall, it’s the perfect anti-aging skin treatment partnership. It allows us to loosen gravity’s grip just a little bit more!
For more skincare tips, check out our other blogs on Medium or call us at Skinsense Wellness at (323) 653–4701. And for skincare services, please visit us at 8448 W. Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048. We have re-opened our doors and are ready to welcome you all back.
“Always remember to take your vitamins: Vitamin A for action, Vitamin B for belief, Vitamin C for confidence.”
I love my body wash. I admit, I picked it mainly for the pretty pink and gold packaging and the sweet scent. But I really like what it does for my skin — leaves it soft and moisturized after a bath and makes it firmer and younger-looking too. Checked the label… no wonder, it has Vitamin B3 among its ingredients.
What is Vitamin B3?
Vitamin B3 is a water-soluble nutrient that is a member of the Vitamin B family. The B vitamins play important roles in energy production, the synthesis and repair of DNA and RNA, and carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism. They also help calm and maintain a healthy nervous system and can be important in the maintenance of healthy skin and muscle tone.
Vitamin B3 comes in two forms: niacin (a.k.a. nicotinic acid) and niacinamide. Both help the skin to repair and function normally, but they have different applications.
Niacin is prescribed orally to treat conditions like high cholesterol, pellagra, and sometimes diabetes and can also guard the skin against inflammation and sun damage.
Niacinamide, also called nicotinamide, on the other hand, can benefit skin health when applied topically and treat conditions ranging from acne and eczema. It can also build proteins in the skin and lock in moisture to prevent environmental damage. So niacinamide is the ingredient you are looking for in your skincare products.
Benefits of niacinamide include:
- Strengthens the skin’s natural barrier by stimulating the production of lipids, especially ceramides, a naturally occurring substance in human skin. This increases the skins resiliency and protects it against pollution.
- Improves skin immunity by building keratin, a protein that keeps your skin firm and healthy and protects it from UV rays.
Improves the texture of the skin by reducing pore size and smoothing the skin surface.
- Reduces inflammation, redness and blotchiness. Particularly helpful in calming eczema, acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Reduces discoloration and hyperpigmentation. Some research has found 5 percent niacinamide concentrations can be helpful in lightening dark spots and minimizing melasma.
- The same concentration of niacinamide has also shown to prevent premature signs of aging, specifically lines and wrinkles produced by sun damage.
- Regulates oil production in both dry and oily skin.
- Controls acne and helps to heal scarring.
What’s more? This powerhouse ingredient is tolerated really well by sensitive skin types and so is suitable for everybody. It is also very versatile and can be combined with many other skincare ingredients.
So, my advice… just go for it. B3 it!
Topically applied, AHA’s ( Alpha Hydroxy Acids) can be naturally derived from fruits, plants and nuts but today are mostly synthetically produced. The most popular are Glycolic and Lactic which are especially suited for home application because they are less irritating. However spa protocols often include a combination of other AHA’s such as Mandelic, Citric, Tartaric and Malic.
Used to treat wrinkles, sun damage, age spots, pigmentation and acne, AHA’s gently exfoliate unnecessary dead skin cells on the surface of the skin that build up over time. This increases blood flow and allows for better product penetration.When used continuously Glycolic Acid in particular can brighten the skin and lighten pigmentation. It can also balance pH. Long term use has helped to reduce the appearance of scar tissue and can soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
For home use most AHA formulas contain 10% or less of the active ingredient. In the spa this percentage is often increased depending on the blend of AHA’s being used and also on the results that are required. Of course skin sensitivity is also taken into account.
It is really essential to use a daily SPF of at least 30 when using any products that contain Alpha Hydroxy Acids because they all make the skin much more susceptible to the sun and increase the likelihood of burning.
By applying toners, serums and/or creams to skin containing these ingredients you can improve the health and appearance of your skin significantly and ensure that healthy, youthful glow that we all yearn for.
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.
Many of you have read my previous blogs about the latest in skincare ingredients. Here is another interesting breakthrough that we are already using at Skin Sense. As with many discoveries, scientists trying to understand and solve one mystery often happen upon a possible solution for another. Many of us have watched the movie “Benjamin Button” and outside of Hollywood have seen the sad images of tiny children who grow old way before their time. This is because of a rare disease called Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome. Patients develop age-related disorders and diseases when still very young that shortens their life span to no more than twenty years in most cases. It affects only a handful of children worldwide and I am sure that the scientists who are working tirelessly to understand and help those who suffer from this terrible affliction are somewhat surprised to find the beauty industry calling it the new answer to anti-aging.
However, that is exactly what has happened. This genetic mutation creates a toxic protein called progerin that prevents cells from renewing properly. In 2007, the US National Institute of Health also discovered that progerin was present in healthy skin and fat cells. And as we age, it increases by 3% every year!
What does all this mean?
Aging skin recycles itself more slowly with time. Progerin, it has been discovered, can contribute to this process by slowing the skin’s production of collagen and hyaluronic acid – both important components in keeping our skin youthful. Sun exposure also increases the amount of progerin in our cells. No surprise there. So how do we reduce or even remove this demon?
We have two exciting new formulas from Guinot that can help. Creme Riche Fermete Lift and Creme Lift 777 both contain an ingredient called Actiprogerin which claims to limit the production of progerin at a cellular level. The research is still very new but Guinot rarely includes a new ingredient in their products without seriously considering the benefits. Ask for a sample on your next spa visit. We would love to get your feedback.