Monday, May 26, 2014

Back At It!

So after a long hiatus, I have taken a job as an esthetician at a wonderful salon & spa! While I will miss teaching, I'm excited for the new adventure. That also means I will have more time to update way more often! See, quite the plus! So stay tuned for some cool posts I'm working on but in the mean time if you have any skin questions--feel free to pick my brain! And if you are in the Dallas area, come see me! 
While you're at it you can like my Facebook page:


Excited to get to reconnect with you all...much love!

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Lowdown on Vitamin C

Here's a quickie post!
So lately I've been reviewing theory chapters with the girls and this week we went over ingredients. Let me just say, that I'm constantly reading and trying to understand what beauty experts/skin therapists are ranting and raving about. I've always heard about vitamin C but never really understood it's importance. Not only that BUT products with vitamins C & vitamin E work better together then they do separate. And there is no better way to explain than this lovely little infograph! Read all about it!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Get Some pH Balance in Your Life


First thing is first, pH stands for "potential hydrogen" and is used to measure the acidity of basicity of a product that contains water.

When I teach the pH scale during our chemistry portion, I always get slacked jaws and eyes drifting shut. I'll be honest, if you were to pull out a chemistry test I would, run away with my tail tucked between my legs! It's once you get past the "not knowing/ not understanding" part and relate it back to things you already know...that's when it starts to make sense and gets enjoyable. 

So I always tell this story:

The pH scale represents highschool and ranges from 0 to 14.
People that are "0" which mean that they have no friends, and they are bitter (like an acidic product). (Then I go on into polarity where I say for them to feel better they need to (+) friends.) Whereas, a person that has "14" best friends may have too many fairweather friends that they don't have the time or means to maintain so they might go a little crazy too. (They need to (-) friends.)
And those magical "7"s are juuuusssttt right! Not too little and not too many

Too much of on one side of the scale is a problem...think of it this way...you leave a really low pH chemical peel on your skin, you will experience irritation and sensitivities. You put something with a high pH like..let's say...lye on your skin, this too will cause extreme irritation and sensitivities. So pretty much, my point is that the goal of your skin care regimen should be to find a balance and maintain your skin's pH/health.

Our skin has a pH of 4.5-5.5 and is slightly acidic due to our acid mantle. The acid mantle consists of  our sebum (oil) and other fatty materials and is used to protect our skin. So when people remove all of the oil from their skin, essentially this is a poor move because this eliminates some of our skin's protection factor. A regular bar of soap has such a high pH that it can actually dry your skin and cause your skin to lose moisture. In return, your skin sends a signal to your brain ,"help!" and the brain signals for the skin to produce even MORE oil to compensate. That's why those of you who have oily skin types that wash their face a lot, actually seem to make the problem worse! With that being said, the cleansers that we use are generally on a more alkaline scale, this is used to help neutralize some of the oils and acidity and remove dirt and debris. This is perfectly fine as long as you aren't using too much.  That's why it's really important to use a toner or other products within your regimen to achieve balance.  So moral of this paragraph : STAY AWAY FROM REGULAR BAR SOAP! If you're dry, this could be your culprit and if you're oily, it can make you even more so.

Another thing that consumers don't really consider is when they "cherry pick" their favorite skin care products. A rule of thumb is to usually use the same brand of products of a regimen for at least a month to test it's efficacy. Sure, you may like certain products in other lines BUT you have to take into consideration that all of the products in professional lines are tested and pH balanced with one another. This is ideal when looking for results in skincare, especially if you have challenged skin like acne.

pH is also important when you are looking into AHA's and BHA's or receiving chemical peel like results! Whether you are looking at products are talking to your esthetician about your next treatment, pH plays a part. For example, over the counter skin care products that have AHA's/BHA's usually contain about 15% where as professional products that you can use at home usually have 11-15%. In your head you may think that you are getting the better deal with OTC, however the percentage of these are ingredients only tell you how MUCH of the ingredient it contains. The pH of the product will tell you how effective or "deep" the ingredient will penetrate. OTC usually have a pH of 3+ whereas, estheticians can use a lower pH. And as we visited in my other post, All Acids Aren't Your Friend, these ingredients work better at a lower pH to give to you benefits whether you have acneic, dry, or aging skin!

So whether you are a nerd or not, this little piece of chemistry advice can help you tweek your regimen and can even give you some health benefits ( drinking pH water can help balance your internal pH and therefore help you fight diseases!). To test your pH and the pH of your products look for pH testing kits usually found in the area of your grocery store in the water aisle or online! Maybe there will be another post on pH balancing your body but until then...remember, balance is key!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Beauty Ingredients You Should Avoid?

When you look at the back of that cleanser, the list of ingredients can be a little daunting. Long words you can't pronounce and even numbers start to swarm around your head...and then you see it...that ingredient. Didn't your cousin's best friend's sister tell you that that ingredient could give you cancer?! This situation is all too common. All of the beauty editors in magazines and talk shows want to make interesting beauty segments and "expose" the big bad cosmetics companies. Then your skin therapist or dermatologist prescribes it to you, so what is the deal? This is a situation in which we want to focus on something called TOXICITY reports.

There has been a boom in guests who experience some sort of sensitivity of the skin in our esthetician's and dermatologists offices. Determining what causes the sensitivities are our jobs as professionals but what's becoming a more common variable are the types of ingredients being used in people's every day products. In these situations, we are going to be looking for IRRITATION/ALLERGY reports or even if there are any PRECAUTIONARY instructions included with the products being used.

Finally, you are thrown all of these "super star" ingredients. Everyone jumps on the bandwagon! You stockpile your drawers and practically buy stock in the company that produces products containing them. However, a study comes out a month or two later saying that there was no scientific evidence that supports that it does stack up to it's claims.  This would fall into reports regarding INEFFECTIVENESS.

So these are the points you want to look for when you're choosing skincare, cosmetic products, etc.
  • Toxicity
  • Irritant
  • Precautionary
  • Ineffective 
Toxicity warnings can tell you the degree to which something is poisonous. Studies carried out can be using a certain percentage of ingredient, over a certain time. The question on whether how these studies are carried out could affect the results.
Irritant warnings report substances that can cause inflammation or other discomfort in the body. This may be for a select few, may not include all consumers.
Precautionary warnings are going to be instructions to be followed while using products.
And ineffective reports reveal that ingredients or products do not produce significant or desired results.

Unfortunately, you have to do your own research or understand where the advice is coming from. It's kind of like saying this big TV personality swears up and down on this diet and low and behold...they announce they have a book deal about the diet or are the face of the company who facilitates it! Or the newest and greatest supplement that has been "discovered" which we so conveniently carry in our store! Haha! It's good to have resources but just make sure you have don't have rose-colored glasses on.

Here's an example of one of the lists that I've stumbed on: (bold is cited from Dr. Oz, italicized is my commentary)

  • Fragrances (irritant, can cause inflammation and sensitivities in the skin)
  • Imidazolidinyl urea and diazolidinyl urea (possible toxicity challenge- preservative that is formaldehyde-releasing, although not a large amount- suggested not to be used on infant. Dr. Oz says can alter the DNA of cells. )
  • Sodium lauryl sulfate (surfactant or detergent, used largely in skin cleansers/shampoos. Considered to be an irritant SAID to cause cancer but NO link has been cited)
  • Mineral oil *(precautionary, it can't be used in conjunction with a comedogenic product or it will trap said product in the pores. Otherwise, there's no data saying that it clogs pores.)
  • MEA (monoethanolamine) & TEA (triethanolamine) (there are some studies that show levels of toxicity although deemed safe by the DEA, normally used as pH adjusters in products)
  • DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol ) (possible ineffective/could be damaging,  skin firming antioxidant. In the book, Dr. Oz states that it causes 'cell damage and swelling' and that it's temporary. In in vitro studies, it's said could cause celltoxicity)
says Dr. Mehmet C. Oz, M.D. (aka Dr. Oz) referenced from his book YOU: Being Beautiful (2008)

Obviously, this was a little while ago.  (Now Dr. Oz has Dr. Perricone PROMOTING DMAE, funny huh?) I've done my research on all of the ingredients listed. I've done the Cosmetic Cop (Paula Begeoun) and I've done my Futurederm.com. I finally went to my EWG website! This last website is amazing! It's brought to you by the Environmental Working Group and this organization thoroughly inspects ingredients and products and "grades" them on their potential hazards to consumers that use them. 0-2 being low hazard, 3-6 moderate hazard, and 7-10 high hazard. Check it out :http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/

In my research, other ingredients said to be avoided are displayed in this infograph (click to enlarge)

Here are also some more links should you be the avid researcher as I am!

One thing I've learned while researching these ingredients and the millions that are claimed that you should leave out of your regimen- YOU make your exducated decisions. Just like I stated in the my organic skin care post, you can make the decision on what you put onto/into your body. Whether you want to go on what side of the spectrum or only avoid certain things...that's your choice. Just know what the claims are and where they come from. That being said...I think I might rethink what a particular Dr. on TV says...what about you?


Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Skin Treatment That May Be Too Cool for You

Just kidding! I'm sure you'd be just the right amount of cool to enjoy this treatment!

As an instructor and overall nerd junkie, I get the opportunity of getting to experience a lot of amazing trainings. Whether it be new technologies, information, techniques...I'm down! However because I'm usually teaching, I don't get to have as many treatments as I'd like done. But this time was different and my skin is so grateful!

What I received was a straight peel using 55% lactic and salicylic acid with a pH of around 1.5. The percentage is how MUCH of the hydroxy acids used in the product and the pH is how DEEP it can penetrate. This is not the focus of this post, however it should make a great discussion later I'm thinking!I chose lactic and salicylic blend because I have an oily skin type but experience some sensitivities on my cheeks. I also experience some hyperpigmentation that occurred when I was pregnant with my daughter. Don't remember what hyperpigmentation is? Reread my post :) And don't worry, your skin specialist can help determine what is the plan of action for you.

 After the chemical peel, my esthetician used a "snowball" liquid nitrogen, also known as dry ice, wrapped in a couple of cotton 4x4s and swept it gently and smoothly over my face. In some spas they actually have equipment to place the dry ice in a wand, as seen in the image to the left. The use of the dry ice in my treatment is often referred to as cryogenic therapy. It is also used in physical therapy and dermatology offices, obviously with some different purposes but still great results. In those instances it might be used directly on an area of the skin in hopes to detroy the cells, this is buffered and lightly brushed across the face. It was really soothing and relaxing, I understand why people use regular ice in their regimen but this was at another level! (PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO DO THIS AT HOME! A SKIN CARE PROFESSIONAL SHOULD PERFORM THIS TREATMENT)

 First of all, you may be asking why the chemical peel?

  • Chemical peels are great for chemically dissolving the intercellular "cement" that holds skin cells together and to the surface of the skin. If this isn't done, then sometimes our skin's texture can feel and look uneven, our pores can be clogged with this debris, and can appear flakey.
  • As these acids penetrate, they in turn stimulate blood circulation which oxygenates and nourishes the surrounding skin cells. 
  •  Bonus! Encourages cell turnover.
  • AND collagen and elastin production!
 Many of you who have experienced peels can probably attest to some of the itching and sensitivity it may cause because of the product penetration. So the cryogenic therapy was such a relief and even provided extra benefits towards my cause!

Next, what are the benefits of the cryogenic therapy?
  • Used as an anti-inflammatory
  • Soothes pain
  • Promotes the constriction of capillaries
  • Increases cell turnover (in turn helping with treatment of hyperpigmentation) by destroying the cells of the outermost layer.
  • Tightens pores (which can benefit acneic clients)
Because of the cold temperatures this was a perfect follow up from the peel since my skin felt a little warm afterwards. Not only that but I had some milia that literally came up to the surface so that they could be extracted. The pores tightened so much that it pushed out the debris and made it easier for my technician to remove the deep blackheads (comedones) in my nose and chin! I loved it. Since it contricts capillaries it helps with the appearance of redness as well as any inflammation. So all my needs were addressed.

Who else would benefit from this treatment?

Those of you who have hyperpigmentation, anyone receiving resurfacing treatments, acneic clients, and even in dermatology offices a similar procedure can be used to remove warts, moles, skin tags, etc. Contraindications for this treatment would be:
  • Impaired sensation. Patients cannot report when they become anesthetic from cold. Tissue damage occurs slightly below temperatures that produce numbness.
  • Impaired circulation: tissue damage may result from vasoconstriction.
  • Open wounds after 48 hours.
  • Hypersensitivity to cold, such as Raynaud's phenomenon, cold urticaria, cryoglobulinemia, and paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.
  • Varicose veins
  • Diabetes
  • Anemia
  • Heart disease
  • Chills
  • Skin conditions (rashes, open wounds)
  • Cancer
  • Additionally, ice should also not be used for patients who have rheumatoid arthritis, Raynaud’s Syndrome, cold allergic conditions, paralysis, or areas of impaired sensation.
More can be read here.

All in all, I loved the results! My skin feels super soft and my breakouts are gone. As for my hyperpigmentation, it's definitely lighter but I think I'm going to go another round with this same treatment here in a month. Maybe I need to include before and after pictures this time huh? Thanks again for sticking with me, always have a good time researching more and sharing.

Here's the video I posted earlier and more info on this amazing therapy!

Any skin questions that you might have or have always been interested in? I need your help! Give me topics to go over! If not, I'll do whatever I want to and that may get a little all over the place. And if you have a blog, I'd love to read yours. So add me and I'll do the same!