Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Love I.D.I. and they love us!

Recently I had the wonderful opportunity to attend not one but TWO lectures from Dr. Claudia Aguirre of Dermalogica! Dr. Claudia is a brilliant Neuroscientist, that works with Dermalogica and the International Dermal Institute, who travels the world giving lectures on the brain and skin connection. She effortlessly presents information to estheticians, medical professionals, and other beauty industry members about everything from hormones to nutrition.

Dermalogica is a line that I work with a lot, it's a great brand to teach to students because it's so custamizable. Not only that but understanding the basics can help the students with the other lines they encounter. I'm just in awe that this line stemmed from the International Dermal Institute. Love it or hate it, lemme gush a little on IDI...

  In the industry, there are so many advances and scientific shifts in the services that we offer and the products that we use. IDI has been a wonderful resource to continue my education and learn different therapies to bring to the classroom and treatment room. If you are an esthetician, check out the International Dermal Institute for classes, trainings, and guest speakers coming up! If you aren't a fan of Dermalogica then that's fine, they have training that is general and informative for skin altogether. Even if you aren't in the industry, this site has tons of articles that cover many of skin topics!

I'm excited to get to go the Dermalogica Symposium in September  in L.A.to listen to seminars and network! It's going to be my first out of state training and I couldn't ask for a better one to get to attend.

PS. Jane Wurwand is an AMAZING woman. Her philanthropy is inspiring and she's just a "girl-power" kinda lady that I adore. Her blog has some pretty wonderful tidbits as well.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Hot Outside and You Might Be Cool But...

Now that it's summer, our clients are outside more on vacation, with the kids, and are attending more activities outside. Because of this shift of environment, one of the concerns is how to avoid those pesky sunburns or how to get the best bronze look. Sunscreens are now flying off the shelves and your esthetician and other medical professionals are shaking their heads...if you only knew how much you needed these products all the time and not just in the summer! The Environmental Protection Agency  claims that 90% of signs of aging are caused by the UV rays emitted by the sun. So we all are being told about melanomas and the possibilities of skin cancer but not only that, the rays can make you look OLDER?! If cancer didn't scare some people, premature lines and wrinkles might.So what's going on the in market that people are buying sunscreen more now than ever, yet we are having more cases reported health challenges (check out the EPA link for more) caused by overexposure to the sun?

UVA & UVB Rays

This is a pretty great illustration of what's going on with the skin and UV. There are three types of rays that the sun emits- UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA and UVB are the ones that affect us the most- UVC (Ultraviolet COOKING rays) are blocked by our ozone. This is pretty good for us considering we would be burned to a crisp, hence the "cooking". Now UVA, stands for Ultraviolet Aging rays...which you guessed it, causes us to age.  UVB stands for Ultraviolet Burning rays and can be associated with sunburns. The table shows a great view of which rays affect the areas of our skin. So UVB is the strongest because it has a shorter wavelength and works more superficially on the skin. UVA rays are longer wavelengths, penetrate deeper, but take longer to cause damage. Don't make the mistake by thinking that it doesn't do damage since you can't visibly see it...it's there..breaking down your collagen and elastin. GASP! Sunscreen can be used to help protect from both rays, it's just finding the right kind and ingredients.

 New FDA Sunscreen Regulations

With more and more melanoma cases and the sunscreen business is still so profitable, what's the problem? Apparently the marketing and packaging of these products have been misleading consumers and not giving clear instruction.
The changes that have been made are:
  • final regulations that establish standards for testing the effectiveness of sunscreen products and require labeling that accurately reflects test results
  • a proposed regulation that would limit the maximum SPF value on sunscreen labeling to “SPF 50+”
  • a data request for safety and effectiveness information for sunscreen products formulated in certain dosage forms (e.g., sprays)
  • a draft guidance for sunscreen manufacturers on how to test and label their products in light of these new measures
For more information from the FDA click here

To summarize, the FDA has made it so that a product that states that no matter what the SPF (sun protection factor) is that it has to be reapplied every two hours. It's also recognizing that any SPF over 50 is ineffective. They are also requiring that sunscreens have better testing before being released to the public. Any products that say "sunblock" is to be relabeled because these products do not block UV rays. Also,"water proof" or "sweat proof"  advertising no longer to be used because all sunscreens can be removed with water and/or sweat. Look for a BROAD SPECTRUM label, this signifies that it has gone through the adequate testing for protection from both UVA and UVB rays. 
It's recommended to use at least a shot glass full for the entire body.

Sunscreen Checklist

So are you choosing the correct products and protecting yourself?

  • Is your sunscreen a broad-spectrum sunscreen?
  • Are you using a minimum of SPF 15 on your face? 
  • Are you reapplying every 2 hours?
  • If your sensitive, are you using a physical sunscreen?
  • If you are using a chemical sunscreen, are you applying at least 20-30 minutes before going out into the sun?
  • Are you using a lotion cream? (Spray sunscreens have been the least effective and are going through more testing)
  • Does your sunscreen not have any fragrances and perfumes? (these can actually cause pigmentation problems!)
  • Are you wearing sunscreen every day?

If you can answer these questions and can reply with a "yes" then you are on your way to better health and beautiful skin!
Interested in more? Try another article here.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

That Girl Is Poison

Forgive me for the cheesy title but UNDERSTAND it was necessary. It's the song that popped into my mind when a fellow instructor was sharing her tales from the International Congress of Esthetics event in Arlington. She had gotten some information from a company that had snake venom as one of their active ingredients...

Wait for it...
NOT! Are you kidding? You can't put poisonous venom on you face!! But, they do have an ingredient that mimics snake venom, which temporarily "paralizes" the muscles. Since the muscle cannot move then this prevents fine lines and wrinkles from occuring/worsening. Sonya Dakar was the first skincare line said to utilize this science.The synthetic peptide we're highlighting is actually called "Syn-ake" which is a lab-created peptide that mimics the snake venom. Sounds great, right?
So peptides (short chain of amino acids) are byproducts of a protein being broken down in the body. This is ideal for ingredients in skincare because it can be broken down even further by the body and absorbed by the bloodstream. Depending on the type of peptide will determine it's functions. For example, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3 (Argieline) which when,"topically applied, treats the same type of wrinkles as botulinum toxin " (coughBotoxcough). Sound familiar? Technology is so neat! There are tons of other types of peptides that are beneficial for the skin which might make for an interesting post later.

Bee Venom
Another venom getting notice is bee venom. This ingredient contains a peptide called melliten which has antinflammatory properties and can act as a pain reliever. Inflammation for an extended amount of time can cause free radicals in the body. Not only that, it stimulates blood circulation that in return causes the synthesis of elastin and collagen THUS causing the firming and plumping effect of the skin! Wahhhlaa!

As always, the concentration of these quality ingredients are important. Make sure to read your product's ingredients. The highest quantity of the ingredients are listed first...so if those trendy advertised ingredient is closer to the bottom then it means that it may not even be an active ingredient.
Would any of you try these types of products? Any other skincare lines do you know use these ingredients?
By the way...the song is still stuck in my head.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Bling Worth the Buck

All that glitters, is not gold. All products that say they are beneficial to the skin... sometimes are not.
I have a student who is a researcher,like myself, who brought me an article she read. It was about the newest "trend" in skincare. Actually it is big in the UK and is making a move this way. Which fad? Well,products that contain black diamonds. There has also actually been an influx in gold and gemstones too.

Oh You Fancy Huh?
More and more product lines are adding these pricey ingredients to their regimens. Many companies are claiming that when used, these products are slowing down the aging process and helping diminish fine lines and wrinkles. However, medical professionals are calling the bluff!

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
The article that my student brought was about black diamonds and it's introduction into high-end products. This is about a serum in this particular case. While the article stated it was a skin care cosmetic, another article stated that the diamonds are not absorbed (well duh) but sit on the surface of the skin on top of dead cells.  In essence,they reflect light causing a "glowy" appearance. Said to be almost like airbrush makeup and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This does not count as a treatment. As an exfoliant, I could see the benefit purely as a physical exfoliant but otherwise it's glorified claim.

Striking Gold?
 More like striking out
In many countries you will hear and see about the serum infused with gold or the mask with a type of liquified gold. The retail products may even have gold flakes suspended in them! Claims of antioxidant properties, healing, and revitalizing of the skin are all being thrown at consumers. When in fact, no scientific research has been found to back up all of these juicy sell points. In the late 1930's good was injected into patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and was said the reduce inflammation. It is not a common treatment anymore due to the many  adverse affects ranging from rashes to renal failure. Some Dermatologists even claim that copious amounts of gold on the skin can be toxic and can cause  contact dermatitis ( a rash caused by coming into contact with a substance).

It just goes to prove that you have to understand what you are putting onto your skin and in your body. While many seek these ingredients for alternative therapies (hint hint, click there) , which we will discuss later, the medical professionals disarm claims of miraculous skin changes.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

All Acids Aren't Your Friend

So as I was mentioning in the skincare regimen post,  the use of AHA's and BHA's ingredients as a part of the exfoliation process. As an instructor, I've been a witness to many courageous students (and their even more courageous partners) test out chemical peels...sometimes against my wishes and knowledge. Because of what I know and experience, I understand that different acids are going to benefit different skin types/conditions. Sometimes, it takes seeing to believe. I've seen scarring, I've seen hyperpigmentation (excess melanin which darkens the skin), and even hypopigmentation (lack of melanin which actually means loss of color) all because of choosing the wrong acid.  So there are a couple of things to think about when choosing an acid for a professional treatment and even for your take home recommendations.

Buzzworthy AHA's and BHA

The most common AHA's are glycolic and lactic and BHA is salicylic. These ingredients are very similar in that they are used to eat the protein or "glue" that holds skin cells together. They stimulate cell turnover/encourage cell reproduction, which means that they can kick start the production of elastin and collagen and "thicken" the skin. However, all three are going to be best utilized by different skin types and their challenges.

Glycolic is derived from sugar cane and in some instances, unripe grapes. It has the smallest molecule which allows it to penetrate the deepest. The benefit is that it can reach the damaged cells that deeper down in the layers. So this would be great for scars, stretchmarks, acneic/oily skin. The downside is that it is the least controllable. It's like the earring that falls in the couch cracks vs. the shoe that falls into the couch cracks. The earring will get deeper into the crevices because it can get past many layers. So glycolic penetrates deeper which could actually cause inflammation (which when experienced in extended amounts of time causes free radicals) and trauma to the skin. That being said, people that fall in the Type 5 of the Fitzpatrick Scale could be vulnerable to hyperpigmentation.

Lactic is also an AHA but has the largest molecule. So lactic is kind of like the shoe, only getting so far within the skin. So sensitive skin types and higher Fitzpatricks would be good candidates for this acid. Lactic also lightens and brightens the skin and binds moisture to the surface- dry, prematurely aging, and aging skin CHECK! Remember Cleopatra and her milk baths? Yeah, that's because lactic comes from sour milk products. So her skin stayed silky smooth and healthy!

Salicylic is a BHA and is oil-loving. It's also a component in aspirin. So if you have allergies or sensitivities to aspirin then that could cause a problem. Salicylic helps regulate oil production, neutralize bacteria, and treat acne in turn. Salicylic's molecule is larger than glycolic and smaller than lactic, putting it right in the middle!

The Fitzpatrick Scale

A lot of you might be wondering about this Fitzpatrick Scale I keep referring to. Well this is a way of measuring how UV rays affect your skin and your sensitivities.
If you are Level One on the Fitzpatrick Scale then your body doesn't respond as quickly with the production of melanin to protect your skin as quickly as a higher level. Level Five and up are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation because their body responds quicker and produces melanin for UV protection. Higher levels have a higher melanin count to create the pigment of their skin tone.

This graph shows the levels and the characteristics that describe the effects. Common Nationalities describe the possible geography of which clients are from or possibly their ancestry was from. It's been said that Fitzpatrick level can be influenced by your relatives and where they came from. This isn't to say that the darker the skin tone, the higher Fitzpatrick you are. You could be African American and still burn, it would be based on how your skin reacts when out in the sun. And you could be as pale as I am, but still be a Level Three because you tan quickly rather than burn! Just take the test here to see what level you are.

Back to peels...

Since higher Fitzpatricks are more prone to hyperpigmentation, glycolic acids at a high percentage could cause this to occur. The best candidates for these types of peels would be low Fitzpatricks, higher Fitzpatricks are going to have a better result with lactic. And since lower levels don't have as much protection it's going to be very very VERY important to use sun protection, especially if you are using products with AHA's in them.

Knowing your skin means smart decisions in skin care...so get to it!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Make the Best Out of Your Waxing Sesh!

At work yesterday we held the first ever Skin Club meeting in which we held a waxing party! It was fun and nerve-wracking at the same time. You ever had to supervise students who are learning/practicing waxing? Don't get me wrong, body waxing may not be brain surgery....but when it comes to eyebrows...that is another thing! For some reason, it scares people but sometimes all you can do is follow instruction, be patient, and say a little prayer that the hair you want is gone but that an eyebrow is still present. But it was successful! No worries and everyone left with less hair and two eyebrows!
But I had quite a lot of fearful waxees! Never been waxed before, they wanted to have a good experience of course. I thought about my clients and thought I would share some tips to help relieve some pain as well as get the most put of your waxing session.

Everyone and their mom knows that you need to exfoliate atleast 72 hours before your appointment. This is going to help prevent ingrown hairs but also help your waxing technician remove all of those little guys. You can prepare for your post wax by getting a good exfoliating product...more about that later.
If you are taking antibiotics, topical steroids, any retinoids, products with vitamin A- you will want to wait until you are off these medications to schedule your waxing appoinment. Exfoliating medications are a contradiction which can prevent your technician from waxing you. Antibiotics dry out the skin and could possibly cause your skin to lift or even remove skin should you get waxed. To know more about medications or contraindications talk to your esthetician.
Did you know there is a particular time to get waxed that could possibly help you stop hair growth altogether? When you get waxed for the first time, you've probably had that hair for quite some time.
There are three stages of hair growth and just like blades of grass, each hair may be at different stages. So initially when you remove, if it's removed from the root correctly then you will want to get waxed every week for 3-4 weeks to get all the hair in every stage. Afterwards, every four to six weeks when the hair is still in the antigen stage is going to be ideal to get a hair removal service. Hairs in the antigen stage are still connected to the blood supply, therefore when removing hair there is more of a chance of damaging the hair follicle. Sounds bad but it actually means that the follicle may not produce hair or will produce much finer hair. Woot woot!

At Your Appointment

If you are particularly sensitive, ask what options of wax they have. Obviously, your technician will know what's best but it's no harm to voice that you prone to pain. Should you be a candidate, you might be getting waxed with a hard wax (also known as a non-strip wax) because it does not adhere directly to the skin and sits on the surface. Strip wax has pressure applied to the muslin and in turn pressed into the skin.
Help your technician out by holding your skin taut. This will help the removal but also cause you less pain! Score!

Post Wax
You'll want to exfoliate atleast 72 hours after waxing. Invest in a good exfoliating product, while a physical exfoliant is good for every once in a while...go with a chemical exfoliant. Too much of a physical can cause more sensitivities and can beak a hair down the middle causing ingrown hairs. A product that I like is Tend Skin. It has alcohol which dries excess oil and kills germs and a low percentage of salicylic acid which exfoliates. It treats and prevents ingrown hairs and razor bumps. Read the instructions and use as directed.
And then reschedule for a waxing service! Hair removal isn't a walk in the park, it can hurt. If you continue to wax it will become less painful with each one but should you shave in between...just remember...the longer hair is in the follicle the more they want to stay inside their home! So keep it up! Finer or less hair is worth it!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Probiotics and the Skin: MyBody Skincare

This past week at the school I teach at, we had mybody come to speak to my Future Professionals about their medical grade skincare line. The ladies were excited and so was I to hear all the innovative things they had to share. This brand also intrigued me because they were only offered in medical offices or medspas. Their products would not be gracing the shelves of Ulta our Sephora. So as an esthetician, my ears perked up. What made this line medical grade? So the professional product they have is a type of "Probiotic Peel". This is the big bulk of their sales but isn't limited to just that but it's their bread and butter from what I gathered. So, the pitch went on to talk about these products using biomimcry (aka technology that mimics our biological processes) and that contain no gluten, no SLS, and contain no parabens. So okay...how does it work?

Well, the professional product contains a certain percentage of AHA's which exfoliate the skin and create a wound on the face where it's applied. Also within the product is a certain strain of lactobacillus which stimulates a healing response to help the results of the peel. I was somewhat intrigued and so I was curious to know how it worked on an even smaller level....so I had to do some research. So first of all, it's not labeled what type of bacteria is within the peel. It's only said that it is a type of lactobacillus derivitive that is nonliving but comes from a living bacteria. With that information, I was confused.

Aren't probiotics technically considered alive? So I tried doing my homework and found out that a derivative is actually a part of the once alive bacteria but with this, it can still stimulate the same response from our body. Meaning that it will still carry out the function because our body has still identified this object as a positive bacteria.

  Awesome, so what about probiotics make them good for the skin? Well probiotics are supposed to be good for our overall health. WebMD says, "The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system." For the skincare works, it's important to maintain all of our body systems because all of them effect the skin. More importantly, problems can manifest through challenges with our skin. Proper channels of removing waste are vital. Toxins and waste will be removed from our bodies any way they can...including through our pores. Breakouts and other disorders can occur because of this. So that's bueno for our skin. Eczema is said to be linked to malabsorption! Bingo, this can help by regulating our digestive track. Also, being able to decrease the amount of harmful bacteria is going to be beneficial. P. Acne, which causes acne, is a strain of bad bacteria that can be regulated by the good guys! The most popular of these boogers is Lactobacillus acidophilus. But then that got me thinking...

Are there any other types of probiotic that is good for skin? So technically, I could see how that could be beneficial for suffers of aneic skin...and the others? Well,there is another strain of probiotic called Lactobacillus Rhamnosus that is usually found in the digestive tract which helps heal the linings from acid corrosion. Pretty much stimulates the healing response within the epithelial cells--the intestinal lining is compromised of these cells which act as a covering. To relate to skincare, skin cells are a type of epithelial cell. Now back to the