Category Archives: SKINCARE

May 25


Spring Cleaning: Morning Cleansing and Why It’s Non-Negotiable

Of course we all know to cleanse our face at the end of the day- we want to remove makeup and grime that accumulates. It’s almost a given that you may wake up with breakouts and clogged pores if you go to sleep with even the “cleanest” makeup on. Some say that it actually ages our skin to go to sleep with makeup on.

I have read recently, where skincare experts are recommending to just splash your face with water in the morning. I would never recommend skipping a morning cleanse. While we sleep our body is busy repairing, cleaning and cellular detox and metabolism is occuring- Our skin, weighting on average 10 pounds  is our largest organ and known as the “2nd kidneys.” We usually (hopefully!) cleanse before bed and apply serums and/or moisturizers containing oils and antioxidants. During the night while we sleep, these topical ingredients applied to your skin, have been exposed to oxygen. They have served their purpose and are no longer able to protect and nourish your skin. By morning the antioxidants have oxidized and the oils that are on the surface of the skin are going to be rancid from exposure to oxygen.  Why would we want to leave this on our skin? We definitely want to cleanse off the residue, as it can lead to inflammation. Water alone does not properly cleanse this residue. I recommend oil-cleansing in the morning. I use specially formulated herb-infused oil cleansers in my skincare practice. These oil cleansers gently dissolve impurities, impart nutrients that support a healthy skin flora, stimulate the lymphatic system, calm inflammation, leave the skin very hydrated and healthy.


One of my favorite morning cleansers! Sacred Calm

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Jan 23


A Basic Daily Skincare Regimen for Minimalists

Often times, I’m asked what are the daily basics one must do to take care of their skin. Here are some of my daily skincare tips. Please note there are no neck creams, masks, eye depuffing serums or any other extras that of course will take your skincare routine to an even higher level.  This is pretty bare bones but I have included serums, since I consider them to be like a multi-vitamin you need to apply to your skin daily!

Sometimes I hear from women who say they just cleanse with water in the morning because their skin doesnt feel “dirty” when they wake up. Cleansing is a vital step for your skin to be its healthiest, smoothest and most glowing. While we sleep our bodies are cleansing, cellular respiration is happening, we are sweating and the serums and creams that you wear at night that are filled with antioxidants that will oxidize and if you are using an oil based serum or cream it will be rancid by morning so you want to cleanse it all off! Cellular turnover is happening as we sleep so we want to remove all the dead skin cells and cellular debris. In the morning it might be best to use a lighter cleanser with a little Alpha Hydroxy Acid and at night a deep cleanser to get off makeup and grime from the day.
If you are dry, you want to use a toner that contains Hylauronic acid – this ingredients binds up to 1000 times it’s weight in moisture to the skin. Toner will further cleanse and prepare your skin for the serums and moisturizers you apply next. It will remove any traces of cleanser and also is better for your skin than tap water which contains minerals and purifying ingredients which may be harsh for your skin especially if you are sensitive.
Serums are very important and are meant to be worn under your moisturizers. They are liquid so they penetrate more deeply than creams and lotions. For daytime I recommend an antioxidant serum with Vitamin C, Plant stem cells, Peptides, etc. and for evening I like to use a serum that contains a little retinol and/or glycolic acid on a rotating basis to exfoliate and stimulate cellular turnover.
Daytime: hydrating with an SPF of 30. Even if you aren’t outside since windows from our cars, home and workplace do not screen out UVA which is damaging to the skin.
Evening: Use a heavier moisturizer than normal especially during the winter since our skin tends to get more dehydrated while we sleep. If you live in a cold environment and use a lot of indoor heating or blast the heater in the car make sure you are hydrating your skin well at night.
Eye Cream 
It’s best not to neglect the eye area. It’s the thinnest skin on the body with no oil glands. A good quality eye cream should be worn day and night. Make sure your eye cream contains no fragrance as fragrance is the #1 irritant in skincare ingredients.
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Jan 07


Reasons you should see an Esthetician you may not have thought of….


It's 2015 and we all know facials can improve our skin. Making a resolution to get a facial once a month can have far reaching 
benefits that are more than just skin deep...


It’s worth it just to take some time for yourself to slow down, lie down and put yourself first for an hour. There is no substitute for human touch. A great facial will include facial, neck and shoulder massage. Your central nervous system will be calm as you inhale aromatherapy. Your mind will relax as you listen to soothing music. A relaxed state will lower blood pressure and lessen the presence of cortisol hormones in your system.

Need someone to talk to who is unbiased? Every esthetician I know is a great listener. Having an esthetician to talk to is even better than talking with your hair stylist since its an enclosed and private setting. Secrets stay secret with your esthetician. Trust me, we have heard it all and we don’t judge.

Get some great health tips! Since your general health effects the condition of your skin, any esthetician worth her sponges stays up on the latest nutrition information. You will learn tips that will make you healthy from the inside-out. Estheticians really love sharing the great information we learn at all the classes and trainings we attend.

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Oct 28


Suzy ChapStick Has Grown Up!


I think the mass product world is really listening to what the consumer demand is, as they have taken the parabens out and put some cutting-edge ingredients in.  The formulating folks at Pfizer have added ingredients used in pharmaceuticals for skin regeneration. I feel like calling it ChapStick doesn’t do it justice! It contains an ingredient called Madecassoside, which is a powerful antioxidant derived from Gota Kola. This ingredient is known to stimulate synthesis of collagen types I and II. It is also used in the pharmaceutical world as a treatment for psoriasis.  It has been clinically proven to enhance wound healing and heal chronic skin lesions. It is also anti-inflammatory which is a wonderful benefit in a lip treatment. The Total Hydration formula also contains ingredients such as, Shea butter, Olive oil, Squalene, Meadowfoam, Hibiscus, Linseed oil and more.



I’m always on the hunt for hydrating and anti-aging lip treatments and I’ve stayed away from Chapstick for many years mainly because I’ve always associated it as having Petrolatum as the main ingredient.  Petrolatum is an occlusive ingredient that doesn’t let moisture in or out.  I’ve always believed it to be more of a “quick fix” and “addictive” since it didn’t contain ingredients that provided a truly long-lasting therapeutic benefit.  Petrolatum coats the lips, leaving you feeling moisturized albeit a little waxy while it’s on. Petrolatum is more of a band-aid effect and it leads to a dependence on it for your lips to maintain that softness.

This new formula boasts a nifty twist up package – much more upscale than the original and more like a lipstick. It makes my lips feel very hydrated, soft, shimmery and actually plumper.  This product is not marketed as a plumper, but It does seem to plump up my lips a little. Total Hydration has three light and very non-intrusive flavors: Sweet Peach, Soothing Oasis and Luscious Lemon Delight.

I wasn’t paid for this review but was sent a few chopsticks to sample. These are my unbiased opinion.

For more information you can check out all the new lip treatments at


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Jul 06


Corneotherapy – Healthy Skin Barrier Function

When I first heard this word, I have to admit I thought it had something to do with the eyes.  Corneotherapy has to do with the study of the skins barrier function. Barrier damage is often mistaken for dehydration when actually dehydration is often a symptom of the larger issue of barrier dysfunction. Lipids trap water between cells but when the lipids are damaged, water evaporates – causing the skin to become dehydrated. This is called TEWL “Trans Epidermal Water Loss”.  Inflammatory chemicals are also released when barrier function is in disrepair causing inflammation in the skin.

Barrier dysfunction also sets the stage for premature aging and inflammation. In order to solve many skin issues we must first address barrier function and repair. If we do not do that first and foremost, any positive changes in the skin may be short-lived. It really is all about maintaining and keeping a healthy barrier function to have our best skin.

In 1979, Dr. Peter Elias discovered lipids between skin cells – naming his discovery the “brick & mortar” model of the skin.  This was a very important discovery since before that we thought the skin cells were alone – learning that this lipid barrier exists changed the way we treat the skin.


When we have a healthy skin barrier our skin retains moisture, feels smooth and inflammation is lessened. When the barrier is damaged moisture escapes, skin feels rough and inflammation occurs.

There are many environmental influences on barrier damage:

  • UV Exposure
  • Climate Changes
  • Air Pollution
  • Tobacco Smoke
  • Cosmetics
  • Microbes
  • AHA’s, Retinoids, Peels
  • Allergens
  • Topical or Oral Drugs
  • Diet
  • Alcohol
  • Hot Water
  • Computer Screens
  • Smart Phones

There are also many Internal Influences on Barrier Damage

  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Emotional Stress
  • Hormones
  • Illness
  • Rosacea
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Acne
  • Acute Dermatitis

A healthy stratum corneum is our first line of defense and limits penetration into the body of:

  • environmental toxins
  • Microorganisms
  • Mold
  • Yeast
  • Fungus
  • Bacteria
  • Yeast
  • Insects

Our skin truly is our defense from the outside world and our stratum corneum is on average only as thick as one strand of the individuals hair.

The first person to assemble symptoms of Stratum Corneum damage under one treatable condition was internationally acclaimed research dermatologist Albert Kligman, MD.  Dr. Kligman named the process to repair damaged stratum corneum “Corneotherapy” in the 1960’s. Corneotherapy is an old term that is now becoming popular in esthetics.

The Three Core Principles of Corneotherapy:

1. Prevent: Avoid Exposure to barrier-damaging chemicals, products, environments and events

2. Protect: protect lipids from oxidation

3. Correct and Supplement: Use barrier repair, hydration and anti-inflammatory ingredients.

It important to avoid potential irritants and remember that most barrier damaging ingredients are dose-dependent.

  • Strong sulfates: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – 0.5% or higher
  • Strong Emulsifiers – used in moisturizers
  • Uncontrolled , Low pH AHA’s 3.0 or lower
  • Retinoids
  • Benzoyl Peroxide
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Esssential Oils: Cinnamon, Clove, Geranium, Peppermint, Sandalwood, Bergamot
  • Synthetic Fragrance
  • Avobenzone – chemical sunscreen

What can we do to repair and restore our lipid barrier? Ingredients to look for include:

  • Ceramides
  • Linoleic Acids
  • Tocopheryl Linoleate
  • Squalene
  • Cholesterol
  • Phtyosterols
  • Plant oils: Sterols, GLA, Omegas

Remove and Revive:

  • Glycolic and Lactic Acids – when you do light peels skin cell turnover rates increase, elastin and collagen levels increase and lipids are increased

Ingredients that trigger our own cells to create lipids:

  • Petrolatum
  • Phospholipids
  • Lecithin
  • Magnesium Ascorbic Phosphate
  • Farnesol/Farnesyl Acetate
  • Beta Glucans

Using gentle cleaners and applying serums is a great way to restore lipids and prevent lipid oxidation.  I recommend that when getting a facial clients bring their products with them to their appointment so their esthetician can see what products they are using to make sure they are the right ones for your skin. Using prescription Retinols over .025% can cause barrier damage as can harsh cleansers.

Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF) keeps skin moist – ingredients to look for

  • Urea
  • Lactates
  • Sugars
  • NaPCA
  • Metal Ions
  • Amino Acids

Humectants are very important for hydration and barrier function – some popular ones:

  • Panthenol
  • Honey
  • Hyaluronic Acid- Sodium Hyaluronate
  • Polysaccharides
  • Laminaria digitata
  • Lactic Acid
  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • Algae Peptides
  • Amino Acids

In closing, we want to avoid environments that cause barrier damage, use skincare products formulated specifically for barrier damaged skin, i.e.. “professional products”. We want to avoid irritants and common allergens, hydrate and seal and protect newly formed lipids from oxidation.




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