What are Age Spots?

Updated March 2018

Age Spots or Liver Spots as they are sometimes called are not really caused by aging. Though they do show up as we get older, they are actually caused by sun damage which is why they show up on areas that tend to get more sun like our hands, chest and face. Bleaching creams, peels and lightening treatments may lessen their appearance but to rule out more serious problems, check with your dermatologist first.

Sunscreen is key to prevent further damage but also to stop the spots from getting darker.

My favorite!

Vitamin C is an ingredient that will help the current spots by brightening and evening the skin tone.

Retinol is similar to vitamin c but much stronger. This gets deeper into the skin creating even more results.



Cetaphil. Is it Actually Good For Your Skin?

Cetaphil is definitely one of the most common cleansers that I find my new clients using. It is a deceitful product and most think that it is a “pretty good” cleanser and gentle for the skin. At one point, years ago, I used this cleanser too. Now that I know better, I would never recommend it to anyone and I always get annoyed when I hear that a Dermatologist has told my client it is good for the skin. Below is an excerpt from a blog post that I found about Cetaphil. She explains it better than I can.

Why Not Use Cetaphil?

I cannot even begin to tell you how many people I have spoken to who have been recommended to use this cleanser, for their so named ‘sensitive’ skin concerns. I would love to share my professional knowledge regarding the Cetaphil cleanser formulation, with specific regard as to what it is actually doing for your skin – and the topic regarding ‘sensitive’ skin is one best left for another day!

There are a multitude of reasons why skin breaks down, creating inflammation – otherwise known a ‘sensitivity’. For a cleanser that is advertised worldwide by Galderma as “developed by dermatologists especially for sensitive skin, [this] soap substitute preserves your skin’s natural protective oils”. I’m quite adamant that they have missed their mark… totally!

Why not use Cetaphil cleanser Spa & Beauty Therapy Articles In an interesting formulation addition, Cetaphil is loaded with the emulsifier sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), one of the most overused synthetic skin cosmetic ingredients that actually strips your skins natural lipid barrier as it ‘cleanses’ your skin. This surfactant is very unpopular with every serious skin therapist as its effect renders your skin more susceptible to external irritants, increases internal inflammation as your skin immune cells become overagitated, heightening redness & possible breakout as it negatively impacts your natural pH. Otherwise known as your ‘acid mantle’, our natural pH balance is our first line of defense that protects our skin in numerous ways, including against invading microbes. I do think it is pretty odd that Galderma call their cleanser ‘pH balanced’ – as, yes, the actual entire formulation inside the bottle may be – but as soon as there is contact with skin it completely interferes with our pH. In reality there no balance there at all!

Why not use Cetaphil cleanser Spa & Beauty Therapy Articles

Some skins will hide the presentation of inflammatory symptoms better than others, although it is important to note that it IS happening, whether you can immediately see and feel it, or not. This is what alarms me about so many products like this, and why I feel compelled to share!

SLS is used because it is cheap and easy to synthetically manufacture. You can find SLS in body washes, shampoos, toothpastes, cleansers and in cleaning products. These are all high contact products, which is a scary thought. I have certainly easily and affordably chosen to limit or eliminate my daily exposure to this ingredient!

Written by Pia Kynoch

Click here to shop for cleansers that are good for the skin.


Acne and Dairy

Dairy has been linked to acne for a long time. It isn’t the cause for everyone but it is for some and if you are suffering from acne and have done everything RIGHT (good skin care products for your skin, consistency, no acne meds) and you still can’t get rid of it, this might be worth trying. When I tell people this, they are never happy and usually reluctant. Who wants to give up ice cream? So you have to make a decision. What is more important to you? Your skin or your ice cream?

I have this client who is much older and she complained every time I saw her about her breakouts (not acne but always has 4-5 pimples). I used to see her every 3 weeks and she was using a good regimen and was so frustrated that at her age she was still breaking out. I tried to make her feel better by telling her she should be happy that everything was still working but that didn’t help. 🙂 I kept telling her that maybe she should give up dairy. I told her that there have been studies about it and sometimes there is a link. She wasn’t excited about it so she didn’t do it but she kept complaining. Then, I didn’t see her for about 6 months. About 1 month ago she called me and told me that she finally decided to give up on dairy and now very rarely gets pimples. It only took about 2 months for her to see a difference.


I don’t always (ok, I usually don’t) agree with Dermatologists and how they treat acne. I do not think that medications are the way to go for most people. Plus, their other recommendations drive me crazy too! But when I came across this article from Dr. William F. Danby, I couldn’t argue with it. It makes sense and now I’ve seen the proof (I also have a friend who had full blown acne and she gave up dairy and got great results). He has done the research on acne and dairy so I trust his information. Here is what he had to say…

Can you briefly explain what is in dairy that causes acne?

Milk raises insulin levels and insulin-like growth hormone-1 (IGF-1) levels. These two polypeptide hormones work together to open the male hormone receptors—also known as androgen receptors—that turn on acne. (And this happens in both males and females.) The milk also contains several male steroidal hormones that go directly to those open receptors…So it’s Nature’s Perfect Food for making acne.

Does the dairy-acne link have anything to do with the use of antibiotics or growth hormones in cows? Would switching to organic, hormone-free, antiobiotic-free, grass-fed dairy prevent skin problems?

The hormones that are in organic milk are the ones that are in all milk, including human mother’s milk. These are anabolic steroids and are designed to make babies grow, whether cow babies or human babies. The hormone that was injected into cows for several years, bovine somatotropin (BST) or recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), is now used less and less (major thanks to Wal-Mart for stopping selling milk produced with it).

Does all dairy cause acne, or is it only certain products? (i.e. would yogurt or certain dairy products be more ok than others?)

I’ve seen patients with acne caused by every kind of dairy product, with the possible exception of well-cooked pizza cheese. I suspect, but cannot yet prove, that the heat “denatures” the polypeptide hormones and neutralizes them.

Why doesn’t dairy cause acne for everyone?

Some lucky people don’t have the genes to make acne. They’re the ones with the faces that up close seem to have no pores—lucky them.

We do not yet know what exactly is the hormone/gene combination is that is missing in them that is present in about 85-90% of the population.

Oftentimes patients with acne are trying a million things at once to resolve their skin problems, so how do you know if dairy is the culprit?

First you need to realize that it takes three to four months for a pore to become plugged and inflamed, and it often takes six months to slow it down and let it heal.

So while it’s possible to flare an acne pustule quickly with some foods, the plugged pore has to have already started, and it is just given an extra inflammatory boost by things like chocolate and iodine. These foods don’t cause acne, but they can make pre-existing acne flare quite impressively and quite quickly.

The bottom line answer is to stop all dairy products totally for six months, and if that doesn’t do it you should go on a full paleolithic diet. If you’re on birth control, ask a dermatologist which ones are better for preventing or even treating acne. If you’re an athlete or sports-minded and you take protein powder supplements, avoid whey, casein, caseinates, milk solids, or anything that promotes growth by stimulating IGF-1 production.

I’m constantly amazed by patients and their parents who want something “natural” to treat their acne, but don’t understand that stopping the absolutely most obvious un-natural thing they are doing, consuming diry from another species has to be the most natural thing to do. – Briana Rognlin (questions written by)



Replacing One Problem for Another??

Doesn’t it look like her face hurts in that picture?


Why can’t products just fix the skin without causing another problem? Why are so many Dermatologists and Estheticians prescribing methods that aren’t healthy for the skin? Over use of products can be just as damaging as the skin issue itself. I always knew the acne medications and OTC acne products dried out the skin but let me give you a list of problems my clients have traded…

1. Softer fine lines and wrinkles using Retin-A for many, many years- Now has thin skin and is super sensitive to a lot of products limiting her ability to fix or stop any other issues. (this is a VERY common one)

2. Keeping acne/breakouts to a minimum by using salicylic acid on her skin, overnight and Renova (Tretinoin)- Now has red, raised bumps on her face from the reaction of using the 2 together…she hasn’t been told to stop yet! (well, I suggested she did 🙂 )

3. Using a cleanser with Glycolic Acid in it once and sometimes twice a day for clearer skin- Now has thin skin and reacts to pretty much everything unless it is SUPER mild. And with this one, you may not know you are reacting until you have the side effects.

4. Applying straight Benzoyl Peroxide to the skin, at night, and leaving it on to help get rid of acne- Now has super dry skin and acne!

These ingredients/products also make you more sensitive to the sun. Well, if you live in southern California, that is a pretty hard thing to avoid. If you live an active outdoor lifestyle, it is even harder to avoid. Sunscreen is never an option but when using this stuff, you CANNOT go a day without it.

All of the above will force your skin to AGE FASTER. It will BREAK DOWN THE COLLAGEN AND ELASTIN (you know, the stuff that keeps the skin firm). I don’t blame my clients or the customers at Target for doing the wrong thing or choosing the wrong products. I blame the industry for misleading them. Retin-A can be fine, for a short time but not for the rest of their life. And, it seems, most are not educated on what these ingredients can do long-term. Clients should know what a product is going to do, good and bad, so that they can decide if it is worth it.

I don’t think I know everything about skin and skin care ingredients but I do care about my clients and their skin. I just want their skin to be healthy without misleading them and without making them spend a fortune. I am very honest. If someone asks me how they can get rid of their age spots on their face, I ask about their outdoor activity level first. If the sun is your friend, that’s ok, but that means you probably have to live with those spots. I will not age someone faster so that I can fix something. I only want to help the skin improve.

PS I know I have more examples of trading one problem for another but that is all I can think of for now. 🙂





2 Beauty Myths

I was reading some beauty myths and I wanted to share them with you. One made me mad, frustrated and confused. The other made me laugh.

1. Putting Vaseline on your face nightly will prevent wrinkles– I agree that this is not true. The part that made me mad, frustrated and confused was what the dermatologist said, “Petroleum jelly is the strongest moisturizer there is because it forces oils into the skin and prevents them from evaporating.”  He needed to elaborate on this. If you have oily skin, this may work for you but what about those of us with dry skin? I don’t have any oil in my skin so this would be absolutely useless on my face. At least the article mentioned the potential for breakouts that Vaseline can cause.

Often, not enough information is given, so people end up doing the wrong things for their skin.


2. Preparation H deflates puffiness– This made me laugh. Apparently the ingredient in the product that used to help us with this is no longer available in the U.S. version. They reformulated it in 1994! So basically all it will do now is dry out your skin and inflame your skin. Stay away from it!! 🙂