Save Your Skin During the Holidays!

Shopping, parties, family in town, traveling, etc. There are so many things going on this time of year that sometimes we neglect ourselves and that means, our skin. I’ve compiled a short list of things to remember to save your skin so you don’t have to play catch up in January. It’s bad enough the credit card bills come piling in, do we also need the wrinkles and dry skin?

1. Wear Your Sunscreen– Even though the sun is gone, we still need to be aware of the UVA rays that are present year round. These are the rays that can cause skin cancer and premature aging.

My favorite!

2. If you’re stressed out, your skin will show it. I know that being “stress free” isn’t always an option but it’s important to take a time-out every once in a while. Go do some yoga, get a pedicure, a facial (call me!) or just relax by the fire. We all know these things but we need to be reminded.

3. Manicures- All your running around at the malls and cooking are going to wreak havoc on your hands and nails. Mix any oil (olive, jojoba, grapeseed) with a lotion or apply by itself for extra hydration. If you haven’t already, try a Gel manicure. I love them! Lasts about 2-3 weeks and the best part, at least for me, you don’t have to wait for them to dry! Chipping isn’t really an issue either. It happens but it is pretty rare. A little more expensive than a regular manicure but just think what your sanity is worth. 🙂

4. Chapped Lips- This is when you need a Lip BALM, not a chapstick. A balm will heal your lips and a chapstick will protect your lips. Burt’s Bees is my absolute favorite.

5. Sore Feet- Peppermint is the answer. You can find it in scrubs and lotions and it will make your feet feel fantastic! Peppermint is also great for headaches. I use an inexpensive peppermint oil and put it where the headache is and most often I won’t have to take medicine.

6. Dry Skin- How many times can I talk about this during this time of year? I think it makes it in every blog post! Did you know that people with dry skin tend to age faster than those with oily skin? Yep, there is an advantage to oily skin. 🙂 Keep your skin hydrated and not just your face. I’m obsessed with grapeseed oil so that is my go-to oil. Just make sure you use it consistently. Those heaters can dry out our skin and make things worse. Add a humidifier to your bedroom and turn it on at night. That can help keep the skin hydrated, especially if you turn on the heater.

7. Makeup- Keep it light and dewy and wash your face every night!

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Are You Taking Care of Your Chest?

I have a lot of older clients that always ask me about their chest. They are concerned about sun damage, fine lines and wrinkles. Once the damage is done, it is much more difficult to treat the skin…but not impossible. Start caring for your skin now! The younger you are, the more you can do to prevent the damage. Below I have listed options for preventing and correcting this often neglected area.

1. Exfoliation. Just like your face, you body needs to be exfoliated to get rid of the dry skin so that products can properly penetrate and do the job correctly. Dead skin is an unwanted barrier. Unlike your face, you can exfoliate this area more often. I recommend using a Konjac Body Sponge every other day and a Glycolic Cleanser about 2-3x a week.

bath-sponges

2. Treat the Skin. If you are using serums on your face, then apply them on your neck and chest too. Immediately after a shower.

3. Grapeseed Oil. This is great from head to toe. I personally use it all over my body and my skin is super soft. Even better, this is a great product for aging. Grapeseed Oil should be used at night after you get out of the shower.

grape-seed-oil-6oz

4. SPF. Always, always, always wear sunscreen. This is true for your face and body. Don’t just extend it from your face, hoping it is enough for your neck and chest. Use enough that you are fully covered.

Hydration is the key to making fine lines and wrinkles look less obvious. The drier your skin is (anywhere on the body), the more you will see what you don’t want to show the world.

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Acne Scars. How to Get Rid of Them.

I was recently asked how to get rid of those pesky marks left on your skin from a blemish. You know the ones…they are dark, red and purple and stick around for weeks and sometimes months.
It becomes dark because the inflammation from the blemish triggers the skin to produce pigment cells. Even if you didn’t pick at the blemish, it can still leave a scar (even though it will fade in time, it’s still considered a scar) because it stretches and damages the surrounding tissue.

1. The most important thing to do: Wear sunscreen. Every single day. There are no exceptions to this. Any exposure to UV rays will stimulate the melanin cells, making it more red and darker for a longer time (maybe forever).

2. Using a chemical and physical exfoliant will help stimulate new, healthy cells while removing the scarred, damaged cells.

3. Vitamin C will brighten the skin and help correct the problem.

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Acne. How to Improve Your Skin

Million dollar question, right? Sometimes acne can simply be caused by using the wrong products or not washing your skin at all. If this is the case, improving your skin will be much easier. Unfortunately, if your acne is hormonal then it will be much more difficult. We can usually improve the clarity, frequency and intensity though. Here are some tips…

1. Be consistent. Cleanse your skin every night and every morning.

2. Use products that are right for your skin and that will balance out the oil without dehydrating. Most OTC (over-the-counter, NOT professional) acne products take everything out of your skin and don’t replenish it. This can make things worse and/or cause you to age quicker.

3. Use Grapeseed Oil. This will hydrate your skin and balance the oil. Read here for al the benefits. My clients use and love this! It really does work. Cleanse, tone and apply oil. If you are using serums, apply those first and then the oil. A little goes a long way.

girl-with-pimples-and-mirror

4. Keep your pillowcase clean. Even though you are washing your face every night, this is still important. If have a more severe case, then you should be changing/washing it at least every week.

5. Use alcohol to clean your phones and sunglasses. Bacteria spreads very easily.

6. Don’t touch or pick at your face.

7. Get regular facials. Having an expert (like me!) do extractions helps. It’s better than you doing it and healthier for your skin.

8. Dairy can aggravate acne in some people. Give it up for 6-12 weeks to see if there is any significant improvement.

9. Drink lots and lots of water.

10. Make sure you aren’t using any pore clogging makeup. Heavy or thick foundations are not good for the skin. Try not reapply as the day goes on.

11. Wash your makeup brushes. You should wash them with baby shampoo at least twice a month and using a brush cleaner every single day. Of course, this is for people that wear makeup everyday. Adjust if necessary but those are the guidelines. Don’t reuse sponges and don’t use powder puffs.

12. Get a physical exfoliant like a sponge because it’s gentle.

13. Wear SPF because you should anyway but also because sometimes the sun can darken the blemishes and leave your skin with scars and hyper pigmentation.

14. Salicylic Acid should be in your products. This is dehydrating so remember to use other products that will replenish water loss. (see #3)

15. Be gentle. You don’t have to scrub hard or a lot to get results. Hopefully you are using effective products so that they can do all the work for you.

16. Have patience and know that it will not go away in a day or even a week. Avoid buying anything that tells you differently.

18. Book a consultation and/or facial with me. I can help! Book Here!!

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Tomorrow- Products to Avoid and Why

Be Sun Smart This Summer, 2013

Protecting your skin from the sun is more than just wearing sunscreen. Here are some tips to save your skin this summer and keep you looking young!

1. Even if you have damaged skin, it is never too late to start doing everything you can to protect yourself. Having the mentality that you have already done the damage so it doesn’t matter it not the way to go. Things can get worse!

2. Wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. It should say it on the label on the glasses. Large-framed, close-ftting frames are best to provide ultimate protection to your eyes. The skin is much thinner therefore it needs to be extra protected. If you can, have an extra pair in your car so that you never are without.

3. Sunscreens that protect against UVB and UVA rays are most important. The sunscreen factor is only for UVB rays. Look for these ingredients to block UVA rays… avobenzone (Parsol 1789), octocrylene, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, oxybenzone and Mexoryl SX (also called ecamsule). Other clues on the bottle? Words like “broad spectrum,” “multispectrum” or “UVA/UVB protection.” Zinc oxide is my favorite and has definitely helped me avoid a burn when I haven’t been able to avoid the sun.

4. Make sure you are applying enough sunscreen. The recommended amount for an adult (average) is 1oz and 1/2oz for a child. Reapply every 2 hours. Or you can do the math… Take the SPF # and multiply (x) that by how long it takes for you to burn (be realistic). Example: 15SPF x 15minutes to burn = 225 (3 hours, 45 minutes) That is how often YOU should reapply.

5. Price doesn’t matter when it comes to sunscreen. Well, I say that with everything. 🙂 Buy cheap when it comes BODY sunscreen because as long as it does the job you need it to do, you’re good! When it comes to your face, buy what is good and healthy for your skin. Not all face sunscreens are created equal and some will feel greasy or heavy or whatever. Find one you like and one that you know you will use everyday.

My favorite! Click to order online.
My favorite!

6. You don’t need anything higher than SPF 30. Everything else is just chemicals.

7. Don’t just stop at sunscreen. Wear a hat, use an umbrella and avoid the sun when it is strongest (10-2).

8. Don’t rely on the labels. “Waterproof”, “water-resistant”, “sweat-proof”, “protects all day.” The meanings vary from bottle to bottle and it doesn’t matter anyway because once you are exposed to the sun, the active ingredients begin to break down.

9. 90% of suns aging effects is incidental and not from laying on the beach all day. The sun can penetrate through windows and more often than not, those who don’t wear sunscreen everyday, have more damage on their left side of their face than their right.

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If you still find yourself with a burn…

TRY THESE TIPS!

Vitamin D for Your Skin

“Vitamin D is only manufactured in one place- the skin. As people age, the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D declines. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to chronic skin conditions, such as rosacea, eczema and psoriasis. Heavy wrinkling on the face and body results as people bone density due to lack of vitamin D.” Celeste Hilling, Skin Inc.

Now that we know how important vitamin D is, how do we get more of it? You’ll find it in foods like salmon, tuna, cheese and mushrooms. They add it to products like cereal, milk and yogurt. Here is the downside of that…less than 1% of what is ingested makes its way to the skin. So it seems that trying to get more of it internally is not the answer.

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The sun. This is the best way to get vitamin D but now you have to worry about the negatives of sun exposure. The body will make vitamin D when it is directly exposed to the sun. It does not work through windows and is less effective on cloudy days.

So find your balance. Wear appropriate clothing, apply SPF (at least 15) and enjoy the outdoors. We are very lucky in southern California, we get a lot of sun year round. Be responsible but get your vitamin D. It’s good for your skin. It’s good for your body.

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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.

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Foundation and SPF

We all want our morning routine to be quick and easy but sometimes taking shortcuts isn’t the best for our skin. So many foundations have sunscreen in them today and it seems that it would be one less step to do. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The number on the bottle (ex: SPF 15) is not quite accurate. You would have to apply about 7x the amount of foundation to actually get that number. And hopefully, no one is wearing that much makeup! Below are some tips to protecting your skin and looking your best.

  1. Skin Care Products before Makeup. Always. Sunscreen is considered skin care.
  2. SPF in your foundation is not necessary and will not provide the protection you need.
  3. If you wear Tinted Moisturizer, you should still wear a regular moisturizer. I know this can be confusing. Why should you wear both? It goes to skin tip #1…skin care products before makeup. Tinted Moisturizer is makeup. Apply your regular moisturizer first so the color doesn’t seep into dry patches and/or blemishes. It will give you a more even finish.
  4. Sunscreen should never be skipped. Rain or shine your skin is still exposed to UV rays.
My favorite!

 

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I Love Vitamin C!

Are you using vitamin C on your skin? It really can do wonders and make a big difference. I think it’s important to use a Vitamin C serum daily but I have developed a new facial that is all about infusing it into your skin.

One of the most powerful functions of Vitamin C is it’s role in the production of collagen. As you age, collagen breaks down and wrinkles begin to form. Stabilizing your skin’s levels of Vitamin C can help to counteract wrinkle formation by increasing collagen production.

Age spots are essentially sun damage, and Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant, shown to reduce the number of sunburned cells as well as reverse age-related damage to the skin. It does not replace sunscreen, but protects Vitamin C protects against and may repair UV damage, like discoloration and fine lines.

 

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Dermatologist for Acne?

I don’t always post from other blogs but lately I have been hearing so many people talk about their experiences with a Dermatologist for acne. This post was written so well I didn’t think it was necessary to write my own.

Updated 8-31-17  I originally posted this 3 years ago and I still hear the same things from clients. Learning HOW to take care of your skin and using the right products for YOUR skin is what is best. No matter what.

WHY I REGRET GOING TO DERMATOLOGISTS FOR ACNE

It seemed so obvious at the time. My whole family is oily and acne prone. My siblings were both on Accutane. Dermatologists are seen as the first stop for acne problems. It was covered by insurance. After the Proactiv failure, it seemed like the next logical step.

What actually happened was a series of disappointing appointments. In each five to ten minute session, after hours in the waiting room, I was asked what skin care I was using (Blackhead Eliminating Scrub, nothing else), given a few expensive prescriptions, and sent to the pharmacist. When I told them I was getting cystic acne, they didn’t believe me because it was never present at the time of the appointments. I was never asked about my diet. I was never asked about my usual sun exposure, just vaguely told that the medications could make me more sun sensitive. I never had a proper skin analysis. I was never told what my skin type was (combination dry, not oily). I wasn’t asked how often I washed my pillowcase (not enough). I wasn’t asked whether I picked (I do).

At this point, I don’t even remember all of the different expensive medications they gave me over the years. I remember Benzoyl Peroxide, Differen, Tazorac, Retin-A, Cetaphil, and some sort of liquid blotter in a bottle. I know there were more. My skin only got worse when using any of them. I saw no decrease in acne and a sharp increase in redness, peeling, and shininess. I was mocked incessantly about how shiny my face was by the other students in elementary school. They were right- my giant forehead (fivehead) reflected like a mirror and was even more prominent than usual, something I was very self conscious about. .

The shine was a combination of raw skin and product buildup. The top layer of my forehead skin had peeled off early on and never seemed to grow back. I kept using the products, constantly hearing, “It has to get worse before it gets better.” Except it never got better. It got worse and worse and worse. My horrible tendency to pick at the flaking skin did not help at all, and I now have plenty of post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This wasn’t at all helped by the 30 minutes of sun exposure at prime sun hours during recess every school day and full days on weekends. I was told to “avoid excess sun exposure,” which in my 11 year old brain meant “don’t lay out in the sun” which I didn’t do anyway. They did not make it clear to me that any sun exposure on my glow in the dark complexion was both counterproductive to my acne and would make every inflammation problem I was having far worse. Eventually I stopped using all of the prescriptions and just let them sit in a drawer untouched.

Don’t get me wrong- there are plenty of cases where dermatologists have helped dramatically. There are many that I’m sure do thorough consultations, many who truly help acne and rosacea cases. Accutane was very effective treating the deep cystic acne of my siblings. I have personally told many clients to see a dermatologist for suspicious spots, at least two of which have been diagnosed as skin cancer (basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma). Dermatologists help with diseases and cancer. They are indispensable.

However, as a nurse practitioner puts it, “Their product toolboxes are too small.” Beautification of skin is the entirety of what an Esthetician does. Appointments are generally an hour or more. A good Esthetician will ask in depth questions about a client’s routines, lifestyle, history and issues. Skin care routines will be recommended, adjusted, perfected. Treatments are done not only to beautify the skin but to calm the mind and body. The stress cycle will be explained and discussed. Exfoliation, extractions, and hydrating masks can be done to speed up the improvement of a new skin care routine.

Lauri Shea, LE

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