Hands of Time

hourglass

“There are years that ask questions and years that answer.”

– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

This quote has stuck with me since my days as an undergrad English major, while taking a class in the Harlem Renaissance .  Albeit this quote was not aesthetically intended, my mind was always revolving around this concept, particularly on how it can tie into skincare.  How?  Simple.  Time will answer the question as to how well you took care of your skin.

Most of us spend so much time focusing on taking care of our face but forget about other telling signs: our hands, neck and décolleté,  These overlooked areas are also prone to sun spots, fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration and redness.  If you have inadvertently neglected these areas, here are some solutions to rectify these issues.

Sunscreen /Targeted Creams

Inarguably the least expensive and easiest to use is broad spectrum sunscreen.  When we are driving, UV rays penetrate the glass causing damage to our hands and décolleté leading to pigmentation later on.  Extending your sunscreen application to these areas (which we should already be doing anyway) will help.

Certain creams can also help with the appearance if sun damage is minimal.  PCA Skin Perfecting Neck and Décolleté and Revison Skincare Nectifirm are examples of great products to look into.

Microdermabrasion/Chemical Peels

Exfoliation treatments such as microdermabrasion and chemical peels can provide improvements in the color, tone and texture of treated areas and typically don’t require much downtime.

Other Options

For skin that has extensive damage, a visit to a dermatologist or plastic surgeon would suit best where they could perform IPL treatments, lasers (Fraxel, Active FX or Thermage), Botox or surgery, depending on the results you are looking for.

Remember that prevention is always the best rule to adhere to and will save you time and money in the long run. 

 

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Purple Evening Look!

Steph Purple

A simple and pretty makeup look that enhances your eye color and is perfect for a night out!

Face

Foundation: Use your favorite foundation, tinted moisturizer or powder. (Smashbox Liquid Halo HD Foundation in 2)

Bronzer: I chose a  matte bronzer but shimmer can work too  (Too Faced Chocolate Soleil)

Blush:  Soft pink color  (Nars Blush in Douceur)

Eyes

Highlight: A light beige color on the lid

Contour: A medium brown on the crease

*I used a neutral palette for the highlight and contour colors so I don’t have specific shade names*

Inner Corner Lid: A shimmery silver color (NYX Eyeshadow in Snow Candy)

Lid:  A purple color on the lid  (Lancome Color Design Eyeshadow in Drama)

Liner:  I used black eyeliner to line both the lashline and waterline (Cailyn Line-Fix Gel Eyeliner in Black (top) and Urban Decay 24/7 Velvet Glide-On Eye Pencil in Black Velvet (bottom)).  Then, I used a small angled brush to smudge the same purple eyeshadow  I used on the lids (Drama) to the bottom lashline.

Mascara: Black mascara (Make Up For Ever Smoky Extravagant)

Lips

A  berry shade (Tarte LipSurgence Natural Lip Tint in Moody)

Purple Makeup

You can make this look a bit more dramatic by adding false eyelashes and rocking a red lip or tone it down by using a nude lip color.  

Happy Tuesday!  

 

 

 

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow!

With different methods of (temporary) hair removal, it might be hard to decide which route to go.   The two categories that comprise temporary hair removal are depilation and epilation.  Which is the best way to go?   Well, it boils down to your preference, results and, believe it or not, has more to do with your health than you think.

Depilation

Depilatory products remove hair at or near the level of the skin.  For the most part, hair will usually grow back within a couple of days,but since everyone’s hair growth pattern is different, it may take about week.  Shaving and chemical depilatories are examples of depilation.

razor

Shaving

Shaving is still one of the most common used methods in hair removal in that it is cheaper and easier.  Utilizing a sharp razor and shaving cream/lotion can result in less irritation, nicks and cuts.

 

veetDepilatories

Depilatories, something like Veet or Nair, are sometimes preferred by those who may be sensitive to razors or have resistant, coarse hair.  They work by dissolving hair at the skin level using chemicals such as sodium hydroxide, potassium hydroxide, thioglycolic acid or, calcium thioglycolate. A small patch test should be performed before a full application as chemical depilatories can result in skin irritations, rashes and allergies.

Epilation

Epilation is the process of removing hair from the follicle meaning you pull hair out from the root.  Tweezing, waxing and sugaring fall into this section. It takes about three weeks or more for hair to grow back.

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Tweezing

Tweezers are used to pull hair out by the root one at a time.  Tweezers can be used on eyebrows or on remaining hairs after waxing.  Although the process is slower, it can be an alternative for those sensitive to waxing hair on their face.

threading

Threading

In threading, a piece of cotton thread is twisted and rolled along the surface of skin, entwining the hair in the thread and lifting it out of the follicle.  Skin can get a little red and sore but unlike waxing, majpr irritation is avoided as the top layer of dead skin is not stripped off in the process.

sugaring

Sugaring

Sugaring can be used on those individuals who have sensitive skin or who are sensitive to waxes.  Sugar and lemon are mixed together and heated into a honey-type consistency, which is then molded into a ball and pressed onto the skin and quickly stripped away.  Unlike waxing, it can be removed in the direction of the hair growth, which is less irritating than waxing and the sugar paste adheres only to the hair.

waxing

Waxing

Waxing is the most frequently used epilator as it takes hair longer to grow back, usually 4-6 weeks, and the skin feels smoother without the stubble.  Depending on the service being done, either hard wax or soft wax will be used and the waxes are made primarily of resins and beeswax.  It’s faster than tweezing or threading as larger areas can be covered and adds a minor exfoliation effect.  However, if you have a low pain threshold, this may not be the best option for you.

caution

Look Out For…

Perhaps the most important things to look for or consider aside from knowing a brief description of the processes themselves are the following:

Always make sure the location you visit is clean.  Instruments used should be properly disinfected and stored away.

If you’re getting a waxing service, ask about their double-dipping policy.   For hygienic and health purposes, a new waxing stick/spatula should be used each time the wax is applied to your body.  Every.  Single.  Time.  If that is not the case, run far away!

If you:

  • use Retin-A
  • take Accutane,
  • have had recent chemical peels, laser treatment or microdermabrasion
  • use products that contain AHAs or BHAs or retinol
  •  have varicose veins
  • take high blood pressure medications
  • have any allergies
  • used tanning beds (not advisable)

please disclose this information in your consultation card and/ or inform the skin therapist.  Certain medications can make you bruise easily and can pull your skin off!  My skin has lifted before and trust me, it’s painful and takes a while to heal.  Your safety is our priority!

Never discontinue your medications without consulting your physician first.

Infected skin- herpes simplex, acne, rashes or inflamed skin-or open lesions is a contraindication to any treatment.  Wait until the breakout is clear.

Avoid sun exposure, exfoliation, excessive heat (hot tubs, suanas) for at least 24-48 hours after waxing.

I hope this information gives you some insight on what to expect when looking into hair removal services. Which method do you prefer and why?

Summer Leaving You Looking Like A Lobster?

lobster

Days spent at the beach or by the pool is one reason we love summer but sometimes this enjoyment renders one caveat: leaving us lobster hued.  Sunburns can be painful and in some cases be accompanied by blisters.  Note:  If you have blisters and severe swelling, seek medical attention immediately.

But once your sunburn heals and the peeling has stopped, all is good right?  Not really.  Sunburns can double your chance of developing melanoma later in life but it may take several years for the damage to show up.

So what is a sunburn and how do we get relief?

Simply put, your skin turning red is an indication that your skin has been severely damaged due to extreme UV exposure causing blood vessels to dilate.  The skin starts to lose moisture and hydration causing a feeling of tightness. Although our body can cope with minimal amounts of sun damage, the danger happens when our DNA becomes damaged and its repair process is compromised, which can lead to skin cancer.

Application

application

Application and reapplication of sunscreen is crucial.  Ensure you are applying enough- a teaspoon for the face and one ounce shot-glass size for the body- and reapply about every two hours.

Hydration

water

Your body is overheated so it’s important to drink a lot of water.

Skim Milk Cold Compress

skim milk

A cold compress or cloths soaked in skim milk can relieve pain-skim milk is the preferred choice because it does not have any fat content. The protein found in milk binds to the burned skin to soothe the pain.

OTC Remedies

meds

Aspirin or ibuprofen can slow down the inflammatory reaction.

Application of a 1% hydrocortisone cream may help with sunburn pain and swelling.

Simple DIY Remedy

 

yogurt

Plain cold yogurt can be used on sunburned areas.  Leave on for 10-20 minutes, then rinse off.

Final Say

Until your skin heals, stay away from the sun, heat, friction and excessive exercise and do not pick at loose skin-it can scar!  Avoid exfoliating and keep your skincare regimen simple.  The key is to soothe and calm inflammation.

 

Disclaimer: The contents on this website, and any related links, are provided for general informational purposes and should NOT be considered medical advice. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here. Please consult a healthcare provider if you have any questions about a particular health condition.

 

When Is The Last Time You Checked-In?

massage

No, I don’t mean the status check-in, but with yourself.  When our daily life screams go, go, go, it’s good to push pause, at least for a couple of minutes.  Sitting at a computer all day, working out, the stress of everyday life, etc can take a toll on us and  even worse, it can lead to chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is not good for your skin, for your overall well-being, it’s not good period.  After a weird week and a bit of lower back discomfort, I decided to book a massage, trying hard not to think twice about it.  Since  I am  the type of person who’s mind is always thinking non-stop (except when I am sleeping), forcing myself to relax is somewhat of a battle, but when I am able to let go, I feel better.  Allotting some time to check-in with myself allows me to think, Is it really worth it to stress over everything?  A tensed demeanor looks good on no one.

Here’s what I learned about massages-it does a good deal more than you might think!-and popular types.

Therapeutic Benefits of Touch/Massage

  • Decreases stress and anxiety

 

  • Reduces pain and boosts the immune system

 

  • Can increase air flow in asthmatics

 

  • Affects brain waves, breathing, circulation and heart rate

 

  • Relieves muscle tension and pain

 

Popular Massage Treatments

Swedish Massage

The Swedish massage is the most common in the U.S. and uses long, smooth strokes, kneading and circular movements that can be gentle and relaxing.

Deep Tissue

Deep tissue massages target the deeper layers of muscles and connective tissue.  This type of massage benefits those who have chronically tight or painful muscles, repetitive strain, postural problems, or recovery from injury.

*Note: People often feel sore for one to two days after

Hot Stone 

Heated smooth stones are placed on certain points on the body to warm and loosen tight muscles.  This is a good alternative to deep tissue.

Alternative Massage Techniques

While receiving a massage is very beneficial, there are also instances in which receiving a massage is not a good idea.  If you have open lesions or anything contagious, you need to wait until it’s all cleared up to receive a treatment.  Also, certain health conditions can contraindicate a treatment due to the increased circulation.  Below are a few alternative treatments that can be performed but ALWAYS check in with your physician first to ensure your safety.

Acupressure

Acupressure is an oriental technique of applying pressure to specific points of the body to release muscle tension and restore balance.

Pressure Point

Similar to acupressure, each point has a movement that is repeated 3-6 times.  Sometimes, a blend of essential oils are used.

Foot Reflexology

This technique applies pressure to the feet based on a system of zones and areas on the feet that directly correspond to the anatomy of the body.  Foot reflexology causes relaxation, increased circulation and brings balance to the entire body.

relax Your problems will be there waiting for you so why not take some time to not worry about them? 

 

 

My Current Favorite Exfoliators!

Exfoliating is a great and easy way to achieve a healthy complexion and to improve texture of skin.  Here are some exfoliators that have found their way (and stayed!) in my skincare routine.

exfolikate

Sephora, $85; travel-size, $22

Kate Somerville Exfolikate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment

One of my favorite products that I find myself repurchasing every so often, this exfoliant is truly intense.  As soon as you apply it, you immediately feel a tingly sensation and can feel your blood circulating thanks to the cinnamon, acids and enzymes found in here.  I definitely have a glow after using it and my complexion feels (and looks) super soft.  I tend to pick up the travel sized version of this at Sephora since it’s more wallet friendly and the tube lasts a good 3-4 months.

*For sensitive skin, there is Kate Somerville Exfolikate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment

daily micro

Ulta, $52

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant

I was introduced to this product in esthetic school and while it took me a while to warm up to it, once I learned how to correctly use it, I love it.  First of all, this product is a rice-based powder that requires water to activate.  You dispense a little bit of product onto wet hands and rub them together to form what becomes a creamy paste.  Once you create the paste, you massage it over your face, leave it on for about a minute or so, and then rinse off.   What’s great about this gentle but effective scrub is that you can mix it in with your cleanser to get that ‘deep’ clean feel.

Note* Although the name says Daily Microfoliant, I would use this no more than 3x per day as it can be too drying.  Also, don’t leave this in your shower as you can end up with a clumpy mess.

bha serum

reneerouleau.com, $46.50

 

Renee Rouleau BHA Clarifying Serum, $46.50

A new favorite that has found its way into my skincare routine, this exfoliating serum is especially great if you have textural concerns.  I tend to get little whiteheads all over my forehead and this blend of lactic, salicylic and glycolic acid  has significantly reduced them-people have actually noticed the smoother complexion!  I stopped using it for a few weeks only to have the whiteheads develop again, so I know this particular product is what is making a difference.  Unlike the other exfoliants featured here, this one is unique in that you leave it on overnight.

gentle exfol

PCA Skin Representative/Dermstore.com, $25

PCA Skin Gentle Scrub, $25

If you have normal to dry skin and want something that is fragrance free, this would be an apt choice.  Round beads that are suspended in a creamy base of aloe vera leaf juice, glycolic acid and jojoba seed oil gently polish away dead skin cells.  Bonus:  The bottle is 7 oz.

What is your favorite exfoliator? 

 

You Want Me To Use An Acid On My Face?

HA2

Back when I was taking my esthetics course, or beauty school as some may recognize it, we had a department open house in which people were welcome to stop by and learn about the services we provided.  We conducted a complimentary skin analysis and invited them to come back and experience a facial that would suit their skin needs. I remember one lady who asked me what I recommended for her combination skin to which I suggested a moisturizer or serum that contained hyaluronic acid.

The look of sheer horror she expressed followed by, “You want me to use an acid on my face?” is something I won’t forget.  I quickly explained that this ingredient was nothing like the battery acid found in a car or those in chemical peels but rather an excellent way to introduce hydration into the skin- she looked relieved.  Nevertheless, perhaps you’ve heard about this ingredient and thought the same thing so here’s the scoop on what makes this ingredient so coveted.

Who: Hyaluronic Acid (HA)

What it is: A glycosaminoglycan (GAG)/humectant that attracts moisture to your skin cells.  It increases the water content in the epidermis by drawing moisture from surrounding air.

Where it’s found: HA is a substance that is naturally found in our bodies.  It cushions and lubricates our joints, eyes and connective tissues.

Look for hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate in skincare ingredients.  Popular fillers like Juvederm, Restylane and Perlane utilize HA as well.

Why it’s important:  As we age, our natural production of HA declines.  HA serves an important role in cell protection, lubrication and maintenance of connective tissue.  It also helps retain moisture  in skin since it can hold 1000 times its weight in water.  Think of it like a drink of water for your skin.  When your skin is dehydrated or dry, our complexion can look aged and feel tight.

How it affects the skin:  HA gives turgor and elasticity to the skin.  Increased water in the skin is the easiest way to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, by plumping up fine lines and wrinkles.  This leads to a more youthful appearance, making it a great anti-aging treatment.  Because it is not an oil, it is virtually ideal f for all skin types, including acne.

Hyaluronic acid doesn’t sound that bad now after all, right?