Blackheads 101!

Hi readers!  Hope your week is going well. 🙂

Nothing crinkles the nose faster than the sight of blackheads taking up residence on your face.  It’s expected during our teenage years when our body is going through changes but sometimes you find that they continue to form on your face well past your puberty stage. So, what are blackheads and more importantly, what can you do to manage them? Let’s take a look.

Blackheads/Whiteheads Defined 

Blackheads and whiteheads fall into a category known as comedones.  A comedone is caused when the follicle (pore) becomes congested with dead skin cells, sebum (oil), and other debris.

Open comedones, or blackheads, are open at the surface and exposed to air. This causes the sebum and debris to oxidize resulting in their dark color.  Closed comedones, or whiteheads, form when the pore is completely blocked and no air enters the plugged follicle.

Blackheads

Causes of Blackheads/Whiteheads 

  • Excessive oil production
  • Build up of dead skin cells
  • Improper cleansing
  • Using products that are not compatible to your skin type

How to Treat Blackheads/Whiteheads 

Thorough Cleansing 

Make sure that when you’re cleansing your face, you also focus on the hairline where blackheads and whiteheads can form.  Also, make sure that your not aggressively stripping your skin with a harsh cleanser as this can cause your skin to produce more oil to compensate for moisture loss.

Regular Exfoliation

Make sure to exfoliate your skin regularly, about 2-3 times per week, to help remove the accumulation of dead skin cells. *Note: Don’t overly scrub skin as this will result in further irritation and you can really damage skin.  Also, if you have inflamed acne, avoid using scrubs and opt for a BHA or enzymes to help with congestion.

Reducing Oil Production

Using a clay based mask about 2-3 times per week,  can help draw out impurities and absorb excess oil. Ingredients such as niacinamide, zinc gluconate, and salicylic acid can help regulate oil production.

Keeping Tabs on Makeup and Skincare Items 

Sometimes certain types of makeup can contribute to the formation of blackheads and whiteheads. Isopropyl Myristate can be a comedogenic ingredient for some.  Using the right skincare products for your skin type also helps.  Whereas mature skin would require a thicker moisturizer, skin that is oily should choose something more light-weight such as a gel or lotion.

Seek a Professional 

Scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist or esthetician is another option if you’re looking for a deep cleaning of your pores. They can utilize different techniques and tools to help facilitate the removal of blackheads as well as guide you to products that would work best for you.

Was this information helpful to you? Let me know in the comments below!

Stephanie 

 

Winter Skin Tips!

Good morning readers!

Here in SoCal we’ve experienced a drop in temperature, albeit I’m sure everyone else probably laughs at our concept of ‘cold.’  🙂  Regardless of where you’re located, you may have noticed a change in your skin. Combination skin may start to feel more dry and dry skin may have a lot of flaky patches scattered throughout.  Here’s a few tips that will help winter skin woes.

Sun Protection!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, then you know SPF is an absolute must- rain, shine or snow. Winter doesn’t eliminate the sun’s harmful rays.  In fact, even participating in snow activities can produce severe skin damage because snow reflects UV rays.  Use an SPF of at least 30 and if you need help deciding which sunscreen is best for you click here.  Don’t forget lips need SPF too!

Moisturize!

All skin types can benefit from a moisturizer.  Skin has a higher propensity to loose more water during colder months causing the skin to become dry.  Switching to cream based cleansers and heavier moisturizers with argan or shea butter can be great remedies for dry skin.  Humectants such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid are also great in that they attract and retain moisture levels within the skin.

Diet!

Studies have shown a connection between dry skin and essential fatty acids (EFAs). Incorporating good sources of EFAs, such as salmon, avocado or almonds can help.  (Click here for more information on EFAs).  However, ALWAYS consult a medical professional and/or registered dietitian before implementing any changes in your diet to verify there are no contraindications with certain medical conditions or medications.

Avoid Hot Showers!

Although a long, hot shower may sound like the perfect solution to end (or start) a day, hot water can damage the skin barrier.  A damaged skin barrier is more susceptible to increased sensitivity, inflammation, dryness and an aged appearance.  Keep showers short and warm.

Exfoliate!  

Exfoliating gets rid of dead skin cells that can accumulate on the skin, causing a dull and flaky appearance.  Scrubs with jojoba beads are a good at home option while chemical peels containing lactic acid are excellent professional treatments;sensitive skin may benefit from gentle enzyme peels. However, if your skin is cracked, hold off on exfoliating as you can further aggravate your skin.  Focus on hydrating and repairing the skin barrier and consult a dermatologist and/or esthetician for further guidance.

How do you switch up your skincare routine when colder weather sets in? 

Stephanie

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.  

 

Skin Tip: Lip Balm and Breakouts!

Lip Balm and Acne

If breakouts keep recurring on your chin or jawline, perhaps your lip balm may be the culprit.  Over the last few weeks, I have broken out repeatedly on my chin area and I found it had to do with applying my lip balm right before I went to sleep.

The solution?  Since I haven’t had any problems with this lip balm until I applied it at night, I make sure to apply it a least half an hour before I sleep.  This way, it has a chance to sink in and I can wipe off some of the excess, lessening the chance of it spreading around when I sleep.

Have you ever had this problem?  Share in the comment section below!

See you next week, 

Stephanie 

 

Weekend Wrap Up!

Me and my family

Hi everyone!  I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving, and a hopefully a not too hectic weekend.  🙂  I’m super thankful to have such an amazing family in my life and pictured above are some of the best ones:  mom, one of my sisters and my little ‘twin’. I was lucky enough to have a four day weekend and basically it was a bit of relaxing, eating, taking advantage of some of the sales going on (I have a few shipments heading my way so I’ll be sharing soon), cleaning and attending a workshop.  Oh, and I dyed my hair red which I absolutely love but when I take a shower, I feel like it’s a re-enactment of the famous Psycho shower scene as I watch my red hair dye stream down the drain.

On Saturday, I attended a Vision Board Workshop with Danielle Cuccio from Cuccio Somatology.  If you’re ever in LA and want to take a fun yoga class with an awesome playlist, this is the place to go.   WorkshopHere is a glimpse of my unfinished board.  I had pictures that I wanted to incorporate into the board but they were too big.  Whoops.
Vision Board

 

The concept of this to to outline what you want to achieve in life, with each section corresponding to a particular theme.  For instance, the left hand bottom corner (blue) represents Self Growth and Spirituality, while the middle section (yellow) represents Health and Home.  I picked out pictures of what I want to work on or obtain in life, as well as some inspiring quotes that I love.  One of my favorites has to do with helping people and it states,

There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up.

I know I’ve mentioned it before (and this probably won’t be the last) that I love helping people and this quote really encompasses the way I feel.  Heck, I started this blog so that I can share my knowledge with others and hopefully in turn help them feel confident in their own skin.  It’s a gratifying experience to be able to make someone smile. 🙂

One of the categories I enjoyed the most was the Travel section.  Of course I have pictures of Paris, Italy and NYC.  I have been to NYC before and I loved every moment but I have always had a dream to go during the holiday season.  Christmas decorations!  Ice skating! Snow!  Call me crazy and maybe I’ve been watching too many movies but it just kind of looks magical.

Although I know that God sometimes has something else in store for our lives, this is a great way to really look deep into ourselves and figure out who we are, what kind of person we want to be and map out what goals we want to work on.

Have you ever done a vision board?  What are you working towards in 2015 and beyond?  

Stay warm and safe in this rainy weather,

Stephanie  

First Look: Renee Rouleau Pro Remedy Oil!

RR

Renee and I at Sofitel in Beverly Hills

Hi readers!  I hope you all had a great weekend!

I was given the unique (and awesome!) opportunity to assist celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau during one of her quarterly visits here in L.A. This is the second time I have helped her during her stay and words cannot express how blessed I feel to be able to participate in this event. Renee is one of the go-to skin care gurus with celebrity clients like Demi Lovato and Lisa Rina and generates rave reviews from beauty editors with good reason.  Aside from being extremely knowledgeable and formulating her own skin care line, she is also genuinely sweet, caring and humble.   When I first met her, she greeted me with a hug and smile that felt like I had known her forever.  Such a lovely person inside and out.

Pro Remedy Oil

I was one of the lucky ones that received a bottle of her soon to be released newly released Pro Remedy Oil!  Pro Remedy Oil is a blend of 12 natural oils including sweet almond oil, evening primrose oil, rosehip oil and cranberry oil that “helps repair dry skin from airplane travel, eczema, sunburn, dry climate and pregnancy.”  Since many of us receive chemical peels during the fall and winter months, this oil can also be used post-chemical peel to soothe skin.

Pro Remedy Oil is a clear light-weight, citrus scented oil that absorbs quickly into the skin.  Since I have combination skin, I mix about 2-3 drops with my moisturizer and apply to my face-a little goes a long way.  So far, I like how my skin has felt hydrated with no heavy after feel and I haven’t broken out.  We’ll see if that changes in the next couple of weeks.

If you have dry skin or eczema and haven’t found products that work, definitely look into this oil, especially during these next few months when we’re prone to losing more moisture.    Those with acne or oily skin types should tread lightly since you already produce enough oil and probably don’t need anymore.

RR 3

Other goodies I received: Bio Calm Repair Masque, Aloe Cleansing Milk and Bio Radiance Night Serum- can’t wait to try them out.

I’ve tried a couple of products from Renee’s line and although there were some I didn’t like or didn’t work for me, some items worth checking out that I love include Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel, BHA Clarifying Serum, and Triple Berry Smoothing Peel.

If you’re interested in Renee’s skin care line, visit her website www.reneerouleau.com

Hope you enjoyed this post and sneak peek! 

 

 

 

A Beauty-Full Day!

ICES

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was pretty eventful as I attended The International Congress of Esthetics and Spa in Long Beach! It’s an event held  for professionals in the skin care, beauty and wellness industry where you can attend workshops, advanced education seminars and purchase products.  Translation: heaven for a beauty junkie like me!  Here’s a small recap of my day.

 

Badge

The badge we receive for the day of the event- very nice.

Skin Script

First purchase was at the Skin Script booth.  I got the Pomegranate Antioxidant Cleanser, 15% Vitamin C/Green Tea Serum, and the Ageless Skin Moisturizer, with Aloe and Co-Q10.  

SS Peels

 

Another Skin Script purchase.  This one is their holiday special Spiced Cider Facial which includes the Apple Orchard Enzyme and Autumn Spice Hydrating Mask.  Unlike the Skin Script items above though, you need a license to purchase these.

Ilike

I stopped by the Ilike booth which has  an ‘organic’ line of products.  After speaking to one of the representatives, I bought the Sour Cherry Gel Mask for my combination skin.  *Note: I put organic in quotes because there isn’t a universal standard on what is deemed organic.

EM

The Eminence booth was crowded all the time and filled with on-going demonstrations but I managed to squeeze in to scope out their ‘organic’ line. I ended up getting the Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant (an exfoliator that seems similar to Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant) and Strawberry Rhubarb Masque with Hyaluronic Acid, again a mask for my combination skin.

Brands

Though I received a ton of informational pamphlets and brochures from other exhibitors there, I’m highly interested in checking out these products in the future: (h2t) for their pumpkin peel (it smells AMAZING and will hopefully be ordering it soon), Circadia by Dr. Pugliese, Dermapen, Rhonda Allison and Image Skincare.

Mags

Always great to receive free trade industry magazines!

By the end of the day I was exhausted! It’s a bit overwhelming to be surrounded by soo many different products, demonstrations, information, devices, samples (not pictured here) and people.  I concluded my day with a seminar on the Hydrafacial- a modified version of microdermabrasion- and a facial with an (h2t) 30% pumpkin peel.  Pure bliss.

I will post reviews on the products once I have an opportunity to try them out!  What conventions do you look forward to? IMATS? The Makeup Show? Other?  I’d love to know! 

 

 

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. 

 

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?