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  • The Great Wall: Protecting The Skin’s Barrier Function

    You might not be able to see it from the moon nor with the naked eye, but one of the greatest walls ever built is that of the Barrier Function of the skin.

    This amazing feat of skin engineering means we have a strong, resilient ‘wall’ protecting our body from harsh environmental elements, helping to retain moisture and keeping allergens out.

    The Barrier Function is designed in the same manner as that of a wall, consisting of:
    • The bricks: the dead, dry skin cells which are soon to be shed
    The mortar: composed of lipids (ceramides, essential fatty acids and cholesterol)

    Sometimes the structure of this ‘brick wall’ is compromised and gaps can appear due to the lack of epidermal barrier lipids. As a result, our skin is susceptible to dehydration due to moisture escaping otherwise known as Trans Epidermal Moisture Loss (TEWL), and increased skin sensitivity as microbes and allergens now have a path of entry into the skin. There are many causes for the breakdown of this protective barrier, the most common being:
    The environment: cold, windy weather, air conditioning, heating, the sun, plane travel
    • Poor skin care: using harsh, stripping products like SD alcohol or soap, excessive exfoliation, water that is too hot, or not wearing a moisturizer
    Diet: excess alcohol, caffeine and salt consumption, not eating sufficient Essential Fatty Acids, insufficient water intake
    Stress: this itself can disturb the barrier function by slowing down synthesis of epidermal lipids
    Certain medications: such as nasal decongestants, general anesthetic, cancer therapies

    An impaired Barrier Function means the skin appears dull and lackluster. It can feel taught and flaky with fine lines around the eyes, over the forehead and cheeks. When pinched between the fingers, it will resemble a piece of parchment paper.

    Sadly, the Barrier Function declines with age as oil gland activity decreases, the skin’s natural hydrators decline as does its ability to regenerate these important lipids. The prolonged dehydration in the lower level of the skin can cause the depletion of the dermal tissue resulting in deeper wrinkles, elastosis and sagging skin.

    To re-establish a good Barrier Function, the key step to follow in a home care regimen is exfoliation. This step is important to prevent the skin from feeling dry, rough and flaky and it will help eradicate any dry patches. The key is not to use an aggressive exfoliant that causes any skin sensitivity or irritation. Try exfoliating boosters that are easily applied under the moisturizer and work gently throughout the day. There are also slightly stronger forms of exfoliations such as Hydroxy Acid, which can generally be used once or twice a week.

    To boost the moisture and regain the plumpness in the skin, apply layers of a hydrating serum, toner, moisturizer and primer (the skin responds well to layering). The moisturizer doesn’t need to be heavy or contain a lot of oil—a key point to remember is that the skin is lacking moisture, not oil. Try a medium weight moisturizer with SPF30 or higher. If the skin is tight and flaky, use an anhydrous (water free) moisturizer made with skin protecting silicones. This will seal in moisture and prevents the skin from drying out, while also helping to repair the Barrier Function. At night, look at applying an oil based serum or night oil to the areas of dry skin.

    For an added boost, apply a hydrating gel masque once a week, ensuring it’s applied close the corners of the nose, mouth and eyes to target these vulnerable areas.

    Though drinking water is important, it doesn’t correlate directly to having hydrated skin. It’s better to encompass products that hydrate the skin and protect your barrier function by preventing moisture loss.

    Some fantastic ingredients to use within your entire skin care regimen are for healthy Barrier Function include:
    Hyaluronic Acid: one of my favorite ingredients as it has the ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in moisture.
    Niacinamide: a potent form of vitamin B-3 with a multifunctional approach to treating dehydration. It addresses several aspects of dryness and dehydration simultaneously, thus protecting the skin from TEWL.
    Essential fatty acids (EFAs): look for Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil and Coconut Oil; another great ingredient to combat dry skin is Beta glucan.
    Omega-6 EFAs: these specifically are required in forming the skin’s barrier function and its structural integrity
    Sodium PCA: a terrific humectant that binds moisture to the skin
    Salicornia Extract: a plant extract that helps reinforce the natural moisturization factor (NMF)
    Algae Extract: nutrient rich to restore skin’s moisture
    Tomato Seed Oil: a great source of lycopene-rich lipids that help restore the barrier lipids of the skin
    Bambusa (Bamboo) Vulgaris and Pisum Sativum (Pea): help stimulate Hyaluronic Acid formation for increased hydration and elasticity
    Glucosamine: helps stimulate Hyaluronic Acid formation

    It’s important to avoid soap and soap based cleansers and body washes as the alkalinity dries the skin and causes sensitization. Also avoid products with S.D. Alcohol and hot water as both are very drying to the skin.

    And finally, don’t forget to feed your skin by including plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet!

  • SKINtuition: 5 Ways To Get People Buzzing About Your Biz

    Buzz or word-of-mouth marketing is best described as “people talking about you.” Has a friend recently recommended a new hip restaurant, a unique store, cool website or insist you watch a certain Netflix show? Has a business connection suggested a new money saving app? That’s buzz.

    Buzz can happen organically, and creating buzz for your business is not hard. It takes a bit of creativity, willingness to fail and above all confidence. Here are five simple ideas to push up the buzz o’ meter.

    1. Stand Out

    Do something that will get you noticed. Examples could include a new advanced treatment, big event or giving back to the community. If you do what every other spa does, you’re not worth talking about.

    2. Share Your Story

    Storytelling is gold. If your entered into skin care as a life-long dream after losing your job, getting divorced or finally getting your kids out of the nest, share this. Being honest and transparent is refreshing, and people love a real success story (especially the press), so don’t be afraid to share your truth or even your failures for that matter. It’s fascinating and people want to connect with and support small business.

    3. Look After Your Loyalists

    Loyal clients are the ones who will buzz about you to their friends and family in person and via social, so it’s in your best interest to treat them like royalty. It goes way beyond your treatments and services—you should have stellar customer service support, build exceptional relationships and go above and beyond expectations. Your top clients give you the majority of your business, it’s part of the 80/20 rule. So dial up how you acknowledge and reward them. The occasional “surprise and delight” unexpected note, gift or complimentary service goes down as a treat too.

    4. Be Your Own Ambassador of Buzz

    If you’re not ready to jump in and chat about your craft, then who else? Instead of focusing on what you do and how you do it, talk to people about why you do it. When you talk about the why, your authentic passion will come through; this is much more fascinating and galvanizing for someone to hear.

    Think of it as your own 30 second “elevator pitch” you need to be able to get this down and it is the cheapest and easiest most important form of buzz marketing. Share away at networking events, startup meetups, co-working spaces, industry get-together’s, backyard BBQs and even in the dog park.

    5. Dig Deep Into Social

    Research says that 63% of consumers who search for local businesses online are more likely to use businesses with information on social media sites. Facebook alone is now a mini website, and your social platforms are likely to be more up to date than your business website.

    When you consider that 93% of buying decisions are also influenced by social media, it is a no brainer. No social presence equals no visibility and no business. So post, Pin, engage, Tweet, Instagram, Snapchat away, but keep it professional, educational, positive, a bit quirky and fun if you want to convert those followers to service dollars.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • Get Sun Smart

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    Like many people, childhood holidays were always spent on the beach, where young tender skin was exposed to the elements sun up to sun down. Mum’s beach bag contained the ‘Sun Oil’ and her first-aid bag the calamine lotion. If only we had known then what we know now about the dangers of the sun.

    Believe it or not, there are many people that are still uninformed about the importance of sun protection. Here are some common questions (or excuses) that we often hear from clients with ways to explain or debunk myths about sun safety.

    Q: The sun will dry up my spots.
    A: FALSE
    As you unwind on the beach and relax, stress hormones will begin to level out and eventually dwindle. As acne is exacerbated by stress, it makes sense that as we relax, acne may improve. You may be in and out of salt water and chlorine, which can also dry up spots. Overall it may seem that acne breakouts have cleared…wrong! The heat and often clogging sunscreens will cause oil to speed up production and skin to be in overdrive, leaving you with the same issues. There are plenty of SPF options for oily or acneic skins that will not clog but rather keep skin hydrated, while prevent more serious UV damage. Seek relaxation but avoid the sun!

    Q: I only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
    A: FALSE
    UVA rays are the longest rays in the spectrum and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin all year round, including winter months. UVA rays cause damage at a cellular level, making them responsible for most skin cancers and the main cause of visible aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. Other signs of damage are small blood vessels and spider veins on the face, neck and chest. UVA also goes through glass including most car windows and is present on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Protecting daily with a Broad Spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB) sunscreen should be included in everyone’s skin care regime.

    Q: How much sunscreen do you need for a face and neck application?
    A: FULL TEASPOON
    A full teaspoon for face and neck is a good rough guide—though it’s better to be more generous than to skimp. More importantly, to ensure an SPF is doing its job it needs to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, so don’t wait until you are on the beach before applying. Remember you need to re-apply regularly, especially if swimming, sweating or if removing with a towel, think about when eating drinking and wiping your mouth.

    Q: The SPF in my makeup protects my skin.
    A: FALSE
    The problem with relying on the SPF in your makeup is that you’re just not getting enough of it. You should wear at least an SPF of 15, but an SPF of 30 is ideal and topped up every 2 hours. The easiest solution is to use a moisturiser or primer (or both!) that also contain sunscreen. It’s fine to have sunscreen in your makeup, but consider it an added bonus, not your main safeguard.

    Q: Two layers of SPF15 make an SPF30. 
    A: FALSE 
    Adding another layer on top of an existing layer of sunscreen does not double the sun protection factor. Two layers of an SPF 15 sunscreen remains an SPF 15 and does not become an SPF 30. Re-apply every 2 hours if outside in summer months or on holiday in the sun.

  • SKINtuition: 8 Fast and Slow Retail Strategies

    Dermalogica retail shopper

    As spa owners or managers, we need to make retail a focus instead of an afterthought, and our approach to retail and service should be both fast and slow. Sounds confusing? Let me explain.

    First, some good news. Although the idea of omni-retail (or multichannel retailing) might be overwhelming for small business owners, the good news is people are buying plenty of products. According to the NPD group, $16 billion was spent in 2015 by U.S consumers on prestige skin and beauty products and a staggering $21.7 billion in the mass channel. That’s a lot of lotion and lipstick. So, how can we make some better retail gains in the professional industry?

    When shoppers leisurely hanging out and enjoy themselves with in-store services, storytelling with less inventory, having customers take a seat to try products or even having a library or art installation, sales can increase by as much as 40%. Customers not only leave with three products on average, but a future service booking with a skin therapist and a much stronger understanding of their skin needs.

    So what more can you do to secure your sales? What best practices should you be replicating in your retail area? Here are eight fast and slow ideas to get your slice of that $16-billion-dollar pie.

    1. Add Experiences

    Investigate new ways to “power-up” the client experience through complimentary face mappings, self-serving or guided product bars, and in-store skin lesson mini events.

    2. Create Mini Services

    During quieter times, offer “on-demand” 10-minute services that don’t require a booking and are complimentary when a number of products or a core service is purchased.

    3. Remove Clutter

    Remove clutter and any inventory that either muddles your message, you don’t wholeheartedly believe in or can’t adequately differentiate from other product offerings.

    4. Design a story

    Have a weekly “story” in your retail area with curated product picks on your feature table that tell the backstory. Clients or customers should see something unique or different every visit. Use great visuals to spark inspiration.

    5. Amplify your theme

    Feature one-time-only treatments that tie into new product launches to amplify the central theme or story.

    6. Personalized marketing

    Personal­ization reigns. Make sure your outreach and promotions are customized as are your recommendations—not just to your customer’s exact skin needs but their desires, habits, lifestyle and preferences. Banish cookie cutter everything and replace with custom-made designed.

    7. Be real

    Whenever you speak, tell the real stories behind the product without needless fluff.

    8. Don’t forget about neighbors

    Focus on your neighbors and local community—how can you come together and support each other and the community as a whole?

    Remember, that you must convert your service clients to retail clients. If you are not, then you are not only doing them a disservice, but someone else who’s less qualified than you is wiping the pie crumbs away after eating your slice.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • SKINtuition: 6 Ways to Stand Out in the Age of Impatience

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    Looking back, industry trends in 2015 heralded some fascinating consumer behavior. Clients took advantage of new booking apps that deliver an at-home massage within one hour, but then endured long and multiple color appointments to accomplish that perfect ombre fade. Who would have expected #multimasking to have a major moment on Instagram, or that lash extensions would creep north and we’d be microblading in bushier brows? We tried to be more mindful, especially as we consumed copious amounts of kale. I’d love to know who the PR team is behind kale because they deserve an award for 2015’s most popular cabbage. Consumer trends can be overwhelming, but they are worth extra attention. The trick is to decipher what’s going to stick, what’s a fad and what is just plain bonkers.

    One trend that seems to be here to stay is the need for instant gratific­ation. Thanks to our hyper-connectivity and a tolerance for waiting that has dropped to zero, restless impatience is driving industry trends and will impact your business in 2016.

    This “Amazon-ification” level of expectation has surpassed virtual reality and seeped into every corner of our lives. Waiting 48 hours for an online order seems like an eternity, so same-day delivery is becoming the norm. Smartphone apps not only eliminate waiting for a cab, but human interaction: apps can bypass flirting by suggesting a date and securing a table at the toughest reservation in town. Teenagers don’t watch TV; they stream their favorite shows and movies on their tablet or laptop in seconds.

    Experts caution that all this instant gratification comes at a price; it’s made us terribly impatient. The new anxiety, wasting a single moment not getting exactly what you want. A study from the University of Massassa­chusettes Amherst says we now abandon videos if they take longer than two seconds to load. Today’s consumer is so restless that we’d rather be literally shocked than have nothing to do. University of Virginia scientists found that participants preferred to administer electric shocks to themselves rather than being left alone with their own thoughts for 6 to 15 minutes. We literally crave stimulation!

    If you are still operating your business like you did even two years ago, you need to “think quicker.” Here are six to-dos to help satisfy restless, impatient clients.

    1. Mobile Booking
    Make appointment booking painless by providing a quick online or even better mobile app option.

    2. Improve Software
    Ensure that check-in and check-out is efficient. Invest in computerized software that keeps client information on file for fewer lines and faster service.

    3. Develop Micro Services
    Consider offering “no appointment necessary” for micro services under 30 minutes.

    4. Engage During Waits
    Identify ways to engage clients while they wait. Can they give themselves a mini treatment at your product pool or skin bar, or make their own bath salts at your salt bar? Perhaps they get a “texters thumb” massage while watching video tutorials on how to treat their delicate eye area. Get creative!

    5. Text Confirmation
    Confirm appointments via text or a messaging app. Don’t leave a voicemail asking for a call back to confirm the appointment.

    6. Make Products Pronto
    Ensure that you have comprehensive client profiles set up in your system so you can quickly deliver or mail that emergency travel product or cleanser when they run out. Even better, track their purchases and anticipate what products they need replenished. The client who drives, parks and comes in for a single product is diminishing, but this kind of forward-thinking customer service can help grow your clientele and your retail business.

    This article was originally published in SkinInc.com.

  • TLC for Sensitive Eyes

    Eyes Spring2The delicate eye area is taking quite a hammering at the moment not only from environmental challenges, which play havoc on our eyes. A common cause of redness and itchiness around the eyes is hay fever (allergic rhinitis), occurring mostly in spring and summer. Or it may be atopic dermatitis caused by the inhalation of allergens, such as pollen, dust or animal fur, which trigger inflammation.

    We’re also in the era of the ‘super lash’, just about every other person is wearing eye lash extensions or false lashes, or using eye growth serums—all of which can be quite irritating and sensitizing to the eyes.

    Here are some easy things that can be done to care for red, itchy eyes.

    1. Ensure makeup is removed thoroughly using a very gentle, fragrance and S.D. alcohol free eye makeup remover. It will need to be water soluble to ensure that all traces of the product and makeup is leaving no residue (perfect for the contact lens wearer). Choose one with the added benefit of built-in lash conditioners (Silk Amino Acids) that prevent lashes from becoming dry and brittle, as well as keeping the skin around the eye area soft, hydrated and smooth.

    2. To help alleviate dry eyes, place a few drops of artificial tear drop solution; or for red eyes, try some vasoconstrictive eye drops.

    3. When the eyes feel, red, puffy and irritated, place a cold compress or cooling eye packs over them for 5 to 10 minutes. A cooling, hydrating eye masque (kept cool in the fridge) can also be used around the eye area, underneath the compress.

    4. To alleviate the dry, itchy skin, apply a reparative and intensely nourishing protective eye cream (fragrance free) each evening. Key ingredients will include Vitamin A, C, E and Pro-Vitamin B5, as well as soothing botanicals such as Green Tea, Cucumber Arnica and Butcherbroom

    5. If the eye area is very dry and in need of a ‘super protector’, apply an anhydrous moisturizer that melts into the skin, repairs the natural barrier lipid layer and reduces irritation and dryness.

    6. Wear hypo allergenic makeup that has been screened of all known irritants.

    7. Lastly, we should all know the ultimate skin sin by now—never, ever go to bed with your makeup on!

    Ensure everything placed near or in the eyes is super clean. Makeup brushes need to be washed in an antibacterial cleanser monthly, contact lenses need to be changed regularly and always kept thoroughly clean.

    It’s also important to check eye makeup and eye care products; have they been shared with anyone who may have an eye infection? Could your products be rancid, or well past their use by date harboring fungi or bacteria? It’s not common knowledge among makeup users that mascara is only supposed to be used for two months before discarding, perhaps this is the cause of the eye sensitivity.

    As red, itchy eyes can also be a result of an eye infection, it’s important to seek medical advice from a doctor if symptoms do persist.

  • Product Solutions: 3 Ways to Deep Clean the Skin

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    Pore refining! Blemish free! Blackhead busting! All you have to do these days is flick through the latest copy of your favorite magazine or switch on the TV to see images of people with happy faces and flawless skin, usually accompanied with claims for products or ingredients that promise to deliver that clear skin we all strive for.

    In fact, breakouts and blackhead concerns follow very closely on the tail of our top contender, aging skin! And it’s no wonder because every one of us will experience unwanted blemishes at some point in our lives. I can bet that many of us even have a fail proof home remedy, like the humble toothpaste for example, which some believe can banish a spot overnight!

    Whatever the chosen method, for us as professional skin therapists there are varied options that enable us to graduate into different levels of ‘deep cleansing’, which we can recommend to our clients depending on their skin needs.

    Deep clean with Cleansers: Remove surface debris

    To fully reap the rewards of a consistent skincare routine we need to ensure that we start out with the most important step of all, a thorough cleanse. The ‘often underestimated’ cleanse can either make or break the remaining steps of any skin care routine or professional treatment. Many of our clients are under the impression that a cleansing wipe is all it takes to wipe away the grime that collects on the skin throughout the day, but unfortunately this is not enough to remove hard wearing makeup, SPF and dirt. To ensure a deep and effective cleanse we advise to do a ‘double cleanse’. 

    Using an oil based cleanser for the first cleanse is a bit like using a magnet to attract excess oils and debris from the skin. It is brilliant for lifting that initial film of impurities and preventing potential breakouts that can occur through poor cleansing habits. However, there is the small minority of clients who won’t be swayed to use any kind of oil on their skin especially if oiliness is their key concern. In this instance it is best to opt for a clay based cleanser containing a hint of Menthol, which will absorb excess oil and act as an astringent, leaving the skin matte and refined—an oil-phobe’s dream!

    To enhance the cleansing step there are additional tools we can use such as a soft bristle brush which will further assist with removing oils and debris, turning an ordinary cleanse into power cleanse.

    Deep clean with Exfoliants: Renew and refine 

    As we already know, our skin naturally renews and sheds itself every 28 days or so. However, for various reasons this process can sometimes become a bit sluggish and needs some intervention… enter exfoliation. We know that exfoliation smooths and brightens the surface of the skin by removing dead and dulling skin cells but it also helps to clear out excess oil in the follicles, the combination of these two elements are the usual suspects in the formation of the dreaded ‘spot’. There are different types of exfoliants we can choose from such as a scrub, which make use of ingredients like Corn Cob Meal to gently polish the skin. Other types are hydroxy acids and enzymes, which include ingredients such as the lipid loving Salicylic Acid that actively clears out any impactions and provides anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce obvious redness and irritation. Whatever your client’s skin concern, this is that key step that can bring about dramatic and instant change to the skin, especially when it comes to keeping unsightly breakouts at bay.

    Deep clean with Masques: Detox and purify 

    The possibilities are endless when it comes to treating the skin with a masque. Yet this is often the step of a home care routine that is neglected, so we need to ensure that we are communicating the benefits of masquing to our clients. Introducing a masque into the routine is the best way of getting highly active ingredients into the skin in a matter of minutes, and the good news is that we can use more than one in order to address a number of skin concerns often found in different areas of the face at the same time. A great option for purifying and detoxifying is a current trending ingredient, Activated Charcoal, which is great for pulling impurities out the skin leaving a smooth and more lively looking complexion.

    When we hear the term ‘deep cleanse’ we tend to think only of oily or congested skin as the perfect candidate, when in actual fact all skins can benefit from a good clear out. With Spring around the corner many people will be planning on de-cluttering their homes and living spaces, so what better time than now to do the same with our clients’ skin. Bring it back to basics to achieve a fresh and luminous looking skin this Spring.

  • Making Scents of Essential Oils

    Lavender field

    If you visited the dentist recently, there could be a chance that you were offered inhalation of lavender to reduce anxiety pre-procedure. This is because dental practices and hospitals are now including the use of essential oils in the hallways, rooms and reception areas to relax patients and visitors.

    I am a true fan of using essential oils in the treatment room and for use at home, as I often notice changes in the skin as well as the client’s demeanor. How can this be? In Chinese medicine, when a plant herb or flower is turned into an essential oil, it is said to have its “soul freed”. And now more than ever, we can rely on science to help explain how they can change your mood, your energy and your day.

    Channel through the body

    The most effective way for the body to absorb the therapeutic components of an essential oil is through a combination of inhalation and topical application.

    With inhalation, oil molecules are dissolved in nasal mucous, produced by the outer tissues of the nose that are packed with millions of sensory receptors. Nerve impulses travel through to the cranial cavity followed by the olfactory bulb and eventually into the limbic system, also known as the “emotional brain”. This area is directly connected to parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance. Essential oils also enter the lungs and alveoli during inhalation, where they get picked up by the circulatory system and delivered throughout the body.

    When applied topically, usually through the form of a carrier oil base, essential oils are attracted to lipid portion of the sebaceous gland to the surrounding tissues and into the blood stream. This is the fastest route, whereby remaining oil components are absorbed via the follicle. Most essential oils, unless they are water-soluble, enter via the sebaceous follicle when applied topically.

    Calming arrival

    We know the traditional uses of essential oils for massage or as an addition to a product for the aroma, but there are so many other aspects and uses we can all embrace.

    Too many times the client arrives at their appointment late or rushed, where you feel the need to calm them down before the start their service. If this occurs, you can start their visit with some inhalation therapy by applying a small amount of oil above the upper lip or rubbed into the scalp. You can also try a steam towel followed by an oil to their feet, this pulls the energy away from the head and gives them permission to switch off.

    A good blend of oils to center this client would be Lavender, Cypress and Eucalyptus.

    Treatment room scents

    Before you begin, make sure the client likes an essential oil or blend before applying them during the treatment as they are difficult to remove once applied. It is said that we are drawn to the oils that benefit us the most. Sometimes memories linked with aromas can be powerful and also positive or negative depending upon the emotion that is conjured up. Essential oils also stimulate the immune system and are strong antioxidants, creating an unfriendly environment for free radicals, so there’s no denying their skin benefits. You can further customize the treatment by utilizing a blend of oils and adding to steam towels, rinse water, linens or compresses.

    Try an essential oil or blend containing Ylang Ylang for breakout-prone skin, Neroli for aging skin and Cypress for sensitive or sensitized skin.

    Aromatherapy at home

    Don’t forget about the many uses of essential oils in our personal space. Oils such as Peppermint and Lemon can provide an uplifting mood booster and set the tone for the client’s home environment. They can also be used as simple home remedies, especially during the cold season. Recommend adding Cypress, Tea Tree, Peppermint or Eucalyptus to steam inhalation—these are great for decongesting the respiratory tract and are anti-viral. Have clients experiencing trouble sleeping? Rose Oil or Jasmine can be beneficial when applied to facial pressure points. And nothing beats a muscle soak at the end of a stressful day with Cedarwood, Orange and Sandalwood added into warm bath water.

    Our sense of smell is 10,000 times stronger than our other senses, so why not capitalize on the many uses of essential oils in your business or home life. Start making scents work for you!

  • Why International Women’s Day? Because It’s About You

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    The International Dermal Institute joins Dermalogica and FITE (Financial Independence Through Entrepreneurship) to celebrate this year’s highly-anticipated International Women’s Day by taking the Pledge for Parity – and we want you to do the same!

    International Women’s Day, held during National Women’s History Month, honors the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The Pledge for Parity aims to accelerate progress toward closing the pay gap between men and women, who perform 66 percent of the world’s work, yet only earn 10 percent of the world’s income.

    In 2015, the World Economic Forum predicted that at the world’s currently “glacial” rate of progress, it would take until 2133 to achieve global gender parity, or equality. That’s over a century away! By taking the pledge and raising awareness now, we can help speed change.

    Why is this important to professional skin therapists? All over the world, women have faced discrimination in the workforce, particularly when attempting to access business loans. In developing countries, nine out of 10 women-owned businesses have no access to loans. Even some of the most successful professional skin therapists in our network were once denied loans for salons or spas because their businesses were thought “unproductive” or “shallow.”

    The fact is, salons are a global economic force. In the U.S. alone, women make up 85 percent of the salon industry compared to 47 percent of the overall U.S. workforce. More and more people are realizing that when women earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, leading to growth in both the global economy as well as in their own communities.

    “The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem.

    Dermalogica’s global initiative FITE helps women entrepreneurs start and grow businesses, so they can become financially independent and able to support their families and communities at large. This year, FITE is focused on expanding the FITE Future Entrepreneurs program, which combines the missions of Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute ­to advance education and financial literacy for women and girls in the industry.

    “For nearly 30 years, Dermalogica has empowered women in the salon industry,” said Dermalogica and FITE Founder and Chief Visionary Jane Wurwand. “The FITE Future Entrepreneurs program is an opportunity to bring a new group of extraordinary young women into the Dermalogica Tribe and train them not just for a job, but for a career.”

    Through mentorship and coaching, FITE Future Entrepreneurs aids in building a strong community of women who support each other to achieve their goals. The unique program provides not only education and vocational training, but also an opportunity for more women to own businesses, thereby changing their lives and the communities in which they live.

    Now it’s time to do your part! Take the pledge today, or visit internationalwomensday.com for ideas on how to celebrate International Women’s Day near you. Share with us your #IWD2016 celebrations and what this day means to you by tagging us @joinFITE.

  • Bacteria and Breakouts: A Deeper Look into P. acnes

    We’ve all experienced some form of breakout and sometimes it seems to have appeared overnight. How did this happen?! As skin therapists we immediately do a mental checklist of possible triggers—was it stress, hormones, diet, product? We know that on a basic level, acne occurs within the sebaceous follicle by excessive skin cells, sebum, inflammation and presence of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes). However, we also know the process of acne is anything but basic. Let’s take a deeper look at the one element of this process that is always with us: bacteria.

    P. acnes is part of the natural skin flora and accounts for about 87% of the bacteria. It grows deep inside follicles, lives anaerobically and feeds on the sebum produced by the sebaceous glands. For the most part, this bacteria can be relatively harmless; however, if follicles become plugged, the low oxygen levels and accumulating sebum create a prime environment for the growth of P. acnes.

    Using sebum as an energy source, the bacteria produces lipase that converts triglycerides into glycerol and fatty acids, causing inflammation and irritation. The inflammation then triggers the innate immune response and white blood cells are activated. Next they release destructive enzymes and free radicals that causes extensive damage to the surrounding tissue. This damage often stimulates the production of more pro-inflammatory mediators, making it easier for the bacteria to multiply and continuing its vicious cycle. By understanding the behavior of P. acnes, we can get a better handle on how it can be managed for acneic clients.

    Porphyrins as seen through VISIA

    Porphyrins as seen through VISIA

     

    The Other P Word

    P. acnes produce porphyrins, which are groups of organic compounds that play major roles in processes like oxygen transportation and photosynthesis. When observing skin under a Wood’s lamp, you may even see them as fluorescent spots or dots. P. acnes synthesize and store large amounts of porphyrins that ultimately pays favor to LED treatments, such as using a Blue light to treat acne. The Blue light excites the Porphyrins that causes them to release free radicals into the bacteria therefore killing them from the inside out.

    A Sticky Situation

    The bacteria also produces a natural self-protection mechanism called biofilms. These are clusters of bacteria that are attached to a surface and are embedded in a sticky slime layer. The biofilm surrounds the microbes and helps it adhere to the follicle and can further promote hyperkeratinization. This same biological glue that allows the cohesion of the biofilm could also cause keratinocytes to stick together creating comedones.

    Research has also shown that the formation of biofilms seems to be a natural behavior for bacteria, but this formation has a consequence—it appears to be resistant to antibiotics, a common therapy for the treatment of acne including topical and oral medications. It is suspected that the antibiotics are not able to penetrate into the biofilm because the bacteria are tightly packed into a cluster.

    What’s in a Strain?

    P. acnes reside in the pilosebaceous unit, but its presence doesn’t necessarily mean that an individual is going to have acne. Several studies have indicated that specific strains of P. acnes bacteria are more commonly associated with acne prone skin versus normal skin, which may point to why some individuals are more predisposed to breakout while others are not.

    A UCLA study discovered that acne bacteria contain “bad” strains associated with pimples and “good” strains that may protect the skin. Through metagenomics, or the study of collection and analysis of bacteria in our environment, research has uncovered three specific strains of P. acnes in the skin’s microbiome; two that are found to be dominant in acneic skin and one strain in healthy skin.

    As scientists continue examining the relationship between our microbiome and acne, we can at least steer our clients to specific key ingredients to help contain acne formation and keep P. acnes at bay.

    Ingredients to target bacteria:

    Colloidal Silver

    Lactobacillus Ferment

    Benzoyl Peroxide

    Tea Tree Oil

    Cinnamon Bark

    Spirea Ulmaria

    Polygonum Cuspidatum (Japanese Knotweed) Root Extract