• Sunscreen and Expiration Dates Explained

    Taking sunbath

    One of the most critical products that I would advocate a client use before any other type of skin care product would be a sunscreen. We know that Ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is responsible for a number of skin concerns ranging from various forms of hyperpigmentation to more serious precancerous and cancerous lesions. We also know that approximately 80-99% of extrinsic aging comes from exposure to UVR! For this reason, The International Dermal Institute recommends using sunscreen every day, not just during the summer months.

    The FDA requires that all sunscreens retain their original strength for at least 2-3 years, and in order to make these claims the sunscreen formula has to undergo a series of real time or accelerated stability tests to prove that the ingredient is still active up until the time of expiration. It’s important to point out at this point that if you’re using sunscreen every day and in the correct amount, a tube should not last that long. Most clients don’t realize that their sunscreen has a limited time in which it can be used effectively, so it may be a good idea to point out the expiration date to the client when they purchase their next sunscreen product from you. Most expiration dates can be found stamped on the crimp of the product packaging tube or printed on the bottom of the product carton.

    If sunscreens have expired there is a good chance they are still good for a few months; however once you reach the expiration date there is no guarantee that the level of activity is still present. You may also want to point out a few of these basic but important tips to your clients next time they inquire about purchasing their sunscreen from you:

    • The best place to store your SPF product is in a cool place out of direct sunlight and heat.

    • Buy smaller sizes of your SPF product vs. larger “30% extra for free” products, which will inevitably expire before you get a chance to use them all and you’ll end up having to throw them out.

    • Don’t use any SPF formulation that contains fragrance or perfume as this may cause hyperpigmentation and, in some cases, a photosensitized reaction on the skin.

    • If your client has a more sensitive skin, she or he would be better off using a physical SPF (containing Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide), as these formulations tend to have a larger molecular size that does not penetrate and potentially cause irritation.

    • Try to look for a formulation that can potentially deliver additional skin health benefits, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin C to the skin, as these types of sunscreens help to minimize the amount of free radical damage to the skin, thereby offering a more advanced level of protection.

    • Many clients are hesitant to use sunscreen because they feel the formulations are too thick, heavy or pore clogging. Professional products, however, use new technology that delivers more sophisticated SPFs, which have the ability to benefit different skin types and conditions. This allows you to prescribe a sunscreen that’s perfectly customized to your clients’ needs.

  • Spring Skin Events

    I love events! Attending them, hosting them, planning them – there’s such excitement in the gathering of like-minded people with so much to share. And even better if the event offers additional benefits like learning a new skill and supporting a good cause!

    So what are you waiting for? Capitalize on the energizing spirit of spring and the most effective marketing tool you have available, and organize a Spring Skin event for your skin center. Not dissimilar to holding a party in your own home, there are a few key rules that will help your event to be a storming success.

    Rule One: Make sure your event is one that people want to attend! It needs to be fun, engaging and teach them something new. Spring is the perfect time to talk cleansing and exfoliation – slough off the old and bring in the new!

    Rule Two: Hold an event that is applicable to a specific audience and invite a small group of 20, specially selected guests rather than try and be all things to all people. Build on client loyalty by inviting customers from your existing database, and then encourage the growth of new business by offering that they bring a guest. So if it’s a Spring Skin teen event, for example, make sure the food is fun, dress is a little more casual and there is a ton of interaction.

    Rule Three: Make sure there is great conversation by preparing your staff with conversation starters and methods to introduce guests to each other. You know the sort of thing, “Have you ever had a skin treatment before?” “What cleanser do you currently use?” “What experience do you have with exfoliation?”

    Rule Four: Wow guests with your expertise by giving free services such as skin analysis, hand treatments and mini skin services, and make sure you couple them all with a plethora of educational tips, from the importance of double cleansing to how to choose the right exfoliant.

    Rule Five: Offer a special promo that night to show your guests appreciation. Perhaps bundle a few services and produce a whole new Spring Skin special at a one-off price. Or offer a free mini skin treatment with every purchase of X amount of product.

    Rule Six: Tie your event to a philanthropic cause that will show your guests that you are giving back.

    Rule Seven: Send everyone home with a gift, a hug and an invite to come back soon.

    Eventing is the single most fantastic marketing tool that you have to retain existing business, grow new business, increase sales and increase services. Do it in house, take it out to community groups or partner with other businesses to create a local buzz. Just do it – you will not regret it I promise!

  • What are High GI Foods and How do They Affect Acne?

    Benjamin Franklin once said that, “nothing can be more certain in life than death and taxes.” Having suffered with grade 3 acne myself and treated many clients with various forms of this skin disorder, I could quite safely say there are many of us that would agree acne is most definitely another “certainty” that we are likely to experience at one point or another in our life time.

    For those of us who have experienced acne, it may come as no surprise that it is considered to cause more psychological or emotional stress than any other skin disorder. Studies have indicated that 33% of individuals with acne believe that the reason that they have the condition is because their skin is not clean. Many clients feel socially ostracized and isolated as a result of having acne. The irony is that the emotional stress of acne has the propensity to exacerbate the condition, increasing its severity and the associated inflammation.

    For many of us, one of the first things we turn to when feeling stressed is food, and very often it’s those refined, sugary, High Glycemic Index (GI) comfort foods that we turn to, such as cookies, candy, chocolate, breakfast cereals, chips, white bread and processed foods. The problem with these foods, according to a report published in the Archives of Dermatology*, is that they cause large fluctuations in your blood sugar levels and have been linked to the development of many health problems, including acne.

    Research has indicated that consumption of high GI foods results in acne breakouts due to an increase in insulin levels and insulin-like growth factor, or IGF-1. IGF-1 and insulin have the ability to bind to receptor sites on the sebaceous gland and to stimulate sebum production by up to 60% in some instances.

    Sugar consumption increases blood levels of the androgen hormones by decreasing in the volume of a specific androgen regulating protein. The increase in androgen hormones directly stimulates the sebaceous gland to produce more of a thick, sticky type of sebum, which clogs the sebaceous follicle, leading to acne development.

    Some Food for Thought:

    When performing a consultation on your acne clients, it may be worth your while to investigate what types of food they are consuming. Educate them about the effect of high GI foods and how they could be exacerbating the problem. You may even want to refer your clients to a local nutritionist for a more thorough overhaul of their diets.

    By offering your client a more holistic approach to their acne concerns, combined with an effective homecare program that utilizes OTC actives (such as Salicylic Acid) and calming, hydrating ingredients, you’re guaranteed to get the best possible results.

    *Acne Vulgaris A Disease of Western Civilization Loren Cordain, PhD; Staffan Lindeberg, MD,PhD; Magdalena Hurtado, PhD; Kim Hill, PhD; S. Boyd Eaton, MD; Jennie Brand-Miller, PhD . Arch Dermatol. 2002;138:1584-1590.

  • Update: New FDA Rules Regarding Sunscreen

    Twenty years ago, the concept of sun protection was to prevent sunburn from UVB rays. There was no international SPF test, sun products had virtually no protection against UVA -there were only two sunscreens classed as UVA filters- and there was no concept of photo stability applied to sun care products. The goal was to get a golden tan and enhance it as much as possible (ahem baby oil users!) instead of protecting from future damage.

    Today is a vastly different environment when it comes to sun protection. We know a lot more today about UVA rays than we ever did, and sun protection products are much more sophisticated. Regulations have finally caught up with the science, backing sunscreens as effective methods to prevent early skin aging. Last year’s FDA statement covered some ground on testing and labeling of sunscreens- and this goes into effect June 2012.

    I’ve summarized the key points below:

    • If the product passes FDA’s tests for both UVB and UVA, it can be labeled as ‘broad spectrum’. Previously, only UVB protection was tested, which is where the SPF value comes from. Look for ‘broad spectrum’ on the label for maximum protection.

    • If a ‘broad-spectrum’ product has a minimum of SPF15 and is used regularly along with other sun-protection measures (clothing, shade), then these products can state on the label that they not only help prevent sunburn, but also reduce the risk of cancer and reduce signs of early skin aging.

    • No more ‘sunblock,’ ‘sweatproof’ or ‘waterproof’ claims. Instead FDA will allow “water resistant (40minutes)” or “extra water resistant (80minutes)” as relevant.

    • Remember to apply at least every two hours, especially if swimming or sweating.

    • From now on, all sunscreen products must include standard ‘drug facts’ information, on the back and/or side of the container. Look for this panel on the package for detailed information.

    Of course change doesn’t occur suddenly so these are things to look forward this year, with additional changes in the future. Some issues that FDA will look at in the coming years include investigating whether some delivery methods are valid ways of delivering UV protection. These forms are eligible for inclusion in the future OTC sunscreen monograph: oils, lotions, creams, gels, butters, pastes, ointments, sticks and sprays. We should point out that sprays may be delisted pending FDA requested safety and efficacy testing. While spray sunscreens are easy to use, most people don’t use enough (you need at least a shot glass of the cream kind so imagine how much you really need to spray!). For now, the FDA will require an extra safety warning for sprays to ensure proper application. Other popular forms of sunscreen delivery, such as powders and wipes, are currently considered ineligible for inclusion in the sunscreen monograph. Since there is no hard evidence showing that really high SPF numbers are significantly better, FDA is proposing to cap SPF values at 50 – that means no more SPF 100! This is all still a work in progress, but it shows that government agencies are putting work into regulating the fast-paced world of over-the-counter drugs in cosmetics.

    So what’s the difference between a drug-store sunscreen and a professional skin care product with sunscreen? It all lies in the formulation. Both will legally have the same sun protection, since they must adhere to US FDA (or other regulatory body’s) rules. But the world of skin care is also based on research and sometimes makes changes faster than governmental rules ie: broad spectrum protection has been around for many years before it became a labeling possibility. We know that protecting against UVA and UVB rays is only part of the problem when it comes to photoaging. Free radical formation is also a major culprit- professional skin care products with sunscreens are more likely to have higher levels of antioxidants along with broad-spectrum UV protection for maximum skin health benefits. Formulators of professional products can also enhance products to provide more benefits around specific skin conditions. They will also take into account the feel and texture of the product, so you are sure to get sheer, non-greasy formulas that deliver the same amount of sun protection as any basic sunscreen but formulated with ingredients that maximize skin health and prevent future damage.

    The main point of this is to remember that sunscreen is not fool-proof. Be sun aware, especially when outside for long periods of time, either in summer or hitting the slopes in winter. And remember, in order to get the actual SPF designated on the package you must apply a full teaspoon of product to your face or a shot glass to your body… So enjoy the summer – but be sun aware!

  • Give Sunscreen a Boost with Plant Oleosomes!

    The plant kingdom once again provides cosmetic chemists with a new technology that plays an important role in sunscreen formulations. Known as oleosomes, these oil capsules are found naturally in various plants and seeds, providing a reservoir for plant oils that provide an energy source for the plant. Cosmetic scientists have learned that these spherical structures can be loaded with active substances such as sunscreens, providing both a means of delivery, as well as, a stabilized environment for actives that may break down under normal conditions. Oleosomes represent the next generation in encapsulation.

    They also act as natural emulsifying agents, allowing us to reduce the amount of emulsifier used in a formula. Why is this important? Because we now know that emulsifying agents can interfere with chemical sunscreen activity, especially when higher SPFs are used. When oleosomes loaded with active sunscreens are added to a formula, less of the regular emulsifying agents are required. The end result is that we get a boost to SPF activity with a lower concentration of sunscreen actives and emulsifiers. This is a real bonus, especially for individuals that may find higher concentrations of chemical sunscreens potentially irritating. When applied to the skin, oleosomes collapse in a timed-release fashion, delivering the sunscreen protection over a period of time. Not since the development of UV Smart Booster technology, which delivered antioxidant capsules to provide enhanced sunscreen protection, has there been such exciting new technology that promises to change the development of sunscreen products.

  • A Clean Future

    Emma new bio shot cropWe’re all guilty of it — accumulating “debris,” be it physical or mental. Yes, I freely admit, I have a filing system that is screaming for attention and an outlook box that sends me a message most days to tell me it is nearly full!

    Spring is such a great opportunity, and excuse, to take the challenge to dust off your business plan, sweep away the old and tired, wipe up metaphorical cobwebs and make space for fresh, clean business opportunities.

    Here are my nine “Spring Clean Suggestions” to assist you in the process:

    1. Clean Up Your Shop Window
    • Take a look at your business from the outside in; clear all the visual clutter to send a clearly defined branding message.
    • Look at your reception area with a set of fresh eyes. What does your client see that has to go? Old magazines? A half dying plant? Old merchandising pieces and special offers?
    • Remember to do the same for your business’ website.

    2. Check What Works
    • Review what products and services have sold well in the last year; which are profitable? Then be brutal and decide what needs to go from your product shelves and your menu of services.
    • It’s time to be an evangelist of simplicity; remember “less is more” and “quality over quantity.”

    3. Walk the Room
    • Take a walk into every room, look around, open every cupboard and ask yourself: do I use this and do I need it? If the answer is no, it’s got to go!

    4. Take Control of Your Cash Flow Management
    • Aim to pay all your outstanding bills.
    • Renegotiate your rent, bank fees, merchant card fees and terms of trading.
    • Manage your spending, expenses, salaries etc.

    5. Clean Your Database
    • Remove the “dead wood” from your database – contact all clients you have not seen for over 18 months and remove those that are no longer interested or have moved away.

    6. Polish Up Your Skill Set
    • Review your staff’s recent training history to ensure all team members are up to speed in all the latest technique and product developments (this is also a great mental motivator).

    7. Dust off Your Business Plan
    • It’s time to revisit your business plan and ascertain how you are performing. If you’re off course, create immediate strategies to get yourself back on track.

    8. Clear the Air
    • Speak to your team members and find out what may be challenging them in the work place. Is something broken that needs fixing or replacing? Perhaps they are frustrated with the current stock levels? Maybe they are demotivated with the incentives you have in place.
    • Once heard, remove the obstacles and clear the way for positive change.

    9. Fresh Ideas
    • Have a brainstorming session with your staff and your VIPs.
    • Look for new ways to drive increased demand from clients.
    • Offer new services, both seasonal and on-trend.
    • Create new product and service promotions to keep it fresh.
    • Get/develop easier systems for your employees to work with.

    Just Do It!
    Set aside the time for spring cleaning and don’t feel overwhelmed. Write a prioritized to-do list, creating small individual tasks to make them more manageable. And whatever you do, don’t put “it” off – organizing and cleaning is a positive, empowering action that will create a healthier, happier business!