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  • What Exactly is a Sunburn?

    How many of you have ever experienced a sunburn? I’m guessing that almost all of us have, with an embarrassing blush! Yes, we know it’s wrong and we kick ourselves when we are wincing with pain as we try to dress. But maybe if we truly understood what is happening to our skins as we nonchalantly lay in the sun for that extra 10 minutes, we wouldn’t be so lax.

    What is a Sunburn?
    A sunburn is the skin’s response to extreme ultraviolet (UV) exposure and indicates severe damage. In as little as 10 minutes of intense UV exposure, the skin sets into motion a system of defense against this enemy. The first indication of damage is redness. This is the body’s inflammatory response in situations requiring repair and is a result of dilating blood vessels. The skin will then start to lose moisture and hydration, which will be apparent with a feeling of tightness. Slowly, skin cells will start to thicken and melanin pigment will be produced (tanning) in an attempt to stop the UV rays from penetrating through to the deeper layers and damaging the DNA of the cells. When the skin is exposed to high levels of sunlight this may result in hypo or hyperpigmentation which appears as irregular light or dark patches. The body is excellent at coping with minimal amounts of damage, but if exposure is greater than the body’s ability to repair and mop up, more serious consequences may result. If DNA is damaged and its repair mechanisms are inhibited, skin cancer may occur.

    Why Does the Skin Peel?
    Peeling after a sunburn is your body’s way of getting rid of the damaged cells that are at risk of “losing control” and becoming cancerous. Due to this danger, all damaged cells are instructed to self destruct by repair mechanisms within these cells. This mass destruction of cells results in whole layers of damaged skin peeling off, to be replaced by other cells underneath those layers.

    I Have a Sunburn, What Should I Do Now?
    First of all, you should take care of the cause of your problem: get out of the sun immediately. Drink plenty of water as you may be dehydrated. If skin is severely blistered, seek help from a medical practitioner. Otherwise it is important to take down the inflammation and try to reduce damage to the deeper layers of your skin.
    Take a cool bath (no products added) and then blot skin dry. Avoid greasy creams, which prevent the skin from cooling and may make the situation worse. Rather, apply generously a soothing after-sun gel to red areas and then stay out of the sun and the heat. Look for ingredients such as Clove, Liquorice, Lavender, Cucumber and Yucca to reduce irritation, pain and redness. Also look out for an incredible ingredient called Japanese Alder to accelerate the repair of UV induced DNA damage. Couple this with ingredients such as Algae and Hyaluronic Acid to rehydrate the skin and you should be well on your way to a calmer skin.

    And no, it is not then ok to go out into the sun the next day for another blast! Remember, your skin is still trying to heal and so must be kept out of direct sunlight for a good few days. Keep in mind, the skin is a great record keeper and even with a great after-sun product, irreparable damage may have occurred in the form of premature aging or skin cancer that may only reveal itself later. Think twice next time you decide “just another ten minutes;” your immune system is listening!

  • Traveling Skin

    Sometimes we fly for work and sometimes for pleasure. Whatever the reason, there’s no escaping the fact that the price of flying is not only on the purse strings but also on your skin and body. When in a plane, you can be sat (in a long metal tube) for hours and hours, literally having the moisture sucked out of your body. You know the symptoms: your eyes start to get itchy, red and puffy, and your skin feels dry and irritated.

    What Can You Do to Save Your Skin?
    Pre and post flight, give your skin some extra attention. If possible, visit a skin therapist for a thorough cleanse, an exfoliation treatment, a hydrating serum and a moisture rich masque. In addition to that, treat your skin at home with a hydrating booster each morning followed by a spritz of toner, sealed in with a moisturizer. At night, use a light microfoliation skin polish, followed by a vitamin concentrate, a vitamin eye cream, a super charged moisturizer and, very importantly, a lip complex, as the lips take a real bashing on a long flight. During the week prior to the flight remember to exfoliate, use a multivitamin masque for the face and neck, and apply a hydrating eye masque.

    If possible, during your flight follow these steps to keep skin hydrated and nourished, which you can repeat post flight:

    • Apply a hydrating spritz toner (alcohol and fragrance free), and/or a hydrating booster (key ingredient to look for is Hyaluronic Acid, it can hold 1,000 times its own weight in moisture).
    • Apply a lipid-based multivitamin complex. This concentrated dose of Vitamin A, C, and E will defend the skin against environmental stress.
    • If you are dry or have an impaired barrier function, spread a layer of therapeutic balm, which is designed to protect the skin from climate changes.
    • Layer on a silicone-based (anhydrous/water free) moisturizing gel, which will form a silky, protective barrier over the skin surface (including the eye area), helping to prevent moisture loss.
    • Apply a long lasting therapeutic balm or reparative lip treatment every few hours, especially after eating or drinking.
    • Look after your hands and your nails with a hydrating vitamin therapy hand cream. For the nails you can use some of the vitamin complex capsule you used for your face to protect the nails from splitting.

    What Else Can I do to Help My Skin?
    Before flying, be sure to drink lots of water or herbal tea (caffeine free) to hydrate, and only eat a light meal with easily digestible foods, fruit and vegetables.

    On a short flight you can get away with wearing make-up but on a long haul, your skin needs to be make-up free. The average moisture hydration level on a plane is only 10%, so it’s vital to keep your skin’s moisture levels as high as possible. Throughout your flight, freshen your skin and supplement the moisture with a fine mist of toner.

    If the skin looks tired after a flight, apply a moisturizer that contains optical illuminators. This will provide luminosity to the skin by reflecting, light thus diminishing the appearance of fine lines.

    While you’re away don’t give your skin care routine a holiday by omitting it, remember it won’t be long before you have to hop back on the plane and fly home and no one enjoys looking like a dried prune!

  • Men and Shaving

    Annet KingIt’s no secret that men need to care for their skin just as much as women do, but this can be difficult and frustrating if there’s a stubborn beard in their way. Share these shaving facts and tips with the men in your life and see if it makes a difference in their daily skin care regimen!

    Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

    Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (razor bumps) is a common condition of the beard area occurring in African American men and other people with curly hair. The problem results when highly curved hairs grow back into the skin causing inflammation and a foreign body reaction. Over time, this can cause keloidal scarring which looks like hard bumps of the beard area and neck.
    So what causes this? Blade shaving, which sharpens the ends of hair like a spear.

    Treatment
    A 100% effective treatment for this condition is to let the beard grow. Once the hairs get to a certain length they will not grow back into the skin. Also, washing the beard area with an abrasive scrub helps raise the hairs from under the skin and prevents them from growing back into the skin.

    The Shave
    The use of an electric shaver will help Pseudofolliculitis Barbae because it does not cut as close as blades do. Some doctors recommend chemical shaving with products such as Nair or Neet to improve the condition. Retin-A or a topical antibiotic solution prescribed by your doctor can help the problem as well. Shaving every other day, rather than daily, will improve Pseudo-folliculitis Barbae. Do not pull the skin taut when blade shaving and do not use a double or triple-edged razor. If you must use a blade, wash the face before shaving with a mild foaming cleanser, then rinse. Massage the beard area gently in a circular motion with a warm, moist, soft washcloth. This will free up the hair tips so they can be cut with the shaver. The warm water will also soften the hairs, making them easier to cut. Lather the beard area with a non-irritating, non-alkaline shaving gel and shave in the direction of beard growth. After shaving is finished, rinse thoroughly with warm water and apply a mild moisturizing aftershave lotion.

    The Facts
    The average man will shave approximately 20,000 times in his life, using 139 full days. Shaving is to most guys what make-up is to most women – the only way to face the world on a daily basis. Men shave for varied reasons: for hygiene, to look good, to look fashionably smooth, or to simply avoid turning into hirsute wonders. But many men suffer with irritation caused by shaving. This is something that can easily be avoided as it is often caused by misuse of shaving products or incorrect shaving techniques. Making sure your clients avoid those highly alkaline shaving foams or soap formulation will go a long way in solving the problem. Ceasing to use highly artificially fragrance after shaves will also help. Artificially fragranced products can cause photo sensitivity as well as being the number one cause of contact dermatitis.

    Shaving Tips
    Share the following shave tips with your male clients; they’ll be forever grateful.
    • When performing a skin treatment in the morning, advise the client to shave the night before. If the treatment is in the afternoon or evening, recommend that the client shave that morning.
    • Don’t shave right after getting up in the morning because during the night, fluid builds up under the skin of the face. This prevents the hair roots from being exposed enough, which makes it difficult to obtain a good shave. Wait for at least 10 to 15 minutes.
    • Before shaving, wet the face and beard with warm water for at least a minute.
    • Try a shaving brush when applying shaving cream or gel.
    • Leave the shaving cream on for at least a minute before shaving.
    • Shave starting at the sides. Then, move on to the neck. Shave the chin and moustache areas last since they have the stiffest hairs that need to be softened in the foam longer to make shaving easier.
    • After shaving, wash your face thoroughly with cool water.
    • Gently pat face dry with a clean towel. Do not rub the face.
    • Clean the shaving equipment frequently.
    • Disposable razors should be air-dried after rinsing. Wiping the blades dry may blunt them.
    • Change your razor blade at least once a week to avoid bacterial growth.

  • Men’s Skin – The Difference

    Dr Claudia AguirreDid you know more men die of melanoma in the US than women? (According to CDC 2006 statistics). Are men more genetically predisposed to get skin cancer? Probably not. The reason may lie in how men care for their skin- and we can make a difference by educating our male clients and patients.

    Men, just like women, deal with issues like aging, pigmentation, sensitivity, and acne. However, just as there are keen differences between the skin conditions of men and women, every man’s skin is as unique as his fingerprint. His skin health is shaped not only by his genes, but also by his lifestyle choices. A 20-year-old surfer’s skin is different than a 50 year-old businessman’s skin and will require different targeted products.

    The biggest difference between male and female skin is due to the male sex hormones known collectively as androgens. It is these higher levels of testosterone that result in all the characteristics of an adult male- muscle development, greater upper body strength, facial and body hair growth, deepened voice, and ‘manly’ odor, as well as a tendency toward more active and aggressive behavior. Testosterone increases oil secretion all over the body, as is particularly evident on the face. This increase begins at puberty and remains relatively constant thereafter. On the plus side, sebum provides natural moisturization for the skin.

    Sebum and sweat, along with epidermal lipids make up the oil on the surface of the skin. Although this mixture provides protection from environmental agents and prevents water loss, it also provides the perfect breeding ground for the bacteria P. acnes. The presence of these bacteria, along with the excess pore-clogging oil, set the stage for the onset of acne. Thus, it is no surprise that acne in young males is more severe and long-lasting than in females. By adulthood, however, most men normalize their oil production so that acne is not a life-long skin problem.

    So how can we get men to care for their skin properly? Men traditionally do not show early signs of skin aging unlike most women. So, they’re not easily persuaded into using moisturizing creams early in life. Despite their thicker skins, we must reassure men that proper skin care is key in resolving the issues that come later in life. As we know, American men have a greater incidence of skin cancer than women .These scary statistics should serve as an impetus to educate men about the need for daily defense against sun damage while providing solutions targeted to male skin.