News

  • The Perfect Winter Skin Care Regimen

    As the colder days draw near and we look forward to crisp winter walks and cozy nights by the fire, our skin may indeed take a down turn. I for one have a skin that does not take well to the harsher climates and I have to switch to a different skin care regimen in order to come out the other side looking a little less than an over dried prune! While many of us experience itching, dryness and redness, the key change occurring at this time of year is a reduced barrier function in our skin. This leaves skin vulnerable to extreme sensitivity and redness that, if not checked, can result in permanently dilated capillaries and inflammation.

    So here are my top tips to share with clients, or to adopt in the treatment room, for the perfect winter skin regimen:

    • Cleansing the skin properly is the first step in strategic care. Alkaline soaps and hot water set sensitization into motion. Switch to an extremely gentle, sulfate-free, non-stripping gel or cream cleanser which will fortify the protective barrier function without leaving a residue. If you find that even water makes skin sensitive, use a cleanser that may be removed with tissue or a soft cloth. Ingredients to look for in this type of cleanser include Raspberry, soothing Cucumber, a rich source of phytochemicals (including Ellagic Acid that acts as an antioxidant) and Panthenol (Provitamin B5), which helps to regenerate tissues.

    • A spritz of calming spray is a perfect, day-long salve. The newest and most effective formulas now contain cocktails of not only anti-inflammatory agents such as Avena Sativa, but ingredients to fight neurogenic inflammation, such as Red Hogweed. Ginger and Bisabolol (derived from Chamomile), when combined, work synergistically to reduce inflammation-induced itch, redness and irritation. Combine this with Red Hogweed, which targets neurogenic inflammation by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory agents such as prostaglandins, and you have a complete system to target inflammation.

    • Chapped and sensitive skins that are fond of exfoliating may use an ultra-gentle exfoliant, only on the condition that the lipid barrier is not damaged. In this case, recommend an ultrafine product which delicately polishes fragile skin with microparticles of rice bran and rice enzymes. Also note that even conventional washcloths and towels can irritate sensitized skin; recommend a high-tech, microfiber sponge cloth for cleanser and masque removal.

    • Masques are especially helpful for winter skin since the prolonged effects of a calming and hydrating weekly treatment may deliver lasting results. Use after gentle exfoliation to either the whole face or on spot areas that require instant soothing. Key ingredients to look for include pharmaceutical grade Colloidal Oatmeal, Red Hogweed and Mushroom (Cordyceps Sinesis) extract that reduce short and long term inflammation and redness. Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris) and algae extracts also soothe irritation and provide a light film to reduce redness from ultraviolet (UV) exposure and chemical irritants.

    • A concentrated booster can be the needed “brakes” on runaway inflammation and barrier dysfunction. Look for serums containing the latest newcomer Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, a peptide that reduces discomfort and pain by lowering pro-inflammatory mediators in the skin that are associated with neurogenic inflammation. Also recommended: Portulaca Oleraca Extract Lipids, Sunflower Seed, Evening Primrose and Avocado Oils to reinforce the barrier lipid layer that keeps environmental chemicals from penetrating the skin.

    • Moisturizers and UV protection are also essential during winter to protect against dehydration and free radical damage. It may be necessary to switch to a richer formula as weather cools and central heating takes its toll. A medium-to-heavy weight product works best, to form a substantial layer of lipid barrier protection and humectant hydration around tenderized areas like cheeks, nostrils, or any other hot spots. Use a physical sunscreen rather than a chemical sunscreen if sensitivity is an issue.

    It is always wise to complete a thorough skin analysis and fresh consultation at the start of the winter season in order to provide sound advice on which products will help your customer not only survive the ravages of winter, but emerge with a hydrated and calm skin!

  • IDI Greets its First Service Dog in Class

    Maybe it’s the fact that I am a hopeless dog lover and my radar is forever up when it comes to sniffing out my canine friends, but I couldn’t help but notice the presence of a dog on the Los Angeles campus the other morning. Within minutes I introduced myself to a handsome, Pomeranian-Keeshound dog named Peter Wolf. At the end of his leash was his owner, Randy Alonzo. My new canine friend, Peter Wolf, was appropriately attired in a bright blue vest that indicated he was a service dog and was a student, alongside Randy, in the International Skin Care Techniques class. I do believe this is the first service dog we have enrolled in class in the 29 years that The International Dermal Institute has been around.

    During lunch I had a chance to talk with Randy and Peter. Turns out Randy was the recipient of the IDI Legacy Scholarship that IDI awards every semester. His winning entry was a beautiful mosaic showing the layers of the skin using beans! Not surprising, Randy is an artist by training (he does painting and sculpture) and a master make up artist; he recently got his Cosmetology license and is now focusing on skin care.

    Randy told me he fell in love with Dermalogica at Santa Barbara City College. He said he loves every aspect of skin care. To Randy, creating healthy skin brings out the natural beauty of a person. But it’s the ability to give of yourself while doing a treatment on others that excites him the most. He sees being a skincare therapist as an opportunity to give back – to have a positive impact on others, helping to change the world, one client at a time.

    No doubt Randy will be a great, and most importantly, a very caring skin care therapist. For the past 6 years he and Peter Wolf have taken care of each other; the dedication and devotion between these two BFFs is a delight to see. From The International Dermal Institute and Dermalogica…..Good luck as a future skin care therapist Randy! We hope to see you and Peter in class again soon.

  • The Scary Truth Behind Halloween and Accelerated Skin Aging!

    When it comes to celebrating Halloween, many of us don’t realize that the “trick really is in the treat”! Those sugary delights that await us as we eagerly go knocking from door to door, could be leading to more than the anticipated side effects of tooth decay!

    Researchers have discovered that sugar consumption leads to a rapid rise in blood glucose levels, which triggers a series of biochemical reactions in the cells that cause inflammation and glycation, which ultimately leads to accelerated aging of the body.

    Glycation in the skin occurs when blood sugar levels rapidly rise and sugar molecules attach to one of the fundamental architectural structures in the skin, Collagen. Once sugar bonds with Collagen, the process of “Glycation” takes place, and produces harmful molecules called Advanced Glycation End products, which ultimately undermine the skin’s internal scaffolding, weakening its strength and turgor. With the repetitive attack of sugar to the skin, fine lines and wrinkles will eventually start to manifest and the skin will take on a more fragile and flaccid appearance! YIKES!!!

    Scientists from the Leiden University Medical Centre in the Netherlands and Unilever in the UK measured the blood sugar levels of 600 men and women aged between 50 and 70. Photographs of these people were presented to a board of 60 independent evaluators. What these evaluators perceived in this study was that those with higher blood sugar levels looked older than those with lower blood sugar levels. The researchers also discovered that with every 1mm/liter increase in blood sugar, the perceived age of that person rose by five months! Now if that does not scare you then I don’t know what will!

    How much you can tolerate before glycation occurs depends on your age, metabolism and how much you exercise. If you’re an active 25-year-old, your body can tolerate more sugar than if you are a sedentary 35-year-old.

    The good news is if you change your ways and start to reduce the amount of sugar in your diet, then you should quickly see benefits manifesting on the surface of your skin. The aim should be to ensure that high Glycemic Index foods make up less than ten percent of your total diet. The results you achieve from your dietary changes will be further accelerated by making sure you use skin care formulations that fight the effects of sugar from the outside in. Skin care products rich in anti-inflammatory ingredients and sugar trapping cosmeceuticals such as Arginine Lysine Polypeptide are a definite must have!

    Try to repair existing damage by using ingredients that can stimulate the skin to produce more collagen. Examples of ingredients with collagen stimulating capabilities include:
    • Hydroxypenacolon Retinoate, a brand new, non-irritating form of Vitamin A
    • Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, a stabilized form of Vitamin C
    • Palmitoyl Hexapeptide 14, a small amino acid chain molecule that stimulates the fibroblast cell into action.

    And if you simply can’t help but give in to those sugary cravings, then try some fresh strawberries dipped in 70% dark chocolate, which has a substantially lower glycemic index and is considered by some to be an antioxidant “super food!”

    Here’s to a happy, healthy Halloween!

  • The Benefits of Pumpkin Ingredients on the Skin

    Sharon MaxwellAutumn can play some nasty tricks on your skin with its winds and chilly weather. But you can give your skin a treat by using the perfect ingredient of the season, pumpkin, to reveal glowing new skin underneath.

    Pumpkin contains a lot of amazing properties that benefit the skin in many different ways. So how does pumpkin help skin?

    • Pumpkin is packed with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover, to brighten and smooth the skin.

    • Pumpkin contains antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging.

    • Zinc in pumpkin seeds is brilliant for acne sufferers. Zinc will help control the hormone level and oil production, as well as assist with healing of the skin.

    • Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are necessary to maintain good barrier function of the skin. They also regulate sebum, great for an oily skin.

    • The molecular structure of pumpkin is small and therefore can penetrate deeper into the skin when used topically. This is amazing for treating a dull complexion, aging skin and pigmentation.

    Due to the many benefits pumpkin has, it is easy to find in advanced, professional skin care today. There are exfoliants containing pumpkin ferment that help to brighten skin and remove pigmented cells. Pumpkin is used in formulations as a spot treatment or all over to brighten and even skin tone. There are treatment, day moisturizers with SPF30 that include encapsulated Vitamin C and Vitamin E, which are only released when in contact with ultraviolet (UV) rays to provide enhanced protection. A good night time treatment moisturizer with pumpkin will also help to hydrate, smooth and reinforce the skin’s barrier while you sleep.

    For the best results this season, it’s simple – target skin with products containing pumpkin!