• January and Jelly Beans: How Organizing Will Help You Meet Your Goals


    One of my highlights in January is buying a new planner and diary for the year ahead. I love the sense of new beginnings that it gives me. Re-organize, re-group and re-focus – that is my January motto.

    While many may balk at the prospect of reworking tasks or plans, reorganizing can be incredibly motivating and can set the tone for a productive and rewarding year.

    Have you given your year ahead any thought yet? Do you have ambitious plans to drive your dreams forward?

    What a great start to the year for those of you that have been decisive!

    If not, don’t panic, you are not alone and there is still time to get onto it. I have had many a conversation with those who feel they are just too busy for all that sensible sorting out nonsense. Or you may be someone who has just become wrapped up in your daily process and simply not stopped to consider the possibilities in a new year.

    Even if you are anti-New Year’s Resolutions, resolve to dedicate a couple of hours to a little reorganizing and you might surprise yourself with all that can be achieved through a little task tackling.

    I highly recommend an administrative spring clean as a starting point. By dealing with all that tedious paperwork, writing up important diary dates and mapping out your intentions for the year, you will make great strides towards making your ambitions realities, along with having more time to do the stuff you really want to do. I would add that tediousness always needs to be balanced with pleasure…that would be a welcome little bag of Jelly Beans in my case! I am sure you will have your own favorites to support you through the somewhat mundane chores, but I guarantee you will be invigorated by the process in the end (not just high on sugar!).

    I usually find that by consciously and actively reorganizing myself I almost can’t help regrouping. Could I fit in more time with so and so? Do I want to keep up with this particular commitment? Am I still happy participating in or contributing to this activity? And so forth…

    When I was about 24, this exact process made me realize how much I wanted to travel and explore life abroad. I set in motion a plan that took four months to come to fruition and I moved from sleepy Durban, South Africa to busy, buzzing London, in the United Kingdom. A big dream had become a reality by simply getting organized.

    Working in Britain also made me realize that I wanted so much more from my skin care career and that has led to a fantastically enriched 18 years with The International Dermal Institute teaching all over the world. I am grateful every day for making the bold move to leave a stable job of 5 years to pursue travel dreams.

    Making a little time to reorganize, will give you opportunity to regroup, and inevitably re-focus. It may be just what you need to fire up your career, make those desirable life changes or simply make more of your current situation.

    January is the month where the New Year’s Resolutionists battle it out with the Cynics and Complacents. Some would say resolutions are a waste of time, as most rarely last beyond January. Yet, I would say that making them and keeping them depends largely on how important those resolutions are to you and your future.

  • 4 Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Retinoids

    The press is full of the virtues of using retinoids. And rightly so. The scientific data definitely validates them as probably the defining ingredient option of the decade for aging skin concerns. If your clients are using retinoid-based products prescribed by their dermatologist, or recommended by you as a professional skin therapist, it is worth sharing these important tips with them to yield the best results that retinoids can deliver.

    1. Use your retinoid product at night

    Unfortunately Vitamin A ingredients, such as Retinol, are not photo-stable. This means they degrade, or break down, in the presence of ultraviolet light. Not only can this reduce the benefit they will have on your skin, but can increase the free radical load, making skin more sensitive and reactive. So it’s essential to apply after dark and allow the retinoid to work its magic while you sleep.

    2. Introduce the retinoid gradually

    As we age retinoid receptors decline in the skin. But this can be remedied by using the dilutions recommended and building your skin’s tolerance. By applying gradually, you can build up the receptors and you will feel less ‘bite’ or sensitivity as you progress. Applying too much retinoid too quickly risks a dermatitis response that will leave skin very irritated. Use an accompanying buffer cream or your moisturizer to provide a dilution medium.

    3. Moisturize well

    It is not uncommon for skin to experience tightness, dryness or become flaky with retinoid use. The increased rate of skin renewal and desquamation initially causes the Stratum Corneum to thin, although this condition will improve over several weeks. The implications of this are increased dehydration and sensitivity that can make you quite uncomfortable in your own skin. Using a slightly heavier weight moisturizer will compensate for this water loss and ease discomfort, seek your professional skin therapist for a proper prescription.

    4. Always use SPF daily

    While there is a degree of debate on the specific mechanisms of increased photosensitivity with retinoid use, the skin will definitely be more vulnerable to ultraviolet exposure. Don’t worry about the debate, be safe and apply a minimum SPF30 daily and preferably an SPF50. Stop your retinoid at least two weeks before venturing on a sunshine holiday or you will burn faster and be at greater risk of hyperpigmentation issues.

    Taking sensible precautions will ensure you get the best out of your product and maintain your skin health, all while achieving fantastic results.


    Related blog posts:

    Is Microencapsulated Retinol Better Than Ordinary Retinol?

    Dr. Diana on the Benefits of Retinol

  • Deep Cleanse Your Way to Clean, Clear Skin

    A sign of a healthy skin is a smooth, clear complexion, free of oily blackheads and breakouts. Many individuals suffer with congested, bumpy skin, not as a result of acne or some other related skin condition, but rather because of ineffective cleansing methods.

    Professional skin therapists can offer deep cleansing treatments to help tackle the accumulation of environmental residues, sebum and skin cells that cause skin impactions. A good deep cleanse is reliant on three basic strategies: efficient cleansing, good skin preparation and skilled extraction techniques.

    For thoroughly clean skin, start with a double cleanse. The first cleanse will remove superficial debris that has adhered to sticky sebum and irregular epidermal cells including makeup, pollution, SPFs, and everyday dirt and dust. Ideally, choose a plant-based cleansing oil that will dissolve this surface grime. Emulsify with water and wash away.

    The second cleanse, using a cleanser appropriate to the general skin condition, will then be able to deep cleanse into the follicle openings, lifting away excess skin oils and minimizing build-up. It also guarantees a hygienic environment if proceeding with extractions.

    Top Tips for Effective Cleansing:
    • Cleanse in an upward, circular motion to lift hairs and get into follicles.
    • Focus on facial creases where sebum collects such as corners of the nose or crease of chin, or where more congestion is felt such as the
    T-zone or along the jawline.
    • Use steam to improve emulsification of cleansers, and encourage natural detoxification of the skin.
    • Use light pressure so as not to overheat skin with heavy friction movements, as this could sensitize and increase oil production.
    • Never reuse cleansing sponges on a different client. New client = new sponges to maintain hygiene standards.

    An exfoliant will begin to prepare skin for extractions. Removing loose cell layers will expose follicle openings and comedones – ideal for easing the impaction out of skin with reduced discomfort for clients.

    Application of an extraction or desincrustation fluid that further softens and loosens cellular debris will make it easier to extract blackheads without bruising. Most fluids are alkaline in nature to achieve this effect. Alkalinity assists with emulsifying the natural skin oils too, promoting the deep cleansing result.

    Top Tips for Extractions:
    • Allow enough time for the desincrustation fluid to process.
    • Avoid metal comedone extractors that bruise and damage tissue; rather manually extract with a careful rolling technique.
    • Use vinyl gloves to maintain a sterile environment and avoid cross-infecting.
    • Only extract non-inflammatory lesions to avoid scarring or spreading infection to neighboring follicles; wipe carefully and away from follicle
    rather than back into it.
    • Apply an astringent antiseptic post extractions to soothe and prevent infection.

    Focusing on the cleansing stages of the treatment can yield great results. But be sure to follow-up the deep cleansing treatment with relevant advice on cleansing at home to maintain the benefits!

  • Prepared for the Holidays?!

    The busy, holiday season will soon have you scurrying around, more than a little preoccupied, as party prep services shift up a gear. With greater footfall in the skin center it makes sense to also focus on retail promotion and merchandising to maximize revenues.

    November and December are critical business months. Without a strong marketing and retail strategy for the holiday period, you risk not competing effectively with other businesses that are making the most of increased buying.

    Many of your suppliers will already have planned for you, with a selection of special offers and ideas to make your retail space pop with exciting displays and festive branding. If you had not considered how to maximize this time of year, pay attention and get cracking. You may not be too late to order limited edition sets or gift wrapping tools.

    As weary shoppers become desperate for interesting and meaningful gifts, use the opportunity to promote what you sell. It’s not all about the pre-boxed set, you know! Something bespoke, something unique, something no one else thought of… now that’s a gift worth giving and worth getting!

    With a little creative thought you could put together mini home treatment kits that fit a range of budgets, or offer to package up a personalized home care regimen. A neat box or travel bag loaded with product and a few useful or thoughtful extras like exfoliating gloves, facial sponges, aromatherapy candle or other essentials could make the perfect gift. Why not try having a selection of extras that the customer can choose from to make each gift completely personalized.

    Every business should keep a stash of little “wish lists” to give to clients. Not all clients can afford to take every product we recommend, but at this time of year it may be that someone else could purchase that desired product for them. A wish list usually takes the form of a card that has your logos and contact details on the one side and space on the other side to write in the products they are wishing for. This can be handed to their loved one who then knows exactly what they would really love under the tree and exactly where to get it. If you offer a delivery or drive-by and collect service, make sure this is mentioned on the card. I know many a man looking for the simple solution to the gift dilemma!

    And be sure not to ignore your gift certificates. Whether for specific services or monetary value to be used on services and product purchases, many customers love the flexibility of this type of present. Vouchers will bring in valuable new clients for you in the early part of the New Year.
    Want an extra boost in sales? Why not hold a fun and engaging event? Customers can come along with friends and family (the more the merrier, of course) to something festive that educates about skin and showcases your fantastic gift offers.

    Get into to the spirit of giving and provide your customers everything they need for a wonderful, thoughtful and stress-free, festive season!