• The Benefits of Pumpkin Ingredients on the Skin


    Autumn 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, clients can adjust their home care routine to include products with this key ingredient. Start with recommending a day moisturizer with SPF, especially if they’re concerned with hyperpigmentation. Look for formulations with unique encapsulation technology that time-releases active ingredients and sunscreens into the skin for enhanced ultraviolet (UV) protection, while inhibiting melanosome activity and providing hydration benefits.

    Pair it up with a night time treatment moisturizer that also contains peptides, antioxidants and plant extracts like Giant White Bird of Paradise Seed and Moth Bean Seed to improve luminosity, strengthen skin and increase cell turnover all while they sleep.

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

  • How to Motivate and Empower Your Employees

    Sharon MaxwellEmployees are your most valuable commodity; they can make or break your business. An unhappy staff member or someone with a negative attitude doesn’t only “affect” your business but “infects” it and spreads the virus. On the contrary, employees that are valued and feel the passion for their work can spread the smile, creating a welcoming environment for your clients.

    Communication is key to success. Involve your team in decision making and embrace their ideas and creativity. Set goals and targets together and make them realistic and achievable. Schedule regular meetings or huddles that are not to be cancelled unless an emergency occurs.

    The most valuable lesson that I learned from my manager, was that mistakes are OK! This was revolutionary for me, as I am a perfectionist. Without mistakes there is no growth. If you create a safe environment, it allows your employees to be creative and provides a vehicle for empowerment. Support them to try something new, and affirm them. It may or may not work, but out of it comes a learning curve, and growth.

    Lead by example. Be involved, participating, enjoying, but not controlling. Be approachable; be a mentor, rather than a boss – someone they can relate to and respect. Treat staff how you would like to be treated yourself.

    Reward and recognize if your staff go above and beyond. This can be monetary, but find out what motivates the individual. Determine the value to the business. It could be a day of education, if targets are achieved, or a one hour skin or body treatment, a product, extra 2 hours off work, cake, chocolates, a team lunch/dinner, or even a designer handbag. I have been with the International Dermal Institute for 20 years and I was given a year’s supply of my favourite product to say thank you. As you can imagine I was absolutely thrilled and I felt really valued!

    Plan an informal chat with your employees every 6- 8 weeks, but make notes on accomplishments, areas for development, where they are now, strategies for development, and support or training needed. This is not an assessment or a yearly personal review, it is valuable time together, and an opportunity to share and discuss the business, but it’s also useful to keep for reference as an action plan.

    The business of skin is serious. But the best environment for staff and clients is one where they have freedom to smile, socialize, snack and chat.

    British broadcaster and radio journalist John Tusa once said “Management that wants to change an institution, must first show it loves that institution.” Do you love your business enough to change?!

  • Cold Weather and Skin – a Dangerous Combination!

    Sharon MaxwellAre you suffering with that winter itch, the kind where you want to just scratch your skin off?! The skin becomes dry and irritated as we face wind, central heating and low humidity. The harsh weather can strip the skin’s natural protective barrier, creating gaps in the outer most Stratum Corneum layer, allowing water to escape (dehydration) and irritants to get in (sensitivity). The dry environment may be responsible for the itchy sensations, as the inflammatory response kicks in and releases histamines. It can exacerbate inflammatory skin diseases such as rosacea, eczema, ichthyosis, and psoriasis, which suffer an impaired barrier function. Just like the eyelids, the skin on the lips is extra thin and sensitive, which can suffer greatly during the harsh winters, resulting in dry cracked, sore lips. The winter dryness looks bleak, but what can we do to alleviate these symptoms? Try this:

    • Back to Basics – start with a creamy, soap-free, acid balanced cleanser, a hydrating spritz with humectants, and a protective moisturizer with SPF15-30.
    • Supplement with a hydrating serum or masque that includes a high dose of Hyaluronic Acid (which holds 1000 x its own weight in water).
    • Target sensitized skin with calming complexes such as oats, Bisabolol, Ginger and Red Hogweed, which reduce those uncomfortable sensations.
    • Treat skin while you sleep with a peptide serum rich in Argan Oil that provides fatty acids, plant sterols, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid to reinforce the barrier lipid layer.
    • Reduce the temperature of your bath and shower, use bath oils, and apply body moisturizer immediately after your shower (within 3 minutes).
    • Do not over bathe, over strip, and be too harsh with the skin. Treat it gently and with respect!
    • Avoid licking lips, as digestive enzymes and bacteria in saliva can damage the lips. Use a nourishing lip balm with Shea Butter and Avocado.

  • Treating Sensitized Eyes

    Sharon MaxwellThey say that the eyes are the window to the soul. Why does the eye reveal so much? The eye is directly connected to the brain via the optic nerve, and it will tell the condition of the nervous system and the brain. When the nervous system or brain have been injured, the eye changes, loses clarity and alertness, and it even loses its ability to see.

    The skin around the eyes tells a story of how we have lived our life. Too much sun, smoking and stress will leave telltale signs such as sagging, bagging and wrinkles. The skin around the eyes is ten times thinner than on the face, and it is therefore more delicate and susceptible to damage. Avoid tugging the delicate tissue, be gentle, and wear something as simple as sunscreen and sunglasses to protect the area. There are fewer sebaceous glands around the eyes than the rest of the face, so to combat dehydration, it is important to use an ultra-rich cream of replenishing phytonutrients, antioxidant vitamins and soothing botanicals to help diminish those fine dry lines.

    Eyes really carry the strain of everyday living, beginning their work as soon as we are awake, and only relaxing when we are asleep. The orbicularis oculi muscle surrounding the eye is responsible for narrowing the eye to frown and squint and closing the eye to wink. It is a very overworked muscle and the one that is underlying ‘crow’s feet, the lines that appear on the outside corner of the eye.

    Eye Relaxation Technique
    Try massaging the eye area with a simple movement that leaves the eyes feeling lighter and brighter. This brings such a welcome relief to tired, sensitive eyes! Working both eyes, grasp the eyebrow between your thumb and middle finger, moving in the direction of the inner eye to the outer eye area. Then work under the eye, outside to inside with small circular movements using your middle finger. Apply pressure to finish on the sinus point under inside brow line (bladder 2 pressure point). Your clients’ tired, sensitized eyes will soon brighten!

  • Treatments for Aging Skin

    Sharon MaxwellAging is the natural process of life. When we reach 30 we start to lose 1% of collagen per year, and after menopause this rises to 2.5%! Everything slows down, we get sagging and bagging, sensitivity, and there is a real battle against dryness. Our skins have become tired. We cannot stop aging (unless we die – a bit drastic!), so as skin therapists our goal is to prevent premature aging (aging before our time). With regular treatments and good products and ingredients, the results can be dramatic.

    Exfoliation (including Retinol, enzymes, Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid) is important to remove the dull, dead cells that have been lying around on the surface of the skin. This will, in turn, stimulate cell renewal, hydrating and brightening the skin. It also provides a clean canvas on which to layer wonderful active ingredients.

    We then need to apply water attracting humectants, skin softening emollients, lipid barrier reinforcements and collagen stimulating peptides, as well as infuse the skin with a super concentrated dose of nourishing and conditioning agents. Layering of product is key.

    For daily care we would recommend a concentrated oil-based serum containing peptides and Hyaluronic Acid to firm, tighten and hydrate the skin. Don’t forget to include the neck and décolleté area. I am a hill walking fanatic and I notice how many times the back of the neck is neglected, and becomes weathered, a real telltale sign of a person’s age.

    It is not how old we are that matters, it is how we are old!

  • Does Oily Skin Need Moisturizer During Summer?


    The answer is YES, absolutely! Everyone needs to protect their skin from moisture loss, as you can have oily skin but still lack water. The summer sun can both dehydrate and damage the skin, causing premature aging; so a moisturizer is important to use for protection. When you smile or pout your lips, do you notice fine lines suddenly appear? These are dehydration lines, meaning that your skin needs hydration. This can easily be fixed by using a moisturizer appropriate for your skin condition.

    If you are one of those people who had acne when younger or who currently suffers an oily or shiny skin, you may hate the word “oil,” or even moisturizer! Fortunately we have come a long way in the development of moisturizers, which can be more than barrier products—they can be treatment products that benefit your skin.

    Look for a moisturizer that contains Lemon, Ivy, Watercress and Burdock, which are natural astringents that help refine the skin, and Lavender, Mallow and Cucumber to soothe and hydrate. Moisturizers can also mattify the skin with ingredients like Niacinamide, Yeast Extract, Horse Chestnut, Licorice, Pro-Vitamin B5, Caffeine and oil-absorbing microspheres that regulate sebum and shine.

    Daytime protection is a must, even for oil-phobes! Look for a lightweight, ultra-sheer formula with Broad Spectrum sunscreen and silicones to help absorb excess oils on the skin. Combine these with sebum regulating ingredients, and you get an all-day matte finish.

    Nowadays there are so many moisturizers to choose from—the key is using the correct one for your skin! How can you determine which one is right for you? Start by paying a visit to a professional skin therapist who will analyze your skin and recommend products that fit your needs and lifestyle.