News

  • Get Sun Smart

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    Like many people, childhood holidays were always spent on the beach, where young tender skin was exposed to the elements sun up to sun down. Mum’s beach bag contained the ‘Sun Oil’ and her first-aid bag the calamine lotion. If only we had known then what we know now about the dangers of the sun.

    Believe it or not, there are many people that are still uninformed about the importance of sun protection. Here are some common questions (or excuses) that we often hear from clients with ways to explain or debunk myths about sun safety.

    Q: The sun will dry up my spots.
    A: FALSE
    As you unwind on the beach and relax, stress hormones will begin to level out and eventually dwindle. As acne is exacerbated by stress, it makes sense that as we relax, acne may improve. You may be in and out of salt water and chlorine, which can also dry up spots. Overall it may seem that acne breakouts have cleared…wrong! The heat and often clogging sunscreens will cause oil to speed up production and skin to be in overdrive, leaving you with the same issues. There are plenty of SPF options for oily or acneic skins that will not clog but rather keep skin hydrated, while prevent more serious UV damage. Seek relaxation but avoid the sun!

    Q: I only need sunscreen when it’s sunny.
    A: FALSE
    UVA rays are the longest rays in the spectrum and penetrate to the deeper layers of the skin all year round, including winter months. UVA rays cause damage at a cellular level, making them responsible for most skin cancers and the main cause of visible aging in the form of wrinkles, sagging and sun spots. Other signs of damage are small blood vessels and spider veins on the face, neck and chest. UVA also goes through glass including most car windows and is present on cloudy days as well as sunny days. Protecting daily with a Broad Spectrum (filters both UVA and UVB) sunscreen should be included in everyone’s skin care regime.

    Q: How much sunscreen do you need for a face and neck application?
    A: FULL TEASPOON
    A full teaspoon for face and neck is a good rough guide—though it’s better to be more generous than to skimp. More importantly, to ensure an SPF is doing its job it needs to be applied 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, so don’t wait until you are on the beach before applying. Remember you need to re-apply regularly, especially if swimming, sweating or if removing with a towel, think about when eating drinking and wiping your mouth.

    Q: The SPF in my makeup protects my skin.
    A: FALSE
    The problem with relying on the SPF in your makeup is that you’re just not getting enough of it. You should wear at least an SPF of 15, but an SPF of 30 is ideal and topped up every 2 hours. The easiest solution is to use a moisturiser or primer (or both!) that also contain sunscreen. It’s fine to have sunscreen in your makeup, but consider it an added bonus, not your main safeguard.

    Q: Two layers of SPF15 make an SPF30. 
    A: FALSE 
    Adding another layer on top of an existing layer of sunscreen does not double the sun protection factor. Two layers of an SPF 15 sunscreen remains an SPF 15 and does not become an SPF 30. Re-apply every 2 hours if outside in summer months or on holiday in the sun.

  • Teen Challenge: Acneic Skin and Hydration

    Heather HickmanThe American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) reports that acne is by far the most common skin complaint amongst those in the 12 to 17 age bracket, affecting all at least occasionally.

    Being prepared to treat teenage clients with acne is high on our radar as Professional Skin Therapists. We are well versed in the key ingredients to combat the contributing factors of an acneic skin condition, and how to effectively explain to our teenage clients, and their parent, how the skin should be treated at home.

    Yet, often the hardest conversation revolves around the use, or lack thereof, of a moisturizer. All too often, our acne and oily prone clients have an innate mistrust of using non-medicated “creams” for fear it will lead to future or prolonged breakouts.

    Dehydrated skin is highly prevalent amongst those with oily or acne prone skin, especially if they have been using harsh over the counter products that may strip the skin of moisture and impair the barrier function. In addition, prescriptive medications such as isotretinoin further exacerbate the dehydration issue, sometime to the extreme.

    Education is a key factor in ensuring a moisturizer is utilized on a daily basis, specifically the ability to explain the difference between a dry and a dehydrated skin, and the need to add moisture, but not oil. And being able to clearly explain that if an oily skin is dehydrated the skin will produce MORE oil to make up for the missing moisture, potentially leading to more breakouts – that revelation works every time!

    Oil-free is the key, but let us not forget the need for the moisturizer to also soothe the skin and calm any irritation either from misuse of product, side effect of medication or inflammation from severe acne.

    Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best ingredients on the market to quickly, effectively and non-aggressively hydrate the skin. The use of Squalane in a moisturizer restores skin suppleness while also helping to prevent future moisture loss. Mild Vitamin B5 derivatives, such as Panthenyl Triacetate will assist in soothing and restoring irritated skin.

    Let’s not forget to join the “moisture movement” the next time we are treating our teenage clients oily or acne skin concerns – they’ll thank you in the long run.

  • Say Buh-Bye to Bacne

     

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    Spring has sprung, which means your clients might be ready to pack up their winter woolies and reveal more skin! But for some the very notion might make them anxious if they suffer from back or chest acne. “Bacne” as it’s now referred to, is more common than you think when you consider that nearly 85% of all people have acne at some point in their lives, most often on the face, chest, and back. Teen boys and men sometimes get the full brunt of this issue due to testosterone levels triggering increased sebum production, which leads to blockages and more breakouts. Only to be then further exacerbated by sweaty, occlusive gym clothes and let be real, questionable hygiene. But you can’t ignore the ladies, many acne prone and active females have their fair share of bacne issues too.

    Here are #3 simple rules to share with your clients.

    #1 No blocking. We have the most amount of sebaceous glands in the face, neck, shoulders, back and upper arms, so if these follicles are blocked due to oil, dead cells, waxy hair or occlusive body products, even SPF, breakouts sometimes even cystic type acne will result. Bear in mind that people are also less selective about what products they use on their body versus their face.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Advise clients to treat their chest and back like their face, screen their shower and body products for comedogenic culprits like artificial fragrance, color, pure lanolins, petroleum derivatives and the “myristates”.  Have them ditch the dewberry shower gel and prescribe a soap- and fragrance-free anti-bacterial cleanser with ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree and Citrus extracts.

    #2 No stripping. Steer your clients away from mentholated and alcohol astringents, the cooling sensation on the skin does not mean the skin is clean. In most cases, these astringents have an SD Alcohol base that strips the skin of lipids and causes the skin to actually produce MORE oil to only worsen the condition. Abrasive scrubs are also a no-no as they’ll open up lesions and spread bacteria.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Introduce an oil and bacteria controlling toner. Look for alcohol-free that allow for spritzing on the back or portable purifying skin wipes with ingredients like Balm Mint, Witch Hazel and Salicylic Acid. Treat breakouts with topical treatments that reduce sebum production, dissolve skin cells and zap bacteria with the hottest technology like Lactobacillus Ferment, Colloidal Silver, Zinc Sulfate, Magnolia Bark and Niacinamide.

    #3 Keep it clean. Conduct a CSI level investigation into your client’s sheet preference, washday frequency, detergent products and clothing. Sweat, dead cells and oil are all yummy bacteria food. Synthetic fibers will further trap sweat and dead cells.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Advise clients to change pillowcases at least every other day and sheets twice a week. They should also wear organic cotton clothing next to the skin and especially avoid moisture wicking gym gear. Same goes for the bed linen, avoid synthetics like polyester that trap sweat and bacteria. Also ditch the fabric conditioners as these coat the fibers and this in turn coats the skin.

    Last but not least book them for a weekly 30 minute back clearing or chest treatment and you’ll eradicate their bacne or chacne (chest acne) in a snap, and ready for that cute Easter dress or at least the first pool party!

  • A Clear Connection: IDI Adresses Adult Acne in Colombia

    It was late when we landed, but even in the late hours of the day, the city of Bogotá pulsed with an amazing energy. Working for a global company gives us the opportunity to travel and educate all around the world, and here we were in the metropolitan heart of Colombia, getting ready to share the latest in skin care ingredients and technology.

    For four days, my colleague Yorcka Kido, regional education manager for Latin America/Caribbean, and I had the honor to meet with our South American hosts and professional skin therapists. We were also able to connect to millions of consumers via local media to educate on skin health with a focus on adult acne.

    Our first two days kicked off with radio interviews to discuss skin facts and tips on acne. We also met with additional press for TV, magazine and newspapers such as El Tiempo, Caracol Colombia, RCN Radio, Televisa Colombia and Vanidades to share the story of skin health and the impact of adult acne for consumers. Questions such as “what causes acne, how do you treat a blemish, what are the best acne-fighting ingredients and can food affect your skin and cause breakout?” were just a few of the key topics during these interviews.

    On our final day in Bogotá, we were the guest speakers at a skin care event. Over 100 professionals attended the seminar ranging from skin therapists and salon owners to doctors and dermatologists. We presented the latest on industry ingredients and trends and also covered controversial topics like parabens, natural versus organic and alternative ingredients. With consumers having more access to various types of skin care, this topic was impactful and relevant for all professionals, especially to stay educated in what’s fact or fiction, and what works and what’s safe.

    Our afternoon featured the latest findings and research on acne and adult acne. We explored the science behind acne development including triggers, causes, and the four factors that contribute to this worldwide skin concern. Attendees also learned about key ingredients in professional and retail products that provide maximum control and innovative treatment solutions.

    Our experience in Bogotá, Colombia was filled with warm hospitality, gracious hosts and people that encompass a passion for skin care and for life. The entire trip allowed us to network, meet new friends and build relationships on the common thread of education. And that no matter where we are in the world, continuing education is truly important and critical to our client’s skin health and to the success of our business.

  • Tackle Teen Acne!

    What is a pimple? Is it dirty skin? A reaction to cosmetics? A disease? Well in a way, it’s all of that and much more. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects about 40 to 50 million Americans at any one time. The acneic condition presents itself in four grades (I – IV), with increasing levels of severity. But even healthy skin can even experience pimples, since the hormonal signals that trigger oil production and inflammation are easily stimulated by changes in diet, psychological stress and puberty. And since puberty means a time of growth and changes, the skin is also growing and maturing and may not be able to handle the extra oil produced that leads to clogged follicles. A clogged follicle is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation, which is compounded by the elevated sebum produced during puberty.

    At the onset of puberty, hormones from the hypothalamic region of the brain and the pituitary gland trigger the production of testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls to initiate sexual maturation. An unfortunate side effect is the surge in sebum production in many. For girls, this cyclic pattern may even progress into adulthood. However, teenage acne is different than adult acne. While adult acne affects mostly women, and it is characterized by larger, more inflammatory papules with no comedones, teenage acne can present comedones, papules, pustules, cysts, nodules and is not typically cyclical. In addition, hygiene can play a major role, as proper skin care may be lacking or underdeveloped.

    This is why it’s imperative to teach young teens about proper daily skin care, introducing cleansing, hydrating and treating as part of their regimen. Another aspect of educating is reversing some of the misconceptions about acne that adolescents tend to have – whether it’s scrubbing away all oils with harsh scrubs, tanning to ‘clear’ acne, picking at their skin, and a host of other skin sins.

    In your treatment room, look for multitasking products that minimize breakouts without irritating or drying out the skin as many acne-controlling products in the market tend to do. By reducing hyperkeratinization, minimizing bacterial infection, controlling inflammation, and most importantly hydrating, you’ll provide a service not only for the short-term pubertal acne woes, but also for the long-term skin health goals of your future return client.

  • Breakout Freakout

    Ah summer. The home stretch, the ninth inning, a time for preparation and relaxation and… final exams! This may stir up terrifying memories, or if you’re in the midst of it, elicit a reminder of what’s to come. This crunch time is key to passing exams with flying colors or not passing at all, and it can feel like a literal squeeze or crunch, with your mind racing at 100mph. What you may not even realize during this hectic time is how it can also affect your body and even your skin.

    Psychological stress is not just “in your mind,” although it does begin there. When we experience stress, a region in the brain called the hypothalamus releases signals to specific glands to produce even more signals, or hormones, which then circulate around the body and elicit the “stress response.” The stress hormones released by the glands sitting atop the kidneys are epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol.

    Cortisol is a stress hormone that can also impact skin health. When cortisol is released, it can trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum as well as increase inflammation. In the skin, this increased inflammation and sebum is the perfect environment for P. acnes to thrive inside the follicle. The result? A breakout.

    We may not be able to avoid those finals, but we can try to avoid that stress-induced pimple by practicing relaxation techniques. Or at the very least, treat it with efficacious ingredients to help the skin heal. If you have teenage clients in the treatment room, remember this is a high-stress time so combine stress-relieving techniques with these ingredients:

    Benzoyl Peroxide: Stops breakout-causing bacteria in the follicle and helps clear skin.
    Salicylic Acid: A hydroxy acid that exfoliates surface skin cells and reduces inflammation.
    Bentonite and Kaolin Clays: Purifying clays pull oil from skin, deep cleaning and helping to control shine.
    Niacinamide: Assists in regulating sebaceous gland secretions while scavenging free radicals.
    Meadowsweet: protects against the production and secretion of excess sebum.
    African Whitewood: The bark extract of this tree has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and sebum-regulating properties.

    To learn more about stress and breakouts, check out this video that I shared for Ted Education:

  • The Benefits of Pumpkin Ingredients on the Skin

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    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!

  • Hormones and the Skin Q & A

    As seen in CLEO Magazine, Australia, July 2012

    Do hormones affect our skin? How?
    Absolutely! There are dozens of hormones that have major effects on the body, including our skin. Scientists are still discovering new hormones and new actions of known ones when it comes to effects on skin. The major hormones that affect skin are the sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, and growth hormones. The key is balance when it comes to hormones. When there is an imbalance, effects are seen on skin, hair and nails. For example, too much thyroid hormone and you get moist, smooth skin. Too little and you get rough, dry skin. Too much or too little and you can get alopecia. Too much of the androgen (male) hormones increase skin oiliness and face/body hair. This can lead to acne in both men and women. Too little of the female hormones (estrogens and progestogens) and you get thin, dry skin with reduced collagen and elastin, something that is seen in menopausal women.

    Why do we sometimes get pimples in the same spot around the time of our periods?
    Many adult women get a pimple around the time of ovulation, typically a couple weeks before the start of their period. This is most likely due to the surge in luteinizing hormone (LH) that is seen at this time. This hormone can trigger sebaceous gland activity, leading to increased oil production and the perfect environment for an invading bacteria to cause inflammation. Hormonal breakouts are quite common and can be controlled.

    What can be done to stop this kind of skin problem?

    Some methods of birth control can help regulate the hormones that lead to oil production and breakouts. But a good skin care regimen will do wonders for breakout-prone skin. Using mild cleansers that don’t strip skin oils is a good first step, since many people believe that the more squeaky-clean they are the better. Using harsh soaps to remove all oils can actually cause skin to produce even more oil, in an attempt to self-regulate. Next you want to moisturize with oil-free moisturizers to maintain hydration without clogging pores. And using spot treatments with Sulfur and Salicylic Acid are great ways to control breakouts without causing unwanted inflammation, which can worsen the problem. Retinoids (Vitamin A derivatives) are also good ways to manage adult acne and skin aging at the same time.

  • Hormones and Your Skin

    Imagine balancing a scale with grains of sand. This is how your hormones (the grains of sand) maintain a balanced body. Even the slightest difference in either way- whether it’s having a little too much or a little too little- can have a significant impact in the way your body works. Hormones are chemical signals that impact every slow, long-lasting process in the body, from hunger and growth to sleep and emotions. Unlike the quick-acting nervous system, the endocrine system, which governs hormones, releases these chemicals over an expanse of time and distance, circulating through the blood vessels. Once they reach their destination, they can impact a number of bodily functions. As the skin is the largest organ, it is also under the control of hormonal fluctuations.

    Hormones come in many flavors. There are sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, growth hormones and inflammatory hormones, among a myriad of others. These hormones have significant effects on skin throughout our lifetime, from puberty, through pregnancy and menopause. Here’s a short list on how some of these impact skin:

    • Androgens, like testosterone, are responsible for increasing hair growth and sebum production.

    • Estrogens (and most likely Progestogens) are responsible for regulating hydration, pigmentation and collagen production in skin.

    • Thyroid hormones, when imbalanced, can lead to hair loss and changes in skin hydration. Too much and skin is moist; too little and skin becomes rough and dry.

    • Growth hormone stimulates insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which can also trigger sebum production. This is the primary reason behind new studies showing how milk, which is high in these hormones, can lead to acneic breakouts.

    When it comes to skin, hormones are a leading factor behind many of the blemishes, bumps, spots, flecks, sheen and stubble that plague many people, especially women. One hundred percent of women have to deal with hormones at some point in their life, so it’s important to understand their effects on skin, and what we can do to control them.

  • 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.