News

  • Get Bikini Wax Ready

    wax-sunny-beach-girl

    With the summer months just around the corner, many people are looking forward to spending time at the beach or the pool, and for some – they are mentally preparing for their bikini wax. Whether your client is veteran of hair removal or is new to this grooming habit, here are some quick tips to ensure your client has a safe and successful treatment.

    Meet and Greet

    When booking the waxing service, be sure to ask the client when they are expecting to unveil their skin to the sun. Ideally, the client should wait to wax at least 48 hours before or after any UV exposure. A proper consultation is imperative and it will help you assess any contraindications, such as infected skin, systemic diseases, diabetes and oral medications like Isotretinoin. Don’t forget to communicate the extent of hair removal with the client. Going bare or barely there can determine not only the length of the appointment but the type of wax you may want to use (hard wax versus strip wax). Soft or cream wax is perfect for larger areas and hard wax is excellent for those intimate areas since it is used at a low temperature. This wax literally shrink wraps the hair and is less irritating to the skin. It’s also a perfect time to discuss common reactions expected with a waxing service such as bumps or minor irritation. For females close to their monthly cycle, it’s recommended to wax no less than two-three days before or after to help lessen chances of sensitivity.

    Pre-game Checklist

    Once the appointment has been booked, the client should begin preparing for the treatment. I’m not talking meditation, but a few grooming items can make the service go smoothly. Suggest the client gently exfoliate the area two to three days prior to the service to help lift the hair and remove any dead skin cell build up. Shaving should be discontinued 10-14 days prior to allow for the proper hair growth, about ¼” to ½” is ideal. They should also keep hydrated both internally with water and externally with a fragrance-free body moisturizer. The more hydrated the skin, the better the waxing experience. Dehydrated and dry skin can often result in lifting. Advise the client to avoid alcohol and caffeine before the service as both can serve as a stimulant and pre-sensitize the skin.

    After-care Advice 

    The waxing service does not end once the hair has been removed. An at-home care checklist is always helpful for the client to review and understand. For 48 hours after the bikini wax, recommend that they avoid sun tanning and tanning beds, saunas, or swimming as well as intense exercise, sweating and tight clothing. Do suggest light exfoliation a few times a week in between their services to help prevent ingrown hairs. Once the client is waxed and ready for fun in the sun, remind them to apply sunscreen along that exposed bikini line to avoid a UV burn.

  • What is Oncology Skin Care?

    sensitive-skin

    Sensitive. Dehydrated. Barrier Impaired. Surprising as it may be, treating the skin of someone undergoing chemotherapy and related cancer drug treatments is often times the simplest part of the skin care service. In working with oncology clients it is actually the other considerations that go hand-in-hand with cancer treatments that pose the greatest challenge for the skin care therapist such as compromised blood cell counts, blood clots or risk thereof, involved lymph nodes, tissue integrity, bone involvement, medical devices, clients’ experience of side effects, and long term or late effects of treatment.

    In addressing skin specific considerations, identifying therapist guidelines for oncology clients starts by establishing whether you are working with a client in active treatment and recent recovery, or someone in long-term survivorship. With regards to the latter client population, understanding the modifications related to compromised lymph nodes will serve you best, and treating their skin will most often depend on your resource knowledge on how to treat aging, dehydrated, and sensitive skin (note order of words).

    In working with clients still in active cancer treatment or recent recovery, skin is usually extremely dry and dehydrated, inflamed and irritated, fragile, sun sensitive, and can be very reactive. In this situation treat the sensitivity first. Product properties that minimize exacerbating skin sensitivities include an acidic-neutral pH to minimize the flux in skin pH; surfactants or emulsifiers that will not strip the skin of its moisture or strip the lipids and proteins of the stratum corneum; moisturizing ingredients such as emollients, humectants, and occlusives; and formulas without potential irritants and allergens.

    Additional core guidelines model the “Less Rule” in practice; avoid excessive heat, steam, and anything invasive, aggressive, or too stimulating. Put on hold physical scrubs, Retin A or Retinol-based products, strong chemical peels, alcohols, astringents, anything that dries the skin, and extractions because of the potential for easy bleeding, easy bruising, inflammation, and the very serious risk of infection.

    Many cancer treatments can additionally cause photosensitivity. Help your clients understand that the best sun protection is reducing exposure, a hat, and a physical sun block.

    Terminology
    Oncology client: Anybody who is in, or who has a history of cancer treatment. Considerations are often different for each client, and during active treatment or recent recovery can regularly change.

    Oncology skin care: Oncology skin care is an advanced field of study and involves the modification of skin care applications in order to safely work with the effects of cancer and cancer treatment. Essential aspects of an oncology skin care therapist’s skill set are an informed understanding of the pathophysiology of cancer; the side effects of cancer treatments, such as medications, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation; and the ability to modify skin care applications, techniques, and product selection in order to adapt for these side effects, as well as for the disease.

    Johnnette du Rand, CMT, NCTMB, CMLDT, Skin Therapist
    Greet The Day, Institute of Integrative Oncology

    Greet The Day programs complement medical care and have provided thousands of hours of oncology massage, skin care, and supportive health practices for people with cancer. Greet The Day is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization.

    Visit http://www.greettheday.org for more information.

  • Ingredient Focus: Cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid

    Dr Claudia AguirreSome ingredients pack a punch. And others are created to pack an even bigger punch. When science steps in to enhance a material, the results can be beautiful. This is the case with Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic Acid, also known as Sodium Hyaluronate, is a sugar of the glycosaminoglycan family. Glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs, are substances that hold water in the skin and are our skin’s natural moisturizers. These work much better than some occlusive moisturizers like petrolatum, which artificially slow the loss of moisture from skin and give the skin a temporary appearance of plumpness and fullness. Hyaluronic Acid (HA) has been the standard for many years as the leading ingredient to hydrate thirsty skin.

    Now we have advanced technology to build upon the benefits of HA and produce an ingredient that has been shown to be far superior to HA in hydrating the skin. Enter cross-linked Hyaluronic Acid. Just as linking chains together makes a stronger structure, linking HA together forms a super hydrating net over the skin and delivers water to parched skin over time. Hyaluronic Acid is known to have an amazing water-binding capacity, making it ideal for skin hydration. Now cross-linked HA has fifty times the water-binding capacity of natural HA! And that means skin is continuously hydrated, plump and healthy. Even after 24hrs, this cross-linked HA holds five times as much moisture in the stratum corneum as standard HA. Studies have also shown that cross-linked HA is a superb free radical scavenger, so you can protect skin while keeping it hydrated. This is key for healthy, supple skin. Dehydration is perhaps the start of many skin conditions, including irritation and sensitivity. So be on the lookout for this enhanced version of Hyaluronic Acid for an ingredient that’s sure to keep the water running!

  • 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.

  • Oil or Water – an Old Dilemma!

    annet croppedOne of the biggest areas that consumers, beauty editors and even some skin therapists can get muddled over is the misconception surrounding dry and dehydrated skin. More often than not, clients complain that their skin is dry, when really it’s dehydrated. This often results in the wrong product and/or treatment recommendation.

    When you consider that a dry skin (lacking oil/alipoid) can also be dehydrated (lacking in water), and oily skin, which has an abundance of oil, can also be dehydrated, eyes can roll back and heads start to spin! Feel dizzy yet? The fact is that there are some significant differences between the two and because of that, there’s a prime opportunity to educate clients and adjust their regimen.

    Oil and WaterSo how do we decipher the difference?

    Generally, we all suffer from dehydration; the body, after all, is about 75% water and a perfect target for moisture zapping environments. If unaddressed, dehydration can also lead to increased skin sensitivity and inflammation. In the case of oily skin, it can lead to an actual increase in more sebum production. Yep, that alcohol in the drugstore acne product dried your skin out and then made your breakouts worse. But dehydration is a skin condition and can affect any skin type. It’s caused by multiple factors that you should verbally cross check while conducting your consultation or when retailing. For example:

    • Environment: Low humidity, warm and cold weather, air conditioning, sun exposure and flight travel.

    • Products: Stripping cleansers and toners, over exfoliation and makeup.

    • Diet & Lifestyle: Medications, high sodium foods, lack of water consumption, caffeine, soda intake and of course alcohol.

    Dehydrated skin is thirsty skin and needs to be rehydrated while vital moisture is locked in. Start by recommending the following: Gel or cream cleanser; Gentle, daily exfoliant; Hydrating spritz toner; Gel-based masques and concentrated serums with Hyaluronic Acid to layer beneath a medium weight moisturizer.

    True dry skin is a genetic skin type and is not confined to face and hands but experienced over the entire body. The sebaceous glands are smaller and under-active, and the follicle opening is tight and fine. Lines will be more evident, and in winter months the extremities will be itchy and flaky.

    Ask your clients who complain of dry skin whether they experience this even in their hair and scalp. This skin requires oil-rich emollient products to nourish and stimulate. You can recommend: Creamy cleansers; Antioxidant packed toners; Full body exfoliation; Replenishing vitamin-based serums; Eye products and heavy weight moisturizers.

    Whatever the skin dilemma, we welcome it with open arms, hands, eyes and ears! This is our unique role as professional skin therapists—who else can truly guide clients and consumers to their healthiest skin?