• Sound Skin Advice For Your Clients on Refinery29

    Our very own skin guru and director of Global Education, Annet King, has been working feverishly to provide articles on skin health for the prestigious Refinery29, the largest independent fashion and style website in the United States. So why is she lending her skin expertise to the public at large? As it turns out, many of their readers had questions about skin care, and who else should they seek out but a renowned IDI skin expert! So now we’d like to turn over these articles jam-packed with helpful skin advice to you, the professional skin therapist. There are some great tips here to give to your clients on everything skin care. Happy reading!

    3 Reasons To Stop Fussing With Your Face & See A Professional

    Winter Woes: How To Get Your Complexion In Check

    Skin Flaking Off? How To Care For Your Visage In The Winter

    Is Your Diet Making You Break Out?

    Busted! The Most Common Skin Product Myths, Debunked

    The Must-Know Secret To An Even Complexion

    How To Get The Best Skin Of Your Life

    The Basics To Getting Perfect Skin

    4 Skin Care Lies You Need To Stop Believing

    Is A Man’s Skin Really Different From A Woman’s?

    What Really Happens To Your Skin When You Get Sunburnt

    Do You Suffer From This Embarrassing Skin Woe?

  • Spring Skin: The Seasonal Change that Can Come with an Itch!

    Being a native South African, I can honestly say that I’ve currently come through one of the longest, most severe Canadian winters of my entire life. Having survived through -27 C, months of endless grey skies and snow storms, I am nearly at the point of jumping out of my skin at the mere thought of Spring and its promise of blue skies and brightly colored blossoms!

    However, the thought of Spring can leave some less fortunate individuals with a dreaded promise of an ensuing runny nose; red, puffy eyes and itchy, sensitive skin.

    In Spring, the skin is exposed to invisible airborne allergens, such as pollen, which in some individuals can lead to release of histamine, a neurotransmitter that dilates blood vessels and leads to inflammation. Higher levels of histamine can lead to the skin being more reactive and can even trigger eczema and allergies. The most readily effected areas for this to occur on the face are on the cheek and the skin surrounding the eye.

    Due to climate change, experts are predicting a worse-than-average spring allergy season and expect the situation to escalate as time goes on. The reason being that concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen, which increases the release of allergen levels such as pollen and types of fungal growth, such as mold, and the spores they release.

    As professional skin therapists we need to be armed with a few handy tips that we can provide to our clients as part of a prevention plan:

    Reduce Stress Levels
    Stress has been found to actually make your response to allergens worse. Offer a 15 min back massage as an add-on to an anti-inflammatory skin treatment and market it as a “Spring Skin Program.”

    Change Up Your Routine
    If you tend to be someone who experiences some of the symptoms of “Spring Skin” then you may need to consider temporarily switching to a 4 week skin care program that can actively target skin inflammation, puffiness and irritation while repairing the barrier function of the skin. Once your skin is healed and all your symptoms are gone, it’s more than likely that you’ll be able to revert back to your normal home care program.

    Ingredients to look for in your “Spring Skin Care” program should include Avena Sativa, which is proven to have natural anti-irritant and anti-redness properties, and Red Hogweed Root Extract, another amazing ingredient that targets inflammation by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory agents (such as prostaglandins), as well as promoting the production of natural anti-inflammatory agents in the skin. The delicate eye area is often the first to show signs of irritation, so try using a light weight, gel-based eye cream that contains Harpoon Weed and Norwegian Kelp combined with Golden Chamomile. These three ingredients work very well together by limiting the inflammatory mediators, thereby significantly reducing eye puffiness and inflammation by 43%.

    Reduce Your Alcohol Consumption
    Many may not be aware that there is naturally occurring histamine in alcohol, which is made during the fermentation process. Wine, beer and champagne contain the highest concentration of histamine which could exacerbate your symptoms.

    Eat Right
    “Avoiding certain foods and adding more of others — can affect your likelihood of developing seasonal allergies, as well as the severity of your symptoms”, says Leonard Bielory, M.D., American College of Asthma and Immunology.

    German researchers from the University of Bonn published an article in 2007 in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” (AJCN) that identified high-histamine foods. Fish high in histamine include mackerel, herring, sardines and tuna. According to the Michigan Allergy, Sinus and Asthma Specialists (MASAS), fermented, aged and processed meats and cheeses are also high in histamine. It would be advisable for you to refer your client to an allergist and or nutritionist to really get some expert advice in regards to what food to avoid and include in their diet.


  • You Are What you Eat

    Basket fruit and veggies

    This age-old adage may have been dismissed over the generations as somewhat of an old wives’ tale, but in fact it is deeply rooted in a real biological connection between our bodies and the food we eat. With technological advances, we are better able to understand how micro- and macro-nutrients really affect our health on a cellular level. This notion has even spurred the formation of a Center of Excellence for Nutritional Genomics (CENG) at the University of California, Davis. Nutritional genomics takes advantage of our knowledge of the human genome to better understand the diet-health relationship. In essence, nutritional genomics is the study of how foods affect our genes and how our genes affect our response to nutrients in our diet – an offshoot of the emerging epigenetics field (which is the study of how our overall environment can change our genes).

    So then, if we really are what we eat…what should we be eating for healthy skin? Macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins and lipids) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) work together to ensure a properly functioning epidermal barrier against environmental assaults. The skin’s typical ailments range from dehydration, dryness, photodamage, inflammation and aging. Many scientific studies support the role nutrition plays in these key areas.

    A lack of either lipid content or water content means rough, flaky and vulnerable skin. A diet rich in essential fatty acids can help skin retain its organized brick-and-mortar model. Dietary fats are processed by the liver for delivery to skin and other tissues. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for skin function and can even modulate the skin’s inflammatory response. Chronically dry skin, as in Eczema, will benefit from a diet rich in EFAs from oils and whole foods. In particular, Omega-3 fatty acids can help protect skin from photodamage and photoaging, while Omega-6 can alleviate symptoms associated with skin sensitivity and inflammatory skin disorders.

    Stock your grocery basket with:
    • Wild-caught salmon
    • Flaxseeds
    • Walnuts
    • Evening Primrose Oil
    • Borage Oil

    As we know, the sun is a powerful star. UV rays penetrate through clouds, windows and our own skin layers. UV rays deplete antioxidant levels in the skin, including ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). A diet rich in these antioxidant vitamins can be part of a well-rounded approach to limiting photodamage. An added bonus to vitamin C? It is also a necessary component of building collagen in the skin, which decreases with age and even more so with sun damage. Like many nutrients, some are even better when combined. Supplementing the diet with Vitamin C and E combined can increase the photoprotective effect of our skin better than with either of these alone.

    Stock your grocery basket with:
    • Bell peppers
    • Broccoli
    • Strawberries
    • Wheat germ
    • Avocados

    Our skin is a unique organ in that we can actually rub nutrients on top of it! So even though the upper epidermal layers of the skin do not contain blood vessels that supply the cells with nutrients, we can ‘feed’ the skin from the outside, with topical antioxidants and vitamins. Combining topical nutrients with a more conscious effort to eat whole, healthy foods will keep our skin shining for all the years to come!

  • 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.

  • Hip, Hop to Health in 2012!

    Annet KingIf you are like the majority of the global population, one of your resolutions is to be healthier in 2012. You can’t escape the “get healthy” message with governments encouraging us to take more responsibility, and now with over 38 hospitals in the U.S offering complimentary alternative medicine programs like massage and acupuncture to patients, even the medical community has woken up to the notion that “wellbeing” can’t be found in a pill! So whether it’s rock climber strength, a hip hop dancer’s moves, or, like a third of resolvers, overall weight loss that you seek, now is the time to establish a new mindset and some healthful habits.

    Here are a few basic tips:

    • Drink: Water flushes toxins out of vital organs and carries nutrients to your cells. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. The Institute of Medicine determined that adequate intake for men is roughly 3 liters (about 13 cups) a day. For women it’s 2.2 liters (about 9 cups) a day. If you’re in humid environments, you exercise, breastfeed, or drink caffeinated beverages, your water intake needs be increased.

    • Keep it clean: The most successful diets are those that are not too restrictive and complicated. Maintain a balance between calorie intake and calorie expenditure. I’m a big fan of the “eat clean” rule of no pre-packaged, sodium or sugar packed, reconstituted food – if it doesn’t come from nature, don’t eat or drink it!

    • Eat: To optimize metabolism and energy do NOT skip meals, and your mom was right about breakfast being the most important! Fruit, vegetables, grains, and legumes (foods high in complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins and minerals, low in fat, and free of cholesterol) should make up the bulk of the calories you consume. The rest should come from low-fat dairy products, lean meat, poultry, and fish.

    • Unwind: The stress, sleep and weight relationship is strongly connected. Build in stress relieving treatments, exercise and stress reduction techniques into your daily routine. Taking even just five minutes a day to focus on your breathing and clear your mind really helps!

    • Move: Find what exercise discipline works for you, from hiking with Fido to joining a roller derby team to tap dancing your way to the top – you won’t do it unless you like it! Fun and enjoyment can be found together while breaking a sweat.

  • Holiday Season Skin Survival

    Heather HickmanI hate to be the one to break it to you, but only Rudolf can carry off the “red nose” look with any semblance of finesse. So, if your clients are suffering from glowing noses and rosy cheeks this winter, it’s time to provide a few home truths and crusade for party season skin survival.

    A good place to start is triggers and tripwires that may be the root cause of redness and sensitivity; here are a few main ones that you may come across this holiday season:

    christmas-party-champagne1. Alcohol

    Although we know it is not the cause of Rosacea or sensitivity, alcohol, especially in excess, dilates blood vessels, making a red face look redder. In a survey of 700 Rosacea suffers published in the “Rosacea Review,” certain alcoholic beverages saw a higher percentage of redness occur after consumption; these include beer, red wine, vodka and tequila… so maybe skip the shots? Also try turning down the “one for the road” (or “road soda” as they’re known in my circle) and alternate drinks with a tall glass of water. And don’t forget your designated driver!

    2. Diet

    If you pig out this season, remember that heavy meals put a strain on your system in general, especially your digestive system. This will result in a higher blood flow to the digestive system, and in turn, a higher residual blood flow to the face. Smaller meals spread throughout the day will help to avoid the strain. And remember: Simple Carbohydrates. Are. Not. Your. Friend! They enter the bloodstream quickly, causing hyperglycemia. This rapid influx of sugar into the bloodstream is a potent vasodilator.

    3. Smoking

    Strange things happen to some people at parties, a couple of glasses of wine and they’re outside having a sneaky cigarette giggling like teenagers… you know who you are! Smoking has so many adverse effects on the skin it’s hard to know where to start, but skin dehydration is one of them as well as the depletion of Vitamin C and how this affects collagen production, and of course collagen supports the capillaries. Find an alternative. Have a carrot, chew a matchstick, dance a holiday jig, just don’t do it! If you’re a committed smoker, it’s never too late to quit… New Years’ Resolution… pinky swear?

    Now before you start posting comments about me being the “Queen of the Party Poopers,” I’m not saying don’t have fun this holiday season—far from it—I’m just saying do it in MODERATION, your skin will thank you for it next year!

    Happy Holidays!