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  • The Great Wall: Protecting The Skin’s Barrier Function

    You might not be able to see it from the moon nor with the naked eye, but one of the greatest walls ever built is that of the Barrier Function of the skin.

    This amazing feat of skin engineering means we have a strong, resilient ‘wall’ protecting our body from harsh environmental elements, helping to retain moisture and keeping allergens out.

    The Barrier Function is designed in the same manner as that of a wall, consisting of:
    • The bricks: the dead, dry skin cells which are soon to be shed
    The mortar: composed of lipids (ceramides, essential fatty acids and cholesterol)

    Sometimes the structure of this ‘brick wall’ is compromised and gaps can appear due to the lack of epidermal barrier lipids. As a result, our skin is susceptible to dehydration due to moisture escaping otherwise known as Trans Epidermal Moisture Loss (TEWL), and increased skin sensitivity as microbes and allergens now have a path of entry into the skin. There are many causes for the breakdown of this protective barrier, the most common being:
    The environment: cold, windy weather, air conditioning, heating, the sun, plane travel
    • Poor skin care: using harsh, stripping products like SD alcohol or soap, excessive exfoliation, water that is too hot, or not wearing a moisturizer
    Diet: excess alcohol, caffeine and salt consumption, not eating sufficient Essential Fatty Acids, insufficient water intake
    Stress: this itself can disturb the barrier function by slowing down synthesis of epidermal lipids
    Certain medications: such as nasal decongestants, general anesthetic, cancer therapies

    An impaired Barrier Function means the skin appears dull and lackluster. It can feel taught and flaky with fine lines around the eyes, over the forehead and cheeks. When pinched between the fingers, it will resemble a piece of parchment paper.

    Sadly, the Barrier Function declines with age as oil gland activity decreases, the skin’s natural hydrators decline as does its ability to regenerate these important lipids. The prolonged dehydration in the lower level of the skin can cause the depletion of the dermal tissue resulting in deeper wrinkles, elastosis and sagging skin.

    To re-establish a good Barrier Function, the key step to follow in a home care regimen is exfoliation. This step is important to prevent the skin from feeling dry, rough and flaky and it will help eradicate any dry patches. The key is not to use an aggressive exfoliant that causes any skin sensitivity or irritation. Try exfoliating boosters that are easily applied under the moisturizer and work gently throughout the day. There are also slightly stronger forms of exfoliations such as Hydroxy Acid, which can generally be used once or twice a week.

    To boost the moisture and regain the plumpness in the skin, apply layers of a hydrating serum, toner, moisturizer and primer (the skin responds well to layering). The moisturizer doesn’t need to be heavy or contain a lot of oil—a key point to remember is that the skin is lacking moisture, not oil. Try a medium weight moisturizer with SPF30 or higher. If the skin is tight and flaky, use an anhydrous (water free) moisturizer made with skin protecting silicones. This will seal in moisture and prevents the skin from drying out, while also helping to repair the Barrier Function. At night, look at applying an oil based serum or night oil to the areas of dry skin.

    For an added boost, apply a hydrating gel masque once a week, ensuring it’s applied close the corners of the nose, mouth and eyes to target these vulnerable areas.

    Though drinking water is important, it doesn’t correlate directly to having hydrated skin. It’s better to encompass products that hydrate the skin and protect your barrier function by preventing moisture loss.

    Some fantastic ingredients to use within your entire skin care regimen are for healthy Barrier Function include:
    Hyaluronic Acid: one of my favorite ingredients as it has the ability to hold 1000 times its own weight in moisture.
    Niacinamide: a potent form of vitamin B-3 with a multifunctional approach to treating dehydration. It addresses several aspects of dryness and dehydration simultaneously, thus protecting the skin from TEWL.
    Essential fatty acids (EFAs): look for Evening Primrose Oil, Borage Seed Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil and Coconut Oil; another great ingredient to combat dry skin is Beta glucan.
    Omega-6 EFAs: these specifically are required in forming the skin’s barrier function and its structural integrity
    Sodium PCA: a terrific humectant that binds moisture to the skin
    Salicornia Extract: a plant extract that helps reinforce the natural moisturization factor (NMF)
    Algae Extract: nutrient rich to restore skin’s moisture
    Tomato Seed Oil: a great source of lycopene-rich lipids that help restore the barrier lipids of the skin
    Bambusa (Bamboo) Vulgaris and Pisum Sativum (Pea): help stimulate Hyaluronic Acid formation for increased hydration and elasticity
    Glucosamine: helps stimulate Hyaluronic Acid formation

    It’s important to avoid soap and soap-based cleansers and body washes as the alkalinity dries the skin and causes sensitization. Also avoid products with S.D. Alcohol and hot water as both are very drying to the skin.

    And finally, don’t forget to feed your skin by including plenty of essential fatty acids in your diet!

  • Climate Control: Adapting the Skin to Global Seasons

    Maria ThorburnMost people love the idea of hopping on a plane and jetting off to explore a faraway land. There’s nothing quite like travel to invigorate the senses with new sights and smells, to taste exotic foods and experience a different culture…but often with another country, comes another climate and in turn a very different skin than the one you’re familiar with.

    I am very fortunate to have a job that sees me travel much of the year, and when I’m not travelling for work I’m travelling for my own enjoyment. So I know only too well that when I climb on board an airplane I can expect my skin to go from smooth and dewy to dull and dehydrated, and that’s before we’ve even hit the runway!

    With the year drawing to a close and the holidays on the horizon, many of our clients will have plans to go away for some well-deserved R&R. Whether it’s a trip to a warmer climate in search of some sun, sea and sand, or perhaps to a winter wonderland with snow-capped mountains and log fires—your client’s skin health will most likely be challenged by the change in climate.

    As skin therapists we need to be mindful of these subtle changes so that we can make the necessary adjustments to their skin care routine.

    Handling the Heat

    hawaii coupleIf there is one piece of advice you can give your client it would be to never go without SPF! The allure of the sun on their shoulders and toes in the sand might be too much to resist; but remember that the sun is a primary cause of aging and pigmentation, and in this instance prevention is better than cure. Be sure that they protect their skin with a broad spectrum sunscreen of SPF30, or SPF50 for even greater protection. And if you suspect they will succumb to splashing about in the pool or sea be sure to advise them of the importance of reapplying the SPF regularly and liberally to avoid sunburn and severe damage to their skin.

    Some of your clients may also find that their skin becomes shiny and produces more oil than usual or perhaps they become more prone to breakouts, this can happen in a hot and humid environment where the sebaceous glands are stimulated to produce excess sebum. In this case you need to arm them with a mattifying serum with ingredients like Sarcosine and Niacinamide to suppress excess oil production, teamed with a good spot treatment containing Colloidal Silver and Tea Tree, which together, provide anti-bacterial properties to soothe away inflammation and speed up the healing process.

    These key products will help your clients get through a summer holiday looking more sleek and less ‘slick’.

    A Cooler Climate

    frosty lashesFor those seeking out some snow for the holidays, or perhaps live in a cooler climate, will find that the cold weather can be most unkind to the skin and zap every last bit of moisture from it. And when it’s cold there’s only one thing to do…crank up the heating! This alone brings a whole host of additional skin concerns for us to battle against.

    Cold weather can potentially do more damage to the skin than heat. It can deplete essential lipids from the skin’s barrier, which in turn leads to water loss and dehydration leaving the skin parched and flaky. Recommend that your client use a thick emollient moisturizer and barrier cream that contain ingredients like Evening Primrose Oil or Shea Butter to help replenish and protect.

    Another structure of the skin that takes a beating are the delicate capillaries that constantly expand and contract due to a combination of hot and cold temperatures as we move from outdoors to indoors—this is what causes those trademark red cheeks and nose. This ongoing action in the skin can lead to capillary damage, but by using a hydrating soothing serum that contains Red Raspberry and Honey, we can reduce inflammation and strengthen capillaries making them more resilient in extreme weather conditions.

    Adapting To the Seasons

    So whether it’s travel or the inevitable change in seasons, it will more than likely leave its mark on the skin. Our key objective is to ensure that our clients’ skin is equipped to make a smooth transition and adapt to the change. By listening to our client’s skin needs and observing visual changes through skin analysis, we can adjust their regimen to better manage the way in which their skin responds to environmental changes and the elements. Whatever the weather, we can rest assured that our clients will have healthy and happy skin throughout the year!

  • 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.

  • Prepping Party Perfect Skin

    Flash Glow Holiday Skin

    I’m sorry, what? The holidays are still three weeks away? Hard to believe, especially as my favorite coffee shop has been serving drinks in holiday cups since before Halloween! And if I hear one more rendition of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” when it’s 75 degrees outside (I’m in L.A people!) I may have to take serious action… but, putting my bah humbugs aside, it does mean that there is still plenty of time to get your clients’ skin ready with some pre-party prepping… fabulous!

    Let’s Start with Treatments

    What do your clients want from a skin treatment prior to their big holiday event? I’ll tell ya… they want quick fixes and rapid results. They do not, and I can’t state this clearly enough, they do not, want candy cane facials or sugar plum pamper treatments… really, they don’t!

    If you’re off to a big event, you want radiant skin and you want it quickly. Rapid exfoliation treatments are key in party season. By rapid, I’m talking 20 minutes or less, bam! Out the door with glowing skin and a home care kit. Other 20-minute quick fix treatments to consider are breakout solutions, de-puffing eye treatments and of course smoothing lip treatments, to make that pucker mistletoe ready.

    Work in a full service salon? Well then team up! Quick fix skin treatment, blow dry, make-up application, nail polish. 1 hour and 20 minutes, ready from head to toe…..AND, a great way to cross promote all services to your existing client base.

    Getting Party-Ready at Home

    If your clients are looking to get party ready at home, consider a “Party Primer Product Package” for them to take home. I would suggest the following bundled together:

    Prep: A leave-on exfoliant will help to smooth the skin and give it a healthy glow. You need a hydroxy acid base with skin brighteners such as Rice Extract, ideally in a delivery system that provides a premeasured dose, so no over exfoliation takes place. Some other great options include an exfoliation masque with hydroxy acids AND enzymes, along with Diatomaceous earth to help refine pores; or a multivitamin skin polisher that imparts a blast of warmth like that first sip of hot cocoa, which also helps to drive ingredients further into the skin.

    Prime: Primers are used to smooth out the surface of the skin and help extend the wear of make-up. Unfortunately many primers on the market contain comedogenic waxes and fillers that can lead to congestion, skin irritation and even sensitivity. Ensure your recommended primer is skin friendly, or even better provides skin benefits. Look for non comedogenic smoothing agents such as Silica, natural skin luminosity providers like Hydrolyzed Pearl Powder or a non-drying ingredient like Mushroom Extract that also helps refine pores.

    Preserve: A toning mist can help keep the skin moist (as long as it’s alcohol free) and improve the appearance of skin texture. I find clients like a toner that has a flash firming property for added benefit, key ingredients being Bamboo and Pea Extract. A hydrating toner can also be spritzed over make-up to give a dewy effect.

    Post Party Apocalypse

    The likelihood is that more than one of your clients fell into bed post party with a face full of make-up, so ensure clients have plenty of oil-based cleanser with Borage Seed and Apricot Kernel oils, which all help to eliminate surface dirt and oil.

    Okay, I think we’re good to go. Let the partying commence!

  • Building a Foundation for Healthy Skin

    Have you ever ruined a diet with a night on the town? Maybe it wasn’t just a little indulgence, but a full blown episode with dinner, dessert and cocktails. If this sounds familiar then you understand what ‘undoing your hard work’ really means. Although food is more tempting than cosmetics (unless you’re a product junkie!), choosing the wrong cosmetics can undo all your skin care efforts – and that can be a pricey routine. Color cosmetics are formulated to cover up imperfections and enhance the appearance with just about all the colors of the rainbow. Unfortunately, many of these formulations have synthetic fragrance, colorants and ingredients that can be comedogenic or even irritating. The important thing is to maintain a healthy barrier so these ingredients don’t penetrate skin and produce adverse effects.

    Luckily, you can also provide an extra barrier of hydration that includes mineral colorants, which can prep your skin for additional cosmetics like blush, eye shadow, lipstick, etc. This is where makeup and skin care meet – a formulation that serves as a foundation for makeup but that falls in line with your skin health treatment products. Typically, these are known as foundations, tinted moisturizers, BB creams, and whatever new terms may crop up. The point is that choosing the right base for makeup should be as important as the other products in your skin care routine.

    Many foundations are formulated with the single goal of hiding your imperfections. Unfortunately, they do not treat skin concerns like oiliness or dehydration, and they often leave skin parched, with a cakey look after a few hours. Some minerals may even absorb water from your skin, leaving you drier than if you didn’t use the product. Because you spend your hard-earned money on your skin care products, you should also expect a foundation or base to put up a good fight and enhance, not just hide, your appearance. The key for long-lasting makeup and a smooth appearance is hydration. Ingredients like Hyaluronic Acid, Polysaccharides, Urea and even Lactic Acid are humectants that impart their hydrating effects onto skin upon application, and often for some time after.

    Maintaining skin hydration not only prevents microcracks from forming on skin, which can lead to product penetration and irritation, but it also keeps the formula from drying up on the skin – as some foundations end up enhancing fine lines and wrinkles instead of concealing them. The extra bit of moisture also helps makeup slide on more smoothly and evenly. But hydrated does not mean oily – so avoid excessively oily formulations that can clog pores and slide right off on a warm summer day. Finally, you want to protect skin from future damage. This not only means looking for broad-spectrum sun protection against UVA and UVB rays, but also for ingredients like extracts of Hydrolyzed Pearl, Walnut, and Olive, which can protect skin against free radical formation and glycation. So considering that even cosmetic products can impart skin health effects, a night on the town should leave you guilt-free – even if you go for that slice of chocolate pie!

  • The Summer Skin Switcheroo

    Heather HickmanOH YEAH BABY! Summer’s here, not that we have actually noticed here in supposedly sunny California, I guess “June Gloom” is just a way of life for the beach dwelling Angelino. But my gripes aside, now’s the time to start thinking about varying your clients Skin Care routines and cranking up your treatment offerings to address those seasonal skin shifts.

    Hey, Heather! I hear you cry “isn’t changing my clients’ skin care routine just a cunning ploy to make them buy more product?”… No ma’am, it is not! Read on and try not to weep…

    When sunlight comes into contact with skin, a cascade of damage results – like the stripping of barrier lipids causing dehydration and inflammation, the production of reactive oxygen molecules that affect healthy cell growth and the stimulation of collagen destructing enzymes. Need I continue?

    Congestion and breakouts can also result on oilier skins, mainly from the use of daily SPF and increased humidity and temperature levels. We (hopefully?) use more sunscreen in the summer months and these are designed to adhere to the skin and sit on the surface. Not cleansing the skin thoroughly enough will result in breakouts. Chlorine, salt water, heat, humidity and travel also lead to dehydration, which are a big part of the summer lifestyle. Get the picture? Well alrighty then. Now that we are in agreement that a change is in order, let the games begin!

    Keeping it Clean
    Switch your clients to an oil based cleanser. I know, it sounds a bit scary, but oil dissolves oil… yes, really! An oil based cleanser will eliminate excess sunscreen, dirt and grime, leaving a cleaner, clearer skin. And a gentle reminder to double down on the double cleanse won’t hurt either, twice in the morning, twice in the evening.

    The Key to Hydration Is…?
    EXFOLIATION! Corny, I agree, but true none the less.

    You want to up the ante while ensuring that you are choosing the right exfoliant for your clients’ skin type: gentle rice bran for sensitive skin, hydroxy acids and Vitamin A for aging skin and clay-based exfoliants with enzymes and Salicylic Acid for oily skin.

    Portable Spritz
    Cruising around with the roof down and sitting in an air conditioned environment: cool though it may be, it can suck every drop of moisture out of the skin.

    A great tip for your clients is to always carry a mini spritz toner in their purse to mist and hydrate skin throughout the day. Using a toner under moisturizer also helps layer moisture, even out absorption and stretches the moisturizer further when the skin is damp. Look for hydrating ingredients like Aloe Vera, Balm Mint and Lavender.

    At our company stores, we love putting travel size spritz toners on ice by the front door during the summer, so our clients can sample the product and hydrate and cool down at the same time.

    Defying Gravity
    Your goal is to fortify and strengthen the skin throughout the summer months. Packing the skin with age-fighting antioxidants, peptides and botanicals to protect against free radical damage and enzymatic breakdown of proteins will help prevent ultraviolet (UV), age-related damage. Look for cocktails of Vitamins E, C, D, E, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide, tripeptides, oligopeptides and Retinol in serums and concentrates to go under moisturizers or in eye creams.

    Breakouts Be Gone
    For those clients who tend to break out, be sure to recommend an oil-free SPF. Treat any summer breakouts with a topical solution containing 5% Benzoyl Peroxide or Salicylic Acid. This will kill bacteria, expedite healing and no doubt make your client summer far more pleasurable.

    Seasonal Treatments
    If we are changing up our clients home care routine, we should follow suit by offering seasonal specific treatments too. One of our favorites is an SOS (save our skin) summer quick fix:

    Of course, you are going to use your oil based cleanser – that goes without saying. We then use a gel-based after sun product and galvanize it into the skin with positive polarity galvanic current, or we penetrate the product with microcurrent. Follow this with a calming and hydrating oatmeal masque, an application of a Hyaluronic Acid-based serum and an oil free sunscreen, and you have the perfect summer skin pick me up… you’re welcome!

    Enjoy your summer!

  • Lip and Hand Treatments for Winter!

    Bettina ZammertIt could be so nice: relaxing walks through romantic snow-covered landscapes, and cozy evenings at home in front of a crackling fire. If only it weren’t for your tight, itchy skin – you’ve even had to stop wearing your favorite winter sweater with the lovely big roll neck because all of a sudden it has started to scratch!
    Constantly changing between the freezing cold and dry heating air is a real trial for the skin. As the thermometer drops, the skin slows down its oil production – and sadly this also applies to skin that was not producing enough lipids before. Often, extremely dry skin also has a restricted skin barrier, which in turn increases the skin’s sensitivity.

    In this case your customer will need your help – and you might have to change his recommended products to ones with higher lipid content. And during the professional treatment, don’t forget the areas of the body that are particularly sensitive and permanently exposed to the weather. A helpful hint: offer a special lip and/or hand treatment in winter. Start by exfoliating (use a very gentle product on the lips), then apply a moisturizing serum and a mask on top. If you like, you can perform a few massage or lymphatic drainage movements while the mask is working. At the end of the treatment, be sure to remember the finishing moisturizer, and recommend the appropriate special products for treating winter-dry skin to the customer.

    And then it won’t be long before your clients (and their skin) are enjoying the crisp, cold winter weather again!

  • Oh, the Weather Outside is Frightful!

    Holly SherrardOh the weather outside is frightful… at least in the Canadian great white north! Chapped lips, flaky skin, dehydration and sensitization are all symptoms people face when the temperature drops. When clients seek our advice to treat their winter skin, it gives us the chance to create insanely great treatments and alleviate uncomfortable skin conditions!

    So what can you do during a winter skin treatment? Start by offering clients a warm drink upon arrival, such as an herbal tea or mulled cider in celebration of the holiday season. Heated neck pillows, which soothe muscular stress from holiday shopping bags and alleviate cold winter chills, are perfect to get clients relaxed. They may also enjoy changing into a heated wrap, robe and slippers before climbing into a warmed bed.

    During the treatment, we must always customize according to what skin conditions we see – skin treatments are not one-size-fits-all. When it comes to exfoliation for example, consider your options. Professional exfoliation removes dull surface cells and prepares the skin for optimal penetration of active ingredients. Mechanical exfoliants remove surface flakes, while chemical exfoliants, such as Lactic Acid, have multiple effects such as increasing hydration and decreasing pigmentation.

    For skin that is sensitized, use ingredients such as Red Hogweed, Oat Kernel and Ginger to reduce inflammation and redness. To reinforce the barrier lipid layer, look for Colloidal Oatmeal, Evening Primrose and Borage Seed oils.

    Massage techniques will vary according to clients’ needs and wants. Although a deep, stress-relieving massage may feel wonderful on a dry, aging skin, a sensitized skin will benefit more from Chinese Acupressure. No matter the method of massage chosen, keep in mind the physiological and psychological benefits of touch – decreased stress and anxiety, positive effects on brain waves, breathing and immunity and pain reduction. Our touch is the perfect gift for a client to receive.

    Body treatments should include ingredients like Ginger and Wasabi, which have warming and anti-inflammatory properties and plant oils like Olive and Grape seed to minimize evaporation of water, which can lead to body chills.

    We never want a client to feel like they have simply been steamed and creamed with lotions and potions, so it is important that we leave them with home care advice to maintain excellent results from the treatment. Be sure they know about these important steps for at-home treatment of their skin:

    • Dry body brushing is one of the best ways to remove dead, dry skin cells, improve lymphatic circulation and increase cell turnover. This technique should be done daily in the direction of lymphatic flow.

    • Shower once every other day and use warm (not hot) water. Use mild cleansers only on necessary areas, and minimize the length of time in the shower or bath. While skin is still wet, apply conditioning oils such as Vitamin E, Grape Seed, Olive, Kukui Nut or Apricot Seed Oil to prevent water loss. Follow with a rich moisturizer with conditioning ingredients such as silicones, Shea Butter, and Evening Primrose Oil.

    • For clients experiencing dryness and dehydration on the face, ensure they use a mild, acid-balanced cleanser. Layer hydrating ingredients onto the skin such as a toner enriched with Hyaluronic Acid, a serum or concentrate to minimize inflammation, a moisturizer and daylight protection.

    • Drinking plenty of water will maintain hydration levels internally; however it does not always solve epidermal dehydration.

    When the holiday bustle leaves our clients feeling overwhelmed or stressed, make your environment delightful and ‘let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!’

  • The Tricks and Treats of Halloween Skin Care Survival

    Girl with Halloween face art on white background

    BOO! Happy Halloween!

    Oh yes, it’s that time of year already. Candy, costumes and copious amounts of makeup… sign me up!

    While there is no shortage of websites and You Tube videos demonstrating makeup application techniques to transform you into your favorite vampire, pop star, pirate or super hero, where are the sites with information on removing all of that makeup, while still keeping your skin intact? Right here, that’s where!

    Halloween makeup is generally heavier and thicker than normal every day makeup and is designed to adhere to the face to give a masking-type effect, while depositing color onto the skin. They are high in artificial colors, fragrances, waxes, fats, chemicals and oils, and they are designed to withstand sweat (for stage and screen) and form an occlusive coating on the skin, which may result in comedones, congestion and full-on breakouts.

    Let’s Start With the “Tricks”

    Before you even consider applying that green glitter or black face paint, make sure you have a good protective base. One word: silicones.

    A silicone-based moisturizer will not only provide you with a smooth makeup application, it will impart a protective shield between your skin and your chosen disguise. This can help prevent irritation on the skin from artificial colors or fragrances. Silicones are also a great aid in reinforcing the skin’s lipid barrier layer, particularly if combined with Evening Primrose Oil, which is high in Gamma Linoleic Acid to further enforce the barrier lipids.

    Once the party is over, do not – and I repeat – do not, fall into bed with your fright mask intact. Makeup should always be cleansed off of the skin to avoid breakouts. Un-cleansed skin is dirty skin, as it naturally produces oils, sweat and around 40 million dead skin cells a day; mix that with atmospheric pollutants and the waxes and oils from the make-up and you have a soupy, dirty mixture than can cause a multitude of skin problems and can worsen conditions such as oiliness and sensitivity.

    A hydrophilic (water loving) oil-based cleanser is the key to removing that heavy makeup easily and without sensitizing the skin. Oil attracts oil; therefore this type of cleanser will dissolve all the dirt and grime. Oil-based cleansers are also excellent at dissolving waterproof products and substances you may have used to achieve your chosen look, such as eyelash glue or other adhesives (I’ve never tried it on fake blood, but I’m pretty sure it will do the trick!). Double cleansing the skin is imperative, so a second cleanse can be performed with a skin-specific cleanser.

    Another good “trick” is a leave on exfoliant with a Salicylic Acid base. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) have a larger molecular structure then their alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) cousins. BHAs are lipid soluble (meaning they are attracted to oil), versus water soluble or water loving (like glycolic acid); BHAs are also keratolytic, meaning that when used on the surface of the skin, they will effectively penetrate clogged pores and other lipid debris, exfoliating within the pore, making them an ideal formula choice after application of oil and color rich cosmetics.

    Now for the “Treats”

    Okay, if you can look in the mirror and recognize yourself again, it’s time to ensure your skin has plenty of moisture to get over its night of horrors. Start the hydration boost with a concentrated serum. A good bet is Hyaluronic Acid, which is able to hold a thousand times its own weight in water, intensely moisturizing your skin. Then seal and protect with an amino acid rich moisturizer to further hydrate the skin—and voila! You’ve reached your ghoul (sorry goal). It’s like it never happened – what happens on Halloween, stays on Halloween.

    Before you go… One final tip: try to give the Trick or Treaters at least some of the “good” candy; don’t eat it all yourself, you’ll only regret it in the morning!

  • What is Keratosis Pilaris and How Can I Treat It?

    KP
    Keratosis Pilaris is a common issue in which dead skin cells block hair follicles, thereby trapping the hair and causing red bumps. The bumps can sometimes become inflamed and appear red in color. Often seen on the arms and legs, this condition can be coupled with dryness.

    So how does one treat this condition? Exfoliate and Hydrate.

    Use a textured buffing cloth with an exfoliating body scrub in the shower every other day. Then, at least two times a week, sweep a natural bristle, dry body brush gently over your skin. After, stand in a warm bath and exfoliate your skin using a combination of mineral salts and ready-blended aromatherapy oil.

    Once you have massaged this over your whole body (excluding the face) lie down and enjoy a warm soak while the mineral salts continue to nourish the skin and the oils leave you silky soft. As soon as you get out of the shower or bath, apply a hydroxy acid-based body moisturizer to damp skin, which will both trap precious hydration and continue to gently slough dead cells.

    This routine will gradually help to unplug the follicles, allowing the hair to grow naturally. Improvements can be seen within about one week!