• Beauty Sleep – Myth or Truth?

    This topic has always been one of some debate, from a personal perspective it was just one of the many ploys that my mother used to coax me to go to bed when I was a wee one! Today we know more about what actually happens to us when we sleep and the consequences of not getting enough quality shut eye. From credible research that links sleep deprivation to obesity to the abundance of apps that measure how many times we roll over, sleep is a hot topic and big business… Here’s what we know about sleep and the skin, and what happens when you don’t get enough!

    It’s Day Job

    In the daytime, the skin is very active fighting off potential invaders like bacteria and viruses while also neutralizing unstable molecules that cause havoc on cells. These are generated by UV, chemical exposure, smoke, stress, unhealthy diets and pollution. Just another reason why sunscreen is a must and preferably one with built in antioxidant technology. It’s not only you that has to work during the day: your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too.

    The Night Shift

    At night the skin switches to clean up and repair mode while you rest, new skin cells replace damaged cells and rejuvenation takes place. In fact, cell regeneration increases by double at night and production of collagen also escalates. To help enhance this process, use or prescribe specialized overnight products, specifically those with microencapsulated Retinol and designer peptides that work on repairing skin. As the skin is clean and not in defense mode, it’s more readily able to absorb these helpful ingredients. Most people do best with about 7 hours sleep. Well rested skin looks exactly that — well rested, good tone, plump, fresh, hydrated and bright.

    Burning the Candle

    On the flip side, lack of sleep can be detrimental to both the skin and body. The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable. Signs like slow healing breakouts or telltale dark circles and puffiness under the eyes are going to give you away, you’ll feel tired and look tired.

    Long Term? Think Zombie Skin!

    Something every party girl needs to know is that when you build up ‘sleep debt’ over time, this has long-term consequences. The aging process will be accelerated and the immune system will be impaired, which means you’ll be more susceptible to skin infections, cold sores maybe even skin cancer. For the body as a whole there are chronic effects like serious health issues, metabolic problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, weight gain and depression.

    Top Tips For Some Quality Shut Eye

    Ready to change those sleeping habits? Here’s some helpful tips to get you on your way to rest and relaxation:

    •  No caffeinated beverages, tea or coffee after 4 pm (also no sugar at least 2 hours before bed).

    •  Working out after work or doing yoga also really helps not just for the body but for switching off the brain from work.

    •  No phones or bright LED lights next to the bed, or in the room for that matter. Try to black out your room as much as possible or try a sleep masque.

    •  Taking a bath with a blend of relaxing essential oils — the heat from the water soothes muscles, the aromas through you breathing them in will help you to unwind. The best essential oils for sleep are Lavender, Chamomile, Sandalwood, Ylang ylang and Rose.

  • 4 Tips to Maximize the Benefits of Retinoids

    The press is full of the virtues of using retinoids. And rightly so. The scientific data definitely validates them as probably the defining ingredient option of the decade for aging skin concerns. If your clients are using retinoid-based products prescribed by their dermatologist, or recommended by you as a professional skin therapist, it is worth sharing these important tips with them to yield the best results that retinoids can deliver.

    1. Use your retinoid product at night

    Unfortunately Vitamin A ingredients, such as Retinol, are not photo-stable. This means they degrade, or break down, in the presence of ultraviolet light. Not only can this reduce the benefit they will have on your skin, but can increase the free radical load, making skin more sensitive and reactive. So it’s essential to apply after dark and allow the retinoid to work its magic while you sleep.

    2. Introduce the retinoid gradually

    As we age retinoid receptors decline in the skin. But this can be remedied by using the dilutions recommended and building your skin’s tolerance. By applying gradually, you can build up the receptors and you will feel less ‘bite’ or sensitivity as you progress. Applying too much retinoid too quickly risks a dermatitis response that will leave skin very irritated. Use an accompanying buffer cream or your moisturizer to provide a dilution medium.

    3. Moisturize well

    It is not uncommon for skin to experience tightness, dryness or become flaky with retinoid use. The increased rate of skin renewal and desquamation initially causes the Stratum Corneum to thin, although this condition will improve over several weeks. The implications of this are increased dehydration and sensitivity that can make you quite uncomfortable in your own skin. Using a slightly heavier weight moisturizer will compensate for this water loss and ease discomfort, seek your professional skin therapist for a proper prescription.

    4. Always use SPF daily

    While there is a degree of debate on the specific mechanisms of increased photosensitivity with retinoid use, the skin will definitely be more vulnerable to ultraviolet exposure. Don’t worry about the debate, be safe and apply a minimum SPF30 daily and preferably an SPF50. Stop your retinoid at least two weeks before venturing on a sunshine holiday or you will burn faster and be at greater risk of hyperpigmentation issues.

    Taking sensible precautions will ensure you get the best out of your product and maintain your skin health, all while achieving fantastic results.


    Related blog posts:

    Is Microencapsulated Retinol Better Than Ordinary Retinol?

    Dr. Diana on the Benefits of Retinol

  • Crazy for Cranberries


    With the holiday season upon us I seem to have cranberries on the brain, so it should come as no surprise that one of my all-time favorite ingredients happens to be Cranberry Seed Oil. Why am I so enamored with the oil from this super fruit? When the fruit is cold pressed the resulting oil is rich in tocopherols, tocotrienols (Vitamin E) and phytosterols (plant sterols). Vitamin E is really a family of eight different isomers consisting of 4 tocopherols and 4 tocotrienols. The Vitamin E constituents found in Cranberry Seed Oils contain significant levels of alpha and gamma tocopherols and alpha and gamma tocotrienols. All of these isomers of Vitamin E provide excellent antioxidant protection and help to reinforce the barrier lipid properties of the skin.

    In addition, Cranberry Seed Oil contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids; including those that are essential to your health, such as the Omega-3 fatty acid also called alpha-linolenic acid. The 1:1 ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 essential fatty acids gives Cranberry Seed Oil its excellent antioxidant activity and skin nurturing benefits, but also explains why this oil absorbs very nicely into the skin and helps it hold onto moisture by contributing to the skin’s structure and barrier formation. This moisturizing power of Cranberry Seed Oil makes it perfect for aging, rough, dry, and scaly skin.

    We all know that free radical damage and inflammation are two potent drivers of skin aging, so being able to address these two issues with a topical antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent goes a long way in preventing premature aging of the skin and repairing some of the existing damage. The high antioxidant potential of Cranberry Seed Oil makes it an excellent addition to any nighttime treatment product where it can help scavenge free radicals while promoting skin repair – as well as in daytime sun protection products to provide antioxidant benefits along with sunscreens for photoprotection of the skin.

    It’s no wonder cranberries are considered a super fruit! Not only do they provide topical benefits for the skin but they taste delicious, and provide similar benefits when consumed in our diet.

  • Does Our Skin Have Different Needs From Day to Night?

    Annet KingThe answer is quite simply yes! Our skin is a dynamic organ that reflects our inner health but also changes with the seasons and environment, and it fluctuates from day to night. It’s not only you that has to work during the day, your skin has a long list of job responsibilities, too!

    Having trouble explaining this to your clients? Use the below tips to better help them understand.

    Skin During the Day
    Your skin excretes the most sebum at mid-day, which coincides with the least amount of Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL.) It is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays, environmental pollution, smoke, poor diet, caffeine, make up and extreme temperature changes. It subsequently is harder at work and more stressed during the day, fighting Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS – free radicals) and capturing chemical invaders, shielding from UV rays and producing more lipids to adjust to changing temperatures and humidity levels.

    Skin at Night
    Your skin excretes less sebum, loses more water and is hotter and more acidic at night. It is likely to be drier and perhaps more vulnerable to irritation as well, which may explain why some people complain of “nighttime itch” or “flare-ups” of inflammatory skin conditions at night. Skin also repairs itself more, and cell renewal is enhanced in the evening.

    AM Tips:
    Daytime exposure is similar to sending skin into battle. Prep it with an arsenal of antioxidants and cell energizers to neutralize free radicals. Always protect from UV rays and mop up excess oil production mid-day.

    PM Tips:
    Make sure you start by deeply cleansing your skin at night to remove deep down dirt, long-lasting makeup and sunscreens. Repair damage and stimulate cell renewal while replenishing lost lipids with a powerful cocktail of peptides, Retinol and botanicals.

    Number One Tip: Don’t Forget to Catch Some Zzzzzs!
    The body uses sleep time for internal housekeeping – processing nutrients, detoxifying, renewing and recharging. If your body is chronically starved for sleep, the effects will eventually become visibly and physically noticeable!

  • Good Night, Great Skin

    You may not realize this, but your body undergoes many changes while you’re deep into slumber. Although our minds may no longer be racing, our bodies continuously grow, change and renew during this ‘rest’ period. Our skin, being a dynamic organ, also behaves differently at night than it does during the day. Think about your typical day. Your skin is exposed to much stress- both internally from your emotions and lifestyle habits, and externally from the environment and the elements. Nighttime is the prime time for your skin to catch up and repair any damage brought about by these stressors. It is at this time, while you float along into dreamland, that the skin repairs itself. It is also warmer, loses more water and has a slightly more acidic pH. So taking care of your skin at night is just as important as protecting it during the day. But how can we accomplish this?

    Add More Beauty to Your Beauty Sleep
    Much like the skin, certain ingredients also behave differently at night. Some, like Retinol, are degraded with UV radiation, making it excellent for nighttime application. Sophisticated ingredient technology has allowed us to utilize the skin’s diurnal – that is day to night – cycles to maximize ingredient efficacy. At this time, you want to look for super concentrated doses of nourishing, reparative and conditioning agents. Serums pack a punch of highly concentrated ingredients and are a great way to effect change in a skin that is ready for nightly repair. At night, we are free from the protective films of make-up and sunscreen, so applying serums is a great way to ensure that the active ingredients penetrate effectively to address skin issues. Some essential oils are also a great way to nourish the skin at night. Argan Oil is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids and essential fatty acids, which can all reinforce the barrier lipid layer. In fact, it has been used for centuries as a skin and hair hydrator. Another great lipid enhancer is Sunflower Seed Oil, for its ceramide content. Rosehip Seed Oil has natural retinoids that help reduce the appearance of aging skin. It is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, which is also more stable when used at night due to photo-degradation. Some oils, like Rosemary and Cinnamon Leaf Oils can even provide antimicrobial properties, making a blend of all these different essential oils both protective and reparative.

    Using antioxidants and serums at night will give you more bang for your buck. Of course, you may also want to try sleeping on your back, drinking water before bedtime and starting your skin care routine after a shower, when your skin is still moist and clean. And of course…sleep more!