News

  • 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!

  • IDI International Congress: Shed the Red

    Dr Claudia AguirreI had the pleasure of heading over to Scandinavia this fall to present an IDI congress on all things red…that is, inflammation and some of the diseases associated with it. Covering Sweden, Finland and Norway, I spoke about sensitive skin, eczema, rosacea and the inflammatory process. We had such a great turn-out at all locations and the students were amazing. Not to mention, I got to experience Sweden’s medieval Gamla Stan, Norwegian fjords and a traditional Finnish sauna!

    Everyone was so welcoming and eager to learn more! What a great market. I hope to visit back soon and continue to help IDI provide the best education a skin care therapist could ask for.

  • Skin Q & A with Dr. Diana Howard!

    Dr. Diana HowardCatch up with Dr. Diana Howard as she answers these common skin care questions!

    Q. How important is cleansing?

    A. Cleansing is the basis to healthy skin and is necessary to remove oils, grime, pollutants, etc. from the skin that can cause sensitivity or congestion, leading to breakouts. It also helps pave the way so that beneficial actives can penetrate the skin. The secret is to use a cleanser formulated for your specific skin condition and to moisturize immediately after. We always recommend at The International Dermal Institute that one use a non-soap cleanser; soap is alkaline and it strips the natural barrier lipid layer from the skin, which can lead to dehydration and sensitization.

    Q. What is the most common mistake people make with their skin?

    A. We self-prescribe when we should be relying on a skin care professional to properly analyze our skin. Most people don’t realize that they can have multiple skin conditions on their face. For example, you may have congestion and excess oiliness in the T-zone, dehydrated cheeks and hyperpigmentation on the forehead. Each of these areas is a different skin condition. Without proper analysis, you may not realize that you in fact have dehydrated skin that is oily.

    People also don’t realize that skin adapts to micro-climates and environments. You need to be aware that the environment indoors can impact your skin as much as a change in seasons or weather outdoors. Likewise, people don’t realize that stress can lead to skin sensitivity; this is an area we have studied extensively at The International Dermal Institute. A professional skin care therapist can help you to understand the relationship of all of these factors and the role they play in your skin condition.

    Q. What steps must you be sure to include if you’re short on time?

    A. Cleanse and moisturize. As we said earlier, clean skin is the basis of healthy skin. Within one minute of patting the skin dry after cleansing, apply a moisturizer that hydrates and seals in hydration. Ideally, use a moisturizer with a built in SPF to protect the skin from ultraviolet (UV) damage for daytime.

    Q. What is your best tip for face and body during winter, when many experience dry and sensitized skin?

    A. Keep skin hydrated! You have one minute after bathing or cleansing to trap moisture into the skin. Spray a hydrating mist over the skin and immediately lock in with a very emollient moisturizer. Follow with sunscreen. Don’t forget to use a physical sunblock around the eye area (chemical sunscreens can be irritating to the eyes). Once or twice a week, exfoliate to remove excess dry cells that accumulate on the surface of the skin.

    Q. What’s the difference, the benefits and the negatives of synthetic ingredients vs. natural ingredients?

    A. So many people think that using natural ingredients in skin care products means they must be healthier for you, when the truth be told, there is no proof of that. As a matter of fact, speaking as a cosmetic chemist and a plant biochemist (this is my Ph.D.), I can tell you that plant extracts, as wonderful as they may be, can cause a higher degree of skin reactions than synthetic ingredients when used in cosmetics. Just consider the number of people with hay fever and other plant allergies. The biggest advantage of using a naturally made cosmetic vs. one that has many synthetic ingredients is the marketing hype you can associate with the product and the public’s perception that natural must be better for you. There is simply no proof of this assumption.

    Personally, some of my favorite ingredients for high performance efficacy are ynthetically made. For example, peptides and retinoids are all synthetically made and are by far more effective than any natural or plant-derived active.

    Q. Will scientists ever find a cure for rosacea?

    A. There are many factors that contribute to rosacea and scientists are learning more and more yearly. Like anything else, the more we understand, the greater the potential for developing a treatment for this condition. As a sufferer with mild rosacea, I certainly hope they find a “cure.”

    Q. Mineral Oils and Parabens are widely discussed and criticized today. What is your opinion?

    A. Mineral Oil is an inexpensive solvent that readily removes make-up from the skin and provides an emollient feel when used as part of a cream emulsion. Unfortunately, it can cause milia in many people, especially when used around the eye area. I always think of Mineral Oil as an oil that just sits on the skin and doesn’t really provide any benefit. There are so many other wonderful oils that I would prefer to use.

    As far as the Paraben mess goes, I am very disappointed that the public perception has been misled by certain groups determined to blame Parabens for breast cancer and endocrine disruption; the truth be known even the author of the original research said her work was misconstrued. I have no reservations about using Parabens on myself – that’s how strongly I believe people have over reacted to this.

    Q. What can we expect to see in the future in the skin care industry?

    A. As scientists make further advances in research understanding how the skin responds to the environment and physiological changes (such as aging, vascular conditions, sebum production, etc. ), we will develop and discover new ingredients that can be used to treat these various skin conditions – no doubt in conjunction with advanced laser technology .

    Q. How particular are you about your own skin?

    A. I follow the basic principles of “cleanse, hydrate and treat the condition.” Because I travel quite a bit lecturing around the world, I am forever subjecting my skin to dehydrated environments (like airplanes) and fluctuations in climate and humidity. All of these factors can trigger my rosacea and can create what I call transient skin conditions. Fortunately, I have access to just the right products to treat a rosacea flare-up or dehydrated skin, Also, being over fifty,I am always cognizant of treating the signs of aging. I have my favorite Retinol and peptide products for my skin and eye area. I do recognize that the most important product in my skin care regimen is my sunscreen formulated for super sensitive skin. I use it daily, even in the winter.

    Q. What’s your favorite ingredient?

    A. Without a doubt my favorite ingredient for skin care is Retinol. Not everyone can use this active agent, but it is absolutely the most effective for reversing the signs of aging. When combined with designer peptides, you can optimize the treatment of aging skin.

    Q. What is your greatest beauty tip?

    A. Wear sunscreen, minimum SPF 30, every single day of the year!!!!!!

  • Sensitized Skin and Exfoliation? It’s Possible.

    We all love how our skin feels after it’s been exfoliated: smooth, brighter, revitalized and softened texture. However, for those with a more sensitized skin, caution and due diligence are required when choosing the correct exfoliating product, otherwise (as you would well know) the skin can respond by becoming irritated and red with increased sensitivity.

    People with sensitized skin must not think they a) can’t exfoliate their skin, and b) would not benefit from exfoliation; both would be untrue. There is a simple premise to follow when choosing the correct exfoliating product:

    1. Avoid all scrubs and forms of exfoliation that cause friction.
    2. Use non-friction exfoliants such as hydroxy acids or digestive enzymes. They work by breaking
    down/dissolving the structure of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.
    3. Exfoliate less frequently; once or twice per week is normally sufficient.
    4. A fantastic alternative to an exfoliant, or to use in-between, would be to use a “microfoliant.” This is a much gentler option for sensitive skin. A microfoliant lightly and very gently polishes the skin surface with a base of Rice Bran Powder, because it is extremely gentle it can even be used daily (for those exfoliation junkies).
    5. Use products that contain lots of anti-inflammatories.
    6. Avoid exfoliants that contain artificial fragrance (a known skin sensitizer).

    There is a valid concern that too many people may be over-exfoliating their skin at home. Unfortunately, they tend to subscribe to the erroneous belief that “if a little is good, more must be better”. With repeated over-exfoliation, the inevitable result will be to diminish the skin’s natural barrier function, thereby contributing to a potentially sensitized skin condition and increased dehydration, so it is essential choose wisely when and how you plan to exfoliate your skin.

    People with sensitization should seek out exfoliants that contain the following ingredients:

    Salicylic Acid
    Salicylic Acid exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, making products containing the ingredient seem less irritating than Glycolic Acid, even though they are more powerful. The anti-inflammatory effects of Salicylic Acid make it a preferred option for people with sensitization and Rosacea.

    Phytic Acid
    Rice Bran has been used for thousands of years to relieve inflammation, cleanse and soften the skin. Rice Bran contains Phytic Acid, a B complex vitamin which aids in the natural exfoliation process. Gentle in nature, this is a great option for daily microfoliation. Phytic Acid is also terrific for brightening the skin, and increases its luminosity.

    Enzymes
    Enzymes are mild and gentle in nature, and they have the ability to digest and clean-up dead skin cells from the very surface layers of the skin without any aggression. Enzymes such as Papain, Bromelain and Bacillus Ferment are classified as proteases (protein digesting enzymes), which are another great option for sensitized skin.

    Urea Glycolysates INCI: Glucosamine HCL, Algae Extract, Yeast Extract and Urea
    State-of-the-art technology is using acid-free smoothing agents that enhance cell renewal and promote natural exfoliation without any irritation or flaking. Algae, Yeast, Glycosamine and Urea are not pH dependent as are hydroxy acid formulas. They activate epidermal and dermal cells and stimulate cell renewal and the production of Hyaluronic Acid and Collagen. They also provide an overall improvement to skin texture and firmness and are a great option for aging, sensitized skin. These ingredients can be found in exfoliating creams, masks, boosters and serums.

    With the professional skin industry having access to the latest ingredient technology and sophisticated formulators, there are some fantastic, results driven, therapeutic, exfoliating options for everyone suffering from skin sensitivity.

  • Coming up Rosy

    Dr Claudia AguirreWith Mother’s Day right around the corner, everything is coming up rosy. From pink to red, roses are a sign of spring, love and mothers. Red hues look great on flowers, but on the cheeks they can be a sign of skin inflammation. When the redness is persistent, it may be a sign of the chronic inflammatory skin disease Rosacea.

    Rosacea affects over 16 million Americans and 45 million people worldwide. As common as this may seem, there are countless others who go on about their daily lives undiagnosed. To complicate matters, the cause of Rosacea is still undefined. There are many factors involved in the disease progression, and one that will affect Rosacea sufferers in the coming summer months is sun exposure.


    There is a strong connection between UV exposure and Rosacea. Patients with Rosacea tend to be on the lower end of the Fitzpatrick scale, areas of the skin not exposed to sunlight are typically not affected- studies even show that more damage appears on the driver’s side of the face. Solar elastosis can also be seen in affected skin biopsies, strengthening the relationship between sun exposure and Rosacea symptoms. The goal with this chronic condition is to control symptoms, not cure. Skin health maintenance is crucial to clients with Rosacea. Beach time and frequent washing may sound refreshing in the warm summer months, but the truth is these can exacerbate Rosacea. Besides the UV damage, the barrier can also be stripped with soap or harsh detergents, which can worsen both Acne and Rosacea (both chronic, inflammatory diseases).

    Some helpful tips during the warmer months for Rosacea sufferers:

    Avoid:
    Over exposure to sun
    Emotional stress
    Environmental triggers – repeated exposure to wind, smoking, alcohol, and extreme temperatures

    Use:
    Daily sun protection (minimum SPF 15)
    Ceramides (found in sunflower seed extract) and lipids (gamma linoleic acid) in moisturizers
    Anti-inflammatory ingredients such as Oat extracts, ginger, bisabolol and peptides designed to control inflammation
    Prescription strength anti-inflammatories or retinoids may be beneficial for those seeking medical help