News

  • 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.

  • Say Buh-Bye to Bacne

     

    bacne

    Spring has sprung, which means your clients might be ready to pack up their winter woolies and reveal more skin! But for some the very notion might make them anxious if they suffer from back or chest acne. “Bacne” as it’s now referred to, is more common than you think when you consider that nearly 85% of all people have acne at some point in their lives, most often on the face, chest, and back. Teen boys and men sometimes get the full brunt of this issue due to testosterone levels triggering increased sebum production, which leads to blockages and more breakouts. Only to be then further exacerbated by sweaty, occlusive gym clothes and let be real, questionable hygiene. But you can’t ignore the ladies, many acne prone and active females have their fair share of bacne issues too.

    Here are #3 simple rules to share with your clients.

    #1 No blocking. We have the most amount of sebaceous glands in the face, neck, shoulders, back and upper arms, so if these follicles are blocked due to oil, dead cells, waxy hair or occlusive body products, even SPF, breakouts sometimes even cystic type acne will result. Bear in mind that people are also less selective about what products they use on their body versus their face.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Advise clients to treat their chest and back like their face, screen their shower and body products for comedogenic culprits like artificial fragrance, color, pure lanolins, petroleum derivatives and the “myristates”.  Have them ditch the dewberry shower gel and prescribe a soap- and fragrance-free anti-bacterial cleanser with ingredients like Salicylic Acid, Tea Tree and Citrus extracts.

    #2 No stripping. Steer your clients away from mentholated and alcohol astringents, the cooling sensation on the skin does not mean the skin is clean. In most cases, these astringents have an SD Alcohol base that strips the skin of lipids and causes the skin to actually produce MORE oil to only worsen the condition. Abrasive scrubs are also a no-no as they’ll open up lesions and spread bacteria.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Introduce an oil and bacteria controlling toner. Look for alcohol-free that allow for spritzing on the back or portable purifying skin wipes with ingredients like Balm Mint, Witch Hazel and Salicylic Acid. Treat breakouts with topical treatments that reduce sebum production, dissolve skin cells and zap bacteria with the hottest technology like Lactobacillus Ferment, Colloidal Silver, Zinc Sulfate, Magnolia Bark and Niacinamide.

    #3 Keep it clean. Conduct a CSI level investigation into your client’s sheet preference, washday frequency, detergent products and clothing. Sweat, dead cells and oil are all yummy bacteria food. Synthetic fibers will further trap sweat and dead cells.

    Buh-bye Bacne Tip: Advise clients to change pillowcases at least every other day and sheets twice a week. They should also wear organic cotton clothing next to the skin and especially avoid moisture wicking gym gear. Same goes for the bed linen, avoid synthetics like polyester that trap sweat and bacteria. Also ditch the fabric conditioners as these coat the fibers and this in turn coats the skin.

    Last but not least book them for a weekly 30 minute back clearing or chest treatment and you’ll eradicate their bacne or chacne (chest acne) in a snap, and ready for that cute Easter dress or at least the first pool party!

  • Tackle Teen Acne!

    What is a pimple? Is it dirty skin? A reaction to cosmetics? A disease? Well in a way, it’s all of that and much more. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne affects about 40 to 50 million Americans at any one time. The acneic condition presents itself in four grades (I – IV), with increasing levels of severity. But even healthy skin can even experience pimples, since the hormonal signals that trigger oil production and inflammation are easily stimulated by changes in diet, psychological stress and puberty. And since puberty means a time of growth and changes, the skin is also growing and maturing and may not be able to handle the extra oil produced that leads to clogged follicles. A clogged follicle is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive and cause inflammation, which is compounded by the elevated sebum produced during puberty.

    At the onset of puberty, hormones from the hypothalamic region of the brain and the pituitary gland trigger the production of testosterone in boys and estrogen in girls to initiate sexual maturation. An unfortunate side effect is the surge in sebum production in many. For girls, this cyclic pattern may even progress into adulthood. However, teenage acne is different than adult acne. While adult acne affects mostly women, and it is characterized by larger, more inflammatory papules with no comedones, teenage acne can present comedones, papules, pustules, cysts, nodules and is not typically cyclical. In addition, hygiene can play a major role, as proper skin care may be lacking or underdeveloped.

    This is why it’s imperative to teach young teens about proper daily skin care, introducing cleansing, hydrating and treating as part of their regimen. Another aspect of educating is reversing some of the misconceptions about acne that adolescents tend to have – whether it’s scrubbing away all oils with harsh scrubs, tanning to ‘clear’ acne, picking at their skin, and a host of other skin sins.

    In your treatment room, look for multitasking products that minimize breakouts without irritating or drying out the skin as many acne-controlling products in the market tend to do. By reducing hyperkeratinization, minimizing bacterial infection, controlling inflammation, and most importantly hydrating, you’ll provide a service not only for the short-term pubertal acne woes, but also for the long-term skin health goals of your future return client.

  • Breakout Freakout

    Ah summer. The home stretch, the ninth inning, a time for preparation and relaxation and… final exams! This may stir up terrifying memories, or if you’re in the midst of it, elicit a reminder of what’s to come. This crunch time is key to passing exams with flying colors or not passing at all, and it can feel like a literal squeeze or crunch, with your mind racing at 100mph. What you may not even realize during this hectic time is how it can also affect your body and even your skin.

    Psychological stress is not just “in your mind,” although it does begin there. When we experience stress, a region in the brain called the hypothalamus releases signals to specific glands to produce even more signals, or hormones, which then circulate around the body and elicit the “stress response.” The stress hormones released by the glands sitting atop the kidneys are epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol.

    Cortisol is a stress hormone that can also impact skin health. When cortisol is released, it can trigger the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum as well as increase inflammation. In the skin, this increased inflammation and sebum is the perfect environment for P. acnes to thrive inside the follicle. The result? A breakout.

    We may not be able to avoid those finals, but we can try to avoid that stress-induced pimple by practicing relaxation techniques. Or at the very least, treat it with efficacious ingredients to help the skin heal. If you have teenage clients in the treatment room, remember this is a high-stress time so combine stress-relieving techniques with these ingredients:

    Benzoyl Peroxide: Stops breakout-causing bacteria in the follicle and helps clear skin.
    Salicylic Acid: A hydroxy acid that exfoliates surface skin cells and reduces inflammation.
    Bentonite and Kaolin Clays: Purifying clays pull oil from skin, deep cleaning and helping to control shine.
    Niacinamide: Assists in regulating sebaceous gland secretions while scavenging free radicals.
    Meadowsweet: protects against the production and secretion of excess sebum.
    African Whitewood: The bark extract of this tree has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and sebum-regulating properties.

    To learn more about stress and breakouts, check out this video that I shared for Ted Education:

  • Back to School and a New Lesson on Healthy Skin!

    Annet KingAs any diligent mom or skin pro knows, teens and tweens can be a prime target for a myriad of “oh so lovely” infectious and contagious skin issues. However, attempt to educate on the danger of sharing their BFF’s Juicy Tube or the festering fungus associated with a week-old gym bag and you’ll be met with a cold, icy stare. But engage in some dialogue about banishing blackheads and having clear, pimple free skin, and they’ll perk up quicker than a Beagle with a brand new bone.

    So jump on the “Back to School” train and use this opportunity to host a fun, skin social event with “After School Skin Lessons” at your skin center or salon for the next few months.

    Here are some A+ tips to get you going:

    Stock Up: Ensure your retail area is well stocked on “teen appealing” but effective problem solving products that include starter kits. You want them to start afresh with quality grade products and keep up the good work at home. For events and lessons, create playlists of their favorite tunes (might not be yours!) and have Teen Skin Tips at the ready to hand out. Stock the fridge with skin friendly drinks and snacks and make sure your space is ready for action.

    Hand out postcard invites to every mom client so she can bring her teen, her credit card and her bff’s along. Tweet, pin, Instagram and post your event on all of your social media sites, and put up posters and display sheets around the space advertising the fun educational event. Don’t forget to have a hashtag for the night, such as #seemyclearskin, so your teens can take selfies and group shots as they learn at the skin bar. Run a competition for the most original pic posted and give away a complimentary clear skin express treatment and starter kit to the winner.

    Teach the Basics: Set up a skin bar and serve up a daily regimen: foaming, medicated cleanser; spritz toner; lunchbox handy purifying wipes; gentle scrub; an oil absorbing, pimple- treating masque and an oil-free moisturizer with SPF. Now guide them “hands on style” through the simple steps of cleansing, exfoliating, masque-ing, toning and moisturizing their skin. Provide plenty of warm wipes, headbands and mirrors, and show them how to dispense, apply and remove.

    Safe Picking – Teens are going to pick and we’re kidding ourselves if we think they will completely abandon this habit, so let’s teach them how to do it safely. However, ensure they understand the dangers of popping inflamed pustules and how it can lead to scarring. Guide them through the proper procedure of cleaning, prepping and warming the skin first. Teach them how to make finger mitts with tissue using the IDI method, and demonstrate the hygienic, pain free technique of stretching, creating a mound and rocking and rolling the impaction out using the sides of the fingers. Share post extraction tips like sterilizing the skin and using spot treatment products with 5% Benzoyl Peroxide and Salicylic Acid.

    With hormones, homework and hotties on the brain they have enough to cope with, so let’s help alleviate the stress of breakouts and problem skin and grow our business in the process!!