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  • 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!

  • 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?

  • The Perfect Winter Skin Care Regimen

    As the colder days draw near and we look forward to crisp winter walks and cozy nights by the fire, our skin may indeed take a down turn. I for one have a skin that does not take well to the harsher climates and I have to switch to a different skin care regimen in order to come out the other side looking a little less than an over dried prune! While many of us experience itching, dryness and redness, the key change occurring at this time of year is a reduced barrier function in our skin. This leaves skin vulnerable to extreme sensitivity and redness that, if not checked, can result in permanently dilated capillaries and inflammation.

    So here are my top tips to share with clients, or to adopt in the treatment room, for the perfect winter skin regimen:

    • Cleansing the skin properly is the first step in strategic care. Alkaline soaps and hot water set sensitization into motion. Switch to an extremely gentle, sulfate-free, non-stripping gel or cream cleanser which will fortify the protective barrier function without leaving a residue. If you find that even water makes skin sensitive, use a cleanser that may be removed with tissue or a soft cloth. Ingredients to look for in this type of cleanser include Raspberry, soothing Cucumber, a rich source of phytochemicals (including Ellagic Acid that acts as an antioxidant) and Panthenol (Provitamin B5), which helps to regenerate tissues.

    • A spritz of calming spray is a perfect, day-long salve. The newest and most effective formulas now contain cocktails of not only anti-inflammatory agents such as Avena Sativa, but ingredients to fight neurogenic inflammation, such as Red Hogweed. Ginger and Bisabolol (derived from Chamomile), when combined, work synergistically to reduce inflammation-induced itch, redness and irritation. Combine this with Red Hogweed, which targets neurogenic inflammation by limiting the production of pro-inflammatory agents such as prostaglandins, and you have a complete system to target inflammation.

    • Chapped and sensitive skins that are fond of exfoliating may use an ultra-gentle exfoliant, only on the condition that the lipid barrier is not damaged. In this case, recommend an ultrafine product which delicately polishes fragile skin with microparticles of rice bran and rice enzymes. Also note that even conventional washcloths and towels can irritate sensitized skin; recommend a high-tech, microfiber sponge cloth for cleanser and masque removal.

    • Masques are especially helpful for winter skin since the prolonged effects of a calming and hydrating weekly treatment may deliver lasting results. Use after gentle exfoliation to either the whole face or on spot areas that require instant soothing. Key ingredients to look for include pharmaceutical grade Colloidal Oatmeal, Red Hogweed and Mushroom (Cordyceps Sinesis) extract that reduce short and long term inflammation and redness. Mugwort (Artemesia Vulgaris) and algae extracts also soothe irritation and provide a light film to reduce redness from ultraviolet (UV) exposure and chemical irritants.

    • A concentrated booster can be the needed “brakes” on runaway inflammation and barrier dysfunction. Look for serums containing the latest newcomer Acetyl Tetrapeptide-15, a peptide that reduces discomfort and pain by lowering pro-inflammatory mediators in the skin that are associated with neurogenic inflammation. Also recommended: Portulaca Oleraca Extract Lipids, Sunflower Seed, Evening Primrose and Avocado Oils to reinforce the barrier lipid layer that keeps environmental chemicals from penetrating the skin.

    • Moisturizers and UV protection are also essential during winter to protect against dehydration and free radical damage. It may be necessary to switch to a richer formula as weather cools and central heating takes its toll. A medium-to-heavy weight product works best, to form a substantial layer of lipid barrier protection and humectant hydration around tenderized areas like cheeks, nostrils, or any other hot spots. Use a physical sunscreen rather than a chemical sunscreen if sensitivity is an issue.

    It is always wise to complete a thorough skin analysis and fresh consultation at the start of the winter season in order to provide sound advice on which products will help your customer not only survive the ravages of winter, but emerge with a hydrated and calm skin!

  • 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!

  • 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!

  • Cold Weather and Skin – a Dangerous Combination!

    Sharon MaxwellAre you suffering with that winter itch, the kind where you want to just scratch your skin off?! The skin becomes dry and irritated as we face wind, central heating and low humidity. The harsh weather can strip the skin’s natural protective barrier, creating gaps in the outer most Stratum Corneum layer, allowing water to escape (dehydration) and irritants to get in (sensitivity). The dry environment may be responsible for the itchy sensations, as the inflammatory response kicks in and releases histamines. It can exacerbate inflammatory skin diseases such as rosacea, eczema, ichthyosis, and psoriasis, which suffer an impaired barrier function. Just like the eyelids, the skin on the lips is extra thin and sensitive, which can suffer greatly during the harsh winters, resulting in dry cracked, sore lips. The winter dryness looks bleak, but what can we do to alleviate these symptoms? Try this:

    • Back to Basics – start with a creamy, soap-free, acid balanced cleanser, a hydrating spritz with humectants, and a protective moisturizer with SPF15-30.
    • Supplement with a hydrating serum or masque that includes a high dose of Hyaluronic Acid (which holds 1000 x its own weight in water).
    • Target sensitized skin with calming complexes such as oats, Bisabolol, Ginger and Red Hogweed, which reduce those uncomfortable sensations.
    • Treat skin while you sleep with a peptide serum rich in Argan Oil that provides fatty acids, plant sterols, Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid to reinforce the barrier lipid layer.
    • Reduce the temperature of your bath and shower, use bath oils, and apply body moisturizer immediately after your shower (within 3 minutes).
    • Do not over bathe, over strip, and be too harsh with the skin. Treat it gently and with respect!
    • Avoid licking lips, as digestive enzymes and bacteria in saliva can damage the lips. Use a nourishing lip balm with Shea Butter and Avocado.

  • 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!’