• Using Skin Microbes to Lighten Pigmentation

    DH Diglucosyl Gallic Acid conversion

    Whether you like it or not, the human body is inundated with millions of microorganisms that live in a mutualistic relationship with us—in other words, each species benefits from the activity of the other. Many of the bacteria that cohabitate with us humans are not harmful and actually serve a purpose. Take for example the bacteria that live in our gut; these microbes help us digest and process our food. If something happens to our natural gut microflora, such as often occurs after a course of antibiotics that kill good and bad bacteria, our digestive system can be thrown off. We might supplement our diet with probiotics to help restore balance to our gut. Like our gut, our skin is also home to billions of microorganisms often referred to as the skin microbiota.

    The skin microbiota is continuously communicating with our epidermal cells, generating metabolites and stimulating physiological processes. Recent studies have demonstrated that the skin’s microbiota can activate specific cosmetic compounds converting them into biologically active molecules on the skin’s surface. Diglucosyl Gallic Acid, also known as Trihydroxy Benzoic Acid alpha-Glucoside (THBG) is an example of a patented molecule that when topically applied to the skin is partially converted into another form, Trihydroxy Benzoic Acid (THBA) by the skin’s microflora. THBG and THBA work together to lighten skin pigmentation and even out skin tone. Together, these two molecules not only inhibit free radical formation, which could result in hyperpigmentation, but more importantly they help stop melanogenesis. Both THBA and THBG molecules are effective at reducing pigmentation spots, as well as helping to control formation of new spots.

    As scientists continue to study the skin’s natural microbiota, it is quite apparent that studies will no longer just focus on the relationship of microbes to skin disorders and disease but will now venture into a new realm; we have just scratched the surface of understanding how our skin’s natural microbial populations can be used in conjunction with topically applied molecules to address specific skin conditions.

  • Get Soy Smart!

    In recent years, Soy has been marketed for it’s nutritional benefits, but did you know that topical application of Soy can also contribute to healthy skin? Here’s 5 questions and answers to get you Soy-smart.


    1. What are some of the benefits of using Soy in skincare products?

    Soy and its derivatives have shown to reduce free radical damage (ROS) and reduce inflammation. It also hydrates the skin by stimulating the production of Hyaluronic Acid and stimulates production of collagen and increases skin thickness, which may be beneficial for postmenopausal women who develop a thinner dermis and decreased collagen. Soy isoflavonoids act as anti-glycation agents (AGEs) to fight collagen cross-linking and inhibits collagen degrading enzymes (matrix-metalloproteinase enzymes also referred to as MMPs). Soy ingredients can also produce a brightening effect for hyperpigmentation.

    2. Are there different types of Soy that are used in skincare products? 

    Yes, Soy has different derivatives that are used in various skincare products.  Soybeans are a rich source of flavonoids called isoflavones, which are phytoestrogens or plant compounds that have a weak estrogenic effect. The most commonly used Soy isoflavonoids is Glycine Soja (Soybean) Protein, Oil or Seed Extract, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Lecithin that are rich in amino acids that help to smooth, aid in wound healing, and stimulate elastin and collagen synthesis.

    3. What type of skin treatment is Soy a good ingredient for?

    Soy is primarily used in aging skin treatments that are geared towards stimulating elastin and collagen synthesis, reducing fine lines, wrinkles and UV induced photo-damage. Soy isoflavones have also been used in treatment for hyperpigmentation disorders as they prevent melanin from adhering to skin cells, therefore helping with blotchiness and discoloration.

    However, Soy, which is a phytoestrogen, is NOT recommended for melasma treatment since melasma is somewhat estrogen mediated.

    4. Is there any danger in applying Soy-based products topically on the skin? For example on a client with Soy allergies, hormonal imbalances, etc.

    Most concerns or negative effects associated with soy are consumption based, however, Soy may act as a food allergen (similar to milk, eggs or peanuts). If the client has a Soy allergy, then it’s recommended to avoid products that contain Soy. There has been some consumer concerns between Soy and breast cancer. Studies are still on-going to determine whether these isoflavones spur tumor growth. Ensure client’s check with their physician before proceeding to use or prescribe any Soy-based products.

    5. What other key ingredients work with Soy?

    Soy itself has been suggested to have a variety of effects when used in in skin care products. For maximum results, look for products that have an additional complex of age-fighting ingredients that work synergistically with Soy, such as peptides, White Tea and Licorice.

  • A Tale of Two Cities: From Dubai to Moscow

    I had quite the journey flying over 8,000 miles from Los Angeles to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Russia for the opportunity to represent IDI. When I first saw my itinerary I saw two very different worlds, apart from my own, but then I remembered the common interest I share with my hosts – the passion for skin therapy.

    My first stop was in Dubai, UAE, a city known for its luxury and amazing modern architecture. I had to find out why it’s been dubbed as the “City of Gold” and I discovered why walking around the gold souk or outdoor marketplace – I had never seen so much gold in such a small area! I even had the opportunity to go on a desert safari and ride a camel for the first time during my visit.

    But the true purpose for my visit was to present to 140 skin therapists and business owners who want to take their clients’ skin to a new level of skin health. I lectured on the latest cosmetic treatments that could be incorporated with their current product line, Dermalogica, and introduced a new chemical peel system to their market. It was great to see their eagerness build as they planned for new treatments to expand their menu and offer to clients. It was also a treat to meet students from Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and other parts of UAE to join in the day’s festivities.

    Then I hopped on a plane to my next destination – Russia. I landed in Moscow, bundled up and ready for the chilly, snowy weather; compared to the desert, camels and sunny beaches I just left behind!

    The two day event in Moscow began with discussing the wide-ranging topic of pigmentation, followed by a chemical peel demonstration to address signs of hyperpigmentation commonly seen on clients. Ranging between skin therapists, business owners and physicians, our guests mingled with each other as if they never wanted the evening to end.  As the event drew to a close there was a particular buzz of excitement, that feeling of connection as a tribe.

    We had a smaller more, intimate group of 11 educators from Russia, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan on the second day in Moscow. Through a translator, I was able to educate them on the particulars of chemical peels and guided them all through a hands on practical. Their glowing skin and radiant smiles were enough to tell me they were enjoying the day.

    Thankfully I had a free day for some sightseeing. Braving the cold, I set out on foot to see famous buildings I had only seen in pictures until now. I enjoyed sights such as the eclectic art market of Arabat Street and the Alexander Garden right outside the Kremlin. Walking to the end of the Red Square, I was able to enjoy the colorful architecture of St Basil’s Cathedral. As my tour came to an end, I had an unforgettable evening watching the Russian Ballet perform.

    Although my travels took me to two extremes, my purpose was the same: to give our students the tools to grow their business and reach others through the healing power of touch.





  • The Malaysian Monologues

    When people think of Southeast Asia, exotic places like Phuket and Bali come to mind but one of the most exciting and fastest growing cities is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, also fondly known as KL. I recently had the honor and pleasure of spending some time in this captivating city with our Education Manager for Australia and Asia, Emma Hobson. What a rare occurrence and delight being with a fellow educator, sharing in the unique experience and getting to teach the program together!

    I lived and worked in this part of the world many moons ago so it was also very touching to be able to return and see the progress that has occurred since my last visit 16 years ago! Beyond the stunning mixture of historic meets hyper modern architecture, Chinese, Malay, Indian blend of culture and exotic food, the people (who call themselves KLites, so cute right?)  are what truly make KL so memorable. Graceful, warm, charming are all characteristics of KLites but their hunger for education is what makes teaching in this region so rewarding.

    So what did we share? Over a tightly packed 2 day congress we shared new information on skin exfoliation, ingredient technology and new techniques for performing effective yet safe, chemical peels. Together with the incredible Malaysian educators, we even managed to conduct a hands on practical session for over 190 Malaysian Skin Therapists! The pinnacle of any educators career…that one might need to go into the Guinness World Book of Records! On our second day we shared information with the group on Global Skin Trends, the impact of exercise on the skin and motivational segments on Communication, Leadership and Achieving Lifelong Goals.

    As with all of our international trips the local media are always eager to learn about what’s new in skin from America, I met with the 5 leading news and lifestyle publications to chat about skincare trends, new ingredients and advances in Chemical Peels. The skin savvy Malaysian consumer has always been light years ahead in regards to protecting their skin from daylight exposure, but is always on the lookout for new treatments and products to address hyperpigmentation; so the journalists were thrilled to be able to offer some fresh advice and new treatment recommendations to their readers.

    The warm welcome and sincere hospitality we received by the Malaysian team and our charming hosts Eddie and Roderick Chieng made this trip truly unforgettable. The dedication to learning we felt and stories of success we had the honor hearing was beyond inspiring. Hashtag #ilovemyjob!





  • The Benefits of Pumpkin Ingredients on the Skin


    Autumn can play some nasty tricks on your skin with its winds and chilly weather. But you can give your skin a treat by using the perfect ingredient of the season, pumpkin, to reveal glowing new skin underneath.

    Pumpkin contains a lot of amazing properties that benefit the skin in many different ways. So how does pumpkin help skin?

    • Pumpkin is packed with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), which increase cell turnover, to brighten and smooth the skin.

    • Pumpkin contains antioxidant Vitamin A and Vitamin C to help soften and soothe the skin and boost collagen production to prevent the signs of aging.

    • Zinc in pumpkin seeds is brilliant for acne sufferers. Zinc will help control the hormone level and oil production, as well as assist with healing of the skin.

    • Pumpkin seeds are high in essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which are necessary to maintain good barrier function of the skin. They also regulate sebum, great for an oily skin.

    • The molecular structure of pumpkin is small and therefore can penetrate deeper into the skin when used topically. This is amazing for treating a dull complexion, aging skin and pigmentation.

    Due to the many benefits pumpkin has, clients can adjust their home care routine to include products with this key ingredient. Start with recommending a day moisturizer with SPF, especially if they’re concerned with hyperpigmentation. Look for formulations with unique encapsulation technology that time-releases active ingredients and sunscreens into the skin for enhanced ultraviolet (UV) protection, while inhibiting melanosome activity and providing hydration benefits.

    Pair it up with a night time treatment moisturizer that also contains peptides, antioxidants and plant extracts like Giant White Bird of Paradise Seed and Moth Bean Seed to improve luminosity, strengthen skin and increase cell turnover all while they sleep.

    For the best results this season, it’s simple – target skin with products containing pumpkin!

  • Unwanted Spots? Some Extra Help is Needed!

    Bettina ZammertSummer is over, and for most of us our holidays are now only a happy memory. However, some “souvenirs” stay with us a little longer than we want. I’m talking about brown discoloration of the skin, called hyperpigmentation. It develops very quickly, but it is very difficult to get rid of again. And what is really tough is that it not only makes the skin tone look irregular (as if that weren’t already bad enough), but it also makes us look older. So clients with hyperpigmentation can often suffer great distress, and the results don’t usually come about quickly enough.

    It’s very important that you don’t promise more than you can expect to deliver so you don’t disappoint your clients. Be realistic, and tell your clients that, depending on their age, it can take up to four weeks before the pigmentation marks start to lighten.

    And speaking of realistic expectations, have an in-depth consultation with your clients to establish the cause(s) of their hyperpigmentation. The sun is often the actual reason for changes in pigmentation, but not always. The unwanted marks can also be due to a hormonal imbalance or inflammation, or even stress. Another possibility is a phototoxic reaction to something like perfume, for example. Some medications and even plant active ingredients can increase photo-sensitivity.

    So you can see there are lots of possible causes of hyperpigmentation, and when it comes to treating the issue, sun protection with a minimum SPF of 30 is vital, as is the regular use of pigment-reducing products in your clients’ daily routines.

    In a professional skin treatment, exfoliation with Lactic Acid has proven extremely effective, because Lactic Acid blocks the enzyme Tyrosinase, which plays a key role in melanin synthesis. Furthermore, the removal of discolored cells makes the skin tone visibly more even after the treatment.

    So effective treatment of hyperpigmentation depends on both your clients’ daily skin care routines at home and the causes that led to the discoloration. If, for instance, it is due to a hormonal imbalance, then treatment will take longer and possibly only have the desired effect if the hormone imbalance is treated by a medical practitioner at the same time. Either way, be sure your clients layer on the SPF daily and take the necessary precautions otherwise to prevent the hyperpigmentation from growing worse!

  • Bridezilla be Gone: Your Skin Guide Countdown to the Big Day

    Annet KingJune is the most popular month for weddings, and according to market research firm IBISWorld, the U.S. wedding industry is worth $48 billion. This recession proof business isn’t showing signs of letting up; in fact it’s predicted to reach $54.3 billion by 2016. So brides, bridegrooms and wedding parties are indeed big business for us, and creating a skin care countdown ensures skin is HD picture perfect! This also helps avoid disasters like “bride hives” from that mystery Taiwanese wrinkle buster!

    Here’s a checklist of professional skin “to dos” before the “I dos” are said:

    Book the Bride: Problem, breakout prone skin and hyperpigmentation issues are going to need consistent treatments and an-at home protocol to achieve significant results. Just like working with a personal trainer to get into the Vera, you’re the official skin trainer, so position yourself in the same way. Schedule six months out from the big day with monthly, then bi-weekly skin treatments, and tweak and customize the treatments and products throughout. Brides should also be alert to potential eyebrow issues at this time too – some areas that may have been over-plucked might need to grow in, which can take several months to accomplish.

    Month 1: Concentrate on deep cleaning for the first treatment, particularly if the client is new to skin treatments. The bride may breakout during this time as the skin is being encouraged to purge, so she shouldn’t be alarmed or discouraged and want to quit her regimen. Upgrade her existing cleansing regimen by adding an oil-based precleanser to dissolve excess sebum and debris prior to using her normal cleanser, and prescribe a clay-based masque to expel blockages and congestion from the skin.

    Months 2-4: These treatments should be spent on problem solving areas that need extra help. Stronger exfoliation should be performed and gradually increased throughout the series. Galvanic or microcurrent should be used to drive in actives to address lines, irregular pigmentation and over active sebaceous glands. Breakouts can be “zapped” with high frequency to expedite clearing. This is also the time that skin should be treated with potent, targeted products to correct problems.

    Months 5-6: The last two treatments should focus on getting the skin glowing, firm, energized and hydrated. This is also a tense time for the bride, and stress hormones can lead to sporadic breakouts. The skin should be pumped with antioxidants and hydrating, energizing ingredients in anticipation of the big day.

    Month 6: The big day has arrived! Schedule the final skin treatment three days before the wedding. Brides make the mistake of doing this the day before and risk a big pre-wedding nerve pimple. Eyebrows should be tidied during this time, and any waxing procedures, body treatments and/or self-tanning applications are best scheduled now. The day before the wedding should be dedicated to a 20 minute flash exfoliation and energizing masque, manicure, and pedicure. If possible, a calming massage can be squeezed in.

    BIG DAY: The day of the wedding should be reserved for makeup and hair – that’s it! Provide the bride with an emergency kit that includes a concealing pimple treatment for combating that stress related breakout, a vitamin-packed mist for keeping her make up fresh and to energize skin throughout the day and a lip complex for keeping those lush lips ready for the big kiss!

  • Hormones and Your Skin

    Imagine balancing a scale with grains of sand. This is how your hormones (the grains of sand) maintain a balanced body. Even the slightest difference in either way- whether it’s having a little too much or a little too little- can have a significant impact in the way your body works. Hormones are chemical signals that impact every slow, long-lasting process in the body, from hunger and growth to sleep and emotions. Unlike the quick-acting nervous system, the endocrine system, which governs hormones, releases these chemicals over an expanse of time and distance, circulating through the blood vessels. Once they reach their destination, they can impact a number of bodily functions. As the skin is the largest organ, it is also under the control of hormonal fluctuations.

    Hormones come in many flavors. There are sex steroid hormones, thyroid hormones, growth hormones and inflammatory hormones, among a myriad of others. These hormones have significant effects on skin throughout our lifetime, from puberty, through pregnancy and menopause. Here’s a short list on how some of these impact skin:

    • Androgens, like testosterone, are responsible for increasing hair growth and sebum production.

    • Estrogens (and most likely Progestogens) are responsible for regulating hydration, pigmentation and collagen production in skin.

    • Thyroid hormones, when imbalanced, can lead to hair loss and changes in skin hydration. Too much and skin is moist; too little and skin becomes rough and dry.

    • Growth hormone stimulates insulin growth factor (IGF-1), which can also trigger sebum production. This is the primary reason behind new studies showing how milk, which is high in these hormones, can lead to acneic breakouts.

    When it comes to skin, hormones are a leading factor behind many of the blemishes, bumps, spots, flecks, sheen and stubble that plague many people, especially women. One hundred percent of women have to deal with hormones at some point in their life, so it’s important to understand their effects on skin, and what we can do to control them.