Here Comes the Sun

1308653-bigthumbnail.jpgSpring has officially sprung!

Now we’ll be getting a little more sunshine as we work up to those summer days. In the mean time, I’ve been thinking about how often I tell my clients they need to have a good sunscreen… but anyone who is a curious soul like me might wonder what it is about the sun that causes it to be so harmful to our skin. Yeah, we all know that too much sun exposure or tanning beds are “bad,” but why? Well, I’m here to try and explain it. This is where my college-science-geek past comes into play.

There are two main types of rays that affect skin:

  • UVA rays get absorbed deep in the skin and contribute to aging; causes a breakdown of structural proteins like collagen and elastin
  • UVB rays cause sunburns
  • UVC rays are the most dangerous, however, they don’t reach our atmosphere due to the ozone

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Let’s say you’re tanning outside. Heat and energy from the sun causes the atoms in your skin to vibrate, making them unstable, which is called a free radical. Free radicals react with other healthy cells not yet affected, and causes them to become unstable too. This chain reaction causes mutations in your DNA, which can later cause cancer. Sun exposure, environmental toxins, and pollution all contribute to free radical invasion. The UV radiation given off in tanning beds is even worse because it’s stronger!

A bad sunburn once every two years can triple your risk of getting melanoma. It will also contribute to hyperpigmentation and age you much faster. So my advice is just like I tell my clients, get a good sunscreen with zinc or titanium as the main ingredient AND re-apply every hour. Also, taking antioxidants in through diet or supplements are beneficial for everyone. Antioxidants neutralize free radicals so the body can return to a balanced state. Once a free radical is neutralized, it can’t cause destruction. I highly recommend taking a vitamin C supplement!

Here are a few of my favorite sunblocks:

  • For acne/oily skin – this has niacinamide, otherwise known as vitamin B3, and helps to control breakouts. (They also have this tinted!)

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  • For dry/normal skin:

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  • For body:

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Detoxification: The Art of Dry Brushing

Have you heard of dry brushing? Me neither, until today! Adding this simple trick to your routine has many benefits, not just for the skin but for the whole body.

Skin is made up of a complex system of nerves, glands, tissues, and vessels. It is the body’s largest organ, serving as a protective barrier against trauma, the sun, retaining water, and keeping foreign microbes out. It is responsible for transmitting messages to the brain to make fast conclusions about the things we come in contact with by touch, temperature or pressure. It’s packed with immune cells, ready to fight any invader not welcome. It is constantly growing and excreting waste. Our skin alone, does an amazing job at keeping us alive and well! But when it’s not able to function optimally, congestion builds in the body and plays a major role leading to inflammation and disease. This is why a balanced diet and exercise are so crucial to a healthy lifestyle.

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Dry brushing will help detoxify, as well as beautify. Here’s the facts:

Exfoliation. Lightly brushing dry skin is a great way of removing dead cells, making room for healthy young cells to grow in faster. This = glowing skin!

Circulation. Brushing towards the heart will stimulate veins to pump blood back to the heart more effectively.

Stimulation to Lymphatic Vessels. The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system, and is responsible for removing waste from tissues and transporting it to the blood to be removed from the body. If there’s a blockage, toxins buildup and can make you sick. This is what lymphatic massages are all about – moving lymph for detoxification. You can get the same benefits from dry brushing, since lymphatic vessels aren’t very deep in the skin.

Anti-Stress. The act of brushing is meditative. It can reduce muscle tension and relieve stress.

Reduced Cellulite. It may reduce cellulite by softening hardened fat deposits.

Improved Organ Function. As said before, dry brushing massages the lymphatic system and helps to remove extra water and toxins. Flushing these out is thought to alleviate bloating and improve digestion and kidney function.

How to do it?

Get a long handled brush with stiff bristles.

Start at the feet and brush up, towards the heart.

Avoid sensitive areas, including your face.

Brush VERY lightly.

Do it for 5-10 minutes for the best results.

Always move towards the heart – this is where everything is drained! Follow the picture below:

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The 411 on Exfoliation

I’m often asked:

  • Why exfoliate?
  • Is exfoliating OK for my skin type?
  • What’s the best method?

First off, let’s break down the logistics! There’s two types: mechanical and chemical.

Mechanical exfoliation includes scrubs, Clairisonics, and microdermabrasion. The idea is to manually remove dead skin by using pressure and movement. Most people use these too aggressively! Too much pressure can lead to microscopic tears in the skin, which causes a breakdown of collagen and elastin, which eventually leads to wrinkles. Microdermabrasion is probably the worst of these – it’s a dry tool against dry skin! If you prefer using facial scrubs, just use them super lightly AND find one that has tiny beads similar to the consistency of sugar. I recommend this one: Skin Ceuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

Chemical exfoliation includes popular acids like glycolic, salicylic, lactic, and retinol. These work by breaking apart peptides that hold skin cells together, causing them to slough off and encourage faster cell turnover. This is why peels are so popular – they take off a layer of old cells so that new, healthy skin can grow in faster. Enzymes are another option. They work by “eating away” dead surface cells. They’re very mild, but perfect for anyone who is pregnant or has extra sensitive skin. Chemical exfoliation is the cleanest process with no damage done.

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Having this step in your routine is beneficial, no matter your skin type! Exfoliating will help to improve skin tone and texture, lessen the depth of fine lines and wrinkles,  give the appearance of smaller pores and help control breakouts. If you’re dry, your moisturizer will work more effectively and go further not having to work through a thick dead cell layer. If you’re oily, it will create a less desirable environment for bacteria and oil to collect. 

CS Anti-Aging Serum

We have some new products at Corrective Skincare! So much of our line is tailored to clearing acne, and we wanted to expand to cater more to our anti-aging/dry skin clientele!

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Come say hello our new lovely Anti-Aging Serum! If you’re feeling extra dry lately, this product will give your skin a boost. It works to deeply hydrate, which in turn reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. I notice a big difference in my skin when I use this, and my skin is naturally on the dry side. The best way to wear it is at night. Over night, the skin has time to replenish itself from the days wear. This product will also be perfect for anyone with acne that feels dry. It’s a water base and won’t break you out!

How to use it? Do your cleansing routine, then apply a few drops of the serum all over and lightly rub it in, let it dry, then apply a cream on top for extra moisture!

Product highlights:

Aloe Vera Extract: Super moisturizing, anti-inflammatory, contains over 75 different nutrients including antioxidants, vitamins (A, C and E), minerals, amino acids, salicylic acid and enzymes.

Beta Glucan: Derived from oat kernel. Moisturizing, smoothing, calming to irritated skin

Hyaluronic Acid: Naturally-occuring polysaccharide found in the body. Used as a cushion and lubricant between joints, nerves, and most abundantly in skin. As we age, it breaks down similarly to collagen fibers. It has a unique ability to hold up to 1,000 times it’s weight in water which gives the skin a plump and healthy look. Extremely hydrating!

Lipoid Acid: Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Helps to fight free-radicals, decreases swelling and puffiness, and evens skin tone.

Matrixly – Palmitoyl Pentapeptide: 5 chained peptide. Repairs DNA damage and stimulates the skin to synthesize collagen, elastin, and glucosamnoglycans.

Retinol: Our formula has <1%. Refines the texture of skin, lightly exfoliates to smooth over fine lines and wrinkles, and stimulates cell metabolism.

Grapeseed Extract: Great source of vitamins E and C, improves skin texture

Allantoin: Botanical extract from comfrey. Healing, soothing and keratolytic (aka – ability to shed dead cells)

Au Naturale

In the past year, I’ve slowly been transitioning my products to the alllll natural side. I’ve switched to flouride-free toothpaste, (some) vegan & cruelty-free makeup, sulfate & paraben-free shampoo and conditioner, and aluminum-free deodorant. When you really think about it, the amount of toxins we come in contact with everyday is astounding. From the food we eat, to the air we breathe, to our drinking water – it is constant. Our organs do an amazing job at filtering a majority of this out, but there’s no reason to add more stress to the body when you don’t need to. Stress causes inflammation, and inflammation causes disease.

Lowering your levels of chemical absorption will make a big impact on your health and contribute to a more eco-friendly environment. Products made with fillers, preservatives, fragrances, heavy metals, pesticides and dyes (to name a few) get absorbed instantly into the bloodstream when applied to the skin or digested. Using products with these ingredients can pose a major threat to your health as they accumulate long term. They can wreck havoc on the nervous system, cause hormone balance and alter DNA sequences, contributing to the big C word.

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SO here’s my reason for going green, specifically regarding deodorant. A year ago I started noticing hard, painful lumps that would show up on my underarms. I stopped using my Secret deodorant and they would go away after a few days. As soon as I started using it again, they would come back. Deodorants made with aluminum are called “antiperspirants” because their job is to prevent you from sweating and they do this by blocking the sweat ducts. I realized my deodorant was getting absorbed through my pores and causing the blockage in my lymph nodes. The bundle of lymph nodes under the armpit are directly connected to the those in breast tissue, which is why scientists speculate that deodorants with aluminum play a role in contributing to breast cancer. Aluminum compounds mimic estrogen, increasing the risk of breast cancer and prostate cancer. Buildup has also been linked to Alzheimer’s. I decided to finally make the switch.

It took trying a few different ones to find a scent I liked. I’m really happy with the Men’s Mountain Fresh deodorant from Tom’s! Here’s the thing about switching to all natural deodorant in the beginning… you smell. Really bad. Your body has to detox and sweat out everything that’s been trapped in that area for so long. Once that happens, it gets much better. The advantage is that your body is taking in less chemicals and that’s healthy. The disadvantage is if you sweat a lot, you’ll have to re-apply throughout the day. I’ve also found that depending on diet and fluid intake, my body’s natural scent can fluctuate. The cleaner diet you have, the better your sweat will smell. (sexy, right?)

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If you’re interested in making the switch too, I suggest looking at Skin Deep Cosmetics Database where you can search thousands of products OR specific ingredients and get the complete chemical breakdown of each item.

Men’s Skincare: 7 Tips for Preventing Razor Burn

[Guys need skin TLC too!]

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One aspect of men’s skincare is shaving. Knowing the correct way to shave can save you from running into common problems such as razor bumps, ingrown hairs or irritation. Doing it properly can actually benefit the skin by exfoliating and giving you the smoothness you’re aiming for. Here’s some tips to follow if you’ve been dealing with this issue!

1. Steam. Wash your face with warm water to soften the follicles. You could prep, using a gentle scrub to exfoliate which can prevent the hairs from curling back into the skin.

2. Lather. Use a moisturizing shave cream and move the razor in the direction of hair growth. Without a cream to soften the skin, the razor is likely to drag more and contribute to irritation.

3. Dulled Out. If you’ve used the same razor more than 5-7 times, it’s time to get a new one! Using the same dull razor can create microscopic tears in the skin. Single or double blades will cause less problems also.

4. Dem angles. It’s important to move in the same direction of hair growth. It may not give you as close of a shave, but will help prevent hairs from getting trapped or growing inwards when the hair starts to grow back. Also keep in mind that hair can be angled in different directions, so using a mirror is better than shaving blindly in the shower.

5. Keep it light. The less pressure applied, the better. The shorter the strokes, (less than an inch) the better.

6. Rinse. Rinse off with cool water. Use a non-medicated cleanser if you’d like, otherwise apply a moisturizer to maintain a healthy barrier function.

7. Wash. If your cleansers are medicated (aka, they have benzoyl peroxide or acids such as glycolic, lactic or salicylic) wait to use them until the next day when the skin is less sensitive. Shaving can cause small abrasions and these types of products will sting. If you shave in the morning, use the medicated cleanser at night.

Skincare for the mama-to-be!

Depending on body chemistry, some women develop acne or melasma due to the shift in hormones during pregnancy. Being pregnant (or breastfeeding) limits the use of specific products because they could possibly enter the bloodstream and affect the baby.75d4c79ecf760765c2326193916ee5a7.jpg Some say it’s ok to use AHA’s/BHA’s or benzoyl peroxide during pregnancy, others say it’s not safe, so it depends on your doctor. I prefer to air on the side of caution and leave those products out of any home care regimen or treatment. This makes it tough sometimes, because when it comes to acne or hyerpigmentation, it’s harder to make dramatic changes without these medicated products.

I’ve been doing some research on “baby safe” products you can try out. Enzyme exfoliants are gentle enough and only work on the surface of the skin. They won’t get absorbed into the bloodstream. Popular fruit enzymes such as bromelain from pineapple, and papain from papaya, work by simply eating away at dead cells. Exfoliation is key in improving acne, removing hyperpigmentation, and stimulating metabolism for new healthy cells to grown in.

Here’s a few products I found that that seem like great, non-toxic enzyme masks you could incorporate into your routine once a week:

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Shop Product: Angel Face Botanicals

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Shop Product: Alba Botanica

How to use? —> Cleanse, apply enzyme exfoliant and let sit for 10-20 mins, wash off and apply moisturizer.

What NOT to Skip on Gym Day

Some of my clients are either athletes, yoga instructors or pilates lovers. Most of them come to see me for the same reason: they have acne that seems impossible to get rid of. Usually it is the worst on the chest or back, sometimes affecting the face too. I call this type of acne “lifestyle acne,” because it’s typically caused by their daily activity and can be easily fixed with just a few simple changes in their routine.

Here’s my advice for anyone attending a workout class, gym, or engaging in anything that causes you to break a sweat: WASH, with soap and water. Seriously, it’s simple. Ladies do not use makeup wipes as a substitution – doing that will leave a film of residue on the skin. Washing before a workout is a bonus, but the absolute most important thing is to wash right after. Before you leave the gym/class, make sure you go into the bathroom and wash your face. If you didn’t bring your own cleanser, use the nasty hand soap to be sure you get any sweat off. If the acne-inflammed area is on your chest or back, do the same thing just focus on cleansing those areas. Then when you get home, use your good products. Many people wait until they get home to wash, but by the time you get home, the sweat has already been sitting on the skin for too long. Plus, how many times have we gone home and been distracted by a phone call, Facebook, or making food? That’s even longer, which means even more time for the skin to become impacted. I notice a world of difference in my clients’ skin when they change their routine just by washing whenever they sweat or when their skin feels oily. Keep it simple!

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Cornu Asperum, anyone?

I’m finally back and in action! This past week consisted of a seeeeerious amount of jet lag, not to mention a bad case of food poisoning to top it all off! But – I’m feeling much better now and have finally written the blog I was inspired to write while traveling!

I went to Thailand for a week and a half, just enough time to get a glimpse of the culture and soak up some much needed sun (with lots of SPF though, duh!). One thing I noticed everywhere were advertisements for a skin product called “Snail White.” Being the curious, ingredient junkie esthetician that I am, I no doubt looked this up to see what the craze was about. It’s no joke about “snail” being in the title. Looks like Korean skincare trends are escalating! Snail White is a cream with snail secretion filtrate – cool or yuck? It’s intended to be an anti-aging cream. Question is… how?

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I started doing some research about snail slime. Turns out, it has TONS of benefits for the skin. Maybe Korea had it right from the beginning. The secretion is packed with all things we look for in modern products: hyaluronic acid, antioxidants, glycolic acid, peptides, and stabilizing proteins for inducing collagen and elastin growth. Why are these considered anti-aging?! Because they are hydrating, free-radical killing, exfoliating and wrinkle-erasing structural elements. And all of that is one beautiful recipe for young, smooth, revitalized, healthy skin.

So, naturally I was 1) curious to see what U.S. brands carry this magic snail goo, and 2) to try it of course!

Apparently Urban Outfitters carries an array of slug options for you to choose from, brands like TonyMoly and Mizon. I also found that even Peter Thomas Roth offers a serum called Un-Wrinkle Fast-Acting Serum with 52% snail mucin solution in it’s formula. As this ingredient becomes more acceptable (aka less yuck factor, more oooooh factor), I’m sure we’ll be seeing lots of other brands adopt it into their products.

When I was in Bangkok, I found a Japanese sheet mask to try with “snail secretion filtrate” clearly labeled on the packaging. The only other word I could read on it was Co-Q10. And hey, you can’t go wrong with antioxidants so it was worth a shot. It did give me an icky feeling at first, knowing its origin. But I tried it anyways and the results honestly weren’t anything to rave about. My skin felt incredibly soft afterwards and that’s what stood out to me most. It could be that this mask was just cheap, because many of the reviews I’ve read about the Korean brands say it’s a game changer.

Oh well, they say you get what you pay for! It was interesting nonetheless. 

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Art by Karen Showell via Pinterest

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