• Things To Know Before Getting A Facial

    No matter what your makeup preference is, be it daring to demure, a great canvas is the first step to getting there. But when over-the-counter lotions, potions, and creams simply aren’t working, you might need to call in the calvary. One secret weapon of Hollywood starlets—their facialists (or aesthetician) can help you get the healthy, glowing, skin you deserve. Read on to learn more about what to expect.

    Find The Right Treatment for You
    “Since we all have different skin types, your facial should be customized based on what’s going on with your skin,” explains licensed aesthetician and Head of Spa Services at Very Polished Nail Lounge & Spa, Yami Johnson. “Whenever I meet with a client and conduct a skin analysis, I always address the most severe problem first. In some cases we can treat multiple issues with just one customized facial treatment. Keep in mind that your skin type can change over time, so it’s always a good idea to get a skin analysis before each treatment—especially when visiting a new aesthetician that’s not familiar with your skin.”

    Minimize Your Chances for an Allergic Reaction
    “Communicate with your skin therapist,” explains Lead Aesthetician at Heyday NYC, Jill Kibildis. “Let them know everything you use on your skin, especially products from a dermatologist. Tell them about past experiences if you’ve had any weird reactions to ingredients. Even food allergies are important. The more we know, the safer we can customize a treatment. During your treatment, let them know if anything feels like more than a tingle. Never be afraid to speak up during a facial!”

    Plan Ahead For Big Occasions
    “If you are getting ready for a big event, you should book a series of facials (four treatments) starting three to six months ahead of the time,” explains Senior Director of Spa Development at Clarins USA, Milana Knowles. “This will ensure that your skin is regularly detoxed and treated resulting in a near permanent glow. For an easy at-home ‘day of treatment’, exfoliate well with our one step gentle exfoliating cleanser followed by a thick layer of the Beauty Flash Balm, which will instantly brighten and tighten your skin! Leave it on for 5-10 minutes, pat off with a cotton pad soaked with Clarins Camomile Toner and continue with your regular beauty and makeup routine.”

    There’s A “Right” Way to Do Extractions
    “Extractions are necessary for better facial results (if necessary) as long as they are performed correctly and gently,” shares Johnson. “Not everyone needs extractions but if you have visible clogged pores it is definitely beneficial to have them. The ‘right’ way for an aesthetician to perform an extraction is by first softening the skin. Next, they should wrap his/her fingers in soft tissue to manipulate the skin to remove dry sebum and impurities out of the pores. The goal is to remove the congested oil without leaving significant redness and scarring.”

    Stop Your Breakout In Its Tracks
    “Your aesthetician can not only sanitize your skin and remove the bacteria causing the inflammation—they can help stop the spread,” shares Kibildis. “Your facialist can also choose soothing products to calm any inflammation stemming from the breakout. However, if you have an open lesion or a cold sore, you should stay away from a facial. Not only does it have the potential to transmit from person to person, but some of the facial activities could make it worse for you.”

    Steam Pending Your Skin Type
    “The rumor that you can ‘open’ your pores by steaming your face is very popular but pores are not like your eyelids; they don’t open and close. However, steaming does help unclog pores by clearing away the dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria that can cause breakouts. You also have to be careful with steaming if you have severe acne. Sometimes steaming can make it worse because the steam may increase perspiration and stimulate blood circulation. If you have certain skin conditions that are aggravated by sweating or increased blood circulation, such as rosacea or a fungal infection, then facial steaming may do more harm than good to your skin.”

    Learn The Ins & Outs of Facial Massage
    “It increases blood flow and circulation which plumps your skin, lifts and firms sagging areas, and improves muscle tone,” shares Kibildis. “It’ll give you an all over glow and it’s relaxing so then your functional facial lines can rest—like unfurrowing that brow! Never skip the facial massage! It’s so important but with that said, definitely read up on how to do one on yourself.”

    Double Up on Cleansing
    “Doubling or tripling your cleansing treatments is good only if you cleanse with the right products,” explains Johnson.“This will help you avoid breakouts and revive your skin. Because makeup is usually applied after cleansing, I recommend products that don’t dry your skin because it can make your makeup flaky. At night, try an oil cleanser because oil cuts through oil, which helps to remove excess oil, dirt and makeup. Always use a toner and moisturizer or day/night time protection after cleansing.”

    Remember to Relax
    “Avoid direct sun exposure and let your skin “breathe” post-treatment,” explains Knowles. “Don’t forget to enjoy the beneficial ingredients that were applied to your skin. To maintain your glow, follow the personal beauty prescription plan your aesthetician recommended for you.”

    Originally featured on Stylecaster.com

  • Why You Should Include Glycolic Acid In Your Skin Care Routine

    Anyone chasing smooth, even, and clear dewy skin has probably heard of AHAs and BHAs. Perhaps you’ve seen it as a footnote on the bottle of your cleanser, serum, or exfoliator. You know it’s a good thing, but you’re not really sure what it is or how it works. If you’ve been using a manual exfoliator with scrubby bits in it, we’re just about ready to slap it out of your hands from all the damage you’re likely doing to your skin. If all you needed to know was a little bit about how these chemical exfoliators worked to dive in to them, by all means, read on.

    AKA “Alpha Hydroxy Acids”, AHAs are what you can consider the Goo-Gone of dead skin debris. The weak bonds that keep that layer of dead skin on your hide are essentially dissolved with AHAs so your skin can let go of the dead stuff and let the new skin cells surface. AHAs are great chemical exfoliants for people with dry and sensitive skin, since they can help remove dead skin in the gentlest way possible that doesn’t involve manually buffing them off (which harms the new skin underneath too).

    AHAs also have humectant properties, meaning they hold moisture to your skin. Aside from daily skin-clearing, over time AHA use helps to thicken the epidermis and increase collagen production—all of which is excellent for repairing photo-damaged skin as well as protecting it from future UV damage. Extra collagen means firmer plumper skin. So as far as anti-aging concerns go, you’ve got two birds with one stone. The caveat is that AHAs do cause photosensitivity so they should be used at night only and you should always wear a broad spectrum sunscreen during the day (but you were already doing that, right?).

    The most common AHAs are Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid, and Mandelic Acid. Keep in mind that these are strong substances and should be used in very small percentages. Not sure which ones to use? Here’s a tiny tip sheet:

    • Glycolic: Probably the most common AHA because it has the smallest molecular size, meaning it can penetrate your skin the deepest for repair (but also can be potentially the most irritating if you go overboard). Go for lower percentages (less than 10%) when trying them out and work your way up as needed.
    • Lactic: This is a milk-derived acid which happens to be great for addressing redness issues like roseacea and sensitive skin in general. It is also a humectant so it won’t over-dry your skin as it helps slough off that top layer.
    • Mandelic: This one is great for acne-prone skin because of its anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It has the largest molecular size of these AHAs which just means that it works over a longer time period, but is also the least irritating. This one is also a milk humectant.

    They may be Beta Hydroxy Acids, but make no mistake–these acids are no wimps. They are however your secondary selection if AHAs just aren’t tough enough for your skin. BHAs are generally encouraged for oily and acne-prone skin since they are oil soluble (while AHAs are water soluble), making them perfect for treating blackheads, whiteheads, and acne. Rather than just loosen the bonds that hold debris to your skin, they actively penetrate your pores and remove whatever gunk is in there.

    Cosmetically, BHAs almost always refer to salicylic acid—something you’ve no doubt seen on almost any acne treatment. Salicylic acid is a derivative of aspirin—a known anti-inflammatory—which makes it great for relieving your skin of any inflammation (but also not great if you have aspirin allergies—sorry). It’s also commonly found in dandruff treatments since it’s can calm irritation on your scalp as well as sloughing away the dead skin that’s flaking.

    One of the better benefits of BHAs are that in clearing your pores of any gunk, whatever treatments you then put on top of your newly cleaned skin can absorb properly. So, anti-aging serums? Brightening agents? All good to go 100% once your canvas is cleared. BHAs themselves give you similar skin benefits to AHAs, like helping increase the thickness of skin, as well as collagen production, and improves wrinkles, roughness and hyperpigmentation. They don’t possess humectant qualities however and can dry out your skin, so this is why it’s not generally recommended for those with dry skin.

    How to use them?
    Unless you’re a skin care layering pro, it can be confusing as to where these magic skin potions go in your skin care sandwich. They should be applied on clean skin so there’s no extra stuff to have to fight through to get down to business— so after cleansing and toning but before serums and moisturizers. And please don’t forget sunscreen as your last step!

    Orginially featured in Stylecaster.com

  • The Top Myths About Sun Protection

    When the sun is strong, most of us have the common sense to apply (and reapply) sunscreen, but there are so many misconceptions about SPF. We asked Alicia Barba, MD, board-certified dermatologist, and Stephen Lynch, PhD., research and innovation at SkinCeuticals, to set the record straight on some sunscreen myths so we can all have a safe, happy summer.

    Myth: Dark skin doesn’t need sunscreen/can’t get melanoma

    You might laugh, but this misconception causes a lot of harm. “Darker skin tones are less prone to skin cancer, but this myth means signs are ignored until there’s a bleeding lesion so far advanced that chances of survival are diminished,” says Barba, who urges everyone, regardless of skin tone, to use sunscreen and have their skin checked regularly.

    Myth: A base tan protects you

    Just like the myth that you have to burn once to prevent burning all summer, this is also wrong. Just because you can tan doesn’t mean you should . “A base tan is nature’s way of producing sun protection because you’ve been irradiated,” says Barba. “However, it doesn’t lessen your risk of skin cancer, and you’ll age your skin exponentially with constant sun tanning.”

    Myth: You don’t need to use sunscreen inside

    Barba’s advice is simple: All contact with sunlight requires protection. “Any exposure, from an office or car window to walking from building to building, requires SPF.”

    Myth: The number on sunscreen is proportionate to the number of minutes of sun protection

    Wrong again! The number has nothing to do with exposure time — it’s about the strength of protection against the sun’s harmful rays. “As defined by the FDA, Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin relative to unprotected skin,” says Lynch. “It’s a measure of protection a given product provides against UVB-induced damage.”

    Here’s how to do the math — it’s simple, we swear: SPF 15 allows 1/15 of harmful UVB rays to reach the skin. The remaining 14/15 means you’re protecting against 93% of UVB radiation. So SPF 30 blocks 97% and SPF 50 prevents 98%.

    Myth: The SPF in makeup is enough

    Think about the amount of sunscreen you apply at the beach and how you cover every inch of skin from ear to ear, neck to hairline. We’re guessing you’re not as heavy handed with your makeup application, so it’s just not enough. “It’s good enough to cover you when you’re walking from your car to work,” says Barba. “If you’re outside longer than 15 minutes, you need higher SPF and must reapply.”

    Myth: One application of sunscreen in the morning is enough for the whole day

    It turns out reapplying is just as important as the first coat. According to Barba, sunscreen gets consumed once the light hits it, which means you have to reapply regularly to remain protected. “If you apply in the morning and are outside for three hours, that protection is gone.”

    Myth: You don’t need sunscreen during off-peak hours

    According to Barba, the sun’s powerful rays beam can cause damage no matter what time it is. Therefore, if you’re outside at any point for longer than 15 minutes, you need to lather up with some SPF. “You can still get burned at 8 am as well as after 4 pm,” she says.

    Myth: Sunscreen on your face, arms, back, and legs is enough

    That’s a great start, but there are a few areas our good doctor would like to add to your SPF coverage strategy, including the ears, nose, hands and the tops of your feet. Also, remember your scalp, especially if you have thinning or less hair. “I tell patients who are balding to wear a hat,” says Barba.

    Myth: Melanoma is only caused by sun exposure

    Not to scare you (OK, maybe a little,) but melanoma can strike without sun exposure, which makes regular skin checks so incredibly vital. “Melanoma between fingers and toes, common in people of color, is typically hereditary,” says Barba. This makes regular mole checks vital for places the sun never shines. “Sun exposure makes the risk higher, but isn’t always the main factor.”

    So, grab that sunscreen and enjoy a little fun in the sun. Just remember these tips and tricks to maximize your sun protection so you can enjoy years and years of easy summers, happy and healthy, in the skin you’re in.

  • 5 Myths and Facts About Your Sagging Face

    Let’s face it: Sagging’s only cute if you’re a Shar Pei. For most of us, our jangly jowls and hanging cheeks are a source of chagrin as we age. Here, five myths and facts about facial sagging, plus ways to stop the droop:

    Running causes your face to sag

    FALSE. Sagging skin is due to two age-related reasons: loss of collagen, which gives skin its elasticity, and loss of facial fat, the absence of which causes skin to droop. While your whole body bounces up and down while you’re jogging, it’s highly unlikely that you’re jostling around enough to damage collagen, points out Las Vegas–based plastic surgeon Michael Edwards, MD, president of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery.

    A more likely cause? Long hours exercising outdoors equals more UV exposure, which over time breaks collagen down. Make sure you slather up with plenty of sunscreen before venturing outside, even in colder weather.

    Sleeping on your stomach causes sagging

    FALSE. Your sleep position won’t actually cause sagging, but it can lead to sleep wrinkles: those creases and fine lines you see each AM in your bathroom mirror. They’re caused by your pillow tugging at delicate facial skin as you sleep. When you’re younger, it’s not an issue, as fresh, elastic skin bounces back easily, but as you age, skin becomes less resilient and can settle into these lines. Your best way to avoid this is to sleep on your back, says Dr. Edwards.

    But if you’re a die hard tummy sleeper or flip flop through the night—some studies have found sleepers switch positions 11 times a night on average—you can try the Juverest, a so-called “sleep wrinkle pillow” ($195; amazon.com). This specially formulated pillow has a head cradle to encourage back sleep and graded steps to minimize contact between your face and the pillow if you do roll over onto your side.

    You can do facial exercises to reduce skin sagging

    TRUE—but with a catch. “They increase the size of facial muscles, which, while theoretically taking away some of the slacking skin, also causes expression lines,” points out Dr. Edwards. So while a few workout moves might help relieve basset hound–like eyes, they’ll probably also worsen crows’ feet. If you’re not opposed to getting some help from a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, you may get better results from Botox.

    Weight loss causes skin sagging

    TRUE. When you gain weight, the skin on your face stretches to go along with your extra padding, just like it does everywhere else. But if you’ve finally lost it, you may notice that you’re sporting under eye bags and a slack jaw.“As you age and your skin loses elasticity, when you stretch it out it won’t bounce back the same way it did when you were younger,” explains Dr. Edwards. But don’t despair: products like Retin-A can help, as can injectable fillers such as Voluma.

    There are products that may help fight sagging skin

    TRUE. You can slow down the sag from the outside in: Try topical products like over-the-counter retinols or prescription retinoids, which boost collagen production, and vitamin C serums, which help restore elasticity, advises Dr. Edwards. In one study, a daily supplement of pycnogenol, a French pine bark extract, increased skin elasticity and hydration and increased production of hyaluronic acid, a skin plumping ingredient, by 44%, according to a 2012 German study (which was funded by the maker of the raw material used in the supplements).

    Originally featured on Heath.com

  • Dermatology Recommendedd Skin Treatments for All Ages

    To our knowledge, Jennifer Lopez and Gwyneth Paltrow — two celebs in their 40s whose faces look as if they haven’t aged a day since 21 — haven’t gone under the knife for the sake of flawless skin. Their faces aren’t pulled back like masks and their eyes appear to be in the same location they were 20 years ago. But that doesn’t mean their youthful glows are simply the result of genetics and a macrobiotic diet, though we’re sure luck and healthy habits play a major role.

    Beauty experts say it’s quite possible Lopez, Paltrow and countless others have benefited from skin enhancements, which is a polite way of saying, they haven’t had major work done, but few women get to 45 (Lopez’s age) with so few wrinkles, fine lines and signs of hyperpigmentation if they haven’t regularly taken their cars into the shop for maintenance.

    “There are several reasons why women are looking better for longer,” said. Dr. Chynna Steele, a dermatologist and founder of Steele Dermatology. “Lasers and procedures can be part of it, but so is skincare products, and fillers are also a major component. In general, it’s all about addressing very small, minor signs of aging before they get worse and worse, and become major signs of aging. It’s a lot easier to do things to keep the skin looking young, firm, and healthy than to try to fix it once it looks old, saggy, wrinkled, etc.”

    Here’s the lowdown on nine in-office procedures that experts say work wonders.

    In your 20s

    Before you step foot into a dermatologist’s office, Dr. Jill Waibel of Miami Dermatology & Laser Institute says there is one crucial step you should be taking at home — and we all know what that is, right? “When you’re in your twenties, wrinkles may not be your top concern but this is the best decade to maximize preventative measures to slow down the aging clock,” Waibel said. “When someone is in their twenties, it’s a great time to start a good skin care regimen including tretinoin and using sunblock 365 days of the year.”

    Cosmetic treatments recommended for this age group include:

    Vascular lasers may be used in combination with IPL (photofacial) or BBL devices in the same treatment. These remove brown spots and sun damage for optimal skin health in your twenties. “These procedures are lunchtime procedures with virtually no downtime — perhaps a bit red for a couple of days but fine to cover with makeup,” Waibel said. “Starting these procedures early — especially the BBL — has the ability to repair the appearance of aged skin, delay and help prevent signs of skin aging.”

    Chemical peels. In order to maintain good skin texture and tone over time, Steele recommends regular chemical peels, which work by deeply exfoliating the skin’s outer layer (a lunchtime peel), outer and middle layers (medium peel, which requires seven to 14 days to heal) or middle layer (deep peel, which will take between 14 to 21 days to heal). The regenerated skin that appears from beneath the old layer is smoother and less flawed.

    In your 30s

    Botox and fillers. Botox and fillers can address very early signs of aging that you see in the late 20s and 30s, Steele said — including that pesky line between the brows we develop from frowning. “When you’re young you only get the lines when you frown, but as you get older the lines become sort of ‘etched’ in your skin where they are there even when you’re not frowning,” Steele said. “With more time, they become more deeply etched. The best use of toxin is to treat these lines before they become etched — soften the movement so that you don’t pull so hard on the frown muscles. For major celebs who never seem to be aging, they started early with toxin to soften muscle movements with frowning and squinting to prevent forehead lines and crow’s feet from ever really developing in a significant way.”

    Fraxel laser treatments. “The thirties bring noticeable signs of aging, which include skin discolorations as well as wrinkles (crow’s feet, frown lines, smile lines),” Waibel said. “Uneven skin color, dull texture, mildly loose elastic skin and fine lines may be significantly improved with non-ablative fractional (Fraxel) laser treatments. One or two Fraxel treatments per year can return your skin’s glow.”

    In your 40s

    “By the forties it is all out war against aging,” Waibel said. “Aging gracefully requires two to three visits to your dermatologist per year. Sometimes our genetics and healthy lifestyles keep our skin looking beautiful, but for most women some reparative work occurs during this time. In addition to good skin care, sunblock daily, neurotoxins and fillers, more aggressive laser therapy can give us that dewy, youthful skin of our twenties.”

    Laser Resurfacing. This treatment is made of laser light that is broken up into separate beams that treat a portion of the skin’s surface, Waibel said. “These beams send microscopic columns of energy into the skin that destroy the ‘old looking’ skin and the subsequent healing produces fresh skin that looks and feels softer and smoother.”

    Fractional lasers. These lasers give way to dewy skin by inciting new collagen production. They may cause minimal tightening because there is some aspect of collagen production. “Though these treatments do require some downtime, they have the ability to treat and tone skin and get skin back to a youthful state,” Waibel said.

    Article originally featured on SheKnows.com

  • Botox for Teeth Grinding?

    Stress rears her ugly head in so many ways it’s hard to keep track. Wrinkles, acne, dull hair and skin, headaches, infections—the list goes on and on. Everyone’s body channels and releases stress in different ways, but me? Teeth grinding is my stress thing. My masseter muscles (the ones responsible for chewing) are the greatest bearer of my bodily stress, and to make matters worse, most of the clenching was happening at night, so I couldn’t even catch myself in the act and modify the behavior. I would wake up every morning with tightness and soreness along the side of my face that I would try—fruitlessly—to massage away. Before you could say “night guard,” I had cracked the filling on a molar and wore down another molar to a rounded stump. I wanted to find a real preventative solution that would help me avoid extra trips to the dentist: twice a year for my cleaning is more than enough, thank you.

    Grinding Your Teeth? Botox to the Rescue

    Botox, which is fast becoming a panacea for all sorts of health and beauty issues, is a very useful tool for dealing with jaw tension. This makes sense: Botox paralyzes muscles, and teeth grinding is caused by the masseter muscle going into nocturnal overdrive. Weaken the masseter muscle and you alleviate most, if not all, of this tension and greatly minimize cracking and dulling yours molars. Essentially, it’s Botox for your teeth.

    It’s Quick & Painless

    I visited Dr. Dara Liotta, Chief Medical Director at City Aesthetics at Totum Health, for this unbelievably quick and painless procedure. It took ten minutes and two tiny pinches. The first time she did the procedure she used 20 units of Botox on each side. When Botox is used to relax the facial muscles that cause fine lines, the maximum effect is seen in 7-10 days. When Botox is used on the masseter muscle, the maximum effect is not seen for three months, and results can last up to nine months. Dr. Liotta recommended I get repeat injections every six months to maintain results. She also said that many people enjoy very long term results after three treatments. Within a month, I noticed a huge difference in the pain and tightness around my jaw. I no longer woke up every morning feeling like I’d been gnawing on a wad of Hubba Bubba all night. Now, nine months since my first injection, I’m happy to say I haven’t had to make a single extra dental visit!

    Happy Side Effects

    As if the reduction in pain and dental visits was not enough, the procedure has cosmetic benefits as well. I have always thanked my Russian ancestors for my chiseled cheekbones, but since the Botox reduced the size of my masseter muscle, it also reduced and softened my jawline, creating a more dramatic angle from my cheek to my jaw. This allowed my cheekbones to pop even more than before. When Dr. Liotta showed me pictures taken before and then two months post-procedure, I was floored.

    Using Botox to reduce the jawline is fast becoming a popular procedure as it is minimally invasive—traditional jaw reduction surgery involves breaking and removing part of the jaw bone. Ouch! Oh Botox, what will you think of next?!

    Article originally featured on Yahoo Health