Seeing Spots? October 14 2014

Are you bothered by brown spots, uneven skin tone and discoloration? Fear not! There are many treatments to lighten and even rid you of this condition.

Most people at some point are affected by hyperpigmentation especially on their face, hands and areas most exposed to the sun. Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of the skin become darkened by deposits of melanin, the brown pigment that produces skin color. These pesky spots are often referred to as “age” or “liver” spots and are caused by sun damage. Hyperpigmentation can also be caused by pregnancy, use of birth control pills or any hormonal changes and this is called melasma. Treatments for these spots range from lightening creams, microdermabrasion, peels and even laser treatments. Topical lighteners can be very effective and less evasive than laser and resurfacing treatments so often they are the best choice to try first.

When choosing a lightening product there are some key ingredients to look for. Hydroquinone has been a leader among the skin lightening ingredients but unfortunately it poses some health risks. Although hydroquinone is still FDA approved it has been banned in some countries because of serious side effects. However, there are many safe alternatives to hydroquinone that can also be very effective. Below are some ingredients to look for in your lightening product that are safe yet still do a great job with diminishing the dark spots and evening out skin tone.

Hexylresorcinol - In recent studies, .5% Hexylresorcinol concentration has proven to be just as effective as 2% concentration of Hydroquinone. There is also thought that Hexylresorcinol has more benefits as well, including an ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, increase protection against UVB and UVA rays, and improve the skin's barrier against pollution and sun exposure. Hexylresorcinol is considered safe for topical use and there are no warnings about its application.

Kojic acid - This is a naturally occurring derivative of certain fungal species with benefits similar to hydroquinone. In fact, hydroquinone and glycolic acid can produce better results when kojic acid is added to the formulation.

Azelaic acid - This was developed for the treatment of acne. However, it has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of hyperpigmentation, especially from acne lesions. In one study, it demonstrated results similar to 4% hydroquinone, but without its side effects.

Mandelic acid - This alpha hydroxy acid is derived from almonds and is used in the treatment of several skin conditions, including all types of hyperpigmentation.

Consult your Esthetician for the product that is right for you. If spots become abnormal in size or shape be sure to check it out with a doctor. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure so remember your sunscreen!

Check out DermaQuest SkinBrite Retinol Brightening Serum for your skin lightening needs!

What are Stem Cells in Skincare? October 07 2014

We have been hearing a lot about stem cells in skin care but what are they and what do they actually do? The first thing you need to know is that the stem cells used in skincare products are not the same as the controversial human stem cell studies we hear about. Unlike most human cells, each plant-derived stem cell can generate a whole new plant. Scientists have found a way to tap into this ability and research has found a positive link between plant stem cell extracts and anti-aging/anti-wrinkling processes.

The first time I heard about plant stem cell research in skincare was many years ago at a class given by Sam Dhatt, lead chemist, founder and CEO of DermaQuest Skin Therapy. He spoke of a promising stem cell from a swiss apple tree that had unusually resilient stem cells. Sam told us to watch for these stem cells to be used in future skincare formulations. That was just the beginning. Now researchers have found promising stem cells in other fruits and plants such as edelweiss, roses, gardenia, lilac and orange. Applying a product containing these stem cells may encourage the growth of your skin’s own stem cells and possibly trigger their anti-aging effects. Clinical trials have shown certain stem cells to reduce wrinkle depth after two and four weeks, by 8% and 15%.

So what does all this mean for you? Using a serum or cream containing stem cells is another tool in fighting the aging process. Combined with other effective anti-aging ingredients such as peptides and quality moisturizers stem cells are a promising new way to slow the aging process and keep your skin looking young and healthy.

Why Should You Use a Toner? September 30 2014

Have you ever looked at the bottom of a wine glass? Ok I’m not talking about the bottom of the glass after you polish off your wine but the actual bottom of the stem. Even when it’s clean you can often see a build-up from the trace minerals, chlorine and calcium that are in the water that you use to wash with. We see this build-up on our shower walls and sinks too.  Guess what? This build-up is also on your face after you cleanse and rinse with tap water. Not only will this leave your skin feeling dry and tight but it will also prevent your serums and moisturizers from absorbing well. To solve this problem you should have a non-drying toner to apply after cleansing so it will remove the build-up and prepare your skin for the products you are about to apply. With the right toner your skin will look better, feel more hydrated and you will get better results from your moisturizers and serums. For best results,The Skin Studio recommends DermaQuest Hydrating Mist Toner, a professional strength, botanical based product. This alcohol-free toner will refresh dull skin, setting a clean and balanced stage for all skin types.

The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil September 23 2014

Coconut oil is all the rage but what makes it so special? Extracted from the meat of matured coconuts, coconut oil has many uses and studies have shown that populations that eat a lot of coconut are among the healthiest people on the planet.

After receiving a bad rap for many years, coconut oil has now been found to be a healthy oil and has many benefits. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it is cholesterol free and trans-fatty acid free and has actually been shown to help lower cholesterol levels due to its ability to stimulate thyroid function. Virgin coconut oil is composed of medium-chain-length fatty acids, or triglycerides MCTs, which are shown to have many health benefits, including raising the body’s metabolism, and acting as an antiviral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent. Coconut oil has a lower smoking point that other oils so it's great for cooking and it gives foods a wonderful flavor. It can also be used instead of vegetable or canola oils when baking and is a much healthier alternative.

In parts of the world, such as Thailand and the Philippines, using coconut oil on hair and skin has been an ancient practice. It's a natural hydrator and it has a high moisture retaining capacity, it doesn't let moisture escape thus keeping hair and skin moist and soft. Because of its anti-microbial properties it can protect skin from infections and various skin disorders. It makes a great makeup remover and can soften dry, cracked skin. Coconut oil is also excellent for styling the hair and reducing protein loss in damaged hair. It can help get rid of dandruff, nourish and minimize dry hair and split ends as well as conditioning and smoothing dry frizzies.

When purchasing coconut oil you should look for organic, extra virgin in an unprocessed form. There is no need to refrigerate your coconut oil because it doesn't go rancid like so many other oils. Store in a dry place and it will become liquid at 76 degrees Fahrenheit, below that temperature it will solidify. Coconut oil should always have a pleasant smell and mild taste.

Try a Skin Studio Favorite - Revive Coconut Oil for your hair.  It's on sale now for 25% off.

Ingredients to Avoid in Your Face Wash September 16 2014

Did you know that what you apply to your skin is absorbed directly into your body? But if you've ever look at the ingredients in your favorite facial cleanser you will notice a long list of ingredients you don't recognize, and probably can't even pronounce. Unfortunately, many of these ingredients are chemicals which could be harmful. Below are a few ingredients you should avoid in your face wash.

Sulfates - Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate: These are very inexpensive detergents that are commonly used because of their foaming ability and the way they leave the skin feeling squeeky clean. They are also used as industrial cleaners, degreasers and cleaning agents. Usually, they are derived from petroleum. Because they are so harsh they are often associated with skin irritation, inflammation and skin rashes.

Parabens - These materials are effective preservatives that extend the life of the product and are anti-microbial, but they also are known to disrupt hormone and estrogen function. Parabens have a possible link to breast cancer, in fact, a 2004 study published in the Journal of Applied Toxicology detected parabens in breast tumors. Avoid all parabens in your products by looking for the following on the ingredients label: Ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben, other ingredients ending in paraben.

Fragrance - Look at many labels and you'll see the word "fragrance." And while it sounds harmless enough, the word "fragrance" can represent hundreds of chemicals, many of which can cause allergies, asthma attacks, headaches and more. In addition, most synthetic fragrances are stabilized with phthalates, a group of chemicals linked to reproductive problems and birth defects in animal studies [Source: EPA]. Added fragrances in cleansers tend to be irritating and can dry out the skin. It's best to avoid anything with a lot of "purfume" or "scent" but if you just can't live without fragrance opt for products that use essential oils or fruit and plant extracts to scent their solutions.

Choosing a Face Scrub September 09 2014

Have you ever wondered which scrub is best for you? It can get confusing shopping for facial scrubs, there are so many to choose from it can make your head spin! Proper exfoliation, removal of dead skin cells and build up on the surface of your skin, is an important part of your skin care regimen so don’t let all the product choices frustrate you. When browsing the skin-care aisle at your local pharmacy, beauty supply store or searching online you will see a wide variety of scrubs including products containing everything from sugar and salt to ground-up pits and seeds. Although the “natural” exfoliators sound nice, such as apricot or almond scrubs, they often contain particles with sharp edges can result in more irritation than exfoliation, leaving your face with tiny scratches that make it more prone to breakouts and broken capillaries. Because of this, it’s best to avoid scrubs with crushed fruit pits, shells, or similar damaging scrub granules. Instead, choose a scrub that uses a gentle exfoliant, like synthetic microbeads, or a chemical exfoliant, such as lactic or glycolic acid. If you are still unsure consult your Esthetician for expert advice.


Treating Ingrown Hairs September 02 2014

After a summer of frequent shaving many of us experience unsightly and painful ingrown hairs. They occur when the shaved hair gets trapped inside the follicle or grows back into the skin. The medical term is Pseudofolliculitis Barbae or PFB and it can cause scarring, redness and swelling.

Here are some tips to improve and prevent ingrown hairs.

1. Salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients to visibly improve razor bumps and ingrown hairs. It exfoliates, clears pores and can help prevent infection

2. Daily exfoliation with a scrub, brush or with glycolic and salicylic acid is particularly effective.

3. Avoid shaving too close. Hair stubs cut too closely will get trapped inside the hair follicle and dig inward or sideways.

For a simple solution to ingrown hairs try our PFB Vanish:

Concealer Tips August 26 2014

Using the right concealer is key to achieving a flawless complexion. A good concealer will counteract discolorations, lighten shadowed areas, disguise blemishes, and work with your foundation to create the appearance of an even skin tone. Concealer is meant to be used on small areas (underneath the eyes, around the nose, on blemishes) to cover imperfections, rather than being used instead of foundation. The best way to get a flawless look is to use concealer in conjunction with your foundation so here are a few tips.

Depending on how much coverage you need, concealer can be applied over or under your foundation. For less coverage, apply concealer before foundation; for more coverage, apply concealer on top of foundation. But I don't recommend using concealer over powder foundation as it tends to look unnatural and doesn't blend well. If you use powder foundation always apply your concealer first.

Using a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than the area you are trying to cover is enough to neutralize dark areas calling attention to the area by making it look too light. It's also best to apply concealer over top of moisturizer so it looks more natural and doesn't look dry and cakey. My favorite way to achieve a good coverage is to apply my tinted sunscreen first and immediately, while the skin is still super moist, apply concealer to the areas where I need more coverage. This gives a smooth, even-toned look but if you still need more coverage you can apply your foundation over top.


Beautiful Brows August 19 2014

Eyebrows are a very important facial feature. Well shaped brows can enhance your appearance and really accentuate your eyes. Waxing, tweezing or threading can be done by a professional but if you choose to shape your brows at home here are some guidelines.

First make sure you have good quality tweezers and before you start it helps to fill in your brows so you can clearly see the line you are trying to achieve. But if you aren't sure where to start the shaping guide below can help.

1. Start by drawing an imaginary line from the side of your nose up along the corner of your eye, this is where your brows should start.

2. Next, to locate your arch, draw another imaginary line from the tip of your nose straight through the pupil of your eye on up to your eyebrow. This is where the tip of your arch should be.

3. Finally to locate the end of your brows draw the 3rd imaginary line from the edge of your nose up through the outer corner of your eye and on up to the end of your brow.

If your brows are sparse you can fill them in to make them look fuller. I'm not a fan of eyebrow pencils as they can look a little harsh. Powder or mousse is what I recommend for a more natural look. Check out our blinc Brow Mousse in our new online store.


Acne - Not Just for Teens August 12 2014

Have you ever looked in the mirror and declared, “I should not have wrinkles and pimples on the same face!” If so, you’re not alone. Acne isn’t just for teenagers. In fact, many people are plagued by adult acne into their 30s, 40s, and even 50s. Stress, hormonal changes, medications and skin or hair care products can all contribute to this adult acne. Here are some tips to treating your breakouts.

1. Use a mild antibacterial cleanser twice daily. Limit the scrubs and harsher cleansers to once or twice weekly as they may actually irritate the skin and make the acne worse.

2. Limit the use of oily hair care products and make sure you keep your hair products off of your face.

3. Keep your hands off of your face and no picking! See your esthetician for proper extractions. Picking and popping may lead to scarring and infection.

4. Birth control pills may help acne that is caused my hormonal changes. You can consult your doctor if you feel this may be a problem for you.

5. Microdermabrasion and certain peels can be helpful in fighting acne. These procedures can be irritating so be sure they are done by an experience professional who can determine which procedure is most beneficial for your skin type and condition.

6. Products containing salicylic acid and retinol can be helpful to treat breakouts but be careful not to over-dry the skin. Keeping a good balance is important, especially when you are fighting wrinkles and acne at the same time. Your esthetician can advise you of the best home care regimen for your particular condition.

Summer Body Lotions August 05 2014

It's time to put away your thick winter body butters and bring out more light summery lotions. You don't have time to wait for your lotion to sink in, so look for something light and fast absorbing. Find a summery lotion that you won't forget to put on because nothing spells summer more than a light refreshing lotion. Make sure you apply right after you dry off from your shower so as to seal in the moisture your body just soaked in. And if you use self tanners be sure to moisturize daily between application to prolong your tan.  Check out our new Cool Calm Collected Body Lotion made without chemicals and scented with citrus and mint essential oils!

Vitamin C - Good for the Body & Good for the Skin August 01 2014

I love Vitamin C and I’ll tell you why. Vitamin C boosts the skin’s natural immune properties, minimizing and repairing the damage caused by the sun and free radicals. Vitamin C is also the only antioxidant that has been proven to stimulate the production of collagen which binds cells together giving you a more youthful appearance by firming your skin. Vitamin C also speeds healing, reduces inflammation and strengthens the skin barrier giving you a more radiant, youthful appearance. This is one power-packed little vitamin!

There are many forms of Vitamin C being used in topical skin care products and it can be very confusing when trying to decide which one is best. Ascorbic Acid was the first and most common form of Vitamin C used in skin care preparations but it is very unstable and can be irritating to the skin. But recently more stable and less irritating forms have been made available to the skin care industry. Currently the most stable form of Vitamin C is Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (BV-OSC) which is both oil and water soluable and penetrates the whole cell. Better penetration gives it the ability to reduce wrinkles and improve your skin’s tone and texture. BV-OSC also has been found to clarify and brighten the skin by inhibiting melanogenesis (the production of pigment) thereby promoting a more even skin tone. Unlike ascorbic acid it will not exfoliate or irritate skin.

I recommend using a Vitamin C product year around but it's especially importnant in the Summer time. During the Summer months the sun depletes important nutrients in the skin, such as Vitamin C. The sun also causes free radical damage which rapidly speeds up aging and causes damage to the skin's surface. Vitamin C fights free radicals and protects and repairs damaged cells. Adding a Vitamin C serum or cream to your regimen protects your skin and creates a healthy, youthful glow!