Saturday, January 29, 2011

Returning to an old favorite—Exfoliation Gloves

Have you ever used exfoliation gloves? They are 100% nylon, kind of rough to the touch, and they look—just like gloves! I recently purchased a pair (these came from Target and were under $5) and started using them again. I had forgotten how much I loved exfoliating my body with them and how good they make my skin feel.
These gloves are simple to use: Just put them in the shower and use them to exfoliate your whole body.
Please do not use these gloves on your face (or neck). Why not? They are simply too rough to use on your delicate facial skin. Just like a loofah sponge, these gloves are meant for your body not your face. 
  • Simply wet the gloves
  • Slather them with liquid soap or lather your bar soap while wearing the gloves
  • Go over your body—head to toe, minus your face and neck
  • Enjoy smoother, softer skin!
Be aware: These gloves are meant to slough off dead, dry skin, and they are rough, so use caution when going over sensitive areas. Feel free to use them all over (not your face and neck), but just be aware of how much pressure you’re using. You will know if you’re going at it too hard: your skin will feel sensitive and it will hurt! Be sure to slather your skin with body moisturizer after the shower. The glove exfoliation + moisturizing = soft, subtle skin.

Enjoy using these exfoliation gloves. They are inexpensive and fun to use. One year I gave them as Christmas presents to all my girlfriends—so they make great gifts, too!

Also see:

Friday, January 28, 2011

One Secret to Aging Gracefully

My secret: Enjoy the process of getting older.

Another secret: If you fight it, it just gets worse. I’m on the train with everyone else (the aging train). The difference is I’m looking out the window, enjoying the ride. Many (women) are focusing inside the car, fighting with the train conductor about the fare!

For a few more articles, see:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kiss Chapped Lips Goodbye!

Why do lips get chapped in the first place?

The tissue that comprises your lips doesn’t have any oil or sweat glands like the rest of your body does, so the lips can quite easily become chapped. Did you know that simply habitually licking your lips can cause chapping? We may think that the moisture from our saliva will help hydrate our lips, but in actuality it dehydrates them due to moisture evaporation. Licking your lips just makes things worse.

If you are on medication you may experience chapped lips. Medications alter the body’s natural functions and may induce dry skin on the body as well as the lips. For instance, dry, chapped lips are a common occurrence while taking Accutane, an anti-acne drug. Also, if you are on chemotherapy, you have probably discovered that your lips are continually chapped due to the harsh chemicals that are infiltrating your body.

In addition, dry air (like in the desert or Colorado) or the cold air of winter can cause chapping. You may find yourself wetting your lips with your tongue to overcome the dry feeling, and as I’ve already said, licking your lips actually creates dry, chapped lips. Last of all, lipsticks in general have a lot of drying ingredients in them and if you wear lipstick, no doubt you have had chapped lips at one time or another.

Although it is a common problem, chapped lips can become a thing of the past. What does it take? Diligence and consistent use of proper lip products. And in the case of severely chapped lips, a vacation from lipstick—a product that probably caused much of the chapping in the first place.

Using a lip balm is going to be your best and safest bet to stave off chapped lips. I prefer non-petroleum lip balms, which can usually be found at health food stores. Buy several, and then put them everywhere! Typically they are about $3 apiece. So I buy five or six, and spread them out in my home, office, in my jeans, and regularly used jackets, so I don’t have to worry about being without. They last for an eternity since I have so many in use at one time, and my lips are never chapped because I am consistently attending to them.

One last recommendation: don’t bite your lips! Trying to bite off the chapped skin that is sometimes hanging off your lips just causes more problems. It creates tiny tears in the lip tissue, which can bleed and take a long time to heal. Instead of tearing that delicate skin, just slather your lips with a non-petroleum lip balm and stay away from lipstick for at least a few days and let your lips heal. I know it’s hard to leave the lipstick off, but treat your lips as though they are injured, and give them loving care—and lip balm!

Chapped lips no longer need to be a problem. Sometimes you can’t avoid the causes, but you can always contribute to the healing of chapped, dry lips—primarily by using lip balms as often as possible. No matter what you use on your lips, do use something, and you can kiss chapped lips good-bye.

For more information, see:

Monday, January 24, 2011

Is Your Skin Truly Dry or Just Thirsty?

Many people think they have dry skin (because it feels dry), when really they are simply dehydrated. Although true-dry skin and dehydrated skin feel the same, their causes are totally different, and the treatment of each, separate condition is also very different.

BACKGROUND: Dehydrated skin feels dry, but this is actually just an indication of a large build-up of dead cells on the surface of your skin. It is the job of these cells to retain moisture in the form of oil and water. If there are too many dead cells on the surface, more water is needed to keep all the cells moist.

True-dry skin is a condition where your sebaceous (oil) glands are not producing enough oil to lubricate your outer skin. The outer skin is kept moisturized from both water at the surface (and from the air) as well as sebum being excreted from your oil glands. Simply put, true-dry skin does not produce enough oil to keep the outer skin moist. 

TREATMENT: With true-dry skin, the treatment is fairly basic. The skin needs to be kept moisturized at all times. Because the sebaceous glands are not producing enough oil, you want to provide a sufficient amount of oil through product application.

Dehydration means there is an excessive dead cell buildup on the surface of your skin, and you need to exfoliate. No amount of moisturizing will truly fix the problem, but through regular and thorough exfoliation, you can greatly reduce or eliminate dehydration.

Understanding this simple difference between these two separate conditions can keep you from experiencing a skin care catastrophe when purchasing your skin care products. 

Articles you may be interested in:

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Note to All Pickers—you know who you are!!! Important Instructions: A must read!

Throughout the years I have come across a lot of people who regularly pick at their skin. I have learned that trying to get them to quit is futile. A picker picks! It can sometimes be an obsessive pastime or just a bad habit. Regardless, far be it from me to take away one of your life’s pleasures. What I do request and truly insist on is that you do your lovely picking job correctly.
  1. You MUST wrap your fingers in tissue. Take a Kleenex, fold it in half and tear it in half, then wrap your index fingers. If you go at your skin with your bare hands/nails, you are encouraging bacteria to form, more so than if you wrap your fingers. So wrap them up.
  2. You MUST see a clearly defined white or yellow pus-filled head on the blemish or else it is NOT extractable and you can really cause some damage if you try anyway.
  3. Please please PLEASE treat the place(s) you picked at with something. If you don’t have any pure essential oils at home (like lavender or geranium) then dotting clay mask on the area would suffice. If you don’t have clay, if you have a toner you could soak a small piece of cotton with it and compress the spots for a few minutes each. Put something on your freshly picked at skin to help encourage the healing process. Don’t leave your (possibly) damaged skin bare to the world without giving it some TLC.
  4. My highest recommendation is DON’T PICK. There are numerous things that can (and usually do) go wrong and you really leave yourself open to having little scars on your face—forever.
When you go to pick at your face, instead pick up your bottle of essential oil or a clay mask and put these healing products on the spots and walk away. Know you have done something great for yourself and your skin.

For more information, see:

A nice mention from a fellow blogger—“geranium oil”

The following was written by fellow blogger Lisa Fabrega, whose blog is Whole Person, Balanced Life. Lisa read my book, Timeless Skin, and was gracious to write this lovely article about something she read in the book regarding the healing properties of geranium oil. I am most grateful for her kind thoughts and comments and wanted you to be able to read her post and enjoy it as I did. Thank you so much, Lisa!!!

Whole Person, Balanced Life  · January 29, 2010
Geranium Oil—nature’s best blemish fighter

About 5 years ago, I read a great book called “Timeless Skin” by Carolyn Ash. It completely changed the way I take care of my skin and I bet if you read it, it would do the same for you. Carolyn Ash is really the one who got me thinking about all the chemicals we put on our bodies every day with our personal care products. In the book, she is a huge advocate for natural, organic skin care. Basically she thinks if something contains any toxic chemical, you should not put it on your skin. Many of the guidelines I posted for my skin care series back in November came from research I did that was stimulated by reading Carolyn Ash’s book.

In the book, one of her favorite things to use for scars, disinfecting wounds, and blemishes are essential oils. At the time I read the book, essential oils to me were just nice little fragrances you could light up in a ring around a lightbulb to scent your room. I had no idea they had actual healing properties!

Carolyn was a huge proponent of geranium oil for blemishes. When I read this, I just had to give it a try. And wow, was I in for a surprise!

Most of us operate under the misconception that in order to get rid of blemishes we need to blast them with a major amount of harsh chemicals. What we don’t know is that blasting our skin with harsh ingredients can actually cause us to break out even more. Why? Because our skin is really intelligent and it has a balance to keep. If we throw it off whack by stripping it of its natural oils with harsh chemicals, it’s going to swing back the other way to restore that balance. Meaning we will get more oil, and probably, more blemishes as a result. So clearly, harsh chemicals only make your skin worse in the long run, though they may or may not be effective at getting rid of that blemish.

Enter Organic Geranium Oil.
Geranium oil is obtained from: you guessed it—Geraniums!!

It has absolutely incredible disinfecting properties and has been used as an antiseptic agent in products for years.

Therefore, it only makes sense that it would work well on blemishes? I mean, a pimple is basically a small inflamed elevation of the skin—meaning it’s infected!

So geranium oil, with its marvelous antiseptic properties, is the perfect product for pimples.

“But isn’t it called geranium oil? How is applying oil to a pimple going to make it go away? Wouldn’t it make it worse?” Good question. Essential oils are not the same as the cooking oils you have in your kitchen. If you dab a bit of essential oil on your skin, you will find it evaporates rather quickly—so it won’t leave an oily residue on your skin. Plus most essential oils have some antiseptic qualities, so they won’t be clogging your pores up and infecting them.

I’m sure this all sounds good in theory but you want to see the proof right? I mean, we’ve been conditioned since our teenage years that the only thing that’s going to blast that pimple into nothingness is the most nuclear pimple cream out there, right? Wrong.

After I read about geranium oil in Carolyn Ash’s book, I tried it. It soon replaced ALL of my blemish fighting creams and became the only thing in my medicine cabinet to fight pimples. I even use it on small cuts and scrapes.

I’ve been using it again recently to combat a mini-breakout on my face and it’s good to know that it still works just as well as it always has. In fact, sometimes I notice that it virtually eliminates a pimple overnight—or at least greatly reduces the size of it!!

The best thing is that geranium oil, being an essential oil, is very concentrated—so just a tiny bit goes a long way. The tiny bottle fits perfectly in my medicine cabinet, doesn’t take up space, and packs a powerful punch to any pimple who dares wander across my face. Plus, it’s cost effective because that little bottle will last you almost an entire year!

Some Tips on Using Geranium Oil
  • Only use a Q-tip to apply it
  • Resist the urge to use too much of it
  • Get acquainted with the scent
Because geranium oil is so concentrated, it can be irritating to the skin if you apply too much of it. When I use it, I just soak the tip of a Q-tip and then quickly dab the Q-tip on the blemish/cut in question. Resist the urge to apply too much as it is very concentrated and can over-dry your skin if you apply too much. I did this once and it was not fun, my skin got very red and irritated. Yes, it will seem to evaporate from your face when you apply it (this is a normal quality of all essential oils) but that does not mean it is not already in your dermis, working its magic. Just one good dab will do, trust me!

Geranium oil has a very strong flowery scent. Some people do not like how strong the scent of geranium oil can be. Some people love it and says it smells closer to a strong rose smell. As for me, it did take me a little getting used to at first, but I would rather have something that smells like geraniums on my face than a harsh chemical that is making my body toxic and ill. Following the rule of not applying too much will also reduce the amount of scent the oil gives off on your skin. I actually like the scent now and use it frequently during Reiki sessions with clients. I feel that when it is burned, it gives off a bright, mood-uplifting scent.

The best part is that the little bottle will last you forever—since you barely need to use a lot of it, that bottle can easily last you up to a year! Now you can save all that money you’ve been spending on blemish fighting products and use it to buy yourself something nice.

Hope you enjoyed today’s post! And I encourage you to try geranium oil for yourself—it truly is nature’s little wonder at reducing/eliminating blemishes!

Thanks again, Lisa, for a great article on the importance of essential oil of geranium!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Coping through tough times

Have you ever watched a river or stream? In parts there is chaos, with water cascading over rocks and white water forming. Then the water calms and sometimes pools to the side, as if giving itself a rest from the ravages of the rocks.

If you were to just look at the water going over the rocks, you’d only see the rough water and chaos. But if you pull away and look at the river as a whole, you can see how there are phases of craziness and calm that the water goes through as it makes its way downstream.

Isn’t this true with life? If you concentrate on the rough water you may be encountering at the moment, it can feel insurmountable. Unending. Chaotic. But if you pull back and see the whole picture, you can see that there are always calm times after the rough spots.

If you simply look at nature to help you through tough times, you will see there are always calm periods after a storm. Sometimes just remembering this simple fact can help us get through the rough times. Calmer, happier days are ahead.

For some other articles on helping to relieve stress, see:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

True or False: You only need to wash your face at night

FALSE! You should wash your face morning and evening. Why? You wash in the A.M. to clean off the film that has deposited on your skin during the time you were sleeping—similar to the film on your teeth in the morning. You want to wash your face in the evening to get rid of all the dirt, oil, and debris that has accumulated on your skin from the entire day—even if you never left the house! Not to mention any makeup you may have applied. Make washing your face a twice-daily habit. If you do, you will enjoy cleaner pores, which means healthier skin.

See the following articles for more information:

Monday, January 17, 2011

Enlarged Pores: Can they shrink?

The plain truth is this: pores don’t shrink. There is no cream, ointment, or skin care regimen that can change this fact. Pores are not little openings that can expand and contract like muscles. They do expand or stretch, but pores are not so elastic that they can contract to their former, smaller state.

Pores will naturally enlarge as you get older due to the downward pull of gravity (especially in the cheek area). Because oily skin is usually congested, this type of skin will be more prone to enlarged pores. Debris nestled in the pores over a period of time will expand the opening to support the enlarging plug or blackhead.

Exfoliating and using a high-quality clay mask on a regular basis (1 to 3 times per week depending on your skin’s condition) will help keep dead skin and oil from clogging your pores and lessen the chance of enlargement. And lets not forget your daily—twice daily—face washing routine. Without cleaning your skin (2x) daily, you are running the risk of major buildup inside your pores.

For more information on your daily and weekly routine, read:

Sunday, January 16, 2011

To age or not to age: Is that the question?

Today I received a cold call from a skin care company promising a machine I could purchase and use on my clients that eliminates cell destruction, effectively stopping the aging process. Aside from the obvious invalidity of this (right?), I stopped the woman mid-sentence and said that I didn’t want to waste her time. I wasn’t interested in this or any kind of similar product. I told her that my philosophy is based on “anti-anti-aging.”

For those of you who know me, you know this is true. My analogy is we are all on “the train”—the aging train. We boarded at birth and the train is continually moving, however fast or slow, every day of our lives. We are all on it—this train. It’s how we choose to live on the train that I believe makes our life feel purpose-filled or perhaps a living misery. 

It’s not so much what you look like in the mirror but how you’re looking out the train windows and on to life, nature, and all there is to do “out there” that makes the biggest difference in how you feel about this process, the inevitable moving aging train we’re on.

So this phone call ended sort of abruptly, which is fine. I truly didn’t want to waste this lady’s time. I’m sure there will be lots of skin care professionals who will buy that machine and buy into the “anti”-aging philosophy, selling their clients on the idea that aging is bad. In my mind, aging is normal and—obviously—completely inevitable.

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I should change my whole paradigm of “aging is cool and interesting and sets us apart as individuals.” And then again, maybe—definitely—not. There may be few people who agree with me, but when I look in the mirror I keep saying, “Hey—you’re almost 50!” That is what 50 looks like for me.

For more information, see:

Meandering through life on “the train.”

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ear Blackheads—do you have them?

Do you have blackheads (BHs) in your ears? Whenever I am doing a skin consultation, I always look inside my client’s ears. And I always let them know if I am seeing buildup there. It’s hard for you to know without inviting another person to look in your ears and tell you. Maybe a loving spouse? Or perhaps your aesthetician. You could also take a hand mirror and look in your ears using the wall mirror in your bathroom. However you find out, it’s good to be aware if you have blackheads there, albeit unwelcome information. It is important to know because you don’t want a mild case of BHs to become more severe. The more impacted the pores become, the greater the possibility that infection could show up.

The best way to prevent or to start treating BHs there is to regularly cleanse the area. The easiest way to do this is to simply wash the insides of your ears when you’re in the shower. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you can flood the area with water so there isn’t a soapy residue left in your ears.

Keeping the insides of your ears as part of your “skin care” regime is a good idea for long-term health of that area and to prevent problems in the future.

For more information, see:
UPDATE: 12/2015
Earlier this year, Yonka came out with a wonderful waterless cleanser. If there was ever a product that was perfect to use to clean out your ears, it’s this cleanser. By putting some waterless cleanser on a cotton pad, you can easily clean that cup in your ear and keep the blackheads away. See:

Friday, January 14, 2011

Let Bed Bath & Beyond save your skin!

Yes, you read it right: Bed Bath & Beyond can save your skin from sun damage! Let me explain:

I am sure you get those over-sized 20% off postcards from Bed Bath & Beyond. I get at least one per month. I keep them in the glove compartment of my car so I always have them with me in case I need to pop into that store. But now I have an even better use for them, or at least for one postcard.

Whenever you drive, your skin is subject to the sun’s UV light and radiation. Even with tinted car windows, some UV rays penetrate and go right to your skin. Sadly, visors on most cars do a poor job of shielding your skin from the sun. And rightfully so, really. If they were bigger and longer, it would impede your vision and you might get into an accident. But holding up one of the discount postcards is an easy way to get sun protection; you can move it around as needed, or simply drop it if you all of the sudden need both hands on the steering wheel.

Sometimes I fold one in half, sometimes I use it full length. But I always have one available for those times when the sun is hitting my face and the visor doesn’t do the trick. Using one of these postcards, and keeping it in your car, is an easy way to avoid more sun exposure while driving.

If you wonder how much sun you are getting sitting in your car, look in the rearview mirror at the driver behind you. You can see first-hand where the sun is hitting his or her face, and that means you are getting the same exposure.

I hope you will use this tip next time you see a Bed Bath & Beyond postcard in your mailbox. It can really save your skin!

Here are a few articles on sun protection:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Puffy Eyes? Turn a negative into a positive!

Who among us likes waking up to puffy eyes? I don’t, and I’m sure you don’t either! The puffiness I experience isn’t severe nor does it happen all the time, but on a morning when I wake up and see the puff there—I tweeze my eyebrows! It’s the best time to do this. Why? Because the skin is—well—puffed out, which makes grabbing those stray hairs much easier. And if you are one of those women who tend to over-tweeze, removing the hair on a morning when you have some edema (puffiness) is a good solution to end incessant tweezing.
You always want to treat the area you just tweezed. For those of you who are Yonka-Paris skin care product users, Juvenile is a great product to apply where you’ve been tweezing. It takes away the redness and soothes the skin. If you don’t own Juvenile, use your toner (hopefully you have Yonka’s). Just apply some of the liquid where you’ve tweezed. If you don’t have either of the above, take a small piece of cotton or tissue and saturate it in cold water, then apply to the area. I wouldn’t use ice—it’s too intense for that delicate skin. But using something to calm the post-tweezed skin is a step not to skip.

Try this technique and see if you have an easier time with your tweezing rituals. For more information on helping the puff, read Will my puffy eyes ever go away? Help! 

Also see: 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Blackheads or Enlarged Pores?

I am loving the Yonka products, and I’m really happy with my choices from you. I have been doing the clay mask at least once a weeksometimes twiceand taking really good care with washing, toning, and moisturizing every morning and evening. Overall my skin is doing really well but I still feel like my pores are visible. I don’t know if they would be considered blackheads or just enlarged pores, and I’m wondering if there is any other product you would recommend to work with this or if this is just the way my skin is? 

Once pores are enlarged, they remain enlarged. The good thing is by keeping your skin clean (and super clean through using a clay mask), your pores are less likely to become congested; congestion can and usually does lead to enlarged pores. Because pores don’t shrink (a myth for sure), you may just be looking at slight enlargement of your pores vs. actual blackheads. If you look really closely, you should be able to discern between dirt and debris in your pores, which looking like dark dots or blackheads, and clean pores that seem enlarged (bigger than the surrounding pores).

I seriously doubt you have much enlargement—it really is not that common, although many people think they have “big pores.” Based on your wonderful program (you are an “A+” client!), it is also doubtful you have much debris in your pores. The clay mask you’re using (good for you) will get your pores cleaned out whenever you use it.

During your next facial I’ll talk with you about what I see. In the meantime, it sounds like your skin is doing well and that any enlargement you do see is nothing to be overly concerned about. Easy for me to say, I know!

For more information, see: 

Monday, January 3, 2011

Eye Cream: Why use it?

You have no functioning oil glands directly under your eyes, so you want to keep that skin moisturized at all times. Why? So that when you express and the lines crease around your eyes, they are creasing on soft tissue.

Lines are formed after years of facial expressions and sun exposure that cause a breakdown of collagen (the supporting structure of the skin), which then creates a wrinkle. A topical cream is merely keeping the tissue soft and, therefore, the lines less noticeable—less hard looking.

Creams (even the most expensive eye cream) cannot completely repair damage incurred by sun exposure, nor can a cream stop the natural aging process. At best, with eye creams specifically, they can help to soften the blow caused by facial expressions. As consumers, we have been lulled into believing a mere man-made cream can overturn what nature, genetics, and sun exposure have caused. Don’t be fooled. Being clear about what is and what is not possible will save you a lot of time and money. However, using eye creams is vitally important in keeping the tissue around the eye area soft and supple, reducing the look of the lines.

Here are a few more articles, see:

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Age-appropriate products?

A client wrote me asking if she should change her products:

I’m pretty happy with all of my products but Im wondering if I should make a change. I turned 40 last year and Im thinking that maybe I should get something more age-appropriate.

That’s a great question. My answer is: I don’t use age as a guideline for recommendations, not initially at least. Skin at any age can have any number of issues or needs. So, if your skin has changed (due to age or circumstances other than that) it could be possible you might need to readjust your routine. However, if your products still feel appropriate, I’d stick with them.

I always go by the condition of the skin first, not chronological age. This seems contradictory to what you may hear in the media, but it truly makes sense if you think about it. You could be 50 and still have oily skin. If that’s the case and you use an “anti-aging” cream with lots of oils, etc., you could develop an oil slick on your skin! If your skin has changed, it may call for a change in your routine, otherwise stay with the products (appropriate for your skin type) that you’ve been using.
Just because you are racking up candles on your birthday cake doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is drastically changing.

For more information, see: