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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Hangover Helpers

Overindulging during the holidays is inevitable for many of us. Overeating, staying out past our bedtimes, and drinking too much are commonplace. And alcohol has a definite effect on your skin. If you’re going to drink, incorporating the following steps will not only help replace lost nutrients and water in your alcohol-depleted skin, these suggestions will also help curb some of the “morning after” problems you may encounter.

It is preferable to attend to this the night you do the drinking instead of waiting for the morning after. But in case you weren’t able to get to your cure the night before, take these steps in the morning, first thing after waking if possible. Nothing will completely eliminate the ill effects alcohol can have on your skin (and your entire body), but hopefully these suggestions will help lessen the negative effects and make the next day a productive one.

WATER. Try to down two glasses of water for every glass of alcohol you drink. Although this method is optimum, it may be an impossible request. So at least try to get one glass of water for each alcoholic drink. Alcohol is a diuretic and causes dehydration throughout your entire system. Add to that the toxic nature of alcohol, and your body is in serious need of fluids. And the body’s fluid of choice? Plain, clean water. Even if you’re just having a glass of wine with dinner, drink a few extra glasses of water. It will help to replace what is being taken out of your body (and your skin) from alcohol consumption.

EVENING PRIMROSE OIL is another wonder cure for a hangover. Many friends and clients have marveled at how effective it is on hangovers. Evening primrose oil is an essential fatty acid (EFA). Alcohol blocks the absorption of this “essential” body building nutrient, so getting extra EFAs is important. Taking several capsules (6-10) before bed can go a long way to curbing a hangover. Most health food stores carry evening primrose oil 500mg capsules. 

EMERGEN-C is a wonderful hangover helper that I talk about in my book. It is a powder that you mix with water. I highly recommend taking it before bed and upon arising after a night of drinking. Even if you didn’t drink heavily, Emergen-C contains vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes that are lost through the consumption of alcohol, no matter how little. If you’re hungover, the fizzy nature of Emergen-C can help to quench the inevitable thirst that hits you in the middle of the night and the next morning. Hopefully you drank enough water during your night out to help keep dehydration at bay, but Emergen-C will help to replace lost elements and hopefully get you back on your feet again. It can also be found at most health food stores. 

I am in no way advocating drinking alcohol and certainly not overindulging when you drink. I am, however, a realist, so if you are going to drink at least take some steps to help reduce the ugly morning after monster. Go to the store and get stocked up on Emergen-C and evening primrose oil—and of course good, clean water. 

For more detailed information, see:
Enjoy your holidays!
 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Is your face in need of extra hydration? Try Yonka’s Hydralia or Advanced Optimizer Serum


Which one of these products should I use?

Many clients want to understand the difference between these two products, and rightfully so! I will explain the benefits and uses of both Hydralia and Optimizer Serum along with why you want to use one or both of these products—especially in the cold, winter months.

First, although it’s been several years since these changes, I wanted to remind you about the former names of these two products in case you’re not up to speed. Advanced Optimizer Serum (and Creme) was formerly called Optimizer Fluid (and Creme). Yonka added “Advanced” and changed Fluid to “Serum.” (Unfortunately, if you ask me. There is also “Yonka Serum,” which many times my clients now confuse with Optimizer Serum. Why, Yonka, why?)

Hydralia replaces Dermols 1, 2, & 3. This, too, is not a change I love. Dermol 1 was a hydration booster for normal to oily and problem skin; Dermol 2 was for true-dry (oil-dry) skin; Dermol 3 was for couperose, red, and sensitive skin. Now they have combined the attributes of all three of these formulations into one product: Hydralia. The basic premise of this hydration helper is the same, but as an aesthetician I fail to see how three skin-specific formulations can truly be made into one product. Still, Hydralia is a great product and one I highly recommend.

Change can be challenging sometimes, especially when you know products (or even people!) from times gone by. For those who never knew the Dermols, Hydralia will have nothing to be compared to. And for those of you who have used the Dermols in the past, I honestly don’t think you will see or feel any difference in the two when using Hydralia. It’s just my brain that is getting in the way!

In the nearly 30 years I have used Yonka skin care products, there have been several changes—some I like and some not so much. Way back when I was first introduced to Yonka there were three gommages, then called “desincrustant.” Now there are just two. Yonka also used to make hair products, which they gave up on. I think as product lines go, Yonka in all these years has had relatively few changes, and the quality of all their products is top-notch. So even though I personally (or professionally) might not like some of the changes, it has not affected how wonderful these products work for your skin. With that said, let’s look at these two hydration boosters.

UPDATE 4/2017:
Yonka has once again changed this product. Now Hydralia is called Hydra+ (Hydra plus). It is essentially the same, although not the exactly same ingredients. Please read 4 NEW Skin Boosters from Yonka-Paris to learn more about this new edition of a still wonderful hydrating elixir. 




HYDRALIA is a glycerin-based liquid that you add to your creams (day and night). Anywhere from 2-3 squirts mixed into your cream adds a lot of moisture to your skin. Glycerin is a humectant that helps draw moisture to itself. Some articles I’ve read say it’s a “bad” ingredient because it draws moisture from your skin. But I disagree. Glycerin itself has a very sticky consistency and I find it doubtful it is actually pulling moisture out of your skin. On the contrary. It is pulling moisture from the air onto your skin.


In the Yonka literature on this product it says Hydralia “boosts hydration by 33%, and skin remains 26% more moisturized 8 hours later.” I’m actually not a fan of these seemingly scientific ways of presenting the efficacy of this or any product. But it is what it is. And if the above is true, wow! Hydralia is not as expensive as Optimizer Serum and relatively does the same thing (hydrates the skin). So if you’re on a budget and don’t need both products (I’ll get into that a bit later), then Hydralia may be the option for you.
 
To say ADVANCED OPTIMIZER SERUM is my favorite product would be an understatement. I love this product! And the reason is what it does for my skin. It is one of the more expensive products in the Yonka line, but it is also one of if not the best.

After I moved to Chicago in 2002, and especially after the first winter I’d experienced with cold and snow for almost 15 years (living in Texas), my skin took a double-take; it was so dehydrated and depleted, I needed help. Prior to my move I really hadn’t used the Optimizer Fluid (as it was called back then)—I just didn’t need it. Now, in Chicago, I was in my early 40s and experiencing a real winter with freezing temperatures outside and a lot of indoor heat from radiators—a sure fire way to remove moisture from the air.

I was experiencing skin changes due to age and at the same time skin changes due to environment. Enter Optimizer Serum. It was a god-send. I used it morning and night starting with that first Chicago winter in 2002 and haven’t stopped since. I am now in my mid-50s and will use this product every day, twice a day, until I am no longer using any products—because my time has come!

What I found was instant hydration without oil. Optimizer Serum has no oils to speak of, it is concentrated in hyaluronic acid and hibiscus seed extract along with many other hydrating proteins and extracts. It goes on underneath your hydrating cream and is used morning and night. This product just makes your skin feel wonderful—in a well-hydrated (not oily) kind of way. I tell all my clients who purchase this product for the first time to be forewarned: you will get addicted to Optimizer Serum. You will get used to how your skin feels while using it; skin that feels as it should—hydrated and “comfortable.”

Even acneic skin can use this product. In many cases people with acne don’t like to (and some actually don’t need to) use moisturizers on their already oily, acneic skin. This gel hydrator is perfect. It has nourishing complexes as well as moisturizing ingredients that don’t add any oil to the skin. Yes, it’s pricey, but a little goes a long way, and it will help with the acne condition simply because it has wonderful (healing and effective) Yonka ingredients.

When I was in my 20s, 30s, and up to my 40s, using Hydralia (Dermol 1, actually) was plenty for me in the winter months only. During the rest of the year using my moisturizers (morning and night) was sufficient to keep my skin feeling hydrated. Then as I moved into my 40s, and definitely once I was living in Chicago, things changed and I needed more. As you’ve read I started using Optimizer Serum, which again, I used in the winter only—at first.

Because a Chicago winter can be brutal and long, I found in the deep of the coldest months I needed to use both Optimizer Serum and Hydralia. By using the two products my skin felt great. With only one or the other my face felt a bit dehydrated. As the warmer weather came, I stopped feeling the extreme need, and stopped using Hydralia and just opted for Optimizer Serum on a daily basis. Even before I left Chicagoland in 2007, I was using the Serum both morning and night—and not just in the wintertime anymore. That change occurred as my skin aged and I simply needed more moisture (but not more oil—yet).

Now that I live in Colorado and now that I am 53, I continue to use Optimizer Serum all year round, 365. I also have changed my creams over to all true-dry products. Even in Chicago my skin wasn’t classic dry (oil-dry), it was just dehydrated in the winter months. Back then I used the white toner (for normal to oily skin) and normal to oily/combination skin moisturizing creams (all Yonka, of course!). Now living in a moisture-dry environment (Colorado) and at the same time having gone into menopause, I need to artificially lubricate my oil-depleted skin through the use of true-dry skin products.

It isn’t officially winter (although we’ve had a lot of snow lately) and even though I haven’t felt the need quite yet, pretty soon I will start using Hydralia (morning and night) with my creams. This will help boost the hydration level of my skin that will no doubt be depleted by the cold of a Colorado winter. I now need both products in the winter to keep my skin feeling hydrated, versus earlier (when I was younger) I could use one or the other. Some of you will fit into that category of only needing a product like Hydralia to add moisture in the winter months. And some of you, like me, will need extra moisture all year round (use Optimize Serum!) along with some additional help in the winter, which is where you’d add Hydralia.

Here is my personal skin care routine and the order I use the products:
  • Lait Nettoyant (blue milk cleanser)
  • Optimizer Serum*
  • Lotion PS (pink toner for true-dry skin)
  • Masque #1 (my other favorite product!)
  • Nutri-Contour eye cream, although I also use Phyto- and Alpha-Contour as well ♥
*I put Optimizer Serum on my dry, just washed skin. Why? I like for this hydration fluid to go directly on my skin to get soaked up without anything under it. Please don’t worry about the order so much, you really can’t go wrong if you put the toner on first then the Serum. This is my preference and it’s how I instruct my clients. I tell them also not to worry!

As you can see, I use one moisturizer (Masque #1) morning and night. This cream adds so much good moisture to my skin, I can’t live without it. I do use different creams in the heat of the summer months (usually Vital Defense cream) but for wintertime, Masque #1 is my favorite skin saver.


Of course I do The Extras—sometimes more often, sometimes less. I do try to gommage at least once a week; the clay I do less often now that my skin isn’t oily. However clay on true-dry skin still has wonderful benefits.

If your creams just aren’t keeping your skin hydrated enough during the winter, try Yonka’s Advanced Optimizer Serum and/or Hydralia to help boost the hydration level of your skin. And if you feel you need extra hydration outside of a cold winter season, use one or both of these wonderful products all year round. You simply cannot go wrong with Yonka-Paris skin care products!

For more information, see:
Optimizer Serum and Masque #1 are life savers (skin savers) for me!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Accutane: Jennifer’s story

Jennifer came to me years ago for a facial and has been a loyal, monthly client ever since. She is a lovely, conscientious woman in her late 20s. By her own admission, Jennifer is overweight. She doesn’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, but she does have a wicked sweet tooth; something she has “no control” over.

Throughout our years together, I have seen Jennifer’s skin go through many ups and downs. She has attempted to lose weight many times, unable to find a way to drop the unwanted pounds. The same holds true for her attempt at eliminating sugar from her diet. Jennifer’s skin is now and has always been broken out—sometimes severely. She truly has an acneic condition—comedones, milia, pustules, and cysts. I am not saying that sugar is the sole reason for her skin problems, but sugar is a top factor in how her skin appears and how her skin is indeed functioning, or rather dysfunctioning.

After trying all the different routes to “curing” her acne and without changing her lifestyle habits and dietary choices, Jennifer decided to take the leap into Accutane. Because her acne had become so severe, I actually was in agreement and thought this would make an interesting case study.

Jennifer’s skin improved on Accutane—temporarily. It was definitely helping with the large cysts under her skin as well as helping to stop new cysts from developing. If new problem areas did come, they were smaller and less noticeable. Both Jennifer and I were encouraged with her progress and she surely thought her skin problems were over.

Jennifer’s treatment course ended, and eventually so did her clear skin. Within a six-month period, her skin was right back where it started, and Jennifer was depressed. And no doubt her emotions were also fueling her food intake. She was gaining weight along with her skin breaking out again.

Talk and counsel her as I did, I couldn’t get Jennifer to stop eating sugar and other foods even though she knew they were huge contributors to her skin problems. It’s true that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make her drink. Jennifer went on to take several rounds of Accutane. All helped for a period of time, but then her problems would always return.

My point in sharing Jennifer’s story with you is to illustrate how denial and reliance on drugs and medications will not necessarily get you clear skin. Maintaining awareness and making conscious choices are always the best ways to achieve a goal. And if your goal is clear skin and you have an acneic condition, before taking medications, ask yourself what you may be doing to contribute to your circumstances. Acne is happening for a reason. It is up to you to decide how you are contributing to your problem skin.

For more information, see:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Help for a winter (or any time) cold

Help for the Holidaze. Before I moved back to Colorado, I was in Denver visiting for the Thanksgiving holiday. During my trip I was “exposed” to a family member who had a bad cold. Many of you may be similarly exposed to illnesses during the holiday season—or anytime. The last thing any of us wants is to get sick, especially during the holidays. Following are some remedies to help keep your immune system strong and hopefully help you stay well during the winter in general and the holidays specifically.

Cold-Eeze is a homeopathic cold remedy that’s been around for many years. It comes in different flavored lozenges and is “clinically proven to reduce the duration of the common cold.” How? Zinc. If you don’t have enough zinc in your system, the germs will win the war. Start taking the lozenges every 2-3 hours at the onset of feeling sick. That means when you first start feeling imbalanced. The longer you wait, the less effective anything will be in helping your body get back to a balanced state.

When I started taking Cold-Eeze during this particular Thanksgiving, it make me feel a bit nauseous, so be sure to have food in your stomach before sucking on the lozenges. Also, Cold-Eeze makes anything you eat or drink right afterwards taste pretty bad. But if this cold remedy really does help to keep you from getting sick or help to cut your sick-time in half, then it’s worth it. (I didn’t, by the way, get sick on this trip.)

FYI: taking zinc supplements is not the way to go if youre confronted with germs here and now. Taking zinc supplements throughout the year is fineif youre deficient; zinc deficiency can impair immune system function. But for the purposes of this article, Im speaking about keeping present-company germs from making you sick. Therefore, take the lozenges, which gets the zinc where its needed—your sinuses and throat area if youre around a sick person vs. taking zinc supplements.

My favorite go-to remedy is FutureBiotics garlic, echinacea, and goldenseal supplement. If I have been around someone who is sick or if I feel any inklings of getting sick myself, I’ll take a bunch of this supplement—for at least 24 hours—and I usually won’t get sick. I used to purchase this at a local health food store, but lately I’ve only found it online. Futurebiotics is certainly not the only brand you could take; there are many echinacea-type supplements to choose from. However, this is the one I have found helpful for me.

Vitamin C is well-documented to help fight the common cold. Emergen-C is my favorite way to get this all important vitamin. And now Emergen-C is widely available (even in regular grocery stores). Empty a packet in a glass of water and you’ve just gotten 1000 mg of vitamin C in a delicious tasting drink.

No matter what you end up taking, the most important thing to do is start taking something before you are actually full-blown sick. And if you are around someone who is or thinks they are getting sick, start loading up on immune system helpers. Otherwise the sick train may be going too fast for you to stop the process. Treat symptoms early and frequently and stay well for the holidays!
 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lavender: A Medicine Cabinet Must!

Touted as the most versatile of all the essential oils, I believe lavender is a must-have for everyone. Here’s why. As with all essential oils, lavender is antiseptic and antibacterial, it has a natural calming effect, and lavender is a contact healer—especially good for burns as well as the itch and inflammation of bug bites. It is a great aid for people who experience any skin irritations and more specifically, blemishes

For years I recommended essential oil of geranium as “the” extract to use on blemishes. And for years I have heard clients complain about the aroma of geranium: it’s not the most pleasant. A geranium plant is lovely to look at; the essential oil isn’t so pleasant to smell after applying to your face. Because of this, I now recommend essential oil of lavender as my go-to spot treatment for blemishes.

Lavender is pleasing to most noses and has so many uses in the household, I truly want everyone to have it in their medicine cabinets. Here are some of lavender’s many attributes.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping, put a few drops of essential oil of lavender on your pillow (or on a handkerchief), and let the relaxing melody of this essence soothe you to sleep. It makes a nice addition to your travel bag since traveling often means a poor night’s sleep.
  • Lavender is soothing to burns. For instance, if you have burned yourself on a hot stove or an iron, lavender will quickly take out the burning sensation. My number one recommendation for sunburns is aloe vera gel, but for any other kind of burn lavender works wonders.
  • Lavender is also a great bug bite de-itcher (is that a word!?). Simply put a drop of this essential oil on any bite that stings or itches and relief is on the way, almost instantly.
  • Lavender can be a bug repellent. My experience is that the amount I have to apply in order to truly keep the bugs away is just too much of an aromatic adventure. You may love smelling like a walking lavender plant, it’s just not for me.
  • Using an essential oil diffuser is a wonderful way to get beautiful aromatics of any oil(s) infused into your home environment. Diffusers are easy to use; some are electric (plug-in), some are simple ceramic pieces where a candle goes below and the essential oil on top. The heat from the candle gently diffuses the oil’s essence into the air.
  • Before I put clean sheets on my bed, I put several drops of lavender on the mattress, up toward where my head will be. Putting it lower is fine, but my feet can’t smell the lavender, my nose can! I also put a few drops on my pillows before putting the cases on. That first night climbing into my bed with clean, lavender-y sheets is heaven. After a few days, the essence fades away, but you can always reapply.
  • Put 10-15 drops of lavender in your bath. Lie back and soak in the soothing tones of this calming essential oil while relaxing in your tub. If you have tired, sore muscles, add some Epsom salts as well.
I read somewhere that if you have nausea or motion sickness, to put a drop of lavender on the tip of your tongue to help alleviate the symptoms. I can tell you this emphatically—if you put lavender or most any essential oil in your mouth, tip of the tongue or wherever, you will find your symptoms are gone because you have 100% attention on the horrible taste in your mouth! Not only do essential oils taste nasty, their essence is long-lasting. This bad taste will be with you for hours. Don’t put lavender in your mouth!

There are many more uses for lavender oil. Above are my favorites, you may find others you love too. If you do a search and see sites that say “50 Uses for Lavender” and others like it, do be careful. Putting lavender in your mouth is out. Using it on minor scrapes and cuts can be beneficial. Using lavender for major injuries or open skin can in some cases cause more irritation than any antibacterial benefits you’d receive. Use caution, but use lavender essential oiloften! I truly believe it is a medicine cabinet must!

For more details, see:

UPDATE:

A friend recently fell onto flagstone stairs—ouch! The stone sliced her jeans like a knife through butter and her shin and skin underneath got cut pretty badly. Luckily it was just one leg that was affected. She was experiencing edema (swelling) along with significant pain and bruising. It would have been beneficial to put her leg up (elevated) so the fluids wouldn’t pool in her lower leg and foot. However, for this active lady this wasn’t possible.

When I saw her, the event was several days old, but the pain was persistent and ongoing. I asked her if she’d be willing to use lavender on it, a known anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. Nope. How about arnica, another anti-inflammatory herb that also helps release pooled blood, like in the case of a hematoma or common bruise. Again, no.

I was staying with this friend, and one night we were playing cards and the pain was increasing in her leg. She was uncomfortable, to put it mildly. I grabbed some lavender water her husband had made (not even the full-strength essential oil, which I didn’t have on hand) and applied it to her injured leg. The next morning she said her leg felt significantly better. She joked it must have been a coincidence.

No coincidence, it was just the amazing healing power of herbs and essential essences. Even lavender water, which has a much lower strength than the essential oil, did a good job at helping to combat the inflammation and edema she was experiencing. I doubt she will continue to use the lavender water, but this really is what needs to be done in order to speed the healing of her injury.

My point yet again: give essential oils a try. They really do work—even on skeptics!

A skeptic in the making

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Essential fatty acids—yum

Human beings can make nonessential fatty acids. This means we don’t have to get these particular nutrients from our food. There are, however, a group of essential fatty acids (EFAs) that, as their name implies, are essential for our health and vitality although they are not produced by our bodies. Therefore, we must get EFAs from outside sources, either in our food or through supplementation. If you are not getting enough EFAs, deterioration, inflammation, and improper functioning of certain systems of the body can begin to occur. Day after day, year after year, this will lead to your body’s downfall. Just like a car that has run out of oil, your body will eventually break down. Essential fatty acids are necessary in order to maintain not just physical health, but also mental and emotional wellness.

Two of the classifications for essential fatty acids are omega-3 and omega-6. Within these categories are both short- and long-chain acids. It is important to remember that you want to concentrate your efforts on getting the long-chain omega-3 essential fatty acids more than any other. Short-chain EFAs have to be converted in the body into long-chain; therefore, depending on whom you ask or what book you read, taking anything but long-chain omega-3 is a waste of time. However, there are many sources that recommend flax oil, for instance, as a good way to get omega-3s even though it is the short-chain variety. Long or short, another important point is to get twice as much omega-3 as omega-6, or a ratio of 2:1.

I’m a huge Barry Sears fan.
The best source for long-chain omega-3 fatty acids is cold-water fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, and tuna. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an important component of the brain and also a long-chain omega-3 fatty acid, is found in fish oil (from food or supplements). Dr. Barry Sears, in his book, The Omega RX Zone, likens trying to maintain proper brain function without enough DHA to trying to build a sturdy brick house without enough bricks—it just can’t be done. So if you take anything away from this article, I hope you will research DHA and figure out how much you are currently getting in your diet. Not enough? Consider supplementation with fish oil capsules.

Cod liver oil is an excellent source for omega-3 fatty acids. I take a lemon flavored cod liver oil from Norway that contains the omega-3s DHA 500mg; EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) 460mg; and ALA (alphalinolenic acid) 45mg. It also has vitamins A, D, and E. Taking cod liver oil, to me, is the easiest way to supplement these all-important nutrients into your daily diet. The recommended dosage is one or two teaspoons daily. (I highly recommend taking a lemon flavored brand. Cod liver oil on its own tastes very fishy.)

Because you need to get twice as much omega-3 than omega-6, you want to limit the amount of foods you eat that contain omega-6 fatty acids—especially the “bad” kind. These foods include red meat, dairy products that are high in fat like butter, fatty cheeses and ice cream, along with margarine, and partially hydrogenated oils found in many snack foods. Corn, safflower, soy, or other hydrogenated oils are also high in omega-6 and should be limited or avoided when possible.

Sometimes I take flax oil; it is rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids. Even though they are short-chain omega-3s, I still think it is beneficial to take this supplement. Flax oil is unique because it contain both omega-3 and -6, but in the correct 2:1 ratio. The flax oil I take is high in lignans. These are fiber-like substances that are also powerful antioxidants. Lignans help balance the metabolism of estrogen, so for women this can help with PMS; it may even help with hot flashes and other conditions associated with perimenopause.

For those of you who take evening primrose oil, although it is a source of omega-6 fatty acids, it is one of the “good” omega-6s, unlike the undesirable omega-6s from hydrogenated oils and fatty foods. Among its many other attributes, evening primrose oil is high in gamma linoleic acid (GLA), another fatty acid that is hard to come by in the average diet. GLA is vitally important for healthy cells (including skin) and cell function. Borage oil and grape seed oil are two more good sources for this essential nutrient. It is doubtful you are getting enough in your diet, so supplementation may be required.

Essential fatty acids is one of those subjects where the more you learn, the more complex the subject seems to become. I am just skimming the surface in hopes of giving you the most important points when it comes to EFAs, but I highly recommend reading up on this subject.

There can be no doubt that for most of us living in America (surely for anyone reading this) there is no lack in the quantity of food available. It is the quality of food that might be lacking. Genetically you may be blessed, but if your cells are not healthy, you are not going to be healthy. Good health is not an accident, so expand your awareness of the quality of your diet and if you need to, supplement—for your health.

EFAs at-a-glance:
  • You want to get a 2:1 ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.
  • Whenever possible, you want to get long-chain omega-3s vs. short-chain omega-3s.
  • You want to avoid “bad” omega-6 fatty acids, like those found in snack foods and hydrogenated oils. Start reading labels!
  • DHA is super-important to the brain. Unless you are eating coldwater fish every day, taking high-grade (pharmaceutical grade) fish oil is a good way to get enough DHA.
For more articles, see:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Makeup De-Cluttering Quick Tip


Does this look like your makeup/skin care drawer?

Simplify your cosmetics drawer. Get rid of all those half-filled jars and bottles of potions you never use anymore. I know it’s hard to throw those precious products away—they were expensive! Use any remaining moisturizers on your body instead of tossing them. Just think how wonderful it will be to open your drawer or cabinet and have less clutter.

For some articles on makeup, see:

Monday, November 17, 2014

Trends & fads in skin care

There are many articles written here about the products and procedures that are available for “fighting” the aging process. Some of them may indeed bring you the desired results, while others may give you a negligible payoff and possibly put a large dent in your pocketbook.

I am not a proponent of dramatically changing the appearance you were blessed with. However, there are many ways that you can do this if you are so inclined. I recommend reading as much as you can about any new miracle treatment before you decide to indulge in it. Since there are new products and procedures coming out almost daily, I have tried to include those that are the most popular today.

I am a steadfast believer in taking care of the skin. It is my profession, and it’s what I teach my clients to do. Over the years, I have seen trends come and go; fad products become popular, then fade into the void. Throughout the marketing of new products and the public’s quest for even better procedures, I have plodded along—unbending.

The skin is a delicate organ, resilient as it is. Because we are looking to have beautiful skin for a lifetime, steady, proven care seems the best way to achieve this. If you look back five or ten years to what the most popular skin care trends were, few, if any, of those procedures and products are still the rage today.

There will always be a new miracle treatment to halt the aging process as well as new diets where you can lose inches in days. I want to provide an environment and an opportunity for you to let that aspect of the world pass on by. You don’t have to give in to the latest trend and give up a lot of money in the process.

Even if you choose to try the latest and greatest in anti-aging miracles, hold true to your skin care maintenance program (The Basics and The Extras). Taking care of your skin on a daily basis will bring you the most consistent and long-term results. I would investigate and proceed with caution if you decide to try any of the many skin care procedures available. Trends and fads come and go, but your skin must last a lifetime.

 For a few of the articles in the trends & fads category, see:

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Pregnancy & stretch marks

I have a feeling you’re hoping I’ll tell you how to get rid of stretch marks or avoid them altogether. But I’m sorry to say I can’t do that. Some people are predisposed genetically to the formation of stretch marks, while others may escape their plight. Like so many other things, when it comes to the body, it boils down to genetics.

Stretch marks are actually scars. As the skin of the belly is stretched during pregnancy (or weight gain in general), so too are the collagen fibers. Collagen is the supporting structure of the skin (of the dermis or inner layer). As the skin stretches to its capacity, new layers of collagen fibers are laid down to add strength to this ever-expanding tissue. This stretching action, along with the addition of new collagen, results in striae, or common stretch marks.

There are several creams on the market that claim to prevent stretch marks. They must be “miracle creams” because if you are prone to stretch marks, it will take nothing short of a miracle for your body not to produce them. Using creams and ointments on the areas that are most likely to develop stretch marks will help to keep the skin soft and supple, but it is doubtful these products will deter them from coming. If you are not genetically predisposed, you may not get stretch marks. It’s kind of the luck of the draw, and it is predominately genetic. (What isn’t?)

It’s always a good idea to pay attention to areas you’re concerned about. Just don’t start paying a lot of money in hopes of preventing the unpreventable. But do massage your skin—all over—with creams that soothe and moisturize. Your skin will respond favorably to the care you give it. In fact, skin that is stretching tends to itch. Using moisturizers on these areas can help alleviate this side effect.

Massage is an excellent way to stimulate circulation, and our skin can always use this extra boost. Maybe taking care of your expanding skin on a regular basis—before the stretch marks have begun—will actually help to minimize their appearance. It certainly can’t hurt, and who knows, maybe it will really improve your chances of keeping stretch marks away.

For more information, see:

Friday, November 14, 2014

Yonka toners: Which one should I use?

Lotion PS
Even though I have oily skin, should I use the pink toner [Yonka’s Lotion PS] since I have redness from capillary damage?

In a word: No! The pink toner is wonderful—for true-dry skin—skin that does not emit enough oil on its own. If you have normal, normal to oily, or oily skin and especially if you have problems with breakout, you want to use the white toner, Lotion PNG.

Lotion PNG
Even though you have some capillary damage, using the pink toner will only increase the oily feel of your skin. The main difference between the two toners is glycerin. Glycerin is a great moisturizing, hydrating ingredient and is contained in the Lotion PS and not in the Lotion PNG. The glycerin in Lotion PS would be way too much for an oily skin; too much of a good thing.

Regardless of the redness in your skin, which can be addressed by using other Yonka products, if you have an oilier skin type stick to Lotion PNG. It has a higher concentration of essential oils (thyme, lavender, rosemary, geranium, and cypress), which helps to regulate oil and congestion—obviously beneficial for an oilier skin type.

Both of these products are wonderful. If you are not currently using one, I highly recommend incorporating one of these aromatic spritz toners into your daily Basics routine. 

Emulsion Pure
Yonka has a third product that can be used as a toner. Emulsion Pure does not spray. It has the highest concentration of essential oils, which makes it most effective for problem skin as well as inflammation from acne and infections. If you read Problem Skin Helpers: Yonka + more (see link below), it explains how to use Pure as a compress, something that works wonders for spot” treatments.

Pure can be use over the entire face as a toner or even mixed into your creams and applied that way. It really is best for problem skin and acne. The higher the concentration of essential oils, the better the effect on inflammation and infections (essential oils have strong antibacterial properties). In a more diluted form, like in Lotion PS (the lowest concentration of essential oils of the three products), essential oils are more soothing for sensitivities yet still have the beneficial properties of stimulating circulation, helping with cellular respiration.

Here’s another client question to further explain:

I was wondering about the difference between the pink toner [Yonka’s Lotion PS] (which I have been using) and the Emulsion Pure?  

The pink toner has the lowest concentration of essential oils of the three toners:
  • Emulsion Pure = highest concentration, best for problem skin and blemishes
  • Lotion PNG (white) = medium concentration for normal to oily skin
  • Lotion PS (the pink one) = lowest concentration, best for oil-dry, true-dry skin
The pink toner has glycerin in it, the other two do not. Glycerin is a humectant, helping to hydrate skin. If you have an oilier skin type, you would not want to use the dry skin toner. It will cause more oil and possible breakout. The pink toner, however, is essential for a true-dry (oil-dry) skin. 

Because of the essential oil content of these wonderful Yonka toners, they are an integral part of your Basics 1-2-3 Program.

For more detailed information, see:
 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Removing eye makeup: Part I

What’s the best thing to remove eye makeup with?

Your facial cleanser will probably adequately remove your eye makeup. However if you are wearing waterproof mascara (and some non-waterproof brands), you will need to use an oil to remove this “glue” from your lashes. Baby oil is an inexpensive option. (Make sure not to get that or any oil in your eyes.) I don’t recommend Vaseline® (petroleum jelly), however. It might take off a lot of the makeup, but because of its gooey nature, you might inadvertently pull the delicate undereye tissue when using it to remove your eye makeup or when trying to remove the Vaseline from your skin.

You can use your fingers to apply your cleanser around the eye area. If your eye makeup doesn’t come off that way or if you are using makeup that is meant to “last all day” aka: stick to your skin, you might want to put some cleanser on a cotton pad. Wet the pad first, squeeze the excess water out, then apply some cleanser. I’d wet the cotton first so it is softer as it goes on your skin. The cleanser will actually grab onto the cotton better when it’s wet, as well.
  
Obviously you want to be careful not to use anything that will irritate your eyes. Also you really want to be sure not to rub or pull the skin around your eyes when removing your eye makeup. Assuming you wear makeup every day, you can really do a lot of damage day in and day out with excess pulling and tugging at this tissue in order to remove makeup. So, be careful!

Also see:
This is not how you want to remove eye makeup! It may not look like it, but this young lady is pulling her eyelid as she is removing her makeup. Over time (day after day, year after year) this pulling will have an effect on the delicate tissue of the eye area.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sensitive Skin explained

What is sensitive skin? 

There are two different kinds of sensitive skin. There is the kind that is sensitive to the touch and the kind that feels sensitive. If you have the kind that is sensitive to the touch, it just means your skin tends to turn red merely by being touched. I have several clients who turn bright red merely by lightly touching their faces. This type of sensitive skin is of little concern when figuring out your skin type. Reactive skin or skin that feels sensitive will itch, burn, or feel irritated when certain disagreeable products are applied. There are many ingredients in the world of cosmetics that can irritate even nonsensitive skin, let alone someone with sensitivities.

You usually know if you have sensitive skin. You’ve experienced it firsthand over the years. You’ve tried dozens of products and skin care lines and have probably reacted to many. If you’ve finally discovered something that doesn’t cause a reaction, you’ll be prone to sticking with what you’ve found for fear of getting “burned”—literally.

It’s hard to determine exactly what products and which ingredients are causing your skin to turn red, burn, or breakout. In case you haven’t discovered the ill effects of the following ingredient on your own, let me advise you: stay away from products that contain fragrance. Many companies add fragrance to their products. A lot of the department store product lines started out as perfumeries and then branched out into skin care and cosmetics. They tend to add their signature fragrance to all (or most) of the products in their line, distinguishing them at least aromatically as their own. These products may smell good, but if you have sensitive skin, watch out. Perfumes and fragrances are not good (or desirable) ingredients for skin care products. If you are sensitive, your skin will no doubt let you know. Along with skin sensitivities, many people are simply allergic to fragrance.

Why is it sensitive? Sensitivities can be caused for many reasons. You may have inherited sensitive skin from one or both parents. You may have spent a lifetime using harsh soaps and drying products on your skin that will inevitably lead to sensitivities. If you have or are currently using Retin-A and/or AHAs, or have had strong glycolic or chemical peels, your skin will no doubt be sensitive. Laser resurfacing may also bring about long-term sensitivities. Couperose skin tends to be sensitive because the capillaries sit so close to the surface and can be reactive. Thin skin is usually more sensitive than thick skin. Thin skin is less impervious to irritants than thick, more protective skin. And finally, skin that has been abused in the sun can become sensitive over time.

What to use on sensitive skin. It may be easier to list what not to use on sensitive skin since what you can use will vary greatly depending on how sensitive you are.
  • You want to avoid abrasive scrubs. Although exfoliation is vital to healthy skin, you don’t want to cause more sensitivity by using a harsh scrub. Just imagine rubbing abrasive particles on sensitive skin. It doesn’t even sound good, and it will feel even worse. The gel-type gommage I talk about (and use in my salon) is the best alternative to an irritating scrub.
  • Soap is another undesirable product. People with sensitive skin want to be especially careful to use only non-alkaline products on their skin. This is very important.
  • Once again, avoid fragrance as an ingredient in your face products. Fragrance will almost always cause a reaction even on skins that aren’t considered sensitive. 

  • Heat will further exacerbate sensitive skin. As with burns, you want to treat the skin gently, never using anything extreme. 
  • You must avoid strong peels. These will do little to benefit the skin and can go a long way to furthering any sensitivities and redness you may already have. It is doubtful a person with very sensitive skin would be able to tolerate a strong peel, but high-percentage acid peels should definitely be avoided. 
  • The sun and wind can cause irritation with any skin, especially sensitive skin. Try to cover up as much of your face as possible in cold and/or sunny conditions.
Recommending what to use on sensitive skin will vary based on the oil content of your skin and the origin of the sensitivities. Most product lines address sensitivities, but a sensitive skin type will probably go through more trial and error using products than other kinds of skin. See Determining Skin Type for information about how to determine how much oil your skin is producing, which is where you want to start as far as determining what products you’ll use and for what skin type.

For further information, read: