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Friday, July 31, 2015

Tarzan exfoliates

I have a lovely male client who comes in every month for a facial. First I have to say that the fact he comes in regularly wins brownie points in my book. I’ve said many times that facials are genderless treatments. Similar to haircuts or massages, facials are good for the male of the species—not just the ladies.

On his last visit, I was remarking about the improvement I saw in his skin, no doubt partly due to the fact he was no longer using a loofah on his face. Yes, on his initial visit when doing his intake form, I found out he was using a loofah sponge and water to exfoliate his face. I told him I was glad his was no longer using the “Tarzan Method” of exfoliation and it was definitely helping his skin.

Sometimes (usually?) men tend to use a more, lets say, practical, bare bones approach to things. Your skin needs to be sloughed off, so you use a hard, stiff loofah sponge. Why not, itll get the job done, right? Ill tell you why not: Using a loofah or any other stiff, hard material on your skin can and will reek havoc! These types of materials are simply too rough for the delicate nature of the skineven the tougher, thicker texture of a mans skin. (Regarding this photo: there is nothing happy about using a loofah on your face.)

Facial scrubs are the most common product used for exfoliation, and they are the most readily available in stores and salons. Scrubs are also the simplest exfoliators to use. I recommend applying a facial scrub while taking a shower because it makes cleaning it off your face much easier than at your bathroom sink. The little particles that make up the scrub will get completely rinsed off with the showerhead spray, perhaps not so much just with your hands at the sink.

In case you, too, are using the Tarzan Method to get rid of dead skin cells, please (please) put the loofah down and reach for a scrub the next time you go to exfoliate your face. No matter what you use, exfoliation is an important step in your healthy skin care routine.

My client now uses a facial scrub. His skin (through facials as well as home exfoliation) is looking better than ever. He said he doesnt miss his loofah at all. 

For some of the hows and whys of exfoliation, read:
For an effective yet gentle product for all the Tarzans of the world (its the scrub this client is using now with great results), see:
No loofahs, please!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Yonka’s MASQUE 103—Detoxifying Clay Mask for normal to oily and problem skin

MASQUE 103, a clay-based mask from Yonka-Paris, is a great at-home treatment for breakout as well as for all-around clean, healthy skin. Clay absorbs oil and draws impurities to the surface while calming and reducing inflammation. Clay also stimulates blood circulation, getting oxygen and nutrients to the cells, which makes a clay-based mask good for all skin, no matter what “type.” 

Masque 103 is best for normal to oily or problem, acneic skin. This version has a higher concentration of clay making it more detoxifying and clearing. (Masque 105 is better for true-dry and sensitive skin. With a lesser concentration of clay, it is perfect for cleaning out the pores of even the most sensitive skin. Even if you have true-dry (oil-dry) skin, you can always use a good deep cleaning.) All skin types can benefit from the circulatory acceleration that comes from using a clay mask.

 Masque 103 can be used in several ways:
  • As a mask, covering the entire face and left on for 15 minutes, once to several times per week. *Remember to keep the mask moist by spraying with water or toner. See link to How to use a Clay Mask below.
  • As a spot treatment, dotted on the blemish at night before bed and left on while you sleep. If the spot is medium to small without a lot of infection, this dotting method can really reduce its size overnight.
  • For an extra-strength cleanser, mix equal parts clay mask with your cleansing milk, gel, or wash creme and cleanse as you normally do (apply/massage/rinse).
Essential ingredients:
  • 3 clays
    • Montmorillonite (France)—detoxifies, oxygenates
    • Bentonite (France)—purifying, clearing
    • Kaolin (China)—balances oil secretions, purifying, clearing
  • Borneol—purifying, clearing
  • Sage—detoxifies, antisepticizes
  • Essential oil of orange—astringent, antisepticizes 
  • Wild thyme extract—decongests, antisepticizes
  • Essential oils of lemon and lime—astringent, toning
  • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—purifying, balancing 
Directions for use:

Use clay once a week. If you have a lot of breakout, mask 2-3x per week.

  • Apply this aromatic cleansing mask in a thick layer to the entire face after cleansing or after using Gommage
  • Leave on about 15 minutes
*The mask needs to stay moist the entire time it’s on your skin. If you let this (or anything) dry on your skin, it will just dry out the skin’s surface. One step forward, two steps back. This is what I recommend:
  • Apply mask and immediately spray your toner liberally over entire face
  • After 5 minutes or so (whenever you feel the clay start to dry), you will need to spray again and can either use your Yonka toner or get a spray bottle and fill with filtered (clean) water
  • Keep mask moist until you remove it
  • After 15-20 minutes, remove mask with tepid, room temperature water (never hot or cold)
  • After pat-drying your skin, spray the toner and apply your moisturizer
Also see:


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Nose strips—good or fad?

What are pore cleansing strips? 

Pore cleansing strips are a very well-marketed skin care fad. I wish I had been an investor in these products because I’m quite sure they have made millions. You can find a package of a dozen or so strips for under $10. If only a fraction of the country bought just one box, well, you can do the math.

Years ago when these strips first came out, it seemed like every single client was asking me about them. I tried hard to find a store that had them in stock, but couldn’t. Finally when I found some, I immediately went home to see what all the buzz was about. I followed the instructions, and when all was said and done, I was not impressed.

You are instructed to wet the pore cleansing strip and place it over your blackheads. (The first strips out on the market were specifically shaped for the nose. Now several companies make them for other parts of the face as well.) After the strip dries on your skin, it is ripped off (like a bandaid—ouch!) to reveal debris the sticky strip has pulled out of your pores. For those of you who don’t know, the main ingredient in the pore cleansing strip that does the grabbing is an essential ingredient in hair spray. It’s called polyquaternium-37, and it acts like glue to pull out plugs from below the surface of your skin.

Once the strip is ripped off, the skin underneath may look red and irritated. Long-term use has the potential to cause capillary damage at the pull-off site. Yes, it does pull out some of the superficial debris that your cleanser doesn’t get. Yes, it is OK to do something like this once in a while, but you wouldn’t want to use these on any kind of a long-term, regular basis. A clay mask is a far superior way to deep clean your pores. You can apply a mask to your entire face, not just small sections. And clay is soothing to the skin. Pore cleansing strips, once removed, are anything but soothing.

I’m sure this fad product is popular with teens who think it’s cool to see the junk from their pores left on the strip. Some people may see these strips as an easy way to get rid of blackheads, but be forewarned: pore cleansing strips are one of those shortcuts to good skin that do not deliver. True deep cleansing of the skin is found through consistent practice of good skin care habits, not from using a well-marketed, ineffective fad product. Like many things in life, the effort you put in usually equals the results you receive.

Pore cleansing strips are a quick fix to a long-term problem (clogged pores) and will more than likely disappoint you and quite possibly cause problems with your skin. Use these strips once or twice, for novelty’s sake, then go back to your more serious skin care routines.

For more information on what a good skin care routine looks like plus alternatives to nose strips, see:


Monday, July 27, 2015

Dermatitises (skin inflammations) explained

Dermatitis is an umbrella term describing a general condition of inflammation (itis) of the skin (derma). If you think you have a form of dermatitis, go see your dermatologist. He or she will be able to prescribe medication (usually topical) that can help get rid of this often annoying skin condition. Let’s look at the different types of dermatitis.

I first want to say that all of the photos in this post are very bad cases of each individual dermatitis. Many of you will only have shades of what you see below. I put the worst-case scenarios here so you can see what each skin condition looks like. Minor examples simply wouldn’t exemplify these skin irritations like the bad cases do. My hope is that you never have the type of severe cases shown here!




Allergic contact dermatitis. This dermatitis goes by the names contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, and allergic contact dermatitis. No matter which name you prefer, the symptoms are the same.

Allergic contact dermatitis is an inflammation of the skin caused by contact with a particular allergen. It can cause a rash or even blisters, usually confined to a specific area that often has clearly defined borders. These allergens can be anything from ingredients in cosmetics, metals found in jewelry like nickel, and plants such as poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Even some chemicals used in clothing manufacturing or laundry detergent can cause skin inflammation.

Many of my clients have intolerances to nickel in jewelry, sometimes called earlobe dermatitis. This shows up as crusty, scaly skin on the earlobes. Nickel is usually a component of inexpensive jewelry, not solid gold, platinum, or silver. As long as cheap earrings are worn, the dermatitis will persist. Because this irritated skin can be unsightly, once you realize you have an intolerance to nickel, you will choose not to wear the cheaper type of jewelry—out of necessity.

Rubber is another common allergen causing allergic contact dermatitis. Latex, like rubber gloves, and spandex, usually found in elastic wastebands in pants, bra straps, and underwear can cause this type of skin allergy. Exposure to some rubber found in shoes can also cause parts of your feet and toes to have problems.

Ingredients in skin care products can cause allergic reactions in some people. Irritations and reactions are two different things. Allergic contact dermatitis will show up as a rash or a scaly, even crusty patch of skin, whereas an irritation from a product may simply cause an unpleasant sensation.

I have a client who came into my office with a strange red patch of skin near the right side of her mouth. It wasn’t a blemish or anything that resembled problem skin, but it was persistent and bothering my client. After questioning her, I found out she talks on a cell phone—a lot. She said her phone got wet one day and ever since then she has noticed this skin irritation. Bingo! No doubt there was some type of reaction with the wet metal constantly pushing against her skin, and finally she developed allergic contact dermatitis. Even without water being a factor, just constantly pressing a phone against your skin is enough to cause a reaction—if you are susceptible.

Truly, there are numerous offenders that can cause allergic contact dermatitis. The best way to treat it is to keep the offending substance away from the skin. As long as the allergen is present, the skin will continue to react. If you think you are having an allergic reaction to jewelry, clothing, skin care products, or something else, make an appointment to see your dermatologist. Then you will know for sure what you can and cannot wear, use, or be exposed to.



Backs of a toddler’s legs with eczema.
Eczema. Sometimes called atopic dermatitis, eczema is yet another form of skin inflammation. Eczema comes in many shapes and sizes. Most commonly, I have seen it on the eyelids. Next (and this is where I tend to get eczema) is the cheeks and outer nose area.

It can show up as red, blistering skin, and oozing or weeping can even occur if it is left untreated. Eczema usually looks and feels scaly, can be red or brownish in color, and there tends to be a thickening of the skin where the dermatitis exists. When found around the eye area, the lines and wrinkles there seem to increase overnight. The skin is red and irritated and almost always the affected skin itches.

Technically, the origin of eczema is unknown. Many times skin conditions are thrown into the “unknown cause” category. But the truth is, something is causing the condition, although it may be too difficult to figure out what. The word unknown usually says to me that something other than an allopathic medical explanation is needed.

I try to look from a wholistic viewpoint—looking at the body as a whole, not just the symptoms it is producing. This includes looking at lifestyle and the possible stress it may be causing in your body. Physical symptoms can be caused by many things, including something as intangible as mental stress. Therefore, I believe eczema is stress-induced. In other words, it happens due to stress—whether it be internal body stress or emotional stress from the outside world. (Yes, I spell holistic with a “w” because truly it means the whole body.)

Red, scaly, itchy skin = ezcema.
If the body is unable to produce gamma linolic acid (GLA), sometimes eczema is the result. Taking evening primrose oil, which is rich in GLA, can help to alleviate symptoms of this type of dermatitis. You may want to give this supplement a try and see if it helps you. Evening primrose oil is so good for your body in general, if it helps specifically with eczema, so much the better! You could even open one of the capsules and massage a drop or two onto the affected area for some relief.

Aloe vera gel is another treatment you can try. The soothing nature of the gel can ease your irritated skin as well as help to heal the area. It wouldn’t be my first choice to help with dermatitis, but if it’s all you have at the moment, it will probably help to some degree.

Commonly, topical cortisone creams and ointments are prescribed for eczema. You can also purchase cortisone over the counter (OTC), although the strength will be less than the prescription kind. If cortisone helps, the skin condition could have been eczema; if cortisone doesn’t help, it probably is something other than a dermatitis.

For more information on this common form of dermatitis, read Eczema anyone? (see link below).



Perioral dermatitis. A client wrote, “I get this red, scaly, bumpy stuff under and around my nostril area.” This is a good description of perioral dermatitis. It is a red, sometimes bumpy rash around the nostrils and sometimes down around the mouth. Peri means around or about, and oral indicates the mouth. So perioral means surrounding the mouth, although this condition pertains to the redness around the nostril area as well.

Applying a topical cortisone cream or ointment to the affected area is going to give you the best results. This type of dermatitis can be very persistent and sometimes hard to completely clear up, and you may want to get a dermatologist’s prescription for the stronger form of cortisone.

I was reading a medical book explaining some different treatments for perioral dermatitis. One of the recommendations, tetracycline (an oral antibiotic), was said to be a good treatment—one of the best. Unfortunately, dermatitis is stress-induced. Therefore, if you continue to be under stress and even if your perioral dermatitis cleared up after taking the antibiotics, more than likely it will return when your body’s immune system is weakened by the stress. Antibiotics, by their very nature, distress and suppress the immune system, so taking tetracycline seems to me like it might keep you moving in a vicious circle.

In this same manual I was reading, perioral dermatitis was listed under Sebaceous Gland Disorders, saying that this type of dermatitis also includes unusual sebaceous activity along with the rashy dermatitis of the outer skin. This makes sense due to the usual location of perioral dermatitis—around the nostril area and sometimes going down to the outer edges of the mouth. The nose has so many active oil glands and the folds of the nostrils can become clogged with oil, so this is an easy place for problems to occur.

As I mentioned, tetracycline or even minocycline (another antibiotic) are prescribed to treat perioral dermatitis. And just like with acne (another condition these oral antibiotics are commonly prescribed for), taking medicine orally does next to nothing to help figure out the actual cause of the problem. And it is by finding the cause that you will find your greatest and most long-term relief.



Seborrheic dermatitis. This condition is an inflammation of the upper layers of the skin, causing a red, scaly, itchy rash in various locations on the body. The eyebrows, eyelids, scalp, sides of the nose, and even the skin behind the ears are the most common places to find this form of dermatitis. Other areas where the skin folds (under the arms, breasts, and buttocks) may also be affected. This condition may cause not only flakiness but greasy or oily-looking skin. Dandruff (flakiness on the scalp) is actually seborrheic dermatitis.

Weather seems to affect this condition. You may find seborrheic dermatitis worsens in the winter, and improves in the warmer months.

Seborrheic dermatitis is most common in people who have oily skin and oil-prone hair, although it is not limited to these oily types. Sometimes even infants can develop seborrheic dermatitis due to the hormone changes after birth. Babies can also develop what looks like diaper rash, but really may be a case of seborrheic dermatitis.

Treatment consists of a hydrocortisone ointment (as in most cases of dermatitis) as well as a medicated shampoo for cases of seborrheic dermatitis affecting the scalp. As with any and all cases of dermatitis, consulting with your dermatologist is the best course of treatment. He or she will be able to guide you to the best medications and can track the progress of your skin.




Keep in mind, when it comes to treating dermatitises, what works for one person may be irritating to someone else. Using creams, salves, or oral medications on skin inflammations may bring relief for some, but be prepared that your experience may be different. Please contact your dermatologist if you have a skin condition that doesn’t respond to your home treatment and just won’t go away. Dermatitises are treatable but only if you get treatment!

Also see:


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Is pressure breakout a problem for you (or your kid)?

Granted, most people will not be wearing this type of restrictive head gear. I put this photo here to make the point that pressure from gear + sweat can = breakouts.
Football helmets, chin straps, and sweatbands are a few possible causes of pressure-induced skin problems. This type of sports gear can inhibit elimination, causing sweat to pile up in certain areas, which can cause irritation and potential breakout. Even continually sleeping on one side of your face can cause a kind of pressure breakout.

Keeping any sweat from drying on the skin will help keep irritation and breakout away. Splash rinsing with water is your best bet to get all the sticky, sweaty goo off your face. No matter where you are, you’ll usually have access to water. Know that the longer the sweat stays (and dries) on your skin, the more potential for problems down the road. This is especially true if the drying sweat is an ongoing occurrence, like with sports that you’re involved with on a daily or several times weekly basis.

If you don’t have access to water, at least wipe as much of the sweat off your face as you can with your shirt or a towel, if one is available.

For more information, see:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Yonka’s CREME 11—for redness & sensitivity

CREME 11 is a wonderful cream for anyone who has sensitive skin, couperose, and even rosacea. All of those skin conditions will generally have redness, something Creme 11 is effective against.

Whenever I meet a new client who has any of the above, I sample Creme 11. It is usually only a matter of days before I hear from the person wanting to come and pick up a tube of this soothing, anti-redness cream.

I highly recommend Creme 11 if you have redness, rosacea, if you’re sensitive to many or all products; I have had great success with this cream. It is best for normal to dry or true-dry skin. (Usually if someone has oily or problem skin—even if its red and sensitive—Creme 15 would be a better choice for them.) Here is a glowing recommendation from a 66-year-old client of mine who just started using this cream to help with sensitivity and redness:

Creme 11 is FANTASTIC. My skin has never been happier or looked better! I never want to be without it. Thank you!

Essential ingredients:
  • Chamomile, arnica, yarrow, German chamomile, horse chestnut, hamamelis, mallow—soothing, calming
  • Cereal germ oils—nourishing
  • St. John’s Wort, horsetail extract (rich in silicon)—regenerating
  • Yonka Quintessence (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—balancing
Directions for use:

In the *morning and/or evening: 
  • After cleansing and spraying on Yonka Lotion toner 
  • Apply a pea-sized dollop of CREME 11 over face and neck 
  • Then use eye cream
*Although labeled a “night cream,” I have several clients who use Creme 11 morning and evening. I’m not a stickler (or true believer) in day creams being used only for day and night creams only for night. Some people only can afford or simply only want to use one cream morning and night. And in the case of Creme 11, sometimes I want a client with very sensitive skin to use this cream both day and night so their skin can get the anti-inflammatory, healing, and balancing attributes of this cream 24/7.  

For more information, see:

Thursday, July 23, 2015

New mommies have no time!

Are you out of time? When you have an infant to take care of, you’re lucky if you can brush your teethforget about your skin! I hear this over and over from new mothers. It seems there just isn’t any time to take care of yourself, your skin included. Perhaps adopting a revised attitude is in order. This attitude is similar to the Zen imagery of being a rock in a stream. You can fight against the water coming down around you, or you can just sit in the stream and enjoy the shower you are experiencing. “Go with the flow” is a more concise way of putting it.

The first few months after the birth of your child, you probably won’t have time to do much. If you can brush your teeth, however, you can cleanse your face.

  • When going to brush, take a few extra seconds and grab your cleanser.
  • Put it on your face, brush your teeth, rinse the cleanser off, and you’re practically done. (This is a Cleansing Quick Tip.)
  • After rinsing the cleanser off and drying your face, spray your face with toner. (If you're a client or familiar with my writing, you may already have your toner in a spray bottle.)
  • The only thing left is moisturizer. A few more seconds will get it on your face, and you have accomplished the impossible: you have completed your Basics 1-2-3 Program and in record time! 
  • For an even easier way to clean your skin, click here to read about a new waterless cleanser from Yonka—one you simply apply with a cotton pad, wipe your face, and cleansing is done!
It only takes a few extra seconds to wash, spray toner, and apply some cream to your face. Without this twice-a-day care, your skin may be headed for trouble. It will take you one or two minutes, tops, to do The Basics, morning and night.

I never expect new moms to do their weekly exfoliating and clay masking. I just assume this is “mission impossible.” But in case you are one of the lucky ones with a few extra minutes once or twice a week, including these two steps (what I call The Extras) will help you maintain healthy, clean and clear skin. The most important thing for your skin are the daily Basics 1-2-3. The Extras are just that, and at this point do what you can, when you can, and don’t worry about the rest. You’ve got a lot of other things to attend to—namely your new bundle of joy.

Getting a facial every month or even at 6-8 week intervals would be an enormous gift
for your skin as well as your psyche. In the capable hands of a professional, you can help to undo weeks of neglect that have built up in your skin. By no means are facials going to miraculously reverse problems that may have occurred, but they can further the health of your skin tremendously. Plus for that hour in the treatment room, you can get away completely and luxuriate without worrying about the baby crying or the telephone ringing.

Over the years I have had many new mothers come in with their infants, usually under 4 months old. If the baby has recently been fed, he or she sleeps through the facial, lulled by the soft music and low lighting. And mom gets a mini-vacation while having her babe by her side.

The bottom line, don’t stress yourself out about not being able to take great care of your skin. After your baby gets into a rhythm, so will your life (sort of), and you will probably find more chunks of time to accomplish tasks for yourself. Enjoy your new little one, and do what you can for yourself. Breathe, relax, and know that you have created a living miracle. I suppose the next gift is to find time for the miracle worker—you!


For more detailed information, see: 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Anti-aging? Take a closer look

I’m always amazed when I hear the term anti-aging. It makes aging sound like a bad thing. Yet this term is used every day in conversations and advertisements for products (not just skin care products). You name it—people view aging negatively.

A client telephoned and asked me what anti-aging products I thought she should use. I told her the best recommendation I could give her for anti-aging was to step away from the mirror. The phone went silent, and I think I caught her off guard, but I was actually halfway serious. It is only because we see our reflections in the mirror that we know what we look like. The less you look in the mirror, you will see less of your so-called flaws.

I promise I don’t say these things to trivialize your thoughts and fears about getting older. I say them in order to give a voice to the other side of the story. We are constantly inundated with anti-aging-this, look-younger-that, and I’m quite sure that will not be changing any time soon. But I can change—and so can you.

You don’t have to give in to the theory that as you age you have to look younger than you are. Strive to look your best, of course, but getting rid of age is not only impossible, it takes up a lot of energy. Personally, I barely have enough energy to get me through a normal day. If I chose to spend a good deal of time worrying about how young or how old I look, I wouldn't have time to simply have a good day.

I’m just advocating paying attention to the other side of aging: the anti-anti-aging side. Take the best care of yourself you can and do whatever you feel is appropriate for you to look your best. And give yourself a break at the same time. Remember, what you put your attention to is what you will attract into your life. Put your attention toward being healthy and at peace—no matter your age. To me these things far surpass erasing any wrinkles I might be accumulating.

For more “anti-aging articles, see:
On my 54th birthday April 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sugar case study: Jody

Jody came in to see me after reading my book [Timeless Skin] and realizing we lived in the same city. She is a 23-year-old with problem/acne skin. When she first walked in, it was obvious she had skin troubles; the whole bottom half of her face was red from blemishes and sensitive, irritated, skin.

As I always do, I asked her a series of questions ranging from what her skin care routine consisted of to how much water she drank, what if any vitamins and herbs she might take, and what type of exercise she was committed to. She was aware of sugar in her diet, and in fact Jody said she had just given up putting two teaspoons of sugar in each of the 2-3 cups of coffee she drank daily. That she stopped this daily sugar habit is something to be congratulated. And because is was a recent change, her skin hadn’t had enough time to clear up significantly.

What Jody hadn’t given up (yet) was a sugary cereal she was eating every morning for breakfast. At this point, she wasn’t able to make the switch to more non-sugary breakfast foods. She felt she would have to get up earlier in order to have time to make a good breakfast, and she didn’t want to be late for work. This is understandable, but I also believe eating a healthy breakfast can be accomplished without taking too much time. I encouraged Jody to consider changing and to incorporate making a healthy breakfast just one day per week to start, and see how that went. I think taking small, baby steps leads to permanent changes.

Jody left my office with some challenges in terms of changing her dietary habits—even more than she already had. Without getting more sugar contributors out of her diet, her skin problems would persist. I encouraged Jody to realize that when she was ready to commit to a more complete dietary change, bigger improvements would happen. I told her to remember every time she ate sugar, she increased her chances of breaking out.

Taking a more subtle approach rather than something more drastic may work better for you in terms of eliminating sugar from your diet. Even small steps, over time, can produce big changes. First, set your sights on where you want to be, and then take small steps, focus, and attain your goal. You absolutely can reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet; you just need to make a plan. Once your skin starts clearing up, you will have the impetus you need to complete your goal.


There are many articles on this blogsite that relate to sugar and problems with your skin. To name just a few:

Monday, July 20, 2015

Hair Removal Options: Epilation (ouch!)

Please first read Thoughts about Hair Removal Options for some important preliminary information.

Epilation is a little known (and highly painful) way of removing hair from the root. I should know, I have used this technique. It is basically a mechanical form of tweezing. A small, hand-held device made of a series of high velocity rotating spring-coiled discs operates like tweezers, trapping the hair and pulling it out entirely. This system can remove even the shortest and thickest hair by the root.

Epilady® is the brand name of the machine I use, but there are several companies that offer this device. If you choose to try this method, the first time you do it you might want to have a cocktail, anything to numb the pain you are about to feel! If you use epilation consistently, it becomes less and less painful, though the very first time is quite uncomfortable. This technique is a great way to remove hair from the root, giving you a smooth, hairless surface for a lot longer than shaving.

You may ask why I use the thing at all if it’s so painful, and the reason is simple: I’m lazy. I don’t like shaving my legs, yet I want to have that just-shaved look and feel (this can be especially helpful during a vacation). The Epilady helps me achieve this; clean-shaven legs without having to shave. I not only don’t want to shave, but I don’t like having my legs waxed either. It’s just too painful—somehow more so to me than epilation. Maybe this is due in part because I can stop the machine at any time, which puts me in control vs. being waxed.

I no longer use this method regularly, but when I was a frequent Epilady user, I tried to do it at least once a week to catch any new hair growth that might be taking place. This way each time I used it, I didn’t have a whole leg full of hair to contend with. And this makes for much less pain; the more you use the machine, the less and less painful it becomes. I think you just get used to the sensation that occurs when the machine is turned on and turned loose on your leg hair.

There are machines on the market that allow you to epilate not only your legs but your bikini area and underarms as well. I haven’t ventured that far in my quest for hairlessness, but I know there are machines available for these more delicate areas. I have a friend who has epilated in these areas and said it caused a lot of ingrown hair. I find this to be true, too, with epilating my legs. Still the benefits—for me—are worth a few stray hairs that have lost their way.

I have a few recommendations. First, whether you are a first-time user or just haven’t used your epilator for a while, I recommend shaving your legs and letting the hair grow out slightly. Use your epilation machine when the hair is quite short—just long enough to be picked up by the coils; one quarter inch or a bit longer is ideal. If you try to epilate with a thick forest of long hair it is a much more painful process.

Second, use this machine after a bath or shower. However, do not use it in or near water—it is an electrical appliance so don’t get the epilator machine wet. After bathing, the hair will be softer, which may make for easier elimination. As you will no doubt find out during your initial visit with the epilator, easy is not a term that comes to mind during this procedure.

And lastly—go slow! My first time using the Epilady I did a patch about 3" square, then gave up—until the next day. I just couldn’t take it. But in my experience, over time you actually can get used to the sensation. Epilation is definitely not for everyone, but if you can get past the initial pain, the benefits are long-lasting and worth it.

Also see:

Monday, July 13, 2015

QUINCY BLU—A Beautiful Life

This past Saturday I put my beloved dog, Quincy Blu, to sleep. Full disclosure: I started writing this a little bit before I had to let him go. I knew I wouldnt have the wherewithal to form a complete sentence let alone write a little piece to commemorate my sweet pup.

For the past few weeks, more like the last several months, he has been struggling with his health. It turns out his kidneys were giving out; I learned this is somewhat of a death sentence. Kidney failure in dogs is much more swift and severe than it is for cats, something I also have experience with.
s obituaryseveral weeks ago when he started on the decline. After the shock of the death sentence diagnosis (kidney failure), I went through deep grief and sadnessand he was still alive! I kept myself from going “there," to the future. It was somewhat absurd, after all he was still here and although not in his usual capacity, still living and breathing and being the sweetest dog ever.

I found Quincy at the Boulder Valley Humane Society on a Saturday in November of 2008. I wasnt actively looking for a dog, yet I was looking for a dog. I knew I wanted a cattle dog, and there were two that day at the shelter. It was clear from the moment I met him that he and I would be together. I guess youd call it “love at first sight.
Toward the end, all I could get him to eat were plain hamburgers. So—he got hamburgers!
For all of these years, Quincy would always go looking for me in our condo if I was away from him in another room for any longer than a few minutes. In his last few weeks, I would count 10 seconds or less and he would appear, wondering where I had run off to. During his bound-to-fail convalescence, it was I who could not leave his side.

Quincy wasnt a lover of much else other than me. He did love pig kneecap bones (I knoweww, gross!), but he wasnt a dog who loved to play. He would sniff other dogs but never bonded with any, and the person he always wanted to be next toeven at the dog parkwas me. I dont take this personally, per se, cattle dogs are known for connecting with one person for their whole life. I am blessed to have been his person.

For any of you who knew “Q you knowas I dowhat a sweet, calm, lovely being he was. I will miss our daily walks; his incessantly licking the carpet where (probably) one of the cats threw up; his getting into the litter box if I forgot to close the bathroom door when I left home; same with the garbage in the kitchen—if Id forgotten to put it out of reach, he loved to go through that and find any goodies that were there (especially old cat food). I will miss being sought out in our home. I will miss the way he would lay his head on my leg or arm or whatever part of me was close by. I will miss seeing him waiting for me when I come home. He was always in a certain spot where he could see me entering through the front door. I will miss him. His heart. His gentle energy and nature. His presence in my life. I will miss you Quincy Blu—till the end of my days.
Recently a friends 17 year old doggie also passed away. I told her in an email when she said she couldnt stop crying, I hope you find light in the darkness. Crying is soothing to our souls. Dont look for an end to the tears, let them take you where you need to go. I will take my own advice because right now I cant stop the river of tears from falling down to the ground. I love you, sweet sweet Quincy Blu.
If you want to read more about Quincy, see: 
For a little update, see:

Quincy Blu: My newest pack member