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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

MYTH: Night creams need to be heavy

Night creams don’t have to be heavy. They commonly are, which can lead to breakout or just a feeling of greasiness. Ingredients in night treatments are usually more regenerative and repairing, but they need not be heavy.

There is a long-standing image of our grandmothers going to bed with a heavy layer of greasy cream on their faces. Somehow manufacturers have not completely gotten away from this image and still make night creams that are heavy and greasy.

Just know your night cream is more of a treatment cream and should be designed to tackle problems specific to your skin type (sensitive, couperose, dry, oily, problem, etc.). This does not have to affect the thickness of the cream, however.

For more information, see:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Standing Tall—checking in on your posture

Good posture seems to be a forgotten practice I want to address. And although how good or bad your posture is doesn’t directly affect your skin, it does affect your general and long-term health.

I find it so interesting how we carry ourselves. You can tell a lot about people by how they hold themselves up. Because we have to use our backs all of our lives, and because they tend to give us problems as we get older, I think it’s important to take care of our backs now, so they will last for a lifetime. Exercise is always important, but posture and how we walk around all day long can affect the health of our backs as well. Taking a stand on proper posture is a good start toward taking good care of your back.

Start observing people, and you’ll be amazed at how many of them are walking around hunched over or sunken in. I want to go over and gently pull them up to a straight and upright position. It’s a bad habit, but I believe anyone can correct bad posture. (Obviously, I’m not talking about people who have chronic back trouble or spinal abnormalities.) Women are the worst when it comes to walking around with poor posture. I half-jokingly say, “If you want an instant breast lift, stand up straight.”

When you’re out, and you see someone with bad posture, use this as a signal to make sure you are standing tall. You can’t go up to strangers and correct their posture, but you can use their example as a reminder to yourself to assume good posture. It’s a minor correction that can help you look and feel better.

Also see:


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Yonka’s PHYTO-BAIN—aromatic, relaxing bath oil

Yonkas PHYTO-BAIN is a revitalizing, relaxing product for your bath. I love this product! I call it incense for the home. The ever-so-pleasing aromatics of this bath and body product really are relaxing and revitalizing. You will become addicted to Phyto-Bainguaranteed!

This is both a body wash and a bath oil; I prefer using it in the bath water. It does create bubbles, but not like a true bubble bath. However, if you have a Jacuzzi, Phyto-Bain will make tons of tiny bubbles. That along with the aromatic heaven this product exudes makes Phyto-Bain a must-have for relaxing bath-time bliss!

Yonka describes Phyto-Bain as “a genuine spa effect at home with this highly concentrated aromatic bath treatment with plant extracts and essential oils known for their multiple therapeutic virtues. Invigorates, restores full vitality, relieves tired legs and gives the whole body a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Note: it can also be used in a shower with a damp glove

Essential ingredients:
  • Essential oil of lavender—relaxing, balancing
  • Everlasting essential oil (hylichrysium)invigorates, increases vessel resistance
  • Sage essential oilfirms, tones
  • Extracts of witch hazelimproves circulation, purifies, tones
  • Petitgrain essential oilcalms, drains, uplifts
  • Rosemary essential oiluplifts, rejuvenates, stimulates
  • Horse chestnutvenous tonic, vasoconstricts
  • Cypressvenous tonic, vasoconstricts

Directions for use:
  • Pour 1-2 tablespoons of PHYTO-BAIN into the bath water as it’s running
  • Get in and relax while breathing in this aromatic concoction
For more information, see:

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Men & Proper Skin Care

There really is very little difference between treating male skin and treating female skin. I approach each person as a unique individual—male, female, black, white, young, or old. Everyone has several combinations of characteristics that make up his or her skin. There are, of course, certain qualities to men’s skin that make it distinct.

As I’ve said before, when it comes to men and their skin care habits, the word apathy comes to mind. Men I’ve met and the husbands and boyfriends of my clients tend not to do too much with their skin. I don’t think this is because they don’t care. No doubt the lack of exposure to proper skin care products and techniques plays a part in a man’s lack of a skin care routine. I see this changing over the years, and consequently I see many more men taking good care of their skin.

Your skin is usually thick; thick skin tends to be oily. You have high amounts of androgens, including testosterone (a male hormone linked to sebaceous activity), so your skin will usually be oilier than a woman’s. You typically experience problems with your skin at the onset of puberty, when your body is going through tremendous hormonal surges. Along with blemishes, you may experience irritations due to your newly sprouting facial hair.

Also many young men are active in sports at this time. Sweating during these activities can bring its own set of problems—namely irritation on the surface of the skin. Couple this irritation with chin straps or other gear that may interfere with sweating, and you have a recipe for trouble.

After puberty, you generally don’t have too many problems with your skin. As apposed to women, who have monthly hormone fluctuations throughout their lives, many of you have smooth sailing after the teen years. This, however, is not always the case.

Do you have problems with your skin? If so, you might have a hormone imbalance that can cause mild to severe breakouts. Folliculitis (inflammation of the hair follicles) and basic irritation with shaving can plague you throughout your life too. Diet also plays a key role in the health of your skin. An overall lack of proper care can cause problems as well. If neglected, your skin will reflect it.

One common problem you may experience is extreme dryness (which is really dehydration) that comes from a lack of moisture in the skin as well as a thick dead skin buildup. Exfoliating and moisturizing can help lessen this type of red, flaky skin. However, dry skin may actually be eczema, a dermatitis showing up as red, scaly skin that usually itches. In this case, skin care products will not be of much help, and you’ll want to seek out a dermatologist’s care.
Dermatitises (skin inflammations) explained

Sun damage is another skin problem I see frequently in my male clients. Because many of you are not as conscious about taking care of your skin as some women are, you tend to skip sunscreen and sun protection in general. This can lead to sunburn as well as general dryness (dehydration) from overexposure. Whenever sun exposure is involved, there is always the possibility of cancerous growths down the road. As with all skin, female and male, sun protection is a must.

A common condition for men is ingrown hairs, otherwise known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. This is where your hair decides to navigate back down into the skin instead of coming out onto the surface. Because these hairs are coarse, they can wreak havoc on the tissue below. The misguided hairs usually causes red, irritated bumps that resemble blemishes, but they are actually small irritations caused by the ingrown hairs. Once this sensitive tissue meets with a razor, small red bumps (razor bumps) follow. Although ingrown hairs cause inflammation and irritation, there is usually not a bacterial infection present as with true folliculitis.

Pseudofolliculitis tends to happen more with curly-haired men, especially African-Americans. The first course of treatment for ingrown hairs is exfoliation. By exfoliating the outer, dead skin layer, often the hair finds an easier path to the outside. When exfoliating, a gel-type, nonabrasive peel would be preferable to using a scrub. If a scrub is all you have at the moment, don’t get too aggressive with it or you can cause more irritation, but be on the lookout for a gentler, gel-type product. Give exfoliation a try and see if it solves your ingrown hair problems. If you can, try not shaving so closely with your razor. This can help to alleviate some of the irritation. If nothing seems to work, another option—although maybe not for everyone—is to let your beard grow out.

If you’re having problems with skin irritations around your beard area that won’t go away, it could be true folliculitis. This is a bacterial infection (staphylococcus) in your hair follicles caused by any number of things, even contaminated washcloths. If you think you have folliculitis, you may want to consult your dermatologist, who can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria present in your skin.

There are many articles posted on this blog specifically for men, however any post here can be beneficial for any skin, male or female. For your basic skin care program, see:
For more information, see:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Basal cell carcinoma: Cate’s story

Since my client Cate had a basal cell carcinoma removed from her face and she had a story to tell, I asked her to write about her experience. Her story, especially her hesitation going to the dermatologist (sound familiar?), is a common one and is an important point in her message. Here is some of what she wrote:

I put off going to the dermatologist, but probably only for 6-7 months* because [the mole] looked like a freckle, so friendly and benign. You, however, advised me to go get it checked out, especially because it was new.

A doctor-friend wanted me to have an ophthalmological surgeon do the biopsy and removal because it was so close to my eye. The eye surgeon was certain beforehand that it wasn’t cancer, but while I was out and still under the knife, the pathology report came back—basal cell carcinoma.

So out it came with more tissue than expected and a skin graft to boot. All because you really urged me to have it looked at. Most likely if I’d gone sooner it would have been smaller and not as big a deal.
*Six to seven months can be a long time for cancer to grow.

Because I see Cate’s skin on a semi-regular basis (she gets quarterly facials, sometimes more often), I have had the advantage of becoming familiar with her skin and am able to notice changes from time to time. Because I am not superhuman, I do write down changes or abnormalities I see on a chart I have for each and every client, something every aesthetician should do without question.

I had marked down what I thought was a place on Cate’s face (near her eye) with unusual tissue formation. So the next time she came in (3 months later), I knew it wasn’t a blemish. Spots don’t take three months to heal, and this place looked the same as it did, no changes. That is unusual for a blemish, not for other skin formations. Also, the tissue looked strange to me.

Even though I encouraged Cate to see her dermatologist, she did what many people routinely do—she didn’t do anything. Cate let many months pass before she decided to take the plunge and have her moles checked. I think it is part of human nature to avoid something we don’t want to know about, such as the possibility of cancer. I hope you will bypass this perhaps natural inclination if you indeed find a funny-looking mole—no matter where it is located on your body—and have it checked out.

It is common for me to send my clients to the dermatologist to have a mole checked. Nine times out of ten, they come back with a clean bill of health. But as I tell them, I would rather be safe than sorry. In the case of skin cancer, this should be your anthem. And anytime you have had a cancerous lesion removed, you should (if not instructed by your doctor) get a checkup at least every six months to a year. I advise the shorter time frame because once you have one place removed, I believe there will inevitably be more to come. And the more time you have spent in the sun (over your lifetime, not just recently), the higher the chances of problems cropping up.

I recommend going to your dermatologist for a baseline mole check. The baseline gives the doctor a marker of what your moles look like now, so if in the future they change, it may be easier to detect potential problem areas.

For more articles on skin cancer see:

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

More Help for Chapped Lips

Chapped lips are a problem for a lot of people, and as we’re heading into the colder winter months, you do not want to start the season with chapped lips.

If you wear lipstick, you’ll want to use anti-chapping products at night before bed and whenever you aren’t wearing lipstick. If you have severe problems with chapping, try not wearing lipstick for a few days while using healing lip balms. If your chapped lips clear up, your lipstick may be causing the problem. You may want to switch to a more moisturizing type of lipstick. If you will use healing lip products on a regular basis, most of you will find relief from chapping.

For years I used petroleum-based lip balms, and still my lips stayed very chapped and flaky. I switched brands many times, but never found relief. After a friend brought to my attention the large amounts of petroleum contained in these products, I opted for a healthier type of lip carethe non-petroleum variety. Remember, throughout the day you are ingesting (by eating, drinking, and licking off ) anything you put on your lips. It may seem minor, but day after day, year after year, the petroleum and dyes in lipsticks and balms add up to consuming a lot of undesirable elements.

Try switching to non-petroleum lip products, and see if that helps you. Some eye creams are made to be used on the lips as well. Personally, I prefer a balm rather than a cream, but you may fare well using your eye cream as a lip treatment. There are many brands of quality lip care that can be found at most health food stores. This tangerine Whole Foods brand, pictured above, is the one I have used for years. It doesn’t have much of an aroma, something I prefer in a lip balm. It works great, too.

Using an oil on your lips can also be an effective way to relieve chapping. If you have olive oil in your kitchen, pour some in a small container and dab it on your lips whenever you need to. This will go a long way in helping to keep your lips hydrated and free from chapping. I personally don’t like oils; the oil always seeps into my mouth. I’ll continue to use my favorite non-petroleum lip balms and I encourage you to find a favorite of your own.

I always encourage my clients to purchase several balms vs. just one. Then you can put them in different strategic places so wherever you are you’ll have a lip balm handy, and you can kiss the possibility of chapped lips good-bye.

For more information, see:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Forgotten Places: The Eye Area

Although I have written about the importance of eye creams in this blog, I wanted to include the eyes again for emphasis. I really feel the eye area is a Forgotten Place when it comes to proper skin care.

Many of my clients have never used eye cream before. I must admit, up until I was 30 I hardly ever used eye cream. Then when I hit 35, I started to use it with greater frequency. And now I apply eye cream many times throughout the day. Sometimes youth is wasted on the young. It usually isn’t until the lines actually make their presence known that we decide to pay attention to this Forgotten Place.

As I’ve said previously, you have no functioning oil glands directly under your eyes; therefore you need to use cream (sparingly) to keep that tissue soft. This will not erase wrinkles, but it will keep them from furrowing into the skin. Make your under-eyes a “remembered place.”

As a visual reminder, I have eye cream everywhere. It’s on my nightstand, at my writing desk, and in my bathroom. I also have some at my desk in my office as well as my gym bag. I use it all the time. Not in a thick layer, but just enough to keep that delicate, under-eye tissue soft. At any given point in the day, I’ll touch the skin under my eyes to see if it feels dry. If it does, I reach for my eye cream. (I don’t have far to reach!)

Granted, I have easy access to all these tubes of eye cream because I sell it at my office. But consider buying more than one container of eye cream. Although the investment does cost you more initially, in the long run the cost evens out. You will go through several containers more slowly than if you had only one. Whichever method you choose, don’t forget to use eye cream every day (at least twice a day).

When you apply sunscreen to your face don’t bypass the undereye area. Wearing sunglasses with UV filters will also help to curb ultraviolet light exposure. Sunglasses will keep you from squinting, lessening the potential for lines.

Also see:

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Friday, September 18, 2015

Exfoliation: Thoughts on BufPufs, Washcloths, Gommage, and more!

Exfoliation helps to remove surface dead cells, giving your skin smoother texture and a healthy, well-nourished glow. Getting rid of dead cells also helps keep your pores from clogging, and the act of exfoliation helps to increase circulation, which always services the skin. Improved circulation helps with cellular respiration, which is how your skin really breathes—through the oxygen carried in the blood. Toxins are dumped into the bloodstream, so stepping up circulation helps with this exchange as well.

I tell my clients when they can’t come in for a facial, exfoliate! Exfoliation is certainly not the be-all and end-all of healthy skin, but it can take away layers of stress from your face, revealing the natural beauty hidden beneath. If you aren’t currently exfoliating, I recommend finding a suitable exfoliation system that works for your skin, your lifestyle, and your pocketbook.

You talk a lot about exfoliation and how important it is for the skin. Does using a Buf-Puf count as exfoliation or is it cleansing?

Buf-Puf is a type of facial sponge made from polyester fibers that is meant to exfoliate the skin’s surface. I have two concerns about using this product. The first and most important one is Buf-Pufs can be irritating. Even the type for very sensitive skin feels rough to the touch; once you start rubbing this on your skin, it can irritate even the most non-sensitive skin. My second concern is about cleanliness. Buf-Pufs, like loofah sponges, harbor bacteria. No doubt some of the dead skin that is being exfoliated is also sticking around in the sponge itself. Without thoroughly rinsing the Buf-Puf after every use, you may run the risk of bacteria multiplying inside the material. Overall, I find that this product is simply too rough to use on the face.

Another way to exfoliate is to use a gommage-type product. In French, gommage means to remove or erase. In this case, removing dead skin and erasing dehydration. The secondary benefit of this type of product is it is a gel and is therefore hydrating to the outer skin. So not only do you get the exfoliation benefits, but you are actually helping to moisturize your skin as well. Since there are no abrasive particles in this gel peel to irritate red or inflamed skin (like acne), gommage is well suited for even the most sensitive skin.

A scrub is probably the best-known product used to exfoliate. Scrubs contain abrasive particles from either organic or inorganic sources that, when rubbed over the skin, help to dislodge pieces of dead skin, which helps to make the skin feel smooth. Sometimes scrubs, because they take oil and water off the skin’s surface, can make your face feel dry although it is really dehydration (surface water loss) you are feeling. Scrubs don’t offer the most effective type of exfoliation, but they surely are the easiest products to find.

Sometimes I like to mix equal parts of my cleanser with a scrub. This way, there aren’t as many granules to irritate my skin, and I still get some circulatory benefits as well as some exfoliation. Try this if you have sensitive skin or don’t have luck using a scrub by itself.

I don’t recommend using washcloths as your exfoliator of choice. They can harbor bacteria, they are not gentle on your skin, and they can move around a lot of skin without you being aware of it. Once in a while, this wouldn’t be a problem, but day after day, year after year, this can’t be good for the elasticity of your skin. If you have to use a washcloth, be gentle and try not to rub your skin too hard. Also, use a fresh (clean) cloth every time; don’t just let it dry out and reuse it time after time. Bacteria may accumulate in a used washcloth.

No matter what you choose to use, exfoliation is paramount to healthy and healthy-looking skin. So when in doubt, exfoliate!

HOT TIP: If you want your skin to look radiant before you go out, so beautiful that you probably wouldn’t even want to cover it with foundation—exfoliate.

For more exfoliation tips, see:
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Gray Hair Story


This, FYI, is not me :+)
Although this was piece was written a decade ago (c.2005, when I was nearly 45), it still rings true for me today and I’m sure going forward as well. In the past year, two friends who are my age (54) have decided to stop coloring their hair and let the gray come through. I dedicate this article to them and anyone who decides to just be themselvesgray hair and all.



 
I have gray hairs; more and more every day. I am in my 40s and the stray grays started appearing around age 35. It began as just one solitary gray hair I found one day. I didn’t pull it out, I think I marveled at it actually.

A few years later and after a few more gray hairs had appeared, I was getting my hair cut. My stylist was on his way to pulling one of them out and I said, “Stop!” I’m sure for him it was instinctualto get rid of the gray, but for me these hairs were almost indicators I had graduated to a new phase of my life. Even at this early stage I was determined to adopt a different view of aging than most people I had run across. Certainly different than the massesand the media.

1926 gray hair dye ad—!
As the years have gone by, the gray hairs have increased. I could color my hair and get rid of the gray, but that is actually not an option for me. I don’t want the maintenance of having to dye it constantly, and I truly don’t want to mask or cover up what is naturally happening with regard to my own aging process.

For me, it all boils down to choice. I have the choice to love, hate, or be indifferent to my gray hair. I am somewhere between indifference and love. And since I do have a choice, why would I choose to hate my gray? Although the outside world begs us to change the way we naturally are, I dont feel moved to do so. In the end coloring my hair is my choiceand yours!

I am sure some of you think I’m crazy, but I know there are others who can relate to my story. My reality is based on the ultimate truth: I am aging. And to hide it is at best temporary, and at the worst it is a pain in thewell, at least in the wallet. And then theres the element of time. The time and money I save on not focusing on changing my gray hair helps to fund other things I enjoy.

Recently I was waiting in line at a movie theater. The woman ahead of me, probably in her late 50s, had gray and brownish hair. I looked at her and thought that might be what my hair will look like in another 10 years. I thought she looked good. And I always appreciate someone who wears their age as is. It’s a statement of acceptance.

My path, my choice, is acceptance. And along with accepting the gray, I am saying I love it just for good measure. Since I am choosing to keep it, I might as well love it too. Then when I look in the mirror, I have good things I am thinking about myself instead of the alternative.  If on a daily basis I resist the truth and wish or want things to be different, until they are different I will be unhappy.

Obviously this is my way of handling the aging process and may not be (and probably is not) your way. I am certainly not against coloring over gray hairjust my gray hair! We live in a world filled with choices; hair color is just one of many. So go forth and color your gray away or not. Regardless, do try to enjoy the aging process. Some parts are easier than others, to be sure. 



Monday, September 14, 2015

Mineral Makeup

Over the years, I have had numerous women ask me, “If foundation is bad for my skin, what can I use for coverage?” Loose powder is one alternative to liquid foundation. Mineral makeup, which has been around for several decades, I also recommend.

Mineral makeup contains micronized minerals, which are concentrated pigment. This gives the skin very good coverage without causing the congestion you get with liquid foundation (or pressed powder). People with rosacea are particularly happy with the coverage mineral makeup is able to give their skin. Unlike loose powder, mineral makeup does not generally contain fillers like talc. This helps with the efficacy of the pigments contained in this powder makeup.

Most brands contain both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These provide full or broad spectrum sun protection. Not all mineral makeup products have an SPF rating. Keep in mind, any sun protection must be included on the label. There are several companies who manufacture mineral makeup. Some of the most popular are Bobbi Brown, Jane Iredale, YoungBlood, and Bare Essentials.

My goal is to help you get your skin looking healthy so you won’t want to cover it up with foundation, powder, or mineral makeup. However, if you feel you need coverage and don’t want the negatives liquid foundations and pressed powders offer, give mineral makeup a try. Hopefully you will find it works well for you—and your skin.

For more information, see:

Friday, September 11, 2015

Going on Accutane—right or wrong?

I’ve been on Accutane for four months now and my skin has totally cleared up. This is my second time on it for the same thing. Thankfully, I found a liberal doctor who would prescribe it for me because I don’t have a “severe” acne problem. It’s actually a rash I get all over my forehead and temples and on my chest and upper back too. Now I can use whatever shampoo, conditioner, or styling product I like without getting any reaction, but I’m afraid that will stop when I go off the drug.

My skin looks somewhat dry and dull-looking from the Accutane treatments. It also seems really sensitive to products. When I use heavy creams or even creamy cleansers to combat the dryness, they just make me break out. Is there a heavier cream I can use that won’t clog my pores? I’m really worried that when I go off the medication, the rash will come back like it did the last time I went off Accutane.


I am using this email as a doubly bad example of Accutane abuse. Not only did she go on several rounds of this medication, but apparently she doesn’t even have true acne. I’m sure most doctors prescribe this serious drug with great consideration. This email is an example of a less conservative approach (and one I disagree with).

Thankfully, I found a liberal doctor who would prescribe [Accutane] for me because I don’t have a “severe” acne problem. I wonder how many people could have written the very same thing. Prescribing Accutane is serious business. I am worried and disappointed about this “liberal” doctor. Need I explain? I’m sure it’s frustrating having to find products that won’t cause reactions, but the potential problems caused by using Accutane far outweigh this annoyance.

I’m afraid [my ability to freely use products] will stop when I go off the drug. This is why it is crucial to find out what is causing your skin problems, be it sensitivities to ingredients or foods or other factors. Until you eliminate the cause of the problem, you won’t stop creating the symptom. It really is as simple as that.

My skin looks somewhat dry and dull-looking from the Accutane treatments. When I use heavy creams or even creamy cleansers to combat it, they just make me break out. Here is a perfect example of why I want to educate you about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Although this truly is a special case and perhaps this young lady’s skin really isn’t producing much oil now that she has taken Accutane, using heavy creams isn’t the solution. Is her skin truly dry or just dehydrated from the use of Accutane?

Is there a heavier cream I can use that won’t clog my pores? No! Heavy creams will clog your pores if you don’t need all the oil they contain. Only true-dry, oil-deficient skin can use heavy creams with relatively no problems. If a moisturizing cream is breaking you out—especially if it is a “heavy” cream—it is not appropriate for your skin.

I’m really worried that when I go off the medication, the rash will come back like it did the last time I went off Accutane. First of all, we haven’t established that this person even has acne. It sounds like a rash, even though Accutane helped eliminate it—temporarily. But still, she clearly illustrates a concern I have about taking Accutane. Why is she having skin problems in the first place? Whatever the source of her problem, she probably has not eliminated it from her life. As long as she continues to introduce products that are irritating her skin, she will continue to have the rash and the problem skin she describes. Eliminating the root cause will help to control or eliminate the problem skin (whether it’s a rash or acne).

Are you willing to take a strong drug, but unwilling to change your lifestyle habits? If you are unwilling to change your ways, I hate to think you will rely on Accutane (which can and does have side effects) to do all the work for you. In the long run, I think your body loses.

There are many articles about Accutane on this blog. Here a few you may be interested in:



Accutane: What is it and what does it do?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Avoid the sun?

One misconception about sun exposure I want to address is the notion that we should avoid the sun altogether. True, we don’t want to ever overexpose ourselves to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation, but humans require sunlight in order to thrive, grow, and feel nourished.

We would not exist without sunlight (as evidenced by history). The sun heats our planet and makes things grow. It stimulates certain vitamins (namely vitamin D) in our bodies and generally makes us feel good. There are studies showing that people who live in areas with little sunshine at certain times of the year have a higher incidence of depression. There is even a name for this depressed state; its called seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

We are meant to be outside. It’s overexposure and unprotected sun exposure that should always be avoided, but not sunshine altogether. There’s nothing like a bright, sunshiny day to lift our spirits and motivate us to get things doneor to just relax and feel good.

Many people are sun worshipers. Their faces show the effects of long-term, excessive sun exposure. Unfortunately, it seems that for every delight there is also an inevitable detriment. If you love to be out in the sun, at least one of the prices you’ll have to pay will be wrinkles (probably premature), and of course the potential for skin cancer. This is especially true if your sun exposure is unprotected exposure—a potentially deadly sin.


Genetics, as with all things, play a big part in how sunlight will affect you as an individual. I know several clients who were lifeguards as teenagers and have been sun worshipers ever since, yet somehow they haven’t had to pay the price (not yet, anyway). Their skin has not prematurely aged, and they show no signs of cancer or any precancerous growths. Warning: these few individuals are exceptions! Genetically they have some kind of miraculous sun-protecting genes that have allowed them to avoid the damage caused by excessive sun exposure.

Most of us are not so lucky. If you were someone who was out by the pool putting baby oil all over your body while lemon juice soaked in your hair, take heart. You are in the majority. Back in the 1960s, ’70s, and even the ’80s, suntanning was the cool thing to do. Evidence of this can be found in several books published up until the mid-’80s on how to get a golden tan. There was still an attitude of acceptance about getting a deep, dark tan, but in the very next decade we found out how painfully wrong we were to indulge in this activity. It’s a matter of “When you know better, you do better.”

Unfortunately, that saying is not true for everybody. A lot of people, especially teens, still believe a tan is cool. You’d think with all the information available to the public, people would realize the dangers of tanning and take precautions to ensure their safety and their skins’ health. But we were all teenagers once, and that is not how we were, and it’s not how teens are today. And actually a lot of adults can be found at the beach, lying out by the pool, and in tanning beds across the country. I’d like to think that when we do find out what is better for our health, we incorporate that knowledge into our daily lives, but this is not always the case. The old saying that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink is still true today.

I am not advocating avoiding sun exposure completely. What I am saying is be prepared; have sunscreen, hats, and try to avoid over exposing your skin when you are out. Even if you haven’t had a lot of sun exposure in your lifetime, and especially if you have, I highly recommend seeing a dermatologist for a full-body mole exam by at least age 40.


For additional articles about sun, sunscreen, and skin cancer, see:

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Yonka’s CREME 15—for normal to oily and problem skin

CREME 15 is a wonderful treatment cream for normal to oily and problem/acneic skin. I have recommended it for over 3 decades for my clients with problem skin, breakouts, and overall oily skin conditions. I used it personally for over 20 years when my skin was younger and oilierall with great results.

Extracts of burdock, sage, and birch help to balance and regulate sebaceous (oil) secretions. St. John’s Wort acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to soothe the skin and take out redness.
Due to the essential oil content as well as other balancing ingredients, Creme 15 can help keep problem spots from occurring and lessen their lifespan. Even if you don’t have problems with blemishes, yet have normal to oily skin, Creme 15 helps to balance sebaceous (oil) secretions and leaves your skin purified, softened, and balanced.

Although labeled a “night cream,
I have several clients who use Creme 15 morning and evening. Im not a stickler (or true believer) in day creams being used only for day and night creams only for night. Some people can only afford one moisturizer, while others simply prefer to use one cream morning and night. And in the case of Creme 15, sometime I want a client with problem skin to use this cream for day and night so their skin can get the anti-inflammatory and healing, balancing attributes of this cream 24/7.

If Creme 15 isn’t moisturizing enough for you (especially during the colder, winter months or in drier climates like Colorado), Yonka’s Hydralia or Optimizer Serum can be added to give this or any creme a hydrating boost without adding oil to an already oilier skin

Essential ingredients:
  • Burdock, sage, birch, essential oil of limepurifying, balancing
  • Yonka “Quintessence (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)purifying, balancing  
  • Mallow, chamomile, melissa, arnica, witch hazelsoothing 
  • St. John’s Wortregenerating, anti-inflammatory
Directions for use:

In the morning and/or evening:
  • After cleansing and spraying on Yonka Lotion toner
  • Apply a pea-sized dollop of CREME 15 over face and neck 
  • Then use eye cream

Friday, September 4, 2015

Problem Skin Q & As

In all the clients I’ve seen with problem skin, I would have to say that only about 10 to 15% of them have problem skin due simply to hormone imbalances. Almost all of the problems I see are directly related to diet. What you put into your body is going to be eliminated; it will be processed first, then discarded. The truth is you have the power on a daily basis to see how what you eat affects your body in general and your skin specifically. You can do this by becoming aware of your skin and your breakouts. As always, you have the answers within.

My skin has been a daily task to keep clear for the last ten years. I have a very mild acne problem, and it bothers me. I have tried everything in creation to keep my skin clear, but there always seems to be a spot or two at any given time. I have very sensitive skin that does not respond well to AHAs or other acid products, and most oils found in many products bother my skin.

I use Cetaphil to cleanse with and it works wonders (I love that product). I need an exfoliator to use before I wash with my cleanser. I have also used your gommage and was happy with the results and how it didn’t bother my skin. I appreciate any advice or comments you may have for me.

Since her breakouts are ongoing, she is definitely doing something on an ongoing basis to encourage her problem skin. Her use of the term acne may be an overstatement, but that is my own opinion. The acne I call acne is the full-blown cystic type.

AHAs and other strong acid products don’t work for many people. And if you have any sensitivities and especially if you have redness in your skin, I don’t recommend them.

Cetaphil cleanser works well for many people. It is inexpensive and easy to find. I need an exfoliator to use before I wash with my cleanser. You actually want to cleanse before you exfoliate. Cleansing first gets the debris off the surface of the skin, giving your exfoliator a better chance to do its job. The gommage is a great way to get rid of a lot of dead skin while not irritating or otherwise causing problems for sensitive skin. She could use this product several times per week.

I would advise her to really take a long, hard look at her diet and see if she has hidden or even obvious sugar that she may not be counting as contributing to her ongoing problem skin. Many people just haven’t yet come to this realization about diet (especially sugar) and how it affects skin, which is why I talk so much about it.

On my upper chin (below the lip area) I have these little bumps that have been there for as long as I can remember, and they won’t go away. I can’t see them (unless under a particular light, close up in scrutiny), and the area is smooth when touched. However, when the area is stretched (as when making a face) I can then feel these little bumps. What can I do?

My first recommendations to not focus too much on those little, undetectable bumps. I do know what you are talking about, however. They are probably little pockets of oil sitting just under the surface of your skin. And sometimes even the clay mask cannot get rid of them—they have too much dead skin grown over them.

One thing you can do, but you have to be gentle, is to use a scrub in that area. I emphasize being gentle because in my experience, people who focus on these sort of undetectable places tend to be a bit too gungho about getting rid of them. Also using a clay mask will or should help to minimize the size of these little pockets. If you get facials, be sure your aesthetician is aware of these spots; she can probably extract them during the treatment.

In the past few years, I have had many breakouts. Mostly in weird spots like my neck and behind my ears. I always drink 8-10 glasses of water each day. I also work out on a regular basis. Within the last year I have increased my fruits and vegetables significantly. I am also cutting back on sugar and am trying to eat more organic foods to limit the number of toxins in my body. However the changes haven’t seemed to help my blemishes.

This problem could simply be a matter of not getting the sweat off your face after working out. The location of the problems is the first clue. The neck isn’t a very likely place for breakout to occur. Maybe occasionally, but not on an ongoing basis. Then behind the ears is equally unusual. Sweat, however, is commonly found in both of these places.

If sweat from exercise is the culprit, you want to always be sure to splash-rinse your face and neck with water after you stop exercising. If you aren’t near water, be sure to splash or wash your face as soon as possible. Don’t let sweat dry on your skin. It is irritating and can cause problems, especially in these odd areas. 

Sweat may not be the problem, and your blemishes could be due to hormones. There are many factors to consider when it comes to skin breaking out.

Keep analyzing your life—in general, and specifically—on a daily basis to become aware of what you may be eating, doing, or engaging in that might be making your blemishes worse. I will say time and again, problem skin is caused by something. It is up to you to decipher all the elements and components that make up your life and be the sleuth, helping to figure out why the problems are occurring.

For more information, see: