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Monday, February 29, 2016

Yonka-Paris products for Your Skin Type

I wanted to post some information to help you put together a skin care program using Yonka products based on your skin type. The following are the skin type groups that will all eventually have corresponding pages with product information you can use to make informed choices as to which Yonka products are best for your skin type. Once an article has posted, the link will also be available below:

IMPORTANT ITEMS:
In order to get the proper products for your skin type, you must first and foremost determine how much oil your skin is producing. Without this knowledge, the chances of ordering products that are wrong for your skin increases. Keep this in mind when looking at the skin type descriptions:
  • How much oil are you producing? A lot? None at all? Somewhere in between?

Next, I am definitely a proponent of using sunscreen on a daily basis if you will be exposed. Yonka doesn’t include sun protection in their day creams. Why? Because including the extra sunscreen ingredients cancels out the action of the treatment ingredients. In other words, there isn’t enough room to include everything in one cream. Therefore, if you are interested in using sunscreen, I recommend the following as your day cream:

If you have true-dry (oil-dry) skin, you can use your day cream and sunscreen. Otherwise, I’d just use sunscreen as your day cream. You can follow the advice in the skin type descriptions for all other aspects of your treatment program.

Finally, no matter your skin type, in the drier/winter months Hydralia (see link below) is essential to add to your moisturizers (day and night). Unless you live in a warm climate 365, Hydralia will help to alleviate that aggravating dry, flaky skin you may experience.

These articles are just guidelines as to the right products for your skin. I have tried to simplify the process by only giving a few choices, although the Yonka line is extensive and other products may also be appropriate for your skin type.

 In most cases products are listed in this order: 
  • Cleanser
  • Toner
  • Day Cream
  • Night Cream
  • Eye Cream
  • Exfoliator (Gommage)
  • Mask
  • Serums & Concentrates

Please read the following article to help you figure out which product grouping you belong to. Without this information, you are destined to purchase the wrong products and possibly create breakout (or dry, irritated skin) in the process.


For more information on Hydralia, see:

Essential Oils—Geranium: all links so far

essential oils—geranium

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Q & A: Geranium for Blemishes

In your book, Timeless Skin, you recommend applying geranium oil to blemished skin. What would I mix it with? Also what do you think about virgin coconut oil as a moisturizer for the face? Could this be used to dilute the geranium oil?

You don’t actually “mix” the geranium with anything. You just put a tiny drop of this (or any) essential oil on the infected blemishes—that’s it. You don’t mix the essential oil with coconut or any other carrier oil; you don’t want to dilute the geranium. Simply put it on the blemishes after you have done your evening 1-2-3 routine (cleansing, toning, night treatment cream). Please—do not mix this or any essential oil into products you’ll be applying to your entire face or any large area. Use geranium or your favorite essential oil on the infected blemishes—only!

Here is another client question reiterating my statements. I include it here for emphasis:

How often should I apply the geranium and where? Do I dab it on my blemishes or put it all over my face?

Do not mix geranium or any essential oil in with your cremes, and under no circumstances should you rub it all over your face! In reference to the previous email, this is no doubt why manufacturers say not to use it neat—as a precautionary measure because someone may unwittingly put it all over their skin.

Geranium is best used on infected blemishes only. If the spot is red, which generally indicates infection, use the geranium. If not, don’t. In other words, using this essential oil on blackheads won’t do you any good. Just dab it on infected places for 2-3 days or until there is a lot of improvement in the spot(s). Apply it at night after your Basics 1-2-3 routine or right before bedtime.

If I put geranium on overnight, should I wait until the mask dries then put on the geranium, or can I put both on at the same time?

I recommend waiting until the mask dries. Otherwise, when you apply the (wet) geranium to the wet mask, your finger will usually take the mask off. So, wait a few minutes after applying the mask, then put a drop of geranium on the clay.

As I have said in just about every piece of writing about essential oil of geranium, I now tend to recommend lavender due to its more pleasing aromatic. Many of my clients just couldn’t take the strong scent of geranium oil. The actions of the two essential oils are somewhat different, but not enough that I prefer one over the other. I do have a few clients who love geranium, strong aromatic and all. Whichever you choose, do use essential oils on your spots to help them to heal faster and keep your skin clear.

For more information, see:

Friday, February 26, 2016

What is Actinic Keratosis?

Actinic keratosis, sometimes called solar keratosis, is basically a premalignant lesion of the skin caused by excess exposure to sunlight. Keratosis means an over-accumulation of keratin or skin. These skin growths start out as flat and sometimes scaly places that can later develop into a scaly surface that resembles a wart. Although these are precancerous growths, around 10% of actinic keratoses become skin cancers called squamous cell carcinomas. These precancerous growths tend to form on lighter skin that receives sun exposure.

The following is my actinic keratosis story from back in 2000, when I was living in Dallas. As you will read, I was in the sun a lot, rollerblading and such, but I was (and am) always careful to not only have a ton of sunscreen on—all over—but I even wore a wide-brimmed hat while skating, something I always got funny looks for and sometimes funny comments about. Oh well, it was all for sun protection.

My story. It was time for my annual checkup at the dermatologist, so I went in to get a full-body check of my moles. I thoroughly looked over my body the morning of my appointment so I would be familiar with my moles and I could ask about questionable places.

As I sat in the exam room, I took a marker I brought in with me (specifically for this purpose) and marked an “X” next to all the moles I had questions about. This may seem strange to you, but to me this is serious business, and I wanted to have all moles checked and didn’t want to forget any I thought were questionable. Normally you will be given a cloth gown to wear for your examination. Since I had a few  moles up and around my breasts and near my armpits, I decided to wear my roller blading shorts and a workout-type bra, clothing more conducive for the doctor to examine those hard-to-reach areas.

The Physician’s Assistant, Gabriel, came in and the exam began. As he went through each section of my body, I asked questions about marked and unmarked moles so I could get some perspective on places that were OK versus moles that were suspicious. Gabriel came upon a place of concern on the outside of my left leg about five inches above my ankle bone. I had marked an “X” there because this mole looked questionable to me. This mole was small and relatively insignificant, and I believe that most people wouldn’t have even considered it to be of any concern.

The dermatologist concurred with Gabriel’s findings, and it was decided a biopsy was in order. The area was numbed with a shot. Then Gabriel used a scraping instrument to take a scoop of skin off. I was glad the mole wasn’t on my face since this procedure takes off a fair amount of skin. A bandage was put over the spot, and I was on my way.

A few days later, Gabriel called with the biopsy’s results: actinic keratosis. He said it wasn’t cancer, and wasn’t actually considered precancerous, although if left unattended, over time it certainly could have become a cancerous growth (squamous cell carcinoma). I was amazed. It wasn’t in a very obvious area on my body and was such an unassuming little spot of pigmentation. It did have somewhat irregular borders and had dark brown dots mixed with the normal brown color of a regular mole. The dermatologist said this was the biggest clue—the dark brown shade within the normal mole color.

This tiny spot turned out to be potentially problematic. Technically, it wasn’t yet a precancerous mole, but it was unusual enough for the dermatologist to be concerned. The fact it was so small leads me to discard one of the common beliefs about cancerous growths: that they usually appear to be at least the size of a pencil eraser. My mole was only 1/4 that size. Granted, it wasn’t cancerous, but if I was only looking for pencil-eraser sized moles, I would have passed this one by.

Since I have been involved in outdoor sports in recent years, I knew my body had been getting a lot of sun exposure even though I always wear waterproof sun protection. During my teenage years and early adulthood, I hadn’t spent any measurable time in the sun. However, I had received several bad sunburns as a kid, and actually had sun poisoning during a frivolous adventure in Florida one summer when I was 16. But compared to most people, my sun-time had been short. That’s why I was so surprised at the diagnosis.

Anytime I go to the dermatologist for whatever reason, I have them do a thorough check of my entire body—head to toe, front and back—to see if there are any moles that need attention. I highly recommend you do the same. Even if you aren’t going in for sun damage, have them check your moles. And certainly if you have spent any appreciable time in the sun, go in now for a baseline full-body mole check if you haven’t already; then you will have a point of reference for the next checkup. If you have any hint of a question about a mole on your body, don’t second-guess yourself—go see your dermatologist!

For more information, see:
Many outdoor activities, like rollerblading, are enjoyed with little clothing and lots of sun exposure. Be outside, but do get a full-body mole check annually.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The Lazy (or Busy) Person’s Guide to Juicing

The following, for purists, is probably going to sound like an abomination, but life is life and realistically some things just don’t happen exactly the way we always want them to.

For instance, take my love of juicing. Over the past few months I have had out-of-town guests, the holidays, a busy work schedule. This certainly doesn’t preclude doing all it takes to juice, but I did find myself a bit out of the habit. I had even almost let $20 worth of lovely produce spoil in my fridge. It was at that point I decided to take on a new way of juicing. Not one I will adopt long-term, but for now it’s the best I can do.

I decided in order to juice I would have to do something I hadnt previously thought to do, but given the fact I wasnt juicing at all, it seemed like a good alternative. I went to the store and purchased packaged veggies vs. the bulk variety. This meant spinach and kale, for the most part, but also packaged carrots and green beans, too. Buying the produce in packages meant not having to do the whole soaking procedure, since the prepackaged produce is already washed (and cut). It may sound lazy, which it is, but this also meant I would be able to juice immediately without all the fuss.

As Ive said, going the lazy way isnt the optimal way to get the most from your juice. But when I sip my juice and see all the wonderful ingredients that are getting into my body, prepackaged or not, I know Im doing great things for my health.

Someday I will grow my own produce and that will make the most best-est and most nutritious juice drink available. For now, however, I will do my best to get bulk veggies, and when I cantyes, I will buy prepackaged produce, all in good health. 

For more information, see:
whenever you can

Monday, February 22, 2016

Yonka’s PHYTO GEL EXFOLIANT—gentle body scrub

PHYTO GEL EXFOLIANT is Yonka’s gentle body scrub. It has a wonderful aroma, makes your skin feel great, it’s easy to use (keep it in the shower), and makes a great gift for the men (or women) in your life! Always use on wet skin. 

Your entire body becomes delicately polished by the micrograins of bamboo silicone and jojoba pearls. This gel, with a fine soothing foam, gently cleans and exfoliates dead skin cells and rough spots.

Up until a few years ago, Yonka didnt have a scrub specifically for the face. So, for years I have used Phyto Gel as a facial scrub mixed in with my cleanser in the shower. You certainly can use this product on both face and body, although Guarana Scrub (see link below) is a wonderful facial scrub that Yonka now sells.

Essential ingredients:
  • Bamboo silica, jojoba pearls—exfoliating, scrubbing 
  • Soft almond proteins, red algae, lactic acid—softening, hydrating 
  • Essential oils of petitgrain, lavender, rosemary, sage and helichrise—balancing, relaxing, oxygenating
  • Lactic acid, red seaweed, sweet almond protein—softening, moisturizing
Directions for use:
Apply PHYTO GEL while taking a shower:
  • 2 or 3 times a week or as often as you like
  • Apply the scrub to damp skin
  • Concentrate on the rough sections
  • Rinse thoroughly
I highly recommend using a body lotion after your bath or shower. Exfoliation gets rids of some of the dry skin, but keeping the skin (face and body) moisturized is also important.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

A bad book review & product recommendations: My thoughts

The following is an Amazon.com review of my first book, Timeless Skin. I am including it here to help make a point and to further explain my stand on recommending products. This entire post is taken from my second book, Skin Care A to Z, so one or two references are from that time period.

Excerpts of Customer Reviews © Amazon.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Reviewer: A reader from Dallas, Texas USA. July 12, 2000

I was looking for products Ms. Ash recommends and I was disappointed. She gave some ideas on what to look for in products, but it requires me to spend a lot of time looking. She even says it’s a difficult process (unless you go to a professional spa). I looked at her website and as I suspected you’ll have to spend a lot of money (at least $30 per product*). I bought this book to try and find a way to spend less money—but I found out I have to spend at least $120 for cleanser, toner, moisturizer and a mask—this doesn’t include the other stuff she recommends! Ugghh...Please someone recommend another book!
*Remember—this was 15 years ago. Obviously prices have gone up!

No one likes a bad review. I remember the day I read this on the Internet. Timeless Skin had just come out, and I was getting so much positive feedback, and then boom! This review hit me like a ton of bricks. That it came from someone in the city I was living in at the time (Dallas) was yet another blow to me. If only I could contact this reader and at least extend an invitation for a complimentary consultation so I might help this person better understand his or her skin and any problems that might be occurring, or at least steer him or her in the right direction.

I included this email to reiterate my stand on product recommendations. Of course if you go to my website, I am recommending the products I know in depth and have been using personally and professionally for over 20 years [at that time; 30+ years currently]. I purposely do not mention in either of my books the product lines I work with. I want to give you, the consumer, information so that you can pick and choose the products you want to use that will benefit your skin.
Certainly, it would be impossible for me to try every single product line available and make my recommendations based on hard and fast research. So instead I am attempting to give you pointers as far as what to look for as well as what to avoid when looking for products so you can make educated decisions. Perhaps the writer of the above review would be better off purchasing a book like Don’t Go to the Cosmetic Counter Without Me (Beginning Press) in order to get specific product recommendations. Based on the many product lines critiqued in Paula Begoun’s book, it would have been impossible for her to do all the research herself—in this lifetime anyway. With any of my writing [here or in my books] you are getting my opinion alone, not someone else’s. That is what I can offer, and I do—frequently!

I make no apologies for the way I disseminate information. No book or skin care product is for everyone, and I certainly hope this reader and any others who were looking for name brand recommendations have found what they are looking for. I only recommend products that either my clients or I have experience with. So for me to recommend an entire book filled with brand name products would take the rest of my natural life to research. I truly believe you can find products out in the marketplace that will work for your skin. And judging from the comments I have received from my readers, I know it is possible.



Following is another Amazon.com reviewer’s response to this critical book review. I did not ask permission, so “Plain Jane,” I hope you don’t mind my including it here:

Sorry you did not find this book helpful. I am a licensed master aesthetician who teaches esthetics for a living and I can tell you [Timeless Skin] is right-on. Professional skin care is not cheap. Drugstore brands are. The reason they are cheaper is that they are diluted and therefore ineffective. If you are on a tight budget, I would recommend a good soap-free cleanser, appropriate toner and moisturizer for your skin type. The best skin care is treating your skin like it is—your body’s largest eliminating organ. Keep your insides clean and don’t look for a magic “product” to save you. 

For more reading, see:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Evening Primrose Oil Q & A

You may already know how important it is to get essential fatty acids (EFAs) in your daily diet. Evening primrose oil is one way to get these essential nutrients. I recommend it for clients who have PMS, oily skin, breakouts, and dermatitises like eczema. It even works as a hangover cure. (Note: although there is some discussion about monthly cycles for women, men, too, can benefit from taking this supplement. In other words, don’t let the talk of periods turn you off from reading this article!)

I started using evening primrose oil capsules and have noticed a great change not only in my skin, but a lessening of symptoms of PMS. I used to get cysts on my jaw and neck area, which I know were hormonal, and since the evening primrose I now only get one small pimple every 3 or 4 months around my period.

Evening primrose oil is not for everyone, but I have seen it work really well for a lot of people. I include that email because it mirrors the experience of many of my clients.

Evening primrose oil can help with the balance of estrogen in the body during menstruation (when estrogen levels naturally lower). It can help to elevate estrogen levels and in some cases eliminate the pain and tension of a woman’s period. I used to take it when I was ovulating, to help lessen the sometimes erratic emotional and physical changes during PMS. Then, by the time my period started, I was feeling more in balance and experienced less pain from cramping.

In your book [Timeless Skin] you recommend evening primrose in capsules for oily or acne skin. I was wondering what milligrams are you talking about per capsule?

I usually get my primrose oil at Whole Foods. I use the 365 brand that are 500mg each. They look like vitamin E capsules, or perhaps a bit bigger. Years ago, evening primrose was a little hard to find. Now there are many brands to choose from. I don’t recommend one brand over another, but I do suggest talking with the people working in the herb department at your local health food store. Ask them which primrose oil would be the best one.

I started taking evening primrose oil, but I’m not sure if it’s really helping my skin. I’ve been taking it for 3 months now. Should I continue, or should I stop taking it?

The thing with evening primrose oil is you may or may not notice a big change. Some people do; they notice a lessening of the oil in general in their skin, or they may even notice their breakouts have diminished—if not in frequency, then in size and number. The essential fatty acids found in evening primrose oil are essential to healthy cells, yet they are hard to get through food. So for me this is reason enough to take evening primrose oil regardless of noticing big results.

When and how many evening primrose capsules do I take? Since it helps PMS, do I only take it during menstruation or should I take it daily?

I recommend experimenting to find out what works for you—especially if you are taking evening primrose oil to offset symptoms of PMS. For problem skin, try 2-4 capsules twice daily and increase if you don’t see any noticeable results. For cramps due to PMS, try 1-2 capsules twice a day from the time you start ovulating, then increase by one or two capsules (3-4 twice daily) until you have finished your monthly cycle. I used to take more on the days I felt the emotional roller coaster that premenstruation can bring.

I have been using evening primrose oil to help with my acne and hormones, and it’s been fabulous. I now want to become pregnant and wonder if I should continue or stop the primrose oil?

I was advised by a doctor that evening primrose oil should be very good to take during pregnancy. He suggested the baby will like it and utilize its nutrients, and fish oils, too (if you take those), to build healthy cell walls. Evening primrose oil should be very good for a growing fetus. Conversely, evening primrose may not be advisable to take if you have or have had cancer because it may help those cells to grow. Please consult with your doctor before taking this or any other supplement.

Evening primrose oil may be contraindicated if you are taking *Premarin® (a common medication taken for hormone replacement therapy after menopause). Because evening primrose oil can help promote the production of natural estrogen, coupling it with the estrogen in Premarin may result in an excess of this hormone. Whether or not you are taking hormones or any other medication, check with your health care practitioner to find out if you should or can take evening primrose oil.
[*As an advocate for animals, please know that Premarin (aka Pregnant mare urine) utilizes horse urine in a way that is inhumane. Don’t believe me? Click here, or simply do an Internet search. There are many articles describing the truth about horse urine collection and the deplorable life of a PMU horse. There are also many alternatives to this unfortunately popular hormone medication.]

Last night I was having a drink with some coworkers and the topic of evening primrose for hangovers came up. Anyone who has tried it now swears by it. Thanks again for that information!

For more information, see:
Ella, a former (now rescued) PMU mare.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

What is acne? Acne explained

Acne is something you wouldn’t wish on anybody. Yet many of us will have to contend with it sometime in our lives. It can be debilitating and embarrassing and can cause real psychological scars that stay with us for a long time. Unfortunately, the scars can be physical as well. Here, I am not proposing a cure or some miracle program to stop acne from occurring, but I will explain what acne is and provide some suggestions for coping with this disease.

As a teenager, I had (what I remember to be) perfect skin. It wasn’t until I was 23 that I developed a case of acne that lasted for a few years, a time period that I will never forget. It doesn’t matter when it hits you, if it does it is devastating. So I hope you never have to go through what we acne sufferers have gone through. And if you have acne now (or know someone who does), hopefully there will be some information here that you find helpful, which can lead you to a path of healthier skin—for a lifetime.

What is acne? The following has been reprinted with permission from a Johnson & Johnson, Inc. pamphlet on acne. They so clearly explain how acne develops, I wanted to pass the information along to you as it was written.




Long before blemishes appear on your skin, trouble has been building up beneath the surface—in the hair follicles and their attached oil glands. Each follicle contains a number of sebaceous or oil glands. The oil you see on your skin is sebum, which comes from these glands.

Cells that line the follicle surrounding the hair are being constantly replaced. The mix with sebum and work their way to the surface of the skin. Eventually they are washed away. Sometimes, however, this process goes haywire. For reasons not completely understood, the follicle begins to produce cells that stick together so tightly that they are not shed. Accumulated cells, bound up in sebum and mixed with other skin materials, including pigment and bacteria, stick together and form a plug. This plug clogs up the pore, obstructing the opening to the skin. But the sebaceous gland keeps producing sebum, and this is how acne begins. The initial buildup is called a microcomedo. It lies deep within the follicle and starts forming many weeks before you notice any disturbance on your skin.

The sebaceous gland continues to put oil into the blocked system, and the follicle begins to swell and forms a closed comedo or whitehead. A whitehead is usually visible as a slight bump on the skin. If the follicle doesn’t break, the whitehead may turn into an open comedo or blackhead. The familiar blackhead is like a whitehead except that the exit to the skin surface is open. Some of the materials in the follicle cause it to darken. This material, and not dirt, gives the blackhead its dark color. Often the follicle bursts or leaks from the pressure in the plugged system. A papule or pimple forms when the follicle begins to release its contents into the surrounding tissue, causing inflammation. That’s why the skin surface surrounding a pimple usually appears reddened and swollen. 

The white cells in the body attack this material and pus develops. These pus-filled inflammations are called pustules and in about 10 days will usually disappear by themselves as the body disposes of this material.

You might suffer from whiteheads, blackheads, papules or pustules or a combination of all of them. Keep in mind that these blemishes are just expressions of acne at different stages of development. But every one originated from a microcomedo hidden within the follicle—which is why we say acne is a problem that works against you from the inside out.




Acne is certainly no fun. If you’re a teenager, it is probably just a matter of time (although this could mean years) before your hormones balance out and your skin problems go away. If you are a teenager or an adult and have true acne—or even just simple breakout—you must look to your diet and lifestyle to find out how these areas of your life are contributing to your skin woes.

See these articles for more information:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Tinted lipbalm replaces lipstick

You talked about a light-colored lip balm on a TV news program. Could you please give me information about this product? Where can I get it, and what was the brand name?

I don’t wear any makeup at all, but there are times I would like a little color on my lips. The product you mentioned sounds perfect for me. I have been looking for something like that for a long time.

The items I was showing on TV were tinted non-petroleum lip balms. They are wonderful problem-solvers because they are treating your lips while at the same time giving them some color. The pigments in these colored balms are not as dense as in a real lipstick, so they don’t give you deep color, but they do give you some color.

The actual products I had on the show are made by a company called Un-Petroleum®, although they are not the only company with tinted lip balms on the market. They can be found at most health food stores, and I’ve even seen some at regular grocery stores.

For information on keeping your lips from chapping, see:

Friday, February 12, 2016

Yonka’s CREME TEINTEE—tinted suncream

CREME TEINTEE is a cream that provides a “natural tan.This smooth day cream with natural pigments provides 2-in-1 action: hydrating the epidermis (outer skin) as well as protecting it from low levels of damaging sunlight. Finally, Creme Teintee leaves the complexion glowing with a beautiful golden hue.

Creme Teintee blocks the most harmful UV rays and guards against free radical damage with a powerful antioxidant trio (vitamins A, C, and E). Used over your hydrating cream for normal to dry skin types or as your moisturizer if you have oilier skin, Creme Teintee is a wonderful alternative to foundationleaving your skin hydrated with a sun-kissed glow.

Here is a comment from one of my clients who has used this product for many years:

I love this product! It gives me a bit of a sun-kissed healthy color without the damage of the sun. (This is especially helpful in Chicago, where it is overcast 6 months of the year.) I have been using Creme Teintee every morning for about 10 years. It allows me to skip foundation on all but the most fancy of events.

When Yonka announced it was going to discontinue this product, I asked Carolyn to set aside as much of it as she could. I was thrilled when they decided not to pull Creme Teintee, as it is part of my daily Yonka regimen.

Essential ingredients:
  • Pumpkin seed oil, cereal germ oil, beeswax, UVB filter—nourishing, protecting 
  • Vitamins A, C, and E—antioxidants that are repairing and help to prevent free radical damage
  • Yonka “Quintessence (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—vitalizing
Directions for use:
  • In the morning after cleansing and toning
  • Apply CREME TEINTEE as your day cream or if you have a drier skin type, apply over your chosen moisturizer. It’s tinted, so it will give your skin an immediate glow
  • For optimum results, use Gommage 303 or 305 once or twice a week before using Creme Teintee
Please be advised that Creme Teintee should not take the place of your regular sunscreen if you are going to be in the sun for any appreciable amount of time. This product does provide UVB protection, but not enough for long-term sun exposure. See link below for other products in the Yonka line with SPF.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Dark Circles explained

What are dark circles? What causes them?

When you see dark circles under your eyes, you are essentially seeing the blood vessels—filled with blood—due to the exceptionally thin skin in that area. Stress and lack of sleep can cause changes in your blood circulation (it becomes slower), which can cause the tiny capillaries to expand. Thin skin or circulation that has slowed down can both cause dark circles to appear.

Then there are allergies. Airborne inhalants as well as food allergies can cause dark circles to form. So the short answer to that question is similar to what causes problem skin: diet, environment, and lifestyle habits. Genetics, as always, can also play a key role in whether or not you will have dark circles.

My story. Throughout my life, I have never really had a problem with dark circles under my eyes. Sure, once in a while if I was out too late or just didn’t get enough sleep for some reason, they might appear temporarily. And many years ago, while I lived in Dallas, I had terrible springtime allergies, so during my annual two months of misery, the dark circles were generally always present. But by and large, I didn’t consider dark circles a concern for me.

Then when I moved to Chicago in 2002 (age 41), I noticed a marked difference in the dark circles under my eyes. In fact, I noticed that I constantly had them! At first I thought it was due to the stress I was under having recently moved my life to a new city. Then I thought it was the pollution here (although I think both cities have an equal problem when it comes to air quality). When I would go to Dallas on business I noticed the dark circles virtually went away, so I knew it was something to do with life in Chicago.

Months later, I discovered the culprit. It was not so much the outside air pollution, it was no longer the stress of moving (I’d lived there long enough to smooth all that out), but what I think was causing the problem was the apartment I was living in at the time. It was extremely dusty there, and I’m not sure why. I could see the dust accumulate on everything—including my cats! I have never lived anywhere with so much dust! I put air filters in every room, including the bathroom, but still, the dust kept on coming. Dust is a very common allergen, and I believe it was dust that ultimately caused my dark circles back then. It was my body’s allergic reaction showing itself.

Dark circles are there for a reason. But just like my dusty apartment story, it may take a sleuth to figure out why they are there. It’s always going to be environmental—your body’s environment. Our magnificent machines are always throwing off toxins, and when the toxic buildup is too much to take, the body starts giving signs of overload. So if you suffer with dark circles, look around and see if you can figure out what is causing them. I believe that common allergens, whether they be in your diet or your immediate environment, are causes for persistent or even temporarily dark circles.

To further discuss my personal experience with darkness under the eyes, I have found that since moving into menopause (I am 54), the dark circles are somewhat of a permanent feature on my face. I’m sure due to hormone changes and simply the aging of my skin, the dark circles are clear and present. I eat a fairly pristine diet and unless I have had alcohol or sugar, which make the darkness worse, the discoloration is always there to some degree. At this point I don’t let the darkness bother me. I find my eye glasses, which I don’t wear all the time, cover the area if I feel the need.

Products for dark circles. Although there are many products on the market that profess to remove dark circles, I would caution you against spending too much of your hard earned money on them. I’m not saying you won’t find relief with one or more of these creams, but I have not found one product that stands out from any other. I believe if there was a product that really got rid of dark circles completely, we would all know about it. The manufacturers would be rich and no one would have to walk the earth with dark circles! But that isn’t the case.

If you want to try a product said to help reduce dark circles, don’t hesitate! But don’t be surprised if it doesn’t do all you want it to do. If the product helps, great; if it doesn’t, return it if you can. For less severe cases of dark circles, products truly may help. But if you are genetically predisposed and/or have a lifestyle that doesn’t support your best health, you may not find the results you are looking for in a cream designed to help with dark circles. And do try looking at your diet to see if you may be contributing to the problem.

For more information, see:
Yonka’s Eye Treatment Creams & Gels

Monday, February 8, 2016

MYTH: Chocolate makes your skin break out

It’s not the cocoa in chocolate that makes your skin break out. But when you eat chocolate, it is inevitably made with sugar (like a candy bar), and it is the sugar that is most likely causing the breakout. So this myth is partially true, depending on how you are defining chocolate. Dark chocolate has less sugar in it than milk chocolate. There are even very high percentage dark chocolates with very low sugar content.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Colorado Horse Rescue on Fox31 News

Fox31 News came to Colorado Horse Rescue, where I volunteer, last Saturday to do a segment on the rescue. They happened to be there during my shift that day. I was one of the volunteers they miked up and interviewed although, as these things go, none of that made it into the piece. No biggieIve been on many TV shows for my books in the past, and this segment was all about the horses anyway. Still, I am in the video, which is fun. I hope you will CLICK HERE to be taken to the video. Below is the article that accompanied the video on Foxs website.



LONGMONT, Colo. --  Fifty-five horses call Colorado Horse Rescue home. That’s near capacity with room for only five more. “We are here to rescue, rehab and find forever homes. It’s similar to a human society for horses, Carol Brice said. But these animals are different than cats and dogs. They’re expensive to feed and to care for, and their lifespan can stretch 30 years.

“Many don’t know there’s a crisis in America, Brice said. “There are 170,000 unwanted horses in the U.S. About 6,000 in Colorado alone. One horse, Lil Bit, came to Colorado Horse Rescue unwanted and neglected, much like a quarter of the horses that have come through. The other 75 percent are relinquished by families who can no longer care for them.

“What we see is a horse gets ill or injured, too old to ride, and they get discarded. That’s unfortunate, Brice said. “They should be honored and cared for. That’s what the volunteers at Colorado Horse Rescue strive to do each day. And in the process they get attached. “I have learned not to fall in love because they get adopted out, which is great, that’s the whole point, Brice said. [I actually said that, but whatever!]
This is Kyle, a beautiful Arabian bay and the first horse I fell in love with at CHR. He was adopted 2 years ago, but I still pine for him!
But it can mean heartbreak, especially knowing they can only help so many of the animals. Their hearts can be bigger than their wallets so they’re counting on the public to take a horse home. “All kinds of horses wind up in this situation through no fault of their own, Brice said. “We have all breeds, ages, sizes all ranged in training, come out and take a look.

It costs $500,000 a year to keep the operation, which is in its 30th year, running. Colorado Horse Rescue is working to open a second facility where older horses can come to retire. Donations are being accepted to help make that dream a reality.


Thanks, Fox News. Any and all publicity for the safety and care of these special animals is always appreciated!

CLICK HERE to be taken to the video