Monday, December 17, 2018

Does picking at my skin cause scarring?

You mention that skin picking can cause damage. What kind of damage, and is it reversible?

Picking can but doesn’t always cause scarring. However scar tissue doesn’t just go away (it’s usually irreversible damage), so if you tend to scar if/when you pick at your skin you are probably going to live with that visible damage going forward.

When you pick without care, you are basically causing a little tear or injury to the skin. It has to heal, and in that healing process, a little scar could form. Not always, but it’s definitely possible. You must at least utilize the basic steps I have described in an earlier article (see link below) or you are asking for trouble.

But even then, even if you do everything right, you still may cause scarring. It all depends on how careful you are when you extract your skin and also how skilled you are at doing it. Also if your skin tends to be prone to scarring easily, this may happen more in your case than in someone whose skin is a bit more resilient.

Remember, part of the “skill” of extraction is knowing when to quit.

For more information, see::

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

To steam or not to steam in a facial treatment

A blog reader left the following comment on my post One facial experience—not a great one:    

Hi Carolyn! I was reading on your blog about not using steam in your facials, and I’m wondering what you use in its place? Do your clients ever ask if you could use the steam on them or question you why you don’t use it? Many thanks!

Those are great questions. It is rare that a client questions me about not using steam. If it does happen, it would be on their first visit. Steam is so prevalent in facials that it is a rarity to not have that machine used in a facial.

I can say unequivocally, I have never had a client ask if I could use steam on them. If and when the subject arises I simply explain why I don’t use it and why I don’t recommend it in facials a client may get elsewhere. Once I give them information on how unnecessary it is and how detrimental it is to the delicate capillaries, at that point it becomes a non-issue.

Sometimes in life until a thing is challenged, it just becomes normalcommonplace. This, I believe, is true with using steam in a facial. My first job was with Repechage skin care in spring of 1985. I was a novice aesthetician and wasn’t yet questioning what I had learned in skin care school nor what I was being asked to do within this job. I was trained in school to use steam and steam was what I was told to use in the Repechage facials.

Steam is said to soften the skin for extractions. Or that is probably the main reason aestheticians use it in a facial (although not the only reason). What I found in these first facials I was giving as a new employee was once the steam was taken off the skin, the skin hardened (dried) making extractions harder to perform.

As an example of this, I was recently working on one of my teenage clients. She had been to another salon for quite a while and they used steam in the facials prior to extractions. (This client did need a lot of extractions, named large embedded blackheads.) I did what I normally do: instead of steam I used a glycerin-based Yonka product called Dermol 1* on the to-be-extracted places, let it sit for a minute, then performed the extractions. Dermol helps to soften the skin and makes the debris in the pores come out much easier.
*The Yonka Dermols have gone through two changes in the past 5 years, starting with being morphed into one product: Hydralia, and recently this was changed into Hydra+. Still and all, a glycerin-based product works wonders when performing extractions in a facial treatment.

Out of curiosity I asked this client if she felt her (many) extractions went easier with the use of steam in her previous facials or if the extractions I just did on her felt “better”if extractions can feel good in any case! Not surprisingly, this young lady said she noticed a big difference in the pain level of today’s extractions. In other words, my extractions felt better—much less painful. I believe this was due primarily to the use of the glycerin product. It is a must-have for aestheticians.

Granted, I am proficient at extractions and have a good touch when it comes to performing them. But I know beyond doubt that using a softening agent (in this case, Dermol, Hydralia, or Hydra+) vs. using a steam machine is a much better way to perform extractions.

The bottom line is I am not a fan of stream in (or out) of facials. I also encourage my clients to try new things if they feel so inclined, but to monitor their skin to see if, in the case of using steam, redness occurs when it wasn't there or there is more redness than there was before. I have written several articles with more to come about the use or not of steam on the face and why I am so against it.

For more information, see:

Friday, November 30, 2018

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 (57) 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 themselves—gray 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. 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

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

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

See the following articles for more information:

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Acne and imbalance—What to do

Acne is an exterior sign of internal imbalance. If you have acne, look at your diet, any hormone fluctuations you may be experiencing, and how you are taking care of your skin (or not). All of these have to be in balance in order to control and eventually clear acne.

If you have acne, products and facials—although helpful—are not the sole answer. I believe you must also look to your diet. Please don’t discount the possibility that what you are putting in your mouth is having an effect on your skin. I highly recommend getting in touch with a clinical nutritionist or someone who really understands the relationship between food and skin. I believe you have to go to the source of the problem (in this case, food being a potential contributing factor) rather than merely treating the symptom, which is problem skin. Hormones are the primary cause of skin problems, but food does have a secondary effect.

For those of you with acne, I recommend following The Basics (cleansing, toning, and hydrating with a moisturizer specifically made for problem skin), along with diligent exfoliating with a gel peel (gommage), plus a clay mask. Whenever there are problems with the skin, exfoliating and masking should be done at least two or three times per week.

I also recommend taking a good look at your sugar consumption, something that a lot of people tend to disregard as an issue with skin problems. I can tell you as a practicing aesthetician for more than 30 years and also someone who is sensitive to the sweet stuff, sugar is a major contributor to many peoples’ skin breakouts and also acne. (Although this photo depicts blood sugar issues from sugar, the problems I’m talking about is skin breakouts and oilier skin. But blood sugar issues are certainly caused by ingesting even a little sugar.)

In order to really treat acne, I truly believe you must get your entire house in order. Don’t just look for topical or oral medications from your dermatologist to work miracles on your skin. It really takes a commitment to proper eating habits, a good skin care program, staying away from picking at the skin, and sometimes using prescription topical or oral medications to further reduce the lesions on your face.

I also want to say that if you are a teenager with acne, the element of time is another important component to helping your skin issues to disappear. Sad but true, sometimes you just have to get through the hormone surges your body is going through over time before your skin will clear up. All the other items I’ve talked about in this article will definitely help your skin, so don’t give up!

For further reading, see:

Monday, October 29, 2018

Q & A: How to use Yonka’s Gommage (this is very helpful information!)

Over the (many) years I have used Yonka products, several facial clients havent been able to get the gommage to work.” This is preciously why I give samples and detailed instructions, knowing that not everyone will use it successfully the first few times. I also hope the instructions Ive provided in the article listed at the bottom of this post helps anyone who I may not see in my salon but who has not really known exactly how to use this very important product.

Many salons and most aestheticians use the gommage as Yonka is now instructing them to. I was trained, originally, back in 1985 when things were done a bit differently. In fact Gommage was then called Desincrustantnot a great name, so I was happy about that change. Back then there were actually three gommage products, today there are just two.

Usually a client is told to apply Gommage, let it sit on the face for a few minutes, then use the fingertips to gommage or flake the product off. This isnt a terrible way to use it, but you truly will get a better gommagea better exfoliationif you massage the product in the whole time it is on your face. Without this added massage, you simply dont get the best exfoliation. Plus your skin benefits from the added circulation from the manual manipulation. (Please refer to my instructions in the link below.)

Why cant I get the gommage to peel off? I feel like I have to rub my skin raw, and that cant be goodright?

This is probably the most common occurrence when using the gommage and it’s simply do to not using enough product. Because the gommage is a somewhat loose gel, when squeezing it out of the tube you may initial think you are pouring out enough product. But without using at the least a quarter-size dollop and more likely needing a half-dollar sized application, you probably arent using enough product. This isnt the end of the world, but without enough product to come off, the gommage will basically act more like a moisturizer and soak into your skin. Again, not the end of the world, but not the result you are ultimately looking for.

If you feel you are rubbing your skin raw, you now know you probably arent using enough product. I recommend not removing what you have applied but do add more productabout half the amount you began withmassage that in over your first application and soon the gommage flakes should appear without any trouble. 

When I used the gommage last night, I felt like I couldnt get it to dry off. Am I using too much? How should I apply it next time?

This, too, happens from time to timeeven to me! Sometimes in the treatment room, Ill accidentally squeeze too much product onto my hand and as I apply it to the client’s face, I can tell it will take forever to start to gommage. Rarely, but on occasion when this happens, I do take a tissue and take off a bit of the product. Again, not the worst thing to have happen, but without the proper amount of gommage, this process wont work the best it can.

If you find you have applied too much gommage (youll know because you will massage and massage and the product just doesnt sink into your skin), you could sit under a ceiling fan if you have one in your home; you could simply fan your face for a few seconds; you could tissue the excess off but I don’t wholeheartedly recommend that. You may take too much off and then you’re back to square one: needing more product. The gommage process from start to finish takes about 5 minutes. If you are massaging for a lot long than that, you’ve probably applied too much product.

Believe me, after using the gommage a few times, you will understand how much you ideally need to use. My point in detailing these instructions is not to scare you away from using itquite the contrary. I want to give you as much information as possible to help you through any hiccups you have when first starting out using gommage.

Gommage is such an important step in your weekly skin care Extras program, I wanted to include a client comment for any of you who have had issues using this particular product. This client had received a sample of gommage from another Yonka salon in my area, but didnt have the correct instructions (or any instructions?) as to how to use it.

Hi Carolyn,
I thought I’d try the Gommage the night after my facial with you. Your instructions were perfect! At first I did have slightly too much of the product to start with and it wasn’t working, so I blotted a bit off of my face and started massaging it gently, and it was exactly as your blog explainedpencil eraser texture sloughed off in the sink. I also used it on my hands because my hands are so dry right now, and I basically had the exact same results. I am very happy I made the purchase of Gommage. It is DIVINE! My skin feels SO great! Thank you for your great advice.

Using Yonkas Gommage is paramount to your healthy skin care program. Please dont let the somewhat complexity of it turn you off. Once you get this product to work, it will work wonders for your skin. If you havent tried it yet, please do! And if you have tried Gommage in the past but just couldnt get it to work on your skin, it is my hope that with all the instructions I provide here (and in my salon) that you will give it a goone more time. It really is worth the extra effort!

Please see these links for more information:

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Supplements: all links so far


Rosacea: all links so far


  • Is this rosacea? A client’s questions/my comments (coming soon!)