Thursday, October 30, 2014

Radiance—what makes a woman radiant

Below are the bullet points from an article I found in some of my writing files. I was living in Chicago (2003) and was just about to publish Skin Care A to Z. My publicist at the time mentioned “O” Magazine was looking for skin care professionals to write about their point-of-view on radiance—what makes a woman radiant. I didn’t make it into the magazine (wa, wa) but I do want to share some of the thoughts I had back then, which are still true for me today.
  • The source of true radiance is that inner knowing that you are perfect just exactly the way you are.
  • I believe when you look at a woman and see her “glowing” you are looking at a woman who, perhaps, does take good care of her physical body. But surely this is a woman who has developed that core, inner knowing that she is a beautiful loving being. This, more than good skin, is what radiance is all about.
  • Genetics, nutrition, and sun exposure all play a part in how healthy you look. But without self-acceptance and peace within, your ability to radiate true health is diminished.
  • Because of my profession, I am in the unique position to see women up close and personal who are aging—and who look fabulous! They may not feel this way about themselves, but I see it. Aging is truly a marvelous thing to watch.
  • Aging is multifaceted. It is not simply acquiring lines and wrinkles. Aging is the miracle of life evolving and unfolding.
  • How you age is primarily, or at least initially, in your mind.
  • What you choose to focus on will affect how you age. If you focus on the lines and wrinkles, neglecting to see the maturation of who you are as a person, you’ll miss out, in my opinion, on the opportunity to see the blessings that come with age.
  • Radiance is a combination of outer health and inner beauty. Inner beauty is attainable; it is developing a core beliefa knowingthat you are a perfect human being, and beautiful just because.
  • Keeping things in balance is necessary for maintaining health. Proper rest and relaxation; minimizing or eliminating smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating poor-quality food; drinking lots of water; taking good care of your skin; keeping direct sunlight off your face; and finding quiet time to reflect on the day’s events will all help you to achieve true radiance.
  • Radiance is your inner strength reflected outward through your healthy mind and body.

Even when I was a fledgling aesthetician in my 20s, I knew for sure that I was not going to let aging get me down. And now, in my 50s, I continue the practice I began all those years ago. First, I do not say negative things about either my wrinkles or my self. Initially I had to catch myself—a lot—when I would go down the path of negative self-talk. But now, and this is absolutely true, when I look in the mirror on a day I don’t look so hot, I just let out a giggle and say “I’m 53! This is what 53 looks like today!—Not bad!!!” And I say a prayer of love for myself and move on with my day. This way of being didn’t come overnight; I honed it over time—and you can too. It’s never too late to start changing the way you talk to yourself and therefore see yourself.  
Today is a good day to start :+)

For more in-depth articles on the aging process and all that goes with it, see:

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Ingrown Hair—Men’s Edition: Q & A

I am a guy whos interested in skin care. Wherever I remove hair [from various parts of my body], I get acne-like bumps that, though they look like acne, when I take a closer look it’s trapped hair growing back. These places are red, irritated and leave marks. I’ve tried almost everything (including, laser, waxing, shaving, exfoliating with a loofah). And, while the same issue exist with my facial hair, it has been lessened through following the advice in your book [Timeless Skin]. I used depilatories but they provided some of the worst results. How do I remove my body hair without experiences these acne-like ingrown hairs?

First, continue using the advice I give in Timeless Skin for ingrown hair on the face on any other parts of your body youre having issues. You may have the tendency for a skin condition called pseudofolliculitis and you may not find any one thing that remedies the condition in total. Pseudofolliculitis is where the hair curls back down into the skin instead of coming out of the surface skin. This can cause inflammation and redness along with infection. 

Exfoliation is important if you’re prone to ingrown hair—no matter where you get them. If they occur on your face, using a scrub or other exfoliator on a regular basis should help to alleviate the problem. This is where alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) may come in handy. Several of my male clients have seen good results with their ingrown hair problems by using products that contain these ingredients. AHAs help to dissolve the intercellular glue that holds cells together, which can be helpful in the case of ingrown hairs. Try an alpha hydroxy acid solution on your chest area, and see if that helps with the hair coming through your skin.

A product called TendSkin has been helpful for some people with ingrown hair. Be careful to follow the directions. If you experience irritation with TendSkin, discontinue use immediately and refer back to some other products and techniques for helping with ingrown hair. You don’t ever want to use a product that is causing more harm than good. I am surprised that laser hair removal has not helped your situation. You may want to try electrolysis and see if you fare better with that hair removal technique.

I wish I had a miracle cure for you. It sounds like you have been diligent in trying many things. It is important you do not continually irritate your skin (especially through using the loofah and the depilatories); this won’t help the problem. Some skin conditions, and pseudofolliculitis is one of them, do not have quick fixes. It will take diligence and consistency, but I have faith that you will find solutions that work for you going forward. 

For more information, see:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Sugar by many other names

The following is an excerpt from my second book, Skin Care A to Z. Its a list of known and not-so-known sugars. This list is used by permission from an excellent book on sugar and how to get it out of your diet, The Sugar Addicts Total Recovery Program by Kathleen DesMaisons. She has also written another great book, Potatoes Not Prozac, which I also recommend. And now, the different names for the same thing—sugar:

apple sugar
barbados sugar
bark sugar
barley malt
barley malt syrup
beet sugar
brown rice syrup
cane juice
cane sugar
cane syrup
caramel coloring

caramel sugars
caramelized foods
concentrated fruit juice
corn sweetener
date sugar
evaporated cane juice
Florida crystals
fruit juice concentrate
(may be found in tofu)
glucose polymers
glucose syrup

high-fructose corn syrup
invert sugar
karo syrups
“lite” sugar
“light” sugar
malt dextrin
malted barley
mannitol, xylitol, maltitol
microcrystalline cellulose

raisin juice
raisin syrup
ribose rice syrup
rice malt
rice sugar
rice sweeteners
rice syrup solids
(aka hexitol)
(evaporated cane juice)
sugar cane
unrefined sugar

Malts, syrups, and most things ending is “ose” are going to be sugar—of some kind. And as you can see by the size of this list, there are numerous variations of what we think of as sugar. No matter what name it goes by, sugar causes skin problems in many people.

For more information, see:

Friday, October 24, 2014

MYTH: Aging is bad

I truly believe aging is not the terrible thing it is represented to be in the consciousness of this country. Aging is inevitable, and it is the most natural process in life—one to be heralded, not condemned. A pervasive perception in our society today is that there is something inherently wrong with getting older. Yes, it can be disheartening to see the lines start to form or get deeper. Slowing down, losing your 20/20 vision, and waking up to stiff joints is not what you would choose for yourself. Although degenerating is the part of the process that is perhaps the hardest to take, what about what you gain with age?

The big question is What is wrong with aging? If you spend your whole life fighting the aging process, are you really living? What are you comparing old to? How will you grow old? Do you know older people who seem young? People who haven’t caved in to some society-driven illusion of how old is bad. The adage about wine getting better with time—isn’t this true for people as well?

Aging with grace is what I’m striving for in my own life, and it is what I discuss with my clients. You can struggle with what is happening and put up a big fight, but the bottom line is the aging of your body will occur anyway. There are no miracles to be found in a jar of cream, nor is there a Fountain of Youth at the doctor’s office. You are your own living miracle, and how your body functions is the daily affirmation, the absolute proof. The Fountain of Youth is inside.

For more information, see:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Eye Cream Quick Tip

Buy more than one package of eye cream. Keep an extra one at work, on your nightstand, in your purse, or all of the above. I now keep one under my pillow because my cat kept rolling it off my bed table! It doesn’t really cost more to purchase several eye creams since you will be going through each container slower than if you had just one to use. Put it on sparingly throughout the day to keep the delicate under-eye tissue soft. It’s that important.

For more information on this all-important area, see:

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yonka’s Gommage Instructions—This is Very Important Information!

The instructions inside the box of Gommage are slightly different than those listed below. Based on results, the following is the most effective way to use the this product. The instructions Im giving you here, by the way, are the originals from when Gommage was called Desincrustant back in the 80s.
Exfoliation is paramount to healthy skin, therefore Gommage is one of the most important in your routine. Gommage needs to be used at least once per week, however it can be used as often as every day. Twice per week would be great. The gommage process takes about five minutes start to finish, but due to how your skin will look and feel afterward, it’s worth every second! 

Note: When sampling this product, USE ONE WHOLE SAMPLE per application (one sample = one applicationonly!). In others words, use the whole sample! If you don’t, you will not get a proper gommage. Using the sample will give you an idea of how much to use.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: Your skin and the air around you needs to be DRYno moisture in the air (for instance if the shower is on or you’re in a steam room) and no moisture on your skin (be sure after washing your face you get all the water off before applying Gommage).
  • Use a quarter to a half dollar-sized dollop
  • Warm Gommage between your hands and apply to DRY face and neck
The gommage starts out as a sticky gooey gel. After massaging into your skin using light, circular movements for a minute or two, the product will start absorbing into your skin:
  • When it starts absorbing, it gets a bit sticky and youll lose the easy gliding ability. Keep massaging, but do not rub your face raw!
  • If you feel you have to rub hard, you didn’t begin with enough product. Don’t remove what you’ve got on your face, but apply a bit more, then continue...
  • You will start to notice pencil eraser-type flakes appearing as the gommage dries
  • Get over a sink and use brisk movements to eliminate the impurities. When complete, no more flakes will appear
  • Rinse the residue off with tepid water, and you’re done!
  • After rinsing, pat your skin dry, use your Yonka spray toner, then use your favorite Yonka moisturizer.

Your skin will feel extremely soft and look very clear and healthy. If you wear makeup, it will go on smoothly. Whenever someone comes in for a facial, I always tell them they will be amazed at how soft their skin feels the next time they go to cleanse. Many times after a facial the client wont have touched their skin since the last time they washed it. 

In a hurry and need to gommage? Before your shower, apply Gommage. Massage until the flaking begins, step into DRY shower, and flake off completely. Start water, and rinse residue off as you shower.
  • Gommage when you can’t come in for facials
  • Gommage when your coloring looks dull
  • Gommage when your skin looks flaky
When in doubtGOMMAGE! It is essential to your healthy skin program! 

For more information, see:
Rememberdont rub too hard

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do you have Rosacea?

How do I know if I have rosacea?

The symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person just like the triggers* will vary for each individual, but there are certain common symptoms that are characteristic of this disease. Separately the symptoms don’t necessarily indicate rosacea, but if you have several together they can add up to rosacea. Not always, but potentially. (*A trigger is something that causes the classic red face or flushing associated with rosacea. For instance, using hot water on your face could trigger deep redness to cover your face—especially the cheeks—if you have rosacea.)

The number one symptom is flushing. This is where you are blushing, but in the case of rosacea it is not necessarily just when you are embarrassed. Flushing is when a large amount of blood flows through the capillaries very quickly and the vessels expand (dilate) in order to handle the load. This causes a definite redness to come over your entire cheek area, making you look flushed. If flushing occurs a lot over a long period of time, the capillaries become damaged and blood will stagnate within the vessel, giving you a permanent redness in the cheeks.
Flushing in a rosacea candidate can occur at any time and due to any number of reasons, only one of which is embarrassment. You can become flushed when you are hot; especially while exercising, receiving sun exposure, or sitting in a sauna, steamroom, or whirlpool. Also a peri- or menopausal woman who is experiencing hot flashes may produce flushing. Driving with the top down or sailing (sun plus wind), cooking in a hot kitchen, or sitting by the fire can also cause you to flush. You can also flush for no apparent reason at all.

Some other common symptoms of rosacea are telangiectasia (capillary damage), swelling or puffiness in the cheek area, sometimes blemishes where the swelling is, and always sensitivity. This redness, more than anything, is due to flushing. A swelling of the nose can also appear due to rosacea, more commonly occurring in men, which is a condition called rhinophya. Not only the skin on the face but sometimes the eyes can become affected, causing them to become irritated, red, and bloodshot. This is called ocular rosacea

The most unusual characteristic I have consistently seen with rosacea is the aforementioned swelling—something you really don’t find with telangiectasia, simple breakouts, or even acne (other than the swelling at the site of the actual blemish). The type of redness is also distinct: deep red, almost bluish.

Another symptom I have found from working on clients with rosacea is their skin in the affected area (namely the cheeks) is hot, or at least very warm to the touch, and it is different in temperature than the rest of the face. It is like when someone has a fever, but the warmth is only on the cheek area. This is a condition I used to call hot, red skin. Now I think what I had been seeing in years past was actually rosacea.

Classic couperose skin.
With couperose, you can see the capillaries; they look like spider legs—thin, red, and defined. The redness I see with a rosacea client is more mottled, not defined, and the area around the capillaries is red as well. The redness is widespread and not confined to the capillaries like it is with simple couperose.

Why am I making such a big deal about whether or not you have rosacea? If you think you have rosacea and you don’t, you will be mistreating your skin based on an incorrect self-diagnosis. You may be missing out on finding what is causing the problems you are experiencing with your skin. Even if you have incorrectly diagnosed yourself as having rosacea, hopefully you will pay close attention to your daily intake of food along with other factors linked to rosacea. In the long run, this awareness may pave the way for your skin to clear up.

Here are a few more articles with more information about this sometimes frustrating skin condition:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Accutane—easing the side effects

There can (and probably will be) many reactions from taking Accutane, or any drug really. In this case, I hope the following information will help ease any effects you may be experiencing if you are indeed taking the acne medication Accutane. Take care to treat any symptoms that you can so you will be more comfortable during the time you are on this drug. And please contact your prescribing doctor if you have any questions about the side effects you are experiencing. Don’t be shy!

If you think you have cheilitis (inflammation of the lips, usually concentrated around the corners of the mouth, common with Accutane use) or another severe lip condition, I recommend calling your dermatologist and informing him or her of this occurrence. Your doctor can prescribe a potent medication to help get rid of this uncomfortable skin problem. Keeping a non-petroleum lip balm constantly on the area will help to ease the dryness. Try not to lick your lips as this will just further the problem. For women, not wearing lipstick would help keep the lips from drying out as well.

Chapped, flaky skin is something you will probably have to contend with while on Accutane. It is the most common side effect from taking this drug. Using gentle exfoliators will help to keep the dead skin from getting out of hand. I highly recommend using body oils (vs. lotions) to keep the skin on your body from getting too flaky and dry. Generally, you want to keep your skin well lubricated to keep the dryness down to a minimum.

Dry eyes can be soothed by using eye drops. Dry skin inside your nose can be helped by either putting some cream there or better yet an oil or balm. Balms are thicker than oils or creams and have better sticking power.

If you are experiencing excessive peeling of the palms and soles, brittle nails, or inflammation of the nailbeds, I would recommend getting a manicure and/or pedicure. This might seem like an extravagance, but these services can really help relieve the symptoms you may be experiencing on your hands and feet. If you can’t afford one of these nail services, at least get a pumice stone (very inexpensive) and get rid of the dead skin that way. Using the stone on dry skin works best, although it can be used in the tub or shower as well. Just massage the area with the stone (only on palms and soles!) and enjoy smoother skin afterwards. You could put some body oil or even oil from your kitchen on your cuticles if they are dried out.

Because being on any medication can make your skin more photosensitive (unusually sensitive to the sun), you must wear sunscreen on a daily basis. This is true whether you are on Accutane or not, but be especially diligent while on this medication. 

What you may not know. You cannot get waxed anywhere on your body if you are currently on Accutane or even recently have been. The reason is your skin is so incredibly dried out and fragile that the wax will (or can) actually pick up several of the deeper layers of skin when it is pulled off. I have heard of people going in for facial waxing, neglecting to tell the aesthetician about the fact they are using Accutane. When the wax strip was ripped off, a good deal of skin came off with it!

Don’t forget, no breast feeding your child while taking Accutane. And you also cannot give blood for at least one month after ending your treatment. This is a small fact, but an important one you may not think about. If you give blood and still have Accutane in your system, guess what? You can potentially pass this medication along to another person who might be pregnant or is about to get pregnant. I recommend waiting longer than a month to allow this powerful drug to be totally eliminated from your system. Taking supplements like chlorophyll might help to clear it from your body faster than just leaving it up to nature.

As I have said in any and all of my articles on Accutane: please do your due diligence. Plan on doing research, and read up to examine in detail the facts and concerns surrounding this powerful drug—and if you think it is the right thing for you to consider taking.

For additional information, see:

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Proper pH & your skin care products

Hello, I just bought your book, Timeless Skin, and love it! I took your advice in Chapter One about testing the pH balance of my facial products. I bought pH strips with a 0-14 range. [This is the range of all pH papers.] I tested all 7 of my facial products. Three of my cleansing supplies matched 8, my toner was a 4, my sunblock was around 5, and my warming mask was an 8. Is this OK?? I am a bit confused about this process.

Your skin is naturally acidic on the pH scale. pH (defined as the percentage of hydrogen) refers to how acid or alkaline a substance is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Your skin has a pH of 5 or 6; soaps usually come in around 10. In order to maintain the natural acidic state of your skin, you always want to use acidic or non-alkaline products. If you are unsure about the pH of your cleanser (or any product), you can purchase nitrazine papers at your local pharmacy.

If your research finds a product you’re using is alkaline, I would toss it. Don’t bother trying to make it work for your skin. It won’t. Although the department stores abhor people testing their products, take your pH papers whenever you plan to purchase products. And at the very least, be sure to know what the return policy is for skin care products wherever you buy them. You may find they will have to be returned due to a high pH and you certainly don’t want to pay for any of these experiments.

Looking at this emailer’s products specifically, anything above a five or six is, in my opinion, too alkaline to use on the skin. Her toner and sunscreen sound like they are the correct pH, all the others are alkaline and therefore I don’t recommend using them.

Simply put, using any products that are alkaline on your face is not a good idea if you are looking to create a balanced skin care regime and therefore healthy, balanced skin.

For more information, see:

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Get every last drop of your creams with a tube wringer!

Are you cutting the tubes of your skin care products so you can get every bit of your creams? I have a better solution:
  • Use a tube wringer!
What is one, you ask? A tube wringer wrings tubes, squeezing the remaining product to the top of the tube so you can use just about every drop of cream—without the messy action of cutting your tubes.

Traditionally, tube wringers have been used by painters. They, too, utilize tubes for their art work and they, too, want to get every last drop of those expensive paints. I have used a tube wringer in my facial room since I began using Yonka products almost 30 years agoand still do.

You can find tube wringers at most art supply stores and some hardware stores. I have tried several brands throughout the years, but always come back to Gill Mechanical’s tube wringers. They seem to hold up the best and don’t break or come undone during the wringing process. I have found so many of my clients are cutting their tubes of Yonka to get the last bits, I wanted to make purchase information available here in case you want to stop cutting and start tube wringing!
If you go to Gill Mechanical’s website (CLICK HERE), it is the “light duty” tube wringer that you’ll want to purchase. You don’t need anything heavy duty”—you’re just wringing tubes of facial products after all! This is certainly not the only company that sells tube wringers, but back in the day (the 1980s) this was pretty much the only place I could find them. Ive been a loyal customer ever since!

Whether you buy from Gill or find a tube wringer somewhere else, do use one! It will make a world of difference in how much extra cream you’re able to get out of your skin care product tubes. Since these creams are somewhat expensive, getting every last drop is a savings in the long run. I also use the tube wringer on my toothpaste and just about any other tube in use in my home—you will too!

For some of my favorite Yonka products (in tubes that could benefit from a tube wringer), see:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

You are no doubt wondering, what is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation? Yet I bet many of you suffer from this common condition. Another way to say post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is after-infection dark spots. Some people think these are scars, but actually they are spots of pigmentation that occurred due to blemishes that received sun exposure.

Without UV sunlight, the infection from blemishes would come and go and the pigmentation of your skin wouldn’t change at all. It is solely due to sun exposure that this hyperpigmentation condition occurs.

People who have darker skin, whether African-Americans, certain Europeans, and even Caucasians who have a lot of melanin in their skin, are all susceptible to this condition. I’m going to use a few questions from clients (and my answers) to illustrate what this condition is all about and what you can do to lessen its effect on your skin.
I am a 30-year-old Asian-Indian woman and have occasional breakouts that always leave very dark pigmentation after healing. It will take 3 to 4 months for the mark to lighten and disappear. I use concealer and do not enjoy being anywhere without having makeup on in order to camouflage the pigmentation. I want to be free of my makeup to enjoy a more athletic and outdoor life. Any recommendations?

You have a very common complaint, not that you should feel better by hearing that! The condition you are asking about is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The blessing is you no doubt have beautiful skin tone due to your heritage. The curse is you are susceptible to pigmentation irregularities.

Anytime you have blemishes, they are like wounds in the skin. The deeper the infection the more tissue that is damaged, and the longer these places will take to heal. Since you have so much pigmentation naturally in your skin, you will be prone to this condition more so than someone who has very white skin (especially redheads and those who burn but never tan).

I’m sure it is disheartening that these pigmentation spots take so long to clear. Three or four months is a distinct possibility, especially in the warmer months and especially if you are outside in the sun a lot. Whether or not you can be free from makeup may be out of your control if you continue to get these pigmentation places and want to cover them up. But being able to enjoy a more athletic and outdoor life is your choice. I don’t think you have to curtail being out in the fresh air of nature; you just have to take precautions against sun exposure.

Being extremely careful about sun on your face is a lifestyle habit you will absolutely need to adopt. Any sun on your face will stimulate melanin and therefore darken all pigmentation, whether on healthy skin or skin that is damaged and healing from a blemish.

The truth is sunscreen is not enough to protect your skin. It is a manmade product with the ability to screen out only some of the harmful UV rays. Don’t feel falsely armed if you wear sunscreen; you will also need to physically block the sun from reaching your face. You do this by wearing hats and sitting in complete shade if you are outside.

Be careful about products that claim to lighten skin. There are some prescription products available through your dermatologist that might help, but the reviews are mixed on how well these products actually work to lighten the skin. Some products bleach, and others inhibit melanin production; melanin is what is causing the darkness. In the winter or colder months, your skin will naturally lighten, or the spots will, due to a decrease in sun exposure.

My top recommendation would be to become hyperaware of how much sun you are receiving. I guarantee it is more exposure than you think you are getting. Always wear sunscreen. And keep hats with you or in your car so you won’t be caught out in the sun unprotected. 

For more information about pigmentation issues, see:

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Basal cell carcinoma: Introduction

Basal cell carcinoma is a very common form of skin cancer that you need to know about. Over 2.8 million people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma annually (in the United States alone), and that number is only going to increase as the years go by. Basal cell carcinomas occur in the basal cell layer of the skin and are primarily caused by sun exposure.

There are many different looks to basal cell cancers; sometimes they may just look like regular moles on the skin. They don’t have clear-cut identifying markers, like, for instance a melanoma. Unlike this deadly form of skin cancer (melanoma), basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to other parts of the body. The most common area for this type of skin cancer to surface is the face, ears, even the scalp. They also can appear on the upper part of the back and chest. Sometimes the spots can bleed, and as you will read, left untreated basal cell carcinomas can become disfiguring.

I hope you understand the importance of getting funny-looking moles or places on your face (or anywhere) you have questions about checked by your dermatologist. The key is to listen to your intuition and don’t be reluctant to get things checked out.

Don’t have a skin doctor? Click on American Academy of Dermatology to get some ideas on finding one in your area. Remember: Don’t wait—get your moles checked today!

For more information, see: