Thursday, December 31, 2015

Dehydrated Skin Q & A

I wanted to let you know that my skin has cleared up beautifully, and I have a question: My skin doesn’t seem dry, but when I smile my cheeks (where the skin is very thin and scarred) have dry-looking lines. What should I use for this? Now that I have stopped breaking out, the scars are better but the skin is still thinner in that area. I certainly don’t want to aggravate my skin with something that will make me break out—lines are better than blemishes for now!

If your skin doesn’t feel dry, I don’t recommend doing too much in terms of adding heavy moisturizers. You may just be noticing your skin there, whereas before you were looking at the breakouts. Perhaps it’s not your skin that has changed, but your perception of it.

Yonka's Hydralia
However, if your skin actually feels dry on your cheeks, you can try adding a glycerin-based hydration booster to your creams. I wouldn’t recommend applying something directly to the area; there is too much of a risk the product might go on thicker than you realize, and breakout may result. I usually recommend a booster for people who have oily and/or problem skin that feels dry but is really dehydrated, or any one looking to add moisture without adding oil to a dry-feeling skin. Try this adding-to-your-creams tip and see how this works for you. Exfoliating, too, will help relieve the surface of dead cells that may be hanging around and causing the dry feeling.

Dehydration needs to be attended to, but rememberyou always want to treat the oil content of your skin first, whether there is an overabundance or lack of oil production. Dehydration is easily diminished by exfoliating. If you have severe or deep dehydration, you may need to use hydrating elixirs or a more effective exfoliator. If your skin can tolerate AHAs, then this type of ingredient may work to rid your skin of dehydration. I caution you, though, if you have sensitivities or are prone to redness, AHAs can be more detrimental than beneficial depending on your skin. 

Be sure to take care of dehydrated skin so it doesn’t develop into a more severe condition. Exfoliate more regularly and see if this alone helps your problem. Understanding the simple difference between these two separate conditions (dehydration and true-dry skin) can keep you from experiencing a skin care catastrophe when purchasing your skin care products.

For more information on dehydration, see:

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Garlic for balanced immunity

Garlic is a well-known herb proven to help strengthen your immune system. Traditional uses for garlic include:
  • colds 
  • flu 
  • other infections 
  • earaches 
  • yeast infections 
  • high blood pressure 

Garlic reduces cholesterol levels, has a blood-thinning effect, and is said to lower blood pressure. Known as a medicinal “food,” this intensely studied herb has impressive test results. Garlic is an antimicrobial, and according to the Herb Research Foundation, it was used by priests in the Middle Ages to protect themselves against bubonic plague (the powerful bacterial infection that was taking over the European countryside).

Heat (cooking) destroys the allicin in garlic. Allicin, sometimes called nature’s penicillin, is the antibiotic component that kills bacteria and many viruses. So to receive the medicinal properties of garlic, it must be eaten raw (one or two cloves equal one dose), or in liquid or pill form. Eating raw garlic is a great way to infuse your system with garlic’s healing properties. I love garlic, but eating it raw as a medicine isn’t my cup of tea.

There are several brands of garlic pills out on the market that are coated in a way so the allicin (the odor-producing component) digests in the small intestines. Broken down there, you get none (or hardly any) of the bad breath side effects, and your immune system gets all the medicinal benefits. So never fear, science has come up with a solution to the problem of garlic breath. If you choose to eat garlic raw, eat a few stems of parsley (a natural breath freshener), or put a drop of essential oil of peppermint on your tongue to help alleviate garlic breath.

I’ve included the following information from The How To Herb Book—my favorite herb book of all time. It is reprinted with permission.

Garlic is called nature’s antibiotic. It contains allicin, a natural antibiotic. One milligram of allicin has a potency of 15 standard units of penicillin. It is effective against toxic bacteria, viruses, and fungus. Garlic contains more germanium, an anticancer agent, than any other herb. In tests with mice and rats, garlic-fed groups developed no cancer—where nongarlic-fed groups developed some cancers. In Russia, garlic was found to retard tumor growth in humans.

  • is active against staphylococcus and E. coli bacteria.
  • is good to take for all diseases (antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anticancer) including contagious diseases.
  • protects against infection.
  • has detoxifying effects on all the body systems.
  • improves, tones, and strengthens the entire physical condition. Has a rejuvenating effects on all cells.
  • builds endurance and energy.
  • strengthens body defenses against allergens.
  • has soft oils that help to emulsify plaque and loosen it from arterial walls.
  • contains selenium, which helps arteriosclerosis.
  • strengthens blood vessels.
  • equalizes blood vessels.
  • equalizes blood pressure, high or low.
  • has a sugar-regulating factor.
  • taken internally is one of the most effective herbs for killing and expelling parasites.
  • is used in enemas. Besides being used as straight garlic enema, it is excellent to combine with catnip for a catnip/garlic enema. The catnip pulls mucus and soothes the cramping of the colon, etc. The garlic kills the germs and parasites, improves peristaltic action, and also pulls mucus.
  • contains protein, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A, B, B2, and C, calcium, sulfur, selenium, germanium, allicin, allicetoin I and II, aluminum, chlorine, manganese, zinc, copper, and iron.

    As you can see, garlic is loaded with health benefits, especially if you are trying to fight something off. I don’t take garlic every day, but I do always have it on hand if I’ve been around someone who is sick or if I feel I’m coming down with something. Taken early, I find it keeps me healthy and well with my immune system strengthened.

    For more information, see:

    Tuesday, December 29, 2015

    Problem Skin (See “Breakout”)

    Problem skin? See category: “breakout

    Monday, December 28, 2015

    Proactiv—Solution? Part I

    I have a mixed report on this infomercial product-by-mail. I have had several clients come into my clinic telling me how Proactiv “tore up” their skin. And I have also had experience with a few people who have had success with it. Over the span of a few articles, I will include some stories of how Proactiv helped or hindered the clearing of their problem skin.

    What’s in Proactiv Solution?

    This is a benzoyl peroxide-based skin care product line. The most basic Proactiv Solution program consists of four products: Cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and mask. The pH values of all but the mask are acidic, which is good. The mask tested to be alkaline, so if you decide to use this product line, I would be careful about using the mask. As you know, alkalinity can dry out the skin’s surface. Proactiv also contains fragrance; something that cannot be ignored once you smell the different products. This should raise a red flag if you have known reactions to fragrance in products, so be aware and be careful.
    • The Renewing Cleanser has 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (BP).
    • The Revitalizing Toner has glycolic acid as its second ingredient, along with aloe, chamomile, and witch hazel as some of the top ingredients.
    • The Repairing Lotion Acne Treatment (moisturizer) also has 2.5% BP.
    • The Refining Mask Acne Treatment has kaolin (clay) as its second ingredient, which is actually a good thing. Too bad it’s an alkaline mask.
    The ingredients in this system are predominately synthetic, with a few organic ingredients thrown in, mostly in the toner.

    Proactiv has definitely worked for many people—although some for just a short period of time. If you are at the end of your rope, you might want to give these products a try. By this I mean you have really looked into your diet and lifestyle habits and cannot determine a source for your breakouts. Or at least no source that you are willing to give up, perhaps. Ingredient for ingredient, I am not impressed with Proactiv, but if it works for you then that is what really matters.

    Kerry’s story. Kerry was pregnant with her second baby. Her skin, like with the first pregnancy, had gone completely haywire. No matter how good she was about doing all the right things, her skin was still at the mercy of the baby growing inside her. Hormones are funny things, and when a woman is pregnant, they control just about everything, including her skin.

    Kerry came in for a facial with what looked like chapped skin all over her face. She was so dried out and dehydrated I couldn’t believe it. I asked her what she had been doing, and she reluctantly admitted the truth. She had gone to the store and purchased products that promised to clear up acne. What they had done instead was dry out the entire surface of her face, which did relatively nothing for the infections and cysts coming up from below the skin.

    I got her to stop using the harsh, drying products, and considered the options with her. She shyly asked me what I thought of Proactiv. I said I honestly didn’t have any personal experience with it, but that several clients in recent years had said it was one of the worst things they had used on their skin.

    A month later I saw Kerry for another facial and noticed an improvement in her skin. It was perhaps 25% better than the previous month. She went on to tell me she had purchased the Proactiv products and decided to use them and see how it went. She, too, had noticed a difference in her skin; it seemed to be clearing up a bit. Here is what Kerry had to say about her Proactiv experience.

    Proactiv worked to dry my skin out pretty well, but nothing really helped to clear it up. It definitely improved the bright red, breakout pus things, but didn’t help with the blackheads that were so bad. The cleanser and toner are the best products. The lotion (moisturizer) was okay, but the mask was horrific. Let me put it this way, using Proactiv made me feel like I was doing something to sort of help my skin, but nothing really could make it better. It finally cleared up in my fourth month of pregnancy.

    One of the side effects I noticed with Kerry’s skin was dehydration; in fact it was flaky. This was no doubt from the benzoyl peroxide contained in Proactiv. Benzoyl peroxide, although sometimes effective for blemishes, can really dry out the surface skin. Although Kerry had some success with Proactiv, she ended up going back to her regular routine with the products she had used for years. Products that didn’t dry out her skin.

    Proactiv does work for some people. But if the cause of the problem skin is dietary and the diet is not altered dramatically to ensure a healthy body and therefore healthy skin, the problems will continue to occur. You may go through an initial period of clear skin. Then three, four, or maybe six months later (even while still using Proactiv), your problems might seem to be returning in full. This is because you did nothing to stop the acne from occurring in the first place. You took the short cut, which usually leads you in a circle back to where you started. It’s about causal healing, not quick fixes. Remember, you must fix the system, not just the symptom.

    If you have problem skin, these articles and others on this blog may be of interest:

    Saturday, December 26, 2015

    MYTH: It’s expensive, so it must be good

    True, most good products cost more than the average grocery or big box store brands, but not always. Just because something is expensive doesn’t automatically mean it’s a quality product. You may just be paying for the brand name, the attractive packaging, or expensive advertising. Don’t be fooled by the price tag. The proof will always be in the results you receive.

    For more information, see:

    Thursday, December 24, 2015

    Yonka’s ELASTINE NUIT—Anti-wrinkle night cream for true-dry skin

    ELASTINE NUIT is a wonderful hydrating cream best used at night. (Nuit means night in French.)

    From Yonka headquarters: It maximizes the water content in the skin tissues while imparting vital nutrients, effectively controlling moisture loss of the epidermis (outer skin). Nuit softens fine lines and wrinkle depth while energizing the epidermis and renewing its vitality. This results in unequaled softness and smoothness with less visible lines when you awake.

    Elastine Jour and Elastine Nuit complement each other, and when used together as your day and night creams, they create a regenerative program with 19 essential amino acids that smooths wrinkles and fine lines and helps the epidermis to restore its natural elasticity.

    Even though Nuit is a night treatment cream, I do have several clients who use this product night and day. Read Day vs. night creams (see link below) to get my view on using two different creams.

    Essential ingredients:
    • Elastin peptides, milk peptidesanti-wrinkle, smoothing
    • Shea butterrepairing,protecting
    • Soy peptidesrestructuring
    • Vitamin C, wheatgerm oilantioxidants, regenerating
    Directions for use:
    In the evening:
    • After cleansing and spraying on Yonka Lotion toner
    • Apply a pea-sized dollop of ELASTINE NUIT over face and neck 
    • Then use eye cream

    Yonka has many wonderful night and day creams. As articles are posted they will be listed under the category Yonka moisturizers.

    For more information, see:

    Saturday, December 19, 2015

    Hair Removal Options: Women & Shaving

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

    We all know about shaving. Using a razor, the hair is basically chopped off on top of the skin, leaving a smooth, hairless surface in its wake—albeit for a very short time. Everyone’s hair grows at different rates, but shaving offers the shortest amount of time between the removal and the regrowth of hair.

    Men generally only shave their faces, whereas women shave many different parts of their bodies. The most common areas for a woman to shave is her legs (some women only shave the lower legs, others shave the entire leg—upper and lower), the underarms, and sometimes even the bikini line. And then there are those of you ladies who shave your face.

    Shaving the face should be left for the men of the world—only. Let me reiterate that point: If you are a woman, do not shave your face! There are many articles on this blog that contain alternative techniques to remove unwanted hair on your face. If you start (or continue) shaving, you are only going to be ensuring the need to do it forever.

    Shaving is a relatively inexpensive way to quickly get rid of hair virtually anywhere on the body, and it is generally painless. If you aren’t paying attention, shave too quickly, use an old or dull blade, or if you have problems with your skin, it can preclude a smooth shave. 

    Does hair really grow back darker if you shave?

    It is my experience that once a particular area has been shaved (and I believe this holds true for waxing as well), the hair does grow back darker and possibly thicker than it was before. Some reports dispute this, but use your own experience as a measure of the validity of my observation. Perhaps for some people the hair grows back as it was prior to shaving. This has not been the case for me, however, nor most people I have spoken with. So in essence, once you shave an area, you will eventually become a slave to shaving it.

    Usually women start shaving their legs as teenagers, many times as proof of maturation—a sort of rite of passage. I know this was true for me when I was a teen, around 13 or 14 years old. Like a young man shaving the peach fuzz off his face, I started shaving my legs long before I needed to. I was simply removing fine (and unnoticeable), light-colored hair from my lower legs. At this young age, noticeably dark hair had not become a problem.

    I don’t remember specifically when I noticed the hair growing in darker and coarser, but it was. The hair also seemed to grow in quicker, probably due to the darker color being more noticeable. Now, of course, I can’t go for more than a day or so without shaving, lest the dark hairs scare off my clients! The point is, don’t remove peach fuzz from anywhere on your body unless you just want to speed up the process of being a slave to shaving. 

    Prepare or despair. Preparing your skin is of the utmost importance when it comes to shaving. For men, if you can shave in the shower, it will greatly increase your ability to get a clean shave, as well as make you less susceptible to irritation and razor cuts. The steam coming from the hot water does a great job of warming your skin and making it smooth, so the razor just glides right over your face. The same shower technique goes for women and shaving. Shave your legs in the shower to ensure your skin is “warmed-up” for the process.

    If the skin is dried out and flaky (dehydrated skin), it can cause irritation anywhere on your body you are shaving. So in order to ensure a smooth shave, you’ll want to incorporate these three components: Exfoliation, using a good shaving cream, and using a triple (or more) blade razor, which will be discussed in future articles. For now, see:

    Thursday, December 17, 2015

    A 30-something client with sun damage, looking for products and a good facial: Q & A

    I am writing from Florida. I have received many facials over the years, but I don’t really know my skin well enough to choose products myself. I have sun-damaged skin with large pores and premature aging. I am 32 years old and look much older. I want to start getting facials again but don’t know how to go about finding one locally. Also, how do I start using products when I don’t know what my skin needs?

    One thing I want to say is next time you get a facial, and every time you get one from a different aesthetician, ask them about your skin. If you are getting or have had a lot of facials, you really should know a little bit about your skin. Perhaps at the time you were in treatment, you didn’t really care—but now you do. Asking the professional working on your skin, especially if the same person is giving you facials over time, will give you the information you need to choose products. Every aesthetician may say something a little different from the next, but overall you should get the same general analysis.

    I have written several articles on where to find a good facial treatment and what to look for. Below are just a few of the questions you can ask to get a general feel for the salon you are thinking about going to. Without asking questions, you are taking a risk going in somewhere you know nothing about. Here are some questions to ask:
    • What type of business is it? Mostly hair, a large spa, or skin care only?
    • Which products does the salon use? Are samples available? (This is very important!) 
    • How long has the aesthetician worked there? How long has she been an aesthetician? 
    • Does she use the product herself? 
    • How long is the facial? 
    • Does the salon use machines? Which ones? What about extractions?
    • How much does the facial cost? Is the price all inclusive or can extras be added? 
    • What will my skin look like afterwards? 
    • Will makeup be applied after the facial?

    This emailer mentioned sun damage and enlarged pores, but said nothing about oiliness or dryness. Knowing the oil content of her skin will help determine which products she should use. She first needs to determine her skin type, which she can successfully do on her own or with the help of an aesthetician. She needs to assess the oil or lack of oil in her skin by checking in the mirror to see if there is any congestion like blackheads or whiteheads in her pores, along with flakiness on the surface of her skin. All of these are factors in choosing the right products.

    Coming from Florida, she no doubt has, does, and will continue to get a lot of sun and therefore sun damage. Premature aging is a common occurrence in year-round sunny climates like Florida, so obviously her first defense against accelerated aging is to protect her skin (face and body) while in the sun. Getting regular facials and consistently using products for her skin type will be the best ways to keep her skin in good shape. If she truly is aging prematurely, topical products aren’t going to give her the youth she has lost through overexposure to the sun. However, I’ll bet she enjoyed all the activities and time spent in the sun, and that has to mean something.

    For more information, see:

    Tuesday, December 15, 2015

    Are you sensitive to fragrance?

    Perfumeries started out using pure essential oils and floral waters as fragrances way back when. Then with the arrival of science, synthetic fragrances were born. Most perfumes today are made up predominantly or entirely of synthetics. Synthetics are usually cheaper ingredients and can be an affront to your senses. When pure essences are used, you are getting a pleasant scent and sensation although you are going to pay premium prices for this all-natural interlude.

    With strong, synthetic fragrances, your olfactory (smell) glands go into overdrive, and many times a headache will follow. Many people get headaches simply from walking through the department store cosmetic and fragrance areas, especially when the salespeople are so eagerly spraying perfumes at you left and right. (I happen to be one of those people.)

    When fragrance is used as an ingredient in skin care products, you may get headaches from this as well. You may experience topical intolerances such as red, rashy skin, or even breakout. This can be due to an allergic response or intolerance to a particular fragrance. (Synthetic fragrance is a common ingredient in many skin care products.)

    Because how a product smells greatly influences your desire to purchase it, companies will put their trademark fragrance in most or all of their skin care products, hoping to entice you to buy them. If you are not sensitive to fragrance, these products will probably not cause you problems. But if you are sensitive, watch out. It won’t take long for your skin to give you a clear and unmistakable signal that it does not like a product you are using.

    Pay attention to any warning signs (redness, itching, irritation, rashes, breakout) when using a new skin care product. If it contains fragrance, you may have to opt for a more natural product, one that utilizes natural fragrances, such as essential oils. These natural essences give products wonderful aromas without the irritations caused by synthetic fragrances.

    For more information, see:

    Monday, December 14, 2015

    Yonka-Paris GUARANA SCRUB

    For the 30-plus years I have been using Yonka they have never had a facial scrub. The Gommages (formerly 303 & 305, now called Gommage Yonka) were the onlyand essentialway to exfoliate the face. Enter GUARANA SCRUBThis is a detoxifying, exfoliating facial scrub with mircobeads.

    I’ve always said that using Gommage is more effective at eliminating dead skin than a scrub is. With that said, some of you don’t use, don’t like, or won’t use Gommage. So now you can use this new product! And for those of you who use the Gommage religiously, having a wonderful scrub to use a few times a week is a great addition to any skin care routine.

    Try Guarana Scrub, I know you will love it! It’s easy to use and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and healthy, while removing dead skin along the way. 

    From Yonka headquarters: “This exfoliating cream gently cleanses and purifies the epidermis, revealing new, fresh and radiant skin. Guarana Scrub removes dead cells and impurities that slow down the natural renewal of the outer skin (epidermis). Your skin will feel silky with a smooth, refined texture.

    Essential ingredients:
    • Guarana and organic brown rice micro-beadsexfoliating, detoxifying
    • Vegetable glycerinhydrating
    • Cornflower, calendula, linden, German chamomile, St. John’s wortsoftening, soothing
    • Essential oils of geranium, lavender, and rosemarytoning phyto-aromatic effects
    Directions for use:

    Use as often as you want: at least once per week, or 2 to 3 times a week. If you’re gentle, you can use Guarana Scrub daily.
    • Apply the cream scrub to a moist face and neckavoid the contour of your eyes and lips
    • Gently massage, making sure to get into the nooks and crannies of your face, especially around the nose and chin
    • Rinse thoroughly
    • Pat dry without rubbing
    • Use your Yonka Lotion spray toner
    • Moisturize with your usual day or night cream plus eye treatment
    • Enjoy healthy, glowing skin!

    Many times when I use the scrub, I will mix 1/2 cleanser and 1/2 scrub for an alternate way to clean and exfoliate. 

    For more information, see:
    Guarana seeds

    Sunday, December 13, 2015

    Do you have dry, itchy skin on your body?

    Below is the case of a woman with dry skin due to hormone changes, but the information provided can help anyone with dry, itchy skin.

    I had my ovaries removed 3 months ago and my skin on my entire body is so dry, it’s driving me crazy. I can literally scrape the dead skin off!

    I am on estrogen medication, and when I asked my doctor what I could do, he said the dry skin is part of “the change” and that maybe in 6 months or so it will get better.

    I live in Florida, so dry skin shouldn’t be such a problem in my life. Is there anything I can do to keep my skin from itching and get rid of all this dry skin?

    This is a common problem for women who are going through perimenopause or really anyone living in a dry climate. To add to that, this client also had her estrogen-producing ovaries removed, so her skin just doesn’t have much of a chance to lubricate itself. Although, as the doctor said, there may not be any cures for the dry skin, I do believe there are things you can do to help the dryness from driving you crazy.

    I asked this client if she had ever used body oils. Her answer was no. I asked if she had oil she used in her kitchen, she said yes. I told her to pour out about 1/4 cup of the oil into a container she could take into her shower with her. Here are the instructions I gave her:

    • After she had done everything in the shower,  keep the shower water running and take some of the oil and start spreading it over her body.
    • Start with the legs, but don’t put oil on the bottoms of your feet! Otherwise you might slip and fall in the tub.
    • Apply the oil in a medium layer to your entire body, back, front, up and down.
    • Massage the oil in to the skin, then let the water rinse any oil off that will come off.
    • Once you are out of the shower, don’t rub with your towel, but pat dry. This way the oil will have a better chance of staying on your skin.
    • You can apply an oil after you have gotten out of the shower or bathtub, but don’t dry your skin off first; apply any oil to wet skin, massage in and let it have it time to soak in.

    You can also use this oil method in a bathtub, also being careful not to get oil on the bottoms of your feet, so when you’re exiting the tub you don’t slip and fall. Pour some oil into the bath water and while you’re there, smooth the oily water over all of your dry spots. Since oil is lighter than water, it will stay on the surface so be sure to massage any oil in where the water line was once you’re out of the tub.

    An alternative to using plain oil from your kitchen is a get a manufactured product made specifically for (body) skin. Yonka has several body oils in its lineup and there are many other product lines that do as well. These will be more expensive, obviously, than a kitchen oil but look around and find one you like and one that has an aromatic that is pleasing since this scent will remain on you for a while after its application.

    I wouldn’t put clothes on immediately—or at least I wouldn’t dress up. Bed or house clothes won’t matter as much if any oil residue gets on them. The more you massage the oil into your skin, the less it will affect any clothing you put on after the shower. You also get the benefit of blood circulation from the massage (as well as from the heat from the shower you just took).

    Although I’m not a fan of mineral oil products for the face, when it comes to dry, itchy skin on the body these heavier, non-penetrating oils may be just the ticket to help with true-dry skin. Body lotions with mineral oil as a top ingredient are easy to obtain in most any kind of store that caries body products. You will probably find that these types of lotions will go far to helping your dry skin.

    Exfoliation gloves make an excellent choice for getting rid of the dead skin on your body. You simply slip the gloves on, apply a bath gel, and go over all parts of your body. These gloves are easily rinsed out and can make exfoliating not only easy but fun as well. Be sure not to rub too hard, lest you cause skin irritation. And do be sure to thoroughly rinse the gloves before hanging them on the towel rack to dry, or throw them in the washing machine. More information on this exfoliation process can be found in the link below.

    You may not be going through menopause, but perhaps you live in a cold and/or dry environment. The same oil application can help you too. During winter here in Colorado (and I know in Chicago), if the cold air doesn’t get you, the heat inside the buildings will! Using oil on your body with truly dried out skin is the most effective way to get rid of that dry feeling.

    For more information, see:

    Friday, December 11, 2015

    Reactions to products: Is it eczema?

    I’m 23 years old and have very sensitive skin. Any product I use wears out its welcome after three months. About three weeks ago I began waking up with lines on the bridge of my nose. Two weeks ago I noticed lines forming under my eyes, and this week the skin under my eyes looks dry (but isn’t) and is full of lines and wrinkles. It even seems a little loose. What is happening?

    My skin was smooth with tiny, barely visible lines three weeks ago; now it’s as if it has aged 10 years overnight! Why would this happen, and will my skin ever go back to the way it was before? Could this be an allergic reaction?

    Based on your symptoms, I would say this is a classic allergic reaction. Crepey skin, especially when you find wrinkles overnight, is definitely a symptom of an intolerance to something used, and is probably a dermatitis called eczema. The eyes are so sensitive, and many times an allergic reaction to a new skin care product will occur near the eyes, even if the offending product was used on the entire face.

    Depending on the severity of the reaction, you may need to see your dermatologist and get a prescription cream to help calm your skin down. First you could try a topical cortisone cream (found at any drug or grocery store) and see if this helps. You must, however, read the directions and be very careful about how close to your eyes you apply the cream. The doctor will be able to prescribe a higher strength steroid cream if the over the counter type isn’t effective enough.

    Look at the ingredients of the offending product and see if you can find anything you know you are allergic to. Sometimes just fragrance in products can cause reactions like the kind mentioned above. Your skin, once calmed down, should resume its natural, normal state. How long this will take varies with the individual. But surely within a week or perhaps a bit longer, you will have your old skin back.

    Recently I went to purchase some new products—an experience that turned out to be a living nightmare! First, I got my skin analyzed and was told that I have normal, combination skin. I purchased a papaya exfoliant, clay mask, and a moisturizing mask for dehydrated skin.

    After several weeks of exfoliating and masking, to my horror I woke up one day with welts all over my face, redness, burning, and itching. My eyes we re almost swollen shut! I have never reacted like this to anything before. Needless to say, I am mortified that my skin may have been permanently ruined.

    My doctor has prescribed methylprednisolone [cortisone] for six days. It has brought the swelling down a bit, but I still have redness and itchiness, not to mention that my skin feels very taut and dry—appearing to have wrinkled up (I didn’t have any wrinkles before this!!!!).

    Everything I have tried on my face to alleviate the burning and itching has not worked, except for petroleum jelly, which soothed it considerably. I am worried and don’t know what to do next. I am thinking of going to an allergist.
    Would you have any advice for me? Is my skin ruined forever? Please respond as soon as possible because I desperately need your expert advice. I am afraid of the cortisone I am taking, but feel I have no choice since my symptoms are severe. I am desperate!

    Your reactions sound like a dermatitis, probably eczema: red, itchy skin that feels like it is burning, along with severe dryness and crinkling. A topical cortisone cream will probably relieve the symptoms, but that doesn’t tell you why you had the reaction in the first place. If you are game, you could also take The 72-Hour Test (see below) to help narrow down which product caused the problems. It may have been all of the products, but maybe not.

    Of course, you may not be willing to develop those reactions in order to figure out which products you can or cannot use. In that case, an allergist will probably be able to figure it out for you. There may be common allergens contained in one or all of those products that the specialist can tell you about. If you are going to do the 72-Hour Test, I highly recommend you wait until your skin has completely recovered and even wait a few more weeks to be sure you aren’t still in reaction mode.

    This client told me that after about a week of severe redness, itching, swelling, and pain her skin did finally calm down. She made an appointment to see an allergist, but wasn’t able to get in to see someone for almost four months.

    Wednesday, December 9, 2015

    Costly radiation: tanning beds—unnatural UVA exposure

    Tanning beds, or as I call them, “cancer beds,” are like a microwave is to a conventional oven in terms of sunlight. They emit accelerated and irregular UV radiation, amounting to abnormal UV exposure. The sun puts out ultraviolet light in a particular intensity and proportion. Tanning beds rearrange how these light rays are being emitted. And who really knows what the effects are on the human body? Do you want to be a guinea pig in an experiment involving ultraviolet radiation?

    Many people are using tanning beds thinking they are safe. Unknowing tanning salon members are usually told the beds don’t emit UVB radiation, and that their skin won’t burn and they can tan “safely” without any worries. Wrong! Although people who use a tanning bed will be getting less UVB than if they were in the sun, they are still receiving more UVA (2 to 3 times more) than from natural sunlight.

    While UVA doesn’t cause as many exterior signs of damage, it does cause tremendous damage you cannot see. As you may know, UVA causes long-term damage, such as premature aging through damaging collagen and elastin fibers. UVA can also damage DNA, causing possible skin cancer risks in the future. There are several articles on this blog about the different affects of the UV rays, one is listed below with a link.

    Another negative to predominantly UVA exposure is you have virtually no warning signs of overexposure. Personally, I think any exposure to the radiation from a tanning bed is too much. When overexposed to UVB, your skin will turn pink, then burn and feel painful. You won’t have these warning signs with overexposure to UVA. Later in life you may notice a rapid increase in lines and wrinkles along with overly flaccid (loose) skin. You may have cancerous or precancerous lesions making their presence known. But by then, of course, it’s too late to undo the damage done from time spent in a tanning salon.

    So keep in mind that when you get this kind of unnatural UV exposure, you will essentially have no warning signal if you’ve received too much radiation. Unfortunately, some people feel impervious to these consequences. Even though they know tanning beds are bad for them, they continue to use them anyway—even if it’s just once in a while—truly throwing caution to the wind.

    Fortunately, more and more information is being accumulated about the dangerous effects of this unnatural type of UV exposure. I have yet to read an article on tanning beds that gives them the stamp of approval. The only place you can find encouragement to use these radiation beds is in the brochures handed out by the tanning salons themselves. Don’t be fooled; these beds are dangerous—in the short-term and definitely in the irreversibly damaging long run.

    For more information, see:

    Monday, December 7, 2015

    I’m sensitive to sugar—are you?

    I have not only written a lot of articles about sugar and skin health, but I’ve also mentioned how sensitive I am to sugar and how it has affected my skin since I was in my 20s. The following is just one example of how sensitive I am to sugar.

    One holiday season I was given some delectable chocolate-covered almonds. Dark chocolate, to boot—my favorite. I didn’t want to eat them because I knew I would break out. But I didn’t want to throw the gift away, so I put them in the freezer, hoping I would forget about them. Of course, the best layed plans; there I was and there they were—just waiting for me to come eat them whenever I chose to. And I did.

    If you’ve read some of my previous writing about skin and sugar, you know I’ve said that to the best of my ability I don’t eat sugary foods two days in a row. But I had a deadline and was working long hours at home, and by the end of the day I just wanted a little taste of sweet—so I reached for these freezer goodies. I ate only three candied almonds each night, for three nights. By the third night I had breakout that was obvious and also a few places inside my mouth that were sensitive—just waiting to become canker sores.

    I’m telling you about this in the hope of illustrating how sensitive to sugar some people can be. And if you are one of those people and you eat the equivalent of what I ate or more, then the skin problems that you are currently experiencing are very likely the product of your sugar addiction. I make no bones about it—sugar can wreak havoc with your skin.

    Eating three of anything isn’t very much, but for me and my body’s sensitivity to sugar, it was enough to cause skin problems. I mention this because I have had countless clients come in saying they don’t eat that much sugar. And I’m here to say it simply doesn’t take that much—for some people.

    I’m no angel. I have my moments and can be seen going down the grocery store frozen food aisle with a pint of Häagen-Dazs ice cream in my cart (Yes, I eat ice cream!) or my latest favorite: Milk Duds. But that is an exception, not the rule for me. And through years of experiencing how sugar affects my body, I know what will most likely happen when I eat that glorious ice cream. For me, eating sweets is a decision based on awareness. And that awareness has come through trial and error and eventually solid data accumulated through my own life experiences.

    I will say, now that I am menopausal, sugar doesn’t make my skin break out as much as it did even just 5 years ago, but it does (still) affect my blood sugar. This fact continues to keep me watchful of how much sugar I am ingesting.

    By the way, immediately after eating a sugary food, I march into my bathroom and brush my teeth. I’m sure my dentist would be proud of me! We all know from being kids that sugar causes tooth decay, which is a fact that doesn’t change when you are an adult. Once I have thoroughly brushed my teeth, I proceed to drink water. Water will help dilute the concentrated sugars, hopefully helping my body to process these toxins more easily.

    Even though I may have a little breakout from eating the ice cream or other sweet delight, I want to live a well-rounded life and abstaining from everything all of the time is definitely not how I want to live. I don’t eat sugar very often, but when I do, I try to do healthy things to offset the negative effects of my activities.

    HOT TIP: You don’t need sugar—you are sweet enough!

    You’re right on about sugar. I’m not much of a sweet eater, but if I do indulge in something sugary, I notice the pimples in a day or two. Thank you for your help!

    For more information, see:

    Sunday, December 6, 2015

    About Carolyn Ash—skin care expert

    Carolyn Ash is determined to demystify skin care

    Consumers are inundated with technology, which includes information on proper skin care. Carolyn Ash is trying to take out all the hype and give consumers simple tools for healthy skin care. “Taking care of your skin is really very simple. It’s marketing and advertising that tends to complicate the process, says the 54-year-old skin care veteran, whose always makeup-less skin is flawless.

    “I graduated from skin care school in 1985. Unfortunately, back then, they weren’t teaching us much in school. It was incumbent upon me to study on my own to find out the true workings of the skin and how to take care of it. I think schools nowadays are giving a more complete education, which will definitely benefit the client.

    Ash opened her first Carolyn Ash Skin Care salon in Dallas, Texas in 1994 after working for The Spa at the Crescent (also in Dallas) for over seven years. It was at The Spa that Carolyn discovered she had a unique talent to communicate seemingly complex ideas about health and skin care into easy-to-understand steps and procedures. She also learned what to do and what not to do to run a successful business. 

    Carolyn Ash does it her way

    I always knew I wanted to have my own business. I like having control over all aspects of how my office runs. This way I can be sure the customer is getting the very best service possible. Not too long ago a client came in for a facial and was telling me about a spa she had been to recently. I felt like I was just a number there, she said. I told her the only number she is at my salon is #1. I like that, and I truly believe that is how everyone feels when they enter (and leave) my office.

    It is a very personalized service offered at Ash’s salons. They aren’t big spas; they are comfortable environments that are set up to be one-on-one with the client. If you are interested in great skin and a wealth of skin care advice, Carolyn Ash Skin Care is the place to go.

    Carolyn Ash emerges as a popular writer and talk show guest

    Ash turned her passion for skin care and education into a popular first book entitled Timeless Skin: Healthy Skin for a Lifetime (2000). Her writing efforts have gotten her notoriety in Dallas, Chicago, and in her current hometown, Boulder, Colorado.

    After being discovered through the publicity from Timeless Skin, Carolyn Ash has enjoyed educating people all over the country. She has been hired as a public speaker for various skin care companies and has traveled around to salons, helping to educate employees on the Carolyn Ash facial technique. What I love about public speaking is reaching a lot of people at once versus one person at a timein a facial for instance. I also love going into a salon and, even though they don’t necessarily use the products I do at my salons, I am able to impart important information on how to give a great facial and how to set up the business to ensure 100% client satisfaction.

    Carolyn has written for national publications such as Natural Health Magazine and American Baby Magazine. She has also been featured on TV, whether on local morning shows, or national programs like The Iyanla Show. In 2004, Ash published a 2nd book: Skin Care from A to Z. This second effort explores reader’s email questions along with case studies of clients from her salons. 

    “My books are what I term evergreen. Although small bits of the data in the books may change as the years go by, the bulk of the information is as true today, in 2015, as it was when the first book was published in 2000. Skin careyour skinjust doesnt need a radical new approach. Skin is a living, breathing entity and its care is somewhat never-changing. Products and trendy procedures may come and go, but your skin and your entire body have remained the same for millennia.

    The Carolyn Ash Skin Care mission

    The mission at Carolyn Ash Skin Care is to give helpful and honest information for achieving clear and healthy skinfor a lifetime, whether to a client in one of her salons or a person ordering products by mail. Ash states, If you don’t have clear skin, it will require diligence and discipline to achieve it. But clear and healthy skin is absolutely possiblefor everyone. I just want to simplify the process so you can get on with your life!

    For more information, see: