Saturday, January 31, 2015

Sugar’s effect on skin: Clients with widespread breakout, scarring and menstrual issues

Although sugar intake causes many ill-effects in different areas of the body, here I am going to explore the problem that I deal with in my profession, which is sugar’s effect on skin. During the next several months I will be posting a few case studies straight from my skin care salons. These clients all had issues with sugar consumption that were causing problems with their skin, sometimes unknowingly. I hope these stories will bring more awareness about the detrimental effects of sugar and shed some light if you suffer with problem skin.

Case study: Gretchen

Gretchen came in for her first facial. She had widespread breakout over her whole face; small red infected places that were persistent. As I examined her skin I figured it was sugar consumption but kept from saying anything until I had more information.

She had recently gone through a round of antibiotics from her dermatologist, which brought her little relief from the breakouts. I explained that she was probably contributing unknowingly to her condition and until we discovered how, antibiotics or any other therapy was only going to be a temporary solution. As long as she was feeding her problem, the problem would continue to grow.

Finally I asked about her diet. I asked her to tell me the bad stuff she ate. She said she didn’t really eat bad things, but she probably drank too much coffee. How much coffee? “About 2-4 cups a day—at least.” Do you put anything in it, I asked. “Yes, I put sugar, one packet per cup of coffee.” Bingo—we hit the jackpot. Gretchen was ingesting 2-4 teaspoons of sugar (that we know about) every day. (As I have said in previous writing on sugar, it’s interesting how we don’t think about the obvious sugar we have in our diet. 

She couldn’t believe sugar was causing the problem. She had never heard that sugar was bad for skin and certainly didn’t realize it was creating the breakouts she had been experiencing. I hear this from most people I break the news to. They just don’t have a conscious awareness of this very simple compound that is creating problems with their skin. Obviously, this is one of the main things I am trying to change. Sugar causes breakouts.

Although she had a tough time reducing her sugar intake, Gretchen did see a change for the better in her skin. At least now she is holding the reins and is at the controls of her breakouts.

Case study: Anne

Anne called me concerned with scarring on her face. She was also concerned about a hormone imbalance she was experiencing. She had deep cysts on her face that itched and hurt and stayed red for a long time. Rather than addressing the breakout as I normally would, asking about a possible link to sugar, I chose to focus on the hormone imbalance.

Another concern for Anne was severe and painful menstrual cramping, and I recommended evening primrose oil to help. She was very well-versed in homeopathy and other natural studies. She had worked with a kinesiologist and believed in muscle testing. Anne had been muscle tested for evening primrose in the past, and her doctor’s test results always came up with a “no” for using it. I asked her if she was willing to bypass the muscle testing and just try evening primrose oil for a course of treatment for at least one month, although three months would be better. This way her body would have time to show some results. The primrose might help with the painful menstruation as well as her skin problems.

I finally asked Anne about sugar, and she said some amazing things. She intentionally did not read the chapter in Timeless Skin on sugar (Chapter 13). She skipped it on purpose because she figured it would have things to say about sugar she didn’t want to hear. She proceeded to tell me her sugar intake was immense and intense. I told Anne I would be happy to help her with her sugar addiction, but first she should read that chapter. I also recommended reading Sugar Blues by William Dufty, an excellent book about sugar addiction. After that, I thought she would have some background and that she also might be ready to make the necessary changes.

Christiane Northrup, in her brilliant and essential book, The Wisdom of Menopause, talks about how sugar can cause cramping. Sugar was no doubt the key to unlocking Anne’s problem skin and possibly her problems with severe cramping during menstruation. With all the knowledge she had about how to take care of her body and what to do and what not to do, Anne still chose to ignore the most obvious culprit contributing to her problems: the Evil Sugar! Are you avoiding the obvious? Take a look and see.

For more information, see:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A (bath-time) Travel Quick Tip

Who needs a bath pillow in this tub!
If you travel, packing an inflatable bath pillow can help you enjoy your bath-time while on the road. They are inexpensive (usually under $10) and won’t take up much space in your travel bag. Simply deflate, put the pillow (if already used) in a plastic bag or baggie. Once you're in the hotel room or guest area, inflate, run your bath and enjoy. I hope you brought some bubble bath or bath salts with you, too!

For more information, see:

Constipation anyone?

We freely and easily talk about what we’re putting into our bodies, but rarely if ever do we discuss elimination. However you want to portray the event, proper elimination is essential to a healthy body and, therefore, healthy skin.

All of your eliminating organs need to be functioning optimally for the toxins in your body to be dealt with and removed. If your colon is sluggish, sooner or later there will be trouble. Have you ever forgotten to take out your kitchen garbage? You can smell the gases and toxins building up inside the plastic. Your colon goes through a similar process when you are constipated. Like the garbage, food that is stuck in your colon will ferment and cause noxious gases to form. These gases keep building up until the waste is removed. In the meantime, the toxins can be reabsorbed into your system and released through your skin (the largest organ of elimination).

This is actually a good book
So what’s the solution? There are several answers to this question. The first thing I recommend is to read about colon health so you will have a better understanding of this barely talked about but vital process. There is, of course, a lot of information on the Internet and books, too. I have written an article on triphala (see below), which will give you some helpful information on a supplement you can take to promote colon health.

Water. Water. Water. One reason your bowels aren’t moving might be because your large intestine has become dehydrated. Your body requires adequate amounts of water in order to pass waste through the length of your intestines. The best way to get water into your system is to drink water. Anytime I have clients who complain of constipation, I instruct them to start drinking more water. Water is essential in helping to relieve constipation.

Chlorophyll is another key ingredient when it comes to colon health. If a client comes to me with a lot of blemishes, I inquire about the possibility of constipation. The colon contains a lot of toxins that can get reabsorbed into the bloodstream and come out of your skin as breakout. Chlorophyll helps to loosen hardened matter off the colon wall and gets debris moving through the intestines. Taking chlorophyll is an excellent way to get things cleared out of your colon, and therefore, your skin. Chlorophyll is a liquid supplement that is mixed into a glass of water. It can be found at better health food stores like Whole Foods.

Eating high-quality foods for colon health goes without sayingI hope. Poor-quality foods (fast-foods, for instance) and low water-content foods (basically anything that isn’t a fruit or vegetable) take a lot of water to digest. Fruits and vegetables not only contain a lot of water but are also good sources of vitamins and minerals.

Exercise is another key to healthy bowel movements. Peristalsis (the muscular contractions that occur in your large intestine to move waste toward its final destination) is stimulated with exercise. Aside from toning your legs and other muscles, exercise (even simply walking) helps to tone your inner organs as well, which includes your colon. Walking is one of the best and easiest ways to tone your body and help alleviate constipation.

If you are constipated, start walking, drink more water, try taking chlorophyll or triphala, and eating high water-content foods (fruits and vegetables). See if these suggestions help to lessen your troubles. I bet they will!

For more information, see:

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Many Uses for Evening Primrose Oil

I was first introduced to evening primrose oil in my mid-20s when I had very oily skin that was prone to breakout. The reason I started taking this supplement, however, was to help me through the intense pain I used to have with menstrual cramps. Evening primrose oil really helped to ease the tension brought on by PMS and helped alleviate a lot of the discomfort from cramps. At the same time I noticed evening primrose oil seemed to be helping with my breakouts and even the overall oiliness of my skin. I started suggesting it to my clients with problem skin, and they also had similar results.

Evening primrose oil contains high levels of essential fatty acids (EFAs). These fatty acids are necessary in the production of prostaglandins, which are hormone-like substances. These substances are vital in regulating different systems in the body, including your oil glands. Therefore, getting an adequate supply of EFAs can actually help to reduce oiliness. 

If you decide to try evening primrose oil, you’ll have to experiment with dosage to find what works for you. For PMS and cramping, I would take 1-2 500 mg capsules morning and night at the onset of ovulation and increase the dosage to maybe 3-4 capsules twice daily until the end of my period. For problem skin, you might try 2 capsules twice daily. If you don’t notice improvement, try up to 4 capsules two times a day and see if that brings about a positive change in your skin.

Evening primrose oil is also another hangover helper. Six to ten capsules taken before bed on a night you had (perhaps too much) alcohol will go a long way to reduce the symptoms of a hangover.

For more information, see:

Friday, January 23, 2015

Smoking & Skin

I’m a daily smoker. Honestly, I’m not going to stop smoking, but I am concerned about what it is doing to my skin. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the redness in my skin?

You don’t need me to tell you that smoking isn’t good for you. There are no two ways around it: smoking cigarettes causes numerous physical problems. I do appreciate this woman’s honesty, although I hope she is concerned about what smoking is doing to her entire body—not just her skin.

When it comes to smoking, there are definitely effects to the skin, long- and short-term. Smoking causes a constriction or closing of the vascular system, including the already weak capillaries that carry blood to and from your face. What you are doing by smoking is, in essence, suffocating your cells by causing less oxygen and vital nutrients to be transported throughout your body. Less oxygen to the cells means less nourishment and a decreased ability to get rid of toxins. This can show up as gray-looking skin—skin that is lacking oxygen.

Smoking affects collagen, and if you’ve ever seen a heavy smoker’s skin up close, they tend to have a lot of fine lines and wrinkles. Smoking causes a loss of healthy collagen, which creates wrinkles through collagen breakdown. Add to this the constant pursing that occurs around the lips as the mouth hugs the cigarette, and you have a recipe for increased wrinkling; it happens partly from the cigarettes themselves and partly due to the constant motion smoking causes with the facial muscles.

As if this wasn’t enough, nicotine is a neurostimulant, which can cause problems with getting sound sleep, yet another potential consequence from smoking. Not getting adequate rest brings with it a whole host of problems, not the least of which is that the body doesn’t have enough quality time to recuperate and regenerate. This can age you whether you smoke or not.

The tar that accumulates in your lungs inhibits their natural ability to self-clean. Do you get sick frequently? Perhaps smoking is to blame. Not only does smoking deplete your immune system, inhibiting its ability to fend off foreign invaders, it also causes excess mucus to form, narrowing the air passageway and leaving you susceptible to infections like bronchitis, colds, and the flu.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of coronary artery disease, lung cancer, and emphysema. Even if you don’t smoke but you live with a smoker, you are not immune to the effects of his or her cigarette smoke. You are still breathing in the toxic chemicals that are being thrown off by the burning tobacco and paper. Although you are not drawing the same amounts of tar and nicotine into your lungs, make no mistake about it—you are exposing your body to the harmful effects of smoking. This of course is known as secondhand smoke.

As far as the emailer’s concern with redness, depending on the severity of her condition and the doctor she goes to (what lasers they have available), getting the broken capillaries lasered may help her skin look less red. Obviously, as long as the cause (smoking) is ongoing, so too will be the aftereffects (redness, among other things).

If you are going to do things that are known to be harmful (or less than healthy) to the body, at least get familiar with the side effects, whether from alcohol, medications (prescription and OTC), or cigarettes. No matter your habit, be smart and know how it is affecting your body. Then take measures to try to make up for the imbalance by trying to balance things out nutritionally and supplementally.

Of course, the best course of treatment would be to remove the offending habit, and in this case it is smoking. Luckily, there are many different programs available today to kick the habit and enable you to enjoy better health—and skin.

For more skin care no-nos, see:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Holiday Recovery Program: Part II

In Holiday Recovery Program: Part I, keeping your skin hydrated during and after the holidays was discussed. Breakout is another common problem you may face when all the holiday commotion has died down. Some of the culprits are:
  • Sugar and fatty foods can overload your system and cause your skin to break out. Holiday cookies, pies, and candied foods individually may not give you blemishes, but because these kinds of foods are so plentiful during the holidays, you may not even realize how much of them you have eaten. 
  • Stress weakens your immune system, which can cause all kinds of problems including poor elimination. Since your skin in the largest organ of elimination, breakouts are common when you are under stress.
  • Even a lack of sleep can put excess stress on your body and therefore your skin. Consistent restful sleep will be reflected in the healthy look of your skin.
  • And don’t get me started on those of you who may have gone to sleep with makeup on. This is a skin care no-no and will inevitably cause congestion in your pores leading to breakouts.
There are several good treatments to help clear breakouts and clean up your skin. Using a clay mask on your entire face will help clean out the pores as well as stimulate blood circulation, which helps to eliminate toxins and brings out a healthy glow. You can even dot the mask on your blemishes and leave it on overnight to give any infections extra attention, helping breakout to heal faster. Geranium (or lavender) essential oil is another solution for problem skin. Due to its antibacterial properties, geranium will help speed up recovery time on any red, infected places. Drinking water is another key step to keeping your skin clear. Helping to flush toxins out of the body, water helps with the overall health of (all) cells as well as assisting with detoxification.
Tired, depleted skin is usually a result of a lack of rest combined with poor skin care habits, both common during the holidays. The solution?
  • Breathe! Finding time to “relax” during a hectic day may seem impossible, but even slowing down and taking a couple of deep breaths every now and then can help calm down the chaos in your life (and mind).
  • Take a nap. Lack of sleep is one of the primary causes of dull-looking skin. Giving your body a breakeven for 15 minuteswill help keep you looking radiant throughout the new year.
  • Water is essential for healthy tissue, so drinking water will always help to revitalize your skin. (It helps with weight loss, too.) 
  • Take a bath. Lock the door to the bathroom, put on some soothing music, add aromatic bath salts to the tub, light some mood-enhancing candles, and R E L A X—you deserve it! You made it through the holiday madness and now it’s time for you.
  • Get a facial. There is nothing better for your skin than a professional skin care treatment. In the hands of a pro your skin will come to life again, even if you overindulged in holiday cheer.
You can incorporate any and all the suggestions from both Part I and Part II of the Holiday Recovery Program any time during the year. Doing extra things for your skin (and body) right after the holidays will go a long way to help your health, inside and out, all year round.

For more information, see:
BE WELL, and have a safe and healthy new year!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Caffeine does more than just wake you up

Once in a while my clients surprise me, and today was no exception. Although I do a thorough intake form when I first meet someone and I write copious notes each time they are in for their facials, sometimes I don’t know everything about a given client, even if she has been coming to me for years. The client Im about to tell you about is one of that variety.

Brooke has been my client ever since I moved to Boulder, so about 7 years. When she came in for her first facial, I did what I do for all my new clients—I filled out an extensive consultation form to find out how and why her skin is problematic, what she has used on it up until now, and to keep tabs on the goings on with her and her problem skin going forward.

Throughout the years Ive been seeing Brooke (she is a regular, monthly client), there have been a few times Ive gotten new-to-me information about her health or lifestyle that for whatever reason didnt come out in our initial meeting nor subsequent visits. Sometimes things change over the years and therefore without me asking or the client letting me know, important information may slip by. This was certainly the case with Brooke, as I would find out.

During her last facial it was revealed to me that she has been quite a coffee consumer. In fact she has the equivalent of 8 shots of espresso—per day—if not more. She always starts the day with two 4-shot lattes. And inevitably later in the day she has a few more coffee drinks. Brooke said she may even have as many as 12 shots in a day. To say I was shocked to hear this would be an understatement.

This information came out because I was remarking about how good her skin looked. For years Brooke has suffered with problematic skin as well as some health issues related to her thyroid. She has a clean diet (truly), rarely ingests sugar, and has zero alcohol. Hormonally there have been some complexities, and sometimes medications shes taking have taken a toll on her skin. Lately, however, she has found new treatment paths, lessened or changed her medications, and her skin has improved significantly with all the changes.

But today there was a further change for the better. The inflammation I normally see around her mouth and chin area was all but gone. The red, infected blemishes that she still occasionally has were not there. For the first time—perhaps ever—Brookes skin looked healthy. The coloring was perfect and it was clearer than Ive ever seen it.

After mentioning the improved look of her skin was when she told me an acupuncturist she was seeing put her on some Chinese herbs (“that taste like Im licking the sidewalk, she says!) and told her to cut out caffeine. As I told Brooke, had I known about her huge daily caffeine consumption, I would have told her to cut down or cut it out as well!

Brooke is an all or nothing kind of gal, so most likely she really wont touch coffee again—ever. For any of you who know youre drinking too much coffee (because your skin is suffering or due to other problems caffeine consumption is causing), have one or two cups a day but not eight cups.

Moderation can work for many people, but if you are the type of person who is drinking too much coffee (or whatever you are getting too much of) and cant just have a little, try slowly cutting down then perhaps cutting caffeine out completely and switching to tea or hot water and lemon. (Brooke mentioned she found a caffeine-free tea, Yogi tea, that she buys loose-leaf, puts in her espresso machine and has found it to be an excellent substitute for her espresso addiction.)

Take a look at your caffeine intake and perhaps adjust your daily consumption if necessary. Your body is always giving you signs and signals of excess or absence of something it needs. Listen up and adjust accordingly. Utilizing moderation can usually be an effective tool for some of our daily addictions.

For more information, see:

Monday, January 19, 2015

Dry Hands? A simple solution for happy, hydrated hands

Years ago I came to a place in my life where I could not stand to have dry, scaly hands anymore! Getting through a Chicago or Colorado winter is really challenging unless you have a plan. My hands are in water a lot because of my profession; during each facial my hands are in water or liquids many times. When I’m home, the last thing I want to do is compound my already dry hands with more hard water. So at home I have succumbed to wearing rubber gloves. I wear them to do the dishes, I wear them to clean the house, I wear rubber gloves whenever I want to keep water—especially hot water—off my hands.

At first, I felt silly and confined. But I bought rubber gloves that really fit my hands, and therefore my dexterity is improved over when I was wearing more oversized gloves. I can feel through the gloves, and my hands don’t suffer with exposure to water or cleaning supplies. Putting a little talc, like baby powder, inside the gloves will help your hands get in and out of them easier.

Wearing rubber gloves may sound like an obvious solution, but I have asked many people who have problems with dry hands, and most have not yet discovered the benefits of wearing them. I noticed an immediate difference in the level of dryness of my hands once I started to use rubber gloves. I didn’t have to apply lotion as frequently, and my skin just felt better in general. I don’t do special hand treatments, like paraffin or warm oil with gloves. These would be wonderful, but I just don’t have the time or inclination to do any more than I have to do to have smooth-feeling skin on my hands. Give rubber gloves a try!

For more information to help your hands, see:
I don’t personally use these, but why not? Have fun!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Pregnancy & tired legs

As with all maladies associated with being pregnant, nothing is going to totally eradicate them. This is also true for tired legs. But incorporating a few extra steps into your daily or weekly routine can help to relieve some of the heaviness you may be feeling.

Stimulating the circulation in your legs is the best course of treatment. A dry-brush massage is a good way to get the blood flowing through your legs. Using a body scrub in the shower is another way to invigorate your tired legs. Getting a body massage (if possible) is an excellent way to help release tension and improve blood circulation. There are massage therapists who specialize in treatments for pregnant women. Not all therapists do, but call around and see if there is someone in your area who does this kind of massage. There are even massage tables specially made for pregnant ladies. Maybe you don’t want a full body massage, so just consider getting a massage on your tired legs. Or get your feet worked on. Whether you self-massage or hire someone to do the work for you, manipulating the muscles through massage is an excellent way to help relieve some of the symptoms of tired legs.

Soaking in Epsom salts can temporarily lessen the tired feeling in your legs, but consult with your doctor to be sure you can add products to your bathwater. Although extremely hot baths and whirlpools are not recommended (you can sweat to regulate your body temperature, but the baby can’t), relaxing in a warm tub of water with soothing salts or essences can help improve the circulation in your legs and bring you relief.

There are products on the market made specifically to help tired, heavy legs. They may contain essential oils and/or other ingredients to help stimulate and improve circulation. You may want to try some of these and see if they make a difference.

Finally, sometimes just elevating your legs can help with some of the discomfort. It can help to get the blood away from your feet where it tends to pool. Taking the load off your tired, swollen legs can go a long way in helping them feel better. It’s a simple remedy, but it can really bring relief.

For more information, see:

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Yonka’s MASQUE N°1—it’s not a mask, it’s the Best Moisturizer—ever! DISCONTINUED/Rebranded

UPDATE 2018:
Although this cream, or at least the name of this cream, has been discontinued, Yonka swears its successor is actually the same cream with a different name: Hydra Nº1 Masque. I have written an article about this new cream, link below, but I didnt want to delete this post altogether. So read on to see why I love this cream: Masque Nº1. 

I have several favorite products in the Yonka-Paris skin care line. Introducing: MASQUE N°1 (going forward, Ill call it Mask 1”) definitely one of my all-time favorites. If youve read any of my other posts describing Yonka products and directions for use, you know that Gommage and Optimizer Serum are my other two favorites. So there it is, my three favorite Yonka products. I love many others in the line, but these 3 top the list—absolutely.

Mask 1 was introduced around 2007. It was never meant to be a mask, per se. It isnt even listed in the “mask” section of Yonkas price and product list. Why they made the decision to use the word masque in its title, I have no idea. I do, however, think that was a big mistake. Unless you take the time to read up on this product and only go by its name, you will never have the opportunity to use it as it was intended: as one of the most wonderful hydrating creams ever made.

From Yonka headquarters: This gel-cream moisturizer with delicate floral aromas provides immediate, time-released, deep hydration: +54% after 1 hour and +96% after 8 hours. Intensely relaxed, the skin immediately appears smoother, softer, and plumper.

Im not sure about the claims Yonka makes in terms of the above information given for Mask 1. I am not disagreeing with the results, which are wonderful, rather with the % claims and their scientific findings; Im unsure how the tests were given to find those numbers. However, the results are clear with the experience of much better hydration, whether 96% after 8 hours or not. The hydrating quality of this moisturizer cannot be disputed.

Essential ingredients:
  • Imperata cylindrica, aloe vera, PCA, plant glycerinhydrating 
  • Silicon derivativeregenerating 
  • Vitamin Aregenerating
  • Jojoba, sandalwood, phellodendron, barleyanti-dehydrating, repairing
  • Bacopa monnieraantioxidant
  • Vitamins C and Eantioxidants
  • Bisabolol, vitamin B5soothing
  • Essential oils of rose, jasmine, shiurelaxing
Directions for use:
In the morning and/or evening:
  • Cleanse then pat skin dry
  • Spray on Yonka Lotion toner
  • Apply MASQUE N°1 to your face and neck
  • Use your favorite Yonka eye treatment
I currently use Mask 1 day and night. In the summer months, I will use another Yonka moisturizer during the day (and sometimes at night, too) because I dont need the deep hydration Mask 1 gives me when its really hot outside. I do sometimes reach for it, even in the warmer months, if my skin feels like it needs extra moisture. Your skin will always give you signs and signals as to what it needs. Your job is to learn its language and apply (or remove) accordingly.

For more information, see:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How NOT to apply a clay mask

So often I see photos of models with clay masks on their faces, and so often it is applied incorrectly. Granted, these people are posing in a photo shoot and are not really applying the mask for skin care benefits—although some are regular folks posting selfies from their home facials. No matter, you see these photos and most likely think this is how to apply the mask. Please do not follow these as examples of where to apply clay mask.

I have several photos in this post with my comments about whether or not the mask is applied appropriately. Please follow this advice to get the most out of your clay mask application.

Many important places on this models face are not covered with clay. Above her lips and under her nose, around her mouth in general, under her lips, directly under her eyes, and what looks like the sides of her face, although it’s hard to tell in this photo. All of these spots can be problem areas for many people, so by not putting the mask there, youre missing out on the deep cleansing and anti-inflammatory benefits (especially directly under the eyes) of using a clay mask.

This application is somewhat better. Although Id put the mask directly under the eyes and closer to the mouth—so you can’t see the facial skin—along with a bit further under her chin. In this photo, there really isnt clay near her hairline on the sides of her face, so Id definitely apply the mask closer to her hairline.

This is better—closer to her mouth and more on the sides of her face. However, the clay is totally absent directly under her eyes. Also, Id apply a bit more on her forehead close to the hairline.

Here again, the mask is applied to most places on her face, but its missing close up to the lips, eyes, and her whole face hairline area. Also this is starting to dry, so be sure to always keep a clay mask moist on your face—never let it dry! Please read How to use a Clay Mask—Important Instructions (see link below).

This is pretty good—close to the hairline and up to her lips. It looks like the clay wasnt applied under her eyes. Even if you use cucumber slices (or something else), still apply the clay directly under the eyes to get the full anti-inflammatory benefits. Unless you have breakout or problem skin issues, you really don’t need to apply clay on the neck tissue—its totally optional. Usually in my treatment room I will apply an appropriate moisturizer in a thick layer on a clients neck, unless she has breakout there. Breakout always gets clay mask application.

This young lady has done it right! She went all the way under her eyes, which is so important and usually overlooked. (The clay in a mask, having anti-inflammatory properties, helps to reduce puffiness under the eyes.) Although you always want to keep the mask moist, especially under the eyes, apply it like this woman has. She got the clay all the way up to her hairline, all the way up to her lips, and solid around her nose. Good job!

Finally, the mask is applied well here, perhaps too well (going up into her hair)—I’m sure this application is for photographic purposes not an actual person using a mask at home. However, you can see how the mask is drying. A great effect for the photo, tragic for her skin! The cracking you see with the mask is actually what is happening to her skin underneath. Need I repeat this yet again—Do not let clay dry on your skin! It dries your skin out, and you never want to do that.

There are many articles about the use of clay masks. Here are just a few you can read through to understand the outstanding benefits of using this essential tool for healthy skin:

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Couperose Skin explained

This is a bad case. Most people's couperose is less noticeable.
What is couperose skin? Couperose is a condition affecting the capillaries of the face. These capillaries are very thin vessels that constitute the blood network for the skin on the face. Capillaries are weak and fragile; they can “break” or dysfunction very easily. (Although the capillaries have merely dysfunctioned, many times they are termed broken capillaries.) When this happens, the blood stagnates within the vessels, making them more visible. Broken capillaries (couperose) look like tiny red lines under the surface of your skin. If you have thin skin, broken capillaries will be more noticeable. 

Why is it couperose? This condition can happen for many different reasons: 
  • Genetics play a large role in how weak the capillaries are.
  • The environment has a lot to do with couperose.
  • Sun exposure, with its constant and extreme heat, can definitely cause capillary damage. Sometimes this is hard to see through a dark tan. If the tan is allowed to fade, there will usually be residual redness remaining that may be couperose.
  • Severely cold temperatures or cold, windy conditions can be a cause.
  • Skiing can really do a number on your skin and the capillaries. You’re in cold air with the hot sun beating down while the crisp wind is hitting your face as you gracefully glide down the slopes. When skiing, your skin is vulnerable to the elements, so cover up as much as possible. It will save your skin in the long run.
  • Extremes in temperature are bad for the skin and specifically the capillaries. Moderation is always best when choosing a temperature to expose your skin to.
  • Alcohol and smoking are also culprits in causing couperose. Alcohol dilates (opens, expands) and smoking constricts (closes, contracts) the capillaries. This constant opening and/or closing can weaken the capillaries over time. 
  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids), Retin-A, and strong exfoliating peels can also exacerbate couperouse skin.
  • Steam machines (like the kind used in facials—or even those for home use) dilate capillaries and can definitely cause or increase couperouse.

As you can see, many things contribute to couperose skin. Almost everyone by the age of 35 or 40 has a certain amount of redness to their skin—even if only in a few places. It’s hard to avoid all the different factors that cause broken capillaries and still lead a normal life. People who flourish outside usually have a tough time keeping couperose away. My recommendation is to do what you can to protect your skin, then enjoy your lifestyle and activities. Life is too short.

What to use on couperose skin. In treating couperose skin, it’s important to know what not to use and what conditions to avoid (if possible) more than what to use for the condition. Capillaries are very sensitive to extremes, so you never want to use either hot or cold water directly on your face. Even going from really hot temperatures outside to cold air conditioning (and vice versa) can be hard on these vessels. Spicy foods dilate the capillaries, as do caffeine, alcohol, and sun. Smoking, air pollution, and cold or windy weather constrict the capillaries. Obviously, there are conditions that exist in our everyday lives that we cannot escape, namely the weather. Just remember to stay away from extremes whenever possible. This will help to allay further capillary damage.

Grocery and department store products rarely, if ever, address couperose skin, but many professional product lines do. Keep in mind, nothing will get rid of existing broken capillaries, so prevention should be the focus. Avoid extremes and use products specifically formulated to tone or promote proper capillary function.

For more information, see:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Another donation of hair for charity

Well, I’m at it again! I just cut my hair and will be donating it for wig-making. I don’t have 10" this time, so I won’t be able to donate to Locks of Love, who require 10 or more inches. *Pantene’s Give Beautiful Lengths is another option, although they want hair with no more than 5% gray—I don’t think I meet that requirement! CWHL (Children With Hair Loss) requires only 8" as the minimum length, and they don’t care about gray—so this is where I will send my hair donation.

My plan was to grow my hair out after the first donation several years ago then cut and donate again. Sometimes the best-laid plans don’t happen or take a bit longer than expected. But I’m on board now and am grateful for my healthy hair being able to help one or more people out (kids, in this case) with their hair-loss issues.
Click on any of the organizations listed below to be taken to their perspective websites. Information on donating is there along with any and all requirements. In some cases it doesn’t matter if your hair has been dyed—or is gray—so don’t let anything stop you if you want to donate.
Jax seems to like the new haircut

Quincy doesn’t seem to care

THANK YOU Theresa (former owner) @ Treehouse Hair Spa for helping make this donation possible!

For more information, see: