Thursday, March 31, 2016

Here is a cleanser you DON’T want to use on your face!

In several articles on this blog (some of the links are listed below) I have discussed the need to know the pH of your skin care products in order to avoid using things that are alkaline on your face. Alkalinity, among other things, can cause dehydration—something that makes your skin feel dry even though it may not be true-dry. This can set up a reaction of using moisturizers that are too rich for your skin (unless it is an oil-dry skin type) to make up for the dry, tight feeling after using such products—the pH imbalanced kind. Another effect is the possibility of your oil glands producing more oil to compensate for the loss of oil from the alkaline cleanser getting your skin too clean.

The photo below shows a test I did with pH papers on a Neutrogena “natural” hard bar soap. As you can see on the label, it looks like it might be good: avocado and olive oils “gently” cleansing your skin. But no—there is nothing gentle about washing your face with an alkaline cleanser, whether it be a bar soap or a milky cleanser.
In case you’ve never used pH test papers, they are an orange color (like the “5” on the package in the photo). If a product tests acidic, it won’t really turn the paper any color, it just looks like the orange paper is wet. This is ultimately what you’re looking for. Any product that turns the paper light green to dark green (the above little test piece is dark green!) indicates alkalinity and means you don’t want to use whatever product you’re testing on your face.

As you can see, it is important to know the pH of any and all skin care products you are using so you can avoid using products like this natural soap on your skin. (Most bar soaps, by the way, tend to be alkaline, which is the main reason I don’t recommend them.)

For more information to help you understand why you want to test your products and what can happen if you use the wrong types of products, see:

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Yonka Products for Red-Irritated, Sensitive Skin & Rosacea

I wanted to post some information to help you put together a skin care program using Yonka products if you have sensitive and/or red skin as well as rosacea. 

Youll notice that all the recommendations for gommage and clay mask are Gommage 305 and Masque 105both say they are for dry” or sensitive skin. Id like to explain. (Yonka rebranded 305 and its now called simply Gommage Yonka. I will leave the following information just for interest sake, but any references to gommage use will now be with Gommage Yonka.)

Gommage 303, although it says on the tube its for “normal to oily skin,” this exfoliator contains a lot of citrus extracts. Citrus juices contain a lot of acids and can irritate red and/or sensitive skinand definitely skin with rosacea. Back in the day (the 80s), Gommage 305 was for acne and problem skin.” Now, with only the two gommages in the line, the sensitive skin” descriptor for 305 means sensitive no matter if your skin is oily or true-dry.

The clay 105 has slightly less clay in it along with less essential oils than Masque 103, both of which in higher concentrations can irritate sensitive skin. So Masque 105 is the perfect mask if your skin is sensitive even it you have oily or problem skin. And using clay on problem skineven if youre sensitiveis essential to keeping your breakouts to a minimum and helping to minimize redness.

Click on any product name to be taken to its corresponding article on this blog.

*Both Creme 83 and Creme 11 have been discontinued. As soon as I have the opportunity to try their replacements, I will post that information here and in a separate blog article.

You first need to determine the amount of oil your skin produces to truly understand which products to use. Please read:

I have sensitive skin with breakout:

I have rosacea with oily skin:


Rosacea with true-dry skin:

I have very sensitive skin that is oily OR that is true-dry

For oily/sensitive:

For true-dry/sensitive:

I also recommend reading articles about rosacea and sensitive skin. Here are links to all the articles currently published on this blog:

If you havent already, please read the following for more helpful information: 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

MYTH: European facials are guaranteed to be A+

Europe is known for its product lines. Skin care really began in Europe, as did the utilization of spas, going to the baths, and hydrotherapy. But to characterize something as being European should not be an automatic cinch for a service or person being of high quality in the context of a skin care salon.

Many salons in the US offer European facials. To me, the phrase European facial would indicate a facial given in Europe. I suppose it could be a facial given by a European aesthetician, or perhaps the product that is being used is from Europe. But I really think it’s a meaningless term used to elevate the quality of a facial treatment.

Many times the word European is used to connote some special, sophisticated training. Training is obviously very important, but where the education takes place doesn’t necessarily mean it was or was not good training. Quality depends on many factors. It is the talent of the individual along with education, training, and experience in the field that creates a good aesthetician.

So when a salon says it offers a European facial, ask “What exactly does that mean?” For example, I am an American, trained in America, using French products. Am I giving a European facial?

For more information, see:

What are razor bumps?

Razor bumps are basically ingrown hairs that have become red and/or infected, otherwise known as pseudofolliculitis barbae. An ingrown hair is where your (usually previously shaved) hair decides to navigate back down into the skin instead of coming out onto the surface. Because these hairs are coarse, they can wreak havoc on the tissue below.

They usually cause red, irritated bumps that resemble blemishes, but they are actually small irritations caused by the ingrown hairs. Once this sensitive tissue meets with a razor, small red bumps (razor bumps) follow. Although ingrown hairs cause inflammation and irritation, there is usually not a bacterial infection present as with true folliculitis. Pseudofolliculitis tends to happen more with curly-haired men, especially African-Americans.

The first course of treatment for ingrown hairs is exfoliation. By exfoliating the outer, dead skin layer, often the hair finds an easier path to the outside. When exfoliating, a gel-type, nonabrasive peel would be preferable to using a scrub. If a scrub is all you have at the moment, don’t get too aggressive with it or you can cause more irritation, but be on the lookout for a gentler, gel-type product.

Give exfoliation a try and see if it solves your ingrown hair problems. If you can, try not shaving so closely with your razor. This can help to alleviate some of the irritation. If nothing seems to work, another option—although maybe not for everyone—is to let your beard grow out.

If you’re having problems with skin irritations around your beard area that won’t go away, it could be true folliculitis. This is a bacterial infection (staphylococcus) in your hair follicles caused by any number of things, even contaminated washcloths. If you think you have folliculitis, you may want to consult your dermatologist, who can prescribe topical or oral antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria present in your skin.

With the following articles, you should be able to start understanding the difference between folliculitis and pseudofolliculitis barbae:
For information about exfoliation, see:
Don't be confused. Keep reading to understand the difference between these two frustrating skin conditions.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Anti-aging with Kinerase?

Kinerase is the name for a nonprescription cream that used to only be available from a doctor’s office but can now be found in the retail environment. It is said to help retard the aging process. It utilizes the natural growth hormone in plants called N6- furfuryladenine. It is this plant hormone that helps the leaves stay healthy, moist, and alive. Kinerase is available in both a cream and a lotion; each contain 0.1% of the plant hormone ingredient. The lotion is lighter, for normal to oily skin types; the cream is for true-dry (oil-dry) skin. Kinerase can be used in conjunction with your regular skin care products, as well as with makeup or even sunscreens.

Unlike Retin-A or Renova® or other anti-aging counterparts, this treatment does not (according to most information available) cause redness, irritation, or flaking of the outer skin. In fact, it is often used after peels (whether strong or gentle) to help ease skin irritation or redness that might have occurred.

For the most part, Kinerase is best used on skin that has been damaged by the sun. In clinical studies some improvement has occurred in both wrinkles and pigmentation, although only modestly. It can be used by women who are pregnant or nursing, something some other topical anti-aging products prohibit.

Although I haven’t used this product, the word from my clients who have is that they saw little or no improvement (or detrimental effects) with their skin. They didn’t see any significant changes in their lines and wrinkles, or with the small amount of hyperpigmentation a few of them have on their faces.

I chalk this product up to the ravenous appetite of some consumers and the cosmetic industry as a whole for products that will stop, impede, or otherwise change the most natural act we will go through in life: aging. Out of 24 ingredients listed on the jar, the anti-aging component N6-furfuryladenine was the very last ingredient. Maybe that is enough to affect a change in the skin, but it seems like this is an expensive moisturizer with a little bit of the anti-aging plant hormone in it.

You may want to try this product (as directed) and see if it helps with your pigmentation issues and/or lines and wrinkles you have. Your experience may be different than the experiences I have heard about. I am a big proponent of experimenting, something I like to do. This will give you first-hand experience with whatever you want to find out about—in this case, Kinerase.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Acne and imbalance—What to do

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, see:

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Yonka-Paris LOTION PNG—Spray toner for normal to oily skin

LOTION PNG is the Yonka toner for normal to oily skin types. This aromatic mist will immediately soothe your soul. With essential oils of thyme, lavender, geranium, cypress, and rosemary your mind will be entranced and your skin will be pH balanced. Used after cleansing, these wonderful aromatic toners can be used throughout the day—whenever you want to have the Yonka Quintessence experience!

This white spray toner has a higher concentration of essential oils than does Lotion PS (for normal to true-dry skin). This makes Lotion PNG better for helping with excess oil production as well as blackheads and breakout. (PNG translates to pour normale à grasse in French; for normal to oil in English.)

This toner is acidic on the pH scale, helping to rebalance your skin after cleansing. Bacteria can’t thrive in an acid environment; your skin is naturally acidic on the pH scale. Using LOTION helps to keep bacteria away while maintaining balance for the oil glands.

Essential ingredients:
  • Yonka’s “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)
    • Thyme (Spain)—antiseptic 
    • Lavender (Provence)—healing, soothing, stimulates cell metabolism
    • Cypress (France)—clarifying
    • Geranium (Egypt)—balances oil production
    • Rosemary (Morocco)—detoxifying

Directions for use:
After cleansing:
  • Spray LOTION over face and neck
  • Use your favorite Yonka moisturizer
  • Then apply eye cream

Other than using twice daily (after cleansing), this wonderful aromatic toner can be used as often as desired. LOTION makes an excellent aftershave for men; it is very soothing.
Both Yonka spray toners (Lotion PS and Lotion PNG) are truly wonderful. If you are not currently using one, I highly recommend incorporating one of these aromatic spritz toners into your daily Basics routine.

Not sure what toner to use? Please read: 

For important information on pH and how to test your toner or any skin care product, see:

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A reader’s question about different product lines

Recently “Anonymous” left a comment on one of my blog articles. I thought I’d answer the question here. To make it easier for the writing process, I will assume this is from a female reader:

Hello, I like Yonka as well. I also use PCA Skin and some Pevonia. What do you think of these lines? Many friends use Dermalogica, but I think it is too chemically based. What is your opinion? Thanks!

There are hundredsnothousands of skin care products available today. Although I happen to be familiar with the products mentioned in this comment, my feelings about skin care products including Yonka are pretty straightforward. So while not specifically commenting on these lines, I will offer my thoughts in general.

In my opinion, the most important thing regarding skin care products is to use themusing something vs. nothing. Obviously what you use and how the products react with your skin is equally important. As this reader mentions, some of her friends use Dermalogica but perhaps that particular product line won’t work for her skin.
As a side note, although I don’t have specific recommendations for any of these 3 lines, I do love Dermalogica’s Dermal Clay Cleanser. Before I ever used it, I had been recommending for my clients with problem or oily skin to mix 1/2 clay mask and 1/2 cleanser for an extra strength facial wash. (See link below for Advanced Steps for Cleansing.)

Yonka along with every other product line isn’t for everyone. There is no one product, procedure, or skin care routine that works for every single person. Time, money, and how it works for the skin are some of the considerations when using facial products. What I know for sure is that when I have a client who comes in and doesn’t really have a good, basic skin care regime and they start with just The Basics, each and every person sees a positive difference in their skin.
I always recommend Yonka products because they work for many different kinds of skin, and I love them! I have over 30 years of experience with Yonkapersonally as well as professionally. That doesn’t mean they are the only game in town, just the only one for me.

As I mention in many of the articles on this blog, trial and error is usually the course you need to take when choosing skin care products. If you go to an aesthetician you trust, more than likely you will use what he or she recommends. Taking a good friends recommendation can also be an avenue to finding products that work for you. Still, youll have to use them for a period of time to see if they are a good fit for your skin or not.

If you’re interested in the product lines this reader was inquiring about, here are their website links:
For more articles helping you choose products as well as information for your skin care routine, see:

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Acidophilus 4-1-1

What is acidophilus? Acidophilus, or technically lactobacillus acidophilus, is the friendly bacteria found in your intestines. These health providers are always present in varying numbers, helping to defend their territory against pathogens and invaders.

There is a balance of friendly and unfriendly bacteria in the colon. This balance is so vital to the health and vitality of your colon that making sure you have enough friendly bacteria is of great importance. This is especially true if you are or have been taking antibiotics. As you will read, antibiotics take a toll on friendly bacteria. In essence, taking acidophilus helps to balance. It helps restore a healthy intestinal environment so jobs like digestion and elimination go smoothly day in, day out.

Acidophilus and antibiotics. Antibiotics, as we all know, are important tools for our health. And just like many things in life, they can also have adverse effects, especially if overused or abused. In some cases colitis, which is essentially inflammation of the bowel, has been linked with taking antibiotics.

For anyone currently taking antibiotics or even if you have just recently been on a round of antibiotics, I highly recommend taking acidophilus. Why? To reinstate and ensure a healthy balance of good bacteria in your colon, which was probably destroyed or in some way altered by the use of antibiotics.

The following is reproduced with permission of The Mc Graw-Hill Companies (1999). It comes from a wonderful little booklet called The Friendly Bacteria: How Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria Can Transform Your Health, by William H. Lee, R.Ph., Ph.D.

Antibiotics: The Destructive Lifesavers

Antibiotic drugs have a valued and necessary place in therapy, and have been focally instrumental in saving immense numbers of lives. They are an effective emergency measure, destroying disease-producing bacteria in a manner which seemed miraculous to those who first experienced and observed their action. Many diseases, such as pneumonia, which had been at best life-threatening, became routinely curable.

But antibiotic means, literally, “against life.” When the “life” that is destroyed is that of harmful micro-organisms, all well and good. Antibiotics are not selective, though, and, like aerial bombing, are not geared to spare the friendly organisms which inhabit the same space as the hostile ones. After a course of antibiotic treatment, the intestinal flora are severely diminished, the good along with the bad.

At the least, this is likely to cause some digestive upset, anything from diarrhea and flatulence [gas] to severe constipation. As a routine precaution, many people have now learned to add yogurt [plain, not flavored with sugar added] to their diets—making sure that it has live cultures and is not pasteurized—after such treatment, or to take a guaranteed high-potency supplement of acidophilus or bifidobacteria.

An upset stomach* is not the worst result of the destruction of your population of friendly bacteria. In their absence, other organisms normally present and innocuous can seize the opportunity offered and expand their numbers explosively and dangerously.

One of the most prevalent and troublesome—and sometimes deadly—of these organisms is the yeast Candida albicans.
*As I tell my clients, usually when they are talking about their stomach, as in a stomach ache or upset stomach, they usually mean their small intestine or transverse colon. Why do I say this? Because when I ask them to point to the place they are talking about, they point to the area around the belly button, which is where these organs are located. The stomach is much further up and to the left.

Although antibiotics are taken to restore our body’s health, they also create a threat to the bacterium in the intestines that are designed to support health. Antibiotics have a place in the world of medicine and treatment, but their overuse is common and can cause real problems.

Treating problem skin with antibiotics is a good example of this. I have come across hundreds of people who have been on antibiotics for their skin for years! This cannot be a good thing! After reading the previous excerpt from the acidophilus booklet, I hope you begin to understand that long-term use of antibiotics—for whatever reason—can be a real threat to your body’s balanced state of health.

What and when to take acidophilus. There are approximately 11 trillion bacteria in residence in your intestines. Eleven trillion! That’s about 3 1/2 pounds of bacteria—the good kind. I mention this not only because it is an amazing fact, but also because some clients have expressed concern over taking acidophilus, which can (and should) contain up to a billion live bacteria in a single dose. When you compare these numbers, a billion vs. 11 trillion, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

After talking with several health care professionals, they all agree you want to take acidophilus that requires refrigeration. These supplements usually come in capsule form, although powdered acidophilus is also available. There are several brand names, so I recommend talking to a qualified person who works in the herb and supplement section of your health food store. They will (or should) be well-versed in what the store offers and what the best source of acidophilus is for you. Directions vary on when to take acidophilus, but generally it is recommended to take one to three capsules 20 to 60 minutes after eating.

I started taking acidophilus after I was on antibiotics. Now that I’ve stopped the antibiotics, should I keep taking acidophilus?

I would continue taking acidophilus because it is just so important for colon health. Perhaps after a few months off antibiotics and taking acidophilus you could stop, but I would give your colon plenty of time to regroup and regain a healthy balance after antibiotic use. There isn’t any reason that I know of to stop taking acidophilus. It will do you no harm to continue using it, whether or not you are currently taking antibiotics.

For more information, see:

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Yonka-Paris ELASTINE JOUR—Anti-wrinkle day cream for true-dry skin

From Yonka headquarters: ELASTINE JOUR is the ideal time-defying day cream to regain the tone and well-nurtured look of younger skin. Vital skin proteins are stimulated as it visibly reduces fine lines, smooths texture, and imparts radiance. Elastine Jour delivers vital nutrients while controlling moisture loss of the epidermis [outer skin]. It also firms the tissues and inhibits the skins loss of elastic support. Finally, Elastine Jour softens fine lines and wrinkle depth while energizing the epidermis and renewing its vitality.

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. 

Essential ingredients:
  • Elastin peptides, milk peptides—anti-wrinkle, smoothing
  • Shea butter—repairing, protecting
  • Serine, hydroxyproline—hydrating, reconstructing
  • Vitamins C, E—antioxidants
  • Vitamin A—regenerating
  • Lactic and citric acids—hydrating
Directions for use:
In the morning (Jour means day in French):
  • After cleansing and spraying on Yonka Lotion toner 
  • Apply a pea-sized dollop of ELASTINE JOUR cream over face and neck
  • Then use your favorite Yonka eye cream

Im not a stickler about using day creams only for day and night creams only at night. With that said,  I do prefer using two different creams for day and night because you get the benefit of many different ingredients vs. the ingredients from just one cream. When you get down to it, using creams period is the most important thing for the health and hydration of your skin. Using one (or more) moisturizer that is the right one for your skin type trumps everything else in my opinion.

For more information, see: