Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Airplanes, travel, and skin care: Help with internal hydration

Although using products topically will help keep your skin feeling good while youre traveling by air, I have some suggestions for things to do for yourself internally that can help with the stress your body might go through during travel time.

When you fly, not only does your skin become dehydrated, but you can suffer from internal dehydration as well. The best way to keep your insides hydrated is to drink lots of water. This may seem obvious, but whenever I fly it seems to me people are drinking sodas and coffee more than plain water.

Ive heard a rumor that airlines might start charging for water, something that has always been offered for free. Id recommend purchasing a big bottle of water to have with you on the plane. Itll be clean, filtered water and if youre going to have to pay anyway, youll probably get a better deal from one of the stores in the airport vs. what the airline may charge you once youre on the plane. In other words: Be prepared!

Drinking water doesn’t necessarily (and certainly doesn’t immediately) hydrate your outer skin, although a lot of people think it does. But drinking water is good for you internally; all organs benefit from drinking plain old water. This includes your eliminating organs (namely the kidneys, liver, colon, and of course your skin), which definitely need this extra hydration to help combat the drying effects incurred on an airplane.

If you are going to have cocktails on your flight, please be sure to drink extra water with them. Alcohol is a diuretic, and the last thing you need to do while you’re traveling is to leach water out of your body. The 2:1 rule definitely applies here. Try to drink two glasses of water for every one glass of alcohol. And try to only drink clean, bottled water.

Another way to get water into your system along with good nutrition is through eating fruit. Fruit is loaded with antioxidant vitamins and water. And fruit is self-contained. You can just throw an apple or orange into your bag and there’s no preparation needed. Or you can spend a few minutes and cut up your favorite fruits, put the pieces in a small plastic container and you’re set. They’ll have napkins and utensils on the plane—all you need is the food.

Fruit—most fruit—is digested in the small intestine, so it doesn’t take a lot of energy to process. This is important because, as I’ve said before, I believe flying at such high altitudes makes it hard for your body to process food. Add to the dehydration factor poor digestion, which can easily equal constipation, and this is enough to ruin your entire trip.

Being prepared is always a good thing no matter the circumstances. When it comes to airplane travel, having extra water along with fruit or other healthy food can make your travel time go smoother and keep your body, inside and out, better hydrated.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Amazing Grace—Such a long, long run

My sweet kitty Grace’s long LONG run has come to an end. After watching her fairly stable (but old) condition decline last week and especially over the weekend, I had her put to sleep in our home on Monday—a decision I believe was perfect timing.  

Gracie and I met in Dallas almost 22 years ago, on or around August 1st, 1994; she was given to me by a friend who found her in unusual circumstances. She has been a constant companion, a pain in the butt sometimes, but always and forever a sweet little girl, delicate from day one until the day she passed into the beyond. She truly embodied her name.

Gracie started out as a foundling in Dallas TX, then she became a Chicagoland cat, and finally a Colorado kitty. She saw the kitten I got for her 1st birthday (Archer) pass away at 16 ½. She recently went through Quincy, my dog, transitioning. And now her time has come to pass into pure spirit, pure love.

Grace, unlike Archer and Quincy, was never sick a day in her life. She was easy that way. She was, however, a very picky eater—until the very end. Sometimes there could be as many as 5 food bowls lined up on the kitchen floor and me hoping one of them would be adequate enough for Grace to eat. Such a picky eater!!! (Admittedly, I gave in to her more as she got older. I revered her age, which made me much more susceptible to her picky ways.) Toward the end I would bring the food to her, but still if it didn’t suit her, she would turn up her nose.

See what I mean...
She had a tremendous “voice.” Burmese, like Siamese, can come with loud cat cries and Gracie sure had one all her own. It kept me up or woke me up for years, but the last year or so of her life, she didnt have the loud cry. I guess old age has its advantages.

After moving to Boulder, I adopted Quincy Blu, an Australian Cattle Dog, who was kind and sweet; he passed away last summer. Although Grace lived with him for over 7 years, what seemed like each and every time she saw him she acted (and reacted) like she had never seen him before, looking incredulously at this giant beast who had walked into her space or who she was passing by. That always made me chuckle.

Grace was a true cat. She preferred to hang out alone usually and sleep in secluded areas. Just before Quincy passed last July, she started to sleep and live exclusively on my bed. I thought when the habit started that perhaps it was her way of being closer to me toward the end. I think I will continue to think that, no matter if its true or not.

After 22 years together, I called this sweet girl by many names, some of these included: Grace, Gracie, Grainy, Gracilla, Princess Grace, Amazing Grace, Sweetie, Puddin, Pumpkin, Lovey, Sweetness, Silly Girl, Macy, Macy-Macy-My Gracie, Mookie, Mocha Chocolata, Brown Girl (shes espresso—Burmese—but looks black), Little Girl, Sweetness of Life, Sweet Thing. More recently I was calling her Skittles. (She lost some function/stability of her back legs—so she kind of side-winded and skittled about.)

Although I mentioned I think her passing was at the right time, I didnt think that at first. Like so many pet guardians, I struggled with the thought that perhaps I was putting her down too soon. I felt this with Quincy Blu as well. But like Quincy, once the day was dawning for the vet to come over, it was abundantly clear that indeed I was not too early, in fact I was hoping I was not taking these steps too late.

When all is said and done, I truly believe that her passing came at the perfect time—for her. She felt ready, she seemed in some discomfort, and I feel blessed that I could have my wonderful vet come to the house (like he has done twice before) and euthanize my sweet 22 year old in the peace and comfort of her home and in her “place.” The special place that was all her own where she slept and ate and finally took her last breath.

Thank you Grace for these 22 years. You came to me (thank you, Teel) unexpectedly and gave me unimaginable years of joy and love. I love you, Sweet Girl. Macy, Macy, My Gracie—rest, in peace.

For more animal-related articles, see:


  1. Ponie Lunsford May 25, 2016 at 2:11 PM
    A very lovely tribute to Grace. The Pictures are wonderful! Sweet Gracie - Peaceful transition! xox

  2. yazalady June 1, 2016 at 8:42 AM
    Such a deeply touching and moving tribute to Gracie.
    Thank you for sharing this very intimate experience with us.

Monday, May 23, 2016

What is topical vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a very important vitamininternally. It is neither manufactured nor stored in the body, so you must get it daily from food or from supplements. Vitamin C is also important to healthy skin. It is an antioxidant, meaning it helps to keep free radicals from invading your cells’ oxygen stores. And vitamin C helps in the formation of collagen.

It sounds great to think you can apply a topical product to the skin and have it penetrate down to the inner skin or dermis, affecting the collagen fibers. But there is no evidence to show that vitamin C can penetrate down that far into the true skin. However, because topical vitamin C products are generally made with citric acid, they can help to smooth texture and decompose cells (exfoliate). Remember, citric acid is in the alpha hydroxy acid family. So using vitamin C topically may help with exfoliation, but it is doubtful that anything more than that will occur. Also, the acidic nature of topical vitamin C may cause skin sensitivity and possibly redness.

I recommend getting adequate amounts of vitamin C in your diet. I do not believe in the abilities of a product, in this case topical vitamin C, to work miracles where miracles are virtually impossible. Your skin acts as a barrier, keeping foreign substances from entering your body. Keep in mind that if a cream or ointment has the ability to cause a structural change to the skin, especially in the basal layer and down into the dermis, it will be classified by the FDA as a medicine or drug, not just a cosmetic. Drugs are dispensed by prescription only.

I have yet to meet a client who has had any sizable results from using a topical vitamin C product. Many agree that these products are expensive and do not deliver the expected results. In many cases the vitamin C caused sensitivity in even non-sensitive skins.

As an example of someone who not only loves these types of products but who is also possibly incurring damage, years ago while I was getting ready to do a national TV show, one of the producers said she used and loved vitamin C products. As I was speaking with her, I couldn’t help noticing she had a lot of capillary damage on her cheeks. It gave her a rosy glow, but it was still capillary damage. I recommended she discontinue using the C products to try to halt the progression of the redness.

She did say she already had some capillary damage before she started using the C products. She probably had sun damage, which definitely can cause capillary issues, and was using the vitamin C product to help combat premature aging from the sun. I would still recommend not using the acid producteven if just for an experimental periodto see if the redness diminished. If it did, this would be a sure indication that the topical vitamin C was causing more redness and probably more capillary damage.

Acids irritate; that is a fact and a function of what they do. Is the irritation and subsequent redness worth any “anti-aging” benefits vitamin C products may or may not provide? Perhaps today your answer will be yes. But remember that years from now you will probably, naturally, have some capillary damage due to sun expose and just plain age. Please use caution when using these kinds of acidic compounds along with any products or procedures that may cause capillary dilation and damage. Keep tabs on how your skin looks and feels and proceed accordingly.

For more information, see:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Air pollution and how it affects your skin

I live in [a large metropolitan city]. What does air pollution do to my skin?

If you live in a highly polluted environment, most likely a large city, your skin may suffer from the effects of air pollution—mainly congestion and debris in your pores. You may also experience dark circles and puffiness, which are common allergic responses due to inflammation. Pollution, obviously, affects the lungs as well.

If you live in a high-pollution city, you need to make sure you are getting your skin clean every day. You probably want to do more clay masking than the average person since clay will super-clean your pores and detoxify the skin. Two to three times per week is not too often as long as the mask you are using doesn’t irritate your skin and you keep the mask moist. Exfoliating will also help to deep clean the pores, keeping them free from the daily buildup of dirt and debris.

Although pollution has an obvious effect on how dirty your skin may get during the course of a day, the effect it has on your insides is a bit more profound and perhaps not as obvious. We live in a world with a lot of airborne pollutants that can age us faster and compromise the health of all of our body’s cells. Unless you change your physical environment, you will suffer the effects of pollution, whether you feel them or see them or not. Taking supplements, namely antioxidants, can help to keep cell damage from air pollution to a minimum.

My best advice to you is keep your skin clean and debris-free and take your antioxidants! See the following for more information:
—whenever you can

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

How to use sunscreen

Even though sunscreen has become a common part of our daily lives (vs. back in the 60s and 70s when there were only a few options for sun protection and most people didn’t use it), I still get asked by my clients what is the best way to use sunscreen. Also, when in the product application routine should it be applied.

Sunscreen can be used in several different ways. For everyday use, either find a suitable moisturizer for your skin type with SPF already in it, or mix sunscreen in with your moisturizer. However, when mixing these two products together, you will get less of a sun protection effect. If you are going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, you’ll want to apply your sunscreen undiluted (not mixed with a moisturizer). If other parts of your body are going to be exposed, cover them with sunscreen as well.

If you have normal to oily, oily, or acne/problem skin, you can use your sunscreen as your moisturizer. Putting your hydrating cream on then SPF may be too much for your already overloaded pores to take. Using sunscreen as your moisturizing cream is a practice I recommend for these skin types. So for daily protection of your face, just apply sunscreen as you would your day cream.

Sometimes in the winter months when I was younger (20s-40s) with oilier skin, I would put on a thin layer of my hydrating cream under a sunscreen. My skin was more dehydrated in the colder seasons due to colder air and drying heat inside my home and sometimes needed the extra moisture. However in the warmer, summer months and if you have an oilier skin type, I recommend just using sunscreen without this semi-layering method—unless your skin is telling you to use more moisture. True-dry skin may be fine layering creams like this. Oilier and especially problem skin will probably not handle the load of two creams.

Another suggestion, oily skin or not, is don’t start piling on moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup on your face. Even for an oil-dry skin type, this practice can be too much for the pores to handle. By makeup I mean specifically liquid foundation, something that is going over the entire face. Eye and lip makeup obviously has no ill effect.

Where to apply sunscreen is another common question. It’s pretty simple: If your exposure is just the to and from the car type, apply sunscreen to your face and neck as you do your moisturizer. If you are going to be outside for exercise or for an extended period of time, don’t forget to apply sunscreen to the back of your neck and ears—especially the tops of the ears.

The only sunshield from a baseball cap is the forehead and part of the nose. The sides of the face, chin, the neck area, and ears are not getting any sun protection.
Be advised that sunscreen is really only half of the requirement for true sun protection. Hats are the second half of the skin protection equation. Baseball caps and visors do nothing to protect your ears, the sides of your face, your chin, and the entire neck area. The nose also doesn’t always get protection from visors and caps. Unless you’re wearing a wide-brimmed hat, your ears and other parts of your face will be exposed. Honestly, even a wide-brimmed hat leaves part of your face and neck exposed—especially if it is not high noon when the sun is directly over your head.

As far as when in your product routine should you apply sunscreen, always apply it last. You want SPF on the outside of the skin in order to get the protection. In other words, applying sunscreen under your moisturizer is not appropriate. If you use makeup with sunscreen in it and still want to use a separate application of regular SPF, apply the SPF first, then your makeup. The reason is because the makeup has pigments to color the outside of the skin and if you apply that first then your sunscreen, the SPF cream will lessen the color of the makeup, so what was the point of applying it in the first place? Chances are if you are out having fun in the sun you probably aren’t wearing makeup.

For more information, see:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Yonka for Men: LOTION YK—revitalizing spray toner and aftershave

LOTION YK is a spray toner created by Yonka especially for men that doubles as an aftershave. If you arent using a toner or if your aftershave makes your skin feel sensitive, give *Lotion YK a try.

*Lotion YK contains a higher percentage of citrus than the other Yonka toners, and for some people too much citrus can cause irritation. If after using Lotion YK your skin feels irritated, please give one of the other spray lotions a try for your toner and aftershave. Several of my male clients who have sensitive, true-dry skin use Lotion PS as their toner and aftershave with great success. Lotion PNG is what someone with a normal to oily skin type would use as a toner and also as an aftershave spray.

Skin toners seem to be mystifying for a lot of people. Toners are not cleansers, as I explain in MYTH: Toners are the second step in cleansing (link below). Toners are an important step in your daily maintenance routine. They help to superficially hydrate the skin; they balance the skins pH after cleansing, which is very important; and for men, after shaving the face, toners can really help soothe the skin and reduce irritation and inflammation.

Essential ingredients:
  • Essential oils from citrus (lime, orange, grapefruit and lemon)
  • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—balancing, revitalizing, purifying

Directions for use:
After cleansing:
  • Spray LOTION YK over face and neck before moisturizing
  • Apply Yonka day and/or night treatment cream (moisturizer)

Other than using twice daily after cleansing and/or after shaving, this wonderful aromatic toner can be used as often as desired

Friday, May 13, 2016

What NOT to use on rosacea

While reading several books about rosacea, I kept coming across the words “ice,” “cold packs,” and “cold water” to help control the redness associated with rosacea. I realize how frustrating having rosacea can be, but please heed this warning: Extremes in temperature, whether hot or cold, can and do have a negative effect on rosacea. Why? Because capillaries are immediately and adversely affected by temperature extremes, which can cause breaking or dysfunctioning of the capillaries, in a word—damage.

Because I believe rosacea is a vascular condition, you want to minimize dilation and constriction of the inherently weak capillaries. Therefore, using moderate temperatures on your skin is a must. Use tepid, lukewarm water on your face and use nothing in extreme (hot towels, steam, cold water splashes, and especially ice). If you have rosacea and you need to cool down your flushed face, by all means do what you have found to be effective. But if possible, steer clear of extreme cold and reach instead for something cool. As much as possible, go for moderate rather than extreme.

My face is not permanently red, but it tends to blush easily when I’m in a hot room. Sometimes when I’m with a lot of people my face goes red, and I find this very embarrassing. Can you suggest a good face cream that can cover this? What about creams with fruit acids?

I wonder if this woman has ever been diagnosed with rosacea. She said the redness was not permanent, but is triggered by circumstances—this could very well be the beginnings of rosacea. I realize she wants a solution. I doubt she can cover up that kind of all-encompassing redness that is probably just a temporary response to heat. Plus, using a covering cream would be treating her skin all the time for a response that only happens occasionally.

I would recommend she stay away from anything with fruit acids (AHAs). These ingredients will only serve to aggravate and possibly incite rosacea to appear. Even it she doesn’t have rosacea, she has a propensity for redness. AHAs will only worsen this problem.

Because rosacea can worsen over time, she might go to her dermatologist and, if diagnosed with rosacea, try using the topical medications and see if in the long run it helps her skin. Left untreated, a minor case of rosacea can turn into a chronic and never-ending concern.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Aestheticians: Stick to your guns!

Below is an email I received from an aesthetician who was purchasing one of my books. As you will read, she exemplifies someone who is running up to the somewhat crazy, sometimes concocted world of skin care, an industry we both share. I am including it here because I think its important to give a voice to those who may feel like she does: almost shaken in her confidence by the overwhelming business of skin care and the endless amount of things a person can do in this field. In my opinion, and this ladys too, when it all gets stripped down, skin care is really just very simple.

Hi Carolyn,

I am a fellow aesthetician, for 17 years now, and live in the St. Louis, Missouri area. I have had your book, Timeless Skin, for a long time and recently picked it up again and flipped through it the other day. I then decided to see if you had a website and found your web page. Im always looking for inspiration, and I found you.

I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. I feel we have a similar view on skin care, and we also share a love of ballet, as I once dancednot professionally though. I am a  fellow kittycat mommy who had to put my kitty to sleep in June. I have since adopted a new 7 month old kitten.

I only give facials (and love it). I do find it hard to compete with all the other places doing high-end treatments with machines, lasers, etc. I have a great, loyal client base, but find I lose my confidence at times as there is so much out there now for people to try and do for their skin. I find it best to keep things simple and offer skin care advice my clients will understand and adhere to.

I am eager to read the book you are sending me [Skin Care A to Z]. I find that even being in the business for some time its good to brush up on learning and refresh my mind. Your blog post, Axioms for Life, was just wonderful, and I thank you for all that you shared.

Thank you for the nice email. It
s always gratifying to hear that the things I write about are well-received, even when they dont have to do with skin care (in the case with the axioms article). Im glad you enjoyed it.

Im sorry for the loss of your kitty, but congratulations on adopting a new fur kid. Im sure youve seen my blog posts about my animalsthere are several. The book I recommend at the bottom of Moving Through Loss really is a good one.

Although you have been in business for 17 years, you still may find some benefit from my professional blogsite, Help for Aestheticians. I actually started it to give my ex-Chicago employee all of the info I could on how to start her new skin care business up there. And if anyone else can glean some benefit, well, all the better. I still have 20 or so articles to complete and post, but even now there are a lot of articles already published.

As far as your comment about losing confidence amid all the crazy procedures and products that abound in the skin care world, my advice to you is this: stick to your guns. I continue to keep out all of the hype and just give good content and recommendations to those clients who need it and who I see in my salon. Our bodies, skin included, havent really changed that much over time. Therefore the advice stays pretty simple, in my opinion. Come from your heart and those who can hear it will be attracted to what you have to say.

Thank you for purchasing and enjoying my books, and best wishes for your continuing successful career.

I love getting mail from my readers. And I especially like hearing from aestheticians who have found help through my work. Its nice to know that the things I write about have some positive influence in the world of skin care, both with laypeople and aestheticians alike.

Although this article was written in response to an aesthetician, for all of the skin care clients out there the advice is just the same. Try not to get too bogged down in what might feel like complicated skin care available to you, whether in a salon or with products. Keeping things simple is usually the better way when it comes to handling your skin.

For every individual aesthetician there is probably an equally individual way of thinking when it comes to treating your skin, including salon procedures. Whether youre a professional or a client, my best recommendation is do what feels right to you, no matter what. If you follow that simple advice I believe you cant go wrong.


Carolyn, Thank you so very much for the link to [this] blogpost. I hope that through reading my email and your response, any other aesthetician feeling the same way finds your words to be inspiring as I did. You simply have to be your own person and do what feels right to you. Thank you for reiterating that to me! I faithfully keep up with your blog for aestheticians. Thank you for the time and work you put into each one you publish. Maybe one day I can get to Colorado and come get a facial from you. In the meantime, I will take in all the advice you share and strive to be the best I can be for my clients. 

You are welcome! 

For more information, see:

Monday, May 9, 2016

Is Accutane good for acne?

The answer to this question is not as straightforward as you may think. Accutane has helped hundreds and thousands of people with acne. Some people can go through one round of the drug and be cured. Others find little or no relief. There are also what I call serial Accutane users; people who continue to go back to this medication after its effects have worn off. 

In defense of Accutane (or any other treatment for problem skin), if you do not take away the cause of problem skin, then Accutane or any other treatment is compromised as to its efficacy. If you keep bumping into a door, you can treat the bruises with ointments to help them fade, but unless you determine that bumping into the door is causing the bruises in the first place, you can see how ineffective any treatment might be.

Do some investigation and try to find out the source of your problem skin. This can take time and definitely requires patience. You may not have either of these to spare. But if you decide to go on Accutane treatments, or any medication, please be well-versed in the side effects and take whatever precautions recommended by the drug company. That information will be found on the long list of contraindications and drug interactions provided with all prescription medications.

Although Accutane is supposed to be prescribed for stage IV, nodular acne—the most severe cases—I have found that many of my clients who didn’t have such severe cases were readily given a prescription. From the experiences of my clients coming in and relating their stories to me, I have also found many people have been on Accutane more than a few times, without even having major problems with their skin.

There is a lot of information about Accutane on this blog. I hope these articles provide you with sufficient information to make an informed decision on whether or not to go on this drug yourself or to have your teenager start taking Accutane. Do more research, find as many answers to your questions as you can. If you’ve read anything here, you know I am not in favor of using Accutane to “cure” problem skin. There are many who are believers, I’m just not one of them. Good luck on your search!
To understand how going on Accutane isn’t always a cure for your problem skin, please read:
Here are a few articles you could start with to understand the relationship to food and skin issues. There are many more articles on this blog that can help you understand why you are breaking out as well as help to keep the breakout to a minimum:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Yonka’s VITAL DEFENSE—Anti-Aging Cream for Younger Skin

VITAL DEFENSE is a light-textured hydrating cream that is ideal for those in the 25 to 40 year old range. This cream is a popular one with my clients, and I love using it during my facial treatments, as well. With its subtle citrus aromatic, it is a perfect addition to your skin care routine.

Although it is marketed for younger people, anyone can use this cream as long as you dont have true-dry skinskin that is oil-dry. Although Vital Defense is wonderful, it doesnt have the hydration ability of many of the Yonka creams for dry skin. With that said, this cream might be perfect for any of you (perhaps even older folks) who are looking for a less heavy” cream in the summertime.   
From Yonka headquarters: Vital Defense is a specially formulated hydrating cream that helps to combat damaging environmental factors that cause oxidative stress (pollution, smoking, and exposure to UV rays and climate variations). This antioxidant, anti-pollution cream combines high performance plant extracts that help the skin to preserve its youthfulness. Vital Defense is the perfect anti-aging and environmental shield.

Essential ingredients:
  • Organic myrtle, co-enzyme Q10, vitamins E and C, moringa peptides—antioxidant, anti-pollution 
  • Plant glycerin, urea, serine—hydrating
  • Sandalwood, phellodendron, barley, vitamin A—repairing, regenerating
  • Essential oils of sweet orange, mandarin and magnolia—revitalizing, energizing

Directions for use:
  • In the morning and/or evening:
  • After cleansing and spraying on Yonka Lotion toner
  • Apply a pea-sized dollop of VITAL DEFENSE over face and neck
  • Then use eye cream

For more information, see: