Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Restylane—what is it and what does it do?

I'm not a fan of before and after photos, these included

Restylane® is an injectable (wrinkle) filler that received FDA approval at the end of 2003. It is made from hyaluronic acid; hyaluronic acid is an amino acid (a protein) found naturally in our own skin. It is suggested that Restylane is going to take over for collagen as the number one choice for plumping up depressions in the skin, aka wrinkles. Unlike collagen, which has an animal origin, hyaluronic acid is made in the chemistry lab, alleviating the possibility of allergic reaction like with animal-derived collagen.

The results of a single injection can last anywhere from six months to even an entire year. Prices will vary according to whom you go to and what they are charging, but the basic cost per syringe is around $500. Collagen, on the other hand, costs about the same but only lasts half as long.

As far as I am concerned, the jury is still out on this latest and greatest “miracle” to remove the life and lines that are on your face. I’m in my 50s and am resistant to changing what is now the progression of my own aging process. I suppose it's the scientist in me that wants to see how I will age—naturally; I want to see how the lines show up and increase, how gray my hair will get, and what I will look like—untouched—at 60, 70, and even 80 years of age.

Perhaps at some point I will partake in some of the anti-aging products and procedures that I am currently saying no to. I give myself the leeway to change my mind, knowing that I might just keep traveling on the very same path I am on now. Time will tell.

For more information, see:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Men’s skin care advice: Q & A

What skin care advice do you have for a man?

This question comes from many different men I have spoken with about skin care. My short answer (and this is specifically directed to men) is: use products! Classically, men are not huge consumers of skin care products. That of course is changing, but by and large, men are not as educated in matters of the skin as many women are.

The Basics (cleansing, toning, and moisturizing) would be about all I would ask a man to do for his skin. If he is truly looking to do more—great! The Extras (exfoliating and using a clay mask) would be excellent additions to anyone’s skin care program, male or female. Most men just don’t use any or many products on their skin, so I like to start them off slowly and see how it goes. Usually once they see a positive difference in their skin, they are more willing to do a few extras to further help the health of their skin.

I would like some recommendations for men. My brother has some problem areas, and I would like to pass along some information to help him. What exactly should a man with problem skin do?
Recommendation #1: Don't pick!
The recommendations for a man with problem skin are really no different than for a woman. The main difference in this equation is men are generally not accustomed to doing much with their skin. So for a man to treat his problem skin may mean using products when in the past he didn’t use any. I think you have to take this into consideration when making suggestions. To recommend a lot of products to someone—especially a man—who isn’t using anything is probably a mistake. It’s just too much, and the routine is doomed to failure.

As mentioned before, The Basics would be beneficial for any skin, especially if there are problems with breakout. You want non-alkaline skin care products, which includes your cleanser. Aveeno bar soap or Cetaphil liquid cleanser are both easy to find and are pH balanced.

A spray-on toner that has essential oils in it would be good to use following shaving and dabbing pure essential oils neat (straight) on the blemishes would make an excellent spot treatment for breakouts. Remember, breakout needs antibacterial products to help quell the growth and proliferation of bacteria. Without treating the blemishes, they will just take their own sweet time going away. I don’t recommend oxy-type products, as they are usually too harsh and drying; essential oils are my personal products of choice.

Shaving may open up blemishes that are trying to go away, prolonging the healing process. If you are trying to clear up broken out skin, if possible try not to shave for a few days. Obviously this may not be something you can do, but by not shaving and treating the spots with essential oils, you are giving your skin the time it needs to heal. When you do shave, be very careful to avoid opening the blemishes up. I understand this is not an easy task. Try shaving with the hair growth in order to avoid too close of a shave and possibly nicking the blemishes.

Finally, using some sort of treatment cream (moisturizer) would be good. Many men are not accustomed to using creams on their faces. And some men might not like the way a moisturizer feels on their skin. However, if you want optimum resources for treating your problem skin, find a good lightweight cream specifically meant for problem skin. Use this day and night along with cleansing and toning. Hopefully this all will help you to have clear, problem-free skin.

I love the spray bottle idea for my toner (my husband likes it too!). My husband’s skin is doing better than ever. I’ve got him into a daily and nightly skin regimen, and he hardly breaks out anymore. He used to have frequent breakouts, which runs in his family.

Attention men: If you just give your skin The Basics, it can and will make a difference! The total time spent on those three steps is less than two minutes. Surely you have a few short minutes in the morning and before you go to bed to take care of your skin.

For more information, see:
If you take care of your skin, your abs will look like this!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

“I’m breaking out & need your help today!” Simple steps to take if you can’t see your aesthetician

Carolyn, I am having a break out. I think I need to see you if you have any time today?

Unfortunately, I wasnt able to see this client that day. However, here are a few tips I sent to help with her immediate issues:
  1. Do you have any essential oils at home? Lavender or geranium, for instance? If so, tonight before bed and for the next 2-3 days, put a bit of the essential oil on any red spots that have come up. That will help to reduce inflammation and bacterial infection.
  2. Gommaging for 3 days in a row will also help to reduce the problems with breakout.
  3. Along with essential oils, you could also dot clay mask on the spots. 

Let me know how your skin is doing next week. It should clear up if you use these tips.

I wasn’t able to see this client’s chart before I answered her email, so I wasn’t sure if she had essential oils at home, but knew she had the clay mask. Even doing just one of the three things listed above would and will help with any breakouts you may be experiencing. More is better, but one could do the trick.

Also keep in mind, the blemish didn’t come up in an instant, so don’t expect miracles. Give it a few days or so to completely go away. And pleasedont pick. As you have no doubt already discovered, this rarely if ever makes things better.

There are several things you can do to help alleviate new (or older) breakout. Please read through the following articles as well as the many sections on this blog that pertain to any skin problems you may be experiencing.

For more information, see:
Well, at least time heals all breakouts

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Experiencing “The Sugar Blues”? Eliminate sugar to reduce migraines, allergies & more!

There is so much to say about the benefits of cutting back on sugar in your diet. As you will read from this client’s letter, eliminating sugar isn’t just about helping to keep breakouts to a minimum. Limiting or cutting out sugar completely has far reaching positive changesperhaps more than you know. I received this letter from a client who I gave a recommendation to regarding a classic book on the ills of sugar. If you haven’t read this book and wonder what sugar is possibly doing to your body, skin included, I recommend reading this book now!

Dear Carolyn,

Thank you for sharing the book, Sugar Blues, by William Dufty. After reading it I decided to really limit my intake of refined sugar. In February I cut out all sweets, soft drinks, and sweetened tea. I must say I was surprised by my body’s reaction.

For the first four days after eliminating sugar I felt tense, irritable, shaky, and suffered from a constant headache. I really craved a soft drink! But I stuck to my decision, and I’m very glad I did!

Since taking sugar out of my diet I have not suffered from migraines, and that is huge. I used to take 3-4 Excedrin a week. Plus I’ve been exposed to numerous sick people and I’ve not gotten sick. I’ve always suffered from terrible allergies, and so far this spring and summer, I’ve only had one day I needed medication for hay fever symptoms.

I chose to cut out sugar from my diet as a test to see if it would really make a difference. I can honestly say yes, it has made an amazing difference in my life. I find now when I do indulge in a sweet, I feel nauseous or develop a slight headache. So I prefer to avoid itthe consequences just aren’t worth it!

Thanks again for your knowledge and for the recommendation of this great and very helpful book.

For more information on this blog about sugar consumption and your skin, see:


  1. Tracy Sturdivant July 1, 2016 at 5:03 AM
    I couldn’t agree more. If you only read one book on health, this would be it. Since he wrote this book, most of what he said has been proven by science. A pediatric endocrinologist at UCSF, Dr. Lustig, wrote a book about how exactly sugar is a toxin and its effect on the body. It’s called Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar. If you don’t want to read the book, he has posted an amazing lecture online that takes only 45 minutes to listen to.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Top 10 reasons for not wearing a hat out in the sun

There are many reasons (or excuses) for not wearing a hat to protect your face from sun exposure aka sun damage. So many clients are so concerned about the aging process and about finding ways to slow it down. Wearing hats is an easy and inexpensive way to help keep sun off your face—or at least parts of your face—and help keep your skin looking younger longer. What is your excuse?
  1. I get too hot.
  2. I sweat more.
  3. Hats mess up my hair or I get “hat hair”!
  4. I don’t have a hat.
  5. They leave a funny indentation around my forehead.
  6. I don’t want to wear a hat.
  7. I left it at home, or in the car, or at the last place I vacationed, etc.
  8. I want to get sun on my face.
  9. Why should I wear one?
  10.  I don’t like the way hats look. (True, I’ve said I should go into the hat designing business because hats that are really giving you coverage (especially while exercising) can look goofy. Other than baseball caps and visors, there aren’t many choices for exercise-friendly, skin-protecting hats. And even those offer limited sun protection on the lower parts of the face.)

Unlike in Top 10 reasons for not wearing sunscreen: What’s your excuse?, I won’t go into detail with every excuse for not wearing a hat. We all know that sun exposure can cause skin cancer. We also know we should wear sunscreen and hats as often as possible when outside, so I’ll just leave you with this Top 10 List. Some reasons for not wearing a hat may be more valid than others. Regardless, no one can make you wear a hat if you really don’t want to wear one. As I have come to say more and more now that I’m in my mid-50s—it is what it is.

For more information, see:

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Yonka’s MASQUE 105—Detoxifying Clay Mask for true-dry and sensitive skin

YONKA CLAY MASK is a great at-home treatment for breakout as well as for all-around clean, healthy skin. Clay absorbs oil and draws impurities to the surface while calming and reducing inflammation. Clay also stimulates blood circulation, getting oxygen and nutrients to the cells, which makes a clay-based mask good for all skin, no matter what type. 

Masque 105 is best for true-dry and sensitive skin and is perfect for cleaning out the pores of even the most sensitive skin. Even if you have true-dry (oil-dry) skin, you can always use a good deep cleaning. And all skin types can benefit from the circulatory acceleration that comes from using a clay mask. (Masque 103 is best for normal to oily or problem, acneic skin. This version has a higher concentration of clay making it more detoxifying and clearing.)

  Masque 105 can be used in several ways:
  • As a mask, covering the entire face and left on for 15 minutes, once to several times per week. Remember to keep the mask moist by spraying with water or toner.
  • For a spot treatment dotted on the blemish at night before bed and left on while you sleep. If the spot is medium to small without a lot of infection, this dotting method can really reduce its size overnight.
  • For an extra-strength cleanser, mix equal parts clay mask with your cleansing milk, gel, or wash creme and cleanse as you normally do (apply/massage/rinse). See Advanced Steps for Cleansing (link below).
Essential ingredients:
  • 3 clays
    • Montmorillonite (France)—detoxifies, oxygenates
    • Bentonite (France)—purifying, clearing
    • Kaolin (China)—balances oil secretions, purifying, clearing
  • Savory extract—calms, soothes redness, clarifies
  • Essential oil of lemon—tones, brightens
  • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of thyme, lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—purifying, balancing
Directions for use:

Use this clay mask once a week for normal to dry or true-dry skin. If you have sensitive skin plus oily to problem or acne skin, use this mask once to several times per week to keep your skin clean and to help with inflammation. Although it might seem counterintuitive, in many cases clay can actually help reduce redness even in the most sensitive and red skin.
  • Apply this aromatic cleansing mask in a thick layer to the entire face after cleansing or after using Gommage
  • Leave on about 15 minutes*
*The mask needs to stay moist the entire time it’s on your skin. If you let this (or anything) dry on your skin, it will just dry out the skin’s surface. One step forward, two steps back. This is what I recommend:
  • Apply mask and immediately spray your toner liberally over entire face
  • After 5 minutes or so, you will need to spray again and can either use the toner or get a spray bottle and fill with filtered (clean) water
  • Keep mask moist until you remove it
  • After 15 minutes, remove mask with tepid water
  • Spray the toner and apply your moisturizer

For more information, see:

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Carolyn Ash Skin Care Salon Testimonials

“Thank you for giving me insight into the connection between health and beautiful skin. It is a joy to visit with you, from warm greetings to the finest detail of personal touch. Thanks again.” 

“I really appreciate all the times you’ve squeezed me in and the way you helped me feel beautiful. I know I’m not your biggest client, but you always make me feel special and valuable to your business. I will absolutely continue to recommend you as an amazing aesthetician. You do a great job. Thank you!” 

“Just a quick note to say thanks for providing such great service! I have been in the city for 12 years, and I am sure that I have been to 15 different salons for facials. I love that you focus just on skin care, and I think that makes a world of difference. You take your time and do an outstanding job. When I first came to you about 9 months ago, I was having awful breakouts, and you helped remedy that in no time. I would recommend Carolyn Ash Skin Care to anyone as giving THE BEST FACIAL. Thanks!!! 

“I’ve been getting so many compliments on my skin. I’ve even gotten emails saying how great it looks! Thank you! I want to make another facial appointment.”

“I had always been unhappy with blemishes and uneven skin tone. I was searching for a good skin care program, then I saw my friend’s skin and I actually asked her if she had a makeover! She wasn’t wearing any foundation--which was unusualand her skin looked fantastic. I don’t know what I would have done if i hadn’t found your salon and Yonka products. They are so wonderful to use, it has made me pay more attention to my skin. Thank you so much!” 

“My face feels great after the facial. (I have even sent out an email to all my friends!) When I get a chance, I intend to come over and buy the products. My face has never felt better!

“I just received the best facial Ive ever had! My skin is still glowing a week later, and people will not stop complimenting on how incredible my skin looks. Carolyn tailors the Yonka products for a maximum personalized result. If you get any facial, make sure you go to Carolyn Ash Skin Care. Her salon is absolutely incredible!”

“I just have to take a few minutes to tell you how much I enjoyed my facial last night. I have had about 20 facials in my life, and your facial was by far THE BEST facial I have ever hadbar none!!! Not only was the facial phenomenal but this morning my face looked so good and bright that for the first time ever I did not put on any foundation over my moisturizer. I just wore my skin with a little bit of eye makeup. It feels great! It was such a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for your skin tips and their simplicity. I will see you soon!

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! What a wonderful experience this afternoon. I can hardly wait for my appointment next month!

For more information, see:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Questions about SPF numbers and sun protection

Over the years (and still—as recently as yesterday with one of my clients) I have had many people ask me questions about the validity of SPFs, exemplifying the confusion that continues to surround the numbering system. Below are a few Q&As that will hopefully help to clear up any confusion you may have.

As I have said time and time again, sunscreen is meant to keep your skin from burning. You will still receive UV rays from this powerful star that heats our planet day in day out no matter the number on a bottle of sunscreen. Use it—absolutely—but don’t feel falsely armed against all sun damage.

If my moisturizer has SPF 8 and I apply foundation that has SPF 8, does that mean I am protected like an SPF 16 product?

I love this question—and the answer is no! The highest SPF of whatever you are wearing is the sun protection number you are getting. In other words, if your moisturizer has an SPF of 15 and your foundation has an SPF 8, then you are getting SPF 15, not 23.

I’ve read some articles saying that if you use this layering technique it somehow lowers the SPF value to the mean average of the two products. For instance, SPF 15 + SPF 8 = an SPF value of 11 or 12. To me this sounds ridiculous, but perhaps it’s true. Wearing whatever SPF products whenever you can is always the best course to take. And no matter the SPF values, you need to wear a lot more product than you think you do and you have to reapply frequently to continue to get protection. 

I read in one of your books that you don’t think it is necessary to wear a sunscreen higher than SPF 15. Are you saying that SPF 30 isn’t worth wearing?

No! What I explained in Timeless Skin was that many times people feel falsely protected when wearing high SPFs. This is precisely why the regulations for sunscreens have been modified, and SPFs higher than 50 are not allowed by the FDA. Absolutely, wear as high an SPF as you want to, but know that with the higher numbers, you also get more sunscreen chemicals, and some skin may be sensitive to these. Regardless of the SPF, UV rays will penetrate into your skin, there just isn’t any way around that except inside a building with no windows.

I am in no way advocating wearing lower SPF sunscreens, but I am cautioning you to be aware that no sunscreen, no matter its SPF, is capable of protecting you completely for an extended period of time. You must reapply sun protective creams as well as wear covering over your body such as hats and protective clothing. If you have a cream that you like and it is an SPF 30, great! But know that if you will be in the sun for extended periods of time, you must reapply in order to continue the SPF benefits.

SPFs and how much sun they let in. Although this illustration looks compelling, it is only telling half the story. True, higher SPFs keep your outside skin from burning. But UVA, the longest sun ray that reaches our skin, still penetrates through sunscreens, and UVA is what causes a lot of long-term damagethe kind you don’t see until years later.

Adopt the American Cancer Society’s slogan, Slip, Slop and Slap. Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat. Only by wearing sunscreen and covering your skin with clothing and hats are you truly protecting your skin in the sun.

For more information, see:

      Sunday, June 12, 2016

      Aloe vera and intolerance—it can happen

      Aloe vera is a plant that is known for its healing abilities. Today, it can be found as an ingredient in many skin care products, both for the face as well as the body. Personally, I have had many success stories where aloe came to my skin’s rescue, and I have many friends and clients who have discovered the miraculous healing abilities of this desert plant.

      However, as with most things in life, not everything works for everybody, and such is the case with aloe. Along with all the success stories about how aloe saved people’s skin, I have heard from some people who had reactions to it as well. If you are unsure if you are allergic, read through this article as well as Allergic Reactions to Products (link below) to gather more information. As great as aloe vera is, it is within the realm of possibility that you could react to it.

      I am including stories of how aloe didn’t work to let you know it is not uncommon to have an intolerance to this ingredient. Unfortunate as that may be, if you find you get irritated after using aloe vera, stop using it. 

      Natural isn’t always 100% satisfaction
      I was told by a pharmacist that aloe worked well to clear up acne because it was natural and oil-free. So I would put aloe on periodically, thinking it would soothe my face. I would usually break out soon afterwards. I never connected the breakout to the aloe because I was only using it off and on.

      I have read the ingredients in my body lotions and many have aloe in them. It seems to be fine on my body, but as far as my face goes I will not use something that has any aloe—I can’t afford to aggravate my face.

      Regarding this email, although aloe vera is a great product and I’m sure its benefits would be good for almost any skin condition, it wouldn’t be the first thing I’d reach for to treat problem skin, including acne. Regardless, this person discovered it was the aloe vera in her products that she was intolerant to so she discontinued use. It isn’t always easy to figure out what could be causing a skin reaction, reading the article mentioned and listed below will hopefully help you if you run into product trouble.

      The following comes from a former neighbor, Teressa, who called me up one day after putting aloe gel on her face. She had a bad burning reaction that left her skin bright red. In the following email, she is updating me on her aloe investigation.

      After my face calmed down from using aloe gel, I purchased a brand new bottle of Lily of the Desert®. I opened it up, put it on my face, and the same thing happened again—it burned and made my skin red and irritated. I know aloe is supposed to be good for me, but I guess I’m allergic to it.

      Yes, Teressa, you are one of many people I have encountered who just have an intolerance to aloe. You might want to be careful in the future and watch your skin’s reaction if you use products that have aloe in the ingredient list. You may not be able to use it straight on your skin, while still being able to use products with aloe in them. Because the percentage of aloe will be low if it is in a product, compared to the nearly 100% strength you have been using, you may be able to tolerate it.

      Lily of the Desert is actually a good choice for a high-strength aloe vera gel. After Teressa’s email, I went out and purchased this brand and was happy to see it was 99% aloe. It is inexpensive and can be found in most health food stores. Lily of the Desert isn’t the only brand available, but it certainly is a good choice—as long as you don’t have allergies to aloe.

      Your skin will always tell you if it is intolerant to something you have applied. Don’t disregard these signs, and discontinue using anything that causes an adverse reaction.

      For more information, see

      Thursday, June 9, 2016

      Biking & Skin Care: How to protect your skin when out for a ride

      I ride a bike every weekend and sometimes on weekdays if I have time. How can I keep my skin (especially my face) protected from all the sun I know I am getting?

      If you are an ardent cyclist out on your bike for many hours each week, or even just a weekend warrior, you’ll have a tough job protecting your skin from the sun. Like any activity that keeps you in the sunlight for extended periods of time, cycling is going to create an environment for sun damage to occur—there are no two ways around it. Sun exposure and sun damage are one and the same.

      Many years ago, in my late 20s, I was an avid cyclist. I even got a license to race. My biking schedule consisted of sitting in the saddle at least 10-20 miles a day during the work week and well over 100 miles on the weekends. I cycled in the cold, the heat of a Texas summer, wind, rain—you name it, I was on my bike. When it came time to protect my face, I kept running across a problem: how to do it.

      Cycling caps, in case you’ve never seen one, have a bill only a few inches long—probably 1/4 the length of a baseball cap’s bill. I always assumed they were just for show; certainly they were not meant to keep sun off the face. Since these caps offer almost no protection from the sun, I wore a baseball cap under my helmet. I got teased by all the guys I rode with because of it, but I didn’t care. Protecting my face was more important to me than making a fashion statement.

      One problem with wearing baseball caps while riding a bike is you might have some problems with obstruction of vision. Different bikes have different handle bars. Some keep your posture more upright than others. Regardless of my position on the bike, I know that even when I wore the baseball cap under my helmet, I still got a lot of sun.

      As you (hopefully) already know, baseball caps and visors offer very little in the way of protecting your face from full-on sun exposure. The only parts of your face that are shielded from the sun are your forehead and a little bit of your nose; the lower half and both sides of your face are totally and continually exposed to UV rays. Take that information and add to it a 30, 60, or even a 90-minute bike ride and you can see how easily you will accumulate a lot of sun exposure while riding your bike.

      This kind of exposure is really no different than driving in a convertible with the top down, lying on the beach, or playing golf. The position of your body will be different with each activity, and the clothing—or lack of it—is certainly a factor, but exposure is exposure. As I will say over and over again, the sun does not make any distinction about the kind of activity you are engaged in versus how much UV light will be absorbed into your skin.

      Obviously, the number one course of action is to wear sunscreen. You always want to have waterproof sunscreen all over your face, neck, tops and backs of ears, hands, body—every nook and cranny that will be exposed to the sun while you are out enjoying your bike ride. Make sure to get sunscreen up under your clothes where they meet your skin. While exercising, clothing can ride up and slide a round, so be sure to protect those areas of skin just at the edge of your clothes.

      You might consider wearing a pure zinc product (at least on your nose and mouth) that will offer a physical block from UV light while on a long bike ride. True zinc oxide is pure white and does not absorb into your skin. You may look silly in someone’s eyes, but better that than having part of your nose cut off in order to get all the cancer cells out of your face. (If you doubt my seriousness, just ask your dermatologist about the potential disfiguring results of long-term overexposure coupled with waiting too long to have cancerous lesions removed. It can be an eye-opening experience, to say the very least.) If you are prone to chloasma (dark patches of pigmentation) you may want to spread some zinc on those places to keep them from getting darker.

      Wearing a baseball cap under your helmet will help. You can also tie a bandana around your head, fully covering your forehead at least. This will also help to absorb sweat, preventing it from dripping into your eyes while you are cycling.

      Dehydration can also be a factor when you are exercising outside for extended periods of time. If you become dehydrated, your skin will be more susceptible to burning. To state the obvious, drinking a lot of water is crucial in this or any exercising scenario. You can easily carry large amounts of water with you in the form of a Camelbak® waterpack. These came out just as I was ending the cycling phase of my life; they are a wonderful invention, and you probably already have one for your long (or even short) excursions. Your bike will also have one or two cages to put water bottles in. Fill these up and use them too. While exercising, you can’t have too much water to drink.

      For a little extra boost, I always liked to keep a few packets of Emergen-C with me during a long ride. (Emergen-C is a powder vitamin C supplement that can be found at most health food and some grocery stores.) I would open a packet, suck on the powder, and immediately feel refreshed. The sourness of the vitamin C would make my mouth water, helping with dry mouth.

      Chewable vitamin C tablets are another helpful alternative during a long ride. These chewables (although I usually suck on them instead) will help keep your mouth from getting dry while at the same time get vitamin C into your system. I like to take these when I go for long hikes. I have them at my office for my clients as well.

      Depending on where you began your ride, you might still be a car ride away from a nice hot shower. If you are not riding your bike directly home, you may want to have extra water in the car so you can at least thoroughly rinse off your face before arriving home. This way you will avoid letting all that sweat, dirt, and debris just sit on your skin causing the potential for irritation and possibly breakout.

      I would also recommend slathering your sun-soaked body with aloe vera gel following your shower. Aloe will help replace the water lost during sun exposure on the surface of your skin, along with providing amino acids to help your sun-drenched cells replenish themselves.

      The bottom line when trying to protect your skin while cycling is being extra diligent and knowing you are getting some amount of exposure no matter how protected you may be or feel. There is only so much you can do; then you have to live your life, enjoy yourself, and in this case, ride your bike.

      There isn’t really an ironclad, foolproof answer to the question of how to protect your face while bicycling. But wearing a baseball cap and/or bandana, using a waterproof sunscreen and possibly zinc oxide, and drinking lots of water are all important factors in helping to protect your skin while on your bike.

      For other exercise-related articles, see:

      Monday, June 6, 2016

      The Ins and Outs of Lipstick

      I’ve always wondered what happens to lipstick when it wears off—does it just evaporate?

      In an article I read about lipsticks, it said that on average, women who regularly wear lipstick will consume (that means eat!) over 3 pounds of lipstick during their lifetime! Where do you think your lipstick has gone when you look in the mirror and have to reapply? You may have just had a glass of wine and a good conversation, but you probably also ate your lipstick. And by unconsciously licking your lips throughout the day, you are furthering the ingestion of this product.

      The article went on to say (according to the gastroenterologist quoted) that you swallow so little at a time there really isn’t any harm to your body. He stated that the waxes and polymers in lipsticks are nontoxic and are broken down by stomach acids. Well, if the research for this article is correct, and a woman can conceivably consume several pounds of lipstick during her lifetime, I cannot see anything good about ingesting these substances.

      Lipstick contains a lot of questionable ingredients that you may want to think twice about before eating day after day. Whether or not the information about how much you actually ingest are 100% true, no doubt large amounts of lipstick go through your body to be digested, so if you can find alternative products that perhaps don’t have as many bad ingredients in them, then I recommend giving these a try.

      Many companies make tinted lipbalms
      I’ve been looking for a moisturizing lipstick with sunscreen for years, but lipstick dries out my lips and makes them peel.

      I recommend having your favorite lipsticks on hand to wear at night if you are going out and a tinted lip balm with SPF for daytime. This way you won’t have to forgo lipstick altogether, yet you can have protecting products on your lips throughout the day. Tinted lip balms may be the best option for you. They won’t give you the coverage of an actual lipstick, but you won’t have to contend with all the chapping you have now. Less color, but less chapping—hopefully this will be a happy compromise for you.

      Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, by the way, is a sunscreen ingredient commonly used in lip products with SPF. Avobenzone is also used in many products.

      Do treatment lipsticks containing anti-aging ingredients such as Kinetin* and vitamin C really work?
      *Kinetin is a plant-based “miracle” ingredient that is supposed to help reduce wrinkles.

      Are you confusing your actual facial skin with the tissue of your lips? These two different types of tissue don’t age the same way. You cannot use an anti-aging lipstick on your lips and hope to help the wrinkles you may be concerned about above your lips. Using vitamin C on your lips would come under this same umbrella.

      My recommendation is to stop looking for one product to solve many problems. Wear lipstick to color your lips. If it contains special ingredients and you find these helpful, great. But I wouldn’t recommend searching for lipsticks that have “all the rage” ingredients in them and paying the high price for these types of products.

      If you want to keep your lips from drying and flaking, you may find a lipstick that helps with that specific concern. But I highly recommend wearing a nonpetroleum lip balm whenever you aren’t wearing lipstick, especially at night before bed. This way you will at least give your lips a soothing and healing balm some of the time.

      A bit alarmist, but now you understand.
      HOT TIP: Lipstick is one of the top offenders in making your lips chapped or keeping them chapped. Try switching to nonpetroleum lip balms whenever possible.

      Friday, June 3, 2016

      Yonka’s SPF 20—UVA/UVB Sun Protection Cream: DISCONTINUED!

      UPDATE 2020:
      Admittedly, now that I am retired from my skin care career and even though I worked with Yonka for over 33 years, I am no longer privy to the goings-on with Multaler, Inc. So, as I was updating a few articles today I discovered that two of Yonka’s sunscreens are no longer available. I’m a bit surprised because they only have 3 total, but as they say: here we go again with more discontinued products!

      I personally did not like the application of SPF 20. It says it’s a “spray” but it was more like a pump and it was not easy to get out of the containerat least I felt it was a bit clumsy. So, if you’re looking for this lower SPF product it has gone bye bye presumably forever. Maybe Yonka has some new sun products coming out, but if you go to their website (yonka.com) you’ll only find their SPF 50 product available.

      SPF 20 is a light-textured, broad spectrum sunscreen for face and body. This product replaces Lait Solaire (one of my favorite Yonka products that was discontinued in 2012). Due to its light weight, it is perfect for normal to oily skin types and can also be used on your entire body to help stop sunburn. As with any and all sun products, if you are going to be exposed for extended periods of time, REAPPLY!

      You always want to use a sunscreen that is termed full or broad spectrum, which means it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Most sunscreens on the market now have both UV filters in them (this used to not be the case). Without protecting you from both kinds of UV rays, a sunscreen is only doing half its job. If you’re going to be exercising outside, use a waterproof product. If you’re only going to get incidental sun (like to and from your car), a regular, non-waterproof sunscreen will usually be enough. 

      Although the bottle says it is a sunscreen “spray,” SPF 20 does not have a mist spray. You simply pump the product into your palm and apply it like you would any cream, whether for your face or body. I admit when I first heard Yonka was coming out with a spray sunscreen I was very excited. Then, disappointed to find out it really isnt a spray at all. Still, I love this sunscreen and use it both personally and in my salon.
      Essential ingredients:
      • Olive polyphenols, vitamin E—antioxidants, regenerating
      • Vegetable glycerin—hydrating
      • Bisabolol—calming, soothing
      • Yonka “Quintessence” (essential oils of lavender, cypress, geranium, and rosemary)—nourishing, balancing, vitalizing
      • Active sunscreen ingredients:
        • Homosalate (10%)
        • Octinoxate (7.5%)
        • Octisalate (5%)
        • Oxybenzone (5%)
        • Avobenzone (3%)
        • Octocrylene (2.7%) 
      Directions for use:
      When using on the face:
      • If you have normal to oily or problem skin, you can use SPF 20 as your moisturizer on face and neck
      • If you have true-dry (oil-dry) skin, most likely you will need your regular moisturizer for hydration, then apply SPF 20 on top of that cream, face and neck
      • Sunscreen always goes on last in your skin care routine

      If youre using SPF 20 as a sunscreen for your body:   
      • Apply generously before any exposure
      • Reapply at least every 2 hours and after swimming or sweating
      • Concentrate on the areas that are particularly sensitive or are exposed to sun

      For more information, see: