Tuesday, August 13, 2019

How much cleanser am I supposed to use?

Too much feels like too much!
How much cleanser am I supposed to use? Enough so my face is white and then massage it in until I can’t see it or just a small amount? Is it supposed to lather?

How much cleanser to use will depend on a few things. First, how big your face is and second, how much you prefer to use. Practically speaking, if you use too much, you’re just wasting product. Conversely, if you don’t use enough, you probably aren’t getting a good cleanse.

So what’s too much? Honestly, I think you will just know—it will probably feel like you are rubbing cleanser on cleanser rather than cleanser onto skin. If you use too much, it will just feel like you have too much product to work with. And using too little product?
  • If you don’t use enough, you won’t be able to spread the product across your face, leaving many places unwashed.
  • Using too little may cause the cleanser to almost absorb into the skin like a moisturizer.

A cleansing product is meant to remove surface debris from the skin, not to penetrate like a moisturizer. And you really don’t want to massage it in until you can’t see it. In fact, if you have massaged the product in too long or perhaps used too little, the cleanser may have gone into your skin. In this case, I would “bring it up” by adding a little water to it with your hands, then splash-rinse to remove.

I find that using about a half dollar-sized dollop of cleanser is enough, but you want to use an adequate amount in order to cover your entire face. The product I use has a pump, and I use about two to three pumps for each cleansing. If it doesn’t feel like enough once I’ve gotten it on my face, I’ll just add another pump or two. Sometimes just adding a little bit of water makes the cleanser go further. Just don’t water it down so much that it can’t clean your skin.

Experiment and see. The main thing is to use enough to enable you to spread the cleanser over your entire face and neck. To cleanse, simply apply the cleanser, massage for a few seconds, splash-rinse, and then towel dry.

Milk cleansers generally do not lather. Gel-type cleansers and most soaps will lather, depending on the sulfates in the ingredients. (Sulfates make soaps soapy.)

For more information, see:

Thursday, August 1, 2019


For any of you interested in seeing a video of my facial treatment, here is the link to watch it on youtube:

I had myself filmed just before I retired because I wanted to let any aesthetician who may be interested see how I gave my facials and if there is any information to glean from the videosgreat. And for those of you who were my facial clients, I thought you might be curious about what and how I was doing things during your facial treatments with me.

This video is under 45 minutes so all of my movements are a bit faster here and the steps have as little time in between as possible, so your experience was hopefully more relaxing than this video offers!

Many thanks to my wonderful, long-term client who agreed without hesitation to be the model for this, which was literally my very last facial.

:+) Carolyn.

Monday, June 17, 2019

The Forgotten Places: The Hands

We tend to worry about our hands (the tops of our hands) long after the damage has occurred, which makes this area one of The Forgotten Places. If you’re young, start now to take care of your hands, so they will reflect this care when you’re older. And even if you are older and haven’t taken very good care of this area, it’s never too late to start. Your skin will always reflect the care you give it. Here are a few suggestions.

First, whenever you exfoliate your face and neck, exfoliate the tops of your hands. It’s a small area, so it doesn’t take much time (or product), but getting rid of the dead cells here will go a long way in keeping your hands looking youthful and feeling smooth.

Next, after you have applied moisturizer to your face and neck, smooth any excess product on your hands. If they are chronically dry, apply a special hand cream or the cream you’re using on your body before you go to bed. Try to apply it as often as you can throughout the day as well.

Another suggestion is to wear gloves. They can really help to keep the tops of your hands hydrated as well as protected from the elements. I have clients who sleep with gloves on to ensure an overnight moisturizing effect. Rubber gloves are great if your hands are in water a lot or even a little. Wear them while doing the dishes or any other time your hands will be immersed in water. Driving with gloves on will help keep the damaging sun off your hands. Wearing gloves in cold weather will go a long way toward protecting the tops of the hands from damage, not only from the sun, but also from the dry, cold air. 

Finally, wearing sunscreen on the tops of your hands is important. When applying sunscreen to your face and/or body, don’t forget the tops of your hands.

For more information, see:

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Requirements for taking Accutane

Unlike many drugs, before getting a prescription for Accutane, several requirements must be met. Why? Because Accutane carries with it significant risks. For male patients, the concerns are fewer. But for females, the potential for severe birth defects is probably the number one concern while on this medication. Because of this, no female patient is allowed to begin Accutane therapy if she is currently pregnant (no matter how far along) and definitely no pregnancies should occur while a woman is taking this potentially harmful medication.

There is strict monitoring for pregnancy during these treatments. Any female about to take Accutane must first take one, and in some cases two, pregnancy tests to ensure there is no possibility of a birth before going on this drug.

If a female patient is or might become sexually active during the course of treatment, she is required to:
  • use two different forms of birth control at least one month prior to treatment
  • throughout the entire course of treatment
  • and then for at least one month following the discontinuation of Accutane treatment

Regardless of sexual activity, female patients must take birth control pills for the duration of treatment. There are even strict policies that require a negative pregnancy test before a female patient can pick up her next month’s supply of Accutane at the pharmacy.

A formal consent form must be signed before initiating treatment with this drug. It mentions the obvious and most notable potential for severe birth defects and the patient’s agreement to take birth control for the duration of treatment. It also goes into great detail about depression and the possible signs of a depressive mental state while on Accutane.

Please continue to read about Accutane use to help you understand the risks (and possible benefits) associated with taking this powerful drug. For more information, see:

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Radio Interview with Carolyn Ash on Conversations with Beth & Dan

Here is a fun radio show interview I did with Beth Aldrich and Dan Balth on their weekly radio show: Conversations with Beth and Dan. It was recorded in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois.

I had a lot of fun talking with them about skin care and related subjects; I hope you enjoy listening to us!

CLICK HERE to listen to the show on youtube (duration 22:27).

Conversations with Beth and Dan is a co-production of the Men's Media Network and For Her Information Media. Executive producers are Beth Aldridge and Dan Balth. Produced and directed by Andy Metran in Metran Studio Chicago. Copyright 2006, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sunday, March 31, 2019

True-Dry Skin explained—again + Q & A

Dry skin, or what I call true-dry (oil-dry) skin, is a condition where your sebaceous (oil) glands are not producing enough oil to lubricate your outer skin. The outer skin is kept moisturized by both water at the surface (and from the air) as well as sebum being excreted from your oil glands. Simply put, true-dry skin does not produce enough oil to keep the outer skin moist.

True-dry skin needs to be artificially lubricated with moisturizing creams, so you want to keep high-quality moisturizers on at all times. True-dry skin needs exfoliation as well since any dead cell buildup will make the skin feel even drier.

True-dry skin can be a frustrating condition, especially if you are not using products that are moisturizing enough. Once your skin stops producing enough oil to keep the surface of your face moisturized, tightness and perhaps even flakiness can be a part of your everyday life.

I’m not a soap lover, but someone with true-dry skin really should avoid soap at all costs. This alkaline product will just make your already dry skin feel drier. Many gel cleansers have a foaming action, and these can also be too drying if you have dry skin. The best cleansers to use are cream washes or milk cleansers. These generally will not strip your skin and shouldn’t leave your face feeling dry after cleansing.

Always use a toner—without alcohol, of course! I recommend finding one with moisturizing ingredients in it, like glycerin. And your moisturizers (day and night creams) should have quality vegetal oils in them that will ensure a good all-day or all-night hydration for your oil-deficient skin.

Note: If you don’t have true-dry skin, none of the above recommendation are for you! Even if your skin feels dry. Dry skin—true-dry—simply doesn’t produce enough oil to lubricate the skin’s surface and therefore needs special products to super-hydrate and moisturize.

I recently purchased some products for dry skin as well as an oil-based serum for hydration. I have been mixing a drop of the serum with the moisturizers and have even tried using the night cream during the day. I have also been exfoliating and using a glycerin-based toner for dry skin. My skin is still very dry and flaky. I have been using Ponds® cream during the day and Vaseline® at night. A dermatologist told me to use the Vaseline, and it worked pretty well, but my pores stayed clogged.

Instead of putting one drop of the serum into your creams, try putting five or so drops on your face before applying your creams. In other words, cleanse, tone, apply five or more drops of serum to your entire face, massage the oil in, and then apply your day or night cream over that. And if you feel like you need it, go ahead and add some of the oil to your moisturizers as well. If you are using a glycerin-based serum or even a vegetable oil-based product, these shouldn’t cause you to become clogged (as long as you have true-dry skin).

Vaseline and anything else that has a high concentration of petroleum will usually clog the pores. These substances have a large molecular structure and aren’t able to penetrate the skin. They remain on the surface as occlusive covers. This not only can clog the pores, but it also inhibits your skin’s natural elimination and absorption action.

If you think you have dry skin because it feels dry but you still have oil-based problems (most notably breakout and/or blackheads), there are numerous articles on this blog detailing dehydrated skin along with many other skin conditions. Without accurate information, you might make mistakes when picking out products for your skin.

For more information, see:

Monday, March 4, 2019

Are you forgetting something? THE FORGOTTEN PLACES—face & body

Narda Lebo illustration from Timeless Skin
As an aesthetician, my main focus is the skin on the face. Throughout my career I have also stressed the importance of treating your neck tissue the same as your face. I also talk about the tops of the hands, an area that receives a lot of sun throughout our lives. But there are other areas that I call The Forgotten Places that you will want to pay attention to.

Along with the neck and hands, these sometimes neglected places consist of the décolleté (the area above the breasts or chest and below the neck), the ears, the eyes (eye area), the elbows, and balding heads. The skin all over our body ages, not just on the face, so read the articles (listed below with links) to learn more about what to do for these all important yet forgotten places.

When caring for The Forgotten Places, there are three main things you’ll want to keep in mind. They apply to your body as a whole, but in the forgotten places blog posts, you’ll be concentrating on those places you tend to forget. These three steps include using sunscreen, exfoliating on a regular basis, and using a moisturizer or hydrating cream. If you start caring for The Forgotten Places now by incorporating these three steps, you can enjoy healthy, well cared for skin all over.

Sunscreen. One reason these places look forgotten is because they receive quite a bit of sun. Sun damage brings with it loose, sagging skin along with pigmentation spots (also called age, sun, and liver spots), and the potential for cancer. Start now (it’s never too late) and remember to include The Forgotten Places when you’re applying sunscreen to your face and body.

Exfoliation. Because exfoliation is so essential to the overall health of your skin, it is important to exfoliate thoroughly and often in most of The Forgotten Places. Getting rid of the dead skin buildup will enliven your skin, making it feel smoother and look healthier.

Hydration. Finally, extra care needs to be given to The Forgotten Places to ensure they get adequate hydration, day in and day out. Keeping the skin well-moisturized makes it feel soft and supple, keeping dry and flaky skin away.

Your skin is alive and responds to care. Any attention you give The Forgotten Places will be remembered and reflected in the healthy look and feel of these different spots. With just a few short minutes per day, you can help to extend the life of these areas and enjoy healthy skin—everywhere.

Here are all The Forgotten Places that are currently posted:
For further information, see:

Monday, January 28, 2019

MYTH: You need to use a separate cream for your neck

Many times advertisements for neck creams are another ploy to get you to buy more products. Although the skin on your neck varies from the skin on your face, I recommend treating it basically the same using your regular facial products. I always recommend including your neck in everything you do to your face: The Basics plus exfoliation and sunscreen. However, it is usually unnecessary to purchase a separate cream for this area.

With that said, if you want to use something different or special on your neck, go right ahead! Sometimes I use Yonka’s Optimizer Gel Lift (meant for the neck among other areas), and I do like it. Do I see an appreciable difference using that special product vs. my daily moisturizing creams? Truthfully, I haven’t used Gel Lift or any other neck-specific product long enough to give a well-informed answer to that question.

As with all issues pertaining to skin care, if you see a difference for the better—great! Keep using that product or procedure. If you don’t, you probably won’t continue on.

For more information, see:
—or do...

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Holiday Recovery Program: Part II

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

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

Monday, January 14, 2019

Taking care of your skin when you’re sick

I remember when I got it—the “crud” as some call it: chest and sinus congestion with laryngitis. Oh happy day! Not your normal cold, this lasted well over 10 days; ten days I couldn’t go in to work. I was simply too sick to do much more than lie around, drink fluids, and take medications (both allopathic, mainstream meds and “non-traditional” herbal supplements).

Being down for the count also meant I wasn’t washing my face morning and night and obviously not doing an at-home facial or even simply exfoliating. How did my skin look? In need! Adding to this, I had gone on a camping trip (where I caught the bug) the weekend before I got sick, so I wasn’t able to take great care of my skin in that situation either. What this all amounts to is my skin needed some emergency care.

Don’t despair. Whenever you are temporarily unable to take care of your skin—for whatever reason—you can do a few things on the back end to help your skin look its best going forward.

  • Drink a lot of water. It helps clear your skin and keep your organs moving toxins along. Even if you aren’t sick but just aren’t—or haven’t been—taking care of your skin, drinking more water will benefit your whole body, including your deprived skin.
  • Get back into your twice daily cleansing routine as soon as possible. Without giving your skin a general cleanse morning and night, you are asking for trouble eventually. When your circumstances change (you’re feeling better after an illness, for instance), be sure get back into your skin care routine, which also includes using a toner and hydrating with a cream(s). 
  • Give yourself an at-home facial. This involves exfoliating and using a (clay-based) mask. The addition of the mask after exfoliation will help to revive your skin and put moisture back on the surface. 
  • Exfoliate 3 days in a row. My exfoliator of choice: Yonka’s Gommage. Although exfoliating just one time (one day) is fine, if your skin is in need and especially if it’s breaking out, exfoliating for consecutive days will help to snap it back into shape. Exfoliation improves circulation, gets rid of dead skin and excess oil, and improves texture—immediately. 
  • Get a professional facial. For some, this may not be possible, but if you can, do. During a facial your aesthetician will be able to assess your specific needs and give your depleted skin everything it needs. Please don’t go in for a facial while you’re sick. Doing this puts the professional in a position to get your illness, and if you’re sick—you should be home in bed!
Getting your skin back in shape after a temporary absence from regular care isn’t so hard to do. It just takes a few steps; some every day (like drinking water and restarting your skin care routine), some weekly (like exfoliating and doing a clay mask). With this extra attention after an absence of care, your skin will be glowing again in no time!

Being sick and unable to clean your face is a perfect application for a wonderful Yonka product that came out in 2015. Read this article to get more information: New WATERLESS Cleanser from Yonka: EAU MICELLAIRE.

Also see:

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Holiday Recovery Program: Part I

Did you go to a few too many holiday parties? Stay out late, drink too much, eat too many sweet or rich foods, and did you even go to bed with your makeup on? Not to mention the in-laws spending the holidays with you, getting all the presents bought and wrapped, and to top it off—looking good throughout the process! Or maybe you caught a cold or came down with the flu. Well, if you can relate to any of the above, you’re not alone.

The holidays are usually a time of letting go of your normal routine and letting yourself indulge in all the heavenly treats this time of year brings. And if you went a little overboard or just stayed the course and still suffered some stress getting through the holidays, no doubt your skin is showing the signs of neglect, and I have some tips on how to put your face back on the road to recovery.

Dehydration is the most common side effect encountered at this time of year and can be caused by many factors. Here a just a few:
  • Drinking too much alcohol. Alcohol is a diuretic and leaches water out of your body leaving all of your organs, including your skin, without adequate hydration.
  • Simply not drinking enough water can be detrimental to your skin. Water is essential at a cellular level. Without enough water, your body has a tougher time releasing toxins and all of your organs (including your skin) have to work harder to keep up their normal functions.
  • Indoor heat is a leading cause of surface dehydration. It dries out the air inside your home, leaving your skin (every inch of itface and body) feeling itchy and scaly and looking as rough as an alligator’s skin.
  • Even the cold, dry air outside can cause your skin to feel like it needs to vacation in a rain forest.
  • If you got sick this winter, your skin probably paid the price. Sometimes medication can cause dehydration. And usually when you’re sick, your daily routines don’t get accomplished, including your daily skin care routine.
There are two easy solutions for surface dehydration: Exfoliating and using a hydrating mask. Exfoliation is the number one problem solver when it comes to dehydration. Getting rid of the surface dead cell buildup will allow your skin to retain moisture more efficiently; smooth out the rough texture associated with dehydration; give your skin a healthy glow, due to the circulatory benefits of exfoliating; and better enable you to have clear skin, since it’s dead skin and oil that clog the pores.

Using either a scrub or a soft gel peel (gommage) will immediately lift off surface dead cell buildup and reveal healthy, vibrant skin underneath. Applying a hydrating mask will quickly and easily add moisture to your skin. (Don’t have a hydrating mask? Simply apply a thick layer of your favorite day or nighttime moisturizer.) Leave it on your face for 10-15 minutes then remove the mask and enjoy softer, smoother skin instantly! Create your own at-home facial by exfoliating, using a mask, then hopping into a warm tub full of bubbles and letting the stress release from your body.

Incorporating some or all of these suggestions will help your skin look and feel more hydrated during and after the holidays and keep it looking good all year round. Also see: