Monday, August 31, 2020

Problem skin? ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS & become a skin care sleuth

I am always telling my clients who have skin issues that something is causing their skin issuesthey are not “just happening,” although the cause may not be apparent right now. I encourage them as well as you to be a sleuth into your own lives and lifestyles and to try to break down the different elements  to find possible causes for your breakouts.
  • If it’s a new breakout, what is new in your life? 
  • Are you using new skin care products, shampoo, even laundry detergent? 
  • Have you eaten new or unusual foods you don’t normally eat? 
  • Have you eaten more sugar than you ordinarily eat? 
  • Is it Halloween or your birthday? 
  • Have the Girl Scouts been coming around? 
  • Has your monthly cycle changed? 
  • Are you going through puberty? 
  • What about the amount of stress in your life? 

Try to break down your lifestyle habits to see if there is a correlation between something you’re doing, eating, or not doing, and how this may be affecting your skin. Breakout usually has multiple causes, but eliminating the ones you think might be contributing to your skin problems is a good start to clearer skin.

My skin has been a daily task to keep clear for the last ten years. I have a very mild acne problem, and it bothers me. I have tried everything in creation to keep my skin clear, but there always seems to be a spot or two at any given time. I have very sensitive skin that does not respond well to AHAs or other acid products, and most oils found in many products bother my skin.

I use Cetaphil to cleanse with and it works wonders (I love that product). I need an exfoliator to use before I wash with my cleanser. I have also used your gommage and was happy with the results and how it didn’t bother my skin. I appreciate any advice or comments you may have for me.

Since her breakouts are ongoing, she is definitely doing something on an ongoing basis to encourage her problem skin. Her use of the term acne may be an overstatement, but that is my own opinion. The acne I call acne is the full-blown cystic type.

AHAs and other strong acid products don’t work for many people. And if you have any sensitivities and especially if you have redness in your skin, I don’t recommend them.

Cetaphil cleanser works well for many people. It is inexpensive and easy to find. I need an exfoliator to use before I wash with my cleanser. You actually want to cleanse before you exfoliate. Cleansing first gets the debris off the surface of the skin, giving your exfoliator a better chance to do its job. The gommage is a great way to get rid of a lot of dead skin while not irritating or otherwise causing problems for sensitive skin. She could use this product several times per week.

I would advise her to really take a long, hard look at her diet and see if she has hidden or even obvious sugar that she may not be counting as contributing to her ongoing problem skin. Many people just haven’t yet come to this realization about diet (especially sugar) and how it affects skin, which is why I talk so much about it.

For more information, see:

Holiday Skin Care: all links so far

holiday skin care

Supplements: all links so far


Animal Rescue: all links so far

animal rescue

Sunday, August 30, 2020

Using essential oils undiluted (neat) on your skin—don’t believe everything you read

I noticed a warning on the package of geranium oil I just purchased. It said the product  should not be applied directly to the skin. I wanted to ask you about this since you recommend putting it on problem spots.

I believe that warning is there to keep people from doing inappropriate things with these powerful essences—namely getting them directly in their eyes or putting a large amount of pure extracts on their skin. Neither one of these things would have a good outcome, and I think the company is just covering themselves.

You absolutely can put a drop of (almost any) pure essential oil on blemishes; in fact, I highly recommend it. I have personally been doing this for decades as well as recommending this practice to my clients with either problem skin or an occasional blemish here and there.

Dotting antibacterial/anti-inflammatory essences, like geranium or almost any pure essential oil, on red, inflammed blemishes will help the infection diminish and will therefore help the spot to heal much faster. All of that plus you won’t get the surface drying effects like you can with some commercial acne spot treatments.

I wouldn’t hesitate to tell you to use essential oils directly on your skin as long as you only use one drop or less at a time. And, of course, avoid the eye area. (You also don’t want to get them in your mouth. It’s not dangerous, but in a word: ICK. Essential oils smell wonderful and taste horrible!)

Can you use geranium oil “neat” on the skin? I was under the impression only lavender and tea tree could be put directly on the skin?

I realize many boxes of essential oils say to not put them neat (straight or undiluted) on skin. However, the way I tell my clients to apply geranium (or lavender if the geranium aromatic is too much) is just to put a single drop on each blemish. If anyone was to put geranium all over their face, that would be too much. I only recommend putting it on the blemishes themselves, and there is no harm in doing this.

Any essential oils in the mint family (like peppermint, for example) should definitely not be used in very large amounts on the skin—neat or otherwise. These oils are way too potent and can cause burning as well as redness. But other than these types, most essential oils used in very limited amounts are fine to use neat—providing caution is used around the eyes and sensitive tissue of the inner nose and mouth. I suppose anything can be misused, and perhaps that is why the manufacturers label their products with that warning.

Peppermint essential oil, however, does make a great bug bite de-itcher. See article below for more details.

For more information, see:

PLEASE: Don’t take Premarin!

Warning: some of you may not want to read this article. I understand, I get it. Seeing the true of something is sometimes quite ugly. When it comes to imparting knowledge with conviction, I believe a jerk with a message is never heard. And so, here, I am going to try and not get preachy about Premarin. I will work on not being a jerk while at the same time giving you information you might not know about.

When it comes to taking drugs, perhaps it’s easy to turn a blind eye as to where they came from. I think Premarin is exactly one of those instances. For obvious reasons, how the hormones for this drug are extracted are not well publicizedat least not by the drug companies. But if you go online there are copious amounts of information and accounts of the extraction process. Some websites are militant, which I think may turn some people off. But even so, they are simply giving the true account of how horses are used and abused in order to give women a hormone replacement that may not even be safe for them to take.

For those of you who dont know, the hormone replaced Premarin stands for pregnant mares urine (PREgnant MARes urINe). These 4-leggeds subject to the drug companies are called “PMU” horses, sometimes called Premarin Horses. No matter what you call these female equines, their life is dismall at best and miserable and filled with cruelty for sure.

I can recall countless clients being surprised when I told them that taking the birth control pill makes the body think it’s pregnant. And when a woman takes Premarin, she may not really understand what the horses have to go through in order to extract their urine. And this drug contains hormones—for a horse—that a human woman takes to offset some of the symptoms of menopause. This just sounds crazy to me even if it didn’t involve animal cruelty as well.

The life of a PMU horse24/7

Horses are nomadic, herd oriented, and prey animals. This means they travel (walk) for most of the day and stay in groups, not just because they are social animals but most importantly to keep predators away. The saying “safety in numbers” is what a herd is all about. The Premarin horses are kept tied up 24/7 while they are pregnant in order to extract the hormones used in this drug. Therefore they can’t roam around, satisfying their nomadic nature; and although they are near other female horses, they are constrained; and because they have no freedom of movement, their strong drive to be in a safe place away from any predators no doubt causes considerable stress on these magnificent beings.

If anyone reading this is currently taking Premarin or considering it from a doctor’s recommendation, perhaps with this (new?) knowledge on how massively inhumane it is to take horses from their natural habitat into this catastrophic environment you might choose another option for your hormone replacement therapy.

I personally take bioidentical hormonesstill prescribed from a doctorthat are not from an animal source. There are countless studies showing the benefits of bioidenticals, but I don’t need to read anythingI know from how they make me feel. And not having hot flashes and dramatic high and low hormone swings is all I need to know they are working. I have tried many different roads to quelling my hormone issues (see Help for Hot Flashes! below), but bioidentical hormone replacement has been the best way for me.

My blood gets monitored and I have regular checkups with my hormone doctor just like someone would who is using Premarin. The difference is by taking bioidentical hormonesor even other hormones whose source is not animalI am not negatively influencing the life of a precious horse, their offspring (who are usually sold at auction) or other living thing.

When asked by my clients about a trend or fad or newfangled treatment or even about possibly harmful ingredients in skin care products, I always say I choose my battles. I dont get up in arms about every single possible negative in the world of skin care. With that in mind, you can say that the use of Premarin and the abuse of horses to extract it is one of my battles. It is an unnecessary drug taken by means that are cruel and unusual and because of that I cannot stand behind its use at all.

Im not perfectI do have leather belts and shoes and occasionally Ill eat meat from a quadruped. But when it comes to animal cruelty of the sort this article is about, I have to take a stand. As many of you know, I love horses so this is a particularly close-to-home subject for me. In the end, each person will choose what they do in life. Hopefully for any of you that didnt have the low-down on Premarin and its source now might consider a different drug to help with your hormonal symptoms.
For more information, see:

Friday, August 28, 2020

A client’s new rosacea diagnosis & product questions: Part 1

I need some advice from my favorite aesthetician! I just went to the doctor to verify and as I suspected, I do have rosacea. A better option than lupus, which is what popped up when I  googled butterfly rash but still not my favorite diagnosis!

Im getting more frequent flushing episodes and this past week when I came in from outside, my nose got BRIGHT redlike a bad sunburn. Then it spreads out a little onto my cheeks. 

Im still using the Yonka white lotion spray, Creme 15 and Gommage, although I don’t gommage as often as I should. Im good about sunscreen now, tho! Im supplementing with CeraVe facial moisturizer when I need a little moisture boost, which isnt often since Im still pretty greasy.

Other than my color issue, I think you would be pretty happy with how my skin looks. I havent given up coffee, but per your instructions I always have a glass of water before and after my coffee. I actually drink lots of water all day, and we are all are working on eating more veggies (plenty of fruit) and I almost never have Diet Coke.

So, before I see the people who like to write prescriptions (my doctor), I thought I would check in with you and see what you think about handling rosacea.

So sorry to hear about the rosacea diagnosis, but as you said, it could be worse. Now that you know what the redness is, you can start learning how to live with itThe following are all discussed in Skin Care A to Z, but Ill outline a few things here in a shortened version:
  • Rosacea is managed not cured. So although it could completely go away someday, chances are it won’t. However, right now you may be experiencing worse symptoms if it is just presenting itself. That is not uncommon. The more severe redness may calm down in the future, although you may be prone to the redness forevertime will tell.
  • Avoid extremes in temperature whenever you can. Obviously, you can’t not go outside on a cold or hot day, but you can use only tepid, room temperature water when you wash your face at the sink. In the shower, it’s a little harder. I personally don’t tell my clients to turn the water from hot to warm or cool, but you definitely don’t want to stick your face in the hot shower water, rosacea or not!
  • If its really cold (or hot) outside, you may experience that bright red nose you described. This might not be the case with more moderate outdoor climates. Any temperature extremes are going to make the rosacea flare up a bit. And in those cases there really isnt much you can do about it. 

  • When you go to your dermatologist, I would definitely ask for samples of topical rosacea ointments like Metrogel or Metrocream or whatever the latest and greatest thing is, and see if any one of these works for your rosacea. What works for others may not work for you; it truly will come down to trial and error. Rosacea is a very individual condition and therefore the treatment and products vary as to what works for one person or another.

Since entering menopause, I have what I call a “pre-rosacea” condition on my cheeks. I get very flushed there when I’m simply hot or in a hot bath. It’s not quite full-blown rosacea, but almost. Since I love hot baths, before I get in I put a thick layer of moisturizer on my cheeks where I tend to get red and flushed. This acts as a protective layer for my skin from the heat and therefore keeps my cheeks from flaring up. In the shower, sometimes I put clay mask on my cheeks instead of the cream, which can easily come off in the water stream. The cream is nice after the bath because I can just spread it on my face afterwards.

To me, its not about giving up coffee or wine or whatever dietary pleasures that may cause flareups; its knowing those things, your personal triggers, will cause you to get red. Sometimes you may decide to avoid certain foods or coffee in order to not look red, and other times you just may not care.

Yonka makes an anti-redness moisturizer: Creme 11*, that many clients who have rosacea and/or redness in their skin really find helpful. It doesnt get rid of redness per se, but it does help to calm the skin. Otherwise, Creme 15 is still a great cream for you. And if you use Gommage 303 right now, use it up and next time order Gommage 305*. Its better for redness and you may be sensitive to the citrus (orange, sweet lime, lemon) in 303 if you now have more redness.
*Creme 11 was rebranded (disastrously, IMHO) and is now called Sensitive Masque.
*Gommage 303 is discontinued and Gommage 305 has been renamed Gommage Yonka.

Rosacea certainly isn’t fun but it’s also not life-threatening. It can be frustrating as well as inconvenient, but hopefully if you stay away from your triggers to the degree that still makes for a happy life, you can manage this condition and perhaps one day it will just disappear.

For more information, see:

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Food-Skin-Health: all links so far


Skin Care No-Nos: all links so far

skin care no-nos

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Alcohol: What drinking does to your skin

Why is alcohol bad, and what does drinking do to my skin?

As much as alcohol can add to a situation, like helping you to relax or otherwise enjoy a social event, there are many reasons why it isnt great for your skin. I wouldnt classify alcohol as bad per se, but it certainly isnt helping to keep your skin hydrated and healthy-looking. Depletion is the operative word for what alcohol does to your body in general and specifically to your skin.   

First of all, alcohol is a diuretic, so drinking it depletes your body’s supply of water. A good rule of thumb is to drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink. Then you are helping to replace water you will lose from drinking.

Next, alcohol depletes vitamins and minerals, including B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, C, choline, inositol, magnesium, and potassium at the very least. Vitamin C and B-complex are both water-soluble vitamins, meaning they are easily flushed out of your system, especially by alcohol. If you are drinking alcohol on any kind of a regular basis, be aware you may be lowering the vitamins stored in your body. I’m not saying never have a glass of wine. But if you drink, I think it would be beneficial to know what it is doing to your body, which ends up affecting your skin.

Alcohol takes the mineral calcium from bone and reduces your body’s ability to metabolize iron; both of these processes are especially bad for women. According to Dr. Christiane Northrup in her book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, alcohol increases the amount of free-floating estrogens in the bloodstream and has been linked in some clinical studies to an increased risk of breast cancer.

Alcohol is toxic, so when you drink it, your eliminating organs swing into high gear. You may be feeling tipsy from your libation, but your kidneys and liver are hard at work trying to filter out and release the toxins found in that glass of whatever you are drinking.

Finally, alcohol impairs your judgment. Without going into great detail, making poor choices can be catastrophic, like getting behind the wheel. If you drink, dont drive. Poor choices can also be as minor as not washing your face before going to bed. Better choices? Drink lots of water when you are drinking alcohol and drink a lot of water the following day to help your body (especially your kidneys and liver) process the alcohol.

I like to live my life by this saying: Everything in moderation, including moderation. If you want to have some wine with dinner after a hard day’s work or at a party, don’t stress out about it. Your skin isn’t going to be ruined by a few drinks. But if you drink regularly or even infrequently, I highly recommend taking supplements and other health-producing measures when you do indulge.

Hangover? Ive written a few articles on things you can do to help keep a hangover to a minimum. Even if you only have one glass of wine, try the suggested cures to help your body recover from the toxic effect of (even a little) alcohol. 

For more information, see:

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Sometimes less is more when it comes to skin care

I have found out that if I do too much for my skin it becomes dry, red, and I get more small pimples. If I do nothing then I occasionally get pimples. What do you recommend?

You may be using products that are actually irritating your skin. Normally when you do extra steps to take care of your skin, it will show this care and look more radiant and healthy. That you are having the opposite experience may reflect poorly on your products, but then again, it may just be how your skin is. I recommend finding a place to get a facial in your area. Then you can have someone take a good look at your skin and give you advice on how best to take care of it. Be sure to take your products in to show the aesthetician. She may have some insight as to the types of products you are using and why you are having such negative results.

Doing “too much” in almost any area can do more harm than good. Too much exercise (especially done incorrectly) can cause injuries. Eating too much food can overload your digestive system and cause anything from indigestion to constipation, weight gain and more. Too much stress? We all know about that! And when it comes to your skin, doing too much may indeed cause problems. But this is especially true—and inevitable—if the products you are using are inappropriate for your skin type and/or meant to “dry things out.”

Your skin will always tell you whether it likes a particular product or not. If you ever feel irritation, burning, or any sort of tingling sensation—and definitely redness upon application, this is your skin telling you it does not accept that particular product. If, just like this emailer, your skin becomes dry and red, it could be an allergic reaction. Even if an allergy is not the case, it is certainly your skin rebelling.

Getting small pimples with overdoing may go along with an allergic reaction. Again, it could just be a simple intolerance to the product being applied. Getting small blemishes with no skin care routine, that is exactly what can happen for sure! Keeping the skin clean—at the very least—is the most important thing you can do, along with keeping your skin hydrated, in order to keep problems from occurring.

I’m not a big believer in doing a lot to your skin nor using dozens of different products every day. If you like doing a lot, then by all means go for it. What I do and what I instruct my clients to do for optimal skin care is fairly basic. I recommend what I term The Basics (daily cleansing, toning, and hydrating) and The Extras (weekly exfoliating and clay masking). I think if you accomplish some or all of those steps you can achieve the healthy skin you’re looking for.