Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Powder, pressed powder, mineral makeup, foundation: Q & As on which one to use

I’ve heard you say women shouldn’t wear foundation, but what about powder? Is it also bad for the skin? I feel like I want to have something covering my skin!

Let me start by saying I don’t actually think women “shouldn’t” wear foundation, but I like giving information on the possible effects of doing so and offering alternatives, one of which I subscribe to and that is not wearing any makeup. It’s all a choice, and then it is me as an aesthetician giving advice regarding makeup. If you do wear it--great! Just be sure to take appropriate care of your skin.

To me, powder is preferable to wearing foundation. Loose powder is basically talc, which is the main ingredient found in baby powder. Talc is essentially (French) chalk, or a “finely powdered native magnesium silicate, a mineral,” as defined in Ruth Winter’s A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients. Powder can actually help absorb excess oil from the surface of the skin while giving you a finished look.

So if it comes down to a decision of whether to use powder or foundation, I would recommend powder. I do understand your desire to have something covering your face, but I bet if I saw you, I would not see the imperfections you see in your skin. We are all too critical when it comes to looking at ourselves in the mirror.

I was at a convention where you spoke. I remember you saying something about pressed powder being bad for your face. I was wondering if all powder is bad for your skin or just pressed and why? Do you think powder is the reason why my pores are clogged?

Pressed powder is just like foundation when it come to how it functions on top of your skin. Look at the ingredients; there will be certain things in pressed powder that are not in loose powder; ingredients that help make it “stick” to your skin. It is simply liquid foundation in solid form.

The following scenario happens over and over with clients who come in wearing pressed powder. I’ll ask the client if she’s wearing foundation, and the response is, “No, I just have a little bit of powder on.” It then takes me multiple cleansings in order to get that “little bit of powder” off her skin and out of the pores. Pressed powder contains a lot of emollients and thickeners that are then pressed into the skin and can cause congestion in the pores. Yes, you get great coverage with pressed powder—because it is more like foundation than true powder. If you have to wear something to cover your skin, I would suggest a light-textured water-based foundation instead of pressed powder.

Many times women who wear pressed powder have some enlargement of the pores, especially on the middle forehead, around the nose and cheek area, and near the corners of their mouths, similar to foundation wearers. If this is true for you and you are wearing pressed powder, try using loose powder for a while. Also try using a clay mask to unclog the pores and get your skin in better shape. See if the combination of these two things helps with the quality of your skin. I really find pressed powder very unpowderlike.

I’ve never used a liquid foundation, but I do sometimes use non-talc, mineral-based powders and blushes on my face to take away shine and cover some broken capillaries, and also for color. How do you feel about these types of powders? Are they just as pore-clogging as liquid foundation (especially since I seem to have a blackhead problem)?

I believe mineral makeup is what you’re asking about. This type of makeup usually will give you good coverage without causing skin problems, and it doesn’t have oil in it. Since you are prone to blackheads, I would monitor your skin closely if you choose to wear this or any type of makeup. And no matter what, doing at-home facials (exfoliating and clay masking) is essential to keep your pores cleaned out.

For more information, see:

Sunday, September 27, 2020

“What can I do about severely chapped lips?” Plus a gift from COVID

What can I do about severely chapped lips? Are there any good lip products?

Although it is a common problem, chapped lips can become a thing of the past. What does it take? Diligence and consistent use of proper lip products. And in the case of severely chapped lips, a vacation from lipstick—a product that probably caused much of the chapping in the first place.

One reason I don’t have chapped lips: I don’t wear lipstick. I haven’t for over 20 years, and when I did wear it, my lips were invariably chapped—if not always, then often. I am not advocating giving up lipstick altogether, but I am recommending becoming aware that lipstick could very well be a main culprit in your chapped lips conundrum. If you don’t want chapped lips, you must be prepared to treat your lips—especially if you are a lipstick wearer.

Non-petroleum lip balms are the products that I recommend most for chapped lips. The downside is they don't add color to your lips; tinted lip balms do, but they don't have the coverage like a true lipstick. However there are some products on the market that can give you moisturizing abilities in a regular lipstick.

I have a client who has always had very dry, cracked lips. Aside from lipstick use, there doesn’t seem to be a clear and definite reason for this severe condition. Because of her lip concerns, she has tried every lipstick and lip product known to womankind. I have seen an improvement in her lips since she started consistently using one of the newer moisturizing lipsticks.

Try one of these moisturizing lipstick products and see if it helps with your dry, cracked lips. I recommend finding a moisturizing lipstick with SPF 15 (at least). You want to protect your lips from the sun—not just your skin. And to treat your cracked lips at night, do use a non-petroleum lip balm.

Now that there is a worldwide pandemic and we are wearing face masks whenever we are in public, which is usually where and why you wear lipstick (in public): take this time as a gift if you have chapped lips and stop wearing lipstick!—for now. You can’t really wear it with a face covering and this break will give your lip tissue a rest from the many times drying effects of lipstick.

For more information, see:
...said your lips!

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Basics & The Extras: all links so far

The Basics

the extras

Cleansing: all links so far


Skin Conditions—Misc: all links so far

skin conditions—misc

  • “What can I do about those lines above my lips?” (coming soon!)

Friday, September 25, 2020

What causes bruising? Plus ideas on what to use on a bruise

What is a bruise?

It’s pretty basic, really. When a hard object delivers a blow to the body or you fall down on a hard surface, something’s got to give. The small blood vessels, capillaries, just beneath the skin will break with contact and cause blood to leak out and into the surrounding skin, making for discoloration of the affected area or a bruise. Depending on how hard of a blow, it can also produce swelling and inflammation at the site.

A bruise, sometimes called a contusion or hematoma, will usually start off looking like a dull (or not-so-dull) red or purple color under the skin until it finally fades into more green or yellowish hues. Depending on how hard the impact was, the blood will eventually be reabsorbed into the bloodstream, and the skin will go back to its normal color. The harder the trauma, the deeper the bruise, and the longer it will take the tissue to return to normal.

If you have thin skin you will be more susceptible to bruising. A woman’s skin is generally thinner than a man’s, so women tend to bruise easier than men do. An older person’s skin will be thinner with less fat, collagen and elastin fibers, which thin out over the years. With less to cushion the skin, an older person tends to collect bruises very easily. I can attest to this. Now, at 59, I find I do bruise more easily and definitely find bruises on my arms and legs with no idea where they came from!

If you are deficient in vitamin C, you will tend to bruise fairly easily. Vitamin C, and bioflavinoids specifically, help to keep the capillary walls strong. If you have spent a lifetime in the sun, this too could make you more susceptible to bruising. Why? Sun damages the capillaries as well as altering collagen and elastin, which are the supporting structures of your skin. Without this wall of protection, bruising comes easier.

An area of your body that contains a lot of adipose or fat tissue (your buttocks, for example) will sustain a blow with less visible damage than your forearm, for instance, which doesn’t have a lot of body fat to cushion against a strike. Without that blanket of fat to protect the blood network underneath the skin, your capillaries don’t stand a chance and will break due to the trauma.

Is there anything I can put on a bruise to make it heal and go away faster?
Initially, if there is obvious swelling at the site of the bruise, you can apply a cold pack that will help reduce some of the inflammation. As I mentioned, sometimes I’ll find a bruise and not know how or when it happened. In this case applying a cold compress is not my go-to remedy. For almost any bruise, I like to apply arnica gel.

Arnica, or arnica montana, is a daisy-like flower that has anti-inflammatory actions and has been found to help alleviate the edema (swelling) and blood clots that occur due to a blunt trauma, like bumping into something. Arnica is able to help lessen this blood congestion due to its ability to stimulate white blood cell activity.

Arnica ointments and creams can be purchased at most health food stores. I prefer arnica gel because it is fast absorbing. No matter which type you use, only apply arnica products as directed. Arnica should never be used on open sores or broken skin, only on bruises, sprains, and swelling. Unlike other herbal medications, arnica should not be taken internally. (There are arnica pills that can be taken for shock after an accident, but these are homeopathic and are the only way to ingest arnica.)

Bruises have been around forever and everyone probably has their own go-to product(s) to use on any bruises that might appear. Arnica is my personal favorite, but whatever you like to use, do use something to help these mini traumas to go away a bit faster. With bruises as one example, we are once again able to see and experience the amazing, miraculous healing abilities of our bodies.

For more information, see:

Thursday, September 24, 2020

How to wash your face—things you may not know

Milky cleansers generally wont suds-up like this.
How should I be washing my face?

Knowing how to wash your face may seem obvious. But year after year I have clients who really aren’t quite sure about this process. It is of course not a difficult process but it is the first in a series of important steps that will help keep your skin looking and feeling its best. Read on in order to clear up any confusion, then you can go forth and wash your face with confidence.

A few things first: I highly recommend using pH papers to test any and all of your skin care products, including your cleanser. Below is an article that gives you that information and coming soon will be a more detailed account of exactly what to do. Regardless, it is an easy process once you have the pH test papers. It is essential to know the pH of your skin care products, and many cleansers are unfortunately in the alkaline category. And no matter how much you may love a certain cleaner, if it is alkaline you do not want to use it.

Next, I am basically against the use of washcloths on your face. (See the link below to get a better understanding of why I feel this way.) It won’t be the end of the world if you use one, but using your hands to apply or remove products from your face is always my first choice.

Finally, what cleansing product to use is also a frequent question I get asked. There is a thorough explanation of what a cleanser is and what to look for in this essential product in the article linked below. Read up on what to use and what not to use to help you make a good decision when it’s time to purchase your cleansing products. 

How to wash your face:
  • Put a reasonable amount of product in the palm of your hand. If you have a milk cleanser, use about the size of a quarter to a half-dollar. With foaming cleansers, you’ll only need half as much
  • Put your palms together so the cleanser spreads evenly on both hands
  • Gently go over your entire face and neck. You are not rubbing hard, your hands are merely gliding over your face
  • Massage the cleanser onto your skin (this should only take 10 or 15 seconds)
  • Remove the cleanser by splash-rinsing with tepid water. Never use hot or cold water on your face!
  • Pat your skin dry with a towel (again, no rubbing), and you’re clean and ready for Step 2: Toning

Don’t forget to get the cleanser in that ridge between your earlobe and cheek as well as behind your ears. Dirt and debris tend to collect in these odd places, and you want to clean them daily, too.

Many skin care regimens get picky about exactly how to do each step, like “splash 15 times with water captured in your basin” or “only use counterclockwise circles when applying products.” Instead of focusing on which way your hands are moving across your face, my main concern is getting you in the habit of using your cleanser. As long as you don’t pull the skin, use circular motion or whatever feels most effective.
Should I wet my face first?

You may be wondering if you should add water to your cleanser or if you need to apply the cleanser to an already wet face. The effectiveness of the cleanser is not contingent on how wet or dry your skin is. In this instance, let your personal preference be your guide. Some people like to put cleanser on a wet face, either in the shower or at their sink. You may prefer to apply it to your dry skin. Personally, I choose to add a little water to my cleanser, which allows it to glide across my face.

No matter your preferences on how to use your cleaning products, do use them—at least morning and evening (and in between if you have produced significant sweat)—and then go on to your toning product (hopefully in a spray bottle) and then your pH balanced moisturizer. I recommend reading The Basics if you are unsure about these 3 key steps to proper skin care.

For more information, see:
For a little extra information on how much is too much, see:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Pityriasis Rosea—my experience with this somewhat strange inflammatory skin condition

Pityriasis rosea (PR) is a skin condition I have had myself, so I thought I’d write down my own experiences in case it might be helpful to any of you.

PR is described as an acute inflammatory skin disease, marked by reddish ring-shaped eruptions, predominantly on the trunk. Just for the record, PR has no “known” cause. But I can tell you in one word why I developed this condition: stress. The year I was producing my first book was one of the most stressful periods of my entire life. I cannot begin to explain the inner stress my body and soul was going through. The outer or physical manifestation of this inner turmoil was, in my opinion, pityriasis rosea.

It started with the classic herald patch; mine was located just above my right hip bone on my backside (just like this illustration). I noticed it immediately because it was big—about the size of a half dollar. It had an unusual and distinct border but that was the only spot I could see. That initial single spot changed within a few short days, and I started to get what looked like chicken pox-type red spots all over the entire trunk of my body. The number of spots increased by the dozens on a daily basis, yet I had no idea what was going on.

I happened to be on vacation with friends in Seattle during the time the increasing spots were occurring. One of these friends happened to be a Physician’s Assistant, and immediately classified it as pityriasis rosea. I had never heard of it, so my PA friend explained what she could: namely that there was nothing I could do for it but just ride it out. I put soothing creams with allantoin and aloe vera all over my body, but I can honestly say I don’t think anything I did really helped the spots go away. Like she said, I just had to let nature run its course.

I was lucky—although the spots were somewhat unsightly, they did not itch. In some cases of PR, itching does occur. Due to the numerous red dots spotting my body, I can’t imagine how awful it would have been if they indeed needed scratching. It would have been a much more arduous thing to get through, to be sure.

If you are diagnosed with PR, be patient and know that the spots, whether they itch or not, will go away in time. Although I had what seemed like hundreds of spots, there were no scars left and looking at my skin today you would never know I had PR.

It is not a fun skin condition, but it is fairly harmless. If you are under a lot of stress, your body will do what it needs to compensate. For me during this particular period of time, I developed pityriasis rosea. It’s not the end of the world, and the look of your skin is the worst part of this unusual skin problem.

For more skin conditions, see:

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Breakout: all links so far


  • Covering breakout with foundation—is that OK? (upcoming)
  • Essential oils don’t just smell good, they really help with problem skin! (coming soon!)

pH: Testing & Info: all links so far

pH: testing & info

  • HOW TO test the pH of your skin care products: DO THIS! (upcoming)
  • Since you asked: all the Yonka products I use and their pH tests! (upcoming)

Body—Misc: all links so far


Sugar & Skin: all links so far

sugar & skin

Saturday, September 19, 2020

“Is Dr. Bronner soap OK to use on my body?”

I know you say not to use products that aren’t pH balanced on my face. But what about my body? I love Dr. Bronner’s lavender/castile soap but didn’t know if I should continue using it.

Yes, its OK to use Dr. Bronner products on your body. I have used their (liquid) peppermint soap for decades as my body cleanser. Just know all of their soaps are not pH balancedthey are all alkaline products; I tested them years ago and Im sure nothing has changed. That means this soap can be more drying than an acidic (on the pH scale) soap would be. For me, I love Dr. Bronner productsespecially the wonderful peppermint aromaticand because I always use lotion on my entire body after a bath or shower, the moisture gets put back that is lost using an alkaline product.

I do not recommend using these products on your face. Not the bar soaps or their liquid soaps. I’ve said many times that I am meticulous when it comes to what I use on my face. With my body I am a lot more lax as far as what I use. I tend to go less expensive with body products and, as in this case with non-pH balanced Dr. Bronner soaps, I use what I like and make sure I compensate for the alkalinity.

If you try just once to wash your face with your favorite Dr. Bronner lavender soap, I know for a fact you will never do that again! Your skin will feel so dried out and dehydrated—especially since you’ve been using high-quality, pH balanced products (Yonka) on your skin for so many years.

I have written several articles about how to test the pH of your products, whether face or body, and I highly recommend you take a look and see how to do this simple step. Then there will never be a question of whether or not a product you are using is right for your (facial) skin or not—in other words: is it pH balanced or alkaline. A very important distinction.

Misc: all links so far


Friday, September 18, 2020

Sugar, wine, and breakout

I understand your stance on sugar and it causing problems with people’s skin. What about wine and its sugar content? Can drinking wine cause breakout?

When grapes are picked, they contain about 24% sugar by weight. That is a lot of sugar! During the fermentation of wine, yeast eats up this sugar and expels alcohol. So the process of making wine does reduce the amount of sugar in this alcoholic beverage. During most of my adult life, I was rarely if ever affected by the sugar content in wine. I didn’t breakout from wine (that I know of) and I am one of the most sensitive people when it comes to sugar.

Sweeter wines will have a higher sugar content, drier varieties will have less sugar. Dessert wines, of course, will have the highest sugar content of all. Because grapes are some of the sweetest, most sugar-concentrated fruits, and wine is made from grapes, you will find a higher sugar content in wine than other alcoholic libations. If you are sensitive to sugar, you may break out from drinking wine—it’s not out of the question. I’ve talked a lot about my own sensitivities to sugar, and following is yet another, perhaps surprising example of how sugar, in all its many forms, can affect your body if you are sensitive to it.

A few members of my family are wine makers. They have a small vineyard on their property and make wine for their personal consumption. One of the benefits, aside from having access to wonderful wines that are home grown, is I can have them test the RS (residual sugar) in any bottle of wine. I have asked to have two different bottles of white wine tested in the past few months because I had developed canker sores in my mouth for no obvious reason. Obvious meaning I ate ice cream or had a cookie or two, which even now at 59 will cause these sores to form.

Since on these two occasions, months apart, I had really bad canker sores, I had these wines tested and sure enough: they both had a high RS. Amazing! And problem solved. Neither one of these wines tasted particularly sweet—I don’t like sweet wine—but still they both had high residual sugar and that means I simply won’t drink them. If you’ve ever had canker sores, you understand why. It’s nice to have the RS confirmed by a wine maker with all the testing tools, something that is probably not readily available to most people, but if you get blemishes or canker sores after drinking a new bottle of wine, your body’s reaction might be the only test you need.

Although I no longer get blemishes if I eat things that are sugary, I am still prone to canker sores—something I also had a lot of when I was a very young girl. Both then as a young person, well before my teenage years and now after menopause, my hormones weren’t surging and therefore I didn’t then and don’t now get blemishes. But due to my extreme sensitivity to sugar, with these high RS wines, I developed canker sores. I find this so interesting!

My experience, although just one, is an example of the power of sugar and how even though you might have grown out of skin breakouts, if you are sensitive to sugar it can and probably will still affect you throughout your life. I find this fascinating and it keeps me from eating or drinking anything that has even a modest sugar content. Except for the rare time when I just give in and let go of my normal abstinence and just live a little!

For more information, see:

Sensitive Skin: all links so far

sensitive skin

  • Rosacea & sensitive skin product Q & A (upcoming)

Product Recommendations: all links so far

product recommendations

Also see

If you are looking for Yonka product recommendations