Tuesday, June 28, 2011

What Exactly is Dehydrated Skin?

Dehydrated skin is not dry skin.  Dehydrated is a skin condition lacking water, whereas dry skin is a skin type lacking oil.  Any skin type can become dehydrated, even oily skin.  My oily skin is currently a bit dehydrated , because of acne treatment gel.  I decrease use to once a day or every other day depending on how dehydrated my skin becomes.  I also drink a TON of water and no soda.  Oily skin must be hydrated and moisturized, whether dehydrated or not.  Skin can also become dehydrated from sweating, not drinking water, dry weather, not moisturizing, skin treatments, alkaline based products, and medications.

Dehydrated skin looks flaky and can feel tight and dry.  It will also absorb products extremely fast, so layering on moisture throughout the day is a good idea.  If you wear a makeup base, your skin will absorb the base, your skin will feel tight and your face may look like it will "crack".  Adding that extra moisture is very important to prevent this and keep skin hydrated.  If you are acne prone, dehydrated skin can actually worsen your condition, so drink plenty of water and don't forget a light moisturizer like CeraVe Moisturizing Lotion. This lotion contains ceramides, which helps moisturize, soften skin and retain water.  Cetaphil Moisturizer is also a favorite of mine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Benefits of Waxing at The European Wax Center

I have always been a fanatic about removing excess hair, so when I discovered The European Wax Center I was very excited. The wax center has a 4 step process designed to cleanse, protect, wax and rejuvenate the skin.  They offer affordable waxing for men and women, with four Guest Savings Programs.  You may also sample a service FREE.  Women : bikini line,eye brow or underarm.  Men : Eye brow, ear or nose wax.

1) Referral program : Refer a friend and receive $5 off your next visit & Platinum rewards members get $10 per referral.
2) Unlimited wax pass : Purchase 1 year of services, unlimited waxing. Available for bikini, eye brow, under arm, full face services.  First time guests purchase unlimited wax pass on 1st visit & receive 13 months, instead of 12.
3) Prepaid wax pass : Buy 6 (of same service) get 1 free, Buy 9 (of same service) get 2 free, first time guests buy 9 (of same service), get 3 free.
4) Platinum rewards program : Earn rewards points for enrollment, pre-booking, online booking, guest referrals, retail purchases, gift card purchases and much more!  Every 1,000 rewards points equals $10 in-store value.

The European Wax center  is extremely clean, comfortable, does not allow double dipping, no recycled wax and offers exclusive gentle wax made in Paris.  I wasn't convinced a wax could be "gentle" on skin, until I tried their wax.  The hard wax is made of 100% natural beeswax, the finest of polymers, and contains no alcohol.  Yes hard wax from head to toe- no strip wax.  I was very relieved their wax did not break me out as well.  I just had silky smooth skin!

Waxing has its benefits as well.  Waxing every 3-4 weeks is recommended. It exfoliates dead skin cells, makes hair grow back slower, finer meaning less pain each visit and super soft skin.  They also offer retail products that promote soft skin, prevent & treat ingrown hairs and relieve skin irritation.  I am here to tell you each of their products works and must be used on a daily basis to continue working!  Each product is also film free and does not leave a residue on skin that can clog pores, creating breakouts or ingrown hairs.

*Ingrown Hair Serum prevents ingrown hairs and breakouts.
*Post Wax Exfoliate gently refines and polishes skin between waxing.
*Slow It Body Wash cleanses and hydrates skin.  
*Slow It Body Lotion nourishes and protects skin between waxing.
*Shape It conditions and holds your eyebrows in place with a light shine.
*Restore It stimulated brow hair growth in 4-6 weeks and conditions hair.

If you purchase the entire line, you receive 20% off!  Try The European Wax Center FREE, you won't regret it! 

Let Your Skin Breathe : Makeup Free Celebrities

I always have to smile when I see photo's of celebrities without makeup, it's a reminder that they are human too.  I think it takes a lot of courage to step out, knowing there will be cameras following your every move.  Showing your true self, bare skin, flaws and all.  I think that everyone should let their skin breathe more and not wear concealer, foundation or powder so much.  Your skin will thank you for it.  A bare face is a beautiful face.
                                                            Kate Hudson
                                                        Cindy Crawford
                                                      Gwyneth Paltrow
                                                       Halle Berry
                                                 Kerry Washington
                                                          Jessica Alba

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Beauty Obsession of the Day: Bold Brows

I have been obsessed with thick and full brows most of life, probably because mine are never full enough!  Brows frame the face and can make you or break you.  To get a nice brow shape, go to a esthetician or cosmetologist.  Chances are if you like their brow shape and you have the hair to work with, they can give you a nice shape to frame your face.  If you see someone with a nice brow, don't be afraid to ask her who shapes them.  I would not suggest going to a random place to get them waxed.  You will not be pleased with the results.  A bad brow job can take months to grow back and some may not grow back at all.  Rogaine is a favorite of mine, just apply to the brow area. 

My favorite products to define and set my brows are a eyebrow comb, angled brush, aloe vera gel (to set brows), wet n' wild eye liner, e.l.f. essentials Brightening Eye Color in "Brownstone" or NYX cosmetics eyebrow cake powder.  Remember, use a shade lighter then your haircolor or it will look to harsh on your brows.  My hair is black, I use dark brown pencil and powder. Feather in liner or powder in short hair like strokes so your brows look natural and fabulously full!

Protect your Skin!

I cannot stress enough, spf is a must. Sun exposure leads to skin cancer, aging, burning, hyperpigmentation (over production of pigment/uneven skin tone), free radical damage, capillary damage, and weakens collagen & elastin.  90% of skins aging is due sun exposure.  It does not matter how dark you are-you need a spf.   "I don't burn, I have a natural spf, I don't go outside, it's cloudy/snowing outside, there's spf in my power/foundation".  EVERYONE needs a proper spf.  Why & What is spf? It is the  "sun protection factor".  Even on cloudy days the suns UVA & UVA rays can reach you.  They reflect off the snow when you are snowboarding.  Spf in cosmetics is not the proper amount, nor the proper form of spf.

There are 2 types of UV rays, UVA and UVB. Simple put, UVA=aging.  UVB=burning.  UVA rays are longer rays that can reach deeper in your skin, all the way into the dermis.  When the UVA reaches this point, it causes cell death, weakens elastin and collagen fibers causing sagging and wrinkling.  Elastin and collagen give skin its firm and smooth appearance and is near impossible to rebuild.  UVB rays are shorter rays and can damage the epidermis, are stronger then UVA rays, causing sunburn, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, and can damage eyes.  

There are 2 types of spf, sunscreen and sunblock.  What makes a sunscreen or sunblock?  Chemical sunscreen ingredients include, oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate and can be quite irritating on skin.  Chemical sunscreens absorb ultraviolet rays.  Physical sunscreens or Sunblock include, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and reflect ultraviolet rays.  Physical spf is ideal for hyperpigmented skin, so UV rays reflect off the UV barrier.  Full Spectrum sunscreens or Broad spectrum protect skin from UVA & UVB rays.  A spf of 15 sunscreen blocks 93.3% of UVB rays. Spf 30 sunscreen only blocks 96.9%. Doubling the spf does not double your sun protection factor.  Anything higher then spf 30 is not anymore effective.  The higher the spf, the more potentially irritating ingredients are added to thicken the concentration.  I always say, "double check the ingredients".

When applying spf, apply at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure so the product has time to shield your skin.  There are a ton of spf's out there, liquid, cream, gel, powder, added to makeup, but they are not all sufficient for UV protection.  A powder or foundation with spf is not sufficient.  A spf should be a layer in itself before makeup. Powder does not cover and surround the skin with protection like a liquid, cream or gel spf can.  Lastly no matter what your skin tone, you need to protect your skin from the sun.  Darker skin tones have more melanin (skin pigment), but the more the melanin, the more there is to damage.  Darker skin is actually more sensitive to the sun the pale skin tones.  Melanin is activated by the sun and can cause hyperpigmentation (uneven skintone), as well as damage collagen and elastin.  This damage maybe invisible for a while, but it will pop up in later years.  Pale skin tones see the instant damage, a sunburn.  Because this skin has little melanin, it will burn, and be more susceptible to collagen and elastin damage.

During the summer months, wear a hat, sit under a umbrella, reapply sunscreen if swimming (it will come off, no matter that the label says), and reapply if working out in the sun.

My current favorite is Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50. Specifically great for oily and acne prone skin.

Blush & Breakouts

Update 1/20/12: Both of the following Blushes should be avoided for acne prone skin and maybe contribute to breakouts in any skin type!  Cover FX Bronzer contains isopropyl isostearate, silica, Glyceryl Stearate SE.  The Elf Mineral blush looks fantastic on the skin, but I feel like it has contributed to  irritation, even when tested from other blushes.

I have to be very careful with cosmetics, because I am acne prone. Blush can be a little tricky for me, because I have a natural flush and my skin is constantly being treated for acne.  After many years of having breakouts where my blush was applied, I realized the blush was making me breakout.  I became obsessed with finding a "non-comedogenic" blush.  After much trial and error, research and reading plenty of reviews, I finally came to the fact that I do not believe in "non-comedogenic". Any company can slap on this label and I always double check ingredients.  I shop with my zero zits list, which has been a tremendous help!  Become a Acne detective with Zero Zits

e.l.f. Mineral Blush                                                      e.l.f. Mineral Blush

I have finally  found two blushes that work well with my skin and do not make me breakout.  Cover FX sunkissed bronzing powder in "garnet" $28 & e.l.f. mineral blush in "peachy" $5.  Cover FX bronzing powder contains mica, is oil free, fragrance free, paraben free suitable for sensitive skin like mine.  It comes in a regular 'bronze' shade, as well as blush shades.  I am very thrify, so I was thrilled when the e.l.f. mineral blush worked with my skin.  The mineral blush is very light, great oily skin, 100% mineral based, contains no parabens, no preservatives, and no chemical dyes.  The minerals give my skin a healthy glow and at a very cheap price!  Don't forget to clean your makeup brushes often!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Beauty Obsession of the Day: Halle Berry

Halle Berry has maintained her great genes with diligent use of SPF 30 daily and educating herself on skincare. I love hearing about celebrities (or anyone for that matter) who takes the time to learn about skincare.  She also loves Kinara Day Spa in Los Angeles, CA. Oh I would love to work there someday!

Drink to Healthy Skin

I am obsessed with water and tea. When I was in middle school, my Godmother suggested I stop drinking soda and drink water. This made a big difference in my skin and I'm glad I have continued this rule.  Switching from soda to water instantly flushes your system and reduces your sugar intake which causes breakouts.  I also love tea and its ability to detoxify the body.  I love green and ginger tea .  Both tastes take some getting used to, but its worth it!

Green tea is full of antioxidants called catechins, as well as, carotenoids, ascorbic acid (vitamin c), chromium, manganese, selenium, zinc and some phytochemical compounds. All great for the skin.  Catechins helps fight free radical damage, most commonly caused by UV rays.  Green tea also neautralizes UV light, can prevent skin cancer, fights infection, rejuvenates skin, and soothes acne.  Makes for a great homemade toner or mask.  Green tea is also naturally caffeinated and is a healthier choice then coffee. 

Ginger is a antioxidant and fights free radicals that damage skin aging and damage.  It also is a anti-inflammatory, great for inflamed acne or skin and a natural antiseptic, great for killing p.acnes (acne bacteria), improves skin tone and a great cellulite treatment.  Ginger tea is great for reliving cramps, upset stomach, nausea, diarrhea, the common cold, poor blood circulation (helps dissolve blood clots, reduce cholesterol in blood, thus preventing heart attacks). 

Both tea's are especially great to sip on during the winter. I was recently in Teavana and tried a blend of White Ayurvedic Chai & Samurai Chai Mate...had to be the most delicious thing I have EVER tasted!!! Very yummy, it should be made into a gelato flavor! Try it!=)
                                                   Sencha Green Tea

                                                 Ginseng Vitality Rooibus Tea

                                                 White Ayurvedic Chai Tea

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Easy Solutions to Prevent & Treat Breakouts

1) For hormonal breakouts around your chin, mouth, and jawline take Zinc supplements, B vitamin complex, and L-Lysine. I know its alot but they do help!  Taking supplements on a regular basis is important for preventing, treating and maintaining healthy skin.  Zinc prevents hormone imbalances that can lead to breakouts, is essential for healthy tissue renewal.  B vitamins help maintain healthy skin, L-Lysine is a essential amino acid that supports cell growth, function and form proteins.  Also important for healthy skin.  Murad Pure Skin Clarifying Supplement hits all marks (except L-lysine) contains a great number of acne fighting ingredients as well as detoxifying the system.

2) Breakouts from makeup brushes or cosmetics.  Clean your brushes once a week in warm water, fragrance free anti-bacterial liquid hand soap and baking soda.  Soak this solution in a cup for 10-15 mintues.  Fragrance can irritate skin.  Air dry with bristles facing upward sitting in a cup.  "Acne Cosmetica" is simply clogged pores from cosmetics.  Check ingredients prior to buying, make sure they are actually "non-comedogenic" or "non-acnegenic".  I refer back to this list and research online prior to purchasing.  Become a Acne Detective with Zero Zits
Makeup primers with silicone/Dimethicone and Mac cosmetics WILL clog pores.

3) Talk on the phone, wear a headset or glasses/sunglasses? Clean it with alcohol after using it and prior to it coming into contact with your face.  You smash you face against your phone or headset, oil and bacteria smears on it, it sits there and smears back onto your face.  Alcohol wipes are great too.

4) Workout? Cleanse your face and body IMMEDIATELY after working out with Salicylic Acid (Murad Time Release Acne Cleanser, Benzoyl Peroxide (Acne Free Face Wash) or Triclosan  (Neostrata Antibacterial cleanser).  Sweat will clog pores.

5) Breakouts around hair line or from hair products. Hair products, conditioners and shampoos can easily clog pores.  Shampoo and conditioner must be rinsed out thoroughly in the shower. If you breakout on your face, back or chest wash your hair first, then cleanse your skin. Rinse, rinse, rinse!  This will prevent those products from causing breakouts.  Most hair products break me out so I just stick with aloe vera gel.  Products with oils, sillicones that are great for the hair, are not good for your skin. My rule is, if I cannot use it on my face, its not going in my hair.  You sweat and the product will run into your hairline causing clogged pores. I also refer back to the Zero Zits list when looking at hair products.

6) Launder clothes with a dye and scent free detergent.  This will prevent any irritation from towels and wash clothes and future breakouts.

7) Get an adequate amount of sleep each night.  When we sleep, our body regenerates and so does our skin.  If 8 hours is impossible, get at least 7 hours of sleep.

8) Huge inflamed pimple or CYST- ice it! Ice is anti-inflammatory.  Don't squeeze or pop it, this will damage tissue (leave extractions to a professional).  The ice will reduce the size and redness.  A secret weapon of mine is aspirin. Yes aspirin, crush aspirin with a spoon till finely ground up and add a few drops of water to make a paste.  Apply the paste with a q-tip to cyst or use as a face mask 1-2x week!  Leave on overnight for dramatic reduction of cysts.  Do not use this treatment if you are allergic to aspirin, willow bark, salicylic acid.   For day timed dab on some salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, sulfur or tea tree oil. Try Murad Spot Treatment with sulfur and/or Murad Acne Clarifying Mask as a spot treatment for pustules and papules.

9)  Change your pillow case every night.  Oil, debri, acne bacteria will breed on pillowcases causing clogged pores.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Origins Stay Tuned Foundation is my new Favorite foundation!

                                    Origins Stay Tuned Balancing Face Makeup

Foundation is the last step to your skin care regime and should not "mask" your face.  Foundations purpose is to even your skin tone. I have tried every brand, cheap and expensive. Because my skin is problematic, my search for the right foundation was a long one.  I needed to find a foundation that was a) A great color match b) Won't make me breakout c) Medium coverage for my hyperpigmentation, but still look natural.

I came to Origins, because they do not use synthetic fragrance (the majority of cosmetic brands use this, it irritates my skin and allergies).  The have a okay color selection, they could work more on darker colors.  Finding a foundation with the right amount of yellow undertones has been an endless search.  The Origins associate gave me a sample and I tested it out over the next couple of days.

The Stay Tuned Foundation is a new summer favorite.  I tested this over the summer when my skin was the most oily.  The foundation is suited for combination skin, formulated without Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oil, PABA, Petrolatum, Paraffin, DEA,Synthetic Fragrance and animal ingredients.  Origins promises, "Skin looks naturally gorgeous, never greasy or glum." 

My skin can be quite oily, sometimes dehydrated and this foundation absorbs oil well and does not dry my skin out.  There are a couple essential oils in the ingredients, but they do not exasperate my oily skin or allergies!  I am happy with this natural looking foundation and will continue using Origins cosmetics.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Olay Cleansing Brush-A must buy!

                           Olay Professional Pro-X Advanced Cleansing System

I am very particular about cleansing my face. I was using clean sponges, my finger pads or a wash cloth.  So when I the Clarisonic brush ($200) came out I read the mixed reviews and hoped there would be a cheaper version on the way.  Olay released a very similiar cleansing brush at only $30. I had to get it.  I regret not buying it sooner, it truly is the best thing to cleanse my skin with! I use the cleansing brush at least once a day and rotate with a sponge or wash cloth.  Wash cloths can harbor bacteria or be to aggressive on the skin, so wash in hot water and do not aggravate skin by scrubbing aggressively.  Learn to be extremely gentle with your skin.

The Olay brush comes with a sample size of Pro-X Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser (great for exfoliating) and 2 batteries. Refills brush heads are sold separately. The cleansing brush has 2 speeds and claims to clinically cleanse skin 6x better then regular cleansing.  I am here to say they are not false advertising, this is completely true.  Proper cleansing is very important for many reasons.  One, being that if you do not cleanse your skin correctly and thoroughly, the products you pile on will not take affect. Two, when you are cleansing you are also exfoliating.  Whether using your hands, a brush or a sponge, dead skin cells are being swept off the surface and rinsed down the drain.  Using this cleansing brush will cleanse your skin properly, exfoliate and allow products to penetrate your skin and take affect. I use this product once a day, as time does not allow me to use 2x a day and my skin looks fabulous!  My skin looks and feels much smoother! I suggest everyone (even men) try this product.  You will not regret it!

Update 2012: Olay cleansing brush doesn't compare to the amazing results with Clarisonic Mia!  Invest in the Clarisonic.

PCA Skin Care Whipped My Skin into Shape!

I have struggled with my problem skin for over 12 years. I have oily/acne/hyperpigmented/sensitive skin.  I have been on every oral acne medication there is, except accutane. I believed at one point I would need it. I have also used every over the counter acne product known to man. I am a thrifty person, so when I started reading about PCA and other more professional skincare lines I was reluctant to spend so much money. I deceided after much thought that I have researched the line, read plenty of reviews (great reviews by the way), why NOT?  I am EXTREMELY glad I paid the money, because my skin has never looked better! I saw a difference after one nights use of their products.

My skin on my forehead was congested, that cleared right up, my skin not only looked smoother, it was smoother and had a glow. The products lifted alot of dead skin cells and is in the process of evening my hyperpigmentation (uneven skin tone from acne and sun damage).  I purchased The Blemish Control Bar, Smoothing Toner, Acne Gel, Pigment Gel (HQ), A&C Synergy Serum, ClearSkin, Perfecting Protection SPF 30. I use these products in combination with the Olay Cleansing Brush.  My skin care goal for myself is to correct and maintain my skin so I will not have to wear foundation. It will be a while to obtain that goal, but I can be patient with this. The products are effective with proven results.

The Blemish control bar is the acne cleanser. It comes in a jar with a sponge. You saturate the sponge in water, rub the sponge on the bar till you have enough product and apply the cleanser. I apply it and then use my Olay brush and let it sit on my skin for 2 minutes.  The directions suggest using once a day, I sometimes use 2x a day or rotate with my CeraVe foaming cleanser.  Then I sweep on the smooth toner. Next is are the gels..Acne gel, hands down the best acne gel I have ever used. Clogged pored decrease or even disappear overnight and allows for easier extractions.  I then apply the Pigment Gel, which should only be used for 3 months and then discontinued. Use of hydroquinone for over long periods of time will only give you the opposite effect and will DARKEN your skin.  I will be switching to their version with out hydroquinone after the 3 months.  I am using this product to restore my complexion to its original tone and correct the hyperpigmentation.  I use the A&C Synergy Serum next, it controls oil production, bacteria growth, reduces discoloration, controls breakouts. Fabulous product! This serum gives me a healthy glow.  I finish with the ClearSkin moisturizer and mix with the Perfecting Protection SPF 30. The ClearSkin calms skin, fights breakouts and bacteria. It is not greasy and does not leave a residue so skin can breathe.  The Perfecting Perfection SPF 30 is a broad spectrum UVA/UVB product that helps lighten existing and prevent hyperpigmentation.  SPF is key for lightening hyperpigmentation, with out it you are lightening but not protecting it. With out spf the areas will just darken all over again.  Everyone, no matter your skin tone should be using at least a spf 15 every day of the year.

I cannot say enough good things about these products! I am ecstatic with the fast results and what my skin will look like over the next 3 months! PCA is officially my new favorite skin care line!