Tag Archives: skin care

Softening the Lines

10 Apr

P. is a 50 year old woman who has seen me twice over the past two years. To start, she had deep naso-labial folds that she hated. We first filled them with Juvéderm (which was my product of choice two years ago, but now I like Radiesse better for this area). We then did a little bit of cheek augmentation with a large syringe of Radiesse.

P.’s son is getting married and she wanted a little touch-up before the wedding. This is totally common with treatments (and weddings). Remember, any procedure should be done with plenty of time for healing to occur in regards to bruising or swelling.

Before


After


Again, remember, I’m not a photographer! The goal with P. was to soften the downturn on her mouth, the depth of her chin, and the depth of the NL fold.

Gravity…

As you age gravity causes several changes to occur in your face. The fat pads on which your eyes rest slides out from the socket and begins to bulge. At the same time, fat pockets in the cheeks break down in a known consequential manor. The combination of these two things and the pull of gravity on lax skin deepen the look of the nasolabial folds and add years to the face.

So What did I do?

As I said, P. and I have done a few treatments together before. We did the folds first, to fill the depth caused by lax skin and gravity, and then I did cheek augmentation. As I have become more advanced however, I have changed my practices to moving from the top of the face down (because of gravity) and from the most advanced sign of aging backward. I have found this to be the most effective way to treat aging. In retrospect I would have done the following:

  1. Cheek Augmentation

    By reconstructing the fat in the cheek area by filling it with product, this will decrease the laxity of the skin which forms the NL fold. I know women start pulling up the sides of their cheeks at around 30, wondering what a facelift would look like. Well this isn’t a facelift. It’s a laxity lift. (I made that up). It’s an improvement which will help me use less product in the laso-labial fold area. This means a better result AND less money. J


    **Do you do this in the mirror? As you can see, I don’t have much lax skin… from multiple procedures (cheek aug and ulthera mostly). But uh…. I do have roots. No one’s perfect! 😉

  2. Marionette Lines

    This is one of the most advanced signs of aging (because it’s the precursor to jowls). The marionette line starts from gravity pulling down the corners of your mouth and gravity pulling the fat down from the cheek. It’s just a big ol’ gravity mess! Pulling the needle around the corner of the mouth pulls up the downturn of the mouth.

  3. Naso-labial folds

    While this is the LEAST bad sign of aging, this is usually what women are drawn to fixing first. Depending on your age, and your current amount of fat in your face, and the money your willing to spend to have the best result, are all deciding factors on where to start first. Aging didn’t start overnight, and… to be realistic… one treatment isn’t going to restore the youthfulness to your face. Many women’s biggest fear is looking like a Desperate Housewife (fake and expressionless) but this is not the goal of aesthetic medicine. The goal is to restore and maintain your features.

“Softening P.”: A Maintenance Session

P. still had nice volume in her cheeks, and her N.L. folds still had some nice fill (1 year later). P. just needed a little softening to look her best.

X = needle insertion point

Line = needle direction of needle





  1. Mouth Corners
  2. Marionette Lines
  3. Lip line
  4. Chin Sharpening
  5. Jaw Softening
  6. Nasolabial fold softening

Again the Afters


This round of treatment was to soften and touch up. One large Radiesse syringe was used to treat 6 areas. The result is a softer looking face. There is not a HUGE difference in what P. looks like, but there shouldn’t be. Treating six areas with one syringe will not show a HUGE difference. Six syringes in 6 areas… now that’s a different story. Personally, I will only do ONE syringe at a time. Once you fill one area, you change the skin volume, and laxity changes. If someone tries to sell you six syringes at once, RUN. They are not looking out for your best interest, and you are going to leave the office looking like a different person (or something non-human!).

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LK Signature Facelift: Giving Myself a Facelift

8 Apr

You have NO idea how hard it was for me to give myself the LK Signature Facelift and take pictures of myself at 9am. Ok, I admit, it’s not that hard. But still, I look pretty silly in some of these photos! … so I hope you appreciate them! Below are pictures and the steps in my LK Signature Facelift, including what each layer is and what it does for your skin. And also… in case you didn’t know… LK is my initials. 😉

So who is the LK Signature Facelift good for and what kind of result should you expect to see? The LKSF (my new nickname for it) is recommended for anyone and everyone! It is an especially excellent resurfacing treatment for those who suffer Rosacea. The LKSF can even be performed in conjunction with Botox and dermal fillers! After the LKSF, your skin will be tighter, lighter and brighter….who doesn’t love that?!?

ß (I need to touch up my Botox and that’s my “I need Botox” face)


Step 1: Cleanse

When I do this treatment on my clients, I use the Image
Ageless Total Facial Cleanser, which contains 12% Glycolic Acid. Glycolic Acid is excellent for exfoliating the skin, leaving it fresher and brighter looking! The Ageless Total Facial Cleanser has a great tingly feeling, so you KNOW it’s working! It is excellent for keeping pores clear and occasional breakouts to a minimum

I cleansed my skin with the Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser, it’s a gentle cleanser (Organic Aloe Vera is the first ingredient in this cleanser!). I didn’t feel like leaving my bathroom to retrieve my Ageless Total Facial Cleanser which is literally an arm’s reach outside the bathroom door. It was 9 a.m., people!

Step 2: I-PREP Degreasing Solution (Professional Only Product…btw)

The degreasing solution is applied with gauze. The reason degreasing solutions are used in professional treatments, is because we want to remove as much of the surface oils on the skin, as possible. This will allow for the product to evenly and more effectively penetrate the different layers of skin.

Step 3: Vitamin C Enzyme Resurfacing Solution (Professional Only Product)

This first layer I apply is the Vitamin C Enzyme Resurfacing Solution and it’s used to keep the pH of your skin high. The higher the pH of a product, the less irritating it is. Vitamin C is actually an excellent resurfacing agent and will help brighten your skin. Not to mention, your skin needs Vitamin C in order to form healthy new collagen! Collagen is what gives skin its healthy, bouncy structure.


Step 4: Resurface/Exfoliate



The Ageless Total Resurfacing Mask has smooth, little micro-exfoliating beads in it that gently exfoliate the dead skin from the top layer of skin (the epidermis). By exfoliating dead skin, your body is stimulated to increase it’s cellular turnover rate (In more simple terms, it makes new healthy baby skin cells, and the still healthy young skin cells are pushed up through the layers.) Can you see how the micro-exfoliating beads in this formulation are perfectly round? They don’t tear your skin (like certain over the counter “exfoliators” will, inviting infection into your skin… and also making your body work to repair micro-tares). The Image Total Resurfacing Masque is high in glycolic acid as well. It is one of my favorite products because you can use it as a masque or a scrub! Sometimes I even like to mix a little into my Ormedic Balancing Facial Cleanser for some added exfoliation.

I’m such a ham! A Kosher one…

Step 5: Blast of Nutrition


The Vitamin C Enzyme Resurfacing Solution is applied a second time…the point here, to add even more Vitamin C to the skin! Remember, tighter, lighter and brighter!

Step 6: Hydrating Enzyme Mask


This final layer is an active masque that eats up the dead skin cells that have been removed from your face with the other layers. The Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque is also one of my favorites because it injects the skin with hydration and antioxidants! My skin is always left looking brighter and more supple after using this masque…sometimes I even sleep with it on so I wake up looking super-hydrated and vibrant.

Step 7: Remove Layers

Using sponges and warm water all four layers are removed, leaving me with fresh, bright skin!

At home tip: You can do your own at home mini-LKSF. Start by cleansing your face with your favorite Image Skincare Cleanser. Then mix equal parts Ageless Total Resurfacing Masque and Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Masque. You can leave this combo on for up to 30 minutes. Then remove with a clean washcloth and tepid water. Next, apply your favorite hydrating Image Skincare serum, Image’s most popular serum is the Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum. Then apply an eye crème, like The MAX Eye Crème, uses the latest in cosmeceutical technology and breaks up blood pigment (dark circles) by up to 20%! Next you would apply either your favorite Daily Defense Moisturizer or Image Repair Crème. Finish with the Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex, for the ultimate juicy, plump lip without that irritating bee-sting effect.

Image Skincare is only sold to licensed Skin Care Professionals, like me! So, if you are interested in purchasing some of these products for your own at-home use, contact me. I also offer free shipping!

Step 8: SMILE…

…because nice skin makes you happy! I have this facial done every other week in the summer… when I shouldn’t be doing as many chemical peels. It’s a nice gentle exfoliation. And off to work I go with no make-up on (I don’t know why I still look half asleep… oh maybe I do need some make-up…Flawless Foundation from Image Skincare is my fav!!!). Can you tell I love this line? Lol, I’m not the only one though. I think at some point I’ll do a testimonial’s post!

A Bride’s Guide

17 Mar


Every bride wants to look perfect on her special day, and that takes a lot of hard work and preparation (or so I hear…)… I thought I’d be a big help for all those brides (and their bridal parties!) with a little bit of information you might find helpful!

Actually… I think any time anyone attends a wedding they want to look good. Weddings = Pictures. And now-a-days, pictures – the good, the bad, and the ugly – wind up on Facebook! So if you’re at the age where you will be attending lots of weddings in the near future (i.e. my age) you might want to take some notes…

Non-Invasive

Spray Tan

Spray tan’s typically last 7-14 days.  If your thinking of spraying (which I highly recommend), do it as close to your big day as possible!  You can’t shower for 6 hours after a spray, and you can smell a little bit sugary post-spray, so keep this in mind.  For the best results, spray the day before. As it wears off, it can sometimes look a little patchy. Make sure you exfoliate prior to your appointment (and shave).

Also, I hear there is a new spray out, that has glitter in it (OMG RIGHT!), but it’s only good for 24 hours I think? Maybe someone else knows more about this? I would also like to note here, that if you are not the bride, you should NOT be shining. That’s rude.


Facial

A plain old facial can be done anywhere from a few days to a month before a special date. Healthy skin is essential for a beautiful face. I recommend everyone see an aesthetician and purchasing some products that will keep your skin healthy.

Weddings are super stressful, and your skin responds to stress. Facials will keep break-outs at bay, not only by cleaning your skin, but by giving you some quality relaxation time. Spa days are great to do with your friends, mother, and future mother in law!


*Note: if you are planning on doing Botox or fillers, a facial should be done either immediately before or 5 days after any facial treatments.

Chemical Peel

Degree of peeling can vary, so talk to the aesthetician performing your peel and be CLEAR if you have any wedding events (or any events for that matter) that you don’t want to be shedding for. ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!.  For a real good, deep peel, expect about a week to two of down time. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Very Important:  moisturize often with a pharmaceutical or cosmeceutical grade product after a peel.  Many places have post-treatment kits.  Do NOT pick at your skin!  Stay out of the sun! Do not use Retin-A prior to or post treatment for about 7 days.

Waxing

Waxing your brows or lip shouldn’t be done the day of an event.  The process can irritate your skin, leaving it a little red.  Icing the area helps.  Or an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.  Make sure to keep the area clean to keep bacteria out of your pores, and causing break outs.

Microdermabrasion.

Often done during the same time as a facial, and can cause some minor redness.  Protect your skin after this treatment. Again, stay out of the sun, and do not use Retin-A prior to or post treatment for 7 days.

Laser Skin Rejuvenation Treatments

Depending on the laser, and the treatment, there can be some downtime with this (discoloration and flaking), anywhere from a day to a week.  Ask your practitioner what to expect with the treatment you are receiving.  These treatments really make your skin look great!  Never heard of laser skin rejuvenation?  There will be blog posts to come!

Teeth Whitening

It depends on the number of treatments you will need to decide when you should start. Some treatments take a few sessions, some are one and done. Go for a consult. At the very least, do the Crest White Strips.

Long Lashes

A lot of brides ask me about eye-lash extensions. Although a little expensive, they look great for a wedding.  They should be done about a week before your big event.  They take some getting used to! Lovely Lashes!. They also don’t last very long… usually about a month, so don’t do them too soon unless you are going to keep up on them. If you are having your make-up professionally done, the make-up artist will probably offer you some sort of fake-eyelash. If you are doing your own make-up and you want that lashed out look, practice a few times before the big day. I am a master of the strip lash… but it took me about a year to perfect my technique!

Minimally Invasive Procedures

These can be tricky to time.  If you are planning on doing any non-invasive procedures, they should be done either immediately before Botox and Fillers, or 5 days after.  This is because you don’t want Botox to travel into the wrong muscle group, or fillers to be moved into the wrong area.  Use good judgment with timing your treatments!

A lot of women do Botox and fillers before a big wedding!

Check out this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/24/fashion/24skin.html?pagewanted=all


(I’m the bridesmaid all the way to the left. I would like to add a disclaimer: The bride here is naturally beautiful. And has not let me tempt her into Botox—yet).

Botox

If you are new to Botox, I suggest trying it out 4-6 months prior to the wedding date for a couple of reasons. First, this way you can decide if you like it (which you will, but I still recommend trying it). Second, Botox is a dose dependant medication (your results depend on how large or small a dose you receive). Six months gives you plenty of time to work out with your injector the perfect dose for you! Last, you will not be able to look angry for 3-6 months. This might be helpful to any Bridezilla’s out there. So, when you are in witch mode, at least you won’t look like it. J

If you don’t have six months to do a trial run, if you are a Botox Pro, or if you just want to go for it, you should have your treatment AT LEAST 1 month prior to the big day, and NO MORE than 2 months prior. Anything more than 2 months, it might start wearing off, anything less than a month you might not have the result you desire.

Another interesting use of Botox with Brides: It is becoming popular to be treated for hyperhydrosis (sweating) in the underarm. I recommend this to brides who will be getting married outside in 100 degree weather. Sweating profusely is pretty gross. You’re already going to be nervous, and when you add your layers of dress (which I’m sure is not air conditioned), and all the dancing you’re going to do… might be a good idea. Plus, you didn’t spend all that money on a dress to have pit-stains on it. This procedure requires a pretty big dose of Botox, and is therefore pretty expensive. It’s not for every bride.


(Remember don’t go overboard either!)

Fillers (Radiesse, Juvéderm… Perlene, Restyline, ect. ect.)

Depending on the area of injection, there can be some minor bruising (or major depending on the injector).  Invest in some Arnica cream, and expect the worst (2 weeks).  Cheek augmentation bruises the least, while lip augmentation and nasal labial folds tend to bruise the most.  Gosh, I hate it when I have dental work 😉 The average bruise lasts a few days.

Usually older brides are doing facial fillers, while younger brides might want to plump their lips.

As for the rest of the wedding participants, the mothers of the bride and groom are usually also very interested in fillers (and Botox). After all, they have been looking forward to this day since the days BEFORE their children gave them premature wrinkles. Whether she is interested in a facial or Botox treatment, moms deserve to be asked “is this your sister?”

Things to Do 6 Months or More before a Wedding (or wait until after):

–  Bioenhancers like Sculptra Aesthetic (it can take up to 6 weeks to see a difference)

–  Plastic Surgery. Remember that crazy reality show on TV that brides were competing with each other trying to win plastic surgery procedures so they could be perfect for their big day? Those women were … appalling. Plastic surgery should never be taken lightly. Or have a competitive reality show. Leave competitive reality to “Survivor!”

–  Changing your hair color or cutting it short (stick to what you know looks good on you!)

Master of Puppets

28 Feb

Ha. I made a Metallica reference! Not sure how many of my readers are Metallica fans… but still… go me for creativity points. ANYWAYS. This post is about puppet lines, also known as marionette lines. A client of mine inspired the title of the post.

“My granddaughter looked at me and said Nana you look like a puppet!”

Children are so painfully honest sometimes.  A patient of mine told me her granddaughter’s statement was her reason for being in my office.  (Maybe I should be employing two year olds?… Is that legal?  Can I pay in candy?)

Her granddaughter was referring to the folds that develop from the corner of the mouth to the jaw line, also known as the “marionette line,” one of the more advanced signs of aging.

Can you fix it?

Yes.  By injecting filler medial to the folds.  The product I typically use is Radiesse, because these folds are usually deep and require a thick volumizing fill. How I do things might not necessarily be how other providers do them… but it should be pretty similar. I also stand behind this product choice. If someone tries to use a Hyaluronic Acid in this area, get out of their office, because you will be spending a FORTUNE.

Before



What Needed To Be Done?

In Physical Facial Changes That Occur As We Age I spoke about what happens to the face as we age.  In this case, I’d like to point out prejowels beginning and marionette lines starting.

Marionette Lines

Prejowel lines

Topical numbing cream is applied to the areas that will be treated for about 20 minutes. The skin is then cleaned with alcohol. The full length of the Radiesse needle is inserted and product is deposited in a technique called fanning and product is deposited as the needle is withdrawn. The outside hub of the needle is a gauge larger than the inside to create a tract for the product to be placed. So the only discomfort is the actual needle, I add lidocaine to my Radiesse (which most people do). Really, not so bad as far as pain goes.


 The needle is inserted at the “X” and it goes straight up to the corner of the mouth. Like I said, product is inserted as the needle is withdrawn. This is called retrograde technique. Before the needle is taken out it is repositioned at a 30 degree angle, the full length of the needle is again inserted, and product is deposited as it is withdrawn. It is done again at a 45 degree angle.


Basically, it’s one insertion point (i.e. one poke) on each side, and the needle is pivoted while within the skin layers. It gets less painful as you go along because there is lidocaine mixed into the product.

Last the jaw line is sharpened. “X” is the insertion point. The full length of the needle is then inserted, and product deposited as it’s withdrawn.

After

This picture is immediately after. There is some swelling that has begun, but you can see some of the immediate results. This patient used a 1.5cc Radiesse syringe (the large). She could use a little more product in the jaw line and around the corners of the mouth. I personally like to do things one syringe at a time. Because swelling begins immediately, I find results are best this way. Also, some people don’t want to look perfect, they want to look IMPROVED. The most important thing to note on this client is that she no longer looks like she is frowning when her mouth is at rest. Fillers are AWESOME!

Side Note

Sorry friends, this is a super busy week for me! I have a 20 person Botox Party on Friday, on top of my regular clients! I will actually be seeing this patient again this week, and will have a non-swollen after picture for you. She looks amazing and is super happy! Yay!

*If YOU Are Considering Filler*

Fillers can bruise. Do NOT. I repeat. Do NOT do these things if you have an event within two weeks. This is a worse case scenario for bruising. Highly unlikely you will have a bruise for two weeks… but… I wouldn’t wanna chance it if I was planning on running into my ex-husband at my high school reunion and the whole reason I wanted to get filler was to look too good for words. Just saying.

The reality of the situation is you will bruise. Probably for a few days. You can cover it with make-up. And tell everyone you went to the dentist. (I know my friend Colleen-a dental hygienist- is going to yell at me for making the dentist sound bad. Sorry Col. I love the dentist. I really do. He makes for a great excuse for my clients.)

Expect to pay $300-$800 in the Boston Area for this treatment with Radiesse. The amount of money you spend is a direct correlation to the result you will receive. The amount of product you will require for the result you desire (poetry!) depends on a lot of different factors, so ask your provider!

ICE YOUR FACE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE AFTER THIS TREATMENT. The more you ice, the less you will swell. Twenty minutes on, 20 minutes off. If you can do it the rest of the day, do it. If not, just ice as much as possible.

Ulthera – Skin Tightening Ultrasound Therapy

15 Feb

Ugh. Gravity.

As an aesthetic nurse, I have found the most common complaints come from sun damage and gravity. Sun damage you can prevent (like… stay out of the tanning bed, wear sun block, and use retin-a!). But what about gravity?

I don’t think we’ll be living on the moon anytime soon (according to Ken Jennings, the guy who won Jeopardy for 6 months, the moon landing was a hoax, and I believe him… just sayin…). Therefore, we need to know our options.

I’ve done a few posts about fillers (Radiesse and Juvéderm) and I’ve talked a little about bio-enhancing agents (Sculptra). These are minimally invasive procedures that last about a year or two, have little downtime, and are great options for a lot of gravity stricken areas. But… of course, there are other options.

Ultra Sound Therapy

Ulthera. The newest in non-invasive procedures. This technique uses ultrasound (yes, like the kind of technology to see a baby) to deliver low levels of focused energy below the skin. As a response, collagen is stimulated, and a gradual tightening and firming occurs.

Visible effects include a lifting and toning of sagging skin. In FDA clinical trials, 9 out of 10 patients had a noticeable, significant lift of the brow line. See ya lata blepheroplasty (eyelid plastic surgery)! Patients reported firmer better-fitting skin in other areas of the face and neck as well. There is also an invisible result from the treatment with the creation of new collagen, which can help slow the rate of skin aging.

Treatment areas include the upper face, lower face, and neck. That’s right. No more turkey neck! It is pending FDA approval for that saggy arm skin and post-baby tummy skin. SEXY!

Feedback

Does it hurt?

Although I personally have not had an entire treatment done… I have been told it’s not the most pleasant feeling. As the energy is delivered closer to areas of bone (i.e. your forehead)… it gets a lil uncomfortable. You can receive a nerve block in some of the treatment areas (local anesthesia). It feels like burning I’m told. But, my patients claim they would do it again in a heartbeat.

Is it immediate?

There are immediate results, but the collagen stimulus continues for about 90 days.

Is it for you?

Do you have skin that has “relaxed” to the point of looking and feeling less firm? A lowered brow line or sagging skin on the eyelids? Turkey neck? Then it might be a good option for you. If you’re in your late 20’s (*cough* like me), then this might not be an appropriate treatment for you. But I think it’s a great option for older women, especially who hate their necks or who are not interested in Botox (even though Botox is AWESOME).

Before and Afters

These are from the brochure via my phone. Not the best pics… but… I kind of can’t use my actual client’s pictures. Due to HIPAA regulations. Hopefully Alexis from Image will send me her before and after pics soon so I can replace these!

**This picture is showing the skin tightening above the eye area. The pictures to the left side are before treatment and the pictures to the right side are 90 days post treatment. You can see the degree of hooding over the eye has changed drastically. These pictures are good representations of what to expect. They are just bad photography on my behalf! Sorry!!!

Alexis Before and After

Before

Immediately post treatment

24 hours later

Botanical Ingredients in Skin Care Products

13 Feb
Ingredient Known Benefit    
Aloe vera Soothing, regenerative, moisturizing
Arnica (Arnica montana) Regenerative, soothing, antiseptic, stimulating
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) Regenerative, soothing, antiseptic
Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora) Anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, cooling, sedative
Carrot (Daucus carota) Purifying, regenerative
Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) Moisture-binding, soothing, softening, tightening, anti-inflammatory
Geranium (Pelargonium sp.) Strengthening (capillaries), smoothes, decongests
Hops (Humulus lupulus) Calming, restorative, estrogenic, antiseptic, emollient, astringent
Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) Anti-inflammatory, regenerative, strengthening, softening
Lemon (Citrus limonum) Antiseptic, purifying, lymphatic stimulant
Menthol (Mentha piperita) Antiseptic, analgesic, calming, cooling, circulation stimulant
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Antiseptic, cooling, analgesic, calming
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Regenerative, astringent, calming
Sage (Salvia officinalis) Antispasmodic, astringent, antiseptic, cooling
Spearmint (Mentha viridis) Anti-septic, cooling, analgesic
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) Antiseptic, germicidal, wound-healing, anti-inflammatory
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) Stimulating, regenerative, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginiana) Anti-inflammatory, wound-healing
Yucca (Yucca schidigera) Anti-inflammatory, soothing

I know there are some people out there who love anything that is “natural” (and they live in Cambridge) and love things such as “botanicals” (I don’t know why I put that in quotes… but it seems grammatically correct?).

Botanicals in Skin Care

Botanical extracts support the health, texture, and integrity of the skin, hair, and nails and are the largest category of pharmaceutical/cosmeceutical additives. (I guess people in Cambridge aren’t the only one’s who love natural products!)

All medicine (including the creams for your skin) come from either nature or are manmade in a lab (in Cambridge?). Penicillin comes from a mold derivative; Botox comes from a bacteria derivative, ect. Ect.

Nature provides us with plants that have very important functions in healthcare. Here’s a chart with some of those plants. (In other news… I found out I can type something in Microsoft and upload it directly to my blog! I’m so excited! My posts are about to be more visually pleasing!!! Charts and graphs and clip art and stuff!)

Evaluating Your Skin

23 Jan

Like your personality, everyone has different skin, and there are many extraneous factors that affect the physical condition of your skin.  Even though I know a lot about skin, I don’t pretend I know it all, and I often ask my aesthetician friends what they think about my skin’s appearance. Usually, when my skin deviates from the norm, it’s from something I did.  By looking at your skin, an aesthetician determines the classification (Skin Care Classification Systems.) but they should also ask you the following questions to evaluate the overall health of your skin. 

Skin Evaluation Questions 

(Marmur, Ellen, M.D., 2009, Simple Skin Beauty:
Every Woman’s Guide to a Lifetime of Healthy, Gorgeous Skin, 20-21)

  • How does my skin usually behave?  Does it tend to be dry or oily?  Does it get irritated or red or hyperpigment easily (a sign of sensitivity).

My skin is normally a little oily, with rare break outs (because I regularly see an aesthetician and use products that are appropriate for me–but trust me–I’ve had my fair share of acne, hyperpigmentation, and dryness).  Because I take care of my skin, I no longer easily get irritated, red, pigmented, or break out.  But that’s MY skin). 

  • What is my lifestyle like?

I think there is not a woman alive that doesn’t have a high stress lifestyle.  But, when our stress levels get higher than normal, that’s when we can run into problems!  When I opened my first office, I’ve never had such HORRIBLE skin.  I was under so much stress!  I wasn’t eating, drinking, or sleeping (healthy right?).  I was broken out and my skin literally had a blue hue to it from not having enough oxygen and water.  It was NOT attractive.  Now I’m back to a regular level of high stress.

If you look at woman from other countries, you usually see they have nice skin.  Even though they smoke.  Well, the American life-style is high stress.  Women juggle families and careers and high levels of stress due to the pressure to achieve, and I think this is especially true of the Boston Woman.  Read more about  Skin Under Stress.

  •  Have I been doing anything differently in the last few weeks?

First Rule in Nursing:  have you done anything different?

Second Rule in Nursing:  stop whatever it is you did.

Did the symptoms stop too?  Cause and effect!  When it comes to skin reactions I like to ask if you have started using any different skin products, or have you changed your detergents?  (I personally am allergic to dryer sheets and I sleep with my face on a pillowcase… that would have touched a dryer sheet!)

  • What climate do I live in, or have I traveled somewhere recently?

Ugh, it is officially winter.  I know I have my heat on 80 right now and I am so thankful it is not forced hot air!  The type of heat you are using to heat your home will affect the air and your skin. (Check out Hydrating Ingredients in Skin Care Products.)  When the temps start warming up, of course we have the humidity… “it’s not the heat it’s the humidity!”  which can cause our skin to feel more greasy.

Changing climates from the dirty city are to the clean country air can affect your skin.  My skin likes the city 😉

  • What foods have I been eating recently?

Your diet DOES effect the appearance of your skin.  I’m not saying chocolate causes acne (don’t worry, there is zero truth to this one), but certain vitamins and minerals feed the skin.  Certain foods are healthier for your skin, just like certain foods promote a healthy liver (off the top of my head I can think of one food that is bad for your liver- alcohol)!  Avoid things high in sugar, they promote bacterial growth.  Look for foods high in vitamin A, C, and E.

  • What kinds of products do I use on my skin and how often?

I really hope by now you’ve gotten my point about over the counter products, and how they don’t do much but put a hole in your wallet.  But, pharmaceutical products aren’t always good to use everyday.  Case in point – Retin-A.  LOVE IT.  I really think Every Woman Should Own A Retinol Product.  But I don’t  think it’s for everyone EVERYDAY.  I recently upped my topical Retin-A usage to every other day.  My skin looks AMAZING, but if I use it everyday it gets red, dry, and flakey.  Ew.

**I would like to add that I also just read in a medical book that Retin-A and sunblock are the only PREVENTATIVE topicals when it comes to fine lines.

  • What kind of makeup do I wear?

I ask my clients this all the time.  Usually I ask it like this:  “Do you wear MAC make-up”  and they say “yes.”  NOOOO.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love MAC’s eye-shadows.  I love their fake eyelashes.  But their face make-up is “stage make-up” which is NOT for everyday use!  It clogs your pores and can make acne much worse.  PLEASE stop using this product everyday!  Start using good skin products, and throw out your make-up!  Be natural!  (Yes, the Botox Queen supports natural!).  When I do feel the need to wear a face make-up, I stick to mineral make-up.

***Also, did you know that if your skin tends to be greasy you should use powder based foundation, and if it tends to be dry you should use liquid based foundations?

  • How many showers a day do I take?

I know we love long, hot showers in the winter, but try to keep it quick.  Not only does it make you “green,” but long, hot showers dry out your skin.  Moisturize!

  • Do I have a stressful job?

Obviously!  I’m not even going to start on this one!

  • Do I smoke?

I hope the answer to this is no.  It’s funny.  We know how bad smoking is for your health, but for some reason people still do it.  Well, if the threat of cancer hasn’t stopped you, and the insane cost hasn’t stopped you, perhaps this will:  smoking is bad for your skin.  It prematurely ages you.  It thins your dermal layer, destroys your cell’s DNA, and gives a yellow hue (from toxins).  I pray that if you have stopped by medical reasons, perhaps vanity can play some roll in ditching the cancer stick.  I know it’s hard, but it is really, really bad for your skin (and health and wallet).

  • Do I take any medications regularly?

There are TONS of medications which can interfere with the health of your skin.  Read your bottles.  Do any say stay out of the sun?  I promise you, the bottle is not lying to you.  Hypersensitivity to sunlight is a common side affect with many medications.  Be extra careful to wear sunblock, even in the winter.  Please and thank you.

  • Am I pregnant?  Have I recently had a baby?

I can safely say no to these questions, but, as I’m sure you all know, pregnancy comes with MANY hormonal changes.  And do not sound fun (I recently learned from patrons at a Botox Party the most important word to know during pregnancy- Epidural).

  • Have I had surgery or any health problems in the last year?

When your immune system is down, or your body is in a state of repair, the essential vitamins and nutrients your skin requires may be diverted to other organ systems that need them more.

  • Do I wear sunscreen?

EVERYDAY.  Even in the winter.  Like I said earlier, sun damage is the number one cause of fine lines.  Do you know how men can tell your age?  By looking at your hands, because they are always exposed to sunlight.  Ok, it’s winter, we go from home to car to job to home (at which point the sun is already probably gone).  So many of us think we don’t need sunblock.  WRONG.  You are exposed to UV rays in the car.  When looked at under a skin lamp, the drivers side of a face displays 90% more sun damage.

Check out There’s a fine line between tan and looking like you rolled in a bag of doritos.  (It is one of my most highly viewed posts!)

  • Do I pick at my face nervously?

I do.  It’s so bad.  I was actually put on Celexa at one point for this nervous habit.  I’m so glad I was too, because it worked!

  • How many products do I use on my skin and hair everyday?

You don’t need to be using a crazy amount of products, and you don’t necessarily need to be using everything, everyday.  We have this notion that if a little is good, a lot is better.  Not true.  Follow the directions for usage from your aesthetician, or at least the instructions on the products you are using (that are pharmaceutical grade).  As you can see from the picture, I have a lot of products–but I don’t use every one everyday.

  • Do I touch my face a lot?

As a nurse, I can tell you, nails are DIRTY.  Hospitals have banned acrylic nails for nurses in hospitals because of the germs they carry.  By touching your face, you are introducing those germs and bacteria to your skin.  One of the biological roles of skin is to protect the internal organs from infection.  If you are picking at your skin you are essentially breaking the barrier, and allowing an area of access for bacteria.

The skin is a protective barrier against dirt and bacteria.

Bacteria is under your nails.

Picking at your skin with your nails tears the skin.

THEREFORE:

Picking breaks the protective barrier and at the same time introduces bacteria and dirt from your nails.  BAD.

  • Do I use hair gel or pomades?

I don’t know what a pomade is….. I guess that is for short hair! I do know this… I often break out on my hair line when I am on day 3 of not washing my hair (you shouldn’t wash your hair everyday).  Hair products can contains skin clogging ingredients, or might contain ingredients that your skin is sensitive to.

**I’m not sure if I took this picture crooked, or hung the shelf crooked?            ———————–>

  • Is there a specific area on my face that is constantly a problem?

Like perhaps you break out where your cell phone constantly touches?  Swab down your phone with an alcohol pad, daily!

Great Gifts for the Women in Your Life

7 Dec
Having a hard time finding the perfect gift?  Here’s a few things every female fancies (you can’t go wrong)! 
 
Gift Certificates For:
  • a manicure/pedicure ($15-$50)
  • a facial ($45-$150)
  • Her Favorite Hair Salon (be sure not to get just ANY salon)
  • a massage ($60-$100)
  • a day at the Spa
  • A nice robe/winter gloves/hat/scarf.  We all wear them… we can always use a new one.

A Little More Thoughtful:

  • A New Flat Iron (some good names: GHD, CHI, and BaByliss) ($150-$350)
  • Magnetic nail polish (from Nails Inc.)
  • Good Shampoo (like Matrix $13-$22/bottle)
  • a subscription to New Beauty Magazine (www.newbeauty.com) LOVE IT! $9.99/issue
  • NARS Turkish Delight Lip Gloss–looks good on literally everyone (Sephora $22)
  • Along the lines of Sephora (which is at every mall) there are some really cool, easy gifts in there.  My friend Allegra told me she wants some vibrating lip gloss (I have no idea WHY it vibrates)… and they have sample kits of things like “mascara’s” and “lip glosses.”
  • New Make-up Brushes (check out Sephora again)
  • Jewelry- but beware– jewelry is a very personalized gift.  Diamonds and pearls are always classy… but is she a diamond girl?  bling bling? or more subtle? like classy pearls?  Does she usually wear gold? or silver?  I once broke up with a guy who bought me aquamarines for an anniversary gift (not because I’m shallow, but because after dating someone for a year, you should know what kind of jewelry that person wears.  I realized it was a dead end relationship.)
  • Lululemon.  For your sporty chick.  (Has anyone seen the commercial where the chick is talking all about why she wears yoga clothes–she bikes, she does yoga, she hits the gym– and then she says “Who am I kidding, I wear Yoga pants because I’m lazy” ahahaha)

Just So You Know…

Bags–A crash course

  • Dooney and Bourke (otherwise known as D&B) $$
  • Coach $$$
  • Chanel/Gucci/Burberry/Louis Vuitton $$$$$$$$$

Don’t even think about buying her shoes. — however the book “100 Shoes: the Costume Institute/the Metropolitan Museum of Art” with intro by Sarah Jessica Parker… that’s a great gift!

100 Shoes: The Costume Institute / The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Ask a Chick!

My friend Megan swears by “asking Steph at Nordstrom’s in Natick;” all you need is a size and she can style you up (remember to check the tag of your girls clothes… and also keep in mind every brand is different, confusing and annoying–yea we know!).  If you can’t make it to Natick, that’s ok.  A lot of the high end stores have staff that are MORE than helpful.  I know you don’t like to ask for directions… but the perfect gift can gift is the gift that keeps on giving… when the kids are sleeping.  Just never NEVER mention that the chick at the desk was cute.  In any way. Ever.

Wrap It Up. 

Gifts should come in an exciting box.  You’ve heard this saying before.  Wrap it up.  In something nice.

Anatomy of a Facial

3 Dec

A facial is a procedure involving a variety of skin treatments, including: steam, exfoliation, extraction, creams, lotions, facial masks, peels, and massage.  Facials can last anywhere from 30 minutes to over an hour and range in price depending on the types of products used for the treatments.  They are professionally recommended every 4 weeks for maximum results. Step 1: See a Professional.

All facials follow the same basic structure and order. They will begin with makeup removal and cleansing.  Then comes some method of exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and smooth the surface of the skin. A massage is then performed that can include all or some of the scalp, face, neck, shoulders, back and even the hands or feet.

Facials are then classified in two ways:  hands on treatment or electrotherapy.

“Hands-on” Treatment

The aesthetician will use her hands to perform the facial treatment. Sometimes, a steam machine is incorporated in these facials during or after cleansing, to open up the pores and allow a deeper cleansing action.

A facial mask is a creamy paste (or gel) that often contains minerals, vitamins, essential oils, and fruit extracts is the main step in the hands on treatment.  There are different kinds of masks for different purposes: deep-cleansing, by penetrating the pores; healing acne scars or hyper-pigmentation; brightening, for a gradual illumination of the skin tone.

Gels are mostly used for oily and acne prone skins and oils or moisturizing creams are used for dry to normal and matured skin types.  A clay or mud based face pack is used after the cleansing process and steam process (optional) is over to close the open pores and to provide nutrition to the skin.

Masks are removed by either rinsing the face with water, wiping if off with a damp cloth, or peeling off of the face by hand.  Duration for wearing a mask varies.  The perceived effects of a facial mask treatment include revitalizing, healing, or refreshing; and, may yield temporary or long-term benefits.

Electorotherapy Facials

Use machines as part of the treatment; there are several different types, which are suited to different skin types. Some of the most popular variations of this type of facial are:

  • Galvanic treatments: metal rollers or applicators are used to either produce a deep cleansing effect.  Depending on the active product being used, this will help reduce spots and blemishes (making this a good facial for an oily skin type), or to help infuse active ingredients deeper in to the skin (for a variety of skin types).
  • High frequency treatments: uses a glass electrode passed over gauze placed on the skin. This helps dry out spots and has an antibacterial effect, so is good for oilier skins or those with a few specific blemishes.  An indirect high frequency facial uses a saturator held by the client to draw a moisturizing massage medium deeper in to the skin, and so is best suited for more mature or dry skin types.
  • Microcurrent treatments: also known as non-surgical face lift, this type of facial uses a current to lift and tone the facial muscles and also to improve the colour and texture of the skin and soften lines.

During most of the electrotherapy treatments you may experience a slight tingling effect on the skin, but this is quite normal.

Facials are key to having nice skin!  They need to be maintained with a home care regiment that is not OTC!

Check out these posts as well:

Evaluating Your Skin.

 

Step 2: Spend wisely.

New Year, New You: Plan Accordingly!

1 Dec
Looking to enter the New Year looking younger and more refreshed?  It’s important to plan your beauty needs around a hectic holiday schedule, so if you’re thinking of amping up your look for the New Year (or any Holiday Parties) here’s some helpful hints/guidelines:

Non-Invasive

Spray Tan

Spray tans typically last 7-14 days.  If your thinking of spraying (which I highly recommend), do it as close to your event as possible!  You can’t shower for 6 hours after a spray, and you can smell a little bit sugary post-spray, so keep this in mind.  For the best results, spray the day before.  

Facial

A plain old facial can be done anywhere from a few days to a month before a special date.  But remember, book early, because this is a very popular treat during this time of year!  It’s also a great gift to give to someone who is impossible to shop for!  Everyone enjoys being pampered.  If you are planning on doing Botox or fillers, a facial should be done either immediately before or 5 days after any treatments! 

Chemical Peel

Degree of peeling can vary, and you don’t want to look like a snake shedding its hide for your holiday parties (it’s slightly unattractive, and not the attention you want!).  Talk to the aesthetician performing your peel and be CLEAR if you have any Holiday parties. ‘Tis the Season for Chemical Peels!.  For a real good, deep peel, expect about a week to two of down time.

Very Important:  moisturize often with a pharmaceutical or cosmeceutical grade product after a peel.  Many places have post-treatment kits.  Do NOT pick at your skin!  Stay out of the sun!

Waxing

Remember, waxing your brows or lip shouldn’t be done the day of an event.  The process can irritate your skin, leaving it a little red.  Icing the area helps.  Or an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen.  Make sure to keep the area clean to keep bacteria out of your pores, and causing break outs.

Microdermabrasion.

Often done during the same time as a facial, and can cause some minor redness.  Protect your skin after this treatment. Stay out of the sun.

Laser Skin Rejuvenation Treatments

Depending on the laser, and the treatment, there can be some downtime with this (discoloration and flaking), anywhere from a day to a week.  Ask your practitioner what to expect with the treatment you are receiving.  These treatments really make your skin look great!  Never heard of laser skin rejuvenation?  There will be blog posts to come!

Eyelash Extensions

Although a little expensive, they look great for the holiday season.  They should be done about a week before your big event.  They take some getting used to! Lovely Lashes!.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

These can be tricky to time.  If you are planning on doing any non-invasive procedures, they should be done either immediately before Botox and Fillers, or 5 days after.  This is because you don’t want Botox to travel into the wrong muscle group, or fillers to be moved into the wrong area.  Use good judgement with timing your treatments!
 
Also, I think this year is the time to abolish the false notion and rumors about these products.  With small doses and a trained injector, you will look amazing!  If you don’t believe me, just ask my mom! 

Botox

It takes a few days for this treatment to work (anywhere from 2-14), fortunately, there is no downtime with this procedure (no bruising, no swelling).  If you want the best results from your Botox, plan on having your treatment 2 weeks prior to the 1st!

Fillers (Radiesse, Juvéderm… Perlene, Restyline, ect. ect.)

Depending on the area of injection, there can be some minor bruising (or major depending on the injector).  Invest in some Arnica cream, and expect the worst (2 weeks).  Cheek augmentation bruises the least, while lip augmentation and nasal labial folds tend to bruise the most.  Gosh, I hate it when I have dental work 😉  — A great excuse one client came up with!

Things Probably Best Left to do Until After the Holiday Season:

–  Bioenhancers like Sculptra Aesthetic (it can take up to 6 weeks to see a difference)

–  Plastic Surgery (unless you are planning on using your vacation time to get that breast aug you’ve been waiting for!)

–  Changing your hair color (stick to what you know looks good on you!)

–  Trying a new cream on your face.  (Although everyone should be using pharmaceutical grade products, sometimes they can irritate the skin at first.  Now is not the time to find out).  HINT HINT:  Especially Rentin-A!

Questions?  Feel Free To Email Me!  info@bostonbeautyblog.co

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