Monday, December 8, 2008

Microderm: What is it? Do you need it?

Microderm is something that I've been considering for a while. It's one of the less expensive cosmetic procedures, and it can literally be performed during a lunch hour (probably why it's often called a "lunchtime peel"). And, best of all, there's very little recovery time needed--the only real side effects are slight irritation and redness, which typically subside in about 24 hours.

So, what does it do? Basically, a device that resembles a sandblaster sprays small crystals that exfoliate the top layer of dead, dull skin cells. This process has many benefits. In removing these skin cells, microderm clears pores and prevents breakouts in people with acneic skin. For those with mature skin, microderm can enhance collagen production for smoother skin, while also minimizing fine lines and age spots. Sounds good to me!

But, it doesn't help with problems that go deeper than the top layer of skin: think scars, stretch marks or deep wrinkles.

Have you tried microderm? What did you think? What skin conditions were you attempting to correct?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Need a massage? It's good for skin, too!

As if you needed another reason to pamper yourself, turns out that getting a massage is an amazing treat for your skin. How, you ask?

The first benefit of a massage is improved circulation, which contributes to clear, healthy skin. The body is flooded with oxygen, which improves your skin's tone and color. And, as the sweat glands are stimulated, this regulates the body temperature and improves skin's clarity.

Because massage uses friction on the skin, it also helps to maintain clear pores by manually exfoliating dead skin. This prevents new blemishes from forming.

It can also help to speed up the healing process of scars and stretch marks, because a massage technician helps to manipulate the skin and muscles. This promotes tissue regeneration, and prevents scar tissue from binding together.

Lastly, the oils and lovely fragrances that we can't get enough of. Not only are they relaxing, but many are chock-full of essential oils, vitamins and antioxidant to improve the tone, texture and suppleness of the skin.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Carrot seed essential oil

While carrots are usually recognized for their nutritional value, the essential oil produced from carrot seed is found in many skincare products and is known to improve the tone and firmness of skin. In addition, carrot seed oil is rich in beta carotene, vitamins and minerals, making it an excellent treatment for acneic skin.

How to use: Add one drop to your daily moisturizer or body cream for an improvement in skin tone and texture.

Also, be on the lookout for skincare products that already contain carrot seed in them :)

Lactic acid: What is it?

What is it? Lactic acid is part of the alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA) family, which includes ingredients derived from sugar cane, fruit and milk. Specifically, lactic acid comes from milk; after it undergoes fermentation, it's a powerful exfoliating ingredient that regularly appears in skincare products.

Similar to the widely popular AHA glycolic acid, lactic acid reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation while improving the skin's texture and promoting collagen production. But unlike glycolic acid, lactic acid typically doesn't cause allergic reactions or irritation.
You'll find it in: You can find lactic acid in a wide variety of skincare products today, especially because it's gentle enough for people with sensitive skin, rosacea or acne. Its ability to exfoliate puts lactic acid in many dry skin moisturizers, as it encourages the upper layer of skin cells to shed quicker, leaving the healthier cells behind. Plus it helps moisturizers prevent the skin's natural oils and water from escaping.

In addition, because lactic acid reduces the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation, it's used in many cleansers and anti-aging lotions. It's often found in acne products as well, as it's believed lactic acid reduces acne lesions if used appropriately. Alternately, too much exfoliation can cause more acne than you had to begin with, so just make sure to follow the directions on the product. To be on the safe side, start with a skincare product that contains a low concentration of AHA ingredients, only use it every other day at first and then work your way up to daily use.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Turn your home into a spa!

Lets face it: For most of us, stress is a normal part of life. When it begins to take its toll on your body and mind, try a mini spa day in your own home. Here are 3 easy ways to prepare your space for a relaxing spa day.

1. Whether you consider it de-cluttering or releasing negative energy, a relaxing environment is the first start to your spa experience. Begin by clearing out the clutter and tidying up your soon-to-be serene space.

2. Candles and incense can transform a regular bedroom or bathroom into a spa-like retreat in a matter of minutes. Choose your scent based on the desired result:
*To relax, use lavender or classic vanilla.
*To rejuvenate, choose clary sage or ylang ylang.
*To energize, select a citrus scent like lemon balm or grapefruit.
*If you’re feeling under the weather, try peppermint or eucalyptus.

3. To relax your mind, try a deep-breathing exercise and let go of the day. Sit cross-legged on the floor or on a chair, making sure to straighten your spine and sit upright. Take a deep breath, holding it at the top of the in-breath and slowly let it out. Continue this for a few breaths, until you’re feeling relaxed.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Money-saving advice!

So, if you're like me, you're not rich...but that doesn't mean that you need to compromise when it comes to your skin. Now I'm not investing that you break into a bank or take out a huge loan, but by investing in just a few skin care splurges you will notice a dramatic difference in the health and vitality of your skin. But which items are worthy?

Survey says, save by buying basic cleansers, toners and makeup removers. Since the primary goal is to gently cleanse and remove impurities, you won't be losing anything by doing so. Instead, spend your money one higher-priced serums or night creams. These items are left into the skin to soak in, so your skin will reap the full benefits of higher quality ingredients. When it comes to day creams, the choice is yours. You can go a little higher in price, but the real concern is to find a day cream that moisturizes (without clogging pores) and also provides sun protection. If it does both, you're in business.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Freckle-Free (How to be!)

A smattering of freckles can be cute, but for those of us who had to suffer "connect the dots" jokes, or developed these spots later in life, freckles often feel more obnoxious than adorable. But fear not! There’s a plethora of products and skin care procedures for removing those spots.

Freckles are just a high concentration of melanin in small areas of the skin, caused by genetics or sun exposure. No matter how you got those freckles, treatment options are pretty much the same. Natural options like lemon juice have been used for years, probably centuries, but there hasn't been enough research to prove whether these actually work.

Certain over-the-counter products can fade facial spots. Products like alpha hydroxy acids and retinoids work by exfoliating the top layer of skin, which removes the darker, more pigmented layers. Bleaching creams like hydroquinone are also helpful, but you have to be careful not to bleach surrounding skin.

Doctor-performed peels can smooth and firm your skin while gradually lightening freckles. The more superficial peels have almost no recovery time or side-effects, but deeper peels offer more dramatic results.

Laser resurfacing removes the outer layer of skin very effectively, but can cause some pain, redness and peeling. Its also quite pricey, and can be between $1,000 and $5,000.

Intense Pulsed Light Therapy (IPL) uses intense, broadband light to treat the skin. Unlike with lasers, the outer layer (epidermis) of skin is unharmed, so there’s little to no recovery time or side effects. But treating freckles with IPL may take several treatments, while laser resurfacing can zap those spots in one fell swoop.