Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil

If you would’ve told me years ago that I’d be pre-cleansing my face nightly with an oil I would have thought you were crazy. Although my skin isn’t oily anymore, I think I’ll always have that mind set that it is- sort of like when you loose weight but still see yourself as heavy. I can’t tell you how many 40-something year old clients I meet with clear (and usually dry) skin who still use Proactiv as a sort of crutch, never evolving their routine with age and skin changes. I’m glad I got brave enough a few years ago to try cleansing oils, they’re the easiest way to reamove makeup while adding some light hydration. Murad’s Renewing Cleansing Oil $32 does this particularly well leaving just a soft slick of moisture behind so your skin doesn’t feel tight or dry after washing. It’s non-comedogenic so it won’t clog pores (most oils don’t, it’s creams that you need to watch out for actually) so all skin types can benefit.

Protecting your skin from harsh stripping is important. Dry skin equals old looking skin, just look at the way women age when they live near water versus a drier climate. Trading out a drying cleanser for a cleansing oil could make a big difference in the overall look and health of your skin.

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Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 24 Hour Miracle Cream

Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre 24 Hour Miracle Cream is nothing short of a cult favorite among Makeup Artists and celebs alike. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing out.

Lait-Crème Concentrè

I first saw it in action backstage at Fashion Week at every show – see the squished up tube behind the Rosewater spray (which I also went out and bought shortly after.)

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And here again, next to Eve Pearl, one of my favorite foundations at a different show. Every artist it seemed was carrying it.

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Even Gwyneth Paltrow gave it some Goop love a few years back touting its big time Makeup Artist following. But why is it a staple in most pro’s kits? Because I’ve yet to find a skin type it doesn’t work on. Oily, acne-prone, dry, and even clients with skin so sensitive they bring their own moisturizer because they’re afraid that whatever I’m using might trigger a reaction. But it never has. On the contrary- it calms, softens, and evens out the skin in a subtle but complete way. I’ve been using fewer silicone-based primers these days because this primes the skin so well that I don’t need the added step. At Fashion Week, I also saw it used as a makeup remover for the girls who came in full makeup from other shows. Without sinks and water, the artists were able to get the girl’s faces totally clean using this cream and tissues alone.

A 1oz tube is just $16, but I get the larger 2.6oz since it’s only $28. Yup, it’s a French drugstore line so not only is it free of nasty chemicals (Europe bans most of the ones we still use here), but it’s also cheap!

Enessa Natural and Organic Skincare

I love learning about lines that aren’t mainstream that I haven’t tried before. After hearing glowing reviews from my very particular and beyond informed facialist friend Tjaden about Enessa, I knew I had to give the line a look. After my EvanHealy disaster during my last pregnancy, I’ve been scared to try lines that use essential oils and clean ingredients for fear it isn’t enough to keep breakouts, wrinkles, and discolorations away. Tjaden assured me that Enessa’s ingredients were not only clean, but also mindful of the skin and what ingredients work synergistically to create results in a natural way. She was impressed, and after giving them a try so am I.

Their basic packaging and dated website don’t speak for the quality of the line and the brilliance of the products whatsoever. I saw results in my skin upon the first use, especially with my new obsession, the Seaweed Bio-Exfoliant. It’s a sage colored paste that smells like earthy lavender that exfoliates and purifies the skin. I leave it on for a few minutes to get a mask effect and I also use it as a spot treatment for any breakouts. It’s so ridiculously softening for the skin that I resist the urge to use it every day and night. It’s just amazing.

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Their aloe-based Monoi Soothing Cleanser has really solidified what I always preach about cleansers. I tend to gravitate toward cleansers that have some sort of glycolic or lactic or something in them because I want that added benefit, but after using this cleanser I can see that I was needlessly drying my skin out and that tight feeling after cleansing that I’m so addicted to isn’t a good thing. It makes my skin really comfortable and soft and clean without stripping or drying.

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I’m also in love with their PlantCel Lifting Serum which is rich in plant-based actives that are meant to repair the skin at a cellular level. It’s basically an antioxidant, exfoliant, radiance-enhancing super serum that uses plant technology instead of chemicals to get the skin glowing. I’ve found that when I wear it I don’t need to wear as much foundation because my skin looks great. I’m hoping it helps to keep my melasma in check during this pregnancy as well as give some great long-term benefits as well.

Enessa PlantCell Lifting Serum

Worth mentioning that I didn’t get to try: Clove Acne Control, a clove and jojoba oil spot treatment to zap zits without any drying or irritation, and also their Diminish-Scar Treatment to minimize the look of scars.

Things I Buy: Ole Henriksen

When I was pregnant one of the first things I did was switch out my skincare. Goodbye Retin A and all the other hardcore products that keep my face properly sanded down and presentable. See ya later good skin- or so I thought. After some research I found that AHA’s, lactic acid, and a most natural exfoliating ingredients were safe to use so I looked into Ole Henriksen, a brand I’d been sent to review in the past and always really liked. I remembered their natural-yet-effective spin on skincare so I bought Sheer Transformation for a light moisturizer that would also aid in keeping dark spots away. (Sidebar: there’s no stopping that melasma when it comes on, you just have to wait until after the baby is born to tackle it and let it fade out on its own.)

Fast forward to today when I’m out of nearly everything and need to actually buy things because all of the samples on my desk are for skin types unlike my own. I remembered how much I loved my Ole Henriksen so I headed into Sephora to grab another Sheer Transformation. I had also read great reviews on their Walnut Complexion Scrub ($24) which I tried first on my hand- it’s gritty but not too chunky and foams up so I grabbed a jar of that too. I’ve also wanted to try the Invigorating Night Gel ($45) which is a big fave among Sephora reviewers for keeping pores cleaned out and skin really clear and bright. My Sephora bonus gift was Ole too! Small sized Truth Serum Collagen Booster, Ultimate Lift Eye Gel, Sheer Transformation, and Invigorating Night Gel.

I’m always excited to try some new skincare especially when I already know I’ll love it.

Check out the line HERE at Sephora.com.

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In my car after Sephora- the car is parked of course..

What is Cupping?

While this Jennifer Aniston pic circulates, so does talk of cupping and what it’s all about. The pic below her is of me several years ago when I first tried cupping treatments that would often supplement my Accupuncture. It’s used to treat pain, better circulation, and to just keep the general flow of energy in the body moving. My treatments were for my lower back which was trashed from hunching over too much while doing makeup.

A flame is quickly lit into the glass cup before the cup is put on your skin to create the suction. Your skin rises inside the cup as it reacts to the suction which doesn’t hurt at all. It’s this suction that improves the blood flow and energy as the cups stay on the skin for 10ish minutes. Check out this short vid which shows in more detail what it’s all about.

Cupping isn’t too pricey either, I remember it was around $20 added on to the price of Accupuncture, so on its own I can’t imagine it world be too much more.

My facialist does facial cupping (see here) to increase the circulation in the skin. It’s less intense (no fire!) than traditional cupping but you can often see rosier, healthy skin right after you’re finished. (Click here for a facial cupping vid.)

Cupping has been around since 3000 BC so it’s not something new. Find out more about cupping and its many uses here to see if it’s something that might help you.

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Professional Micro Needling and Q&A with Dr. Theresa Pacheco

The search is over! I’ve been looking for a doctor I can trust for about a year to help with my pigmentation and get my skin back to where it was just a few years ago. Having a baby made it worse, I swear my skin aged 5 years from the melasma and hormone stuff that go along with pregnancy. Anyway, I’m almost 7 months post-delivery so I figured now is a good time to explore what my options are as far as a safe (I’m still nursing!) treatment to get my skin back on track.

My facialist Tjaden Lotito couldn’t say enough great things about Dr. Theresa Pacheco. She’s an M.D., professor of Dermatology, and researcher on all things related to aging and damaged skin at the University of Colorado Anchutz campus. She knows the skin and non-surgical treatments as well or better than anyone else you’ll find. I liked her right away, she’s down-to-earth and a wealth of knowledge who isn’t there to sell you on anything (they don’t offer packages and I didn’t see any product lines anywhere), just to educate you on what your options are and offer the least invase way to achieve what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for fluff, frills, and a water with cucumber in your glass sort of experience- this isn’t it as you can see by their website, they’re all about the medical side of skin. It’s exactly what I was hoping for.

Dr. Pacheco

Dr. Pacheco

I walked in to see Dr. Pacheco already knowing what I wanted: Fraxel. The ultimate in laser treatments. I’d researched it, I knew all about it, and wouldn’t accept anything else. Fire the thing up and start zapping, I’m ready to go! After a quick look at my skin she said she could do a laser treatment and loves what lasers do for the skin, but I also had other options. One being a combo laser treatment with levulinic acid that would basically give me new skin but has quite a bit of downtime. The other was medical micro needling (aka Derma Rolling!) Now you know I love me some derma rolling and have one at home that I use. The medical treatment isn’t the same as what you do at home though because her instrument has longer needles to create deeper channels in the skin which forces even more repair and better results. Basically, I go in and have a numbing cream put on my skin for about 20 minutes then she rolls the hell out of my skin poking a zillion little holes in it (yes, there is some bleeding) which tells my body to go and make new skin to heal that damage. By the time I leave, my skin will just be a bit red and swollen like a sunburn, and then over the next few weeks and even months I will see an improvement in overall skin quality especially pigment and even fine lines. I can keep up with the results by using great skincare with my at-home roller a few times a week. After seeing some before and after pictures that were pretty impressive, that’s what I ended up choosing. I’m so exited because the cost of this treatment is so much less than I expected to spend and we’re just doing one for now to see how it goes. It’s so important to see someone whose paycheck isn’t dependent upon selling you a service. If you’re in Colorado, this is where I recommend you go, otherwise check out similar doctors and clinics in your area.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

A micro needle aka derma roller.

She was also nice enough to answer a few questions I sent her way about treating different skin issues. Check out what she has to say, and click HERE to see her services and to make an appointment.

Q. What treatments do you recommend for pigmentation issues?

A. Medical therapy – Vitamin C but only if a proper concentration. Vitamin A’s but only formulated appropriately. Also, a light device/laser  depending on Fitzpatrick Skin Type and whether the pigment is epidermal or dermal to decide if certain light devices or lasers would work. Old fashioned chemical peels also work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking).

Sidenote: Right after I saw her I went and bought SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, a proven C serum that all doctors I’ve talked to rave about. Don’t skimp on C serums, many are just a waste of money.

C E Ferulic

Q. What are your favorite ingredients that make the biggest difference in the skin?

A. Vitamin A but only when it’s formulated appropriately.Vitamin C but only if formulated with another antioxidant and a proper concentration. There are many other products that have benefit but it really depends on what difference you want to make in regards to skin health.

Sidenote: I’m using Vivant Exfol-A serum at night. An excellent vitamin A formulation that’s really concentrated and doesn’t make my skin red or flakey like Retin A does. I also use it with my derma roller so it has even better penetration.

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Q. What about treatments for acne?

A. Medical therapy , alpha hydroxyl acids, Vitamin A, and anti-inflammatory agents. Light device/laser, but there is no laser/light device approved for acne treatment and covered by insurance. FDA device approval is very different than FDA pharmaceutical approval. The ‘heat dispersion’ from the devices control active acne lesions (red pustules, cysts, but not black heads and white heads). The no!no!™ skin device was the 1st device on the market that used ‘heat’ to control active acne lesions. Old fashioned chemical peels work, but again they need to be properly formatted with the correct ph and free acid (this is my chemistry brain talking again!)

Sidenote: I reviewed the no!no! years ago when it first came out and I love it for hair removal, I didn’t know I could be using it on my face?! Glycolic acid is awesome and Glytone tells you exactly how much Glycolic (aka Alpha Hydroxyl Acid) you’re getting in each product. I’m using their cleanser and moisturizer.

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I’m hoping to schedule a treatment for next week where I’ll take pictures (maybe a video?) of the treatment and post it along with some before and after pics as the weeks progress. If you have any questions about micro needling or any other skin treatment, leave them in the comment section and I’ll get them answered for you!