Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Your Skin Is Amazing!

I was sorting through a list of questions and topics for my year-end post when I realized something. Our focus, in the treatment room and out, is so often on what is wrong with our skin: what we want to change, to fix, to stop, or to improve.

I think we all (myself included), can lose sight of what an amazing thing our skin is, and what extraordinary functions it performs daily. My own personal struggle with psoriasis, has often left me with a less than healthy respect for my skin. So my end of year post is just a little reminder of how great our skin is, even when it’s not perfect.

  • Your skin is the body’s largest organ. The average square inch (6.5 cm²) of skin holds 650 sweat glands, 20 blood vessels, 60,000 melanocytes, and more than 1,000 nerve endings.(That’s in ONE square inch!!). 
  • It’s virtually waterproof, renews itself, and helps control your body temperature. 
  • It’s an amazing communicator and protector. 
  • It’s also a very valuable outward reflection of what’s happening elsewhere in our body. It works tirelessly to repair itself, and we can help, if we’re listening.

Your skin is amazing!! Remember that.

Happy New Year! See you in 2015….

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Dark Circles and Sunscreen in the Eye Area

It’s a Q & A post today with a great question from Anita C.!

“When I was first learning to take care of my skin as a teenager, it seemed that conventional wisdom held that you shouldn't use sunscreen on the lower or upper eyelids, and that the only product that should go near eyes would be a specially formulated eye cream, and even then only along the crows-foot area, not the delicate lids. 
But recently I was reading a story about how to minimize dark circles that recommended SPF moisturizer as one of the key steps for helping eliminate stubborn under-eye darkness.  
Which is right?“

I love this question because it actually hits on 3 separate topics; dark circles, the use of sunscreen to reduce them, and if it's safe to put product in the eye area.

Where do dark circles come from? In general, there’s two causes. The first is an excess of pigment produced in the under-eye area, which usually shows as a brown or even blackish color, and is much more common in darker skin tones. The other is due to a thinning of the (already thinner) skin under the eye and is actually the vascular system showing through the skin. This type is more bluish in color, and more common to fairer skin tones.

So you’ve got dark circles...will a sunscreen or moisturizer with spf help? Yes, if used carefully and correctly. Why? If the case of under-eye darkness due to pigment, contact with UV rays will cause the pigment to darken up, the same as the rest of skin would anywhere else on the face or body. Sunscreen will help to protect against that. How would it help in the case of “thinning” skin? Free-radical damage from the sun can exacerbate collagen and elastin loss that occurs with age. Sunscreen allows your skin to essentially “focus on something else” and not battle the free radicals from UV light that can accelerate a thinner more fragile appearance.

Now to Anita’s question- can you put sunscreen, or anything else for that matter in the eye area?
There have been great advances in formulation and many great (and safe) products for the eye area, including some with a sunscreen. So, yes, I believe many people can safely use products in the eye area (brow-bone included). But it is, as always, on a case-by-case basis.
Here are some rules to go by:
  • Only use products in the eye area that have been opthamologist tested.
  • Use your bone structure as a guide and tap product on in a circle, around brow bone and under- eye area, but avoid the lower portion of the lid directly over the eyeball.
  • Common sense caution:  if you have allergies to ingredients, or if you suffer from seasonal allergies, always do a patch test first, not in eye area, and then do a small test area on one eye before applying a new product all over.
  • Remember that products do migrate a bit so never apply anything very close to the lashes.

Thanks again for the great question Anita! I'll have one more post in 2014, and I look forward to more questions in 2015! Hope you are all enjoying the Holidays with friends and family.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Please Stop Saying Chemical-Free (please).

There. I’ve said it. Please stop saying chemical-free. Because ladies and gents- absolutely nothing in this world is chemical free (outside of electricity and light).
The word chemical has gotten a bad name. Let’s define it.

Question: What Is a Chemical? 
Answer: Short answer: Everything is a chemical. Longer answer: Chemistry is the study of matter and its interactions with other matter. Anything made of matter is therefore a chemical. Any liquid, solid, gas. Any pure substance; any mixture. Water is a chemical. Technically speaking, so is a chunk of your computer. A chemical can often be broken down into components, as is true with your computer. However, people generally use the term 'chemical' to refer to a substance that appears homogeneous or the same throughout its structure.  
Helmenstine, PhD, A. M. (2014, May 16). What Is a Chemical? Retrieved from http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistryfaqs/f/whatchemical.htm

That bears repeating. Everything is a chemical. Marketers have (very adeptly) warped the meaning into something else. A "chemical" is now a toxic, dangerous, or hazardous ingredient. This use has become quite mainstream. I hear phrases like “You don’t use chemicals in your products right?” or “I’m looking for something natural and chemical-free” in my practice all the time. I know what some of you are thinking. “Hey, you know what we mean, the bad stuff, the dangerous ones!” The fact is, if we’re going to have an intelligent dialogue, we have to use words carefully and correctly. If we don’t start there, there’s truly no productive place to go when everyone’s defining words differently. Having this dialogue about safety, efficacy and ethics in what we use on our skin is so important. Let’s just start it from a well defined neutral space.

Sooo….. No one can sell you chemical free skin care. If a label/rep/salesperson says chemical free as a selling point, I would opt for another line. In my opinion, it calls into question the rest of their labeling. Is it accurate? Is it legal? Can you trust their formulation, or claims about the product?

I understand it can be daunting to sort the facts from the marketing hype. If you’re worried about specific ingredients/chemicals that may be in your products, let me know which ones! I’ll be posting about chemicals/ingredients that clients have asked questions about, as well as spotlighting some that I think are amazing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Do you really need a "special" sunscreen for your face?

Questions about sunscreen come up over and over again. There’s a lot to talk about, and trust me, I have many posts planned on this topic. But as I hear this one repeatedly- we’ll start there.

From M.G.: “Do I need a separate or “special” sunscreen for my face? Does it really matter?”

Great question. Answer? In my opinion, yes (with one exception).
Let me break it down a bit.
What is a “special” sunscreen? Let’s work under the assumption that this simply means a different formulation than what you would use on your body. I also believe that a slightly higher price is usually inferred as well.

Formulations for the face will usually have a more elegant formulation. Translation? They feel nicer on the skin.
  • Often less sticky or greasy.
  • There are formulas to suit different skin types: rich creams, sensitive skin formulas, and lighter non-comedogenic formulations for those with congestion issues. This is a distinction not often found in full body sunscreens.
  • There can be added ingredients with additional benefits to help with a particular skin type or condition, or to boost the antioxidant benefits of the sunscreen.
  • Formulations developed for the face usually serve as a smoother base if you wear makeup.

So in my opinion? Well worth it.

The one exception to the advice above? If you find yourself out, or about to be out in the sun and (gasp) unprotected, use whatever is available, even if not formulated for the face. (Common sense caution: disregard if you have a known allergy.) I know, I know not the perfect scenario if you’re prone to breakouts etc., but a sunburn is worse. Inflammation and free radical damage make every skin condition worse without exception. In addition (I’ll say this over and over again), ANY sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer. So avoid the burn, and take extra care with your skin care routine for the next few days to keep everything on track.

Do you need to spend more money on facial sunscreen? I think it’s worth a little extra for all the reasons listed above. Most important is to find something that works for you. When you find a formula you like- it’s an easy daily habit to get into. With so many options, there are quality products in all price ranges. Personally, I do use more inexpensive sunscreen on my body. In our house, the more utilitarian over the counter (“otc”) sunscreen is used almost exclusively (in large quantities) for the body on trips to sunny locales as opposed to the professional line we use daily for face, neck and hands. We have a joke regarding “smelling like vacation” when my partner in crime uses the otc version for daily use.

Questions or comments? Always feel free to leave feedback below. Need help finding a formula that’s right for you? Contact me directly  jill@jjodar.com or 415-997-8141, and I’m happy to help!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Who Knew? You've Been Applying Your Hand Cream All Wrong.

I thought I’d have some fun with the first “content” post for The Dermis and made this short video with the new Adobe Voice app. So click below and learn the best way to put on your hand cream. Hope you enjoy!!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Let Me Introduce Myself.....

Hello to all and thanks for clicking on the inaugural post for The Dermis!

A lot of you already know me and see me for skin care services, but I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself to those of you who may not. I also wanted to introduce the blog, and the format I’ll be using going forward. If you’re new to me and my practice, you can read my bio, and relevant education info here. My philosophy will have a big impact on the direction and information shared in this blog. I believe that nature, science and touch combined can lead to quite significant results on the skin. I do not believe these three branches have to live in separate worlds as is often pushed by various outlets today (which will be addressed in future posts). I like science. I also believe in the power of naturally sourced ingredients. We shouldn’t be afraid of either, but embrace and respect what both canand cannotdo. Not everything found in nature or made in a laboratory is “good” nor is it “bad”. Knowledge is power.
There are many different approaches to skin care, and while I try my best not to say “right” and “wrong”, I definitely have a strong point of view. So, my views when I’m speaking editorially will come from this place (and let’s face it, not everyone is for everybody, and that’s okay).

Why am I writing this blog?
In this digital age everyone seems to have a blog, so why one more?
Three reasons:
  1. The world of skin care, treatments and ingredients is a multi billion dollar industrywith so much to choose from (and SO much marketing) things have gotten very, very confusing. I get really great questions from my clients every day, and this is the perfect forum to share the answers with my community. If one person asks, you can figure at least three more have had the same thought.
  2. All the noise. Facebook/Twitter/articles/podcasts/blogs about skin are everywhere, but I see so much misinformation that is not based on any science, research or fact. False claims, greenwashing, scare-tactics, irresponsible labeling, cherry-picking study results to support false claimsthe list goes on and on. While consistently cringe-worthy for me, I figured it was finally time to speak to some of these and offer my take on it.
  3. It will keep me sharp. Yep, that’s right. While I love to geek out on skin care, physiology, and product formulation, this is an organized way to delve deeper into topics I have only scratched the surface of, or maybe never considered. When I’m learning, I’m inspired. When I’m inspired, it bleeds into all areas of my life, including my treatment room. Translation? It will make me better at my job, and a better resource and skin therapist for you.

Why The Dermis for a title?
Officially from dictionary.com:
Dermis [dur-mis]
Anatomy, Zoology. the dense inner layer of skin beneath the epidermis,composed of connective tissue, blood and lymph vessels, sweat glands, hair follicles, and an elaborate sensory nerve network.
It’s the deeper layer, the meaty part. So much action is happening at this level, and a lot of communication is taking place. It’s what I want this blog to be. Peeling back the layers and finding out what’s really going on.
What’s it going to be like?
For the most part, I want the content to be driven by your questions. I will on occasion, choose a topic myself that I feel is important (I will have some soap-box moments). So I might refute something I find misleading, or talk about an article or study that’s in heavy rotation on social media. I’ll be steering clear of promoting specific productsbut instead talk about ingredients and technology in general (I am always more than happy to suggest a custom routine for you personally- just email, call or message me on FB). My plan is to post 2-4 times a month, just depending on how deep into a topic I go. Some posts will be quick and to the point, some in more detail when it’s warranted.
I’m really excited!

Let’s get started……….