Friday, July 28, 2017

Technology Spotlight: Ultrasonic Technology

Photo Credit: Bio-Therapeutic

Over the last 2-3 years, ultrasonic technology has exploded both in the professional and home skin care markets. I'll be discussing how the technology is used in the skin therapist's office and at home.

Let's break down what it does:

Ultrasonic Technology

Technically speaking: Ultrasonic technology utilizes sound waves with a frequency above 20,000Hz, or above the range detectable by the human ear. These waves are created by a conversion of energy called the piezoelectric effect and travel through the end of the device to the skin. The frequencies used are in a therapeutic range, and not to be confused with diagnostic ultrasound waves that operate at a different frequency.

Translation: In home care cleansing tools, this vibration is passed into the skin, allowing for a deeper cleanse and mild exfoliation as well. Used in a professional setting, both cleansing and exfoliation techniques utilize this technology, which then allows for better penetration of the subsequent products.

Contraindications: Very limited and traditional in scope: pregnancy, professionally resurfaced or ablated skin, very sensitive skin

Bottom Line: If you've had a custom service with me any time recently, you know I love this technology. It's easy to incorporate into a treatment, can be used on almost anyone, and leaves the skin incredibly soft. I am currently taking pre-orders for a home care ultrasonic cleansing tool that I am absolutely in love with. You can read more about that here.  I'll be sure to use it on you during your next treatment!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

You Got A Sunburn. Now What?

Wait. Before I start, do you hear that? Listen carefully.
Yep, that's the sound of your skin therapist weeping. Nothing makes her cry like that gorgeous skin of yours getting a sunburn.

If it has happened (I know you feel bad), here's what to do.

    That redness is an inflammation response. Your skin is trying to warn you that damage has occurred. And no, you cannot put sunscreen over a sunburn and go back out. That ship has sailed.
  • Soothe it.
    A cool shower will remove any chlorine, salt, or residual products that may be irritating to a compromised skin. Cool compresses and soothing ingredients like aloe vera, sea whip, and colloidal oatmeal can calm things down.
  • Protect and re-establish the barrier.
    Keep the skin moist and well hydrated with products formulated to replenish lost barrier lipids and accelerate healing. My go-to products? Rapid Repair, underneath Calming Bio-Lipid Repair Fluid or Creme.
  • Simplify your routine.
    You're going to want to shelve all of your resurfacers for the next 10-14 days. No scrubs, retinol, alpha or beta hydroxy acids or any prescription strength resurfacing products. You can resume when your skin is completely healed with no signs of redness or inflammation.
  • No picking.
    If your sunburn peels, it's important to let your skin exfoliate on its own. Picking off pieces can further injure the delicate skin underneath and cause scarring. The same goes for any small blisters, leave them be. And of course, in the case of a really severe sunburn, see your doctor for medical advice.
Now, how do you avoid this in the future? Your sun protection deteriorates when in contact with UV radiation. So reapplication is key, every 2 hours or after swimming or toweling off. It's best to seek shade during the hours of 10-2 when rays are the strongest and remember that reflective surfaces like water and snow intensify the effects of the sun. Enjoy the sun safely this summer and keep your skin (and skin therapist) happy! :)

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Technology Spotlight: High Frequency

"What is this thing doing again?"

When I get a question like this a few times in the treatment room, I know it's time to write a post! I've decided to add some technology spotlights, along with the ingredient spotlight posts I've been doing in the past. This anti-bacterial hero has been around for some time, and with good reason!

High Frequency

Technically speaking: High Frequency is an application of alternating current (also known as Tesla current) to the skin. Application of an electrode filled with argon gas kills bacteria by creating ozone on the surface of the skin. Using an electrode filled with neon will warm the skin surface, increase blood flow and assist in product penetration.

Translation: This technology works great after extractions (usually over gauze) on a clogged or acne-prone skin to assist in neutralizing the bacteria that helps breakouts to thrive. It can also be beneficial to a sluggish or more mature skin that can use some increased blood flow and serum absorption.

Contraindications: This technology is not for use on pregnant women, people with epilepsy, or clients with large metal implants or pacemakers. (This technology has not been found to be unsafe for pregnant women, but we always err on the side of caution with technology as we lack the data to know for sure.)

Bottom Line: A great way to boost the effectiveness of any facial treatment! I love high frequency because it's mostly sub-sensory (minimal sensation), although some do smell a bit of the ozone. It's fantastic post-extraction with skin appropriate serums. I also use it post-wax, with a custom-blended calming/spot treatment serum for those prone to breaking out after waxing.

If there is a particular type of technology you'd like more information on? Email me at or comment below!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Do You Really Need A Separate Daily Moisturizer And Sunscreen?

Simple answer? No.

As usual, I have a few caveats but I'll get to them in a moment. This is quite simple for once!
Here's the deal, we have the technology these days to combine the properties of a sunscreen and a moisturizer in one product. Formulations have become more advanced and nuanced than ever before.

This is fine to do if you follow these rules:
  • Using the right product for your skin type/condition is essential: non-comedogenic for acne-prone, elegant feel for makeup wearers, lipid-based for a drier skin etc.
  • Use enough. No "dabbing". A line down the first 2 fingers of your hand is enough for your face and neck.
  • Super-dry barrier-damaged skin? In this case, you will need an additional product to get things under control.
Finally, that doesn't mean you don't need a moisturizer. You still need to hydrate/moisturize at night after your skin appropriate serums or other treatment products.

Meet the above criteria? Then go ahead and skip that extra moisturizer in the morning! (Never thought I'd say that did you?)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Action Ingredient Spotlight: Antioxidants

An alternate name for this post could be "Antioxidants: What do they actually do?" A very common industry buzz-word, and often a confusing class of ingredients in skin care. Let's demystify antioxidants.

Technically speaking...
In skin care, an antioxidant is an action ingredient added to topical formulations to prevent free radicals from binding to the cell membrane and causing damage or destruction. Free radicals are unstable atoms that are attracted to fats and lipids in our skin that will stabilize them. There are many types of free radicals including reactive oxygen species, reactive carbonyl species, and reactive nitrogen species. While coming from many different sources in our environment, all start a cascade of damage in the skin. Different antioxidants work on different free radicals, neutralizing them before the damage occurs, or interrupting the cascade of damage at a certain point.

Want to avoid lines, wrinkles, irritation, dryness, acne flares, sun damage, pigmentation and loss of collagen and elastin? Antioxidants prevent damage across a wide spectrum. When your skin is not dealing with the assault, it can focus on repair, something it does exceptionally well. In addition, some antioxidants can also stimulate the production of things we do want (like collagen) so your antioxidants can be both preventative AND reparative. In a well-formulated product, there is NO downside.

Who's it for?
Everyone. Yes, you heard that correctly. It is as important in a routine I recommend to a fresh-faced 24-year-old, a client struggling with adult acne or a mature or sun-damaged skin. I love antioxidants because they're supportive of a function the skin already performs. Some say that our skin handles over 99% of the free radical attack it receives all on its own. Think about the skin damage we see from that tiny fraction of a percent that goes unchecked! That will get you slathering it on.

Different options
There is a multitude of product choices that either feature or include antioxidants.
Some things to remember:
  • Know your skin and your environment. If you have pigmentation or blackheads, a non-irritating C&E complex may be the best choice. Travel frequently, or live in an urban area?  A better choice for you may be an antioxidant complex including ingredients like ergothioneine and white and green tea. They help to neutralize the effects of pollution and the damaging ozone in plane cabins.
  • Look for antioxidants in your sunscreen. Some sunscreens contain ingredients that while preventing free radical damage from UV, may throw off other free radical activity in the process. A well-formulated sunscreen will contain antioxidants to neutralize this potential effect.
  • No one antioxidant does it all. There is regularly a "new" latest and greatest antioxidant introduced, but often it's just marketing hype. Your best bet is a complex with multiple antioxidants to cover all the free radicals mother nature (and humans) have in store for you.