Category Archives: Acne

Post-apocalyptic Skin Woes. DIY Beauty In Case of Survival

Post Apocalypse Glamour

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After a brief scan of my Facebook feed it seems I somehow missed that the end of the world is happening on 12/21/12. China apparently has shown great interest in preparing for the apocalyptic doomsday by stockpiling candles. At least I won’t have to worry about sun exposure since there will be no light. We all know that vanity is my forte, so it should come as no great surprise that my first thought was holy smokes, who is going to do my microdermabrasion? If I survive the apocalypse, how on earth will I combat the steady and dreadful cadence of time as it swallows my face whole leaving sagging jowls and neck wrinkles in its wake? Naturally, I thought about stockpiling facial scrubs and Botox much like the Chinese and their candles. Think of how rich I will be when the House Wives of Atlanta are scrambling to trade me 10 bags of coffee, a goose, and their last bit of vicodan for a bottle of Botox and a clean needle! I think I am on to something. It can’t be that I am the only femme fatale that is lying in the bathtub with a glass of wine thinking about post-apocalyptic skin care and so I carefully constructed a survival list for you:

1. Folks will be trading food and what not instead of currency so stock up on sugar. Sugar makes for a great exfoliator. You can take a little ash from your fire and some fat from the goose you were traded and mix it all up with the sugar to create an exfoliating soap. I swear this is how Cleopatra did it between milk baths. Or if you are very rich and smart, like I will be, you could just mix a little sugar in with a gentle cleanser.

2. In an addition to sugar, be sure to hoard honey. A cleanser, anti-bacterial, and moisturizer all in one, honey will be pure gold. Especially when everyone notices your pretty and plump skin while they are sitting by candle light playing rummy. That’s right no IPhones after the apocalypse.

3. Oils will make for good currency. They will of course be needed for cooking and providing nutrition, but more importantly they will condition your hair and treat acne. Argan oil, coconut oil, and olive oils will be the most prized. I, myself, think I will go on a whim this week and buy up all of the unrefined coconut oil at whole foods to put on the shelf with my Botox and fancy face exfoliants.

I hope this little list jumpstarts your preparations for skin survival after this Fridays “end of the world as we know it party.” What beauty product or procedure will you have a hard time going without after the apocalypse?

Should you jump on the wagon with microdermabrasion or a chemical peel?

Every single human on the planet will need to speed up skin cell turnover with exfoliation after the age of about 28. Done. It is a fact. If you are not exfoliating then you are probably wondering where your luster went, why you are broken out, and why your skin tone is so darn patchy. It’s ok. Never too late to start. There are many many ways to exfoliate and demolish that dead flaky skin that is hindering your god given glow. Let us delve a little deeper into the utterly fascinating world of skin cell turnover:

Skin cell turnover is the sad little march of new skin cells to the top of the epidermis where they ultimately meet their demise and slough off. This march of doom can take anywhere from 14 days (in our infancy) to months and months (in old age). The typical span being about 30-40 days for us 30-50 something’s. The trick to luminous, tight and youthful looking skin is to decrease the time that new skin cells spend marching to their death and hanging out on our faces.

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Microdermabrasion is great little way to get the blood flowing to the surface of the skin and get some fairly hard core exfoliation going for you. Ease your feet into the deep pool of anti-aging addictions by trying this little gem of a treatment first. I love microdermabrasion for any one that has healthy but dull skin or very light and superficial acne scarring. If you have redness, irritation, rosacea, broken capillaries, or a great disdain for following a treatment protocol of every 3-4 weeks for at least six treatments, then this is not a good option for you. Retin A users beware, while I don’t recommend microdermabrasion for you (remember that whole lipid barrier discussion on the sonic cleansing post), you must at least go off of your Retin A 3-4 days before a treatment.

Chemical peels are for folks that want to amp up their beauty routine. Chemical peels, unlike microdermabrasion, can really be customized as far as the depth of the peel and ingredients used to address the concern (wrinkling, irregular color etc.). Superficial, medium depth and deep chemical peels are available with a variety of additives that sucker punch anything from melasma (pregnancy mask) to acne and those, near to the heart, fine lines and wrinkles. Please see this post on glycolic acid peels if you want a little more information on peeling.

Your Dangerous Love Affair: The Sonic Cleansing Brush.

How could this miracle cleansing tool that leaves you with baby soft skin be back biting you?! How completely satisfying is it to get in the hot steamy shower with your sonic cleansing brush and step out with the smoothest skin of your life? There is no denying the outright allure of that little device. Some companies recommend using the brush to cleanse your delicate little face two times a day, and many of my clients are at least avid once a day users. But there is an ugly and dark side to the sonic addiction. I have clients that come to me with red irritated skin, acne flair ups and cystic pimples. After investigating for culprits, the one common factor is that they all are having a dangerous love affair with their cleansing brush! Here is why my clients are forbidden from using any cleansing brush more than 1-2 times a week:

You know me; there will be an anatomy lesson to be sure!

The top layer of skin, (aka Stratum Corneum) is made up of fats, cholesterol, water and protein. It retains moisture for you and protects you from bacteria, elements, and shriveling up like a prune. We call it the lipid barrier.

Once that lipid barrier breaks down, you start losing moisture (trans epidermal water loss aka. TEWL), your skin gets inflamed and red, bacteria can fight its way into the skin, and you may develop a rash or acne flair up. This is EXACTLY what happens when many people use their sonic brush every single day.

The beloved sonic brush is day after day breaking down that lipid barrier and causing water loss. While I have noticed that there are some skin types that can tolerate the brush (thick and very oily skin types), most can only afford to use the brush once or twice a week.

So, my friends, I encourage you to break up with your sonic brush. Bring it out only once or twice a week at most, and be sure to replace the lipid barrier with great emollient (replaces lipids) moisturizer.

I've had it with you!

I have had it with you!

So what do I tell my suffering folks that have already messed up their lipid barrier with overzealous sonic cleansing?

1. Stop using the tawdry sonic brush altogether for at least 2 weeks

2. Stop using all actives (retinoids, glycolics etc.)…on a side note if you are using tretinoin (renova, retin a) please throw away the sonic brush it will eat your face off.

2. Use a gentle creamy cleanser that is free of my most hated ingredient SLS (sodium laureth sulfate)

3. For two weeks switch your moisturizer to an emollient cream that will replace the lipid barrier such as Oxygenetix moisturizer (my personal go to) or CeraVe over the counter

4. Lactic acid has been shown to help barrier function and increase fatty acids so use a gentle lactic acid toner or serum like PCA’s Nutrient Toner once daily.

Perfect Foundation for Sensitive, Acne Prone, and Post Procedure Skin!

I was astounded when I found a website that promotes slathering on liquid foundation post laser skin peel (fractional ablative resurfacing).  I would never dream of putting makeup on freshly lasered skin, but the concept was very appealing.  I imagined the swarms of beautiful girls leaving my treatment room with gorgeous glowing skin instead of flaming red and goopy with Aquaphore.  I promptly called the company and began trials with my post peel clients.  They were completely astounded by how the foundation cooled their skin down and covered every trace that they had just gone under the laser!  The foundation is called Oxygenetix and is an aloe vera based liquid foundation that covers like a breathable second skin. Sensitive skin loves this light weight calming product and it is perfectly safe and even healing after procedures such as resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and FotoFacials.  Most of my clients become addicted to this foundation and continue to use it after they have healed from their procedures.  It gives the prettiest soft glow you can get from a bottle, and despite being used as a camouflage makeup, is very light weight and virtually flawless.

Immediately post Pixel skin resurfacing.

Don’t let the fear of down time and having to hide after your laser treatment keep you from aging sexy!  Get your gorgeous paws on Oxygenetix before going under the beam.

We carry this at Chastain Wellness Studio in Atlanta, Ga.  404-252-6662

Glycolic Acid for celebrity perfect skin….ahem minus the photoshop wizard.

Glycolic acid has the very desirable talent of “softening” fine lines (that is esthetician and nurse speak for:  Don’t even think it’s going to eradicate ALL of those wrinkles).  Sun damage and the faux mustache known as “melasma” is also nipped in the bud.  This is done over a series of treatments, and  I typically will recommend anywhere from 6-8 peels, spaced around 3-4 weeks apart with 40-60% glycolic acid.   Chemical peeling of any type dissolves the desmosomes (sticky glue) that hold the skin cells together.  These peels also strip lipids that make up the acid mantel that protects us from bacterial invasions and dry skin, so you must replace what you take away.  Following a peel,  a rich anti-inflammatory moisturizer should be part of your recovery with a healthy fat dollop of sunscreen.  Stay off the actives that you have bought and use religiously because you are a very well-educated DermaDarling follower for 7-10 days  (vitamin c, AHAs, retinol, and hydroquinone) .  The peels range in price from $120- 250 each depending on your city. I would highly recommend getting a package of 6 to save some cash, since you know you are going to have to have more than one.   Glycolic acid should be a considered addition to your bag of tricks for smooth gorgeous skin.  Celebrities rumored to be fans of Glycolic acid: Cher, Janice Dickenson, Naomi Campbell.

You are not a candidate for a glycolic peel if:

You have sensitive skin

You want instant results

You want no social “downtime”

You want nothing less than a blooming miracle

You are standing in front of the counter at the nail salon asking about their LivingSocial glycolic acid discount

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I will be teaching an advanced chemical peel course at the Elaine Sterling Institute the first week in November.  For more information on how you can advance your esthetic career please call ESI at 1-877-233-5246

Salicylic acid kicks acne in the teeth, but what about wrinkles?

Even Megan Fox battles the skin gods. Salicylic acid peels should be in her arsenal.

Dubbed by cosmetic chemists on the well toured Chemists Corner blog as ” The most versatile [topical compound] for cosmetic formulators”, this feisty little acid is a gold standard for acne control with anti aging benefits.  Salicylic Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid   (BHA) has been proven to stand up against Alpha Hydroxy Acids (glycolic, lactic, citric, and tartaric acids) when it comes to skin cell turnover and improving skin tone and texture.  How does it work and who will it work for?  BHA is oil soluble and penetrates that slick layer covering oily skin in order to get deep into the pores for exfoliation and to speed up skin cell turnover. For comparison, AHAs such as glycolic acid are water-soluble and better suited for dry, weathered, sun damaged skin that has been thickened with the elements and genetics.  So, yes!, Salicylic Acid (BHA) exfoliates to not only reduce acne but over time helps to reverse photo damage and smooth pesky wrinkles as well.

Great salicylic Acid products and chemical peels to clear your skin and soften those lines:

PCA Clarifying Mask and the PCA Pumpkin Peel

Obagi Clenziderm 2% salicylic Acid treatment

Obagi Blue Radiance Peel

V.I. Peel

Derma Doctor Aint Misbehavin’ Serum