Archives for category: acne

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The most popular active ingredients used in today’s skin care products.

There are so many ingredients used in skin care it’s hard to keep track and up to date.  This is a comprehensive introduction of a 14 part series of the most frequently used active ingredients.  In each of the following parts there will be a detailed explanation of the ingredients below; what they are, where they come from and what their benefits are.

The Vitamins:

  • Vitamin A (Retinols):  Vitamin A is an extremely effective ingredient for anti-aging, helping diminish fine lines and wrinkles, significantly improving uneven skin tone, smoothing and refining the skin’s surface, and increasing the appearance of firmness.  There are widely known derivatives of Vitamin A, like Retinol, and occur is popular products, like Retin A and Accutane.
  • Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid):  Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant.  It is often used to treat sun damage, promote collagen formation, and slow collagen degradation.  It is, also, helpful in repairing acne scars and decreasing inflammation.
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol):  Vitamin E is a major antioxidant nutrient.  It slows cellular aging and aides nourishment to cells.  It blocks free radicals, reduces wrinkles and helps skin to remain looking youthful.

The Acids:

  • AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid): AHAs are water-soluble, the most common types are Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid.  Their ability to exfoliate the skin helps repair dryness, aging and sun-damage.  They allow newer, softer and healthier- looking skin to emerge.
  • BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid): BHAs are lipid or oil-soluble,  the most common type is Salicylic Acid.  They get down into pores to cut through oil that clog them.  They, also, have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are great for the treatment of acne.
  • Alpha Lipoic Acid: Alpha Lipoic Acid or ALA is a water and fat soluble antioxidant, often referred to as ‘the universal antioxidant’.  It is an anti-inflammatory, reducing swelling, puffiness, redness and blotchiness.  It, also, shrinks pore size and decreases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Glycolic Acid:  Glycolic Acid is an AHA, derived from plants like sugar cane and pineapple.  It is an exfoliant that removes dead cells, revealing a brighter complexion.  It can treat scarring, discoloration, and fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Hyaluronic Acid:  Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in your body.  It keeps collagen synthesis up, as well as retaining skin moisture, contributing to the skin looking younger and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and discoloration.
  • Lactic Acid:  Lactic Acid is an AHA, it is derived from fermented dairy.  In low concentrations it is a nourishing agent, increasing oil and fat productions.  In high concentrations it is exfoliant, improving skin’s texture, stimulating cell turnover and brightening the appearance of the face.
  • Salicylic Acid:  Salicylic Acid is a BHA, derived from willow bark (the same place we get aspirin).  It not only unclogs pores and helps clear acne but also prevents the formation of new acne and blackheads.

 

  • DMAE (dimethylaminoethanol):  DMAE is a powerful anti-inflammatory.  It causes muscles to contract and tighten under the skin, therefore helping maintain muscle tone preventing sagging of the face.  It increases firmness, lifts and reduces fine lines and smoothers the surface of the skin.
  • Enzymes:  Enzymes are chemicals that speed up the rate of chemical reactions, making them very effective as exfoliants and anti-inflammatories.  Some of the most common enzymes used in skin care include pineapple, papaya, kiwi, fig, mango and banana extracts.
  • Peptides:  Peptides are portions of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.  All peptides have a skin-restorative ability.  Some peptide use have resulted in the soothing of skin and reduction of expression lines.
  • Stem Cell:  Stem cells are the building blocks of skin.  They are able to replace damaged cells, helping to fight the look of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and renew elasticity in the skin.

Next Up: Part 1: All About Vitamin A

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Pumpkin is loaded with fruit enzymes and alpha hydroxy acids that promotes cell turnover and brighten and smooth lackluster skin.  The seeds, filled with zinc help heal and control acne.

 

DIY Pumpkin Honey Facial Mask Recipe:

What you’ll need:

-A few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin

-One whipped egg white (which tightens pores and reduces fine lines)

-One tablespoon of plain yogurt (for exfoliation)

-One tablespoon of honey (to clear breakouts)

 

After mixing these ingredients together apply and leave on your face off 10 minutes.

The yogurt and pumpkin will encourage cell turnover and exfoliates.  While, the honey’s antibacterial properties ensure a fresh face.

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Eating foods with anti-inflammatories help to boost your immune system and promote healthy skin, for instants; foods like dark leafy greens and those rich in fatty acids, like sardines, fish oils, Indian gnee and flax seeds.

Keeping skin nourished with healthy fatty acids and fats, like coconut, avocado and olive oils, help your body absorb minerals and vitamins.  Fatty acids help repair and renew skin cells and promote a hormonal balance.

Depending on your skin concerns there are different things your can do to help de-stress your skin:

For Eczema- to prevent additional inflammation, drink immune supportive tea made from reships, echinacea and chamomile.  You can also apply room temperature tea bags to irritated skin for relief.  Avoid inflammatory chemicals, artificial dyes, harsh soaps and laundry detergents, and cleansers and disinfectants like chloride.

For Acne & Breakouts- these can be caused by bacteria, pregnancy, menopause and hormonal shifts.  Eat nutrient-rich foods and use skin care products that contain Vitamin C, antioxidant-rich ingredients like green tea, willow bark, tea tree oil, juniper and rosemary extracts.  Exfoliate both face and body regularly with willow bark or other antiseptic ingredients to help minimize breakouts.

For Dermatitis- symptoms of dermatitis can include; swelling, itching, burning and blotchy redness.  Severe symptoms are blisters, crusting, and oozing.  The causes are mostly from allergies or physical contact, for example, with synthetic fragrances, colorings, alcohol, FD+C dyes and synthetic preservatives.  Vitamin-rich ingredients with antiseptic qualities like antioxidant-rich elderflower, peppermint, aloe, witch hazel and calendula can help heal dermatitis.

For Redness + Rosacea- this is triggered by sun exposure, primarily.  Symptoms include redness around checks and nose, broken blood vessels, bumps that look like pimples, swollen or painful vein, stringing, itching and flushing easily.  The exact cause of rosacea is unknown, although it is most common in women ages 30-50 and fair-skinned people.  Treatments include topical vitamins, anti-inflammatory herbs, like turmeric, and skin soothing ingredients, like aloe and especially seed oils, like carrot and calendula.  Calendula contains bisabolol, an anti-inflammatory compound, because of this it helps reduce redness associated with rosacea by calming skin.  Switch to mineral-based makeup, use products with calming plants with antihistamine-like qualities, and healing herbs like sage and jasmine.

Knowing the benefits of certain skin care products will benefit estheticians and their clients. With so many corrective skin care ingredients on the market today, it may be difficult to keep track of which products will give your client the desired effect they are looking for. Staying on top of the latest trends and most effective treatment options will increase your credibility as a skin care professional and help you to increase clientele by offering the truly effective skin care solutions they desire.

Salicylic Acid has roots going back to Hippocrates in ancient Greece. Originally derived from the bark of a willow tree, salicylic acid offers many benefits for corrective skin care. Primarily it is used to aid the natural exfoliation process skin undergoes and reduce blemishes and acne prone skin types by clearing the pores of excess build up.

Salicylic acid is usually produced synthetically now from aspirin. Because it comes from aspirin, it carries many of the anti-inflammatory benefits as well. In terms of skin care, this means a reduction in redness and swelling of acne. This helps to reduce acne, prevent new acne from developing and decreases the likelihood of scarring. It is also oil-soluble which means it can penetrate the oil in your skin and remove grime and build up from the pores more easily than other water based skin care ingredients.

Another great benefit of using salicylic acid for acne treatment is its anti bacterial qualities. It is the bacteria residing in the pores causes inflammation and “white heads” to develop. By removing the bacteria, it will help to clear up this type of acne and decrease the chance of it returning.

There are many treatment options available at home or through an esthetician. Most commonly used as a topical treatment in skin care, salicylic acid is applied to the face with a clean pad and left on to provide a gentle peel for the face. Peels should be left to the supervision of an esthetician or skin care professional to prevent any damage or harmful results but a daily salicylic treatment (which involves applying salicylic treatment to the face) can be beneficial, especially if your skin is naturally very oily.

As with any ingredient, your skin may react with a slight stinging sensation if it is applied to broken and/or affected areas. This is not harmful but the product should be immediately removed if there is any further reaction such as burning, redness, rash, etc. This could be a sign of an allergic reaction and you should seek medical advice immediately if this happens for treatment options.

Salicylic acid treatments are not recommended for everyone. Most over the counter products contain a 1-2% solution that is typically safe for most consumers and skin types. If you have any of the following conditions, consult with a dermatologist before using salicylic based products:
Blood Vessel Disease
Diabetes Mellitus
Acute skin inflammation or infection
You have recently used Accutane

It should also be noted that salicylic acid is not recommended during pregnancy. Although there has been no evidence of birth defects from use, it is still not recommended.

Learning about skin care products and their active ingredients is an important practice for any skin care professional or consumer. The skin absorbs what is applied to it into the body so having a working knowledge of any potential side effects or damaging effects is essential for better skin care and knowing what to do in case of any negative reactions.

Learn more about salicylic acid at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

The teen years are filled with emotional and physical change, some good and some bad. As your teen grows and develops it is natural, as a parent, to want this experience to be as stress free as possible. Dealing with acne can be a difficult process for both you and your teen. By working together and developing a strategy however, you can help your teen through these awkward years with much less “angst”.

You may find that the most difficult aspect of treating acne is speaking with your teen about the problem. It is natural for people to become sensitive or angry when a skin condition is “called out” and this may create more stress for your teen. Remember that your teen is not unaware of the problem and acting as though they cannot see the acne will not help you communicate better with them. Open up a dialogue where you suggest trying different methods to treat the condition but respect your teen’s boundaries if they are defensive about the topic at first. Don’t exasperate the situation by yelling or forcing your child to confront their problem.

Once you have both agreed to find a sensible solution that will be effective and affordable, now it is time to learn the underlying root of the condition. Believe it or not there are several factors that may be affecting your teen’s skin, not just new hormonal changes (although that is a HUGE factor).

So what may be culprit of this skin care conundrum?

Changes in the body (such as hormones) are one of the primary influences of acne during the teen years. Any informational guide will explain that hormonal changes impact the bodies normal functioning, including the skin. During adolescence a teen’s oil production (the sebum gland) can go into overdrive and produce more oil than necessary. The skin’s normal regulation of this process cannot compensate and thus oil clogs the pores causing acne.
Proper skin care is important, even for teens. Make-up, sweat and general grime build up on the skin’s surface and need to be removed properly. If you’re teen is just using soap and water daily (or maybe not at all sometimes) this will be a major reason why acne is starting to take over their face. Developing a daily skin care routine designed for younger people with oilier skin will go a long way towards alleviating your teen’s condition and reducing future occurrences.
Stress. Stress. Stress. As a parent there is nothing you can really do to combat the stress and emotional changes your child is undergoing but be supportive and helps them through this difficult time. Remember that stress affects the body just as much as anything else and can inhibit healthy body processes (including the skin).

A Call to Action!

Gaining control on an existing or ongoing flair up is crucial for the first step. This does need to be combined with developing a longer skin care regimen that will aid in reducing existing outbreaks and prevents new ones from developing.
Try a “spot treatment” such as this excellent Blemish Fix for existing acne. This will target the existing problem and provide extra strength to those areas that have already developed blackheads, whiteheads or red pustules. There are several over the counter brands for mild to moderate acne or it may be time to consult with an esthetician or dermatologist for more intensive treatment for severe acne.
Take control by developing a simple skin care routine for your teen to follow every day. Set a schedule (wake up, going to bed) and guide them through the steps they should take. Cleanse, exfoliate, tone, correct, moisturize and protect. These are the six hallmarks of any great skin care routine that will keep their skin looking fresh, clean and clear.
Search for products geared towards teen, oily or acneic skin. These will use less oils (no need to add to the problem) and target reducing oily build up on the skin. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of using a good daily moisturizer to replenish the skin with necessary hydration. If you take it all away without putting any back other skin conditions (dryness, flaking). This step will be crucial in helping your teen maintain clearer skin with greatly reduced acne occurrences.

A Final Thought on the Matter

Acne is no fun for anyone and can be an embarrassing condition to face. Your teen may struggle with peer judgment, self doubt and a general dissatisfaction overall while combating this problem. Be patient with your teen and remember that full results take time (up to 3 months in many severe cases). Reassure your teen that with patience and dedication their skin will clear up. Don’t let acne be what your teen remembers about their high school years –take control today!

Here at Bellanina we receive messages every day from women (and men!) looking for ways to look and feel better about themselves. The most common complaint we receive is just looking “tired” and “worn”. It seems that this New Year is the perfect opportunity to invite people to try something new and different, shake up their routine and not accept aging gracefully. After all, your age is just a number and at Bellanina we think people only improve with age.

Start by taking command. Look into the mirror after a shower and before you apply any make up or lotions. Really look at your skin and ask yourself, “What do I want to change?” Are you looking for smoother skin? Do you hate the sight of lines around your eyes or mouth? Or do you just want to feel and looked refreshed?

It is important to take this step because in order to truly take control, you must take action with this first step.

By being honest with yourself and your goals, it will be easier to target the best way to achieve them. Most people can’t afford or do not want to pursue drastic and invasive medical procedures (such as plastic surgery) and at Bellanina, we don’t think you should have to do this at all. With proper skin care and the right products, smoother and younger looking skin is not just a dream. It is a reality we can all have for our own.

Here is a simple checklist of areas to consider:

1) Eyes: Are there fine lines beginning to form around the corners or lids? This could be from squinting or rubbing this area. The tissue around the eyes is especially fragile and can be easily damaged or show premature signs of aging.

2) Mouth: As we get older the expressions we hold our faces in most often will eventually develop into lines around the face. “Laugh” or “frown” lines are especially common once people reach their mid thirties. This can be caused by a reduced elasticity in the skin and lowered collagen production.

3) Neck: As the skin begins to lose elasticity it can begin to “droop” in certain areas, especially the neck and chin.

4) Hands: The most overused and abused area of the body. Your hands are exposed to chemicals, weather, water, bacteria and all sorts of germs that can affect how their appearance. Lines, dryness and flaking are all common culprits of “old” looking hands.

5) Thighs and Stomach: At any age a common skin problem is cellulite. Small “dimpling” of the skin that can lead to a cottage cheese appearance. This can be minimized with corrective skin care products.

6) Uneven Skin Tone/Pigmentation: Brown spots, freckles or even patches of skin that don’t match your overall coloring can be minimized. If you have been living with these common issues but unsure of how to deal with them, take charge this year!

7) Facial/Body Acne: Blemishes can be an irritating and ongoing struggle. Don’t let this problem go on for another day!

We invite everyone to contact us and let us help you achieve your goals this year. Our highly trained staff welcomes questions and will help you design a daily routine that will reduce fine lines, smooth skin and replenish lost moisture. By taking the time to incorporate this into your morning routine you will begin to see the results faster than you can imagine.

So contact us today and let us help you achieve your New Year’s resolution! E-mail us your questions at operations@bellanina.com to receive expert advice on how to achieve your skin care goals in 2011!


Like most common but harmless skin problems, rosacea is a chronic (ongoing) condition that is characterized most commonly by facial erythema (redness). Although it is harmless and mostly a cosmetic problem, rosacea can flair up frequently without warning and may require repeated treatment to keep under control. The good news is that several topical treatments are available today to help calm this inflammation and reduce the appearance over time.

The “What”

Rosacea is actually broken down into four “subtypes” that may occur on their own or in combination with each other:
1) Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: This type is permanent redness in people with a tendency to appear flushed or blushing easily. Small blood vessels may be visible along the skin surface and in some cases; the skin may experience an itching or burning sensation.

2) Papulopustular rosacea: This type is most easily confused with acne as it is classified by red papules (bumps) on the skin that may be pus filled.

3) Phymatous rosacea: This type is actually associated with another condition called rhinophyma which is an enlargement of the nose. This has many symptoms such as thickening skin, irregular surface nodularities and enlargement. This can affect the chin, forehead, nose, eyelids and ears. Small blood vessels may be visible along the skin surface as well.

4) Ocular rosacea: This will cause red, dry and irritated eyes and eyelids.

Although these are the four main subtypes that occur in most people, there are variations and any condition should be consulted by a doctor (such as a dermatologist) before pursuing any treatment options.

The “Why”

It is natural to want to understand why a certain condition has developed. Although some conditions can be prevented with proper skin care and diet, others are inherited or develop because of factors beyond our control. Rosacea has many sources that have been identified by researchers over the years including: sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, heavy exercise, alcohol consumption, hot baths, cold weather, spicy foods, humidity, indoor heat, certain skin care products, some foods, etc.
It is easy to see that sometimes identifying the exact source of rosacea can be problematic. But since it is an inflammation of the skin, most topical treatments can assist in controlling the condition and reducing the appearance and symptoms. Severe conditions may require prescriptions from a doctor for treatment.

The “Who”

Rosacea primarily occurs in Caucasian or fair skinned people of North Eastern European descent but it is not restricted to this. It occurs in both men and women but women are three times more likely to develop this condition. Primary onset occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

The “How”

So how can you treat rosacea once it occurs? From the list of causes you have probably surmised that the initial onset will need to be treated after the fact and not as a preventative approach. Topical treatments are most common and applied directly to this skin to reduce the inflammation and soothe any irritation. Depending on the severity of the condition, normal cosmetics may be sufficient to cover the redness with no additional treatment required.
Rosacea is not a “curative” condition and may go through periods of inflammation and flair ups. Short term treatments may provide short term relief but the condition could reoccur as soon as treatment has been discontinued. Long term treatments are usually required to maintain control over rosacea.

What to Try

Try a simple but effective topical treatment that is applied directly to the face for relief from the inflammation. A wonderful choice is the RosaCalm, a unique marine complex combined with willow herb and oat beta-glucan help to reduce the appearance of facial redness and calm reactive skin with continued daily use.

Final Thoughts

Although rosacea is an irritating an ongoing condition for most, there are ways to control the problem and find relief. Remember that proper skin care is a lifelong commitment and needs to be fine tuned and developed for your individual skin type and needs. Consult with a dermatologist or esthetician to find the products that will best suit your needs and take control of your rosacea today!