Archives for category: Bellanina

What’s Up with Freckles Anyway?

Have you ever stared into the mirror and wondered why your face and arms are covered with freckles? Depending on your skin type and sun exposure, the number of freckles may increase every year. If you are frustrated with the freckles and looking for ways to reduce their appearance, there may be options available for you to try!

First, the biology!

A freckle is a cluster of concentrated melanin and they are most visible on people with fair skin. Although a freckle can appear on anyone, they are genetic and are an inherited trait. The formation of freckles is triggered by exposure to sunlight. Freckles are also referred to as “ephelis”.

Social & Psychological
Some people consider freckles to be cute but others view them as an embarassment. The fact is that no one likes looking different from their friends and freckles can really make you stand out in a crowd. Freckles, although naturally occuring, can make children and teens feel different from their friends and perhaps even unattractive.

Where do freckles form?

Many people develop freckles in the areas most commonly exposed to the sun. The face including the nose and cheeks are usually the first to form patches of freckles. Other areas of the body such as the hands, back and arms may begin to develop freckles as exposure to sun and age increase. Freckles rarely form in fold areas of the body such as the armpits.

Are they dangerous?

It is easy to become concerned that spots on the skin may be a signal of another underlying condition. Freckles are not a skin disorder that requires treatment. They are a result of a lower concentration of photoprotective melanin in the skin and increased susceptibility to the damaging effects of UV radiation.

NOTE: It is important to consult with a dermatologist to determine if any new brown spots that form on your skin are dangerous or not. Skin conditions (such as skin cancer) may reveal themselves as new or irregular spots on the skin and should not be ignored. Consult with a doctor if you have any concerns.

Types and Appearance

Ephelides (simple freckles) are typically flat, round and light tan or brown. They appear most commonly on fair skinned people although they can appear on other skin types. Although the color and appearance of freckles tend to be uniform from person to person, colors may vary from reddish to yellow or even black. Most freckles are no larger than the head of an average nail.

Sunburn freckles are the result of increased exposure to the sun and burning of the skin. These will be much larger than their every day counterparts in that they are larger and have irregular borders. They appear most commonly on the back and arms (areas of the body more prone to overexposure).

How to Minimize the Appearance

Some freckles may gradually decrease in appearance over time. This is especially true during the colder months when exposure to the sun is minimized. Many people have freckles that just stay the same in appearance all year round. Minimizing the appearance of these can be a time consuming and frustrating process.

A skin lightener can be effective choice for helping to counter act the effects of hyperpigmentation in the skin. Skin lighteners decrease the appearance of brown spots of the skin to more closely match the surrounding coloration. Although these will not make freckles (or moles) disappear, they may greatly decrease their appearance.

Note: Some products may contain ingredients that can cause harm with extended use. Consult with an esthetician or dermatologist for recommendations if you are unsure or need additional information.

Prevention

Learning to prevent freckles from ever occurring is the best defense. Start by taking small steps:
Wear sunscreen (at least SPF30) daily – even in the winter!
Minimize exposure to the sun and tanning (especially burning)
Protect the skin by covering it up and wearing a brimmed hat

By taking these simple steps you may begin to see your freckles fade naturally over time. Remember that proper skin care takes dedication and determination but is achievable over time.

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!

Lotions, lotions everywhere but which one should you choose?

Have you ever stood before an aisle with over a hundred different types of skin lotions and felt that gnawing sense of being in over your head? Just like people are not the same, lotions are not the same either. A body lotion that is meant for your legs and arms has no business being spread across your face and a lotion meant for your eyes won’t have the results you want for dry hands.

Take the time to learn about why different lotions are available and which type to use for your skin. Remember that knowledge is the first step towards becoming a smarter consumer and one step further on the road to better skin care.

Body Lotion

As the name suggests, body lotion is meant to be applied to the larger areas of your body such as your arms, legs, stomach and chest. This area is generally covered by clothes and protected from the harsher elements of nature and sun (this of course changes in warmer months) and does not show signs of aging as quickly as the face, hands or neck.

Although there are many different brands and types of body lotion available, most have similar ingredients and characteristics. A general body lotion (not targeting any one specific skin type) will have more water than specialized lotions and can be used all over the main part of the body on a daily basis.

Facial Cremes

Unlike body lotions which offer the same benefits no matter where it is applied on the body, facial cremes are designed to target very specific problems and skin care issues. Since the skin on your face is thinner, it is more prone to premature aging and other skin issues.

Facial cremes are typically designed for a skin type and concern. If you had oily skin you would want an oil free moisturizer to hydrate the skin without adding excessive oils. If you had naturally dry skin you would want a thicker lotion with added oils designed to rehydrate those cells.

Mature skin that has developed fine lines and wrinkles or sagging tissue requires specialized ingredients designed to penetrate the outer layers and stimulate collagen production and restore elasticity. Although this will take time and dedication, a good skin care routine can help to minimize these issues.

Eye Creme

Even more specific is eye creme. This is usually a light-weight formula that should be applied very delicately. The tissue around the eye is very thin and delicate.  In addition, there are no oil glands directly beneath the eyes so greater moisturization helps keep wrinkles and fine lines at bay.  Select eye cremes with anti-oxidant protection to help with free radical damage from the sun.

Conclusion

Take the time to learn about conscientious skin cares and choose your products wisely. They will not do any good sitting in the cupboard when you realize they are not the best match for you so make an investment in the products that will keep you looking your best!

Are you looking for better ways to care for your skin? As the skin matures it loses elasticity, slows collagen production and can become less smooth to the touch. Fine lines and wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process but can be minimized with the help of high quality skin care products designed for aging, mature or damaged skin. As we move into a progressively more health conscious mind set it becomes more important to seek out natural or organic products to stay healthy and look our best at any age. Learn more about the healing and restorative benefits of Gotu Kola and Coconut Serum with Alpha Lipoic Acid.

What is Gotu Kola?

Vitamins, minerals and plants have been used for their restorative and health benefits for thousands of years. Ancient cultures relied upon different herbs and mixtures to cure disease, increase life span and heal wounds. Its no wonder that today many products still rely on those same natural ingredients to help restore and maintain the body.

Gotu Kola (centella asiatica) is a small plant that is native to several areas of the world including India, Sri Lanka and parts of Asia. It is a tasteless and odorless member of the parsley family.

How does it benefit the skin?

Gotu Kola (not to be confused with cola nut) has many uses in health and skin care. Some of the most important benefits for your skin include boosting circulation, improving the collagen foundation, improving firmness and increasing elasticity. This is beneficial for all skin types, including mature skin.
Gotu Kola serum is applied topically to the face and is worn beneath standard moisturizers and make up. It can be used in place of moisturizer for extremely oily skin types. Typically you would apply 2 to 3 drops on the face and rub in thoroughly. Remember that Gotu Kola, along with all other skin care products, will be most effective when used as directed. Patience is important when using any product and maximum benefits may take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months to be seen.
When used consistently and as directed Gotu Kola and Coconut serum can have wonderful restorative and repairing capabilities for the skin. This unique free-radical fighting blend of natural source vitamins and botanicals are delivered in a potent base of Alpha Lipoic Acid and DMAE that works on a molecular level to redefine and revitalize skin.

Why is Gotu Kola used specifically for skin care?

When selecting ingredients to use for skin care it is important to understand how certain ingredients affect the skin. Remember that different vitamins, minerals and plants will provide different benefits and should be selected carefully. Gotu Kola is used primarily for its impact on the metabolism of connective tissue, thereby stimulating the collagen production of the skin.

Precautions and Warnings

Your skin will absorb whatever products used on it and understanding potential risks and side effects is essential. Gotu Kola is an organic product but that does not mean that some people should not use Gotu Kola or that people with certain conditions should not consult with a doctor before use.
Consult with your doctor or pharmacy if you have liver disease, high cholesterol or diabetes. Children should not use Gotu Kola. The effect of Gotu Kola on unborn children is not known at this time – if you are pregnant consult with your health care practitioner before using products containing Gotu Kola. Consult with your doctor immediately if you develop any reaction or symptoms following use of products containing Gotu Kola such as rash, irritation, nausea, upset stomach, itching or swelling.

Choosing someone to work on your body is an important decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your like most people, you probably wonder about what sort of training a person has and if they really know what their doing. Knowledge and experience are the cornerstones that make a great therapist or esthetician but how can you choose if you don’t know what those abbreviations following their names mean? LMT, CMT…what’s the difference and how that affects you?

Use this simple guide to understand those credentials and make an informed decision!

LMT (Licensed Massage Therapist)

Most states regulate the practice of massage therapy and require licensure to practice as a massage therapist. Remember that massage manipulates the body and can impact health and functioning. A licensed massage therapist has gone through the training required by the state and has the required knowledge and competency to practice their profession. This process is non-voluntary and is the highest level of regulation.

CMT (Certified Massage Therapist)

This is publicly attesting that a service or person has reached or exceeded a certain level of quality or standard. Certification requires a certain level of educational criteria to be met in order to use this title. Certification can be in a specialized field or bodywork practice and can be received through continuing education later in a massage therapist’s career. Certification is usually through a private institution or agency and is a voluntary process.

In the United States…

Massage therapy is monitored by the states and not the federal government. This means that the standards and requirements can vary by state and should be investigated by those seeking to become massage therapists or those looking to determine what qualifications are required to become a massage therapist in their state. Most massage therapists are required to receive 500 to 1000 hours of massage training including courses on physiology and anatomy. Specialized training can vary and may require additional outside training after their initial program.

You Have Right to Know

Don’t be afraid to ask your massage therapist about their qualifications, education and experience before receiving any type of treatment or service from them. Schools will provide certificates to therapists upon completion of their program to prove they have received the training necessary. Remember that this is someone who will be working on your body and it is important to choose someone who knows what they are doing. Massage, when done improperly, can cause damage (especially to someone with existing health conditions). So learn all you can before making your decision!

Continuing Education Opportunities

As a massage therapist you have the opportunity to expand upon your basic training and become a specialist in your field. Remember that people are looking for a massage therapist that can offer them the maximum results. Try learning something new today such as the Bellanina Facelift Massage program. Offered as both a 3 day seminar or a home study course, this program will make you a leader in your field! Learn more today online at Bellanina Institute!

There is nothing like the feel of hot stones on your back.

Wait a minute, hot stones?

Yes, hot stones. Once considered a novelty in the world of massage, hot stone treatments are now one of the corner stones of massage therapy.

What is it?

Hot stone massage, as the name suggests, utilizes warmed stones of varying sizes and textures. Larger stones are used for larger areas of the body (such as the back) and smaller stones are used on smaller areas. Stones can either be used during the massage or they may be left to sit undisturbed for a specific duration of time. Hot stone massage is used to encourage faster and deeper muscle relaxation during a massage session. The stones used are typically basalt (which has high iron content) and are warmed in sanitized water prior to the massage. This particular stone warms quickly and will retain most of its heat during your massage.

Benefits

The addition of heat during a massage can elevate the relaxation experience greatly. The use of heat through stones provides a unique ability for the therapist to work deeply into the muscles with less strain. Added heat will help to improve circulation throughout the body and if a coarser texture of stone is used it will also gently exfoliate the skin. The spine is not an area of the body that is massaged but allowing heated stones to rest on the spine can calm the central nervous system.

Alternatives

Hot stone massage therapy is well known but a lesser known version utilizes cold stones. This may seem like an odd choice but cooling stones can have wonderful benefits if you have any sort of inflammation that could be aggravated by heat. During the warmer summer months this could also be extremely relaxing to use cool stones instead of their heated counterparts during your massage.

Warnings

Hot stone massage is not for everyone. Pregnant and menopausal women should not get hot stone massage treatments. Certain conditions may be aggravated by hot stone massage such as heart or circulation problems. If you have any concerns, consult with your therapist prior to your appointment.

Find Your Local Spa

Visiting the Ann Arbor area and looking for a hot stone massage? Visit the “>Bellanina Day Spa!

Just because you’re taking a break from reality doesn’t mean your skin won’t suffer the consequences. Whether you are heading to a tropical paradise or snowy ski resort, exposing your skin to the harmful elements can only lead to trouble. Be sure when you’re packing for your trip this holiday to include your Bellanina Basic Travel Kit.

Travel sized skin care products are small enough to carry easily in your purse or luggage and offer all the benefits of your home skin care regimen out on the road. Sun, cold wind, dirt and debris are all major causes of premature aging and skin conditions such as acne. It may seem like only a small break to you but every day matters in skin care and every day you leave your skin exposed is another step you’re going to need to take to repair the damage later on.

Bellanina Cleanser: A cleanser is the basic foundation of any skin care. Remember that soap can leave residue behind and therefore is not effective for truly cleaning your face and removing the build up of debris on your skin. Most soap actually has a drying effect on the skin and lead to dryness or flaking. A good cleanser should be non-abrasive and gentle remove residue without causing damage to the skin. Some cleansers contain a mild exfoliant (tiny beads or a grainy texture) that will remove dead skin cells at the same time.

Bellanina Toner: After cleansing use a clean cotton pad to apply a thin layer of toner over your face. Water has minerals that can be left behind and toner is the final clean up to ensure your skin is as clean as possible.

Botanical Moisturizer: Although removing excess oil and debris from your skin is essential to keeping it healthy, your skin thrives when it is well hydrated. After removing the natural oils it is important to rehydrate the skin with a light way, non greasy moisturizer. Using a moisturizer without excess grease and oils will prevent the skin from becoming clogged and leading to break outs. Bellanina moisturizer is great for all skin types.

Bellanina Body Lotion: Skin varies in different areas of the body and has different needs. Bellanina body lotion is a wonderful solution for dry hands, neck, chest, back and legs. Applying a thin layer after your shower or bath will rehydrate your skin and leave it feeling smooth all day long. The convenient travel size makes this easy to carry around during the day should you need a second application.

Bellanina Eye & Throat Crème: The skin around your eyes and neck is especially delicate and prone to wrinkles. Apply this lightweight moisturizer with your pinky to avoid pulling at the skin and causing damage. Massage in thoroughly and it will help to prevent fine lines and wrinkles. **Bonus Tip: Excessive squinting or grimacing can lead to wrinkles and premature aging in the face – try to remember to avoid doing this habitually to keep your skin looking smoother and younger.**

Bellanina Advanced Protection SPF30: Whether you are lying on a beach or hitting the slopes you need to cover up! The sun is detrimental to the skin and although you may be in a cold environment the sun can still cause burning. Apply at least an SPF30 every two hours (or following a swimming or showering) to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Remember that a beautiful tan today is leathery wrinkles ten years down the road.

Organic Lip Balm SPF15: Keep your lips smooth with this great organic lip balm. Dry lips can occur at any time during the year and this spf15 lip balm is a great way to protect your skin and give your lips the hydration they need to stay smooth and beautiful

The Bellanina Basics Travel kit comes in its own bag and can be easily added to your luggage or carry on bag. Don’t leave for your trip without these great essentials. It also makes a great holiday gift for friends, co-workers and family!

Have you ever even heard of milia? Probably not, although it is a very common skin condition that effects everyone from infants to the elderly. Basically it is tiny white bumps on the skin. Just like any other skin condition there are several different types and treatments available to help you banish the bumps from sight!

Milia are asymptomatic and usually occur around the eyes in children and adults. Up to half of infants in the United States develop milia at some point. In appearance they are small skin lesions (bumps) that range from pearly white to pale yellow in appearance.

Primary milia are most typically seen in infants but may occur in adults. This type typically forms around the nose and eye region. Secondary milia are seen in different blistering disorders or following dermabrasion. Milia are tiny epideremoid cysts that may be may be derived from the pilosebaceous follicle.

Causes

Primary milia may be the result of sebaceous glands that are not fully developed (thus explaining its massive occurrence during infancy). Secondary milia form following blistering or trauma and disruption to the sweat glands. This type can also develop following skin treatments such as dermabrasion or radiotherapy.

Treatment

The most important thing to remember about milia is that they are completely harmless. As a parent it may be tempting to seek treatment for your child’s skin but left alone it will treat itself over time. Basically it is tiny pockets of dead skin cells on the surface and through the natural exfoliation process and building of new skin cells, skin will heal itself and the tiny bumps will disappear.

It is important to remember that milia is not like acne and should not be “pinched” or “popped”. This could lead to significant scarring when done, especially at home. If you are very concerned over the bumps on your skin or wish to seek treatment, consult with your dermatologist.

Prevention

The best way to treat milia is to prevent it from ever developing. This is not true in the case of infant milia – an infants skin is very delicate and should not be exposed to excess cleansers or treatments. Consult with your child’s physician before taking any action.

For teens and adults a gentle exfoliation can help in the prevention of milia but will not clear up the condition once it has developed. A gentle exfoliant will help soften the skin and ease the natural exfoliation process and prevent the build up of more dead skin cells. Remember that your skin is sensitive and should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or rough scrubbing as this will only cause more damage and trauma. (Over exfoliation may actually increase the occurrence of milia on the skin so use good judgment when developing a skin care routine).

Want to learn more about proper skin care? Find us online at http://www.bellaninainstitute.com.

Have you ever sat down to study your complexion in the mirror and been less than satisfied with what your looking at? Your complexion is natural color, texture and appearance of your skin. Skin can look radiant, smooth and healthy or it can appear sallow, discolored and sickly depending on your state of health and how well you take care of your body and especially your skin.

The history of how a “good complexion” has been measured dates back to as early as ancient Greece and some of the most affluent philosophers of that age. The complexion was thought to be the result of four fluids that permeated the body. Later this was transformed into theories about balance in the body and temperaments. Health of an individual was determined by complexion but since complexions can vary between different individuals there was no one best complexion to have.

Your individual complexion is the result of biology. Skin color is determined by melanin in the cells and causes variation in tone. The overall health and appearance of your skin is determined by a variety of factors including your heredity and external factors like exposure to sun, chemicals or even the food you eat. Your skin is sensitive to the environment (both inside your body and outside) and taking proper care of your skin is an important step in maintaining a healthy complexion.

Improving your complexion doesn’t have to be a stressful task. Incorporating a simple skin care regimen into your morning or nightly routine can take years of stress and premature aging off your face. Start slow and build a routine that is custom tailored to your skins needs.

Tricks of the Trade:

1) Moisturize Daily – nothing is better for your skin than staying hydrated. Moisturize in the morning after cleansing the skin and at night before going to bed.

2) Exfoliate – Removing the dead skin cells that build up naturally over time can make a big difference in your skins natural ability to look fresh and smooth. Use a gentle exfoliant on your face and body to prevent premature fine lines and wrinkles from developing.

3) Correct now – Don’t wait for problems to become too significant to treat at home. If you notice dry patches, oily regions or uneven coloring use some preventative treatments designed specifically for your skin issue. Leaving a problem to “heal itself” can be more costly and time consuming to fix in the long run.

4) Protect Yourself – use a sun block even in the winter to protect your skin from sun damage.

5) Eat Right! Your body needs nutrients to stay healthy and your skin will reflect a balanced and healthy diet filled with vitamins, protein and minerals. Some natural ingredients (such as Vitamin C) will improve the overall look of your skin and they are frequently used in many skin care products.

They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and believe us when we say there is no more critical judge of your face than your set of eyes. Lines, wrinkles and puffiness can all contribute to signs of aging but perhaps the most frustrating problem to face is dark under eye circles. Sometimes referred to as “bags” because they can be accompanied by puffiness, this is something that affects men and women equally. Luckily there are steps you can take to banish the darkness and greet the day with eyes that look as great as you feel.

Before you can treat a problem you have to know the source. Late nights are often blamed for this occurrence but if that were the case a good night’s sleep should provide a simple cure. Anyone who has developed dark eyes knows that sometimes no matter how great your sleep was those bags still taunt you in the morning.

So what could be causing those dark shadows to develop?

Common sources of under eye circles include:

• Allergies
• Heredity
• Pigmentation Irregularities
• Nasal Congestion (there is a reason you don’t look so great when your sick)
• Thinning Skin (result of intrinsic or natural aging)
• Loss of Collagen and Elasticity (result of intrinsic or natural aging)
• Sun Exposure (result of extrinsic aging or aging influenced by the environment)
• Lifestyle Factors like smoking, drinking alcohol or caffeine

Self Treatment versus Professional Care

Seeing a specialist such as a dermatologist can be an expensive choice when dealing with a problem like under eye circles. If you are worried there might be other factors contributing to your dark eyes consult with a physician but there are several at home treatments that you can try as well.

• Cold Compress – try placing a cold or cool compress against your eyes. This can reduce dilation and puffiness temporarily.
• Pillows – an extra pillow under your head at night can prevent fluid from pooling in the lower lids.
• Get More Rest – while it is true that a lack of sleep is not a direct cause of your dark eyes, less sleep can make your eyes appear more hallow and impact the overall look and feel of your skin. Catch some extra “z’s” to keep your skin looking fresh.
• Protect Your Skin – the environment and especially the sun can wreak havoc on your skin in the long run. Overexposure can lead to a myriad of health problems to cover up when possible (sunglasses are an inexpensive way to protect the fragile skin around your eyes) and use sun block, even in the Winter.
• Make Up – Although not all make up will cover those dark circles, try an oil free concealer to help minimize the appearance. This should be paired with a cold compress to reduce puffiness at the same time.
• Serums – There are several great serums available that utilize natural ingredients to minimize the appearance of dark circles. Try using one twice daily to see incredible results!

Don’t let dark circles ruin your day! Fight back against this premature sign of aging by taking control. Home remedies may take time to show full results (allow up to 12 weeks) but are worth the investment on the road to healthier, happier skin care.