Archives for category: blemish treament

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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.

Warmer weather means t-shirts, shorts and sandal season is just around the corner. As you start to dig through our summer wardrobe and make sure everything still fits, you may notice that your skin is not looking so hot. No, we don’t mean pale skin from being covered all winter (although we have a solution for that as well).

Winter skin is a common occurrence because during the colder months we tend to cover much of our bodies and therefore fall out of our good skin care habits. As the sun comes out though and the time has come to slip into a pair of shorts however you may notice that your legs are not looking so great. So what can you do to get back to fighting shape?

1) Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate!
We can’t emphasize the importance of exfoliation enough when it comes to good skin care. Sure, you may shower every day but that is not enough. Even if you are using a loofah which promises to exfoliate your skin every time you shower…it’s not enough. Exfoliation means using a cleanser that has been specially designed to penetrate those dead skin cells and remove them without causing damage to healthy skin below.

Look for a good cleanser with micro beads to really help your skin to look fresh and ready for summer. A body cleanser will typically use a rougher texture than a facial exfoli-cleanser so shop carefully. Exfoliating cleanser help aid in healthy skin production by removing those built up layers of dead skin. Failing to exfoliate at least 2-3 times per week leads to dryness, flaking and eventually…wrinkles.

2) Moisturize Daily!
Skin thrives on being properly hydrated. If you have dry skin naturally it is even more important to moisturize in the morning and before going to bed. If you have oily skin and are prone to break outs, search for an oil-free moisturizer that will seal in good oils without adding anymore.

3) Cover Up!
Yeah, we know you want to get that fabulous summer tan but don’t lay out in the sun “baking” for hours on end. Not only is that exposing the skin to those harmful UV rays we have all heard about, but it is drying your skin out even more and causing irreparable cellular damage.
A good SPF 30 will protect the skin and keep it looking great all summer. Try a combo moisturizer and SPF to do double the good. If you are really looking for a healthy summer “glow”, try a sunless tanner.

4) Change the products to match the season!
Winter meant heavy moisturizers to combat dry and chapped skin. As summer rolls in it is time to swap out your products for lighter products. A light weight and non greasy moisturizer will feel more comfortable as the temperatures start to rise. Remember, in the summer you will sweat more and (if you’re outdoorsy) be more exposed to dirt, grime and other environmental elements. Your pores will retain much of this build up so don’t increase it more with thick moisturizers.
Bonus Tip – Wash your skin daily to avoid build up and summer acne!

5) Develop a routine and stick with it!
Daily skin care is like a daily workout. At first it may be difficult to get into the habit but eventually you will wonder how you ever went without it. We recommend pairing your daily skin routine with something that you do daily already. Taking the time to wash your face with a good exfoliator right after brushing your teeth (for example) would get it out of the way and eventually just become something you do automatically.
Don’t think of skin care as something that is nice to do but not really necessary. As we age the skin requires just as much maintenance as any other area of the body. Taking care of it now will prevent future problems and keep it looking smoother, younger and healthier as you get older.

6) Do your homework!
A fancy bottle or a name brand does not ensure high quality products. If you are battling a specific skin issue especially, take the time to research the product ingredients and the company. Over the counter moisturizers and cleansers seem like a good deal but not when they are more water than anything else! Investing in high quality products will be more effective and have longer lasting results.
Check with a local esthetician or dermatologist for questions about your specific skin care needs. Remember that a commitment to great skin means taking the time to choose the right products and use them as directed.

Look great this summer with younger, smoother looking skin. Remember these six steps and your skin is sure to look fabulous all year round!

Sensitive skin has become one of those “catch all” phrases that describes a variety of things but does not carry a clear definition. Millions of people have sensitive skin but what does that mean exactly? Do they react badly to skin care protects? Are they especially affected by exposure to the sun? Do certain types of fabrics cause problems?

It’s easy to understand why the term “sensitive skin” may carry different meanings for different people. For example: if someone is complaining about sensitive skin to their esthetician, do they mean they are allergic to certain products or perhaps their skin simply reacts to certain ingredients more intensely than most people do. With so much variation in how a person may define their “sensitive” skin, it is important to understand how they are defining the term, sensitive.

Acne or Rosacea: Skin that is especially sensitive to products may react by producing acne or inflaming an existing rosacea condition. Excessive oils in products can easily clog the pores for people with this type of sensitivity. Instead of using products specially designed for “sensitive skin”, search for the underlying problem such as oily skin or inflamed skin.

Burning and Stinging: Some people apply a skin care product and immediately (or even after a few minutes) begin to experience a “burning or stinging” sensation on the face. This is not necessarily the same as an allergic reaction. Usually the cause of this sensation cannot be pinned down and remains unknown. Some ingredients have been known to cause this reaction more frequently including: lactic acid, azaelic acid, benzoic acid, glycolic acid, vitamin c and AHA’s.
A dermatologist may perform a test (once again, not an allergy test) to determine which ingredient the skin in reacting to so a patient can avoid products that will invoke a reaction. Currently there is no substantive research to determine why the skin will responds this way or a treatment that will work for everyone when it occurs. Usually removal of the product will reduce the sensation and it will go away on its own after a few minutes to several hours (depending on the original application amount).

Contact Dermatitis (Allergies): Finally, the issue most people refer to when they talk about sensitive skin. This refers to a specific allergy to a product, material or ingredient that causes an adverse reaction. An allergen is a reaction to a specific ingredient which your body is producing anti-bodies to combat the reaction. This is not the same as an irritant which will cause a reaction when applied to the skin (such as bleach on skin) but your body is not actively fighting as an allergy.

Trying to Determine the Cause: When a dermatologist is searching for the cause of an allergic reaction, they will need to rely heavily on a patient’s history to narrow down possible suspects. Remember, doctors need complete disclosure of any product usage to obtain accurate results. When you withhold critical information for one reason or another, it prolongs the process and could lead to misdiagnosis and unnecessary additional tests to find an unknown cause.

Avoiding the Problem: If you are shopping for new products or want to undergo any skin care treatment, make sure to inform your esthetician of any adverse reactions you’ve had prior to your appointment. This will prevent complications when specialized products are used. Remember that many spa products use higher concentrations of ingredients to obtain more dramatic results so telling your esthetician in advance can prevent a severe reaction.

Conclusion: Searching for products geared towards “sensitive skin” can be a waste of time and money if you don’t know to root of your problem. Determining a true allergy versus and irritation can help resolve a lot of mystery and ensure you have proper treatment should an allergic reaction occur. Remember that not all skin reactions require medical attention but if you have any concerns or contact with potentially dangerous materials, contact your primary care physician immediately. A referral to a skin care specialist may be necessary for especially sensitive care cases or concerns.

Learn more great skin care tips online at http://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!

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!