Archives for category: correct skin care

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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

Did you know that your most important cosmetic is water? That’s right, the most essential nutrient our skin needs is inexpensive and right at our fingertips and all of the creams, lotions and serums we have in our cosmetic bags aren’t going to have their intended affect if we don’t get enough of it.

Water makes up 50 to 70 percent of the body’s overall composition.waterfall

Blood 83% water
Heart 79% water
Muscle 76% water
Brain 75% water
Skin 72% water
Bone 22% water

 

Water  performs many functions in the body. Inside our cells, it provides the medium in which necessary chemical reactions occur. It is the basis of our internal transport systems, the blood and the lymph. Water is essential in regulating the body’s temperature. It aids in waste removal and lubricates our joints.

Although our skin is the largest organ, the water we intake reaches all of the other organs we have first. When we don’t drink enough water, our skin becomes dehydrated resulting in dry, tight, flaky skin with a dull tone.

It is important to keep the skin hydrated. To keep the skin smooth and bright, experts say to drink at least six 8 ounce glasses of water a day or more if you are sweating or exercising. If you aren’t drinking enough water, give your kidneys and digestive system a chance to adjust by adding increments of 8 ounces a day at a time. If you think water is too bland, spice it up by adding a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint or fresh fruit that has been frozen into an ice cube.

Doesn’t drinking more water cause bloating and water retention? Exactly the opposite, by helping to rid the body of any excess sodium, drinking more water actually results in less water retention. If you drink too little water, the body will hold on to it, resulting in more fluid retention.

Besides drinking water, you also get water from many of the foods you eat. About 80% of our water comes from drinking beverages and 20% from eating foods. Although all beverages count toward our daily water intake, the best is calorie and sodium free water.   Please note that alcohol is a dehydrator. If you want to partake, try drinking one glass of water for each alcoholic beverage to counterbalance the dehydrating effect.

In addition to drinking enough water, hydrate your skin by:

  1. Applying a moisturizer within minutes of bathing as this allows better absorption. Try our Bellanina Botanical Moisturizer with hyaluronic acid
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    Botanical Moisturizer

    which attracts and hold water to the skin.

  2. Serums containing hyaluronic acid such as Copper Peptide Hydrating Serum or Hydra Gel.

Protect your face from the sun by wearing sunblock. Apply moisturizer on your hands after washing to restore lost hydration. Exfoliate your body during your shower or bath to remove dead skin cells.

All this is wonderful advice but when is the last time someone told you to take care of your elbows?

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Elbows, that’s right. This skin is exposed to just as much (if not more) damage as the rest of your body but is      usually overlooked when you begin to develop a skin care routine.

Take a look at your elbows now: is the skin dry, rough, or even darker in color than the rest of your arm? Do      you routinely lean your elbow against a desk or wall? How often do you take the time to really moisturize your elbows at night or in the morning?

The skin on your elbows is thicker to protect your elbow bone. It is much thicker than the skin around your eyes, for example. This means that it is designed to withstand more exposure to abusive activities but it does not mean it is immune to being damaged as a result.

Thicker skin is more prone to dryness, especially in the winter. Add to that exposure to rough surfaces such as wood or plastic (from leaning on a desk perhaps?) or even your clothes can all cause your skin to become dry and rough.

The solution?

Usually a regular moisturizer won’t be a remedy since this skin is so thick. It requires extra care. So the first step is to remember to EXFOLIATE your elbows in the shower. Exfoliation removes the built up dead skin cells. A proper skin care routine should routinely exfoliate your skin (the whole body, not just the face) every other day.

Deep treatment is usually needed to reverse the existing damage to your elbows. Petroleum jelly is a wonderful (and inexpensive) way to help restore lost moisture. Apply a thick coat to your elbows at night (cover with a cloth to protect your sheets – an old sock with the toes cut off would work wonderfully) and repeat for 5-10 days.

After 5-10 days, apply a body lotion (avoid any containing alcohol as this can irritate and dry skin out) every day. Remember to keep exfoliating your skin to prevent a reoccurrence.

Still not working?

You may need to check with a dermatologist to rule out any other skin concerns or conditions which may be resulting in dry skin. A dermatologist can prescribe stronger treatments to help reduce dryness and reverse the problem if there is an underlying medical condition.

Final thoughts

Treat your skin with love and care – remember that proper daily skin care can prevent signs of aging and more serious skin conditions from developing. As we age, your skin will require more care to maintain a healthy, youthful glow but when incorporated as part of your daily routine (like working out) the benefits will far outweigh the time you need to spend maintaining your skin every day. Learn more online at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

Everyone at some point in their life will have chapped lips. Whether it is a mild annoyance or a serious interference on your everyday life, chapped lips should never just be ignored.

What causes chapped lips?

Chapped lips can occur for many reasons. Common causes include:

  • Dry/Cold weather: During the winter especially, staying inside and relying on forced air can dry out the skin, especially the lips and lead to cracking skin.
  • Medications: certain medications, such as those containing retinoids, high doses of vitamin a or certain chemotherapy medications can lead to dry skin, especially in the lips.
  • Dehydration: a lack of hydration affects all areas of your body, including the delicate skin on your lips.
  • Frequently licking your lips: it may sound counter-intuitive but frequently licking your lips can actually remove moisture and cause your lips to feel drier and begin to crack. Side note: bacteria from your mouth can enter these tiny cracks and cause infections – this can lead to serious medical problems that require medication.

How can they be fixed?

The good news is many over-the-counter remedies will work to smooth your lips and restore proper hydration. Here are some simple tips to remember:

  • Your lips need to be protected just like the rest of your skin. Choose a lip balm with SPF to prevent any damage from UV rays.
  • Avoid flavored lips balms which encourage licking as these will remove the balm and cause your lips to dry out further.
  • Lips balms with aloe vera and vitamin e may help to reduce redness and irritation.
  • Reapply frequently as lip balm gets removed by daily activities such as talking and eating.

One product that really works is Vibran C .  

When to seek medical attention

Persistent dry lips which do not respond to at-home treatment options should be looked at by a medical professional. Remember that your skin is an indicator of overall health and you should not ignore persistent skin issues, even if they seem inconsequential.

Celebrities everywhere seem to have the flawless, gorgeous skin we are all looking for. How is this possible? There are many reasons but first and foremost it is important to remember that celebrities are not immune to the same skin concerns that frustrate the rest of us. In fact, they may be more irritating since celebrities are under scrutiny 24/7 and the slightest flaw is brought to everyone’s attention.

So what is the magic potion they use to look so great? A large team of estheticians, dermatologists, personal trainers and a healthy amount of technology are all that’s needed. Anyone can look flawless when they have that kind of support.

But what about regular, every day people who don’t have the time and money to invest in a “beauty squad”? Is all hope lost?

Not at all. In fact, with a little determination and dedication, you can keep your skin looking more youthful and vibrant all the time.

How we treat our skin when we are young plays a major role in our appearance later on. Sad but true. Hours spent tanning or forgetting to moisturize daily when you are 20 can directly impact how your skin looks at 40. Although this impacts your whole body, facial skin is perhaps the most delicate because it is much thinner than the skin on your back, hands, legs or chest. Remember- just because you can’t see the damage right away doesn’t mean it’s not there.

If you have begun to notice small lines around your eyes or mouth, it is time to get serious about taking better care of your skin. Develop a daily skin care routine designed for mature skin and make sure to follow it every day.

Here are a few basic tips:

1)     Cleanse daily. Every morning, every night. If you do nothing else, do this. Your skin collects dirt, debris and bacteria. It is build up that clogs pores, leaves skin looking tired and creates other skin issues later on.

2)     Protect your skin: when you garden, drive, swim, whatever. Always wear a sunblock of at least SPF 30 and re-apply often. All too often we apply once and assume we are covered for an entire day. This is not so. Sunscreen should be re-applied every two hours.

3)     Moisturize: Just as it is important to remove the bad from your skin, you should always maintain the good. Hydrated skin looks and feels better. Use a cosmeceutical grade moisturizer to penetrate the surface layer and really help your skin cells to build collagen and elastin.

There are simple tricks to looking your best like eating healthy, exercise and keeping a happy and stress free life. Believe it or not the health of your skin can be affected by everything you encounter! But just because you may have celebrated (or scorned) your last birthday because you turned 50, it doesn’t mean you have to act or look like your 50.

Learn more about anti-aging skin care at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

“If you hold your face like that, it will get stuck!”

As we age, our skin slowly loses its elasticity. Add to that repetitive facial holding patterns (such as scowling, frowning, eyebrow furrowing) and you get deep lines around the mouth, eyes and nose. As children, those lines would disappear as soon as we stopped making faces but as an adult, those lines soon show up all the time. What can you do?

Stop making faces.

This may seem like a no-brainer but it’s actually much harder than it sounds. When you stare at a computer screen for long periods, read for hours on end or concentrate on a single task, it is easy to forget to relax your face. Think about it: how many times have you realized that you have been staring at a computer screen while squinting your eyes for several minutes? It may seem like nothing but all those minutes add up fast!

Quick fix: Make an effort to take frequent breaks while working. This doesn’t need to be a long break to get a cup of coffee. Just make an effort to look away from the computer screen for 30 seconds every few minutes and allow your face a chance to relax. This goes for any other project requiring long periods of concentration.

Long-term solution: Facial lines are not necessarily permanent but do require an active effort to smooth out. Deeper lines, once they have formed, may never disappear entirely. Remember that skin care is a daily responsibility and with an active effort, you can keep your skin looking smooth and vibrant.

            Choose a good moisturizer: A loss of elastin as we age is a main culprit of lines and wrinkles. Choose a good daily moisturizer that is designed for mature skin. A moisturizer combined with an SPF of at least 30 (Sheer Moisturizer SPF 30) will not only protect your skin against harmful damage but also provide hydration at the same time.

Serums: Finding the correct products for your needs can seem like a daunting task but remember there are trained estheticians available who can help you develop a customized skin care system. Corrective products will help your skin to restore its natural functioning (which can deteriorate with age) and keeps it looking healthier. Products like our Alpha Lipoic Serum penetrate the outer layer of the skin (which is what you want in a corrective product) to help achieve long-term results.

The earlier you begin a daily skin care routine, the better your chances are to keep your skin looking better. Mature skin has special concerns and may require more targeted skin care products to achieve lasting results. Consult with your esthetician to develop your skin care routine. Learn more online at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

We all know that wrinkles come with age. They are a natural part of the aging process and no matter how well we take care of our skin, eventually fine lines and wrinkles will begin to form.

Is age the only reason we start getting wrinkles?

Not even close. It doesn’t take much digging to realize that seemingly harmless activities we engage in every day can cause wrinkles to develop over time. Repetitive behaviors are actually a major source of most signs of premature aging. The best defense? Knowing what these are and making a conscious effort to stop doing them!

Sleeping patterns: How you sleep can make a major impact on how you look when you wake up and how you age. If you like to sleep on your side or stomach, you are holding your face against the pillow and helping wrinkles to develop. Remember – even if you are sleeping only for a couple of hours at a time, you are holding your face pushed up against something in one position.

Straws:  Just like sleeping holds your face in one position, so does sipping a straw or chewing on objects like a toothpick or pen. This leads to lines developing around the mouth (usually caused by pursing your lips or grimacing frequently).

Not Wearing Sunglasses:  If you are out in the sun and not wearing sunglasses you might start squinting frequently. This is also common for people who spend a good portion of their day looking at a computer monitor. Frequent squinting means lines will develop in the delicate eye area (which is especially prone to early aging).

So what’s the lesson?

Always be conscious of what you are doing and avoid falling into bad “aging” habits.

Want to learn more about how to reverse the signs of aging? Visit us online at www.bellaninainstitute.com. We offer a full line of Bellanina Cosmeceuticals which are specifically formulated to reverse or minimize wrinkles, sagging, fine lines, dryness and sun damage.

Did you know that not all skin care masques (masks) are the same? With the right masque, you can keep your skin looking more vibrant all year long.

A masque is typically used as the “treatment” portion in any skin care routine or spa service. It is done less frequently (usually 1-2 times per week at home) and targets specific skin concerns. Although a masque is a great way to deep clean your skin, they serve many other functions as well, including:

Tightening & toning the skin
Nourish skin cells
Hydrate dry skin
Calm irritated skin
Decrease the appearance of blemishes

There are many different types of masques available and they all reply upon different ingredients to obtain maximum results. Some common types include clay, cream, honey and setting masques.

Clay – these are great for drawing out dirt and oil from the skin. This is a good option for people with oily skin that is acne prone.

Cream – these are wonderful for hydrating and refreshing your skin. Choose cream based masques if you have dry or sensitive skin that needs extra nourishment.

Honey – did you know that honey is a wonderful hydrator for the skin? Honey softens and revitalizes the skin while providing antibacterial benefits and immune system support. Honey stimulates the regrowth of tissue, strengthens capillaries and the fibroblasts needed for healing.

Setting – these masques harden after application and then are removed. This masque can be time more time consuming and difficult to use at home but they are extremely effective for many common skin concerns/conditions.

Remember – it is never too early (or too late) to develop a skin care routine. By properly caring for your skin, you can prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging, increase toning and tightening and keep your skin look fresh and healthy. Learn more about better skin are at www.bellaninainstitute.com.

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.

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!