Archives for category: Cosmeceuticals

All About Vitamin A

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What it is:

Vitamin A can come in two forms: animal-based (fat-soluble) and plant-based (water-soluble).   Vitamin A derived from animal foods can be used directly by the body.  The fat-soluble or retinoids, includes retinol, retinal and retinyl esters, which are the most well-known.

A great example of the plant-derived vitamin A is retinyl palmitate, which is derived from beta carotene.  Beta carotene is recognized for its pro-vitamin activity and its metabolism takes place in a number of organs, including the skin.  With dietary supplementation, beta carotene can be further enhanced in the skin and the bioavailability of pro-vitamin A and retinol can be increased by essential fatty acid status.  Pro-vitamin A is acquired from fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids.  Carotenoids are converted to retinol by the body after the food is ingested and are effective antioxidants. Dietary sources of Vitamin A include: apricot, beef, butter, broccoli, chicken, carrot, cheddar cheese, cod liver oil, eggs, fish liver, kale, milk, mangos, spinach, pork, peas, pumpkin, sweet potato and turkey.  The maximum recommended daily intake is around 10,000 IUs.

In the Body:

Vitamin A plays an integral role in keeping the body and skin functioning by boosting vision, as an essential component in the protein the absorbs light in the retinal receptors, stimulating the production and activity of white blood cells, helping maintain the health of the cells lining the body’s interior surfaces, taking part in remodeling bone, regulates cell growth and division, and improving the function of the immune system.

Skin effects of vitamin A deficiency affects epithelial tissue, increase keratinization, and facilitates delayed wound healing.  Vitamin A deficiency has been linked to keratosis pillars, sometimes referred to as chicken skin.  It manifests as pesky, red, inflamed bumps that appears on the back, arms, thighs, and even buttocks.  In more extreme cases, a lack of Vitamin A manifests into phyrnoderma, otherwise known as toad skin, which is more intense and includes raised plaques that can appear on all areas of the body.  Supplements high in Vitamin A can work on a number of different skin issues.

Vitamin A is part of the body’s natural repair system.  The body stores vitamin A, or retinol, for use in the production of new collagen.  As the body ages, its ability to produce and store vitamin A is diminished, making topical application all the more necessary.

History of Topicals:

Since its debut in the 1960’s, vitamin A has been a gold standard of the skin care industry.  In 1969, James E. Fulton, Albert Kligman, and Gerd Plewig, medical doctors at the University of Pennsylvania, developed the retinoic acid concentrations for the treatment of acne.  Researchers at the University of Michigan noticed that users in the study group also experienced a softer skin texture and fewer wrinkles.  This discovery led to Retin-A being approved by the FDA for use in the treatment of photodamaged skin, meaning skin affected by exposure to sun resulting in wrinkles, roughness, altered texture, decrease in collagen, hyperpigmentation and decrease of epidermal thickness.  Because of its tendency for irritation, this Retin-A formulation is available by prescription only in a strength of .01-.05%.

Gentler all-trans retinols, vitamin A palmitate and vitamin A propionate, are commonly found in over-the-counter products.  The skin has the natural ability to transform all tretinion into retinoic acid (Retin-A), but because the skin acts as a guard gate for the body, it is very partial about restricting large molecules with long-carbon chains from passing through the outer layer of the skin.  Vitamin A palmiate was commonly found for many years in over-the-counter cosmetic products and heavily marketed as the cousin of Retin-A.  It has a very large molecule and a 36-carbon chain that oxidizes quite slowly.  Poorly converted by the skin into retinoic acid, it is easily degraded by oxygen and sunlight.

In 1990, James E. Fulton patented vitamin A propionate.  It contains a 23-carbon chain and, with use over a longer period, this short-chain retinol gives similar results to Retin-A without the excessive redness and irritation.  Vitamin A propionate accelerates the body’s natural cell renewal cycle from 30 days to between 10-14 days.  With its shorter chain, the results are far superior to vitamin A palmitate.  In a strength of 1%, it is about as effective as a .01% retinoic acid, or Retin-A.

For the Skin:

Vitamin A is a pivotal player when it comes to treating acne.  It helps reduce the thickening of the skin due to retention hyperkeratosis, or holding onto too many skin cells, and it can help balance oil production.  Vitamin A reduces the process of hyperkeratinization, which is an abnormal clumping up of cells in the hair follicle, leading to impactions.  This reversal of comedogenesis, a primary factor in acne, can clear up acne and, with continued use, halt the acne process.

While vitamin A is a highly effective treatment for acne vulgaris, it is also an incredibly potent anti-aging treatment.  As it ages, the skin’s cell turnover rate begins to decline rapidly, leaving a dull and devitalized skin tone, as well as visible fine lines and wrinkles.  Vitamin A can help speed up skin cell turnover rate and create a smoother, more even skin texture.   In the skin, retinol is converted to retinal and then to retinoic acid.  Retinoic acid modifies gene expressions and influences cellular processes in both the dermis and the epidermis.  Vitamin A influences epidermal variation, controlling growth factors, inhibiting sebacecous gland activity, and suppressing androgen formation.  Severely photodamaged skin has an abnormal thickening of the stratum corneum, or outermost layer of the epidermis.  Applying a topical vitamin A normalizes this.  This reduction of keratin cells in the stratum corneum gives the skin a rosy, healthy glow and reduces the appearance of fine lines.  The thinning of the stratum corneum also enhances the ability of topical products to better react with the skin.

Retinyl palmitate will increase collagen and enhance DNA, skin thickness and elasticity.  Retinol boosts collagen production and increases cell renewal.  Prolonged application of topical vitamin A derivatives have been demonstrated to increase dermal thickness and stimulate collagen production, significantly reducing facial wrinkles for a youthful complexion.  Believed to aid in exfoliation, topical retinol products can also be sensitizing.  Advise clients when first starting with this to use once or twice a week initially to up the skin’s tolerance.  Vitamin A is an extremely effective ingredient for anti-aging.  It diminishes fine lines and wrinkles, significantly improves uneven skin tone, smooths and refines the skin surface, and increases the appearance of firmness.  Vitamin A is a smart addition to your night regimen.

Check out our awesome Vitamin A products!

Retinol Night Creme, Matrix Oil, Vit A & Retinol Night Masque

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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.

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.

Are you a massage therapist, esthetician or health/wellness provider seeking a way to build your business and learn a new technique that is less stressful on your body and beneficial for your clients?  Perhaps you are already a Bellanina Facelift Massage Practitioner who is looking for CEs in 2013.

Look no further than the Bellanina Facelift Massage! In 2011, Bellanina  “enhanced” their signature technique by incorporating Thai massage, acupressure and a full body energy release into their already time-tested approach to holistic skin care.  Our homestudy course is NCBTMB approved for 16 CE credits for all new students and for returning practitioners who want to learn the new and improved protocol.

Imagine an all natural, holistic approach to obtaining and maintaining younger, smoother and healthier looking skin at any age. The Bellanina Facelift Massage is the answer you have been looking for to decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, tone facial muscles and release unblock stuck energy.

 Since 1989, the Bellanina Facelift Massage has been utilized by thousands of clients around the world. We have seen some amazing results including:

Decrease in bags under the eyes 

Firmer cheeks and jaw line

Neck appears smoother

Naso-labial fold lines soften

Skin looks smoother and skin tone evens

Youthful glow

Our clients tell us that the Bellanina Facelift Massage has been the best choice they have made to improve the look and feel of their skin!
                

Before & After (untouched photos)

What our students say…..
“I have taken many modalities as a massage therapist, reflexologist, etc., but your course hands down has such a fantastic income potential. In addition, I find it very creative and the results are amazing. I have done “Bellanina” on all ages, even those women who are in their 70’s and think this is it and they better make the best of what they have and then there is “Bellanina Facelift Massage.” I have a client who is 76 years old, when I finish the Bellanina Facelift Massage, her attitude and feeling of self worth becomes transformed. She told me, “I feel beautiful!”. I just wanted to share that with you and THANK YOU 100 times over for giving me the opportunity of learning and being certified as a “Bellanina Facelift Specialist”.Lauretta I, New York

Several times each month – Nina Howard (Bellanina Founder) hosts a FREE educational webiner at 3:30 P.M (EST) to explain the many benefits of Bellanina Facelift Massage, how this technique can build your business and answer all your questions at the end!

Visit our website www.bellaninainstitute.com to register for this event! Remember, this is a FREE webinar with master trainer, Nina Howard and a chance to learn about the most exciting approach to skin care available today!

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.

Okay so maybe you haven’t had a chance to hear about the next big thing for your skin but its showing up everywhere! Hyaluronic acid (sometimes referred to as Hyaluronan) is found in the connective tissue of the body. What does it do? It is responsible for the cushioning and lubrication of the joints.

So now you may be thinking…wait a minute, isn’t this article about skin care?

How right you are! The skin actually contains 50% of the hyaluronic acid found in the body. Hylauronic acid is essential for the vital functioning of many key systems including skin, heart valves, joints and even the eyes! Its benefits to the skin lie in the benefits to collagen production and keeping it hydrated.

Collagen keeps the skin looking plump and youthful. Without proper hydration and production the skin (especially facial tissue) will begin to wrinkle and sag. Hyaluronic acid plays a key role in ensuring that skin production continues properly and continues to stay youthful and smooth. Using products containing hayaluronic acid can lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles significantly on the face.

Many skin care products (especially geared towards anti aging) contain hyaluronic acid. It can be a topical application or injection. A great product is Hydra Gel which will replenish moisture for users of glycolic acid or vitamin C products. It provides extra hydration to counteract the damages environment wreak on the skin. Contains a high percentage of hyaluronic acid that naturally softens the skin while helping it attract and retain moisture. Vitamin B5 fortifies giving a silky texture. Willowherb extract naturally calms and revitalizes.

As with all skin care products, speak with a dermatologist or skin care professional for questions relating to any skin or health concerns you have prior to use. It is important to pay close attention to any reactions you have and discontinue use of product if you notice any symptoms such as redness, swelling, itching or burning.

Final Thoughts

Beat your dry skin blues by replenishing the body with products containing hyaluronic acid. Remember that proper hydration is necessary for optimal body functioning and although this is a naturally produced substance in our body, changing hormone levels may effect how well our bodies produce it. Sometimes nicknamed as the “fountain of youth”, remember that this, as with all skin care products, is not a supplement for taking care of your skin with healthy diet, exercise and taking care of your body every day.