Archives for category: Skin Care

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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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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First Look:  Clean and classy environment, minimal waiting time in a relaxing and inviting area with a friendly greeting.

Listen Closely:  Start by asking what bothers them about their skin or what they would like to learn.  Listen critically.  Offer solutions to what bothers THEM, not what bothers you about their skin.  For instants if they say they “look old” ask them what that means.  Do not assume anything!

Solar Effect:  Clients may not realize the extent of their sun damage, use UV imaging if possible.

Choices:  Once you know their concerns offer two or three solutions for each.  This gives them a variety of options and price points.

Don’t Rush It: Give yourself enough time for consultations.  Depending on the services you offer, 30 minutes may be needed to discuss each issue without making clients feel rushed.  This also helps to build trust.

Make A Deal:  Consider offering a discount for same day or shortly after booked appointments.  Using a “limited time offer” deal can reel people in.

Ask the Right Questions:  Be aware of what you say at the end of the consult; instead of “Would you like to make an appointment?”, ask “Which service would you like to book?” or “When can you start those treatments?”.  Assuming the sale is a time-proven tool to increase conversions.

Be Persistent:  Follow up is vital.  If the client leaves without booking call or email them in a few days and ask if they have any questions.  Be sure they receive notifications about specials and events you are having.  If they do book send them a handwritten thank you note.

Remember the time and energy you put into consultations in important to your overall success.  If the client has a relaxing, friendly and informative experience interacting with your business, the chances of them becoming a life-long client are high.

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

 

DIY Pumpkin Honey Facial Mask Recipe:

What you’ll need:

-A few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin

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

-One tablespoon of plain yogurt (for exfoliation)

-One tablespoon of honey (to clear breakouts)

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The three most important things about starting your massage practice: set clear goals, understand your budget and create a professional image.

Your Goals:  Write down specific concrete goals you would like to accomplish and the specific time period in which you would like them to be completed.  Some goals would be:  What amount of income you’d like to make by the end of your first year, any additional certificates you wish to earn, and other business related goals.  Also, write down what is standing in the way of you achieving these goals, and what steps you need to take to overcome these obstacles.  Seek advice from a mentor or successful colleague and try to connect with them regularly.

Your Budget:  Create a realistic budget before opening your business.  Make sure you consider your living expenses while you grow your cliental.  Being self-employed doesn’t always mean you will bring home a paycheck.  Figuring out your break-even point is crucial; what are the costs and overhead you need to stay afloat.  Depending on your location, keep in mind rent, utilities, internet and phone, furnishings, equipment, licensing, insurance, taxes, supplies, advertising, etc.  It’s always good to keep a plan B in mind.  If you need to book 18 services a week to break-even but are only booking 13, then you are losing money.  Most people can’t continue on without hitting or exceeding their break-even point.  Remember, you still haven’t even paid yourself at this point.  For example, if your expenses total to $1200 for the month and you charge $65 per service, you would need to perform at least 19 services that month just to break-even.  You also need to keep in mind your personal living expenses, rent/mortgage, car payment, insurance, credit card payments, utilities, phone and cable, child care, groceries, etc.  If your personal expenses, for example, total $2800, added to your business expenses would equal $4000.  This would mean, just to break-even you would need to provide at least 62 services at $65.  This means you would need to do about 15-16 services a week.  Again, this wouldn’t result in any salary of your own, nor would it account for any vacation time or adding unexpected expenses.  Make sure you’re realistic about the ability to sustain your business before you begin your transition to self-employment.

Your Image:  Create your image from day one and keep that in mind with all aspects of your business.  This image you present will be represented in many ways, not just the look and feel of your location but also in the way you and your staff dress, your logo and the way in which you market your business.  For example, most people don’t know what LMT means, consider spelling it out (Sarah Johnson, Licensed Massage Therapist) to ensure clarity.   You can also bring out the style you like to convey but still show the public who you are with your business name.  For example, Sarah Johnson Massage Center, Sarah’s Day Spa, Johnson Medical Massage Therapy or Sarah’s Mind & Body Healing; all of these have a clear message but convey very different atmospheres.  Remember not to use a vague name, like Sarah’s Center, people need to know what services you are providing.

You should, also, consider your image when it comes to your marketing.  This day and age people automatically assume all businesses have a website, this is crucial for your business and now websites are typically pretty cheap to make and maintain with many easily accessible templates available.  Offering your full menu, appointment booking, gift cards, and social media links, like Facebook, on your website can be a great way to maintain current cliental and intrigue new clients.  Again, don’t forget about your image when it comes to your online presents.  If you have a modern urban spa feel at your location, don’t put pictures of beaches throughout your website.  Business cards are also very important.  A great way to expand your business is to go to local establishments like banks, boutiques, cafes and hair salons asking if they would display your card, this is great free advertising.  Also, carry your business cards around with you at all times to hand to potential new clients.  Another great way to advertise in an inexpensive way, is to make reusable bags or t-shirts and wear/use them around town as you do your usual errands.  Consider your logo in this regard, keep your image in mind.  A logo of business card that includes a board certified image gives an entirely different feel than one with a yin yang symbol.

Lastly, think about what you and your employees should wear regularly to continue the image you are looking for.  Are you more medical?; then go with scrubs.  Or maybe you like a spa feel; consider a semi-casual all black look, this helps the focus stay on the client without being overly formal.  Whatever you choose, remember, cohesion is key.

In conclusion, set concrete but achievable goals, budget carefully and realistically, and create the image you want to make your business successful.  There are many visions of success, make sure this one is defined by you.

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Honey has been used in ayurvedic, or whole-body, medicines dating back over 3,000 years.  It has been a favorite of nutritionists, dietitians and naturopaths due to its extraordinary health benefits. It is also widely used for its therapeutic effects.  Honey contains nearly 200 substances; it is rich in natural sugars like fructose and glucose along with essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, fructo-oligosaccharides, and amino acids.  It also contains flavonoids, phenolic, acids, ascorbic acid, tocopherols, catalase, superoxide, dismutase, reduces glutathione, and peptides.  Honey is anti-viral, wound healing; it is used to treat chronic skin ulcers.  It increases cell growth and provides antimicrobial activity.  Honey promotes cell proliferation and anti-aging of the skin.

The Bellanina Honeylift Invigorating Massage Lotion improves hydration and exfoliates the skin while bringing cellular rejuvenation to dull, lackluster skin.  Through tappotment massage strokes, blood and oxygen is circulated, tissue is cleansed and a rosy glow is imparted to the face.  Tapping on major acupressure points gives a deeper level of relaxation while clearing energy meridians of stagnant chi and providing healing benefits to other organs of the body.  Honey is an antibacterial and has been found to provide immune system support.

A key component of the Bellanina Facelift Massage treatment, Bellanina Honeylift Invigorating Massage Lotion is made from pure, organic honey and orange blossom essential oil.  This sophisticated massage lotions 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.  It also encourages the dermis to develop new connective tissue and speeds up the growth of epithelial cells.  Honeylift is designed to delight your senses and provide wonderful, natural face-lifting benefits.

This natural and delicious ingredient could only be referred to as liquid gold.