Archives for category: skin conditions

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?

elbow2

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.

Changes in your skin should be examined by someone with extensive knowledge of proper skin care and conditions. But how do you know who to contact?

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in the treatment of skin. This means they have attended medical school (just like your regular doctor) and have received extra training to care for the skin. They are capable of prescribing medications and medical treatments for skin conditions. They are able to diagnose skin conditions and perform surgery.

An esthetician (sometimes known as a skin care therapist) has attended a trade school and passed a state board exam. Schooling requirements range by state (usually 3-6 months). Estheticians have received training on skin care treatment such as facials, body wraps, skin analysis, microdermabrasion, peels and other skin care techniques to improve the look and feel of your skin. They cannot diagnose skin conditions or prescribe medications however they can recommend over-the-counter treatments for common skin care concerns.

Now, how do decide who to see first?

That depends on your skin concerns, symptoms and medical history. These are all factors to consider and should not be taken lightly. A good rule of thumb is:

If you’re seeking skin care maintenance or cosmetic concerns, start with an esthetician. Estheticians can help with acne, dry skin, maturing skin and even some common concerns such as rosacea or hyperpigmentation. An esthetician may recommend specialized treatments or skin care products to help reduce or eliminate your problem.

If you have persistent symptoms despite home treatment, pain, sudden development of symptoms or reactions to chemicals, medications or anything your skin came in contact with, see a dermatologist. A dermatologist can help to rule out any underlying medical condition and prescribe medications that will be more aggressive for the treatment or persistent issues. For example, if you have painful acne that will not clear up using standard over-the-counter remedies, a dermatologist can provide a higher dosage (prescription) to help treat it.

Unsure?

If you develop a skin concern and are still unsure who to see, check with your primary care physician (PCP). They can either refer you to a dermatologist if they believe it is necessary or advise you to consult an esthetician.

Conclusion

Never ignore any skin concerns you may have or develop over time. Your skin is the largest organ and requires as much care and treatment as your heart, lungs or any other organ. Do not assume that conditions will “clear up on their own” as this can lead to more serious conditions developing. If you are concerned, ask.

Learn more about better skin care 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.

Why use a toner?

Out of all the skin care products on the market today, toners are a mystery to most people.  I think I hear, “why do I need to use a toner”, more than any other question.

Aside from giving your skin an opportunity to be relieved of further makeup and cellular debris, toners give our skin a pH balance.  Our skin should stay between 5 and 6 pH.  After cleansing, the pH balance gets disturbed and when this happens it has to work harder to regain its’ balance, which can also mean it will produce more oil.  Using a toner helps to restore the balance quickly.

Another side benefit of using a toner is to get the hard water residue off of the skin.  That white streak that you see on the side of a freshly washed glass that has just been rinsed is chlorine and hard minerals.  These hard minerals are left on your skin after you rinse off the cleanser products.  These minerals can dry your skin.

Removing oil with toner gives the skin an appearance of smaller pores and smaller pores makes skin look smoother and more youthful.  Toners can help close pores and tighten cell gaps after cleansing.  This reduces the penetration of impurities and environmental contaminants into the skin. 

Some toners have humectant qualities, which mean that they help to bind moisture to the skin.  We recommend that if you don’t want to wash your face in the morning, use a toner to get the oil or dirt off of your skin.  Your skin will feel fresh, softened and revitalized.

Some toners include exfoliants, such as Bellanina’s Glycolic Toner 10% to aid in removing dead skin cells.  A glycolic toner will also work very well for men who have ingrown hairs and must deal with ‘bumpy’ skin.

We are happy to announce that our new BELLANINA BOTANICAL TONER with Ginseng & Aloe is now available to ship.  Our new toner is formulated with all natural plant extracts with no parabens. Unlike off the shelf skin care, our Bellanina ‘kit’ products use the freshest ingredients and are made in small batches insuring their freshness.  Some of the featured ingredients of the NEW Bellanina Botanical Toner are:

Panax Ginseng –         Tonic action; revitalizing

Roman Chamomile – Calming

German Chamomile – Soothing for problematic Skin; anti-inflammatory

Witch Hazel – Natural extract from leaves and bark with potent anti-oxidant and anti-irritant properties

Hyaluronic Acid – Superior hydrator

Panthenol – Pro-vitamin B5 is a panthenol is a humectant, emollient and moisturizer.

Organic Geranium essential oil – Antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-tumorial, anti-inflammatory & anti- fungal.  The aroma of geranium helps to lift the spirits.

Bellanina continues to strive to bring Bellanina Practitioners and loyal skin care customers new and innovative products that keep the skin healthy and vibrant.  We hope you try our new toner soon!

Visit us online at http://www.bellaninainstitute.com!

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.

Getting a fabulous tan this year may be healthier than you think. Instead of booking a trip to the Caribbean, try heading out the local grocery store and stocking up on carrots, sweet potatoes and mangoes. Doctors have encouraged improving our diets for years but with great skin as an added bonus, who can resist?

So what is research telling us now? Studies are showing that people who eat more fruits and veggies (rich in carotenoids) have healthier looking skin. Carotenoids are vital in reproduction and immune responses. They are commonly found in red and yellow vegetables such as red or yellow peppers, spinach, apricots and melons. As an added incentive, these fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants which offer protection against the damaging effects of the sun.
Your skin looks its best when it is healthy and working properly. This means that skin cell production is nourished by nutrients, enzymes and antioxidants. When new skin cells develop, they are affected by the diet we maintain. A diet rich in vegetables and fruits will increase the carotenoids in our bodies and give the skin a healthier more yellow or golden tone.
Interestingly enough, when participants in these studies were asked to choose which skin looked better, tanned or cartenoid rich, participants consistently chose those with lovely tans from their veggies and not the suns rays.
So here is a great reason to listen to your doctor and protect your skin from the sun this year. If you are still craving that “sun glow” and veggies just aren’t enough, try a sunless tanner to get all the benefits without any of the UV damage.
Happy tannins (and eating)!

Have you ever tried to nod your way through a conversation without really understanding what someone is talking about?

It is not your job to understand every skin treatment available but when you receive a service at a spa it is nice to understand what the heck they are doing and why. Paraffin wax is one of those delicious spa terms we hear all the time but may have no clue about what it truly means.

Why is it important to learn? The same reason it is important to read instructions before you take a medicine. Anything that touches or enters your body will have an effect on it and as a wise consumer it is important to know about what a product is doing, why it is being used and most important – any possible side effects.

So what’s the skinny on paraffin wax?

In the simplest terms, paraffin wax treatments are utilized in spas to moisturize and soften the skin. They are usually reserved for the toughest areas of skin on the body such as the hands and feet. Many spas will offer this treatment as part of or as an optional addition to manicures or pedicures.

Paraffin waxes are different from other types of waxes used in spas in that it is softer (due to paraffin oil). It melts at a much lower temperature than other waxes and will not burn or blister the skin when it is submerged. In many spas, the wax is heated in special vats prior to a treatment.

So what does the treatment entail?

Paraffin wax is designed to coat the skin and left to absorb for up to half an hour to see the full benefits. An esthetician or beautician may have the client submerge their hands or feet several times in container of this wax to create an even coat over the surface. The hands and feet would then be wrapped in plastic (or some other type of non absorbent material).

After the treatment the wax is removed in a single piece. Because of the oil, this wax does not bind to the skin and can come off easily without pain. Skin should feel soft and smooth following a paraffin treatment.

When would I get one done?

Paraffin wax treatments can be done all year but they are especially ideal in the winter (colder climates particularly) since they can help to repair dry and cracked skin. Remember the skin needs moisture to stay smooth and during the winter it can lose a lot of moisture throughout the day without being properly replenished.

Who should avoid this treatment?

People with diabetes tend to have trouble with submersion of the feet into warm liquids so this treatment is not recommended.

Pregnant woman can receive this treatment but should remember that chronic foot swelling is common and a treatment that utilizes heat will not benefit this condition. Try looking for treatments that use cold or cooling methods to ease this problem.

If you have any type of foot condition such as fungus or athletes foot it is important to tell your therapist prior to treatment. To avoid contamination of the wax they may need to prepare an alternative way of applying the treatment.

Final Thoughts

Trying out a new treatment is always an exciting prospect at the spa. Paraffin wax is an excellent and soothing choice for those seeking an effective solution for dry or rough skin. Call your local day spa to set up an appointment. Go with confidence now that you know what you need to know!

Other Choices:

After receiving your paraffin wax it is important to maintain that soft and silky skin. Why not try a baby smooth foot creme to keep for toes and heels looking great all year! For your hands try the soothing touch hand cream – guaranteed to keep your fingers luxuriously soft!