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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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  1. Cleanse your skin, especially at night. This removes makeup and environmental particles that cause premature aging.  Dirt particles caused from pollution are 20 times smaller than the diameter of the skin’s pores.
  2. Use a toner to remove excess residue that is left behind.
  3. Use a quality moisturizer to create a barrier between your skin and pollutants. Ones with lanolin, niacinamide or beeswax help from skin penetration.
  4. Wear long sleeved shirts while exposed to pollution for long periods of time.
  5. Avoid driving during rush hour, more cars equal more pollution exposure.
  6. Wear a filtered mask where pollution is extreme.
  7. Use antioxidant topical treatments, or ones high in Vitamins C and E. Regardless of the source of the free radicals, antioxidants will neutralize them.
  8. Eat antioxidant rich foods like blueberries, tomatoes and leafy greens. These combat free radical damage.
  9. Use scrubs and peels only occasionally. They can wear away the skin’s protective barrier and allow free radicals to penetrate the skin.
  10. A good quality mineral makeup will help shield your skin and act as a mask to help trap some dangerous particles from entering your skin.
  11. Use a sunscreen with at least a 25 SPF.
  12. Make sure the sunscreen is broad spectrum, coving both UVA and UVB rays.
  13. Use sunscreen every morning, even in the winter and even when it isn’t sunny.
  14. Wear a hat and sunglasses when out in the sun.
  15. Drink a lot of water! Keep skin cells hydrated and increases cell production.

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  1. Benefits of Synthetic Bristles- Hypoallergenic, great with liquid or cream products, like foundation or concealer.  Natural brushes trap products, synthetic create full and smooth cover finish.  They are long-lasting and quick-drying and perfect when applying shimmer to eyelids.
  2. Benefits of Natural Bristles- Very durable, ideal for powder, shadows, bronzers and highlighter.  They are excellent for pick-up and building properties.  Blending is effortless and creates a natural look.
  3. Dense vs. Fluffy- Dense brush deposits are more product of a dramatic look.  Fluffy brush is used to achieve a smoother, more natural look.  A dense brush creates a sultry, smokey eye and a fluffy brush is used for an everyday natural look.  Shorter bristles are better for full coverage, longer are better for sweeping color, using powder and blush.
  4. Blending- This is fundamental to the application process and the number one key for achieving a flawless look.  Blending is crucial to landing a beautiful eye shadow finish.  For example, natural blush blending is ideal for creating the perfect eye shadow crease.  Blending comes in  a good back and forth motion.
  5. Bronzing & Blush- Building coverage can be achieved best by natural bristles, but using a synthetic brush means you can apply more product at a time.
  6. Contour Brushes- This is one of the most popular trends in the cosmetic industry.  With the right brush, this look is easily achieved.  Using a flat, dense blush for precise definition and a fluffy, natural one for a subtle, shadowed contour is best.
  7. Eyeshadow Application- There are five staple brushes needed to create a professional style look.  First use a blending brush to smooth out harsh lines.  Then use a flat synthetic brush to apply loose or pressed shimmer on the eyelid.  After that try a pencil brush for the inner and outer corners of the eye.  Then use a crease brush to intensity the outer corners of the crease.  Finally, use a smudge brush to smoke out or diffuse harsh lines on the creases and lash lines.
  8. Highlight Brushes-  (also known as strobing) This is the latest super trend.  A small natural fan brush is perfect for creating a smooth and diffused glow on the cheekbone.  The natural brush helps disperse the highlighter evenly, picking up less product for a gradual build.  You can use a synthetic brush to apply highlighter to the inner eye and eyebrow bone.
  9. Brush Care-  This is very important for the best makeup application.  It’s essential for preventing breakouts and infections.  Make for regularly deep clean your brushes, and never use products with harsh chemicals or alcohol to prevent drying.  Using an antibacterial soap and water to clean brushes works just fine, but there are soaps specifically made for brushes, both will remove buildup and residue.  If your brushes are becoming a bit dry you can add a tiny amount of oil to soap to prevent further drying while washing.  To dry, just squeeze lightly to remove water and lay flat on a towel or hang upside down overnight.  Larger brushes can take up to 24 hours to dry.
  10. Liner Brushes- The right brush helps you achieve precision and perfection.  Liner brushes help with defining the eyes, filling in the eyebrows or concealing imperfections.  Angled liner brushes help create a winged liner look.  These brushes can be used with powders, gels and creams.

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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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  1. A set intention: Your touch sends an unspoken signal to your client.  Your body language and tone of voice can fend off or attract a client.  You can reduce stress and show an ease and confidence by focusing specifically at the outcome that is uniquely catered to that specific client.  Do this by asking yourself how you set your intention and how you teach this to others.  This can uplift and soothe your client.
  2. Clear Thoughts:  Everyone has many different things happening in their lives, priorities are constantly changing making it challenging to clear your mind and focus all the time.  Try to separate work and personal tasks into two different sections, and then focus on only the one at hand.  Cleaning your mind of other tasks can help you be more responsive to your client’s needs
  3. Self-Awareness:  You must believe that you have the power to control the path your future takes to accomplish your goals- this means you must be self-aware.  You must see your weaknesses and accept yourself for having them then you can work towards fixing them.  Seeing these flaws in yourself can help you understand and accept them in others, as well.
  4. Acceptance:  We all need to feel a sense of self-worth and acceptance.  Be sincere and willing to listen, this will create a calming and serene feel that will alleviate anger and resentment before your client even receives their treatment.  This helps to create an environment that allows for the best results.
  5. A signature fragrance:  The scent of something can create a lasting memory.  As a marketing tool, consider using a fragrance that your clients will remember you by.  Use an essential oil that is like you, but still mild and delicate.  You can add a bit of this scent to your towels and linens by wash of linen spray (a couple of the essential oil diluted with water).  You can also use a diffuser, intense or candle.
  6. A Seasonal Change:  Changing the appearance of your surroundings can help you to look forward to upcoming occasions.  This can add elements of inspiration in your space.
  7. A Thorough intake:  Assessing the goals of your client is essential to providing the proper care.  It’s important to understand the make-up of their lifestyle, from their health and work life to their diet and home life stresses.  These things are critical to meeting your clients’ needs and expectations.
  8. Set Expectations:  Using your client’s intake form and use your experience and know-how to determine an attainable goal for results.  Be upfront, sincere, and realistic about the results you can commit to and their results.
  9. A Complete Solution:  Proper nutrient, hydration, adequate rest, controlled stress level and correct skin care all play a part in the skins health.  Your skin is the largest organ in your body and it’s important to remember, although surface care is key, it’s not the only contributing factor.  Help your client to remember to treat their body and soul well, and it will be reflected on the outside.
  10. Accountability:  Make sure to review your clients’ progress at every appointment to determine if any changes that would require you to modify their treatment for better results.
  11. Expertise:  Throughout your time in this field you will continues to gain more and more knowledge and expertise.  Continuing to educate yourself is always important, though.  Always search out new things that can make you and your services unique.
  12. A Networking Group:  Setting up a referral program with surrounding colleagues, like hair salons or med spas.  Be sure that you trust your clients will have good experiences there.  Collaboration can help convey a sense of community and reward your business.