Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's September! Cue Earth Wind & Fire song... and great tips for fall/winter skin care :)

Oh, how I love that chill in the air! It means we can finally put on our cute boots and a scarf. It means hot drinks, cozy blankets, and dry skin. Wait, what? That's right. Our skin tends to dry out real quick when we crank up the heat indoors. It also means it's a fantastic time to commit to that peel series you've been avoiding all summer.

Let's talk about some basic fall/winter skin tips.
  • Get a humidifier. If you find that your skin gets rough, your lips get chapped, your hair gets static-charged, and your legs look like Ashy Larry, you would definitely benefit from a humidifier. If you are a Luddite, you can always put a big pot of water on the stove and simmer it for an hour or two. You could even add a drop of your favorite essential oil or some dried lavender flowers to make it smell yummy.
  • Oil is your friend. One Love Organics makes a wonderful oil serum, Love Springs Eternal. A drop mixed in to your moisturizer super charges it, and a drop on damp hair makes it shiny & tamed.
  • Eat the rainbow. No, not Skittles. Aim for orange squash and carrots, green brussels sprouts and broccoli rabe, purple beets and cabbage. Get your phytonutrients this winter! Almost anything can be sprinkled with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then roasted in the oven to delicious effect (or juiced). Your skin will thank you for it.
  • Take Vitamin D. This one is my favorite.  Trust me, you will need it. Another thing that makes the winter feel better? LED phototherapy. It's like a nice power nap on a tropical beach. A beach that makes your skin look & feel amazing.
  • Make this recipe for refrigerator oatmeal. If you don't do dairy, sub with your favorite faux milk/yogurt. 
  • It's time for a facial. When the seasons change so dramatically, our skin could use a point in the right direction. Schedule a re:fine if you like microdermabrasion, or a re:hydrate if you need extra moisture.
Click here to browse the Rhonda Allison peels. Time for that series! See you soon, and happy September :)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Melasma. Why it happens & how to fix it at home.

Melasma, if you have it, is quite a pain in the ass. It's like an age spot on crack, only it doesn't care old you are. It's like someone painted a brown picture of Texas on your forehead/cheeks/lip/chin. The main problem with eradicating melasma, it's not an instant-gratification thing. Even with laser, it's a crapshoot. It can take months to years to really see the even & perfectly clear skin you had before you knew how good you had it. It's hard to find a formula that really works, and you have to be super vigilant about remembering to apply it. Melasma is a chronic condition, at best. Any sunny day can mean rebound pigmentation. Buckle up, sunscreen is about to become your religion.

In case you can't tell, my fellow melasma sufferers, I am one of your tribe. Mine showed up after I decided to switch birth control pills, and it got worse after a careless summer in the sun. Now it's a bit of a rollercoaster. Sometimes it's quite dark (after sun exposure) and then it lightens after a constant regimen of peeling, lightening serum, LED phototherapy and sunscreen.

What causes melasma?

  • Melasma is triggered by hormonal changes. It's almost as if a certain hormone cocktail causes a bit of a sun allergy. It's so common during pregnancy that it's often called "pregnancy mask". Birth control pills can cause it, and hormone replacement medications. 
  • THE SUN. If you add a dose of sun exposure to that certain hormone cocktail, you've got a disaster on your hands. If you have melasma, SPF is your new BFF. A wide-brimmed hat is also pretty helpful.
  • It also seems to be hereditary. If you have it, train your kids to wear SPF at an early age. Mainly the lady folk, only 10% of people with melasma are men.
Home care how-to:
  • Obviously, a daily dose SPF. With melasma it's not about aiming for SPF 100, aim for broad spectrum coverage. If you see the term "PA+++" on the bottle, that is a dead giveaway that it's great for melasma. Here are my favorites in no particular order:
          Coola PlantUV Face SPF 30 Unscented Moisturizer
          La Roche Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Tinted Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid
          Dr. Jart Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45 PA+++
          Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream

  • Melanin supressing active home care product(s) to actively lighten pigment. The main ingredient generally prescribed by dermatologists, hydroquinone, has been banned in many European countries because it is a suspected (or known, depending on who you talk to) carcinogen. Can we all agree that we'd rather have melasma than cancer? Read the labels and avoid hydroquinone, please! My favorite lightening ingredients are Kojic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Arbutin, and the amazing 4-n-butylresorcinol. There are tons of HQ-free lighteners out there, and many that contain exfoliating agents or retinoids to boost efficacy. Be aware that if you're using one with a retinoid or an exfoliating acid it will affect the outcome of any professional treatments (corrective peels, laser, microdermabrasion) because it will thin the skin. Here are my favorite non-HQ lighteners:
  • A topical antioxidant support product. My favorite active antioxidant topical is Vitamin C (specifically L-Ascorbic Acid). Other good antioxidants for lightening? Alpha Lipoic Acid (also called Thiotic Acid) and Idebenone. I find that the L-Ascorbic acid form of Vitamin C is the most effective topical, so it's the main ingredient in all of the following:
          SeSderma Ferulac Mist
          Hylunia Beyond Complex C 
  • Exfoliate! It will stimulate cell turnover. For best results with melasma, a daily leave-on product works best. A combo lightener/exfoliator could be great (like iS Clinical White Lightening Complex or SeSderma Hydroquin Whitening Gel) or just a straight up retinoid or AHA. You'll have to talk with your esthetician (ahem... me?) about how far in advance of your clinical corrective peel to stop using your exfoliant. Here are a couple great ones:

The most important thing you can do to keep melasma from getting worse is absolute, crazy hyper-vigilance with the SPF. The most important thing you can do to lighten existing melasma is choose one of product from each section above, and use it every day. It will be frustrating, because it will take time and be gradual... But it's worth it! Don't forget to talk to your esthetician about what treatments they have to hasten the process (e.g. corrective peels, LED phototherapy, IPL)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Who needs Brad Pitt when you could have this bath mitt?

It rhymes, that's the only thing about it that makes sense. Don't overthink.

I bought this bath mitt on a recent trip to Bliss Spa in NYC. I have had my eye on the strange-ish products the Supracor company makes for a long time now. It's unique technology, and I've always wondered if it lived up to the claims (and the price tag). The cells are shaped like honeycombs. They are naturally antibacterial, hollow, and they flex in a way that stimulates the lymphatic system. That means bye bye, cellulite.

When I brought it to the counter at Bliss, the cashier nodded knowingly and said they were incredibly popular and hard to keep on the shelves. That's all it took to get my imaginary tail wagging with excitement. I couldn't wait to get that sucker unwrapped and into my shower. It's a glove, just put it on and give it a swipe with bar soap or a small dollop of body wash and rub a dub. Verdict? This thing creates the nicest, gentle-yet-effective scrubby sensation I've ever experienced. It's an odd feeling, as the cells shift back and forth and sort of jump over the skin. It's odd in the nicest way possible. I love reaching for it every morning. It elevates the mundane task of showering to an absolute joy.

I tried using it with a coffee body scrub once, and I have to say that it was a total fail. I say scrub first, mitt later. My mitt smelled like coffee for a month after. No bueno.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Summer Summertime!

Here in Portland at the end of June, temperatures are climbing up to the low seventies. So, of course, it's time for everyone to don a pair of short shorts and forget to wear their sunscreen. Not this year, lovelies! I won't allow it. I just read that almost 90% of aging is caused by sun damage. So instead of spending a fortune on anti-aging creams, you could basically HALT the aging process if you just applied ya damn sunscreen (or sunblock, as I tend to prefer). So you don't like sunscreen (or sunblock, you get the idea... and I'll explain the difference later)? I am about to tear all of your weak arguments to shreds and convert you to a better way of thinking. 

Ya heard me loud and clear, the sun is the biggest factor in extrinsic aging. The best, most effective anti-aging product by far is just plain old sunscreen. Now obviously, not all sunscreens are created equally. I hate most. They make my eyes itch, my face break out, and I hate that characteristic greasy feel and stinky sunscreen smell. But aside from all the things that make me naturally want to avoid sunscreen like the Black Plague, there is a big difference between an effective sunscreen and an ineffective one. SPF is a measurement of UVB rays, the burning rays. What's more important for anti-aging is the measurement of UVA rays (the aging rays, that break down collagen and create age spots). That is not easily measured, and largely ignored in the USA. 

Instead of trying to give you the complicated guidelines on how to choose a good sunscreen, I put together a list of AWESOME sunscreens (and blocks) for your shopping pleasure. And now for the big explanation of sunscreen vs. sunblock: sunblock is a physical barrier against the sun, reflecting the rays like a mirror. Sunscreen is a chemical, or blend of chemicals, that is absorbed into the skin and then works to scatter or absorb UV rays. I find that a good zinc oxide (non-nano) sunblock is the best way to go, but there are some excellent chemical formulas out there. 

Now it's time for me to bust up your sunscreen fear/hate.

Myth #1: Sunscreen makes me break out.
Argument: You just haven't found the one that works for you. I know it seems easier to just give up, but sunscreen is worth it. Who wants skin cancer or wrinkles? Try one of these SPFs for acne-prone skin.

Incredibly light and non-greasy, with a red algae extract that effectively calms skin inflamed skin. I love how light and airy this formula is. It's feather light and it doesn't leave a white cast on any skin tone.

This is a great option for acne prone skin as a daily moisturizer/SPF. It has never, ever caused breakouts in any of my clients. 
A long time favorite, Epicuren's Zinc Oxide is a great formula for all skin types, with a truly love-able texture. It works perfectly for dry skin as an over-moisturizer SPF, and for oily skin it's enough.

Myth #2: I need a moisturizer with sunscreen because I'm [lazy, in a hurry, busy, under the impression that anything less is as outdated as an 8-track player]. 
Argument: Sunscreen has an expiration date. It's a short one. It lasts mmmmaybe a few hours and then it's time to reapply. It's not like putting on a shirt, it's like putting on a disappearing shirt. It doesn't protect you all day. That is wishful thinking. But, as we now know that the sun is so profoundly responsible for the aging process, it's WORTH every moment of hassle that it takes to just reapply the darn stuff. Some of the ones I've mentioned above have a bit of moisture included, but that just means you have to keep some cleansing cloths handy and wipe your face down & then reapply a fresh layer every few hours. It's okay. Knowing is half the battle. And the battle is a sneaky one, where you wake up one day and all of the sudden you look old.

Dry of skin? The aforementioned sun protectors can be applied over the top of your favorite rich balm, and if you don't have a favorite rich balm then you really should try this, this, or this.

Myth #3: I'm too sensitive for sunscreen. It makes my eyes burn. 
Argument: Yes, maybe you are. But how do you know if you haven't tried ALL of them? A simple inside of the elbow patch test can help weed out actual allergies. I find that zinc sunblocks work very well for sensitive skin in general, but some of the chemical ones are a great fit. Probably best to avoid PABA and Octyl Methoxycinnamate. Everyone's skin is different. Here's one that my super sensitive, rosacea clients swear by. Also: don't put SPF too close to your eyes, or put down a barrier cream of some sort before applying SPF to the eye area if you're sensitive.

Now get out there and enjoy the sun while it lasts! Wear a wide brimmed hat and drink plenty of water. :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Today's tips brought to you by the number eleven!

1. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water & take a Lecithin supplement. Coffee isn't water, neither is soda. 

2. Don't be afraid of oil. Oil is necessary, it's beneficial, it will keep your skin glowing all winter long. 
My faves: Osmosis Immerse, Aromatherapy Associates Intensive Skin Treatment Oil, Decleor Angelique Aromessence.

3. Make time for a mask. You know how awesome your skin looks & feels after a facial? You can have that anytime. 
If you're dry go for a cream mask like YonKa Masque No. 1. Oily skin needs to get OSEA's Red Algae Mask. Sensitive? Try Ilike's Linden and Marigold Rejuvenating Treatment. Acne responds well to Cosmedix Clear Clarifying Mask.

4. Take advantage of the bounty of orange foods (squash, carrots, etc.) this winter. Beta Carotene is a fantastic antioxidant, fighting signs of aging from the inside out. Beta Carotene is also important for wound healing and calming inflammation, so it's a must for acne. Here's a simple recipe for carrot ginger soup.

5. NOW is the best time to get a dramatically effective deep peel. At my studio, re:surface skin, I have peels for acne, for aging, and for uneven skin tone. I find that a series gives the best WOW factor, so be prepared to do one every couple weeks, up to 6 treatments. And then be prepared for the compliments!

6. Up your vitamin D intake. The sun is MIA but it's easy to take a supplement, and Costco has gummy vitamin D

7. Winter is hard on body skin, be sure to scrub your body regularly with an oil-based exfoliant, and instead of slathering on a thick cream, try a body oil like Extra Virgin Coconut oil. Apply the oil while your skin is still damp from the shower.
Favorite scrubs: Mediterranean Spa Fig Salt Cream, 100 Percent Pure Meyer Lemon Body Scrub, Bella Lucce South Seas Body Buff for a super deep smoothing scrub or Avocado Ootanga Body Scrub for a super gentle nourishing scrub.

8. Get plenty of beauty sleep! It's so dark here, you know you want to cozy up and go to bed early. Don't resist! Plenty of sleep makes you pretty (or handsome, if that's your thing).  I find that a heated mattress pad helps me sleep like a baby. If you're slightly more sleep-challenged, get some Natural Calm and some Theanine Serene and prepare to sleep like a pro.

9. Take an bath. It's warm, relaxing, and it can be very detoxifying if you add a handful of dried seaweed. I like Wakame or Dulse. If you want a more cosmetically elegant bathing ritual (and less mess) I've been using the OSEA Green Marine Detox Bath and it is the Rolls Royce of bath salts.

10. Make your daily routine into a ritual that you look forward to. Enjoy the hell out of putting on your lotions & potions... Because it doesn't work if you forget to put it on. I created a vanity, when I get home and change out of my work clothes, I can't wait to wash my face and put on all my goodies. It's such a nice thing to do for yourself!

11. If you're breaking out: instead of buying out the entire drugstore, call me and we can chat about it. Together we'll come up with a customized, affordable plan. If you're not in Portland, find an local esthetician that specializes in acne treatment. There's nothing like having a professional on your side.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Why a dry skin?

Here's something that I have a pretty hard time relating to personally. I've never experienced dry skin, unless it was caused by a topical prescription for controlling acne. Dry skin can be a huge hassle. Makeup doesn't sit well, it tends to look flaky and muddy as it sinks into flaky patches. It generally tends to age prematurely as the elasticity is affected by parched, dehydrated skin. It can feel itchy and uncomfortable, always tight.

Here are some things to consider:

  1. Do you have a thyroid condition? If not, have you been tested? Even if you're in the low end of the normal range, it can still affect the moisture levels in your skin. If you do have a thyroid condition, make sure you're taking thyroid medication. If you're at the low end of what's considered "normal" then you should definitely be taking this stuff, it can work miracles on skin and energy levels and overall metabolism.
  2. Are you getting enough EFAs? Essential fatty acids are pretty important for skin health, among other things. My favorite EFA for females: Krill oil. It helps regulate PMS and those pesky monthly breakouts. For men: get this one. Everyone should be taking a Primrose oil supplement, too.
  3. Drinking lots of water? If you are drinking plenty of plain water, yay! If it's a soda, tea, or has fresh lemon in it, consider switching to plain old water. Maybe pop a few EmergenC packets in your water now & then for electrolytes (which boost hydration levels).
  4. Here are a few supplements to take: Lecithin. Is. Awesome. Take it. You can take MSM to help build important skin proteins. Another good one: Mixed Carotenoids which is a great bioavailable vitamin A, which can help keep skin cells turning over at a brisk rate. My personal favorite is BioSil, which tastes pretty darn bad but it's incredible for rebuilding skin and connective tissues. If you're going to brave it, buy some empty gelatin capsules and drop the recommended dose into the capsule and take it immediately (so it doesn't melt). That makes a world of difference, and it only adds a second to your daily routine.
There are some topical ingredients that will mean the difference between dry and spry. That's really a pretty tragic attempt at rhyming. Ugh. Moving on to the good stuff! Hyaluronic Acid is an absolute miracle for dry skin. It's not an exfoliating acid or an irritating acid, it's just a thirst-quenching humectant (a humectant is a substance that draws moisture from the air to your skin) that holds a thousand times it's weight in water. It works best in serum form, slip a bit of Hyaluronic Acid serum under your moisturizer and it will make your skin smoother, more supple, and um... less dry. Yeah I'm really a wordsmith tonight.  So what else is there? Squalane, Ceramides, and Phospholipids. 

One particular product worth talking about for dry skin is the Hydramucine Optimal Cream from GM Collin. The pomegranate extract that they use is a pretty awesome way to stimulate hydration from the inside out. Another one I love, but it's sort of incredibly greasy, is the Calendula Sensitive Healing Cream from Nahla. And one last one that is another notch up the greasy ladder is Weleda Skin Food cream, which can transform the most Sahara-like skin into the most cuddly. 

One last tip: invest in a good humidifier and turn that sucker on every night before bed.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Turning Acne inside out.

Acne can be controlled, but it can't be cured. Once you've found some good products to use (see my last post), it's still important to figure out how to control the causes. Inflammation is a big one. Getting a food allergy blood test may seem frivolous, but when you have persistent acne it probably is a better investment than trying out every new product under the sun that promises to cure your acne immediately and permanently. So if you can afford it, or save up for it, definitely DO IT. Knowing what you're sensitive to/allergic to can be a huge help in controlling acne from the inside out. Most inflammation in the body comes from the digestive tract. Not putting things that irritate you in your tummy goes a really long ways on the road towards clear skin.

Futurebiotics AcneAdvance -- 90 Vegetarian TabletsSugar. Yeah, sugar is pretty inflammatory. So maybe lay off the Haagen Dazs and Snickers? It certainly couldn't hurt. Also- alcohol taxes your liver, so maybe cut back on that a little bit. Adding a liver support supplement (my favorite is milk thistle) is very good for optimizing the detoxifying power of your liver. Another awesome supplement for acne is zinc. Make sure if you're taking a zinc formula on an ongoing basis you choose one that includes copper, because otherwise it will deplete your body's copper reserves and that's no bueno. My favorite supplement for acne is Acne Advance which has zinc and copper and other liver support stuff all rolled into one. It works.

Another thing you can do to heal acne from the inside out is just a plain old multivitamin to increase your skin's wound healing ability. My favorite is Spectrient, it is full of good stuff that your body can absorb easily, it gives a rad energy boost and mood boost. Love that stuff. Also, a simple cleanse is good. I think steamed veggies and carrot beet cucumber juice would be amazing for a week or so, and take this stuff, too.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Acne. The skin condition that just won't die.

You know what I mean, acne prone people. Just when you find a regimen that seems to work, and finally your skin clears up and you feel confident and pretty and you start leave the house without makeup... it comes back. With a vengeance. Acne is a chronic condition, and it can't be cured. There are products that work, but they never seem to work forever. And no matter what you put on your skin, it seems like stress, hormones, and several other factors come into play.

Before we explore some products that are tried and true, and some options for controlling acne from the inside out, let's talk about a game plan. You'll need to switch your regimen up now & then. I know that sounds scary, because certain products will flare up your acne and others will just not do a thing to control it. But it's necessary to stay ahead of acne by keeping it on it's toes. You can have 2-3 cleansers that you cycle through. You can have 2-3 treatment products, and you can probably imagine what I'm going to say about moisturizers, toners, etc. It's okay to have a few products that you rotate. When you run out of one cleanser, you pick up one of the other two from your tried and true list. This doesn't mean always trying a new/different product. It means you test a few out to see which ones seem to work for you and the ones that work, you rotate them.

Here are some good cleansers:
I find it's best to rotate an exfoliating cleanser with a milder, anti-inflammatory cleanser. For exfoliating and deep cleansing, I love all of these:

OSEA - Ocean Cleansing MuddOsea Ocean Cleansing Mudd, which is an awesome mini-mask and leaves pores squeaky clean without drying or irritating. It isn't exfoliating like the next two, but it's very purifying nonetheless. It foams up a tiny bit, and assassinates acne with powerfully detoxifying red algae. This would be great to use with a Clarisonic brush about once a week.

MD Forte Facial Cleanser IAnother favorite is Hylunia Salicylic Cleansing Gel, a super hydrating and soothing cleansing gel armed with the standard 2% Salicylic Acid to treat acne. It's a foaming cleansing gel, but not the least bit drying or irritating like a certain Neutrogena cleanser which shall remain nameless. It works best used 2-3 times per week.

Another great exfoliating cleanser is MD Forte Facial Cleanser I. It's similar in texture to Cetaphil, sort of lotion-y and non-foaming. It's a gentle glycolic acid cleanser, glycolic is not for the very sensitive but it gives incredible results for treating acne. Used on sturdy skin, it works best 3-4 days per week alternated with a gentle cleanser.

You'll need to use a mild, non-exfoliating cleanser on a regular basis. Here are a few that calm inflammation and help speed the healing process.

My absolute favorite for combination, sensitive, acne prone skin is Hylunia Facial Cleansing Lotion. It looks like a gel, but doesn't foam, and it's full of hydrators and healing, calming ingredients. I think it leaves the skin feeling very clean but not tight or squeaky.

iS Clinical Cream Cleanser 6 ozDrier/dehydrated skin will benefit from iS Clinical Cream Cleanser which is a richer, calming cleanser. Cleansing creams work best when applied to dry skin and then removed with water or a washcloth.

dermalogica dermal clay cleanser 16.9 fl oz (500 ml)
For really oily skin, I love Dermalogica's Dermal Clay cleanser. This is basically like cleansing with a clay mask, it's not for everyone, but it's great for controlling very oily, congested skin.

OSEA - Ocean Cleanser

For aging skin & adult acne, I prefer Osea's Ocean Cleanser which is mildly foaming, with tons of b vitamis and firming algae. It smells amazing!

Verbena Calming Hydrosol TonerSo now you have cleansing options, let's talk about toners. It's best to avoid grain alcohol and SD alcohol. They strip the skin, irritating it & causing inflammation and dehydration.

My favorite toner for acne is Hylunia's Colloidal Silver and Lavender Floral Water. The lavender heals inflammation and acne scarring, the silver kills bacteria without irritating. It's great as a post-gym grime remover. This is best for sensitive, inflamed acne.

Being True Essential Clarifying Tonic is a minty fresh face rinse for sensitive & acne prone skin. I like it as a morning cleanser, instead of using a real cleanser I just wet a cotton round and wipe my face clean prior to applying treatment/moisturizer/SPF. This works best for sturdy skin with active acne.

Nahla Verbena Calming Hydrosol Toner is amazing for sensitive, dry skin and aging skin. It's soothing and brightening.

RenewAs treatment products go, I prefer retinoids above all else, but it's still best to have other options for when your skin gets immune to them. First off, my FAVORITE new (new to me, anyways) serum for acne: Osmosis Clarify. Liposome delivered retinaldehyde is the absolute best retinoid on the market. I've tried prescriptions (any retinoid prescription, except accutane, I have tried it) and I have tried OTC retinoids of all types and this blows them all out of the water. It doesn't overdry or irritate my skin but it clears up my acne in record time and it's extremely affordable for such an amazingly effective treatment. I mix Skin Nutrition powder with it, it's an amino acid healing blend. My skin has never been prettier or clearer. I recommend it for anyone with acne.

Osmosis also makes several retinaldehyde serums for rosacea treatment and for age management. If you have aging skin & acne, try the Renew serum with the Acne Blend powder added. If you have rosacea, try Calm and mix in the Skin Nutrition powder.

For moisturizer, I love these:
IS Clinical Hydra Cool Serum 1 oz
iS Clinical SPF 25 Treatment SunscreeniS Clinical Hydra Cool is a light, gooey blue hydrating gel formula. Perfect for very oily skin, humid climates and summertime, and under a moisturizer for added hydration in winter/dry climates. It's super cooling, calming, soothing, and healing.

For very sensitive, inflamed skin that is dehydrated: you need Hylunia Facial Day Lotion. It has SPF, Hyaluronic Acid to hydrate and calm, and it's light as a feather. I love it!

Men, combination/oily types, and the cream-phobics will love iS Clinical SPF 25 Treatment Sunscreen. It's moisturizing enough, but matte and not at all sticky or greasy. It will not break you out at all. It's awesome.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why get old if you don't have to Part Deux

Now that you've figured out your options, and discussed them with your esthetician, let's talk about what to do on a daily basis to improve your skin. If you do just treatments, you'll see great results, and if you use just the following products you'll see great results. But if you want to see better than great, if you really want to dream BIG then do both. They really, truly go hand in hand. I think a series of microdermabrasion or chemical peels with LED light therapy, with regular follow ups, and the use of super powerful products will give you Results with a capital R. That is how I do it, personally and professionally.

So here goes nothing, let the big dreaming commence. Let's start with cleansers. A cleanser doesn't have to be just a way to cleanse the skin, it can also infuse nutrition and antioxidants, and exfoliate the skin. It's not a miracle in and of itself. It's just that whatever touches your skin should be affecting positive change. Why bother using it if it isn't?


IS Clinical Cleansing Complex 6 oziS Clinical Cleansing Complex is a resurfacing, exfoliating, deep cleanser. If you have the double trouble of acne and wrinkles, get this cleanser and never look back. If you have normal/combo/oily skin, this is the one for you.

Osea - Ocean CleanserOsea Ocean Cleanser is remineralizing and filled with firming proteins. It smells so awesome that everyone will want to use it, but works best for combo/dehydrated/slightly dry skin.

Hylunia Facial Cleansing Lotion awesome for sensitive, dry, aging skin. It cleanses without drying, and infuses skin with a ton of Hyaluronic Acid to plump wrinkles and rehydrate.

And now a little hint on toners, they can be almost as amazing as serum, full of active ingredients and very hydrating. Always avoid toners containing grain or SD alcohol, they will the skin and remove the protective mantle, which contributes to premature aging.


Osea - Sea Vitamin Anti-Aging Boost - 4 ozBioelements Power Peptide 6 fl oz.Osea Sea Vitamin Boost is a pomegranate and red wine antioxidant treatment with ultra firming undaria algae. Spray it on throughout the day to hydrate or swipe it on with a cotton round after cleansing for a more deep cleansing rinse approach.

Bioelements Power Peptide is a collagen stimulating treatment in spray form. It's not technically a toner, but not technically anything else, so I say why not use it as one? The more collagen stimulating, the better!

Natura Bisse The Cure Hydro-Gel TonerRevision Skincare Exfoliating Facial Rinse is one way to go, if you want to double task your exfoliating & toning. This is mild enough for everyday use, with Glycolic and Salicylic acids to refine and stimulate cell turnover. Just swipe it on after cleansing.

Natura Bisse The Cure Hydro-Gel Toner is just plain ooey gooey yumminess. Super hydrating gel-textured deep cleansing toner. Yum yum yum for the dry skinned folks. For a cheaper thrill, try Hylunia Revitalizing Toner.


iS Clinical Active Serum is AWESOME! Yes, it's worth yelling about. It's so good I want to rent a loudspeaker and run around town telling everyone how great it is. It works like a charm, it's light as a feather, it's easy, it's fun, everyone's doing it and so should you. If you're sensitive or recovering from Chemotherapy or suffering from Rosacea or dermatitis, get the PolyVitamin Serum instead.

Cellex-C Speed Peel Facial Gel, 90 mlCellex C Speed Peel is something I've talked about in previous installments of Skincyclopedia. I can't get enough of this stuff. I love it. It's the coolest exfoliating gommage treatment ever invented. It's all stimulating and cool and minty and then it's all whoa, my skin is so smoooooooth. It is incredible and amazing and every other really good adjective. It's a weekly wunderkind.

I know it seems like I should post more options, but the iS Clinical just blows everything else out of the water so just get some and you will like it I promise. Next up, the good stuff! Serums are the most concentrated products that you'll use at home. The active ingredient percentage is higher, and the aim is more focused on providing results than a nice scent or texture.


iS Clinical Pro-Heal Serum Advance+iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum Advance +. Oh yeah? I know I mention iS Clinical a lot. Take it up with them, not me. If they would stop making such fabulous products then I'd stop talking about how great they are. But they rock. Hard. So I will continue to tell you to buy it and if you do, you will thank me. Pro Heal is my favey fave BFF serum. It's more about healing, rebuilding, stimulating growth. It's great for sensitive & acne prone skin. They also make Super Serum Advance +, which is more about the firming, sun damage, wrinkle smoothing action. They both rule, the Super Serum is more for severely aged skin that can handle whatever you throw at it (don't throw things at your skin, be nice). They also (God, when will they stop being so awesome, it's hard to keep up) make a magic potion called Youth Complex which is like.... heaven.... in a very expensive bottle.

Oxygen Pur serum is all about the glow. That glow you had when you were 17, after a day of rollerskating and eating cotton candy and laughing and jumping rope and all that stuff you don't have time for. If you have like 5 seconds, you can get that glow back. Why wear foundation, blush, and concealer when you can just wear this and look twelve again?

GM Collin H50 Therapy Serum all Skin Type 1ozGM Collin H50 Therapy Serum this is what you want if you're 50+ or experiencing early menopause.This is everything your skin needs to bounce back after the hormone levels go south. If you use this at night, and one of the iS Clinical serums in the morning, you will be an unstoppable force of nature. While you're at it, use the H50 Therapy Cream. Don't forget to look carefully at the label, because they make one for DRY skin which literally has the texture of butter and is way too rich for most of us, and then a lighter formula for normal/oily/combo skin.

                                              Avene RetrinalAvene Retrinal 0.1% Cream, 1 ounce Package serum is turbocharged retinol on crack. It's super effective for stimulating cell turnover and firming and retexturizing your skin. I wouldn't use this with the Active Serum, it's redundant and possibly like, crazy. If you're crazy and your skin can handle crazy, then give it a whirl. Use the Retrinal at night & Active Serum during the day. If you want to use the strongest OTC retinol product available, this is IT. Use responsibly, and only at night, and only if you use SPF religiously during the day.Avene Retrinal

Cosmedix Refine 4% is a slightly more forgiving retinol treatment. Choose this one over the Retrinal for sensitive skin, or try this first & work your way up to the Retrinal over time.


Moisturizers don't have to be just hydrating. Stop listening to Olay. They are full of crap, and so are their products. Hydration is important, but RESULTS are way more important, that's what we're aiming for and that's why we're forking over our money. Not because of some marketing campaign that we are forced to endure between segments of Glee. I am well versed in the best, most effective moisturizers out there for anti-aging and now I get to share my savant-like depth of knowledge with you! Yay!

GM Collin AGE Total Defense is the most radically effective anti-aging moisturizer for sun damage and those of us under 50. This stuff has an epic, almost ridiculous amount of peptides and antioxidants. The texture is a tiny bit sticky, but if you follow my standard advice of applying moisturizer to damp skin you'll be fine. I use this at night atop my Retrinal. I would SO bathe in this magic potion.

Osea - Advanced Protection CreamOsea Advanced Protection Cream. Amen. Of the first three ingredients, two are super active firmers. DPHP and Undaria Algae.  The texture is a bit rich, but it absorbs very easily and doesn't leave skin sticky or greasy. I recommend it for dry, dehydrated, aging skin (age range 30-45ish).

Sanitas PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream is super pricey but the results are so freaking amazing. It's excellent. It's a little lighter than the GM Collin AGE Total Defense, and more focused on firming, less on repairing sun damage and wrinkle reduction. I'd say it's more for all skin types and those that are 40+.

GM Collin H50 Treatment Cream is for hormonally-challenged skin. Generally 50+, but also applicable for laxity resulting from early menopause or hysterectomy. I mentioned it already in the serum section, take a peek. This isn't for everyone, it's specifically to replenish what hormone-depleted skin needs. Men and 20 year olds need not apply.

LightStim Anti-Aging LightWhat else can you do at home to up the ante? You can get your own LED light from LightStim. The Anti Aging light is made for home use, it's a great thing to have! I recommend it over the individual colored units because it's more affordable, less expensive, and it's best to get your professional LED treatments from, you know, a professional. That way results can be monitored and a treatment plan can be structured and tailored for your skin's needs. It's not as strong as the lights used by a professional, but it also won't blind you on accident (which is a plus). LED will stimulate collagen, give you a glow, even out your skin tone, and reduce lines & wrinkles.

NuFace Anti Aging Anti Wrinkle Device, 5 piece kitThere's also the NuFace, which isn't as user-friendly and you have to continually buy the Conductivity Gel, which is $25 per tube. It's a good piece of equipment IF you actually use it. Most people find that it ends up languishing in a drawer, but if you pull it out and use it regularly, it will reward you with results like firm skin and less wrinkles and laxity.

The last thing you should consider is facial exercise. There's a good, cheap, download-able book called Ageless If You Dare. This is a great option for the lines around the mouth, and all it takes is a little time commitment.

Come in for a consultation, a facial with microdermabrasion and LED light therapy, or to get started with your anti-aging regimen. I've got the iS Clinical, Hylunia, and Osea products at my skin studio.