Monday, May 31, 2010
No moisturizer, please, it’s summer
As the heat wave arrives, I find it uncomfortable to moisturize in such humidity. But I know that proper care of my skin from now and throughout the summer will determine my satisfaction with my skin at the beginning of September.
Those of us who live in climates that have changing seasons will find challenges in our health and beauty at different times of the year. We in Canada are pretty good at caring for our skin in winter. We hydrate to prevent dehydration of our skins and protect our skins with a rich moisturizer.
But many of us just bare it all when the warm weather comes. Now the weather is unseasonably warm and wet, it is causing us to feel discomfort even when applying natural sunscreens.
But the warmer more humid weather has brought other changes. The increases of insects and molds have resulted in higher incidents of disease in plants and animals. Compared to the Ontario Government warning to gardeners of the rise in lyme disease due to the increase of ticks, our skin problems seem trivial.
The changing climatic conditions have created acne even in those of us who have never experienced it in our adolescence. Skin sensitivity leading to rosacea, which was mainly the concern of fair skinned people is now pervasive for our multicultural population.
The advice of the government to prevent lyme disease is to cover up when gardening. That too will help with the above skin problems.
Moist skin is healthy skin. Moist skin meaning plump skin cells fill with water and protein that are gently cushioned by a light oily fluid with the skin’s surface protected by a waxy oily film to slow down moisture loss (trans-dermal water loss). To keep skin cells healthy and hydrated it is important we protect them from over exposure to the sun as well.
Your skin feels moist so why moisturize?
Your moisturizer and your sunscreen feels uncomfortable so why moisturize?
The answer to both is to maintain optimum moisture in your skin cells. When you are perspiring profusely, the skin cells deep in you skin are probably not as plump as they should be. Therefore it is important that you supplement your skin cells with a hydrating serum. On dry days an application of a light oil further reduce the “crêpey” appearance of dehydration. Then apply a light (less oily) moisturizer to have longer term moisture protection and a flawless looking skin all day.
A sunscreen will not just prevent sunburn and lessen the chances of skin cancer but extend your youthful appearance. When you injure your skin cells as evident in sunburns and tans, you lessen the plumpness of the cells. This not only gives you a poorer looking complexion leading to acne or sensitivity but also exposes your dermis, the second main layer of your skin, to damage. A compromised dermis produces dehydrated skin cells with poor quality and lower levels of collagen and elastin which leads to premature aging of the skin. The sun damage to the dermis doesn’t just make us look old but creates a blotchy and red complexion with enlarged pores giving our skin, an orange peel texture.
Moisturizing and protecting your skin in the summer also lessens the disappointment in your skin when the weather becomes cooler and dryer in the fall. At this time skin conditions like dryness, sensitivity (rosacea) and acne increase. While the weather can be blamed, the real cause is the chronic dehydration in the deeper layers of the skin happening all summer.
Not convinced? Then look for proof in nature. The closer our ancestors lived to the equator, the oilier our skins genetically. The abundance of oil like a moisturizer prevents moisture loss through heat and also gives natural sun protection. Therefore darker oilier skin types are more resistant to photo aging.
In Canada, the weather pretty well gives all of us a time of year when our skins are thriving happily. But at 50-75% of the time, our skin’s are out of their element. At these times we need to compensate with our skincare. In the winter people with darker skin types need to take more care in hydrating their skin before moisturizing to compensate for the cold dry weather, while in summer those of us with fairer skin tones need to add more oils and sun protection to our daily skincare routines to compensate for the warmer weather. But even those of us with darker skin tones need to keep our skins moist in summer to balance our skin conditions with the ever-changing humidity and temperature levels of the season. Another occasion we all need to give our skins more moisture in the summer is when we have been out in the sun or wind too long.
So I would like to leave you with good advise I have paraphrased from my dental hygienist, “You don’t need to moisturize all of your skin. Just the parts You would like to keep looking good”.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I wake up Friday with a huge zit on my chin. I am a paragon of good natural skincare, not. Yes even when wrinkles and dryness is a constant problem, I still breakout. Most people would blame their moisturizer or their make up for clogging their skin. But this is the least likely reason and if acted upon could cause an escalation of the situation. The reduction of moisture can cause skin dehydration which in turns causes over stimulated oil glands clogging more pores.
The best way to be rid of periodic acne is to recognize the importance of balancing our energy. The side effect of this strategy is a better understanding of myself.
In Ayurveda, blemishes mean excess “Pitta” energy. So while my desire to rid my nose of a pus-y bump has me putting a dab of green clay on it, I look for the cause of the extra heat in my life.
I quickly blame my unexpected trip here in Miami. It was obvious it is the hot humid weather and the intense sun that has caused me to breakout. Since menopause has become a part of my life, hot environments are no longer desirable. I decide that Florida is out as a future retirement home, whenever that will be.
I blame the heat for my inability to concentrate during important business communications and staying focused on my driving in a strange city.
I worry the excessive dampness has caused my bowels and my metabolism to be slow and sluggish. "Dang!", Florida should be an ideal environment for an aging Vata, like me with its Pitta and Kapha energy. The internal dampness or slowed metabolism caused by the heavy Kapha air is evident to passing onlookers as sandal-ed feet display toenails afflicted with fungus. My life partner, a Kapha would find it difficult to feel energetic and to balanced his diabetes in this environment. More confirmation this is not my future home.
So the general prescription of going south for those of us aging is not complete without understanding what environmental factors will be balancing for our health. Also, as in my case, learning a way of life that balances my health in a certain environment is more helpful than merely relying on a perfect locale.
Saturday morning at the airport, my late period appears. I was almost a month late. Menses can create energy imbalances and if I did not jump to conclusions I would have surmised that the blemish on my chin was pointing at hormonal imbalance.
Those of us who suffer from dehydration during our menses have excess Vata energy. Small blemishes from temporary dehydration will distinguish Vata imbalance from the cystic blemish caused from Pitta or Kapha excess. To remedy it, we need to increase moisture externally and internally with water and oil.
And those of us who get depressed and experience from edema and bloating at menses are suffering from excess Kapha. Lowering fatty sugary foods will help greatly. In winter go for a hot sauna and a body scrub to increase circulation. In the summer get a cool reflexology treatment and a gentle face massage.
And if your breakout is deeper and cystic as mine was and/or are easily angered, you are suffering from excess Pitta. While the main reason for my blemishes was my period, the hot climate intensified my symptoms. To cool my body I reduced the richness of my body moisturizer and I ate raw vegetables and sweet fruits.
Most us will experience one or like me suffer all three imbalances before and during our menses. Your body will tell you how to balance so be a good listener to create more harmony in your skincare and well-being.
This is a good example of how using Ayurveda for health and beauty can make your role much like that of an orchestra conductor. To create balance you need to include many factors from climate, changes in daily weather, your daily activities, your diet and your body’s internal rhythms. Different Doshas are more likely to go off balance in certain seasons. If certain food is not available you can use exercise. The more intense the situation, success can be more viable if more variables are used.
Since the climate and menopause are not in usually your control, use activities, diet and skincare to create balance in your life and health. If you need more help in this matter you can refer to Kristen’s book on Ayurveda and natural Skincare, at http://www.pureandsimple.ca/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=1641&category_id=257&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=27&vmcchk=1&Itemid=27
Or Deepak Chopra’s book, Perfect health http://books.google.ca/books?id=mU_sM3eG4l0C&printsec=frontcover&dq=perfect+health+deepak+chopra&source=bl&ots=VL5vZv-i92&sig=P3iNZUcHGjeIJz9Me4rpyajd2PY&hl=en&ei=WA_7S9qBCcOblgeN4aDTDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&ved=0CDoQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q&f=false
Or make a complimentary consultation at any Pure + simple location. Find the contact number of your closest store at http://www.pureandsimple.ca/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=75&Itemid=53
Friday, May 14, 2010
Mother’s Day has come and gone.
“They say” that one out of two hundred people on Earth today is a descendant of Genghis Khan. Proving his disappointment of not conquering the world before dying was premature. Therefore it was fortunate he just couldn’t heed advice to prolong his life with abstinence. His descendants have became rulers and prominent citizens in Europe, Middle East, Asia even in America.
But this was accomplished through social selection and not genetics. So kudos are due to the mothers contributing to his enduring conquest. But who are these nameless faceless women who have raised such a successful group of descendants? Few of us even know the name of his wife, Börte, who was an instrumental in his historic success.
Women have contributed much to history as support players but now we have the options without guilt, fear or regret to be active participants.
Since we no longer borrow our positions in society and history from a male relative, husband or son, our destinies are no longer the victims of our ability to attract an eligible male.
We no longer need to abuse or disfigure our bodies to conform to societal ideals. We can now shape our unique beauty based on health and personal growth. To be loved for who we really are and not what we would like to be is healthy and encourages growing self knowledge.
Most of us Boomers have offset such fortune with our acceptance of the traditional convention. Many of us have in the past participated in the public scorn of so-called "women's Libbers" implying their motives were due to misguided beliefs or their lack of attractiveness.
But we Boomers can redeem ourselves - I - a Mid-Boomer- am "only" 55 years old – so, yeah – NO! to ageism, too. It is never too late to realize a true calling in life and unconditional self love.
Beauty based on health is a strategic choice. Strategic because our daily actions to increase or maintain our attractiveness are part of a bigger plan of a healthy life and personal success.
Beauty dependent on whim, fashion or poor self image can lead to disappointing long term results and for some ---a futile preoccupation. I.e. Botox - exactly how does investing large sums of money to inject a toxin into your body contributing to a long term youthfulness and healthy organic lifestyle?
When we are open to beauty’s diversity, we start to see health and spirit as the foundations of beauty. As we connect to our personal health and learn to know ourselves more, we create goals that lead to personal and community happiness.
We customize our lifestyle - diet, exercise, work – with simple holistic guides like Ayurveda. Spiritual Practice, which helps us connect and balance, is an integral part of our life as we exercise with mind body exercises like Yoga, Chi Kung, Tai Chi. Our diet reflects not only with our concerns for personal pleasure and health but for our planet's sustainability. All this personal commitment can only lead our ability to wisely influence the governance of our communities and world.
Successful skincare is also based on the principles of holistic, natural and sustainability. Like diet, exercise and work choices – the care our bodies based on our life principles can be a win for lasting beauty, for personal health and for a better world.
The great part of being a mother is not Mother’s Day but our power to pass our wisdom and love to all who follow us.
Friday, May 7, 2010
So has science unknowing provided an argument for the cliché of separating beauty and brains?
Richard Wrangham, a biological anthropologist at Harvard University, proposes that we have evolved to be the dominant specie by virtue of our bigger brain. His book, Catching Fire, http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780465013623 claims that this was the direct result of lessening the energy needs of our digestive system.
So we grew to be skillful masters of our destiny and our culture has evolved from the dominance of “might” to that of “bright”. (some corny humour before we talk about aging). This change has brought women growing equality and the right to work ourselves to poor health. (some self deprecating humour)
As a happy workaholic, I find the demands of beauty a nuisance. I am not talking about the superficial preoccupation with make up, hair (styling/colouring) and nails (manicures/pedicures). But the dominance of my brain along with a great relationship with my cute Sony Viao has curbed my time and efforts at the foundations of beauty like proper diet (no- not everyone thrives on broccoli and salmon and some people can be healthy with coffee and dairy), relaxation (even your brain needs a break), adequate sleep and exercise, spiritual practice (I am referring to feeling connected not joining a cult) and facial treatments ( yes - to have beautiful skin you need to take care of it regularly).
My workaholism, mainly driven by my desire to find skin solutions that are successful for both her staff and clients, is a prime example of knowledge not being enough. Have our brains become too powerful?
As a human that needs more evolving, my improved lifestyle is spurred by my fear of aging too quickly. And my ability to accept my aging body is slower than the signs of aging cropping up. So my short sighted vision now requires I cheat Mother Nature with help from some of the safe and proven technologies in skin rejuvenation.
The principle goal of rejuvenating skin is to stimulate or increase collagen production in the Dermis layer of your skin. This will increase your skin cells’ ability to retain moisture. The difference in the appearance between the skin of a 16 year old and that of a 60 year old is the amount of moisture in her skin cells not the number of skin cells. Fine wrinkles and dryness appear when skin cells shrink due to the low moisture content of the new skin cell and the slower turnover rate of the cell’s life-cycle. The cycle of a 20 year old skin is 28 days while that of a 45 year old depending on her lifestyle can be 40 days or more.
The second goal is to rejuvenating elastin in the Dermis. As elastin degenerates skin loses tone and deep wrinkles form. Young skin has more and healthier elastin fibres than aged skin. Premature aging can occur with over exposure to the elements (pollution, sun, wind) and poor protection from them (inadequate moisturizer and sun screen).
Therefore the successful skin rejuvenation technologies target the dermis to rejuvenate collagen and elastin fibres.
While results are the goal, for long term skin beauty, safety is the first consideration. Those of us in the market for this technology have experienced the folly of exclusive short term gain. After those two considerations, our personal preferences, budgets and time constraint can have a strong say in the matter.
4 safe technologies that I have found to give you good long term results are
• Light Emitting Diode (LED)
• Micro Current Facial (MCF)
• Intense Pulse Light (IPL)
All 4 will cost you the same in the long run but the gentler treatments will take more of your time and spread your payments over a longer period of time . For example; while IPL treatments are the most expense, you will need only 3 to 6 treatments a year to get good results while for the same results with MCF requires 2 treatments a week for 6-10 weeks then monthly treatments to maintain results. Both will end up costing about $2000. - $3,000.00 depending on your needs.
Personal preference can determine choice as LED treatments can be therapeutic for the mind as well as rejuvenating for the skin. The healing red light is an enjoyable experience for clients while MicroDermabrasion can be jarring to their skin and psyche.
If you are in the market for safe preventative treatments you have the luxury of choice but if you have been abusive (over sun exposure) or negligent (I just don’t have time to moisturize) you may need to do a combination of the 4 technologies to get the results you want.
So what are these 4 treatment technologies?
LED treatments comprise of putting the skin under the healing coloured lights that are chosen to penetrate skin to the dermis layer to bolster healthy collagen production. While clients see improvement in their skin after one treatment it is far from dramatic or satisfying enough. This gentle therapy needs repetition to successfully give skin a long-term rejuvenated appearance. Therefore it is recommended that candidates do an initial course of treatments weekly for 7-10 weeks. For better results 2 treatments a week are recommended. After the initial treatment course, monthly treatments along with facials are needed to maintain results.
This treatment is beneficial and safe for all skin types. This technology was first used by NASA for healing then the technology was transfer to the market to treat skin cancer. As a spa treatment, LED light can rejuvenate skin cells using the red spectrum. To treat mature skin that is sensitive, a green light can be used as well. The blue spectrum is used to reduce skin’s tendency to blemish.
The second choice, MCF improves muscle tone and decreases wrinkles. Electrical current stimulates collagen production and improves skin tone to improve its appearance. Our MCF includes a second phase of applying HF current to stimulate muscles fibres and increase skin healing abilities.
The initial course of treatment is similar to LED. While once a week for 10 weeks is adequate; the best results for those of us over 50 can be attain with twice a week treatments for 10 weeks. Maintenance protocol is monthly treatments but celebrities, who are the shining examples for this technology have weekly treatments for maintenance. Those of us who are very meticulous about their appearance will want treatments at least twice a month.
It is not recommended for those who have very sensitive skin or Rosacea.
MicroDermabrasion rejuvenates aged skin by stimulating cell turnover, collagen production and minimizing facial lines. The treatment removes the top layers of the Epidermis causing the dermis to speed up cell turnover. We use the safer medium of sea salt instead of corundum -- which is a more attractive name than aluminum. While sea salt is safer, it gives better results too. I know what you are thinking – I am with you on this one. So why is anyone bothering with using aluminum as an anti-aging treatment?
Sea salt is purifying to the skin and increases its ability to retain moisture. It is less expensive for the client as it requires fewer treatments to attain the same results. Great results can be achieved with as little as 3 treatments; 2 weeks apart. Older skin should expect to do the initial course in 6 – 10 treatments. Monthly treatments are recommended. MicroDermabrasion is safe and beneficial for all skin types.
IPL is the strongest technology giving the quickest results so best for those of us who want the biggest changes yesterday. Youthful appearance can be maintained Anti-aging results with as little as 3 treatments annually. Those us, who have let our skins age more before starting, will need more treatments to jump-start our dermis in giving us younger looking skin.
IPL treatments rejuvenate our skin by emitting a high intense light into the dermis to stimulates and improve collagen production. This produces smoother, tighter skin with a decrease in visible pore size. IPL is an evolution of laser therapy to offer clients less painful and shorter treatments.
Treatment time, quality and comfort vary with the different makes of IPL machines. The spa’s investment in research and in finance does pay off for the client as end results will vary as well.
IPL dramatically improves photo-aged skin (prematurely aged appearance from sun exposure and poor lifestyle) while naturally aged skin will receive more subtle results. IPL skin rejuvenation is best for lighter skin tones. This treatment is not recommended for higher than Fitzpatrick type 4 (the scale is from 1-6) with most IPL machines.
Explore your options with your trusted esthetician. At Pure + simple, you can make a complimentary appointment with any esthetician (I work Sundays in Toronto and Saturday in Oakville) or me. We all start with your vision of how you want you skin to look and then take in consideration your time commitment and budget. Then we design a suitable plan of treatments and lifestyle to get you there. We monitor progress and alter treatment and advice as your skin dictates.
Yes, if you are serious about maintaining a youthful appearance you need to contribute with the more difficult undertaking of lifestyle as a healthy foundation to the above treatments. You will find them is my past blogs and they are individualized with your esthetician during your consultation as we help you focus on the one are most important in rejuvenating your skin and your health.
Please let me know if you have any questions. If you cannot leave your comments here email me at email@example.com
Saturday, May 1, 2010
The weather is warm and our spirits are focused on renewal. For our kids it’s mainly about baring more. But for those of us who in our more mature years-- the more we reveal the more we fret about revealing the signs of aging from the loose skin on our limbs to that of our faces.
Since I have changed to a more vegetarian diet – I have lost weight adding more stress to my attempts to look fresh and youthful.
The sign of skin sagging on the nasal labial fold (the vertical wrinkle on the sides of the mouth) had increased as my face slimmed and my skin did not. My upper eye lids had started to creep lower from a decade of long hours at a computer screen. Gravity's victory over my cheeks is visible in the elongating shape of once round pores. My skin is growing more pigmented as my skin cells forget the original programming of its melanin. Bumps and dints signal tired skin cells in my facial architecture. My fair skinned partner's skin grows increasingly red as his capillary wall weaken.
What can a surgery-phobe do to get back her skin's smoothness and tone?
Well this week I have changed my moisturizer, the shape of my eyebrows and promised to be more regular with my micro-current treatments.
The easiest step to take is to make sure skin cells are plump with a serum like Pure + simple’s Collagen Elastin Plus http://www.pureandsimple.ca/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=303&category_id=680&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=27 that supports collagen (smooth and moist skin) and Elastin (skin elasticity) under a protective but cooling moisturizer like Just Pure’s Honey Neroli Facial Cream Light http://www.pureandsimple.ca/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=1356&category_id=409&manufacturer_id=0&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=27.
Reshaping your eyebrows is another unobtrusive and easy step to take to a younger look. To avoid looking dated it is important to change the shape of the brows according to the changes of the times and your face.
I am a prime example of living in a time warp. I have prided myself in the classic arch of my right brow. I have struggled many a morning to get my left one to look like it. This have been my look for the last 40 years. But I found out this week that the softer arch of my left brow was more flattering for my now more angular features. The wider curve gave me a softer, more youthful appearance.
Eyebrows left au natural may look charming on a smooth young face but on a face with growing "character", eyebrows with a clean shape can give a flattering frame to the eyes.
Take years off your face by tweezing the hairs on the bottom side of the eyebrows. It can visually reverse the drooping of aging eye lids.
To further lift those eyebrows and eyes try micro-current (it used to call non-surgical face lift). I have been very lackadaisical about my micro-current treatments. But as spring arrives and my face looks less vitalized than my spirits, I decide to give my treatments more priority to renew my skin's health and appearance.
Micro-current is probably the least aggressive of the safe anti-aging technologies like Intense Pulse Light (IPL) and Microdermabrasion. But it is also one that demands the most time of the client. It works on stimulating the facial muscles and the circulatory system that supports healthy skin cells.
The time commitment is not for everyone. For a successful result you need to have the treatments twice a week for the first month to month and a half. Then to maintain this more youthful look, you need to have monthly treatments. Personally I believe the celebrities who use this method are doing it more often so it is not a great endeavor if you have overwhelming time commitments at home and at work.
I am experimenting with supplementing the professional treatments with a home model like NuFace http://www.nuface.plazadiscounts.com/index.html But I will not have any news for a while.
For more anti-aging options that are safe and natural – return here next week.