Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vintage and Modern: Secrets of Celebrity Skincare!

I recently read "The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets" - a book originally published back in 2006 that shared some tips and secrets of the trade in celebrity skincare - and was amazed by how relevant a lot of the advice still was! Sure, the skincare industry is one of the leading industries to innovate and update their technologies, but the philosophy of skincare has changed little in the past seven years.

Let's focus on some tips the celebrities in the book swore by - and see how their skin is faring today.

Celebrity #1 - Alexis Bledel.
In the "Black Book," Alexis Beldel discusses the importance of skincare - and shares a cheap and easy treatment - olive oil! "About once a week, I steam my face with pure olive oil... You just get a bowl of hot water, dab a little olive oil on your dry spots and let it do its work. It's an old trick that really works and your skin stays soft and line free."

Alexis Bledel, 2012
Alexis Bledel, 2006

Celebrity #2 - Paris Hilton
I know, she's irrelevant. But let's compare the skin she cared for using the philosophy "I don't work out. I don't diet. I just have a good metabolism. I guess I'll start Pilates though - everyone does it." I'm pretty sure that is the exact OPPOSITE approach you should have to skincare. But here, you can see the results for yourself.

Paris Hilton, 2012
Paris Hilton, 2006

Celebrity #3 - Felicity Huffman
Despite her statement that "I'm lucky if I have time to wash my face all day," Felicity Huffman still does "a lot of moisturizing and I'm really into Leaf & Rusher." [Leaf & Rusher uses highly active forms of vitamins, algae, and peptides - just like many of our Skintology products!] "I look at my face after I put it on and it's almost like my skin is saying 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.'"

Felicity Huffman, 2006
Felicity Huffman, 2012

Obviously, our celebrity "analysis" requires some suspension of reality - make up, lighting, and other factors can all affect how skin appears. But it's evident that the aging process has been more kind on some celebrities than others - can you believe Alexis Bledel is 30 years old? And Paris Hilton is just 1 year older! Our girl Felicity Huffman is turning 50 this year - and look at how amazing her skin looks.

Whether using products from high-end department stores or found on our kitchen shelves, skin maintenance will always be extremely valuable. It doesn't always mandate, as the beauty industry will often tell you, running after the newest or latest secret ingredient - you just need to be knowledgeable!

That being said, is there a particular ingredient you have always been curious about? What at-home skincare regimen do you swear by? Ask or tell us in the comments section - we'll gather up the Skintologists and put their knowledge to the test!

*All quotes in above post reference: Douglas, Kym. and Pearlman, Cindy. The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets. New York: Penguin Group, 2006. Print.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Tips on affordable skin care!

Let's be realistic - professional spa treatments can get expensive, especially in New York. Not everyone can afford monthly facials when a facial can cost upwards of $200 in some neighborhoods. So how is the average Josephine supposed to maintain their largest organ - their skin - in an effective and affordable way?

Tip #1: Break down the cost of professional treatments. Let's say, for example, that a facial costs $150.00. With a professional deep-cleaning and proper maintenance, the effects of a facial should last 4-6 weeks, on average. $150 / 6 = $25/week - which seems a much more acceptable price. It's all about perspective when it comes to these things - skincare is not a luxury. Basic facials with highly trained aestheticians are a great and relatively affordable resource.

Tip #2: Find specials! In the age of online deals and email promotions, you'll be sure to find discounts on services somewhere. Plus, many spas (especially in office-heavy neighborhoods) offer "lunchtime specials" which are often quick 30-45 minute previews to services like peels. (Shameless plug: Skintology, of course, offers a wide array of off-peak specials.) These specials are a great way to try certain services and experience the spa before committing to an expensive treatment. You can get a great feel for a place when you can see how they treat their discount-clients.

Tip #3: Once you find an aesthetician or spa you like, stick with it! Many spas offer loyalty discounts to their long-standing clients, or referral programs if you bring your friends. Besides the financial benefits, though, it's also useful for an aesthetician to have a comprehensive history of your skin and treatments. Every spa performs procedures slightly differently, and every aesthetician needs at least one visit from you before being able to determine exactly what you need.

Tip #4: Splurge on at-home skincare. Even with professional help, we can't emphasize the importance of maintaining an at-home skincare regimen enough! That glow you get right after a facial will subside within a couple of days, but you can prolong its purifying effects using cleansers, exfoliants, and moisturizers. Again, break down the cost of a reputable moisturizer by daily use - if one jar of expensive creme costs $65 but lasts you 6 months - you are literally only paying 35 cents a day! Plus, with a consistent at-home skincare regimen, you can push back your professional facials to about four months apart (depending on your skin's needs).

There you have it - skincare can get expensive, but it is much more necessary than many people think. I always break down skincare into two major categories: maintenance and reparation. Often times, you won't think of your skin until it's already in the reparation stage - and you're spending tons of cash just trying to find that one serum that actually reduces dark spots or fine lines. If you start maintaining your skin now, you'll save yourself a lot more stress later!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer means sunscreen - and lots of it!

With summer "unofficially" here and May Melanoma Awareness month almost over, it's an ideal time to discuss sun protection.

First, what does SPF stand for and what does it measure? SPF, or sun protection factor, measures protection against UV-B radiation, which is the ultraviolet radiation that typically causes sunburn. Typically, the degree of SPF can be used to measure the length of effectiveness. However, not only does UV radiation intensity vary through the day, but sweating or swimming throughout the day can decrease the amount of SPF you have on at any given moment.

Plus, conventional sunscreen oftentimes does not account for UV-A radiation, which accounts for most skin aging and damage, but does not cause the skin to redden or be burned. This is why you should always look for a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against BOTH UV-A and UV-B radiation. Plus, look for water-resistant sunscreens, which diminishes the chances that water activities or sweat will decrease protection.

1. Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF30. $16.99. continued use lightens and brightens skin; uses natural ingredients like soy to calm and soothe skin.

2. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF70. $10.99. clean, lightweight, and non-greasy; a great affordable option for face and body.

3. Clarins UV Plus HP Day Screen High Protection SPF40. $38.00. sheer, oil-free day cream that protects against sun damage, environmental stress, and fights wrinkles.

4. Josie Maran Protect Argan Oil SPF40+. $32.00. weightless lotion that is fast-absorbing and uses all natural ingredients; great for those with super sensitive skin.

5. Cellex-C Sun Care SPF30+. $38.00. uses vitamin C as its base ingredients; smooth, blendable, and doubles as a moisturizer.

6. Clinique SPF50. $19.00. solar-activated antioxidants that prevent visible damage; oil-free, anti-aging, and gentle enough for sensitive skin types.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What's in her makeup bag? - Skintology Edition

Introducing our very first edition of What's in Her Makeup Bag - featuring your local Skintologists. No one has the resources and budgets of celebrities (except celebrities) - so we're proud to showcase our amazing skincare experts and their beauty must-haves! Get to know our staff and our secrets to beautiful, healthy, glowing skin!

Today we're featuring Jessica H., Skintologist since December 2011. You can find Jessica H. at Skintology Midtown at 157 E. 57th Street, between 3rd and Lexington Avenues. Jessica is Skin Type 1, with a fair complexion and pink undertones. Her adorable freckles and bright blue eyes adds dimension to her face, so her daily make-up routine is light. However, there are a few things she absolutely swears by, and cannot live without!

1. Tory Burch Makeup Bag. While Jessica's particular makeup bag is no longer available, you can find a similar version here: http://www.neimanmarcus.com/p/Tory-Burch-Stacked-Logo-Cosmetic-Case-Small-Accessories. No girl can live without at least one Tory Burch accessory (Reva Ballerina flats, anyone?) and this bag is the perfect size to hold just enough without being overwhelming.

2. Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery with SPF30. Not only does this Dermalogica moisturizer provide solid protection from the sun, its combination of polypeptides, glucosamine, and soy stimulates collagen to prevent aging and environmental damage. Jess loves the lightweight texture.  Find it here: http://www.ulta.com/ulta/browse/productDetail.jsp?productId=prod2152645 .

3. MAC Sheertone Shimmer Blush in Springsheen. With her fair complexion, less is always more - and this MAC Blush is perfect! Adding just a hint of shimmer and color adds depth to Jessica's face without overwhelming it. http://www.maccosmetics.com/product/shaded/156/329/Powder-Blush/index.tmpl .

4. Skintology Laboratories Wri-Lax Neuropeptide Anti-wrinkle Serum. No Skintologist would be complete without some Skintology in her bag! "The Wri-Lax serum is a perfect consistency - it's not too thick or oily like other serums tend to be," Jessica raves. (The Wri-Lax serum is currently only available in-store, so visit a Skintology Skin and Laser Center to snatch it up.)

5. Sormé Professional Series Fan Brush 965 and Blush Brush 951. Find these and other great brushes at: http://www.sorme.com/brushes_tools.php. "These brushes distribute product really evenly and they're soft!" Jess uses these brushes for highlighting with bronzer and blush.

Check out more of Jessica's favorites on Skintology's Pinterest, which she now edits and spearheads: www.pinterest.com/skintology . Jessica's awesome boards include "Au Natural" and "Fab. Skincare Products." 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

What is SmartLipo?

SmartLipo is a laser-assisted liposuction that liquefies fat cells while simultaneously tightening the skin. Using cannulas that range in diameter from 1.0mm to 3.5mm with a laser tip, SmartLipo physicians carefully melt fat cells and vacuum them out of the body. The laser technology ruptures fat cells as well as tightens the skin around the treated area, decreasing skin laxity. It is typically used to treat smaller areas of fat with a stronger emphasis on sculpting, such as below the chin, the "pouches" of the lower abdomen, or flanks.

In comparison with traditional liposuction procedures, recovery time for SmartLipo is minimal. Many patients are back to work within three or four days. Strenuous exercise should be avoided for two weeks. Plus, a compression garment must be worn 24 hours a day for two weeks following the surgery, and then nightly for an additional two weeks.

SmartLipo was the first laser that was approved by the FDA to be used for fat dissolution and removal with tumescent liposuction. Tumescent liposuction is performed by instilling dilute solutions of lidocaine and epinephrine into the fatty areas of the treatment area. The fluid anesthetizes the areas to be treated, so the procedure is performed while the patient is awake with minimal discomfort. This reduces the risks associated with general anesthesia, which is the typical method used for traditional liposuction. The bleeding from SmartLipo is also decreased, because the laser targets red blood cells, resulting in less blood loss.

SmartLipo was introduced in 2007 and utilizes a 1064 wave length that produces bursts of energy as it enters the fatty tissue. This improves the safety of the procedure because the fat melts without heating the tissue excessively. Smaller areas of melted fat can actually reabsorb into the body and may not even need suctioning. However, since adults stop producing fat cells after a certain age, even weight gain post-surgery will typically go to areas other than the treated area.

The above information was acquired from an article submitted by Robert L. True, MD, FACOG, AACS.

See our website at www.skintologyny.com for more information!

Also, starting this Wednesday, May 16th, Dr. Howard Feldman, Skintology's head surgeon, will be holding Q&A sessions on Wednesdays at 5:30pm about SmartLipo and other procedures at our new Midtown location at 157 E. 57th Street, between 3rd Avenue and Lexington. Space is limited, so RSVP your full name and contact information to press@skintologyny.com. You may also Tweet questions to us at @skintologyspa.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Clinique, founded in 1968, started the world on a three-step system craze for skincare that consisted of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. Throwback, anyone? If you were interested in skincare around the early 90s, the picture to the left probably looks familiar to you.

Clinique has since updated their 3-step system to include a new cleanser, and a plethora of "add-on" treatments, from serums to lightening masks to even a make-up line. But building off their 3-step system launched Clinique's brand image as the simplest and best way to daily take care of your skin.

How true is the 3-step system in modern day skin care regimen? Market analysis shows that the demographic of people paying attention to their skin is becoming consistently younger - individuals are more interested in maintaining youth than recapturing it after it's too late.

In honor of May Melanoma Awareness Month - the first most important thing to stress about maintaining healthy and youthful skin is sun protection. The sun's ultraviolet rays are the most damaging environmental factor to your skin. So whether you use a separate sunscreen or have it included in your make-up or moisturizing routine, ensure that you are protected! SPF30 or higher is usually what is recommended, as often, the higher the SPF, the more chemical the ingredients. However many steps your skin care regimen is, make sure applying SPF is included or added!

Step 1: CLEANSE.
This is the most basic and most straightforward of any skin care regimen. Avoid bar soaps, as they tend to be harsh on the skin. Liquid cleansers come in different textures and with different ingredients. For normal to dry skin, use a creamy cleanser that can be washed off or wiped off. Wiping off creamy cleansers eliminates the potential to strip your skin of essential oils, and further hydrates dry or damaged skin. For normal to oily skin, look for small percentages of glycolic or similar acids, that will not only reduce oiliness, but even out imperfections and smooth fine lines.

Exfoliation really gives you the most bang for your buck. I recently started using Malin + Goetz's Jojoba Scrub two or three times a week, and it really makes a noticeable difference. Exfoliating sloughs off dead skin cells that have collected at the upper dermis of your face, which gives your skin a dulled look. Using an exfoliant a few times a week will not only eliminate those dead cells, but revive and encourage skin cells to produce more rapidly. The biggest factor in looking for a good scrub is the size of the bead - the more sensitive your skin, the smaller the bead should be. (Generally speaking, always go for smaller beads as they are easier on your skin. Depending on the manufacturer of the product, the smaller beads should still do the same work as the larger ones!)

I cannot even begin to describe all the different varieties and types of moisturizers out there on the skincare market. In fact, 64% of consumers maintain moisturizing as their #1 method of skin care! Moisturizers range from full body to face, anti-aging to spot treatments, natural and organic to lightening and brightening... Constantly, chemists and dermatologists are developing and expanding on their moisturizers. The major thing to remember when considering moisturizers is that their aim is to hydrate and maintain hydration in your skin. Applying moisturizers right after the shower, for example, locks in the water in your skin as you towel off. There are a few key ingredients to look out for when searching for moisturizers (check out the blog post of last week for details!), but much of it depends on a consumer's individual needs.

It may be surprising that this three-step method doesn't include toning, one of the primary entities in Clinique's original three-step process. Toning, while a good option for people with combination to oily skin, is purely elective. For many people, especially those with dry or sensitive skin, toning should be avoided altogether, as its alcoholic nature can further irritate your skin. Furthermore, with the right cleansing and exfoliating methods, toning can be somewhat redundant.

What cleansers and exfoliating scrubs do you use and recommend? Do you tone? Any particular moisturizers you swear by? Let me know in the comments section!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inside-Out Skincare - Vitamin C, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Lycopene

Recently in the beauty industry, there's been a surge of stressing the importance of "inside out" skincare. Phrases like omega-3 fatty acids and "induce collagen production" are tossed about casually, without any in-depth explanation. With the beauty industry's increasing emphasis on natural and organic skin care, it's important to understand exactly what these ingredients are and how they affect your body and skin - from the inside out.

Vitamin C. Most people know of the benefits of Vitamin C, commonly found in citrus fruits and vegetables like broccoli, hot red peppers, and spinach. Besides ingesting the vitamin, though, topically applied Vitamin C does wonders for your skin. As an ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is key to the production of collagen, a protein that aids the growth of cells and blood vessels. Collagen gives skin its firmness and pliancy. Furthermore, as a naturally occurring antioxidant, Vitamin C slows the rate of free-radical damage. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that damage collagen and cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.) In some studies, dermatologists have found that ascorbic acid 2-phosphate, a derivative of Vitamin C, not only neutralizes free radicals but actually reverses DNA damage.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids. Omega-3 Fatty Acids are most commonly found in fish, and probably most popular as an oral supplement of fish oil. It reduces inflammation and keeps skin's moisture levels balanced by plumping skin cell membranes so for higher water retention. This simultaneously improves the elasticity of hydration of skin. Omega-3 Fatty Acids also reduce the body's production of chemicals involved in the aging process. In skincare products, look for marine elements rather than actual fish ingredients - algae absorbs more efficiently into the skin when topically applied than ingredients like fish oil.

Lycopene. One of the most damaging entities to your skin is increased sun exposure - this has been proven through research and experimentation time and time again. So in addition to applying an SPF daily, or ensuring that your make-up carries a bit of SPF in it, try to consume vegetables like carrots or tomatoes that have a high content of lycopene. (Be careful though - the lycopene in raw tomatoes is bundled with indigestible fiber, so eat cooked or processed tomatoes instead.) Lycopene is a bright red carotene pigment and phytochemical that is found naturally in red fruits. It's responsible for yellow, orange, and red pigmentation, photosynthesis, and photo-protection. Lycopene neutralises the harmful effects of UV light and improves the processes of cell metabolism and membranes. It can also reduce the signs of aging by enhancing collagen production and reducing DNA damage that leads to wrinkles.

Healthy, youthful skin comes primarily from two things - collagen and hydration. The purpose of many of these ingredients is to retain water more effectively and to boost the collagen protein production. It's important as the seasons begin changing to rejuvenate your dull, dried winter skin, using naturally occurring ingredients. Understanding why these acids and vitamins help your skin is an important step to keeping yourself naturally healthy and beautiful.