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Maskne (Mask Acne)

            Since the enforcement of masks has started, “maskne” mask acne, has been a huge problem in the skincare industry. Rubbing can cause irritation or chafing which creates a type of rug burn as found especially on the bridge of the nose and behind ears where elastic bands may be. Sometimes the material of the mask can absorb natural oils, his will leave the skin dry and sensitive. Residue from laundry detergent can get stuck in the fabric and cause irritation. If you have rosacea or psoriasis, this can cause a flare up. Occlusion from a mask can also cause acne. Your breath gets trapped beneath the mask, creating a warm and moist environment. Besides regular acne, occlusion can also lead to folliculitis which is when bacteria or yeast infect hair follicles.

            It can be tricky trying to find the right mask that allows you to breath without triggering maskne. The best choice for homemade is tightly woven 100% cotton. It is effective and gentle on the skin. Before putting on your mask, wash your face and apply a good moisturizer. Skip makeup. You don’t need it; your mask will be covering. Of course, only wear clean masks and stay away from fragranced detergents. If you are using surgical masks, do not reuse them. This is a good time to avoid harsh medicated products like retinol or benzoyl peroxide.

            The bottom line is, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we might be wearing masks for a long time. The right skin care routine can help lessen the mask related skin concerns and breakouts.

Have you heard of photosensitive essential oils?

Essential oils are great for adding a natural fragrance to cosmetics, however, essential oils can react to our environment in ways that harm our skin. Specifically, citrus oils reacting with sunlight, and some are photosensitive. Photosensitization is the process in which ultraviolet light radiation combines with a particular substance and causes chemical or biological changes. Some essential oils contain furocoumarins, a special class of chemicals that can change the photosensitization of the skin. This can cross-links with the skin cell DNA, in turn making the skin especially susceptible to UV radiation. This can all so damage the cell membrane, organelles, and proteins. If exposed to sunlight after a topical application of photosensitive oil, the skin may become temporarily darkly pigmented, red, or irritated. Symptoms of this can be severe sunburn, darkening of the skin, swelling, and blistering. Often times you will see this occur in areas where perfume is usually applied such as the neck, decollete, wrists and inside of the elbows.

Which oils are photosensitive?

  • Bitter orange oil
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Angelica root
  • Bergamot
  • Mandarin leaf
  • Rue
  • Cumin
  • Angelica root
  • Lemon verbena
  • Fig leaf absolute

How to avoid photosensitization

Avoid the sun for 12-18 hours after you applied a photosensitive essential oil. the easiest way to avoid photosensitization is to not apply a furanocoumarin-containing essential oil to the skin at all. Covering up any skin to which phototoxic essential oils have been applied can help prevent a phototoxic reaction however thin fabrics may not provide adequate protection. Phototoxic essential oils can still be used topically on the skin even with exposure to UV light as long as they are safely diluted. Using photosensitive oils at nighttime helps reduce the risk associated with these oils.

Many people write off all citrus oils as being photosensitive but there are several that are safe to use, including steam distilled version. Although furanocoumarins are present in cold-pressed versions, the molecules are not volatile and remain behind during steam distillation/

Sun safe essential oils include:

  • Lemon -steam distilled
  • Lime -steam distilled
  • Bergamot -steam distilled- furanocoumarin free
  • Mandarin – cold press
  • Orange, sweet cold pressed
  • Tangerine – cold pressed

Let’s Perk You Right Up

Recently I have been pairing Perk treatments with my HydraFacial. Perk is a super cool treatment because you can add it to your facial and then take home the product that was used on your skin that day. This new express service will visibly plump, hydrate, and brighten your lip area in 15 minutes with little to no irritation or downtime.

During this treatment, the same machine as the HydraFacial is used. The product is attached to the wand to exfoliate dull and damaged skin cells from your eye and lip areas while infusing nutrients into the skin. After your treatment, you will take home your Perk pen. The vial contains enough serum for a month and is travel-friendly. It is perfect to refresh your eyes and lips on the go.

The replenishing eye serum will wake up and brighten the delicate skin underneath your eye. The serum contains a blend of green tea extract arnica flow extract, citric acid, and earth minerals. Green tea and arnica extract hydrates, refreshes, and soothes your skin; citric acid brightens and evens out skin tone; and the mineral peptides encourage collagen production to give you a more youthful appearance. The Perk Lip Treatment gently exfoliates, plumps, and hydrates your lips. Peony, peppermint, and aloe leaf extract are key ingredients. Peppermint extract naturally plumps your lips while peony and aloe leaf extract moisturizes your skin.

What is amazing about the Perk™ treatments give you visibility noticeable results in 15 minutes or less. Best of all, by using the Perk pen as an at-home treatment, you’ll be able to prolong the benefits of your treatment.

Sorella Apothecary Skin Care Regime

Trying to find a routine that is perfect for your skin can be tricky, especially because everyone has slightly different skin concerns. Many of you know I love Sorella Apothecary and can’t get enough of their products. I devised a list of products that are perfect for your skin type. Most products listed are found in my spa and were chosen for cleansing and prepping, treating and correcting, moisturizing and protecting, and exfoliating and nourishing that may be implemented into your skin routine.

Dry skin

         This is perfect for those who have concerns about preventative aging, aging skin, and/or sporadic breakouts.

  1. To cleanse your face, I suggest using the Apricot Mango Cleansing Milk followed by a Watermelon Mint Hydrating mist in both the morning and evenings.
  2. After cleansing, I suggest using the Main Squeeze Hydrating Serum as well as the Lemon Lightening Serum to treat and correct the skin in both the morning and evenings.
  3. To moisturize and protect use the Blueberry Milk Moisturizer in the morning and night and The Balm at night only.
  4. Exfoliating and Nourishing the skin is very important. The Papaya & Pumpkin Mask, Cherry Pepper Peel, and Blackberry Lime Fruitfoliant are my personal favorites.
  5. Additional products that are good for dry skin are the All Night Elixir and the Facial in a Bottle.

Normal or Combination Skin

         This is perfect for those who are concerned about preventative aging, aging skin, sporadic breakouts, and/or just sensitive.

  1. To start off your mornings and in the evenings, I suggest using the Orange You Jelly Cleanser and the Watermelon Mint Hydrating Mist, twice a day of course.
  2. Treating and correcting can be done with the Main Squeeze Hydrating Serum and the Pomegranate Acai Serum on both the morning and night.
  3. Blueberry Milk Moisturizers are great for moisturizing and protecting and should be applied twice a day. I also suggest using the Tropical Topical Matte SPF 30 in the morning.
  4. Exfoliate and nourish with the Cherry Pepper Peel or the Papaya & Pumpkin Mask.
  5. In addition to these products I also suggest using The Balm, All Night Elixir, and the Blackberry Lime Fruitfoliant.

Oily or Combination Skin

         These products are specifically chosen for those who have sensitive skin, frequent or severe breakouts, and/or are concerned about preventative aging or aging skin.

  1. I love using the Orange You Jelly Cleanser for cleaning and prepping my face twice a day. This can be paired nicely with the Spiced Wine Toner and the Watermelon Mint Hydrating Mist at morning and night, or the Lychee Willow Bark Deep Clean twice a week.
  2. The Main Squeeze Hydrating Serum is great to treat and correct skin concerns twice a day, especially when paired with the Pomegranate Acai Antioxidant Serum or the Facial in a Bottle.
  3. Daily Greens Moisturizer will moisturize and protect your skin if used twice a day. The Tropical Topical Matte SPF 30 is a great addition to your morning routine as well.
  4. My top three products for exfoliating and nourishing would have to be the Cherry Pepper Peel, Mint Poppy Seed Polish, and the Papaya & Pumpkin Mask.
  5. The additional product I recommend would have to be the Facial in a Bottle, Lemon Lightening Serum, and The Balm.

How to Pick the Best Acid for Your Skin

When shopping for new skin care products, you may notice there is a long list of acids and ingredients you cannot pronounce and may not recognize. It is important to know what each kind of acid can do to your face and what skin type of skin it is best for.

Glycolic acid is very common in skin care. It exfoliates the skin, reduces fine lines, hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and helps with uneven skin tone. This acid is for all skin types and is great for those who have wrinkles and fine lines.

Salicylic is another common acid. This will exfoliate the skin, clear your pores, treat breakouts, and build your elastin and collagen. It is recommended for those who have combination, oily, or acne-prone skin.

Hyaluronic acid will hydrate and plump the skin by drawing in moisture from surrounding environments. This is for all skin types, especially best for dry or acne prone skin that needs an oil-free option.

L-ascorbic acid is also known as pure vitamin C. This is an anti-inflammatory that prevents UV damage, stimulates collagen, and brightens your skin tone. This acid is perfect for all skin types.

Ferulic acid will enhance vitamin A, promote healthy skin, prevent sun damage, fight free radicals, and protect collagen. Like L-ascorbic acid, this is perfect for all skin types.

Citric Acid speeds up cell renewal and balances the pH of your skin. This is best for those with hyperpigmented skin, have dark spots. This will agitate sensitive skin.

Lactic acid exfoliates the skin, speeds up cell turnover, and is naturally occurring. This is great for all skin types, particularly those with acne scarring.

Now that you know a little bit more about the acids that could be found in your face washes, cleansers, and toners, you can choose a product better suited for your skin.

Light Therapy

LED light therapy is a painless skin care treatment that has so many benefits, specifically stimulating collagen and treating mild to moderate acne.  LED uses an array of bright light-emitting diodes that send low-level light energy into the deepest layers of your skin.

Red light stimulates cellular activity to produce collagen and give your skin a plump look. This helps minimize fine lines and wrinkles, sun damage, stretch marks, and reduce the redness that could be the result of aggressive IPL or laser treatments. These results won’t be as dramatic as plastic surgery, IPL, or last, however, it’s gentler, natural, and less expensive.

Blue light works by killing Propionibacterium acnes, which is the bacteria that lives below the surface of the skin and is responsible for acne.

Both red and blue light LEDs are effective when used repeatedly. It is important to get this treatment every month or two and can be a part of larger treatments such as a HydraFacial.

Some other interesting points about LED therapy is that it can help treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD) in winter months. Also, your eyes can’t be hurt by LED light, so they do not have to be covered.

These treatments are a good choice for those who want to boost collagen or treat mild to moderate acne. This works best in conjunction with a regular skin care routine that you can develop with me.

Gut-Skin Axis

What is gut health and how can it affect your skin?
A lot of the time we treat skin concerns from the outside, but your gut health could be the true key to having flawless skin. When your gut is unhealthy, it can have a huge impact on your skin, this connection is known as the gut-skin axis. There is scientific evidence that suggests a close bidirectional connection between your gut and your skin. This is linked to three common skin disorders: acne, atopic dermatitis, and psoriasis.

The Gut-Skin Axis
Many skin conditions are caused by gut issues and vice versa. A study found that a higher number of patients with rosacea also tested positive for a gut condition called small intestine bacterial overgrowth. When treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth, 70% of the patients was an improvement in their rosacea, demonstrating a strong association between the two: treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth alone improved the skin. Inflammatory bowel disease is also associated with a greater risk of inflaming the skin in conditions such as psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, or rosacea. This relationship is likely due to the fact that both inflammatory bowel disease and skin conditions like psoriasis have similar inflammatory pathways that may begin in the gut. Research has also found that there is a strong association between gut health and acne with several studies linking an imbalance in gut bacteria with a high prevalence of acne. Therefore, healing the gut is one of the best ways to treat chronic inflammatory skin issues.

Diet and Gut Health
The imbalance of the gut microbiome is known as dysbiosis and can cause the immune system to suffer while also increasing skin inflammation. Gut bacteria regulate many functions in the body including fat metabolism, intracellular signaling, and cell growth. When bad bacteria outweigh the good, it can disrupt these pathways and cause inflammation. Diet is the major culprit in a poor microbiome, processed foods, sugar, alcohol artificial sweeteners, and low fiber can all negatively impact the gut. Stress, poor sleep, and environmental toxins also play a role in disturbing the gut-skin axis.

Improving the Gut
For improving skin health, focus on a fiber-rich diet. Research shows that a wide variety of plant-based foods, like whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds can improve the diversity of your gut bacteria. For additional support, probiotics can be used to help balance the gut-skin connection, 80% of participants showed clinical improvement after using probiotics as they help boost the immune system and reduce oxidative stress and reduce inflammation. In addition to probiotics, prebiotics is also key for a healthy gut. Prebiotics are foods for the probiotics in your guy; for healthy skin, both are key. Prebiotic foods are rich in fibers your gut bacteria ferments. Bananas, onion, garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, apple skins, and beans are all great prebiotics.

To treat chronic inflammatory skin issues, healing the gut is one of the best ways to do that. Follow these simple guidelines and you should see an improvement in your skin, however, this is subjective to each person depending on the severity of their skin concern.

Ditch the Dark Spots

Dark spots are very common. Older adults, people with fair skin, and those who have spent a lot of time in the sun are most prone to dark spots. They appear most often on sun exposed areas, such as the face, hands, shoulders, and arms. Age spots are harmless and don’t need treatment however in some cases, prescription creams and procedures can make them less noticeable. People with darker skin, a spot that is a few shades darker than the skin usually fades within 6 to 12 months.

There are several causes for dark spots. Sun Damage is the most common after exposing skin to the sun or tanning beds. Hormones can play a factor as well. Melasma is a skin condition that causes small patches of skin to have discoloration. This is common in women during pregnancy. Medications can also lead to increased skin pigmentation and dark spots. The most common medications that cause this are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, tetracyclines, and psychotropic drugs. Dark spots can also develop after inflammation of this skin. Inflammation of the skin can be caused by eczema, psoriasis, injury to the skin, or acne. Diabetes can cause areas of the skin to become dark. Conditions associated with diabetes include acanthosis nigricans which causes darkened, velvety skin, and shine spots which people may confuse with age spots.

Here are some ways to treat dark spots:

To prevent dark spots, I suggest using SPF every day, cover up the skin when it is sunny out, and avoid peak sun hours as UV exposure is the main culprit of sun spots.

Misconceptions About Acne

  • You need to dry out your skin
    • Drying out your skin to get rid of your pimples will do nothing but scar. There is a balance that must be met. When trying to dry out your acne, you need to moisturize after to prevent scabbing and scaring.
  • Your skin will clear up if you stop stressing
    • Though stress can cause the body to produce more hormones that stimulate oil production, there are plenty of other causes of breakouts including genetics and hormone fluctuations.
  • Your diet doesn’t affect your acne
    • Foods that are high in glycemic loads, a measure of the amount of carbohydrate a food contains and how it impacts blood sugar, are associated with more pimple problems, especially when it comes to moderate or severe acne. Foods that are low on the glycemic index may help reduce inflammation. Try eating a diet that’s full of whole grains, fruits, veggies, healthy fats, and lean protein, ad avoid highly processed and fast foods.
  • Tanning dries up pimples
    • The only good tanning is going to do for your is increase your risk of skin cancer. Tanning and overexposure to harmful UV radiation is one of the worst things you can do to your skin. If you are taking medication for your skin, keep in mind some acne drugs can cause your skin to be even more sensitive to the sun.
  • There is a right way to pop a pimple
    • Popping pimples can leave scars and spread bacteria. Popping pimples can make them more inflamed, linger on your face longer, or cause more to pop up in the surrounding area.
  • You only need one acne medication in your skin care regimen
    • There isn’t going to be a one solves all medication. For example, you may want to pair a prescription topical cream with an over the count benzoyl peroxide product. It may take one or two months to find a formula that addresses your skin’s need.
  • Washing your face more often prevents acne
    • Just because you have acne does not meet your face isn’t clean when you are washing it and washing it more might not be helpful. Washing your face excessively can cause the skin to become more sensitive and more susceptible depending on how strong your facial wash is. Once in the morning and once before you go to bed may be enough but if your skin is super sensitive or you are using a strong face wash, use your best judgement.
  • Sunscreen clogs pores
    • There are actually two types of sunscreen; chemical and psychical. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light and psychical sunscreens reflect UV rays. Some chemical sunscreens may irritate the skin, causing breakouts, physical sunscreens may actually help kill acne causing bacteria. Look for zinc oxide on the sunscreen label. No more SPF excuses!
  • Stronger products are better
    • The stronger the product the more irrated your skin may become. Be mindful when choosing over the counter products. Depending on your skin type, sensitive products may be a better fit for you.
  • Treat your body acne as you would your face acne
    • Topical products aren’t absorbed as well by your body as they are by your face. This is because the follicles on your body are futher apart from each other than they are on your face. Even the best bacteria blasting products may not do the trick so talk to your dermatologist and watch your diet.

What are your exfoliating habits?

Exfoliating is generally a good thing because it removes dead skin cells. Dead skin can make skin look dry and prevents any treatments you use from being fully absorbed. However, if you exfoliate too often, are too abrasive, or combine multiple exfoliators, the natural oils and healthy bacteria that keep your skin balanced can be stripped which can cause irritation.  More intensive exfoliation once a week (blackberry lime, or mint poppy) Preferably in the evenings so the skin has time to regenerate without being exposed to the elements and you can apply a nice barrier to the skin.

We should rethink how your skin needs to be exfoliated this is where I recommend having a monthly HydraFacial.  Every four weeks you can check in with your esthetician and get idea of what you need, as your skin changes on a seasonal basis it can also change on a monthly basis. Upgrade your facial service with a Marine Mermaid, locks in moisture and increases absorption of active ingredients.

This time of year is really dry and cold, cold air equals dry air. (winter)

 Dry air sucks the moisture out of the skin and compromises the condition of the skin. Dry skin is a weak skin and more vulnerable to irritation an aging. Also, this time of year we have heater on in our homes and indoor heating can have a similar drying effect on the skin as well.  To keep your skin barrier strong and functioning properly I recommend some moisturizers with ingredients that help retain moisture I personally use one by Sorella Apothecary, The Balm, that is recommended as a night cream and has a little bit of beeswax in it. Beeswax provides a protective barrier to help keep the skin nourished while still allowing for it to breath. Black Current Extract is high in vitamin C and rich in fatty acids which reduces inflammation and helps bind moisture to the skin. It has anti-aging benefits as well with Argireline (wrinkle reducer) and palmitoyl tripeptide-37 (potent peptide that’s proven to decrease wrinkles by 45% in 28 days).  Hyaluronic acid serums are great for the new year, Sorella’s Main Squeeze Hydrating Serum layers great under any moisturizer. It contains Snow Mushroom Extract which is 3-4x more hydrating than hyaluronic acid. Also contains niacinamide that reduces inflammation and restores the skin’s natural barrier. Cogan grass provides long time moisturizing benefits without clogging pores.

Sensitive skin it might be a clue that you have a skin condition that has not been yet diagnosed.

For example, the tendency to flush or flash along with persistent redness on your cheeks, forehead and chin are commonly signs of rosacea. Eczema also causes irritation and dry flaky skin, both conditions are best treated by an aesthetician or under a dermatologist’s care.  Sensitive and sensitized are two different things. I find a lot of people don’t make this connection. Sensitive skin is genetic and sensitized is often from outside factors like the with weather, harsh ingredients and or over exfoliation.

Tips:

  • Don’t forget to use a toner.
  • Drink water. We tend to consume a lot of sodium heavy foods this time of year.
  • Lip treatment applied every evening before bed to lock in moisture and heal and repair sensitive lip area
  • In addition, I always recommend cleaning your make up brushes and discarding old make up that may have bacteria buildup on it.
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