It’s always the right time to get rid of your blackheads. In the winter they feel dry, and in the summer they feel oily—a confusing combination that leaves you frustrated. Never fear—from simple exfoliation to microdermabrasion, there are many ways to conquer blackheads and repair your skin.
What is a Blackhead?
A blackhead forms when a hair follicle becomes widened or open, allowing dirt, oils, and bacteria to get in. Your skin’s oils, sebum, can overproduce for different reasons, and become stuck in the skin without draining properly, causing bacteria to form. Sebum oxidizes as it sits in this open hair follicle, and gives it the “black” appearance that we know and hate so much.
Medical Grade Cleansers Renew and Keep Skin Clean
One of the reasons sebum can overproduce and get caught in our pores is from over-cleansing. We see oil and dirt building up in our pores, and try to fix it by using stronger cleansers or washing our face more often and more aggressively. This is a mistake—what our skin wants is routine. Using a medical grade cleanser and lotion, cleanse your skin no more than twice a day to stop from drying it out—overdoing it will cause more sebum to produce and perpetuate clogged pores and trapped dirt!
- Be Clean!
- Use a clean cloth. You are getting bacteria out when you clean, so keep your cleaning supplies clean too. This goes for your fingers as well.
- Be gentle!
- One of the top tips for calming irritated skin is: Just Be Gentle. Light pressure, lukewarm water—keeping things moderate helps your skin to stay relaxed and produce regular levels of sebum.
Microdermabrasion is a gentle way to renew your skin and help blackheads clear up. A specialized brush is combined with a professional cleanser to carefully remove the top layer of your skin, promoting healthy production below and removing layers of dirt and oils. Blackheads are a clog in your skin—microdermabrasion unclogs and promotes regular oil production levels going forward.
Maintaining energy in the winter is a difficult task, especially if you are working long hours. There are many treatments to bring energy back to your skin. At the same time, help your skin maintain energy by being holistically supportive—sleep, routine, and diet are all important to bright skin and energy to take you from dawn to dusk.
Keeping hydrated is good for almost everything and should be a priority every day. Proper intake of water promotes good collagen production for dewy, radiant skin. Not only does water give your skin energy, but helps maintain blood volume levels, enabling oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your cells at the best rate. This consistency helps you to wake up, stay awake longer, and feel more energized throughout the day. Energize inside and out by keeping a routine with your water intake.
Change Up Your Wake Up
A lot of us are reliant on coffee as a reason to get out of bed and stay out of bed. Taking the leap and quitting coffee can be a big move towards a more energetic life, believe it or not. Replace coffee with a lower caffeine beverage such as green tea to level out the “caffeine high” and maintain energy levels for longer throughout the day.
Best Energy Foods
Getting a good supply of nutrients throughout the day is a sure fire way to improve skin quality and boost energy. Here are some areas to check off:
- Go for complex carbs. These provide energy more slowly than simple carbs, providing nutrients for longer periods of time, without the “high highs” and “low lows.”
- Get more iron. Dark green vegetables are packed with iron, which is key to energy. Combine iron-filled greens with vitamin C (such as in bell peppers) to absorb the most you can from the vegetables.
- Limit refined sugar intake. A lot of alcohol or refined sugars (such as in candy and juice) taps out your energy resources and makes your body work harder to build it back up.
- Don’t cut out fats. Healthy fats (such as in avocados and salmon) are key for antioxidants to link to and start dispensing health benefits to your cells.
You don’t have to focus on your skin and your energy at different times. Find healthy patterns in your life by doing practices that are good for your whole body, inside and out.
You’re not fighting scurvy, but you are fighting the winter blues. Last week’s tip was to pair Vitamin C and iron rich foods together for energy; this week ‘s focus is on the different ways Vitamin C can enrich your skin, energy levels, and overall health.
Even in winter, we are vulnerable to the sun’s harmful rays. Topical application of vitamin C can provide protection from UVA/UVB rays and sun damage. Vitamin C has been shown to not only protect from the sun, but repair damaged skin that’s seen too many rays. Medical Grade skin lotions that contain L-ascorbic acid are the Vitamin C-filled armour your skin needs—even in March.
Another Important C—Collagen
Collagen production is aided by intake of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, fighting free radicals that are harmful to collagen production. A healthy intake of vitamin C and other antioxidants set up a strong defence against free radicals that get in the way of collagen production. When collagen can produce you gain plump, luminous, and youthful skin.
Vitamin C-rich Foods
- Fresh orange juice
- Tomato juice
- Green and red bell peppers
- Red cabbage
Vitamin C—especially paired with iron—can be hugely beneficial to overall health. Studies show the vitamin:
- Boosts the immune system
- Helps to prevent colds
- Strengthens the cardiovascular system
- Fortifies teeth and muscles
- Prevents bruising and strengthens skin
- Diminishes dryness and promotes good cell growth
There are many ways that stress affects our quality of life. Managing your stress and simplifying your days can bring positive results to many areas of your life, including the quality of your skin. See results in a brighter face, more radiant skin, and an overall boost of energy!
How Skin Quality is Affected by Stress
Stress activates different reactions in the body, and a lot of the time leaves us looking tired and worn down.
- Going off last week’s blog post, under-eye bags are largely caused by a lack of sleep. Stress keeps us up at night, causing stressed blood vessels to burst and fluid to pool under the eyes.
- Flare-ups are activated by stress-related cortisol release, which in turn affects the way hormones are regulated in the body. Regulation of hormones is one of the best ways to stop acne in its tracks.
- Rashes or hives are often caused by an imbalance of bacteria (caused by a stress trigger) in your gut—where bad bacteria starts to outweigh the good.
- Sweating and poor diet can affect your hydration levels. Drinking coffee or pop because you’re stressed puts your sugar levels all over the map, and causes major dehydration. Dehydration = flaky, unhealthy skin.
What to Do
You probably can’t take everything stressful out of your life. That’s okay, and there’s many ways to problem solve and keep looking and feeling happy while you manage your stress and whatever the day throws at you.
- Drink water or coconut water throughout the day to keep hydrated, which is key to having energy–low energy drives us towards carby comfort meals or quick-fixes like chocolate bars. Eight glasses a day will keep you more bright-eyed and help your skin be at its healthiest.
- Pack your meals with antioxidants (found in blueberries, dark leafy greens and much, much more). Antioxidants stop free-radicals from interrupting collagen production—collagen keeps your skin looking plump, full, and young. A healthy and complete diet also maintains sugar levels, helping your hormones to stay regulated while promoting restful sleep to wipe away those under-eye bags.
- Exercise releases endorphins, which put you in a better mood and provide you with energy. More energy to approach the day will decrease your stress, as will concerning yourself less with your skin quality
- A regular amount of sleep promotes good balance of hormones, better energy, and less anxiety. To combat under-eye bags, sleep a regular amount each night, drink less alcohol (alcohol is full of sugar and stops you from deep sleep), and prop your head slightly up on your pillow to stop gravity from pooling fluid under your eyes.
Medical grade skin care products can help improve the quality of your skin when stress is attacking it. Hyaluronic acid in products promotes collagen production. Other treatments like Juvederm stimulate collagen production using hyaluronic acid in a targeted way, and Botox reduces wrinkles caused by stress and time.
Cellulite–no one wants to have it or talk about it. Don’t shy away–there are many ways to both proactively and retroactively combat those hateful little dimples.
What Cellulite Is
Cellulite appears as fat gathers underneath different areas of our skin. The way fat is distributed around individual bodies is affected mainly by differing genetic, hormonal, and dietary factors. As fat gathers around connective tissue it causes the skin to pucker where it would instead be taut–giving hips, buttocks, and legs the familiar and dreaded appearance of unflattering dimples.
As women age, the body begins to produce less estrogen. Estrogen stabilizes steady blood flow throughout the body, which is key to maintaining strong connective tissue. Hormones can also mean poor circulation. In order for collagen to produce, the body needs good circulation to create this protein that is very important to the upkeep of youthful skin.
Our genes account for a lot, and can predispose our bodies to forming cellulite. We can have slower metabolisms that cause us to hold more fat on the body.
What we eat and how we eat it has an affect on our blood circulation, collagen production, fat storage, and ultimately the strength of our connective tissue.
Keep hydrated and eat foods that are high in water content to encourage healthy tissue formation.
Foods that are lower in bad fats are also easier for our bodies to digest and turn into energy. Avoid trans fats that get stuck in the body and form fat deposits.
As mentioned frequently in previous posts and as recently as last week–antioxidant rich foods like blueberries and dark leafy greens are one of your best allies when it comes to building skin-smoothing collagen. Antioxidants stop free-radicals from attacking blood cells and halting collagen production.
Smoking can indeed be a factor in the formation of cellulite. Smoking causes a reduction in blood flow, disrupting collagen reduction, and allowing for damage to connective tissue.
To deal with stubborn cellulite, there are non-surgical and non-invasive treatments that target its appearance and existence on the body. Venus Legacy™ is a treatment that creates a specialized thermal reaction using safe multi-polar radio frequency and Pulsed Magnetic fields to treat cellulite and fat. Venus Legacy™ treatments increase circulation and plump your skin by stimulating collagen production. It is pain-free and requires no down-time following the treatment.
Dermal fillers come in many effective forms, depending on the desired outcome. These safe, low impact and non-surgical treatments are designed to provide a natural lift and youthful plumpness back to your skin.
Botox is likely the dermal filler you’re most familiar with. It’s no surprise—Botox has been around a long time, and remains an effective and popular treatment.
• removes frown lines and upper lip lines
• banishes crow’s feet
• diminishes neck bands
• diminishes forehead creases
• is non-surgical
• treatments are only 10-20 minutes
• results last up to four months
• is world renowned and time-tested
Juvederm has different treatment streams available, depending on your desired results. VOLUMA uses a gel filler of hyaluronic acid—a naturally occurring substance that combines with water in the skin to fill out areas that have fallen in the face and neck over time.
• adds volume and contour to cheeks and jaw lines
• softens wrinkles and fine lines, filling out “hollow” areas
• works with all skin types
• results can last up to a year
• is non-surgical
• works well in combination with Botox and Soft Lift treatments
Unlike other dermal fillers, Restylane is collagen-free—a haven for those with collagen allergies. A collagen allergy shouldn’t stop you from restoring youth and diminishing wrinkles from your face.
• is a non-animal based product
• is non-surgical
• restores plumpness to lips
• fills in fine lines
• has minimal downtime
• results can last longer than collagen based treatments
Dermal filler treatments can be tailored to your desired results, concerns, and allergies and preferences. Don’t let time determine how your skin ages.
Unwanted and often premature signs of aging appear over time due to damage from many sources—sun exposure, hormonal changes, pollution, smoking, diet and more.
What happens to skin as we age?
The top layer of skin acts as a barrier for the body, protecting it by keeping disease and toxins out and essential body fluids in. At the cellular level, new cells are formed that move up towards the surface of the skin where they are eventually exfoliated or removed. When we are young, this process takes about 40 days—28 days to migrate to the surface and 12 days to be sloughed or exfoliated off. With youthful healthy skin, new skin cells are well organized and uniform in shape, size, pigmentation and structure.
When skin ages and begins to break down, the surface becomes discolored, loose, wrinkled and rough. Cell turnover slows, reducing essential nutrients and produces cells that are abnormal. Collagen and elastin, the necessary proteins found in our bodies for healthy, plump skin, become less dense and less uniform, disorganized and coarser, causing skin to age and sag. There is less blood circulation and moisture, resulting in dull, lifeless skin.
Skin Treatment begins with the basics
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, which is especially true with maintaining healthy youthful looking skin. A healthy lifestyle and a proper skin care routine can mean putting off or avoiding injections or cosmetic surgery.
What’s the difference? Medical grade skin care is made up of medically proven ingredients only available through a doctor, which have been developed through clinical research. Over the counter products may also be based on clinical research but the dosage of the ‘wonder ingredients’ is minimal compared to medical grade skin care products. Over the counter lotions and creams typically do not penetrate as deeply, providing only a surface treatment.
Medical grade products work deeper, targeting the dermis or middle layer of the skin, where collagen and elastin are found and in the basal or bottom layer of the skin, where new skin cells are formed.
For skin rejuvenation, and to prevent premature aging, begin with a healthy lifestyle and use medically researched products with the right formula to keep skin looking youthful.