Caring for Itchy, Dry Winter Skin by Freida

After a long day, I usually get home and unwind by taking a long shower with hot water beating on my body especially my shoulders. The water massages my aching shoulders. After a few weeks of doing this “therapeutic massage,” I found my shoulders burning and my skin all over my body itching. The areas that were affected had an extra layer of dry cells. I was concerned because I always moisturize my skin. What was causing the itching and burning? Why was my skin barrier damaged? I always take long showers so that wasn’t strange. I tried coconut oils which are good and hydrating, but they didn’t work. My skin itched even more. I decided to mix my own body oils to lubricate my drying skin cells. I mixed together almond oil, castor oil, apricot oil and vegetable glycerin – all known oils for moisturizing the skin – and that mixture irritated my already-damaged skin barrier. One morning in my frustration, I grabbed my hydrating moisturizing mask (Skin Fitness Hydrating Mask) and applied it to my damaged areas. And I felt some relief immediately. I used it again for a few days until the skin barrier was repaired and hydrated again.

The cold low temperatures really do affect your skin and cause severe dryness and itching. On a cold night you may be tempted to take a long hot shower or soak in a hot soapy water for long periods. But this pleasure can cause serious dryness to the outermost layer, the epidermis, which is the key to the barrier. Taking long showers and baths can strip the outermost layers of its natural oils and rob the body of very important moisture. The outermost layer is made up of overlapping layers of dry cells. The epidermis plays an important role in keeping vital nutrients in and damaging substances and elements out.

Protecting the epidermis is important all year round, and especially in the winter. Here are several tips for protecting the skin barrier during this winter period:

(1) Shorten the bath time. Make it short and not too hot. Pat off the excess
water and apply moisturizers after.
(2) Hydrate the skin immediately after coming out of the shower. Leave some
water on the skin to block the moisture lost. Badger Balm’s Rose Body Oil (available at Blue Heron)
is great to apply at the end of your shower before you pat dry. It helps to seal in moisture.
(3) Drink lots of water. Although water doesn’t moisturize the skin, it keeps
the insides of our body hydrated.
(4) Use a humidifier.
(5) Use a body scrub one day a week to exfoliate the upper layer and remove the dead cells.
(6) Wear warm clothing when going outside. Avoid irritating wool fabrics.

Freida Frances is an Esthetician at Blue Heron Wellness. Click here to book an appointment with Freida.

Protecting Your Eyes From the Aging Effects of Winter

Our eyes are the window to our souls. Its important to take care of this area. Our eyes are surrounded by the most delicate area on the faces. The eyes are the first thing you see when you meet someone. Your eyes can make you seem tired, bored, happy etc. The eyes play a huge part in our body language and they speak a whole language.

The eyes play a huge part in our body language and they speak a whole language. They can tell how much sleep you got or didn’t get, how much alcohol you had, how you’re feeling or not feeling. Therefore its important to pay close attention to the area around our eyes and treat it with diligent care. The skin around the eye is very delicate and thin. It has few oil-producing pores and can be very impacted by the environmental effects of winter. It can cause the skin around the eyes to look dull, dry and dark.

The winter sun can also be damaging. Although not as bright as in the summer, it still has harmful UV rays. Especially when it snows, the impact of the UV rays can be as much as doubled as it is reflected by the snow. This can cause sunburn that ultimately ages the delicate skin around our eyes. UV rays are responsible for 90% of aging and can add years to our appearance.

There is a lot that we can do to manage the impact of winter on our eyes – keeping the tender skin supple and fresh:

(1) Keep the eye area moisturized. Skin that is moist may not wrinkle or crease as much. Use a moisturizer specially formulated for the eyes. Try our top selling eye cream, Tone n Tighten by Skin Fitness. It has all the ingredients that will keep the delicate area healthy and moist. It has shea butter that will moisturizer as well as repair and protect, hyaluronic acid which adds even more moisture by drawing water to the top layer making the eye are plumper, olive oil that will smoothen and moisturize etc. A perfect eye cream to fight the dryness during the winter months. Nugget: This cream can also be used on your parched dry lips.

(2) Wear sunglasses. These block the UV rays from your eyes and from the skin around the eyes.

(3) Bundle up. Yes, Mom was right! Wear scarves, large hats and coat with a hood. This will prevent the cold wind from destroying the delicate eye area. Coats with hoods and hat will block the wind from your face. The eye area is 10 times thinner than the rest of the face. So protect, protect.

With these practical measures, you can safely enjoy winter in all its beauty!

Freida Francis LE

Winter Skin Care Does Not End with Your Face! by Freida Francis

The past couple of days have been beastly cold. I have experienced my face becoming numb. All I kept thinking was, I’m glad I’m wearing moisturizer and makeup. At least its protecting my skin. I also thought of all the damage that our skin goes through, especially on our face, hands and neck.

Here are some tips to combat the damaging cold days with their low temperatures:

(1) Cleanse with hydrating cleanser twice daily

(2) Use a mild exfoliator to get rid of dead cells and dry spots that occurred from the dry and low moisture in air. If you like me experience dryness and dehydration on your hands, then use the same exfoliator on your hands. Try our Skin Fitness cranberry scrub on both your face and hands. Or come in and have a facial and request Ilike botanical AHA peel. Peels at this time of year can be very beneficial. This peel would hydrate while it exfoliate. It will relieve the skin of redness and irritation that occurs during the cold winter months. I love this peel. After you take it off your skin feels so smooth and hydrated, leaving your skin brighter and healthier.

(3) The next step would be to Hydratewith a hydrating mask. Yes, even on your hands. You need to put back the moisture that was lost while you were exposed to the low cold temperature. I highly recommend Skin Fitness Hydrant masque. Use it 2-3 times weekly, or as often as you feel you need it.

Cold temps will leave us all shivering but after the warmer weather returns, we will all be ready to shine through!

PS: This is the best time of year for a facial.

In the next blog I’ll talk about how to protect your delicate eyes during the winter.

Caring for Winter Skin by Freida Francis

Winter skin care takes a little bit of time and attention but the benefits are extraordinary. In a word, care for winter skin requires….HYDRATION. No matter what your skin type, all skin requires hydration especially in the winter. Cold, wind, and indoor heat wicks away moisture from your skin leaving dry skin parched, even flaky, and oily skin even oilier (I will cover caring for oily in a separate post). Your job is to replace that moisture from the inside and the outside.

Hydration starts with water, and plenty of it! Start your day with a full glass of warm – not hot – water before anything else. You can add a touch of lemon if you choose for its cleansing properties. Take your water with you throughout your day and remember to drink it. There are many ways to figure out how much water to drink but strive for at least 4-6 glasses daily.

Hydrate your skin directly twice daily with a proper moisurizer. And, again, this applies to every type of skin – the key is using the correct moisturizer. Oily skin benefits from one formulated for its unique needs. Ilike offers an apple & lemon moisturizer that is wonderful for many oily skin types. Dry skin, depending on condition, needs a bit of a richer blend. Also consider that moisturizers may not be an “all-year round” solution. You may need to use a formulation that responds to winter skin’s demanding challenges. Whatever product you use, make sure its right for your skin, and make sure to apply it morning and night.

Once or twice weekly, use a hydrating mask to ensure that you skin is getting what it needs. This is extremely important if you have truly dry skin or if you managing signs of skin’s aging. Again, the right product is key and you can always bring us your questions at Blue Heron. We would be glad to answer them.

And, of course, using a sunblock remains important in the winter months. The sun still bathes us in its rays and while their warmth feels great, remember moderation and sunblock for safety and to prevent pr-mature aging.

So, caring for your winter skin is not difficult it just requires a bit of your time and attention. I hope to see you at Blue Heron Wellness soon. Bring me your questions. I would love to discuss them with you.

Frieda Frances
Freida is a licenses esthetician and practices at Blue Heron Wellness offering skin care treatment.

Onto the Skin and Into the Body

Onto the Skin and into the Body
Have you ever considered the ingredients that are in your personal care products and how they affect your long term health? The average woman uses 12 different personal care products daily, exposing herself to 160 different chemicals. Men are exposed to about 80 chemicals.  This exposure takes place before we even leave our homes and become exposed to air pollution, UVA/UVB rays and other assailants. Educate yourself so that you can make informed choices as you make selections for your skin care products. Following is a list of the worst ingredient offenders lurking in our bathrooms.

Parabens are a synthetic preservative and antimicrobial agent used in most personal care products from shampoo to moisturizer.  Recent studies have proven that parabens mimic estrogen and can disrupt normal hormone function.  They have also turned up in biopsies performed on breast cancer patients.  A safer alternative to parabens is a product that uses certain essential oils to preserve the product.

Phthalates are plasticizers that stabilize scent.  They are found in most personal care products that contain the word “fragrance.”  Studies have linked the use of phthalates to the depression of normal thyroid function, birth defects effecting the development of genitals of young boys and the sperm counts of adult men.  Synthetic fragrance can contain any combination of chemicals sometimes exceeding 200 different ingredients!  Fragrance is also the most likely allergen in personal care products.  It is also important to note that fragrance is often used to mask the pungent smell of other chemicals being used in a product.  Fragrance may be avoided by using products scented with pure essential oils and floral waters.

Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate (SLS) is a synthetic detergent and foaming agent connected to skin and eye irritation.  SLS has also been linked to the byproduct 1-4 dioxane, a suspected carcinogenic contaminant produced during the ethoxylation process.  It is best to avoid this ingredient and look for “eth” at the end of other ingredient names to detect the ethoxylation process.  If you are looking for a natural cleanser with foaming action, look for coconut derived ingredients that have the prefix “coca.”

Diethanolamine (DEA) and Triethanolamine (TEA) are emulsifiers and foaming agents that can produce skin dryness and allergic reactions.  When mixed with other chemicals commonly found in personal care products, they can become carcinogenic and have been linked to stomach, esophagus, liver and bladder cancers.

Diazolidinyl, Imidazolidinyl Urea and Quaternium-15 are often used as preservatives and have been found to release formaldehyde. They have been linked to contact dermatitis.

When shopping for your personal care products, look for short ingredient lists and essential oils (EOs).  The EOs are often used not only as fragrance, but as preservatives thus bypassing most of these worst offenders.