New Year…New Skin

friends-315_2016_03A mom’s schedule can be complicated. Taking care of the kids, and the house, doctor appointments, sports practice, maybe a job too, all these can lead to having no time left for yourself. Sometimes you are just so tired at night that, you fall asleep with your makeup and clothes on. In the morning you don’t know how to get out of the house faster to take the kids to school and make it to work, and you barely have time to wash your face and put on whatever cream you find handy on the bathroom counter. But, there is no greater mistake than not washing your face and not removing your makeup at night. Sleeping with your makeup on will age your skin 7 times faster! And of course, no one wants that!

Because I know how busy moms can be, and because I also know a thing or two about skin care, I’ve decided to try to help you in the New Year. New Year, new skin resolution! That’s right! I’ve put together a very simple general skin regimen with some active ingredients, some being preventive some being corrective, and no matter how busy you are or what your skin type is, you can do it! Unless of course you have a special skin condition that you’re seeing a skin care therapist or a doctor for. Take a look!

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Morning

  1. Always wash your face. You need a gentle cleanser for mornings. Something that won’t strip off and dry out your skin. A couple of cleansers that I love and are super accessible are: Toleriane Dermo Cleanser from La Roche Posay and Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser. After washing the skin, dab the skin dry and follow withIMG_34292. 5-6 drops of a very good Anti-oxidant complex. We hear this word a few times a day, so by now we know that anti-oxidant rich foods and products are working only in our benefit. More specifically, they help neutralize free radicals which occur in our skin due to sun damage, pollution, smoking (even passive smoking), alcohol, not enough rest, etc. Free radicals are the damaging factors responsible for collagen and elastin breakage, leading to premature aging of the skin. This is why a very good quality anti-oxidant product in a stable formulation is essential for preventing this kind of damage and premature aging. My favorite one for many years by far has been CE Ferulic- for drier skin types, and Phloretin CF– for oily skin types, both from Skin Ceuticals.IMG_34252. And a mineral sunscreen, applied religiously to your face, neck, chest and the back of your hands. This will protect your skin throughout the day from the damaging UVAs and UVBs, responsible for the aging of your skin as well as the increased risk of skin cancers. I recommend PCA Skin Sheer Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45 as well as Mineral Tinted Cream SPF 30 from MDSolarSciences.

Evening

  1. Remove all your makeup thoroughly. And only after that you start cleansing your face. At night you can use a more exfoliating cleanser, in order to remove a lot of the debris, oils and makeup accumulated throughout the day. My favorite cleanser for night time is Effaclar Creme Moussante Desincrustante from La Roche Posay. IMG_3428 (1)
  2. Every other night apply a Retinol/RetinA product on clean dry skin. This is your one corrective for night time. If you don’t have time for anything else, this is going to help regenerate your skin over night. I personally use medical grade RetinA or Tretinoin, but sometimes I also like to use the PCA Skin Retinol, which is one of the  best on the market. And it comes in a few versions, depending on your skin’s needs.IMG_34263. On the nights when I do not apply the Vitamin A product (#2), I like to use a Glycolic Acid Gel. My go to lately is Glicoisdin from the Spanish company ISDIN. Glycolic acid is known to help brighten and resurface sun damaged and aging skin, while it also helps increase your skin’s elasticity. This product in particular is also somewhat hydrating, having a very light weight gel consistency.

And this is all if your time does not permit you to do more. I promise you that if you follow these very simple steps every morning and night, your skin will change within a couple of months.

And no more excuses like “I don’t have time for me” or “I don’t have time for a skin care regimen”. You will wear your skin for the rest of your life, so help it look and feel its best!

                                                                                                                                      xoxo, Bianca

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How to clean your makeup brushes

So you want beautiful skin. Who doesn’t?! You’re willing to pay big money for the best skin care products and beautifying treatments out there, but did you know that the quality of your makeup and the makeup brushes you use play a huge role in how healthy your skin is?

Yes, that’s right! The makeup brushes too! Because with each use, dirt, oils, dead skin, and bacteria get trapped in between the fine bristles, and if we don’t clean them regularly, we apply all of those things on our skin with each makeup application.

Therefore, I will detail here how to cleanse your makeup brushes effortlessly.

First of all, you need to wash your brushes once a week. They take a few hours to dry out, so make sure you have spare ones to use or wash them after you have applied your makeup for the day. You could also use a hair dryer to dry them out quicker.

So you’ll need:

1. Warm running water

2. Baby shampoo or a sulfate/paraben free shampoo

3. Paper towels

You apply a few drops of shampoo in the palm of your hand, run the brush under lukewarm water until it is wet, then swirl the brush in the palm of your hand for a few seconds lathering up the shampoo. Rinse the brush and repeat this procedure until the foam and water in your palm is clear. Shake extra water off your brushes and lay them flat on a bed of paper towels until the next day.

And… Voila! Not hard or time consuming.

Secondly, I’d like to mention that after each use, it is recommended that you spray a disinfectant spray on each brush, and wipe off the residual makeup on a paper towel. I personally use the Color Science disinfectant spray, but you can use any daily brush cleaner you like.

 

Believe me, your skin will thank you!

Comprehensive guide on how to use your skin care products

products-2-editedBeauty is a billion dollar industry; therefore, we have a very large palette of cosmetic, skin care, and medical products to choose from. This can be overwhelming for many of us most of the time.

First of all, it is hard to choose the products that are the most appropriate for our skin type and condition. Second of all, it is both time consuming and difficult to figure out the order in which we should use these products.

So I’ve decided to elucidate this mystery. Every day, I write comprehensive skin care regimens for my patients, so I will put these in writing here for everybody who is interested in learning how to layer correctly.

MORNING

  1. Mild Cleanser. Generally it is recommended that you don’t strip your skin off of all the “good” oils that it naturally produces overnight. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use a very gentle milky cleanser to wash the face; my personal preference is to use room temperature water to wash my face. Hot water is dehydrating and drying for the skin. Skin Ceuticals Gentle Cleanser or Avene Clean AC are perfect for the morning wash. 
  2. Toner. It’s not a must. However, if you love that squeaky clean feeling, after you wash your face you can use a toner or astringent. You have to make sure that your toner does not contain alcohol, as that would dry out the skin, and in time damage it, just like hot water. I personally don’t like to use toners too much, but it’s just my preference. 
  3. Serum. This is one of the most important steps in skin care. It is as important as using a Retinoic acid at night, and using sunscreen during the day. I recommend a concentrated antioxidant serum every morning, in the form of a dropper or lotion. The reason we need to use an antioxidant serum every morning is because antioxidants help neutralize free radicals that damage our skin throughout the day. Think of free radicals for the skin and body in general, like cavities are for the teeth. They damage from the inside by breaking down the collagen and the elasticity inside the skin. My personal all-time favorite antioxidant serums are Phloretin CF and CE Ferulic from Skin Ceuticals. 
  4. Moisturizer. The reason we apply moisturizer after the serum is because moisturizers have a different chemical formulation which does not allow them to penetrate into the skin too much. They create an occlusive layer which locks in the previous products and the naturally occurring moisture. Now in order to avoid too many steps in the morning, I generally prefer to use a moisturizer with an SPF 20 or 30 already included, like Avene Hydrance Optimale SPF25.  But if you prefer a separate sunscreen, this would be your next step.
  5. Sunscreen. I am a big believer in physical/mineral sunscreen. I personally don’t like the idea of a chemical sunscreen, simply because physical sunscreen creates a protective “shield” which reflects away damaging sun rays, while the chemical ones neutralize the damaging sun rays once they have already entered the skin. Therefore, some of my favorite physical sunscreens are MD Solar Science Tinted Cream , Physical Matte UV Defense SPF50 from Skin Ceuticals, and Color Science Sunforgettable SPF 50 in case you have oily/acne prone skin and prefer a powder sunscreen. 

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  1. Cleanser. In the evening, it is important that we cleanse the skin very well, and wash off all the dirt, pollution, and residual products. If you use makeup, make sure you remove all makeup first, with a makeup remover like Micellar water. After removing all your makeup, you’ll want to wash the face with a foamy, possibly medicated cleanser.
  2. Exfoliation. I strongly recommend that you exfoliate your skin at home. If you have a Clarisonic Brush, you can use it every day (only once) because it provides just the right amount of exfoliation on a daily basis, without being too abrasive. If you like to exfoliate with other products, such as mild facial scrubs or exfoliating serums (like Blemish and Age Defense from Skin Ceuticals), this would be the time to do so.
  3. Treatment product. After exfoliation, I recommend that you use any medicated products you might have, such as Salicylic Acid, Retinoic Acid, or Hydroquinone, for acne, anti-aging, or brightening purposes. Generally if you have a good Retinol or RetinA product, I recommend that you use only a pea size amount at a time. Take one pea size amount of that product and spread it evenly all over the face, avoiding the area around the eyes and the mouth. Using it this way, you’ll avoid the unpleasant irritation and peeling that occurs almost every time a retinoic acid product is used incorrectly. One of my favorite Retinol products lately is the PCA Retinol.
  4.  Serum. Now, you’ll want to apply a hydrating/anti-aging and replenishing serum to face, neck, chest, and hands. Or, you can also use the anti-oxidant serum from the morning. A little extra Vitamin C never harmed anyone! My favorite serum I like to use at night though is Metacell Renewal B3.
  5. Night moisturizer OR facial oil. In order to lock everything in and help with the repairing process over night, I recommend a good peptide cream or a replenishing oil like Jojoba oil, for the face, neck, and chest. I really like this Perricone MD Neuropeptide Firming Cream, but it is on the pricey side. 
  6. Eye treatment. Last but not least, a good eye cream, eye serum, or even pure Vitamin E will help the sensitive skin around your eyes while you sleep. I usually apply the same treatment around my lips, to avoid those vertical fine lines. You’ll really like this Neocutis Lumiere eye treatment

Enjoy your beautiful skin! signature pic monkey ed 1

Oils for your forever beautiful skin (Part2)

Hello busy moms and dear followers!

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As promised a while ago I am following up with a couple of oils I love and I am using in my beauty routine on a daily basis. These two are in fact my favorite ones. I hope you’ll enjoy them too as they are very accessible and so easy to use.

 

Jojoba Oil

jojoba oil

This oil is not an oil. It’s actually a wax. Its amazing anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties make it one of the best “oils” for your skin. It has a very long shelf life so we can have it in our bathroom for a couple of years. However I go through a 4 oz bottle every couple of months, so no reason to keep it for so long. Use it! It’s an amazing oil with a lot of attributes that can work wonders when you want to remove your makeup in a natural way, to moisturize your skin (I apply 6-7 drops on my clean skin and dab off the extra with a tissue paper, for a matte finish), and its powerful properties will aid in the treatment of acne, killing the harmful bacteria that causes acne (or make it thrive) in some cases and reducing the inflammation often accompanying the acneic skin. It can help heal warts, Athlete’s foot infections and and nails that suffer with fungus!

These are just a few most important properties of this golden wax. You can massage it on your skin morning or night. When you buy yours make sure it’s a pure Jojoba oil and not a blend.

 

argan-oil

Moroccan Argan Oil

This oil is indeed a superfood for the skin. It’s so easy to use and it penetrates into the skin so nicely, without leaving any residual oily film on your skin. It has the ability to decongest the pores, while hydrating, nourishing and stimulating the skin’s regeneration. It is very rich in essential fatty acids, Vitamin E and other nutrients which help maintain the skin in great shape, without a huge effort.

You can massage it in your hair, on your scalp, use it on your hands, tips of fingers and on your feet (then put on socks and some gloves for a couple of hours) for a softer, smoother skin.

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Oils for your forever beautiful skin (Part 1)

Bianca-1smallAre you one of the people who’s suffered with acne all your teenage years and then some… and who has always tried to find the latest best thing in skin care which could help you get rid of that unwanted acne? Of course in your tireless searches you’d buy anything with the condition to be OIL FREE! Because in your mind your skin was already very oily naturally, so it didn’t make any sense to apply more oil on it…

Or maybe you are someone who has rosacea and sensitive skin and you’re always on the look for the best thing out there to hide and possibly treat that redness…

Or maybe you are like me, someone who has never dealt with the terrible acne or rosacea, but always conscious of the aging signs; always wanting to look good and for the skin to not look prematurely dry and wrinkled and stained…

Well, today I will tell you my secret about the oil cocktails I’ve been using on my skin, which work wonders, even on acneic or rosacea skin. Especially after I turned 30 my skin started looking less plump, more fatigued, dryer, my pores started looking enlarged…So I started reading about the use of oils in skin care and because I found them very accessible wherever I am, I said why not! Anything is worth trying when it comes to aging! Well, almost anything. So far I have been so happy with my results and I think when used correctly, they beat any moisturizer out there! Oils are lipophilic, which means that they love or are attracted to fat, so they are able to penetrate through the skin’s lipid layer faster and more effectively, providing the skin with moisture and preventing the water loss much better than other regular skin care products.

So here we go!

coconut oil

Coconut oil

It has a very light molecular formulation, which is why it is able to penetrate through the skin layers deeper than your regular skin care products, to hydrate and maintain that hydration in your skin, as it bonds really well with our skin proteins. I use it to massage my face lightly once or twice a week, to remove my makeup, I make my own body scrub with it (you can find my recipe here), I apply it on my cuticles and I also apply it in my hair (as you can see here), alone or in combination with a couple of other ingredients.

 

rosehip oil

Rosehip Oil

It’s an intensely hydrating, brightening and healing oil, rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which has the ability to penetrate deeply into the skin as well, and it is perfect for applying on the skin at night for an instantly hydrated and plump skin in the morning. Before I massage the Rosehip oil into my skin though, I apply about 10 drops of pure Vitamin A oil on clean skin…and these nights I skip other brands of Retinol/RetinA, because this oil is a pure retinol acetate itself. So you wouldn’t want to use too much of it, because it can dry out and irritate the skin.

vitamina A

 

 

Vitamin A oil 

It’s a natural anti-aging, which stimulates your skin’s cell turnover, without the sting that some RetinA products can give you sometimes. It is also a very affordable product and it really delivers great radiant clear skin. Great for aging, acneic and dull skin. I usually like to apply it underneath Rosehip Oil or an anti-aging night moisturizer. And it’s also great for the eye area. I buy mine in Romania, but I am sure that with a little research you can find one in your area.

 

 

avocado oilAvocado Oil (cold pressed)

Very rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, similar with the ones contained in the olive oil, it’s a natural hydrator for the skin. It’s molecular formulation is very similar with the molecules that compose our natural oil (sebum) produced by our own skin. That’s why, when massaged into the skin, it’s able to penetrate, retain the moisture and give your skin this velvety smooth sensation. Being very rich as well in vitamin E, C and K, makes it also a great antioxidant. I like to apply it on damp skin. Just 4-5 drops, then follow with a mineral sunscreen and makeup and you’re good to go.

That’s all for today, but next timeI’ll write more about this topic, as I find oils so highly effective, and I have an entire collection in my bathroom. Thanks for reading!

Please share with me which are your favorite oils to use topically on your skin.

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Myth vs. Reality (essential Collagen)

I hear all the time how my patients use collagen skin care products, erroneously thinking or hoping that they will improve the quality of their skin. Unfortunately as good as this sounds it’s not exactly true. Imagine how easy it would be for everyone to look young and for the skin to look plump just like baby skin, if collagen infused products would actually work.collagen2

While those products might have some collagen in them, they simply will not do anything good for the skin, besides at the most provide it with some hydration. It’s as simple as that. Imagine that you’d take a broken bone and on top of it you’d set another bone. Would the initial bone become stronger and it would get fixed only because it touched the new bone we set on top? No. The new bone would fall off eventually and it would be somewhere next to the broken bone.

The same way it works with collagen. Collagen is a large molecule, which does not have the ability to penetrate into the skin or stick to the already existing collagen, so eventually it would be washed off and your skin would not be or feel any better.

In order to look younger and for the skin to look more plump and elastic, collagen (essential binding protein in your skin, joints, muscles and bones) growth has to be stimulated. The cells responsible for collagen growth and synthesis are called  fibroblast cells and they are found deep in the dermis (layer of the skin), which is impossible to reach with any creams ever invented.collagen

Some key ingredients and procedures that will help stimulate and synthesize your natural collagen are: Retinol and RetinA, Vitamin C, Growth Factors which have to be in a very concentrated number in your skin care product in order to work, Red Light Therapy, Chemical peels indirectly to some degree, Microneedling, ultrasound devices such as Ultherapy and Thermage and last but not least Radio Frequency also called RF. While some of these procedures are resurfacing for the skin, they also help stimulate indirectly our collagen and elastin by stimulating the skin’s cell turnover and also by forcing the skin to heal, after creating some intentional micro wounds.

I hope this helps you understand a little better the collagen myth and will help you make better decisions when it comes to choosing your skin care products and in office procedures.collagen3

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The best face mask for Acne and not only!

Turns out that Clay is a miraculous ingredient that’s used a lot in skin care (especially for acneic skin) but also as a teeth whitener and for internal health purposes. Yes, that does mean that some people swear by it and its ability to heal,  or improve internal health. I have been trying to get myself to order some for me to try out, but it’s hard to order things and get them shipped to Mexico, so I’ll wait until my first trip to the U.S., to be able to pick up some.

Meanwhile, if you have access to a Whole Foods store or have the ability to order online, I highly recommend to get yourself some Clay masks. Clay can make an astringent and regenerating mask, which is going to deliver nutrients and minerals to your skin, exercise your capillaries to stimulate blood flow to the surface of your skin,  meanwhile withdrawing impurities and refining the pores and reducing inflammation and bacteria on the surface of your skin. I know! Amazing!

I do one for myself regularly at home, and my skin loves it. It brightens, it delivers key ingredients to the skin, it tightens, cleans my pores….What else should I want!

Here it is how to do it. If you have sensitive or dry and dehydrated skin you mix the Clay powder  with the juice from 1/2 cucumber and you can also add one teaspoon of honey optional. Mix it well until it becomes a paste. With your fingertips or a brush you apply it all over the face and sometimes I also do my neck.

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For more oily/acneic skin types, it’s best if you mix it with the juice from one orange (for the citric astringent properties), and a couple of drops of Tea Tree oil. You can do this procedure once a day for the first 7 days, and then just once per week.

You leave it on your skin until….attention!…it is semi-dry. Never leave a Clay mask on your skin until it’s so dry that it starts flaking off and the skin starts hurting, because at that point the dry clay will start actually withdrawing all the hydration from your skin and your face will hurt and become sensitive after the procedure.

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After about 10 minutes from application, start rinsing it off with room temperature water. Make your whole face damp and start working the clay in circular motions for a couple of minutes. After this, go ahead and rinse off the whole face, until the skin feels squeaky clean. Follow with a hydrating serum and your favorite moisturizer and enjoy your soft, exfoliated and bright happy skin.

In this magnified picture I am showing my results after one application.

clay8 edHere are some of my favorite Clay masks:

Skin Ceuticals-Clarifying Clay Mask – which is already pre mixed with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and it comes in a white paste, ready to apply! I use this one on my acne patients and everyone loves it!

Asla Vital Clay Powder – The one I am using at this moment, and I also use it on my patients.

Aztec Secret- Indian Healing Clay

A. Vogel White Clay 

 

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