A 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!
- 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 with2. 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.2. 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.
- 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.
- 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.3. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here 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
Naturally white teeth with no effort
I get asked sometimes how do I keep my teeth looking white and clean. Simple. I have a few tricks I use at home, which are non invasive, not painful, not damaging, not chemical based and really inexpensive.
Here is what I do:
- First thing in the morning, I take a tea spoon of coconut oil (organic or not, doesn’t really matter) and I swish it through my teeth the same way I use a mouth wash, for about 5-10 minutes. I try to do 10, when I have the time and I don’t need to talk. The Lauric Acid found in coconut oil is a great anti bacterial and anti microbial component which kills bad breath causing bacteria, while the whole swishing procedure helps with removing plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth.
Check out the video below:
2. I use a banana skin to rub the bottom and the top teeth for about 2 minutes and then I wait for 10 minutes so the minerals (magnesium, potassium and manganese) contained in the banana peel can get activated and work on whitening my teeth.
3. I brush my teeth with Baking Soda and lemon juice…Exactly like I do in the video below. Lemon juice is a natural bleaching agent, so naturally it works on teeth as well. And the mild abrasiveness of baking soda will help remove superficial stains on your teeth.
Make sure though, that after all these steps, you still use a regular tooth paste to brush your teeth with, in order to remove the acid from the lemon juice which can be damaging to the tooth enamel and also to provide some fluoride to your teeth, which is not naturally found in any of the ingredients we spoke about.
Cheers and don’t forget to smile!
I’ve recently perfected an old recipe for a facial exfoliator using simple ingredients all of us have in our kitchen. It’s very easy to make and extremely effective for any skin type, but will provide the most benefits to congested, acneic, pigmented and dull skin types.
Here there are the ingredients you’ll need:
1 lemon or lime, 1 teaspoon honey, 2 teaspoons sugar (any kind), 2 teaspoons baking soda
- Squeeze the juice of one lemon/lime
- Add the honey
- Add the sugar
- Add the baking soda and mix.
Apply the mixture to the cleaned face, using a bit of friction in the problematic areas (nose, chin, jawline, etc.). Leave on skin for a maximum of 10 minutes and wash off with cold water. Your skin will start glowing instantly! The acne and hyperpigmentation will start fading from the second use!
Follow with your favorite hydrator and repeat next week.
Me, immediately after using this exfoliator on my face. Completely makeup free!
Micro-needling or CIT (collagen induction therapy) is a rather new clinical skin care procedure, easy, non-invasive and very effective in the treatment of acne scarring (and not only), lines and wrinkles, stretch marks, and overall improvement in the texture of your skin. All these conditions are lacking collagen or the collagen in those affected areas has been subsiding.
The micro-needling procedure helps stimulate collagen production which helps reverse the formation and appearance of scars, wrinkles, and depressions in the skin such as stretch marks.
Micro-needling is almost pain free and it works by creating micro channels through the superficial layer of skin called epidermis, which triggers an intense inflammatory reaction that begins the remodeling of the affected skin, by stimulating the formation of new skin tissue. In a word, it works by stimulating what our bodies already do naturally, the wound healing. Scar-less healing is being promoted by the release of epidermal growth factors (found naturally in our skin), which help produce “healthy collagen”.
Our bodies have a natural ability to heal when they are wounded, by new formation of collagen. It is the most abundant protein in our bodies (mainly found in the skin, bones, muscles and connective tissue), which helps hold our bodies together, like a glue. As we grow older, the naturally produced collagen decreases, which is why we start supplementing, re-stimulating its growth, and replenishing it with the help of oral dietary supplements and also with devices such as ultrasound and/or micro-needling.
There are a few micro-needling devices on the market, for professional and also personal use at home. The one I prefer and work with is called Dermapen. Easy to use, safe and inexpensive, it creates thousands of micro-channels in the epidermis. The healing process after this procedure is only about 1-2 days and even though the collagen is going to be produced over a period of 6 weeks after the treatment, patients report that their skin starts looking healthier and glowing starting with the second day after the procedure.
The results are surprisingly amazing and often compared with laser, chemical peels and surgery results, while it is very cost effective.
I recommend a series of 3-4 treatments 6 weeks apart. In between treatments it is OK to do regular facial treatments.
Myth or not? YES, unfortunately it is a myth that you can shrink enlarged pores forever. BUT, what you can do, is to keep your pores clean and they will appear smaller.Pores appear larger when they are clogged with oils, makeup and bacteria. So keeping your skin clean and exfoliated. Using non comedogenic products, will give you better chances to help the pores shrink…..a little bit.Not once have I been asked about oily skin, enlarged pores, clogged pores, black heads and breakouts. Unfortunately having oily skin, is not an easy thing to deal with. Many times we can’t even wear makeup or sunscreen, because it all becomes greasy after a short period of time. Also sometimes we end up striping off the skin of all the oil and that is not ideal because we depleat the skin of it’s natural protection and we dehydrate and irritate it.My best skin care advice is that you need to keep your skin balanced. Even oily/acneic skin needs hydration. Which is why in your skin care regimen you should have also light hydrating serums and oil free moisturizers.Having worked with a lot of patients with this skin type, I have developed a couple of regimens which usually work pretty well, to keep such skin in check and in best shape.This is one of them:1. Cleanser and Clarisonic brush. Wash face twice/day, preferably with a foamy, exfoliating cleanser and a Clarisonic brush. Use the brush only in the evening. This is going to help give you the right ammount of exfoliation your skin needs on a daily basis. The Clarisonic is also going to clean your skin much better than what your hands can do, removing makeup and impurities thoroughly.2. Microbead scrub. Once a week exfoliate with a microbead scrub, a softer system developed in order for you to not stretch and irritate the skin in the exfoliation process.3. Serum. Use a serum with Salicylic, Glycolic and Dioic acids to help control the oil production and keep the bacteria at bay.
Sometimes life takes over and we wake up one day asking ourselves what happened. Where did the time fly. In this case obviously my life took over for a few months and I took a break from writing…
These being said, it doesn’t mean that I stopped documenting myself, reading, doing trainings and getting interesting and useful ideas…
Lately, in case you got close enough to smell me, you might have noticed some BO. Not bad, but it’s there 🙂 This is a joke of course, but in the past couple of months I did try to find the best natural under arm deodorants, mainly from Whole Foods…Why?
On a number of occasions I’ve heard about antiperspirants being linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s. There was a study about 10 years ago which said that in 17 or 18 cases out of 20, paraben build up was found in breast tissue. The same study did not conclude that parabens cause breast tumors. Furthermore, the same study did not conclude that the paraben build up in the unhealthy breast tissue was caused by the use of antiperspirants or other antiperspirant deodorants.
It has been explained how a certain ingredient in antiperspirants, an aluminum compound called “aluminum chlorohydrate“, acts like little “plugs” for the sweat ducts and prevents us from perspiring and getting rid of potentially harmful toxins. The aluminum chlorohydrate and the chemical complex called “parabens” stops the body from purging toxins through sweat….which when trapped, accumulate in the lymph nodes and contribute to the cellular changes that can lead to breast cancer.
We know that sweating is a natural and necessary function of the body. Through sweating our skin helps control the body’s temperature, releases toxins, heals and breathes.
“Breast cancer and Alzheimer’s are two complicated diseases which are difficult to associate with one singular cause, such as antiperspirant/deodorant use,” Paul Pestano, MS, research analyst with the Environmental Working Group, said in an e-mail interview.
But, considering that 1 out of 8 women in the U.S. will get breast cancer in their lifetime, I have decided to at least try to lead a healthier lifestyle. However, in this quest to lead a healthier lifestyle, I am trying not to isolate and restrict myself or my family from all “good” things in life 😉 Moderation is everything!
Ingredients which will help reduce the BO causing bacteria you should look for in the best antiperspirant for you:
- Essential oils such as tea tree, lavender, lemon grass
- Fruit extracts such as lemon, orange and grapefruit
- Baking soda.
Here there are a few antiperspirants I have tried lately, which are going to work naturally while reducing bad odors. But remember, they need to be reapplied throughout the day!
4. SPF. Definitely use a sunscreen with an SPF higher than 30. Preferably a parabens, silicone and artificial fragrance free one.
5. Retinoids. In the evening, I recommend a medical grade or prescription Retinol or a RetinA. Both these are derivative of Vitamin A and they prevent the buildup of dead skin cells and promote the cellular turnover. Some side effects can occur, such as dryness, redness, irritation, and skin peeling as well as making the skin more sensitive to sun. This is when you need to back up and you use it every other night, in conjunction with a hydrating serum.
6. Chemical peels. And last but not least, you need to get regular chemical peels, in order to kill bacteria, reduce inflamation, resurface and regenerate the skin. The old skin “sheds” off in a few days after the procedure and new skin is being revealed, less wrinkly, less pigmented, pore size appears smaller and makeup will go on more smoothly.
So generally, your skin does have a chance to look better and you can achieve the smaller pore appearance. As long as you are able to keep the skin clean and exfoliated, the pores will appear smaller.
P.S. Key ingredients you should look for in your chemical peels for this skin type:
- Salicylic Acid
- Mandelic Acid
- Glycolic Acid
- Lactic Acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acid which is part of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor (NMF) and moisturizes the skin)
- RetinA or Retinol.
- And now the all mighty TCA (Trichloroacetic Acid). Because lately there has been some controversy around this ingredient, I will not promote it. Please read here about it.
Here are my favorite products for this skin type:
After being sick as a dog and in bed for about 5 days straight, and had the time and the necessity to read about different cold/flu remedies, I have decided to write down for you 5 of the most effective ones.
They might come in handy when you least expect it. I haven’t gotten my flu vaccine in about 4 years and I haven’t gotten sick ever since. At least not this sick. A little head ache or some sneezing happen once in a while, but nothing as severe as now. Here it is what I have tried and loved.
5 AMAZING EASY TIPS YOU SHOULD TRY WHEN YOU GET A COLD:
1. Propolis Tincture. Propolis is being used as a remedy for various types of health conditions, and it is known to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. It is considered a good preventative treatment for upcoming colds and flues, as an immune system booster, relief for inflamed tonsils and sore throats. For other amazing benefits of the Propolis Tincture you can read here.
One way to administer it is a couple of times a day on a sugar cube or a tea spoon of honey.
2. Bee polen. It is a holistic remedy with numerous health benefits which comes from the pollen that collects on the bees’ bodies. It contains vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, lipids and protein. Generally herbalists would recommend bee pollen to reduce side effects of chemotherapy, to improve allergies, to alleviate asthma and stomach problems.
While feeling extremely weak, I tried this as well. And I will continue using it. You can take one tea spoon of bee pollen every morning for general health, or you can try it mixed with honey every few hours while sick.
3. Cinnamon. Besides being an amazing flavorful spice, it is known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties. When you have a common or severe cold, mix a couple of spoons of honey with 1 tea spoon of cinnamon. Some say to take this mixture one time/day for 3 days, some say take it 2-3 times per day for 3 days. I took it 2-3 times/day and I felt good. This mixture will cure most chronic coughs, colds and it will also clear the sinuses. To read more about cinnamon’s health benefits go here.
4. Lemons! Lemons have a very rich vitamin C content which is essential for bone health and also for the skin and blood vessels health. Of course Vitamin C is one of the power house antioxidants which helps to eliminate free radicals.
The beneficial properties of lemon: cleanses, nourishes, and refreshes the entire body. Also exfoliates and softens the skin.
Mix 5-6 spoons of honey with one thinly sliced lemon and eat every day while sick or when you feel coming up with a cold.
If you happen to touch lemon and go out in the sun, the skin can get discolored where it previously got in contact with the lemon juice.
Also, you should not abuse lemon consumption because it can cause heartburn or slight tiredness, considering their cleansing properties.
5. Last but not least, drink lots of hot liquids! They will relieve congestion, will help soothe inflamed membranes that line your throat and nose, and they’ll prevent you from getting dehydrated. Here I am referring generally to teas. My favorite ones for colds are: Chamomile Tea and Ginger Lemon Honey Tea.
Here is the recipe for this all mighty Ginger Lemon Honey Tea:
– Boil water
– Shred 1/2 or 1 ginger root and pour into a bigger cup or thermos
– Squize one lemon in the same cup/thermos.
-Add 1-2 tea spoon of honey.
-Pour the boiled water over these ingredients, cover it up and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Use a strainer to pour the liquid in a tea cup.
Enjoy! And get better sooner than you normally would
“Getting back in shape”…
May sound like a cliché or stereotypical statement, but hey no one can stop us from thinking of it or saying it out loud. One can hope!
At the beginning of each year, most likely a huge percentage of us set this goal and we are/seem very determined to lose weight, to get back in shape, to lose inches off our waists. In a word to get a better body. Some of us want/need more results, some of us less, it depends on how we currently look and how determined we are to getting that “banging” body we have been dreaming about.
You know you want your body back! You know you don’t want to undergo surgery! You know you want to stay away from general anesthesia! You know you’ll work towards exercising more, not gaining more weight, eating healthy and having a healthy life style! You know you can take some pain (procedures are NOT pain free, on the contrary)!
Well, it is time you learn about CoolSculpting! I am currently working in a plastic surgery office in Miami and I was introduced to this device, which I also tried on my own body. I was so impressed I thought you all should know about it, if you haven’t tried it yet!
This revolutionary device which is going to help you lose inches mainly from your waist area (mid section), was developed at Harvard University by scientists like: Dieter Manstein, MD and R. Rox Anderson, MD.
WHAT IT IS:
A non surgical contouring treatment that freezes/crystalizes stubborn fat (fat cells). These cells die and are flushed away by the body through the urinary system as well as the lymphatic system. There is no downtime and no surgery involved and it is FDA approved.
HOW IT WORKS:
The truth is that majority of us have stubborn fat that we can’t get rid of no matter how much we try! Dieting and exercising work up to a certain point, but sometimes no matter what we do we can’t get rid of that muffin top!
Thank God that the fat, which generally bulges in the mid section ( in women especially after they have one or two babies) is not resistant to CoolSculpting.
In the next 3 months following the treatment(s), the remaining fat cells condense, and this way the fat layer in the treated area(s) becomes considerably smaller. 25% thinner after the first treatment and 50% thinner after the second treatment.
WHERE TO GET THE PROCEDURE:
In doctor’s offices. Generally dermatologists and plastic surgeons.
TIME AND COST:
1 Hour only! However some of us have more than one area to be treated so it can take up to several hours, depending on your budget and the results you are looking for. Prices can be slightly different depending on the area where you live. But generally one treatment is several hundred USD and typically you’ll need more than one treatment.
WHEN SHOULD I EXPECT RESULTS:
In 3 to 4 months after the treatment you should be able to see the best results. But you’ll start seeing some changes in your body as soon as 3-4 weeks after the treatment.
This will not help you lose weight! It’s only going to tone your body and help you diminish stubborn fat mass.