Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Favorites from 2010 December 31, 2010


As we leave one year behind and start a new one I thought this post would be great to take an opportunity to look back on some of my favorite product discoveries from 2010.

But before listing my favorites from 2010 I wanted to take the time to say thank you to a few people who really made this blog possible:

  • First and foremost a great big thank you to my dear friend the fabulous Ms. S who gave me the idea to start a blog.  Always happy to share her blogging knowledge and tips, Ms. S really helped me get going with blogging.  (You can read Ms. S’s own blog filled with her musings on life.)
  • Thank you to my husband, mother, and sister for being the first subscribers to my blog.
  • And last but certainly not least – THANK YOU TO MY READERS!!!  A big thank you to everyone who posted comments over the last year and who took the time to read what I have written.

Favorite New Product Discoveries from 2010

In no particular order here they are:

  • Obagi’s Clenziderm anti-acne line:  I’ve had acne for 20 years straight and tried so many products in order to keep my acne under control that I’ve lost count of what I’ve tried.  This physician dispensed line really delivers.  It isn’t cheap, but it is well worth the money.
  • The first post I ever wrote for this blog was about brush-on mineral sunscreen, an obsession of mine for about two years now.  Until about a month ago I had always used Peter Thomas Roth’s brush-on sunscreen and had had issues with the container/brush of the product.  Basically the powder sunscreen would spill everywhere.  Not fun.  I finally tried Colorscience’s brush-on sunscreen, and well now I understand why it costs $50.  The brush is by far the most superior and high quality brush I have used for a product like this.   The actual powder sunscreen goes on flawlessly, cutting down on mid-day shine while providing that much-needed sun protection.  Once again – not cheap but worth the investment.
  • I have always been bothered by my calloused feet.  Simple moisturizers never gave me the smooth feet and soles that I wanted.  Then I realized that I needed to use a moisturizer with glycolic acid in it in order to get smooth feet.  So little effort, so much reward.  I’ve tried two products and been very happy with both:  Philosophy’s Soul Owner and DDF Pedi-Cream.


Wishing everyone a very happy and healthy 2011!


How to Get the Most Out of Your Facial December 28, 2010

This post was prompted by an article I read in Spa magazine entitled Your Therapist Needs to Know … .  (Unfortunately at the moment I cannot find the article online)  The article outlines what information you should be sure to share with your massage therapist or esthetician before and during a treatment.  Of course I’ll focus on issues that have to do with estheticians and facials. 

Before you have a facial your esthetician will have you fill a questionnaire that will ask about your general health and about your skin’s health.  You’ll also probably be asked what skincare products you currently use, what skincare issues you are concerned about, and what you would like to improve about your skin.  If the questionnaire doesn’t ask you those questions, hopefully your esthetician will ask you a variation on those questions either before or during your treatment.

If you suffer from cold sores, especially if you are currently experiencing an outbreak, be sure to tell your esthetician.  Steam can make a cold sore worse or even spread to another part of your face.  You can still have a facial if you have an active cold sore, but your esthetician just needs to be extra cautious when treating that area.  And by that I mean, the area with the cold sore shouldn’t be treated at all.  If you have sensitive or irritated areas on your face, neck, or chest be sure to point that out to your esthetician.  If you have ever had a negative or allergic reaction to a skincare product tell your esthetician.  Hopefully the questionnaire you have filled out will have a place to check if you suffer from rosacea or eczema, but even if they do be sure your esthetician has made a note of that before beginning your treatment.  Mention if you have had precancerous or cancerous lesions removed from the areas that will be treated during the facial.  If you have just spent a lot of time in the sun or are sunburned mention that too.  Some of these conditions might be completely obvious to your skincare therapist, but it never hurts to gently point them out before beginning treatment.

Also please tell you esthetician if you have an infectious disease, especially one that could be transferred through bodily fluids.  Though esthetician follow universal precautions, which means we have to assume that everyone has an infectious disease, it would be best to alert your esthetician about such a situation.  If you are pregnant, but it isn’t obvious yet, or if you are nursing be sure to tell your esthetician since many skincare ingredients are off limits for pregnant women and nursing mothers.

Hopefully your esthetician will ask you what your expectations are for your treatment – relaxation, intense exfoliation, treatment of acne, anti-aging, etc. – but if she or he doesn’t be sure to let them know if you have any specific expectations from your treatment.  Of course, keep those expectations in check.  A facial won’t make you look 24 if you are really 50 (go to a plastic surgeon if you want that kind of change).  If you are interested in hearing about new skincare products or want to hear the esthetician’s opinion about certain skincare lines – ask.  Personally I love to share what I know about skincare products and most other esthetician do as well.  On the other hand, if you are happy with the products you are using you can politely tell your esthetician that.  Part of our job as an esthetician is to recommend the skincare products that our spas or offices sell.  If you don’t want to hear about other skincare products just politely let your esthetician know that.

In my opinion there are two other essential parts to getting the most out of your facial – ask lots of questions and speak up.  I always tell my clients “let me know if something doesn’t feel good, and I’ll fix it.”  Of course, extractions never feel good, but the rest of the treatment should be pleasant and even wonderful (the massage).  Personally, I’m a talker so I love clients that like to chit-chat about life or just about skincare products.  I am more than happy to share my knowledge, but if you just want to close your eyes and drift off to sleep during your facial tell your esthetician that at the beginning of the treatment.  You’ll enjoy your facial so much more if you speak up about something that might be bothering you during your treatment.  Instead of complaining afterwards to a manager tell your esthetician at that moment so they can correct what is bothering you.  Spas are driven by customer service so we are there to please you – the paying client.

And above all, relax and enjoy!


Further Reading –   11 Tips on Getting the Most Out of Your Spa Experience – Spa Magazine


Clarisonic Supports Look Good … Feel Better December 20, 2010

Normally if I recommend a product in this blog I’ve tried it myself, but this time I am digressing slightly from my norm since I was so happy to read that Clarisonic is supporting a cause I strongly believe in.  I just read that Clarosonic, makers of the sonic electric cleansing brush, are supporting The American Cancer Society’s Look Good … Feel Better program when you purchase their limited edition Mia brush.

According the blurb in my latest issue of Skin Inc. magazine (page 19):

Clarisonic will donate $5 to the organization for every Pink Skin Cleansing System and $4 from every Pink Mia Skin Cleansing System.  In October, $15 from each Hope Mia was donated to the organization, and $1 will be offered for every “Like” Clarisonic receives on its Facebook page, up to $100,000.


I volunteer about every other months for Look Good … Feel Better and cannot say enough good things about this free program for women with cancer.  During the approximately two hour program women with cancer are given free skincare and make-up products and are taught how to care for their skin during cancer treatment.  In addition, we go through an entire make-up tutorial and talk about wigs and head coverings for when patients lose their hair.  This program gives women with cancer a chance to meet others in their situation, ask questions, and feel a sense of companionship. 

Though I don’t use a Clarisonic brush myself I applaud this company for supporting this worthwhile program.  If you know someone who would love a Clarisonic brush as a holiday gift please consider buying the brush that supports Look Good … Feel Better.


Winter Sun Care December 15, 2010

Just because it is cold doesn’t mean you should put away your sunscreen.  Just the opposite, especially if you are going to participate in outdoor winter sports.  According to an online article in Skin Inc:

… researchers found that while UV levels can be just as high atop a snowy mountain as on a sandy beach in mid-summer, skiers and snowboarders don’t always protect their skin accordingly.  “It’s a little counterintuitive,” lead researcher Peter A. Andersen, of the School of Communication at San Diego State University in California, told Reuters Health. “But there’s an inordinate amount UV at that elevation, reflecting off the snow and coming at you from all directions. Skiers are bathed in radiation.”  … 

Andersen and his colleagues visited 32 high-altitude ski resorts in western North America, where they took a total of 4,000 UV readings—some pointed directly at the sun, others at the sky away from the sun or at the snowy slope of the mountain. On the same days, they interviewed guests on chairlifts and observed their sun-protective clothing and equipment.Not surprisingly, UV radiation peaked at midday, and was more intense during spring than winter, with clear skies and at higher altitudes and lower latitudes. Higher temperatures also played a small role. Of course, avoidance of these peak conditions does not mean absolute UV protection, the researchers say. Although UV can drop by as much as half with cloud cover, for example, there is still plenty of skin-damaging radiation that sneaks through.

“Depending on the conditions, the UV index at a ski resort can potentially be as powerful as Waikiki on a bright, sunny day,” he said, referring to the Hawaiian beach. He pointed out that his team had multiple readings of 10, or “very high,” based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s UV index. But people’s behavior didn’t always match the UV intensity, report the researchers in the Archives of Dermatology.


So what can you do to protect yourself from the sun while participating in outdoor winter sports?    Apply a sunscreen with spf 30 or higher every two hours while outdoors or reapply after sweating.  Cover up with gloves, hats with brims, and sunglasses while outdoors.  Any exposed skin should have sunscreen on it so be sure to apply sunscreen to your neck and ears.  And don’t forget your lips!  They need sunscreen as well – always. 

And remember these tips are for everyone even if you don’t spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter.  You still need your sunscreen if all you are doing is driving back and forth from work in your car.   Sun protection is  year round committment – never put your sunscreen away!


Sources and Further Reading



Rethinking Accutane? December 13, 2010

I’ve already written about Accutane (or isotretinoin as it known medically) twice in this blog (see my previous posts:  Why Was Accutane Taken Off the Market? and New Information about Accutane), but when I saw the following article online on Skin Inc. I knew that I wanted to address the issue once again. 

AADA Updates Position on Isotretinoin explains how The American Academy of Dermatology  reevaluated and issued a new position statement on the use of Accutane.  Basically the AADA says that isotretinoin is still the most effective treatment for severe acne, but it needs to be prescribed and used safely and responsibly.  Furthermore, AADA does address the link between isotretinoin and depression and inflammatory bowel disease and finds that there is no conclusive evidence that links taking isotretinoin to either of those ailments/diseases.

William D. James, MD, FAAD, president of the AADA and its sister organization, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) said:

Isotretinoin continues to be considered a critically important drug for treating patients with severe acne who fail other therapies.  Isotretinoin offers our patients with severe acne significant, life-changing benefits. Providing this medicine safely is our top priority.


I suspect that the controversy over isotretinoin will continue for some time, but it is important to be aware that, as stated above, it a medication that is prescribed when all other acne treatments fail.  Ultimately, it is the only product on the market that actually comes close to offering a cure for severe acne.  Used responsibly and correctly isotretinoin can change someone’s life.  Take it from someone who has been there.

Further reading:  American Academy of Dermatology’s position statement on isotretinoin


Quiz Yourself – How Much Do You Know About Cosmetics? December 10, 2010

So you consider yourself a savvy skincare consumer and perhaps you think you know all there is to know about skincare regulations and ingredients.  Now test your knowledge! 

The FDA has an online quiz called:  How Smart Are You About Cosmetics?   It will take you about five minutes to complete the quiz, and you’ll be much more informed after taking it. 

Good luck!


Help Fund Skin Cancer Research with the Click of a Button December 6, 2010

Filed under: skin cancer — askanesthetician @ 9:52 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

The skincare line Skinceuticals is making it super easy to support melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, research.  Simply “like” Skinceuticals on Facebook and a $1 will be donated to the Melanoma Research Alliance.  Skinceuticals is doing this through December 31st. 

Click away and help others!  It’s so easy!


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