Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Product Review: Charelle Facial Serums September 17, 2017

Bria_AM_500

A few years ago I started getting very intrigued by facial oils. As someone with oily, acne prone skin it took me some time to realize that even my skin could benefit from the use of facial oils. At first I was sure that they were only for dry skin and would make me break out. But once I started using facial oils I was hooked. I even tried my hand at mixing up my own serums which was only fairly successful. Some things are best left to the professional skincare makers.

Everyone, no matter their skin type, can benefit from using facial oils. You just need to find the right one for your skin. For some people they can even the replace the need for a facial moisturizer.

Facial oils leave my skin soft and give it a great glow without feeling heavy. Some times I put a drop or two directly on my skin or layer on top of my moisturizer. You only need a little bit when using a facial oil so this actually can be quite a cost effective skincare product.

Recently I had the opportunity to try facial serums by Charelle. The company was founded by Sima Herzfeld Navon, an aromatherapist, and Dr. Pnina Farkas, a cosmetic dermatologist. These all natural products aim to bring together the best of a chemical free skincare philosophy with Western skincare science. I was certainly intrigued by the fact that a dermatologist would come out with all natural skincare product line.

Currently, the company sells 2 serum lines and a facial soap. The Bria serums (one for AM and one for PM) are meant for women 35 years old and over, while the Golden Glow serums (also has AM and PM versions) are for women 50 years old and over. While I prefer to recommend skincare products based solely on what the skin needs and not a person’s age, the reasoning behind dividing the serums based on age comes from the amount of estrogen in the body. As you probably already know, as we age the amount of estrogen in the body (and the skin) decreases which can lead to dry skin and wrinkles. The ingredients in the serums are meant to help combat this skincare issue and so dividing their use by age becomes more important.

The serums are available in AM and PM versions. The PM version contains ingredients that are be photosensitive and as such should not be used during the day. These products are a mix of plant and nut oils along with essential oils which makes them not just great for your skin but mood enhancing as well because of the scents.

I tried all 4 serums and loved them. While the scent can be quite strong in some of the serums it does fade over time. A little bit goes a long way with these serums which is great. They left my skin soft and smooth and with a wonderful, healthy glow. Over time I am sure that they can help the skin look younger.

I also had a chance to try the Visage Exfoliating Cleanser and was happily surprised how soft my skin felt after using it. This soap is highly recommended especially for people with dry skin.

All the products can be easily purchased through the company’s website. If using all natural, chemical free products is important to you definitely check out these products. If you are looking for a facial serum I recommend giving Charelle’s a try. I was definitely happy I used them.

 

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What Are Hydrosols? June 11, 2017

hydrosol

I like to think of myself as up to date about skincare ingredients and products, but somehow hydrosols were off my radar until a few months ago.  Now I am a devotee of this skincare product and am happy to recommend their use to other estheticians and clients.

What Is A Hydrosol?

Hydrosols are the byproduct of the essential oil distillation process.  As explained on the website Herb and Hedgerow in the post What is a Hydrosol?:

When plants are steam distilled for their essential oils, this process will release several compounds – some of which are soluble in water and will therefore end up in the hydrosol at the end of the process. Hydrosols contain the water from the distillation process as well as the herbal extracts from the plant. The essential oil droplets will float on top of this distillate and these tiny quantities are then removed to be sold.

Keep in mind that hydrosols are not simply essential oils added to water.   Hydrosols contain all the properties of the essential oil, just highly diluted which makes them much more gentle.  Hydrosols can also be used directly on the skin, unlike essential oils that should never to applied directly to the skin.  That’s what makes hydrosols so versatile and wonderful – they can provide your skin with the all the benefits of essential oils without any fear of irritation and negative reaction.

Be sure you trust your supplier when buying hydrosols since they can be contaminated or diluted with alcohol.

You could, of course, make your own hydrosol if you were so inclined.

How To Use A Hydrosol

Just as essential oils have different properties so do hydrosols.  The properties of the hydrosol are the same as the plant or essential oil they came from, just much more gentle so they can be used even on sensitive, irritated skin.  I work with clients who are undergoing chemotherapy and have very sensitive, compromised skin; I can use a hydrosol on the skin of such a client but not an essential oil.

Hydrosols can be used in a number of ways:  You can

  • use them like a toner – apply to a cotton pad and swipe across the face.
  • add them to a clay mask (or any mask) instead of water.
  • use in your bath
  • spray on your body like a body spray
  • use as a natural room or linen freshener/perfume
  • spray on your skin to cool down
  • after shaving spray or swipe on skin to soothe
  • spray to calm irritated skin

Personally I use hydrosols during facials just like I would toner and I add them to the masks I create for clients at the end of a facial.   But the sky’s the limit – there are a multitude of ways to use hydrosols both for your skin and for your home.

 

*I’m newly obsessed with the website Herb and Hedgerow.  Though the articles on the site are a few years old, I find that they are clearly written, interesting, and very informative.

 

Ingredient Spotlight: Honey January 24, 2013

If you are a fan of DIY facial masks you’ve probably come across more than one recipe for at home facial masks using honey.  Why does this ingredient repeatedly appear in DIY facial treatments?  It turns out for a few very good reasons.   Honey is a humectant, which means it draws moisture to the skin, is antimicrobial, and an antioxidant.

According to Shape magazine honey helps the skin(and your overall health) in a few different ways:

1. Skin ailments: Everything from burns and scrapes to surgical incisions and radiation-associated ulcers have been shown to respond to “honey dressings.” That’s thanks to the hydrogen peroxide that naturally exists in honey, which is produced from an enzyme that bees have.

2. Mosquito bite relief: Honey’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a good option to help reduce the itch and irritation of mosquito bites.

3. It’s an immune booster: Honey is chock full of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radical damage. It can also contribute to heart health as well as protect against cancer.

4. Digestive aid: In a 2006 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, researchers found that substituting honey for sugar in processed foods improved the gut microflora of male mice.

5. Acne treatment: According to preliminary research, Manuka, and Kanuka types of honey can effectively treat Acne vulgaris, the skin condition that is caused by inflammation and infection of the pilosebaceous follicle on the face, back, and chest.

(From 5 Health Benefits of Honey)

Future Derm highlights honey’s beauty benefits thusly:

Honey’s combination of vitamins, antioxidants, sugars and amino make it produce hydrogen peroxide and gluconic acid — acidic solutions that are frequently used to clear dirt and bacteria from wounds.  It is due in part to its numerous antioxidants and hydrogen peroxide that honey is often lauded as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal agent — good news if you have oiler skin that could collect dirt more easily, have superficial wounds and scarring, or if you just need something to give your skin a little extra cleaning (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery).

But honey’s effectiveness doesn’t just stop with being a skin cleanser – there is substantial evidence for its role in wound-healing. Coupled with its hydrogen peroxide, honey provides amoist environment for skin to repair itself, encourages epithelialization (skin cell regrowth), granulation tissue formation, (a type of connective tissue), and wound healing.  Plus, honey can reduce swelling and is a strong anti-inflammatory agent, meaning that it very may well reduce pain and irritation from skin lesions (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery)

Honey is also good for dry skin, especially skin disorders such as Eczema and Psoriasis. These two skin ailments are characterized by their excessive dryness, itchiness, inflammation and irritation. After using the a mixture of honey, olive oil and beeswax three times a day for two weeks, 80 percent of the eczema patients had reduced symptoms of itching, scaling, and oozing from lesions. 63 percent of the psoriasis patients also reported significant improvement in symptoms (Complementary Therapies in Medicine).

Users should know that there are several different strains of honey whose efficacy can vary, such as the medical-quality Manuka and Revamil. If using pure honey, take caution — honey is able to support the bacteria that cause gangrene and botulism, and are typically treated with gamma irridation to eradicate these bacteria (Indian Journal of Plastic Surgery).

(From Lancome Tonique Confort Rehydrating Toner Review)

Many sources claim that not all honey is the same and you actually need to use raw honey in order to receive all the benefits described above.  In an article from Beauty at Skin Deep the benefits of raw honey are explained:

It should be noted that not all honey is created equal. Most of the honey found in grocery stores has been processed with heat, which kills off healing enzymes and destroys a lot of the nutrient-rich content. But, raw honey hasn’t been processed and will give your skin the healing benefits that it needs. Also, if you have allergies, try a patch test first and/or ask you physician if raw honey is a right for you.

BENEFITS

Raw honey is an amazing natural beauty solution for all skin types because of its healing skin benefits. It does wonders for a wide variety of skin ailments including:

Acne and enlarged pores
Rosacea
Eczema
Hyperpigmentation
Sensitive, mature, and dull lifeless skin

With its natural pH level of 4.5, raw honey falls within skin’s naturally healthy pH range. Its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it great for healing cuts and burns by killing bacteria and fungus. Raw honey also contains gluconic acid, a mild alpha hydroxy acid that brightens the complexion, evens out skin tone, and lightens scars and age spots.

Depending on where the honey is collected from, it contains many nutrients and minerals excellent for skin health such as vitamin B, iron, manganese, copper, potassium and calcium. It also acts as a humectant drawing moisture to the skin and is perfect as a gentle cleansing solution for even very sensitive skin. When mixed with water, honey releases peroxide properties which helps heal acne and impede bacterial growth causing more acne

(From Skin Benefits of Raw Honey)

Personally I’ve never tried honey, any type of honey, as a facial treatment, but I do find the information on it intriguing.  If you’ve ever used honey at home as a skincare treatment please comment below.

Sources and Further Reading:

Important read about the benefits of honey and the false marketing claims of beauty companies:

While researching this post I found that a lot of sources repeat the same information about honey over and over so I’ve highlighted just a few resources below.

Image from self.com

 

 
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