Saturday, June 27, 2009


Dear Friends...In addition to daily cleansing routines, the use of masks can improve the appearance of your skin as well as correct prior damage. Masks are either warm or cold and come in powder, paste or gel forms. After the mask is removed your skin should feel clean, stimulated, and refreshed.

Masks have been used since ancient times and have been made from clay, mud, sour milk, fruit and wine as well as other icky ingredients like dead insect or animal parts. Today’s commercially prepared masks contain elements of those natural ingredients as well as artificial chemicals.

Masks are used for a variety of purposes depending on the client’s skin needs. Masks can provide deep moisturizing, remove excess oil, or thin the dead cell layer of our skin. Additionally, masks can temporarily tighten loose skin, calm inflamed skin, or loosen blackheads for manual removal.

The type of mask needed is based entirely on the type of skin your have the effect you hope to achieve. If your skin is dry then you’ll want to use something that’s moisturizing without being greasy. If your skin is oily, you’ll want to use a mask designed to dry up excess oil. If your skin is sensitive to chemicals, you’ll want to use something that not only moisturizes but does so with gentle ingredients.

Homemade masks are effective and free of artificial chemicals whose names can’t be pronounced let alone understood. In addition, homemade masks are easy to prepare and, since they are made from ingredients available at your grocery store’s produce section, they are way less expensive than the commercial products. Some would argue that any produce used should be organic and I think that it’s the best option. However, any fresh produce will work too.

Masks should always be applied to a clean face and never worn for longer than 10 to 15 minutes. The mask should be removed with warm water followed by toner and moisturizer. Masking should be done on a weekly basis.

Next time I’ll give you some recipes for homemade masks that are easy to make, inexpensive and will improve your skin’s appearance, too!



Saturday, June 20, 2009


Here are more recommendation for sun protection products. I promise these will be the last for awhile since you are probably overloaded with information at this point.

Oxybenzonene is an active ingredient used in many sunscreens manufactured in the United States and is a moderately effective sun blocker. However, this ingredient reacts with sunlight to form allergenic and possibly carcinogenic chemicals making it as dangerous, or possibly more dangerous, than using nothing at all.

Oxybenzone is popular because it rubs in well versus zinc, for example, but for safety a sunscreen with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as the active ingredient is recommended instead.

Here are more product recommendations I found on a site called “GoodGuide”. Not only do they include customer reviews but the products are also rated by Good Guide for ecological impact and healthfulness, if those things are important to you.

Good Guide is a great site to consult for all ‘green’ product ratings, especially household cleaners.

You can view the sun protection reviews yourself at Following are those I thought were the best per price, SPF rating and customer reviews.

Ø Aveeno Baby Sunblock Lotion…SPF 55…costs about $12.99 and received 5 customer rating stars.

Ø Badger…SPF 30…costs about $11.99 and received 4 customer rating stars

Ø CA Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance…SPF of 30+ costs about $15 and received a 4-star rating from users

Ø Coppertone Sport Continuous Spray…SPF 30…costs about $20.84 and has a 4.5 star rating

Ø Kiss My Face 100% Paraben-Free Sunscreen…SPF 30… costs about $10.99 and received 3.5 customer rating stars.

Ø Neutrogena Sunblock Age Shield Face…SPF 70…costs about $12.49 with a 5 star rating from users.

Ø Solar Sense Face Protection…SPF of 45, costs about $36.42 for a 12 pack and received 5 rating stars.

Yours in Healthy Skin…


Carolyn E. Johnson

Monday, June 15, 2009


As a practicing esthetician I’ve heard a lot of excuses for not using sunscreen. Following is a list of sun protection products recommended in a recent article of PREVENTION Magazine.

I have acne and sunscreen causes breakouts…..Try using a non-oily product like Coppertone Nutrashield Faces 70+ about $10.50 at drugstores. It’s formulated so it does not clog pores

I am unable to reapply over makeup…..Try using a tinted mineral sunscreen like BareMinerals SPF 30, which casts about $28 at their website. It’s ideal for touchups throughout day and has an added benefit of providing luminosity to your makeup.

I have sensitive skin and sunscreen is irritating. Try using sun block instead since titanium oxide or zinc oxide rarely upset sensitive skin and less likely to aggravate redness from Rosacea.

I perspire while exercising outdoors. Try using sunscreen labeled as very water resistant. Banana Boat UltraMist Sport Performance Spray SPF 85 costs about $10.50 at drugstores is a good product. It sprays on clear, doesn’t need to be rubbed in and has a nozzle that works from any angle.

Sunscreen leaves my face shiny. Try using La Roches-Posay Anthelios 60 Ultra Light Sunscreen for Face…about $27.50 at drugstores…absorbs quickly and dries to matte finish. Since it’s also moisturizing, you can skip that step of your morning cleansing routine

I already have lots of sun damage so why should I start using protection now. Daily sunscreen use reduces damage and allows skin to repair itself. You can protect your skin and boost its natural repair abilities with NIA 24 Sun Damage Prevention 100% Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. It contains Pro-Niacin a form of Vit B3 that helps improve skin hydration and minimizes dark spots.

While I have not tried any of the above, I trust the recommendations of this magazine.

I have used the line of sunscreen products sold by Dermalogica with good results. More important my clients report being happy, too. Dermalogica has about 12 different sun protection products including wipes for use while traveling and a spray that dries on contact. In addition, these products do not have an annoying odor. While they cost more than something available at a drugstore. They are well tested and formulated. You can find Dermalogica products at your local spa or beauty salon.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

UVB Light Damage

There are two types of UV light: UVA and UVB. I discussed UVA damage in a previous post. The second type, UVB, is the most damaging because it penetrates to the deepest layer of our skin where new cells are generated creating mutations that may lead to skin cancer. Repeated, extended UVB exposure also leads to sagging and premature aging of our skin.

Vertical spiral threads of protein called elastin hold all 8 layers of our skin together. As their name suggests they are stretchy and allow our skin to snap back into shape after pulling. They work like the rubberized threads in elastic waistbands. Just as repeated heating in dryers weakens the rubberized bands, elastin is weakened and loses its snap when exposed repeatedly to UVB rays.

Unfortunately, there aren’t products that can reverse UVB damage currently. The only thing we can do is prevent damage through the use of good quality sunscreens or sun blocks.

Products that filter both UVA and UVB rays provide basic protection. These products may be labeled as ‘broad spectrum’. Additionally, they should have a SPF rating of at least 30.

The highest level of protection is a reflective sun block containing either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide that reflects all UV rays. However, it’s important to remember that if you’re wearing sun block it will reflect any type of light, either natural or artificial. For this reason, sun blocks will reflect the light of a photoflash and make you appear ghostly in photos.

An important fact about any UV protection is that is has to be applied generously and daily to be effective. Use at least a teaspoon on your face. Also sunscreens have to be reapplied every two hours since UV light degrades the protective ingredients into harmful ones that will actually accelerate UV damage. Nice twist, eh?

Since we receive the bulk of our sun damage before the age of 18 most of us already have UVB damage that will result in sagging and the early aging of our skin. This fact sounds like it’s useless to use any sun protection at this stage of the game. Let me strongly urge you to resist that idea.

Although sun protection will not reverse the damage we already have, it will prevent further damage. As we age, UV damage compounds at a faster rate…like coasting downhill on a bike. So that any damage comes more apparent at a faster rate.

In my next post, I’ll recommend products for UV protection.

Hugs, Carolyn