Monday, May 25, 2015

“But You Didn’t”—on this Memorial Day

Most of my adult life I’ve been told I look younger than my (chronological) age. That is always nice to hear! But when I was young, I was constantly told I seemed older than I was. In my single digits and early teens I wrote a lot of poetry. Below is something I wrote, I think for a school assignment, on the Vietnam War. I was 12 years old when I wrote it (1973), and I think it is indicative of being mature beyond my years.

“But You Didn’t”                                  
                                                           
Remember the time you lent
me your car and I dented the fender
I thought you’d drill me...
but you didn’t

Remember the time I spilled
coke on your new rug
I thought you’d kill me...
but you didn’t

Remember the time I forgot
to tell you the dance was formal
and you came in jeans,
I thought you’d hate me...
but you didn’t

Remember the countless times
you’d try to be serious, and I’d giggle,
I thought you’d leave me...
but you didn’t

Remember all the times I’d flirt
with other guys, just to make you jealous, and you were,
I thought you’d drop me...
but you didn’t

There were plenty of things you did to put up with me,
to keep me happy, to love me, and there were
so many things I wanted to tell you after you
returned from Vietnam...
but you didn’t.

Blessings to all who have ever served, who are serving now or in the future, and to those who have lost their lives in service to country.  

Thank you. 


Saturday, May 23, 2015

Microdermabrasion Q & A + one client’s experience (and it’s not a good one!)

This procedure should be termed microepidermabrasion. Micro means very small or involving minute quantities or variations; derma refers to the dermis or inner layers of the skin, but in the case of microdermabrasion it is—hopefully—only affecting the epidermis or outer skin; abrasion means to wear away by friction, through abrading.

I would like to know how you feel about microdermabrasion. I am 35 years old and fine lines are starting to show, especially around my mouth (smile lines) and forehead. Do you think products would work just as well? The procedure is quite costly, $900 for 6 treatments. I’m trying to decide if it’s worth it or not. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Microdermabrasion is expensive, yet it is a superficial exfoliation of the outer skin. Anything more than that would not be allowed to be performed by a mere aesthetician. It can help to reduce the appearance of the fine lines, but not the actual lines themselves. Keeping your skin regularly exfoliated at home can help you achieve similar benefits as microdermabrasion at a fraction of the cost.

I asked this reader if she exfoliated at home, and her answer was no. She had tried Retin-A, but it burned her skin and made it peel, so she stopped using it. She wasn’t actively exfoliating (vs. passive exfoliation like AHAs or Retin-A) on a regular basis—or at all. She wanted to stop wearing foundation but was having a hard time getting used to not wearing it.

I would recommend exfoliating at home first before you invest in microdermabrasion. This way you can find out the benefits of regular dead skin removal, which reveals soft, supple skin underneath.

I know many people enjoy the benefits of microdermabrasion, but I also have heard stories—firsthand accounts—from some of my clients about negative experiences with this procedure. Following are a few client’s stories.

Gowri’s microderm story. I came into the facial room to see my client who hails from India. Gowri has beautiful light brown skin, and like many darker skinned people, she has some trouble with hyperpigmentation. She went to investigate microdermabrasion to see what all the fuss was about and had an unfortunate experience.

Apparently the aesthetician working on Gowri’s skin was a little overzealous in wanting to get rid of her dead skin. There was a pimple in the middle of Gowri’s forehead, a spot that had been there for a while, and it resisted leaving (clearing).

Perhaps in an attempt to “get rid of” the blemish, the aesthetician must have kept the microdermabrasion machine on that spot for a long time because what she actually did was create a hole in my client’s skin! I couldn’t believe it! Not only was there a visible hole, but since Gowri is from India, she is prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This shows up as dark brown spots at the site of inflammation or infection. In Gowri’s case, she had a medium-sized dark spot at the site of this hole left by the microdermabrasion treatment. See What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation? for more information.

Over time the skin healed, and because Gowri was diligent about sunscreen and covering her face in the sun, the dark spot went away as well. Both of these processes took some time, but I am happy to report her skin looks great. Needless to say, Gowri won’t be getting any more microdermabrasion treatments.

Another client of mine who likes to experiment with new and different procedures tried microdermabrasion. She said it actually hurt, and now she has red patches on her cheeks from the treatment. I have been giving her facials for over 10 years, and her skin is very delicate and sensitive. She is not a good candidate for any kind of abrasive procedures or products; no wonder she didn’t enjoy microdermabrasion.

I have had one microdermabrasion experience. I asked the aesthetician to only exfoliate one half of my face (left or right side). Although she didn’t know I, too, was an aesthetician, I’m sure she found my request quite odd. I told her (and this is true) that I wanted to be able to see and feel the difference from the microdermed side and the side without the procedure.

My experience, although limited, is this: My skin on the side that received the microdermabrasion felt very sensitive for several days after the facial. Honestly, I couldn’t feel any appreciable difference in texture from one side to the other. But the sensitivity the exfoliated side felt was enough to keep me from having this procedure done again. My skin, by the way, is not what I would describe as sensitive.

Microdermabrasion isn’t for everyone. I encourage all my clients to experiment and see what works best for them. Microdermabrasion isn’t—or shouldn’t be—any more than superficial exfoliation, so it should be a safe procedure. However, any treatment given by someone who is unqualified could turn out to be disastrous, so be sure if you do get microdermabrasion you are going to someone who knows about skin and all the possible effects of this procedure—not just the benefits.

Microdermabrasion is fairly commonplace in many facials today and it is also a safe procedure (unless you have an aesthetician who doesn’t understand skin or how to use the machine). I still think microdermabrasion is too expensive for what you get. Doing your at-home exfoliation (especially utilizing Yonka’s gommage) can, in my opinion, give you similar results without compromising the health of your skin or your wallet.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Camping & Your Skin: The Essentials

When I go camping with my husband, we backpack and therefore I don’t have much room to bring my cosmetics with me. Do you have any “bare minimum” suggestions for products I can take camping that wouldn’t take up too much room in my pack?

Through the years, I have had many clients and friends ask me how to go about taking care of their skin while under unusual circumstances. One friend was on her way to Washington state to summit Mount Rainier, while several clients have gone on no-frills safaris in the wilds of Africa. Whether you are scaling a mountain, on safari, or you’re just a weekend camper, you will want to take only the essentials to save room yet save your face at the same time.

When I go camping, it is usually the no-frills kind. No bathrooms, no water other than a (very) cold stream near the campsite, and sometimes not even that. If there is no stream, I am left with water from a canteen to brush my teeth and wash my face. Needless to say, this limits my routine to the bare bones. And admittedly, although I usually do my morning routine, the evening routine doesn’t always get accomplished. After sitting around the campfire in the deep darkness of night, sometimes just climbing into the tent to go to sleep is my top priority.

I’m telling you this to say don’t worry about skipping your routine if your circumstances dictate it. I don’t go camping very often, and I certainly take exceptional care of my skin every day of my life otherwise. So if you find yourself unable (or maybe just unwilling) to do all the right things, don’t worry about it. Just know that you will have some catching up to do once you get home, and your skin may show the signs of improper care, which may include congestion (more blackheads than you normally have) and flakiness from lack of exfoliation.

My skin usually goes through a minor breakout during a camping trip, but frankly I’m more focused on the environmental beauty I am surrounded by and not on how I look. Fortunately, there are no mirrors out in the woods, so out of sight, out of mind! Read how I take care of my skin in Camping: My “Skin Care”.

If possible, get a facial after your trip. This will ensure that your neglected skin will get all the attention it needs. If you can get a facial before you go, do—before to prepare, after to repair. A good clay mask done right after returning from a camping trip will do wonders to immediately perk up your skin as well as clean out your pores.

Travel companions. The first order of business is getting any products you plan to take with you in travel sizes. If these smaller versions aren’t available, make your own. You can find small plastic containers at almost any drug or grocery store. If your products are housed in glass or metal, they probably need to remain in containers made out of those materials, rather than plastic.

If the product line you use offers sample sizes, get hold of some (you may have to purchase them, or sometimes they are given away) and take these with you instead of your travel-size products. Saving space is always the name of the game. If you end up bringing samples, be sure to take a few self-sealing plastic bags with you to use as “trash cans” for your used sample containers. When you go camping, especially backpacking, you always take out whatever you bring in, and this includes trash.

The following are the most important ingredients in your basic travel kit:
  • Cleanser (To cleanse day and night.) See New Cleanser from Yonka: EAU MICELLAIRE for a really great type of cleanser to have on hand while camping
  • Sunscreen (Used amply and frequently.)
  • Moisturizer (Used at night, and even under your sunscreen if you need the extra moisture, and as your eye cream if you can’t take a separate product.)
  • Lip balm (Your lips will thank you for this one!)
  • Toner in a spray bottle (If room allows.)
Keeping your skin clean and protected from the sun are the top two concerns to focus on. With that said, you have the added challenge of limited space in your pack and limited time to stick to a routine. The following suggestions are based on special, limited circumstances and are in no way recommendations for normal, daily skin care at home. When I have gone camping, if I was able to brush my teeth morning and night, it was an accomplishment!

The first ingredient in your camping travel kit is a non-alkaline cleanser. If water is limited, I recommend a change from how you are cleansing at home. First, spend a few more seconds applying the cleanser to your face. Next, only if water is limited, wipe the cleanser off with a towel; then rinse with water from your canteen or, if available, a stream. If stream water is your only option, you won’t want to splash too much of that ice cold water on your face. It’s damaging to your capillaries. Toweling or wiping off cleanser is not a practice I recommend if you are at home—there you want to splash-rinse with water. But in these limited circumstances, this wiping off procedure will require less water in order to get the cleanser off your face.

In the morning, after you have removed the cleanser as thoroughly as possible and rinsed with water, pour on the sunscreen! And be sure to take some with you when you go hiking. Sunscreens work on a temporary basis only, and one application in the morning will not last throughout the day. It should be waterproof (or water-resistant) so you won’t sweat it off. Please, don’t go on any excursion, especially camping, without lots of sunscreen!

At night, cleanse and use your night treatment cream. If you can take your eye cream, great. But if space is limited, use your night cream around your eyes. Again, this is less than ideal, but it is practical. When in doubt, improvise.

Don’t forget lip balm. Carry it around wherever you go and use it often throughout the day and at night before you go to sleep. Lip balm will help save your lips from becoming dry and chapped. This is especially important if you are in high altitudes or in a desert climate. Try to find a non-petroleum lip balm and be sure to get one with SPF. Lips need protection from the sun’s rays just as much as your skin does.

This is super small—perfect!
If space allows, I highly recommend taking your toner in a travel-size spray bottle. This step adds hydration (water) to your face as well as other soothing ingredients to help balance your skin. (Do I need to include that I am not talking about toners with SD or isopropyl alcohol in them?) Because toners are liquids, I recommend putting the bottle in a self-sealing plastic bag—just in case. You don’t want any surprises when you open your pack.

If you are camping but have access to a bathroom, then you will be able to follow your regular at-home routine much more easily. You may not want to bring every skin care product you normally use at home, but you certainly can bring more than what I have mentioned. The previous recommendations are based on having very limited space and resources, yet allow you to keep your skin in pretty good shape during your time away from home.

Whatever your trip involves, have a great time, wear plenty of sunscreen, and do what you can to keep to some sort of routine, pared down as it might be. Remember—life is short so do what you can skin care-wise and otherwise enjoy your outdoor experience. Happy trails!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Machines used in facials—are they necessary?

Does the facial salon you go to use machines?

Machines are very common, and below I have listed those most often used in facials. The salon you go to may employ all or none of them. Keep in mind machines lack the sensitivity of human contact. Studies show the tremendous healing benefits of touch. It calms the nervous system, and gives you, the client, a sense of connection to the aesthetician. If machines are used every step of the way, I’d think twice before getting a facial at that salon. That is just my opinion. My preference is to make educating my client the number one purpose of the facial, along with utilizing the soothing touch of massage throughout my treatments. If you happen to like machines, by all means—go for it!

Steam machine. This is probably the most widely used piece of machinery. Almost every facial offers steam at least once, and in some cases several times throughout a skin care treatment. The mist coming from the arm of the machine superficially hydrates the outer skin and softens debris held in the pores, ideally making extractions easier. I have found, however, that once the steam is removed, the debris inside the pores hardens along with the outer skin, making extractions more difficult (and by the way—more painful!).

The heat from the steam stimulates circulation, which helps to nourish the cells, although the heat may become too intense for several skin conditions. If you have acne, capillary damage, redness, or sensitive skin, you are not a good candidate for steam. In fact, you should avoid it. If you find yourself in a treatment where steam is used, and you have one of these skin conditions, ask the aesthetician to either move the steam farther from your face or do away with it all together.

Steam is a superfluous step in many ways, but most facials incorporate it. A beneficial time to utilize the steam machine is during the clay mask. Request that it be used then in order to keep the clay moist. Be aware, your aesthetician may balk at this suggestion, but explain that you don’t want the clay to dry on your face or the steam on your bare skin. (See How to use a Clay Mask.)

For more information on the use of steam on your face, read Is steam good for my skin? as well as that section in One facial experience—not a great one.

Brush machine. The brush machine eliminates dead surface cells by using a rotating brush attached to a motorized unit. The brushes spin at various speeds, come in different textures, and are generally made of goat hair. Your choices for exfoliation in a facial are sometimes limited to the brush machine or a scrub. Neither is terribly effective, but unless the product line the salon uses has other options for exfoliation, you may be faced with this machine. Most salons now include mild to strong acid peels for exfoliation within the facial.

One problem I have with this machine is sanitation. The brushes are used on everyone who has been to that salon for a facial. Of course they are properly sanitized (you hope), but how long has a particular brush been in use? My opinion about the use of a professional electric brush in a facial is similar to using at-home brush machines, like the Clarisonic. For more information, read Facial Brushes: Yes or No?

This machine should never be used on acne, red, or sensitive skin. It should never be used on skin with broken capillaries. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but at the very least, human touch is once again replaced by a machine.

The vacuum. Yes, that’s right—a vacuum. I can’t believe these are still used today, but they are. In case you come across the vacuum in a facial, just say “NO!” Its purpose is to suction out embedded dirt and debris from the pores. Unfortunately, it can cause capillary damage due to the suction and is very ineffective at cleaning out the pores. A vacuum should be used on a floor, not on your face.

Galvanic current. This machine uses a low-level current and two terminals, or poles. One pole is positively charged; the other is negatively charged. Sometimes these poles are called “active” and “indifferent.” The client holds the negative or indifferent pole, and the active pole is placed on the skin, creating a circuit.

The purpose of this machine is to make products penetrate deeper into the skin as well as soften tissue and stimulate circulation. It is my contention that products applied manually penetrate far enough into the skin without the need to incorporate electrically charged machines. I find these devices disruptive to the natural flow of the facial. They aren’t used very often, although some salons subscribe to the benefits of machines and will employ galvanic current. 

High-frequency. This machine uses infrared light that is either violet or orange-red. The light is directed through a glass electrode that is in turn applied to the skin. (When the machine is turned on, it sounds a bit like Dr. Frankenstein’s laboratory.) The uses for a high frequency machine are to stimulate circulation, warm the surface of the skin, as well as to disinfect the skin.

The client’s entire face is gone over with a mushroom-shaped electrode, or individual blemishes can be zapped by lifting the electrode off the skin just over the problem spot. This lifting causes a slight shock or spark that has a concentrated, germicidal effect, destroying bacteria. High-frequency is also used to aid in the penetration of products.

Here again, there is only so far a product can go into the skin. I don’t feel the need to use a machine to penetrate products when a pair of hands can do the job. Manually applying products soothes the client with human touch as well. Many skin care salons utilize the high-frequency machine, so you will probably come in contact with it. You might want to give it a try to see if you enjoy this form of treatment.

I don’t use any machines in my facial. I prefer to use my hands and let the products do their magic. Machines leave me cold, and stimulating someone’s skin this way doesn’t feel right to me. Earlier in my career I had access to a high-frequency machine. I rarely used it because I felt it was doing little to improve my clients’ skin and added a strange, cold indifference to the facial. Employing foreign objects with peculiar, electrical noises in place of the soothing nature of human touch didn’t create the relaxing environment I wanted to provide for my clients. 

Oxygen facials. These treatments usually combine products with special oxygen-related ingredients, along with pure oxygen applied directly to the skin. The products supposedly reduce the function of the skin so the oxygen can penetrate through the skin’s barrier. Then a blast of oxygen from a tank is applied to your face, and voila—your skin miraculously absorbs this added oxygen! Actually, most doctors agree that although this is surely a harmless treatment, you cannot make oxygen penetrate into the skin this way. See MYTH: Skin breathes for more information.

Having a blast of oxygen directed at your face may feel good and may do wonders for your circulation, but the oxygen carried in your blood is what is feeding and nourishing the skin—from the inside out. There are many people, many professionals, who may disagree with me. There are also a lot of people making money selling these kinds of facials. I have a very different approach to skin care. It rarely, if ever, incorporates the latest trends or fads that are presented to the public.

Perhaps mine is an old-fashioned approach. I don’t, however, see any great improvements in skin after having trendy treatments (such as oxygen facials) or using the latest miracle product. If you’re curious about this or any other procedure or skin treatment, check it out and see for yourself whether or not you receive the results that are promised. Oxygen facials tend to be quite expensive, so be forewarned.

What about oxygen bars? These booths or bars administer large amounts of oxygen, which is supposed to be purifying. The truth is, your body breathes in oxygen and exhales carbon dioxide perfectly without any help. Trust your body and seek to cleanse and purify it through proven, effective means such as diet and exercise. Again, I know people will disagree with me, people who have gone to oxygen bars. My response to them is—great! In life you have to find what works and what doesn't work for you. I prefer to spend my money on products that will affect my skin on a daily basis. In short: to each his or her own.

Please don't ever use one of these!
Comedone extractor. This is a metal instrument that looks similar to a knitting needle. It has a small, donut-shaped hole at one end. As the hole encircles the blackhead and pressure is applied, the extractor helps to drive debris out of the blackhead.

As the name implies, it is to be used on comedones, the technical term for blackheads. Used on closed pores, a comedone extractor could lead to disaster. I highly discourage letting anyone use one of these instruments on you. The aesthetician has little or no sense of how much pressure she is applying. At the very least, this can cause capillary damage, not to mention the insensitivity of unyielding metal on your face. I would never use one of these in a treatment or even on my own skin at home. See future post Just say NO to comedone extractors! to read about a client’s experience (and it’s not a good one) with the use of a comedone extractor in a facial she had.

I have to say it one more time: Please—do not use a comedone extractor on your skin or let any aesthetician use one on you either!

PLEASE: Don’t use these either!
Lancets. A lancet is a disposable pin or needle-like implement originally designed for diabetics to prick a finger in order to draw blood and test their blood sugar levels. Lancets are used in facials to make a tiny opening in a closed pore or pustule so the debris can gently be nudged out through the opening. Not to fear, a lancet is not used to dig into the blemish. In the hands of a skilled aesthetician, it can be an effective tool to help with extractions.

Some of you may love having facials with some of the machines listed above. As with many things in any particular facial treatment, it all comes down to preference. Everyone is different; almost every facial and aesthetician is different. If during a facial the professional uses a machine that you aren’t familiar with and especially if you don’t want it used on you, stop her and ask her to explain why she thinks the machine is necessary for your skin before she actually uses it on you. You always have a choice in any kind of treatment, facial or otherwise, so be sure to ask questions and feel confident before going forward.

See What to expect in a facial treatment where I go over some questions you might want to ask your aesthetician before and during your next facial treatment.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Top 10 reasons for not wearing sunscreen: What’s your excuse?

Wearing hats and sunscreen is the best way to keep your skin from incurring too much sun damage while you’re having fun outside. If you don’t wear sunscreen—and no hat either?!—perhaps now would be a good time to start. Below are the top 10 excuses people have given me for not wearing sun protection.
  1. It makes my skin feel greasy.
  2. It burns.
  3. It doesn’t work.
  4. I just sweat it off.
  5. I want to get color.
  6. Skin cancer doesn’t run in my family.
  7. I never burn, so why use it?
  8. It’s too much trouble.
  9. I forgot to put it on.
  10. Wearing sunscreen makes my face feel hot.
Let me address these concerns:

1.) If wearing sunscreen makes your face feel greasy, you could simply be wearing the wrong product. There are more and more sunscreens available that are made with ingredients that will keep a matte finish vs. causing an oil slick. If you indeed have an oilier skin type, I recommend wearing sunscreen during the day as your day cream. There is no need to pile a sun product on top of a moisturizer—the sunscreen is a cream, so you should get adequate moisturizing qualities from using it alone. 

2.) If your sunscreen causes any sensation like burning, itching, peeling or anything else—don’t use it! Those responses are your skin telling you to remove it now. Unfortunately, sometimes finding a sunscreen that works for your skin can involve a bit of trial and error, but I assure you it is worth the effort. Throughout your life there will be countless occasions where you will need a good sunscreen, so finding one is imperative.

3.) Once in a while I’ll have a client complain that even though they had sunscreen on, they still got color. It’s as though the sunscreen didn’t work. I am here to tell you: it did! None of these clients got sunburns, therefore the sun product did its job. Sunscreens aren’t meant to keep all UV rays away (only being inside away from windows can do that), they are made to keep your skin from burning.

4.) Sweating sunscreen off is a big concern as well as then reapplying it. See To reapply or not. Is that in question? for my thoughts on this important issue.

5.) I understand the desire to “get color” and therefore sunbathing or simply not wearing sunscreen to let the UV rays have there chance to turn your skin color darker. Any time you wear sunscreen you are still getting sun; however, the higher the SPF, the less color you will receive. So could we make a compromise here? How about wearing a lower SPF on the days or during the activities where you are trying to darken the color of your skin. Then have a higher SPF handy for those times when you not only don’t want to get color, but when you know you’ll be out for an extended period of time and will most likely burn without it.

6.) Congratulations that so far you have not had skin cancer in your family. Frankly, that is so rare. Melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers, is less likely than other forms like basal cell carcinoma, but I assure you skin cancer can happen even if you haven’t had a lot of UV exposure in your lifetime. Resting on the laurel that it doesn’t run in your family seems, to me, like not only a flimsy excuse for not wearing sun protection, but a potentially deadly one as well. Please wear some sun protection at least some of the time when you’re out and about in the sun. Skin cancer is the most preventable form of cancer. Don’t tempt fate. See Basal Cell Carcinoma: David’s story for an eye-opening look into one person’s skin cancer experience.

If you wear SPF, you shouldn’t burn
7.) Sunscreen is worn to help keep some of the damaging rays of the sun off your skin. These powerful UV rays cause tanning, burning, and skin cancer. I would say unequivocally that you should wear sunscreen to help keep skin cancer away—although it’s not a panacea; skin cancer can find you sunscreen or not and even if you never get sunburns.

8.) If wearing sunscreen is too much trouble, perhaps visiting a dermatologist who is removing a cancerous lesion from a client’s face might convince you otherwise. I will say that wearing sunscreen is not a guarantee that skin cancer won’t be in your future, but it certainly helps, as do hats and shade. If you just will not wear sunscreen, would you consider wearing a hat? See Sun Protection: Hats, Hats, Hats! for some tips and more information.

9.) Simply forgetting to put on sunscreen does happen, of course. I think out of sight, out of mind; try keeping your sunscreen out on your bathroom cabinet so you might better remember that it needs to be applied before you go out.

10.) If your face feels hot from wearing sunscreen, perhaps if you try a different, lighter-textured sun product this could solve the problem. (See #1—Sunscreen makes my skin feel greasy.) There are lighter, milky-type creams vs. heavy, thick creams you can use that shouldn’t cause that hot feeling.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Yonka’s Eye Treatment Creams & Gels

Yonka has created three wonderful eye creams:
Each one has many attributes; all are wonderful for keeping the eye area hydrated and nourished. If you are not clear on the purpose of using eye cream, please read Eye Cream: Why use it?


NUTRI-CONTOUR is the eye treatment I recommend to my clients most often. The reason is because it is hydrating, preventing that delicate eye area from dryness and the appearance of wrinkles.

It is an oil-based cream vs. a water-based gel, giving it lasting ability. Optimal use is morning and evening—at least, and any time in between. I instruct my clients to simply feel the skin under their eyes. If it feels dry, then apply more eye cream, even if it is in addition to your regular morning and evening application during your Basics routine.

Essential ingredients:
  • Hazelnut oilrepairing, nourishing
  • Chamomile, vitamin PPsoothing, softening
  • Vitamin Fprevents dehydration
  • Vitamin Eantioxidant
Directions for use:
  • After your Basics 1-2-3 Program (cleanser, toner, moisturizer)
  • Apply a small amount of Nutri-Contour cream on lines around eyes
  • Use morning and night and anytime in between
Eye creams keep the tissue around the eyes soft. They do not erase wrinkles. Sorry!


ALPHA-CONTOUR. I love this eye gel. It goes on smoothly and feels fresh and wonderful.

In general, gels have less long-term hydrating abilities than creams. Gels are water-based; creams are oil-based. However I love the AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) content in this gel. AHAs help to dislodge dead skin that is sticking together, basically helping to exfoliate skin merely by its application.

Im not a huge fan of AHAs, as you might have read in previous articles, however for the undereye area I do think AHAs are a worthwhile ingredient. If you want to learn more about why Im not in favor of using these acids on the face, read What are AHAs? Miracle ingredients or not? 

I have several clients (myself, included) who use Alpha-Contour for their nasolabial folds (smile lines) and the vertical lines above the lips. Because its a gel, it soaks in quickly and isnt heavy like a cream would beespecially on the upper lip area. Like any cream (or gel) this product will not erase wrinkles, but due to Alpha-Contour’s AHA content, it can help to make the lines look less noticeable. And truly, with the exfoliation benefits of AHAs, Alpha-Contour can indeed help to lessen the lines.

I like this gel eye treatment better in the warmer, summer months. I usually recommend Nutri-Contour for most clients in the winter. A cream stays on longer and gives more moisture than a gel will (this gel, included), and in Colorado, because of the dry air, we need all the help we can get when it comes to moisturizing. But don’t let that stop you from using this eye gel. It really is a personal favorite.

Essential ingredients:
  • AHAs (fruit acids from lemon, orange, sugar cane, maple, and blueberry)anti-wrinkle, renovating, hydrating
  • Hyaluronic acidhydrating
  • Mimosa tenuiflora, marine peptidesregenerating, smoothing
  • Essential oil of peppermintrefreshing
  • Essential oil of lavendercalming   
Directions for use:
  • After your Basics 1-2-3 Program (cleanser, toner, moisturizer)
  • Apply a small amount of Alpha-Contour gel on lines around eyes (and if you want to, the upper lip area, as mentioned above)
  • Use morning and night and anytime in between
Remember: eye creams keep the tissue around the eyes soft; they do not erase wrinkles!


PHYTO-CONTOUR is a treatment cream formulated specifically for puffiness and dark circles. Because this is in a cream base, Phyto-Contour is also hydrating to that delicate under-eye area. It has a high concentration of rosemary essential oil. This make the cream aromatic and can cause tearing in some people.

For extreme puffiness, like after an evening of too much sugar, wine, or even crying, read the directions below for a “morning method of using this anti-puffiness eye treatment. Phyto-Contour can really help to reduce edema (puffiness) and even lessen dark circlestemporarily, but definitely noticeably.

Essential ingredients:
  • Rosemaryfirming, toning, draining 
  • Beech bud peptidesrestructuring, smoothing
  • Aloe vera, plant glycerinhydrating
  • Vitamin Eantioxidant  
Directions for use:
  • After your Basics 1-2-3 Program (cleanser, toner, moisturizer)
  • Apply a small amount of Phyto-Contour cream on lines around eyes and/or where you experience puffiness
  • Use morning and night and anytime in between
For the last time: eye creams keep the tissue around the eyes soft. They do not erase wrinkles!

Yonka recommends the following when using Phyto-Contour“To give the rosemary fragrance time to dissipate, and to prevent tearing, keep your eyes closed during application. Unless you are applying a thick layer of this eye treatment, I think you will be OK to keep your eyes open. I will, however, recommend that you use caution if you wear contacts. Some people do “tear up with the rosemary essence, so be careful. But do use this wonderful, aromatic eye cream. It is oh, so Yonka and oh, so wonderful!

For severe or even mild puffiness: 
On a morning when you wake up with puffy eyes, I recommend using Phyto-Contour in the following way:
  • First, grab your Phyto-Contour and sit up in bed. Sitting up allows gravity to help give the fluids an opportunity to drain. If you just get up and go the puffiness is more likely to stay put
  • Apply Phyto-Contour in a thick layer under the eyes where the puffiness (or dark circles) is most prevalent
  • Relax and remain sitting up in bed for at least 5 minutes, 15 if possible
  • Now do your morning skin care Basics routine (cleanse, tone, hydrate). Because youre cleansing, you will be removing the eye treatment under your eyes, which is fine. If you gave it 5-15 minutes to work, you should see a reduction in puffines
  • After the Basics, apply whatever eye cream you choose, whether Phyto-Contour (in a thin layer now) or any other
If you are using this thicker application method other than first thing in the morning, still sit up somewhere and get comfortable. Apply a thick layer of Phyto-Contour and relax. Afterwards (assuming youre not going to clean your face), simply smooth in the cream and wipe off any excess product. If it were me, Id massage any remaining Phyto-Contour onto my neck. Why not? Rosemary is wonderful for all skin tissue!

By giving the rosemary a chance to absorb into the skin, it can help reduce the fluid retention you were experiencing under your eyes. This will make your puffiness and/or dark circles look much improved. Here is a comment from one of my clients: 

Thank you for the reference to your blog post instructions. I tried the morning method and noticed an immediate difference. Im looking forward to using this product more often!

No matter which Yonka eye cream you use—or perhaps an eye treatment from a different product lineuse eye cream! It is an important step in your daily skin care routine.
I don’t recommend applying eye cream above the eye. Read why:
I don’t recommend applying eye creams above your eyes, on your upper eyelid, because it leaves the potential for the eye cream to migrate (move) down into your eyes.

If you apply eye cream on your eyelid at night before going to bed, that would be OK. You will be asleep with your eyes closed all night so the cream should stay put. But then again, why apply eye cream on an area that simply doesn’t need it?

Your eyelid doesn’t generally wrinkle or age. It’s under the eyes that you want to put the eye treatment you’re usingwhere your wrinkles are forming. This is where you want to apply eye cream.

For more information on the use of eye creams and how to apply them, here are a few articles you may be interested in reading:
along with future posts Eye Creams 101: What to use? and How to use eye cream.