Saturday, October 25, 2014

Basal Cell Carcinoma: Introduction

Basal cell carcinoma is a very common form of skin cancer that you need to know about. Over 2.8 million people are diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma annually (in the United States alone), and that number is only going to increase as the years go by. Basal cell carcinomas occur in the basal cell layer of the skin and are primarily caused by sun exposure.

There are many different looks to basal cell cancers; sometimes they may just look like regular moles on the skin. They don’t have clear-cut identifying markers, like, for instance a melanoma. Unlike this deadly form of skin cancer (melanoma), basal cell carcinomas rarely spread to other parts of the body. The most common area for this type of skin cancer to surface is the face, ears, even the scalp. They also can appear on the upper part of the back and chest. Sometimes the spots can bleed, and as you will read, left untreated basal cell carcinomas can become disfiguring.

I will be posting a few client's stories of basal cell cancers and their removal under the category skin cancer, so be sure to check back for those upcoming posts. Hopefully some of you will read these stories and decide that you need to go have an unusual spot or mole looked at by your dermatologist. Don’t have a skin doctor? Click on American Academy of Dermatology to get some ideas on finding one in your area.

Even without reading any stories, I hope you understand the importance of getting funny-looking moles or places on your face (or anywhere) you have questions about checked by your dermatologist. The key is to listen to your intuition and don’t be reluctant to get things checked out. Remember: Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, get your moles checked today!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

MYTH: Aging is bad

I truly believe aging is not the terrible thing it is represented to be in the consciousness of this country. Aging is inevitable, and it is the most natural process in life—one to be heralded, not condemned. A pervasive perception in our society today is that there is something inherently wrong with getting older. Yes, it can be disheartening to see the lines start to form or get deeper. Slowing down, loosing your 20/20 vision, and waking up to stiff joints is not what you would choose for yourself. Although degenerating is the part of the process that is perhaps the hardest to take, what about what you gain with age?

The big question is "What is wrong with aging?" If you spend your whole life fighting the aging process, are you really living? What are you comparing old to? How will you grow old? Do you know older people who seem young? People who haven't caved in to some society-driven illusion of how "old is bad." The adage about wine getting better with time—isn't this true for people as well?

Aging with grace is what I'm striving for in my own life, and it is what I discuss with my clients. You can struggle with what is happening and put up a big fight, but the bottom line is the aging of your body will occur anyway. There are no miracles to be found in a jar of cream, nor is there a Fountain of Youth at the doctor's office. You are your own living miracle, and how your body functions is the daily affirmation, the absolute proof. The Fountain of Youth is inside you.

Eye Cream Quick Tip

Buy more than one package of eye cream. Keep an extra one at work, on your nightstand, in your purse, or all of the above. It doesn't really cost more to purchase several eye creams since you will be going through each container slower than if you had just one to use. Put it on sparingly throughout the day to keep the delicate under-eye tissue soft. It's that important.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Yonka's Gommage Instructions

Soft Peel Miracle: GOMMAGE
How many times have you heard me say, "If I could only use one product on my face, it would be Gommage"?

Well, I say that because it's true, and here's why. Everybody needs to exfoliate. Exfoliation means to slough off dead cell buildup on the surface of the skin. If you accumulate too much buildup, your skin starts looking lifeless; it doesn't reflect light well and your makeup won't go on smoothly. The solution: Gommage! The Gommage is what I term an active exfoliator vs. passive exfoliators like AHA's (alpha hydroxy acids) that just sit on your skin. With Yonka's Gommage you are actively yet gently removing several layers of the dead skin layer, which in turn will step up circulation (blood feeds and nourishes all cells), and refine the texture of your skin (make it feel smoother).

The Gommage has a bean gum base, which gives this product lasting hydrating quality. If you haven't tried Yonka's Gommage, isn't it about timeto have great looking skin?
***The instructions inside the box of Gommage are slightly different than those listed below. Based on results, the following is the most effective way to use the this product. [These instructions, by the way, are the originals when Gommage was called Desincrustant]***
Exfoliation is paramount to healthy skin, therefore Gommage is the most important in your routine. Gommage needs to be used at least once per week, however it can be used as often as every day. Twice per week would be great. This process takes a few minutes, but is worth every second!

Note: When sampling, use ONE WHOLE sample per application (one sample = one applicationonly!). In others words, use the whole sample! If you don’t, you will not get a proper gommage. Using the sample will give you an idea of how much to use.

IMPORTANT: Your skin and the air around you needs to be DRY (no moisture in the air, no moisture on your skin)
  • Use a quarter to a half dollar-sized dollop
  • Warm Gommage between your hands and apply to DRY face and neck. The gommage starts out as a sticky gooey gel
  • Massage in using light, circular movements, and after a minute or two it will start absorbing into the skin
  • When it starts absorbing, it gets a bit sticky. Keep massaging, but do not rub your face raw!
  • (If you feel you have to rub hard, you didn’t begin with enough product. Don’t remove what you’ve got on your face, but apply a bit more, then continue...)
  • You will start to notice pencil eraser-type flakes appearing as the gommage dries
  • Get over a sink and use brisk movements to eliminate the impurities. When complete, no more flakes will appear
  • Rinse the residue off with tepid water, and you’re done!
  • After rinsing, pat dry, tone and hydrate. Your skin will feel extremely soft and look very clear and healthy. Your makeup will go on smoothly
Quick Tips
In a hurry and need to gommage? Before your shower, apply Gommage. Massage until the flaking begins, step into DRY shower, and flake off completely. Start water, and rinse residue off as you shower.
  • Gommage when you can’t come in for facials
  • Gommage when your coloring looks dull
  • Gommage when your skin looks flaky. And remember:
  • When in doubtGOMMAGE ! It is essential to your healthy skin program
Gommage and clay mask can be done in tandem once a week as an at-home facial. Gommage, run a bath, and put the clay mask on. Hop in the tub, and relax! Gommage and clay mask are additions to your daily Basics routine and are important to maintaining healthy, clean, and clear skin.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Do I have Rosacea?

How do I know if I have rosacea? The symptoms of rosacea vary from person to person just like the triggers* will vary for each individual, but there are certain common symptoms that are characteristic of this disease. Separately the symptoms don’t necessarily indicate rosacea, but if you have several together they can add up to rosacea. Not always, but potentially.
*A trigger is something that causes the classic red face or flushing associated with rosacea. For instance, using hot water on your face could trigger deep redness to cover your face—especially the cheeks—if you have rosacea.

The number one symptom is flushing. This is where you are blushing, but in the case of rosacea it is not necessarily just when you are embarrassed. Flushing is when a large amount of blood flows through the capillaries very quickly and the vessels expand (dilate) in order to handle the load. This causes a definite redness to come over your entire cheek area, making you look flushed. If flushing occurs a lot over a long period of time, the capillaries become damaged and blood will stagnate within the vessel, giving you a permanent redness in the cheeks.
Flushing in a rosacea candidate can occur at any time and due to any number of reasons, only one of which is embarrassment. You can become flushed when you are hot; especially while exercising, receiving sun exposure, or sitting in a sauna, steamroom, or whirlpool. Also a peri- or menopausal woman who is experiencing hot flashes may produce flushing. Driving with the top down or sailing (sun plus wind), cooking in a hot kitchen, or sitting by the fire can also cause you to flush. You can also flush for no apparent reason at all.

Some other common symptoms of rosacea are telangiectasia (capillary damage), swelling or puffiness in the cheek area, sometimes blemishes where the swelling is, and always sensitivity. This redness, more than anything, is due to flushing. A swelling of the nose can also appear due to rosacea, more commonly occurring in men, which is a condition called rhinophya. Not only the skin on the face but sometimes the eyes can become affected, causing them to become irritated, red, and bloodshot. This is called ocular rosacea

The most unusual characteristic I have consistently seen with rosacea is the aforementioned swelling—something you really don’t find with telangiectasia, simple breakouts, or even acne (other than the swelling at the site of the actual blemish). The type of redness is also distinct: deep red, almost bluish.

Another symptom I have found from working on clients with rosacea is their skin in the affected area (namely the cheeks) is hot, or at least very warm to the touch, and it is different in temperature than the rest of the face. It is like when someone has a fever, but the warmth is only on the cheek area. This is a condition I used to call hot, red skin. Now I think what I had been seeing in years past was actually rosacea.

Classic couperose skin.
With couperose, you can see the capillaries; they look like spider legs—thin, red, and defined. The redness I see with a rosacea client is more mottled, not defined, and the area around the capillaries is red as well. The redness is widespread and not confined to the capillaries like it is with simple couperose.

Why am I making such a big deal about whether or not you have rosacea? If you think you have rosacea and you don’t, you will be mistreating your skin based on an incorrect self-diagnosis. You may be missing out on finding what is causing the problems you are experiencing with your skin. Even if you have incorrectly diagnosed yourself as having rosacea, hopefully you will pay close attention to your daily intake of food along with other factors linked to rosacea. In the long run, this awareness may pave the way for your skin to clear up.

There are several post here about rosacea. Read up to get more information about this sometimes frustrating skin condition.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Accutane—easing the side effects

Please read the post Accutane—side effects and any and all other posts here about this most serious drug. I hope the following will help ease any effects you may be experiencing if you are indeed taking Accutane.

If you think you have cheilitis (inflammation of the lips, usually concentrating around the corners of the mouth) or another severe lip condition, I recommend calling your dermatologist and informing him or her of this occurrence. Your doctor can prescribe a potent medication to help get rid of this uncomfortable skin problem. Keeping a non-petroleum lip balm constantly on the area will help to ease the dryness. Try not to lick your lips as this will just further the problem. For women, not wearing lipstick would help keep the lips from drying out as well.

Chapped, flaky skin is something you will probably have to contend with while on Accutane. It is the most common side effect from taking this drug. Using gentle exfoliators will help to keep the dead skin from getting out of hand. I highly recommend using body oils (vs. lotions) to keep the skin on your body from getting too flaky and dry. Generally, you want to keep your skin well lubricated to keep the dryness down to a minimum.

Dry eyes can be soothed by using eye drops. Dry skin inside your nose can be helped by either putting some cream there or better yet an oil or balm. Balms are thicker than oils or creams and have better sticking power.

If you are experiencing excessive peeling of the palms and soles, brittle nails, or inflammation of the nailbeds, I would recommend getting a manicure and/or pedicure. This might seem like an extravagance, but these services can really help relieve the symptoms you may be experiencing on your hands and feet. If you can’t afford one of these nail services, at least get a pumice stone (very inexpensive) and get rid of the dead skin that way. Using the stone on dry skin works best, although it can be used in the tub or shower as well. Just massage the area with the stone (only on palms and soles!) and enjoy smoother skin afterwards. You could put some body oil or even oil from your kitchen on your cuticles if they are dried out.

Because being on any medication can make your skin more photosensitive (unusually sensitive to the sun), you must wear sunscreen on a daily basis. This is true whether you are on Accutane or not, but be especially diligent while on this medication. 

What you may not know. You cannot get waxed anywhere on your body if you are currently on Accutane or even recently have been. The reason is your skin is so incredibly dried out and fragile that the wax will (or can) actually pick up several of the deeper layers of skin when it is pulled off. I have heard of people going in for facial waxing, neglecting to tell the aesthetician about the fact they are using Accutane. When the wax strip was ripped off, a good deal of skin came off with it!

Don’t forget, no breast feeding your child while taking Accutane. And you also cannot give blood for at least one month after ending your treatment. This is a small fact, but an important one you may not think about. If you give blood and still have Accutane in your system, guess what? You can potentially pass this medication along to another person who might be pregnant or is about to get pregnant. I recommend waiting longer than a month to allow this powerful drug to be totally eliminated from your system. Taking supplements like chlorophyll might help to clear it from your body faster than just leaving it up to nature.

As I have said in any and all of the posts on Accutane, please do your due diligence and read up and examine in detail this most powerful drug and if you think it is the right thing for you to consider taking.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

pH & products

Hello, I just bought your book, Timeless Skin, and love it! I took your advice in Chapter One about testing the pH balance of my facial products. I bought pH strips with a 0-14 range. [This is the range of all pH papers.] I tested all 7 of my facial products. Three of my cleansing supplies matched 8, my toner was a 4, my sunblock was around 5, and my warming mask was an 8. Is this OK?? I am a bit confused about this process.
Your skin is naturally acidic on the pH scale. pH (defined as the percentage of hydrogen) refers to how acid or alkaline a substance is. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Your skin has a pH of 5 or 6; soaps usually come in around 10. In order to maintain the natural acidic state of your skin, you always want to use acidic or non-alkaline products. If you are unsure about the pH of your cleanser (or any product), you can purchase nitrazine papers at your local pharmacy.

If your research finds a product you're using is alkaline, I would toss it. Don't bother trying to make it work for your skin. It won't. Although the department stores abhor people testing their products, take your pH papers whenever you plan to purchase products. And at the very least, be sure to know what the return policy is for skin care products wherever you buy them. You may find they will have to be returned due to a high pH and you certainly don't want to pay for any of these experiments.

Looking at this emailer's products specifically, anything above a seven is, in my opinion, too alkaline to use on the skin. Her toner and sunscreen sound like they are the correct pH, all the others are higher than neutral and therefore I don't recommend using them. Using any products that are alkaline is not a good idea if you are looking to create a balanced skin care regime.