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.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Get every last drop of your creams!

Are you cutting the tubes of your skin care products so you can get every bit of your creams? I have a better solution: Use a tube wringer. What is one, you ask? A tube wringer wrings tubes, squeezing the remaining product to the top of the tube so you can use just about every drop of cream—without the messy action of cutting your tubes.

Traditionally, tube wringers have been used by painters. They, too, utilize tubes for their art work and they, too, want to get every last drop of those expensive paints. I have used a tube wringer in my facial room since I began using Yonka products almost 30 years agoand still do.

You can find tube wringers at most art supply stores and some hardware stores. I have tried several brands throughout the years, but always come back to Gill Mechanical's tube wringers. They seem to hold up the best and don't break or come undone during the wringing process. I used to carry their product on my website, but haven't for years. I have found so many of my clients are cutting their tubes of Yonka to get the last bits, so I wanted to make this information available here just in case you are cutting your tubes of cream.

If you go to Gill Mechanical's website (CLICK HERE), it is the "light duty" tube wringer that you'll want to purchase. You don't need anything "heavy duty"—you're just wringing tubes of facial products after all!

Whether you buy from Gill or find a tube wringer somewhere else, do use one! It will make a world of difference in how much product you're able to get out of your skin care tubes. Since these products are somewhat expensive, getting every last drop is a savings in the long run.  I also use the tube wringer on my toothpaste and just about any other tube in use in my home—you will too!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

What is Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation?

You are no doubt wondering, what is post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation? Yet I bet many of you suffer from this common condition. Another way to say post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is after-infection dark spots. Some people think these are scars, but actually they are spots of pigmentation that occurred due to blemishes that received sun exposure.

Without UV sunlight, the infection from blemishes would come and go and the pigmentation of your skin wouldn’t change at all. It is solely due to sun exposure that this hyperpigmentation condition occurs.

People who have darker skin, whether African-Americans, certain Europeans, and even Caucasians who have a lot of melanin in their skin, are all susceptible to this condition. I'm going to use a few questions from clients (and my answers) to illustrate what this condition is all about and what you can do to lessen its effect on your skin.

I am a 30-year-old Asian-Indian woman and have occasional breakouts that always leave very dark pigmentation after healing. It will take 3 to 4 months for the mark to lighten and disappear. I use concealer and do not enjoy being anywhere without having makeup on in order to camouflage the pigmentation. I want to be free of my makeup to enjoy a more athletic and outdoor life. Any recommendations?

You have a very common complaint, not that you should feel better by hearing that! The condition you are asking about is called post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. The blessing is you no doubt have beautiful skin tone due to your heritage. The curse is you are susceptible to pigmentation irregularities.

Anytime you have blemishes, they are like wounds in the skin. The deeper the infection the more tissue that is damaged, and the longer these places will take to heal. Since you have so much pigmentation naturally in your skin, you will be prone to this condition more so than someone who has very white skin (especially redheads and those who burn but never tan).

I’m sure it is disheartening that these pigmentation spots take so long to clear. Three or four months is a distinct possibility, especially in the warmer months and especially if you are outside in the sun a lot. Whether or not you can be free from makeup may be out of your control if you continue to get these pigmentation places and want to cover them up. But being able to enjoy a more athletic and outdoor life is your choice. I don’t think you have to curtail being out in the fresh air of nature; you just have to take precautions against sun exposure.

Being extremely careful about sun on your face is a lifestyle habit you will absolutely need to adopt. Any sun on your face will stimulate melanin and therefore darken all pigmentation, whether on healthy skin or skin that is damaged and healing from a blemish.

The truth is sunscreen is not enough to protect your skin. It is a manmade product with the ability to screen out only some of the harmful UV rays. Don’t feel falsely armed if you wear sunscreen; you will also need to physically block the sun from reaching your face. You do this by wearing hats and sitting in complete shade if you are outside.
Be careful about products that claim to lighten skin. There are some prescription products available through your dermatologist that might help, but the reviews are mixed on how well these products actually work to lighten the skin. Some products bleach, and others inhibit melanin production; melanin is what is causing the darkness. In the winter or colder months, your skin will naturally lighten, or the spots will, due to a decrease in sun exposure.

My top recommendation would be to become hyperaware of how much sun you are receiving. I guarantee it is more exposure than you think you are getting. Always wear sunscreen. And keep hats with you or in your car so you won’t be caught out in the sun unprotected. 

Can you suggest something regarding scars (dark spots) that have been left by past pimples? I was thinking about either microdermabrasion or using products containing kojic acid* that promises to lighten scars. Any thoughts on these?
*Kojic acid is a skin lightening ingredient. It can inhibit the formation of melanin.

You could try microdermabrasion. It is expensive, but it may work for you. You could try kojic acid products and see for yourself if their promises are well-founded. As I have said, no product or procedure is for everyone. And many things out on the market may work for you. My belief, however, is that many will not.

True scarring from blemishes is a tissue-related problem. I think the scarring this reader is talking about is really post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Because the dark spots never seem to go away, it probably seems like a scar, but in reality it is an overaccumulation of melanin at the site of the blemish. This caused the dark spot and sun- light is helping it to remain there. What I know is that if you become diligent and hyperaware about sun exposure, your “scars” will lighten and go away—as long as you keep sun off your face.

I am in need of a spot lightener. Basically I suffered from acne when I was pregnant, and the blemishes caused dark spots on my face. I need something to make the spots lighten up. Do you have a product that will reduce the darkness? PS: Why did these dark spots appear in the first place?

When you have breakout, especially deep cysts or pustules loaded with infection, the spots are like tiny wounds, and this wounded tissue is subject to variations in pigmentation. For example: One summer I tripped on my office patio as I was leaving work. My right foot caught the fall, but I ended up deeply scraping the top of it. Once a scab had formed, I stopped wearing Band-Aids; when the scab came off, scar tissue was left in its wake. Since it was summer, the area received all kinds of sun exposure due to wearing flip flops and sandals, leaving the injured tissue full-on exposed to sunlight. When I thought about it, I would put sunscreen there, but for the most part I was a “bad client” and just forgot about protecting it from UV light.

Due to the amount of sun that area received, and the extent of the injury with its resulting scar tissue, a large dark spot existed where the scrape occurred. Some people even thought it was a tattoo! But in actuality it was hyperpigmentation around the outside edge of the injury along with pigmentless scar tissue inside. Had it been winter, the area would have received little or no exposure to the sun, and no doubt it would be less discolored. Now the scar is barely noticeable, but when summer rolls around the darkness will probably reappear and then fade again in the winter. This example is of a foot; imagine how much sun your face is getting in the summer (or winter), subjecting your “injuries” to the potential for hyperpigmentation.

One way to avoid some of the darkness of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is to stop picking at your skin! It’s a bad habit and can cause damage to the area. With that said, a picker is going to pick. I can’t change your predilection for doing this; you believe you are helping your skin by picking. Perhaps when you can install a different belief, you can change your behavior. Try the belief: “When I pick at my skin, I am causing further damage. And it will take my skin longer to heal. Picking does not help.” Adopt this, and you are on the road to recovery. (Please read A Note to All Pickers—you know who you are!!!)

I am not saying that extracting the infected mass from a spot isn’t advantageous. It is. However, in my experience, most people have little or no restraint when it comes to self-extraction. And sometimes tools are needed to properly get to a plug; the use of which is best left to an aesthetician in the course of a facial treatment. If you can’t get a facial, at least put healing products on the blemishes (geranium, for instance) and know this will go a long way to getting rid of the spots faster. Picking will only prolong the healing process and create the potential for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

In conclusion, as long as you are experiencing breakout and receiving sun exposure (even limited amounts), you have the potential for causing dark spots where the blemishes are located. So, don’t pick at your skin, always wear sunscreen when you are out, and find ways to heal the blemishes without causing further damage. Many tools for having healthy skin are listed throughout this blog.

Friday, October 10, 2014


Recently I had a client in for a facial who was living a very stressful life. She was so excited to be in my treatment room experiencing some relaxation and "down-time." In the confines of my facial room your kids, phone, and any other distractions simply can't find you. And although there is something wonderfully relaxing about a facial treatment, there are things you can do in your own home that can help you find a bit of peace and quiet. It's as simple as...going to the bathroom.

I recommended to this client that she use her bathroom as a sort of secret sanctuary room. While in the bathroom with the door closed rarely does anyone come knocking; usually you are left alone to do what you need to do. I suggested she use this truth as an opportunity to get some relaxation time—even if only for a minute or two.

Although we were laughing through this, what I said I really meant. Go into the bathroom, preferably the one that is used the least (less traffic) and shut the door. Put the toilet seat down and sit. I suggested having a lavender scented candle there she could lite (something that wouldn't even be unusual in a bathroom) as well as an iPod with earphones in a nearby drawer. Simply turn out the lights, lite the candle, put the earphones on and tune into some relaxing music, like the kind I play in my facials.

Five minutes in the bathroom could be like an hour of relaxation to your body. Don't or really can't take 5 whole minutes? Then start with one. Taking just sixty seconds, literally, to sit on the closed toilet seat, drop your shoulders, take some healthy deep breathes, and R-E-L-A-X can make a world of difference to your psyche. Peace and quiet—even if it's only for 60 seconds—means a lot. And one or two minutes away from your family and responsibilities is nothing!

Knowing you have this secret, accessible place to go into will help to ease any stress you may be going through in the household. Just tell whoever you have to go to the bathroom. No one will question this—really! Then take a minute or two to decompress and relax, and you'll leave your sanctuary room/bathroom in a more peaceful and balanced place, ready to take on the goings on with your family life. Try it—what have you got to lose?

Ha HaIf only!!!