October 13th, 2017
By Ginger Downey, MS, CNS
Mindfulness is a hot topic! In fact, last year it was the subject of a Time Magazine Special edition, and several previous featured articles in Time and many other mainstream news publications. There is finally an acknowledgement, and a heap of scientific validation for this concept that our thoughts can directly cause physical changes in our bodies. So, what exactly do we mean when we say mindful practice or mindfulness – is it just about meditation, or is there something more? And, how on earth does that impact the skin?
Before I delve into the ways in which mindful practice affects your skin health, let’s go over a brief overview of what mindful practice really is. According to Mindfulness guru, Jon Kabat-Zinn, it is defined as,
“Paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally. Further, it is about becoming aware of one’s mind & body and living in the here and now by accepting the present, in order to fully appreciate each moment. This attention can be developed through meditation.”
Using this definition, it sounds pretty simple. Just pay attention, be present, and don’t judge yourself. This idea seems so easy, yet for many it is so hard to do. One of my favorite expressions of mindful practice relates to anger and our ability to pay attention to the feeling of being angry, yet let it go because it does not serve us to hold onto it. Being angry is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die. This is sounds like a very simple thing to do, yet when faced with the red hot emotions that anger bring to our minds and bodies, it can be very challenging to let go of angry feelings.
To understand mindfulness we need to consider the relationship between our thoughts and our physical bodies – the mind-brain connection. Our brain is a tangible, physical thing, whereas our mind is something abstract; undefined in scope and reach. I like to think of our brain as the hardware or the computer, and our mind like the internet or some software package we use to operate our computers. What’s really cool about mindful practice is the power we have to recreate ourselves by tapping into the power of our minds. The mind can use the brain to rewire and recreate itself. This area of science is called neuroplasticity, a process in which your brains neural synapses and pathways are altered as an effect of environmental, behavioral and neural changes. How many of us say things like, “I can’t help it, I’m just wired this way”, or “I just get stressed easily, it’s how my family deals with things”, or “I can’t resist sweets, my body craves them”. All of these statements about qualities which we feel are outside of our control can actually be within our control if we retrain our brains using our minds.
Mindful practice can be found in all types of religions, but many attribute it in its purest form to Eastern and Buddhist practices. Buddhism is based upon being in touch with your own deepest nature and letting it flow out of you, unimpeded, becoming aware and seeing things as they truly are. In fact, Buddha means “one who has awakened to his/her own nature”. Mindfulness is rooted in Taoism & yoga practices, but also reflected in the writings of Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Native American wise men. Mindful practice has a big presence in most organized religion. The major shift in our appreciation for the practice of mindfulness moving from a religious practice to a medical one began in the 1970s when it was introduced to western psychotherapy with tools that utilize breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, and even nature walks. The body of scientific evidence began to mount back then, leading us to today, where mindful practice is now a validated and accepted tool in mainstream medical and psychiatric practice.
There are many resources for mindful practice available. Some of the most famous elders and experts to learn from are: Thich Nhat Hanh, John Kabat-Zinn, Ken Wilber, Pema Chodron, Jack Kornfield and Daniel Siegel, to name just a few. You can read their books, attend lectures, and follow them on social media. For lighter reading, Mindful Magazine is a favorite of mine, and for those who like to use technology there are apps like Headspace and devices like the Spire that encourage you to focus on meditation and breathing to manage stress.
Now you know what mindful practice is, why do we need it? For starters:
- The average American consumes 13+ hours of media per day.
- People switch activities every 3 minutes during the regular work day.
- The American Psychological Association reports that 34% of Americans say that their stress level has increased over the past year.
- Stress shortens telomeres = increased rate of aging!
Sources: 2013 University of South Carolina Study, University of CA Irvine Study from 2008, Journal of PLOS one 2013.
Take a look at that list of shocking facts. What does it tell you? It tells me that we are spending a lot of time connected to a screen vs. connected to live people or nature, and that it is leading to increases in stress, which in turn is accelerating the aging process. For those of you who are not familiar with telomeres, they are the end caps of our DNA strands. They function as little health meters and basically we are born with nice, long robust telomeres, but as we age they shorten and wear away. The longer your telomeres are, the genetically younger you are. How long can you tolerate not looking at your phone, a computer, radio or television in an average day? When is the last time you waited in line at the supermarket or other service provider without looking at your phone? For most of us, it is a real concern.
Mindful practice can be used in so many aspects of our lives, from relationships to weight management. It can dramatically change our quality of life and also the quality of our skin. There’s an emerging field of research around the Gut-Skin-Brain Axis, called Psychodermatology, an area of study that focuses on the connections between our thoughts and skin health. When we are stressed, a few things can happen. Our skin can break out in acne flares, we can experience redness and broken capillaries, chronic inflammatory skin conditions like rosacea, or we can get full blown hives. That’s because stress and anxiety signal the adrenal glands to release cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone made by the adrenal glands whose function is to provide the body with energy (from a surge of glucose) needed to respond to a stressful situation. It’s part of the fight or flight reaction and is a necessary hormone for our survival. Unfortunately, many of us are over stimulating our adrenal glands through constant stimulation and stress and produce too much cortisol. (Look back at that stat about hours per day spent on media.) The negative impacts of cortisol include increased oil production in the skin (acne), breakdown of collagen, and signaling of the inflammatory processes; leading to weak and inflamed skin and premature aging.
Engaging in daily mindful practices can help ease the stress that leads to compromised skin. You can begin with some very small actions. Why not try adopting a few of these activities? Substitute 10 minutes of mindless Facebook scrolling every day for something like:
- Go outside and be quiet in nature. Have no other intention then just sitting or standing outside (preferably with bare feet on the grass) and observing what you see around you. Try this in the sunshine, in the rain, on a hot day, and on a cold day too.
- Start a gratitude journal. At the end of each day write down 3 things you are grateful for from that day. These can be simple things like light traffic on your ride to work, the perfect juicy peach you enjoyed at lunch, or being thankful for the beauty of the sunset you saw on your drive home.
- Download a meditation from YouTube and take a few minutes to listen to it in a peaceful place.
- Practice slow, deep breathing. Sit in a quiet place and take very slow, deep breaths, filling your lungs completely before slowly exhaling. As you do this, visualize taking in positive energy and releasing any stress or negative thoughts you might be feeling at that moment.
- Try 3 yoga stretches. You can look them up in a book, on-demand on your TV, on the internet, or from a class you have taken in the past. Take just 10 minutes for stretching.
- The 5 Senses Exercise. This can be done anywhere. Take a moment, anytime, anywhere to stop and observe the following: what you see, what you feel, what you hear, what you smell, and what you taste.
The last exercise is quite enlightening. When is the last time you noticed what you taste when you are not eating? You may be surprised what you notice!
Mindful practice is a powerful tool for skin health! The science says so. People who do it say so. Try incorporating some mindful practice techniques into your daily life and notice how great your skin looks and how much more relaxed you feel. Namaste.
September 11th, 2017
Pseudofolliculitis barbae, razor bumps, shaving bumps — call them what you like, but I call them annoying! Whether it’s on your face for the gentlemen or in your bikini area for the ladies, these bumps are especially irritating in the summer months when you add frequent shaving with high heat and humidity to the picture.
Razor bumps occur in areas where the hair is curly and the skin sensitive. They happen when the hair grows inward back into the skin, causing inflammation. I personally have used a very popular product (which I will not name here) to prevent shaving bumps… the one that is dispensed from a roller applicator and burns like heck when you apply it. I don’t think I’m alone in saying that it feels like a hot iron when you roll it on directly after shaving, however, it did an okay job of keeping the bumps at bay. Then one day, Darnell Wise, our VP of sales told me how his skin had changed since using our dmSkincare mandelic serum every day. He applies it right after shaving, and where he used to have irritation and razor bumps there now lives beautiful, smooth skin. The light bulb went off in my mind, why am I subjecting myself to the daily burn and deep breathing exercises to manage pain each morning after I shave my bikini area when we have this magical mandelic serum that I can use. The very next day, I tried it. No burning, and better than that, no bumps! I have started using this under my arms now too, because during the summer I get some heat-related rashes in that area. Like magic that has cleared up too.
What is the secret sauce here? Mandelic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid which comes from bitter almonds. One of the qualities that make it really unique is that it has a larger molecule size than other acids such as glycolic and lactic; therefore it penetrates the skin much more slowly, and not as deeply. Mandelic acid is an anti-microbial agent, which is what makes it work so well in acne management and for those pesky rashes. Our dmSkincare mandelic serum also contains salicylic acid which increases skin cell turnover, reducing the formation of bumps and refining skin texture. In addition to that, it has willow bark and tea tree oil which offer anti-inflammatory and antibacterial attributes to the product, rounding out this multi-faceted approach to controlling razor bumps.
Have razor bumps got you down this summer? Give our mandelic serum a try and say hello to beautifully smooth skin.
August 24th, 2017
At DermaMed Solutions we keep an R&D wish list for the dmSkincare line. This is a list of products we want to develop and bring to market, and each year we review it and choose a few to invest in to keep our line fresh and exciting. Some of the ideas come from customers, some from our staff, and many from observing industry trends. A salicylic peel has been on the list for years, but with many salicylic peel options already in the market, it had fallen to the bottom of the list. Until this year when we found a little twist to make it unique!
Salicylic acid has been essential for skincare professionals forever. A beta hydroxy acid, which is gentler to the skin than glycolic and lactic peels, it is a staple for oily and acneic skin types. It does not kill the acne bacteria, but rather clears out the pores, preventing the acne from settling in and causing pimples. Salicylic acid works by penetrating deep into the skin to address causes of acne at its root – in the pores. Salicylic acid is an exfoliating ingredient that is chemically similar to aspirin. Like aspirin, salicylic can remove redness and inflammation as it opens pores. It breaks down fatty compounds such as sebum which clogs the pores and allows for bacterial overgrowth. Over the counter products typically contain 1-2% salicylic acid, whereas higher concentrations of 10-30% are used medically and in the spa setting to do facial peels.
In addition, salicylic acid increases cell turnover. This rejuvenates the skin, increasing collagen production and also helping to remove discoloration, making it an anti-aging agent as well. Sounds like a great acid peel, doesn’t it? There is one common complaint from those that receive salicylic peels; it can leave the skin overly dry and with a tight feeling. And, as skincare professionals are well aware, over drying the skin can stimulate an increase in oil production – exactly opposite of what we are trying to accomplish. To balance the hydration level of the skin, we added a fabulous new ingredient to our peel – PENTAVITIN®.
PENTAVITIN® ensures an instant, deep hydration by generating a moisture reservoir that lasts for up to 72 hours. The secret to its effectiveness lies in understanding the difference between moisturizing and hydrating. Moisturizing is like splashing water on your face. It will get wet and feel moist. Hydration on the other hand, is sustained moisturizing. Our skin contains a compound called natural moisture factor, NMF which binds to, and holds water. PENTAVITIN® contains a bio-identical form of NMF which holds water in the layers of the skin for 72 hours. Adding this ingredient to our peel allows us to address the excess oil, clear out the pores, and stimulate collagen without over drying the skin and cause more oil production.
Why not try our new twist on an old favorite? Give your clients the beautiful, clear skin they desire without leaving them feeling thirsty for moisture.
January 19th, 2017
By Emily Tarino
As a teenager, there are a lot of options for what my future may behold. From college to what I plan on doing for a career further on. Being prepared and organized is something that I feel is completely and one hundred percent necessary. So when the option of going to Dermamed and participate as an intern for a few days, I immediately knew that was a great idea. As a student, I think it is important to get a glimpse of what some of my options are in real time and real life experience. To say I was pleased with what I saw would be a huge understatement.
The staff at Dermamed was not only very friendly and welcoming, but they also made sure that I was able to experience more than just the desk life. I was able to attend meetings, sales calls, and even experience a treatment myself. I can easily say that I enjoyed receiving a treatment the most out of everything we did. And it was not a surprise, as what teenage girl would turn down the opportunity to get a skin treatment, especially after the holidays. Tracey, the esthetician was amazing; she approached me about my skin type and was great with making sure what treatment would be best for my skin.
The sales calls were also a very enjoyable experience. I loved seeing the relationships between the employees at Dermamed and the spas they hope to place their products in. This was a great learning experience for a teen like me who is looking into a possibility of working in the business. The two Dermamed employees that took me were super friendly and allowed me an amazing hands on experience.
Taking into account that Dermamed is a skin care company, I was incredibly excited when they allowed me to work with some of the products. Creating samples was a high point in the whole time I spent at Dermamed. The task itself was simple, yet I was able to smell and handle many of the products. I was also able to learn about what goes into these products, how they are made, and what their purposes are.
Being able to be in this work environment has benefited me in more way than I expected. Having seen how this business both operated and is run has shown me a part of what I could possibly be working in the future. I am more than grateful the experience I had while at DermaMed, and feel incredibly lucky to have been able to work alongside everyone who works there.
December 30th, 2016
New year, new resolutions.
When it comes to New Year’s Resolutions, it seems that you either love them or hate them. I can see both sides, and personally feel that it’s always a good idea to take time for reflection and goal setting. Whether you decide to do this once per year on January 1st or it is part of your daily routine, taking a moment to reflect on what you have done and what you would like to accomplish or be is good for the soul.
So Resolve or Don’t Resolve… it’s up to you, but accept these warm wishes from the Team at DMS and take a look at some of our resolutions for 2017. We hope that 2017 brings you much Joy, Peace and Success – however you define it!
Hayley– 1. Surround myself with positive and driven people. 2. Get fit and healthy.
Ginger– My resolution is to bring more Mindful practice to my life. I hope to slow down and appreciate every aspect of my life, from eating to my personal relationships and the beauty in nature around me. If money and time permit I want to attend a weekend mindfulness retreat.
Isabelle– I would like to be more mindful in my eating habits, and make healthier food choices overall.
Kelly– 2016 was an interesting year to say the least. This year’s social/political events made me realize that I would like to take a more active role in advocating for my beliefs and rights. My first resolution or goal for the new year is to be more active in the political environment, specifically by joining a group or community where I can participate in activities that increase awareness about a cause I am passionate about. In addition I would like to spend more time educating myself on economics, foreign policy and sociology.
My second resolution will focus on my health. In 2014 I was very successful with my new year’s resolution of eating healthy, exercising and losing weight. I managed to lose 30 pounds in about 5 months. I spent the second half of 2014 and pretty much all of 2015 gaining the weight back and allowing myself to get back to a sedentary lifestyle. In 2017 I would not only like to recreate the commitment and passion I had in the beginning of 2014, but also ensure that these changes can be sustained permanently.
Finally, my last resolution for 2017 is to be more present in the moment and thankful for all that I have. I tend to be a worry, often having anxiety about situations which will never occur (but they had the potential too J). In the future I would like to be aware of when these illogical worries emerge and change my thoughts to be more positive.
Tracey– This year I am feeling truly blessed. From my work to my family, in these uncertain times especially, who could ask for more. It is time for me to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures this life has to offer by enjoying my family, spending time in nature and adding in the occasional massage and facial. With my family, we will also try to participate in more service to people in our community. May you and your family have a blessed and peaceful 2017!
Written & Published by DermaMed Solutions
December 5th, 2016
Aesthetic Professionals, DermaMed Solutions wants to make your holiday wish come true by giving away a microdermabrasion machine!
If visions of expanding or owning your own business are dancing in your head, “like” this post and leave a comment with why owning a microdermabrasion machine will change your life.
Full entry rules:
1: “Like” our Facebook page.
2: “Like” this post on our Facebook page.
3: Comment with why owning a microdermabrasion machine will change your life, & hashtag “#dermamedsolutions” at the end of your comment.
4 (Optional): Message us your email address so we can contact you by email if you win!
Only one person will be randomly chosen to win. Licensed Skincare Professionals or Doctors only. Contest ends on 12/22 at 11:59pm and winner will be announced on 12/23!
*For extra entries visit our Instagram or LinkedIn and enter on there.
December 5th, 2016
By Ginger Hodulik, Downey, MS, CNS
Now that the winter is here and we are all dealing with the dry, itchy skin that comes along with the cold temperatures and lower humidity levels, I felt compelled to tell you about my favorite winter weather product. Don’t get me wrong, I love argan boost serum™ all year long, but during the cold weather months, I simply can’t live without it!
Anyone who has had the opportunity to try the argan boost serum™ agrees that it is an amazing product. With only 4 simple and natural ingredients, we call it our “safety product” because even our most sensitive skinned clients can use it. Squalane, jojoba, argan oil and vitamin D – that’s the entire ingredient list. Short simple, yet so effective. Squalane and jojoba are lipids which closely mimic the skin’s own to lock in moisture without clogging pores. Argan oil has regenerative and anti-microbial properties, while vitamin D acts as a skin cell signaler to aid in skin healing.
Here are my top 10 uses for this superstar hydrator and healer:
- As a first layer under our C-difference™ lotion, collagen renewal C’reme™ or green tea vita-E moisturizer™ to keep dry skin at bay all day!
- Under our daily eclipse® SPF 30 mineral sunscreen before skiing to prevent windburn and chafing. A fabulous way to avoid chapped cheeks for our kiddos before sending them out to play in the snow.
- For a super hydrating at-home treatment: apply a thin layer over the face or hands, then lay a hot, damp washcloth over top for 5 minutes. Follow immediately with your favorite moisturizer. Pure bliss!
- To soothe and loosen flaky skin, as in psoriasis, as part of our Skin Repair Kit protocol.
- To remove excess wax after waxing and to facilitate healing and prevents bumps.
- Two weeks post-surgery of any kind to reduce scarring and facilitate healing. We have seen fabulous results with scar reduction with use of this product.
- As an under eye illuminator. Dab a small amount along the orbital bones to quench dry smile lines and provide a beautiful glow. This really lights up your face!
- Peeling after a nasty sunburn? Use argan boost serum to rehydrate and accelerate healing.
- The perfect soothing moisture post- IPL, laser, chemical peel or microdermabrasion treatment. Safe and calming.
- For ultra-sensitive skin types like those with Rosacea or who are receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatments – use this as a daily moisturizer. It can be mixed with a small amount of water for a lighter application.
If you love this product and want to share your creative uses for argan boost serum, we would love to hear them!
October 25th, 2016
Recently we partnered with a fabulous company to sell their bi-polar, multi-radio frequency device to our customers, called the Reaction. We had been looking for a high-quality and effective device to fill a hole in our product offering. We wanted a device that would do skin tightening and fat reduction for face and body to complement our current offering of anti-aging products that target concerns such as skin texture and pigmentation. After an exhaustive search we decided on the Reaction.
I had heard about radio frequency, but had never experienced it. The first step in the launch process was for our staff and sales team to be trained on the device. This involved volunteers, and I was happy to raise my hand for a treatment or two. First of all, let me back up and tell you a little about what makes this device unique. There are many devices on the market that can help with skin tightening and fat reduction, but there are no others that can work on both areas at the same time, in one treatment. This is possible because of a patented CORE (Channeling Optimized Radiofrequency Energy) technology in the Reaction which allows various depths of tissue to be treated simultaneously through the use of a vacuum system. Utilizing various hand pieces, treatments can be done on all areas from head to toe including: eyes (even eye lids), face, chin and neck, and all areas of the body, including the hands. As I listened to our fabulous trainer, Andrea, I was making a mental list of all of the body parts I wanted to treat… my eyes, the stretched out skin on my belly, and the chub and loose skin on the back of my arms. I opted to start with my stomach. I was absolutely amazed at how comfortable the treatment was. Even though the system utilizes heat, I didn’t feel it. That is because of the chilled hand piece which keeps the patient comfortable during the procedure. My tummy instantly felt tighter, and even though I know it will take 6 or so treatments to see dramatic results, I was pleased with the immediate effect. Next, I watched Kelly receive a treatment on her eye area. She is a young woman and does not even need this treatment as far as I am concerned, yet when one eye was completed and we compared it to the other side, I saw an uplifted, tighter eye lid! The biggest before and after I witnessed was when we treated the fat under the chin of one of our staff. As with the other demos, we treated one side and then compared sides. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I saw a quarter of an inch of reduction in size on the treated size vs. the non-treated side, and that’s with just one treatment! What is so amazing about this technology is that the fat is broken down and pushed towards the lymphatic system for elimination, while at the same time the skin is tightened. The skin tightening effects lasts for good or as long as Mother Nature allows; meaning we can’t stop future aging, but we can undo the effects of past aging, so as the subject ages, skin may get lax as it naturally would. The fat effects last as long as a significant weight gain does not occur to fill the area in again.
Another really interesting differentiating point that separates our device from other fat reduction systems like Cool Sculpting and other crylipolysis systems was discussed during our training. With devices like Cool Sculpting, the fat cells are completely destroyed in a process called apoptosis. When a person regains weight in the treated area, a bumpy appearance is often experienced in the surrounding areas. Reaction utilizes a proprietary technology, called CORE to stimulate collagen, elastin, and fibroblasts while targeting the fat cell at the same time. Unlike cryolipolysis therapy which can only be used for fat reduction by freezing the fat cell thus causing death (apoptosis), the radiofrequency used in the Reaction works to heat the tissue, shrink the fat cells (lipolysis), tighten the skin, increase diffusion of oxygen released by red blood cells, increase metabolism and does not leave the skin lumpy. Reaction incorporates vacuum therapy to stimulate the lymphatic system to then help the body eliminate unwanted waste by promoting circulation. Many medical spas use Reaction to smooth the bumpy texture left behind by Cool Sculpting treatments. In my mind, the Reaction technology is far superior and is the obvious choice.
I am beyond excited about this new technology that we are offering to our customers! The results I am seeing seem too good to be true for a procedure that is painless and non invasive. I hope our customers and your clients are as thrilled with the Reaction as we are! Let us know if you would like to schedule a demo. You have to see this to believe it, but I am certain that your reaction to the new Reaction will be as positive as mine.
Find out more information here: https://dermamedsolutions.com/spa_equipment/reaction/overview/
Written by Ginger Hodulik MS, CNS, Co-owner and Vice President of R&D for DermaMed Solutions, LLC.
September 2nd, 2016
Written by Tracey Coleman, LE
It’s that time of year again for back to school shopping: school supplies, books, and of course a whole closet full of new outfits! As we begin to prepare for this upcoming school year, let’s not forget about our skin. This is the perfect time to get “back in the groove”, or even begin a new skin care regimen. Each generation has its own special needs this time of year to achieve and maintain healthy beautiful skin. Having the right skin care supplies will make the Back to School season even more exciting!
Pre-teens and tweens may be at the learning stages of how to care for their skin. After a summer of swimming, sports camps, and sun exposure, their skin may be on the verge of breaking out or starting to show some dryness. This age is a great time to start with a gentle cleanser and daily sunblock. The cleansing should be done twice a day, with warm water, a washcloth and facial cleanser. Even if you can only get him/her to cleanse when they shower, it will still be a good start. Keep everything gentle, so they don’t over-do it, causing irritation. A thin layer of an oil-free mineral sunblock daily will protect the skin without clogging pores.
Teens and Young Adults
For teens and young adults, it may be time to address some specific concerns such as breakouts, oily skin, or dryness. Putting their “best foot forward” is going to be much easier with the confidence of clear skin. This will take some commitment to a simple routine to see the best results. In addition to cleansing every morning and applying an oil-free sunblock for daytime use, in the evening after cleansing is the time to treat skin with a gentle vitamin A product or mandelic acid serum to exfoliate and combat breakouts, or a light moisturizer for relieving dryness. But be patient, it will take 6 weeks of consistency to see improvement.
Faces that have been exposed to too much sun this summer may be showing signs of pigmentation as well as lines and wrinkles. Adding a gentle facial scrub twice a week to your routine and including a mandelic acid serum daily will help reduce the signs of sun damage while brightening the skin. Daily sunblock is imperative to prevent further sun damage. This is a great time of year to start receiving professional microdermabrasion treatments and glycolic peels from an aesthetician for more dramatic results.
Back to school time is often the beginning of new experiences and opportunities. Be prepared not only with new school clothes and supplies, but with new skin care as well! Complete your back to school shopping with new skincare from your local spa, or from our online store – dmSkincare.com. Now that you have a fresh commitment to a regular skincare routine, using clean and effective products, you can face the back to school season with confidence!
September 1st, 2016
Written by Ginger Hodulik, MS, CNS and Tracey Coleman, BS, LE
I consider myself very fortunate to practice in the nutrition and skincare field. As a clinical nutritionist, I help people live their healthiest lives by understanding their individual nutritional needs and developing a lifestyle program individually tailored for them. As co-owner and VP of R&D for DermaMed Solutions, I create products and treatments that help our customers reveal healthy, glowing skin for their clients, in a safe, yet efficacious way. In both areas I get to live out my personal life mission to help others, and also our company mission to “uncover the brilliance that comes from comfort in your own skin”. So, when my dear friend Jennifer came to me with her concerns about becoming pregnant and managing her lifelong battle with cystic acne, I felt compelled and excited to help. Our staff aesthetician, Tracey Coleman was also eager to help Jen achieve her goal, and her expertise, experience, and treatment techniques were invaluable as we began this journey together.
Jen is one of the healthiest people I know! At 40 years old she is a seasoned yoga instructor, business woman, animal rescue volunteer, nature lover, and consumer of wholesome food. She radiates positivity and a desire to help make the world a better place. Preparing to have your first baby at age 40 can be a little scary, as the incidence of a whole range of health conditions and complications increase dramatically at that age. To top it off, Jen had been taking strong acne medications along with the birth control pill to manage her cystic acne, and knew that she had to get off these medications and clean her system before becoming pregnant. As a mother of three sons myself, I was elated for my friend to be joining the world of Motherhood and offered to work with her on both her nutrition and with Tracey’s help, skincare as she prepared for pregnancy.
We began six months prior to attempting to get pregnant. After Jen went off her medications, I felt the most important thing was to cleanse her body of the toxic chemicals it had been exposed to in the meds she was taking. Our secondary goal was to use food to regulate her own hormone production so she could return to a regular cycle quickly. Our detox plan involved an organic diet composed of high quantities of vegetables, lean and clean protein sources and plenty of clean water. Some foods especially helpful for detoxification are: green leafy vegetables; high fiber plant foods like chia seeds; lemon water; cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cabbages; and allium vegetables like garlic and onions. In addition, I asked Jen to drink Green Vibrance, a powdered green drink which contains several types of beneficial greens, adaptogen and liver supporting herbs, antioxidants, and probiotics. It also provides a nice dose of vitamin D, which is critical to increase during pregnancy. Daily, Jen took a clean prenatal vitamin, and high quality fish oil supplement to ensure her EPA and DHA were at a high level to support brain development in the fetus.
To help Jen’s body get back on track with its own hormone production after being altered by the birth control pill for so long, I suggested a supplement that aids with pushing your estrogen down a beneficial pathway to help with this process. She took DIM, a compound that is an isolate of the beneficial hormone regulating compounds found in cruciferous vegetables. Additional nutritional support for Jen’s acne included the elimination of dairy products, addition of omega 3 supplements and a concentrated effort to eat those allium vegetables. Jen drank lemon water – either mineral water or filtered tap and avoided eating and drinking from plastics. This plan was easy for someone like Jen who actually likes eating well!
On the skincare side, we started a regimen of bi-weekly facials and Mega Peel™ microdermabrasion at our treatment room here at DermaMed, plus an at-home dmSkincare routine using dmSkincare™ professional products. As with all treatment regimens, we started out moderately and made observations and adjustments along the way. We used our dmSkincare professional and retail products. We consider our line to be clean and clinical. For us that means not using potentially harmful chemicals, which are too many to list here, but to simplify, the big no-no’s in our line are parabens, phthalates, sulfates, petroleum, and artificial colors and fragrances. After conception we discontinued the use of some products, as it is recommended that certain topical ingredients not be applied during pregnancy, such as: retinoids, salicylic acid, azeleic acid and essential oil blends. We removed these products from Jen’s regimen once she saw those double pink lines on the pregnancy test stick.
The basic philosophy of the skincare regimen was to gently manage oil production and bacterial overgrowth while encouraging healthy cell turnover via exfoliation. We kept Jen’s pores clean and supported her skin cells with essential moisture and antioxidants. The facial protocols closely followed our Rosacea Treatment Protocol, working very cautiously with her delicate skin, often with lowered vacuum pressures for the microderm, or diamond instead of crystal, to the client’s comfort level.
Apply peel prep, after 3 minutes buff off with wide weave gauze then rinse with water.
Apply glycolic acid 30%, after 3 minutes neutralize and dry skin completely.
Microdermabrasion treatment on full face
Apply layer of derma renewal gel™ followed by a generous layer of hydra-repair mask™, for 5-7 minutes.
This mask is both calming/moisturizing with the aloe, squalane and jojoba, and helps draw impurities out of the skin with kaolin. The dermal renewal gel™ contains soothing botanicals, calendula, arnica and chamomile in addition to aloe and honey for moisture. This blend provided needed moisture and inflammation relief without clogging pores.
After 8-10 mins remove with hot towel and perform extractions
Hand massage with calm and balance essential oil blend (discontinued during pregnancy) to relieve stress and induce relaxation. The base for this massage/daily moisture oil is jojoba, coconut oil and peach kernel, all absorbed well by the skin. The essential oil component is designed to provide aromatic relaxation therapy with key ingredients frankincense, lavender, mandarin and neroli. The relaxation component of the treatment protocol is designed to help manage stress hormones, which can flare acne.
Apply thin layer of derma renewal gel™, green tea vita-E moisturizer™, eye radiance K’reme™ under eyes and daily eclipse™ SPF 30 mineral sunscreen to finish. The green tea vita-E moisturizer™ provides moisture and antioxidant support with a soothing touch from cucumber and calendula. We chose eye radiance K’reme™ because this multi-faceted eye cream contains peptides and botanical ingredients to support dark circles, puffiness and redness around the eye area – a concern for most busy women. Finally, UVA/UVB protection is essential in every skincare routine. We used daily eclipse™ SPF 30 mineral sunscreen, a sunscreen which offers full spectrum protection, without inflaming. Chemical sunscreens cause inflammation in the skin, plus many of the chemicals used are suspected carcinogens – certainly not part of our treatment plan for a Mom-to-be, or anyone for that matter.
Jen’s home care regimen was fairly simple:
- Cleanse with repair bar™, a natural lecithin, glycerin and coconut oil bar ideal for acneic skin.
- Swipe with green tea toner™, a witch hazel based toner infused with antioxidants from green tea, grape seed and vitamin C to cleanse and nourish without stripping.
- Apply a thin layer of dermal renewal gel™ for soothing moisturization.
- Finish with daily eclipse SPF 30 mineral sunscreen.
- Cleanse with repair bar™.
- Swipe with green tea toner™.
- Apply a thin layer of AHA salicylic acid (discontinued during pregnancy), a poly-AHA combo product to encourage skin cell turnover.
- Apply thin layer of C-difference™, a vitamin C infused moisture lotion which features an extract of rosemary, Endothelyol™, to support capillary function and inflammation in delicate skin types.
- Apply eye radiance K’reme™, A small drop is all that is needed.
As needed: for breakouts or inflamed days, apply derma renewal gel™ followed by a paste made from repair bar to spot treat blemishes. Follow with hydra-repair mask for soothing moisture.
The end results far exceeding everyone’s expectations! Jen’s skin was nearly perfect during her pregnancy. She had a few minor blemishes, but never experienced the cystic acne that plagued her during the years prior. Jen and Frank welcomed their son Charlie into this world, a perfectly healthy, happy, and beautiful baby boy. We are all so thankful to have contributed in a small way to this joyful outcome and hope to raise awareness about the potential dangers that personal care products can pose to our babies. The truth is that you don’t have to sacrifice vanity for safety, and that with a thoughtful, holistic treatment approach which considers all of the inputs to healthy skin (nutrition, stress and sleep management, topical products and mechanical treatments) you can achieve great results.
*Note: The nutritional and skincare advice offered to Jen was personalized for her and was monitored in a partnership with her doctor and nutritionist. Anyone wishing to take nutritional supplements should work with a professional and always consult their doctors.