Archive for the ‘Skincare’ Category

African Americans and Hispanics Run A Higher Risk of Dying From Skin Cancer

According to recent studies, African Americans and Hispanics are often less likely to be diagnosed with skin cancer in its early stages and need to get themselves checked as often as possible to avoid the cancer spreading. One recent study of 41,072 melanoma patients in Florida found advanced cases in 12 percent of Caucasians, 18 percent of Hispanics, and 26 percent of African Americans. “There is a fairly common misconception among African American sand Hispanics that we do not get skin cancer,” explains dermatologist Marcy Street, M.D. “Because light-skinned and light-eyed individuals are mentioned constantly, minority groups often surmise that the information somehow doesn’t apply to us because we don’t commonly burn or have warning signs of having had too much sun. Everyone, regardless of ethnicity, needs to get checked and often, especially if there is an abnormality.”

So remember to remind your clients of all ethnicities to get screened for skin cancer often, to keep their eyes out for any changes in moles, rashes, or skin discolorations, and to wear sun protection daily.

Summer Sun Tip: Slather Your Feet With Sunscreen

I’m a person who wears flip-flops nearly every day of the summer, so a recent press release from New York City podiatrist, Oliver Zong, M.D., of NYC Footcare, served as a very good reminder about my daily sunscreen application practices. According to Dr. Zong, it’s important to remember that skin cancer can affect any part of the body, including the feet. Unfortunately, people often forget their feet when protecting their skin from the sun. Even fewer think to check their feet for suspicious moles or markings. He points out that malignant melanoma of the lower extremities usually occurs on the soles of the feet, in the spaces between the toes, in the areas around the nails, and even under the nails. Take this as a reminder to be thorough in your daily sunscreen application—and don’t forget your feet! It is also equally important to do self-examinations, and if you detect any changes to a mole or skin lesion, Dr. Zong recommends visiting with your dermatologist as soon as possible. We all love a little summer sun, but as we enter the hottest months of the year with the most dangerous sun exposure risk, take a moment to slather on some sunscreen and be sweet to your feet!

The Other Side of the Sunscreen Debate

Last week, I wrote about a recent study that claimed sunscreen could possibly increase incidents of skin cancer. It was not good news to my ears, as I’m sure it wasn’t to others who happily slather themselves from head to toe with sunscreen before stepping foot outdoors. It did, however, spark some healthy debate on the topic. I’m happy to say that many of my fears have been put to rest, as I learn more. Here, Larry Lockhart, R.P., CEO of Bionresearch, offers his take on the topic:

In a widely distributed article written by Andrew Schneider and published in the AOL News, the author references “documents and interviews” that he claims will show that the inclusion of Vitamin A in sunscreens will speed the formation and spread of malignant skin cells. The author claims, again through “documents and interviews” that the FDA has been aware of this problem for 10 years. The FDA denies this allegation. Mr. Schneider also references an article published by the Environmental Working Group. This group’s mission is to review government data, legal documents “scientific studies and our own laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions. Our research brings to light unsettling facts that you have a right to know.” This last sentence tells it all. They are a little like the National Enquirer.

The study used both male and female hairless mice with 34 to 36 animals in two separate groups, plus a control group. As was reported in the article “testing included two concentrations of retinyl palmitate, 0.1% and 0.5%, administered topically in a cream vehicle.” The author added “In FDA’s 1-year study, tumors and lesions developed up to 21 percent sooner in lab animals coated in a vitamin A-laced cream (at concentrations of 0.1% to 0.5%) than in control animals treated with a vitamin-free cream. Both groups were exposed to the equivalent of nine minutes of noontime Florida sunlight each day for up to a year.” Environmental Working Group stated the study “analyzed differences in the number of days recorded for each animal’s survival, a proxy for rate of tumor or lesion development. Animals treated with retinyl palmitate were withdrawn from the study 11-to-21 percent sooner than animals whose skin was treated with a neutral cream and exposed to the same doses of UV. These findings were statistically significant for both sexes and for each exposure group. Mice treated with only UV or only neutral cream combined with UV survived longer than animals exposed to vitamin A.”
The study they reported on did not list an author for the study or experience of the research team. This was not a double blind study where the researchers did not know which group was which. The groups were very small with only about 3 dozen animals tested. But the most surprising part of the study, and a true indicator of the validity of this study, is that the vitamin A was tested in a “neutral cream” and not in any type of sunscreen! Whoever did the study wants us to assume that the results would be the same between vitamin A/neutral base and vitamin A/sunscreen, but they never bothered to test the vitamin A/sunscreen combination that they claim is harmful. Instead of the title of the article being “Study: Many Sunscreens May Be Accelerating Cancer”, the title should have been “Study: Many Neutral Creams May Be Accelerating Cancer.” What they could have done was made up 5 separate groups, one with just sunscreen, then 4 that contain vitamin A plus: one with sunscreen containing Octinoxate; one with sunscreen containing Avobenzone; one with sunscreen containing titanium dioxide; and one with sunscreen containing zinc oxide. At least in this way they would have been testing the combination that they are condemning.

The FDA data are preliminary; the agency will publish its evaluation and conclusions in a report expected in October 2010. Before then, disregard this “news” report. BiON’s Titanium Dioxide Sunscreen has a very small amount of retinoic acid that is used as an antioxidant. The product is safe. In fact, if the study group had used sunscreen on top of the neutral base/vitamin A, they probably would have had significantly fewer malignant skin cells.

A New Study Reveals Some Sunscreens
May Increase Incidents of Skin Cancer

I have always been a big proponent of sunscreen. From an early age, I was the one all the neighborhood kids would use as a measuring stick for how tan they were. I didn’t mind though, because even though I was the palest of them all, I knew that some day they would regret their sun worshiping ways (probably around the time they noticed that first wrinkle or two). As I grew older, my sunscreen obsession grew. No longer was SPF 30 adequate, not when SPF 100 is available. I also became even more religious about reapplying. A couple of weeks ago I casually mentioned to a friend that he should pack some sunscreen for an upcoming trip. He replied that it wasn’t that kind of trip. Of course, that set me off on my safe sun lecture that I have been giving since age 10 about how sunscreen should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. Anyway, he wasn’t buying it and instead, told me I should be more concerned about all the chemicals I was introducing to my body. Surrounded by sun worshipers my entire life who refuse to drink the Kool-Aid, I decided to let it pass. Of course it wasn’t a full week later when a co-worker sent me a link to an AOL news story about a new study revealing many sunscreens may be accelerating skin cancer. To say this was NOT good news to my ears was a massive understatement. While I’m not ready to forego my incessant use of sunscreen, I am in search of one that doesn’t rely on some of the ingredients the study noted as potentially harmful. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s 2010 Sunscreen Guide to see how your sunscreen stacks up to the competition. And encourage your clients to wear a hat and protective clothing when planning to be out in the sun. Until more definitive research is available, they may be their safest line of defense. Want to learn more about what’s new with sunscreen? Check out Here Comes the Sun in our June issue.

An Esthetician Earns Deserved Props for Playing
a Key Role in Detecting a Client’s Skin Cancer

Covering the spa beat for more than a decade, I’m constantly hearing stories of those in the industry who are making a real difference by giving back. Last week, I was particularly touched by the following email that was sent to Lulu Rios-Hollmann, founder and esthetician of Scientifica Skincare (New York City). I hope you find it as revealing as I do as to the impact you and your spa have on the lives you touch.


Dear Lulu,

I received a wonderful facial from you about a year ago. During this facial, you were concerned about a small growth on the side of my nose and asked if anyone had ever looked at it. I told you that I had already pointed it out to my dermatologist, twice in two years, and he said it was just an enlarged pore and not to worry about it. You were quite sure that it was not an enlarged pore, and that I should have him take it off. I recently went to him, and again, he told me it was nothing. I then told him what you said, and he became quite annoyed that I was “listening to someone who gives facials and not the doctor.” Because of your reaction to this growth, it gave me the extra push I needed to demand that he remove it. As you might be suspecting now, it came back positive for basal cell cancer. I had it removed last Tuesday and had a skin graft to close up the large hole that I was left with. If it had not been for you, I would have been sent home for another year and could have lost the whole side of my nose. It’s obvious that you love what you do, and because of your attentiveness, I was saved from a disastrous outcome. I wish you all the best and hope to see you again.

Thank you,


The Healing Power of Arnica

George, the adorable culprit of my latest injuries, which were cured by arnica oil.

It’s no secret that I am somewhat of a klutz, but two weeks ago I took one of my worst spills. I was sitting on my sister’s deck reading a magazine and lazily holding the retractable leash of her boxer, George, when all of a sudden a cat strolled by, sending George into a tizzy and causing me to be pulled a few hundred yards behind him. The cat escaped unscathed, but unfortunately I wasn’t as lucky. After a trip to the emergency room, I was the proud owner of three torn ligaments in my right arm, a severely sprained wrist, and a lot of pain. Over the next couple of days, the swelling and bruising became so severe that I was actually scaring small children on the subway, and my family started referring to me (jokingly, but not really) as “Club Arm.” Realizing that ice just wasn’t cutting it, I remembered an article I had written last June about arnica, which is well known for its anti-inflammatory and muscle relieving properties. So I scoured my office beauty closet and found Dr. Hauschka’s Birch Arnica Body Oil, which I immediately began slathering on my arm. After applying it consistently, three days later not only had the bruising almost disappeared but the swelling was reduced dramatically. I was so impressed by the results that I actually ventured to wear short sleeves today for the first time since the incident! Going forward (and knowing my history), I plan to keep this miracle oil on hand at all times. To read more about the healing benefits of arnica, check out my article here.

It’s No Sweat at TriBeCa MedSpa

To help clients treat their feet and help prevent excessive sweating this summer, TriBeCa MedSpa in New York City is offering several services to beat the heat, such as:

Botox for the Feet (price varies depending on number of units) Botox is injected into areas of the feet that produce excess sweat, reducing sweat production for up to several months.

TriBeCa MedSpa Medi-Pedi ($225) Designed to eliminate bacteria, fungal infections, and other foot conditions that can be caused by excess sweating, this corrective pedicure includes an anti-bacterial spray, an exfoliating foot scrub, and medical grade products.

To find out more ways clients keep their tootsies in top shape, click here.

Prep Your Skin for the Sun with Ilike Organic Skin Care

Summer is right around the corner! With sunnier days comes the temptation to soak in the rays. We all know that we need to be watchful of our skincare regimen during this time to protect from harmful UV rays. The folks at Ilike Organic Skin Care remind us that you have to apply SPF not only at the beach, but also during any prolonged outdoor activity.

Containing vitamins, lycopenes, bioflavanoids, and karotenoids, Ilike’s Tomato Suntan Lotion and Tomato Suntan Gel selectively filter the harmful UVC and the burning short wavelength UVB rays, while allowing beneficial UVA and long UVB rays through, which induce the formation of Vitamin D. These products allow skin to get a healthy glow, while protecting from a damaging sunburn.

For more on the rich, organic Ilike products, click here. Also, be sure to pass by their booth at IECSC Las Vegas (#2307) this weekend to check out their amazing range of products!

Kahina Giving Beauty Helps Support Berber Women

Berber women of Morocco welcome Katharine L'Heureux by tattooing her hands with henna.

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting Katharine L’Heureux, the founder of Kahina Giving Beauty, a line of organic skincare products based on 100 percent organic argan oil sourced from the women’s cooperatives of Morocco. Not only are her products amazing, but also 25 percent of her company’s profits go to the Berber women of Morocco who hand extract the argan oil using centuries-old techniques passed down the rough generations. The money raised is dedicated to literacy education and women’s rights programs. “These women can’t even write their own names, yet they produce the most amazing product,” says L’Heureux. “It occurred to me that I could help them while creating a skincare line that really works and that women can feel good about buying.”

The line is currently being carried in spas across the country, including International Orange (San Francisco) and various Exhale locations. To find out more about the product line and how Katharine is helping a great cause, click here.

Mark National Rosacea Month
with Tips For Getting the Red Out

imagesIn my younger days, I always thought of my skin as being pretty resilient. Unfortunately, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed it becoming more sensitive. Of course, I may just be sensitive to the fact that countless estheticians have planted that seed in my head over the years. While I tend to turn a bit rosy after many skincare treatments, that rose-colored blush is merely a minor inconvenience when compared to what many must endure when afflicted with the chronic skin condition known as rosacea. According to The National Rosacea Society, this increasingly common disorder affects more than 14 million Americans. Causing redness and acne-resembling outbreaks, rosacea cannot be cured. Fortunately, it can be controlled. In honor of National Rosacea Month, here are some tips from dermatologist Debra Jaliman, M.D., on ways to avoid getting caught red-faced:

Take advantage of Technology
Laser skin procedures and new non-prescription products, such as PyratineXR, can help treat red and irritated skin.

Avoid Triggers
Although what may cause flare-ups in one person may differ for another, avoiding environmental factors—sun exposure, extreme temperatures, and wind—and emotional stress can prevent aggravating the skin.

Don’t Scrub While it may be tempting to buff away the offensive bumps, all this does is abrade already irritated skin and worsen the symptoms. Instead, use a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin with soft cotton discs.

Moisturizer helps to soothe aggravated skin and acts as a barrier protectant from impurities and irritants that exacerbate sensitive skin.

Wear Sunscreen
Sun exposure is the primary trigger for red, irritated skin. Protect skin daily with sunscreen featuring an SPF of 30 or higher that defends against UVA, UVB, and infrared rays.

Choose Wisely
Makeup can improve the look of skin instantly. Just be sure to rely on products that won’t further harm the skin. Mineral makeup is generally non-irritating. Keep it simple to avoid worsening the problem with layers of different types of makeup.

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