Winter Skin Strategies

I have had the privilege of spending the past few days at the Sundance Mountain Resort, in UT, for my favorite annual conference – Brigadoon. The days have involved skiing, incredibly stimulating conversations, new ideas, old friends, as well as snow and freezing temperatures. And my skin has been suffering!

If you are still in the midst of winter weather, here are some tips to keep your skin hydrated, comfortable, and glowing.

  1. Hydrate from the inside out. You can never drink too much water… it will help your skin and your body. (And here in Sundance, it also helps with altitude sickness!).
  2. Switch out your usual cleanser for a cream or oil-based cleanser. And use lukewarm water even when the temperatures are frigid.
  3. Layer moisturizers and oils. I recently bought the Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum and it has saved my skin. I apply it after my Pigment lightening serum, and under my Kantic+ intensely nourishing cream.
  4. Exfoliate. The most nourishing products won’t be able to penetrate and moisturize your skin if you have a layer of dead skin cells on top of your epidermis. But don’t overdo it – find a gentle scrub (like our Gentle refining scrub), and keep it to once a week.
  5. Give your skin the benefit of a hydrating treatment. I have been using our Kantic Brightening moisture mask twice weekly for the past couple of weeks, and it has saved my skin!
  6. Don’t forget your SPF. In particular in the mountains, and when enjoying winter sports, daily UV protection is a must. On top of my various creams and serums (see step #3), I layer our Daily defense SPF 23.

Enjoy the rest of the winter weather, even while dreaming of Spring!

Heyday Bliss

After working with Heyday for the last few years – since before co-founders Adam and Michael opened their first facial shop in New York’s NOMAD neighborhood (they now have 5 locations in Manhattan), I finally made the time to experience one of their facials (yes, this is my first facial of 2018… the cobbler’s daughter and all).

I experienced a 50-minute treatment by the fabulous Jenna who has magical hands. She gently approved of my appointment, saying that indeed it was time for my skin to have a “reset” and that extractions were “necessary” (I loved how she didn’t say “overdue.”).

If you have not yet been to Heyday, they are not a “traditional spa” but rather a “facial shop”. What you will not find at Heyday are no dimly lit rooms, robes, silence, spa music. Instead, the space is open, with movable “walls” made of fabric. The space is well-lit (“Doesn’t it help for me to really see your skin?”, Jenna asks with a smile), and sound travels – which is actually delightful. Looking at the space, I could tell there would be no silence. What I couldn’t experience until lying there was how lovely it is to hear unintelligible chatter from the front area or other “rooms” – it sounds casual, fun, happy (I heard laughter a few times). And the music is amazing – great current tunes (apparently Heyday has a Spotify channel).

Beyond the environment, the facial was one of the best I have experienced. I don’t trust my face to many other than my father, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, or the therapists at Forever Institut – but I will absolutely come back to Jenna and will happily recommend Heyday to anyone asking.

She started by measuring my hydration levels (not surprisingly given my travel schedule, my skin needs more moisture). She then proceeded to cleanse, exfoliate, extract, massage, and hydrate, using a blend of products – Alchimie Forever, Naturopathica, Image, and Shaffali, an ayurvedic brand that is new to me. The blend of products was chosen specifically for my skin and created not only immediate results, but also an amazing sensorial experienced. My favorite part of the treatment was Jenna’s massage, which she did with a mixture of Alchimie Forever Kantic Brightening moisture mask and Naturopathica Carrot oil, pre-extractions. In effect, as she explained, the massage will soften the skin and make it more malleable, hence the extractions easier to perform. And they were indeed painless. She then used a micro-current machine to help serums penetrate deeper into the skin, and applied multiple masks (for different areas of my face, as my T-zone needed purifying and my cheeks needed moisturizing) before sending me on my way.

I left glowing, without a mark on my face – and photos to prove it. (If you haven’t ever experienced a facial because you think you will leave with blotchy skin, please think again).

I can’t wait for the next Heyday training, which will once again end with a treatment!

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Immediately Post Treatment

Ending the year in beauty with a Me-So-Light treatment

Earlier this month I made a list of the goals I wanted to achieve before the end of December.

In the next two days, I still need to finalize the Alchimie retinol serum, marketing plan and budget, but otherwise, I checked everything off this list. And in the self-care department, I did even better than I set out to do.

I did get a pedicure (purple toes to end 2017 and enter 2018 – given that Ultraviolet is the Pantone color of 2018). I also left for Switzerland with perfect eyebrows (thank you Erwin at Karma by Erwin Gomez). And I took time to do a treatment at Forever Boutique: Me-So-Light.

What is it?

This treatment is a blend between face mesotherapy and micro-needling (for more on micro-needling, read this post). Dr. Bani used a Dermapen (9 microneedles) to make minute perforations in my skin, which enables the “secret sauce” of product to optimally penetrate. The product applied is indeed a secret sauce – a powerful cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to help rejuvenate and hydrate the skin, and give you an immediate glow.

 

Was it painful?

Not at all! I was a bit concerned, but this was much less bothersome than Botox injections.

What did I look like immediately after?

See the photo below! Just a bit flushed, which lasted for about an hour – nothing more.

 

How did my skin react in the following days?

I went into the Christmas holidays with a nice glow, looking much more refreshed than I felt!

Would I do it again?

Yes! I can’t wait to be back in Lausanne Q1 2018 for my second treatment.

Micro-needling: yes or no?

I have been asked repeatedly about micro-needling, a skin treatment based on the concept that creating micro-wounds in the skin will help stimulate the formation of collagen and elastin.

While I have my personal opinion (I would never get this done), as is usual with skin care questions, I turned to my father, Switzerland’s top dermatologist, Dr. Luigi L. Polla, for some more scientific and expert explanations and opinions.

AP: What exactly is micro-needling?

LLP: Microneedling is a simple procedure during which rolling is done 15-20 times in horizontal, vertical, and oblique directions to create micro-wounds in the skin. This can be performed by aestheticians or even at home. Medical micro-needling is typically done through mechanical or manual microneedling, and is performed by an MD, typically a dermatologist.

In the dermatologist’s office during or just after the procedure, it is possible to apply on the injured skin hydrophilic suspensions of active molecules. Vitamins or self-growth factors obtained from the patient’s platelets will penetrate easily into the epidermis and amplify the microneedling effect. Pin-point bleeding and redness typically occur but are easily controlled. The entire procedure lasts for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on the extent of the area to be treated.

AP: What is the difference between at-home micro-needling and in-office micro-needling?

LLP: In Switzerland, at-home procedures are done with a roller with needles limited to 0.5mm length and is intended to induce skin rejuvenation.  Medical procedures may use needles up to 3 mm long. With these needles, it is possible to improve not only the skin quality but also scars and stretch marks by using very specific protocols. These regulations will vary country to country, and in the United States state by state.

AP: What are the typical benefits from this procedure?

LLP: The benefits of micro needling are linked to the skin’s own healing systems, which when faced with such micro-wounds, will stimulate collagen and elastin production. This will help with the skin’s overall texture and glow, dilated pores, fine lines, scars, and aging skin.

AP: What are the possible side effects from this procedure?

LLP: Pain during the procedure (which can be managed with anesthetic creams), some light edema and redness during maximum 48 hours. We have to be careful with possible post inflammatory hyperpigmentation when micro-needling is done on darker skin tones.

AP: Do you offer this procedure at Forever Institut? Why or why not?

LLP: Yes, we do. The procedure is complementary to other collagen-stimulating treatments. I very much believe in the combination of various to yield the most effective rejuvenation results, without downtown. We combine micro-needling with photo-facials and various types of non-ablative laser treatments. Furthermore, in my experience, micro-needling is the first and best therapeutic option in the treatment of stretch marks and scars.

Thank you Dad! I have to admit that I might just have to try a treatment on my stretch marks…

Moisturizing Tips

Most of us use a moisturizer – but do we use the right one, in the right way? I speak to women every day about their moisturizer choices and habits, here are some of my favorite tips.

  1. Yes, well all should use a moisturizer daily. Choose it based on your skin type – refer to my father’s advice above, I could not put it in better words (to his delight!).
  2. Take seasonality into account when choosing the right moisturizer. This means that you may have to different ones, a light one for the humid summer and a more hydrating one for the dry winter. Also remember climate, in particular if you have recently moved or travel a lot. As I write this, sitting at my hotel desk in Las Vegas, I feel the dryness in my skin all the more than I did two days ago in Washington DC…
  3. The moisturizer that was right for you in your 20s is probably no longer right for you in your 40s. The number of women I speak to who have not changed their cream in 20+ years is staggering. Our skin is a living, breathing organism that evolves and changes with time. As you adapt your wardrobe from your 20s to your 40s, so should you adapt your skin care products.
  4. The perfect morning cream offers hydration, anti-aging benefits, and broad spectrum SPF protection. Look for an SPF of 20 or above for daily use, to protect your skin from 90+% of UV.
  5. Do not use a moisturizer with SPF in the evening.
  6. Apply your moisturizer from the clavicle to forehead, always moving against gravity. Always remember your face does not end at your chin, but rather mid-chest.
  7. Don’t forget to exfoliate once to three times per week to help slough off dead skin cells – and help your moisturizer really absorb.

2017 Beauty Resolutions

2017 Beauty Resolutions

New year, new me, new you. The first week of January is always filled with intentions, goals, resolutions. I have a long list… to which I am adding some specific beauty and skin care goals. In the Alchimie Forever philosophy of “self care through skin care,” these resolutions are really about taking better care of myself. Which in turn will enable me to take better care of others.

What are your 2017 beauty goals?

  1. Drink more water. It is essential to well-being, to beautiful skin, and to a healthy weight. This is an annual goal, one that I never quite achieve. Maybe because it is not specific enough – so this year, I intend to drink at least one glass of water for every glass of champagne and wine I have.
  2. Continue to have perfectly groomed eyebrows. Meaning monthly appointments with Erwin Gomez at Karma (who I must admit now also makes sure my upper lip is perfectly groomed…).
  3. Have my moles checked annually. This should be mandatory – skin cancer is to be taken seriously, at all ages.
  4. On that note, wear a facial SPF every single day. I do most days… but most is not good enough. After all, it is to help myself with this goal that I created the Daily Defense SPF23 3-in-1 anti-aging moisturizer with SPF. I don’t have any excuse not to achieve this goal.
  5. Throw away my mascara (I love the one by Trish McEvoy) every 6 months even if I think I can get two more months of use out of it. (This should really apply to most makeup products).
  6. Get my hair cut more than once per year. This mostly to avoid the stern look on Frank Rizzieri’s face when he finally cuts my hair. He recommends a quarterly trim…
  7. Take better care of my nails. Which, to me, means using cuticle oil daily (fingers and toes). It takes less than 30 seconds and makes my hands and feet like I have a natural mani / pedi. So why is this so hard to do? (My favorites are CND Solar Oil and the Spa Ritual Cuti-Cocktail).
  8. Get a facial once per quarter. Ideally this would be once per month, but I know I won’t be able to keep that up – baby steps. A facial for deep cleansing, exfoliation, anti-aging treatment, and to make sure my skin is always glowing.
  9. Get a massage once per quarter. Because that helps my body, my head, and my water retention.
  10. Continue with my goal of exercising three times per week. Running, SoulCycle, and maybe adding back Barre3 classes in my routine will help me stay strong and fit.

Most importantly, I want to look at myself every morning in the mirror, smile at myself, and tell myself I look great. Every single day.