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Digest vs. Dissolve: A Look at Enzymes and Acids for Exfoliation

July 5, 2020

There seems to be some confusion when it comes to the difference between acids and enzymes. The keywords in this difference are dissolve and digest.

Regardless of the form of chemical exfoliation chosen, the benefits cannot be ignored.  The decline of cell regeneration that comes with age slows down the process and sometimes even halts it.

The shedding of corneocytes that used to take a month to turnover now remain glued in place for two to three months longer. This prolonged adhesion can cause a buildup of scaly flaky skin and a compromised barrier, leading to transepi­dermal water loss (TEWL). If bacteria is present, breakouts will also be present, even with mature skin. Broken and dilated capillaries exacerbate the issue, because the self cleansing mechanism breaks down and oxygen cannot feed the cells.

Chemical exfoliation with acids is an effective anti-aging method, but it is not the best option for everyone. For some skin, enzymes are a more logical choice. 

Taking to the Water: Bathing Rituals Around the World

June 25, 2020

Bathing culture has been around for thousands of years.  Bathing rituals have played an important role in culture all over the world to the point of it being a part of cultural DNA, so it makes sense these traditions have carried on throughout time.  Cultures place a high level of importance on bathing, but it’s not solely about health and wellness benefits. Bathing has long been a tradition providing social connection and even entertai­nment.  

The only region in the world that hasn’t dived deep into bathing is the U.S., which has started the last couple of years–but the rest of the world has various bathing traditions that are very sacred.  The sauna in Sweden is a form of connection and it’s done often.  Bathing in the U.K. is slightly different than in Nordic countries, as its origins are Roman. Bath, England has attracted tourists for hundreds of years due to its world-famous natural hot springs.  Japan’s bathing traditions are ritualistic in nature, making them almost meditative.  Russian bathhouses, or banyas, are a place for bathers to gather, and they can be quite party-like. Their saunas tend to be hotter, and they have big barrels of milk and herbs they soak in.  

Bathing rituals is an umbrella term that can refer to a wide variety of concepts within the bathing world, including:


Contrast temperature therapy,


Hot springs,


Infrared saunas,

Saunas, and

Water-based massage

body basics

June 17, 2020

Our skin is the body’s primary barrier and the largest organ. The main function of the skin is to protect the body. Without it, we would evaporate and die. Skin cells never stop growing and dividing. Keratinocytes are the most common skin cells that account for 90% of skin, while melanocytes give skin its color. We realize the desquamation process slows down as we age. We recognize new skin cells replace old ones, but how many skin cells are on our bodies?

Our bodies contain an estimated 19 million skin cells for every inch of your body and 300 million skin cells total. Wow, that is a tremendous amount of exfoliation.

We lose anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 skin cells a minute. In 24 hours, we lose around a million dead skin cells that leave a trail of dust. This dust can weigh up to around nine pounds in one year.

Exfoliation is defined as, “the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin using a chemical, granular substance or exfoliation tool.

As we know, there are many ways to exfoliate skin such as physical, chemical and mechanical. Exfoliating allows the surface of our skin to be radiant, smooth, brighter and more luminous. 

Reasons to Get Behind Dermaplaning

June 13, 2020

There are three types of exfoliation: chemical, manual and mechanical. Chemical exfoliation, of course, is referring to peels, whereas manual exfoliation includes the use of an abrasive such as a scrub. There are a couple of mechanical exfoliation methods that are used today, one of the most popular being dermaplaning.

Cell Turnover

The goal of exfoliation has always been to remove dead skin cells and encourage cell turnover. Skin cells turn over every three to four weeks in young skin. With age, this process moves at a slower rate, making monthly exfoliation more important. Exfoliation “tricks” the skin into turning over at a faster rate than it normally would.

To trick the skin, a controlled injury (exfoliation) is created. When the skin is injured, new skin cells are sent to replace the old ones, and collagen and elastin are produced. Loss of collagen and elastin is the biggest contributor to wrinkles. While collagen can be put back into the skin, elastin is too big of a molecule. So, with all the methods of exfoliation that exist, what makes dermaplaning so special?

What is Dermaplaning?

Dermaplaning is a lot like microder­mabrasion, another popular mechanical exfoliation technique. Both mechanically exfoliate the skin, but dermaplaning also removes the vellus hair from the skin. In this method of exfoliation, a sterile, surgical scalpel is used to complete the process. 

Benefits of Dermaplaning

1. Cell regeneration. As mentioned earlier, dermaplaning will trigger the cell regeneration process to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

2. Hyperpig­mentation. Dermaplaning will exfoliate the top layer of your skin, taking off dead skin cells. Therefore, it can help lighten pigmented spots.

3. Immediate results. Other exfoliation processes sometimes take more time to show the results, but dermaplaning shows immediate results.

4. Safety. Dermaplaning is safe for everyone and there is no downtime involved.

5. Smooths rough skin. Dermaplaning is especially beneficial for people with rough, dry skin. The scalpel is effective in smoothing out skin and evening skin tone.

6. Hair removal. If clients are using this for hair removal, it is fine if they only have peach fuzz or vellus hair. It easily removes this hair without any problems.

7. Product penetration. Dermaplaning is good for letting products such as peels, strong serums or skin remedies penetrate deeply into the skin, as results are improved after exfoliation.

8. Mildness. Dermaplaning is a gentle form of exfoliation, and it can be more gentle than a peel or microder­mabrasion for sensitive clients. It is also great for new clients who want to start with gentle anti-aging treatments before jumping into more.

9. Frequency. Dermaplaning is safe to do every three to four weeks, which is the target range you would want to get those cells turning over faster.

10. Catalyst. This is a great catalyst to deeper exfoliation procedures, as it preps one’s skin gently rather than harshly.

11. Makeup. Clients will notice that their makeup will go on better after a dermaplaning service.

Understanding Your Skin

May 31, 2020

The skin is a complex organ, composed of two main layers: the epidermis and the dermis. In addition to being the largest organ of the body, the skin is also one of the most important, protecting the rest of the body from the outside environment.

The outer layer, the epidermis, is comprised of four layers, which are responsible for keeping water in, keeping infection out and helping to regulate body temperature - among other vital functions. The inner layer, the dermis, is composed mainly of connective tissue that provides the strength and elasticity your skin needs to resist stressors. Both layers are vital in understanding and treating nearly all skin conditions and concerns.

A multitude of factors contribute to the outward appearance of your skin: environmental aggressors like the sun, pollution, and the weather; internal aggressors, like diet and hydration; and your own biochemistry, such as hormones and genetic predispositions. Whether you are looking to improve the appearance of aging skin, blemishes, uneven skin tone, flushing or other conditions, the intricate skin system requires a multifaceted approach to treatment.

Human skin is very complex, and creating skincare solutions that work effectively requires precise chemical formulation, extensive knowledge of dermatological bio-chemistry, and the highest-grade ingredients available and that is where Phytomer and it's Brand companies lead.

Anti-aging, Pigmentation and Acne: The SKINNY oN Chemical Peels

May 31, 2020

Peels have evolved a great deal since their initial use. The ancient Chinese used peels thousands of years ago, as did the ancient Egyptians. One of today’s modern peel ingredients, lactic acid, an alpha hydroxy acid derived from sour milk, often was included in these very early peels in addition to a variety of other substances including herbs, scented oils and—in the case of the Egyptians—ground alabaster stone.

The modern era of chemical peels began in the late 1800s when physicians started experimenting with various chemicals, some very caustic and some less so, to improve facial aesthetics and skin problems such as acne or scars. Many of these chemicals are still used today in various concentr­ations.  After World War I, chemical peels were used to lessen disfigur­ations caused by facial shrapnel wounds.

All peels work by generating “controlled” damage and a “controlled” 

inflammatory response.  Even superficial peels, via inflammatory mediators, will increase collagen formation over time due to the response to wounding. Although these initial changes may be initially experienced in the epidermis, cytokines and other chemical messengers will communicate the biochemical events to the dermis and stimulate collagen formation.

Many skin issues can benefit from peels; especially hyperpig­mentation, acne and acne scarring and aging and for general complexion rejuvenation.

Breaking Down Body Scrubs

May 26, 2020

Scrubs can be luxurious in scent and touch, a treat for the 

senses and the skin

A body scrub is essentially a skin care product used to remove dead skin cells through exfoliation. In the process, it helps increase blood circulation to the surface of the skin, drain lymph nodes and leave the skin feeling cleansed and rejuvenated. With the dead skin cells removed, skin will also be better able to absorb moisturizing body products better.

On a biological level, the outer layer of cells in our skin regularly shed to make way for the healthier new cells underneath. As we age, this process naturally slows down. 

By exfoliating the skin, we help speed the process of removing dead skin cells and bringing healthy new ones to the surface, which can improve skin’s look and texture almost immediately.

Although the ingredients used for a body scrub don’t have to be as gentle as those in a scrub used on the delicate skin of the face, it’s important to remember that any product we use on our bodies is only as good as the ingredients we put into it.

Most body scrubs include some combination of sea salt or sugar, oils and essential oils, and choosing the right combination and type will determine the results.

How we treat our skin and what we treat it with makes a noticeable difference in our overall health and well-being. It’s about taking care of our bodies, from the outside in.

Sensitive Skin 101

May 25, 2020

Various forms for dermatitis, specifically contact dermatitis—a form of eczematous dermatitis that may result from direct irritation of the skin by a substance such as a chemical or an allergic reaction to a particular substance that has been in contact with the skin, injected or taken by mouth.

The three main types of contact dermatitis include

Irritant contact dermatitis—developed when the skin touches an irritating chemical.

Allergic contact dermatitis—triggered by constant contact to a mild irritant over a long period of time.

Contact uticaria (hives)—occurs immediately after the skin comes in contact with an irritating substance.

Sensitive skin is influenced by

Skin disorders—eczema, rosacea, psoriasis or dermatitis

Overly dry or injured skin that can no longer protect nerve endings, leading to skin reactions.

Environmental factors.

Genetics, age, gender, race, etc.

Symptoms include

Immediate reaction/​irritation


Dryness, itching, cracking, etc.

A reaction that occurs over a period of weeks or months



Irritation limited to the site of the original contact or spreads

May be confused with another type of dermatitis

Common allergens consist of





Hair dyes

Textile dyes


Topical medications




Antibacterial ointments


May 25, 2020

Humans have had an interest in beauty throughout history. Taking it all the way back to Cleopatra, she bathed in milk to keep her skin beautiful and used coal as her eyeliner. The way society views aging and beauty leads to social, emotional and financial implications. Thus, society is continuing to search for the magic pill or cream to have them wake up looking younger.

What are some main factors or causes of aging

There are intrinsic and extrinsic factors that contribute to how skin ages. Intrinsic causes are those that are outside of our influence, extrinsic are within our scope of impact. We may not have control over things like our genetics or even hormonal fluctuations, but lifestyle is one of the main causes over which we have power in how skin ages.

What are some top aging myths

Sun damage is a big cause of skin aging, so it is expected that one of the top aging myths is that a higher SPF means stronger sun protection. The truth is that the sun protection factor means how long the skin is protected for and not in fact its strength. The ingredients that are used determine whether the SPF product is stronger or weaker based on whether they provide broad spectrum sun protection.

Another top aging myth that certainly needs some debunking is surrounding quick-fix skin care. The fact of the matter is that an effective topical skin care product will deem to be effective in accomplishing long-term results if used consistently and over time when matched appropriately with the skin needs and concerns.

What is intrinsic vs. extrinsic aging?

Intrinsic aging causes are those that are outside of our influence (i.​e. genetics, hormonal fluctuat­ions). Extrinsic aging causes are within our scope of impact (i.​e. sun care).

Inflammation ranges from skin that easily flushes to rosacea and melasma. Melasma, in particular, is very easily triggered, and one of those triggers is not only sun but heat. 

Chemical sunscreens absorb and neutralize UV rays, so the skin is still exposed to heat which can create a thermal cascade effect leading to increased pigmentation and redness. 

In comparison, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, used in physical sunscreens, reflect UV rays away from the skin keeping skin not only protected, but cooler. This helps keep the sleeping giant, that is melasma, at bay. In addition, physical sunscreens provide broad-spectrum protection and can also work as an anti-inflammatory, physical sunscreen for the win.

ensuring product authenticity

May 22, 2020

When products, SkinMedica, Phytomer, Vie and Obagi are sold by unauthorized retailers or sites, these distribution outlets are considered to be ‘diverting products’. Diverted products have been obtained from unauthorized re-sellers and are being sold by unsanctioned sellers. Authentic products are offered for resale only by authorized skin care Medical Spa partners.

The authentic philosophy is based on the fact that Medical Spas adhere to the idea that consumers will benefit most by using authentic products in conjunction with regular consultation and treatments. This ensures that our clients are getting what they need from SkinMedica, Phytomer, VIE and Obagi to sustain a healthy skin care regimen.

Morgan Paris Med Spa cannot vouch for the authenticity, quality, or expiration period of diverted products. Sellers on unauthorized sites are illegally using SkinMedica, Phytomer, Vie and Obagi copyrighted images, trademarks and logos, as well as selling professional products clearly not for resale.

What are the Risks of Purchasing Diverted Products?

Diverted products can be counterfeit, old or expired, diluted or filled with unknown substances. The end result is they may not be safe to use. SkinMedica, Phytomer, Vie and Obagi stands by its products when they are purchased from authorized dealers only.

Faux Experts On The Rise

May 22, 2020

Be aware of people who are not trained in skin health and are selling you products. The beauty industry is rife with fake beauty “experts” who are thriving because of the popularity of the industry and the pervasiveness of online sales and social media. We can walk into any makeup store and sales associates are pushing and selling us skincare without even thoroughly evaluating our skin, like we conduct in a Medical Spa, these associates visually look and prescribe, at that point, our skin is in even more trouble!

Brussel Sprouts with Apples and Blue Cheese

May 21, 2020


1 lb. Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

1 small apple, chopped

1 small yellow onion, diced

1 ½ Tbsp. olive or avocado oil

3 Tbsp. (1 oz.) crumbled blue cheese

Sea salt and black pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Trim outer leaves and bottoms from sprouts and slice in half lengthwise (quarters if they’re really big). Place on baking sheet. Add chopped apple and diced onion to baking sheet with sprouts. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Roast for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time, until sprouts are tender and lightly charred on the edges.

Beauty Trends to Watch

May 18, 2020

Trend 1: Lash Love

The more exaggerated the lashes, the better, this spring. Exaggerated lashes are always a way to create a big impact with your makeup looks. Think of layering lashes to build up the intensity this spring. Also, look toward adding a pop of color on the lashes to brighten up the eye look.

Trend 2: Getting Glossy

Gloss was put back on the market thanks to Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Chanel bringing back high-shine cheeks and lips. This helps take makeup looks to the next level. Keep an eye out for eye looks getting extra glossy as well.

Trend 3: Glitter, Smoke and Mirrors

During award season, glittery, smokey eyes could be seen everywhere. The drama and the glitter together make a great combination that will definitely be a big trend. 

Trend 4: The Edge of Glory

This allows any makeup wearer and all makeup artists to show off their creativity. This trend is inspired by creases and liner that have popped up on shows like Anna Sui. This artistic approach to makeup uses bold eyeliner pencil shades and liquid eyeliners to create fun 

designs for the eye.

Trend 5: Neon Colors

Back to the bright look, the eyes will have fun this spring with people wanting to play with bright, neon cat eyes. However, this trend is not reserved for just the eyes. While the creases experienced a lot of fun neon colors, so did the lip when it came to fashion shows.

Trend 6: Grunge Style

Goth and grunge styles are back with many brands stepping away from a conservative look. This year's fashion shows showed models wearing deep oxbloods, vampy burgundies, chocolate browns and black lips. The range of products can include sheer glosses to high pigment lipsticks when it comes to this trend. It really is just all about the grunge. 

Think Hot Topic,  but make it fashion.

Foods For Hydration & Health

May 17, 2020

Healthy skin starts from the inside and radiates outward. When we feed our body healthy food, our cells thank us from how we feel (energy wise) to the way we look. Symptoms and conditions are your body’s way of communicating to you what it needs. To reap the benefits of good health, there are four life-changing food categories that will help the body. 

They are



Wild Foods


Fruits are cancer fighters, vegetables flush out acidity, herbs and spices build the immune system and wild foods help us adapt to stress; reaching for these foods transforms from a chore into an opportunity.

Foods with a high concentration of water will hydrate us from the inside. Along with high water contents, these foods are filled with vitamins, minerals and a ton of healing benefits for both our physical bodies and our cerebral emotions. What a win! There is something to be said about when you eat a healthy meal, feeling great as opposed to the uncomfortable sense we have after eating a meal filled with processed chemicals.

Inside-Out/Outside-In Skin Hydration

May 17, 2020

Hydration is an essential part of skin care. Dehydration compromises skin’s immune functioning and causes it to look older and more wrinkled. Skin tissue is constantly being renewed, and depending on the factors produced in the dermis, can be regenerated every 2-3 weeks. Targeted nutrition, both dietary and topical, can dramatically increase the moisture level of the skin. There’s a “nourish from the inside-out and outside-in” story to be told here with skin hydration. Let’s begin by looking at how hydration works in the skin.

The Barrier and Key Players

There are two ways to keep skin moist: by stopping trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and by adding moisture from the outside with topical skin care products. The ingredients applied to skin can make a big difference in its hydration status, and just as with dietary nutrition, consider good, clean, topical nutrition options for the best results.

The skin’s barrier, often referred to as the acid mantle, holds in water and lipids and keeps bacteria and environmental pollution out. A crucial part of the acid mantle’s success is its pH. The ideal pH for skin falls around 5.5, which is slightly acidic. Skin with higher pH levels tends to be dry and fragile. Although the purpose of this article is to discuss nutrition for skin hydration, the subject really can’t be covered properly without a brief mention of skin pH, and the importance of not disrupting this pH balance by using harsh topical soaps and treatments.

Key nutritional players in skin hydration include certain vitamins, essential fats and antioxidants. The inside-out/outside-in story applies here to skin hydration, as with so many other areas of skin care. If these nutrients are taken in through the diet or applied to the skin, results are increased. To build healthy skin, feed the body the right nutrients and protect it from outside damage.

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid)

Vitamin C an essential component in the synthesis of collagen, and as an antioxidant that helps to fight free radical damage in the skin. In addition to these important jobs, this vitamin contributes to skin hydration and elasticity.

While research is not clear on how vitamin C improves skin hydration, a higher intake of dietary vitamin C has been correlated with less dry skin, suggesting it may have effects on TEWL.

When using vitamin C in skin care routines, it is important to choose the form carefully, as the delivery method can make a big difference in effectiv­eness. Ascorbic acid, the basic form of vitamin C, oxidizes quickly when exposed to air. Better choices include tetrahex­yldecyl ascorbate (the lipid form) or water-soluble sodium ascorbyl phosphate to ensure the vitamin C is delivered to skin without oxidizing.

For delivery of vitamin C from the inside out, it can be obtained in foods such as papaya, bell peppers, broccoli and strawberries.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is the most potent lipid-soluble antioxidant for skin hydration. It is an essential part of skin cell membranes and has a role in cell signaling and cell nutrient transport. Therefore, it appears to enhance the penetration and resorption of skin lipids, creating an effective regulatory mechanism for restoring and maintaining the barrier function. Topically applied vitamin E is a moisturizer that helps keep the skin healthy and soft.

Vitamin E exists in eight chemical forms. There are two main categories of this complex vitamin— tocopherols and tocotrienols—and each contains four types of molecules: alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Tocotrienols are 40-60 times more effective at quenching free radicals than tocopherols.

Vitamin E has a special relationship with two other antioxidants—vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid. Both vitamin C and alpha lipoic acid are capable of removing the extra electron from a used vitamin E molecule, essentially reactivating it. This capacity to recycle and restore its power makes vitamin E a prominent factor in the skin’s first line of defense against free radicals.

Thus, vitamin E plays an important role in maintaining the barrier function of skin and appears to enhance the penetration and resorption of skin lipids, making it an invaluable nutrient for locking moisture into the skin and preventing dehydration. Good food sources for obtaining vitamin E are nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

B Vitamins

The B vitamins are a complex and busy group but offer a wealth of benefits for skin, internally and externally.

B3, Niacin. One important B vitamin is B3, also referred to as niacin or nicotinic acid. This B vitamin has three critical roles in the body: converting glucose to energy, aiding in the production of fatty acids and cholesterol, and facilitating DNA repair and stress responses.

As a player on the topical nutrition team for skin hydration, niacinamide (its skin care form) increases the production of ceramides and fatty acids, two key components of skin’s outer protective barrier. With a strong acid mantle, the skin is better able to keep moisture in and irritants out.

Dietary sources of vitamin B3 or niacin include tuna, chicken, turkey and peanuts.

B5 Pantothenic Acid. Vitamin B5 is a component of coenzyme A (CoA), an essential coenzyme required for chemical reactions that generate energy from food (fat, carbohydrates and proteins). It also is involved in the synthesis of essential fats, cholesterol and steroid hormones such as estrogen and testosterone.

On the topical side, B5 contributes to skin hydration via its role in the maintenance of skin barrier function. When applied to skin, B5 converts to pantothenic acid, which works as a humectant by infusing water in the cells, retaining moisture deep within the skin tissues.

In the diet, good sources of vitamin B5 include avocado, lentils, shiitake and crimini mushrooms.

Vitamin A (Retinol)

Vitamin A is fat-soluble and comes in various forms: retinol, retinal and the various retinol esters. Among other important functions, vitamin A supports cell growth and differen­tiation, which is how it may contribute to hydration in the skin.

In topical form, vitamin A improves hydration in and around skin cells in a number of indirect ways, mostly by supporting healthy cell membrane functioning and encouraging skin cell turnover. In doing so, nutrient transport, waste removal and a reduction in TEWL result. Many forms of topical vitamin A are available for skin care formulations. The main goal is to balance delivering an effective amount of vitamin A to the skin while managing the side effects that often accompany vitamin A application.

Retinoic acid is an effective, bioavailable form of vitamin A, but it causes the most side effects. Retinols are also effective but must undergo a transfor­mation to retinoic acid when applied to the skin. Many skin care ingredient manufacturers have developed technologies such as encapsulation to lessen the side effects while improving delivery. The least harsh, yet less effective forms are retinyl acetate, retinyl linoleate, retinyl palmitate and retinyl proprionate.

Dietary vitamin A comes from sweet potatoes, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables, dairy, fish and meat. Liver also is an excellent source of vitamin A. While foods rich in beta carotene supply vitamin A, only a small percentage is converted.

Fatty Acids

Certain dietary fats, referred to as essential fatty acids, are essential because the body cannot manufacture them, so they must be included in a diet to avoid deficiency. These fats fall into two categories: omega 6 and omega 3 .

This is a case where the “inside-outside” story is powerful, as chronic inflammation triggers a vast number of inflammatory skin conditions such as psoriasis, rosacea, eczema and acne. Although inflammation is not the same as dehydration, it contributes to a higher need for water in our cells and decreased cell membrane function. Conversely, when the body is deficient in both types of dietary fatty acids, skin cell integrity suffers and barrier function is reduced.

A dietary deficiency in these fatty acids results in a characte­ristic scaly skin disorder, increased epidermal turnover rate, weak cutaneous capillaries that rupture easily, decreased wound healing, and increased TEWL leading to dry skin. Topically, fatty acids are key players in skin hydration, but the best delivery vehicle is from the diet.

Omega 6 fatty acids provide hydration in the skin by maintaining epidermal homeostasis, meaning they balance the flow of fatty acids in and out of cell membranes. The most noteworthy 6 fatty acid used in topical formulations is gamma linolenic acid (GLA) from borage and evening primrose oil. GLA is one of the most effective agents for the treatment of skin disorders and for the maintenance of healthy skin. Studies show it is beneficial for the treatment of skin conditions including dry skin, eczema, inflammation, wounds and dermatitis. Dietary 6 fats come from vegetable oils such as palm, soybean and canola.

Omega 3 fatty acids support the skin cell membranes of the epidermis, allowing for nutrient transport in and out of the cell, as well as the removal of waste. An intact skin cell membrane is better able to hold onto water, thereby increasing hydration in the skin. Preferred sources for topical skin care include algae and other marine plant sources. Dietary 3 fats are found in fatty fish and fish oil, flaxseed and walnuts (in much lower levels).

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

Many antioxidants and phytoche­micals benefit the skin. Research has found that the daily consumption of 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin increases skin hydration, skin elasticity and superficial lipids. However, when dietary intake was combined with topical application, the hydration status improved 20%. Lutein and zeaxanthin are nutrients found in dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale and spinach.

An Important Combination

Combining dietary and topical nutrition for skin health is especially important for skin hydration.  Consume a diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables every day and take care when choosing sources of nutrition for skin. Clean diet and skin care on the inside = healthy, glowing skin on the outside.

Realization of Hydration

May 17, 2020

Considering the skin contains around 64% water, why is the cosmetic industry so obsessed with hydration and what does it really mean? Unless you have atopic dermatitis, hyperthy­roidism, ichthyosis or at the very least diabetes, dry skin is not the common symptom or even category everyone imagines.

Moisture and Aging

We all start out with dewy, bouncy, young skin, never feeling the urge to slap on a moisturizing cream. After the age of 23 or 25, dead cells no longer self-exfoliate as well as when we were children. Dead cells build up with what I like to call “the redundant cuticle.” These dead cells, which are still attached to the epidermis, are smaller than the living cells underneath. This imparts that tight, dry feeling and leaves the person with the perception of dry skin. Most people will put a moisturizer on it, and the oils in the product break the dry, tight tension. We might think we are moisturized, but we are just greased.

In fact, the very word moisturizer is a misnomer invented in 1962 to sell and market beauty creams. If properly formulated, creams can be excellent delivery systems for lipid carrying nutrients, but water is not one of them. Creams can maintain hydration levels, but only if the skin is in hydration homeostasis already.

The Importance of the Matrix

The matrix of the skin is that jelly-like fluid, mostly hyaluronic acid, sugars, salts and chondroitin sulfates. Real hydration is when this matrix is thick and bouncy by virtue of intercellular water retention bound by essential fatty acids. As we age, this matrix of the skin gets thinner and thinner. The skin can become chicken-like and crepey.


May 17, 2020

Peptides are not only the building blocks of proteins, and nearly all living tissues, they also are an important category of ingredients in today’s skin care products. A peptide is comprised of two or more amino acids in varying sequences, with new commercially available peptides consistently evolving. Peptides can be used to address a myriad of conditions, and they work in different ways to improve the health and appearance of skin.

Proteins are crucial to every cellular process in the skin, and they decline as aging accelerates. At the root of these all-important proteins are the building blocks of life—amino acids. Of these amino acids, there are 20 that are particularly important to human biology, each performing a different, very specific function. When linked together in various sequences, they form chains (referred to as peptides), providing a variety of results within the skin.

Collagen is the most vital protein to keep the skin firm, smooth and youthful. As we age, collagen production decreases. Studies show that collagen production in individuals 80 years and older decreased by nearly 70% when compared with skin samples from people aged 18 to 29 years.

That said, the most effective way to reduce the signs of aging is to encourage the skin’s collagen production. This is where peptides come into play. When peptides are paired with a vitamin A, specifically retinald­ehyde, it forms a powerful, pro-youth combination that stimulates cellular regeneration while simultan­eously strengthening the skin.

Pear, Roquefort and Walnut Salad

May 5, 2020


1 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

1/2 tsp superfine sugar, or to taste

2 tbsp walnut oil

1 1/2 tbsp light olive oil

2 small ripe pears, halved and cored

lemon juice (if desired)

1/2 cup walnut halves

4 oz (about 1 1/2 cups) salad greens (a mixture of watercress and Belgian endive)

4 oz Roquefort cheese, crumbled

1. Make the dressing by mixing together the vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, and sugar. Slowly whisk in the oils and then check the seasoning.

2. Cut the pears into slices lengthwise. If you are not serving immediately, squeeze fresh lemon juice over them to prevent browning. Just before serving, toss all the ingredients together with the dressing.

Penne with Roasted Onion, Gorgonzola, and Walnuts

May 5, 2020

Serves 4

3 Large onions, halved

6 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Salt & Pepper

12 Ounces penne or other tubular pasta

4 Ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped parsley

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 375. Cut each onion half into crescent-shaped slices, about 5/8 inch thick. Toss in a roasting pan with olive oil, vinegar, salt & pepper. Roast for 30-35 minutes shaking pan every so often. Onions should be tender and slightly charred.

Cook the pasta, drain, return it to the sauce pan. Add the onions, cheese, parsley, walnuts, and extra virgin olive oil. Stir and serve!

The Role of Gut Health in the 

Formation of Acne

April 24, 2020

How your gut health impacts skin, specifically acne.

In 1930, dermatol­ogists Stokes and Pillsbury published a paper linking anxiety and depression to gastroin­testinal tract function and microbes. The study was largely ignored until now but encourages the idea that the gut provides a link between emotional states and skin problems.

The gut creates mood-regulating neurotra­nsmitters. These are often associated with depression and anxiety. Stress of this sort is one of the biggest factors in gut-related problems and causes inflammation in the gut wall. This inflammation starts the acne process and stimulates keratin production, sebum production and skin cell growth.

A Chinese study of 13,000 adolescents found that digestive problems were more common with skin issues. Similarly, a Russian study of 113 acne patients found that 54% had a disturbance in gut microflora.

Gut issues do not cause acne, but are among exacerbating variables. Other variables include hormonal fluctuations, medications, comedogenic ingredients, diet and smoking.

When gut flora becomes imbalanced it affects many facets of the body and especially affects the acne-prone. Ways of healing the gut include probiotics, prebiotics, fiber, addressing food intolerances (milk, wheat, eggs), fermented food and herbs such as peppermint. 

Tomato Phytonutrients Support Skin Resilience to UV Exposure

April 21, 2020

Researchers revealed that a carotenoid-rich tomato nutrient complex called Lycoderm helped to balance the skin's response to UV rays, which supported the theory that skin wellness can be enhanced at the cellular level. 

Lycoderm blends standardized levels of tomato phytonut­rients and carnsoci acid to help skin cells better cope with environmental challenges. More specifically, the study found that the tomato phytonut­rients were the key to support the skin in preventing skin aging that is caused by UV damage.

The findings show that the skin that had been exposed to UV rays appeared calmer on both molecular and physiological levels. It was shown that internally, participants experienced reduced secretion of pro-inflammatory mediators and externally, that balance was reflected in reduced skin redness.

Complem­enting traditional topical skin care and sun care with proper nourishment of body and skin can help balance our skin’s response to environmental challenges and build a better foundation for beautiful skin and long-term skin wellness.

Fact Vs. Fiction on Sun Protection and Healthy Aging

April 21, 2020

There are a lot of practices that go into healthy aging, but one to note is skin care and sun protection. 

Sun Protection All Year Long

In the summertime, we think if it’s bright and hot outside, we should put on some sunscreen. However, that leaves us to ask the question of whether this should be an every day mindset. The sun’s UV rays don't follow a calendar and will still find their way to us even on overcast days. Remember that the sun still shines in fall, winter and spring.

Debunking Common Sun Myths

--A tan is healthy. False. Just because it isn't a burn does not mean it is healthy.

--My skin is dark, so I’m protected. Incorrect. UV rays can still penetrate the skin no matter what pigmentation it has.

--I don’t burn, so I don’t need sun protection. Ouch. No.

--Sunglasses aren’t important. Inaccurate. Remember your eyes are subjected to UV damage as well.

--The shade fully protects me from the sun. Wrong. While it is a good start, the shade does not provide full protection from the sun or its UV rays.

Sun and Skin Aging

When it comes to exposing yourself to the sun, the UV rays have direct effects on the skin's aging process. Photoaging is not the same as natural aging. Here are only a few quick statistics on what the sun can do to the aging process:

--An estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun.

--People who use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher on a daily basis show 24% less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily.

--Sun damage is cumulative. Only about 23% of lifetime exposure occurs by age 18.

--UV exposure seems to be responsible for 80% of visible facial aging signs.

--Repeated UVA exposure through a glass window causes photoaging.

--Your number of wrinkles is significantly related to your total hours of lifetime sun exposure.

Sun and Overall Health

--Also consider the fact that sun exposure and corresponding burning can have dreadfully compromising effects to your overall health.

--More people are diagnosed with skin cancer each year in the United States than all other cancers combined.

--One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

--Actinic keratosis is the most common precancerous condition; it affects more than 58 million Americans.

--About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to UV radiation from the sun.

Roast Catalan Chicken

April 21, 2020

This flavorful chicken marinates in a honey and lemon juice marinade for as little as 15 minutes and is bursting with flavor.


1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup honey

juice of 1 lemon

1 Tablespoon of ground cumin

6 cloves garlic, crushed

black pepper and salt to taste

8 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs


Mix the marinade ingredients together. Use a small paring knife to make incisions into the non-skin side of the chicken. Put the chicken in a dish you can cover or a gallon-sized ziplock bag. Pour the marinade over the chicken and cover the dish or seal the bag. Marinate 15 minutes to several hours, turning the chicken now and then.

Preheat the oven to 375. Lift the chicken from the marinade and place in a shallow baking dish so it lies in a single layer, skin side up. Cook for 45 minutes or so, until done, basting now and then if you remember.

Serve with your favorite side dish.

Chicken with Roasted Tomatoes

April 21, 2020


5 cups cherry tomatoes

6 T olive oil

2T Italian seasoning

1T Himalayan Pink Salt

Black pepper

1T Worcestershire sauce

2 good size pieces of chicken breast

1 shallot, minced

2T red wine vinegar

3T chopped fresh parsley

3T fresh Tarragon leaves

Preheat oven to 450 degrees

In a large bowl combine tomatoes, Italian seasoning, 2T olive oil and salt and pepper

In a large oven proof skillet heat 1T olive oil and add tomato mixture. Put in the oven for 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add Worcestershire

Season chicken with salt and pepper

Heat 2T olive oil in a large skillet,  Add chicken

Sear 4 minutes on each side

Transfer to oven and roast for 8 to 10 minutes

Transfer to a cutting board and let it rest for a few minutes.

Heat 1T olive oil to same skillet. Add shallot and cook and stir for about a minute. Deglaze the pan with the red wine vinegar, add tomato mixture and simmer briefly until it starts to thicken.

Season to taste with salt and pepper

Slice and plate chicken

Spoon tomato mixture over and garnish with parsley and tarragon