The Importance of Exfoliating

Getting older takes a toll on the ability for our skin to feel and look healthy. Our skin slows down its ability to shed skin cells and regenerate new ones. When old skin cells aren't removed the end result is our skin looking dull and rough. Skin can also feel dry causing excess oil to build and clog pores. 

Exfoliation will remove dead skin and unclog pores exposing the fresh new skin underneath. The main benefit of exfoliation is that serums, moisturizers and corrective products are able to penetrate more deeply and be more effective.  

There are two types of exfoliation: physical and chemical. A physical exfoliation is something containing granules of some type to physically buff off the dead skin. Any time a physical exfoliant is used, you have to apply light pressure to avoid being too abrasive with the skin. A chemical exfoliation uses alpha/beta hydroxy acids (glycolic, salicylic, lactic acids) or enzymes to provide a deeper exfoliation. Exfoliation is recommended 1-2 times a week.

During the summer months I recommend using a lighter exfoliant. However, since we are moving into Fall weather, more aggressive methods, like chemical peels, of exfoliation are acceptable since we don't have as heavy UVA/UVB rays to worry about that would cause increased skin sensitivity.

If you are a regular makeup wearer exfoliation is especially important since so many heavy oil based products can get trapped under the skin if not throughly removed. 

Below are a few of my favorite exfoliants.

Tip: Do NOT apply to heavy or aggressive pressure if you are using a physical scrub. The granules or beads in the product should do the buffing for you, not added pressure from your hands. Too much pressure can result in the skin feeling burned or sensitive. 

Tip #2: Do a double cleanse and apply your physical exfoliation before getting into the shower in the evening. The steam will open pores and force buildup and congestion out of the skin. 

Tip #3: After exfoliating use a hydrating serum and facial oil for a healthy glow!

Amala Beauty Brightening Face Polish

Amala Beauty Brightening Face Polish

Eminence Organics Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant Eminence Organics Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzfoliant

Eminence Organics Strawberry Rhubarb Dermafoliant

Eminence Organics Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzfoliant

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel

Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

SkinCeuticals Micro-Exfoliating Scrub

Custom body Bronzing

Imagine a perfect summer day, and you are on the beach with waves rolling in. You are so relaxed you may fall into that near sleep state. You are perfectly content, calm, basking in the warm sun while getting a lovely sun kissed glow on your skin. You are also, unfortunately, getting that unlovely photo aging sun damage. This increases your chances of getting deadly skin cancer and guarantees premature wrinkles, sunspots, loss of firmness, etc.

Since we all know very well the dangers of prolonged sun exposure, why is it so attractive? If we can achieve the same look with self tan products at home or a quick spray tan from the salon why take that risk? The reason is easy to overlook in the modern world we live in: relaxation. The look is only part of the goal. The sunkissed skin is the icing on the cake. But what is another reason for achieving this desired look from a spa? Answer: relaxation. The cake is the relaxation.

What if you have the same feeling of serenity without the damage? What would that look like? It could look like a massage! More accurately, like this... a luxurious full body exfoliation with organic cleanser and cloth mitts followed by a massage application of natural skin tanners. All you need to do is melt into the massage table and  drift to that same serene mind space with expert assistance and some well chosen aromatherapy. At the end of this service you are smooth, "sun-kissed" and relaxed. You can care for the appearence of your skin today and safe guard it for your future while recreating the soul feeding ritual of sun worshipping. 

Custom Bronzing - $100

Hydrating vs. Moisturizing

I am always preaching the importance of hydration to clients and encourage them to moisturize in addition to staying hydrated. There are major differences between hydrating and moisturizing.

Hydrating products are designed to increase the water content of the skin. They contain ingredients to prevent moisture from leaving the skin and increase the absorption of water into the skin. Some of the most common hydrating ingredients are hyaluronic acid, glycerin and honey (most commonly found in organic products), amino acids and water. 

Moisturizing products, on the other hand, are designed to keep the water content and hydration from leaving the skin. The end result of using a moisturizer long term is the skin stays soft, hydrated and looks healthy. Using a moisturizer at night is imperative because when you sleep your body loses a lot of water. When the body is at rest it heals faster and goes into repair mode. It takes about 10 minutes for your skin to fully absorb a moisturizer.

There are many reasons to hydrate your skin. For one, it gives your skin a health glow. Secondly, your skin absorbs the hydrating ingredients which makes your skin look plump and more youthful. It's an instant anti-ager. Hydrators also balance oil production. If your skin is oily and dehydrated, your skin says "give me hydration." If it does not receive hydration, the glands will try to defend the skin by producing more oil in an attempt to hydrate itself. Lastly, when the skin is hydrated makeup and foundation sit better and more evenly on the skin. 

I use a hydrating product morning and night. I like using a beauty oil (Amala Hydrating Jasmine Oil or Aesop Parsley Seed Oil) and a hyaluronic acid serum (Image Skincare Balancing serum). Below are my favorite hydrating products.


What Does your Sunscreen's SPF Really Mean?

First things first. SPF stands for "sun protection factor." It is an indication of the protection against UVB (ultraviolet B) rays that cause sunburn. It is important to take into consideration the UVB rays when thinking about sun protection but also the UVA (ultraviolet A) rays. UVA rays cause skin cancer, are absorbed by the skin and are responsible for causing visible signs of aging and wrinkles.   

When determining what SPF to use it really comes down to simple math. You want to take the length of time it takes you to burn without sunscreen by the SPF value to get your total sun exposure for the entire day. Say it usually takes 10 minutes for your skin to burn without any sunscreen and you use an SPF 30. You would take the length of time (10 minutes) by the SPF value (30) to get total length of time before you start to burn = 300 minutes. You would have 5 hours of sun exposure for the day before you start to burn. It is important to reapply every 2-3 hours because sunscreen can wear off with sweating, swimming, outdoor activities, etc. Even if your sunscreen claims to be sweat proof and provide all day protection, it can't if it's not fully applied for optimal protection. Also know that reapplying does not restart the clock. Your 300 minutes or 5 hours is it for the ENTIRE day! 

Always apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and don't forget your ears!

I recommend using a physical sunscreen because the main ingredients of a physical sunscreen are Zinc Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide. They sit on the skin and don't cause reactions like many chemical sunscreens can. See below for my favorite sunscreens.


Wellness Massage

Isn't ALL massage about feeling better and wellness?

Wellness massage has become the common term for massage therapy that is not directly prescribed for a medical condition. It is the bodywork equivalent of going to the gym to stay fit. Basically, it means you are not injured and you do not want to become so. It is used for reducing stress, recovering after a strenuous activity, training for a strenuous activity, improving body image, Increasing lymphatic flow and the most common reason of "just wanting to feel good."

There lots of opinions on what makes your wellness massage session a success. But there is only one that matters, yours. Here are a few reasons why you should have a productive client/therapist partnership when there are no medical concerns to address:

  • Your sessions are not bound by a rigid timeline for improvement. I can adjust treatment for whatever you need in the moment. Meaning if you have a long term goal of eliminating the trigger points and tension in your shoulders but your short term goals are to destress and "zone out" for a mental vacation, I can do that! I I can give you a relaxing treatment and reduce those stress hormones overwhelming your nervous system. Then when you are ready to resume more intense work your body is more receptive to change. You and I will make that call together.
  •  It's preventive. You don't need to wait until you are immobile with debilitating pain and unable to sleep. When your body starts to give you signals that something is a little off act on it right away. Or, if you know you are about to put your body though work that usually leads to pain and soreness get a massage beforehand to avoid those pitfalls.
  • It reduces anxiety
  • Can relieve headaches
  • Insomnia related to stress
  • Promote relaxation
  • Lowers blood pressure

Wellness Massage is a powerful tool for your health maintenance. Often we put more thought and energy into taking care of our cars and everything else than our bodies. Thankfully the culture is changing and we are beginning to see ourselves, especially our bodies, as worthy of time and money.

Rebecca Reali, LMT


The Benefits of Vitamin C

Vitamin C has been a staple in my skincare routine for a decade. I personally use a Vitamin C serum and moisturizer daily. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin, and is needed by our bodies to form collagen in bones, cartilage, muscle and blood vessels. There are numerous benefits to the almighty powerful Vitamin C. Vitamin C:

    Increases the effectiveness of your sunscreen and boosts your skins defense against UV exposure

    Brightens and evens skin tone

    Reduces redness and inflammation

    Helps firm the skin as it boosts collagen production

    Reduces hyperpigmentation, sun damage and brown spots

Applying Vitamin C to the skin is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion. It has been proven that once a topical antioxidant is absorbed into the skin, it cannot be washed or rubbed off. So, even after stopping the application of Vitamin C significant amounts of Vitamin C will remain in the skin for up to 72 hours.

Vitamin C is not only necessary for collagen production and maintenance, but it is also a potent antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals in the skin. Free radicals are atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron (my middle school biology teacher Mrs. Graham would be pleased to know that I was paying attention). Electrons are meant to be paired, and when one electron is left alone, it "searches" to find it's mate. In doing so free radicals attack and destroy nearby compounds. Free radicals can complete its paring by stealing an electron from say, the protein in a strand of collagen. This process of free radicals damaging and breaking protein or collagen strands causes "aging". The final result is the skin starts to sag and wrinkles form. 

My favorite Vitamin C products:

    Image Skincare Vital C Cleanser (a creamy rich cleanser that happens to smell like an orange grove)


    SkinCeuticals C&E Ferulic (one of the most popular and effective Vitamin C serums on the market)


    Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Anti-Aging Serum (I personally use this as a moisturizer over the C&E Ferulic)


    Image Skincare Vital C Hydrating Enzyme Mask (an exfoliating, hydrating and brightening treatment)