Humor

Razor Burn Rescue!

Happy June 1st! I hope a lot of you were able to break in your swimsuits and enjoy some sunshine this weekend, sunburn free, of course. I’ve talked a lot about sunburn and how to avoid it, but today I want to talk about a different kind of burn – razor burn.   Razor burn happens when shaved hairs become ingrown, causing comedone (pimple) look a likes to pop up. Often several at a time. It’s not the same thing as an actual comedone, it’s simply irritated skin around a hair that isn’t growing out of the skin properly. So here are some tips to help avoid razor burn!

 

1. Never shave “against the grain”. Try to shave in the direction of hair growth. I know it’s not a smooth that way, but that’s the point. When you shave against the natural direction of growth, you run the risk of cutting the hair below the skin line. As the hair grows, it may get stuck in the skin and cause ingrown hairs.

2. Exfoliate the shaved area 24-48 hours after shaving. Removing any cells that could block the hair from being able to grow out can help keep razor burn at bay. If you shave every single day, exfoliate the area two times a week. You should be using an exfoliant with jojo beads or seeds as the ingredient that does the scrubbing.

3. Use an aftershave product with tea tree oil in it. It helps discourage bacterial activity and keep down inflammation. You can also use tea tree oil on any existing razor burn to help heal the skin.

4. Change your razor often. If a razor dulls or gets little micro nicks, instead of shaving the hair smoothly it can catch the hair, pull, and break it instead. The broken hair is so short it goes below the skin and can become ingrown.

5. For legs and body, instead of using a shaving cream, try using an inexpensive conditioner. It helps moisturize the skin and keep it healthier! Shaving creams can occasionally dry out the skin.

6. If you have thick or curly hair, use men’s razors. I’ve found they tend to work a little better than the lady versions.

7. After shaving, rinse the skin off with cool water. It helps close the pores and keep out any bacteria or environmental debris that could cause irritation around the hair follicle.

 

If you have a lot of problems with razor burn or ingrown hairs, it may be time to explore a different option of hair removal. Waxing, threading, laser, and electrolysis are all widely available options that may work better for you. I hope you all have a safe and happy weekend! Enjoy!

 

As always if you have any questions please send them to megjacobsblog@gmail.com, and check out the fan page at http://www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

See you next week!

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What Moms Wish They Knew When They Were Younger

 

Mom and Me

Me and my beautiful momma!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Experience is the greatest gift of age, and I’m so thankful for everyone in my life who has shared their experiences with me so I didn’t have to find out for myself.   The saying “Mom knows best!” really does ring true often! So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d share some pearls of wisdom I’ve gained from the moms in my life. These are 5 things they wish they knew when they were younger.

 

1. The tan is not worth it.   I remember hearing tales, from my mom and aunts, of covering their bodies with butter or olive oil and lying in the sun. While the memories of their youth are fond, if they could go back, all of them say– skip the tan. A tan completion wasn’t popular until the 1920’s, when fashion icon Coco Chanel got an accidental sunburn on her vacation to the south of France. When she returned to Paris, with tanned skin, it became a status symbol to be tanned. It’s almost 100 years later, lets let that one go!

 

2. Apply your moisturizer (and other products!) to your neck and décolletage – not just your face.   Do you ever see people with faces that look 10 years younger than their neck and chest? Yeah, it’s not a good look. Pay attention to your neck and décolletage before it becomes a problem.

 

3. Your children are important, but so are you! Often I hear mom’s say they have no time for taking care of themselves. It only takes 2 minutes a day to do everything you need to take care of your skin. Take that time for you. Often the better you look, the better you feel!

 

4. Start using eye cream early. Don’t wait until you start to see the fine lines and crows feet. It’s much easier to prevent than it is to undo.

 

5. Relax. Get some sleep, let go of the things you can’t change, and don’t worry so much! All that anxiety ages you, and can cause other health problems. Life is good, enjoy it!

 

Thank you to all the mothers out there for all you do! You are beautiful and loved!

 

As always if you have any questions please send them to megjacobsblog@gmail.com, and check out the fan page at www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

7 Deadly Skin Sins ­­­­– And How To Beat Them

 

7-deadly-sins-900x500

Photo from America’s Next Top Model

We’ve talked a lot about do’s and don’ts when it comes to skin care, so I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick and dirty list of the usual suspects that damage your skin and can lead to less than desirable results. The weather is warmer and more skin is showing, avoid these sinful seven, and keep your skin glowing!

1. The Sun: I’ve said it over and over again – there is simply no such thing as a healthy tan. However, most of our sun damage comes from our every day lives, not just trips to the beach. Just because you don’t see a tan line forming, doesn’t mean you’re not taking sun damage. UVA rays that cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots don’t cause sunburn, so we don’t always pay attention to the exposure. I suggest wearing a facial moisturizer with SPF 15-30 daily to protect your skin from those damaging rays. UVA rays are active all year long, and unlike UVBs, can penetrate glass. So, if you’re seeing natural light, wear your SPF! Your skin will thank you as the years go by, and all those 10-minute walks outside add up!

2. Dehydration: An adult body is made of up to 60% water. Water is required for many of the natural biological functions that take place in your body at any give time. You simply cannot operate at full capacity if you aren’t properly hydrated, and that includes having healthy skin. Getting enough water means better functioning metabolism, faster clearing of toxins, and all round better health. You should try to get 1 ounce of water for every 2 pounds of body weight. So, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should aim to drink 75 ounces of water a day. It’s also a good idea to eat lots of fruits and vegetables that have high water content as well!

3. Smoking: Smoking causes asphyxiation to your skin. It literally suffocates your skin cells and denies them oxygen, nutrients, and blood flow – causing the skin to appear dull and lifeless. Smoking also produces cancer causing free radicals, and premature wrinkles around the mouth from drawing in. There are a lot of good reasons to quit smoking, and none to start. Talk to your doctor about ways to kick the habit for good if you’re already a smoker. If you’re thinking about starting, please don’t!

4. Lack of Sleep: Your body goes into a natural reparative and restorative phase while you sleep, and that includes healing your skin. You have to give your body a chance to reset and heal from the day, and all of the stresses that are a part of our lives. While sleeping, your body’s production of cancer causing free radicals drops to it’s lowest, and your body can play catch up neutralizing and eliminate them. We all know “You look tired.” isn’t a compliment, so get your beauty rest!

5. Alcohol: A glass of red wine with dinner can be good for you, but like everything, moderation is key. Alcohol dehydrates your body, and it can also exacerbate the problems of sensitive skin. Too much alcohol can also result in a condition known as couperose, where weakened capillaries are unable to return to their normal size once dilated, and the skin retains a permanent pink tinge.

6. Poor Diet: Avoid CRAP: Caffeine, Refined foods, Alcohol and Artificial sweeteners, and Processed foods are not your friends. Everything you eat affects your whole body, from the inside out.  Your skin is your largest organ, and how you nourish it shows.   If you starve, suffocate, or deny its needs long enough your skin could end up looking older, sallow, dull, and even cause medical problems like acne or eczema. For optimal skin health from the inside out, most experts agree a balanced, healthy diet goes a long way.

7. Stress: Stress dehydrates skin. Most of us have probably noticed that we have more skin problems when we are under stress.  This happens because the human body developed its stress management systems back when our stressors were things like being eaten by saber toothed tigers or trampled by wooly mammoths.  Unfortunately, your body can’t tell the difference between a deadline at work or whether you’re about to become dinner for Tigger, but it does know you’re stressed so it assumes your life is being threatened.  When this happens, your body helps you out by going into a “vital organ protection mode,” which means it chooses to re-route hydration and nutrients from some less critical organs to the organs that will keep you alive.  The first organ that gets cut off is your skin. It makes sense; it’s your largest organ, takes up a lot of resources, and unfortunately beautiful glowing skin isn’t on the list of things that keep you breathing. So take a deep breath, and relax.

Hope this little cheat sheet of things to avoid helps you keep your skin in top-notch shape!

As always send any questions to megjacobsblog@gmail.com and check out the fan page at www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

See you next Sunday!

Here Comes The Bride….and everyone else with a big event!

Bridal Skin

You’re getting married and you have a million things to do.  Planning your wedding can be one of the most exciting yet stressful times in your life.  All that excitement and stress (remember, excitement can register in your body as stress as well!) can take a toll on the skin and cause unwanted breakouts, inflammation, cold sores, and eczema flare-ups just when you don’t want them the most.  In order to avoid the unknown and unwanted, you need to have a plan so you’re as beautiful and healthy on your big day as you’ve always dreamed of being.   Even if you’re not getting married, these same tips are great for any major event like class reunions, major presentations, or “running” into your ex. 😉

Here’s the key, though:  You have to start planning far in advance, ideally longer than six months out!  If you’re only a few days or weeks out from the big day, there are only limited options available to you— and more importantly, a few big last-minute no-no’s.

One Year-Six Months From the Big Day

Good for you!  You’ve started thinking about this far enough in advance that you have a lot of options!  With a little bit of skin-TLC and some professional help, you’ll look even more amazing for your Big Day!

Do start getting facials.  The longer you get them, the better the results.  Starting this early before your Day gives you time to try different facials and get used to the products your esthetician uses.  Word of warning, though— not every esthetician is created the same.  Try a few out, pick one you feel comfortable with, and whose advice works for you.

Do get any advanced treatments now.  If you’re looking to do something more advanced, like a chemical peel or IPL laser to address fine lines, wrinkles, or sun damage, start those treatments now.  Do not do these within six months of your wedding and honeymoon. You want to give your skin plenty of time to recover, especially if you’re planning a sunny honeymoon! But, here’s the most important part about advanced treatments— you must go to a medical professional (do not go to anyone without formal medical training, regardless of whether they are certified or not!!!) for a consultation and to have the procedures done. Do not buy a Groupon or trust someone without medical credentials to do advanced procedures on your face (or anywhere else, really).  It is not worth the few bucks you’ll save to risk permanent damage to your skin because someone isn’t detail oriented, properly trained, or working with improperly calibrated equipment.

Do get on a daily skin regimen. Your daily routine should take you about two minutes, twice a day.  Cleanse, Tone, Treat, Moisturize and Protect. Your esthetician can and should help you pick out the products that will work best for you after giving you a thorough skin consultation. You can read a detailed outline for daily skincare here.

Do call a doctor if you have skin problems as a result of a medical condition.  If you have a skin issue that needs a doctor’s attention, call your dermatologist now.  It can take months to get an appointment, so don’t wait.  In my experience, it often takes at least three months for results to really show from prescription treatments, so you’ll want to get started as soon as possible.

Do start exercising.  I know this doesn’t sound like a skin care tip, but it is.  Your skin is your largest organ, and whole body health matters. Sweat helps flush toxins from the body and exercise is a very healthy outlet for your excitement and stress! I’m sure you’d rather turn that extra energy into a smoking hot body than unwanted breakouts, so get that body moving!

Dont worry.  If your wedding is within the next six months and you’re just now reading this, that’s ok.  All this advice can carry forward – just get started now, and hold off on the advanced treatments that can take a while to heal from!

Three to Six Months Out

Do drink water.  You should be getting 1oz of water for every 2lbs of body weight.  So, if you weigh 150lbs, you should be getting 75oz of water each day.  The only substitute for water is ice water.  If you’re adding lemons, crystal light, anything else that isn’t just ice, or drinking water that comes in a bottle with an adjective in front of it (like fitness, vitamin, etc), your water isn’t water anymore and doesn’t count.

If you hate drinking water, I suggest doing shots.  Of water, not liquor.  Every time you walk past a water fountain or the water cooler at work, drink a shot’s worth.  These small amounts really add up, and once your body starts to get hydrated, you will start craving H2O.  Your whole body will thank you, not just your skin!

Do start thinking about diet. Lots of brides are on a diet, but that’s not what I mean.  You need to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs.  You need to be eating the healthy foods that provide macro- and micro-essential nutrients for your health, and your skin health! Click here for a list of very skin healthy items to add in!

Don’t starve yourself.  I cannot stress this enough.  Your body needs fuel to meet your goals.  Depriving your body of its needs will lead to sallow, unhealthy looking skin.  You don’t want to look sallow, do you?  That word just sounds horrible.  Sallow.  Not to mention, if you don’t eat, you’ll be a very grumpy person all the time during what should be a very happy time! So eat. It’s vital to your happiness and reaching your skin goals.  No excuses.

One to Three Months Out

Do say goodbye to CRAP. Caffeine, Refined foods, Alcohol and Artificial sweeteners, and Processed foods are not your friends. At this point, you should already be used to a healthier diet, but it’s time to get strict.  Stop sneaking the Jordan Almonds and calling everything a “taste test”.  If it’s your actual wedding taste test, or your bridal shower, please enjoy those events fully!  If it’s just you picking food for yourself, cut the CRAP.

Do try Spray Tan.  If you want a bronze glow, a spray tan is a relatively healthier option than a real tan.  Schedule an appointment for a trial about six weeks before your wedding date. Your tanner will be able to suggest the best directions for the week of the wedding, but in my experience it’s best to get it done two days before the date. So, if your wedding is a Saturday, get sprayed on Thursday. Important caveat— a spray tan does put a lot of chemicals into your skin, so don’t go overboard and get spray tans every week, now.  I only suggest them relative to the damage an actual tan causes— the healthiest option is no tan at all, and have your photographer give you one in post-processing. 😉

Do your make-up trial.  You want to be sure your makeup plan not only looks the way you envision, but also ensure that your skin doesn’t react to the products your makeup artist uses.  If you’re thinking about using airbrush makeup for your wedding day, I totally recommend it. I’ve seen brides with airbrush makeup get dunked in oceans, and the stuff doesn’t move. With that in mind, make sure you have an oil facial cleanser.  You’ll want to use that to remove any airbrush makeup, since water and regular cleanser don’t cut it.

Don’t cut corners. You might be starting to get busy and bogged down in your checklist.  Family drama may be taking up your time, and it may seem like an extra step to do your skin routine, make it to the gym, or even bother making yourself dinner.  Take care of yourself, and don’t lose focus on all the hard work you’ve already done.

One Month Out

Don’t try new things.  This isn’t the time to get creative and try that beauty product you keep hearing about, or that mask you keep seeing on pinterest.  Also, don’t make the executive decision that since using a product once a day is working well, using it three times a day will be three times as good! You have your routine, stick with what you know.  You don’t want to risk reactions and inflammation this close to the Big Day.

Do get your last facial. Do not treat yourself to a facial the week of the wedding.  Get your last one done 10-15 days out. On the day of your wedding, you’ll likely be wearing more makeup than normal. If your skin is still sensitive at all from your facial, irritation is very possible. Also, if you are insisting on getting a real tan, DO NOT TAN WITHIN 48 HOURS OF YOUR FACIAL.  This very often leads to a rash that will not be gone before your wedding.

Do take Bachelorette Party precautions.  If you know you’re going to be consuming larger than normal quantities of alcohol start the evening by hydrating in advance.  Anecdotally, I’ve also seen that taking 200mg of ibuprofen before you start drinking can help manage inflammation.  Have a great time, but remember to alternate your drinks with water. Once the night is over drink some more water before bed, and consider another dose of ibuprofen. Your skin, body, and head will be very appreciative.

The Week Of

Do get sleep.  It’s easy to think everything must be done right now by you, and you alone, but this attitude can take away from your ability to take care of yourself. Unless the crisis you’re handling is stopping a meteor from hitting the earth or a missile attack, it can wait until tomorrow or be delegated to someone else. Pack it in and get some shut-eye.  You don’t want to be covering huge, dark eye-circles on your wedding day.

Don’t forget whats important.  You’re getting married. If, at the end of the day you are married to the person you love, your wedding is a success.  If the wrong flowers show up, if someone is trying to make the event about them, if your beautiful outdoor wedding is showing forecast for a hurricane, or if you’ve followed my advice and you still have an unexplained breakout….let it go.  All the worry and stress won’t change any of these things, but it will aggravate your skin, general happiness, and take the focus off the important part— your new life with your wonderful new spouse, and the hilarious stories you’ll have if things “go wrong.”

The Day Of

Do exfoliate.  This is the only time I will ever tell anyone to exfoliate in the morning.  You want to give your makeup artist the smoothest pallet possible to work with, and that means a freshly exfoliated face. However, that doesn’t mean you can go overboard and scrub your face off.  Just do your normal exfoliant from the skin care regimen you’ve been doing for the past few months. Spray your toner, put on a light moisturizer, and leave your face alone.  Your makeup artist will handle the rest!

Do have a great time!  The day is here, you’ve worked hard to look fabulous in all your photos, but no cosmetic or skin care can take the place of a real genuine smile.  So be joyous, it will make you glow!

After…and the days beyond

Do use an oil cleanser. No matter what your skin type, you’ll need an extra step to get the larger than normal amount of makeup off.  If you’re worried about the oil on your skin, feel free to follow with your normal cleanser.

Don’t stop now!  You’ve spent the past few months learning great habits for beautiful skin and a healthier body.  Keep them up, and enjoy the benefits for life!

As always send questions to megjacobsblog@gmail.com and check us out on facebook: www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

See you next week!

Eat Your Way To Beautiful Skin

 

Eating for your skin

So you want beautiful skin?  Truly radiant, glowing, and possibly even younger-looking skin?  Then you need to make sure what you put in your body is as carefully chosen as what you put on it! When trying to achieve your skin care goals, it takes more than just what you put on your skin. Relying on products to give you the results you want without taking care of yourself on the inside is as effective as taking diet pills and eating fast food for every meal—you’re simply not going to achieve the results you want!

 

Everything you eat affects your whole body, from the inside out.  Your skin is your largest organ, and how you nourish it shows.   If you starve, suffocate, or deny its needs long enough your skin could end up looking older, sallow, dull, and even cause medical problems like acne or eczema.

 

For optimal skin health from the inside out, most experts agree a balanced, healthy diet goes a long way. Here are five things you can add to your diet (in moderation!!!) to go the extra mile for your skin:

 

1. Vitamin A –  Vit A is a fat-soluble nutritional compound essential for growth and development, helps to support your immune system, and keeps your vision top-notch.  Vitamin A is also your body’s natural source for retinol.  Retinol is sort of like a house-mom for your skin cells. It tells them how look, act, and behave better while keeping other substances from telling your cells to behave abnormally.  This communication with your cells helps prevent and heal blemishes, fine lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and general dullness.  It can make your skin a bit sun sensitive though, but you’re already staying out of the sun anyway, right? 😉

 

Best Sources: Whole milk,  yogurt, and other dairy products are arguably the best source for vitamin A, but if you have a dairy allergy or do not eat animal products you can also get vitamin A from sweet potatos, carrots, dark leafy greens, winter squash, and swiss chard.  However, for all you skinny minnies who don’t eat any fat, you’re going to need to add a little fat back into your diet when you eat sources of vitamin A, or else your body will be unable to absorb this fat-soluble vitamin.

 

2. Essential fatty acids – These are abbreviated as EFA’s, and they refer to fatty acids that are required for biological processes—you would die if you didn’t have them in your diet!  They are considered “essential” because our bodies are not capable of synthesizing them, which is a fancy way of saying that your body cannot produce these fatty acids by combining other nutrients in your diet.  There are only two known EFA’s for humans: alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid) and linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid). As an interesting side note, EFA’s were originally designated “vitamin F” but research eventually showed they were better classified as a fat than a vitamin.

 

Essential fatty acids are responsible for maintaining healthy cell membranes.  Your cell membranes act as the guardians of your cells, which means that their job is to allow good things in (like the nutrients your cells need) while keeping the bad things out (like toxins), so it’s easy to see why it’s important to have properly functioning and healthy cell membranes.  They also allow waste products to get in and out of the cell, a necessary function to life. The cell membrane also holds water in, so the stronger that barrier is, the better your cells can hold moisture. More moisture in your skin means plumper, younger looking skin. Also, the same inflammatory process that harms your arteries and causes heart disease can damage skin cells. Increasing your intake of EFAs is a critical step to healthier, younger looking skin—and your body in general.

 

Best Sources: Salmon, walnuts, flax seed, sardines, and fish oil supplements (with a high EPA/DHA content!)

inflamation

 

A photo of an older man showing skin inflammation caused by not getting the proper nutrients.  Looking at his plate, it’s not a surprise.  

3. Healthy Oils – Eating high-quality oils helps to keep skin lubricated and looking and feeling healthier overall. It’s best to look for oils labeled cold pressed, expeller processed, or extra virgin to ensure you get all the healthy nutrients and compounds in these oils.  When an oil is commercially processed, important nutrients are often lost via the solvents and heating used in these processes.

 

Best Sources: Olive, palm, and coconut oils. Ghee (clarified butter), duck fat and butter from grassfed cows are skin healthy sources of animal fats—and grassfed butter and duck fat are both rich sources of EFAs, too!  Since these are all very high in fat, moderation should of course be exercised.  I prefer to cook with animal fats and coconut oil—not only are they immensely delicious, but they are stable under high heat.  Olive and palm oils can oxidize when heated, which can be damaging to your cells, as you’ll read right below.

 

4. Antioxidants – These help to prevent oxidation in the body (get it? ANTI-oxidant).  Oxidation is actually a normal, natural cellular process, but sometimes the result is a very dangerous side effect—free radicals. Approximately 1-2% of cells that oxidize get damaged and turn into free radicals.  The science behind free radicals isn’t important here, but what is important is that a free radical can injure other cells and damage its DNA, which has been linked to premature aging and other diseases, including cancer.  Thus, it’s critical to be consuming antioxidants in your diet, which neutralize free radicals before they wreak havoc on your cells.

Best Sources: Blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, plums, green tea…..and chocolate, but that’s not a free pass!

 

5. Selenium – Selenium is a mineral that helps the skin heal from burn injures and protects from sun rays. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.  It sort of plays the role of “Best Supporting Actor” to the other four skin healthy items we mentioned.

 

Best Sources: Tuna, shrimp, brazil nuts, and whole wheat products.

 

Getting your skin to be its healthiest starts from the inside.  Skin care is 80% what you put in your body and 20% what you put on it.  Products and estheticians can only get you so far if you’re not hydrating, and eating essential nutrients to your health.

 

As always, if you have any questions please email me at megjacobsblog@gmail.com, and I’d love to hear suggestions for future posts!

 

Don’t forget to follow on Facebook! www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

 

See you next Sunday!

 

 

 

 

What Your Breakouts Mean

dermalogica_face_mapping

             Face Map from Dermalogica 

Your skin is a giant tattletale. It is. Every time you look in the mirror it’s talking to you, trying to let you know what’s going on inside.  But, it can’t keep a secret to save its life. Your skin tells the story of your sleeping and eating habits, internal processes, and can be the first sign to figuring out certain health issues or imbalances.  If you seem to constantly break out or have other skin issues in the same areas, your skin is probably trying to tell you something!

Fortunately, these signals are easy for you to interpret. The formal name for this interpretation is Face Mapping.  Dealing with break-outs and blotchiness aren’t very fun, but it’s important for you to have a road map to your own face.  That way, you will be able to decode some persistent problem areas and understand the underlying causes that might be affecting your overall health, as well as your skin health.

Forehead (zone 1, 3)*- Consistent breakouts here are usually related to bladder and digestive functions. If you are constantly breaking out in this area it can be a sign that you need to take a break from junk foods, alcohol, and caffeine.  Try to drink more water and focus on wholesome foods, preferably ones that fall in the cold or cool realms.  Stress can also disrupt the flow of your body and digestion and cause breakouts here.  So, make sure you get plenty of rest and let go of worrying about things you can’t control.

http-::holistichealth-counseling.com

Middle of the Forehead and between eyebrows (zone 2) *– Breakouts here are often related to the liver. Most of us are aware that the liver is responsible for filtering toxins from our bodies, such as alcohol and drugs, but the liver also produces bile to digest fats and proteins. Try to reduce your consumption of alcohol, drugs (including over the counter ones), and heavy fatty foods. Since it’s cold and flu season, you may also experience breakouts in this area if you’ve had a cold or flu recently and have been living on medicine to help you through.  Your liver has to flush those out of your system…but the breakout should go away not long after your cold/flu.

*Your gallbladder can also cause issues in zones 1, 2, and 3. The gallbladder is where your body stores the bile your liver produces. Reducing fatty processed foods from your diet should help.

Ears (zone 4, 10) – If your ears are red or hot it can indicate stress on the adrenal gland or kidneys.  Calm down and drink some cool water to help those kidneys filter!  Stay away from sodas and energy drinks—they dehydrate you and the caffeine in them are stressors on your endocrine system.

Cheeks (zone 5, 9) – Breakouts here can indicate issues with the respiratory system.  If you are a smoker, or have allergies, breakouts here can be very common.  Food allergies can also show up here first.  If you don’t smoke and don’t believe you have any allergies but seem to have redness, it can be a sign of rosacea or a diet too full of warm foods.  Breakouts on the lower cheeks can also indicate dental or gum infections like gingivitis.

Eyes (zone 6, 8) – Puffiness and dark circles often indicates poor kidney function.  Much like zone 4, the key here is to drink water and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and soda. It may seem obvious but make sure you’ve been getting good sleep as well!  Yes, darkness and puffiness can be hereditary but if you get solid sleep and stay hydrated you can minimize the effects of those pesky genes.

Nose (zone 7) – Issues with your heart or circulation can show up here.  Redness can indicate high blood pressure or the beginnings of rosacea, as well. If you have constant redness in a butterfly shape on your nose and cheeks, that possibly spreads to other parts of the face, it is a good idea to check for lupus as well.

Sides of the chin and jawline (zone 11, 13)** – Breakouts here are often related to changes in stress and hormone levels.  They can often follow the pattern of the female ovulation cycle or show up during times of high stress.  Pregnancy, using hormonal birth control, or even eating foods treated with hormones can also lead to breakouts in this area.  If you are a female who experiences acne in this area and also heavier hair growth around the chin, it’s a good idea to get tested for Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  If you have had recent dental work, you may also experience breakouts around the jaw line.

Chin (zone 12)** – Stomach and hormonal imbalances are often the culprit behind congestion and breakouts in this area.   Everything from zones 11 and 13 still applies here, but if you have a poor quality diet, you may have extra congestion on the chin.  Focus on reducing the amount of CRAP (Caffeine, Refined foods, Alcohol and Artificial sweeteners, and Processed foods)

**Another issue I often see around Valentines Day and the entire month of November (Movember) is unexplainable redness, irritation, and breakouts around the chin and mouth.  Just tell your man to shave for goodness sakes. 😉

Neck (zone 14) – breakouts or uneven skin tone on the neck can indicate your body is fighting off a bacterial or viral infection or that you’re putting stress on your adrenal gland.  Get some rest, eat well, read a good book, and relax. Namaste.

As you can see, your facial skin can be an indicator for a lot of internal turmoil.  In fact, it’s literally staring at you in the mirror. If you do suspect an underlying hormonal imbalance or other medical condition, please get to the doctor and have your levels checked.  When it comes to thyroid, adrenal, the rest of your endocrine system and the health of your whole body, it is better to be safe than sorry—a lot of issues can be mitigated if you start treating them sooner rather than later.

Listen to your skin. It really does have your best interests in mind!

As always, keep sending me your beauty-based questions to megjacobsblog@gmail.com or facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

See you next Sunday!

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and when looking into the idea of face mapping keep an open mind.  Just because you have breakouts in a certain area does not mean you absolutely have a  medical condition that needs treatment. Always seek medical help if you suspect a problem. These are simply guidelines to help you on your path to skin you love.

What You’re Probably Doing Wrong In The Shower

Shower

Showering.  It seems pretty simple.  Turn on the water, soap up, rinse, dry off. Most of us do it every single day, and most of us are probably doing it wrong.  Here are five of the most common missteps we all take when we step into and out of the shower.

1. You’re doing it too hot!  It’s a cruel truth that sometimes too much of our favorite things can be bad for us. Food, wine, chocolate, and of course long hot showers or baths. We always hear “everything in moderation,” and the same is true for the heat of the water we use to cleanse.  Here’s the thing: the temperature of the water affects the outermost layer of your skin, the epidermis.  Your epidermis is your body’s shield against the outside world. It is composed mostly of keratinocytes, skin cells full of keratin, which provide a tough barrier of defense against the outside world and maintain moisture in your skin. To assist with maintaining that moisture, your body produces a thin layer of oil, and it’s this layer of oil and cells, called the stratum corneaum, that the hot water is damaging.   The heat melts the oil, just like when you use hot water to clean off an oily dish, and can leave your skin red, itchy, and prone to dry patches and flaking. So turn the water down just a smidge, and your skin will thank you!

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One does not simply..shower in Mordor.

2. You’re using too much bubbles!  Shower gels, soaps, washes, and general body cleaning products all have a certain level of surfactant. As a rule of thumb, the more a product foams up when you lather, the more oil it strips from your skin—which dries out your skin and can send your facial skin into oil-producing overdrive More bubbles doesn’t mean more clean…it just means drier skin. So, if you’ve turned down the heat and you’re still feeling dry, maybe it’s time to consider a less sudsy soap!

3. You’re not getting it all off.  It can be hard to get all the soap off during a shower.  I know you always try your best, but often when we step out of the shower we leave a little soap behind in the harder to reach areas.  The most common places that product gets left behind are behind the ears, on the nape of the neck, under your breast, and yes…down below in all those places with folds of skin.  Leaving product on your skin can also lead to dryness or irritation, so make sure you get it all off!  Bras are annoying enough, you don’t need underboob soap, too.

4.You’re over-drying while you’re drying.  Ok, so this one isn’t technically IN the shower.  Using a towel to dry off seems simple enough, but believe it or not, you might be doing it wrong.  You step out of the shower, grab the towel, and start rubbing all the excess water off. It’s efficient, but it doesn’t make your skin very happy.  See, your skin actually draws moisture in from your surroundings to lubricate your skin.  Believe it or not, when you apply a moisturizer, the moisturizers mimics this process, as well.  Instead of toweling off after a shower, try patting the skin dry to leave a very light layer of water behind for your skin to use, or to be locked in by using a moisturizer that you apply after showering.

5. Brushing your teeth AFTER you wash your face.  Again, not necessarily in the shower, but still important.  A very common complaint I hear from my clients is that they get breakouts, but just around the mouth. The first question I ask is if they brush their teeth before or after they wash their face.  Almost every time the answer is after.  Toothpaste residue can irritate the very sensitive skin around the mouth and lead to breakouts. So just switching the order of when you brush your teeth and wash your face can help keep unnecessary breakouts away!

Showers should leave your skin feeling refreshed, not stripped out.  Hope this helps your body feel happy and healthy

Also, I have been honored and humbled that the initial reaction from this blog has been so positive.  I already have several hundred weekly readers, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that you all are hopefully learning something valuable!  So, I’d like to open it up—send me your beauty and skincare-related questions at megjacobsblog@gmail.com.  I’ll do my best to answer every question I get, and look forward to tailoring future blog posts to the most common questions!  See you next Sunday!

You can also find me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

The Not So Dirty Truth Behind Blackheads

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The Not So Dirty Truth Behind Blackheads

Blackheads…by far and away the number one complaint I see in my guests.  Everyone has tried anything promising the elimination of blackheads, from nose strips to sandpaper (I’m not joking), but there they are, your constant companion, staring back at you from the tip of your nose.  So why do you have them, and why won’t they go away?  Why aren’t the products you’re using working? Here are 10 truths about your blackheads to help you find your way to clearer pores.

1. Blackheads are not dirt.  This is a very common misconception, and the first step to understanding the problem. Blackheads are actually pores clogged with the excess oil from sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are located in hair follicles and release sebum, which consists mostly of fat, keratin, and cellular material.  Your body produces sebum to lubricate the hair and skin, and when it produces too much, this sebum accumulates in your pores.

2. Blackheads are named after worms. The technical term for a blackhead is an “open comedone,” which is the plural form of “comedo,” a latin word formerly given to worms that devour the body, but has since been co-opted by the medical field to describe bodily secretions that resemble the worms.  Neat, right?  Here’s the fun thing– a whitehead is called a “closed comedone,” because the pore is closed off from air, but the stuff inside blackheads and whiteheads are the same material.

3.  So why are blackheads black?  Well, remember, blackheads are open comedones, which means the tips of them are exposed to air.  Oxidation causes the ends of blackheads to become black.  This is why a blackhead appears black, but when you pop them, the inside part is white.

4. Blackheads are not a result of poor hygiene.  Since blackheads are not dirt, the problem isn’t that you’re not washing your face enough. In fact, cleansing the skin too often or with a cleanser with too much surfactant for you, can lead to more clogged pores because it can overstrip the skin of oil.  This causes your body to go into oil production overdrive.

5. You cannot scrub blackheads away. Many people think they can scrub the blackheads away, but since it’s not surface dirt, you can’t scrub it away. So why is it that your skin looks and feels so fresh and clean when you scrub?  Well, when you scrub, you’re scrubbing off the oxidized tip of a blackhead, which removes the visible dark portion and uppermost layer of skin.  However, the pore remains clogged and will darken again.  What’s more, over-scrubbing can actually lead to more blackheads and clogged pores because it stimulates oil production to replace the oil you strip away.

6. It’s probably not an oil problem. Yes, the pore is clogged with oil, but the important question is why the oil is there.  Dehydration is by far the most common cause than innate oil overproduction.  When the skin gets dehydrated, it makes extra oil to make up for the lack of water, and that extra oil leads to blackheads, particularly in the nose.  As I said above, excess cleansing and scrubbing, and using too harsh a cleanser, can also lead to a lack of oil in your skin and stimulate oil production.

7. Nose strips are not your friends.  Yes I know it’s satisfying to pull that sucker off and see the gunk you just eliminated from your nose, but if you look again you’ll also notice along with the oil plugs you also pulled out all the fine hairs.  Each of those hairs left behind an open pore, which can now get filled up with oil.  Usually, use of these products end up leaving the user with more blackheads over time.

8. Back away from the magnification mirror and don’t use extraction tools. These tools are designed to be used by someone who has been trained in their use. No one but your doctor or esthetician needs to see your pores magnified by 1000x.  It just leads you to think your blackheads are 1000 times worse than they are and then you’ll just freak out and want to extract them yourself. However, using an extraction tool on yourself often leads to bleeding, bruising, and broken capillaries because you probably don’t know how to use the tool without applying excess, damaging pressure.

9. Do use a hydrating toner, not an astringent. No matter what your skin type is, it can use more water.  Stripping the skin of its natural moisture and hydration can lead to extra oil production and more blackheads, but adding water can help diminish oil production and lead to fewer blackheads.

10. Do schedule a facial.  A professionally trained esthetician is your best resource to remove blackheads without damaging your skin or making your problems worse.  They have been trained to get those wriggly little comedones out of your skin safely.  However, if you absolutely, positively, 100% MUST remove the blackheads on your own, here is my suggestion: 1. Wash your face with your normal cleanser and make sure your hands are clean; 2.  Wrap your index fingers with some sort of soft, clean paper or cotton product (toilet paper a cotton 4”x4” pad work best); 3. Place your fingers wide around the affected pore and squeeze gently together, in an upwards motion; 4. If it doesn’t come out easily, rotate your fingers around the pore and repeat step 3 from a different angle; 5. Once the blackhead is extracted, wipe the pore down with your toner; 6. Enjoy your date, because if you’re not going on a date that night then you have no excuse not to wait to have the blackhead extracted by a professional!

Blackheads are a normal part of life.  No one will remain blackhead free forever, regardless of what you do.  But, you can manage them.  The best way to keep blackheads at bay between facials is to make sure your skin is as hydrated as possible– don’t over-wash or over-scrub, avoid drying products such as astringents, drink plenty of water, and try to keep your stress levels as managed as possible!

And don’t pour Tussin on it. 😀