Skincare: Going from 20’s to 30’s

dorothy

 

So you’re 30something, and that same skin care routine you started when you were 19 doesn’t seem to be giving you the same results it used to, right?  Maybe your skin seems different, or you break out now even though you never did in your teens and 20’s? It may also feel drier, the pores may seem larger, and…wait…is that sunspot or a wrinkle?!  Blemishes, and sunspots, and wrinkles, OH MY!  Well calm down Dorothy—you might not be in Kansas anymore, but no one’s dropped a house on your face. You’ve just changed a little.  So lets follow the yellow brick road and get to know your new skin, and learn to care of it now that it’s out of Kansas…I mean, your 20’s.

The Breakouts:  The most common breakouts I see in 30somethings are hormonal breakouts around the chin.  It’s a lie that women go through puberty, and then it’s smooth skin sailing.  Our hormones are constantly changing, and on top of that, we eventually get to experience “second puberty”— menopause.

What to do: If you’re dealing with this type of breakout, see your doctor. The best way to deal with hormonal breakouts is to get those hormones under control, and your doctor will be able to guide you in the right direction. Outside of prescription help, you can also do yourself a favor by avoiding foods that contain hormones. Try to get hormone free meats and dairy, milk and butter from grass-fed cows, or try alternatives like almond milk.

 

Sun Spots: Remember that amazing tan you got every summer in college? Or even, bless your heart, year round thanks to the tanning bed? How about all those fun days a kid playing outside in the sprinklers?  Guess what—They’reeee baaaacccckkkk!  Most people actually get 80% of the sun damage in their lifetime before turning 18, it just takes a while for it to start showing. On top of that, for every decade that goes by, we lose 8-20% of our melanocytes, the pigment producing cells in our skin.  Of course, they don’t disappear in a nice, neat, and orderly manner…so this leads to skin looking uneven and mottled in some areas. Hooray aging!

What to do: Use products with high quality vitamin C and treatment serums containing hydroquinone.  Kojic acid and alpha hydroxy acids work well on darker skin as well. If you’re looking to really attack those spots, consult a doctor about IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatments or a chemical peel along with your at-home treatments. And don’t forget your daily SPF.  No need to add extra sun damage!

 

Wrinkles: As we age, our cellular turnover rate decreases.  When you’re 20, the rate your cells turn-over can be 20 days or fewer.  By 30, this rate can be 30 or more days.  The faster your cells turn over the less likely they are to be damaged before they produce new cells, keeping cells fully functional, healthy, and less likely to form wrinkles. Collagen cells form rope-like bundles under the skin in organized patterns in smooth skin. Damage in your collagen cells can lead to the more disorganized structure that is found in wrinkled skin.

What to do: Use a retinoid at night. This helps to increase cellular turnover rate and improve collagen production.  SPF also helps prevent the UV exposure that damages cells…so wear sunscreen.

 

Large Pores: Remember that cellular turnover rate we just talked about? Yuuup, it’s causing this issue too. Because your cells aren’t shedding as rapidly as they used to, that sluggishness leads to excess oil, skin cells, and other environmental debris getting trapped in your pores.  All that stuff gets stuck in there and expands your pores.  Silver lining—great blackheads for your esthetician to extract. 🙂

What to do: Using a retinoid at night helps here as well.  You should also try exfoliating 1-2 times a week to help with the cell shedding process and avoid buildup in your pores.

 

Dryness:  Our skin naturally gets drier as we age.  Not too many people in their 80’s complainof excess oil. If you had oily skin as a teen and in your 20s, it may be hard for you to wrap your mind around the idea that you’re just not oily anymore.   If you always had a tendency to get dry, it may get worse.   It also gets more difficult for our cells to hold on to water as well as lower oil production, which can make the dryness issue more complicated than just putting on a moisturizer.

What to do:  Don’t be afraid of oil.  If you’re dry, give your skin what it needs!  Try an oil cleanser. You may be surprised how much you love it!  If your current moisturizer doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, try something a little thicker.  I would recommend that you use a hydrating toner to keep the water balance in your skin, as well.

Remember, your skin is the largest organ in your body, and an overall representation of your health.  As you age and your hormones change, decades of environmental damage starts to manifest, and your body starts to slow down, your skin will inevitably begin to start exhibiting outward symptoms of all of these effects.  That’s ok—it happens to all of us. The key is to keep updating your skin care routine to be as effective as possible for the stage of life that you are in.  Find products that really make your skin feel great instead of just using what you’re used to.

One of the best ways to get great advice on what products to use is to schedule a facial and let your esthetician help you!

 

As always if you have any questions or ideas for future articles email me at megjacobsblog@gmail.com

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And come follow me on Twitter, brand new account up and running! : https://twitter.com/MegJacobsBlog

 

See you next Sunday!

 

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The 5 Skin Care Products You Should Stop Using

The world of cosmetics is full of choices, and it can be hard to choose the products that are best suited for your skin. However, there are a few products I would outright ban if I had the chance because they are wildly popular, but often responsible for skin issues I see in clients. I’ll admit— I’ve been guilty of using every single one of these products at some point in my life, too! Almost everyone is using at least one of them, so take a look and see what skin sins you may not even know you’re committing!

st.-ives-apricot-scrub

1. Apricot Scrub

I’ll admit— I used this exfoliating scrub every day for years.  It’s like a drug, right?  I used to think apricot scrub was the only thing keeping my skin from the brink of real disaster, but it turns out it was a major reason I had problems at all.

Why?  Well, if you are using this product daily you’re probably also having issues with blackheads, redness, flakiness, combination skin, or large pores.  See, it’s ok to exfoliate your face 1-2 times a week with light pressure, but you want to make sure the little particles that are doing the scrubbing won’t damage your skin.  If you look at the crushed shells and seeds in your apricot scrub under a microscope, they will look like little shards of glass and pebbles, and guess what? They tear up your skin just like little shards of glass and pebbles would. Even with light pressure, these particles leave tiny rips and tears in the skin and break down your skin’s natural barriers and defenses to environmental damage, which leads to rapid aging and unwanted redness. In addition, it over-strips your skin of the natural oils it needs.  This leads to oil over-production that can cause combination skin issues, blackheads, and larger pores.

Ideally, your exfoliating scrub contains something called jojoba beads/seeds, instead. Jojoba beads/seeds are made by mother nature and are rounded, smooth spheres that will remove dull, dead surface skin cells but won’t tear or rip at your skin in the process.

However, still don’t want to throw your apricot scrub out?  No problem! It makes an excellent foot scrub!  Just don’t put it anywhere above your shoulders.

What to use instead: I like Murad’s AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser* and Aveda’s Tourmaline Charged Exfoliating Cleanser. However, what you’re really looking for is an ingredients list that includes jojoba beads or seeds, so use any scrub you love that contains them

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2. Cetaphil Cleanser

This product isn’t actually bad, but using the wrong cleanser for your skin is. There are far more people using this cleanser than their skin types call for. It’s a clear gel cleanser, which means it’s fairly high in surfactant. If you skin feels tight or squeaky clean after using this product, it’s just not right for you.  Try switching to a light cream cleanser.

What to use instead:  Click here for a guide to choosing the right cleanser for you.

chapstick1

3. Chapstick

From time to time, especially long cold winters like this one, our lips dry out and could use a little help.  Unfortunately, many lip balms contain ingredients like camphor, phenol and menthol that can actually dry the lips out further and discourage your lips’ natural ability to rehydrate and lubricate themselves.  This can lead to your lips being “addicted” to lip balm, because you need more and more of it to keep feeling normal! Quite the marketing racket, eh? Chapstick, arguably the most popular brand of lip balm, is notorious for this.

What to use instead: Aquaphor, Vaseline (petroleum jelly), and even coconut oil are great ways to give your lips temporary help and relief without the addictive side effects. Have a really bad case of chapped lips?  You can also buy Bag Balm at local drug stores.  Yes, I know it’s udder cream for cows, but it’s udderly fantastic and can provide relief for even the worst case of chapped lips. There’s probably no butter product on the market, unless I’ve made a miscowculation.  Ok, I don’t want to get cheesy and milk this pun pasture tolerance levels. 😀

Deep-Cleansing-Pore-Strips

4. Nose Strips

This was another skin-sin that was hard for me to give up.  It’s just SO satisfying to pull the strip off and see all the stuff that comes out of your pores!  However, repeated use of nose strips tends to create more blackheads than you would have had in the first place.  The strips don’t just remove blackheads, but they also remove a thin layer of skin and tiny hairs, which leaves you with open pores that are perfect for bacteria to settle into.  Natural oils get stripped away, as well, which leads to extra oil production that further clogs the open pores. This combination of oil and bacteria usually leads to even more blackheads.

What to use instead:  If blackheads are your concern, pick up a hydrating toner instead.  The water it adds to your skin will help cut down oil production, and therefore your blackheads.

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5. Extraction tools

Extraction tools are verboten for all the same reasons as nose strips, with the added bonus that if they’re misused (and if you haven’t been trained to use them, you’re probably misusing them), they have the ability to break, bruise, and to cause bleeding in the skin.  These tools are designed to be used by a professional on a client. Even as a trained esthetician, I cannot properly use the tool on myself; the physics just don’t work.  So stop using them!

What to use instead:  Your esthetician.  Schedule a facial, and they will properly extract for you!  If you really want you, you can always ask to see what comes out of your skin!

As always, please send any questions or suggestions for future posts to megjacobsblog@gmail.com

Check us out on Facebook: www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

See you next Sunday!

*Disclosure— My spa carries the Murad product line.  However, I am not directly compensated by any manufacturer, including Murad, for recommending their products on my blog.

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!

7 Weird Things That Could Be Causing Your Breakouts

skin-woes

Is your skin behaving badly, and you can’t figure out what is going on?  You’ve read my blog, switched up your facial products, increased your water consumption, changed your pillow cases, even swapped out your detergents for fragrance-free ones… but your skin is determined to keep breaking out!

Well, it turns out that sometimes life throws you a curveball.  It’s not just about how well you take care of your skin, sometimes there are outside elements that prevent you from having the skin you work hard for!

Here are seven wild-cards that could be behind your skin woes:

1. Your Calendar – You know, that big date you have circled is coming up.  Maybe it’s a wedding, vacation, business trip, or a big presentation at work or school.  You’re excited and also nervous and can’t stop thinking about it.   It turns out, your body can misinterpret that excitement for stress when it last for days at a time.  So, the very same excitement you have over the big day ends up causing the same physical response as stress!  It dehydrates your skin, causes inflammation, puts stress on your immune system ,and can cause a break-out over night.

calandar

What to do: Take a 200mg dose of ibuprofen, another 4-6 hours later, and then one more the next day will help calm the inflammation and give your skin a break.  Just three doses total though.  If you’re a chronic stresser-outer this isn’t a lifetime fix.  A few grams of fish oil supplements can also do the trick (4000mg per dose!).

2. Your Hair – Well, technically your hair products.  People often miss the connection because it can take up to 4-6 weeks for a blemish to fully form. By the time the breakout shows up, you don’t think of a change that happened over a month ago. Hair products often cause breakouts along the hairline, so your sexy new chin-brushing bob could break-out the jaw line, or those bangs like Zooey could be wreaking havoc on your forehead.  Don’t worry, its not your new haircut itself, just your hair product coming into contact with your skin.

Hair-Styles-For-Long-Hair

What to do:  If you started trying a new product, see if cutting it out of your routine solves the problem.  If a new haircut is causing your hair to touch your face the best way to solve it is keep it tied back. If that’s not an option, try keeping your hair products to a minimum and slowly introduce products back to your routine to see which one might be causing the issue.  Hey, I didn’t say it was an ideal fix, sometimes a girl’s got to pick her poison!

3. Your Man – Scruff can be adorable, and lots of great fellas participate in “No Shave November”, or Movember, but that scratchy beard is no good for your sensitive facial skin.  His facial hair is like an exfoliating pad on your skin every time you kiss him, and this leads to red, irritated, and possibly broken-out skin around the mouth.  If his beard is a little longer, he may also be using hair products on it that don’t mix well with your skin. Of course if he keeps his face smooth as Fabio’s bare chest, he may be using an aftershave or fragrance that you don’t react well to.

fabioflysaplane

What to do: Stop kissing him.  Just kidding, but do hand him a razor….or just wait for it to grow out enough to be soft as a puppy.

4. Brushing Your Teeth – A lot of people wash their face and then brush their teeth, and don’t understand why they keep getting unexplained breakouts around their mouth.  Residue from the toothpaste can get left behind and irritate the skin and cause a breakout.

Woman brushing her teeth-1586021

What to do:  Just switch it up! Brush your teeth first and you’ll get any bits of toothpaste residue off when you cleanse your skin.

5. Your Water – Hard water doesn’t get products off the skin as well as soft water, and that buildup on the skin can lead to clogged, dull-looking skin.

Hard_water_and_drop

What to do:  If you suspect hard water, you can get a showerhead filter for around $30—you don’t have to spend several thousand dollars on a whole home filter for clearer skin! Something like this works great and is super easy to install:

http://goo.gl/kwzd2H 

6. Your Tan – Yeah, I know.  Every time you get a tan your skin looks clearer, but you’re making a deal with the devil. A tan is nothing but a sign that your skin has taken damage and it’s trying to protect itself.  When you take UV-ray damage, your skin increases cell production to thicken your epidermis, and this thicker skin can lead to more clogged pores and breakouts that will haunt you weeks later.—not to mention the wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin, and cancer side-effects that tanning brings you.

tan face

What to do: Wear an oil-free SPF protectant on your face every day and leave the idea of a tan being desirable behind.  Sorry.  Tanning is just flat out bad for you, no matter how cute it makes you.  Plus, it’ll age you much, much faster.

7.  Hormones….that aren’t yours – We’ve all heard that birth control can help clear skin, and that is certainly true, but you have to find the right one for you.  A dose that doesn’t work well with your body can cause breakouts, hyperpigmentation, and a general overall feeling of not being yourself. Eating animal products that have been treated with hormones can also wreak havoc on your skin, and unfortunately, hormones are making their way into our water supply, as well.

the pill

What to do: Talk to your doctor if you suspect your hormonal medications may be causing your skin distress and avoid animal food products that have been treated with hormones.  It might also be worth buying a water filter to get rid of any pharmaceuticals that make it into your water supply, too!

Of course, there are other wild cards that the world throws at you, but these are the ones I see most often in clients who come to me exasperated from having tried everything they can think of.  If you have another one, make sure you send me a message and I can do some research for you!

As always if you have any questions email me: 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!

 

 

 

 

2 Minutes A Day To Beautiful Skin

natural beauty

The first question I always ask new guest is, “What do you do on a daily basis to take care of your skin?” The responses I get vary from routines with long lists of complicated lotions and potions that take up to half an hour twice a day to, “I wash my hair with shampoo and I figure it hits my face when I rinse it out.” So what should you be doing? Is less more? Or do you only get out what you put in?

“Give me 2 minutes a day and I’ll give you a lifetime of beautiful skin,” is my motto for skin care.  That’s it, just 2 minutes.  One in the morning and one at night.  Less time consuming than brushing your teeth, and certainly easier than flossing (My dentist brother is probably rolling his eyes), but it’s true!

So here is a break down of what a good at home skin care routine looks like for everyone.  Products will vary, but the steps are the same no matter your skin type!

Your skin care routine should come down to these steps:

1. Cleanse

2. Tone

3. Serum (just once a day)

4. Eye Cream/Moisturizer

Completing these steps should take about 1 minute on average each morning and night.

Step 1: Cleanse/Exfoliate: The first part of a good skin care routine starts with cleansing.  It is far more important that you cleanse at night than it is in the morning.  You are an object on Planet Earth, and you collect daily dirt and grime just like cars, buildings, and park benches.  I’d also be willing to bet you’re a normal person who doesn’t wash your pillowcase every day.  So when you forget to wash your face before bed you deposit all the daily environmental damagers you collected that day to your pillowcase.  You continue to expose yourself to them not just that night, but each subsequent night until you change your pillowcase, as well. Every day this happens, you’re effectively doubling your environmental damage—and that leads to rapid aging! So, always always cleanse at night, even if it was just a lazy day at home.  In the morning you can get away with splashing water on your skin, especially if you are not very oily.

Exfoliating goes along with cleansing.  You should be doing this about once or twice a week.  Types of exfoliation include: facial scrubs; exfoliating masks; sonic exfoliating brushes; or can even be as simple as using a wash cloth during cleansing (However, I do not suggest using a wash cloth on your face, ever…but that’s for another time!) Do not use an exfoliating cleanser daily, or do any combination of exfoliation more than two times per week.  This will lead to problems that feel like combination skin.

Special tips: Avoid hot water, pat your skin dry with a clean dry cloth, and make sure your skin never feels tight, dry, or squeaky clean after.  If your skin does have those feelings after cleansing, you should look into changing your cleanser.  Click here for a guide to help you.

Step 2: Toning: Everyone should be using a hydrating toner.  It helps cut back on blackheads, combination skin issues, and helps your other products work better!  The more hydrated your cells, the healthier your skin.  To ensure that you’re using a hydrating toner and not an astringent there are two good things to look for.  First, if the product comes in a spray bottle, it’s a hydrating toner.  Second, check the ingredients list.  If you see alcohol or salicylic acid, it’s an astringent.

Step 3: Treat: Serums are often confused with moisturizers, but they provide a different service to your skin.  They are highly concentrated active ingredients that penetrate deeply into the skin to provide some sort of treatment.  I think of serums as being very similar to medicines.  They can do all sorts of things, you just have to pick the right one for your needs.  After all, you wouldn’t put Neosporin on your forehead for a headache, or tape Advil to a cut. With serums, the categories for treatments are indicative of the ultimate skin care goal.  They do things like reduce breakouts and the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, or uneven skin tone.  Common active ingredients are salicylic acid, hydrogen peroxide, and Kombucha for breakouts, retinol for fine lines and wrinkles, and Vitamin C or hydroquinone for uneven skin tone.

Special Tip: If you are being treated with topical medications like Retin A or Tazorac by a doctor, this is your treatment step.  Don’t use additional treatment serums.  If you find that these medications irritate your skin, you can try applying them on top of your moisturizer, instead.

Step 4: Moisturize and Protect: Finish up your one-minute of dedicated skin time each morning and night with eye cream and moisturizer. You want to apply eye cream before your facial moisturizer. The molecules of your facial moisturizer may be to big to be absorbed around your eye, so by applying your eye cream first you ensure getting maximum benefit of your eye product. If you don’t use an eye cream, your facial moisturizer isn’t hurting your eye area, but it is most likely just sitting there doing nothing, so pick up an eye cream!

You should have a moisturizer with SPF between 15-30 for everyday use. Make sure the SPF is broad spectrum and protects against both UVA and UVB sun-rays.  Most of us aren’t going to get a sunburn in our daily routines, but using SPF every day is a big step for anti aging.

UVA and UVB have different effects on our skin. An easy way to remember these differences is to remember that A is for aging and B is for burning.  UVB rays cause sun tans and burns, and that almost immediate result of exposure brings it to our attention.  UVA rays, on the other hand, are more subtle; you won’t see an immediate impact, but they are actually the stronger of the two rays. They penetrate all the way down to the dermis, breakdown collagen and elastin, and cause sunspots and age spots.  They are active all year long and unlike UVBs, have no trouble penetrating glass.  So if you’re seeing natural light, you’re getting UVA exposure.

Once the sun goes down and the threat of UV rays is gone I prefer for the nighttime moisturizer to be SPF free. It’s also a good idea to look for ingredients like vitamin E, vitamin A, and vitamin A derivatives like retinol in your night cream.  You go into a natural resting and restorative phase when you sleep so it’s a good idea to have ingredients that support that process.

Bonus Step:  Get facials! If you get a facial once a month and have a professional guide you to the right products, this is a great way to keep your skin looking healthy for longer.  The massage techniques in a facial are designed to help tone and tighten the muscles of the face, so it’s sort of like hitting the gym for your skin, and you can get great results even going once a month!

If you’re just getting started with having an at-home skin care regimen, challenge yourself to commit to it for 21 days.  That’s how long it takes to form a habit, and before you know it, it will be as natural as brushing your teeth!

What Your Breakouts Mean

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             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.

1000 Views!

3 weeks in, and we just hit 1,000 views!  Thank you so much to everyone who checks in, shares, and encourages!  The response has been overwhelming and I’m so grateful! If you haven’t had a chance, check out the Facebook page as well!  Please feel free to send me your questions or ideas about future topics.  THANK YOU!!

Best,

Meg

https://www.facebook.com/megjacobsbeauty

megjacobsblog@gmail.com

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!

mordor-hot-cold-arctic-ocean

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. 😀