Confused about which sunscreen to buy?
You’re not alone: a recent JAMA Dermatology study  found we’re really dumb when it comes to understanding sunscreen labels.
Just how dumb are we? The study found that only 43% of us understand the definition of sun factor protection (SPF)*.
Worse, only 7% of us know how to tell how much protection a sunscreen product has against early skin aging.
These levels of confusion are alarming given that rates of skin cancer have been increasing in both men and women since 2002 .
Why are We so Confused?
Paradoxically, because science has made significant advances in understanding how the sun can damage skin cells, sunscreen labels have become more complicated, evolving past a simple SPF rating to listing a bunch of confusing ingredients that somehow offer various levels of broad UVA & UVB spectrum protection – it’s no wonder the average consumer is now more than just a little confused.
“We need to do a better job of educating people about sun protection and make it easier for them to understand labels,” said Dr. Roopal Kundu, lead author of the study.
One way to make sunscreen labels easier to understand would be to have a simple star-rating system for UVA protection along with the current SPF system for UVB protection. When test subjects in the JAMA study where shown a 4-star-rating system for UVA protection, nearly 80% could accurately identify how much UVA protection a particular star-rating indicated and 90% could accurately determine the level of UVB protection when represented as an SPF value, all a far cry from the accuracy people have now, with current sunscreen labels.
How to Choose a Sunscreen
While sunscreen labels have become more complicated, choosing the appropriate sunscreen is a relatively simple matter if you keep these three criteria in mind:
- For UVB protection, choose a product with a SPF of at least 30. If you’re going to be in the sun all day, choose one with a SPF of at least 45, ideally 50.
- The sunscreen should be waterproof, esp. if you’re wearing it during the hot, sweaty, summer months.
- For UVA protection, there is no star-rating system, yet, so look for a product that contains at least one of the following ingredients: ecamsule, avobenzone, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, or zinc oxide.
Did You Know?
* SPF tries to estimate the amount of time you can stay in the sun without getting sunburned. For example, an SPF of 15 would allow you to stay in the sun 15 times longer than you could without protection. SPF is only an estimate because how quickly you’ll burn depends upon a number of factors including the time of the year, the time of day, your geographic location, and weather conditions.References:
- Betty Y. Kong, Sarah L. Sheu, Roopal V. Kundu. Assessment of Consumer Knowledge of New Sunscreen Labels. JAMA Dermatology, Published online June 17, 2015. [↩]
- Kohler, BA, Sherman RL, Howlader N, Jemal, A, Ryerson AB, Henry KA, Boscoe, FP, Cronin KA, Lake A, Noone, A-M, Henley, SJ, Eheman, CR, Anderson, RN, Penberthy, L. Annual report to the nation on the status of cancer, 1975–2011. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 2015;107(6 [↩]
- Gilchrest BA. Skin and aging process. CRC Press. 1984; 124. [↩]
- Hughes MCB, Williams GM, Baker P, Green AC. Sunscreen and prevention of skin aging: a randomized trial. Ann Intern Med 2013 June; 158 (11):781-790 [↩]
While the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reports a 12% increase in surgical procedures from 2012 to 2013, more and more women are also looking for natural, nonsurgical options for their skin problems – in fact, they are looking for ways to prevent those problems.
So — can you really prevent skin problems before they start or is age and wear & tear just inevitable?
It turns out there are several effective strategies – some easy, some hard – that can help you avoid looking like someone who looks like they need plastic surgery.
Looking Your Best as You Age, Before You Age
While it’s not possible to look 20 forever, you can protect what you have — two simple products will help you do just that: sunscreen and moisturizer.
Sunscreen. Wear It, Year-round
Yes, even if it is blizzarding out, you’ll want to wear sunscreen. This is because cloud cover can enhance the amount of UV light that reaches your skin, a phenomenon called cloud enhancement of UV, and it’s well-known that UV light causes the skin to age by interrupting and damaging a skin cell’s ability to repair itself. To protect your skin cells from UV, you’ll want to use a broad-protection (UVB & UVA) sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15 for normal daily use; however, if you’re going to be out in the sun all day, you’ll want a SPF of at least 30, and you’ll want to reapply it every couple hours. In both cases, you’ll want to use the cake principle in application, i.e., cake it on your skin like you’re icing a cake.
At Shizuka’s New York Day Spa, we recommend going higher then these minimum SPF’s: for days when you’re in the sun for only brief periods, we recommend a broad-protection product, like our Sensitive skin Sun Protection SPF 30. However, for weekends on a Coney Island beach, we recommend at least a 45+ SPF, like our Sensitive Skin Tinted Sun Protection SPF 45.
A Simple, Great Moisturizer is Key
If you’re not yet showing serious signs of aging and/or skin damage, then a simple moisturizer is your first line of defense – in fact, what NASA recommends as an effective defense for the skin in an environment of microgravity, an environment far more challenging for the skin than all but the harshest environments found here on earth, is a good moisturizer.
A simple, antioxidant enhanced, moisturizer will provide more than enough protection for your skin, one that contains at least C and E. Terrific additional enhancements would be apple stem cells, pomegranate and acai as they help protect the skin’s elastic layer.
In part II of How to Avoid Needing Cosmetic Plastic Surgery, we’ll look at some simple – not necessarily easy – but simple lifestyle changes to help preserve your youthful visage, at any age. In part III (Tackle Lines, Wrinkles, Sags & Spots Now to Avoid Cosmetic Plastic Surgery Later), we’ll look at what you can do, non-surgically, after age and wear & tear have already taken a toll on your skin.
In Part I, “Types of Moisturizers: Everything You Need to Know,” we looked at what moisturizers are, how they work, their health benefits, and how today’s moisturizers do more than just moisturize.
In this post, we’ll take a more in-depth look at moisturizers and talk a bit about which products are probably the best moisturizers for the face — and which you’ll want to avoid.
Applying Vitamins and Antioxidants
While evidence abounds that having a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants confers health benefits and protects against a variety of illnesses and aliments, the same, unfortunately, cannot be said about taking vitamin and antioxidant supplements (1).
Given the lack of evidence for the health benefits of supplementing with vitamins and antioxidants, does it make sense to put vitamins and antioxidants in moisturizers for the benefit of the skin?
Surprisingly, it turns out that vitamins and antioxidants applied to the skin may indeed help heal and protect it.
For example, derivatives of vitamin A can help repair wrinkles, altered texture, discolored skin, mottled hyperpigmented skin, and epidermal thickness due to photodamage; in addition, these derivatives can increase collagen production improving both the skin’s elasticity and firmness.
Vitamin C and B (niacinamide) work similarly: vitamin C can help repair the skin’s elastic tissue by increasing collagen production, and vitamin B can help repair other damage done to the skin by the sun. Coenzyme Q, alpha lipoic acid, and copper also seem to help repair and protect against sun damage.
There is evidence that combining antioxidants may result in a synergistic effect. For example, research has shown that combining vitamins C, E and ferulic acid helps protect against both sun damage and skin cancer (2).
Other Ingredients that May Help Heal and Protect the Skin
Most moisturizing products have other vitamin and antioxidant substances with purported benefits – we say ‘purported,’ because to date, for most part, there’s scant evidence that these extra ingredients help heal and protect the skin.
- Dimethylaminoethanol (DMAE) – a compound purported to improve wrinkles. This claim is backed up by some research (3).
- Genistein – an antioxidant purported to protect skin against UVB damage. This claim is also backed up by at least one study, but only for skin cells in cell cultures (4).
- Green tea – another antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties that may protect against UV damage and repair photoaging damage. A recent 2013 study (5) has found some evidence for this claim when green tea was combined with lotus extract.
- Growth factors – substances purported to assist in wound healing and to repair sun damaged skin.
- Kinetin – a specific plant growth factor and antioxidant purported to improve skin texture and wrinkles. Scant evidence exists for this claim (6).
- Peptides – an amino acid purported to increase production of collagen and elastin. A 2004 study using a synthetically developed peptide found it had a strong effect in reducing wrinkles (7).
Do You Need a Skin Toner?
Contrary to the name, skin toners will not improve the tone of your skin (for that, you’ll need to use a laser or IPL); instead, skin toners are designed to shrink the appearance of pores, and are meant to be used after cleansing.
So, do you need a skin toner? It depends on the type. For example, as we age, our skin often becomes dryer. In this case, you’ll want to avoid any skin-toning products that contain alcohol or acetone because while they will help firm the skin, they’ll also exacerbate any dryness. Further, some skin toners are also acidic, containing ingredients like citrus, camphor, or menthol. These acidic ingredients can irritate the skin, especially dry, older skin.
To avoid worsening dry skin and minimize irritation, use water and glycerin-based toners as they can help provide extra moisture to the skin.
Avoid Mineral Oil
You’ll want to avoid any moisturizers that contain mineral oil as researchers (8) have found some of those moisturizers have caused skin cancers in hairless mice to grow more rapidly than they otherwise might.
It is important to highlight that the moisturizers tested by these researchers did not cause skin cancer; rather they caused existing skin cancer in UVB irradiated mice to grow faster. This suggest that on non-sun or UVB damaged skin, such moisturizers may be safe to use.
Nevertheless, common sense dictates caution when using the type of moisturizers these researchers tested in their study.
To partially allay any fears that all moisturizers are potentially harmful, the researchers asked the pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson to make them a “custom blend” moisturizer without two ingredients previously linked to skin irritation (sodium lauryl sulfate) and tumor promotion (mineral oil). The custom blend (on which Rutgers University and Johnson & Johnson hold a patent) did not promote skin cancer.
- Harvard School of Public Health. Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype.
- L. How to Prevent Photoaging? Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2005), 125.
- Grossman R. The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology, Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005; 6(1):39-47.
- Barbara L., Maria L., Franco G., Giuseppe M.,4 and Maria B. Synergic Effect of Genistein and Daidzein on UVB-Induced DNA Damage: An Effective Photoprotective Combination. Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology Volume 2011 (2011).
- Mahmood T. and Akhtar N. Combined topical application of lotus and green tea improves facial skin surface parameters. Rejuvenation Res. 2013 Apr; 16(2):91-7.
- Jacquelyn L. and Saira M. How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients? J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. Feb 2010; 3(2): 22–41.
- Bauza E., Oberto G., Berghi A., Dal C.F., Domloge N. Collagen-like peptide exhibits a remarkable antiwrinkle effect on the skin when topically applied: in vivo study. Int J Tissue React. 2004; 26(3-4):105-11.
- Yao-Ping Lu, You-Rong Lou, Jian-Guo Xie, Qingyun Peng, Weichung J Shih, Yong Lin and Allan H Conney. Tumorigenic Effect of Some Commonly Used Moisturizing Creams when Applied Topically to UVB-Pretreated High-Risk Mice. Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2009) 129, 468–475
Who Needs To Moisturize?
Basically anyone who has dry skin, and most often, that means older adults.
Moisturized skin feels better and looks better than dry skin because it is more smooth, flexible and pliable.
Health Benefits of Moisturized Skin
One of the main functions of the skin is to act as a barrier to protect against infection, dry skin, chemical exposure, and mechanical injury. Compromises in this barrier can lead to conditions like atopic dermatitis and other chronic skin diseases. Many skin conditions are preceded by prolonged dry skin.
How Do Moisturizers Work?
Moisturizers work in two ways: 1) first they improve skin hydration by increasing the amount of water in the skin and 2) they create a “protective” or occlusive barrier on the surface of the skin to prevent water evaporating from the epidermis layer.
The main ingredient for improving skin hydration is glycerin, a humectant type of compound that attracts and binds water in the upper layers of the epidermis and makes the stratum corneum (the visible surface of your skin) more flexible.
The main ingredients for keeping for skin hydrated are various types of lipids that create an occlusive barrier to keep water from evaporating from the skin. These ingredients include certain plant oils, petrolatum, and mineral oil.
Today’s Moisturizers do Way More than just Moisturize – Two Main Types of Moisturizers
Most moisturizers also contain ingredients that help improve the appearance of the skin in other ways. Perhaps the most important ingredients are the exfoliants alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs).
These two exfoliants improve the appearance of the skin by removing dead surface skin cells. This makes more visible newer skin cells that make the skin appear clearer. In addition to giving the skin a newer, fresher look, AHAs can brighten the skin by evening out discoloration from too much sun exposure. Exfoliants can be particularly useful for aging skin that doesn’t replace dead surface skin cells with new cells as easily as younger skin does; exfoliants can help restore this natural skin rejuvenation process.
AHAs come from fruit (e.g., citrus) and are labeled as either glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, alphahydroxyoctanoic acid, triple fruit acid, or sugar cane extract.
While most moisturizers contain a safe amount of AHA, you should double check that you’re not getting an AHA concentration of more than 10%; additionally, it should have a pH of 3.5 or more. Finally, to protect the new skin cells, you’ll want to use sunscreen each day.
Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) are salicylic acids, a close relative of aspirin. Salicylic acids work in the same way as AHAs, but they’re more effective than AHAs on oily skin.
Most moisturizers do not list the concentration of BHAs, so the FDA recommends that you first test an area of skin to make sure a particular product’s BHA concentration won’t irritate you. And, again, you’ll want to use a good sun screen in conjunction with BHA products.
In part II of this post, “What are the Best Moisturizers for the Face?,” well look at some of the more esoteric and controversial ingredients in some moisturizers, and we’ll tell you which products you’ll want to avoid.
Out, damned spot! out, I say! ~ Lady McBeth
What are those Damned Brown Spots Anyway?
Brown spots are flat, oval areas of skin that are darker than the surrounding skin – hence called ‘spots’ – and they are typically tan, brown or black. While brown spots develop most often in people with light to fair complexions, those with darker skin can also experience small areas of increased pigmentation.
What Causes Brown Spots?
Prolonged and repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the most frequent cause of brown spots in those that are genetically predisposed. UV light causes brown spots because the skin reacts by increasing melanin production in a localized area; increased melanin production is also how you get a tan to help protect deeper layers of skin from UV rays, but with a tan the distribution of pigment is even. Moreover, because it is UV light rather than the entire spectrum of sunlight that causes brown spots, commercial tanning lamps and tanning beds can also contribute to their development.
While UV light is the most common cause, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation from skin injury, certain skin diseases, and certain medications that sensitize the skin to the sun can also cause brown spots.
The development of brown spots usually happens gradually over time. Because of their gradual development, they are sometimes called ‘age spots,’
Where do Brown Spots Occur?
In the case of UV exposure, brown spots usually occur on those parts of the skin that have had the most sun exposure, e.g., on the back of the hands, the top of the feet, on the face, or on the shoulders and upper back.
How Can I Get Rid of Brown Spots?
Before using a laser or IPL to get rid of a brown spot, see your doctor first to make sure the spot is not pre-cancerous or cancerous.
You’ll especially want to see your doctor if you notice that a brown spot has any one or more of these characteristics:
- It is darkly pigmented
- It is rapidly increasing in size
- It is greater than 5mm
- It has an irregular border
- It has an unusual combination of colors
- It is accompanied by itching, redness, tenderness or bleeding
If your doctor tells you it is safe to remove a brown spot, if you only have 1-2 spots, liquid nitrogen is quite effective. Sometimes, however, more than one treatment may be needed to fully remove a spot and repeated treatment with liquid nitrogen can cause blotchy pigmentation over time.
IPL, on the other hand, is equally effective in removing many brown spots at once while also maintaining skin tone; in fact, the goal of IPL treatments is to make your skin more evenly colored by decreasing the irregular brownish and reddish areas that have developed as a result of aging and sun damage. In addition, IPL also brightens the skin and gives it a more youthful glow.
It should be noted, however, that the effectiveness of IPL in removing brown spots depends somewhat on your skin tone; while IPL can be adjusted to your skin tone, if your skin is too dark, your best bet is to use a Yag or Q-switched Yag laser.
As summer’s sweltering temperatures may make you want to move to cooler shores, you can at least keep your skin glowing throughout the heat wave. Here are some top tips on how to get glowing skin all summer long.
Summer Facial Care Tips: How to Get Glowing Skin all Summer Long
It’s easy to underplay the importance of facials in the summer: why get a facial when I’ll just be slathering sunscreen on it a moment after, you might ask? The skin really takes a beating in the summer and while we protect it with sun screens and blocks, those can easily clog pores and lead to acne. To offset the effect of summertime skincare, facials reset skin by clearing out pores of buildup from sunscreen and makeup that builds up over time. Get a facial at least once during the summer season and one right before autumn begins. This will reset the skin by giving it a deep cleansing while de-stressing the skin.
Related blog post: An Anti-Aging Facial that’s also an Immunity Booster
During the summer be on guard against free radicals that damage skin and cause pre-mature aging. While protecting your skin from the sunlight is of utmost importance, consider adding free radical damage prevention to your summertime skin care routine. It’s just as important to build up skin defenses against free radicals. Stock up on antioxidants and vitamin C serum to keep the skin protected against fine lines, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and uneven complexion. These anti-inflammatories also help ward off excess redness (inflammation).
Related blog post: Preserve your Youthful Glow with Vitamin C Power Gel
Even if you’re not acne prone, it’s best to practice keeping skin as oil-free as possible to reduce shine and to prevent against future breakouts. Wash your face as much as possible after sweating (and be sure to reapply sunscreen). Sweating releases the body’s toxins out through the pores and if sweat sits on your face for long it can become a breeding ground for bacteria leading to acne, inflammation, and clogged pores. You can also carry oil blotting sheets, or keep a towel or small rag on hand.
Related blog post: Product Highlight: SHIZUKA new york Clay Cleanser
Most people aren’t aware that going in and out of air conditioned environments and into the scorching sun can severely dehydrate the skin. Dehydrated skin can start to itch and flake leading to other concerns relating to premature aging. Stay hydrated to keep your skin fortified with moisture from the inside out. Drink plenty of water and eat fruits and vegetables and anything else with high water content, like green tea.
Related blog post: Refreshing Spa Water Recipes
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What is IPL? It is short for “intense pulsed light” and it describes a class of devices that deliver high-intensity light for a very short duration at frequencies easily absorbed by red blood cells (hemoglobin) or melanin.
The idea behind IPL is that when high intensity light is absorbed by the hemoglobin inside dilated or broken blood vessels, it can reduce the appearance of redness or rosacea. When it is absorbed by the melanin in freckles or age spots, it can lighten them – in some cases, it can even remove them.
IPL is also claimed to improve the look of one’s skin by stimulating collagen, which is responsible for the skin’s tightness and strength.
Yeah, But Does IPL Work?
Worldwide, each year, women and men spend over US $110.3 billion on beauty and skin care treatment products. Given the amount of money spent on skin care, one has to ask how effective are these products and treatments? Most skin care products are not regulated by the FDA because they only make beauty or skin improvement claims, not medical or health claims. However, this doesn’t mean they are ineffective or a waste of money – many are quite effective.
IPL, on the other hand, does make medical and health claims, so it is an FDA approved treatment for certain conditions and problems — our Lumenis M22™ is an FDA approved device; further, because these treatments result in improved skin appearance, IPL qualifies as a beauty treatment product because it improves skin texture, tone and color.
Specific Claims and Evidence
Does IPL Lighten “Sun Spots”, “Age Spots”, And Brown Blotches?
- According to Harvard’s Skin Care and Repair Special Health Report, IPL can effectively diminish sun and brown age spots, freckles, red spots, and dilated blood vessels; additionally, these effects appear to be long lasting, according to the University of Maryland’s Medical Center.
- According to the University of Utah’s Health Care site, IPL can effectively diminish freckling and skin discoloration caused by sun damage and compounded by aging.
- According to The University of Texas’s Medical Branch at Galveston, IPL is “especially effective” in treating mottling (uneven dark spotting) and dyschromias (hyperpigmentation) caused by sun damage and inflammation from skin injury; additionally, according to a 2008 California State Science Fair project conducted at the University of Southern California under the direction of Dr. Verbin, IPL can reduce a scar’s hyperpigmentation to more “aesthetically pleasing” levels.
Is IPL Effective In Removing Hair?
- A recent review of “Current Trends in Intense Pulsed Light” by Dr. David J. Goldberg in the Journal of Clinical Aesthetic Dermatology (Jun 2012; 5(6): 45–53) found that IPL “can be used to treat unwanted hair in a variety of anatomic locations,” but its effectiveness varies with both hair color and size: IPL works better on coarse, dark hair rather than on light, fine hair, and it is typically ineffective on blond hair.
- According to The University of Texas’s Medical Branch at Galveston, recent advancement in IPL technology have resulted in these devices having increased hair removal effectiveness.
Can IPL Stimulate Collagen?
According to the same review of “Current Trends in Intense Pulsed Light” in the Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology, IPL has been found to trigger a cytokine reaction in the skin which in turn stimulates the formation of new collagen I, III, and elastin. Because wrinkle reducing collagen creams ‘are a waste of money’, say scientists, this cytokine reaction triggering property makes IPL the only technology currently available that can slow the age related loss of collagen; further, this benefit could be combined with Botox for even better anti-aging results.
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The anti-aging benefits of The Geisha Facial® have been garnering acclaim from near and far since its inception January 1st, 2008 when Shizuka Bernstein introduced it to the beauty world. Benefits of this controversial treatment include: reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, firmer skin, brighter and more even complexion. And as our most recent reviewer states in The Daily Mail that the Geisha Facial would even “beat botox”:
I notice a definite improvement in my dark circles and the sun damage marks on my forehead. I also have bad scarring on my chest following an unfortunate incident with hot oil and a chip pan some years ago and the marks there are also significantly reduced.
Two days later, I meet a friend for her birthday lunch and she tells me I look glowing before miming a needle going into my forehead to suggest I’ve had Botox. But I haven’t actually had any for more than a year.
Since I reckon Botox takes around five years off my face and that my friend thinks the nightingale droppings have done the same, that’s a result I am more than pleased with.
If botox and The Geisha Facial both take 5 years off the face, in a show down, here’s 5 reasons The Geisha Facial would beat Botox:
5 reasons why The Geisha Facial® Beats Botox
1. All-natural Alternative
The Geisha facial involves no needles, just bird poop. The amino acid present in the guanine enzyme works to brighten skin, lightening dark circles and hyperpigmentation. It also tightens skin and is what gives it that signature Geisha Facial *glow* that lasts for days.
Related blog post: The Associated Press Reports on The Geisha “bird poop” Facial®
2. Uplifting Benefits of a Facial
Feeling refreshed will make you look it too. Facials aren’t just about cleansing, they also help boost immunity and relieve stress. The Geisha Facial is designed to pamper you and melt away stress. Finding the time to relax may be challenging for most, but it can actually trim years off your face. Think about the last time you felt refreshed, didn’t you also look it? Our skilled technicians perform this treatment under the highest standards to make you feel like you are on cloud 9.
- Related blog post: An Anti-Aging Facial that’s also an Immunity Booster
- Related blog post: Does Botox Help Depression? The Latest Research Findings
3. Lower Price tag
The Geisha Facial is priced at $180 per treatment. Every treatment builds upon the other to improve skin elasticity and even out complexion. If you receive a facial once a month, the price tag would still be less than a standard botox injection.
4. Natural Route
The original Geisha Facial incorporates the Shizuka new york Skincare System to cleanse, brighten, and tone the face. These products are made of all natural ingredients sourced directly from Japan such as sake, fermented soybeans, mushrooms, and green tea. They are specially designed to bring you a taste of Japan in a bottle. Escape to Mount Fuji without leaving the city!
- Related blog post: Product Highlight: SNY’s Skin Freshener (Mt. Fuji Water Tonic)
- Related blog post: Rachael Bletchly’s Bird Brained Geisha Facial Review In The Daily Mirror
5. Celebrity Status
Aside from it being a good conversation piece, sleep better knowing you’ve overcome your fear of strange things and that bizarre beauty has got nothing on you now. And hey you now run with the likes of celebrities like Tom Cruise and Victoria Beckham.
Cruise is “proud” of himself for taking the natural route. Tom [Cruise] doesn’t go in for Botox or surgery .. the [Geisha Facial] results have been fantastic. ~ Now Magazine
Related blog post: Tom Cruise and The Geisha Facial®
Kissing lines, or perioral lines, are wrinkles that form around the mouth by way of repetitive facial expressions.
As skin matures, it loses its elasticity and fine lines begin to form and deepen around the corners of the mouth and above the upper lip.
An effective anti-aging measure to prevent these lines from deepening is a routine peel or exfoliating treatment. Chemical, enzyme, and crystal peels (microdermabrasion) work to slough away dead skin cells revealing a brighter, firmer layer of skin.
For best results, opt for a spa treatment over an at-home kit. Spas use professional grade products which are more potent than those sold in stores. Plus you can relax knowing the procedure is being administered by a trained skin care expert!
Other tips to prevent lip lines:
- Refrain from smoking
- Apply sunscreen regularly
(product recommendation: Chemfree Superblock)
- Keep lips hydrated by using a lip balm
(product recommendation: Honey Vanilla Lip Balm )
- Apply an anti-aging cream or serum daily
(product recommendation: Primrose Eye & Upper Lip Treatment Cream)
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For smoother, brighter, and younger looking skin, Microdermabrasion and Chemical Peels are two go-to methods that effectively “peel” away signs of aging. While each treatment method is different, both effectively help to eliminate wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (sun & age spots), enlarged pores, and blemishes.
Peels are specialized exfoliation treatments that, conveniently, have little or no down time. Peels may be repeated every 2-3 weeks until the desired effect is reached.
For optimum rejuvenation and to increase your skin’s health and vibrancy, peels are recommended once a month to coincide with its natural and continual 4-5 week renewal process.
DIY products can be used at home, but they are less potent than professional-grade peels. Read on for a treatment guide by Shizuka New York’s skin experts:
Go for a Crystal Peel (Microdermabrasion) if your skin is:
- Sun-damaged (brown spots)
A fine crystal powder blasts across the skin’s surface to physically break up and exfoliate dead skin while a suction simultaneously vacuums the powder and dead skin away from the face revealing a new “polished” layer of skin.
Crystal Peels are ideal for unclogging pores and freeing skin from bacteria that may be lurking on the surface. If you have acne, it’s best to stay away from Crystal Peels since the procedure is likely to spread bacteria across the face. Crystal Peels are also NOT recommended if you have sensitive skin, broken capillaries, or rosacea (see IPL below).
At Shizuka New York, our Crystal Peel treatment includes a light layer of salicylic or lactic acid (depending on your skin type) to soften the skin’s surface for the microdermabrasion to follow. This customized prep allows for a very thorough and complete exfoliation process.
Go for a Chemical Peel if your skin is:
- Blotchy (uneven complexion)
Chemical Peels utilize an acid solution combining TCA, Salicylic and Lactic acids to break down and exfoliate dead skin cells for removal. Chemical Peels are recommended for all skin types, especially acneic skin as it lifts away bacteria that has settled into pores. They also lighten brown spots promoting an even complexion.
At Shizuka New York we offer two chemical peels: Lunchtime Peel & Total Skin Rejuvenation. The Lunchtime Peel has very little or no downtime. If minor peeling/flaking occurs, make up may be used to conceal it. The Total Skin Rejuvenation treatment will cause peeling/flaking of the skin for 5-7 days.
DIY Chemical Peel products~
If you have sensitive skin, Enzyme Peels offer a gentler alternative to Chemical Peels. They’re contracted from fruit enzymes and work the same way Crystal and Chemical Peels do but are much milder. You can add on a customized Enzyme Peel to any Shizuka New York facial treatment for $30.
DIY Enzyme Peel products~
We also offer IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) which penetrates deeper layers of skin, or dermis, than peels. Short pulses of light target broken capillaries, rosacea, and hyperpigmentation (sun and age spots) while leaving the skin’s surface intact. IPL also aids in skin rejuvenation as it stimulates collagen production.
Post-peel skin care:
Whether you choose a Peel or IPL, it’s highly recommended to apply sunscreen before going outdoors, both to protect your new skin and the treatment’s results.
The application of Epidermal Growth Factor gel is also highly recommended for advanced healing. EGF gel aids new skin generation with nourishing hydration, while preventing excessive peeling/flaking.
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Sun Repair: Post Sun Facials + Spa Treatments
Summer is all about being outside; whether it’s building sandcastles on the beach, picnicking in the park, enjoying a backyard barbeque, or just basking on a some steps — outdoors is the place to be!
While the warm sun feels wonderful on your skin, it can really dry it out (even if you’re in the shade!), eventually leaving your skin starving for some nutrient-rich moisturizing.
In the name of summer and all things relaxing, we came up with a list of our most popular “sun repair” spa treatments that will heal and soothe sun drenched skin, providing deep hydration and relief (& will prepare you for some more fun in the sun!)
For the Face:
- The Geisha Facial – The Geisha Facial has received a lot of press due to its much lauded ingredient, Uguisu no Fun or Nightingale droppings. But many forget is that this is a full service facial including a hydrating camellia oil facial massage and antioxidant-rich Green Tea Collagen mask. The mask works to reduce signs of aging by encouraging further collagen production and saturates the skin with free radical fighting antioxidants.
- GentleWaves® LED Facial Rejuvenation – This facial incorporates specially coded LED lights that promote a process called photomodulation in the skin. Much like photosynthesis in plants, the LED lights work to stimulate and promote healthy skin production.
- Naturopathica’s Natural Face Lift Facial – Combined with ultrasonic and microcurrent technologies, this high performance treatment uses Naturopathica brand products including Plant Stem Cell Serum (a powerful antioxidant blend) to deliver deep hydration and gently firms and tones the skin.
For the Body:
- Coffee Break Mud Wrap – This 50min heated treatment uses a natural body scrub that includes Black Silt Clay and Coffee Arabica to exfoliate and draw out impurities. It also includes Indian Sarsaparilla and Shea Butter to clarify skin and seal in moisture
For the Hands & Feet:
- Espresso Mud Pedicure -This sensually invigorating pedicure uses a mud mixture to exfoliate and deeply hydrate your feet. In addition to nail and cuticle care, and buffing/color; this treatment includes added moisturizing and light massage.
- Sakura Pedicure & Nagomi Manicure – These are our signature manicure and pedicure treatments that include the most pampering and nail care. We use the natural harnessing power of ingredients like Crystallized Honey, Rice Bran, Sake-Kasu, and a handmade and chemical free Yuzu Massage Cream to fully exfoliate and deeply hydrate the hands and feet.
The Nesttalks with Shizuka Bernstein, Celebrity Esthetician and Owner of SHIZUKA New York Day Spa, about summer beauty products in their article:
Shizuka describes Naturopathica’s Lavender Protective Moisturizer SPF 17 as an ideal summertime skin care product that’s great for use year round.
This moisturizer from Naturopathica is a perfect makeup base in the summer, offering UVA and UVB protection with a smooth, matte finish,” says Bernstein. “Micronized zinc oxide is a physical sun blocker, so it doesn’t penetrate the skin, which means it doesn’t irritate it. But the secret ingredient is turmeric root, which reduces redness and helps inhibit melanin production for added protection. I love this product and use it all year round!
Lavender and skin care go hand in hand. Its soothing aroma is useful for treating anxiety and insomnia while its antiseptic property acts as an all natural antibacterial component to purify the skin. Infuse lavender skin care into your summertime beauty routine!
During these hot summer days, we invite you to give extra attention to keeping your skin free of bacteria that can lead to acne. Relax with these soothing lavender skincare facial cleansers:
Aloe Cleansing Gel – A foaming sulfate-free cleanser with a refreshing blend of Aloe Vera and Lavender that gently clarifies the skin while maintaining natural moisture.
Lavender oil, known for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, can be found in our Shizuka New York Skincare System as well:
Shizuka NY Moisturizer – This moisturizer is a non-greasy and absorbs immediately to hydrate, condition and rejuvenate, and works to clarify and brighten the complexion.
Shizuka NY Foaming Cleanser -This Foaming Cleanser is used in most facial treatments in our NYC day spa and contains a slew of other nourishing ingredients leaving the skin renewed, softer and more supple.