Top Weekend Roundup of Beauty Tips & Our Most Popular Posts of 2014

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Shizuka NY Day Spa Weekend Roundup of Beauty Tips & Our Most Popular 2014 Posts
Steven Alan – Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week New York 2014 by Gomainstream, CC BY 2.0

Probably no place else on the planet are women and men more preoccupied with health, beauty and culture than in New York City.

Acknowledging this obsession, we’ve rounded up for the week what we hope is the latest and best content the web has to offer  . . .

Beauty Tips from around the Web

Shizuka NY Day Spa’s Best Blog Content from 2014

Visitors to our blog last year were most interested in posts about our signature Geisha Facial®, massages for jet lag, summer skin care tips, and – along with everyone else it seems – real New Jersey housewives. Check out, or re-visit, our most popular 2014 posts:

From Shizuka NY Day Spa, have a great 2015!

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Adult Acne Causes and Treatments

Adult Acne Causes – Propionibacterium, Hormones vs. Free Radicals

Propionibacterium is a naturally occurring bacterium living inside your follicles and pores, below the surface of the skin. Normally this bacterium does no harm to your skin because it feeds on the sebum secreted by your sebaceous glands along with any cellular debris and wastes products from skin cell production (1).

Hormones and Free Radicals can Trigger Adult Acne

Hormonal fluctuations brought on by stress, poor diet, PMS, or pregnancy can cause an increase in cortisol.  Cortisol then breaks down into testosterone causing excess oil production – sebum – in your skin and pores.  This excess oil production can increase the growth of propionibacterium, and this in turn can contribute to the pores getting clogged up with dead skin cells, dirt and oil. This gunky pileup then causes inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands – in other words: adult acne.

And it doesn’t take much stress to bring on adult acne. “Even a moderate amount of daily stress—like balancing a career and a social life, or coming home from work and having to cook dinner for your family—is enough to trigger a breakout,” says Ava Shamban, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at UCLA and author of “Heal Your Skin” (2).  Smoking can also trigger adult acne, at least in women (3).

A recent theory proposes that inflammation of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands can be caused by oxidative stress (4). Oxidative stress is counteracted by antioxidants. A decrease in antioxidant vitamins such as A, C and E in adults has been correlated with acne.

Adult Acne Treatment

Adult Acne Treatment, Salicylic Acid Cleaners, Topical Retinoids

Adult Acne Treatment – We’ve Come a Long Way Baby

Salicylic Acid Cleaners & Anti-Microbial Agent

Whether adult acne is caused by hormonal fluctuations and/or oxidative stress, the best way to clean the skin and unplug pores is to use over-the-counter salicylic acid cleaners, like our AHA Oily & Acne Solution (4 oz), followed by a product containing benzoyl peroxide to fight bacterial growth in the skin (or an oil free moisturizer with anti-microbial agent, like our Oil Free Moisturizer (1 oz) and a skin cover, like our Vitamin C Power Gel (1 oz), to combat both inflammation and oxidative stress.

Topical Retinoids

Topical retinoids, which come in liquids, creams or gels, like our Hyaluronic Acid Gel (1 oz), help remove plugged follicles by inducing the skin to create new skin cells. Creating new skin cells in this way increases the skin’s sensitivity to sunlight, so you’ll want to apply a good sunscreen before you head outdoors, like our Super Sheer Sunscreen SPF 50+ (2.5 oz).

If you have severe, potentially disfiguring, adult acne, you may need to try prescription oral retinoids, but these oral retinoids do have some potentially serious side effects, like depression and inflammatory bowel disease.

Antibiotics

Because bacterium is the root cause of adult acne, especially in serious cases, a doctor may prescribe antibiotics in the form of either a cream, gel or lotion. Such antibiotics include erythromycin (Brand name: Benzamycin), clindamycin (Brand name: Duac), and sulfacetamide (Brand name: Plexion).

Birth control pills

For women, birth control pills have traditionally provided great defense against acne.  Common birth control pills include Ortho Tri-Cyclen and Yasmin.

Skip The Laser And Light Therapies For Now.

Laser light therapies may one day play a role in treating adult acne, but so far, there is little good research to support their use.

Finally, if you have acne and your diet is poor, shift to a high antioxidant diet to combat both inflammation and oxidative stress

References

  1. Evgenia M., Ruta G., and Christos C.Z. “An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne“. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Jan-Mar; 3(1): 41–49.
  2. Ava S. “Heal Your Skin: The Breakthrough Plan for Renewal.” Wiley, 1st ed., May 1, 2011.
  3. Bruno C., Jo Linda S., Valentina B., Paola C.F., Mauro P., and Christos C. Z. “Underestimated clinical features of postadolescent acne.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 63(5), 782-788.
  4. Bowe W.P., Patel N., and Logan A.C. “Acne vulgaris: the role of oxidative stress and the potential therapeutic value of local and systemic antioxidants.” J Drugs Dermatol. 2012 Jun; 11(6):742-6.

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Shizuka offers Skin Care Advice for Young Women on MTV’s Girl Code

Girl Code MTV Shizuka Bernstein

 

Shizuka Bernstein, owner of Shizuka new york Day Spa, offers skin care advice for young women while performing The Geisha Facial® on MTV’s hit show: Girl Code .

 

Here’s a rundown of MTV’s Girl Code from IMDb:

“Girl Code” offers over-the-top tips to open the dialogue about being a woman, covering everything from “frenemies” and girl fights to dancing, drinking and dating. Female comics, athletes and entertainers — and even some dudes — discuss the rules girls can use for any and every situation in life.

In the segment Shizuka offers skin care advice for young women after the cast member asks: What can I do to keep my skin healthy after a facial?

 

Shizuka offers this advice to young women:

1. Stay out of the sun.
2. Don’t drink too much.
3. Always cleanse the face before going to sleep.

 

 

Check out our current Spa Deals here >>

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What is the Best Moisturizer for the Face?

What is the Best Moisturizer for the Face?

Moisturizer Confusion? It’s Important to Separate Fact from Friction
CONFUSED by Whologway, CC BY 2.0

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.

 

References

  1. Harvard School of Public Health. Antioxidants: Beyond the Hype.
  2. L. How to Prevent Photoaging? Journal of Investigative Dermatology (2005), 125.
  3. Grossman R. The role of dimethylaminoethanol in cosmetic dermatology, Am J Clin Dermatol. 2005; 6(1):39-47.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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

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Types of Moisturizers: Everything You Need to Know

Who Needs To Moisturize?

Types of Moisturizers: Everything You Need to Know

Moisturizers: It’s Important to Separate Fact from Friction
My wife´s bathroom shelves by Sten Dueland, CC BY 2.0

Basically anyone who has dry skin, and most often, that means older adults.

Why Moisturize?

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.

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