8 Reasons Why You Need to Start Dry Brushing Your Skin Right Now

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One of the best things you can incorporate into your health and beauty routine is dry brushing. Not only will the brushing gently exfoliate dull dry skin, allowing better penetration of moisturizer, it can also give your immune system a big boost.

When done properly (gentle upward strokes, towards the heart, focusing on inner parts of joints: where lymph glands are most concentrated) dry brushing goes way beyond beauty. The upward movement (always toward the heart) stimulates the flow of lymph. Our lymphatic system is like the body’s garbage removal highway, and is a major part of the immune system. Lymph carries away metabolic waste, bacteria, viruses, excess fluid and all kinds of other gunk the body doesn’t need anymore. Unlike the blood (heart), the lymph has no pump, and relies on muscle movement, gravity, and osmotic pressure (via deep breathing) to flow. Dry brushing can boost that flow!

Dry brushing also stimulates peripheral circulation (surface blood flow). Not only can this help speed healing of damaged tissue and improve scars, but it brings oxygen and nutrients resulting in glowing skin.

Feeling crappy and under the weather? Dry brush.

Do you have swollen ankles? Dry brush.

Heavy, tired feeling legs? Dry brush.

Over indulged at that party last night? Dry brush.

Dry itchy winter skin? Dry brush.

Puffy eyes? VERY GENTLY brush the sides of the neck and under the chin, all the way down to the collarbone.

Headache? Drink plenty of lemon water, have some magnesium and dry brush!

Have you ever tried dry brushing? Let us know in the comments. Sign up for our newsletter here, and follow us on Facebook for lots more helpful skin care tips.

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8 Ways We Keep You Safe at Viriditas Beautiful Skin Care Clinic During Flu Season

Whether its a sniffle, head cold, or full-on influenza, there are simple everyday things we do for our clients to prevent the spread of germs here at Viriditas.

Here in our skin care clinic, the primary thing is to WASH YOUR HANDS. Frequently! Studies show this is  the most efficient means of preventing the spread of germs. We wash our hands between every single client, and use a disposable paper towel to dry. Reusable towels are clearly better for the environment, but they spread germs! We compromise by using towels made from recycled paper. Did I mention that we also recycle?

Don’t touch door handles! Door handles are the crossroads for who knows how many nasty virulent buggies! Remember that recycled paper towel? We wash just before we enter the treatment room, then use the towel to open the door, then discard. That’s also the best way to open doors in public restrooms. Just sayin…

We use Essential Oils. A Lot! We keep a small aromatherapy warmer in the reception area, and we cycle different antimicrobial oils including ravensara, eucalyptus, thyme, lemon, lavender, rosemary and pine. Did you know it only takes 7 molecules of an essential oil to have a physiologic effect (like destroying germs!), but it takes 40 molecules for your nose to detect it? A few drops goes a long way! The next time you visit, take a deep breath, and see if you can pick out which oil is in the warmer today. Either way, they will help keep you healthy., and boy do they smell good…

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We use fresh clean sheets, towels and wraps for every client. EVERY CLIENT. We have our sheets and towels professionally laundered, so they are washed and bleached in hot water, preventing the spread of germs. You can be confident that we never, ever reuse. That would be just nasty!

In between clients, all work surfaces are wiped down with hospital grade disinfectant wipes, and sprayed with environmentally safe sanitizing solution. Again, we choose environmentally friendly products like Seventh Generation, Cleanwell and Puregreen 24.

All tools we use on our clients including bowls, brushes and tweezers are hand washed in hot soapy water, wiped clean, then sprayed with disinfectant. Tweezers and metal implements are further sanitized in a steam cabinet. We store all clean towels, sheets and wipes in closed cabinets with dry sanitizers. Brushes are soaked in a hospital grade disinfectant solution, and frequently replaced. Our hot towel cabinets use ultraviolet light to minimize bacterial growth. We clean our steamer units and HydraFacial device regularly as well.

At the front desk, you may notice a small bottle of hand sanitizer. Feel free to indulge! We recommend using a little after using pens. Office tools like pens, phones, computer mice, and keyboards harbor lots of unfriendlies, so take a moment to keep yourself safe.

We also ask clients and staff to STAY HOME IF YOU ARE SICK!!! Nobody actually enjoys being ill, so as much as we love to see our clients and visit, please don’t share your germs! Just give us a call and let us know, and we will be happy to reschedule.

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Beautiful Skin = Healthy Function

Its all about Function

Healthy Skin functions well. Looking good is a side effect.

Our precious skin has a lot of responsibilities: barrier, temperature control, immune defense, sensation, keeping us from dissolving into a wet blob of mush…

The function of our skin is affected by our environment and our lifestyle choices. Specifically: diet, exercise, sun exposure, how we care for ourselves…

These things also affect our overall wellness. Conveniently, our skin can actually reflect our overall wellness too.

Poorly functioning skin looks:

Dull

Dry

Sallow

Blah

Well functioning skin looks:

Glowing!

Hydrated!

Bright!

Vibrant!

I don’t know about you, but I prefer glowing and vibrant over dull and blah any day.

So how do we get that glowy thing, and make it last?

Diet and healthy lifestyle choices are the most important, but we have a secret weapon…

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(photo courtesy of ASCP)

Something that brightens the dull!

Juices up the dry!

Enlightens the sallow!

Banishes the blah!

Its called professional skin care, and you should try it. A qualified skin care professional can assess your skin, make recommendations and perform treatments that will support healthy function.  As a side benefit, you just might look a bit younger and healthier 🙂

Understanding Freckles and Age Spots: Mr Fitzpatrick and the Umbrella Factories

In my skin care practice, one of the most common concerns clients have is hyperpigmentation, or spots. We aren’t talking about those cute little spots on puppies, kittens and baby deer.

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Nope, this is about those spots otherwise known as liver spots, age spots, old lady dots, leopard spots or just plain old freckles.

In order to manage these discolorations, its helpful to understand how and why they appear.

Those spots are made in your skin from a pigment called melanin, in our clinic we refer to it as an “umbrella.” They are made in specialized skin cells called melanocytes, or “umbrella factories.”3

Everyone’s skin has these little umbrella factories in their skin, but some of them are way more efficient than others.

In 1976, a Harvard dermatologist named Thomas B Fitzpatrick developed a scale to identify skin color, now know as the Fitzpatrick Scale. To find your “Fitz type”, check this out.

  • Type I (scores 0–6) Pale white; blond or red hair; blue eyes; freckles — Always burns, never tans
  • Type II (scores 7–13) White; fair; blond or red hair; blue, green or hazel eyes — Usually burns, tans minimally
  • Type III (scores 14–20) Cream white; fair with any hair or eye color; quite common — Sometimes mild burn, tans uniformly
  • Type IV (scores 21–27) Moderate brown; typical Mediterranean skin tone — Rarely burns, always tans well
  • Type V (scores 28–34) Dark brown; Middle Eastern skin types — Very rarely burns, tans very easily
  • Type VI (scores 35+) Deeply pigmented dark brown to black — Never burns, tans very easily

Unfortunately, if you happen to be albino, this scale won’t apply to you, and you should probably invest in some serious SPF my friend…

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If you are blessed with Fitz 1 or 2, you can pretty much kiss any dreams of a Coppertone tan right out the window. No matter how much you try to bake your skin to a deep golden hue, you will only get freckles. Lots and lots of freckles. Maybe enough to look like a tan, but you are way better off going the spray tan route.

Fitz 3 and 4 are currently the fashion industry faves, they can tan evenly and are generally resilient to sun, unless they overdo it, and then they look old elephant butt. No offense to elephants…

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Fitz 5 and 6 are the bronze Gods and Goddesses of skin tone, their tone even and deep, resistant to wrinkles and solar radiation damage. However…

Let’s go back to those factories. Everyone has the same number of factories (melanocytes) in their skin. It just a matter of whose factories are most efficient and long lasting.

Fitz 1 and 2 could use better general managers working for them. Umbrella production can be slow to start, and uneven, resulting in burns and freckling.

Because they tan so easily, Fitz 3 and 4 have a tendency to overdo the sun, which can make the factories burn out, resulting in hypo-pigmentation (lack of color, white spots) and a leathery look.

Fitz 5 and 6 have the super-duper high efficiency models that work overtime, even when not needed. In fact, anytime their skin gets irritated, even a little, they get boatloads of umbrellas delivered to that spot. Think about the spots that show up after a blemish, a cut or an insect bite. For you, this translates to NO SCRUBS! And I don’t care what you read on the internet, microdermabrasion is a big honking NO-NO for you.

In a nutshell, the skin cells get exposed to sun (or other threat), send out a distress call to the factories, and the factories respond with a quick delivery of umbrellas for protection.

Of course, other factors will rev up production as well, think hormones, inflammation, illness…(that’s a whole other post!)

Got it?

So if you want to avoid spots, you need to protect your skin. Avoid prolonged exposure, cover up with protective clothing, hats, sunglasses, and wear SPF.

No distress call, no umbrellas. Mr. Fitzpatrick can take the day off.

Out damn spot, out I say! Clearing acne on the back…or should we say BACNE

Often referred to as “bacne” (!), acne affecting the back and chest respond to the same products used for the face. Because the skin on the body is thicker, it can tolerate stronger concentrations.

Remember Pimples = Oil + Dead Skin + Bacteria + inflammation.

To effectively banish blemishes, you need to address all four.

The big player ingredients include:

Salicylic acid: a beta hydroxy acid (BHA) that has the very cool ability to penetrate oil, meaning all those little blackheads made up of oil, dead skin and bacteria! A cleanser with salicylic acid or mandelic acid can be a big help in keeping blackheads at bay.

Mandelic acid is the latest skin care darling when it comes to acne! Derived from almonds, it can effectively exfoliate, kill bacteria AND reduce the dark spots left from blemishes gone bad, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation. See below for an example.

The Holy Grail for acne clearance is without question benzoyl peroxide (BPO). It penetrates and opens clogged pores, kills bacteria and is the bomb at keeping new blemishes at bay. It is best as a leave on treatment, but can also be helpful in a wash for preventative care.

Just be careful that the formula you choose is not loaded with additional pore cloggers! Nasty business, that. Lots of companies that make OTC acne products are filled with ingredients that actually make acne worse. Gotta wonder if they are trying to clear your acne, or guarantee a future customer…

A note about BPO however, skin will typically develop a resistance to it’s pimple busting powers, so you may need to gradually increase the strength and frequency of application to get full clearance. It can cause dryness as well, and good BPO may bleach your sheets, so wear a white t-shirt while using it.

Some bacne can be really resistant, so a few helpful “heavies” include sulfur and retinol. Sulfur can be immensely drying, but sometimes is THE game changer for really inflamed bacne. Be aware that sulfur and sulfa (drugs) are two totally different things. Many people are allergic to sulfa drugs, but sulfur is a naturally occurring element, found in many foods (garlic, onions, cabbage).

Retinol is amazing for helping to clear acne, smooth and refine skin texture, banish signs of aging, etc. However, I feel retinol is most effective AFTER most of the inflammation is down. Retinol works by speeding up cell turnover, so it can literally bring up or “purge” blemishes. If there is rampant inflammation, acne can look way worse before it gets better. If a client is ok with that, then we go for it!

Just a side note: any acne products will work best when used consistently. No skipping days, or going to bed with makeup on…
Blemishes (oil + dead skin + bacteria + inflammation) typically take about 3 months to develop. Research has shown that the inflammation is often present way before a blemish even appears. This would indicate systemic or chronic localized irritation. Think DIET!! Watch out for dairy( yogurt, ice cream), high-glycemic foods (sugar, grains, empty carbs) and high iodide content (mmm tortilla chips, salt licks lol). The big painful, red inflammation part can happen overnight. If you ice the inflamed area for a minute or two before you put your treatments on, you will hasten the clearing.

When you are ready to FINALLY get clear, look me up! Don’t live near Providence? I got connections baby…hit me up and I can put you in touch with an acne specialist closer to you!

Three months to breakouts, three months to clear skin…

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Dark under eye circles or raccoon genes?

First, identify the kind of dark circle:

Does it get better, then get worse?

Does it stay the same color all the time?

Does it have a yellowish undertone?

Does it look like you have a black eye? With some purple and blue
undertones?

Is it accompanied by puffiness?

All of the above???

Does it Get better then get worse?
If the darkness of your dreaded circles fluctuates, you may need to look
seriously at getting more regular sleep. This means shutting off that
iPhone, computer, and TV about an hour before bed. Seriously! Gazing at
electronic screens tires the muscles in your eyes, and can contribute to
dryness, eyestrain, and inhibits melatonin production, which you need for
deep sleep. There is a reason they call it Beauty Sleep.
What to do about it? Add a pinch of sea salt to your water every
day. Real sea salt, NOT table salt! Holistically, the eyes reflect the
health of your kidneys, and adrenals. Not enough sleep = higher cortisol
(adrenals) production. Sea salt or Himalayan salt contain trace minerals
that our bodies use up under stress. And who doesn’t have stress?? Consider
a daily dose of magnesium as well.

Does it stay the same color all the time?
You can probably blame your parents for this one! Genetics determines the
color of your skin, and deeper skin tones have more likelihood of this kind
of circle. Excess sun exposure will make it worse over time.
What to do about it? Topical preparations like retinol and vitamin
C have been shown to reduce this kind of pigmentation. Topical brightening
serums containing arbutin, licorice, and mulberry can be helpful when used
regularly. Lets not forget the SPF shall we?

Does it have a yellowish undertone?
Anytime there is a yellow tone in the skin, holistically this indicates a
sluggish liver. Yellow with brown may reflect a sluggish bowel.
What to do about it? A detox may be in order here! Generally
any “detoxification” really means you need to look at how you are nourishing
yourself, so cut the processed “foods” and load up on the dark green leafies
and healthy fats. Again, a little sea salt every day can help to provide
trace minerals for healthy liver and bowel function. Yellow dock, nettles,
and dandelion can be your best buds for this.

Does it look like you have a black eye?
Um, have you been out brawling? If not, this is what we call an allergic
shiner, and you guessed it, indicates allergies. This could mean
environmental allergies, like hay fever or mold, but it could also mean food
sensitivities. The most likely culprits are wheat, dairy, corn, soy and
eggs.
Sometimes people tell me that everyone in their family has these, so it
can’t be a food issue. Well, actually, sometimes your whole family is
sensitive. These kinds of food issues have a genetic component. Try
cutting them out completely for a while, and see what happens with your
circles. I often see gluten (wheat) as the culprit in my practice.

Is it accompanied by puffiness?
Have you been out drinking? Not only will alcohol mess with your Beauty
Sleep, it stresses your liver, increases insulin resistance, and slows down
lymphatic flow, often resulting in a lovely pair of marching dark circles.
What to do about it? Keep a couple of teaspoons in your fridge, and
when you wake up with dark puffs, gently rock the chilled spoons over your
eyes. This stimulates lymphatic flow, and constricts swollen tissue. Feels
pretty good too. Follow it up with a dose of niacinamide, dandelion, and
don’t forget that pinch of sea salt in your water! This is where the
classic cucumber slices work as well.

All of the above???
Go take a vacation! Sounds like you may have been abusing yourself for too
long. Adequate sleep, real food, nourishing botanicals like nettles and
dandelion, trace minerals, and a long walk in nature may be just what your
Esthetician ordered.

Thanks for reading! I am a licensed Esthetician (skin care specialist) and
owner of Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies, a holistic skin care practice
and acne clinic in Providence RI. I hope some of this will be of help to
you

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Whole grain goodness? Or massive age accelerator?

I see clients for skin care.  Facials, age-management, acne, and more often than not, clients have concerns about the texture, color and signs of aging.

The root source of all aging is inflammation.

Changes in skin texture, color and other signs of aging are caused by inflammation.  Changes that are visible on the skin often reflect what is going on inside the body.  External inflammation reflects internal inflammation.  In other words, when you see aging on your skin, you are also aging internally.

Research is showing more and more than we really are what we eat.  Eat junk = look like junk.  Eat vibrant whole foods, look vibrant.  Simple.  However, many of us are eating foods that cause inflammation, specifically sugars, starches (grains) and processed fats.

Yep, that brownie may actually cost you a few wrinkles.  Ok, maybe not one brownie, but if you are eating pro-inflammatory foods every day, you can count on a few more lines across your cheeks.  Of course, excess sun exposure, smoking and stress don’t help either, but we need to start somewhere…

Now for the bomb:  grains are pro-inflammatory!  Especially if you have an intolerance to one or more of them, the most common being gluten from wheat, rye and barley.  It is estimated that as many as 1 in 33 people are intolerant to gluten, and 99% of those individuals are undiagnosed!  By some estimates the number is even higher.  For more information check out www.thedr.com

Even if you are not gluten intolerant, grains, even “whole grains”  are converted to sugar in the body.  When you eat sugar, your body produces insulin.  The more insulin your body has produced over a lifetime, the shorter your lifespan.  Why?  Because sugar (grains) is  a massive pro-inflammatory!  AGING!  If you are gluten intolerant(and chances are you don’t know it), you might as well be throwing gasoline on that internal fire.

So what are you going to have for breakfast today?  More wrinkles?