11 Unusual (and outright weird!) Skin Care Treatments: do they really work?

Let’s talk about weirdbeauty treatments. As always, yes some work, others are just a whole lotta marketing hype.

I am a full time licensed Esthetician since 1997, and I own a small specialty skin care practice in Providence RI. So I can safely say I’ve seen it all… 

Here are some of the more notable ones:

1) Gold treatments: 

Colloidal gold sometimes called nano gold, has been shown to reduce wrinkle depth, increase circulation, and act as an anti inflammatory. It appears to most effective when formulated with peptides, as the gold enhances the penetration of them. 

Verdict on Gold: Do it!

Personal experience: love it! One of our most popular services involves a cocktail of 24k gold, peptides, amber, diamond peptides and hyaluronic acid. The results are immediate and quite visible.

2) Fish pedicures:

The idea is that your feet are submerged in a pool full of little fish who literally eat the dead skin right off your feet.

Does it work?

Yes.

Is it at all hygienic?

Hell no.

The risk for bacterial infection with this “procedure” should be enough for anyone to just say No.

In salons we are required by law to disinfect our tools between every client. All kinds of nasty things can be shared including bacteria, fungal infections, viruses. Anything that touches the skin needs to be sanitized before it can touch another client.

How exactly does one do this with a living creature? You can’t, at least not without killing it. Enough said.

Verdict on Fish pedicures: No. 

Personal experience: you couldn’t pay me to do that. Ewww.

3) Snake massage: (see fish pedicures)

Ugh. I personally love snakes, but they can be very smelly.

There is also a concern about the care and safety of the animal. In this scenario, they are being exploited, and subject to a rather cruel, forced stimulation.

Again there is the issue of sanitation.

Would the muscle stimulation of the snake moving on you be helpful? Sure, but unless that snake has a massage therapy license, it can’t possibly replace the Trained hands of a licensed therapist.

Verdict: Waste of money.

Personal experience: None, but I often use slow compressive massage movements during my facial treatments. Plus it doesn’t smell!

4) Snail facials:

This one is a bit trickier. The snail filtrate itself has been shown to be extremely beneficial to skin, as it increases hydration, and speeds healing. It  naturally contains glycolic acid, enzymes and growth factors. It has even been shown to be helpful for eliminating warts.

However, snail filtrate in skin care products is collected, filtered and formulated with preservatives, making it safe to use. It is often diluted because it is very expensive to collect, and the percentage of active matters.

Placing live snails directly on the skin again borders on cruelty, and there is no way to control for sanitation. Verdict: no to live snails. Big YES to snail filtrate in skincare products.

Personal experience: I love snail filtrate! It’s very slick feeling, and quite soothing for barrier impaired skin. It’s an ingredient in several age management products we carry.

5) “Slapping” facials:

You’ve probably seen videos of Estheticians or barbers vigorously slapping the faces of clients on their treatment chair. Some are so rough, it’s a wonder the client didn’t slap back! Is this actually beneficial? 

Well… the slapping does stimulate circulation, which improves oxygen flow, color, and nutrients to the cells. However, if you happen to be on the receiving end with a practitioner who is working out their stress on your face, you might not enjoy it so much. 

Slapping the skin isn’t really something new. The massage techniques of tapotement and percussion are tried and true and can be beneficial. However such aggression may actually induce a stress response in the receiver, leading to higher cortisol, which ultimately accelerates aging. 

Verdict: maybe, if you are into aggressive massage. 

Personal experience: I have enjoyed some percussive massage on larger muscle groups, particularly back and thighs. A much lighter touch on the face is ok, but I’m not ready to get slapped around!

6) Biting massage: 

Umm…  The human mouth is so full of bacteria that the risk of transferring disease is just way too high.

Frankly, as a professional, this “technique” is repulsive, and belongs more in the category of fetish than spa treatment.  Kneading muscles before a more soothing massage is a much more palatable experience. (see what I did there?)

Verdict: No. 

Personal experience: Ugh, really?? 

7) Chocolate in skin care:

Chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and minerals. It also naturally contains cannabinoids that stimulate our endocannabinoid system.

It’s high in magnesium, a necessary mineral which helps us to relax, sleep and assists in cardiovascular function. REAL cacao is also rich in cocoa butter, a lush emollient for the skin.

Claims that chocolate/cacao will also help in weight loss are usually based on the idea that caffeine and theobromine naturally found in cacao will assist that process are rampant, and they do have some positive effects.

In general, most chocolate body treatments are more a stimulation for the senses than for the weight loss. 

Verdict: yes, but don’t expect chocolate miracles.

Personal experience: we use chocolate in several treatments, particularly for its antioxidant effect and sensory appeal.

8) Lymphatic Drainage:

Generally using light, almost fluttery strokes across the skin, this is a proven modality to reduce inflammation, edema and redness in the skin.

Regular lymphatic drainage can help reduce the symptoms of rosacea, acne, sinus pain, headaches, etc.  Even though it may seem like nothing is really happening with MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) because it is so gentle, it really is extremely effective. 

Verdict: Definitely YES.

Personal experience: It’s wonderful! Very relaxing, gentle and effective, I’ve also had full body body MLD, and will definitely do it again.

We are super fortunate to have Polly Jiacovelli, a lymphatic specialist here in our building trained with the Dr Vodder method of MLD, the most respected and well researched in the world. Highly recommended!

9) Facial Gua Sha:

An eastern modality using smooth gemstones, polished bone or horn to “scrape” the contours of the face, this is actually quite effective at stimulating lymphatic movement, and reducing adhesions in the small muscles of the face.

Done too aggressively, it can bring up a rash that resembles a bruise. This is similar to the rash seen in cupping. 

Verdict: Yes, when performed with a gentle hand.

Personal experience: it’s lovely, when done properly can visibly define the contours of the face, especially under the eyes and jawline. Visible results are temporary, but have long term subtle benefits. We have been offering facial Gua Sha treatments for several years now.

10) Jade rollers:

These are all the rage on social media lately, with clients asking about them on a regular basis.

Yes, they are effective for penetrating products, stimulating circulation, cooling irritated skin and bringing about a healthy glow, but this is more from the by product of massage and lymphatic drainage. They are not miracle stones. That being said, lots of different stones have benefits for the skin. Don’t limit your self to just jade. Try rose quartz, aventurine, chrysoprase, amethyst…

Verdict: yes! They are easy and pleasant to use, but don’t expect a full facelift.

Personal experience: these are fun! Naturally cooling, they feel good on the skin. Because they are natural stone, they are prone to breakage.

Again, they are not a miracle, but we have been incorporating gemstones into our facial treatments for almost 20 years now. There are real benefits!

11) Dien Chan Zone Facial Reflexology

A technique from Italy based on Vietnamese facial needling, it uses a small blunt tool to stimulate reflexes on the face, inducing a state of deep relaxation and supports vitality. 

Totally painless, highly effective, and pleasant, this is a must try modality that delivers. 

Verdict: yes!

Personal experience: the first treatment I was very curious, and rather engaged in the technique. The second time I was in a deep state of relaxation within a few minutes. We do offer this treatment, and are some of the very first in the country (USA) to offer it. 

Great skin care looks at the whole person: mind, body, spirit and skin. If you are serious about your skin care, you are probably already coming to Viriditas Beautiful Skin Therapies. If you haven’t made an appointment yet, here is a convenient link to book yourself some high quality self- care. http://www.viriditas.skincaretherapy.net/

We look forward to helping your skin look and feel amazing!

Xox

Laurie

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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…

ascpfacial

(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…

A234533_fitzpatrick_scale_rev

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…

www.viriditas.skincaretherapy.net

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.

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?