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Fight Aging Skin With Six Simple Ingredients

  • Posted on July 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm

Aging skin gracefully is a wonderful thing. Looking fantastic while doing it is even better. I have six words for you to help your skin rival that of a girl in her twenties: Vitamin C; Hyaluronic acid; Matrixyl; Argireline; Hydroquinone; Retinol. You’ve probably heard of some of these ingredients, but they are not often combined, forcing you to buy six different bottles. Well, I’ve managed to get all of these in just four.

Here’s a crash course on why Vitamin C; Hyaluronic acid; Matrixyl; Argireline; Hydroquinone; and Retinol will save your skin:

Skincare Fun

Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid): A key to producing collagen, the protein that firms and strengthens skin and also takes a hike as we age. Collagen is essential for preserving healthy connective tissue. It firms the skin and helps maintain its youthful appearance. Vitamin C also helps protect the skin from sun damage. The challenge is that you need a fair amount as it is not terribly stable in liquid form. I use a 20% solution, which is one the highest I’ve found, yet it doesn’t irritate my skin.

Hyaluronic Acid: The wrinkle enemy. Created naturally in our bodies, this beneficial little bugger also starts saying hasta la night-night as the clock ticks. Luckily, hyaluronic acid is easily absorbed in the skin. Before topical serums arrived on the market, this complex sugar was used as an injectable to plump the skin. It protects against the sun’s harmful UVB rays and adds moisture and elasticity back into maturing skin. The Skin Science is a company that combines hyaluronic acid with the next two skin savers: Matrixyl and Arigerline.

Matrixyl: The best kept secret in skincare, even according to scientists’ published studies in Molecular Pharmaceutics. A powerful peptide-based treatment, this is another collagen booster and the brilliant brainchild of the Sederma Corporation. A recent study from Reading University claims that Matrixyl “can almost double the amount of collagen that the cells in our body produce, provided the concentration is high enough.”

Argireline: Dr. Oz himself touts Argireline as the suggested alternative to Botox. Well, if the cute doc says so, who am I to argue? At a recommended concentration of 5 to 10%, this peptide should be strong enough to penetrate the skin. If you can’t afford the needle, Argireline is your Botox-lite.

Skincare Ingredients

Hydroquinone: I visited my dermatologist last year and said I’d like to lighten the brown age spots that have been partying on my skin, sans an invitation. He laughed, because the so-called “spots,” he said, were more like blonde microscopic dots. I disagreed, so he gave me a prescription for hydroquinone 10%. While hydroquinone is the queen of brown spot annhiliation, I do not recommend using a 10% concentration. Let’s just say it mauled my skin with scabby bloody blisters. The doctor’s office did admit that it’s strong and that not all skins respond kindly to it. So I bought a 2% concentration, which I believe is the highest you can buy without a prescription.

Retinol: The mother of all collagen restorers. All-Trans Retinol 2% from NCN Professional Skincare helps restore collagen type I, III (the one we lose in our youth), and IV. Their formula is paraben- and chemical-free.

To get the hyaluronic acid, Matrixyl, Argireline, (and even COQ10, an antioxidant that fights harmful free radicals) all in one, I suggest Active Cell Repair. You can get it at The Skin Science. The best (and most potent) formula for liquid Vitamin C is from Cosmetic Skin Solutions. For the hydroquinone solution, try Murad. Yes, it’s pricey ($60.00), but Murad is a trusted company. Sometimes Sephora or Ulta offer specials on Murad products.

Let me know if you’ve bought any of these formulas and whether they’re working for you. I have truly noticed a tightening of the small lines developing around my eyes, and my brown spots have not worsened.








What Massage Therapists Want You to Know!

  • Posted on July 2, 2013 at 4:41 am

In my ongoing effort to open the lines of communication between clients and massage therapists and other body workers, I asked two well-seasoned therapists what they wish clients would know. What you read might surprise you.

Neil, a massage therapist for 25 years, works at a high-end spa in Arizona, and he’s seen it all. I asked him what he wished clients knew, in an effort to make his job easier. Not surprisingly, his number one issue is cleanliness. His biggest pet peeve is dirty feet. “Yes, it’s hot here in Arizona,” he said, “but we have showers. People don’t realize that if they wear black sandals in this heat, the black will rub off on their feet.” He told me a story about a guy who came in for a massage straight from the golf course, and had sand between his toes. Neil said, “I told him I wouldn’t work on him until he showers. He actually thanked me and said he felt so much better afterwards.”

Smelly Feet

“Some people come in with really bad attitudes,” says Neil. “You wouldn’t think this would happen at a spa, but it does.” He said some of his favorite clients have been celebrities. “They’re just so thankful to have some alone time, without cameras in their face that they make the best clients.” He admits that most clients are easy to deal with, though. “It’s the 1 in 20 high-crust spa visitor that’s difficult.”

I got a good laugh when he offered that, “Men are wimps. They can’t take the pressure.” And he confessed that the thinner the woman, the more pressure she usually requests. When I asked him why he supposes that is, he said, “Probably because they have less adipose (fat) tissue.” The slimmer the client, the less pressure is needed to get to the muscle.

Megan, a massage therapist based in Santa Fe, offers a different opinion on what she wishes massage clients knew. Although she doesn’t have a particular problem with smelly feet, she admits some massage therapists will do the feet first and then the face, if a client comes in with stinky feet. I thought this was a brilliant way of deterring clients with toxic tootsies to schedule a massage before washing.


Other things on Megan’s wish list? Silencing cell phones, speaking in a quieter voice, avoiding wearing strong fragrances, and if you are a smoker, trying to avoid smoking a cigarette right before a massage. “If you wear contacts, they can be uncomfortable in the face cradle, for some people, so consider sporting your glasses to the session,” says Megan. And when I asked her about tipping, she said, “When tipping, be aware that your therapist is probably only making maybe one-third of what you’re paying for the massage, so an extra couple of bucks, if you really enjoyed it, can go a long way.” I suppose this only applies to massage therapists and body workers who are employed by a spa. Those who work for themselves probably appreciate the tips as well, but are not handing part of the fee over to an employer.

So, there you have it. Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions? Leave ‘em here!