Practicing Safe Sun

Practicing Safe Skin Through the Summer Months

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With the unofficial start of summer here, it is time to start thinking about how to keep our skin safe when out and about in the sun. Although it is recommended to wear an SPF year round, we start thinking about it now that we are spending more time outside, gardening, cooking out, relaxing, and going on vacation. The best way to protect ourselves from the sun is to cover up, wear a big hat and sunglasses, finding shade, and using a beach tent if you are planning on being in the sun for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so I have put together some facts and resources on staying sun safe with sunscreen!

You may be wondering which sunscreens are the best. To be honest, I don’t have a perfect answer, but I can help guide you to find a sunscreen that can best fit your needs. As we are becoming more aware of the toxins in mass produced skincare products, I find myself choosing physical sunscreens over chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are a good option for those of us who may have skin that is sensitive/sensitized, acneic, or is experiencing any other skin conditions.

There are two types of sunscreen’s, physical and chemical. The packaging may not label your sunscreen as such, so it is always a good idea to know what to look for in the ingredients. These ingredients are also good to know when looking for something like a daily moisturizer with an SPF.

father-daughter-beach-sea-38302A physical sunscreen’s active ingredients will include titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide. These are mineral based ingredients that will reflect or scatter some of the UV rays.

A chemical sunscreen’s active ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) and will absorb the UV rays, turning them into heat and then releasing from the skin.

Remember regardless of which type of sunscreen you choose, you always want to make sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and to reapply as stated in the FDA’s guidelines. This can be a feat for those of us that wear makeup or find it messy to keep reapplying a lotion through the day. There are alternatives, such as mineral sunscreen that you can brush on throughout the day like a setting powder. They even come with a cover and a built in brush for easy portability.

According to FDA sunscreen guidelines
“Reapply at least every two hours. And more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Remember to read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)”

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049090.htm

pexels-photo-210106Shopping for sunscreen can also be a daunting task, as it can be overwhelming standing in that aisle. Lotion, spray on, or stick, different strengths, and brands, how do we know which are tried and tested? Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) publishes a Guide to Sunscreen. They go more in-depth and rate the best and worst brands of sunscreens, according to their research. This is a great resource to check the score of your sunscreen or to find one if you don’t already have a preference.

In my personal circle of friends and on social media I have noticed an increased interest in skin health. Using a daily sunscreen can help you maintain healthy skin, and slow down extrinsic aging. Once we are into adulthood, it is never too early to start preventative anti-aging. Using sunscreen daily can be an easy, quick, and vital role to your daily routine.

As stated by The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.” http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

If that sun kissed glow is what you absolutely desire, you can always opt for a sunless spray tan. Plus you can always choose to skip the tan lines when you go sunless! Skincatering offers sunless tanning by appointment in their Springfield location. Although sunless spray tanning does not offer any UV protection, it does give you a healthy natural looking glow without the effects of long term UV exposure.

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Summer Wellness Tips

summerwellnessIn the summer I am out and about much more than I am in the cold winter. The season starts with graduation parties, progresses to birthday parties, cookouts, pool parties, and ends with labor day parties. In between all that we are going to the beach, and planning summer activities with our family to make the most of the summer months. There are times in the midst of all these activities and parties that I sit down and realize I have been going non-stop for days and then I realize, it is time for a self-care day. We all need to make time for them, no matter how many things we have planned in our calendar, taking time out for yourself is vital. Since we are smack in the middle of summer, I thought I would give a few tips for self-care that you can always make time for.

Hydrate yourself. I know I talk about hydration in almost all my posts, but I keep it up because it is so important. Water is essential to keep our bodies running, so staying hydrated is something we should stay conscious about. How much water should we drink each day? The old adage is 8 cups of water per day to stay hydrated, while a good general rule of thumb you may need more than this when you are spending more time outside in the heat or exercising. If you have a hard time remembering to drink water water-glass-heat-drink-161425through the day or maybe water just doesn’t suit your fancy, there are ways to remind yourself or make your water more palatable. These are all to personal preference but you could add it into your daily planner or journal, get an app that reminds you to drink water through the day, keep a big water bottle with you at all times. To make your water more fun or interesting, there are so many ways to infuse water with fruit to help you enjoy it more, of course, the one that comes to mind is lemon water because it is so common, but if you go onto Pinterest and search fruit water, you will get more ideas than you ever imagined!

Wear your sunscreen every day. Even if you feel as though you won’t be outside (unless you are actually staying in all day) you will likely be exposed to the sun on your commute or getting from A to B. Even just wearing a good broad spectrum mineral based sunblock-1461397_1920sunscreen on your face and decolletage will help guard you from the suns rays, that over time can break down collagen and elastin and increase your risk of health issues related to sun damage. If you will be out at the beach, or in the sun more than from home to work, find a good sunscreen that will help protect you while enjoying the summer weather.

Take some time out of your busy schedule to relax. Book a one hour massage or custom facial. There are more benefits to massage and facials than you may realize. Yes, they are wonderful to wind down and relax, but here are some massage benefits you may not have known. Our facials at SkinCatering are more than just relaxing, we customize our wellness-285590_1920facial to your skin type and your greatest concerns so that we can work together to help provide you with relaxation and results. Our Esthetician Holly is also a Certified Reiki Practitioner and offers Headache Relief Massage Reiki sessions and Custom Facials with Reiki which is the ultimate in self-care! We offer massage and facial services in Springfield and Holyoke, and Holly offers Reiki services in our Holyoke location.

pexels-photo-68468.jpegMy last tip, take a breath and enjoy life. Sometimes when we are caught up in the hustle and bustle of life we forget to take a minute to stop and breathe. Whatever it takes for you to take a moment for yourself is up to you. Some prefer to meditate, some just like to sit and relax by the pool, while others may want to join in on a yoga class. When it comes to self-care, even just taking a few minutes a day to clear our mind and relax can yield significant outcomes in our well-being.

 

5 Reasons You Should Get a Massage

benefitsmassageMost of us know that massages can be a nice relaxing way to pamper ourselves, or others when life gets a little hectic but did you know that there is much more to massage than just indulging yourself for an hour or two? The benefits of massage go far beyond that, read on to see the five reasons you should make an appointment for a massage today!

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Headaches – Massage may help relieve chronic tension headaches in less than 24 hours. In a study where chronic tension headache sufferers were given massage in the neck and shoulders, they saw reduced symptoms and frequency during the treatments and continued to see a reduction of symptoms during the study. If you are suffering headaches, you may want to stop into SkinCatering for a 15 or 30-minute Headache Relief Massage today.

 

Digestive Disorders – The reduction of stress and use of some aromatherapy can help relieve symptoms of IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). In addition to that, the physical manipulation of massage may also help alleviate IBS symptoms by relaxing abdominal tense muscles causing pain and constipation. If IBS is something you are dealing with, it is best to find a professionally trained and licensed therapist and start with a consultation, letting your therapist know your history and current symptoms. Your massage therapist will be the expert on best methods of treatment as some massage methods could exacerbate symptoms.

StockSnap_46BMYP2BDJInsomnia – If you suffer from insomnia you are likely no stranger to anxiety and sleepless nights. Massage can greatly help us relax, relieving anxiety, but can also help us holistically treat insomnia. According to Nicole Cutler L.A.c., “The chemistry of sleep is relevant to massage therapists because massage can directly influence the body’s production of serotonin.” This connection calls for additional research of the direct impact massage has on serotonin and sleep. Meanwhile, the current research is enough to recommend consistent massage if you are suffering from insomnia.

Sports injuries – If you are an athlete I am sure you are no stranger to pain and injury. Massage helps to relax muscles and relieve tension and is a great therapy to help with sports related pain. Although you may not immediately feel the effects of massage, you should feel it within a day or two. Sports massage can help improve circulation, which can also aid your metabolism, can improve range of motion, shorten recovery times, prevent overtraining, and may even be able to help prevent and help injuries. SkinCatering offers Sports Massage at both their Springfield and the Holyoke locations.

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Soft tissue strain – Strains and sprains can be a real pain, even long after you think they may be healed. Another benefit of therapeutic sports massage can be to aid in preventing further injury. When a soft muscle injury is healed, it is usually replaced by scar tissue which will mean the loss of flexibility and will be much more likely to become reinjured. Consistent sports massage could help to reduce or remove the scar tissue in the affected area.

No matter the reason you are coming for massage, always make sure to let your therapist know if you have had any injuries or changes since the last time you saw them, and let them know your biggest concern so they will be able to help you best by focusing on those areas.

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447303/
http://www.ibs-symptoms.ie/?q=advicecenter/stress-anxiety/massage-therapy
http://www.integrativehealthcare.org/mt/archives/2005/08/insomnia_seroto.html
http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13434
http://stretchcoach.com/articles/sports-massage
https://www.amtamassage.org/approved_position_statements/Massage-Therapy-for-Those-Who-Exercise.html

Cell Turnover and Aging Skin

cell turnover and aging skinOur skin is our largest organ, and the way it works truly fascinates me, but I suppose that is partly why I became an esthetician. Did you know that the cells of your epidermis (the outermost layer of skin) completely turnover on average every 28 days? Pretty amazing (and kind of gross knowing that most dust is actually dead cells that have shed)! This turnover is also called the Cell Renewal Factor or CRF. There are some factors that can change the rate at which our skin cells turnover, the biggest factor being age. Our cell turnover slows down as we age, and this is why we turn to things such as AHAs (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acid) to help speed up that cell turnover.

Cell Renewal Factor that changes as we age:

Babies – 14 days
Teenagers – 21 – 28 days
Middle age – 28 – 42 days
50 and up – 42 – 84 days

As babies, our cell renewal factor is quick, which is why babies always have such soft,

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smooth skin, as we age this factor slows down, we start to see the fine lines, and wrinkles in our skin, as well as start to see thinner skin with less elasticity. Our skin also has a tendency to feel more dry or dehydrated as we age as well. All of this causes the cells to stick instead of shedding from the skin because they are not turning over like they should be, which means new youthful skin is not appearing as quickly. There are many products, modalities, and treatments to help increase cellular turnover and increase collagen and elastin to help prevent aging. Some of these include enzymes and peels, microdermabrasion, dermaplaning, microcurrent, and ultrasonic facials. Using these treatments can help prevent, and to some degree, help to reverse the signs of aging.

 

Our skin starts to feel more dry and/or dehydrated as we age. These are not one in the same. Dry skin is a skin type, that is due to a lack of oil in the skin. Thus causing it to be dry. A dry skin type can show signs of aging sooner as the lines are more pronounced in a thinner, drier skin. Dehydration, which can happen to any skin type is a lack of hydration (water). As we age our body does tend to produce less oil, so although our skin type never changes, a normal or dry skin may see a more pronounced decrease in oil production, and increase in fine lines. Professional exfoliation and at home maintenance will help greatly with improving dry skin and aging, as well as a beauty oil’s such as omega_serum_2-copy-600x600SkinCatering’s Omega Serum  (in fact the entire advanced skin care line is a great way to increase cell turnover!) Dehydration, can be much easier to combat than dryness, as it is a condition and not a type. This could be caused by many things such as nutrition, sun exposure, medication, hormonal imbalances. Once you know the cause, you can start to treat your dehydration, hyaluronic acid, and a good moisturizer can help, as well as increasing your bodies hydration as a whole.

No matter how dry, dehydrated, or hydrated your skin is, your skin health should be a priority and it is not too early to start maintenance facials to prevent the signs of aging before they even start. At SkinCatering Spa, Springfield, MA and D. Hotel Spa by SkinCatering, Holyoke, MA our team of skilled estheticians can give you a full skin analysis and recommend the best treatment options for your skin type to keep it healthy no matter your age.

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Sources:

http://www.justaboutskin.com/dry-vs-dehydrated-skin

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-does-skin-wrinkle-wit/

http://www.cosmedicine.com/blog/skin-cell-turnover-time-cellular-renewal-factor-part-1-of-2/

https://www.aad.org/public/kids/skin/how-skin-grows

Why We Love Probiotics (And You Should, Too!)

blog post 628When we think of probiotics, most of us may think of Jamie Lee Curtis sitting on a couch talking about yogurt. If you aren’t sure what probiotics are, WebMD defines them as, “live bacteria and yeasts that are good for your health, especially your digestive system. We usually think of bacteria as something that causes diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called “good” or “helpful” bacteria because they help keep your gut healthy.”

Has your doctor ever prescribed antibiotics then recommended you also ate yogurt while on them? This is due to the antibiotics fighting bacteria in your body, including the good bacteria in your gut. By eating yogurt, you are increasing your probiotics, and your body’s ability to fight inflammation and yeast. Even without antibiotics probiotics are commonly used to help boost the immune system, and support digestion. What you may not know is taking probiotics may help improve your skin health.

Because probiotics help decrease inflammation and promote our immune system, it goes

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without saying that they are good for you. There are now studies showing that probiotics

 

may be helpful for a number of skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, wound healing, aging, eczema, and psoriasis. These conditions can be treated with probiotics, alongside traditional treatments as they will work better in conjunction with them. Some probiotics could even help if applied topically, although the typical way to get benefits of them is to ingest orally.

So how can we reap the benefits of probiotics?

– Yogurt, and/or kefir (a drink similar to yogurt), make sure you are checking the labels to make sure they include probiotics like lactobacillus or acidophilus in them.
– Fermented foods such as pickles, kimchi, tempeh, and sauerkraut are probiotic rich foods and an added bonus is that some of these foods are full of other benefits like vitamins A, B, C, & K, beta-carotene, and fiber.
– Kombucha, although this fermented tea can sometimes be an acquired taste, it is full of healthy probiotics.
– Supplements are an easy option as they are available at drugstores and supermarkets. Navigating these aisles can be a chore though. Here are some key tips to choose a good probiotic supplement.

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In my opinion, I think everyone can benefit one way or another by taking probiotics. If you already do use them, I would love to hear more about how you take them, and what you use! If you are new to probiotics, I would love to hear how they work for you! Make sure to drop us a line in the comments to let us know!

Sources:
https://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/probiotic-foods/
http://www.worldhealth.net/news/probiotics-skin-health/
http://dermatologytimes.modernmedicine.com/dermatology-times/news/probiotics-healthy-skin?page=full
https://www.aad.org/media/news-releases/could-probiotics-be-the-next-big-thing-in-acne-and-rosacea-treatments
http://www.webmd.com/digestive-disorders/features/what-are-probiotics#1

5 Tips for Glowing Skin

Sometimes it seems like we need to have a long list of things we need to do to keep our skin healthy and glowing. If you are like me, you want to keep your routine to a minimum. My typical morning is me trying to get myself and my kids ready and out the door so that nobody is late. This means that even me, as a licensed esthetician wants to keep my routine to a minimum. Two times daily I cleanse, tone, moisturize, and in the morning I use an SPF (if you missed last week’s blog post on SPF, you can read it here). I understand most of us don’t have the time or want to remember extra steps through our day.  I have decided to compile a list of 5 quick tips for healthy skin to easily add to your day.

1. We have all heard it, we all know it, but I am still going to write it. Drink more water, and stay hydrated. Dehydrated skin is a condition in which the skin lacks water, as opposed to lacking oil as a dry skin type. When we don’t drink enough water, or nourish our skin properly, our skin can become dehydrated. We all know that water is important to keep our bodies hydrated, and that includes your skin. Set a timer, or download an app if you forget to keep filling your glass.

2. Wash your face two times every day. We pick up environmental pollution on our skin through the day and may have worn makeup or other products, it is important to wash these things off at night before going to sleep. If we don’t wash off makeup and pollutants it can disrupt the cell renewal process, and clog pores. Cleansing in the morning is equally as important. While we sleep the oil, sweat, and dead cells shed. These can get trapped in our follicles if we aren’t cleansing in the morning.

3. Are you changing your pillow cases enough? Sweat, dead cells, oil, and hair products woman-2197947_1920all build up on your pillowcase. If you have ever had an issue with acne, your esthetician or dermatologist may have suggested you change your pillow case every 1-2 days. If you are typically break-out free, and not oily it is advised to change your pillow case weekly.

4. Using skincare that is right for your skin type. Many use skincare that is made for the wrong skin type. Depending on your skin type and the product you use, you could be over drying your skin, causing it to overproduce sebum (our skin’s naturally occurring oil). Finding out your real skin type is important when deciding how to treat your skin. If you are truly oily, you would want to use a foaming wash or something with clay to help dry up some of that naturally overproducing oil. If you are dry, you may want to stick to a creamier cleanser that will help keep your barrier intact. We are born with our skin type, and it doesn’t change. But, different skin conditions throughout our lives can change the way our skin feels, looks, and reacts to products.

5. Monthly maintenance facials from a licensed esthetician. During a facial, your woman-girl-beauty-maskesthetician will do a full analysis of your skin under a magnifier. During this analysis, they can determine your skin type. They will then give you a professional exfoliation, perform extractions, mask you, perform a facial massage to stimulate circulation and lymphatic drainage (plus, it’s relaxing and something that is not the same when you DIY it!), and finish off with a moisturizer for your skin type and an SPF. After your facial, your esthetician can recommend products that are best suited for your skin type and your concerns. Working together with your esthetician can help you reach your long-term skin goals.

You may already be doing these things. Maybe you are already doing a few of these, which is great too! I challenge you to kick it up a notch by slowly adding the rest of these tips into your day. If you are looking for an esthetician, you have come to the right place. SkinCatering offers skincare services by our skilled licensed estheticians at both locations. You can visit us at Skincatering Springfield in Tower Square and the newly opened D. Hotel Spa by SkinCatering in Holyoke. We look forward to working together with you on all of your skincare goals.

Happy Glowing xo

Practicing Safe Skin Through the Summer Months


blogtitlenosun.pngWith the unofficial start of summer here, it is time to start thinking about how to keep our skin safe when out and about in the sun. Although it is recommended to wear an SPF year round, we start thinking about it now that we are spending more time outside, gardening, cooking out, relaxing, and going on vacation. The best way to protect ourselves from the sun is to cover up, wear a big hat and sunglasses, finding shade, and using a beach tent if you are planning on being in the sun for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, that is not always possible, so I have put together some facts and resources on staying sun safe with sunscreen!

You may be wondering which sunscreens are the best. To be honest, I don’t have a perfect answer, but I can help guide you to find a sunscreen that can best fit your needs. As we are becoming more aware of the toxins in mass produced skincare products, I find myself choosing physical sunscreens over chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are a good option for those of us who may have skin that is sensitive/sensitized, acneic, or is experiencing any other skin conditions. 

There are two types of sunscreen’s, physical and chemical. The packaging may not label your sunscreen as such, so it is always a good idea to know what to look for in the ingredients. These ingredients are also good to know when looking for something like a daily moisturizer with an SPF.father-daughter-beach-sea-38302.jpg

A physical sunscreen’s active ingredients will include titanium dioxide, and/or zinc oxide. These are mineral based ingredients that will reflect or scatter some of the UV rays.

A chemical sunscreen’s active ingredients oxybenzone, octinoxate, octisalate and avobenzone. These active ingredients are organic (carbon-based) and will absorb the UV rays, turning them into heat and then releasing from the skin. 

Remember regardless of which type of sunscreen you choose, you always want to make sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to sun exposure, and to reapply as stated in the FDA’s guidelines. This can be a feat for those of us that wear makeup or find it messy to keep reapplying a lotion through the day. There are alternatives, such as mineral sunscreen that you can brush on throughout the day like a setting powder. They even come with a cover and a built in brush for easy portability.

According to FDA sunscreen guidelines

Reapply at least every two hours. And more often if you’re swimming or sweating. (Remember to read the label for your specific sunscreen. An average-size adult or child needs at least one ounce of sunscreen, about the amount it takes to fill a shot glass, to evenly cover the body.)” 

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm049090.htm

Shopping for sunscreen can also be a daunting task, as it can be overwhelming standing in that aisle. Lotion, spray on, or stick, different strengths, and brands, how do we know which are tried and  tested? Every year the EWG (Environmental Working Group) publishes a Guide to Sunscreen. They go more in-depth and rate the best and worst pexels-photo-210106.jpegbrands of sunscreens, according to their research. This is a great resource to check the score of your sunscreen or to find one if you don’t already have a preference.

In my personal circle of friends and on social media I have noticed an increased interest in skin health. Using a daily sunscreen can help you maintain healthy skin, and slow down extrinsic aging. Once we are into adulthood, it is never too early to start preventative anti-aging. Using sunscreen daily can be an easy, quick, and vital role to your daily routine.

As stated by The Skin Cancer Foundation, “Regular daily use of an SPF 15 or higher sunscreen reduces the risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40 percent and the risk of developing melanoma by 50 percent.” http://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-information/skin-cancer-facts

If that sun kissed glow is what you absolutely desire, you can always opt for a sunless spray tan. Plus you can always choose to skip the tan lines when you go sunless! Skincatering offers sunless tanning by appointment in their Springfield location. Although sunless spray tanning does not offer any UV protection, it does give you a healthy natural looking glow without the effects of long term UV exposure.

xoxo Natalya

Licensed Aesthetician