• Dj Philly
BackYou are here: Home Articles Wellness Ingredients


Marijuana – an Anti-Aging Powerhouse

Written by Maxie Frericks, L.E.I., medical aesthetician at Velvet Day Spa
Marijuana – an Anti-Aging  Powerhouse

Marijuana is known for many different reasons, but not many know that it can be used in skin care products! Furthermore, the results from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD) can be amazing!
Cannabinoids are anti-inflammatory and anti-aging power houses.

Identifying Core Components in Skin Health

Written by Erin Madigan-Fleck, N.M.D., C.N.H.P., L.M.C.
Identifying Core Components in Skin Health

Nutritional and dermatological research has demonstrated that specific and key nutrients are required to ensure the physiological functioning and overall health of the skin. This factor is well recognized by nutritional professionals, along with the premise that simply consuming a balanced diet may not always ensure optimum nutritional status with anticipated benefits or results. Within the realm of nutritional information, there remains one focal determinant of nutrition that is constant no matter the opinion, philosophy, or mindset.

10 Things About... Essential Oils

Written by Krista Mckowen, L.E.
10 Things About... Essential Oils

Essential oils play an important role in skin care. Because the skin reacts to emotions, the effect of inhalation in the form of aromatherapy can be a powerful addition to aesthetics.


Written by Bella Schneider, P.M.E, founder of Bella Schneider Beauty

While the thought of putting slimy, green seaweed on a client’s face may not sound so appealing, marine seaweed, also referred to as alga, has become the ingredient of choice in skin care today. More than likely, clients have been using it for some time without even realizing it. Everything from facial cleansers and toners to serums and night creams touts some variation of this power-packed species from the sea.

The Rise of Extremophiles

Written by Mia Hartmann

Extremophiles may be a relatively new term in the skin care industry, but they have been around much longer than many people are aware.

Pumpkin Pie Facial©

Written by Noreen Young, L.E., owner of Noreen Young Cosmetics
Pumpkin Pie Facial©

Clients tend to love organic products and are always looking for anything with a healthy twist. Refresh their skin with this pumpkin pie-inspired mask for gentle exfoliating and seasonal bliss!

Award Winning Ingredients: Bringing Technology to the Next Level in Skin Care

Written by Mia Hartmann, R&D Chemist at YG Laboratories

One of the most exciting events in the life of a product developer is an event called In-Cosmetics, a leading, global business event for personal care ingredients that highlight the newest innovations in ingredient technology.

Chemicals linked to breast cancer have no place in anyone’s beauty routine, yet they are found on store shelves across the United States. Due to an outdated and weak law governing cosmetics, carcinogens have not yet been banned, or even restricted, for use in cosmetics in the United States.

The Essentials to Fighting Breast Cancer

Essential oils, short for quintessential oils, are highly-concentrated, aromatic liquids that are distilled with either water or steam from the leaves, roots, stems, flowers, or bark of a plant. The quintessential oil derived its name from the fifth Aristotelian element, æther; Aristotle believed that it was made up of heavenly bodies. As this element became extremely popular with medieval alchemists, they renamed it quintessence. They then sought to isolate quintessence and integrate it into their work. Because of its heavenly characteristics, alchemists believed that its intake would rid the body of any illness or uncleanliness. Since then, essential oils have been used for a plethora of reasons, including combating diseases, one of which is breast cancer.

As different aging processes take over, the need for ingredients and procedures that target loss of volume increases with age. Gradual alteration of the extracellular matrix leads to loss of elasticity, just as changes in adipose tissue distribution lead to structural aging due to lipoatrophy (loss of adipose tissue). This loss of matter and structure, along with reduced skin elasticity, results in sagging tissue and modification of volume; the face creases, deep folds and wrinkles appear, and jowls and ptosis (drooping of the eyelids) advance.

Cutaneous hyperpigmentation irregularities are among the most common concerns and some of the most difficult to treat. Hyperpigmentation irregularities, such as melasma, freckles, age spots, and dark spots, are caused by the abnormal accumulation of melanin in keratinocytes; they are often a consequence of inflammatory reactions caused by pollution or sun damage.

Topical Delivery: Are We There Yet?

Written by Diahne Patnode

Topical delivery platforms in cosmetic formulations can target specific skin layers, improve ingredient stability, reduce the potential for irritation, and enhance ingredient availability to the skin, thus, increasing product performance. These multi-faceted systems have the potential to transform the way cosmetic formulas are put together and drive delivery platform innovation.

O2 - Skin Oxygenation

Written by Diahne Patnode

Oxygen uptake in the skin has been an attractive cosmetic property for many years. Ingredients that imply oxygenation, energizing, and cellular respiration often speak to addressing the impact of increasing the needs of oxygen for all of skin's metabolic processes. Some products claim to oxygenate skin with breathable formulations, non-ROS oxygenating ingredients, while certain products use free radical peroxides which can damage skin.

Mother Nature, the creative genius with millions of years of research and development history, is an inspiration for technology across a wide array of industries. By mining into the abundant information of biological systems while utilizing nature’s tools and flow of ideas, a path for the creation of new innovation emerges. Biotechnology has a strong presence in skin care advances that is achieved from the distillation of nature’s ideas and principles, which then offers a vast range of solutions.

Detoxifying and cleansing are not new concepts and are often marketed with nutritional diets, juice cleansing, substance rehabilitation, antioxidants, and much more. Cosmetic ingredients can be integrated within anti-aging products with the significance of diminished detoxifying abilities that declines with aging as well as categories to provide balance to the detoxification process from breakdowns that occur from toxic overload. Intervention and continued rehabilitation is available for skin regimen products that promote a healthy, broader detoxification process and protection from toxicity.

As the trend of cross-category sun protection continues, sunscreens are now becoming synonymous with anti-aging.

Cellular Communication: Tell Us What You Need

Communication is an everyday occurrence in life. We constantly exchange messages, share data, and stay connected via social media and other rapidly evolving electronic means. We must have strong and flexible language skills to get our message across and ensure it is understood.
We know many messages are exchanged across the layers of the skin and by using ingredients to increase our communication competency, we can ensure positive messages are received. So tune in and explore the skin’s communication method – the biochemical language of cell signaling.

Stem Cells: Rising to the Top

Written by Diahne Patnode
Stem Cells: Rising to the Top

In everyday life our skin has to cope with a lot of wear and tear; it is in the process of constant self-renewal to replace the old with the new. It is the adult skin stem cells that are constantly at work for maintenance, renewal, and repair of the skin. As knowledge of skin stem cell function and biotechnology expands, the skin care industry has experienced new discoveries of many types of stem cell technologies; hence, various stem cell culture methods have emerged.

This year has been an exciting one for the skin care industry. Trends, such as multifunctionality, age-defying, barrier-repairing, and hydrating, as well as nature-inspired ingredients that dominated skin care launched in 2013, have continued their strong influence into 2014. They solidified their dominance with the arrival of fresh innovations, new research, and more precise evaluation methodologies.

Skin Care Ingredients as Surgery Alternatives

Earlier this year, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), released its 17th annual multi-specialty statistical data, indicating a 12 percent overall increase in cosmetic procedures performed in the United States in 2013. According to ASAPS, Americans spent the largest amount on cosmetic surgery since the great recession of 2008.1 More than 11 million cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures were performed by board-certified plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and otolaryngologists, totaling over $12 billion.

Common Allergens and Irritants

Written by Irena James

One of the most dreaded client complaints is one involving a reaction to product. Potential problems can range from simple rashes to full-blown allergic reactions. Skin reactions to product make clients distrustful of future recommendations, leaving aestheticians helpless and frustrated in their often futile attempts to figure out what is happening and why. To complicate matters, symptoms of a reaction to a cosmetic product cannot only start right after the client uses something new, but also after years of using a product with no problems.

There is nothing that causes more grief and dismay to a cosmetic chemist or a formulator than being told which specific preservative to use or being asked to create a preservative-free skin care product. As more brands are joining the “does not contain” movement, the claims regarding preservatives have escalated from paraben-free to formaldehyde-donor free, and in some instances, preservative-free… the scariest claim of all.

The Many Faces of Silicones

Written by Irena James

Over 50 percent of all new cosmetics introduced globally in the last 10 years contain at least one silicone. Slowly, but surely, silicones are becoming one the most valued ingredient categories used in the luxury skin care products. They have become critical in many high-end, high-performance skin care formulations, giving them never-before-seen glide, spreadability, and ultra-smooth application and finish for a luxurious, silky, comfortable-skin feel without any sticky residue.

Skin care ingredient trends have behaved much like fashion trends, with each decade giving rise to particular leanings and inclinations. The 1980s saw an obsession with collagen masks and creams. In the 1990s, we fell in love with glycolic acids, which were then replaced with the organic and natural trend of the 2000s. Over the last decade, an astounding number of ingredients have come in and out of fashion so quickly, that at times, it is difficult to keep up.

Stem Cell Products in Skin Care: Fact, Fiction, and the Future

Human stem cell science is frequently in the news with stories about how these amazing cells hold promise to treat disease, slow aging and even extend life. There are also stories about how stem cells can be useful in skin rejuvenation, adding an aesthetic benefit to their promise of improving health. Unfortunately, unscrupulous operators have exploited the mystique of stem cells by creating skin products and services that have no proven benefit or real connection to stem cell science. Separating fact from fiction, reality from hype, and products with true merit from those lacking scientific credibility, requires a deeper dive into the world of stem cells.

Ingredients and their Bad Reputations:  Wading Through the Fact and the Hype

Compared to generations before, today’s consumer takes a far more active interest in understanding the ingredients that comprise the products they buy and the manufacturing practices utilized to create them. Beyond the food industry, nowhere do we see more evidence of this practice than in the personal care industry. Recognizing that cosmetic and skin care ingredient lists can be overwhelming to the average consumer, various organizations have created online resources, which allow consumers to look up products and ingredients by name to get an overview of their safety ratings and potential risks. Additionally, numerous advocacy groups have implemented campaigns to educate consumers about specific ingredients that they recognize as particularly harmful.

Surfactants and Emulsifiers

Written by Irena James
Surfactants and Emulsifiers

Most chemists openly express their concern over how little time is spent studying surfactants in college given their considerable importance in so many industries, especially the skin care industry. According to Perry Romanowski, coauthor of the acclaimed textbook, Beginning Cosmetic Chemistry, “surfactants are the workhorses of the cosmetic industry and all cosmetic chemists would benefit learning the basic principles of surfactant chemistry.” 1 Most often, action ingredients take all the glory for product performance, while the surfactant’s contribution is overlooked and frequently misunderstood by the consumer.

Peptides: A Fresh Look at these Miracle Molecules

One class of ingredients that continues to offer exciting new options to the world of skin care is peptides. Peptides have been perennial favorites due to their gentle, non-irritating qualities and long-term anti-aging benefits. Because new peptides that promise remarkable benefits are constantly being discovered, it is important for skin care professionals to understand the basic science behind peptides.
Peptides are more than just skin care superstars – they are truly intelligent molecules that naturally play a role in the function of cells, tissues and hormones in the body. That is why they are of interest to many scientific disciplines such as biochemistry, medicine, nutrition, and even psychology.

Global sun care is heading toward a record high in sales, totaling approximately $1.3 billion by the end of 2014. We should all feel very proud of ourselves. Our endless preaching and nagging to family, friends, and clients about the dangers of sun exposure for the beauty and health of their skin has apparently paid off. According to Euromonitor International and various other market research companies tracking sales and growth of designated skin care categories, we finally got through to them.

Over the last couple of decades, antioxidants have risen from humble beginnings to being a part of some of the most sophisticated applications in cellular protection. Well established as the darlings of our industry, they are often featured as the magic bullet of anti-aging formulations. According to Mintel, “Antioxidants are the most popular ingredients in today’s skin care.” Examples of antioxidants at work are everywhere. Some of the most intricate claims in skin care today are derived from the vast activities of both natural and synthetic antioxidants.

Speaking the Legal Lingo

Written by Irena James

If you have ever sold an anti-aging product or a product for acne-prone skin, chances are that, at some point, you have broken the law. Not because you sold these products, but because of the claims you made and the statements you used while closing the sale would most likely have been deemed as drug claims by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Some of the first definitions aesthetics students are required to recite are those of a cosmetic and a drug. While it may seem like an unnecessary exercise, understanding these definitions is of utmost importance because they can have enormous implications in countless aspects of the skin care industry, from product line and manufacturer selection to marketing and branding efforts.

Testing Our Ability to Read the Results

The good ol’ days provided simpler times when it was enough to tell your client that their product contained hydrating honey, soothing aloe, cooling cucumber, and revitalizing carrot extract. Relying on anecdotal properties of ingredients, while failing to understand or interpret the scientific data behind ingredient activity and product performance, can put an aesthetician at a serious disadvantage in today’s fast paced, information-laden climate. Even if we are able to wade through the data provided, keeping up with the latest information can become a full time job. Most people have neither the time, nor the expertise that is required, to dig through all of the complex research and correctly interpret the studies.

Basic Product Concepts

Written by Irena James

We have come a long way since the first vanishing creams promised to protect the skin from the elements such as chapping winds and sooty breezes. Today’s consumer expectations of product performance and benefits have become more complex than ever and product developers are responding to these expectations by formulating multifunctional products as well as targeted, specialized treatments for specific areas of the skin. New scientific discoveries in medicine, biotechnology and cellular biology are providing numerous applications for skin care launches. Through tireless research, ingredient manufacturers are offering novel solutions to every biochemical phenomenon of aging, cause of dryness, sensitivity or acne. Formulas are becoming more holistic in their approach to treating skin imperfections, while at the same time, targeting and even promising to augment surgical procedures, such as injectables.

Chamomile is the name given to several species of herbs with fine, feathery leaves and daisy-like flowers. There are two plants most commonly distilled for their essential oils including Roman chamomile (Chamaemeleum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita). The therapeutic and psychological properties of their respective oils, while not identical, are quite similar.

Eucalyptus has a smell that we all love and recognize. Whether you have experienced its fresh, uplifting aroma in the steam room or simply used a few drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water to clear your sinuses, the smell simply takes you back to your childhood. Using eucalyptus in your spa treatments can bring your client back to that moment in time when they first experienced its clean, lung-clearing aroma.

There are hundreds of varieties of eucalyptus that produce an essential oil. However, the most common form of the oil used in aromatherapy is eucalyptus globulus, distilled in Australia from the beloved gum tree. Other widely used forms that are commonly distilled for their essence include the narrow leaved eucalyptus (eucalyptus radiate), used for viral infections, and lemon-scented eucalyptus (eucalyptus citriadora), a cooling, antirheumatic oil.

What Does it All Mean? Holistic, Natural and Organic Skin Care

It is an exciting time to be in the skin care industry. Aesthetics technology is finding new techniques and ingredients to improve the skin; the industry itself has grown so much that many different specialties that were once tiny niches have expanded into major aspects of aesthetics. Holistic skin care continues to gain popularity with skin care professionals each day. Once believed to be less effective than conventional and medical aesthetics, holistic skin care products and practices have greatly improved and now boast results that are comparably dramatic and may be even longer lasting than conventional practices.
Though holistic skin care has gained popularity among aestheticians and consumers alike, regulation has not quite caught up with this rapidly growing trend. Therefore, there is still a great deal of ambiguity and confusion regarding terminology, efficacy, ingredients, labeling and shelf life of holistic products.

Lemon and lemongrass are two fresh, clean and lively oils recommended for use in the spa. Lemon, with its fresh, sharp citrus smell combined with the strong, lemony and more herbaceous aromatic fragrance of lemongrass creates a wonderful uplifting aroma each time the client enters the spa. Together, they certainly provide a clean aroma and a gentle boost to start the day.

Originating in Asia, lemon made little impact in the world until the middle ages when it found its way to Europe. This oil gained popularity when it was issued to sailors on board in an effort to counteract the effects of scurvy. Lemons grow today throughout the Mediterranean, though Florida and California are the largest producers of the oil.

Essence: Peppermint

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) belongs to a genus consisting of some 20 varieties and hybrids, all containing essential oils in their stems and leaves. Native to the Mediterranean and Western Asia, mint is now grown in temperate regions all over the world with the United States being one of the largest producers. Amongst the many types of mint cultivated, peppermint is the most commercially and medicinally important.

Of all the essential oils used in clinical aromatherapy, lavender is undoubtedly the most versatile, having a wide range of properties from analgesic to antiseptic. The name Lavender, derived from the Latin word lavare, meaning to wash, was the aromatic of choice by the Romans to scent their bathwater. Without doubt, if you had to choose a single essential oil to keep in your first aid kit, lavender would be the undisputed choice. More commonly known as a sleep aid, the most important property of lavender is its ability to restore unbalanced states, whether of mind or body, to a place in which healing can take place.

Meditation, Stillness and Tranquil Contemplation

The range of human emotions that we experience has never changed, only times and circumstances do. The way we respond to stress, chaos and hectic lifestyles and the resultant outcomes such as depression, fear and confusion have always been there over the centuries. The purpose of both frankincense and sandalwood oil is to bring us back to center and return calm and clear minded.

Bergamot oil, like those of orange, lemon and grapefruit is obtained from the cold expression of the rind of a citrus fruit. The rather small Bergamot fruits that look like tiny oranges are picked for distillation while still unripe and green. The smell of Bergamot is not unlike orange and lemon being light, delicate and refreshing with a slight floral overtone. For those of you that are tea drinkers it is Bergamot that imparts its unusual flavor to Earl Grey tea.

Geranium is a bushy perennial shrub belonging to the Pelargonium genus which is very extensive family including over 200 species. Most originate from South Africa but it is Pelargonium graveolens of the Reunion Islands which is thought to produce the oil of highest quality, often referred to as Bourbon geranium. The unfortunate side of this fine quality oil is that today it is often blended with other less expensive geranium oils from other countries. Some people refer to Bourbon geranium as rose geranium because of its “rosy aroma.”
Unlike other oils there seems to be very little historical reference.

When we think of these two essential oils, Sweet Orange (citrus sinensis) and Mandarin (citrus reticulata), the words that come to mind are joy, happy, uplifting and optimism. These oils are absolute favorites in the spa, being safe, nontoxic and are oils that all clients can benefit from.

The therapeutic value of orange was first identified in Ancient China, where for centuries the dried peel of the fruit was used in Chinese Medicine. It is thought that the Arabs first brought oranges to Mediterranean in the first century. And we know that the Romans were aware of the power of oranges and used Orange Flower water to avoid hangovers.

The aromatherapy tree, botanical name, Citrus aurantium var. amara, is unique to aromatherapy production. The tree earns its name because three different essential oils are obtained from the same plant: Neroli, from the beautiful blossoms; Petitgrain, from the leaves; and Bitter Orange, from the peel of the fruit.
Despite the fact that the bitter orange tree looks very similar to Citrus sinensis (the tree from which we obtain Sweet Orange essential oil) they are two separate species and not just cultivated varieties of one species. It is thought that Citrus aurantium probably originated in China, then spread to India and Persia (now Iran) and was introduced to the Mediterranean countries by the Arabs in the 11th century.


Each organ in the human body plays an important and unique function. Similar to the organs in the body, our cells contain a compilation of distinctive organelles, each playing an important role in the health and function of the cell. The mitochondria are of particular importance to cell health as they function primarily to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy of the cell. It is almost as if they are the lungs of the cell, driving cell respiration. Looking at the cellular metabolism at the mitochondrial level and how their improper function can have negative ramifications on skin health allows a unique perspective on how skin changes throughout time (intrinsically) and when exposed to different conditions (extrinsically). The skin care industry is currently engaged in research to determine the best ways to harness mitochondrial functions for use in the fight against premature aging and skin cancer and to provide clues on winning the ongoing quest for healthy, youthful skin. 

Clients come to the spa for several reasons. Some come with specific skin care goals, while some come just to relax. Others come to receive treatments and purchase products made with luxurious, therapeutic, efficacious, and often rare ingredients that are not available in the mass market due to cost and other factors. Some of these ingredients are products of the latest, most cutting-edge innovations in modern aesthetics science and technology… and others are centuries-old natural botanical extracts and essential oils.

10 Things About...Product Shelf Life

In the United States, guidance surrounding a product's shelf life can be quite vague. That is because there is no government regulation requiring manufacturers to print expiration dates on the labels of cosmetic products (the category that includes skin care products). This factor has led to a generally blasé attitude among consumers, who tend to hold onto products (especially more expensive ones) until they have used every last drop in the bottle. Unfortunately, this practice puts them at risk for infection from the bacteria, mold and fungi that are most certainly contaminating the product.

A Red Miracle for Skin Health

Scientists long ago discovered a class of naturally occurring organic pigments called carotenoids that are crucial for human health. Alpha-, beta- and gamma-carotene are the most popular carotenoids which are converted to vitamin A in the human body. Recently one of the carotenoids called astaxanthin has brought increased attention as a "super nutrient" for human body and skin health.
Astaxanthin is a dark red powder which is insoluble in water but soluble in fat and some organic solvents. This carotenoid is found in microalgae, yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans and some wild berries.

The mineral sulfur (S) is found abundantly in nature, the foods we eat, and the human body. Although avoided by some for its pungent smell, sulfur can be skin's best friend by helping heal a variety of conditions. Naturally antiseptic and antibacterial, sulfur is one of nature's most important minerals and one of man's oldest beauty remedies. As far back as Hippocrates' day, people have been using this pungent-smelling, bright yellow mineral to treat the skin for everything from rashes and warts to bedsores. Ancient Romans soaked in sulfuric waters to relieve pain and to stave off the signs of aging.
Vitamin Q

Vitamin Q, also known as ubiquinone, ubidercarenone and coenzyme Q (CoQ10), is an oil-soluble, vitamin substance that is present in eukaryotic cells, mostly located in the mitochondria. This plays a major role in the electron transport chain and participates in aerobic cellular respiration, results in creating energy in the form of ATP. In the human body, energy is created 95 percent of time from this process. Since the heart, liver and kidneys require the highest level of energy, these organs have the highest concentration of CoQ10. The body naturally makes CoQ10 to neutralize free radicals in cells.

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil distilled from the leaves of the melaluca plant which is native to Australia. This oil has a triple antiseptic effect by its ability to fight bacteria, fungi and some viruses. Speaking about bacteria, it also reduces the production of sebum in the sebaceous glands which reduces the production of the bacteria known to cause blemishes. It is believed that when used in conjunction with glycolic acid, tea tree oil can help destroy the bacteria that can cause acne flare-ups. Tea tree oil is a great moisturizer and cleanser because it opens clogged pores and removes the bacteria from the skin surface.

Red Clover (Trifolium Pratense)

Red clover grows wild in Europe, Asia and the U.S. This perennial herb is beneficial for anti-aging formulations and has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It contains numerous nutrients including calcium, chromium, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine and vitamin C.
Herbalists use red clover oil to treat skin conditions like acne, rosacea and eczema. The red flowers contain therapeutic isoflavones that simulate the effects of estrogen in the body. Women have a history of using red clover to restore hormonal balance.


Historically it has been one of the most important commodities to humankind, used in everything from food to cleaning products to cosmeceuticals. It is also the sixth most abundant element in the Earth's crust. What is this miracle element? Sodium.
Sodium is an essential nutrient that regulates blood volume, blood pressure and our pH, and in the world of aesthetics it has a number of preparations (when combined with the right compounds) that reap tremendous benefits on the skin.

Vitamin K

Traditionally vitamin K is considered to be a key beauty vitamin, along with vitamins A, C and E. In fact, the discovery of vitamin K was hailed with a Nobel Prize in 1943. It is often used in five percent concentrations in skin care formulations for stretch marks, scars, rosacea and couperose because it improves the elasticity of blood vessels.
In my practice, I love to use formulations with vitamin K on the eye area because it provides noticable results in the reduction of dark circles and puffiness. There is a theory that under-eye darkness is caused by fragile under-eye capillaries that allow blood to seep into skin.

Vitamin H

Today, vitamins and supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry, but few people have even heard of vitamin H. The 'H' in vitamin H comes from the German words "Haar und Haut" which mean "hair and skin." Long known for its benefits to hair and skin, it is no surprise that it has been referred to as the 'beauty vitamin." Otherwise known as biotin, vitamin B7 or coenzyme R, vitamin H is a water-soluble B-complex vitamin whose benefits go more than skin deep.
Since it is relatively rare to be deficient in this vitamin, scientists discovered the importance of biotin rather by accident.

The Evolution of Peptides

Written by April Zangl
The Evolution of Peptides

As our knowledge of the skin and aging advances, the technology that improves our skin evolves. In the 1970s, retinol first emerged into skin care and has since grown into several classes of its own for its anti-aging and acne fighting properties. Also in the 1970's scientists scoffed at the idea of free radicals and their detrimental effect on skin aging, but now a number of antioxidants are proven in protecting our skin from the dangers of free radicals. Just recently, botanical stem cells made their introduction with the Swiss apple and quickly followed with a handful of other rejuvenating botanical stem cells.

The Role of Electrolytes

Written by Tina Zillman
The Role of Electrolytes

"I will just drink more water."

How many times have we, as skin care providers, heard this statement to help alleviate dry or dehydrated skin? The combination of our skin's natural aging process, environmental damage and transepidermal water loss can encourage dryness and/or dehydration. Oily skin can even become dehydrated. "A drink of water" does not always remedy what our skin may be experiencing. There is more to the physiology of the skin when it comes to combating dry conditions and improving overall appearance. One of the most uncontrolled culprits to premature dry skin may be an electrolyte imbalance.

Vitamin F (Linoleic Acid)

Written by Rhonda Allison
Vitamin F (Linoleic Acid)

It is a vitamin that actually does not fit the standard definition of a traditional vitamin. In fact, it is better classified as a fat – a fat that is absolutely essential to our biological process, but which our bodies do not synthesize.
What is this amazing, yet illusive vitamin? It is vitamin F. Perhaps better known as linoleic acid, an omega-6 essential fatty acid (EFA). It plays a crucial role – in tandem with omega-3 EFAs – in brain function, normal growth, skin and hair regeneration, bone health, and metabolic function.
In the world of aesthetics, vitamin F is typically found in skin-nourishing formulations as linoleic acid.

Ingredient Benefits: Pomegranate

Written by Kristina Kannada
Ingredient Benefits: Pomegranate

“The food you eat can either be the safest form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” This famous quote, spoken by raw food enthusiast Dr. Ann Wigmore many decades ago, seems truer today than ever. Even as we are continually bombarded with new technologies in health and well-being, there is growing popularity in relying on more natural methods of maintaining good health, both internally and externally. This trend has created a starring role for the “super food” category, foods that pack the most power in nourishing and protecting the body.

The Power of Aloe

I challenge you to find even one person who is not familiar with the healing abilities of aloe. Begin asking people and you will hear statements like, "I keep a plant in my kitchen for burns and cuts" or "Many of the products I buy contain aloe." But the healing abilities of aloe go far beyond the comprehension of most consumers. After all, we are so used to seeing aloe touted as an ingredient in everything from hand sanitizer to toilet paper. When aloe is properly utilized the results are nothing short of astonishing.

The Myth of the Miracle Ingredient

While clinicians and patients alike await the day when one topical ingredient arrives on the market that can produce cutaneous miracles, the likelihood of such a day arriving is a myth at best. Each person's skin is a complex combination of needs and challenges, making multiple ingredients and formulations necessary to achieve truly healthy skin. Rather than seeking out that one miracle product, well-rounded formulations comprised of a variety of stabilized and scientifically proven ingredients provide the skin health professional with best and most efficacious options for their patients.

Common Forms Of Neck Pain Not Cured By Botulinum Toxin

There is no evidence that Botulinum toxin injections reduce chronic neck pain or associated headaches, says a group of scientists who reviewed nine trials involving a total of 503 participants. Their findings are published in the latest update of The Cochrane Library.
The Botulinum toxin (BoNT) operates by temporarily stopping muscles contracting. This reduces muscle tightness or spasm. It is best known for its use in cosmetic treatments where commercially available products such as Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Myobloc or Neurobloc are used to reduce wrinkles. Effects begin within three to eight days of an injection and may last up to four months. When the effect wears off, it can be repeated.

A Passion for Lavender

My interest and passion for aromatherapy goes as far as I can remember. I fondly recall one summer my family and I spent in Italy when I was a child. The beautiful countryside, delicious cuisine, and fabulous weather were only secondary compared to the fresh scent of lavender that lingered in the air long into the evening. The fields of lavender were not just extraordinarily beautiful, but seemed to have the uncanny ability to lift my spirits and stimulate my senses. It was not until some years later when I began to study the art and science behind aromatherapy that I realized the scent of pure lavender flowers were the essential oils contained within the petals and that these oils had tremendous healing powers. 

A Treatment for Results

Modern aesthetics has evolved into a wide range of product availabilities: chemical peels, collagen masks, light technology, ultrasound facials, and microdermabrasion, all of which can deplete your pocketbook fast. But how can you profit from these expensive machines while saving your clients’ pocketbook? Like the tools of the trade that we all must purchase, effective facial and body treatments do not come at a bargain price. Start with your client base. What types of equipment can you use on generally every skin type that will help them benefit from the treatment you are offering?

Sealed for Your Protection

In many ways, the skin functions like a shingled roof. Newborn skin works perfectly just like a new roof, but if you add about 20 years of environmental, lifestyle, and stress factors, you’ll find that the stratum corneum will be in need of a little repair. Over time, a roof’s shingles become dry and cracked and need replacing. This is true of skin cells as well, and that’s why exfoliation is necessary. To strengthen a shingled roof, we can add Scotchguard to protect the house beneath it, and we can also glue the shingles together to make the roof stronger.

Can You Eat Your Lotion

I deeply believe that organic skin care products can deliver dramatic and long lasting results. What we put on our faces should be as safe and pure as the food we eat. It should be like a fresh meal for your face! During my educational seminars for aestheticians, I like to swallow a spoonful of one of my masks or creams to make this point. After all, if a lotion isn’t safe to eat – why would we think it is safe to put on our skin?

Mineral Skin Care

The 21st century has presented us with skin conditions that reflect challenging times. Practicing aestheticians are caring for skin conditions that are far more complex than oily, dry, and combination.
Physical, chemical, and biological application has reduced skin flora and vitality. The reduction in skin depth has eroded, alternating the skin’s ecology. The excessive treatment of skin has depleted nutrients, reduced skin’s ability to regenerate, increased temperature, discharge, and surface crusting.
Nutritional value of skin care is not just declining, but collapsing. Skin care products are chemically bloated.

Finding Balance in an Unbalanced World

We live in challenging times and our health and well-being is dependent on our ability to not react to what is happening around us and to focus on what we can do to improve our lives without getting caught up with fear, anxiety, stress and now, the economy. There is a saying that we cannot control what is happening to us from the outside; we can only control how we respond. The more out of balance we are the more our relationships, careers, finances, emotions, and health will suffer. Chinese medicine believes that 90 percent of disease has its source in emotional imbalances.

Healthy Skin Starts with a Healthy Barrier

The skin is an amazing protective organ that we, as skin care professionals, have the exciting job of treating. Although every patient is different - from skin condition, oil production, and Fitzpatrick type - achieving healthy skin is always the desired result. With so many products and treatment options available, reaching this goal can at times be difficult. However, no matter what the patient’s skin concerns, improving the appearance and function of the skin ultimately comes down to a healthy barrier.

The Roles of Product Ingredients

Have you ever asked your clients what it is that keeps them purchasing their favorite skin care product? Do so and you will hear everything from “It reduces the fine lines on my face” to “It feels great on my skin” and “I love the smell.” These answers, and others, speak to the art that is skin care product formulation. Through a delicate balance of ingredients, chemists create products that cleanse, moisturize, lighten, protect, or reduce the signs of aging, with features such as pleasing consistency and pleasant fragrance, characteristics that appeal to consumers’ senses.

Flower Power

Digging into the Newest Plant Cell Breakthroughs

Science seems like a very artificial and synthetic thing, where compounds are manipulated in sterile spaces by people wearing white coats and latex gloves. But incredibly, the latest breakthrough in beautiful skin comes from the earth and sea itself, and from some of the garden's most deliriously sensual flowers.
Botanicals have been used in cosmetics for centuries. But today, utilizing plant stem cell technology, we are able to extract cells from plants and cultivate them in the laboratory, multiplying their potency by literally 1,000 times or more than that which is present in the naturally occurring molecule.

Common Botanicals and Herbs

Every month trade and consumer magazines are full of glossy covers boldly announcing that they have discovered the newest, most effective anti-aging ingredients. We have all been seduced by the impressive articles and carefully-placed advertising that promise beauty and results. We have seen the claims for magical anti-aging serums that cost outrageous amounts of money for an ounce or less of product. We have seen the words, “X percent more youthful.” “X percent more hydrated.” “X percent texture improvement.”
Looking at these ads and articles from a non-scientific perspective, it is easy to be impressed with colorful words and dramatic claims promised by new ingredients. Often the claims accompanying these new products are backed by “clinical evidence.”

Wow and How of Ingredients for Skin of Color

Light and bright, fast and effective, from cosmopolitan cities to country counties, clear and even toned skin is the NOW and WOW factor that clients seek. It is the skin care professional’s business to support this aesthetic goal by promoting care and maintenance of healthy skin. How NOW can this goal be achieved, the WOW in the answer comes from excellent professional treatments and use of targeted products formulated with performance ingredients.
An excellent professional treatment is learned and practiced by the skin care professional through continuing education and qualification by reputable and responsible organizations.

What’s REALLY In Your Face Cream? (The Untold Truth About OTCs)

OK, let’s get right down to it – your skin care products may contain ingredients that are actually classified as OTC’s. OTC stands for “over-the-counter” and refers specifically to non-prescription drugs. This isn’t necessarily a problem, although any skin care product containing an over-the-counter drug needs to be labeled as such. This may be a bit of a “gray area”, as you’ll see.
Before we shed light on the labeling dilemma, let me give you some technical detailing set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and it’s corresponding Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (from now on referred to as “FD&C Act”) which sets definitions and protocols for our industry.

Aloe Vera - "The Plant of Immortality"

Ancient Egyptians revered the aloe vera plant and considered it to be the “Plant of Immortality.” The glamorous Cleopatra regarded aloe vera as her beauty secret. Legend states that the Pharaoh kept the Aloe as a palace plant, assigning it a very high status.  Drawings of the aloe plant have been found inscribed in the tombs of the pharaohs. Supposedly, Alexander the Great in 333 B.C., was persuaded by his mentor, Aristotle, to capture the Island of Socotra in the Indian Ocean for its famed Aloe supplies, needed to treat his wounded soldiers.

Alternatives to Acids

For many years, acids were the profit-producing darlings of the skin care industry and skin care professionals believed they were the answer to younger-looking and acne-prone skin. But now, with new products and services developing, the days of ‘always make’em peel’ are moving into the past and professionals are coming to believe acids should not be the only tool for anti-aging, but a tool-among-many. More and more are utilizing them in specifically indicated cases only and are finding other alternatives available to them.