First of all, there are some wonderful treatments that go hand in hand with winter, when the sun is not as bright and days not as long. While collagen facials can hydrate and replenish moisture, there are some specific treatments that can be added to a spa’s menu for the winter season. Many clients suffer from hyperpigmentation, varicose veins, and unsightly hair, all of which require a series of treatments. The best time to start clients on a series of six is while we are still in the cold, winter months.
Varicose veins are a big issue for women of all ages, but are more prominent after pregnancy and with age. In fact, by age 50, two out of three American women have to deal with them! These veins are characterized by their puffed, purple appearance and can cause discomfort. For the most part, women opt for sclerotherapy merely because of its cosmetic benefits. Although surgery was the best treatment for varicose veins in the past, image-guided injection with depressurization is now effective in even the most difficult cases. I advise this treatment to be performed in the wintertime because the patient is required to wear compression pantyhose post-treatment. Winter is the perfect time to wear these stockings because they tend to be hot and uncomfortable in summer months.
LASER HAIR REMOVAL
How does getting rid of unsightly leg fuzz sound? If the client is ready to commit to a package of six to 12 treatments with a laser, they can forget about tanning for the entire duration of the treatment. Laser hair removal is typically performed in intervals of four to six weeks, so a package of six will take the client months to complete. Keep it safe and save the hair removal for winter; even then, do not forget the sunscreen!
As an experienced aesthetician, I always advise clients to wait until winter for skin-lightening treatments. Hyperpigmentation treatments typically expose and exfoliate the skin, making it susceptible to more sun exposure and further damage. As a result, it is best to wait until winter to whiten and brighten! Use whitening peels containing kojic acid and natural, whitening ingredients, such as alpha arbutin and tyrostat. They are the best topical alternative to toxic and habit-forming hydroquinone.
When it comes to homecare, before making any recommendations, conduct a client consultation to analyze the client's skin. For anyone with dry skin, always recommend starting with a moisturizing, milky cleanser, twice daily. This cleanser can be based on aloe vera, chamomile, calendula, sage, and vitamin E. Choose a cleanser that does not irritate the eyes and also removes makeup. When starting with a milky cleanser, all the steps that follow will be designed to hydrate the skin. The face, neck, and décolleté are exposed to the sun, wind, and cold weather and must be cared for in the same way as the face during the professional treatment and at home. The delicate neck and décolleté area are often ignored when it comes to application of moisturizers and sunscreen and is easily susceptible to dehydration and sun damage.
TREATING THE DÉCOLLETÉ
Most people take very good care of their face, but often ignore the neck, décolleté, and bust. Taking care of the neck and décolleté is no different from taking care of the face. To achieve a lifting effect, skin care professionals should start the cleansing and exfoliation routine upwards from the décolleté, continuing to the face. At home, the client should cleanse the whole area daily and exfoliate with a scrub or enzyme mask, once every three days. This is the only way to achieve an even transition in color and texture from the bust to the face. Décolleté products should not be too harsh since the skin is thin in that area. It is also preferable to have fragrance-free, hypoallergenic products to avoid any reaction. Avoid using mechanical equipment on the chest, or by the thyroid, to avoid stimulation of the lymphatic system.
When it comes to moisturizing the skin, a serum always comes first. Choose serums based on hyaluronic acid-containing peptides that reduce wrinkles and rejuvenate the skin. As we all know, ingredients are listed on the label, starting with the most prevalent to the least prevalent. It is important to choose a product which is water based and has peptides in the beginning of the ingredient list – this allows for assurance of the amount of peptides in the formula. Consulting the manufacturer and asking what percentage of a given peptide is used is also an option. Usually, if there is a blend of three or four peptides in a formula, 10 percent of each peptide is sufficient to give great results.
Avoid peptide combinations that are mixed with hydroquinone, parabens, and other toxins that can irritate the skin; do not forget to nourish the skin with vitamin C. Three of the most potent forms of vitamin C available on the market today are ascorbyl glucoside, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. This powerful antioxidant combination in a serum fights free radicals, stimulates collagen production, nourishes the skin, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and brightens skin tone while keeping stable. Remember, a true serum has a watery, oil-free formula that is easily absorbable by the skin. This type of product is ideal for application around the delicate skin of the eyes and the nasolabial folds. Most serums tend to be ionizable and can be penetrated with a galvanic machine while the client is getting a facial. This is a great way to get the best results from active ingredients in the product. Big professional equipment is not needed – there are a number of hand-held units available on the market that work as well as the large machines and sometimes even better!
Marine collagen is a form of collagen that derived from an assortment of sea algae species, including laminaria and padina. This marine collagen polypeptide is designed to stimulate type III collagen deep down within the skin. Collagen is a large molecule that cannot penetrate into the skin alone. As a result, scientists found that polypeptide technology can actually stimulate the synthesis marine collagen in the skin. This new technology allows the skin to open up and allow the collagen through because the regular molecule is too large to get in. A combination of marine collagen with polypeptide technology will help the skin by stimulating collagen production and elastin collagen thickening, encouraging skin renewal and minimizing muscle contractions by reducing the appearance of deep wrinkles and fine lines, helping provide long-term improvements in deeper wrinkles, as well as helping prevent collagen and elastin breakdown to firm the skin.
After applying a serum, it is best to apply a cream. The reason for this is that a cream creates a barrier that helps keep the serum from evaporating. Since serums do not have oil, they penetrate quickly, but do not feel moisturizing enough. Most of the time, serums leave a tight feeling on the skin. After application of cream, the skin will feel softer, shinier, and more moisturized. This is especially beneficial during the wintertime, since most people feel dry and chapped. For creams, look for a hyaluronic acid base with peptides, apricot kernel oil, squalene (from olives, not shark liver), and jojoba oil. There are also new ingredients specifically designed for the wind and cold, such as antarcticine. This ingredient helps the skin retain water, which prevents cutaneous dryness, stimulates fibroblast adhesion and keratinocyte growth, regenerates tissues and enables a faster healing of wounds, and increases collagen types I and IV, as well as elastin, resulting in a restructured skin and a reduction in wrinkles. This active ingredient also reduces the depth of wrinkles, especially on the forehead and around the eyes.
To complete the daily skin care regimen, use sunscreen, regardless of season, since the sun shines on us every day of the year. Look for a sunscreen that is non-comedogenic and non-toxic. Choose a sunscreen with physical blocks like zinc and titanium dioxide, as opposed to chemicals which will enter the bloodstream and cause long-term damage in the long run.
ROSACEA IN THE WINTER
Those experiencing rosacea are especially prone to irritation and the flare up of broken capillaries during the cold months. Rosacea is essentially redness caused by breaking capillaries (couperose skin) that presents as a chronic condition. Usually, we see rosacea on the cheeks and nose. Sometimes this redness can be accompanied by postules and blemishes, which can be quite sensitive and painful. For topical treatment, advise clients to shield their face from exposure to wind, sun, and extreme temperatures (hot or cold). This also applies to daily cleansing – absolutely no hot showers, hot baths, or steaming the face. A knowledgeable skin care professional will not use a steamer on a couperose client.
Do not use acids or products containing alcohol for cleansing the face. These particular products dry out and tighten the face, when the goal is to moisturize and nourish. Avoid using a scrub to exfoliate the face – only light enzymatic masks are okay. The perfect mask for the rosacea client is one based on oats and clay with enzymes, which cools down redness, effectively cleaning and brightening the face.
We all know that aloe vera is soothing and cooling and chamomile is calming and relaxing, but what about arnica? This amazing, medicinal herb has been used in Europe for centuries. It has been taken internally to heal organ trauma and applied topically to reduce edema and treat bruises, wounds, and bug bites. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is mild and non-aggressive in topical skin care products. What is really amazing is arnica's ability to reduce bruising – the mechanism lies in the herb's ability to stimulate blood flow and move stagnation through the veins and capillaries. When a lesion of capillaries is traumatized by physical impact or inflamed from exposure to the harsh elements, we see the dark color on the skin's surface. Applying an arnica cream to the area affected by rosacea significantly reduces the swelling and dark patch, bringing the color back to normal, as well as moving blood through damaged capillaries for reduced discomfort and pain. To maximize the treatment of rosacea, use a cream with both arnica and vitamin K. The combination of these two ingredients does miracles for erythema.
As for internal treatment, the best way to reduce flare-ups is by avoiding all hot and spicy foods that cause the rush of blood to the face, breaking more capillaries. It may seem like a hard task to some clients, but it will be much harder trying to camouflage the redness from day to day with makeup. There is nothing better than the freedom of letting the skin breathe without makeup – all year round!
Whether living in the snow or in the heat and sun, please remember to tell clients that beauty is optional, but health is not. Take care of the skin by using the best natural and hypo-allergenic ingredients all year long and remember to eat right and drink lots of water. When the body functions at an optimum level, the skin will also glow! Enjoy life all year long and do not let winter slow
Dasha Saian is the co-founder and marketing director of SAIAN® Natural Clinical Skin Care and has over 15 years of experience in the spa industry. In addition to her Business/Marketing degree, she is a licensed aesthetician, certified nutrition and wellness consultant, and certified family herbalist. Saian gives lectures and classes internationally and regularly contributes to global trade publications. She is an expert adviser on natural living, alkaline diet, alternative oncology protocols, and positive body image.