Product knowledge; MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanser

DSC05788MeadowMilk Gentle Cleanse is a soothing honey-scented face cleansing lotion that glides on silky smooth to dissolve all make-up and dirt while balancing the immune-system flora present on the surface of the skin leaving it moist and conditioned.  It incorporates the natural enzymatic action in meadow-harvested honey to break down dead skin cells while essential nutrients in Meadowfoam seed oil offer anti-aging cleansing.  Cold processed, this is truly like active nutrition for your skin and most skin types will benefit from it used as part of a routine.  (NOTE: many of you will prefer this to the Bio-Tanical Cleanser as it goes on similar to the previous Conditioning Biotic Cleanser).

The main active ingredient in this cleanser is local honey from the North Family Farm in Canterbury, New Hampshire.  Harvested from bees that forage the non-polluted meadows of the 1792 North Family Shaker farmland, this is a gorgeously scented, luscious honey teaming with healthy flora and active enzymes.  Enzymes work to break down proteins and debris thus it is as good for the surface of the skin as well as our gut.  Introducing the essences of plant material contained within also helps keep our immune system boosted (the skin is the largest part of our immune system!)

The second main ingredient is Meadowfoam Seed oil.  This highly stable anti-oxident oil is cold pressed from the seeds of Limnanthes Alba plant noted for its superior nutritional quality and its ability heal the skin.  Oil is the best solvent for grease so while conditioning the skin, the Meadowfoam seed oil also breaks down & emulsifies sebum, perspiration and make-up to wash away with a warm cloth.  Like the C.B.C. many of you will enjoy spreading it on, leaving it in place like a masque then just adding water later to whiten it up to remove.

 

Did your skin get splotchy this summer?

splotchy skin compositeIn addition to the wonderful memories and sea shells we collected this summer, almost all of us (including me) have additionally collected some hyper-pigmentation in our skin. Beyond a “sun tan” that many crave, this uneven darkening or splotchy-spottiness stimulated by longer exposure to the sun each day, is a condition I see frequently in my practice and is the one condition that elicits the most complaints. Happily, by following the proper skin care regimen and using the right products, you can regain clarity in your skin.

For example, Elizabeth S. first came to me to see me a couple of years ago while visiting her sister in Canterbury. During our consultation, she told me that the brown spots on her face were bothering her and asked if anything could be done to alleviate them. I explained to her that the spots were a result of too much time in the sun and put together a plan for her that I felt would mitigate the damage. I’ll let Elizabeth take it from here:

“I live in Montana, so I’m outside a lot,” Elizabeth recalls. “I use sunscreen, but I still get a fair amount of exposure. I had developed dark spots above my eyes and on my cheeks, and when I first saw Jane a couple of years ago, she told me it was sun damage and recommended a skincare routine to follow that would help to repair the damage. I began using the Refining PLUS Concentrate and I’ve had great success—my spots have almost completely disappeared! Euchlora products are wonderful and they really work!”

Another client, Christine M., began to be troubled by the appearance of dark spots on her face after the birth of her first child. Although the patches were similar to Elizabeth’s in appearance, in this case they were melasma, a hormone-induced condition. Fortunately, for Christine as for Elizabeth, there was a remedy. Christine explains it best:

“I began having a problem with melasma right after giving birth to my oldest daughter. It started on my forehead, then moved to my temples, my cheeks, and finally to my upper lip. I spoke to Jane about the problem and she said it was likely hormonal. She recommended I start treating the condition with Euchlora’s Refining PLUS Concentrate. I began using the product and noticed a difference within a few weeks. The spots continued to fade over time, to the point where they are virtually imperceptible. And they haven’t returned!”

As the experiences of these two clients’ illustrate, hyper-pigmentation can be a troublesome condition, but handled properly, it’s not one that you must live with indefinitely.  Please contact me for your own consultation.  Jane

Beaching treatment PAM

Is your skin breaking out this summer?

pimple collageI should have done this post about a month ago when the emails started rolling in; “HELP!  I am breaking out!”  But summer is not over yet and probably not the tendency for break outs.  So here are the Why’s and Wherefore’s about them.

When the weather temperature rises humidity builds up in the skin – that “dewy” look.  If this humidity becomes trapped on the skin it makes a perfect breeding ground for acne bacteria.  The bacteria are always there but do not grow when it is exposed to oxygen.  But with the use of heavy water-proof sunscreens or if you are still using your winter time products designed to keep the humidity in the skin, oxygen gets blocked and the warm, moist environment accelerates the growth of this bacteria causing break-outs.*

To fix the problem the skin needs to dry out.  The pimples will subside, shrink and the damaged skin will flake off plus new pimples will not form.

  1. Use a foaming cleanser during the height of humidity and heat.  I have traditionally dry skin but frequently use the Purifying Frothing Cleanser to deep clean and dry out the moist areas.  I have a proclivity to break outs especially in the summer and the zeolite it contains help draw the impurities to deeper clean.
  2. Use medicinal clay masques to absorb oil and dry out the skin.  I love, love, love my Terraflora smoothing and detoxifying Masque in the summer.  The natural salicylic acid in the Blue Flag Root exfoliates, the ionic drawing properties in the clay and the healing herbal blend of essential oils detoxifies and leaves my skin silky smooth.
  3. Consider sleeping with a drawing paste on active blemishes.  My Mineral Blemish Poultice is great for this and it is a staple in my families medicine cabinet.
  4. Ditch the oil-free silicone style make-ups and favor instead mineral powders or light mineral tints.
  5. Put away your winter moisturizers (save them in the refrigerator until you need it again) and try some other products that are lighter.
  6. Get a glycolic peel treatment.

Remember that at the end of the summer the skin is as thick as it will be all year so consider a deep cleansing facial to refresh sometime in September.

warmly, Jane

*exercising with make-up or heavy skincare can produce the same results.

It’s time to change your skincare routine

summer outdoorsIt’s time to change your skincare routine.  When the weather warms and the moisture levels in the air change, your skin can do with less or perhaps different skincare products. If you spend your time indoors in an air-conditioned controlled environment then there is no need to change.

IN WARM HUMID WEATHER:  The skin self-hydrates with perspiration and the humidity in the air is attracted to the products on your skin so you need less.  Too much product trapping the moisture & salts from perspiration can cause irritation or break-outs.

  • Use less super-hydrating products.
  • Use less layers of products.
  • Lighten up the texture of your products.

My personal day time routine has changed from RefiningPLUS Concentrate under Glow under GlowCustard with moisturizing make-up foundation to now using RefiningPlus Concentrate under FruitCocktail with SummerSilk then my custom-blended mineral powder foundation.  At night I am used TLBC alone on humid days and adding a thin layer of GlowCustard over that on other days.

IN HOT DRY WEATHER:  The heat accelerates moisture evaporation so there is a greater need to add hydration.  While some oil is needed to help maintain the moisture in the skin, products that are too heavy can contribute to holding the heat in the skin causing damage.

  • Add more super-hydrating products.
  • Mist the skin with moisture binding nutrients regularly.
  • Use products that let the heat of the skin escape (avoid oil-free silicone type products).

A wonderful day time routine for hot, dry weather would include the use of both Glow and Rehance Mist followed by a medium weight moisturizer of choice.  At night the routine could be repeated.  

Many of my clients are having me custom-blend tinted moisturizers right now to help simplify their summer skincare routine.  Please contact me if you are also interested in your own version of this BB Creme type product.

Jane 603-491-7305  jbalshaw@comcast.net

Natural bug repellents that cause sunburning

sun sensitivity plant oils For those of us in New England who love the outdoors, the biting insects that show up at this time of year can be annoying! And if we have concerns about using chemical bug repellents on our bodies, using plant fragrance oils give us natural protection and peace of mind. But beware; many of the common oils used in natural bug repellents can increase your risk of sunburn and allergic reaction!

natural-vs-chemical-ingredientsPlant fragrance oils (called essential oils) are the volatile essences of various plant materials. Extracted from the plant in a concentrated form, these oils contain the assorted organic components of the plant.  As a visual, think of the viles in a chemistry lab; like these, essential oils are intensely active and flammable combinations of chemicals.

The chemical constituent coumarin occurs in many common plants and is responsible for lending a particular sweet smell.  However, when coumarin is applied directly to the skin it absorbs UV light then releases it into the dermis creating photosensitivity (reactivity to UV light).  Wearing any of the following plant oils that contain coumarin while in the sun greatly increases your risk of sun burning, sun spotting or developing an allergic rash.

WHILE IN THE SUN, AVOID WEARING BUG REPELLENTS (or body lotions & perfumes) THAT CONTAIN:

  • lavender
  • common orange
  • mandarin orange
  • bergamot
  • lemon
  • cassia “cinnamon”
  • Calendula
  • angelica

And if you happen to be experimenting with rare and unusual essential oils or bathing in herbs ( 🙂 ), parsley, tarragon and celery also contain coumarins!

It is further interesting to note that coumarins have been synthesized in the laboratory for use in making perfumes adding that particular sweet smell.  This could explain why many/most synthetic fragrances create photosensitivity!  The ramifications are endless; fragranced soaps, shampoos, sunscreens, body lotions… this is one of the reason why I am an advocate for avoiding synthetic fragrance.

The most effective essential oil I have found to repel bugs is Eucalyptus Citriodoro.  The Nation Center for Disease Control has classified this as a suitable replacement for DEET.  You may have noticed the postings at some of the trail heads in New Hampshire mentioning this.  Stacia uses this on her horses to repeal flies.

You might enjoy my Outdoor Freedom, a skin conditioning & soothing lotion that provides natural, chemical-free sunblocking while additionally repelling bugs. Sweat resistant and non-greasy with a silky dry finish. Along with zinc oxide, plant extract Eucalyptus Citriodoro creates an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin while providing an uplifting citrus/eucalyptus scent. SPF around 30-40; apply liberally for best protection. Sitting in the yard side by side with David, black flies are all over him while not a one is touching me when wearing this. The smell reminds me of summer!

I also sell the oil alone by the 1/2 oz.

603-491-7305   jbalshaw@comcast.net

Are your skincare products anti-aging enough?

canstockphoto8795735We have plenty to worry about.  Are our mammograms frequent enough, are we flossing enough, have we reduced our sugar in-take enough, did we get enough exercise… the last thing we need to add to the list is the worry if our skincare products are anti-aging enough.

Relax.  Here are some logical guidelines to help you resolve your concerns.

To make informed purchases you need to understand several points; how your skin changes, what you can realistically expect and what products can accomplish your expectations.

DI skin chartUNDERSTAND HOW SKIN CHANGES.  Think of our skin as an ever-changing ebbing and flowing micro-organism.  It is, in fact, that.  It takes in information from the world around it and from within the body acting as a filter, showing as a barometer for you to read.  Every injury, every sunburn, every illness, every food or drug transgression gets recorded there deep in the layers eventually showing in the surface as a mark, a sag or a bag.  Those negative events change the way the skin renews itself resulting in mutant cell formation.  It happens to everyone more or less.  Its called life.

UNDERSTAND HOW TO AFFECT THOSE SKIN CHANGES.  Short of finding the fountain of youth, modern science has given us some tools that allows us to target the mutant skin cell formation at its root.  High tech anti-aging ingredients, micro-exfoliants, stimulants, suppressants all work to retrain the skin as long as a delivery system is in place to get them to find and regenerate cells deep where they are formed.  It all about getting the tools to where they can help.  Scientifically speaking, it is matching chirally correct ingredient keys to cells that have the correct key-holes to receive them.  If an ingredient is in the wrong form it won’t do didily squat. (Did you know, for example, there are a dozen or so forms of vitamin C; some harm, some help?)

UNDERSTAND YOUR EXPECTATIONS.  How much change do you want in your skin?  Do you simply want to maintain what you have to keep it from aging too quickly or do you want to dramatically change or soften the effects of the past?

 LEVELS OF CARE:

1.  Maintain skin as it is with a few simple anti-aging products.

2.  Push the skin into change with an anti-aging product routine and at-home processes.

3.  Add to the anti-aging home routine with facial treatments that create visible change.

UNDERSTAND YOUR SOURCE.

  • Self-service store products (drugs stores, grocery stores) are formulated with inexpensive ingredients, use very low-level doses of active ingredients and are aimed at creating a feel-good result.  They sound nice, they smell nice, they look pretty and you feel good using them because they appeal to all your senses.  If you have not been using anything, then your skin will feel better because it is moisturized.  But by virtue of the many synthetic ingredients they contain, the skin cannot accept what they are offering therefore cannot thwart off aging as described above.  Allergic reaction is a high possibility with these types of products.
  • Natural food store products focus on important things like being organic or non-toxic but like all self-service stores do not contain enough active ingredients to make change.  In addition, many “natural” ingredients can be congesting to the skin.
  • Department store products are a step above, use more actives but not in a vehicle that allows them to react with your skin.  Synthetic fragrance, for example, sets up an immune response in the skin so it that it rejects the product.  Because the counter clerks are sales people with quotas to meet who are not certified in skincare, the manufacturers raise the price of each product by 20% to factor in the many returns that aren’t matched well to the client’s skin.
  • On-line store products run the gambit.  If you are not a trained master esthetician, how will you know how to choose?  Additionally, some of the known active product lines that are sold through this market place have altered their formulas rendering them less-active so their will be less liability in this forum.  Think outlet stores; those name brand clothes are cheap knock-offs of the originals.
  • Mega beauty store products are usually the products that did not sell well in a professional setting or are made specifically for the store.  Not a lot of activity here but instead a lot of perfume.
  • Destination spa products.  You are more likely to find active product lines in a destination spa because only licensed skincare professionals can provide the services there. However, if the spa is in a vacation setting it is likely that the products will be less active so the establishment will not have the liability if someone who visits only once uses the product incorrectly.
  • Medical spas are where you will find the most active products.  The licensed skincare professionals there – estheticians – can often have paramedical training and the doctors practicing there can prescribe products not available anywhere else.  You will not find many holistic products in this setting, however, as there is a high emphasis on changing the skin through artificial means.
  • Solo estheticians, like myself, are more apt to have the most highly active products that are on the market.  Because of their licensing, they have access to these products that are not available anywhere else.  Active products need to be administered and followed up on to assure of their proper use and will create visible change within a couple of weeks.  Look for a practice that specializes in what you want to accomplish in your skin.

I am a master-level paramedical esthetician with over 30 years of experience.  I choose to work outside of a medical setting in solo practice so I can employ holistic processes to my work.  The products that I sell are hand formulated by me to act as a continuation of my skin rejuvenation services, to be used in your home and monitored by me.  Please contact me if you would like more information on how you can maximize your anti-aging skincare routine.  Jane   jbalshaw@comcast.net  603-491-7305

This post was for you Margie.  You ask the best questions.  🙂

 

 

 

 

Preventing garden-dirty hands

DSC05422

I know many of you like me here in the east are having a grand time now FINALLY getting to dig in the dirt.  Even with gloves on though, you know that the dirt can get ground into your cuticles, get stuck under your fingernails and compress into cracks on your fingers.  Here is my secret for preventing that…

Before you put on your gloves, massage in a generous amount of hand salve into your cuticles, hands and also force some under your finger nails.  When you come in to clean up this will just wipe away.

I developed my Artist’s Hand Creme just for this purpose.  In addition to healing organic Calendula it also contains natural oils & waxes plus pure silicone that acts like a protective barrier.  Dirt cannot penetrate it.  It goes on heavy, then soaks in to leave a silky finish.  Stop by the studio or have me ship you some…Artists hand creme dual

Fixing saggy, puffy allergy eyes

Saggy crepey eyes treatmentAllergies got the best of you?  Too much wine last night?  When the body looses moisture and/or the sinuses fill up, the thin delicate tissue around the eyes is the first place to show it.  The swelling stretches the tissue leaving it saggy, the dehydration leaves it crepey looking and the histamines from allergic reaction leave it irritated.  Here is a 10-15 minute eye treatment you can give yourself at home to relieve those symptoms.

  1. Drench inside and all around the skin of the eyes with anti-histamine eye drops.
  2. While skin is wet perform a little lymphatic drainage massage to release any accumulation in the sinuses.  See the how-to following…
  3. Wash face and eyes with a clear foaming face wash (not oils) or rinse eye area well with water.
  4. Consider rinsing the sinuses.  Most people I talk to are uncomfortable with neti pots.  I have used this spray bottle for years and love it.  Target or Walgreen…
  5. Drench all around the eyes with Euchlora’s EyesTea.  Let soak in and repeat 1 or 2 more times.  This contains herbs that act like natural anti-histamines, peptides that smooth fine lines and purge toxic accumulations that cause dark circles.  It also contains soothing hydrators and pomegranate extract that helps tighten the skin.
  6. Finally, pad a dab of squalane or argan or sweet almond oil around the eyes just on the bones not on the lid or too close to the lashes below (the skin pulls what it needs to the lash line).  A dab = 1/2 drop total for both eyes.  Too much oil will get into the eye and cause more puffiness.

lymphatic drainage

  • Using a gentle pumping motion with tips of your fingers, work around each eye where X s are shown, just in between the eyeball and the bone, to relieve sinus pressure. Continue this motion for one minute per eye.  NOTE:  I use both hands and do both eyes at once.
  • To continue relieving sinuses, add firm strokes downward as shown by the arrows  to force fluid away from eyes to drain out of the body.

For more tips on alleviating allergies, watch this TV interview with our own Dr. Angela and read the helpful tips on diet.  

Curing dry cuticles

th-1Chalky-white dryness, splitting fissures, bleeding hang-nails and skin built-up over your nails like the pile of snow at the back of your driveway?   For softened, soothed and healed skin around the finger nails, both oil and water need to be reintroduced.  Here is what you need to do…

  1. Soak fingers in warm water for 5 minutes.  Lounging in the bath tub or taking a shower does the trick.
  2. Immediately push back cuticles with an *orange stick or *cuticle tool (note that they may still look ragged.)
  3. Immediately, while still warm and slightly damp, generously apply a fatty oil to the cuticles, nails and finger tips.  Rub in.  Suggested oils: olive, sesame, kukuki nut etc.  Oils or butters that are waxy or oils that are too thin do not work as well.
  4. Apply a good hand lotion over this.  A “good” hand lotion is one that lists oil in the top 5 ingredients.  The stearate-only lotions just sit on top of the skin.
  5. If your skin in particularly in bad shape then apply a healing salve on top of this as well.
  6. If you can stand it, put your hands inside of plastic bags for 10 minutes or so to heat up and penetrate the products.

To maintain this, do steps 3 and 4 every night.  If you can stand it, sleep with cotton gloves over all.  NOTE: sometimes very ragged cuticles need to be trimmed in which case I recommend a professional manicure.  Trimming at home tends to produce uneven and over-trimmed cuticles which can lead to infection.cuticlesorangest gelish-harmony-cuticle-pusher-and-remover-2-in-1-tool-gelish-01904-400x400

 

 

The Art of the Bath

DSC04153

Oozing into warmth, the quiver of contrast giving way to the rush of blissful release…ahhhh, the comfort of The Bath!  But more times than not when I am invited in to see someone’s newly remodeled bathroom, there sits center stage – framed in artisan tile work, punctuated with gleaming metal apparatus, flanked by artwork –  a gorgeous bath tub that the owner admits to having never used!  And through my own gifting of bath salts that sat unwrapped, I have come to realize that many people do not understand the benefits of The Bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

My sister and I in our youth playing in the bath.

Unlike the shower, the artful bath is not specifically about efficient cleaning; any kid will tell you that!  The bath soak is about renewing ones whole self, through detoxification, by limbering up arthritic joints or aching muscles, clearing sinuses, calming the mind and conditioning the skin.  Ten minutes in the tub can have the same effect as two Tylenol & a massage or an hour-long therapy session!  My daily ritual of a bath soak keeps my troublesome joints pain-free, warms me up to last all day long, keeps my sensitive body-skin free of rashes and helps keep my overly active mind peaceful.

DSC04155DSC04157I take a bath each morning to separate my very early morning ritual of reading, research and writing from my active work day.  That 10 minutes sets the mood of calm and balance for my day and is a treat that I look forward to; a reward, if you will, for the mind exercises.  For someone else it could be the reward for body exercises; that long run or time at the gym.  In the winter I will also take a bath at the end of the day using the warmth and the aromatherapy to induce a deep sleep.  The bath provides that mysterious “margin” in the day that helps us separate duty from the living life fully, that helps us release the compulsive to-do lists and helps percolate thoughts of creativity (I design some of my best stuff while in the tub).

aromatherapy2Any bath tub will do even if it is not luxurious but you want to make sure you can get your shoulders down in it.  Using blow-up vinyl bath pillows can help adjust your neck in a tub that is too straight in the back and in most tubs you should use a suction-cup plastic water-escape cover for the upper drain to allow the tub to fill up deeply (both available at any bed and bath store). I take a bath when I travel and have used some of the most pitiful tubs by rolling up extra towels under my neck and draping wash cloths over the escape drain.

The first step to taking a bath is to allow time for it.  Just like flossing your teeth or scheduling a hair cut, you need to put time aside for your whole body health.

How to take a bath:

  1. Start the water running at your desired temperature.   “Warm” is best.  Too hot will dissolve away too many of your skin’s natural protective oils and too cold will defeat the therapeutic purpose of the bath.
  2. Add salts: Under the running water add in any powders or salts.
  3. Add essential oils: Close the bath room door to trap in the heat/steam and the healthful positive ions produced by running water, and just before the tub is full, add in any aromatherapy plant essential “oils” under the running water.  The fragrance from these oils will release into the room providing a pleasurable and therapeutic fragrance to enhance your bath.  The oils in the water will also treat the skin and penetrate into your body for a therapeutic effect.
  4. Add bubbles: If you desire cleansing bubbles then add several pumps of a foaming wash that does NOT contain any sulfates, dyes or artificial fragrance all of which are bad for the skin and delicate body areas.  Dispense directly under the running water for the best effect.  Euchlora’s Purify Frothing Cleanser is perfect for this.
  5. Turn off water and swirl the tub around with a foot or hand to make sure all “oils” are dispersed.  Climb in and relax.  Wash where you need to but also catch up on your magazine reading, drink water, sip a cup of tea or simply just ponder.
  6. Get out and towel off briskly to remove dead skin cells and salt.  While still semi-damp apply a body lotion suited for your skin type avoiding artificial fragrance and dyes which are not good for the skin.  Euchlora’s customized Hand and Body Lotion is perfect.  Drink a glass of water to rehydrated after especially if you have detoxed.

RECIPES FOR THE PERFECT BATH:

The De-Stress bath:  Add 1/2 to 2 cups* cup epsom salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of grapefruit, geranium, a dab of clary sage or vetivert.

epsom-salt-grey-large

Grey epsom salt

The science: When you have been under a lot of stress your body produces free radical positive ions. The neutral ionic charge of the salt will help neutralize some of the stress ions and the high content of magnesium in epsom helps sooth muscle tension.  The oils react with the nervous system to calm it and induce euphoria.

The Detoxify bath:  Add 1/4 to 1 cup baking soda plus 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of juniper, lemon, sage, rosemary, pine or fir.

The science:  When you have over indulged in celebratory foods and beverages (sugars), the body becomes more acidic.  The higher pH of the baking soda helps to counter balance this while the extra salt content in the water draws the impurities out of your body through osmosis.  The oils work with the lymphatic system to draw toxins and kill bacteria in the body through their natural phenols.

Purply blue dead sea salts

Purply-blue dead sea salts

The Soothing bath: Add 1/4 to 1 cup* mineral laden salts such as Himilayan Pink Salt or Dead Sea Salt plus 1/2 to 1 cup* dried milk or dried yogurt solids and 1 to 2 ml* of the following essential oil blend; a combination of chamomile, neroli, petigrain, orange, lavender.

The science: The high mineral content on these kinds of salts treat skin irritations and the lactic acid in the dairy softens tissue.  Additionally, the probiotics in yogurt help balance the bacteria in the skin helping to treat fungal or yeast irritations.  Salt helps to tighten the skin as well.  The oils calm redness in the skin and react with the immune system to halt reactions.

Peachy pink himalayan salt

Peachy-pink himalayan salt

Next time you are in, let me gift you with a pre-blended yogurt bath-salt powder that I keep in stock during the winter months or let me create a blend of essential oils specifically for your skin type.   603-491-7305  jbalshaw@comcast.netbath-feet_2206587b

SOURCES:  Specialty salts can be purchased through The Salt Cellar in Portsmouth, NH or Portland, ME and some can be obtained through natural foods stores or on-line.

*Tub sizes vary and therefore so do the amount of additives.  Use the lesser amount listed for standard sized tubs up to the larger amounts for full sized jet tubs.