Spring Cleaning-Time for a Facial!

The sun is finally shining and we can all stop hibernating in our snuggies.  Or is that just me? I know you all have SOME comfy pajamas you’ve been grasping onto and now are ready to let free for tank tops and flip flops.  77 degrees here in Chicago on Tuesday.  I think thats a beach day.  But way way to ruin the nice day when you look in your rear view mirror or your bathroom mirror as your putting your suit on and you see a ruddy face that is infested with black heads that you have been avoiding like no other.  At this point, if you haven’t taken proper care of your skin over the winter with the correct products there are no quick fix products from the drugstore.  I know I know, I wish I could be a magician but I don’t have a license for that;) If you are looking in the mirror and you skin is looking somewhat like any of these pictures, there is only one answer.  A spring cleaning facial.

Chances are you are having some of the same issues as these celebs.  Whether it be acne and congestion or struggling with dryness and fine lines and wrinkles.

For your facial, book some sort of peel along with it. Possibly a salicylic or glycolic peel.  The reason is over the winter you have accumulated so many dead skin cells, combined with sebum and excess makeup everyday that does not fully come off, leaving you with an unflattering complexion.  The peel will ” eat” away at your dead skin cells revealing a more glowy youthful you.  It will also help firm and tighten the skin by boosting collagen and elastin production if you feel fine lines are an issue.  Your esthetician will decide what peel is best for you.

Leave me comments if you read this and got a facial with a peel and love how your skin feels after! I would love to hear feedback!



Connect the dots-Girls just wanna have Fun!…errr Clear skin;)

The holiday season has begun.  The lights are up, you’ve been invited to a tacky sweater party, you may or may have not tried HOLLY NOG( I would advise against it if you plan on doing on doing anything the next day), and if you’re a girl reading this blog you just want to have fun!  It’s the season for giving and parties and you get to see many people who you don’t see on a regular basis.  But it is not always fun to see these people when we are embarrassed about our acne, we may even avoid these holiday gatherings because of it.  Beauty comes in every color, and no one should have to feel like that they will be judged on the condition of their skin.  But people are vein ( I’m writing a skin care blog, let’s be honest here) so after I finish explaining the last three contributing factors of acne in today’s post, I am going to give a real solution for acne, based on a few different skin types.  These are all products that I am very familiar with, have used in a treatment room, or use myself. Does your skin speak clear?  If you start to use them within the next few days, by Christmas for sure you should see some clearing.  I give about a three to four-month window for total clearing of acne, based on the grade.  Lets start with the last contributing factors, and then we can get to the fun healing stuff:)

The second contributing factor to acne’s progression in your skin is an abnormal desquamation process(in real people terms that would mean that your cells shed too slow).   This can happen for many reasons, actually, and many are natural reasons from your bodies response to other changes going on.  The first is a natural change in the strateum corneum(outer most protective layer) that is constantly being replaced as the underlying living cells move toward the surface and begin to die and shed.   Overproduction of sebum can be a factor that contributes to abnormal shedding.  This is because sebum can cause cells to become “sticky” and it becomes difficult for them to move and shed naturally.

The sebum works like glue to adhere to these cells to the surface and cause follicles to become clogged ( retention hyper keratosis), hyper meaning speeded up, and the keratinocytes are being produced at an abnormally fast rate.  As cells produce far faster than a normal follice, more and more dead cells are dumped into a developing impaction.

Other factors that affect abnormal desquamation include dehydration and aggressive skin care treatment( getting too many peels or microdermabrasions in a small window of time).

The third contributing factor to acne progression is the proliferation of p. bacterium.  It is a naturally occurring bacteria is specifically on the skin.  When excess sebum causes cells to cluster, preventing the proper shedding process, conditions for p. bacteria are perfect to grow, feed, and for inflammation to occur.  In this state, conditions are right for pustules (true pimple) to form and leukocytes (white blood cells) are sent to the area to help fight off the infection.  If left untreated, rupturing the follicle wall can occur and lead to scarring of the surrounding tissue

And finally, the fourth contributing factor, (not triggers, we will get to those in a different post, there are many of those that we dont even realize) is the inflammation tissue reaction, an immune response of our bodies.  inflammation occurs early in the onset of a blemish and persists even through the healing process.  The key to understanding this is that it is constant and invisible.  You do not need have visible signs of redness in order to be under an inflammatory response.  This can be call subclinical inflammation, it goes on all the time, because of chronic stress.  Because of the constant state of inflammation there is a premature degradation of the essential components of the skin and its structure as it forms and causes aging; oh great thanks work;).  As far as acne, the constant invisible inflammation in some cases, becomes visible due to the large amount of p. bacterium and the acne lesions.  Inflammation can occur deep within the follicle and can change the structure of the dermis (NO NO!) if the lesion ruptures.   The worst thing you can do to aggravate you inflammation, is picking or squeezing the blemish(leave any touching of such for your esthetician).  The inflammation is your bodies immune response to fix the lesion and is defending itself, so just let it be, and stay away from those clarisonics!(way too much action for your skin).  Inflammation can be what is most noticeable to us( the redness of a pimple) and most bothersome but there is a solution.


Message of Hope: Systems of Skincare based on your skin type, if you have acne

Type of Skin #1: If you are really oily, have many pimples(that have pus/ or no pus)  on your cheeks, chin, forehead, and your nose is clogged with blackheads/ You also have scarring(hyperpigmentation) on the sides of your cheeks  and chin, possible pitting as well

Regimen: Morning

  • Cleanse with GLOtheraputics Purifying Gel Cleanser( $26)
  • Swipe your face with GLOtheraputics Clear Complexion Pads($36)
  • Tone with GLOtheraputics Purifying Tonic($26)
  • Apply GLOtheraputics B5 hydration($57)
  • Apply GLOtheraputics Oil free moisturizer($41)
  • Apply Makeup

Regimen: Evening

  • Cleanse with  GLOtheraputics Purifying Gel Cleanser( $26)
  • Tone with GLOtheraputics Purifying Tonic($26)
  • Apply GLOtheraputics Tretinol 0.5%($60)
  • Apply GLOtheraputics Oil free moisturizer($41)

Tretinol 0.5% Has my vote! Instant Improvement


Type of Skin #2: You are dry/yet oily in some areas of your face, have random blemishes, whether it be on your cheeks, chin or forehead, your nose has blackheads.  You may have some rough  patches as well.

Regimen: Morning

  • Cleanse with Aveda Botanical Kinetics Gel Cleanser($21)
  • Swipe your face with Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Pads($33)
  • Tone  with Aveda Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist($20)
  • Apply Aveda Botanical Kinetics Hydrating Lotion($33)

Regimen: Evening

  • Cleanse with Aveda Botanical Kinetics Creme Cleanser($21)
  • Tone with Aveda Botanical Kinetics Toning Mist($20)
  • Apply Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Lotion($40)
  • Apply Aveda Outer Peace Acne Spot Relief on any blemishes(29.50)

Best combination of salicylic acid and anti-inflammitory ingredients help acne a great deal! Gets my vote as well!

op lotion

These are the two most common types of skin types that I have dealt with that have acne.  Do not mistake the second regimen as better because it is less expensive.  If you have higher grade acne, and are more oily, opt for the first regimen, and you will see results. I know all of these products in and out and how they work, so when you decide to purchase them online or in store, if you have any questions, as always feel free to email me at jpiper220@gmail.com, and I can help with any of your issues.

To end in holiday spiri, Comment below what was the most epic fail of a gift, skincare/bodycare related or not of a gift that you have ever given or received? Lets have some laughs, it is the holiday season after all;)


Connect the dots-Session 2

Now that we have learned the “what” of acne, we can begin to discover the “why” of acne. There are four main contributing factors that lead toward a face of blemishes. Excessive sebum production, abnormal desquamation process, the proliferation of the p. bacterium, and the inflammatory tissue reaction( an immune response). Once we learn why these are the contributing factors, we can then learn triggers of acne, as well as different grades. Today I will explain about excess sebum production.

The first contributing factor is EXCESS SEBUM PRODUCTION. Within the skin, our body has the option to produce a hair follicle or it will most likely produce a sebaceous follicle. Attached to both types of follicles are sebaceous GLANDS that produce a substance called sebum(skin oil). Depending on person and environment, these glands can produce a lot of oil.

If it becomes a hair follicle that grows into a thick hair, the sebum and debris can flow easily to the surface of the skin along the hair much like a candle “wick”.

It is believed that within the sebaceous follicle, where there is less hair and acne is present acne may worsen. The reason for this is because without the substantial hair to serve as the “wick” the sebum and dead skin cells build up faster and acne becomes worse, and faster.

A blemish can take between 2 to 3 weeks to reach the surface of the skin, even though it seems like they appear overnight.

When you look at sebum from a chemical standpoint it is a complex mixture of fats(lipids). It is composed of at least eight different lipid components including polar lipids, neutral lipids, and wax esters( a combination of fatty acids and alcohol). Bacteria then breakdown these sebum triglycerides into diglycerides, monoglycerides, and fatty acids. This is one of the main processes that needs to be controlled.

Sebum does have a role within our skin, It provides barrier protection and assists in skin hydration, but over-production of sebum leads to acne.

Hormones can also play a huge role in the over production of sebum. Normal production of sebum begins at puberty. Between the ages of 8 and 12 during the period when sex hormones are stimulated, sebaceous follicles of face, chest, upper back, shoulders, and upper arms are stimulated; the sebaceous glands are enlarged and produce more sebum.

The male hormone testosterone (found in both males and females) stimulates development of the sebaceous follicle and glands. It is actually not the testosterone, but the dihydrotestosterone( a component) that affects the stimulation. At puberty a special enzyme present in the skin changes the testosterone into dihydrotestosterone and flows through the blood and reaches the skin. It is basically “supercharged” and begins to stimulate the sebaceous glands and follicles to start producing oil. This is why many teenagers are plagued with acne. It is not their fault, just their body’s natural path.

However, adult acne plagues many of us as well, either hitting us in our twenties, or in late 40’s, 50’s, and even 60’s. These erratic fluctuations normally only effect women. The reason for this is because during menstruation/or lack of, estrogen drops, and there is an increase again in the levels of the sebum producing hormone testosterone. This is also what accounts for “menstrual flare-ups”.

” 60 Million Americans experience active acne” -Statistics on Acne Prevalence 2012

Next post we will discuss more of the contributing factors for acne. Seems like a lot of people are experiencing the same issue. After we dive more into these contributing factors to the “why” of acne, I will explain in-depth solutions for treatment if you are struggling yourself, or want to help a family member. It is actually very simply once you get some things in order.

“Beauty is Power; a smile is its sword”-Charles Reade



Connect the Dots-Your Guide to Acne Session 1

“The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well”-Hippocrates

Acne is something that almost every person has dealt with at some point in their life.  It is can be a very hard thing to deal with emotionally and can be painful as well.  Even as a medical esthetican, I am struggling with acne this week( it was my own fault).  You can see a picture below.  The reason I am broken out is because I had a little too much “fun” playing with superficial and high-grade peels.  I did too many within a 3 week span, and in return I threw off-balance of my sebaceous glands.(Disclaimer, I would never do this to a guest, please don’t be scared to come get a peel or facial from me, I was just “peel happy”)  So I feel like the best way to show you that I can heal your acne is to post a picture of my acne over the next couple days and posts, and give you new information on the topic of acne to help you understand why we have it, how it works and how we can fix it.  You will see through my methods that it is possible to fix acne, and that is preventable/curable.  My picture of what my skin looks like today (Thanksgiving) is below. I am peeling on my chin, have a scab on my cheek and near my eyebrows.  Also on both sides of my chin I have blackheads that I extracted that are healing.   I have to say this is the worst my skin has looked in over 4 years.  I have the type of skin people stop me on the street and ask “what do you do?”.  It is normally that perfect and glow-ey.  It is embarrassing for me to post these pictures, but I feel it is educational and an opportunity for you to see that acne is not something to be afraid of, it is just something you must have knowledge to correct.

Healthy internal function and balance is the key to clear skin.  To understand why we get acne and how it works you must first understand skin on its own.  Your skin’s surface is the “go-between” of the external and internal environments of our bodies, which in turn shows the health of our organs and mind/body function.  Our skin, in fact is the largest organ we have and serves as a protective covering to the outside world.  It is also a sensing organ, an oil producer, and is highly important when is comes to the process of elimination of toxins.  Our skin also controls the temperature of our body( think of running 10+ miles, your skin is what cools you down to some extent).  When you are warm and you perspire a process of very fast evaporative cooling happens.  When this process is continually happening on a regular basis ( evaporation and perspiration) your skin helps contribute to a balance of internal homeostasis.

I don’t think that most people realize how much detoxification the body does on its own.  When you perspire toxins that our body wants to get rid of are released through sweat, and you “detox”.  It has been said that people diagnosed with hypo-hydrosis( inability to sweat) are more prone to acne because they are not able to detox like most people.  Your skin is the place for absorption as well as release of toxins.  It is similar to the liver and lungs in that it has the ability to change toxins from lipid-soluble(oil based compound) into water based soluble forms which can then in turned be removed by your kidneys.  Your body uses your skin as a tool essentially.  It uses it to get rid of by-products of the metabolism most of which are toxic.  Your skin performs this process of elimination of the bodies toxic waste by sweating.  On the down side, if your body holds more toxins than the liver(detoxs chemicals, foreign substances, excess hormones) or kidneys(detoxs urea and ammonia) can efficiently get rid of, skin issues can take over( acne, anti-aging, dull skin).  Hope is here however, and there are certain ways that you can encourage the practice of elimination within your body.  You rid toxins by sweating,  so PROPER use of a sauna, and by proper I mean a short time and not on an everyday basis would be a good idea.  Also a good idea would be use of supplements and specific diets that promote quick exits for toxins that are stored in the body.

Here is the oh so fabulous picture of my face today, and below is a cross-section of the layers of the skin.

This cross-section of the skin is a good representation of where the sweat leaves your body when you perspire/detox through the epidermis( top layer of skin).  All the layers of the skin come together to make many different processes happen.  The skin is responsible for the functions of sensation( who would have guessed?), heat regulation, absorption, protection, excretion, and secretion.

Now that we understand how the skin functions on its own and the functions that it does on a daily basis, we can start to begin to understand acne.  Acne is a very involved topic and can be complicated based on specific case, and should always be taken care of by your esthetician.  Don’t try to fix acne on your own, almost 99 percent of the time you will fail.  You need an expert to look at what kind of acne you are dealing with, your habits, and what the best method of treatment is over whatever time period you are working with.

Acne(Acne Vulgaris) is an inflammatory skin disease that occurs around the hair follicle(skin organ that produces hair) and sebaceous gland (microscopic glands in the skin that secrete waxy/oily substance called sebum) forming comodones, papules, pustules, nodules, and cysts.  The most common place for acne is the face but we also have sebaceous glands in our neck, shoulders, back,upper arms, upper legs and chest as well, and acne may appear there too.  The disease is not restricted to any age group, and often adult acne can be emotionally draining because sometimes as a teen we are not as aware as to what is going on.  Acne can cause disfigurement , it is not life threatening , but often times leads to both severe and permanent scarring.  ‘The percent of adults who claim to have acne in general among total adults is 13% , higher among women at 18%, versus 10% for men.  Not surprisingly, among teens acne incidence is quite high, at 56%”-National Omnibus Survey 2005. 

There are 4 main contributing factors to acne progression.

1)inflammation tissue reaction( immune response)

2)Excessive sebum production

3)proliferation of  p. bacterium

4)abnormal desquamation process(sloughing off of dead skin cells)

Acne has no defining cause, however there are 4 main contributing factors that contribute to the skin’s imbalance.  Although acne cannot necessarily be “cured”, I know personally from experience you can treat and manage acne to a point where it is not noticeable to people around you.  This is my goal for any of my guests when we are treating acne.  It is almost like a vision from the first day I meet you and your under the light on the treatment table, and I “see” your face clear, and devise a plan as to how we will get there.  There is light at the end of the tunnel, it just takes a little work on both your and my part.

Not only through facial, peel treatments, microdermabrasion(depending on severity) and product regimen, nutritional guidelines and a balanced lifestyle can help contribute to a clearer face.  I like to call it the “dual-approach” which will address not only the actual acne on your face, the soreness you have, and clearing of the blemishes through different techniques, but calming your mind and body through massage to reduce your stress levels so you will tend to not release more of the stress hormone that can contribute to producing sebum(acne).  The whole big picture is about healing, treatment, and prevention, as a revolving cycle, and that’s what I try to teach my guests when we are working with acne.

Next post we will go more into depth of the specific contributing factors of acne (the inflammation tissue reaction, excessive sebum production, proliferation of p. bacterium, and abnormal desquamation process).  You will then further understand why these make for a not so “happy” face, and we will be further to ” connecting the dots”.