Day Six Was Especially Special

Breathe MatThis morning’s Bikram Yoga class was extra special because not only was this day six in a row of coming to class each day, but also I had someone joining me – my soon-to-be hubby and his brand new yoga mat. I think he’s starting to catch on to how awesome Bikram Yoga is for the mind, body and soul. There’s a lot of preparation that goes into us both getting to the 6am class. It starts with the night before – setting out all of the stuff we need for class including mats, clothes, towels and water bottles. Then we set aside a fruit snack to eat on the way to the studio and an energy bar to split right after class. Since we’re about a 30 to 40 minute drive from our home to the studio, we have to plan to be in bed no later than 9pm the night before. Otherwise it makes the 4:45am wakeup call that much more difficult.

Once we park the car, get into the studio and set up our mats, the rest of the class is dare I say, enjoyable? Seriously! The hot, humid heat feels so good on my skin early in the morning. Plus, once I have the 90 minutes of sweating it out in 26 postures and two breathing exercises, I feel like I’m ready to conquer the day ahead. The bonus part is knowing that the person laying right next to you is not only someone you love deeply, but is going through the same experience that you are. You’re both in it to win it and that makes the experience all that much more enjoyable and fun.

During this morning’s class, I felt especially energetic because it was my sixth day in a row of coming to class each day. My body was feeling amazing! Brian also got to try out is brand new, fancy Bikram Yoga mat. The Breathe mat is a yoga mat that has been designed specifically for Bikram Yoga. The top of the mat has a towel-like surface that absorbs sweat easily and doesn’t bunch up like a normal towel would during postures. They’re comfortable to lie on, mostly waterproof, machine washable, dryer safe, pre-shrunk and have a built-in “rabbit flap” making it easier to grip on during this namesake posture.

Even though the Breathe mats are a bit pricey, they’re well worth the investment. Up until now, Brian had been using a sticky mat and a towel during class. I told him once he upgraded to a Breathe mat, it would change his whole practice. Trust me, after class this morning when I asked him how his new mat was, he responded with the biggest smile on his face. I think he likes his new mat.

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And so the Bikram Yoga Journey Begins…Again

ScaleI haven’t had much time to do anything else this last month besides trying to keep up with my ever growing To-Do List for work that has included getting through a new location launch, managing three different events, creating countless email campaigns, keeping our social media channels updated and responding to a ton of five star Yelp reviews along with planning my Vegas wedding in April.

One thing I’ve been making time for this week has been Bikram Yoga. A week ago, I had a mild heart attack when I realized that my Vegas wedding is less than a month away. As of today, I have 19 days until I walk down the aisle to greet Elvis and my soon-to-be husband in front of all of my family and friends!

Over the last six months to a year, I’ve let work completely take over my life and have allowed a few things go on the back burner such as writing in my blog, getting my hair done, taking care of my skin and working out. I used to be one of those people who happily hopped out of bed at 5:30 in the morning to go to a 6am Bikram Yoga class. I always seem to have more pep in my step throughout the day whenever I started the day with the grueling 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises in a room heated up to 105 degrees with the humidity bumped up to about 40%. Sounds like torture? Well, maybe, but there’s something to be said about how good my body feels after putting it through 90 minutes of intense stretching and concentration. Plus, at the height of my Bikram practice, I was in the best physical shape I had ever been in in my entire life.

So with less than a month to go before my Vegas wedding, I decided it was time to MAKE the time for myself again. No more hitting the snooze button or resetting my alarm in the morning. Instead, I started gifting my body with a daily dose of Bikram Yoga. My first official class back to Bikram was on Saturday morning, right along side with my soon-to-be-husband. Yes, I dragged him to class with me and together we sweated out the entire 90 minutes.

I won’t sugar coat it. The first Bikram Yoga class back after taking any sort of hiatus is always rough. It was hot. The sweat was dripping off my body right after the second set of the first breathing exercise. I felt dizzy and light-headed. I had to sit out a couple of postures. I couldn’t seem to drink enough water. Then there’s the constant dialogue in my head that questioned why I was putting my body through this process in the first place. Then once the last breathing exercise had been completed, the lights went off and the instructor sang “Namaste” to the class as she turned on the ceiling fans, I quickly remembered why I went to class. My body and mind instantly felt better. I felt powered up and ready to face my day and the challenges that might come with it.

This morning I completed Day FIVE of my return back to Bikram Yoga. That’s right. I’ve taken a Bikram Yoga class every single day for the last five days in a row. Go me! This morning’s class wasn’t nearly as challenging as the first one was on Saturday. I’m still sweating like crazy, but I didn’t have to sit any postures out, not even the deepest back bend in the whole series – Camel, I’m looking right at you buddy! My body felt amazing and my mind was inspired. All day long at work, I kept thinking to myself about how I should blog about this experience. Yes, I know I’m an esthetician and should write about skincare things, but this is My Life as an Esthetician. I think it’s just important to note my Bikram journey, right along side noting all of the great industry inside scoop I discover each and every day.

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Mt Bachelor Vacation #MtBachelorStoked

The view from our balcony at hotel #3, Mount Bachelor Village Resort

Because life just cannot be all work and no play! I managed to stack up quite a few vacation hours in 2014. I finally decided to use some of those hours and went on a road trip last week with my husband and some of our friends to Mt Bachelor. We ended up staying in four hotel rooms in one week. Here’s the proof of how much fun we had. I wish I could go on vacation for a living!

 

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My Life as an Esthetician Got a Makeover!!

Me at Mt BakerHi Blog Readers! If you’ve visited my blog previously, you might have noticed that things look a little bit different here these days. I recently switched my blog over from Blogger.com to WordPress. Here’s what my old blog looked like, remember? I’ve been meaning to make this switch for the last two years, but haven’t had the time. I blame it on my day job, my move to Seattle last year and my recent engagement/marriage. All good things of course!

Now, my blog is WAY more user-friendly than ever before. In addition to making the entire blog much more esthetically pleasing, you can now easily search for any topics I’ve covered in in the Search box to the right or by clicking on any of the Categories below the Search box. I’ve also created a FAQs page that contains some of the most common questions readers ask me about. For those of you who are curious to see where I’ve written online other than my blog, I’ve created a Writing Portfolio page, which has a link to all of my work outside of my blog.

Getting ahold of me is now super easy. I’ve included links to all of my social media platforms in the top-right corner of my blog. I also have my contact information on the Contact Me page, just in case you wanted to send me an email.

I’m super excited about all of the new changes on my blog. I hope you are too. If there’s anything you’d like me to cover on my blog going forward, I’d love to know. Either leave a comment below or send me an email. I will be putting together e-mail newsletters from time-to-time pretty soon. If you’d like to sign up for my free e-mail newsletter list, be sure to look for the sign up box on the right-hand column.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. I’m really excited to get back into the swing of things!

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Chemical Peel: Day Three and Day Four

Peel Day 04-01When I woke up on the morning of Day Three after having the chemical peel, I looked in the mirror and saw that the peeling had moved to my entire face and neck area. I was excited because I could see the skin literally hanging off of my face. At least I knew the peel was working! The only downfall was that my husband and I had a trade show we’d be attending all day long. We were scheduled to meet with people one-on-one, a lot of these people I’d be meeting for the first time. This was going to be the first time during my peeling process that I wasn’t going to be able to hide at home or in my office, in front of my computer.

As I got ready for the day, I swear I could feel the skin literally peeling off of my face. It was the weirdest, yet most satisfying feeling. It was hard not to scratch or peel the old skin off of my face. I made sure to follow Kavina’s specific instructions of just letting the skin peel off on it’s own.

At the tradeshow, I could see the people we were meeting with give my face double-takes. My husband picked up on the looks too and started explaining to everyone that I just had a chemical peel. Most people sighed in relief and said they thought I had just come back from some sort of vacation or had too much sun. When I pointed out that I didn’t have a suntan or sunburn, they looked at me confused and wanted to know more.

I explained to the people who asked that I was covering chemical peels on the SkinSpirit blog. I told them that in order to write an effective blog post about chemical peels, I was having the service done on myself. Almost immediately, people started asking me questions about chemical peels. They wanted to know what exactly a chemical peel was, how they work, what they do for the skin and how did it feel having the skin peeling off of my face. Some of the guys we talked to said that their wives have had chemical peels before, but they didn’t know exactly what a chemical peel was. With my recent experience of having a peel and researching peels, I was able to give them educated answers to all of their questions.

My skin was peeling quite a bit on Day Three. As soon as my skin started to feel itchy and irritating, I applied moisturizer all over my face and neck. My skin felt super warm to the touch – very similar to what a sunburn feels like. The moisturizer not only helped hydrate my peeling skin, but it felt like it cooled it off a bit, making the peeling process in public a little bit more tolerable.

On Day Four, the peeling was out of control. I felt like I had to reapply moisturizer to my face every ten minutes. Not only was the skin literally hanging off of my chin and neck, I could see it peeling off of my nose. I had to spend most of Day Four in public again at the tradeshow. I swear I could still feel the skin peeling off of my face. I tried my hardest not to scratch my face throughout the day. I couldn’t help rubbing off the excessive skin along my hairline though, which caused the dead skin to get stuck in my hair. It also didn’t help that I was wearing a black sweater. Mental Note To Self: When you wear black clothing during the peeling process, count on seeing a bunch of dead skin all over your clothing.

 

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Chemical Peel: Day Two

Peel Day 02I woke up this morning and my skin felt itchy all over. I couldn’t wait to get into the shower so I could wash my face. Before I got into the shower, I looked in the mirror and noticed that the peeling had spread from both sides of my mouth area, on up to my cheek and nose area. As I washed my face gently with my hands, I could feel the dead skin roll off in chunks. It was so weird and kind of satisfying.

After I got out of the shower and dried my face, I applied facial moisturizer and SPF. There was no way I was going to put on a liquid moisturizer on top of my shedding skin. It would be way too messy and would probably interfere with the peeling process. The SPF stung my skin a bit. Mental Note To Self: New skin coming through is going to be a bit sensitive to the touch for the first couple of days of it being exposed.

By the time I got to the office, I swear I could feel the dead skin peeling off of my face, spreading across both of my cheeks and to my temple area on both sides of my face. It felt incredibly weird and extremely itchy. The only thing that relieved the itchy feeling was applying a generous layer of moisturizer all over my face. The itchiness would go away for about a half hour or so and then would come right back. It was so hard not to scratch the areas of my face that was peeling.

Now that more of the surface area of my face was peeling off, I started to feel uncomfortable about going out into public. I stepped out for lunch for a quick second and got a strange look from people who walked by me. I wanted to stop and tell them that there was nothing wrong with my face and that I had just had a chemical peel. Instead, I avoid their looks and kept walking. Thank goodness my office doesn’t have any windows and that all of my co-workers are well-versed in the chemical peel process.

Right before I left my office for the day, I looked down on my shirt and saw flakes of dead skin everywhere. Gross. I wiped it off my shirt only to find that there was a whole pile of dead skin on the floor right underneath my chair in my office. Yuck!! I applied another generous layer of moisturizer for my commute home in hopes of avoiding shedding like that in my car.

My husband took one look at me when I came home from work and asked if he could peel some of the skin off of my face. I slapped his hands away and went to apply more moisturizer. How much skin is going to peel off of my face? Dang! At least I know the SkinMedica Vitalize Peel is working.

I think the one thing that bugs me the most is that my skin itches so much. No pain, no gain, right? Regardless of all the itchiness, I’m still excited to see the new skin come through once the dead skin comes off completely.

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Chemical Peel: Day One

Peel Day 01I had my first chemical peel on a Saturday morning. The next morning I woke up to find that there was already a small amount of skin peeling right underneath my mouth. I couldn’t grab a camera fast enough! In less than 24 hours, my skin was already starting to shed. How very exciting!

In the morning, only one side had a small patch peeling. I immediately applied a generous layer of facial moisturizer all over my face and started my work for the day.

By the afternoon, I noticed that there was another section on the other side of my mouth that had started to peel as well. Kavina was right. The first area on my face that started to peel was around my mouth area. Both of the peeling areas were still really small. I didn’t feel weird going out into public on my way to and from work today. It was just business as usual. I did notice that my skin felt a little itchier than usual.

I wonder what my skin will look like tomorrow?

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What is a Chemical Peel?

Peel-01Currently, in my position at SkinSpirit as the Social Media and Marketing Manager, one of the tasks on my To Do list is to blog about the treatments we offer. In fact this was the very task that attracted me to my current position with the company in the first place. Being paid to look and feel my best? How could I say no to that? 

SkinSpirit is a medical spa with six locations – three in Northern California and three in the Seattle, Washington area. Our clinics offer a array of skincare treatments including: Botox, dermal filler, laser resurfacing, a wide variety of medical-grade facials including the popular Signature Facial, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, skin tightening with Ultherapy, IPL/Photofacials, Latisse®, a medical weight loss program and our newest skincare treatment, micro-penning.

I’ve had the pleasure of receiving a number of these amazing services over the last two years including Botox, dermal filler, the dermaplaning treatment, laser hair removal, microdermabrasion and countless Signature Facials. I even gave REBALANCE, the medical weight loss program a shot last year. A couple of months ago, one of our practitioners, Kavina (an amazing, smart, beautiful and charismatic aesthetician) at the SkinSpirit University Village location took one look at my skin and asked me if I had ever had a chemical peel. I had never had one before and quite frankly was a little intimidated by them, just for the sole fact that the treatment name had the word “chemical” in it. Lame I know, but it’s true. She spotted the hyperpigmentation on my forehead and on my cheek bones right away and told me if I gave her the chance and let her perform a series of three chemical peels on my face, I’d see a dramatic difference in the reduction of the hyperpigmentation all over my face. She got my attention immediately.

What is a Chemical Peel?
So what is a chemical peel? A chemical peel dissolves the glue that holds dead skin cells together on the surface of the skin. A chemical peel is a “controlled burn” of the skin and is considered a surface chemical exfoliation as opposed to a manual exfoliation like a facial scrub, Clarisonic brush, microdermabrasion or a dermaplaning treatment.

Benefits of Having a Chemical Peel
Some of the benefits of having a professional (and I stress professional) chemical peel include improving skin tone and texture, revealing brighter, smoother and a more refined complexion underneath the skin, reducing discoloration caused by sun damage, treating hyperpigmentation, helping to clear up breakouts, smoothing away the look of wrinkles, increasing hydration within the skin and allowing skincare products to be more effective.

The discoloration on my face is something I’ve always felt insecure about. I’ve always been quick to hide it with heavy liquid foundation. Hyperpigmentation is a common, usually harmless condition in which patches of skin become darker in color than normal surrounding skin, typically caused by sun damage or hormonal changes. The discoloration on my skin was caused largely by the numerous hours spent in the sun both during the summer months wakeboarding on the water and during the winter months snowboardng up on the mountain. Who knew that the reflection of the sun on the snow in a high elevation climate could be such a prime breeding ground for hyperpigmentation? Even though I’ve been pretty religious about wearing sunscreen whenever I spend time outdoors, sunscreen only protects skin from damaging UV rays that cause sunburns. Sunscreen, unfortunately doesn’t prevent the skin from tanning (getting pigmented) and turning brown.

The Initial Consultation
Since I refuse to live my life indoors and wanted to feel confident wearing my skin free of heavy liquid foundation makeup, I went ahead and told Kavina to sign me up for the chemical peel series. Before I could have my first chemical peel with Kavina, I had to come in for a consultation. During the consultation, Kavina explained to me my treatment plan. Since I spend a good chunk of my free time outdoors, Kavina wanted to come up with a realistic treatment plan that would work with my active, outdoor lifestyle while helping me get the results I was looking for. Kavina suggested that I have a series of three Vitalize chemical peels over the course of a month, with each treatment being within two weeks of each other. The first treatment would be a Vitalize Peel. The second treatment would be a modified Signature Facial with a Vitalize Peel. The third and final treatment would be another Vitalize Peel.

Skin Conditioning
To prepare my skin for the first chemical peel, Kavina advised that I undergo a four-week skin conditioning preparation program. Skin conditioning is designed to bring the skin into a tolerant state so that it responds better to a chemical peel and lessens the chance of triggering an undesirable response to the treatment, Without the skin conditioning program, I run the risk of not having my skin respond well to the treatment and not getting the results I’m hoping to achieve. Over the next four weeks, Kavina recommended that I apply a retinol and a skin brightening complex, once a day to my skin.

Products to Use and How to Use Them
My goal for my very first chemical peel series is to target the hyperpigmentation on my skin. With this in mind, Kavina suggested that I use SkinMedica’s Retinol Complex 0.5 and the Lytera Skin Brightening Complex once a day, together in the morning after cleansing my face. What’s nice is that I can easily use these products in conjunction with my facial cleanser, Clarisonic skincare brush, daily moisturizer and sunscreen. The daily use of these products will help suppress the pigment on my skin before having the treatment, in addition to helping build up a solid foundation and tolerance for the chemical peels.

Kavina also recommended that I use SkinMedica’s TNS Essential Serum twice a day – once in the morning and once at night after cleansing my face. She said that for a minimalist like me, this was the perfect product to use daily. It’s an all-in-one, rejuvenating serum that will not only help enhance my skin texture and tone, but also reduce the appearance of wrinkles, leaving my skin looking healthier and younger. Who doesn’t love an easy-to-use product that does all of that?

With my skin conditioning program in place, my skin should be good to go for my first chemical peel in the next few weeks. I can’t wait to see the results!

 

I’ll be documenting my chemical peel series experience along with my recent laser hair removal series experience on the SkinSpirit blog over the next month. Feel free to check out the SkinSpirit blog here.

 

 

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What is Medical Aesthetics?

medical aestheticsA lot of readers looking to get into the world of aesthetics send me emails or comments asking how they can get into medical aesthetics. The term medical aesthetics comes up frequently in the aesthetics world, but what exactly does it mean? Before talking about what medical aesthetics is, it’s important to understand what an esthetician is and what they do.

An esthetician is a trained professional whom is licensed to treat skin topically and cosmetically within the first five outer layers of the skin, known as the epidermis. An esthetician’s level of skin treatment stops where the blood flows – at the epidermis and right before the dermis. When it comes to the dermis layer of the skin and beyond, the skin has to be treated by a medical professional.

Estheticians – both spa estheticians and estheticians working in medical aesthetics – perform a variety of treatments within the epidermis including facials, facial massages, various hair removal techniques, body wraps and makeup applications. The differences between a spa esthetician and an esthetician working in medical aesthetics is the type of training they’ve received, the types of treatments they perform and the environment they work in. Both types of estheticians are focused primarily on improving a patient’s looks from a cosmetic point of view. A spa esthetician is focused more on pampering a client during their treatment whereas an esthetician working in medical aesthetics is more focused on helping to improve the skin’s appearance and helping people whose skin has been affected by disease, trauma or a pre op or post op medical procedure with treatments that provide noticeable results in a short amount of time.

Estheticians are not doctors, dermatologist, surgeons or physicians. They cannot legally prescribe medication, give medical advice or perform any sort of medical treatments.

What Is Medical Aesthetics?
Medical Aesthetics is considered to be a specialized form of advanced clinical skincare management that gives clients/patients the choice in how they manage their various skin conditions without the use of medications, surgery, laser treatments or injections.

Who Works in Medical Aesthetics?
Estheticians who work in medical aesthetics are skincare specialists who perform noninvastive or minimally invasive beauty/skincare treatments that don’t require surgery or lasers. These estheticians may have a healthy profession background, such as nursing. Estheticians working in medical aesthetics typically work in a medical setting such as a plastic surgeon’s office, dermatologist office, a medical spa, in a hospital, clinic or laser center assisting medically trained professionals.

Types Of Treatments
Medical aesthetic patients/clients are looking to receive treatments that provide noticeable results in a short amount of time. These types of treatments may include microdermabrasion, chemical peels, facials, body contouring and camouflage makeup application. Depending on the type of training the esthetician has and the state the esthetician performs their work in, estheticians who work in medical aesthetics might also perform radio frequency skin rejuvenation to reduce sun damage, age spots, rosacea and broken capillaries. They may also provide various cosmetic laser treatments such as laser vein removal, laser tattoo removal, laser acne scar removal and/or laser hair removal.

Medical Aesthetics Training
In many states, estheticians don’t need to have a medical background to perform medical aesthetic treatments. The required training to perform these types of treatments typically consists of a short course that includes classroom education covering safety and science along with hands-on clinical training.

Most estheticians learn how to perform these types of treatments while on the job. A couple of major benefits for an esthetician to learn on the job is that they don’t have to incur training costs or wait for a specific course to be offered in their area. They can receive training immediately. The biggest setback for on the job training is that the esthetician is limited to one type of training style (that of whomever is training them) and one specific type of equipment (which ever piece of equipment is being used at their office.)

If an esthetician is able to receive training from a comprehensive course, they’ll be able to learn from several different instructors who will provide training on multiple pieces of equipment. The esthetician receiving training through a course, as opposed to on the job training, will be exposed to a wider range of experience from their instructors, giving them the ability to help make educated decisions early on in their career.

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“I’m Looking for a Natural Sunscreen That Wont Break my Face Out. Help!”

Shopping_For_SunscreenA blog reader recently asked me a great question about sunscreen. As soon as I sent the reply, I realized that a lot of you out there might have the same question. I know I did!

Reader Question: “I’m looking for a natural sunscreen that wont break my face out. Help!”

 

Answer:
As far as finding a “natural” sunscreen, that’s going to be really hard. The term “natural” doesn’t have an industry-wide definition so every brand is going to have their own way of defining what natural means. Plus, in order for sunscreen to be effective and work, you need the vital active ingredients in the product. Chemical sunscreen need active ingredients like Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Oxtinoxate, Menthyl Anthranilate or Oxtocrylene and physical sunscreens need active ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. You’re best off trying a few different sunscreens to see which works better for your own skin. The best way to do that is through a patch test on the back of your neck or on a lower portion of your neck.

Zinc Dioxide and Titanium Dioxide are the two active ingredients found in a physical sunscreen. A physical sunscreen works to protect your skin from harmful UV rays by sitting on top of the skin and deflecting them. This is opposed to a chemical sunscreen which allows the UV rays to be absorbed into the skin and then neutralizes them. This is why a physical sunscreen works a lot better for the sensitive skin types. If you’re acne prone, go for a physical sunscreen that’s formulated for the face and is oil-free and lightweight.

Here are a couple of my favorites that I’ve tried recently that haven’t caused me any breakouts:

SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion Defense UV SPF 50
This formula has a bit of tint to it which eliminates that chalky look on the skin

SkinMedica Environmental Defense SPF 50
It’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes. This stuff is great for water sports or if you’re doing something outdoors that makes you sweat.

mybody Protect and Serve, SPF 30
It’s specially formulated for aging, sensitive AND acne skin types

There’s a natural vs organic debate that’s been going on in the beauty world. I’ve covered it on my blog and have even been published on the topic. If you’re curious, check out what I’ve written:

What does “natural” mean?
What does “organic” mean?

Finding the right sunscreen for your skin can be quite a process, but it’s worth the research!!

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