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Retinoids: What they are + why they are best for aging skin!

Last month we talked about the powerhouse nutrients your skin needs to be its healthiest and most radiant. Vitamin A is one of those nutrients and, when used topically, its effect on skin is amazing! Whether your concern is acne, hyperpigmentation, or wrinkles, derivatives of Vitamin A—collectively referred to as retinoidscan do wonders for your skin.

Retin-A (generic names: retinoic acid or tretinoin) is the most widely recognized retinoid, and has been on the market since the early 1970s. Originally developed as a treatment for acne, scientists soon discovered that its effects went beyond treating blemishes, curbing oil production, and shrinking pores. Users of Retin-A also experienced smoother skin texture, fading of dark spots caused by sun damage, and diminished wrinkles. In the mid-1980s, further research was conducted proving the effectiveness of Retin-A for aging. Retin-A is available only through a prescription from your physician.

Retinol and retinyl palmitrate are “over the counter” versions of prescription retinoic acid. Once applied to the skin, they are converted to retinoic acid. Though less powerful than the prescription version, these ingredients are still effective in reducing the signs of aging and may cause less irritation. You’ll find them in abundance in the Dermalogica AGE Smart line of products as well as in some drug store brands (though at a lesser percentage than in Dermalogica).

SO HOW DO RETINOIDS WORK?

Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) within your skin may start to mutate or work less effectively due to sun damage or aging. Retinoids bind with and activate these receptors, leading to a normalization of cellular function. This results in increased cellular turnover, increased collagen formation, and inhibition of the breakdown of collagen. Aging, sun exposure, pollution and oxidation can cause skin cells to mutate in shape and size; retinoids encourage your skin cells to form in the correct size and shape. Basically, retinoids help your skin function at its optimal best!

IMPORTANT TIPS FOR USING RETINOIDS

Please Note: If you are trying to get pregnant or are already pregnant or nursing, do not use prescription or over the counter retinoids as they made cause birth defects.

1. Sunlight degrades the effectiveness of the product, so apply prescription retinoids at night to dry skin.

2. Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 during daylight hours and avoid direct sun exposure as retinoids increase your risk of burning.

3. Do not use retinoids concomitantly with glycolic acid, vitamin C, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid. Use products with these ingredients in the morning after you have washed off any remains of the retinoid.

4. Start slowly and use only a pea-sized amount of product. Using more won’t increase the effectiveness, but it will definitely increase irritation. Begin using prescription retinoids every other day and slowly build up to every day as your skin adjusts.

5. Because retinoids thin the top layer of skin, facial waxing is contraindicated for prescription retinoid users. Some people can tolerate hard wax because it only sticks to hair, not skin. However, to be on the safe side, tweezing is recommended.

Also, don’t expect a miracle overnight. I tell my clients that using retinoids is more like running a marathon than sprints. It takes time, often several months, to really see the big changes that they can make when it comes to age-reversal. So hang in there!

Join me next week for my book review of The Water Secret: The Cellular Breakthrough to Look and Feel 10 Years Younger by famed dermatologist Howard Murad, M.D.

XOXO,

Bonnie

#bonnieknowsbest

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How to Get Ready Faster in the Morning!

We’ve all fallen victim to the weekday-morning routine of getting ready that feels kind-of “blah” or even worse—unfinished. We are in such a hurry that we are usually forced to just not do a portion of our routine.

Maybe for you, it’s your hair— you have enough time to pick out an outfit, throw on some makeup, grab your coffee and fly out the door, but your hair never had a chance to be in anything but a wet bun. Or perhaps you always end up sacrificing your makeup in favor of a clean outfit and dry hair. Whatever it is that you usually end up sacrificing, this #WeekendBeautyTip is here to help you quicken your routine so you can get it all done!

Here are the Top 6 Ideas that I found as I scoured the interwebs for you:

1. Prep what you can the night before.

You may not be able to do it all the night before, but choose a couple things to check off the list so you’re not a mess in the morning. Maybe it’s packing your lunch in advance or setting the coffee maker. Maybe it’s choosing an outfit so you’re not rummaging through your closet half-awake tomorrow morning. Maybe it’s taking your shower and styling your hair the night before so you only have to touch-up in the AM. Just pick something to do the night before and your getting-ready time will drastically change in the morning.

2. Have a space that makes sense.

A lot of our time in the morning is simply spent on finding stuff. Maybe we keep our brushes in a different place than our makeup, which is in a different place than our styling products. Wasted time can go to searching for things. To save on time, have an organized space with all your needs at arms-length.

3. Practice on weekends

Use the events that you have more time to get ready to practice. Cat-eye liner takes some time to perfect, so use the weekends to get quicker at it. Certain hairstyles can take longer as well; use your weekends to consistently practice certain styles, and you’ll find that you’ll be able to pull them off faster and faster. Eventually they may make it into your weekday routine!

4. Have Q-Tips on hand

When you’re pressed for time, you usually make a mistake or two just from feeling hurried. Prep for this in advance and keep some Q-tips nearby to quickly spot-correct.

5. Use Multi-Tasking Products

Another sure way to speed up your hair/makeup routine is to use products that multi-task for you. For example, Pureology’s Colour Fanatic has 21 benefits that includes detangling, split-end treating, heat protection, anti-frizz, shine-enhancement, and more! That stuff is liquid gold for a girl in a hurry! Another idea is to use the Redken’s Pillow Proof Primer that cuts your blow-dry time in HALF.

6. Create 3 “Weekday” Hairstyles

Having a few backup hairstyles that are quick is a simple way to vary your weekly style without sacrificing time. There are so many cute options for quick hairstyles on Pinterest these days. Find a few that are easy for you and practice them until you can quickly move through the steps. This will help you feel a little more put together on days you are in a hurry!

And there you have it! 6 easy ways to quicken up your weekday routine!

Merry Weekend everyone, and may next week’s routines be more efficient!:)

Your web-gal,

Ashley:)

*kudos, love and credit go to beautyhigh.com for these great getting-ready tips!

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HOW HORMONES & LIFE STAGES AFFECT YOUR SKIN

Goldilocks was onto something when it came to comfy chairs, food temperature, and the thread count of bed sheets. This same philosophy also applies to hormones. In puberty we have too many, in menopause we have too few, and in between your body is doing a precise juggling match to keep things *just right*. What exactly are hormones?

The endocrine system is made up of various glands and organs and secretes hormones directly into your blood stream for distribution throughout the body. For your skin, the most important organs are the ovaries and testes, and the most important glands are the adrenals. These organs and glands secrete the hormones that bring on puberty and menopause, control ovulation and support pregnancy, and many other function. When out of whack, these hormones can cause acne and other skin woes.

The ovaries secrete three hormones: estradiol, estrogen, and progesterone. The testes secrete the aptly names testosterone. The adrenal glands secrete androgens (male hormones), which are responsible for the development of underarm and pubic hair at the start of puberty. After puberty, the testes take over in males and secrete testosterone; however, for women, the adrenal glands continue to secrete androgens.

So what does this mean for your skin? And what can you do about it?

Puberty:  In addition to an increase in body hair, moodiness, and general just…blech…the production of new and exciting hormones at this point in life increase sebaceous gland activity, leading to subsequent sebum production and dilation of pores. Propionibacterium acnes is the anaerobic bacterium present inside the pores and it feeds on the sebum and multiplies, causing breakouts. Tweens and teens should be taught to clean their skin gently twice daily with a foaming cleanser to remove oil, and use an overnight treatment that contains 2% salicylic acid (to exfoliate and clean out the pores) or a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide (the oxygen kills P.acnes).

Later Adolescence/Early Adulthood: As if puberty wasn’t fun enough, then there’s the onset of ovulation/menses. Rising and falling levels of estrogen and progesterone make you want to eat everything in sight, fight with your best friend, and cry at cheesy commercials on television. They can also lead to breakouts especially in the chin area, known to estheticians as the hormone zone.” Increased stress during the college years kicks those adrenals into action as well, causing more breakouts. Regular facials (including extractions), appropriate exfoliation,  and topical products such as Dermalogica’s Overnight Clearing Gel and Special Clearing Booster contain 2% salicylic acid and 5% benzoyl peroxide, respectively, and are great for combatting these breakouts. If you have more severe acne, or acne that doesn’t respond to treatment, a visit to your family doctor, dermatologist or endocrinologist is in order. Prescription birth control pills can do wonders for hormonally charged acne, as can topical or oral antibiotics.

Speaking of birth control pills, many women notice an increase in hyperpigmentation after starting treatment. The same thing can happen in pregnancy, referred to as melasma (commonly called the mask of pregnancy). Yep, you can blame your hormones again for this increase in melanin production. Regular use of sunscreen, hats, and seeking out the shade are musts if you wish to minimize this effect. While this condition will usually resolve itself after stopping the pill or giving birth, in some instances it lingers for years. Chemical peels are very effective at aiding the skin in lightening, as are the melanin production disrupting ingredients in Dermalogica’s Chroma White line of products.

Menopause: Heavens to Mergatroyd, haven’t we endured enough?? Normally occurring when a woman is in her late forties or early fifties, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and stop producing estrogen. Hot flashes, moodiness, insomnia—oh my! Because estrogen strongly influences collagen formation, the dramatic drop that occurs in menopause can lead to increased sagging, wrinkle formation, and loss of elasticity. Other changes include impaired barrier function, sensitivity, dehydration, hyperpigmentation, and even acne. Sun damage from years past also presents itself in full force adding to the changes. Ingredients such as retinol and peptides can help increase collagen formation, as can procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Dermalogica’s AGE Smart Line is full of peptides and retinol to combat signs of aging, but you’ll see the best results if you start using it before menopause sets in.

So there you have it, my friends! Aren’t hormones fun?!?!?

Join me next week when I’ll tell you all about the differences between “Retin-A”, retinol, retinoid acid, and retinyl pallmitate. Pssst—these are performance ingredients to combat signs of aging!

XOXO,

Bonnie

#bonnieknowsbest

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6 Super Smart Tricks for Lips

Everyone’s excited about the change in the weather. The falling leaves, the scarves, and the pumpkin lattes have everyone excited for Fall! Weather changes usually make us want to change something up in our style. Sometimes it’s our hair, sometimes it’s our wardrobe, and other times we just want something subtle in our makeup routine. So this #WeekendBeautyTip is for those who want just that!

Here are a few ways to change the way you look at your lip regimen, and give you some fresh ideas for Fall! You’ll see that alongside the tips are some Mirabella product suggestions. The reason we always suggest Mirabella is because it’s vegan, gluten-free, animal-friendly, and high-quality makeup that brings in rave reviews from industry leaders. And we have it in-store!

1. FINDING YOUR PERFECT NATURAL SHADE

Most of us have our dramatic lip colors on lock, but the everyday lip shade gives us some trouble. What’s the right color pink for my lips? How do I know if it’s truly natural looking or a little too dark or light?

Fear not friends. Here’s what to do. Look in the mirror and smile. Your perfect, natural lip-shade is the color of your gums! Don’t go much darker or lighter than that color if you’re going for an everyday look. [Mirabella's Vinyl Lipstick line has 4 or 5 natural shades that you can choose from, along with some bolder shades.]

2. MAKE LIPSTICK LAST LONGER

Fill your entire lip with a neutral pencil before applying any colored lipstick. Then, once you’ve applied the lipstick, your color will stick on longer! [The Lip Definer line is great for neutral tones as well as bolder tones.]

3. CREATE A LUMINOUS LOOK

We all have our collection of matte lipstick shades. If you’re looking for a subtle change, just sweep on some golden-based gloss overtop your lipstick. It will warm up your color for Fall and give you that extra something! [We'd recommend Mirabella's Color Luxe Lip Gloss Line with a never-sticky, perfect shimmer for your lips.]

4. SHAPE YOUR LIPS WITHOUT LINER

 For those out there who really detest lip-liner in general, this one’s for you! You can create the look of “two perfect peaks” without liner at all—simply apply concealer carefully in between the center of your upper lip and blend. Then apply your stick, gloss, or stain! [We suggest Mirabella's Conceal colors for this trick!]

5. DO “UNDERSTATED” THE RIGHT WAY

The nude-lip has been around a bit and it remains wildly popular. The nude lip allows for you to draw attention to bold eyes or cheeks, and it is also great for an understated, every day look. To create the perfect nude, use a light pink shade first on your pout, and then dust on translucent powder on top for a matte effect. Then throw on some clear gloss and you’re done! [We'd recommend Mirabella's Perfecting Powder.]

6. PRIMING MAKES PERFECT

Have you ever bought a lipstick tube and LOVED the shade, but found that once you put it on, the color wasn’t spot-on? That’s because you’re applying it to your current lip color, not a “blank canvas.” In other words, you’re applying the shade to a pinkish color, not to a true flesh color. To achieve spot-on color, apply lip primer before the lipstick, giving your lips a flesh-color. This will create a base canvas for your lipstick that will allow for the color you see in the tube to end up on your lips! [The parabin-free, dye-free, Vitamin-E infused "Prime" by Mirabella is a great choice for this tip.]

 

I hope these new-found lip tricks help you enter into Fall with a subtle, yet fun makeup change in your routine! Happy lipsticking everyone!

Merry Weekend from your web-gal,

Ashley:)

*kudos, love, and credit go to instyle.com for the original content of these tips as well as Mirabella for making such great makeup!

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How to Help Your Skin Through Weather Changes! Bonnie on the Blog

The leaves are starting to fall, mornings are getting chilly, and the humidity is finally starting to drop—yes, the unmistakable signs of Autumn are here! While you’re switching out your flip flops for boots and sundresses for sweaters, ask yourself “Do I need to change up my skin care too?”

Summers in the south are hot and sticky, and while the humidity may wreak havoc with your hair, in many ways it’s great for your skin. Think about it, all that moisture in the air actually helps keep your skin hydrated. The heat and humidity also stimulate your sebaceous glands to pump out more oil; something oily skin types aren’t too keen on but drier ones appreciate. As the humidity and temperatures decrease, many people find their skin feeling tight and flaky.

Here are some tips to help you combat skin changes brought on by weather changes:

1. Always use warm or cool water, not hot water. It’s tempting to turn up the hot water for your shower on those cold mornings, but it will dehydrate your skin. If you don’t trust yourself not to do this, consider lowering the temperature on your hot water heater. Both your skin and your energy bill will thank you!

2. Unless you’re super oily, simply changing from a foaming/lathering skin cleanser to one that has a milky consistency will work wonders. Foaming skin cleansers are usually designed to remove your skin’s natural oils, so if your skin is feeling tight after you wash, it’s time to change. I love Dermalogica’s Ultracalming Cleanser and Essential Cleansing Solution, both of which have a creamy consistency.

3. It’s time to ramp up your moisturizer too! While oily types may still want to stick with oil-free Active Moist, if your skin is feeling parched you’ll want to reach for Skin Smoothing Cream (medium weight) or Intensive Moisture Balance (heavier weight, full of antioxidants). These daily moisturizers contain more emollients, which are ingredients that help soften and smooth your skin while adding moisture.

4. If you really want to treat your skin, I highly recommend the powerhouse duo of Overnight Repair Serum & Super Rich Repair. The argan oil based serum is full of skin nourishing peptides to stimulate cellular repair, and the concentrated cream (rich with jojoba oil and shea butter) deeply moisturizes. Sleep in this combination and wake to glowing, hydrated skin!.

5. Don’t forget to exfoliate! Getting that layer of dead cells of your skin on a regular basis will help your moisturizing treatments sink in and nourish your skin deeper.

6. The same rules apply for the skin on the rest of your body. Take warm, not hot, showers and don’t linger too long in there either, as extended time in the shower or bath will definitely dry you out. Consider switching to a more moisturizing body wash or bar soap, or better yet, try some handmade soap (conveniently available at the front desk at Posh!). I guarantee that once you try handmade soap, it will be difficult for you to use anything else! Exfoliate regularly and moisturize twice a day with a rich lotion.

7. When it’s time to turn on the heat, run a cool mist vaporizer in rooms you spend a lot of time in, especially the bedroom. Indoor heating is notoriously drying.

8. Yes, you still need daily sunscreen.

9. Lastly, don’t forget to drink lots of water!

Join me next week to learn how hormones affect your skin!

XOXO,

Bonnie

#bonnieknowsbest

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