The Girl In The Mirror
Guest columnist: Elva Crawford-Brown
The girl in the mirror is someone I used to know
She gradually faded into the darkest shadow.
She was once sculptured into a perfect figure eight
Until one of her worst enemies crept in, the one called weight.
She battles hard with this enemy but her metabolism is not as active
Leaving her feeling defenseless, lonely and very unattractive.
Yes, she’s full of laughter on the outside but so sad within
Because society dictates that beauty is thin.
I stare at her constantly but she’s hard to recognize
This is a totally different girl, I’ve come to realize.
She no longer sees the defined features strategically placed in her face
Nor one of her most prize possessions, her gorgeous little waist.
It’s hard for her to accept that she doesn’t look the same
Could there still be a coke cola bottle under that three-liter frame.
She loathes every moment of stepping on her scale
Because of the brutal number it will truthfully tell.
She feels the piercing stares of her past looking at her strange
With castigating eyes because of her major change.
She knows what they’re saying because their silence speaks so loud
Just because she’s jovial in her new dwelling, doesn’t mean she’s proud.
For that girl in the mirror was once a fashion queen
But now in the presence of some she rather not be seen.
One giant she contends with is her biggest defeat
That overwhelming craving for any and everything sweet.
She goes on a rampage for it like a crack head on drugs
Resulting in those unwanted pounds she dreadfully lugs.
She’s trapped in another body trying so hard to break free
That girl in the mirror bears my name but is no longer me.
© Elva Crawford Brown
Your New Year's Skin Care Regimen
Columnist: Esthetician, Jahnel Aska
It’s the New Year! Now we begin our resolutions for change. You may already be familiar with this yearly ritual. Before you set resolutions you may break before the year is up try simple resolutions for change.
For example, if loosing weight is your goal make your goals small and attainable. You can exclude junk food from your diet and eat more fruits and veggies. You can decide to walk more instead of driving short distances or take the stairs instead of elevators.
You may want to improve your skincare routine. Some of us are still using soap and water. You know who you are. Before you spend hundreds of dollars on products or thousands on services, try a smaller route like visiting your esthetician. Get a consult, a skin analysis, and a facial. You can make a small purchase of 2--3 products recommended for your skin type. By the end of this year you shouldn’t have a cabinet of unused products gone to waste.
If you are definitely in need of a big change in your life for the year, make sure you are setting goals to relax. Otherwise, your big change for the year could cause you more stress and more discontent. Try learning the art of meditation. Or, incorporate massage into your weekly beauty treatments.
No matter what new changes and goals you are looking to achieve this New Year, keep them simple. Simplicity keeps our mind open to possibilities and keeps us encouraged for the future. To everyone be empowered and have a blessed New Year!
Health & Beauty Columnist
Boost Your Daily Skincare Routine
School has started, the summer has ended, and work will become more hectic for most. If you are pressed for time skipping on caring for your skin is not an option. Everyday skincare does not have to take an absorbent amount of time. Each morning and night ritual will go by in a breeze with just the right skincare essentials.
Cleansing your face should become second nature. I remember reading in a magazine once, “You don’t need to use soap on your face. Just use water alone.” What! That’s insane. Your face is exposed everyday and all day to all the elements of the environment. Water alone will not give you the results you need. Cleansing is vital to keeping your skin healthy and keeping bacteria at bay. Going to sleep with a dirty face can cause problems with your complexion, leading to breakouts, clogged pores, and more.
Make it easy to cleanse by keeping your facial cleanser in your shower or bath next to your body cleanser. You should be cleansing your face twice a day. Another tip is to keep it near your tooth care essentials. So, if you are brushing twice a day--you can cleanse your face after you brush. Toning after you cleanse can be optional. If you have a strong cleanser and no skin conditions to treat, you can skip toning. I do recommend toning for oily, acneic, or rosacea prone skin. It continues to cleanse and also treat the skin preventing breakouts and redness.
Next you need a good moisturizer. You want to keep your skin hydrated and protected. This helps prevent sun damage (if contains an SPF 15 or higher) and prevents over production of oil. For dry skin, it helps to replace your barrier which is not being naturally produced.Treatment creams and serums are not essential everyday unless you have a condition to treat. Otherwise, your clinical treatments with your esthetician once a month should be enough. However, if you are over 25 eye cream is a must in my opinion. Get a recommendation from your esthetician for the right eye cream for your skin type. Make sure it has vitamins and mild exfoliates for product absorption. Dab it lightly around the eye bone.
Never pull the skin in the eye area. You don’t want to damage the skin around the eye or get product in the eye itself.These simple steps should take you about 5 minutes each time. The results are a healthier and brighter skin tone. Love your skin!
Summer Body(Part 2)
Do you have Bacne?
Part 2Wow, it’s really hot outside. A nice summer swim is a great way to cool off. But, you don’t want to reveal your skin--again. You are suffering with acne or remainder acne scars on your back and neck. What do you do? Wear a t-shirt? Nah! Simple solutions are right here.
Back pimples or “bacne” is very common among teenagers and adults. My advice is to use a body cleanser that contains salicylic acid to dissolve the clogged pores on your skin, like Murad‘s Clearifying Body Wash. If you are allergic to aspirin, please do not use. However you can use a lactic acid wash to exfoliate the area daily, like Sonya Dakar Body Wash “Cara Cara”. You should also continue to use a light moisturizer to keep the area from producing more oil than it needs. Do not scrub the area with anything rough. This will tear open new bumps and create more scars and discoloration.
If you want to stick to using your favorite body products, you can add some of my picks to help. I like the Murad Clearifying Body Spray and the BBB Acne lotion. Both are treatments to use after cleansing directly on the areas you need. Make sure you shower immediately after exercising, and spot treat new bumps as soon as you see them.
Now let’s examine our elbows, knees, arms, and legs. How do these areas feel? Does you skin in these areas feel like sandpaper, bumpy and dry no matter what you use? Here are some tips on how to truly soften these parts.
. Use a gentle and mild body scrub. This must be a gentle process because harsh scrubbing will cause the skin to become thicker. This can be done everyday or 2--3 times a week depending on you skin’s sensitivity. I generally like to make my own scrubs. When my skin has the sandpaper texture, I mix sea salt and grape seed oil to scrub. If my skin has a lot of dry skin bumps and they are turning dark, I mix raw sugar (turbinado) with grape seed oil to scrub. These ingredients can be found right at your favorite grocery.
2. Every night or evening, use a hydrating lotion that contains lactic acid or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). Aha’s can be from fruit or sugar. If it contains pure glycolic avoid use if you have sensitive skin. These lotions will continue the smoothing process while you rest and force hydration into the skin.
Summer body work is not that hard to do. Use these tips and reward yourself with the confidence to expose just enough to stay cool! If you have any type of skincare question you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Come back next week for “How to Travel Light and Be Beautiful”.
Special: Back Skin Treatment for only $50.
Do you absolutely love summer time, but loathe showing your skin? Well, it’s too hot to stay hidden under layers of clothing. I get many questions about skin conditions on the body. So, let’s start with the hardest question to face: Thighs and Cellulite!
Know this--you are not alone! Many people have some degree of cellulite. You can fight it and reduce the appearance with three easy steps.
Working out burns fat and builds muscle. Cellulite is fat deposits under the skin. No one can decrease their fat cells, but you can decrease the amount being stored. So, work out and decrease the storage amount. Make sure to check with your physician the right exercise plan for you.
2. Spa Treatments
There are several spa treatments to choose from for reducing the appearance of cellulite. However, my favorite seems to show the most results. The least expensive is the cellulite wrap. The area being treated is massaged with a mineral and detox gel then wrapped for about 20 minutes. This boosts your circulation in that area which temporarily plumps and smooths out the skin. This is a good service to try in between your exercise routine.
If permanency is what you seek, then you would love radio frequency at a medical spa. This procedure actually helps burn the fat stored under the skin and boosts your collagen. Your skin is not only smoother but also tighter in appearance. And unlike lasers, radio frequency is safe for women of color. Bye, bye cellulite!
If budgets are tight, the next best thing is to hydrate and glow! Use a bronzing moisturizer, or a lotion with self-tanning. The properties in these creams deflect the cellulite in the sun and give the appearance of smoother skin. This can give you more confidence and a gorgeous look to your thighs. Try Carol’s Daughter Gelee de Soleil Browning Oil SPF 15!
Summer is still here and you deserve to show some skin with confidence. Make sure you read next week issue of Summer Body Work part 2. Your other body parts need attention too: back acne, rough skin, neck & chest…stay tuned.
Special this week:
Cellulite Wrap: $45
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Keep Your Cool....For Beautiful Skin
Keeping cool during these hot summer months is definitely a priority. In doing so, you prevent sun and heat damage--regardless of your skin color. How do you know if your skin is sun and heat sensitive? You may notice redness, skin is hot to touch, enlarged pores, and maybe peeling or flaking afterwards. Here are some tips to prevent overheating and keeping your skin cool. Tip #1: Keep a clean damp towel in a zip lock bag stored in a cooler bag to keep cold. You can have this handy to apply to your skin immediately after exercising or being in the hot weather to cool your skin down. Tip #2:Keep a small bottle of organic Aloe Vera gel in a cooler bag. You can apply this gel to your skin throughout the day to cool and calm your skin, and help it to heal. My fav is Lilly of the Desert, sold online.Tip #3:Make sure you are using the right skin care products for your skin type. Keeping your skin healthy and balanced is important to prevent damage. Your skin type can change during the summer months and may become oily or may become dry. Having sensitivities can make it hard to find the right products on your own. Talk to your esthetician about what products may be right for you. Tip #4:My favorite tip is to use a hydrating toner mixed equally with distilled or spring water in a small spray bottle. You keep it cool in a cooler bag and spray on face and neck anytime you feel over-heated. Always remember to re-apply your sunscreen afterwards, unless your sunscreen is water-proof. My favorite toner to use is Ayur-Medic’s Vacha dry skin toner. It has good water binding qualities, but never oily. Following these tips is important because keeping your skin calm and cool helps reduce broken capillaries, enlarged pores, and sun damage. If you need products to keep your skin its supple best, try a few of my favs. Dry skin: I recommend Control Corrective’s Botanical Soothing Cream SPF 30. It calms, hydrates and protects the skin with sunscreen. All skin types: I like Ayur-Medic’s Calming Cleanser and Calming Cream. It soothes skin that becomes easily inflamed or irritated. And always remember to purchase through an esthetician to guarantee quality. Special:Calming Facial $30Make appointment online at:www.ultimate-facials.com
GO Natural .....with Your Makeup
Makeup has come a long way since it’s origins in the U.S. The twentieth century brought about the first mass produced products for women with even the most modest means to purchase. Unfortunately, these weren’t the best products. Many were filled with lead and other carcinogenic ingredients. Sound familiar? If so, you know that’s exactly what’s continuing to happen today. Many cosmetic ingredients are being revealed as unhealthy and unsafe for topical use because the products can accidentally be ingested or inhaled.
Because of this many people are following the trend to purchase more natural cosmetics to wear everyday. Where do you start? Just because a product says it is natural doesn’t always mean it’s organic or doesn’t have any artificial ingredients. Read the label or research the company before investing your earnings into a product you may ultimately throw away.
What about minerals? All mineral makeup is not all natural. Many lines still carry quite a few preservatives that are considered controversial. Try to avoid preservatives like bismuth, and parabens. Natural preservatives life tocopherol (your Vitamin E) and phenoexanthonol (from rose water) seem to be more promising. Using natural preservatives doesn’t decrease your quality of makeup but does improve how your skin will react to wearing it. Pure minerals actually don’t need preserving. However, when using them in a makeup preservatives are needed to reduce bacteria contamination from your skin, sponges and brushes. You can also help keep contamination low by cleaning your makeup applicators after each use.
Besides minerals, using natural colors from plant and vegetable extract are a plus but can limit you if you love colors like I do. If the label reads, iron oxides, mica, or annatto first then larger components of your color are natural. Still, synthetic ingredients may be present. A good line to try if you love color is Mineral Indulgence. They have lots of natural pigments for eye shadows and blushes to choose from complimenting every skin tone.
A pressed mineral powder works best for coverage regardless of skin type. Loose powders are slightly discouraged because many contain minerals like titanium that should not be inhaled or ingested. If your skin is drier, a liquid mineral is good. But, you can still experience a blemish from a clogged pore if you are not cleansing it off properly. Mirabella is an excellent line for pressed powders and lightweight liquids. They have a unique matching system to blend with every skin color.
Your makeup should not just mask imperfections, but should feed and nourish your skin. Although minerals give natural sun protection, you should still be wearing a sunscreen of SPF 25 minimum with your makeup. Some makeup, like Lycogel, has an SPF 30 in their liquid which would be an exception. So the next time you dress, dress all the way by going natural with your makeup!
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FEED YOUR BODY & NOURISH YOUR SKIN
Eating right should consist of eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables. What we eat for our bodies, we eat for our skin. So if you are about healthy eating, your body is definitely getting antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals it needs for your health. And even more, it shows in your skin’s health. When your body lacks proper nutrition, the first place it looks to borrow from is your skin. The job of the skin is to protect your body (outside and inside). Therefore, your vital organs always come first. Your skin will lose out on nutrients it needs to maintain its youthful appearance. Skin can be dull, dry, dark, and lifeless. This issue can go double for smokers, for All smoking is a primary cause of premature aging. Caffeine or alcohol in your diet can also dehydrate the body. All skin types, even oily, can become dehydrated. Dehydration in the skin weakens skin cells causing them to collapse. The body on average is 70% of water which is essential to healthy skin. On average you should drink half your body weight in ounces of water. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds simply divide 150 by 2. You would then consume about 75 ounces of water a day. If you love to drink coffee or any other caffeinated beverages every day, your water intake should increase. On the flip side, it is equally important to have regular skincare. Nutrition alone may not always be enough to keep your skin healthy. Vitamins and minerals are generally fed to the vital organs first before nurturing the skin. Nutrients placed directly on the skin is important because you are feeding the skin directly. Regular at home exfoliates and clinical peels are essential for keeping the pores open to receive these nutrients from your daily care products. A professional consultation with your esthetician can guide you to purchasing the right professional products that contain active nutrients to nourish your skin. That’s important because many over the counter skincare products have added vitamins and minerals but are non-effective. The packaging process alone can deactivate these potent nutrients leaving you with empty hopes for better skin. What you put on your body is equally important to what you put in your body for healthy skin. Healthy eating fights free radicals, reduces mild swelling, and overall improves your health for beautiful skin. So eat healthy, feel healthy, and look healthy. *For a Free Mini-Peel visit http://www.ultimate-facials.com, use promo code EOMPEEL
Summer Skin Care
The sun is out and the weather is warm. Most are getting ready for their summer tans. Here are a few reasons why you may want to avoid over exposing your precious skin to the sun…Click Here!
The sun is the number 1 external factor that causes pre-mature aging. Honestly, who wants to look older than they really are?
Reason # 2
Overexposure to the sun can damage skin cells and may cause cancer. In darker skin types, skin cancer often goes undiagnosed until advanced stages are present.
Overexposure to UVA and UVB rays increases your risk of pigment disorders, including sun spots and discoloration. An even skin tone represents good health and beauty.
If you must be out in the sun, protect yourself by wearing sunscreen. A minimum of spf 15 is recommended. However, I suggest a minimum of spf 25 broad spectrum. A higher number provides more protection but re-application is necessary every 4—6 hours. Broad spectrum covers you with a physical block and a chemical block from both UVA and UVB rays.
The best sunscreen for oily is skin is Weightless Coverage spf 45 by PCA. If you sufer with pigment problems a sunscreen with brightening properties will prevent further discoloration. Such products include PCA Perfecting Protection and Intense Skin Lightening from Control Corrective, both are spf 30. Choices can be endless if you are shopping alone. I recommend you consult with your esthetician for the best product for your skin type. Remember skin type is important for every product you purchase.
The sun is beautiful and keeps you alive and well. It has healing properties and disinfectants, but too much sun can cause more harm than good. So enjoy the sun, but consider the above-mentioned precautions.
Get Ultimate Skin!
Fighting Acne (a 2 part column)
Part 1: Skin Type
If you are struggling with acne, breakouts, and blemishes you are probably immersed in a pool of at home treatment options to purchase. Which one is right for you? Well, without knowing your skin type you could ultimately make an ineffective purchase.
Knowing your skin type can guide you to treating your skin effectively. Certain Acne products are made for oily skin types and some for combination to dry skin types. If you use a product and your skin becomes irritated, you may not have an oily skin type. The product is too aggressive and made for oily skin. If you use a product and it has little to no effect on your skin, your skin type may be oily. The product is made for combination to dry.
Find out your skin type at home by washing your face with a foaming cleanser. Notice if your face feels tight in any areas. If it does you may be a combination to dry skin type. If it does not you may have an oily skin type.
You could make your skin produce more oil than it needs by skipping on moisturizing, which in turn would aggravate your skin even more. All skin types fighting acne conditions or blemishes should use a water-based moisturizer: meaning it contains no occlusive oils. For an oily skin type, you cleanser should not have occlusive ingredients like glycerin. For combination to dry, your cleanser should not consist of alcohols and heavy detergents. Both skin types need exfoliation, which your cultural background defines.
Your ethnic background and skin color is also a factor in treating your skin type. Exfoliation every day, whether mild or aggressive, is a key treatment for acne, breakouts and blemishes. Some exfoliates are too harsh and may further damage your skin type. If you tan very easily and produce lots of melanin, glycolic acid should not be used. So read your ingredient label carefully.
Remember you are not alone in this battle for beautiful skin. Everyone experiences a blemish once in their lifetime. However, severe acne should be seen by a dermatologist and a qualified licensed esthetician. Stay online for the next issue of Fighting Acne: Part 2 Treatment Types.
Jahnel Aska, AGS, AOS
Operator of ULtimate FaciaLs & SKIN Care
Located at: Rapheala Salon & Spa
5908 W Hefner Rd
Oklahoma City, OK 73162
*Call or text for a free “skin analysis and consultation” or a $30 “ULtimate Acne Facial”
($60 value). Use code EMOSKIN for discount