Category: Skin Care

Kitty Care Kit: Brazilian Wax Aftercare Products You Need

Ladies and gentlemen—because it’s 2018 after all and ladies aren’t the only ones who are turning their genitals into smooth criminals—let’s talk about products made especially for our genitals post-waxing. The key to staying smooth weeks after your Brazilian wax can really be broken down in three easy steps: exfoliate, moisturize, and treat! But it’s not enough just to follow those steps, you’ve got to use the right products too. Read on to learn which products should be in your Kitty Care Kit/Penis Care Package.

Exfoliate

For exfoliation, you’ve got your standard loofah and for most people this is enough. But if you’re prone to ingrown hairs or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation in your genital area after waxes, you may want to get a pair of exfoliating gloves or a fine pumice stone. With either product, use small, circular motions to exfoliate the area. For the ladies, I personally recommend the exfoliating gloves because you can get into the creases of your vagina with a bit more ease since you’re just using your fingers, essentially, for a gentle exfoliation. The pumice stone works great for the larger areas and inner thighs. Just make sure you aren’t using a coarse pumice stone like the one you might use if you were giving yourself a pedicure. That might hurt a bit.

You can also use a gentle body scrub (pro-tip: go for one that smells great and tastes better!) by massaging into the skin and rinsing throughly. Avoid scrubs with harsh chemicals enzymes as you wouldn’t want to accidentally get any of those ingredients inside your vagina. Trust me. It burns.

Why exfoliate? Exfoliation helps the hair to grow up and out of the skin instead of being trapped beneath, leading to ingrown hairs and bumps. Waxing in and of itself is a form of exfoliation so you’ll want to start your manual exfoliation at least 48-72 hours after a fresh Brazilian wax.

Moisturize

There are a lot of articles online that suggest using coconut oil to moisturize after a Brazilian wax. Please don’t do this. Coconut oil is comedogenic and will actually cause you to have ingrown hairs. Go for a soothing aloe or any non-comedogenic lotion to moisturize the area. If you want to go a completely clean or organic route, lavender and tea tree oils not only help to with inflammation but are antibacterial as well. Eucerin Dry Skin lotion, Aquaphor, and baby oil with aloe are moisturizers I recommend.

Treat

If your wax was a bit painful or if your skin becomes irritated immediately after a Brazilian wax, calming the inflammation is crucial. There are a few ways you can do this. Once you get home, you can apply a cold compress to the irritated area for 10 minutes followed by a topical antihistamine (think hydrocortisone). You could also apply aloe vera gel to the area (and most estheticians apply this immediately after a wax). Lastly, an azulene w/ chamomile oil blend will help to calm irritation as well.

If you’re experiencing breakouts, bumps, and ingrown hairs, there are several products you can try to get your skin back to feeling silky smooth. The first product is Tend Skin which is great for preventing ingrown hairs.  The second product I’d recommend is PFB Vanish + Chromabright. This product helps with both ingrown hairs and the hyperpigmentation that some get as a result. In addition to salicylic acid, this product contains glycolic acid, lactic acid, and camphor oil.

It’s also a good idea to keep some genital-safe antibacterial wipes handy for the first 48 hours immediately following a wax. Especially if the wax lifted your skin as you want to be sure you keep the area clean to prevent infection.

So, to summarize, your Kitty Care Kit/Penis Care Package should have:

  • A good exfoliator (exfoliating gloves, loofah, pumice stone)
  • A good moisturizer
  • A product to treat ingrown hairs/hyperpigmentation/inflammation; and,
  • Antibacterial wipes

Looking for a Brazilian wax service in the Bay Area? Come see me! Send a text to 650-332-4569 to schedule an appointment.

Does Snail Slime Really Work for Your Skin?

People do some pretty crazy things in the name of skin care and putting snail secretion filtrate (a.k.a. snail slime) on their skin is definitely one of them. Snail slime has slithered onto the Korean beauty market and is slowly making its way into becoming a fad here in America as well. But it’s actually nothing new. Hippocrates recommended snail slime for use in ancient Greece to help calm inflammation while other scholars claimed it helped cure burns and warts. When escargot became popular amongst the rich in the mid-century, it was South American farmers handling the snails who realized that the slime might unlock hidden beauty because their hands looked younger and smoother. Fast forward to the early 2000s and you’ll find that escargot facials were popping up in high-end medspas and dermatology offices at about $300 a pop. But, are snails really doing something for your skin or is this all just hype? Read on to find out.

What Exactly Is In Snail Slime?

As it turns out, the mollusk mucus is comprised of hyaluronic acid, allantoin, collagen, elastin, glycolic acid, copper peptides, and other natural humectants. Lab studies have shown that these ingredients will stimulate the production of elastin and collagen, increase fibronectin protein production, and stimulate increased proliferation of fibroblasts. But the jury is still out on clinical trials. This is primarily because there isn’t a sure way to guarantee that each sample of snail slime can contain the correct and exact amounts of the ingredients to be effective. So this is possibly the one instance in which a laboratory-manufactured product—in this instance, snail slime—might be more beneficial for you than “organic”.

Why would I use Snail Slime?

Beauty enthusiasts with dry/dehydrated or sensitive skin love snail slime for its moisturizing/humectant properties. Those more prone to breakouts use snail slime as a spot treatment to minimize breakouts. It also has some anti-aging benefits too. Some studies have shown that use of snail slime can reverse sun damage and superficially improve skin texture. This means that it won’t do much for deep wrinkles but can have some positive effect on really fine lines. However, it is important to note that most products contain slime from actual snails (yes, from snail farms) and it is likely that you may develop an allergic reaction. Be sure to patch test products for at least 24 hours before applying over a large area of your skin. And, remember, clinical trials so far haven’t been unanimous so it’s very possible that this won’t work for your skin. But what would skin care be without trial and error?

If you’ve determined that you likely will not have a reaction to snail slime, I recommend trying it out in mask form first. It’s a cheap way to see if it works for you without having to commit to a daily regimen. So, what do you think? Have you tried snail slime cream before? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments below.

Let’s Do Acid! 5 Stellar Acids to Improve Your Skin

No, no… this isn’t a post about dropping tabs or doing LSD for beauty. I’m not talking about that type of acid. This also isn’t a post about corrosive acid you might find in a battery or any other alarming chemical agents. This post is all about the types of acids that are actually safe and beneficial for your skin.

To the average person, putting acid on your face in the name of looking good sounds like a terrible idea. But devoted skin care enthusiasts know acids aren’t as bad or scary as they sound. Skin care acids typically provide a gentle, non-abrasive exfoliation that go a step above your average cleansers to enhance your glow. And though you may be picturing placing your face on fire, you’ll be relived to know that most acids (when administered properly) don’t cause a burning sensation. There are over 10 acids commonly used in the majority of skin care products but there are 3 acid families: Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA), Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), and Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA). Like everything else in skin care, you should only be using an acid that’s appropriate for your skin type.

Which Acid is Right For Me?

If you have a normal/dry skin type and are looking to fade fine lines and other signs of sun damage then AHAs are right for you. AHAs are water soluble and derived from foods such as sugar cane (glycolic acid), sour milk (lactic acid), apples (malic acid), citrus fruits (citric acid), and grapes (tartaric acid). The most effective AHA is glycolic acid as it has the smallest molecular structure enabling it to penetrate easier and deeper into the skin. AHAs work within the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) to effect keratinization. Using products with AHAs are clinically proven to safely boost collagen.

Most AHA products you can buy over the counter (or online) typically contain no more than 10% AHA. Anything above that should be administered by an esthetician or dermatologist because with those higher amounts you can start to feel the burn—for lack of better words—and irritation.

If you have an oily/combination skin type then BHAs are what you’re looking for. BHAs are oil-soluble and only derived from asprin (do not use if you have an allergy to asprin). They can appear on labels as willow bark extract, tropic acid, trethocanic acid, salicylate, beta hydroxybutanoic acid, sodium salicylate, and betaine salicylate. Because BHAs are oil-soluble they are able to penetrate into sebaceous filaments, pores and lift the oil up and out of your skin.

Unlike AHAs, BHAs retain the same amount of efficacy at lower doses so when you read your skin care labels and see one of the aforementioned further down the ingredients list, don’t worry. In addition to decongesting your skin, BHAs are helpful in reducing fine lines and wrinkles and improving skin texture.

If you have sensitive/dehydrated skin type then PHAs are the skin care acids that will work best for you. These are commonly listed as gluconolactone, lactobionic, and maltobionic. While you could probably use AHAs if you had sensitive skin, you might still experience some mild irritation. PHAs (widely considered the next generation of AHAs) have a larger molecular structure, designed to penetrate the skin more slowly, and also acts as a natural humectant. These types of acids don’t have any of the sensitizing side effects that come with traditional AHAs and can be used if you have rosacea or dermatitis.

You will typically find PHAs available in large amounts (30% being the most common). While it wouldn’t be safe to try to use an AHA at such high a concentration, it’s okay to use for PHAs. Again, PHAs have a larger molecular structure and are more gentle.

Top 5 Skin Care Acids (in no particular order)

  1. Glycolic Acid—this is the OG of skin care acids. Its tiny molecular structure allows for the acid to really get in your skin and make a difference by boosting collagen and stimulating cell turnover. While you’ll immediately have a refreshing glow, it is important to use sunscreen liberally immediately following the use of products containing this acid. Glycolic acid is known for causing sun sensitivity.
  2. Mandelic Acid—derived from bitter almonds, this skin care acid is great for oily/acneic skin and for treating hyperpigmentation. This is a great alternative to those with an asprin allergy looking to combat breakouts and it’s also high in antibacterial properties.
  3. Salicylic Acid—if you don’t have an allergy to asprin, this is hand down the best acid for getting control over breakouts and even cystic acne. You can find salicylic and mandelic combined to provide a more powerful exfoliation.
  4. Maltobionic Acid—perfect for getting a smooth texture, firmness, and hydrating the skin.
  5. Tartaric Acid—extremely gentle and packed with antioxidants. You’ll want to use this if you are looking to prevent sun damage.

With any acid, you want to pay close attention to the ingredients/labels and consult your physician to ensure you don’t have any allergies. Avoid using acids if you’re currently on any form of retinol. You should stop retinol use for at least 6 weeks before trying acids.

Wake Up from Your Dry Winter Skin Nightmare

Hey. It’s Fall/Winter here in Northern California and the weather is getting quite tricky. Usually, we refer to fall as winter because we are accustomed to great weather here, year round. But this time things are different. All of the wildfires happening this October has caused our air quality to be drier (and our temperatures a little warmer) than it usually is this time of year. So for those of us here in the Bay Area, it looks like we’ll need to switch up our skin care routines. The outside elements have changed as a result of the wildfires and though you may not feel any different, chances are your skin is changing. Every client I’ve seen this past week has had dry or dehydrated skin. Dehydrated skin isn’t typically an anomaly, but every client having dehydrated skin is telling. There’s no reason why any of us should be experiencing dry winter skin while sun is still radiating 80º F warmth. So let’s kick those skin care routines into high gear and kick the dry and dehydrated skin to the curb.

Why is my skin suddenly so dry?

The seasons are still changing, even if you’re not in California. If you’re in an area that truly experiences four seasons, you are probably already familiar with the ways in which your skin can change with the weather. With the temperature drops come drier air which leads to dry skin. The fall and winter months lack the humidity that helps keep moisture in the skin. The cooler (and often harsher) winds that sweep across our faces further strip the natural moisture within the skin’s protective barrier. As we lose more moisture our skin gets a bit more sensitive to the elements. This is why our lips seem to get chapped more frequently or why a strong gust of wind can leave us with red patches in the colder months. If you have eczema or psoriasis, you are likely to see your conditions exacerbated during these dry winter skin seasons.

Your Dry Winter Skin Survival Kit

  • Cleansing balms/milks: I’ve found that cream cleansers are the real MVPs of dry winter skin. In particular, cleansing balms and cleansing milks are best suited for the colder conditions. Those with dry skin types may already be using these types of cleansers but I recommend them for all skin types during winter. These clean without removing the little moisture that may be left in the skin.
  • Exfolitone: Now is not the time for manual scrubs. If your skin is already tight and dry from outside conditions then manual exfoliation—yes, that includes those brushes too—is doing more harm than good. Using an exfoliating toner in the winter is a much better alternative. Exfoliating toners work to deep cleanse the follicles and gently remove dead skin. Look for toners with Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs)/Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHAs) and be sure you’re using the best one for your skin type. If you have dry or sensitive skin, stick with the AHA toners. Oily/acneic or combination can benefit best from BHA toners. Glycolic acid and salicylic acid toners are most common. You may also want to start a chemical peel regimen if you’ve noticed the dry conditions are also affecting your skin’s texture.
  • Hydrate: This one you’ll want to do internally and externally. We already know that drinking water is key to keeping the skin hydrated but we can also hydrate our skin from the outside. Once you’ve finished cleansing and exfolitoning, use a hydrating mist. Think beyond the typical rose water. Use a hydrating mist that includes glycerin, hyaluronic acid, jojoba, or avocado oils. Follow up your hydrating mist with a hydrating serum. Yes, hyaluronic acid is the hydrating humectant we all love but there are others too. Serums with B5, Vitamin C, and ceramides also help boost hydration.
  • Moisturize: In the Spring and Summer, you might be able to get away with making your sunscreen work as both a moisturizer and protectant. But just as you will be layering fall fashion, you have to layer your moisturizers too. Start with a facial oil your skin will love. There are facial oils for all skin types so make sure you choose one that won’t be irritating. Be modest when applying your facial oils since two more products will have to go on top of them. Next, you’ll want to use thicker moisturizers to ensure all day protection and apply liberally. If you’re worried about clogging your pores by using thicker moisturizers, try Vaseline or Aquaphor. They’re non-comedogenic and occlusive which means they lock moisture in. Lastly, don’t forget that you still need to use your SPF on top of your moisturizer!

Save your skin this winter by remembering these steps: Cleanse, Exfolitone, Hydrate, and Moisturize. You can also indulge in a weekly hydrating mask and collagen eye treatment. Book with me to learn more!

Helpful Waxing Tips for Scream Queens

Waxing is a preferred hair removal method for everyone who doesn’t want to be bothered with shaving everyday. The results are amazing and can keep hair away for weeks at a time. However, it can also be painful because you are literally getting the hair ripped out of your skin from the root. It sounds brutal but, trust me, this is better than burning the hair or plucking every single hair out like they did in ancient Greece. TBH, there is no such thing as a truly painless waxing experience for most people (sorry!) unless you’ve built up a tolerance. You might be disappointed to hear this but what can I say my fairy glow children? Beauty is pain. You can, however, follow a few simple guidelines to minimize the pain. But before I give you all the secrets of (almost) ouch-free hair removal, I first have to teach you about hair and the hair growth cycle. Sit back, relax, and learn everything you need to know about a successful wax!

Types of Hair on the Body

We have three different types of hair on our bodies throughout our lifetimes: lanugo, vellus, and terminal. All humans develop lanugo hair in utero and it is the first hair developed by the follicles that is typically shed before birth (or shed within the first few weeks of life). This hair is replaced by vellus hair which we lovingly refer to as peach fuzz. Vellus hairs are short, thin, barely there hairs that develop throughout childhood. Some of us (mainly women) might be tempted to remove our peach fuzz but we shouldn’t because they serve a purpose. These hairs help thermoregulation in the body. Also, peach fuzz can become terminal and then you’ll really be mad. Terminal hair is the thick, dark, long hair on our bodies that we are most likely wanting to remove. This type of hair is directly related to the level of androgens in the body–it is hormonal hair growth. Men tend to have more androgens in their body, hence the prevalence of longer, thicker hair that is seemingly everywhere. In either sex, a hormone imbalance can be the cause for more or less hair on the body.

The Hair Growth Cycle*

There are three phases in the hair growth cycle for all hair types: anagen, catagen and telogen. This is where you want to pay attention because knowing these three phases is essential to (almost) painless hair removal by waxing. The anagen phase is the active growth phase of hair follicles and lasts anywhere between 4-7 months on the body. When your hair is in this stage, it grows about 1cm every 28 days. For optimal waxing results, hair should be removed in the anagen phase. Your best chance of removing hair while it is still in this phase is to wax every 4 weeks whether you seem hairy or not. The catagen phase is also known as the transitional phase of hair growth. During this phase, the blood supply is cut off from the hair and a club hair is formed. If you’ve ever tweezed your brows and noticed it was rounded (or rounding) at the bottom, that’s the club hair you’re seeing. This phase lasts anywhere between 2-4 weeks. Waxing the hair during this phase is also effective as it is still damaging the root. Once the club hair is fully formed, it enters the telogen phase. When the hair has reached this phase, it is essentially a dead hair as nutrients are no longer supplied to it and it is resting within the hair follicle. This hair will remain there until it is: pushed up and out by new hair coming in, removed by waxing or plucking, or shed naturally. The telogen phase can last up to nine months. Waxing hair in the telogen phase may result in your hair growing back “faster”, however, it’s not. That is just newer hair that was already in the follicle arriving at the surface.

A common complaint you’ll see in waxing reviews is that the waxer did not “get all the hair” because “it came back the next day”. While it is true that some waxers might miss a few spots, the reality is that if you have ingrown hairs or if the majority of the hair growth was in the telogen cycle, the desired waxing results are harder to achieve.

*It’s important to note that the timeframes associated here are for hair on the body only. The hair on your head grows at a different rate. Also important: the hair on your body does not grow in an uniform cycle. One hair can be in the anagen phase and the hair next to it can be in telogen phase. Every hair is different.

10 Tips to Make Waxing Less Painful

  1. Take an ibuprofen 30-45 minutes before your appointment. It will help ease the pain.
  2. If you can, shower before your appointment. The steam and warmth helps to relax the follicles which make it easier for the hair to be removed.
  3. Avoid consuming anything that will tighten the follicles as it can lead to a much more painful waxing experience. So that means no caffeine or alcohol before your appointment.
  4. Exfoliate! While waxing in itself is a form of exfoliation, you can ease the pain of your waxing experience by manually exfoliating in the area beforehand. This helps the hair stick out from the skin making it easier for the wax to adhere to (and with a skilled esthetician this also means less pulls).
  5. Laugh a little. I usually tell my clients jokes during brazilians because that service seems to be the one they are most uncomfortable with and it distracts them from the fact that I’m ripping hair from their precious vaginas. You need a good distraction. Other forms of distractions include turning your head and coughing with each pull or listening to music.
  6. Trim. If the hair in the area you’re getting waxed is particularly long, trim beforehand (or inquire to make sure your esthetician will trim before beginning the service). Longer hair means harder pressure and more pulls that pack a punch.
  7. Skip it if you’re on your cycle. Even the most seasoned warrior women experience heightened sensitivity when their menstrual cycle comes to town. However, our pain tolerance tends to be highest about 3-4 days right after our cycle ends. Plan your appointments around then.
  8. Avoid working out, excessively hot showers, and sun exposure for the first 24 hours after your waxing service. While this won’t help during the service, this does prevent scarring and irritation immediately following.
  9. Help your esthetician. Don’t be afraid to help your esthetician in holding your skin taut. The tighter the skin, the more efficient the pull with be. More efficient pulls = less time on the table.
  10. Only use a numbing cream if you absolutely have to. The main reason I discourage numbing creams is because when they work, they numb everything! Your esthetician needs to know if the wax feels too hot or if something feels wrong to you. If the wax is too hot and you don’t feel it, you can walk away with burns. But most OTC numbing creams don’t even work, so I try to save clients from spending money they don’t have to.

Other Waxing Wisdom

  • If you are super sensitive, use a hard wax at all times. Hard wax only adheres to the hair and not to your skin. When it is applied, it shrink wraps around the hairs individually and pulls each hair from the root when removed.
  • Consistency is key. Get on a consistent waxing schedule. For facial waxing, I usually recommend 2-3 weeks. For the underarms and legs areas (and if you’re a former shaver), I recommend every two weeks for the first 2-3 months. After that we can evaluate the necessary frequency. Most other body areas can be done once a month.
  • If you notice small breakouts immediately following any waxing procedure, take an oral antihistamine like Benadryl and apply hydrocortisone to the affected area.

Happy waxing!

Image Credit: TONL