The Latest from Blue Water Spa
September 2009’s Featured Article:
Ecofriendly ingredients can spice up your treatments at very little expense
by Maria Comfort
Take a peek in your refrigerator and evaluate its contents. Chances are, you have a variety of healthy foods that can be incorporated into the skin care services that you offer your clients. Now is the perfect time to rediscover the multi-purpose benefits of common everyday foods that have great potential to nourish our bodies and our skin.
You may have noticed that your clients are more ecoconscious than ever before and are expressing interest in incorporating natural options into their beauty routine. Position your spa and the treatments you offer as ecofriendly by adding natural ingredients found in your kitchen, at your local grocery store or the farmer’s market. Fruits, vegetables, dairy products and natural oils and fats have been used in skin care, hygiene and anti-aging for thousands of years, dating back to the Egyptians. Educate your clients about how you are using these familiar ingredients in their treatments and maybe even share a few remedies they can try at home in between appointments.
Before you decide to empty the contents of your kitchen, pack a bag (make sure it is not plastic) and we will take you on a tour through your local market while highlighting all the best skin care recipes for various skin types.
Renowned for its antibacterial properties, honey is considered to be one of the best natural acne fighting ingredients.
Since normal/combination skin types generally do not have specific problems to address, anti-aging treatments and gentle exfoliation to increase circulation work best.
• Strawberries can be used to condition and tone any skin type. They help lighten pigmentation problems and keep skin smooth and supple.
Tip: Mash strawberries and use as an astringent or face cleansing mask.
• Cocoa. The antioxidant powers of the distinctive bean promote healthy skin. Research shows that when cocoa is applied topically it helps to reduce skin irritation and combat cellular damage.
Tip: For a soothing mask, mix cocoa powder with a little water or buttermilk—an excellent source of lactic acid that stimulates the cocoa’s antioxidant function and softens skin.
Oily and acne prone skin is frequently irritated by harsh cleansers, acids and anti-acne products. Give your client’s skin a break with gentle remedies that treat acne and keep oil at bay.
• Carrots. The carrot is probably best known for containing vitamin A, which has proved to be as effective in dealing with acne as some compounds such as retinoids.
Tip: Carrots make an excellent skin mask for acne and blemishes.
Apply raw, grated carrots to the face. Add lemon juice if you like. To make a cooked carrot mask, boil three large carrots and mash them or blend in a food processor. Add five tablespoons of honey or yogurt (optional). Apply gently, in an upward motion. Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
• Honey. Renowned for its antibacterial properties, honey is considered to be one of the best natural acne fighting ingredients. Why? Because honey actually kills the bacteria that cause acne.
Tip 1: Massage a small amount of slightly heated honey into the skin.
Tip 2: Dab honey on individual pimples to help clear up blemishes.
• Egg whites. Although egg whites alone have no real long-term benefits, they are great for shrinking pores and treating blackheads and whiteheads.
Tip: Egg whites are best applied with a flat brush on clean skin. After the mask has dried, your client will look like a prune—but this lets you know that it is working. The mask can be quickly removed with a wet washcloth.
Sun damage is usually the culprit behind dry and cracked skin. Other factors include diet, environment and insufficient water intake. (Note that acne is usually the result of dry skin.) Create a facial that not only moisturizes, but helps the skin retain the treatment’s benefits.
• Avocados. Packed with monounsaturated fats and vitamins B and E, avocados are excellent for moisturizing and rejuvenating dry skin. They are also rich in vitamin C, which can stimulate collagen and reduce visible signs of aging.
Tip: Mash one tablespoon of ripe avocado, add half a teaspoon of honey and mix. Stir in a small amount of almond meal until creamy. Apply to clean skin, leave on for 15 to 20 minutes and wash off with lukewarm water. Finish with a rinse of vinegar pH balancer.
• Bananas. High in potassium and possessing the same benefits as the avocado, the banana is often a preferred treatment for dry skin. The long lasting moisturizing effects give the skin a healthy glow. The treatment can also be penetrated into the skin with the use of galvanic or ultra-sound machines.
Tip: Mash the banana and add two teaspoons of yogurt. Mix until creamy and apply immediately to the skin. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove with a spatula and then rinse.
Olive oil can be used on the face daily. With continued use, olive oil can also reduce hyperpigmentation.
For all skin types
• Olive oil. The Egyptians, Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans all took full advantage of the benefits of topical oil application. Today, when we observe the beautiful skin of MedÂiterranean women, many identify olive oil as the main ingredient behind their complexion. Sofia Loren is an olive oil devotee, having used it as part of her skin care regimen for most of her life.
Olive oil comes in several grades—extra virgin is the least processed. The cell size of olive oil is smaller than the blood cell, and extra-virgin olive oil has all of the antioxidants the body needs in direct proportion to the body’s requirements.
Tip: Olive oil can be used on the face daily. With continued use, olive oil can also reduce hyperÂpigmentation.
• Green tea. The plentiful antioxidants in green tea help fight free radical damage. When applied topically, tea reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles and can even help prevent skin cancer and signs of aging resulting from sun damage.
Tip: Brew strong tea (one or two tea bags for each cup of water), let cool and apply to the client’s face after cleansing.
• Salt and sugar. When used as natural exfoliating particles, sugar and salt help loosen lifeless epidermal cells that need to be physically removed. The glycolic acid in sugar and its rough texture makes it ideal for exfoliation to give skin a healthy glow.
Tip: For a cost effective scrub, mix a teaspoon of sugar or salt with any cleanser and apply in small, circular motions.
For a cost effective scrub mix a teaspoon of sugar or salt with any cleanser and apply in small, circular motions.
Super foods for the skin
It is true that we are what we eat. While the topical application of fruits, veggies and natural oils will help improve the skin’s appearance, ingesting these same foods is important as well. Remind your clients that a great complexion can be achieved from a healthy diet and taking the right supplements and vitamins. It is also important to drink enough water to keep the skin hydrated. Doctors recommend consuming at least 10 to 12 glasses of water each day to avoid dehydration—which affects cellular metabolism—and to help flush out the toxins in the body, which results in clear skin.
Using these kitchen remedies in your treatments helps you stand out as an innovative and eco-friendly professional in your field.
Experts recommend a diet high in fiber and low in fat. Countless scientific studies have shown that antioxidants and foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids help clear skin and slow the aging process. Antioxidants decrease cell destruction by neutralizing free radicals that can cause damage, and omega 3 fatty acids help reduce skin inflammation and improve circulation. Some super foods that are widely touted for their benefits to the skin include salmon, sardines, nuts, seeds (pumpkin and sunflower), flaxseed and olive oils, blueberries, pomegranate, broccoli, oats, spinach, dark chocolate, wheatgrass, red wine, green or black tea and tomatoes.
Using these kitchen remedies in your treatments helps you stand out as an innovative and ecofriendly professional in your field. Consumers are overwhelmed with the saturated skin care industry and therefore welcome a fresh and natural change. Using these ingredients is good for the skin, better for the environment and easy to add to your existing treatments. Not only can you save money by using low-cost ingredients (when bought in season), but your clients can learn at home treatments to enjoy between appointments to save both money and their skin! They will likely be back and may even send a few referrals your way!
Note: Always remember to ask clients about any food allergies that they may have prior to treatment application.
Maria Comfort is a licensed celebrity esthetician and owner of Touch Total Look, Face & Body Spa in Woodland Hills, CA. She is also an educator for Bella Spa & Salon Distributors, the spa division of Ultimate Beauty Companies, whose efforts are focused entirely on servicing, educating and growing the business of spa industry professionals. Visit www.BellaSSD.com.
The Latest from Blue Water Spa
This month’s Featured Archive Article:
Detox with Infrared
Diversify profits while helping clients clean up their act
By Donna Dodie
Cleansing the body is so vitally important for health, wellness and mental clarity, it cannot be overstressed. If we acquired the diets people followed in the 1800s, which consisted of fresh meat with no hormones or antibiotics, pesticide free vegetables and fruits, raw foods with no preservatives or chemicals, no plastics, no pollution in the air, no hydrogenated junk foods and no artificial anything, we would most definitely be a healthier society with lower cancer and disease rates. Yes, people may have died from illnesses that had no cure at the time, but they were probably not nearly as toxic as we are today.
Oxygen and improved blood flow nourish and cleanse the body, as well as enhance the metabolism.
Research conducted on umbilical cords found that hundreds of toxic chemicals are present in newborn babies. Today it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay toxic free—there is only so much you can do to keep your body clean without going insane.
Toxins—move on out!
Infrared heat is one of my favorite applications and I use it on clients for numerous treatments. This method of detoxification has been used in Europe, Asia and South America for many years—it seems as though Americans are always the last to know. What have we been waiting for? Stimulating circulation in sluggish areas of the body with infrared treatments moves waste and toxins out, lessening the appearance of cellulite.
Infrared heat blankets and saunas are a great addition to spas and wellness centers for weight loss, pain relief, detoxification and total body relaxation. As a matter of a fact, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of infrared light therapy for pain relief and muscle aches in 1998. The reason that it is so productive for detoxification is the same reason that it functions so well for pain relief and circulation—oxygen and improved blood flow nourish and cleanse the body, as well as enhance the metabolism. In fact, a Seattle-based neurologist conducted a study to find out just how significant the difference is between conventional and infrared saunas. Lab test results showed that the sweat of people using a regular sauna was 95 to 97 percent water while the infrared produced 80 to 85 percent, with the nonwater portion being cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, toxic heavy metals, sulfuric acid, sodium, ammonia and uric acid.
There are various infrared treatment options out there. Some spas offer the "sit down" style of infrared saunas where it is a little difficult to relax because of the hard surface and lack of position friendliness. With the horizontal thermal sudation method you can lie down, relax, close your eyes and drift off. Other treatments can be performed while you are in the horizontal cozy heat heaven device—facials, facial massage, reflexology, etc., which translates into an improved profit center and a multi-faceted treatment option without the need for wet rooms or showers.
I have the client lie on the treatment table in a room filled with candles, where I play soothing music and place essential oils on their towels. While the heat may vary from treatment to treatment, I do like creating a calming ambience for all. I conduct a 25 minute session with the temperature set to 46 to 48 degrees C (about 115 F) for relaxation prior to a massage or facial. It puts them in a warm sedation, relaxing the muscles and creating a light sweat. Usually I give a 10 minute facial massage during the session and charge $40 for the upgrade—the client almost always wants to receive a more intense detox session in the future.
The detox treatment is a little longer lasting at 40 minutes. It delves deep into the toxin release—I often see beige or dark colored sweat left behind on the plastic. I charge $70 and wrap the client in the blanket for a longer period of time at 48 to 50 degrees C, depending on the client's tolerance. I give an aromatherapy facial massage, make sure the fan is blowing gently on their face and offer a cool towel for the forehead, which makes them feel calm but energized.
Detox and stress release
The Sudatonic treatment (thermal sudation) is an intense detox method that consists of various steps. It is the preferred type of infrared treatment at my day spa. The process involves a body composition test, a weigh in and the application of proprietary blends of creams and essential oils. These formulations help break down cellulite, fat and toxins by forcing the action of sweating to use the fat as energy. I charge $125 for a single treatment and a prepaid discount for a series of treatments.
After each treatment the client is weighed again and gets another body composition reading. I always see a reduction. With repeated treatments a client can obtain desirable results both physically and mentally. The detox and cleansing are intense and the effects are amazing. There are many benefits other than the skin's softer texture: pain relief, reduced cellulite (the movement of toxins and excess water, circulation and blood flow gets energy to the sluggish areas), arthritic joint relief, headache relief, stress relief, cleansing of the circulatory system and a healthy glow. I have clients who are addicted to the feeling of endorphins flowing throughout their body all day long. The nice feature about this system is that it can easily be stowed away under a massage or facial table, which is ideal for those with limited space.
Essential for weight loss
I explain to my clients that if they are trying to lose weight, the body needs to rid itself of excess toxins. The two go hand in hand. Many experts on the subject will state that detoxification is a pre-requisite to weight loss. Although almost everyone is a candidate for the treatment, a health history and consent form is advisable for any and all contraindications. There are treatment guidelines as well.
There are many benefits other than the skin's softer texture: pain relief, reduced cellulite, arthritic joint relief, headache relief, stress relief, cleansing of the circulatory system and a healthy glow.
In closing, using infrared technology can be very satisfying for the client and extremely profitable. Consumers are more and more health conscious and the baby boomer market wants "feel good, look good" treatments. It is satisfying to the therapist to offer infrared because of the health benefits. The latest in infrared technology can boost sales while providing a remarkable means to healthy detoxification, which in itself leads to improved health and wellbeing.
Donna Dodier has a background in skin care/esthetics in New England and in Florida. She has been involved in dental health and wellness and is a frequent guest on Health Talk Radio. Dodier has 20 years of experience researching holistic medicine and believes in anti-aging from the inside out and the outside in through skin care, esthetics and nutrition. Contact her at email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org or 561.886.8427.