LaVie Organique Skincare Blog

All posts tagged "exfoliation"

Honey: Sweet Relief for Ailing Skin

The benefits of honey as a skin treatment have been recognized for thousands of years. Long used as a wound dressing by traditional healers, honey also enriched the deluxe face creams and soaps prized by aristocratic beauties in Ancient Egypt, Imperial China and Rome, and 18th-century France.

Nature’s Prescription for Depleted Skin

Today, the effectiveness of honey as a cleansing, moisturizing, and anti-aging agent is supported by scientific studies. According to researchers, honey promotes healing and cell renewal by simultaneously playing five vital roles:

1. Humectant By binding water to cells, honey helps keep skin soft and resilient.

2. Antioxidant Honey contains a mix of antioxidant B vitamins that help repair and prevent free radical damage.

3. Antibiotic In addition to releasing the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide, honey contains other antibacterial and anti-fungal agents that help heal acne, bedsores, burns, and diabetes-related infections.

4. Exfoliant By gently sloughing off dead surface cells, honey brightens dull skin and encourages healthy collagen and elastin production.

5. Anti-inflammatory Honey’s natural anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, redness, and irritation.
For a Radiant, Dewy Complexion, Add a Taste of Honey

This remarkable combination of qualities makes honey the perfect antidote to the many diverse ills that  environmental and age-related stresses can inflict on our complexions. To refresh a winter-weary complexion with a thorough “spring cleaning,” try adding a honey-enhanced facial exfoliation mask to your weekly skin-care regimen.

Whether you’ve got dry, sensitive, acne-prone, or combination skin, this soothing, nourishing food will restore balanced functioning and a natural glow.

Image: Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Christian Meyn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Retinoids & Anti-Aging Benefits: Too Much of a Good Thing?

While the anti-aging benefits of retinoid creams get a lot a press, I’ve yet to see an ad that vividly portrays their negative side.  As a practicing aesthetician, however, I see the unfortunate consequences of overusing prescription and over-the-counter vitamin A derivatives every day.

The Two Sides of an Anti-aging Vitamin

Topical retinoids such as retinyl palmitate do, of course, play an important role in anti-aging regimes. Used correctly, retinoids can help firm the skin and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots by stimulating cell turnover and collagen and elastin production. But the same exfoliating action that produces these positive results can cause serious trouble when an overdose of retinoids strips the skin too vigorously.

The scaly, raw complexions of the retinol “junkies” who come to me for treatment speak more convincingly of the dangers of over-exfoliating the skin than the fine-print warning label on their favorite anti-aging cream. By inducing a state of chronic inflammation, excessive doses of retinoids can overwhelm the body’s natural ability to heal itself. In addition to disrupting collagen and elastin renewal, this state of chronic injury increases the skin’s susceptibility to sun damage, infection, and disease.


Restoring Balance to Stressed-Out Skin
My professional training and experience has taught me that the most effective way to counteract the irritation, swollen capillaries, dryness, and other damaging effects of inflammation is an all-natural, holistic approach. To restore the strength and healthy function of the skin’s stratum corneum (the outermost layer), exfoliated skin requires complementary treatment with a synergistic blend of plant-derived anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antibacterials, fatty acids, and moisturizers. The following botanicals are among the most effective for calming, nourishing, and soothing inflamed skin:

* Capsicum pepper (Hungarian chili peppers)
* Avocado oil
* Shea butter
* White tea
*  Aloe vera
* Rosemary

Add a Dose of Kindness to Your Skin Care RegimeIn their zeal to combat the signs of aging, many beauty industry professionals as well as many consumers lose sight of their real goal. The point of an anti-aging regime is to nurture a fresh, youthful appearance—not to attack your skin. Like all living things, our skin needs proper nourishment, hydration—and gentle, loving care—to stay healthy and beautiful.

Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Michelle Meiklejohn / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Perimenopause Paradox Part 2: Skin’s Midlife Crisis Calls for Multifaceted Approach

Perimenopause and Lavie Organique

Courtesy dreamstimefree.com

There’s no magic bullet for perimenopausal skin problems. But that doesn’t mean you have to accept midlife as the beginning of the end of a beautiful, radiant complexion. Like any complex condition, the acne and signs of aging that tend to occur during these years require treatment that addresses not only the visible symptoms that result, but also their underlying causes.

A holistic skin care regime combines gentle, yet powerful topical treatments and healthy lifestyle habits to help you achieve clear, younger-looking skin. This multifaceted approach not only helps restore skin’s strength, resilience, and youthful luster by improving blood circulation, boosting elastin and collagen production, and neutralizing free radicals, but also calms irritated, acne-prone skin with plant-derived organic extracts that promote hormonal balance and fight bacteria and inflammation. I call this treatment plan the HERS program to remind my clients to focus on the fundamentals of caring for their skin during perimenopause.

If perimenopausal skin problems have got you down, give your complexion a boost by following these steps:

HYDRATE Hyaluronic acid is not only more easily absorbed and tolerated by sensitive skin than petroleum-based ingredients, but also offers superior moisture-binding capacity. Holistic Hydrators: Other multi-action plant-based moisturizers include aloe vera,  shea butter, and avocado oil. Botanical skin-care ingredients also contain a variety of beneficial compounds, such as antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, and antibacterials.

ENERGIZE Eat Right: To nurture peak skin health during your 40s and 50s—and beyond—you need adequate daily doses protein; healthy fats such as olive oil; vitamins A, B, and C; and other antioxidants, minerals, and phytonutrients. Stave off snack attacks with fruits vegetables, yogurt, and other nutritious options—not junk food.Recent research links high blood sugar levels with wrinkles and premature aging.

And remember: most of the foods that are good for the inside of your body can help nourish your skin from the outside, too.

Exercise: Whether you prefer hiking up mountains or stretching in a yoga studio, maintain a regular schedule of vigorous workouts. Working up a sweat several times a week ensures the healthy blood circulation needed to optimize cellular functioning.

Exfoliate: Organic skin care products and salon peels that contain food enzymes such as  fruit acids, lactic acid, and other AHAs are a safe, effective way to revitalize your complexion. A regular exfoliation programs clears clogged pores, boosts blood flow, and strips away dead surface cells to reveal the fresh, glowing skin underneath.

REST/RELAX Be sure to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night and keep your stress levels in check. Poor stress management and lack of sleep can aggravate the hormonal fluctuations that lead to adult acne.

SUN-PROOF SPF 15 Sunscreen: Apply it liberally every day—all year round. Zinc oxide is a perfect choice for perimenopausal skin. In addition to acting as a highly effective physical barrier to UV rays, this multipurpose mineral is not only non-comedogenic—it actually helps regulate overactive oil glands, as well as heal blemishes.


The Beauty of a Holistic Skin Renewal Regime

The Enjoyable Fragrances of Lavie Organique

The Citrus Scents of Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask

Like all my skin care products and salon treatments, my signature organic peels and LaVie Organique™ Exfoliating Mask are based on my holistic philosophy. I believe that every skin treatment should address the needs of your skin as a whole. For example, if the SPF 15 sunscreen you use causes acne breakouts, or your toner irritates or dries out your skin, you’re simply trading one skin problem for another one instead of actively promoting healthy, beautiful skin.

A Balanced Formula for Peak Functioning

An exfoliation treatment that does the job of stripping away damaged skin cells but nothing more defeats the purpose of your wintertime skin care regime. When skin is subjected to raw, windy weather and low indoor humidity, the last thing you want is dry, irritated skin. That’s why my exfoliation treatments contain a combination of active ingredients that work in harmony to stimulate cell renewal while restoring the moisture and nutrients needed for optimal functioning. The synergy of this special combination of fruits, herbs, teas, and other plant-derived ingredients is the key to the perfect balance of effectiveness and gentleness my Lavinia Borcau proprietary formulas offer. Each of these botanical extracts delivers important benefits, but used in combination their effects complement and enhance each other. The result is whole that’s more than the sum of its parts—in other words, a total solution to all the environmental and physical stresses that can damage and age our skin.

A Total Skin Care Solution

But a truly holistic skin care regimen doesn’t end with what we put on our bodies; it’s also about what goes in our bodies and what goes on in our mind and our hearts. In the coming weeks, I’ll be telling you more about my holistic approach to looking your best all through the winter and beyond…

Fruit and Milk Enzymes: A Balanced Diet for Your Skin

The transformative power of my salon organic peels and LaVie Organique™ exfoliating mask comes from the ability of enzymes to stimulate cellular activity. But not all enzymes are created equal. The special revitalizing power of the food-derived enzymes malic acid and lactic acid is a case in point.

With the malic acid from the fresh apples and quince in my enzyme peels and LaVie Organic mask, you get far more than safe, effective exfoliation. This remarkable alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) plays a crucial role in cellular metabolism, the cycle of energy production that fuels healthy respiration and circulation. In addition to regulating cell function, malic acid refreshes parched, tired skin with a potent antioxidant cocktail and long-lasting hydration.

To create the ideal balance of nutrients for your skin, I complement the fruit acids in my organic peels with lactic acid  from fermented milk. The ability of this AHA-rich food to smooth rough, wrinkled skin  has been famed since Cleopatra made milk baths the favorite skin pick-me-up of the ancient world’s beautiful people. In addition sloughing off dead skin cells, lactic acid both moisturizes and tones the skin. Its astringent and antibacterial characteristics help prevent acne breakouts by fighting infection and controlling excess sebum production.

In combination, these two enzymes provide a holistic exfoliation treatment that not only removes the worn-out layer of outer skin, but also restores the proper balance of moisture and nutrients to stimulate the growth of fresh, resilient skin cells. Although a series of these peels may be required to achieve optimal results, the investment in time is worth it. You have nothing to lose but the risks of a quick beauty fix, and all the benefits of time-honored all-natural anti-aging solution to gain!

The Three Faces of Exfoliation, Part 3: Enzymes

Enzymes: A Uniquely Effective Approach to Exfoliation

Organic Peel at Lavinia Borcau SalonIf you’re wishing someone would invent an effective anti-aging exfoliation treatment without the side effects of harsh synthetic acid peels, you’ll be glad that nature has already provided the perfect solution—enzymes. The enzymes used in exfoliation treatments come foods we eat such as fruits, vegetables, and milk and contain alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) that speed up cell turnover. While the enzyme approach achieves its effects more gradually than invasive chemical peels, the additional benefits it confers on your skin are more than worth it.

What’s so different about enzymes? Unlike synthetic chemicals, enzymes are familiar to our bodies. Many enzymes are regularly introduced to our bodies through our diet. Some of them are also produced by our own cells and play a major role in the digestion of nutrients, detoxification, and energy production. As a result of this ability to stimulate healthy cellular activity, enzymes are a highly effective way to achieve significant positive changes in our skin.

In the article “Skin Exfoliation,” scientist Diana L.Howard Ph.D., of the International Dermal Institute explains that the AHAs in enzymes exfoliate the skin in a unique way. According to Dr. Howard,  “Some researchers believe the mechanism of action for AHAs cannot be tied solely to stimulation of the skin as measured by traditional cell renewal techniques.” She notes that studies suggest that AHAs may disrupt the “glue-like bonds” between dead skin cells, “causing a burst in skin exfoliation.” Howard points out that “it is often said that AHAs affect the skin from the inside out because of the suggestion that they influence corneocyte [dead skin cell] cohesion at the lower layers of the stratum corneum [outermost skin]. The result is a thinner stratum corneum, which is more flexible and compact, reflects more light and overall gives the skin a more youthful appearance.”

But the unmatched revitalizing power of enzyme peels and masks doesn’t end there. The special properties of some enzymes also contribute greatly to healthy functioning of the skin. In my next post I’ll explain the unique benefits of the natural enzymes used in my salon organic peel program, as well as in my LaVie Organique™ exfoliating mask.

The Three Faces of Exfoliation, Part 2: Chemical Exfoliation

The Unappealing Side of Chemical Exfoliation

Twenty-five years ago, the discovery of the bonus benefits of the acne treatment tretinoin (Retin-A) launched a revolution in skin care. Since then the use of synthetic vitamin A derivatives and other chemical exfoliants as anti-aging treatments has swept the beauty industry. At last, there were products and procedures that could dramatically improve the appearance of aging skin. In addition to Retin-A and related skin care products, more extreme versions of chemical seemed to promise a quick fix for every skin problem from acne and oily skin to age spots, warts, and wrinkles. But as with so many “miracle” products, the powerful effects of these chemical treatments come with risks.

Vitamin A Derivatives: A Word of Caution

The active ingredient in tretinoin and its over-the-counter cousins, the various retinol facial treatments retinol, is a vitamin A byproduct that induces a light chemical peel by introducing high doses of vitamin A into the skin. These products can cause severe irritation when used improperly. Women who are pregnant or nursing are warned not to use them because of the link between high doses of vitamin A and birth defects. Many women with sensitive skin find the redness and flakiness caused by these products too unpleasant to tolerate.

A Choice for an Organic Life

The Lavie Organique Product Line

At the right dosage level for your skin type, however, this powerful antioxidant does help restore a more youthful appearance by exfoliating worn-out surface skin cells and promoting cellular renewal in the underlying epidermal layer. With a natural form of vitamin A such as the retinyl palmitate in my LaVie Organique™ Original Formulas, you’re assured of the anti-aging effects of a plant-derived free radical scavenger without the risk of looking and feeling like you have a major case of sunburn.

Synthetic Chemical Peels: What Price Beauty?

Synthetic chemical peels are sometimes referred to as “lunchtime facelifts.” The implication is that you can radically change your appearance quickly, painlessly, and without any downtime. But even light peels with alpha hydroxyl acid (the active ingredient in many acne medications) or synthetic glycolic acid may cause flakiness, redness, and scabbing that can mar your appearance for days or weeks—and the deeper your go beneath the skin’s surface the higher the cost in pain and suffering. A medium trichloroacetic acid (TCA) can cause blistering and severe redness that may make you want to hide your face longer than you’d anticipated. With a deeper peel, the potential are more serious. In fact, the risks of this type of peel are equivalent to the dangers of surgery. This invasive procedure uses phenolic acid, a coal tar-derived industrial solvent and known carcinogen, also known as carbolic acid. Sedation and heart monitoring with an electrocardiograph are required. Recovery time usually takes three or four months and patients generally require strong medication to endure the deep throbbing pain.

The fact is, both TCA and phenol achieve their effects by inflicting a second-degree burn on your face. The severity of this injury to your skin poses serious risks including heart arrhythmias, shock, and infection. And in some cases the final result of all this painful damage can leave you with a ghostly white or brownish complexion.

As a European, I was schooled in a different approach to beauty. We prefer to incorporate a program of gradual, milder exfoliation into our holistic skin care regimen to achieve lasting results over time. I’ll explain more about this approach in Part 3 of “The Three Faces of Exfoliation.”

The Three Faces of Exfoliation: Part 1

With so many exfoliating treatments on the market, how should you go about choosing one? The answer depends on a variety of factors—particularly your skin type. Although the number of products is endless, most of them fall into one of three categories. Let’s start with a look at the pros and cons of the hands-on approach:

Manual or Mechanical Exfoliation

For routine exfoliation, I recommend a gentle daily cleanser with a mild exfoliant such as white willow bark. A natural alternative to salicylic acid—an ingredient in many acne medications—this powerful but safe botanical extract is also an anti-inflammatory that stimulates and purifies the skin while also calming irritation.

You can use your fingers to massage your cleanser into the skin. If your complexion is very robust, you may want to use a washcloth or sponge to increase the exfoliating effect. But remember to be gentle—the last thing you want to do it over-abrade your skin. And remember to wash your washcloth or sponge with hot, soapy water after each use. Stay away from stiff complexion brushes or loofahs—which are not only too rough, but also tend to trap bacteria and product residue that can cause breakouts and infections.

At the high-tech end of this approach, there are a number of vibrating complexion brushes. These vary in quality and can be as expensive as $200. The best ones can help keep a healthy complexion glowing, but individuals with acne, rosacea, or fragile skin with broken capillaries, should steer clear of this type of device. Your complexion should be handled with the utmost care.

What about facial scrubs?

First of all, check out the ingredients. The good, the bad, and the ugly sides of exfoliation ultimately reside in the various type of scrubbing grains used in these products. Many types of granules are so large and jagged that they can cause microscopic lacerations on the skin surface. Surprisingly, the grains used in some types of all-natural scrubs are the worst offenders. Ground apricot pits as well as crushed nutshells, for instance have been cited by the Environmental Working Group  as potential skin-health hazards. As a natural alternative, finely ground nutmeats such as almonds or walnuts combine gentleness and safety with the restorative benefits of antioxidants.

To supplement these daily and weekly methods of hands-on exfoliation as you’re preparing your skin for winter, you might want to try a course of professional microdermabrasion treatments. Performed by an experienced professional with state-of-the-art equipment, microdermabrasion is far safer and more effective than at-home methods. A good esthetician understands exfoliation is not an end in itself—the delicate layer of new skin that’s revealed needs to be soothed, moisturized, and replenished with nutrients. And don’t forget to protect your baby-fresh skin! A good sunscreen with at least SPF 15 will help keep your complexion rosy instead of red.

Here’s a great video from Dr. Schultz’s Dermtv.com on how often you should exfoliate. Enjoy.


FAQs: The When, Where, Why, and How of Exfoliation

The When, Where, Why, and How of Exfoliation : FAQ

How often should skin be exfoliated?

Lavie Organique Exfoliating Mask

Use Lavie's Exfoliating Mask for your Weekly Routine.

That depends on a variety of different factors, including your skin type, your age, and the method of exfoliation method you’re using. Your best bet is to consult an experienced skincare professional. As a general rule, however, you can safely exfoliate with an at-home mask once a week. For salon peels and microdermabrasion, I typically recommend a once-a-week program of 5-6 treatments.

When should exfoliation be avoided?

If you have sunburn or an open wound, you should wait to exfoliate until healing is complete. Individuals with serious skin diseases should check with their dermatologist before beginning an exfoliation program.

At what age should a regular exfoliation program become part of my skincare regimen?

The rate of skin cell turnover is the major deciding factor. In very young, healthy skin, cell turnover is usually quite rapid. But by the time we reach the age of 30, the outer layer of our skin has begun to thicken from a buildup of dead skin cells, resulting in a dull, lifeless complexion. In some people, including smokers and individuals with a lot of sun damage, this process can start much earlier. Young people with acne can also benefit greatly from routine exfoliation.

What is the best time of year to have professional exfoliation treatments?

Autumn Skincare

Courtesy Freedigitalphotos.net

Fall is the optimal time to shed brown spots, rough scaly patches, fine lines, and other signs of aging, sun damage, and stress with a series of head-to-toe exfoliation treatments. Too much sun can irritate tender, freshly exfoliated skin, so you should wait till summer is over to begin an intensive program.

What kind of products should I use to protect my skin after at-home and salon exfoliation?

Proper aftercare is the key to reaping the full benefits of exfoliation. To keep fragile new skin moist, nourished, and free from irritation, you need powerful sun protection such as zinc oxide, and a daily cleanser,  toner, day cream, and nightly face cream  of the highest quality. Read the label of all your skincare products! Harsh synthetic chemicals, parabens, and other petroleum and mineral oil derivatives can seriously irritate your skin. Products made from certified organic and natural plant-derived ingredients ensure the right combination of potent antioxidants, rich moisture, and gentleness and safety you need for optimal results.

Which methods of at-home and salon exfoliation are the safest and most effective?

This question deserves a detailed answer. I’ll discuss various methods of exfoliation in my next post.

Exfoliation: Why Less Is Sometimes More

What started decades ago with a humble plastic sponge has become the watchword in skincare. Exfoliation remains the key to the fresh, peach glow of a youthful complexion. But as the range of professional and at-home acid and enzyme peels, scrubs, and mechanical exfoliation devices continues to expand, skincare professionals are seeing the ugly side of the these facial treatments: the raw tomato-red of serious irritation.

The results of over-exfoliation aren’t just painful and unattractive—overaggressive skin stripping can actually do real damage. In addition to acne breakouts, people who get carried away can suffer broken capillaries, excessiveness dryness and scaling, and pigmentation changes—in other words exactly what you’re trying so hard to avoid: the visible signs of aging. The causes for these symptoms are rooted in the skin’s natural defense system—the inflammatory response.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury. Removal of the superficial layer of skin (the stratum corneum) exposes the sensitive new skin underneath to a variety of assaults including bacteria, environmental pollutants, and solar radiation. But that doesn’t necessarily mean exfoliation is bad for your skin—in fact, done correctly, it’s one of best things you can do to revitalize your appearance. I’ll explain more of the hows and whys of exfoliation in future posts, but for now, enjoy the video below about exfoliation.