The Top 6 Things Your Esthetician Wants You To Stop Doing (Part 2)


Acne - Copy

As an esthetician, I want to help you have the best skin possible. It’s helpful if you meet me half way. Here are the top six things I wish you would stop doing between visits.

1. Picking at your skin. We know you have heard this a million times, but there is a reason we reiterate that you shouldn’t pick at your blemishes. First, this increases your risk of infection at the blemish sites. There are products and tools that can help you reduce blemishes. Even more importantly, we need to determine the cause of the breakouts so we can prevent them. But if you pick at them in between, they take much longer to heal and actually look worse during the healing process than they would if you left them alone. Picking can create scarring that may last for months or even years. Last but not least, you can collapse the follicle walls, which can lead to inflammatory acne.

2. Going to bed without washing your face. I know, you’re tired at the end of a long day. But whether or not you wear makeup, oils build up on the surface of the skin, and pollutants collect there as well. At night, your body goes through many metabolic changes, and you can nourish it by cleansing and moisturizing properly. This one bad habit can clog your pores, cause breakouts, increase wrinkles, break your lashes, and make skin dull. “Dirt and makeup trapped against your skin cause environmentally-induced oxidative damage,” says dermatologist Dr. Annie Chiu. “This leads to a breakdown of the skin barrier and prematurely ages your face.” Isn’t preventing all this worth the ten minutes it will take you to wash your face twice a day?

3. Skipping moisturizer. This is usually something I hear from people with oily skin. They feel that since their skin is “already oily”, they don’t need to add more oil. However, moisturizers don’t add oil to your skin. They simply provide a protective barrier to seal in the hydration (water) in your skin.

Think of it like a cut melon you put in the refrigerator. If you put it in without a cover, it will turn brown. But if you put a cover on it, it will remain fresh for days or weeks. That’s what moisturizer is – it retains much of your own skin’s water, and protects you from environmental elements. The trick is finding the right one for your skin type.

4. Skipping sunscreen/going in the sun. These days people are getting mixed messages. We have always been told to use sunscreen, but now there are studies that show we need sun exposure because we need the Vitamin D. What to do?

While the studies are correct that we need sun, the relevant factor is that most of us need just 10 minutes per day. So this doesn’t mean we should skip sunscreen altogether. My clients often think they need sunscreen only when they are going to the beach or will be in direct sunlight for a prolonged period. This is also not true. Even when indoors, windows let in up to 50% of the sun’s UVA rays, which can still damage skin.

Please don’t tell your esthetician that you are using sunscreen if you are not. When we ask questions, we’re not judging you – but we are trying to create the right treatment for you. Certain treatments (like microdermabrasion, or chemical or enzyme peels) are contraindicated if you plan to be in the sun without protection. These treatments could actually make your hyperpigmentation worse because your skin is photosensitive afterward.

And do remember, the sun doesn’t discriminate! People of all ethnicities and skin tones get skin cancer. The American Academy of Dermatology says, “Who needs sunscreen? Everyone. Sunscreen use can help prevent skin cancer by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Anyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender or race. In fact, it is estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.”

5. Expecting a miracle. Sometimes people come in after years of neglecting their skin, and think that one facial is going to correct everything. The skin is a living organ, with multiple layers. Achieving results is going to take time and multiple treatments. It can be frustrating when someone tells us they are not achieving results after only one or two treatments. It’s like going to the gym – you have to be committed and you have to stick to the treatment plan in order to make meaningful changes.

6. Buying every product you see. Some of you (you know who you are) are product junkies, ready to buy every shiny new skin care product you see. Curiosity is a good thing, and you may stumble onto some great products. But if you have problem skin, or if you want to maintain the healthiest skin possible, save your money and stick to the regimen your esthetician gives you. It’s very difficult to assess what is working when you are switching products all the time.

On that note, we also don’t want to hear, “I found that same thing you told me about, but cheaper”. We have spent time researching the best products and carry those for your convenience. Just because another brand seems to have similar ingredients doesn’t mean it will perform the same. Often brands are less expensive because they use a lot of fillers and additives – which means you will have to use a lot more of it to get a similar result. Presumably you are seeing an esthetician for her expertise, so my advice is to use the products she recommends. If you feel they are outside of your budget, let her know that, as well. Estheticians can help you get the best skin at an affordable price.

The bottom line. Believe me when I tell you that your esthetician wants your skin to be perfect. You are a walking representation of her work. So please follow her suggestions, including suggestions for in-spa treatments as well as at-home treatments. Your skin will be glad you did!

The Top 5 Products Your Esthetician Wants You To Stop Using (Part 1)



In my consultations with clients, I always check in with them about their current skin care routine, so that I can make a proper assessment of what kind of treatment is appropriate during the facial, and what kind of after-care I should recommend for home use. It is astounding how many people are still using things that are terrible for their skin, often due to misinformation.

Here I will clarify the top five things that I would like my clients to understand before they purchase products.

Soap. Most bar soaps are high on the pH scale, and are quite drying for your skin. It can also disrupt your lipid barrier, which is important because it is your skin’s defense against inflammation, dryness, wrinkles, and more. Damaging this barrier can make your skin sensitive, and make it nearly impossible to repair and maintain healthy skin. I recommend using a skin cleanser that is designed for your particular skin type, and one that is specifically targeting your skin’s concerns.

Apricot Scrub. Most estheticians shudder when they hear a client say they use apricot scrub, because this is one of the worst things you can use on your skin. First, the walnut shells that provide the gritty texture are jagged and can create microscopic cuts in your skin which can lead to irritation and infection. The most widely known apricot scrub brand is St. Ives, and although it is often touted as “natural”, it is anything but. It contains fragrance, and many ingredients that are known toxins. There are many exfoliants out there that are gentle to your skin, so avoid overexfoliating with apricot scrub.

Cetaphil. For years, drugstores and dermatologists have been promoting Cetaphil as the most natural and inexpensive choice. However, I see it as another great case of marketing! If you read the ingredients, you will see that it contains not just one, but three parabens that are on the Dirty Dozen list (more on that below). The sodium laurel sulphate it contains not only can irritate skin, but it contributes to damaging the lipid barrier. Stay away from this product line.

MLM Products. In my career, I am constantly being asked by MLM consultants to represent their products. While there are some good ones out there and some that are not so good, in general I do not suggest buying products from your neighbor who is unlicensed and untrained. Prior to my licensing as an esthetician, I was part of an MLM, so I am not anti-networking marketing, nor am I suggesting that there are not some great products represented by this business model. However, the first point of difference is that OTC products are not as effective as professional products. Estheticians and dermatologists have access to products that can perform at deeper levels of the skin. Another point of difference is that many MLM representatives have no knowledge of the skin’s layers, product ingredients, or chemical reactions, and cannot effectively give the best product advice. Many of my clients who have purchased products from someone they know are not getting the results they could get from spa quality products that would actually cost them much less money. Also, they may be inadvertently creating barrier damage that can create life-long skin challenges.

The Dirty Dozen. The Healthy Living Lounge produced The Dirty Dozen, a list of the twelve most toxic ingredients used in skin care and cosmetic products. As an esthetician, I urge all my clients to utilize this list and ditch any products that contain these harmful substances. There are plenty of natural products out there that won’t cause you serious health issues. For a copy of The Dirty Dozen, click here for your free copy.

There are many circumstances that affect your skin, including genetics and environmental factors. But I would estimate that 80% of keeping skin healthy is your home care routine. Your number one priority is choosing the right products.

Text Neck: The next epidemic

Text Neck 2There is an epidemic sweeping the country – one that will probably affect at least 80% of our population in large or small ways. And younger people are even more likely to have this affliction. It’s called Text Neck!

This is actually a very real thing: because of the amount of time we spend on our devices, we are developing neck and spine issues. Do you have a cell phone? Work on a computer?

If we look at JUST cell phones, there are 6.8 billion cell phone contracts out there today. That’s almost as many as the population of the world, which is 7 billion. The age of children getting mobile phones is getting younger, due to more affordable contracts, and parents’ desire for staying in touch with their children for security reasons.

Young people 8-18 spend an average of 7 and a half hours per day on their phones. This is about a third of your waking time! University of Queensland in Australia found that messaging is an addictive service, equivalent in addictiveness to cigarette smoking!

Besides the social implications of being glued to your device, the more time you spend on these devices, the more the body accommodates you in terms of bone and muscle adaption. Staying in one place for long periods, the body adapts, thinking it is normal. So over a period of time, your neck and spine will get more and more out of alignment.

And it’s more than just an issue of looks. When the spine becomes out of alignment this way, the head starts to rest in a forward position, rather than above the shoulders where it should be. Then the weight on the spine dramatically increases. For every inch the head moves forward from its gravitational center, it feels as if it weighs an additional 10 lbs. Imagine you were to hold a bowling ball in your hands close to your body. Then hold it out in front of you. The weight hasn’t changed, but your brain’s perception of how heavy it feels does change, and so does the amount of effort required by the muscles, ligaments, and fascia. So, if your head normally weighs 12 lbs,, when it is positioned just 4 inches forward from its normal resting point, the spine has to do the work as if it weighs 42 lbs.

The head moving forward also causes the shoulders to rotate forward. This is exacerbated by the typical repetitive movements we do when at a computer or phone. Our arms are in front of us and we are looking down.

These spinal changes can cause chronic pain, including headaches. They have been studying this phenomenon and in one survey of 6,000 cases of people who suffer chronic headaches, it was found that complete or partial loss of the curve of the spine was the most consistent issue, and sometimes the only issue the person had.

Not surprisingly, this change in the spine also can create respiratory problems. The muscles of the neck attach to the first and second ribs. When the head is forward, the muscles don’t contract properly and it limits the oxygen. It can decrease lung capacity of up to 30% over time. Shortness of breath can lead to heart and vascular disease.

It can also affect the entire gastrointestinal system, especially the large intestine. Loss of bowel functioning is a common effect of this posture.

It can actually decrease brain functioning. About 90% of the stimulation and nutrition to the brain is generated by movement of the spine. When your head is in a forward posture, it will take energy from your thinking, metabolism, and immune function in order to deal with the gravity and posture processing.

So there is a lot of bad news about something as simple as how our technology is affecting our posture and our health. What can we do about it??

The good news is, there are five things you can do to prevent or improve the situation. The first part of any solution is always prevention. It’s much easier to prevent something from happening than waiting until it does and then finding a solution.

1. Get an App. There is an app you can get for your smart phone. It will give a red light and vibrate if you are holding the phone at an angle that will produce text neck. Awareness is half the battle.

2. Get up and move. When you are working at a computer for long periods, or sending a lot of texts, your body is for all intents and purposes, motionless. Your muscles are stuck in one position. For that reason, they advise getting up at least once every 20 minutes. It’s best if you can actually take a minute to do some serious movement – walk around for a couple of minutes. But if not, at least standing and stretching helps the fatigued muscles to relax and realign themselves.

3. Standing or Moving desk. There are available more and more solutions in terms of desks that are meant to give you better ergonomics. There are standing desks, adjustable desks, and even desks with treadmills attached. In addition, there are dozens of options for adjustable chairs, computer stands, etc. There is a perfect solution to keeping you in the correct posture; it just may take some research to find out which is the perfect one for you.

4. Exercise. If you are someone who uses devices a lot, consider adding daily neck exercises to your routine. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time. Do ten repetitions of each of these daily.

a. Lie on the floor on your stomach, with your arms at your sides. Lift your upper torso off the ground and hold for a count of 4.
b. Standing with your arms straight out at your sides, with your thumbs backward and your palms up, move your arms straight back as far as they will go.
c. Standing, hold your arms out to the sides, with the elbows bent at a 90 degree angle with your hands straight up. Slowly turn your hands down to the floor and back.
d. Stand with your back against the wall, your arms at a 90 degree angle with your hands straight up. Slowly straighten your arms above your head and back to a 90 degree angle.

5. Get a massage! Today’s bodyworkers are trained to help lengthen these muscles through regular massage.

Don’t be a Text Neck victim! With a little bit of effort, you can prevent this condition and stay healthy.

Top Tips to a Better Massage Treatment


Most people know that massage is a relaxing treatment, and one that can release muscle tension.  It is also good therapy for many chronic conditions, can improve athletic performance, lowers blood pressure, and has many other benefits.  But there are some things that you can do yourself to get the best massage ever.

Before Your Massage


Please don’t refer to your provider as a masseuse or a masseur.  And no matter what type of place you go to, don’t call it a massage parlor.  These terms are still commonly associated with “happy endings” and fronts for prostitution.  The term massage therapist is what most providers prefer to be called, since they are trained and licensed professionals.  Terminology for the location is varied, as massages are frequently done at spas, wellness centers, chiropractic offices, and others.

 Make Special Requests at Scheduling

If you have specific things you want in your treatment, please let them know when you schedule.  This way, everyone can be prepared and ready for you ahead of time.  If you prefer a specific type of massage, for instance, they will usually try to match you to the therapist that is best suited to your needs.  If you want to request a specific therapist, if you have a particular physical issue you are trying to resolve with massage, if you like aromatherapy added, etc., let them know when you schedule to avoid confusion or disappointment the day of your treatment.

Schedule Your Workout Before Your Massage

You hit the gym every day?  Be sure to do it before your massage, not after.  After massage, your muscles are relaxed.  When muscles are relaxed after a massage, vigorous exercise can cause injury.  It’s best to wait 24 hours after a massage before exercising in order to give muscles time to recover.

Don’t Eat A Big Meal Before a Massage

This might seem obvious, but your body needs time to digest food properly.  If you lie flat immediately after eating, it makes it difficult for your digestive tract to do its job.  It can also be uncomfortable to lie on a full stomach.

A Hot Bath, Hot Shower or Sauna Is Great Before a Massage

Massages, especially deep tissue work, break down adhesions and realign muscles.  To be effective, the muscles must be relaxed, otherwise tight surface muscles prevent the therapist from reaching deeper layers of muscles.  Steam and heat prior to your session can get the muscles relaxed and make it quicker and easier to release the tension.

During Your Massage

Be On Time

When you arrive late, you will be stressed out, and you will also shorten your massage time.  If there is a customer scheduled immediately after you, the therapist will not be able to extend your time.  Make sure that you account for driving time, traffic, and check-in time when you are going to get a massage.

What Do I Wear?

Often when people come in for their first massage, they are nervous about how much they should undress.  This is completely up to you.  Most people get completely naked, or keep just their panties on.  However, there are people that feel more comfortable being fully clothed – this is completely the prerogative of the customer.  Obviously clothing impedes certain massage movements, and may affect how effectively the therapist can get to a particular muscle.  The comfort of the client is the most important thing, however. The massage therapist will not mind at all, no matter what you choose to do.

Once the intake is complete (completing your health history, talking to the therapist about your massage goals, etc), the therapist will leave the room and allow you to get undressed privately.  During your massage, you will be professionally draped the entire time.  If there is any point where you feel uncomfortable, let your therapist know.

Wait to Get Undressed

On that note, DO wait until your practitioner has left the room before you begin undressing.  Even if you are completely comfortable with your body, you are putting your therapist in an awkward position when they are trying to maintain professionalism.  Depending on where you live, there also may be state statues that govern nudity in the room, and you may be crossing a barrier.

Give Your Practitioner Your Whole Health History

People often ask why the massage intake form and the therapist ask so many questions.  You may not realize it, but these are all pertinent to avoiding harming you while giving you the proper treatment.

For instance, we need to know about all your allergies.  Spas and wellness centers typically choose products for the treatment rooms that are free of most of the common allergens, such as nuts, dairy, or wheat.  But people can be allergic to even natural ingredients, and we don’t want you going into anaphylactic shock simply because we didn’t know of your allergy.

Certain modalities can be contraindicated for conditions such as epilepsy, pregnancy, a pacemaker, infectious conditions, or cancer.  Your therapist needs to know about these conditions in order to make a decision as to whether the treatment can be performed, whether it can be performed in a modified way (such as with less pressure or without percussive techniques).

It is also important for your therapist to understand any medications you are on.  For instance, blood thinners can make you vulnerable to bruising and bleeding during or after massage.  Pain medications may dull your senses and leave you unaware if a treatment becomes painful.

Please be honest and tell your therapist all of the health information asked of you.

Don’t Apologize

Clients often apologize for their bodies.  “I am sorry I haven’t shaved my legs”, “I didn’t have time to wash my hair this morning”, “I have recently gained weight, so sorry about my hips”.  Your therapist is looking at you clinically, and does not care about any of these things.  They do not impede your treatment in the slightest.

But what about stomach growling or flatulence?  Bodily functions and noises are very common, especially while you are lying prone and someone is moving lymphatic fluid and manipulating muscles. Massage often stimulates the digestive process. These are normal body reactions and nothing that the therapist hasn’t encountered before.  Just relax and enjoy your session without worrying what he or she is thinking!

Talk to The Therapist

Your practitioner wants you to have a great session.  If something feels uncomfortable, speak up.  There are often multiple ways for him or her to achieve the same goal, so if one technique doesn’t feel good, the therapist can switch to another.  If you enjoy a particular technique of you want an area worked longer, mention that as well.  People often feel that the therapist is the professional and doesn’t need advice.  While it is true that they have had training, everyone’s body is different, and only you know how yours feels.  The more information your therapist has from you, the better he or she can customer your treatment.  Please don’t wait until after your massage to say something.

It Shouldn’t Hurt

Ever hear “no pain, no gain”?  That is simply not true with massage!  There is a perception that for a massage to be good and for knots to be worked out, it has to be painful.  Actually, there are many techniques that can be utilized to break up the adhesion that are not painful at all.  If too much pressure is applied, the muscle actually can tense even more, creating more problems.  Tell your therapist when you experience pain so that they can assess the right technique and pressure for your particular situation.

After Your Massage

Drink Water

Just like after a workout, massage can dehydrate you.  Drink water before and after your massage to help release toxins, and stay hydrated.  It can also help alleviate any soreness.

After Care

It is perfectly normal to feel some soreness after a massage, or even to feel mild flu-like symptoms after a massage.  There are several things you can do to help alleviate some of these symptoms.  Continuing to stay hydrated is very important.  Ice any muscles that feel particularly sore.  Try some light stretching exercises, similar to what you would do post-workout.  Yoga can also help.  Steaming in a sauna or hot bath can loosen tight muscles.

Regular Massage is the Key

If you decide to get in shape, you can’t go to the gym just once and expect results.  The same goes for massage.  Massage can be preventative if scheduled regularly.  The effects of your massage are cumulative.  One is helpful, but regular massages build on one another.  If your massages are regular, with enough frequency, the therapist doesn’t have to start over each time.  Instead, he or she can build on the results from the prior treatment, and keep you in top physical shape.




Your Esthetician: Saving Your Face

cropped-tumblr_m70wmrfxb11raceeno1_1280-copy.jpgWhy do you need a professional skin therapist?

For the same reason doctor and dentist check-ups are necessary: for better health!

Skin is a living part of your body (your largest organ, in fact), that defends against environmental assaults and extreme temperatures. It helps eliminate toxins from the body. It heals from cuts, abrasions and scratches like a champ. It’s continually renewing and protecting. Simply put, skin keeps the bad stuff out and the good stuff in.

Your skin is like a barometer for your body, and will outwardly show much about your general health.  A huge percentage of our skin concerns (breakouts, clogged pores, wrinkles, sensitivity) are preventable!

So why do you dote more on your hair and nails – two items on your body that aren’t living?

Your skin needs personal attention from a professional – and that professional is a Flawless Day Spa professional skin therapist.

Flawless professional skin therapists are licensed, intensely educated skin health experts trained to prescribe products and deliver professional skin treatments. We have the answers to your most pressing skin care concerns, and know how to deliver real, visible results. We’re the best in the business, and have a real passion for taking care of your skin.

When you are loyal to your skin therapist, we get to know more about your skin – and can better serve you each time you return.  Those who go from spa to spa don’t get the best treatment, because the therapists do not have time to get to know your health and skin history, your lifestyle, your current product usage, and more.  By finding a caring personal skin therapist, you will save time and money in products and services that are not right for your skin.