What’s So Important about Skin Hydration?

What’s So Important about Skin Hydration?


Water is the basic substance in our skin and throughout our body that transports vitamins and nutrients to skin cells.  This keeps them plump, healthy, alive, resilient and younger looking.  In order for your skin to protect itself from UV radiation, micro organisms and toxic agents, it must be kept adequately hydrated. Hydrated skin will remain flexible and allow your protective barrier to remain intact. If skin is broken, environmental factors can damage our bodies and cause exacerbated water loss, feeding a cyclical pattern of more damage due to further dehydration.

The primary way one can make sure that their skin is well hydrated is to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water or fluids without caffeine daily.  Caffeine should be avoided as it acts as a natural diuretic which takes fluid away from skin.  Skin hydration is very important no matter what a person’s age or skin type. This is true even if you have oily skin.  Oily skin may have a layer of sebum on the surface, yet could be dehydrated underneath.  This lack of moisture in the skin means it’s protective barrier has been compromised.  The result is skin that is less able to defend itself against irritation, inflammation and an onslaught of bacteria.  So, drink up.

Beyond drinking water, you need to wear a hydrating moisturizer every day.  Many skin types get oilier during the summer.  This doesn’t mean you can skip your moisturizer, it just means it might be time to change your moisturizing formula. Try a lighter formula that focuses on humectants.  These are ingredients that don’t add oil.  Instead they have a special talent for grabbing onto moisture and holding it in the skin. Some of the best humectants include glycerin, glycolic acid, sodium lactate, sodium PCA, aloe, honey and seaweed, but the superstar of all humectants is hyaluronic acid.


The reason Hyaluronic Acid is the superstar is because of it’s amazing ability to hold onto about 1,000 times it’s weight in water.  Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin’s dermal layer and gives skin a plump, fresh look.  It supports all those important skin firming collagen and elastin fibers you keep hearing about. It also supplies a medium for water to feed cells as well as support other master cells that are responsible for the manufacture of collagen and elastin.

In skin care products Hyaluronic Acid is made up of very large molecules that have difficulty penetrating the skin.  Studies have shown however, that applied serums containing hyaluronic acid can draw moisture transdermally from the lower layers of the dermis.


Humectants are key ingredients in cleansers, lotions and serums that hydrate the skin by attracting water like a magnet, locking in moisture. Chemically speaking, humectants form hydrogen bonds with water molecules. Humectants are extremely important in keeping skin soft and supple.

Humectants also draw water up from the dermis (the second layer of skin) into the epidermis (the outer layer) and, if humidity is above 70 percent, they can even draw in moisture from the air.  Humectants increase the amount of water that the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis) can hold. This helps repair dry, cracked skin by providing maximum hydration and reducing skin irritation.

Some humectants also encourage exfoliation, by dissolving the glue that holds surface skin cells together. Then they act as a barrier by preventing outside chemicals from making contact with the dermis.


When the weather is dry, particularly in winter or in arid climates, humectants can actually pull moisture away from the skin. Using a moisturizer that contains occlusive ingredients can counteract this loss of moisture.  Occlusives are generally richer in texture and more oily by nature. Occlusives help the stratum corneum retain moisture by creating a barrier layer of lipids.   Emollients help to soften the skin as well as providing this same type of barrier. Lipids are a natural barrier that helps protect your skin against dehydration.  There are ingredients like dimethicone and Shea Butter which mimic the natural lipids your skin should be producing.

Some new ingredients will actually stimulate your skin’s ability to produce more lipids. One such ingredient is a derivative of rosemary extract called ursolic acid, which is also a great antioxidant.


Your cleanser, toner, exfoliant and masque can all contribute to hydration or dehydration depending on your choices.  Choose your cleanser to match your skin type.  How much emollients vs. humectants do you really need?  Alcohol free toners that contain Sodium PCA or Seaweed extracts are great hydrators, without adding occlusive ingredients.  Moisturizers often contain a mix of emollients and humectants.

If you’re looking for the most effective humectant providing products you’ll find them as serum based. A respectable hydrating serum contains the right dosage of hyaluronic acid.  Products that claim 100% hyaluronic acid are just not being accurate.  Since hyaluronic acid is a solid, 100% hyaluronic acid would also be a solid which is very difficult to get into the skin.  You’ll probably find hyaluronic acid listed as sodium hyaluronate.  Sodium hyaluronate is the salt of hyaluronic acid and it has a much lower molecular size. This gives it the ability to penetrate skin when applied topically, which is why it works in creams and other potions.


One of the best reasons for splurging for a facial is because this gives you an opportunity to have an expert work with your skin for an hour or more.  This way she can make superior recommendations on which products to choose and how to get the best results for your skin.

You just can’t revive or rehydrate dead cells.  Having a spa strengthened peel is the best way to exfoliate away those dead or very dehydrated cells on the skin’s surface.  This will reveal those younger, fresher, well hydrated cells underneath.  For most skin types, peels are the most productive step of the facial.  Then your skin is ready for steam, super humectants and valuable repair factors that create that extraordinary complexion we all crave.


Happy Winter

Happy Winter

And so this is winter…  It officially started on December 21st.  For me winter means the onset of an annoyingly itchy back followed by flaky skin on my legs (which hints at the necessity to wear stockings). This is just the beginning of winter weather complexion issues.  Tight, dry, flaky facial skin that increases the propensity for lines; a paler complexion which lacks life and radiance; or increased sensitivity that means red, chapped skin that can no longer tolerate your summer skin care routine (assuming you just marched along without thinking  you needed to change products and start using a richer cleanser and a more emollient moisturizer.  The key here is to act now, before these issues get out of control.


Winter air is often arid and accompanied by harsh winds that rob your skin of it’s protective oil, leaving you with an impaired lipid barrier.  Go for a moisturizer that’s extra-rich to protect your skin. Try using your night cream under your sun screen/moisturizer.  Look for a new, high tech ingredient derived from rosemary oil, called Ursolic Acid.  this amazing ingredient boosts your skin’s natural production to produce more barrier lipids found in-between surface skin cells creating a cushion that calms, softens and protects your skin.  Along with that, you need the perfect antidote for alipidic skin (skin that is not producing needed oil).  Skin  that is stripped of its own is oil should be using a facial oil.  Extra gentle facial oils contain ingredients like Evening Primrose Oil or Borage Seed Oil which not only lock in moisture but help calm sensitivities.

Try Intensive Lipid Repair night cream ($55.50 at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics) or Environmental Protection for Sensitive Skin ($42.50 at Elizabeth Renee). If your skin is not too sensitive add a little anti-aging retinol to your oil with FijiGirl Facial Oil ($24.50).


Dryness and dehydration aren’t the same thing. Dry skin lacks oil while dehydrated skin lacks water. Indoor heating draws humidity out of the air.  This lack of humidity can zap water from your skin leaving it flaky, tight and rough textured.  For dehydrated skin, make sure you are exfoliating properly.  Lactic Acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that also boosts the moisture content of your skin.  Also, instead of adding extra oil to your skin try adding ingredients that attract and retain water, such as phospholipids and hyaluronic acid.

Try Hydraessence hydrating serum ($42.50 at Elizabeth Renee) and Moisture Infusion night cream ($48.50 at Elizabeth Renee).


Flakey legs in winter need extra exfoliation as well as moisture.  Legs encased in winter leggins become extremely dry and flakey. Before you apply your favorite body lotion (which should be daily) add a few drops of a glycolic acid serum to that lotion.  The glycolic acid will dissolve those dead, dry cells on your legs.  These cells must be removed because they’re past the point of rehydration.  Glycolic Serum is also exceptionally effective for Keratosis Polaris, which is those goose bump looking things you get on your upper arms.  Apply glycolic Serum neat, every day to the effective areas.

My favorite body lotion is our classic, Avocado Body Lotion (still only $18.50 at Elizabeth Renee) to which I add a couple pumps Glycolic Serum 15% ($48.50).


In winter many of us suffer from dry, chapped hands.  The best ingredient for winter dry hands is Shea Butter.  Emollient and protective, try leaving your Shea butter based hand cream on your night table to apply every night before bed.  Wearing cotton gloves over a your hand cream really improves its efficacy.

My favorite is the super rich and emollient formula is our Hand Revitalizing Treatment ($25.50 at Elizabeth Renee)


As soon as the dry, cold air appears clients are frantically searching for the best lip treatment to get them through another cold New England winter.  If your lips are at the point of peeling you must exfoliate first.  A gentle but effective way to do this is not by using your scrub (which may be too irritating for this gentle membrane).  Try using gentle enzymes to dissolve dead, peeling skin.  Follow with an effective lip protector that does not contain petrolatum. Petrolatum is okay as a short term fix but can perpetuates dryness over the long run.  Instead choose vitamins (like vitamin E) for lip repair, and take advantage of the new lip peptide therapy (think ogliopeptides) to encourage real repair.

Try Elizabeth Renee’s Lip Exfoliator ($22.50) and follow it with our client’s top choice to fight chapped lips, our Lip Treatment ($19.50).  I make sure to carry our Lip Treatment with me all the time, all winter long (and so does my grand daughter Ava).

While you’re considering the best products to treat your winter dry skin you should also be thinking about which facial to choose the next time you visit Elizabeth Renee Esthetics Skincare Spa.  One of the most effective, with state-of-the-art cell therapy, to get dry maturing skin to act like a younger version of itself is our Cell Youth Facial.  Click the link to find out more about this and other Elizabeth Renee Facials.

Back to School Facials

Back to School Facials

It’s back to school time and your teen could use a fun treat that also sets the stage for clearer, more beautiful skin throughout the upcoming year.

There are many benefits of having a facial, but a back to school facial for teens will focus on cleaning out the pores and removing blackheads caused by excess oil production, sunscreen buildup and layers of dead skin cells that accumulate during the summer and are exacerbated by sun exposure.

It takes a professional esthetician to properly prepare and soften the skin before manual extractions can take place in a safe and effective way, one that won’t leave marks on the skin or aggravate the skin to the point of inflamed breakouts.

One size doe not fit all, even in the case of teens. What works for your daughter’s best friend might not be right for her skin. One oily skin could be thick and impervious to strong ingredients while another oily skin might be sensitive and react to that same product, making matters even worse. An esthetician can offer advise on the best way to address your teen’s individual skin concerns.

One of the most important reasons to have a teen facial is the advice you get from consulting a licensed skin care expert. Your teen will not only learn which skin care products will work best for them, but receive important tips about diet and life style habits that will give the skin the boost it needs to stay looking fresh, beautiful and glowing.

Book an appointment now at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics Skincare Spa.

The Best Facial for Fall.

The Best Facial for Fall.
LED Light Treatment
LED Light Treatment

Your back home after spending a couple of glorious months enjoying New England’s brief summer utopia.  It was great, but now your skin is in dire need of T.L.C. so you’ve made an appointment at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics Skin Care Spa for some quick skin recovery.  Between the buildup of dead, dull cells, clogged pores and needing a boost of nutrients and repair ingredients to revitalize your skin, you’re not sure which goal takes priority.

The Generic Facial

Relax, you can feel comfortable that the skin care experts at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics will take a close look at your skin during the skin analysis portion of your facial.  Our master estheticians are highly qualified to determine which is the best possible treatment for your special skin type.  No matter whether you call the spa (781-237-7546) or Book Online ask for our ninety minute Generic Facial.  Then, when you come to the spa, your esthetician will direct you towards the perfect facial choice for fresh, glowing, beautiful skin.

Why ninety minutes?
Often spas try to cram in a facial in an hour or less.  This may work if you’re focusing in on just one thing, but it often falls short when trying to redefine your skin to become clearer, more moist, more vibrant, smooth, luminescent. calm and healthy.  Many spas do a cursory facial where the steps are the same for every client without regard for the special needs of your unique skin type.  The ninety minute facial gives the esthetician time to really evaluate your skin and enough time to work with your skin to see how it responds to performance ingredients.  Special results oriented treatments can be introduced that may take a little more time but can create a dramatic difference in you skin.  Also, ninety minutes allows you precious time to really relax and zone out.


10 Reasons to Have a Facial at Elizabeth Renee Esthetics

Microcurrent1.  Your skin will love you for it.

Regardless of your age, if you want your skin to look its very best you need to consider regular monthly facials.  A facial does for your skin what exercise does for your body.  It keeps it in tip top shape. By sloughing, buffing, hydrating, clearing and nourishing on a professional level your skin will always look its most radiant and beautiful.

2.   You’ll get expert skin analysis.

We are the areas leading skincare experts because we understand your skin.  Instead of doing cookie cutter facials, we recognize all the characteristics that make up your unique skin type, then create ultra-personalize treatments that bring about superior results.

3.  You’ll learn practical lifestyle skin care tips.

Seeking out a highly trained professional esthetician is like hiring a personal trainer for your skin.  Our master estheticians go beyond just giving you a facial.  We are there to offer you important advice about how your skin is influenced by diet, exercise, sun, stress and other lifestyle choices that effect the health and look of your skin.

4.  We’ll give you the time you deserve.

Most spas do their facials in just 50 minutes.  At Elizabeth Renee Esthetics we do have an Express 1 hour facial but strongly suggest (to get the maximum benefit) you set aside an hour and a half so we can address all the needs of your skin.  Plus… it’s so much more relaxing!

5.  You’ll experience professional strength exfoliation.

Professional peels are extraordinarily effective for alleviating dryness, pigmentation, clearing pores, reducing breakouts and stimulating repair for sun damaged skin. We offer over a dozen different peels that are gentle and require no down time. Because we feel this is such an important step we offer them at an unusually affordable price. Most are $50.  The same peels elsewhere can be upwards of $150.

6.  You’ll receive intense hydration.

As skin cells age they loose vital moisture & perish.  Whether you’re dry or oily, moisture is the essential medium for getting important nutrients into thirsty cells. Without moisture skin looks dull and dry.  Skin that is well hydrated is fresh, plump, soft & touchable.   

7.  You’ll create a nice healthy glow.

Although massage is super soothing & relaxing it does so much for your skin.  Massage facilitates important performance ingredients to get deep down into your skin where they can do the most good.  Massage hydrates, softens and makes cleaning pores much easier.  It also improves the micro-circulation of skin cells which encourages super healthy skin and a wonderfully healthy youthful glow. 

8.  You’ll enjoy cleaner, clearer pores.

Lots of us get clogged pores.  Blackheads and closed comedones can sit in the pores for years unless they are otherwise removed.  This often leads to breakouts.  Our highly trained estheticians can judiciously recognize what should and shouldn’t be removed and they know how to prepare your skin for proper extractions.  Clearer skin, means enjoying a pretty, smooth even texture.

9.  You’ll find top notch ingredients.

Owner/esthetician Elizabeth Kosky is the areas leading skin care ingredient expert.  She has formulated an extensive line of products diversified to meat the needs of each individual’s skin type.  These proprietary formulations are based on the latest scientific research and efficacy testing from reliable & trusted labs.  Whether you skin is dry, mature, acne prone or sensitive you know you’ll be getting the best skin care products available… anywhere!

10.  Because you’re worth it!

Having a facial gives you a relaxing, destressing point of refuge where you can melt into luxury.  Come in, lay down on a superbly comfortable bed, with low lighting, soothing music and the soft sounds of waves rolling up onto the shore.  You’ll get lulled into a magical dream world.. the door closes… and all your cares and worries are left on the other side of that facial room door.  Recognize the importance of doing something nice that’s just for you.  You deserve to be taken care of by the very best.  You deserve Elizabeth Renee Esthetics.

Six steps to minimize large pores.

Phyto Bubbles MasqueClients often ask me if they can shrink the size of their pores.   The honest answer is “yes and no.”  Pore size is something one inherits.  It is part of your skin type, like having oily skin.  This inherited characteristic is triggered by hormone changes, which is why pores are so much smaller in children, before they reach puberty.  Your pores are going to be larger in oily areas and smaller in drier areas of your face.  This is a good thing because if your pore size is too small for the amount of oil you are producing you are likely to get clogged pores, which can lead to breakouts.

As time marches on, pores can become larger due to sun damage and other free radical skin agers.  The sun damages important collagen and elastin fibers that support skin around the pores, keeping pores firm and tight.  With age the skin becomes lax and pores expand.

Using products that are too rich for your skin not only clogs your pores but stretches them out, making them appear larger.  The bottom line is that even though you can’t really shrink pores to smaller than what you’ve inherited, you can influence changes in your environment to minimize pores that have been enlarged.  Here are some simple steps to make them look smaller resulting in a smoother, younger looking complexion.

  1. Define your skin type. If you have oily skin you still need to moisturize to keep your skin well hydrated but choose “oil free” products to prevent oil accumulation that will stretch out the pores. Try Weightless by Elizabeth Renee Esthetics.  This light weight moisturizer is oil free, die free and fragrance free.  It does not feel sticky or get lodged in your pores.
  2. Never go to bed wearing makeup.  Wash your face regularly, twice a day will help keep pores clean.  Balance your skin by using a light weight milky cleanser that neither deposits too much oil nor over dries your skin.  Click here to read more on cleanser choices for you skin type. Following cleansing one should always use a toner to remove the last traces of cleanser residue that sits in your pores.
  3. Good anti-aging techniques will minimize pore size.  Use a mineral based SPF 30 Sunscreen every day.  Sunscreens protect against the break down of fibers, keeping skin firm and pores tight.  To help repair past sun damage and promote healthy new collagen and elastin fibers try a retinol based serum at night.  Retinol has a proven anti-aging track record for over 30 years.  Our favorite formula is Retinol Resurfacing Treatment which is gentler and more easily tolerated by most skin types.
  4. Instant gratification.  Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Pore Perfecting Face Primer  used under makeup transforms your skin by instantly evening out and smoothing skin’s texture.  All of a sudden pores look smaller.  Follow your primer with a powder foundation.  Powders won’t settle in the pores and will absorb excess oil.
  5. Power Peel Perfection. Look at your skin close up and you will see peaks and valleys that make up the texture of your skin. A Microdermabrasion exfoliating treatment uses aluminum oxide crystals to “sand-blast” the surface of your skin.  While this treatment is not as uncomfortable as it implies, the crystals wear down the peaks and stimulate repair to build up the valleys in your skin.  The end result is a more even skin texture.  The pores not only appear smaller, lines are softened and skin takes on a healthy, youthful glow.
  6. Have a deep pore cleansing facial.  These facials focus on extractions of material trapped in pores that create blackheads and whiteheads.  Pores that are kept clean cause less attention to irregular pore size and are more able to  shrink back to their inherited size.  My favorite deep pore cleansing facial is Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Phyto-Bubbles Facial.  This facial uses plant enzymes in an bubbly effervescent mask to soften oil and clear pores deep down in the skin. This leaves skin texture looking smooth, fresh and clean.

What are these white bumps on my skin?

UltrasoundHere are the most common white bumps found on the skin:

Milia is a condition that occurs when a pocket of keratinized skin cells is trapped underneath the surface of the skin.  These appear as waxy looking small, hard white bumps that do not usually disappear on their own.  Unlike whiteheads, they are not associated with pores (oil glands).  This means there is no escape route for the clogged material and they are more likely to just sit there indefinitely.  They are very common on the faces of babies but also adults.  In adults they are often a result of sun damage where the skin develops an impermeable layer on the surface that increases the likelihood of clogging (especially under the eyes).   Milia can be lancet and then removed by a qualified dermatologist or esthetician.  When they are extracted they appear as little hard white beads.

Keratosis Pilaris often occurs on the upper arms and looks kind of like goose bumps.  This occurs when skin proteins get clogged in the hair follicle.  This condition is usually associated with dry skin.  The condition may improve in the summer when the skin gets less dry.  The most effective way to treat Keratosis Pilaris is to mix 6 drops of Glycolic Serum Plus in with a light body lotion and work it into the skin twice daily.  In-Spa one can speed up results by having a Glycolic Booster Treatment. Concentrated glycolic is spread over the skin to quickly dissolve those dead dry cell layers.

Closed comedones are clogs of oil and dead cells in the sebaceous glands, which are attached to hair follicles in the skin. They are caused by “sticky sebum” (oil) that is slow moving out of the pores.  The oil is trapped in the pore by layers of dead skin cells or by using a too heavy moisturizer, foundation or eye cream for your particular skin type.  Although this is considered a form of acne, the clog is close to the skin’s surface and not inflamed.  Clogs that are located lower in the skin will often form cysts.  White bumps which become infected and show signs of inflammation are called pustules.  They have a white pocket of dead cells and bacteria in the center of an inflamed blemish.

Closed comedones are slow to correct themselves.  If you are over drying you skin with detergent based cleansers, alcohol based toners or harsh acne products they tend to get indurated (hardened) and deeper in the skin.  If you are using too rich products they will increase in number.  It is not a good idea to remove these yourself, the reason being that if they are removed incorrectly bacteria can get into the pore and cause inflammation, leading to a full blown pimple.  Soften up the surface of the skin using a Glycolic Acid based serum daily. Try a Retinol based serum at night and use a smooth surfaced exfoliating scrub three times a week.  Once you have prepped your skin with an effective exfoliating regime it’s time to visit your esthetician to have those stubborn closed comedones extracted.  An effective pore clearing facial will include steam to soften the oil and a peel for in depth exfoliation, but more advanced treatments also include ultrasound exfoliation.  After your peel,  your esthetician will follow up with a Sonopeel.  This Sonopeel (which looks like a metal spatula) slides under accumulated dead cells and uses sound waves to gently lift and remove them, creating a more effective exfoliation to clear the pores and make way for easier extractions.  A Sonopeel treatment is also a highly effective way to hydrate and soften your skin.

Click here to book a pore clearing Redefining Skin Facial with a Sonopeel ultrasound treatment.