Stressed skin happens. Your skin is a reflection of everything that’s going on in your life. It never fails, something “really important” is about to happen; you get a blemish. You’re worried about your new job; dark circles suddenly appear.  Your anxious about a new relationship; your rosacea flares up.  Since you can’t avoid your job, bills, or life, the best thing to do is learn how to manage your stress.

This includes eating healthy, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and taking care of yourself in general. By adopting stress reducing habits like taking up yoga, going for walks, practicing meditation or having facials regularly you can lessen the effects of stress on your body and on your skin. If you don’t, the signs of stress will eventually show themselves as aging, acne or reactivity.

When under stress, the brain orders our adrenal glands to secrete two hormones, adrenaline and cortisol. Of the two, cortisol is the most concerning from a reactive and anti-aging perspective.

Cortisol is a natural hormone that helps the body deal with stress. In small amounts, cortisol is a normal and healthy short term reflex to give you the energy to push through stress. You’ve heard of the fight-or-flight response that saved early man from getting eaten by a saber-toothed tiger. Cortisol serves as a great short term coping mechanism. However, cortisol can turn into your enemy if it remains elevated for a long period of time. In today’s society, stress doesn’t always leave after a short encounter.  You can’t always fight or run away from the tiger, especially when the tiger is your boss. People who are prone to high levels of stress will sustain high levels of cortisol.  This negatively affects the body and specifically the skin by increasing reactivity responses which can cause flushing, inflammation and acne as well as premature wrinkling, dark circles and loss of skin firmness.


You may notice that during periods of high stress you experience more acne-breakouts. This is because elevated cortisol prompts skin’s sebaceous glands to produce more oil, increasing the likeliness of getting clogged pores.  If that’s not bad enough cortisol also increases your inflammation response. Normally, a clogged pore might just sit there forever.   But combined with elevated cortisol your skin becomes more reactive, often leading to a full-blown blemish.

What to do:

  • During times of stress act proactively. Switch to a light moisturizer that contains anti-inflammatory ingredients such as  Sea Whip or Chinese Licorice Root.
  • Exfoliate regularly to clear the pores. Instead of grabbing your Alpha Hydroxy Acid serum, Retin-A or a strong scrub to exfoliate, reactive skin should make the wiser choice of gently exfoliating, particulate free Proteolytic Enzymes.
  • Nix the typical acne masque which is often drying and irritating, robbing your skin of moisture and its natural protective barrier. When your skin is stressed you need to focus on calming inflammation first.  This way, angry red papules calm down and heal quicker. Choose a masque that contains Meadowsweet, which is a milder version of anti-bacterial and pore clearing salicylic acid. When used at the first signs of breakouts or a few days before your monthly cycle, a non-drying, anti-inflammatory gel masque for acne will effectively disrupt the visible blemish cycle to encourage smoother skin with fewer noticeable bumps.


Cortisol has the power to accelerate aging in stressful situations.   Elevated cortisol levels have a long list of negative effects that contribute to aging.  Here are just a few:

  1. Increased Glycation
    Stress causes sugar to be dumped into the bloodstream to provide energy for the fight or flight response.  Prolonged, elevated sugar levels cause cross linking of important collagen and elastin fibers which normally support and plump our skin (known as glycation). When sugar molecules attach to collagen and elastin fibers it makes them rigid and malformed. This eventually leads to wrinkles, dullness and a loss of firmness. This process is called Advanced Glycation End Products (appropriately shortened to the acronym AGEs).
    What to do:
    While glycation cannot be completely stopped, dietary changes can make a big difference.  It’s not easy to eliminate sugar completely. Even whole grains, fruits, and vegetables turn to glucose—the type of sugar that fuels glycation. But limiting added sugar certainly helps.  When under stress, it’s also important to remember to boost your antioxidant levels. All fruits and veggies, as well as things like dark chocolate and green tea, have powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from glycation.  So, the important thing is to eat fresh, whole fruits and veggies (not the juice) which slows sugar absorption and provides you with valuable antioxidants.   Getting a regular supply of antioxidants helps to stave off the effects of AGEs.  Also, consider a Vitamin B supplement: Studies have found that Vitamins B1 and B6 help inhibit the formation of AGEs by lowering the effects of stress on your skin.
    Skin Care Tip:
    When dealing with glycated skin, it is essential to remember that the skin needs ingredients that have anti-inflammatory properties. Research shows that antioxidants also fight inflammation. Vitamin C is the anti-oxidant most researched for fighting stress induced aging.  Using a high potency skin serum containing Vitamin C is very effective.  The problem with using Vitamin C in the form of L-Ascorbic Acid (the most common form found in serums) is that it can be very irritating and unstable, which adds to the inflammation component. We suggest trying Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate as a non-irritating and stable alternative.  If you’re particularly stressed, you should also consider adding additional antioxidants to your skin care routine. Superfruits like coffee berries, acai berries, gogi fruit, mangoes and pomegranates are among the most powerful sources of natural antioxidants and can be added to your Vitamin C serum.
  2. Thinning Skin
    Elevated cortisol (this includes extended use of cortisone creams) wears down skin supporting connective tissue resulting in thinner skin which is less durable, more reactive and more prone to wrinkles.
    What to do:
    Your skin is made of protein.  You need to eat protein to provide your body with the amino acids needed to rebuild heathy skin cells.  Making sure you are eating enough protein is essential.   You also need lipids to calm and reinforce your skin’s protective barrier.  Calming Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish and in nuts and seeds are great sources for building healthy skin.
    Skin care tip:
    Caprooyl Tetrapeptide-3,  is one of a powerful group of protein building peptides which act as messengers that tell skin cells called fibroblasts to produce more collagen. Popular, new stem cell stimulators like Hydrolyzed Algin and a rare Swiss Apple Extract offer great promise for waking up your skin’s own sleepy stem cells to start rejuvenation and repair.  While these stem cells don’t directly replace our own stem cells, research supports that they have the ability to give your own stem cells a little nudge to wake them up and start acting like younger, more vital skin repair cells.
    LED (light emitting diode) treatments help stimulate Mitochondria in skin cells. Mitochondria is the engine, or power house for skin cells.  Slowed skin repair is caused in part by a natural slow down of energy (called ATP) produced in cells as we age.  LED boosts energy to stimulate metabolism for healthier, stronger skin.
  3. Dull, Sluggish Skin
    In some cases stress causes decreased blood flow to the skin.  This happens when hormones draw blood away from extremities and the skin to protect internal organs. Prolonged stress means the skin gets less nutrients and oxygen and becomes depleted of antioxidants. The result is skin which appears dull and tired looking.
    What to do:
    Moderate exercise is great for energizing the skin (don’t forget your sunscreen).  It increases blood flow and improves circulation.  Of course you need to get plenty of sleep, eat properly and avoid sugar, alcohol and smoking.
    Skincare tip:
    If your skin looks dull and worn try exercising your face as well as your body.  Don’t do facial exercises as they pull on skin in a way that actually causes wrinkles. Instead, when you doing your morning and evening cleansing choose an invigorating cleanser containing rosemary.  Try doing simple massage techniques like gentle circles and tapping movements all over your face before you rinse off your cleanser.  A Ginseng toner is great followup that gently draws moisture and blood flow to the skin.
    Your skin will benefit from a series of Microdermabrasion or Bio-Brasion treatments.  Microdermabrasion and Bio-Brasion as well as many peels are exfoliating treatments that stimulate collagen by causing a very mild trauma to the skin.  This gets the skin to go into a healing mode, which results in increased collagen production.  Bio-Brasion is better for stressed skin because it is less likely to go overboard and cause irritation that can be counterproductive.
  4. Puffy Eyes
    Cortisol has a natural rhythm throughout your day.  Your body should produce more in the morning than in the evening, giving you the energy to begin your day. In the evening, as you leave your daily stresses behind, cortisol levels should drop by 90 percent. However, elevated cortisol levels at night can deprive you of sleep. Most skin repair occurs at night, during REM sleep, this is why your esthetician encourages you to apply those active rejuvenating serums in the evening.  Lack of sleep can cause lymphatic fluid to pool under eyes causing puffiness in the morning.
    What to do:
    To prevent and shrink puffiness get at least eight hours of sleep. Since the light from your smartphone, smart TV, computer and iPad screen simulate sunlight, shut off any electronic devices an hour before you go to sleep. Use your downtime to make yourself a cup of caffeine-free chamomile tea to help calm and relax you before bed.
    Skincare tip:
    Try adopting the stress reducing habit of  going to bed and getting up at the same times each day.  If you still wake up with puffy eyes try applying an anti-puff gel in the morning.  A good anti-puff gel contains Hesperidin to shrink capillaries and reduce dark circles.  It might also contain CoQ10 to energize lymph drainage from under the eye.  Make your anti-puff gel even more effective by placing your glass bottle of gel in the fridge at night.  In the morning, when you tap on the gel, roll the edge of the chilly glass bottle over the puffy areas to tighten and further drain the lymph from the area.

A great stress reducer is remembering to smile, laugh and be good to yourself. This is not only good for your skin but great for your overall health as well.



Antioxidant Protection in Skincare Serums

Antioxidant Protection in Skincare Serums

Serums are the mainstay of any effective  skincare regime.  That’s because the high concentration of active components incorporated into your serum is much greater than you’ll find in a cream.  If you want your skin care program to make real, positive changes you should consider adding a serum to your daily routine.

Well actually, consider adding two.  Ask yourself, what is the goal when applying a serum?  There are different goals for using a daytime and nighttime serum. Most of your serums aim to either protect your skin from environmental aggressors or work on repairing damage that’s already done.

During the day your main focus should always be skin protection.  Once your skin is damaged, it’s so much harder to correct, so put a major effort into prevention. Daytime is when you’re most likely exposed to pollution, UV rays from the sun, and oxidative stress which contributes to inflammation that accelerates skin aging. Sunscreen is essential, but your best bet is to back up that sunscreen by first applying a highly concentrated antioxidant serum.

Vitamin C is a tried and true antioxidant vitamin that has been extensively tested and found to be a key component in the production of collagen, a protein that aids in the growth of cells and blood vessels and gives skin its firmness. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that slows the rate of free-radical damage to collagen fibers.  These free radicals are unstable molecules that cause skin dryness, fine lines and wrinkles.  It’s important to get enough Vitamin C from your diet but studies show that by applying Vitamin C directly to your skin you’ll get more absorption, faster, giving skin the direct protection it needs.  To make sure you are getting a stabilized version of Vitamin C check out Elizabeth Renee’s C & E Antioxidant Serum which also helps reduce blackhead formation and brightens the skin. This no-sting formula has been our number one, most popular serum for antioxidant protection for several years. 

Recently we have introduced another choice for those seeking high powered antioxidant protection. The combined efforts of extracts from superfruits have immense antioxidant capabilities.  Fruits like mangos, goji berries, noni fruit and coffee berries contain a lot of rich, colorful pigment.  The pigment is where you will find skin saving antioxidants that are extremely effective against sun damage.  Matter of fact, choosing to use one of these antioxidant serums under your sunscreen daily can increase you protection from damaging free radicals by as much as 20% over wearing sunscreen alone.  Super fruits are easy on the skin, so even the most sensitive skins can tolerate them. While limiting free radicals that lead to inflammation, dryness, aging and age spots, super fruits will also soften, sooth, hydrate and reduce redness. Check out Elizabeth Renee’s Sunrise Solution for gentle, effective protection.

The important thing to remember is the old adage, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.  It is so much harder to get rid of lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and other signs of aging once you have them.  Maybe that’s what Ben Franklin was really talking about.

Antioxidant Serums


Do you have persistent eczema?

Do you have persistent eczema?
I have very sensitive, eczema prone skin.  I used to think this was because of some mysterious ingredient in my skincare products that I could never seem to isolate.  How embarrassing for someone in my profession.  Recently I’ve had allergy testing done by my dermatologist that confirmed that I have an allergy to nickel.  I always suspected this because I had a lot of problems wearing jewelry that would cause a rash where the metal touched my skin. The solution that worked for years was just to buy really good quality gold jewelry (with a lower nickel content). However, since I’ve been post-menopausal I’ve become more sensitive and even my gold jewelry seems to eat through my skin.
In the fall I developed severe eczema around my eyes.  The skin was red and swollen and would then peel away leaving my skin even more sensitive.  For a while I quit wearing all eye makeup.   I tried cutting everything out of my skincare routine but it never cleared up the eczema.  Cortisone creams from my dermatologist helped for a short time but then thinned the skin so much that the eczema would come back with a vengeance.  However, there were three products that never stung my skin:  Soothing Seawhip Cleansing Milk, Ginseng Tea Toner and Revitalize Cell Therapy.  And the interesting thing was, my eczema got worse each time I stopped using my toner.
I’ve since discovered that the root of my eczema was not my skincare products at all but the food I was eating.  Nickel is in the soil where we grow our food which gets absorbed by many foods. Particularly whole grains, chocolate, cashews, kidney beans, green leafy veggies, legumes, bean sprouts, nuts, seeds, soy and canned foods.  What’s left?  And, to make matters worse, all the hardware on my kitchen cabinets and the faucets in my bathrooms are all made of satin nickel.  How pretty.
This is what worked for me.  I’ve discovered that taking 500-1000 mg Vitamin C before each meal allows me to eat most everything.  You see, Vitamin C binds with the nickel and it makes it more difficult for it to get absorbed.  I’m also very good about taking Omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation.   I run water for a minute or so before I use the faucet and drink only purified water.  I disinfect my hands each time I use the faucet.  I avoid mineral based cosmetics and alway follow cleansing my face with a toner.  I even wipe it over my eyelids.  The eyelids are thinnest and most delicate area on the face.  Therefore you can experience allergic reactions in this area even when the culprit is not placed directly on the eyelids.  Oh, and I also stay away from Moroccan Oil. which is a product that I love for my hair, but sure enough, every time I use it I get a severe reaction on my eyelids.
I hope this story helps you discover why you might be getting eczema.  15% of the population has an allergy to nickel.  You may not be allergic to nickel but take a look at some alternative causes to your eczema.  The place to start is to get some allergy testing done.  This may help with the confusion and save you months or even years of discomfort and aggrivation. Good luck!

Holiday Stressed Skin

Holidays can be fun but let’s face it, for a lot of us it can be a very stressful time and the result of this is often reflected in our skin. If you find yourself running around trying to get ready for holiday parties, stressed out about finding that perfect gift, dealing with sometimes difficult family dynamics, over indulging in rich foods, sugary foods or alcoholic beverages, your skin may be showing distinct signs of stress. 

You’re not alone.  This time of year many clients come running into Elizabeth Renee Esthetics skincare spa for an “emergency facial” to find out what the heck is going on with their skin.  The most common concerns include a sudden tightness, dullness, dryness, blotchiness, eczema patches, puffy eyes, blemishes and flaking.  Our estheticians are specially trained to recognize the signs of stressed skin and provide treatments and products that offer quick results.


Cold weather causes us to push up the thermostat.  Most heating systems create desert dry air that sucks that valuable moisture out of your skin. Skin cells are dependent on moisture to stay alive, healthy and metabolically active.  The lack of moisture causes cells to die prematurely, leaving skin feeling tight, dry and flaky. It also leads to the breakdown of your skin’s protective hydrolipidic barrier.  Lacking this barrier means your skin becomes vulnerable to irritants, bacteria and free radical skin agers.  Water always goes from greater concentration (in this case your skin) to lesser concentration (the arid air around you).  So, naturally moisture is drawn out of the skin. 

Your first step in improving winter dry skin is to improve the barrier function of your skin.  That moisturizer that was perfect over the summer is just not going to cut it right now.  Upgrade to a moisturizer that has more emolliency.  My favorite moisturizer for very dry skin is Intensive Lipid Repair.  This rich moisturizing cream contains ursolic acid, an ingredient that helps dry skin repair itself by stimulating your skin’s ability to produce more protective skin lipids from within.  If you’re in love with your current moisturizer you might want to try adding a few drops of FijiGirl Facial Oil to increase its moisture holding emolliency.  Sensitive or eczema prone skin should take a look at Environmental Protection which is a silicone based product that can provide a soothing and extra protective layer over your moisturizer.  Silicone is good for this skin type because while it traps in moisture it lets the heat out of the skin.  Heat trapped in your skin can be a problematic if you are sensitive or have rosacea because, when skin heats up it gets redder and more reactive.  

You should also look at the other products in your regime.  Is that gel or foaming cleanser too drying this time of year?  Steer clear of anything that foams up on the skin or contains detergents like sodium lauryl sulfate that dissolves the skin’s protective barrier. Always follow cleansing with a mild alcohol free toner to remove drying chlorine particles and fluoride found in the tap water you used to was your face. If you use a cleansing milk you might want to try a little richer formula for winter.                                                                  

For many skin types this is the time of year to tame your exfoliation routine.   Replace that scratchy scrub for a silky cream exfoliant, based on gently exfoliating enzymes that glide on like a mask and subtly dissolve away dead dry cells – sans the irritating particles: a definite no no for sensitive skin. 

This time of year it is even more important to get your eight glasses of water in daily.  Moisturizers don’t put moisture in your skin, but hold in moisture brought in through circulation, and that moisture comes from drinking water.   It’s also a good idea to set up a humidifier near where you sleep at night and for heaven’s sake wear a scarf or other protective clothing when you’re outside facing the elements.


It’s party time!  Okay, so we all over indulge a little this time of year.  First of all there are all those tempting sweets that require super human powers to resist.  Keep in mind that sugar adds dramatically to free radical damage which accelerates wrinkles, and aging.  Sugar also invites bacteria that can contribute to breakouts.  Plus, be aware that eating salty foods, especially at night, increases under eye puffiness.  Alcohol is a triple whammy for your skin. It’s full of collagen linking sugar (causing wrinkles). It’s loaded with free radicals and is extremely dehydrating when you over indulge. Plus it’s a vasodilator which makes sensitive skin get redder and reactive.

Combat free radical damage by upping your antioxidant intake. Try sneaking in extra antioxidants by eating more colorful fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants are in the pigment so dark green veggies like spinach or brightly colored berries contain lots of pigment and therefore lots of anti-aging antioxidants. Try upping your Vitamin C supplement.  Vitamin C promotes new collagen production.  Start applying a high potency antioxidant serum to your skin during the day. Sunrise Solution contains 18 of the most potent, state-of-the-art antioxidants including superfruits like Coffee Berries, Acai Berries, Gogi Fruit and Pomegranates.  These are amongst the most powerful sources of natural antioxidants available today, especially against collagen glycation due to sugar and alcohol intake.  Also keep in mind that balancing each alcoholic beverage you drink with a glass of water helps limit the amount of dehydration your skin will have to endure this holiday season.


You might be exhausted.  Not getting enough sleep can be the result of parties or holiday worries.  Did you know that healthy skin depends on plenty of sleep?  Most skin repair occurs during REM sleep. This is why we recommend most repair serums at night.  When you miss this important stage of sleep you leave your skin vulnerable.

Try to monitor your sleep.  Taking a cat nap during the day helps reduce stress hormones that eventually breaks down skin’s immune system.  I can’t stress enough the importance of sleep, but when it’s just not happening try these repair tactics:

Give yourself a little massage.  Spend a little extra time when cleansing your skin just doing little circles around your eyes and face with your cleanser twice a day.  This gentle stimulation jump starts circulation to bring in fresh blood containing oxygen, water and important nutrients in to feed your skin. 

Try an eye gel in the morning that you’ve left in the fridge overnight.  The coolness tightens lymph vessels under your eyes to relieve puffiness and dark circles.  Some of the newer peptides like Hesperidin (found in our Anti-Puff Gel) helps decrease blood from leaking through delicate capillary walls under your eyes.  This decreases redness as well as puffiness.

Try using a repair serum at night so that the sleep you do get is productive at healing and strengthening your skin.  My personal favorite night time serum is REVITALIZING Cell Therapy.  Even though I’m prone to eczema I find this serum offers instant relief from dryness and sensitivity.  Plus it has super repair factors that come from 5 internationally patented anti-aging ingredients. Over time your skin looks younger with improved texture and tone.


When under emotional stress your body exhibits a “fight or flight response.”  What this means for the skin is that blood is drained away from the face to protect your internal organs.  Stressed skin often lacks proper circulation and appears dull and sluggish. The increased stress hormone (Cortisol)  acts similarly to  testosterone which increases the likelihood of breakouts in some people and skin reactions in others and is a major contributor of premature aging of the skin.  

The most important way to fight stress it to learn to be good to yourself.  Find time to squeeze in that facial.  One of the most soothing, hydrating and relaxing facials we offer is the Cold Fusion Facial.  This super hydrating, anti-ager is just what the doctor ordered.  Based on a Cold Fusion Masque which contains a hefty dose of Epidermal Growth Factors for super effective skin repair.  While you’re here our expert estheticians will carefully examine your skin and make educated skin care recommendations based on your individual skin type.  The Cold Fusion Facial includes a peel.  Maybe the peel you need right now is our Smart Peel.  The Smart Peel exfoliates with sting-free enzymes, leaving skin fresh and relaxed, hydrated and calm.  Can you think of a better stress reducer? Studies show that taking time out to relax stimulates a stronger immune system so you are better able to handle the tough stuff. Don’t skip exercise just because it’s winter.  Regularly (moderate) exercise causes your body to produce anti-stress hormones. Try yoga. Take a walk. Plan some healthy New Years Resolutions.


If your skin has become super sensitive because of all this stress and harsh weather conditions you may have recently developed eczema symptoms.  For this you may need a medical prescription but in the mean time you need to look at your skin care program to make sure you have eliminated all possible triggers.  Your esthetician can help you with this.  Your esthetician can improve your regime, keeping in mind that eczema is made worse in winter because of the loss of the protective barrier.  Once you have cut down to the bare minimum gradually reintroduce products to find out what is the most tolerable for your skin.  I’ve had to do this myself and after several weeks I was able to build up to a minimal program of milky cleanser, alcohol free toner and simple moisturizer.  However, my skin remained dry until I introduced Revitalize Cell Therapy which has helped my skin feel more comfortable and heal.  I also found that using a Luminous Foundation worked wonders. I’ve eliminated anything that is drying (including all powder based makeup, especially powder shadows and powder blush.)  I really love our Luminous Foundation because it not only feels more comfortable but gives off a younger, smooth moist look.  


Stress increases breakouts at the most inopportune times.  If you have clogged pores they might not act up until the introduction of stress. 

Try an LED Light Treatment.  This facial uses light to stimulate skin repair.  If you have problem skin, this treatment is perfect for killing aggravating bacteria that causes breakouts and encourages healing.  In the winter, the over use of harsh acne products can be counter productive by increasing inflammation.  Try treating your skin a little more gently.  Take a look at these gentle blemish busting tips:

  • Come in for High Frequency.  This treatment flushes blemishes with bacteria killing oxygen.  Acne bacteria is anaerobic – zap it with oxygen and it’s dead on contact. The best part is… if you are an Elizabeth Renee client give us a call and we’ll do it for free!  It takes only a few minutes.
  • When you feel that sore red blemish coming on, try applying a thick layer of over-the-counter cortisone cream on that spot as soon as you start to feel it. Then ice it for five minutes. Do this twice a day and sometimes you can actually miss getting the blemish.
  • Try Clear Skin Solution. This is a great spot treatment.  If you don’t like the experience of over drying and irritating your skin you can skip the  caustic alternatives such as benzoic peroxide.
  • Cover up with our Blemish Treatment Concealer. This concealer helps dry up and clear blemishes without the oily base that you’ll find in most other concealers.
  • Update your exfoliation. Stress can go either way.  Your skin can become reactive with red, sore blemishes.  This means you need to skip that scratchy scrub for a pore clearing and disinfecting exfoliating serum like Getting Even which contains bacteria fighting Salicylic Acid.  But… if stress causes your skin to get dull and clogged you need to accompany your Getting Even with a skin smoothing scrub.  For dull, thick skin with problem blackheads or non-inflamed comedones try Clarifying Crystals (made with volcanic mud for a deep skin smoothing experience.)


As we’ve already discussed, lack of sleep, poor food choices and alcohol can cause under eye puffiness.  Here are some bonus tips for this problem:

** When using the Anti-Puff Gel keep the bottle in the fridge so you can apply it cold, but you can also take the cold glass bottle and roll it directly over the puffy areas to tighten the tissue and take down puffiness faster.

** Sleep with your head elevated and sleep on your back.  This helps to drain lymph fluid away from your face. Leaving the eye area smoother in the morning.

** Wear a lighter eye creme. We’ve updated our eye cream formulas to be lighter because research shows that heavy emollients in eye creams actually hold water in the delicate tissues under the eyes, making them puffy.  Check out EyeLift Brightening Creme for one of today’s most state-of-the-art formulations.

** Alcohol allows lymph to accumulate in the blood vessels under your eyes while you sleep. Drinking later in the evening causes a more acute problem.  What can I say?

** If you have dry under eyes, try a primer under your makeup to make this skin looks smoother.  

** Keep away from white concealer and keep highlighting products not too close to the eyes because these accentuates circles and puffiness.


Finally, when heading into the new year be good to yourself.  Create some New Years resolutions like booking a “good for you” facial on a regular basis.  You’ll not only feel pampered and more relaxed but your skin will thank you for it by looking younger, smoother. Keeping that glow will make you feel so much less stressed!


Problem SkinAcne is an aggravating condition suffered by 80% of teenage women and 90% teenage males. Triggered by hormonal changes, the numbers diminish in adults as hormones level out to 12% in adult women and 3% in adult males. Notice that teenage acne in males is higher but settles down to a number considerable lower than women as adults.  This is due in part to the fact that testosterone levels spike in teen males then tend to level out a bit, but in women there are more erratic hormonal changes that continue through their adult lives.

Acne is actually a disease that can range from Grade I acne: mild comedones (blackheads and clogged pores) to moderate Grades II and III: which include papules, pustules and a few nodules to Grade IV: which also includes cysts and acne scaring (from collapsed of tissue underneath the skin’s surface). Severe acne requires medical treatment but there is a lot one can do to minimize mild to moderate breakouts.

Common treatments of the past focused on drying out the skin, removing sebum and killing acne causing (p-acne) bacteria by using harsh ingredients like Benzoyl Peroxide, solvent alcohols and over drying sulfate based cleansers. Today researchers have found that these aggressive treatments may actually aggravate one of the main pathogenic factors that cause acne: namely inflammation.

If your problem skin includes red, inflamed blemishes you need to focus on calming the skin first. Calming inflammation means cutting the chain of events that ignites blemishes and leads to staining and scaring of the skin.  This also lessens the time that flare-ups last and allows skin to stay clearer longer. One should remember that reducing inflammation is part of a complete problem skin program which should also consider things like stress reduction and diet modification.

Acne researchers have linked three enzymes to acne related inflammation.

I. 5-Alpha Reductase:  This enzyme is responsible for creating a type of testosterone which makes “sticky” sebum (oil) in the pores of acne-prone skin.  This sebum mixes with dead skin cells which then contributes to clogged pores.  Once the trapped sebum is cut off from bacteria limiting oxygen, a perfect environment is created for acne bacteria to proliferate.

II. Lipase: This enzyme is released in pores by acne bacteria which then changes sebum into free fatty acids, the kind that acne bacteria loves to eat.  As microbes increase, the skin signals an inflammation response which brings in white blood cells to to fight off bacteria.  You’ll see this as red, sore inflamed blemishes.

III. Hyaluronidase: This enzyme is released to thin out the skin and allow white blood cells to rush into the infected area more easily.  Hyaluronic Acid (which supports, plumps and gives volume to the skin) is broken down by this enzyme. Unfortunately, once the blemish has healed, the tissue doesn’t always go back to it’s original heathy state.  The result can be a caving in of the skin, creating an acne scare or leaving a pigmentation stain.

It is now believed that the best way to treat these conditions is to inhibit these enzymes and their influence on problem skin.  Using a calming approach to acne can change the face of your acne prone skin.

If you take steps to find and incorporate these ingredients into your skin care program you will help break the chain of events that contribute to acne breakouts.

BETAINE SALICYLATE: Treating acne-prone skin with salicylic acid has become quite popular. Salicylic Acid is a BHA that works kind of like AHA’s to clear the pores, but Salicylic is more anti-bacterial than glycolic and other alpha hydroxy acids.  This special version of salicylic acid is even better because it is attached to sugar beet extract. This makes the salicylic acid gentler on the skin and provides time-released exfoliation and pore clearing properties even after the ingredient has been washed off the skin.
[Check out our AHA/BHA Clarifying Mousse.]

CHINESE LICORICE EXTRACT: This ultra soothing version of licorice extract has been shown to decrease the lipase enzyme which is linked to the inflammation cascade created in acne-prone skin. Inflamed blemishes heal much faster, with less of a post breakout mark.
[Look for Clear Skin Solution as a gentle spot treatment.]

AUSTRALIAN & NEW ZEALAND TEA TREE OILS: This patented blend of Tea Tree Oils helps neutralize p-acne bacteria without the irritation & redness typically associated with other tree tree oils.  Look for 4-Terpineol & New Zealand Tea Tree Oil on the label.
[You’ll find this in Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Clear Comfort Masque]

MEADOWSWEET: This fragrant flower extract boosts skin’s natural defenses, helping to maintain a healthy flora on the skin’s surface and in the pores.  Researchers are using this botanical extract to limit inflamed acne lesions. Results of the study appear in the April edition of International Journal of Cosmetic Science.  Researchers found that applying a 1% solution of meadowsweet extract to skins cells increased the production of an antimicrobial peptide called cathelicidin by 130%. This is important because excess bacterial growth coupled with a rise in inflammation characterize acne outbreaks.
[At Elizabeth Renee Esthetics, our clients find Meadowsweet Toner a “must have” part of a program to effectively reduce inflamed blemishes.]

SEAWHIP: This ocean derived extract is a super anti-inflammatory ingredient.  We feel it is unsurpassed as a calming skin care ingredient. This soft coral, found in the Caribbean, provides potent natural anti-inflammatory properties that have been studied and found to inhibit up to 90% of the enzyme phospholipase.  This gives an almost instant calming effect to the skin.
[You can find this ingredient in Seawhip Soothing Lotion as well as in Tranquility Serum by Elizabeth Renee Esthetics.]

So, next time you are breaking out consider a gentler approach to treating your problem skin.

Papaya Enzymes for Gentle Exfoliation

PapayaHow do papaya enzymes work for your skin?  

Papaya enzymes exfoliate by dissolving dead protein cells and help clear debris within the pores.  Clients with delicate skin tissue such as broken capillaries and rosacea may not be able to tolerate stronger chemical peels containing alpha or beta hydroxy acids that strip away surface layers in a much more aggressive manner.  Due to their sensitivity or because they are allergy prone they need something that discriminates between living cells and dead surface cells. Enzymes have this ability and the result is a delicate peel that also feels more comfortable on the skin. Note that many papaya enzyme exfoliators on the market also include salicylic acid which negates the purpose of doing gentle peeling. So, you need to check the ingredients listed on the jar before you buy. Our Tropical Enzyme Smoothing Peel’s activity comes purely from the papain enzyme derived from papayas.

These enzymes are also work well for acne prone skin. By cleaning out pores, you will lessen blackheads that can lead to blemishing. If there is already visible blemishing, the papaya’s strong decomposition quality works to clear the skin by breaking down harmful elements while still leaving the healthy cells to thrive.  Enzymes are better than scrubs for inflamed acne because the rough particles in scrubs add to irritation and create little lacerations in the skin that spread acne bacteria.   

Tropical Enzyme Smoothing Peel also helps brighten and even skin tone without chemical abrasives. Natural papaya enzymes work to eliminate dry, dull pigmented cells and toxins to reveal a softer, smoother complexion. Plus, It improves penetration of other treatment products due to removal of dead cells that create a barrier on the skin’s surface.

Tropical Enzyme Smoothing Peel is used in our spa during some of our sensitive skin facials but it is one peel that is mild enough to use at home on a regular basis to keep skin looking smooth, fresh and younger looking.

How to Build More Resilient Skin

LED Light Treatment
LED Light Treatment

Strong, resilient skin is essential to maintaining a complexion that looks young and healthy throughout your life.  The best way to establish resilient skin is to support your skin’s cell metabolism.  If your skin is producing one new cell layer a day it will have achieved optimal thickness and strength to protected itself from damaging irritants and age inducing environmental factors.  Unfortunately, as we age our skin’s metabolism starts to slow down. Sometimes it takes as much as three times longer for skin cells to replace themselves.  Skin  becomes thinner and less able to protect itself.  It’s less able to hold onto moisture (which then interferes with skin’s ability to take up vital nutrients).  A spiral effect of aging results.  A stronger skin is less likely to age as quickly or develop lines, wrinkles or uneven pigmentation.

In-Spa one of the best treatments you can do for building skin resistance is to have an LED Photo Facial.  LED or Light Emitting Diode Therapy is great for anyone who’s skin is thin, delicate, needs healing (such as sensitive skin or inflamed, acne prone skin) or just wants to keep skin strong and well toned.  LED is painless, non-invasive and requires no down time.  It works by stimulating the mitochondria (or powerhouse) of the cell. The mitochondria is like the cell’s engine.  It converts nutrients (food) into fuel which then gives cells energy allowing them to do all their metabolic activities which keep skin cells alive and healthy.  Increased metabolisnm speeds up the reproduction rate of cells which then builds stronger skin.

LED light comes in different  wave lengths.  The red LED light is the best for anti-aging because it speeds up production of collagen and elastin fibers which support skin firmness and helps replace older, damaged tissue.  This works particularly well when combined with Peptide Serum Concentrates.  Peptides also contribute to collagen production and unlike AHA’s and Retinols it can do this without irritating sensitive skin.  Peptides should be used in conjunction with LED in the spa but also one should support this treatment by using Peptides at home. The most effective peptide formulas are serum concentrates because they contain high enough levels of this potent ingredient to get results.

Clients suffering from inflamed acne due to a compromised (less resilient) skin should try Blue LED light therapy.  Blue LED light not only builds skin resilience but kills acne bacteria, reduces sebum (oil) production and helps shrink the size of the pores.  The lesser known Green LED light uses low-intensity light to help fade pigmentation spots.  This treatment works best when combined with hyper-pigmentation peels and should then be supported at home with skin brightening products as well as daily use of an SPF 30 physical sunscreen.

Another great way to stimulate skin metabolism and strengthen your skin is through massage.  This is one reason we include massage as part of your facial treatment.  You should also do some massage at home.  Every morning and night when you apply your cleanser is the perfect time to spend a few extra seconds gently moving your finger tips over your skin to promote better circulation and and better metabolism.  When using a scrub you can also give skin a metabolic boost via gentle massage. To insure supported skin metabolism, make sure to include potent active ingredients in your regime such as magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (Vitamin C) and stem cell boosters like Hydrolyzed Algin.  The later awakens sleepy stem cells to repair and activate skin metabolism offering you a more youthful firmness and smoother, healthier skin.

Finally, ask your esthetician for a comprehensive skin analysis.  Have her evaluate the current thickness and strength of your skin.  Exfoliation (peels, scrubs, AHA’s and Retinols)  do activate skin metabolism, which is great.  But be aware that over exfoliation can tear down and damage your skin making it less resilient.  It’s important to know your individual level of optimal exfoliation to get the best results.  Take care of your skin.  Trust your skin to a seasoned skincare professional who really understands the unique characteristics of your individual skin type. At Elizabeth Renee Esthetics our expert estheticians will work with you to develop the proper protocol you need for your skin type. We are here to help you achieve your best complexion possible.