Is Stress Aging Your Skin?

Is Stress Aging Your Skin?


Life brings with it lots of stress. Kids, work and money issues to name a few. All trigger the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, produced by our adrenal glands, has the important function of allowing us to survive immediate, danger when in “fight or flight” situations. That was great back when you had to worry about getting chased by a saber tooth tiger, but today stress is a little different.

During “fight or flight” your body reacts by:

• Rapid heartbeat and breathing:

The body increases heart rate and respiration in order to provide energy and oxygen where it is needed to quickly flee dangerous situations.

• Pale or flushed skin:

As the stress response starts to take hold, blood flow to the surface areas of our bodies are reduced to direct blood to the muscles, brain, legs and arms. You might become pale as a blood drains from your face. Conversely, some people get flushed as blood rushes to their brain.

• Dilated Pupils:

The body prepares itself to become more acutely aware of its surroundings.

• Trembling;

As your body becomes primed to face danger the tension can result in trembling or shaking.

The thing is, we have different stresses today. Stresses that aren’t as temporary as being chased by a tiger. Stresses that may never seem to go away. The long-term effects of fight or flight will eventually start to break down your body, aging you and your skin and potentially leading to disease. The effects of stress are cumulative. Your body may have handled stress better when you were younger, but by middle age your stress bucket might be full. At that point many of us experience adrenal burnout.

Some symptoms of adrenal burnout:

• Weight gain:

Especially around your middle. Fat is deposited there as a survival mechanism to protect our vital organs in times of stress. Oh, great!

• Loose skin:

Prolonged cortisol breaks down the connective tissue, that supports collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis of your skin, leaving it loose and flaccid.

• Increased lines & wrinkles:

Cortisol interferes with your circadian sleep cycles. Sleep is so important for your skin because it’s the time when most healing and repair occurs. This is why we recommend serums and treatment products to be applied just before bed.

• Cross linking of collagen:

Elevated cortisol levels means increased cravings for sweets. That’s because cortisol spikes insulin (the hunger hormone). Think about it, when you’re feeling stressed is it your first impulse to run and get a kale salad, or is are you more likely to grab a slice of chocolate cake?

• Your skin becomes dull and loses its glow:

Because blood is being diverted from your face to other parts of your body, you become deprived of vital nutrients. Your face takes on a tired, lack luster look. Cells dies prematurely which leads to skin aging.

• You might develop rosacea:

If you’re one of those lucky ones whose skin flushes under stressful situations, learning stress reduction techniques is of vital importants.

• Dark Circles may appear:

Stagnant lymph can occur under your eyes making them look puffy, blueish, and perpetually tired.

• You can develop eczema:

Stress lowers your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to eczema, rashes and itchiness.

• Dry Skin:

The lack of circulation to skin cells can leave you dehydrated and skin cells under nourished leading to early senescence.

• Adult Acne: Cortisol also acts as an androgen which increases oil production and increased inflammation. Great, you’re worried about that job interview and now you’ve got a pimple.

Does this mean we’re all doomed if we live our lives under stress?

Well, there are certain things you can do to help your body handle stress in a meaningful way.

Light Exercise:

If you have adrenal burnout you may want to change the way you exercise. While some of us can sustain intense training. If you already have over the top cortisol levels you may actually be breaking down muscles and collagen with vigorous, high intensity workouts that your body perceives as more stress. More moderate exercise, like long walks might be better for you in the long run. Yoga can also be a good alternative choice. Note that moving is an important stress buster, so you need to get up and exercise every day. Sitting at your computer increases stress hormones in a big way, you have to counteract that by getting exercise in there… somehow.

Cut out the sugar:

Refined sugar leads to higher cortisol levels and insulin resistance, which makes you more hungry for more high carb and nutrient deficient foods and more likely to experience sugar causing glycation of collagen fibers in your skin. This leads to wrinkles and excess inflammation which also breaks down skin cells, leading to loss of tone and dullness.

Add omega 3 fatty acids to your diet:

Omega 3s are great for counteracting inflammation caused by stress. Walnuts, salmon and avocados are good choices. Also consider skincare products which include omega 3s. Check out Elizabeth Renee’s Kukui Cleansing Milk, Intensive Lipid Repair night cream and Good Nite sleeping masque as skincare products that help calm dry, stressed out skin.

Eat your veggies:

These are your number one nutritional stress defense. Cruciferous vegetables help lower blood sugar. These veggies carry abundant nutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories you need to counteract stress. This should be your highest priority for a healthier lifestyle and reducing the damaging effects of stress. You may also want to supplement with Sunrise Solution, an intense antioxidant serum derived from superfoods. It can easily be add to your morning skincare routine.

Get Space:

Giving yourself a little R&R is a perfect way to lower stress hormones. Put yourself in a good place. Go somewhere peaceful that you enjoy. A walk on the beach or hike in the park isn’t a selfish allegation of time. It’s good for you, and good for those around you. As you lower your stress hormones you’ll become more tolerant of others.  Better for everyone. Getting a massage, or facial may seem like a pampering indulgence, but offers a great boost for your health. Practicing meditation may also be a good choice, although I find it a bit stressful trying to be disciplined enough to control my thought like that. But great if it works for you… go for it.  You might also want to try breathing exercises, which have been shown to help lower stress hormones in the form of relaxation response techniques.

Laughter and social connections:

Isolation causes stress. Social connections help you to get some of that stress out of your system, definitely lowering stress hormones. Remember, your attitude has a powerful effect on stress hormones. Taking everything a little lighter not only lowers cortisol but increases telomere length of your chromosomes. This is a major biomarker for longevity. (More about that in a coming post.) Rumination, or not being able to let things go by playing events over and over in your head, sets you up for continued stress hormones circulating your body, playing havoc with your health and the health of your skin. So just find a way to let it go, and watch how your stress levels drop. You and your skin will feel so much better.

Disclaimer: The preceding article was meant for educational purposes only and not intended as medical advice.

Better Than Microdermabrasion

Better Than Microdermabrasion

wet / dry microdermabrasion

Do you love microdermabrasion?  Our clients rave about it.  This popular exfoliation technique delivers immediate results to smooth the skin, soften lines and even pigmentation. When microdermabrasion was first introduced we saw results like we’ve never seen before.  This has been the “it” exfoliating treatment for years.  But, now there’s a new “darling” in the world of effective exfoliating spa treatments. It’s called Bio-Brasion. Bio-Brasion is very much like our beloved microdermabrasion, only better. Much better.

What Is Bio-Brasion?

Simply put, Bio-Brasion is an advanced technology treatment for effective exfoliation.  It combines a diamond tipped hand piece with low suction and gentle vibrations to painlessly exfoliate the skin. Infused into this treatment is a special wet / dry microdermabrasion system that pushes hydrating ingredients deep into the skin while introducing skin brighteners and pore clearing ingredients that allows for peak performance and maximum results.

Why is this better than traditional microdermabrasion?

Technically Bio-Brasion is a form of microdermabrasion. The treatments are very similar, but there are a few factors that set Bio-Brasion microdermabrasion treatments apart from the rest.

With traditional microdermabrasion, the particles used are made of aluminum oxide crystals.  These sand like crystals have a few problems:

  • First of all they are messy.  You can get crystals in your hair, in your mouth, on your clothes, in your ears and God forbid you can get them in your eyes.
  • The amount of crystals sprayed on the skin can be hard to control.  This sometimes means uneven or unpredictable exfoliation which could result in prolonged red patches.
  • In some cases the crystals might  get lodged in the pores which could contribute to increased acne flare-ups.
  • The suction used in traditional microdermabrasion can be quite strong. Anyone with weak capillary walls or prone to redness should stay away from traditional microdermabrasion treatments or risk damage to their skin.

Our estheticians have always loved microdermabrasion and often got great results but because of these considerations, they have had to think twice before recommending it to clients.  Often we would opt out for a milder peel that would involve less variables. The best candidates were those with thick, sun damaged skin and those who were not actively breaking out or had to worry about skin sensitivities.

Our new Bio-Brasion Treatment has solved these potential problems and then made some extraordinary innovations that greatly increase the positive results you’ll enjoy:

  • Bio-Brasion’s diamond tipped heads eliminate the need to use crystals.  There are five diamond tips that each correspond to the clients skin type. and allow for precise and consistent exfoliation.
  • Bio-Brasion uses a lower suction, so you’re not pulling or tugging at fragile capillaries and there is no risk of damage.
  • Unlike traditional microdermabrasion, it’s performed on wet skin which increases skin hydration and penetration of performance ingredients.
  • Bio-Brasion is like three treatments in one.  With each pass over the skin a corrective serum is infused into the skin:
  1. THE PEEL PHASE. The first pass over the skin includes applying a gentle AHA/BHA based foam peel which instantly starts to loosens up dead skin cells, so when the Bio-Brasion hand piece goes over the skin, it works quite effectively at removing these dissolving cells.
  2. THE TREATMENT PHASE. The second pass is more treatment oriented.  Your esthetician will choose either a brightening serum (which is a blend of Vitamin C and niacinamide) that easily penetrates the pores to help correct sun-damage and even skin tone, or a clearing solution (containing antibacterial and pore clarifying salicylic acid) to target excess oil, blemishes and blocked pores.
  3. THE BUFFING PHASE.  As the Bio-Brasion hand piece gently buffs over the skin in the third pass, anti-aging peptides, promote cell renewal, strengthen the skin and reduce inflammation.  This ensures a softer, smoother texture and promotes a beautifully hydrated complexion.

Who should try it?

The good news is, Bio-Brasion is safe and effective for most skin types. I’d still be a little hesitant to recommend it for very sensitive, reactive or allergy prone skins which might do better with a calming treatment such as our Cold Fusion Facial. Just about everyone else will see phenomenal results for retexturizing of their skin with either a Bio-Brasion Ultra Brightening Facial, a Bio-Brasion Ultra Smoothing Facial or a Bio-Brasion Ultra Clearing Facial.

The Results.

Bio-Brasion is especially good for undoing the ravages of sun-damage. It helps retexturize skin into something smoother, more translucent, soft and touchable.

For large pores, clogged pores and problem skin it helps remove debris that fills up the pores as it reduces the appearance of large pores.   The antiseptic portion of the treatment kills acne bacteria which greatly reduces acne flareups.  Combine Bio-Brasion with a extractions and you have a powerful tool for treating problem breakouts and achieving a beautifully healthy, clear complexion.

For uneven pigmentation, Bio-Brasion works especially well when dealing with sun induced hyper-pigmentation. When combined with a light chemical peel you can achieve excellent results without over stressing your skin.  Pigmentation is a difficult problem to deal with.  To make real changes in your skin you should consider a series of weekly Bio-Brasion Treatments, and don’t forget the importance of proper homecare.

We are very excited to bring you this new skin perfecting treatment. Bio-Brasion is an excellent way to retexturize your skin without resorting to invasive medical procedures.  One treatment will brighten, smooth and refresh your skin and can be done alone or as part of one of our Bio-Brasion Skin Correcting Facials. For best results contact Elizabeth Renee Esthetics Skincare Spa to set up a consultation with one of our expert estheticians who will create an effective protocol for your unique skin type.

note: To book our Bio-Brasion Treatment (as a stand alone exfoliating treatment) Online.  Click Here.  Select Medical Spa Services from the drop down menu and choose Bio-Brasion Exfoliating Peel.  For a complete facial including a Bio-Brasion Peel click Facials from the drop down menu and choose Bio-Brasion Ultra Brightening Facial; Bio-Brasion Ultra Clearing Facial; or Bio-Brasion Ultra Smoothing Facial.

Is Your Skin Dull, Dry & Tired?

Is Your Skin Dull, Dry & Tired?

Not all skin types age in the same way.  While some skin types become sensitive, red and reactive as they age others seem to just loose their pep.  The skin looses it’s vital glow because of diminished micro-circulation.  As this skin type ages it looses pigment and starts to look a bit ashen, while at the same time developing blotchy brown spots of hyper-pigmented areas. These may have originally come from the sun but have been exacerbated by hormone changes.  This skin type may become lax as it loses tone over time.  It also tends to get dull, dehydrated, dry or parched.  Without proper moisture and lipids the complexion can loose it’s fresh, moist, translucent qualities.

While this may sound a bit depressing, there are little tricks you can do to breath life back into your skin.  To make vital improvements direct your focus on circulation.  To do this choose botanicals like rosemary, ginseng, pine and chestnut extracts which enhance circulation. When used regularly they help revive skin’s healthy glow.  Your cleanser should be a light milky, water based lotion that won’t asphiate your skin. Take a moment to gently massage your cleanser in circular motions all over your face, then do some gentle tapping before rinsing it off.  This will activate tiny capillaries to bring in oxygen and important nutrients needed to feed the skin.

When formulated correctly, rosemary extracts (rich in ursolic acid) stimulate the skin to produce more of it’s own natural protective lipids.  This is particularly effective in correcting parched, dry skin and creates a nice, comfortable, radiant glow.

Your skin will greatly benefit from a little extra exfoliation.  Try a mild AHA exfoliating serum in the morning and a skin repairing retinol based serum at night.  These are tried and true formulas that exfoliate away old, dead, dull surface cells and at the same time jumpstart cell metabolism to produce newer, heather cells.  Vitamin C is an important antioxidant for your skin type that has been tested and found to stimulate collagen production, brighten pigmentation and protect your skin from environmental damage.  Vitamin C is important to help keep skin firm and improve your overall skin tone.

When visiting the spa you should look for treatments that also focus on extra exfoliation, brightening Vitamin C treatments, nutrient rich nourishing treatments and a stimulating massage.  You are probably one of the best candidates for regular facial treatments.  When you leave that spa your skin should look fresh, feel moist and revived and have a nice new radiant glow.

For a complete list of products recommended for this unique skin type click on Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ Skin Type #1.  Not all skin types are the same.  To discover your personal skin  type, how to treat it and get a complete listing of the best products for your skin click on What’s Your Skin Type? by Elizabeth Renee Esthetics skin care or make an appointment with Elizabeth for a Comprehensive Skin Evaluation (listed under Wellness or Integrative when you book online).



It’s All About Eyes

It’s All About Eyes

microcurrent eyeThe eyes are not only the window to the soul, but a great indicator of your health, age and emotions.  When you first meet someone the initial connection is often made by looking into their eyes.  Is this a happy person, a friendly person, someone you want to know?

Unfortunately, with today’s hectic life styles your eyes tend to suffer.  If you work with computers or get less that the desired eight hours sleep; if you have a glass of wine, eat salty foods or foods your body has trouble metabolizing; or if you are under stress or exposed to harsh weather conditions your eyes may look and feel worn out.  Whether it’s dark circles, puffiness, sagging skin or crow’s feet your eyes say a lot about your current health.

At Elizabeth Renee Esthetic’s Skincare Spa we realize that eyes are often overlooked in your skincare routine, even though the contour area around your eyes is the most delicate area of the face.  We think this is so important we have devoted a whole month to caring for the eye area.  During The “EYES” of March we offer eye treatments, quick eye makeup updates, even an eye facial, plus useful recommendations about what eye care formulations will be most beneficial for your unique skin type.

You should think about devoting this month to taking care of the skin around your eyes.  At Elizabeth Renee Esthetics we’ve developed a new facial with just this in mind.  Our new Firm & Lift Eye Facial is a soothing treatment that uses advanced micro-firming technology to promote beautiful looking eyes.  It’s more than your typical eye treatment.  The Firm & Lift Eye Facial starts with a gentle enzyme masque brushed over the eye bone and swept across the tops of the cheeks.  The carefully selected enzymes gently dissolve surface dead cells that accentuate wrinkles.  This masque also tightens and sooths the skin.  Following the masque our especially trained estheticians perform a feather light manual lymphatic drainage massage.  This type of massage encourages lymphatic vessels (which hold fluid, toxins and pigment in the area around the eyes) to drain away lymph, helping to reduce puffiness and dark circles. The third phase of the treatment is devoted to a new microcurrent technology.  Microcurrent treatments are often referred to as “non-surgical face lifts”.  Elizabeth Renee Esthetics uses the newest technology, focusing specifically on tightening the delicate muscles around the eyes.  The result is fresh, radiant skin that feels comfortable and looks great.

Here are some at-home treatments for fresher looking eyes:

Dark Circles: Cover your eyes for 15 minutes with cotton pads soaked in cool cucumber juice. Note: Cut slices of Cucumbers; place them in a small bowl and cover them with cold distilled water from the fridge. After removing the cotton pads, massage in Eyelift Brightening Cream, lightly around the eyes, using gentle pumping motions on the bone, going away from the eyes.

Puffy Eyes: Moisten two chamomile tea bags with cold water or stick them in the refrigerator to cool them.   Place them over the eyes for five to ten minutes. You may also use cotton pads soaked in Chamazulene Toner. Follow with Anti-Puff Gel that you’ve left in the fridge. Apply sparingly on the eye bone.  Take the “cold” glass bottle of Anti-Puff Gel and roll it over the puffy areas. This treatment works best when done in the morning.

Dry Eyes: Apply a warm washcloth over your eyes for up to ten minutes followed by the gentle massage mentioned above. Do this several times per day. This helps open clogged oil glands in the eyelids that help with lubrication.

Tired Eyes: Rub your palms quickly together until they feel warm. Cup them over your closed eyes. Feel the heat emanating from your palms, but don’t touch your eyelids. Sit quietly in this position for a minute. Repeat several times. This helps to soothe eyes and revitalize the surrounding area.

If you visit Elizabeth Renee Esthetics during the month of March take advantage of the tips and tricks our skincare guru’s will happily share with you.  Our “EYES” of March Promotion also offers quick eye makeup techniques that are sure to brighten your eyes.  Ask about special discounts on eye creams and eye makeup.  We intend to make the month of March an eye opening experience.

Six Steps to Brighter Skin for the New Year

MicrocurrentRight about now you might be feeling like your skin is looking a little tired and blah. You wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, a little shocked that your skin seems to be starting to age, right before your very eyes.  And, just a couple of years ago everyone was guessing you to be… well… way younger than you’re sure you are looking right now. 

Cut yourself some slack.  Part of this is just the time of year.  The cold weather, a lack of movement on your part (a lot of us hibernate in the winter) and dull overcast days can affect your circulation, which is an essential ingredient for healthy complexions. All of this can be a bit depressing and affect your resolve to fix the problem.

Well now, it’s resolution time, so that means it’s time to recommit to having younger looking, glowing skin… and you can do it too!  You just have to motivate yourself and plan to create your best complexion possible.

Here are my six essential steps for a brighter skin:

  1. Have a facial.  This will get the ball rolling. Your complexion will look brighter and fresher and it can take years off the look of your skin.  A qualified esthetician will become your personal guru, guiding you towards skin care nirvana.  She will help you take the guesswork out of deciding which is the best strategy for improving your skin.  A brightening facial should wake up your skin, stimulate healthy circulation, exercise and tone slack facial muscles and help correct pigmentation problems through vitamin rich corrective peels.  My favorite Elizabeth Renee facial for dull, tired skin is our  BioLift Brightening Facial.  This facial focuses on brightening the skin through multiple layering of Vitamin C exfoliants, masques and corrective serums. It uses warm ionization for better penetration and skin sculpting microcurrent to tone and give your skin a nice lift.  Click Here to Book a Facial Now.
  2. Choose a brightening AHA.  A facial scrub is great for at-home exfoliation for many skin types but only minimally addresses the issue of skin brightening.  Glycolic and Retinols work better but, for optimal brightening start alternating your scrub with a corrective AHA serum that contains lactic acid (or salicylic acid for problem skin) and you will see a smoother, well hydrated skin with a lessening of pigmentation stains. Getting Even is an effective AHA blend with lactic acid that also includes botanical brighteners (like licorice root extract).  You might also enjoy BOOST which is a nifty little Lactic Acid serum that can be added directly to your scrub to boost it’s exfoliating and skin brightening capabilities.
  3. Time to get moving.  Movement stimulates circulation which in turn brings needed nutrient in to feed your skin. Try adding a 20 minute walk to your daily routine.  If the weather’s bad, try walking the mall.  It may sound a little hokey, but it’s cheap and easy to do, and it works.  A little burn creates a wonderful glow.
  4. Start using a toner.  I know.  They look like water and you’re not quite sure if they’re important or why you should use one.  Toners do more than rid the skin of excess dirt and makeup after cleansing.  The most compelling reason to use a toner is because the right toner removes the residue left on your skin from the tap water you used to wash your face.  When clients come in for a facial and they are not using a toner I can tell instantly.  All that chlorine, fluoride and sodium left on the skin after washing makes your skin look dull and lifeless. Check out Elizabeth Renee Toners.
  5. Invest in a Vitamin C serum.  The most effective way to get your daily dose of Vitamin C for your skin is through the use of a serum concentrate.  Vitamin C is a great ingredient when put in moisturizers or cleansers, but to ensure you are getting the proper amount, you need to turn to a more potent formula which can only found in a serum.  Why Vitamin C?  During the day especially, you are exposed to free radicals in the environment which contribute to aging. Vitamin C interferes with these damaging skin stressors.  Vitamin C is a also a great brightener for the skin.  It helps even pigmentation and lighten post-breakout stains.  Regular use even helps reduces blackheads.  Finally, there have been multiple studies showing that Vitamin C boosts collagen production, making your skin firmer and softening lines.  It’s important though to choose the right version of Vitamin C.  Choose a gentle (no sting) formula based on magnesium ascorbyl phosphate.  This stable form of Vitamin C stays fresher (and more active) longer.  Elizabeth Renee Esthetics’ C & E Antioxidant Serum has been our top selling serum for years.  It’s because clients experience visible results.
  6. Get your beauty sleep.  I feel that this has been my nemesis. I have to keep reminding myself that skin repair happens at night while I’m sleeping. When you sleep your skin goes into repair mode. This is why those expensive repair serums work best at night. Sleep also boosts chemicals (cytokines) which improve your immune system, keeping your skin healthy and less vulnerable to inflammatory skin agers. Getting a good night sleep means less baggy eyes, less red blotchy skin, and better cell replacement for stronger, firmer skin.  Shoot for 7-8 hours nightly.  Want glowing healthy skin… then sleep on it!   

So, are you ready to take action?  Want to feel better and look younger? We’d love to here from you.   Click below to share this on Facebook and write a post to let us know how your progress is going. We’re happy to respond, offering you our experience and support.