Deep Down Cleaning At Home

Sometimes a change of season makes us crave a little detoxification. Since it is common to experience an increase in breakouts as the weather cools off, you might want to amp up your exfoliation at home and dig a little deeper in your pores at home. Remember that nothing replaces manual extractions in a facial, but here are some tricks to get a little home detox going.

DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge 1 CleanserTry a glycolic acid or salicylic acid wash at home a few times a week. Salicylic is best for blackheads, but it may be too much for drier skin types. Since we’re trying to soften the skin and get a little extra exfoliation, glycolic washes are great, quick things to do at home. My favorites include the DermaDoctor Wrinkle Revenge Cleanser, which is a great creamy, non-drying glycolic cleanser in various strengths (start with Wrinkle Revenge 1 if you’ve never used a glycolic wash). Another great option is the Peter Thomas Roth Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel. It includes a little salicylic acid, so it is better from more combination skin types.


I like to amp up my at-home cleanse with the Clarisonic Cleansing Brush a couple of times a week. Ultrasound cleansing or sonic cleansing uses sound waves to break up the debris on the surface of the skin more quickly and more effectively than regular cleansers. Plus the oscillations of the brush stimulate the micro-circulation in the uppermost layers of the skin which also boosts your natural glow.


Get some extra exfoliation with an at home peel. Whereas I strongly believe that at-home Juice Beauty Green Apple Peelpeels can’t replace the professional strength ones that I offer in my clinical practice, it is a great way to get more effective exfoliation at home. Do an at-home peel once a week and follow with a clay mask to mimic some of the results of a professional deep cleansing that I do in my treatments. Some fun ones to try? I’ve always loved the Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel. It’s an extremely effective peel as well as being organic. I also love the Sircuit Cosmeceuticals Youth Accelerator Pumpkin Peel. I work with this line currently, and it is my go-to enzyme peel for people with congested skin.

Rodan + Fields Anti-Age Daily Cleansing MaskFollow your peel with a detoxifying clay mask a couple of times a week. I have been using the Rodan and Fields Anti-Age Daily Cleansing Mask a few times a week to help draw impurities out of the skin in this especially sweaty, oily time of year. It is a clay-based cleanser that can double as a mask, making it a quick detox for super busy people. Another mask to try is the Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, a fun peel-off mask that detoxifies while it brightens, though it definitely requires more time to work effectively.


Ultimately, it’s important to remember that your skin doesn’t need to be deeply cleansed often. Some natural oils on your skin are not bad; in fact, it is even healthy! So don’t mistake a stripped down, tight feeling for a deep cleanse. But incorporating some of these ideas and products into your regular routine a few times a week can help control breakouts, keep cell turnover rate high, and boost your daily glow.


Taking Care of You


West Palm Beach sunrisePeople who know me personally know that I have been going through a very difficult time in my life. It started one Friday afternoon in late April when my perfectly constructed world crumbled in a few careless text messages, and it recently culminated in the stifling heat of July. Throughout this time, I’ve became aware of how much I’ve been relying on my beauty rituals to lift my mood. In the midst of tears, sadness, and anger, I’ve been using my crazy beauty obsession as an anchor in my day.

The point of this post is not to compare difficult times, or to belittle your personal experiences, or to throw a pity party for myself. I can point out a million examples of people who are struggling more than me. It’s also not to say that something little is going to take away your stress or grief. I know that it is not easy to take care of yourself when your world seems like it’s falling apart. The point is that there are some little things that you can focus on to pull you through. It’s so easy to say that we don’t have time to take care of ourselves. In times of stress, it’s easy to let these little habits slip. But these little habits are the ones that don’t have to take a long time but can have huge effects on the way you feel about yourself in down times.

These are some little habits that I’ve been relying on to pick my mood up, even if just for a quick minute.

  • Taking a shower and using a shower gel with a fragrance I love. My personal favorites are the Korres Shower Gel in Jasmine  and Japanese Rose. I follow with the matching body butter (either the Jasmine or the Japanese Rose) and take a few minutes to breath in the fragrance. Time needed? Whatever I spend in the shower plus 2 more minutes.
  • Doing a face mask while drinking a glass of red wine. I justify the wine because the resveratrol found in red wine is a potent antioxidant that has been shown to boost the skin’s glow. Double the effect and try a glow-boosting mask while you imbibe.  One of my faves… Astara Green Papaya Nutrient Mask. Time spent? 5-10 minutes, but don’t rush that wine.
  • Making sure that I follow my regular evening routine. Sometimes just managing to do a quick routine makes me feel better, just knowing that my skin will fake what I don’t feel. And performing the same routine is a comforting constant when everything else in life has been flipped upside down. Time needed? No more than 3 minutes.
  • Trying a little strategic makeup. Light concealer around the eyes hides dark circles from sleepless nights. Bright pink blush gives a little life to a dull complexion. A shimmery highlight cream fakes the glow I know I don’t have. Hiding behind a few cosmetic products at least gives me a little relief from the “You look so tired” and “What’s wrong” comments that I don’t have the energy to ward off. Time needed? 5 minutes.

Finding small pampering moments for yourself won’t put more money in your checking account or make the kids stop screaming. But finding two to five minutes to maintain a beauty ritual can boost self-esteem and confidence, as well as temporarily lifting your mood. I speak from personal experience when I say that I know how hard it can be to take care of yourself, but I also know how much it can help. Build healthy habits now that you can lean on in tough times. If your tough time is now, be sure to take some time and effort to take care of yourself.


Falling Back

Fall is in the air in New York for sure, and as the leaves change…so should your skin care routine. These are a few quick tips for managing seasonal changes in your skin.

New fall season requires changes to skin care routineAs the weather cools off, skin has a tendency to dry. Be sure to add some extra moisture to your routine. Look for a moisturizer that has some healthy fats in it, like natural botanical oils such as jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, or avocado oil. You can even stretch your summer moisturizer into the fall months by using some simple, inexpensive jojoba oil underneath it as a serum. Be sure, as always, to avoid mineral oil and petrolatum. Sometimes, switching to a milky cleanser also helps to alleviate dryness, even if you only use it a few times a week.

Many people, myself included, are seeing an increase in their breakouts. Adding an acne control serum can quickly curb breakouts. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid or willow bark extract. Don’t forget to moisturize afterward though! Your skin is likely to be drier right now, and the added acne control can then make dryness worse. Use a skin-type appropriate moisturizer. Sometimes an exfoliating mask can sometimes help to bring your skin back in line. Look for ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid. And again, remember to moisturize afterward!

Fall is also time for seasonal allergies. Those prone to hay fever may see an increase in dry, itchy skin or eczema. Here again, I find that a healthy botanical oil is very helpful either used on its own or a few drops spiked into your regular moisturizer (for face or body). Sometimes a little hydrocortisone cream can help in small patches. If itchiness persists, definitely see your doctor for a prescription.

Seasonal facials can be a great way to manage a lot of these little changes. A professional exfoliation, extractions, and mask can often give your out-of-balance skin just the help it needs in order to get back on track, as well as giving you a little quality time to check in with an expert on your current skin care routine.

The key to managing your skin during a seasonal change is simply paying attention and being adaptable. Your skin will need different things at different times, so you must be willing to tweak your routine in order to respond. Feeling dry? Maybe amp up your moisturizer for a few days. Breaking out? Add some acne control for a week just in your problem areas. It’s okay to change your skin care routine based on what your skin needs at the time. [Tweet this!] Your skin is always changing, and your skin care routine should adapt as well.


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Faux Glow Like A Pro

I admit it. I love being tan. I am naturally very fair complected, but something about a bronzed glow draws me in like a moth to a flame. So I understand completely when my clients tell me that they want a beach glow as well. But since I am adamantly against unsafe tanning, how do I balance my desire for that just-off-the-beach look and still take the best care of my skin?

Self tanning products are good alternatives to sun tans. My answer is the faux glow. I use self-tanners religiously. I know that everyone has been scared by a story of a horribly streaky, Oompa-Loompa-like self-tan. This is a time when proper application and good product make all the difference. So here are my favorite tips for getting the perfect self-tan at home.

  • Start with good product. My favorite products are aerosol sprays. Next on the list are mousse tans. I prefer to have a bronzer in the product; it makes it easier to see where you are applying it. Look for products with a brown tint to them. The tint is cosmetic and will wash off, but you’ll ensure an even application.
  • Get a total body exfoliation. Use a natural fiber loofah or an oil-free body scrub. Focus on thicker, drier areas like elbows and knees and scrub away. You want to reveal the freshest, healthiest skin to get the longest results.
  • Apply the product evenly. This step is not hard but it does take practice. If I’m using an aerosol spray, I start near my ankle (not the foot!) and work quickly in circular motions around the leg, moving progressively up. I do not spray my feet! For the arms, I begin at the wrist and, using the same circular motion, working around the arm and in towards my torso. For the back, I spray right over my shoulder. Pay special attention to the triceps, tops of the shoulders, sides, and the inner thighs, as they are easy to miss. I use the same application pattern if I’m using a lotion or a mousse. Make sure to wear gloves in this case. To apply to my feet, I just wipe what’s left on my hand down my foot towards my toes. Your feet will grab more color, so the application needs to be very light.
  • Dry thoroughly before getting dressed. Make sure that you wear loose-fitting clothing. Try not to sweat. Don’t wash dishes. Any droplet of water can cause streaking.
  • Using a loofah, gently wash off the cosmetic tint. I like to do my self-tanning before bed and let it develop while I sleep. The next morning, I gently buff off the bronzer, paying special attention to the knees and elbows, where sometimes the tan is darker than I’d like. You can’t make many corrections now, but exfoliation will lighten the tan if you need to.
  • Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. The tan develops in the very upper layer of the skin, so keeping this area well moisturized will extend the life of your tan.
  • Use a gradual tanning lotion to maintain your results. These lotions have a lower concentration of DHA, the tanning ingredient, so they are great at building or maintaining your color. I like to start this process about day 3 after my tan, depending on how dark it is.
  • Practice makes perfect. Post-tan, I take note of spots I miss, and I remind myself to hit them next time. A gradual tanner can help to camouflage areas that you may not have gotten just right on this application.

After years of trying to overcome my natural fair color, I have self-tanning down to a science. I have found that self-tanning gets me safe, golden results faster than I can ever accomplish with real sun, minus the risk of skin cancer.



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Time Crunch

Everyone is pressed for time these days. Not many of us have lots of free time to spend on a skin care routine, myself included. But, no one wants to look like they spent no time on themselves… so how do you get your best skin in just a few minutes a day? Here are some of my favorite skin care tips to help busy people get their glow … fast! [Tweet this!]

  • Consolidate your steps. I love to use shower time to exfoliate, either with a quick glycolic acid cleanser a few times a week, or by once a week using an exfoliating mask with fruit enzymes or glycolic acid while I condition my hair.
  • Pick products that have multiple benefits. Vitamin C is a great ingredient with multiple benefits (anti-oxidant protection, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging). Pick a moisturizer with a sunscreen in the morning; or, in the summer, just use a sunscreen. Retinol can be used to address acne, wrinkles, and pigmentation and should be used at night.
  • Focus on one skin care concern to address at a time. What bothers you most? Is it frequent breakouts? Hydration? Anti-aging? If you can’t find a product to address all of your concerns (a tall order sometimes!), find a serum that addresses your first concern, and use it at night.
  • Skip unnecessary steps. There are very few benefits to a toner, in my opinion, so I skip this step when I’m rushed or in a hurry. Or, I put my toner in a spray bottle and spritz it on right out of the shower, before I moisturize.

I can honestly say that I rarely spend more than five minutes on my skin care routine. Most of my speed comes from just knowing what I’m going to put on and having it available to grab quickly. The rest comes from careful product selection beforehand. I know what my concerns are, and I’ve found product that meets as many of my concerns as possible.

What tips do you do to take the best care of your skin in as little time as possible?


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Just the FAQs: When Do I Use That?

With all the different kinds of products out there, one of the questions I get the most often is, “When do I use that?” After the basic cleanser-toner-moisturizer, how do you layer products and still maintain effectiveness? I have a few easy, general rules that can help you sort out your products once you get them home.

  • Use the products that have the lightest texture first. Feel the texture of each of your products. You want to use the product with a watery or gel-like texture first. These products, which are generally serums, penetrate faster and have a higher concentration of active ingredients, and you want that closest to the skin.
  • Use exfoliants at night. Check the ingredients. Does it use an AHA like glycolic or lactic acid? Does it have retinol as one of the active ingredients? These exfoliants can sometimes cause photosensitivity, so it is safer to put it on at night and give your skin a chance to repair. Be sure to use an SPF in the morning!
  • Use your antioxidants in the morning. Does this product contain Vitamin C? Have you got a CoQ10 cream? Is it a multi-vitamin for your skin? Your skin is exposed to more free radicals when you’re running around during the day, so you’ll get the most benefits from antioxidants then. You can always use antioxidants at night; you just want to be sure to use them during the day.
  • Use the more reparative products at night. Does your cream repairs fine lines? Your skin, just like your mind and your body, restores and repairs itself at night. Get the most benefits from your reparative or anti-aging products by giving those ingredients to your skin when it can use them best.
  • When all else fails… Prioritize your routine by your primary concern. You have two light-weight, watery serums. One addresses hydration, and one uses antioxidants. If you want to use them both, use the one that addresses your primary concern first. Is your primary concern is hydration? Put that on your cleansed skin first. Is your primary concern is anti-aging? Try the antioxidant serum first instead. The active ingredients will all benefit the skin, but this way it absorbs the product that fixes your first concern the fastest.

There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. These are only guidelines, designed to help you build your own customized routine with your favorite products. When in doubt, follow the recommendations of your dermatologist or skincare professional.



Winterize Your Skin

Tips to protect your skin against the winter weather.We are two major snowstorms into winter and suffering from massively cold weather on the East Coast, and my skin has been feeling the hurt. The freezing, icy wind is blistering my cheeks and my apartment provides no relief, with dry heat that is stripping moisture out of my skin, making my complexion dull and my eczema flair. If you’re in a similar position with your skin, here are my tips to cope.

  • Don’t be afraid to moisturize. Look for creamier, more emollient moisturizers. Some key ingredients to look for are glycerin, shea butter, and natural oils like jojoba or sunflower oil. Moisturizers that leave a little barrier on the surface skin (often called occlusive moisturizers by pros) are best for being out in the elements because it will protect from wind and cold. Avoid ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum, and paraffin.
  • Use a Vitamin C serum to repair and rebuild weather-damaged skin. Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, which will help to calm redness and irritation caused by aggressive weather. Look for ingredients like L-ascorbic acid or Vitamin C Ester. Use it in the morning for extra antioxidant protection.
  • Keep exfoliating, but make it gentle. Dry, dead skin cells can accumulate on the surface of the skin, leading to uneven texture and making it more difficult for your moisturizer to penetrate. Stick with exfoliating masks using lactic acid or fruit enzymes, which both exfoliate and hydrate at the same time. Your best-case scenario product also has plenty of antioxidants as well.
  • Try a mask for an extra punch. Moisturizing masks can provide a boost in moisture levels and extra skin soothing ingredients to calm irritated, parched skin. Try one right after your shower to seal the extra hydration into your skin.
  • Remember your sunscreen. Yes, you still need it. As long as there is light, you need to wear sun protection. Try a sunscreen with zinc oxide for the added benefits of skin soothing and redness reducing.
  • Eat more guacamole.  [Tweet this!] Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats and can help to moisturize your skin from the inside. Plus, it’s tasty.

Hopefully, a few tips to tweak your routine will help you survive the remaining winter days. We can all count down to spring together.


Speak your mind! How do you cope when the cold weather wreaks havoc on your skin? Leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook and tell me what you think!