Stop infammation before it starts, and live flare-free, yet full of flair

Meet the Expert: Tatum Hunter
Expert Julia Tatum Hunter, MD, dermatologist and founder of Skin Fitness Plus in Beverly Hills

When our bodies are exposed to infection, irritation or injury, inflammation is a natural defensive response. The redness, warmth and swelling we experience are our bodies’ attempts to heal and repair themselves when they feel overwhelmed by outside threats. In addition to taxing our internal organs, such reactions have a direct effect on how we age externally, giving way to wrinkles, puffiness and sagging skin. Julia Tatum Hunter, MD, a dermatologist and founder of Skin Fitness Plus in Beverly Hills, explains the basics of this reaction, as well as ways to better control it. At last, get ready to say farewell to flare-ups!

Q: What is inflammation?

A: Inflammation—the cause of all disease and aging—is triggered by the following:

  • Diet (prepared foods that contain no living ingredients can cause inflammation, such as hydrogenated fats, sugar, cow milk dairy, carbohydrates and some grains)
  • Sunlight
  • Radiation (sunlight is a form of radiation, as are X-rays, microwave ovens, cell phones and computer screens)
  • Stress, which deranges hormone levels in men and women and initiates the inflammatory response in the body.
  • Pollution (i.e. the air we breathe, the food we eat, chemicals in cleaning products and even dry cleaning)
  • Genetics (can contribute, but can also be minimized)
  • Products for the skin, hair and nails, which often contain ingredients that cause inflammation, such as glycolic acid, parabens, synthetic propylene glycol, acrylates and ureas.

Q: How do I know if I am suffering from inflammation?

A: Inflammation means “to set on fire” in Latin. When a disease name ends in -itis, it is an indicator of inflammation (i.e. arthritis, dermatitis, gastritis, tonsillitis and hepatitis). Inflammation results when the immune system is activated by infection or any of the aforementioned causes, and begins long before disease or skin conditions are detected.

Inflammation leads to high blood pressure; Alzheimer’s disease; cancer; diabetes; gastrointestinal problems such as constipation, indigestion and heartburn; impotence; weight gain; heart attack; and stroke. Additionally, acne is an inflammatory disease, which is why skin becomes red and plagued by pustules. A strong indicator that inflammation is present includes any abnormal blood tests, acidic tissue or blood pH, thickening of blood vessels and trouble losing weight, as well as aging symptoms such as wrinkling, brown spots, abnormal tiny red veins, general skin redness and skin sensitivities.

Q: How do I treat—and attempt to cure—inflammation?

A: You are what you eat and drink—eat organic, fresh, raw and green (the darker, the better) foods as much as you can, including onions, garlic, fruits, raw cilantro and parsley, fresh herbs, seaweed and organic whole leaf aloe juice. CosMedix’s Balance, Restore, SKINamins line, Neutralize and Clarity Supplement are excellent ways to detoxify and combat inflammation.

Drink at least one liter of water a day. While drinking sodas is highly inflammatory, smoking of any kind is worse. Be cautious in consuming cow’s milk products. Get your heart pumping for at least 30 minutes, 2–4 times a week, and strength train on the other days. Stop weight gain early; fat cells store and produce chemicals, which increase inflammation and thus, make it difficult to lose weight. Do not put inflammatory chemicals on your skin, hair and nails, including various makeup products.

I recommend using CosMedix products to my patients because they contain no inflammatory chemicals and produce desirable results. Have your thyroid gland checked for optimum function as you age, and educate yourself on bio-identical hormones to keep all organs operating youthfully. Don’t be overwhelmed—take one step at a time and you’ll walk up the staircase of success. Remember, you are in control of your health and beauty.

Your Best Body…In No time at All

Shape up this spring, so your body is beach-ready for summer Okay, so maybe you had good intentions to start shaping up in January. You promised yourself that you’d run on the treadmill for 30 minutes, six days a week; … Continue reading

Skin Imperfections Defined

The Truth Behind Stretch Marks & Cellulite

Meet the Expert: Alison Moffo, RN
Alison Moffo is a registered nurse (RN) and a clinical educator for CosMedix.

When your skin looks good, you feel good about yourself. Maintaining a radiant glow is easy if you form healthy habits now. Skin conditions like stretch marks and cellulite are not only unsightly, but they can be disheartening as well. While there is no surefire remedy, there are several treatments on the market that can reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite. After all, dimples are for the cheeks on your face!

Q: What are some common concerns about stretch marks and cellulite, and what should people take into consideration when contemplating treatment for these conditions?

A: The most common concern regarding stretch marks and cellulite is that people simply want to get rid of them—permanently. There are a couple of things that need to be addressed before undergoing any treatment: 1) As with any cosmetic procedure or treatment, make sure you maintain realistic expectations about the outcome; 2) The color of stretch marks, as well as the size of cellulite pockets, can change over time—the sooner you begin treatment, the better the outcome.

Q: Although there is no known cure for stretch marks and cellulite, what steps can be taken to help reduce their unsightly appearance?

A: The use of retinol can drastically reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite and improve the overall texture of the skin, leaving it soft and smooth. Professional body treatments have been deemed effective if used regularly with a home care system, which should promote exfoliation, hydration and protection against environmental stressors.

Q: Can changing your lifestyle (i.e. diet, exercise regimen or sleep patterns) have any effect on the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite?

A: Stretch marks are not affected by diet and exercise; instead, they occur when the skin is stretched too quickly (as with a growth spurt in teenage years), or when a person’s weight fluctuates. However, diet and exercise can often be used in combination with a topical skin care regimen to improve the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite.

Q: Aside from the use of retinol, what other skin care products do you
recommend to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and cellulite?

A: Stretch marks are often associated with pregnancy; however, retinol is not recommended during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. The Body Revolution system from CosMedix is ideal in treating stretch marks and cellulite, most specifically, Body Build, Body Shape and the professional application of Body Lift. Each of these products contains specific formulas that stimulate skin cells and restore a youthful glow. Chocked full of antioxidants, they help tighten and smooth the skin.

SKIN Conditions Defined

Stretch Marks
A form of scarring that occurs on the skin and has a white or reddish tint. When the dermis tears due to loss of elasticity and collagen, such scars can appear. Stretch marks also occur when the skin is stretched at a rapid pace (i.e. puberty, weight gain or pregnancy).

The accumulation of fat that presses
against the connective tissues un-
derneath a person’s skin, causing a bumpy or ‘cottage cheese-like’ effect. Genetics, hormones and/or diet often
serve as the root of the problem.

Skin Pigmentation
Conditions that cause the skin to appear blotchy and lighter (hypopigmentation) or darker (hyperpigmentation) than normal due to an imbalance in melanin, the pigment that determines hair, skin and eye color. Skin pigmentation disorders are caused by varying factors, including sun exposure, allergic reactions and genetic inheritance.

Sun Damage
Often the price we pay for tanning, sun damage occurs when the skin is overly exposed to the sun’s intense ultraviolet (UV) rays. While some effects are immediately visible (i.e. sunburns and suntans), others appear over time in the form of unsightly wrinkles and liver spots. Excessive and repeated sun exposure can permanently damage skin cell DNA, resulting in skin cancer.

How to Overcome that Blah Winter Skin

It’s that time of year when we crank up the heat and retreat indoors to escape the cold temperatures. Just like you need a different wardrobe to stay comfortable in the winter, your skin needs some extra help to stay healty when the temperature drops. Here are 8 great tips for keeping your skin healthy and fresh this season.

1) Turn your heat down, in the car and at home. Conserve on your utilities while keeping your skin more hydrated. The artificial heat sucks moisture from the air and our skin, so keep your heaters at the recommended 68 degrees and feel comfortable.

2) Emulsion Emulsion Emulsion Those of you who use this Cosmedix product Know! This perfect blend of jojoba and Shea butters, mixed with antioxidants and liquid Crystal formulation, intensely hydrates the skin. I always like to add moisture and hydration in the winter. Affirm cocktailed with Emulsion is an excellent combination.

3) Keep a bottle of mystic at your desk or in your car. Mystic utilizes heavy water (D2O) and is great for all skin types including acneic. Even skin that breaks out and is congested needs hydration!

4) If you haven’t tried our new LaLicious line now is the time. They have amazing Body Butters, Sugar Scrubs and Whipped soaps. All of these products leave the skin moist and soft all day long….no kidding! I am surprised every time. This is a great product that really conditions the skin. Try the sugar souffles and experience how soft your skin is from the oils left on the skin after you rinse. Even without lotion….

5) Drink warm/hot decaffeinated beverages. This time of year its difficult to consume a lot of cold water and we really should keep things on the warmer side this time of year. My acupuncturist says that to keep cold and wind out of the body drink warming teas. Ginger, cardamom, clove, and Cinnamon is your prefect Chi tea combination. Drink as much as you can without caffeine to internally hydrate the system.

6) Switch your sunblock! Those of you who use Reflect or Serious protection would benefit from replacing that with Hydrate +. This is our sunblock moisturizer. It is an spf 17 which is adequate for this time of year, but has additional moisturizing benefits.

7) Take a warm bath with a few drops of Pure Castor oil or sesame oil to leave the skin with moisture when you leave the water. An Ayurvedic healing technique is to oilate the back of the neck underneath the hair line, with a little sesame oil. This time of year is considered the Vata season and this helps protect the body from getting the common cold and flu.

8) Give yourself an at home mask with Rescue – a great Cosmedix skin healing balm and mask. This mask can be left on the skin overnight or a thin layer can be applied under your sun protection when the skin is really dry or chapped. I love Rescue and the smell is fantastic! Willow bark, willow herb and my favorite cherry bark!

A New Space on the Internet

I had my first facial when I was 16 years old.  As I walked into that room and laid down on the table I had no idea that my life was about to change forever. I left that room knowing that I had found something that I could be passionate about. Skin Care to me was fascinating. I would save my allowance for eye creams and moisturizers. I practiced giving facials to all my girlfriends, a few unsuspecting boyfriends and when I was finally old enough I went to Cosmetology school. I know not everyone has that pinnacle moment when they can say “YES! This is what I want to do for the rest of my life” and I know not everyone is as in love with their job as I am, (so I’ll try not to rub it in too much) but I am as passionate about skin care and esthetics now as I was then. I truly am living the American dream; I run my own business and am able to bring a level of care and compassion to my clients that fits my personality perfectly.

I love to educate people about skin care. So many people come to me with skin conditions that could have been prevented, if they just took a few simple steps earlier in their lives. It really is true, an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure. So I’m hoping to share some of those tips in this blog, share a few of the things that makes being a small business owner fun (or not so fun) and occasionally have a few guest bloggers to talk about how important self care is. Whether it’s related to your skin, your mind or you whole body.