Acne Prone? My Top 3 Product Picks with Tea Tree Benefits for Skin

If you’re interested in natural products for acne-prone skin, then learning about tea tree is a great first step.

Is it overly dramatic to call acne the worst? OK, maybe a little. Still, heading into your day knowing any first impressions will be made with blemished, irritated skin would make even the most confident among us want to hide beneath piles of concealer and foundation. And for adults with problem skin, the frustration can be double: pimples and wrinkles, seriously? Fortunately, there are high-quality botanical solutions that can help. If you’re interested in natural products for acne-prone skin, then learning about tea tree benefits for the skin is a great first step.

I’ve seen formulas containing tea tree oil work first hand. In fact, I prefer it to benzoyl peroxide. Read on to find out why — and to see three plant-based products I recommend to clients with acne-prone skin.  (I’m offering a special price when you buy all three together!)  Note to teens and their parents: Although this post was written with adults in mind, this collection is also great to integrate into a teen acne-care routine.

Introducing: Tea Tree

Before we get too far along, what is a tea tree, and how do we get its oil? Melaleuca alternifolia is indeed a tree. Native to Australia, it has a long history of use as a topical antiseptic with a variety of antimicrobial activities. 

The essential oil of tea tree is extracted by steam distilling the leaves, a process that separates the volatile oils from the water and plant matter that make up the bulk of the leaf. Like any essential oil, it takes a lot of plant matter — typically hundreds of pounds — to produce even a small amount of essential oil. This is one reason why it’s important to purchase from ethical, transparent sources and use essential oils sparingly.

Tea Tree Benefits for Skin

Acne is a common reason people turn to tea tree oil. Others include dandruff, athlete’s foot, and lice — all testaments to its antimicrobial reputation. Precisely because it can be abrasive, tea tree might not be the best choice if you have sensitive skin, or conditions like eczema or rosacea. However, as part of a formula there can be exceptions, such as the Facial Recovery Oil I’ll talk about later in this post.

Tea Tree vs. Benzoyl Peroxide

Despite its popularity, I’m not a fan of benzoyl peroxide (BP) in the treatment of acne, in part because I know there are effective botanical solutions with fewer side effects. Dryness, pruritus (itching), and sensitization are all common side effects of BP.  And if you have darker skin, UV exposure can cause your skin to hyperpigment when using BP. 

In “Essential Oils for Healthy Skin,” a course I completed with renowned aromatherapy educator Robert Tisserand, I learned that tea tree oil is effective on Cutibacterium acnes (formerly Propionibacterium acnes), and Staphylococcus epidermidis. It’s also anti-inflammatory.

Research has supported these claims. In a randomized, single-blind clinical trial comparing 5% tea-tree oil gel to 5% benzoyl peroxide lotion, both solutions significantly reduced the number of lesions for participants with mild to moderate acne. The tea tree oil took a bit longer to begin working, but performed at the same level as its more mainstream counterpart, benzoyl peroxide. 

In a separate randomized clinical trial, this one double blind, tea tree oil went up against a placebo. Participants using the tea tree product reported 3.55 times the improvement in number of lesions, and 5.75 times the reduction in severity. Side effects with both groups were similar and tolerable. In short, tea tree was several times more effective than a placebo, without greater side effects. The researchers concluded that topical 5% tea tree oil is an effective treatment for common, mild-to-moderate acne.

Some say more rigorous research is needed before we have a final answer on whether tea tree oil works. Until that research is done, I’ll rely on my experience seeing it work time and time again, especially as part of a well-crafted formula.

How Does it Work?

A lab analysis showed three constituents in tea tree oils — alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, and  terpinen-4-ol — act against  acne-causing microorganisms Staphylococcus aureus, Staph. epidermidis and Propionibacterium acnes. In contrast, cineole, used as a control in the analysis, was inactive against these organisms. This study supports the use of tea tree oil in the treatment of acne, and shows that the oil carries multiple active constituents.

These are my top three product picks from Eminence Organics that take advantage of tea tree’s benefits for skin. 

Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser

Clear Skin Probiotic CleanserThis cream-gel cleanser from Eminence Organics soothes, tones, and purifies oily skin with tea tree oil and cucumber, and that’s just the beginning of why it’s won a few awards for best acne cleanser and face wash. Sweet almond milk and yogurt keep skin moist while helping reduce signs of problem skin and breakouts. With naturally occurring lactic acid, the yogurt is also gently exfoliating, helps lighten dark spots, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles. Astringent willow bark extract works to remove excess oil and tighten pores. Finally, BioComplex: a booster of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and improve the appearance of skin (because it’s not just teenagers who get acne).

To use, dilute a pea-size dollop of cleanser with water in your hands. Gently massage onto your face and neck, moving your fingertips in a circular motion for 1-3 minutes. Remove the cleanser with a damp face cloth and apply toner. (If you’re looking for a toner, Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist is great for microcirculation.)

Purchase the Clear Skin Probiotic Cleanser. 

Clear Skin Probiotic Masque

Clear Skin Probiotic Mask Eminence OrganicThis mask from Eminence Organics has been winning awards — especially for acne-prone skin care — since 2011. Yogurt brings the probiotic behind this mask’s name. As with the cleanser above, yogurt also offers a gently exfoliating lactic acid. Cucumber tones the skin for a radiant and clear complexion. This formula also contains replenishing shea butter, soothing calendula, and drawing kaolin clay, while taking advantage of tea tree benefits for skin. BioComplex reappears here for a boost of antioxidants, coenzyme Q10, and alpha lipoic acid, reducing the appearance of wrinkles and improving the overall appearance of skin.

To use, blend a small amount of mask in your hand with a few drops of water. Apply evenly over the entire face — include your neck and décolleté if you wish. Allow the mask to dry for 10–20 minutes, then gently scrub it off in a circular motion with a lukewarm face cloth. Rinse thoroughly with clear water and apply your moisturizer.

Purchase the Clear Skin Probiotic Masque. 

Facial Recovery Oil

Facial Recovery Oil by Eminence OrganicsThis toning, hydrating formula calls on clary sage oil to calm irritated skin and balance oil production, and olive oil to hydrate and soothe. Antioxidant-packed sage leaf extract rejuvenates and tones, renewing sensitive and aging skin. Ylang ylang cleanses, calms, and balances. Tea tree here is not a key ingredient, but plays a supporting role in the formula. This means Facial Recovery Oil works for my clients with rosacea and disturbed skin barriers who sometimes get some acne lesions. The oil is made with plants grown at certified biodynamic farms, and is suitable for all skin types. Like the others, it’s offered by Eminence Organics, and I’d be remiss not to mention it’s won its own share of awards.

More importantly, though, everyday people love this oil. As one reviewer wrote, “I have acne-prone, yet dry, skin that’s all over the place, depending on makeup, hormones, etc. This oil (nicknamed ‘My Precious’) corrects my acne!!” 

To use, apply 2-3 drops to your face and neck with circular motions, working your way from the center to the sides of the face.

Purchase the Facial Recovery Oil.

Another way to use this is to practice self massage with a gua sha facial stone. 

Quick primer on gua sha: This practice comes from Traditional Chinese Medicine, and involves “scraping” the skin. It is believed to boost blood circulation and ensure one’s qi is flowing, free of blockage. In the beauty world, the gua sha tool is used less vigorously to avoid marks — but regular gua sha facial massage is believed to promote lymphatic drainage and stimulate circulation, decreasing puffiness and brightening the complexion. 

Unsure how to use Gua Sha?  Follow along in my 8-minute Gua Sha video tutorial. 

Tea Tree Collection Bundle Eminence Organic

This technique can be used several times per week, in the evening, using the Facial Recovery Oil for slip. If you’d like to check with a skin care specialist before trying gua sha massage on acne-prone skin, see the link below to schedule a consultation with me.

Purchase a gua sha tool made from ethically sourced Jade, here. 

In Closing,

As much as it might seem like it, you’re not alone in your struggle with problem skin. And no matter your age, there are plant-based solutions formulated to help you. That includes tea tree benefits for skin — and so many other botanicals reaching out to support you, too.

Purchase the Tea Tree Collection for just $131 (savings of $43) here. 

And if you’d like personalized recommendations from a skin care specialist (the most direct path to your best skin) schedule a consultation with me.

Your Best Skin: 6 Benefits of a Virtual Skin Care Consultation

With a virtual skin care consultation, you can conveniently meet with a licensed esthetician to build a personalized skin care routine.

Have you ever noticed that we approach skin care routines and products with a “try this, try that” attitude? Our morning and evening rituals shift with trends, impulse buys, or the idea that what worked for a friend will work for us. But we all have different skin, with specific needs. In fact, you’ve probably noticed your own skin’s needs change with the seasons and with age. Fortunately, the path to radiant, healthy skin doesn’t need to involve trial and error. All you need is a knowledgeable guide who can offer personalized recommendations, and a virtual skin care consultation is a super convenient way to get started!

Here are six benefits to expect when you book a virtual skin care consultation with me.

1. Eliminate the guesswork with a personalized skin care routine. 

During our call, I’ll ask about your lifestyle and existing routines to uncover what’s working, and what isn’t. Next, as a licensed esthetician, I’ll create a skin care “prescription” that’s customized to your lifestyle and needs. I’ll explain exactly how to use the products I’ve recommended, so you can get the best results for your specific skin type. (More on that in points 4 and 5.) 

My goal is to help you create a personalized skin care routine that brings out your natural radiance and sets you up for a lifetime of beautiful skin.

2. Recommendations from an esthetician who specializes in botanical skin care.

If you believe healthy skin can come from natural, botanically-infused ingredients, I’m right here beside you. The products I suggest are pure, right down to their source materials — they’re made from organic plants that qualify for Hungary’s prestigious BioKentroll certification and the Demeter Biodynamic certification. 

The Eminence Organics line features seeds, pulps, peels, vegetables, herbs, and spices blended with scientific precision and based on cutting-edge research to protect against blue light, mitigate hyperpigmentation, and provide alternatives to retinol, to name a few. 

You won’t see chemicals like paraben, petrolatum, propylene glycol, or sodium lauryl sulfate on the labels. Eminence Organics is so impressive, you might start wondering what kind of utopia we’d live in if every business could strike such a balance between science and nature. 

3. Seasonal skin care to follow the rhythms of nature.

Depending on where you live, the facial cleanser you use during summer may leave your skin dry and tight in winter. Or you might benefit from a nourishing face oil in winter, and switch to a sun-protective boost in spring. A virtual skin care consultation will give you personalized recommendations for seasonal changes, letting you keep that radiant glow year-round — with an eye toward the years ahead. 

Just as our skin has different needs in summer and winter, our skin care routine will change through the seasons of our lives based on the activities we’re engaging in, the environments we spend time in, and our age. To fully meet these ever-changing needs, plan for regular appointments in spring and fall to discuss changes to your skin care prescription. May, for instance, is an ideal time to schedule a spring routine check-in

4. A chance to try new products with no risk.

Your virtual skin care consultation includes samples of every item in your skin care “prescription,” shipped to you. This is where our virtual call comes to life! I recommend very high-quality products, and I fully believe the investment in your skin is worth it. 

The Eminence Organics line holds itself to a rigorous standard, and the results are so effective the company has a long list of celebrity fans (people who get looked at for a living, mind you). 

I want you to experience the quality of this line for yourself, so after we talk about ways to improve the appearance and long-term health of your skin with natural, botanical products and daily rituals, I’ll send customized sample packs of all products I recommend for your day and nighttime routines. 

5. Follow-up support via email and text.

Right after our call, I’ll send an email about how to apply each recommended product, which order to use them in, and the amount of product to use. I’ll also let you know which products to prioritize so you can build confidence in your new routine. That way, if you’re not ready to invest in all of the products at once, you can start with one to three and then fill your skin care prescription over time. 

The one-on-one format of the virtual skin care consultation gives us the flexibility to work within your budget, addressing the most important elements of care first. And if questions pop up while using a new product, I’ll be available via text and email for one full month after the virtual skin care consultation for follow-up support.

6. Super convenient.

One of the best things about the virtual skin care consultation is that it gives you access to personalized recommendations from a licensed esthetician, no matter where you are in the United States. I offer day, evening, and weekend appointments, and we can meet via Zoom or FaceTime, whichever you prefer.

In Conclusion, 

Caring for your skin needn’t involve years of trial and error. In fact, a solid skin care strategy based on professional expertise will likely save you time and money in getting the skin you want. A virtual skin care consultation is a convenient and fun way to establish your skin care routine, complete with personalized recommendations for high-quality products that match your lifestyle and needs.

Ready for radiant skin that’s aging beautifully for years to come? Schedule your virtual skin care consultation today!

Our Favorite Natural Products for Hyperpigmented Skin

Hyperpigmentation can be caused by a number of factors, including sun exposure, hormones, diet …

 

Hyperpigmentation is a term that describes areas of skin that appear darker than the skin around it. The color can vary, and the patches typically occur on the forehead, cheeks, neck, above the upper lip, and on the backs of the hands.  Fortunately, the dark patches of hyperpigmented skin do not hurt or itch, they’re purely a cosmetic discoloration.

Risk Factors for Hyperpigmentation

The biggest risk factor for developing hyperpigmented skin is sun exposure. If you’re on medications that make you extra sensitive to the sun, then you’ll want to be particularly thoughtful about limiting your time in the sun. Everyone should ideally take preventative measures against sun damage by applying sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, and wearing sun-protective clothing, like wide-brimmed hats and loose, long-sleeved shirts. 

In addition to sun exposure, a few other factors that increase the risk for hyperpigmentation are:

  • Environmental pollutants. People in highly industrialized societies are seeing an increase in the development of hyperpigmentation. 
  • Diet. A diet high in sugar and inflammatory foods triggers free radicals, causing glycation that can damage melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Hyperpigmented spots resulting from glycation are called “age spots.”
  • Hormonal fluctuation. Pregnancy and contraceptives have both been connected with an increased risk for developing hyperpigmentation. In fact, hyperpigmentation during pregnancy is so common that it even has a nickname, “the mask of pregnancy.” Fortunately, hyperpigmentation related to hormonal changes typically fades naturally a few months after the baby is born or after contraceptives are stopped. 
  • Skin color. Black women and others with melanin-rich skin are at an increased risk of developing hyperpigmentation. This is because dark skin contains more melanin, which is more reactive to inflammation and injury.
  • Skin inflammation. Acne and ingrown hairs can cause temporary hyperpigmentation. This is called “post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation,” and it responds well to chemical exfoliants like the Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel that activate cellular turnover. 

It’s not at all uncommon for women to ask me about products for hyperpigmented skin when they visit Jessica’s Apothecary for facials or waxing. As a former sun worshipper with Greek lineage, I, too, am at an increased risk for hyperpigmentation. I’ve done my fair share of research over the years—both for my clients and myself—and here are the ingredients and products I trust most.

 

Jessica Goniea in Greece

Natural, Skin-Brightening Ingredients

Many of the products used to lighten hyperpigmented skin are harsh, and they are not always safe for darker skin or for long-term use. Fortunately, there are also natural, botanical-based products on the market, including the Bright Skin Collection from Eminence Organics, that can help lighten existing hyperpigmentation and are safe for all skin types. 

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent that bleaches the skin and is used in many over-the-counter products for hyperpigmentation. There are safety concerns with hydroquinone, however, which is why I was excited to see that Eminence Organics includes a natural alternative in their Bright Skin Collection! 

Eminence Organics’ Natural Hydroquinone Alternative is made from African potato and tara tree, and it offers the same skin-brightening properties as over-the-counter hydroquinone without the safety concerns. It’s also safe for all skin colors, which is wonderful!

Licorice root is a skin-whitening ingredient that’s used throughout Eminence Organics’ Bright Skin Collection. Licorice extract contains liquiritin, an active compound that helps to disperse and remove existing melanin in the skin. This means it helps prevent new dark spots from forming, while also fading existing ones. Like many plant-based extracts, licorice contains antioxidant-rich compounds that benefit the skin. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory, helping to reduce swelling and redness. 

The last natural, skin-brightening ingredient that’s used in both the Bright Skin exfoliating peel and boosting serum is lactic acid. Lactic acid helps gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. It’s a common ingredient in products to treat hyperpigmentation and age spots, and it’s gentler than many other acids used in skin-care products. 

These natural ingredients are used in select products throughout the Eminence Organics’ Bright Skin Collection, which I turn to often when working with clients who have hyperpigmented skin.

Below, I’ve outlined the 3-step protocol that I turn to when treating hyperpigmentation. (All of these products except for the Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel are safe for pregnancy.)

Step 1: Bright Skin Licorice Root Exfoliating Peel

As winner of “Best Brightening Peel” Green Beauty Awards, 2016, this sought-after natural product features all three of the ingredients highlighted above, along with mandelic acid, azelaic acid, and daisy blossoms, all of which help to brighten the appearance of pigmentation. I recommend this product for hyperpigmentation in general, and also for post-inflammatory pigmentation from acne lesions and ingrown hairs.

To use, dispense one to two pumps of the solution on one of the cotton rounds that’s provided with purchase. Apply in circular motions on clean skin, covering your face and neck. Use up to three times per week or as required. Purchase yours here, or keep reading for special savings if you purchase all three of these skin-brightening products together!

(If you’re pregnant and interested in a peel, I recommend scheduling my “Organic Facial for Expecting Mothers,” which includes even gentler skin-brightening ingredients that are free from glycolic acid and salicylic acid.)

Step 2: Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum

 

This extra-strength brightening serum can be used alone or with the peel to boost its effectiveness. It includes the three natural ingredients highlighted above, plus a trademarked concentration of “GigaWhite” that’s derived from well-researched plant extracts, including mallow, peppermint, primrose, lady’s mantle, and more. This serum is also a Tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it blocks the enzyme that destroys healthy melanin production.

To use, apply a thin layer over your entire face, or apply to the affected areas, 1-3 times per day. Purchase yours here, or keep reading for a special savings!

Step 3: Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

This mattifying moisturizer is perfect for all skin types, including acne-prone skin, and is designed to address the look of hyperpigmentation while you sleep. In addition to licorice root extract, the Natural Hydroquinone Alternative, and GigaWhite, it also includes punarnava root extract, which helps even out skin tones and reduces the look of dark spots. Blended with bearberry extract and moisturizing shea butter, it’s no wonder this correcting cream was the winner of the “Brightening” category at the Best Product Awards, LNE & Spa, 2018.

 

To use, apply a thin layer over your entire face and neck area and leave it on. For extra hydration, I suggest layering with the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment on top.

Purchase your Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream here, or keep reading for special savings if you purchase all three of these skin-brightening products together!

Bright Skin Overnight Correcting Cream

Bonus Step 4: Bright Skin Masque

 

If you want to treat yourself to a special skin-brightening ritual, then try the Bright Skin Masque by Eminence Organics. It features bearberry extract, an antioxidant that helps lighten the appearance of dark spots, in addition to GigaWhite, licorice root extract, and the Natural Hydroquinone Alternative. This powerful masque is a wonderful boost to your regular skincare routine.

To use, emulsify a small amount in your hand with a few drops of water or Birch Water Purifying Essence. Apply evenly over your entire face, neck, and decollete. Allow masque to dry 10-20 minutes and then gently remove with a lukewarm face cloth. Rinse thoroughly with clean water. Purchase yours here. 

Purchase the peel, serum, and overnight moisturizer together to save!

These skin-brightening products are most effective when used together. Start tackling your dark spots—and save money with bundle pricing—by purchasing all three of these products together!

Buy your skin-brightening, 3-piece set here for only $153 (valued at $203).

Professional Facials for Hyperpigmentation

Many of the facials that we give at Jessica’s Apothecary feature skin-brightening products to help reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. In addition to the products above, we also offer medium-depth peels using Trichloroacetic acid (TCA) and Mandelic acid. 

See your esthetician for a facial and to discuss the steps necessary to prepare your skin for a peel.

Schedule your Organic Facial here!  

Natural Products to Prevent Hyperpigmentation

The best way to prevent hyperpigmented skin is to reduce sun exposure and wear sunscreen (my favorite is the Lilikoi Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF 40 by Eminence Organics). 

Vitamin C is photoprotective, which means it helps our bodies cope with the damage caused by sunlight. You could consider applying a Vitamin C-based product before you spend time in the sun (my favorite is the Citrus & Kale Potent C + E Serum by Eminence Organics). 

Eminence Organics’ Rosehip Triple C + E Firming Oil is another great choice when it comes to preventing hyperpigmentation. It protects the body’s melanin-producing cells from something called “glycation,” which is when proteins and sugars cross-link to form non-functioning structures. One of the causes of glycation is having too much sugar in the diet, resulting in premature aging and skin damage. Pair this natural product with a healthy diet that limits sugar. 

If you’re regularly exposed to environmental pollutants, then you may want to consider Eminence Organics’ Microgreens Detox Collection. This powerful trio harnesses the action of microgreens to cleanse and protect the skin from environmental stressors. It features the Stone Crop Cleansing Oil and the Lotus Detoxifying Overnight Treatment

In Closing, 

Hyperpigmentation is a common condition that happens to people around the world. Fortunately, you can take preventative measures by limiting sun exposure and sugar intake and by applying preventative products, like those mentioned above.

When signs of hyperpigmentation do occur, there are plant-based products that will help you lighten the appearance of dark spots without exposing yourself to potentially harmful chemicals.

If you have any questions about hyperpigmentation or would like to schedule a virtual consultation to discuss your skin’s specific needs, then contact Jessica directly at contact@jessicasapothecary.com or 734-604-5971. 

Purchase your Skin-Brightening Trio for a special price, here.

 

References:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18492142/  
https://www.eminenceorganics.com.au/blog/ingredients-for-hyperpigmentation/

Menopause and Dry Skin: Our Go-To Products and Tips

Many women experience drier, flakier skin as their bodies go through this significant life change.

 

We often hear about hot flashes and night sweats in relation to menopause, but many women also experience drier, flakier skin as their bodies go through this significant life change. At Jessica’s Apothecary, menopause and dry skin is a concern we help many of my clients’ address. Fortunately, with the right dietary and lifestyle choices combined with deeply moisturizing skincare products, it is possible to nourish your skin during menopausal transitions.

Why Does Menopause Cause Dry Skin?

All women experience menopausal transitions differently, and, fortunately, not all women will experience drier, itchier skin. In a survey of 3,875 postmenopausal women over the age of 40, 32% reported that they suffered from dry skin (PubMed). 

Leading up to menopause and during later years of life, the body creates less estrogen. Estrogen is a powerful hormone that’s related to a number of important bodily functions, including the formation of collagen and oils that help retain the skin’s health and elasticity (WebMD). As estrogen production declines, the levels of collagen, sebum, and oils in the body begin to dip as well. Because collagen helps the skin stay naturally smooth, decreased collagen can result in wrinkled skin. Sebum and oils help the skin retain moisture, so as those levels dip, the skin can become drier and, in some cases, itchy, red, and/or flaky. 

Menopausal skin changes are often seen in the t-zone or elbows first but can eventually become a full-body phenomenon appearing anywhere from the back and chest to the legs, genitals, and even nails (WebMD). 

If you’re experiencing drier skin during this time of your life, then it’s recommended that you approach the solution with simple dietary and lifestyle changes combined with a shift in your skin care products. Your primary care physician or nutritionist will be able to assist you best in the dietary and lifestyle realms, but here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Menopause and Diet

 

An omegga-rich meal including salmon, eggs, and avocadoIt’s possible to help nourish your skin from the inside out. During all phases of life, but particularly the years surrounding menopause, try to consume plenty of essential fatty acids, like those found in avocados, salmon, eggs, leafy greens, flax seeds, and walnuts. The polyunsaturated fatty acids in these foods play a critical role in normal skin function and appearance (Oregon State University).

Also, remember to drink plenty of water and consider reducing or eliminating alcohol and nicotine, both of which can prematurely age and dry your skin (WebMD).

3 Favorite Products for Menopause and Dry Skin

For the Face: Sweet Red Rose Whip Moisturizer by Eminence Organics

 

Crafted with sweet red rose petals, lemon juice, and plenty of antioxidants, Eminence Organics’ Sweet Red Rose Whip Moisturizer is our go-to facial product for clients in menopausal transition.

Rose is a wonderful herb for skin health, and this velvety moisturizer features both rose petals and rose petal extract. Rose is often thought of for its gentle, hydrating abilities and can help soothe even the driest skin. Rose also contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, both of which are helpful for dry, dull, and aging skin.

According to Eminence Organics, rose contains Vitamin A, which stimulates skin cell turnover and increases collagen production, along with Vitamin C, which also aids in collagen production while brightening dark spots. The lemon juice in this product provides an additional boost of Vitamin C!

Purchase your Sweet Red Rose Whip Moisturizer today.

($5 from each purchase will be donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation.)

For the Body: Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil by Stony Creek Aromatics

 

A bottle of Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil

Formulated and crafted by owner of Jessica’s Apothecary and licensed esthetician, Jessica Goniea, this super-nourishing body oil features a powerhouse of fatty oils blended with essential oils to help alleviate occasional stress.

We discussed the importance of fatty acids, above, in regards to their role in skin hydration and elasticity. In addition to eating beneficial fats, you can also slather them on your skin externally. When comparing oils for menopause and dry skin, it’s particularly helpful to pay attention to oils with high linoleic acid content. Linoleic acid is the most abundant type of polyunsaturated fatty acid found in the epidermal (outermost) layer of skin (Oregon State University). 

Our Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil features a luxurious blend of plant-based oils with impressive levels of linoleic acid, including apricot oil (up to 33% linoleic acid), avocado (up to 22.9% linoleic acid), and almond oil (up to 28% linoleic acid.) (Molecular Journal of International Sciences). 

For this full-body treat, we’ve blended those rich, plant-based oils with stress-relieving essential oils of sweet orange, lavender, sandalwood, patchouli, and rose otto. Your skin will best absorb this wonderful massage oil if you take a bath or shower beforehand and apply the oil to freshly towel-dried skin. Consider dry brushing before your bath or shower to gently exfoliate, as well! 

Purchase our Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil, here. 

For Vaginal Dryness: Honor Everyday Balm by Rosebud Woman 

 

Vaginal dryness is another potentially uncomfortable symptom of menopause, and it’s experienced by approximately 1 out of every 3 women going through the shift. Vaginal dryness becomes even more common as women age further, and it can result in decreased libido, painful sex, and decreased sexual satisfaction.

Rosebud Woman is a brand that we support whole-heartedly in its mission to create balms and serums specifically for nourishing labial support. Their Honor: Everyday Balm is their most popular product and it moisturizes, conditions, and replenishes intimate skin.

This lovely oil includes Bisabolol, an extract of chamomile that has been shown to help support lax, thin tissues, along with evening primrose oil, which can contain up to 72% linoleic acid!

We’re honored to carry this intimate balm, which is a beautiful part of any woman’s self-care toolkit.

Purchase Rosebud Woman’s Honor Every Day Balm, here.

Save with a Bundle! 

Save by purchasing the Eminence Organics Sweet Red Rose Moisturizer and Rosebud Woman Honor Balm together! This Sweet Red Rose Collection is just $140 (valued at $164).

Purchase your bundle here. 

In Closing, 

Menopause and dry skin is, unfortunately, a combination that many women will experience at some point in their life. However, with a healthy diet, a balanced lifestyle, and the right skincare products, you can make strides toward feeling your best if these conditions arise.

To discuss your skin’s specific needs, consider scheduling a complimentary virtual skincare consultation with Jessica! Request your consultation, here.

A Natural Retinol Alternative for Beautifully Aging Skin

Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative offers a wide array of benefits without the uncomfortable…

Retinol is commonly seen as a skincare panacea that can soften fine lines, even out skin tones, and even help prevent acne. Unfortunately, strong results can come with strong consequences, many of which are even counterproductive to your skincare goals.

For example, people often report redness, irritation, UV sensitivity, peeling, itching, and other uncomfortable side effects after regularly using retinol-based products. 

At Jessica’s Apothecary, we prefer to take a more balanced approach. With this in mind, we’re pleased to offer several Eminence Organics products that feature a Natural Retinol Alternative that comes with all the same benefits as the synthetic version but none of the uncomfortable side effects. 

What is Retinol?

Retinol is a synthetic derivative of Vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin and eyes. Retinol is a type of retinoid –  a generic name for any topical product that contains a vitamin A derivative. The term “retinoid” is often used for stronger, prescription skin care products containing retinoic acid, whereas retinol is a bit less potent and is available in over-the-counter skincare products. Don’t let the phrase “less potent” fool you, though, both retinol and retinoids are powerful products that come with the host of uncomfortable side effects mentioned above, and neither of them is safe to use during pregnancy.

Why would anyone use a product with so many uncomfortable side effects? Well, it truly is effective in a number of other ways. The benefits of retinol are:

  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Clears congestion
  • Shrinks large pores
  • Smooths uneven skin texture
  • Minimizes fine lines & wrinkles
  • ​Keeps skin firm and plump
  • ​Fades dark spots

A Natural Alternative to Retinol

Eminence Organics has created the Natural Retinol Alternative Complex that uses a blend of chicory root and tara tree extract and was developed by scientists from Pfizer. This unique blend provides the same results as conventional retinol, but without the uncomfortable side effects.

Chicory root is a stimulant containing oligosaccharides that tricks the skin’s cells into a healing response. During this response, cellular turnover is increased – just like with conventional retinol. Increased cellular metabolism enables your skin to shed dead layers more efficiently and replace them with healthy new cells. This process activates collagen and elastin production to soften fine lines. When mixed with tara tree extract, this Natural Retinol Alternative increases collagen levels by 25% in just 6 days!

This wonderful alternative is a primary ingredient in the following three products. 

Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist

Eminence Organics' Neroli Age Corrective Hydrating Mist with Natural Retinol AlternativeThis milky white moisturizing spray is fabulous for all skin types, especially mature. It contains Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative to lift and tighten the skin, and their custom PhytoCellTec Swiss Green Apple Stem Cells that help delay visible signs of aging by strengthening the skin’s cells. Mood-boosting neroli oil is included in the mist to soften the skin, and coconut milk helps moisturize and nourish. 

To use, spray 1 or 2 spritzes directly on your clean face and neck, avoiding the eye area. The mist will soak into your skin, so there’s no need to wash it off. Reapply any time throughout the day that you need a refreshing lift. 

Order your Neroli Age Corrective Mist today. 

Bamboo Firming Fluid

This natural product helps achieve tighter-looking skin and has won more awards than we can count, including Favourite Firming Serum, Aesthetician’s Choice Awards, 2018 and also Best Skin Serum, International Beauty Awards, 2017. It’s great for normal to dry skin, and especially mature skin. Eminence Organics' Bamboo Firming Fluid with Natural Retinol Alternative

The Bamboo Firming Fluid contains Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative along with bamboo, which is packed with antioxidants, proteins, vitamins, and more. It also contains coconut oil to restore the skin’s moisture barrier and coconut water to help balance the skin’s pH.

To use, apply a thin layer to clean skin once or twice daily. Follow with a moisturizer that’s best suited to your skin and the season. For dry winter skin, consider the Sweet Red Rose Whip Moisturizer.

Order Bamboo Firming Fluid, here.

Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum

This is one of our go-to products for fighting the visible signs of aging that appear around your eyes, like crow’s feet and fine lines. It’s effective for all skin types, especially mature.

Eminence Organics' Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum features their Natural Retinol AlternativeThis rich serum includes Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative along with neroli oil, which refreshes and hydrates the tired eye area. It also includes coconut milk to moisturize, nourish, and soften, plus carrot extract, a fabulous source of antioxidants and nutrients.

To use, apply a thin layer to the clean skin around your closed eyes. Blend it in until it’s fully absorbed, then follow with an eye cream (The Marine Flower Peptide Eye Cream is a particularly lovely choice).

Order Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum, here.

Save with a Bundle

Save by purchasing all three of these products together! Use the following link to purchase these three items for $119 (valued at $158). 

Purchase the Natural Retinol Alternative Collection, here. 

To learn more about retinol alternatives, or to discuss your skin’s specific needs with a certified esthetician, schedule a virtual consultation with our owner, Jessica. This low-stress offering is designed to help you create (and stick to!) a personalized skincare routine that supports natural radiance and beautiful aging.

Learn more about Eminence Organics’ Natural Retinol Alternative, here.

 

 

REFERENCES

Eminence Organics. (2019). What is retinol? Benefits, side effects, and a natural alternative [Blog Post] Retrieved from https://eminenceorganics.com/us/blog/2019/07/10/what-retinol-benefits-side-effects-natural-alternative

Glamour. (2020). Retinoid vs. retinol: When to use each and why [Online Article]. Retrieved from https://www.glamour.com/story/retinoid-vs-retinol

Kafi R, Kwak HSR, Schumacher WE, et al. Improvement of Naturally Aged Skin With Vitamin A (Retinol). Arch Dermatol. 2007;143(5):606–612. doi:10.1001/archderm.143.5.606

Treat Yourself to a Luxurious Winter Facial at Home

As the colder weather starts to blow in across the country, we’re collectively beginning to experience 

As the colder weather starts to blow in across the country, we’re collectively beginning to experience all the tell-tale signs of dryness, like chapped lips and flaky skin.

 

If you live in a cold climate, then you’re probably used to stocking up on extra lip balm and creams as the season shifts. This year, consider taking your skin care routine one step further by assembling a winter facial kit for yourself or as a special gift for a loved one!

A winter facial is a fabulous way to nourish your skin with deeply penetrating fatty oils infused with natural, botanical benefits. We’ve outlined two of our favorite winter facial regimens below – one for morning and one for the night. All of the products we’ve featured are also age-preventative and age-corrective, making them a wonderful choice for anyone over the age of thirty (it’s really never too early to start protecting your skin against fine lines and wrinkles).

A winter facial is more than moisturizing, it can be a healing ritual in and of itself. Light a candle, make yourself a steaming mug of your favorite herbal tea or spiced milk, and settle in for a special treat. While you’re pampering yourself with this skin care ritual, consider taking some time to meditate on what you’re grateful for or simply share some positive feedback with yourself. 2020 has been a challenging year for so many of us, but fortunately, there are simple and affordable self-care tools, like botanical facials, aromatherapy, and meditation, that can help lift our spirits and refill our emotional cups. 

A Morning Winter Facial

A morning facial is typically more focused on revitalizing the skin through gentle exfoliation. Your skin needs a boost in the morning in the same way that your body needs high levels of cortisol to get the day going. Here are the products we recommend using, in order.

Step 1: Monoi Age-Corrective Exfoliating Cleanser. The first step to any facial is to wash away dirt and impurities. This lovely Eminence Organics cleanser is a great starting point for a winter facial because it exfoliates and moisturizes. Finely ground olive seeds and fruit extracts serve as the all-natural, biodegradable exfoliators, but the star ingredient in this cleanser is monoi oil. Monoi oil is made by soaking the petals of Tahitian gardenias in coconut oil. This aromatic scented oil has been used by French Polynesians for centuries as a skin and hair softener and is quickly gaining popularity in Europe and the U.S. 

Step 2: Firm Skin Acai Exfoliating Peel. This gentle peel can be used daily to deeply hydrate your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines. (If you use this peel on a daily basis, then make sure to balance the treatment with plenty of nourishing oils and fats.) This much-loved product is packed with antioxidants from acai berry, grapefruit, and goji berries, along with lactic and glycolic acids to increase skin’s firmness and collagen production. 

People tend to fall in love with this exfoliating peel after using it. It won Elite Magazine’s “Best Firming Peel” (Green Beauty Awards, 2016), and it was also included in Yoga Journal’s list of “Editor’s Must-Haves” (2017). 

 Step 3: Lavender Age-Corrective Night ConcentrateEven though this treatment is labeled as a “night concentrate” it is light enough to be used in the morning, as well, especially in colder climates. Think of your moisturizing regime as layers the same way you would layer clothing in winter (see our blog post Layering is a Balancing Act for more info about moisturizing layers). In this case, the water-based serum is the cotton, the lipid-based serum (like this lavender concentrate) is the wool, and the moisturizer (mentioned below) is your coat. Winter skin care is more expensive in this way, but we think your skin is worth it! 

Lavender has been used for centuries for its gentle, skin-soothing effects, and this decadent concentrate also includes argan oil, jojoba oil, and shea butter to deeply hydrate your skin and help reduce the appearance of wrinkles.

Jessica Goniea holding lavender concentrate

Step 4: Coconut Age-Corrective Moisturizer. The final step of your morning winter facial is to lock in the moisture from your lavender concentrate while also adding another deeply hydrating layer to soothe winter dryness. This luscious cream features both coconut oil and coconut water to moisturize the skin. With each application, you will feel your skin noticeably tighten and lift due to the Natural Retinol Alternative made from chicory root and tara tree. This is part of the reason why we love this moisturizer for a morning application!

This popular cream won 1st place for “Best Natural Moisturizer” in the Aestheticians Choice Awards (Dermascope, 2017). 

Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer

If you’re going to leave your house and wear a mask after your facial, then consider applying 1 drop of peppermint, ravintsara, or grapefruit essential oil to the outside of your mask. All of these essential oils are antimicrobial. Grapefruit also helps elevate mood, peppermint aids mental alertness, and ravintsara is a natural expectorant and bronchodilator. Choose the best essential oil for your needs that day!

(Do not apply essential oils onto the mask or anyone who is incapable of removing it themselves.)

A Nighttime Winter Facial

Winter has fewer daylight hours, which means all the more time to cozy up indoors with a decadent skin care ritual. Evening facials are especially beneficial during winter because you can apply multiple layers of thick, luscious creams and oils that protect your skin against moisture loss while you sleep. Here are the products we recommend for a moisturizing nighttime winter facial, in order of use.

Step 1: Stone Crop Cleansing Oil. This gentle cleansing oil is an incredible makeup remover (including eye makeup!) and also helps restore the skin’s barrier. As an added bonus, this lovely cleaning oil is infused with sunflower oil, jojoba oil, and microgreens to protect against drying environmental stressors, like wind, sun, and pollution.

Step 2: Bamboo Age Corrective Masque. The best part about a nighttime facial is that you’ll have more time to sit and enjoy this moisturizing masque that’s composed of some of the most powerful anti-aging technology in natural skin care. 

Set aside 5-10 minutes to let this masque work its magic. While you wait, listen to calming music or enjoy a Golden Milk Latte, a traditional Ayurvedic spiced milk made with anti-inflammatory turmeric. The ritual is part of the magic here!

After 5-10 minutes have passed, remove the masque with a clean, moist towel. 

(For more masque options based on skin type, see our blog post: Best Botanical Masques for an Organic Facial.)

Bamboo Age Corrective Masque for a winter facial

Step 3: Marine Flower Peptide Serum Now that your skin is clean and prepped, you can apply this easily absorbed, potent serum to diminish the appearance of fine lines and strengthen collagen density. This decadent serum is a cocktail of marine marvels for the skin, including nutrient-rich blue-green and red algae extracts and botanical peptides.

Insider’s tip: Through the month of November (2020) a half-ounce bottle of this collagen-boosting serum will be included as a gift with purchase for orders over $50. (Curbside, in-store, and online orders qualify, while supplies last.)

Marine Flower Peptide Serum for winter facial

Step 4: Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil with Gua Sha Stone Facial.  Are you ready for the most luxurious part of your at-home winter facial? This dewy product features highly moisturizing camellia oil, which is made from seeds of the tea plant. Combined with marula oil and hemp seed oil, this lovely face oil will give you a healthy glow.

For a spa-like experience, give yourself a gua sha stone face massage with this camellia oil. Gua sha stone massage originated in China, and it’s a simple practice that you can easily do at home to increase your skin’s circulation and reduce puffiness. Our esthetician friend Katie Westgate (who we now share a space with at K. WEST Skin Body Spirit) shares instructions for a rejuvenating 3-minute Gua Sha Stone Facial in this video

You can purchase a white jade gua sha stone as part of a Restorative Self Care Ritual, here.

Step 5: Rosehip and Lemongrass Repair Balm This ultra-rich moisturizer is perfect for a winter facial. It features rosehips, sunflower oil, edelweiss extract, and prickly pear serum to repair dry skin and reduce redness due to dryness. This repair balm is a lovely addition to this skin care ritual, but it can also be applied to dry patches as often as needed.

If you experience super dry skin due to dry winter air or other environmental stressors, then this balm is a great product to keep in your purse and apply to affected areas throughout the day. Learn more about this wonderful balm and its protective properties in our blog post Psychological Stress + Skin Barrier Function.

Step 6: Restorative Mind-Body Ritual Oil. When you’re finished with your winter facial and ready to sink into bed, take a few moments to apply this calming ritual oil to your pulse points. This beautiful blend is one of the flagship products in the new Stony Creek Aromatics line, and was created to help ease stress. It features an aromatic blend of rose otto, sandalwood, lavender, orange, and patchouli essential oils.

Don’t miss this video, in which we explain how to use this oil for a restorative self-care ritual!

Learn more about how these essential oils create greater equilibrium in the mind and body in our blog post, Aromatherapy & The Stress Response Cycle.

In Closing, 

An at-home winter facial is such a decadent way to treat yourself to something special while also caring for your body’s biggest organ – your skin!

You can mix up your routine and try a different masque every night by using these botanical masques or even trying our new Turmeric Energizing Treatment, which helps awaken and revitalize dull skin.

If you would like to discuss a targeted treatment for your specific skin type, schedule a virtual consultation today by emailing contact@jessicasapothecary.com or by calling 734.545.4303.

We are also open for in-person facials, during which we can discuss your personal skin condition and develop a winter facial specifically for your needs. We’re excited to move to a new location on November 12, so please take note of that new address if you book your appointment soon. (415 N. Main St. Suite 3, Ann Arbor, MI 48104; inside K WEST Skin Body Spirit.)

How to Treat Maskne + 3 Tips for Preventing It

If you’ve experienced an increased number of outbreaks since COVID started, you’re not alone.

If you’ve experienced an increased number of outbreaks since COVID started, you’re not alone.

 Beyond the fact that stress and anxiety can contribute to acne, masks also create a perfect storm for skin congestion. In fact, acne caused by masks has become so commonplace this year that it even has a nickname, “maskne” (although the medical term is “acne mechanica”). Prior to COVID, athletes were the people most likely to experience maskne due to the sweat, heat, and friction caused by exercising for hours at a time while wearing helmets and chin straps. Maskne may sound (and feel!) intimidating, but don’t worry, in this post we’ll cover how to treat maskne with a few preventative measures and the right organic skincare routine!

So what exactly causes a maskne outbreak? Put simply, when you breathe inside your mask for hours, it increases the amount of humidity around your face and creates a breeding ground for acne. Even though the environment within your mask is humid, cotton and disposable masks rub right against your skin and absorb the natural oils, thus drying your skin out over time. Dry skin can be more prone to outbreaks, plus, as the material continues to rub against your face, the friction of the mask can then block and clog pores. All of these factors combine to create an environment that’s prime for breakouts. 

Fortunately, with a combination of simple prevention and natural treatments, you can learn how to treat maskne without a huge investment in expensive, chemical-laden products! Because let’s be honest, who needs one more thing to worry about this year?

How to Prevent Maskne

Like most things, prevention is key. These are the three preventative steps we find most useful.

1. Wear a Satin or Silk Mask

When you’re shopping for a mask, look for ones made of satin or silk. While the price tag may be slightly higher, these materials won’t wick moisture out of your skin like cotton or disposable masks will. These are a particularly great option for anyone who’s been experiencing extra dry skin lately or who lives in a dry climate.

2. Wash Reusable Masks Between Every Wear

If you have reusable masks, then try to get in the habit of washing them between each wear. This is especially important if you wear your masks for long periods of time, or if you sweat while wearing your mask. By having a clean mask, you won’t reintroduce your skin to the oils, dirt, and even cosmetics that your mask absorbed the last time you wore it. The CDC also recommends washing your masks regularly for safety reasons, so this is a great habit to get into in general!

Some masks can be thrown in the washing machine and dryer, but others, like satin or silk masks, should be hand washed and air dried. To account for regular washings, make sure you have enough masks to get through at least one week without needing to do laundry.

Remember to wash your face mask regularly - woman folds laundry while sitting on the floor.


3. Find Safe Moments to Take a Mask Break

If possible, try to find moments throughout the day when you can remove your mask safely and let your skin air out, even if it’s only for a few minutes. You could do this when you’re taking a short break, driving in your car alone, or if you’re outdoors and maintaining safe social distance. 

If you feel like your skin is getting oily, then this could be a great time to apply a few spritzes of an invigorating mist. Our favorite one for this purpose is the Mangosteen Revitalizing Mist by Eminence Organics, which features a dreamy combination of antioxidant-packed mangosteen, energizing ribose, and pore-refining red clover. Make sure your face is completely dry before you put your mask back on.

black woman sitting outside smiling under the sun.

 

Note: During these times, it’s all too common to hear people say, “I can’t breathe” in reference to their masks. We’d like to gently draw attention to the fact that these were George Floyd’s last words. While masks can certainly be uncomfortable, the truth of the matter is that we ARE able to breathe, unlike those who have suffered, and even died, under the oppression of white supremacy and police brutality. In solidarity with the Black community, we’re making a cognitive effort to avoid using the phrase “I can’t breathe” when referring to masks or to our skin needing a break from masks.


How to Treat Maskne: Our 3 Favorite Products

You could follow all of the preventative steps above and still experience a breakout. When you find yourself wondering how to treat maskne, pay special attention to two critical steps of your natural skincare routine: exfoliation and hydration!

We looked through the timely new products in our Eminence Organics line, and the following three items all stood out to us as particularly helpful in regards to maskne. 

 

Three products to keep in mind for how to treat maskne

As always, all Eminence Organics products are organic, sustainable, and cruelty free. They’re also void of parabens, phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, and other ingredients that we find best to avoid.

 

Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser

Because maskne can result from irritated skin and clogged pores, it’s best to find a gentle exfoliating cleanser. Our favorite choice for this application is our Eminence Organics Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser. 

Why do we love it? 

  • The main ingredient, charcoal, is super absorbent, so it draws out oil, dirt, and other harmful substances from clogged pores. 
  • The crushed malachite gemstones are the stone of transformation, helping the mind release stress and feel optimistic and balanced – something we could all use more of right now! 
  • And the blue matcha (butterly pea flower) and peppermint are both rich in antioxidants that improve the appearance of vitality. The peppermint will feel cooling and soothing, just what you need when your skin feels inflamed. 

To use, simply mix a small amount of the cleanser in your hands with water. Apply to your face and neck, and then massage gently with your fingertips in a circular motion. Rinse thoroughly and pat dry. 

If it’s morning, and you’re getting ready to start your day, then finish with a moisturizer and a natural SPF. 

If you’re headed to bed, then finish with the Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil (below), and a  moisturizer to deeply hydrate your skin overnight. If you have a bit of extra time, then try the Turmeric Energizing Treatment after you cleanse for some added love (keep reading)!

Add our Charcoal Exfoliating Gel Cleanser to your Skincare Routine!

 

Charcoal Exfoliating Gel is a great choice when learning how to treat maskne


Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil

Because masks can absorb your skin’s natural oils and dry out your skin, you’ll want to add a super luscious and deeply hydrating oil to your skincare lineup. 

The one we recommend for this job is the Eminence Organics Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil, which is best applied before you go to bed. 

 

Camelia Glow Solid Face Oil

 

Why do we love this deeply hydrating oil?

  • The main ingredient, camellia oil, is pressed from the seeds of Camellia oleifera, better known as the plant that gives us tea. (Now you can drink your tea and wear it, too!). The precious oil is prized around the world for being highly moisturizing, revitalizing, and rejuvenating.
  • This luscious, solid face oil also includes crushed pink tourmaline, a gemstone that encourages positive thoughts. (Are you noticing a trend with gemstones that encourage positivity here? Because 2020 … ).
  • Another prized ingredient in this moisturizing blend is marula oil, which contains up to 60% more antioxidants than Argan oil. It also has antimicrobial properties, making it a perfect option for anyone dealing with maskne. Marula oil is rich in fatty acids and combats visible signs of aging due to drying environmental stressors.
  • The final ingredient in this luscious formula is hemp seed oil that’s rich in vitamins and antioxidants and can improve the appearance of aging.

To use, simply apply a pea-sized amount to your face and neck with gentle, circular motions. Oils and serums like this camellia product are a wonderful way to re-introduce moisture into your skin after a long day and restore your vital skin/barrier function. For best results, finish with a luscious, moisturizer.

Add our Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil to your Skincare Routine!


Turmeric Energizing Treatment

Even though the stress and anxiety of 2020 may be getting to you, (no judgement, us too!) this Turmeric Energizing Treatment reminds us that we can still look our best and treat ourselves to a little extra pampering.

Turmeric Energizing Treatment - How to treat maskne

 

This warm and invigorating powder is designed to awaken your skin and help it appear extra luminant. We recommend using this revitalizing treatment as an extra step before bed (before you apply your serum and moisturizer) because it’s warming nature can cause your face to flush slightly. 

Why do we love this invigorating turmeric treatment?

  • The main ingredient, turmeric, is a potent antioxidant that visibly brightens the appearance of skin and reduces the look of puffiness. Yes, please!
  • The crushed citrine gemstones lends an element of happiness that helps the mind and body feel recharged, motivated and energized.
  • Paprika often gets relegated to the spice cabinet, but we love its ability to invigorate the skin and leave it soft and glowing. As an added bonus, Hungarian paprika increases detoxification and circulation in the skin, which helps to purge acne.
  • Zeolite is this blend’s secret weapon. A deep exfoliator, it releases energy upon contact with water, resulting in the skin feeling warm and invigorated. It also improves the skin’s appearance by smoothing and tightening.
  • Clay is one of nature’s most incredible natural skin care products, and the kaolin clay used in this luxurious treatment is no different. It deeply cleans and softens the skin and gently draws out impurities without stripping away moisture.

To use, add 1 small scoop of powder (about 1 teaspoon) into the jar’s outer cap. Gradually stir in a few drops of water, your favorite tonique, or the Birch Water Purifying Essence until you see a whipped-mousse texture (the recommended ratio is 4 parts powder to 3 parts water)

 Apply a thin layer of the whipped mousse to your entire face, extend to your neck and décolleté as desired. Let dry for 10 – 30 minutes before rinsing with tepid water. As you rinse, massage gently to exfoliate. 

It’s natural to experience a warm, tingling sensation for a few minutes after applying this product. Please take note that this luxurious treatment is water activated, so the tingling sensation dissipates over time and will resume during rinse-off. If you use steam, hot towels, or warmer water you will intensify the heat.

Finish with Camellia Glow Solid Face Oil and the moisturizer of your choice before heading to bed. Sweet dreams, loved ones! 

Treat yourself to our Turmeric Energizing Treatment today!

In Closing,

When learning how to treat maskne, it’s important to keep our simple preventative tips in mind along with our motto of “Exfoliate and Hydrate.”

If you feel like your skin needs a little extra TLC (or you just need some pampering during these hectic times), then reach out to us about scheduling a spa day. A facial treatment is a great time to get specific feedback from Jessica about your skin’s unique characteristics. 

Schedule your appointment

Not ready to come back to the spa due to COVID or live out of the area? Reach out to Jessica for a 30-minute virtual skin consultation.

 Contact us, here. 

More in this VIDEO by Jessica.

 

Jessica's Apothecary owner wearing a satin face mask to teach how to treat maskne

Aromatherapy to Enhance a Facial Treatment

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic compounds to create a desirable therapeutic action. The most commonly known Aromatherapy practices involve essential oils, the volatile oils found in the secretory structure of aromatic plants. Essential oils are often diffused, applied topically at various concentrations, or added to wash off bath and body products. An esthetician has a unique opportunity for integrating essential oils into her practice and can make a profound impact because of the intention she sets for a relaxing and rejuvenating client experience. Most importantly, essential oils can be safely applied, not by adding them to skin care products (because that would often be too harsh for the skin), but by using them on hot towels. Simply dropping one or two drops on the towel positioned on the client’s chin, and allowing them to breathe it in for a minute or two, is enough to positively alter the facial experience.

I change the Essential Oils used in my facial room seasonally. After being closed for 4 months due to COVID-19, I had to reflect on which oils would help people the most as they re-enter to the Apothecary. Returning to touch, while living much of our day socially distancing, requires trust. To ease any anxiety and to help people relax deeper into the experience, I have carefully chosen specific essential oils to use on the warm towels throughout the facial.

🌸 In the beginning of the facial, I created a blend of Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) and Melissa (Melissa officinalis) . Cedarwood is a base note which means that it has a larger molecular structure and slower evaporation rate. It is grounding and fortifying. One of my favorite descriptions of Cedarwood is by Gabriel Mojay in his book, “Aromatherapy and Healing the Spirit”. He says, “Steadying the conscious mind, it helps us to resist the sudden events and powerful emotions that threaten to undermine our confidence and morale.”

Melissa, or lemon balm, is a powerful anxiolytic. I have personally helped a loved one out of a panic attack within just minutes of administering inhalation of this oil. My teacher, Florian Birkmayer, MD, in his years as a Psychiatrist, Equine Therapist, and Aromatherapist, says that in addition to relieving “overstimulation, stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, (Melissa) lowers high blood pressure, and calms over-rapid breathing and heartbeat”.

🌸 In the middle of the facial, to help create greater ease in the body and mind, I use my Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative Mind-Body Diffusing Oil. I’ve sung the praises of this research conducted on the five oils in this blend in my article, https://jessicasapothecary.com/aromatherapy-the-stress-response-cycle/. This blend of Sweet Orange, Lavender, Sandalwood, Patchouli and Rose sinks us deeper into our heart center, reminds us to take a deep breath, and lowers heart rate and cortisol.

🌸 To conclude the facial, I choose either Corn Mint (Mentha arvensis) or Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi). Both essential oils are top notes that help give a mental lift after the hour-long trance of a facial. Corn Mint, or Wild Mint, contains menthol that awakens the senses. Andrea Butje, director of the Aromahead Institute, describes it best when she explains how the plant part used in the distillation has an effect on the therapeutic action. As in the case of corn mint, she says, just as leaves allow the plant to breathe, “We can use oils made from leaves to support respiration and deeper breathing. They can help us breath when we feel stress and anxiety, while supporting expansion and creativity.”

As with all citrus oils, Pink Grapefruit contains d’limonene, which can relieve anxiety and give a sparkle that lifts the mood.

Integrating essential oils into our facials helps to create a more holistic experience. Not only is our goal to rejuvenate the skin externally, but foster well being that promotes the longevity of skin health! For more on how mental health effects skin health, check out Psychological Stress & Skin Barrier Function.

Psychological Stress + Skin Barrier Function

Skin is our first line of defense against irritants, pathogens and environmental stressors. The epidermis contains sebum (a mixture of lipids, wax esters, fats, and fatty acids) (1), layered with keratinocytes and corneocytes (skin cells in the epidermis) that help seal in moisture while keeping viruses, bacteria, and allergens out. The barrier function is easily disturbed, however. External factors, namely UV exposure and pollution, are well known to compromise the barrier of the skin. In my studies I have discovered that increased cortisol levels and inflammation that occur during psychological stress also contribute to the deterioration of the skin barrier. This blog will focus on the science behind psychological stress and its role in the disturbance of the skin’s barrier function. Don’t worry, I will also tell you what you can do to protect and strengthen it too!

Stress activates two major neuronal pathways: the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) Axis and the Sympathetic Nervous System (2). In my blog, Aromatherapy & the Stress Response Cycle, I mention the HPA Axis and how high levels of cortisol, our primary stress hormone, can lead to imbalance in the body. To recap, during acute stress the Hypothalamus in the brain sends signals, via the pituitary gland, for the release of corisol by the adrenals. An exciting finding is that various organs in the body, including skin, have their own peripheral HPA mechanism. In this way, the skin “acts like an endocrine organ” (3).

The way in which cortisol is released into the skin is via an enzyme in our Keratinocyte cells. That enzyme is called 11 beta-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 1 (HSDI), or Cortison reductase. It activates endogenous, or naturally occurring, cortisone and converts it to cortisol. HSDI is also activated by UVB light, which then increases cortisol in the epidermis (3). This is one of the factors responsible for delayed wound healing, the disturbance of keratinocyte proliferation, as well the destruction of fibroblasts which are responsible for the creation of collagen and elastin in the dermis (4,5). Stress is a major factor in delayed healing of acne lesions, dull or thick skin, a dehydrated or rough skin surface, and loss of elasticity and density. Psychological stress triggers HSDI and disrupts homeostasis, the delicate balance in the skin.

In addition to the HPA Axis, stress also activates the Sympathetic Nervous System (2). According to the research gathered by A. Garg, “The peripheral nervous system and the skin are intimately connected via free nerve endings that extend to the epidermis” (6). Nerve fibers (and cortisol levels) activate cytokines, or stress mediators in various cells, and have an inflammatory effect. During acute psychological stress the skin’s immune cells are the target of a cytokine assault. Specifically, nerve fibers activate mast cells and cortisol activates Th1 cells to product cytokines (7). Immune cells can become overreactive and cause allergic reactions and itching, and even auto-immune disorders like psoriasis.

The collateral damage of these complex neuroendocrine and immune responses is that they “impair the ability of the skin to respond to environmental challenges” (8). When the skin barrier becomes compromised, it no longer functions effectively. Water loss (called Transepidermal Water Loss, or TEWL) occurs when the barrier can no longer keep water from evaporating. Dehydrated skin with a compromised barrier exacerbates inflammation and disease and can lead to various dermatological disorders. Dermatitis, Psoriasis, Eczema, Acne, Rosacea, and allergic reactions can all become worse when undergoing psychological stress.

If you skimmed through the scientific breakdown in the last few paragraphs, we have finally reached the point of discussing the ways you can improve barrier function! Managing stress addresses the skin from the inside, while treating with lipid rich and anti-inflammatory skin care products supports it from the outside. Looking inward, for individuals struggling with depression, studies show that taking an SSRI decreased the levels of HSDI in the skin (3). Also, created to support a decrease in cortisol and relief from depression, I recommend using my Stony Creek Aromatics’ Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil. Clinical evidence shows that the barrier function can be improved by inhaling essential oils with a sedative effect (3), in particular the rose, sandalwood, and lavender in this blend. In a zoom class I attended this month with Aparna Ishvari on Abhyanga massage, I learned that in Ayurveda the application of plant oils is understood to “anchor the nervous system” by providing calm to the nerve endings. In a base of Jojoba, Apricot Kernel, Almond, and Avocado, the Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil can be applied to the full body, excluding the face, every day to support wellness.

As I mentioned in opening, the skin barrier contains lipids, fats, wax, and fatty acids. Healthy skin contains adequate amounts of linoleic acid, according to Brian Goodwin, International Educator for Eminence Organics Skin Care. Linoleic Acid is the omega 6 fatty acid and can be found at high levels in many of my favorite plant-based fatty oils. Looking at a typical analysis provided by Mountain Rose Herbs, some of the fatty oils with the highest amounts of linoleic acid are Grapeseed (containing 65-85%), Evening Primrose (containing up to 72%), Sesame (containing up to 45%), Borage (containing up to 38%), Argan (containing 29-36%), Baobab (containing 24-34%), Apricot Kernel (containing 19-33%), Almond (containing 7-28%), Sunflower (containing 3-20%), and Olive (containing up to 17%). When plant oils are applied to the skin they help to occlude the barrier and seal in moisture. The Eminence Organics Facial Recovery Oil contains Olive and Sesame Oils and have been shown, in third party studies, to increase hydration in the skin up to 53% in 28 days. For those of you that are acne prone, rest assured that the healthy fats in the Facial Recovery Oil plus the antimicrobial, anti inflammatory, anti fungal essential oils of Tea Tree and Clary Sage will improve your condition. Mixed with the Rosehip & Lemongrass Repair Balm, which contains plant waxes, this combination creates a semi-occlusive barrier that helps the skin recover from damage as well as supporting it to prevent further compromise.

To address the constant struggle with inflammation that our skin is undergoing, choosing products that are high in anti-inflammatory ingredients is vital to the strength of the barrier function. One of my favorite summer moisturizers is the Eminence Organics Arctic Berry Peptide Radiance Cream. It contains 4 arctic plants that are rich in anti-inflammatory properties, and peptides to soften fine lines. The Birch Water Purifying Essence contains Reishi mushroom which is an adaptogen that may decrease inflammation and mitigate the skin’s stress response. Lastly, protect your skin from inflammation and increased cortisol with the all-natural mineral based sunscreen, the Lilikoi Light Defense Primer SPF 23.

If my research presented here from the new field of psychodermatology wasn’t exciting enough, consider one more finding that brings this psychosomatic research full circle. There is evidence that “stress-enhanced inflammation (can), in turn, effect the brain since neuroendocrine mediators and cytokines released during inflammation cause a feeling of malaise.” (7) This reciprocal effect shows us that self care is critical for our mental health. Keeping the skin healthy also keeps our brains happy, which is needed now more than ever. The good news is, research shows that inhibiting HSDI may reverse barrier damage (5), so if you need a visualization while you are practicing mindfulness during this social distancing time, try to imagine your nerves becoming calmer and your skin cells stronger, to protect you from this world.

Video of this blog available on my YouTube channel.

1. Pappas A. (2014) Sebum and Sebaceous Lipids. In: Zouboulis C., Katsambas A., Kligman A. (eds) Pathogenesis and Treatment of Acne and Rosacea. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
2. Jafferany, M. (2011) Psychodermatology: When the Mind and Skin Interact. Psychiatric Times V 28.
3. Choe S., Kim D., et al (2018) Psychological Stress Deteriorates Skin Barrier Function by Activating 11B-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase 1 and the HPA Axis, Scientific Reports
4. Tiganescu, A. etal. (2014) Increased glucocorticoid activation during mouse skin wound healing. The Journal of Endocrinology 221, 51-61
5. Terao, M., Tani, M., et al (2014) 11β-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenase 1 Specific Inhibitor Increased Dermal Collagen Content and Promotes Fibroblast Proliferation, PLOS One
6. Garg A., Chren M. et al (2001) Psychological Stress Perturbs Epidermal Permeability Barrier Homeostasis Arch Dermatol. Vol 137
7. Peters, E. (2015) Stressed skin? a molecular psychosomatic update on stress-causes and effects in dermatologic issues. Journal of the German Society of Dermatology.
8. Bin Saif, G., Alotaibi, H. et al (2018) Association of psychological stress with skin symptoms among medical students, Saudi Medical Journal, 39.