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Top Lip Care Tips For All Seasons

Lip Care Tips For All Seasons

Social media has helped focus a lot of attention on the lips these days, “the Kylie Jenner Effect”. Yes, these days we can easily inject filler in the office to make your lips more plump and kissable with little down time and minimal discomfort, but what’s the use if you don’t take care of what your mama gave you?

More than lip service

If I’m being honest, I probably remember sun protection for my lips 50% of the time when I plan for a beach day, and 0% of the time on a normal work day. This is not enough, and I know better. The skin over your lips is extremely thin and sensitive and requires extra attention to keep your pout sultry and healthy. Everyone knows about using SPF for their face and body, but ultraviolet radiation from the sun can really add up in the delicate skin over the lip leading to both aesthetic and medical problems.

How does sun exposure affect my lips?

Cosmetically, ultraviolet exposure can affect collagen production in the lips over time, and repeat exposure can lead to thinning of the lips and those vertical lines around the lips known as “smokers’ lines” (how ‘80s!). A chronic dry, cracked tender lip (the lower lip more commonly than the upper lip) can mean that you’ve developed “actinic cheilitis”, which, aside from not being pretty, is a precancerous condition that can develop into squamous cell cancer of the lips (yikes!). Other types of lip can cancer can develop too, including basal cell cancer. Those who have fairer skin, blond hair, blue eyes, or a history of skin cancers are most at risk, though we must all be vigilant.

Some great products to protect your lips all year long

Lips need extra loving in both the summer sun, and harsh winter air.  B. Kamins Laboratories Lip Balm SPF 20 UVA/UVB sunscreen helps prevent sun damage, including unsightly and uncomfortable lip sore breakouts and also helps to repair dry, chapped, sore lips once the damage is done.

Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream – this versatile cream from Japan can be used on both the lips and the body to help lighten your beauty regimen load. The rich balm is enriched with vitamin E, vitamin B2, and camphor, but without sulfates, synthetic fragrances, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals or phthalates, so it’s suitable for even the most sensitive, and allergic.

The Effects of Stress on The Body

The Effects of Stress on The Body

I stumbled upon an infographic by The American Institute of Stress stating that almost half of all Americans feel more stressed now as compared to 5 years ago, and 75% of doctor’s visits are due to stress-related ailments. This is not unique to The United States. It is a far reaching global phenomenon. I was intrigued and decided to learn more about how to detect the early signs of stress and how to counteract them.

External Signs of Stress

Those affected by stress tend to look and feel tired and worn down. Under eye puffiness can become more pronounced, skin tone can look dull and become more susceptible to breakouts, hair can begin to thin and the scalp to flake. Though this can be remedied, to an extent, with personal care products, the reality is that you’re stressed and steps must be taken to protect your body inside and out.

The Invisible Effects of Stress

What’s really troubling is that stress has worse effects, which are invisible. When your stress levels are consistently high, there are consequences that can be disturbing, and even life threatening if left unchecked. Hence, it’s important to unwind, laugh, spend time with friends and learn to manage stressful situations.

Effects of Stress on The Body

Stress has effects on all systems of the human body, for instance, studies have shown a direct correlation between chronic muscle pain and musculoskeletal disorders in people who experience chronic stress. 

The respiratory system may also be affected, making breathing somewhat more difficult. This becomes especially problematic for people that suffer from asthma as well as those who are prone to panic attacks. 

Chronic stress is also widely linked to heart ailments. Stress contributes to an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and even inflammation in the circulatory system, affecting vital blood pathways in the body such as the coronary arteries. 

The liver and adrenal glands are another set of organs affected by stress. Elevated stress levels lead to the release of ‘stress hormones’, which result in the production of more glucose. An increase in glucose production means higher blood sugar, which puts individuals at greater risk for diabetes.

A blog post by Aboca highlights the effect of stress on the digestive system, describing how stress can interfere with the entire digestive process and result in gastrointestinal disorders like IBS and constipation. 

Stress Compromises The Immune System

The immune system suffers as well from high stress levels. As explained by Executive Medicine, the natural defense of the body is compromised by stress, which makes individuals more susceptible to viral illnesses like flu.

In short, constant stress has serious impacts on every aspect of the body. Here are some remedies to help overcome and counter stress.

How To Minimize Stress

Exercise is proven to promote wellbeing including stress reduction mentally and physically. Activities like yoga, strength training, jogging and walking can all keep stress in check.

Playing mindless video games for approximately 30 minutes a day aids in stress management. Believe it or not, games like the popular cut and slash Fruit Ninja is an excellent stress reliever. Then there’s classic games such as Slingo which has received positive feedback because of its relaxing attributes. And who could forget the multi-awarded Plants vs. Zombies? These games can effectively help lower overall stress levels.

Getting enough shut eye is perhaps the most important part of the equation. Sleep deprivation is correlated with increased stress levels; therefore, getting the right amount of rest is vital.

While stress can adversely affect our outward appearance, it has more detrimental effects on the internal organs and activities of the body and can lead to serious complications.

Back to School Ready: Skin Care Edition

back to school skin care

Our teens and wide-eyed college coeds are returning from sleepaway camp, teen tours and backpacking excursions in Europe and Asia. The 12 – 21 set has been so busy soaking up the sun, and god knows what else, that they are probably in need of a good facial to reset their skin. They have been so busy with summer activities that a daily skin care regimen has fallen to the bottom of the to do list. Our progeny have returned home with breakouts and post-summer skin irritation due to overexposure to the sun, perhaps sans proper protection and care.

Whether going back to school or off to university, it is a good time to start kids off with a simple custom regimen that will empower them to easily take care of their skin all year round. Yasmine Djerradine Institut de Beauté offers a Teenage Facial devised with teenage skin in mind.

A Cautionary Word of Warning

Young skin is sensitive. It is an imperative to select products that are gentle (organic is not always the answer – many organic products can be the harshest as they tend to have high concentrations of ingredients) on the skin. Products that are too harsh tend to be a major culprit contributing to adolescent skin irritation and spots.

Back To School Skin Care Regimen

In the spirit of keeping it simple, here are three easy, turnkey steps that are sure to work for all:

Step One: Cleanse

Lavido makes a gentle Purifying Face Cleanser that is specially formulated for sensitive skin. It is well suited for everyone and gently removes dead skin cells and impurities. For those in their late teens and early twenties, who wear makeup and are willing to take an extra step, I also suggest a post cleansing toner. Heaven Skincare EllaJane Celebrity Skin Wipes are ideal. It’s a toner in an easy to use wipe. They contain honey which heals and moisturizes as well as peppermint which balances the skin’s oil levels and keeps blemishes at bay. Wipes are my favorite, particularly for nighttime when everyone is tired and just wants to crawl into bed. Cleansing and moisturizing are most important at night as this is the time when the skin carries out its filtering activities at the cellular level.

Step Two: Moisturize

Alchimie Forever Daily Defense Cream SPF 23 is all natural, dermatologist-tested and vegan. This moisturizer is gentle and has a light SPF, which is beneficial all year long.

For young men that are about to start shaving or are already doing so, Ursa Major Traveler’s Skin Care Kit is an all encompassing try me kit containing a cleaner, toner, moisturizer/aftershave and toner soaked face wipes. Fortifying Face Balm is an ideal moisturizer and/or aftershave. It fights razor burn and irritation like a charm. Ursa Major’s individually wrapped Essential Face Wipes are perfect for use after gym class, as a late afternoon refresher or quick clean-up before bed.

Step Three: At Home Mini Facial

For those that will take the extra step, applying a mask once a week will do wonders. It is akin to an at home mini facial that will keep their skin clear all year long. Lavido Gentle Exfoliator Peeling Cream is meant to be a 2- 3 x per week gentle face scrub but I use it as a face mask. The formula contains oyster shell powder and pomegranate peel grains to turn over dead skin cells and buildup. It is extremely effective at unclogging pores but is gentle enough not to overdry skin. Plus, on days that it is used, it can be used as a 2-in-one cleanser and mask. Just apply, leave on for 5 – 10 minutes and rinse. Very easy.

Some Useful Extras

For teens that find themselves with blemishes, B. Kamins Laboratories Blemish Gel 5% is the perfect spot treatment to dab onto affected areas. It delivers the right amount of medicine in a lower dose than other over the counter treatments and will not irritate or overdry skin.

Additionally, Yu-Be Moisturizing Skin Cream is a no brainer. With the change of season and school stress, everyone can use a new lip balm to kick off the school year with a stunning smile!

All of these products will take you and your teens through fall and into winter seamlessly.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie

Hair Brush Basics

hair brush basics

Hair brushes are so basic and taken-for-granted that it’s easy to overlook their importance. Using the right hairbrush properly has direct effects on both the health and appearance of your hair.

You’ve heard it many times before

Brushing is very good for your hair! It stimulates blood circulation to the scalp, bringing it nutrients and oxygen. It helps cleanse the hair, removing dirt, skin cells, and product. It smooths the outer layer of each hair strand and the cuticle, promoting shine. It also separates the hairs, incorporating air for a fresh bounce.

Sounds simple enough

until you notice that your stylist uses a selection of about a dozen brushes, all different sizes and shapes while doing that killer blowout. To help guide you through the process, here are just a few of Salon Ishi’s brush basics – a hair brush 101 if you will.

Detangling brush

I’ll put it gently: if you don’t have a detangling brush, get one. These are especially necessary for long hair. Detangling brushes are specially designed to distribute the tension in interwoven hair evenly and typically have nylon bristles designed to glide through hair easily. When detangling hair, be gentle so you don’t cause breakage. This is why special detangling brushes are valuable. At Salon Ishi every one of our shampoo sinks is equipped with the S-Heart-S Scalp Brush. It’s our go-to tool for brushing wet hair.

This brush is extremely valuable. It’s also perfect for people with:

  • fine or weak hair who are afraid of brushing
  • thinning hair who need to stimulate the scalp with gentle yet penetrating bristles

Pro tip: if hair is really tangled, start brushing from the ends, not the scalp. And take in small sections.

Smile Heart Story Scalp Brush KassaScalp massage brush

A healthy scalp yields healthy hair, and massaging the scalp to stimulate blood flow and relax tight muscles is an important step to a healthy scalp. The S-Heart-S Scalp Kassa Massage Brush, available at Salon Ishi, is a wonderful, versatile tool. It not only has soft, pliable bristles for the scalp but also has a special shape for fitting the hand and has three round points that can be applied to pressure points on the head, neck, shoulders, scalp, the inside of the hands and even feet for an invigorating muscle massage. We use this brush in our famous Shiatsu Shampoo treatment. Massage, ahhh.

Brushes for blowdrying and styling

With regard to the material construction of the brush bristles you have basically two choices:

  • natural
  • nylon

For brush shape you also have two main choices:

  • round
  • flat

In terms of size, there many choices from small to large:

  • smaller is preferable for short hair
  • large brushes for long hair

Let’s break down the advantages and uses of each

For everyday brushing: natural bristles are best. Natural bristles have varying lengths which touch more hairs, and the natural material cleans and smooths the hair for a healthy shine.

For blowdrying and styling: choose nylon bristles. You’re wanting grip, control and durability. Nylon bristles perform better under high heat than natural bristles.

When selecting the shape of your brush consider the end result you’re looking for. If you want volume and some curl, use a round brush. If you’re aiming for a straight, sleek style, use a flat brush.

Pro hair brushing tips

  • Watch which brush your stylist uses on your hair.
  • Tension is key to smoothness and uniformity, whether you’re going for volume or sleekness. Practice keeping the section you’re working on tight.
  • Work in small sections. Yes, it will take longer, but you have better control.

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance’s 19th Annual Super Saturday

Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance's 19th Annual Super Saturday

On Saturday, July 30th, over 2000 people attended the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance’s (OCRFA) 19th annual Super Saturday. The highly anticipated event took place in the heart of The Hamptons, on the lush grounds of Nova’s Ark Project in Water Mill, New York. It was hosted by Kelly Ripa, Donna Karan and Gabby Karan de Felice. I spotted loads of other celebrities too including Christy Turlington, Molly Sims, Ingrid Vandebosch, Kristen Taekman and Star Jones.

From humble beginnings

The first Super Saturday took place in 1998. It was held in the backyard of the late Liz Tilberis’ (former Editor-in-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar) home in the Hamptons. She was the then-president of OCRF, and had been diagnosed with the disease herself. From these backyard beginnings, the event has evolved into a day-long, star-studded designer shopping extravaganza attended by over 2,000 people. In addition to 30 – 50% off premier designer brands, there is a children’s carnival and delicious catered lunch (and cocktails, of course). There are always fun “experience tents” as well – you can enjoy an Essie manicure, get a psychic reading and more!

This year’s selection was fantastic! Designers included Ralph Lauren, Vince, Theory, Alice + Olivia, Vilebrequin, Magaschoni and Michael Kors. Beauty brands such as B. Kamins Laboratories and Ahava were also in attendance among many others. All Super Saturday proceeds fund OCRFA’s research initiatives.

So what is behind all the glitz and fanfare?

A not too glamorous story, I’m afraid. For the past 15 years I have been involved with Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance in different capacities. OCRFA has led the way in research, advocacy and support for patients and their families for over 22 years. The organization’s mission is to fund critical research on ovarian cancer and its work has led to earlier detection of the disease and will ultimately lead to a cure.

I was introduced to the organization by a dear friend of my mother’s who ultimately lost her battle with this terrible disease after many years of perseverance. There are people we cross paths with that leave a distinct impression and Ina Feuerstein was one of them. She was such a lovely, warm, positive woman. I admired the joy and kindness that she exuded especially in the face of such a debilitating disease. She inspired me to learn more. I was shocked to learn that most women never presented with symptoms, and by the time the cancer was detected, it was so advanced that it usually amounted to a death sentence.

Moreover, for years, and unfortunately to this day, when women go to their physicians complaining of lower abdominal cramps or bloating, they are usually dismissed and told that they probably just have gas. If women report a change in their eating habits – either a sharp decrease in appetite or feeling full quickly, they are often told that they are probably just stressed or anxious. If they have an increase in the frequency or urgency of urination, women are again brushed off and told that this is what happens with age. Though the tide is beginning to turn, it seems that even amongst the healthcare community’s elite, lady parts and diseases associated with them, tend to be overlooked or dismissed. Many women feeling ashamed that they now fit the stereotypical emotional woman archetype, go home quietly not realizing that these are symptoms of ovarian cancer. Down the road when the disease is finally diagnosed, it’s too late.

Ovarian Cancer seemed to be an important women’s issue that does not receive nearly enough attention and I’m a woman! I wanted to help change that and joined the Jr. Board.

To learn more about Super Saturday and OCRFA, please visit OCRFA.

By: Alyssa Barrie Weiss, Twitter @AlyssaBarrie