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Who is Alexis?
Alexis Fry is the founder of Skin Revival Clinic & your local Skin Guru. With 14 years’ experience as a Medical Aesthetician and over 18 years of experience in the beauty industry… it is safe to say she lives and breathes this industry.
Along side running the two Skin Revival locations and working to build the amazing team here, she also represents one of the world’s leading Medical Aesthetic device companies, Cynosure Lasers, as a Clinical Trainer here in Canada.
Ask Alexis a question by filling out the contact form to get one-on-one advice or, check out her blog posts for tips & tricks, behind the scenes and an insider view on all things beauty.
Your local Skin Guru
For all your personal care needs.
Don’t settle for generic. You are unique and your personal care should be too.
Do you know how many times clients say to me “What, you don’t want my money?” and laugh when I tell them they don’t need something!
Just because it sounds good when you read about it online, or because your friend had it and loved it doesn’t mean it is what you need!
It is our job as a team to set proper expectations and make recommendations we feel confident in because we are happy when you are happy.
Ask Alexis Fry anything! Cynosure® Clinical Trainer – Eastern Canada and Founder of Skin Revival.
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Keep Up with Alexis!
As part of my goal for 2022, I wanted to stay more connected with as many of you as possible and share my expertise and knowledge in the field, just like I do when I travel to train in other clinics.
This blog is a place for me to share, stay in touch and answer the common questions I get in a day from both clients and industry professionals.
I think it is safe to say that everyone knows what laser hair removal is at this point, as it’s been used since July 1960. However, It has taken nearly 40 years to perfect the science in which we see and use today.
As a laser technician of over 15 years, I can tell you firsthand there has been some major improvements in patient comfort, speed, number of sessions and the lasers ability to treat all skin types equally.
For the longest time if you weren’t “Snow White” (light skin, dark hair) laser removal was a challenge. Those with lighter hair like myself, or darker skin needed significantly more sessions…and when you pay per treatment, that kind of sucks!
I get a lot of questions in my day to day at the clinic, but I think one of the most important questions to ask, and answers to know is….
How to know which TYPE of laser is most effective…FOR YOU!
This is a bit of a loaded question. There are several approved lasers on the market for “permanent hair reduction” (Check out my blog that explains “Is laser hair removal permanent?”) all of which can be fantastic but have their window of excellence.
Let me try to break it down in the simplest terms.
Laser hair removal works mainly by targeting the melanin (color) in the hair’s roots. The higher contrast between the color of your skin and the color of the hair makes the laser’s job easier. Now we also need to put enough energy to kill the hair root without damaging the skin, so here is where the delicate balance and knowledge of your technician comes into play.
Since color is the laser’s target, the darker an individual’s skin the higher risk of their skin’s melanin absorbing too much laser. This can be problematic for multiple reasons. The first being that if too much energy is absorbed into the skin, then the hair follicle is likely not getting enough energy, therefor you are wasting both your time and money on ineffective treatment. The second being an increase to negative side effects on the skin such as burns or hyper/hypo pigmentation which is definitely not what you or we signed up for.
On the same hand if your skin and hair is light, the laser may see minimal to no contrast and although lighter skin can handle the laser without some of those risks there treatments simply don’t work.
What does this all mean?
Well, in order not to bombard you with too much information, I will tell you about my opinion on which laser wave lengths are most effective for different skin types.
IPL- this is broad spectrum light (and I will do a separate blog to explain the difference of IPL vs. Laser)
- For lighter skin types 1-3 (Check out this standard for skin typing) with relatively decent results if done by an experienced technician but with higher number of sessions required.
- Best for shallow hairs as the rays do not penetrate the skin very deep at around 650nm
Alex- Gold standard for lighter skin types
- This laser is best for skin types 1-3
- It penetrates at the ideal depth of 755nm and effectively treats dirty blonde-black hairs
- Due to the increased depth, there is less risk to the skin’s surface, less downtime, less discomfort.
Diode- For awhile this was the go-to work horse.
- At 810nm this laser has a higher ability to treat darker skin types and is deemed safe for all skin types.
- In my opinion however, the energy needed to effectively treat skin types 5, and especially 6 were too uncomfortable and required significantly more sessions.
Yag- Gold standard for dark (and tanned- yay) skin types 4-6
- At the deepest depth of 1064nm we draw the energy away from the skin’s surface and ensure that all energy is delivered into our target.
- The depth allows us to treat tanned patients (1 week out of sun vs. 4 weeks) and dark skin types with the same comfort level and efficiency as lighter skin types AND with similar total number of sessions which is a game charger.
Here is where the problem lies….
Most machines… only carry one technology and I am not going to lie…machines like these do not come cheap (which is why…please do not ask me about at home lasers LOL).
At Skin Revival we are fortunate to have actually had all of the above available to us over the years, and although we recently got rid of our Diode as it just became obsolete, and we rarely use our IPL for hair removal.
Our main go to machine is the Elite IQ, this machine became available less than a year ago here in Canada and has really elevated the results we see in clinic. It is a single platform with ability to use either Alex laser or Yag laser.
My favorite part about it though, is that it has multiple laser head sizes so large areas go super fast and small tricky areas can now be easily and accurately treated which you just can’t do with a lot of machines…. but that’s just a little remark from this laser nerd, hehe!
Keep in mind…
Please, always go see an experience technician. As someone who certifies and trains only people on how to use technology, I can tell you that a machine is only as good as the operator. If your technician does not understand how to fully use the machine to its maximum capability than it really doesn’t matter if they have all the best equipment in the industry.
Before doing any type of cosmetic treatment make sure that you feel safe & confident during the consultation process and when in doubt- Let’s talk!
I will follow this up with a little series on common FAQs on laser so that you can have all the information you need to confidentially ditch that razor for good.
Your skin revival
Is it okay to pop my pimples?”
Here’s the thing, can popping your pimples cause scars?
100% BUT so can leaving them to fester.
I am basically Mrs. Pimple Popper, so I’d be lying if I told you I never popped a pimple on myself. I usually shake my head and respond with something like this… “Listen, I can’t sit here and pop all your pimples, go home and pop mine (and the rest of my household hehe), and then tell you to never ever touch yours.”
Let’s be real… especially when they are ripe for the picking no one is letting those be. Haha!
Instead, my job is to educate you on how to pop them safely.
If you must, pop your pimples with as minimal risk of scaring as possible.
Here are my main rules:
1) The golden rule- If it doesn’t come easy, leave it alone!
One of the biggest reasons pimples will leave behind a red or brown spot is because we force them out. When we push too hard, we can cause trauma to the skin, break blood vessels or in those with darker skin cause what we call PIH (post inflammatory hyperpigmentation.) Trust me, it is a way bigger pain to clear red or PIH acne scars than it would have been to just either have a professional extract your pimples or simply wait until they are ready.
2) Do not let them sit there forever.
Maybe it’s a blackhead or maybe it’s a cyst under the skin that never really seems to want to come out…but whatever it is you need to have it removed.
When blackheads sit in our pores for extended periods of time the pore begins to stretch and lose its ability to bounce back to normal. This results in, you guessed it, enlarged pores.
Cysts are basically when one pore becomes infected below the skin’s surface. This can result in multiple pores breaking into a larger pocket. Left untreated the oil can become very hard making extraction very difficult. These cysts if improperly extracted, or even worse if they burst, can create large craters in the skin…by far the hardest to repair.
3) Show some restraint- do not pick during the day!
Do not touch your skin throughout the day. It’s simple, if your skin isn’t clean, do not touch it.
4) Use a sterile tool- your fingers don’t count.
There are two main factors why we shouldn’t use our bare fingers to extract blackheads or squeeze pimples.
First, our hands are rarely clean. Under your fingernails are a lot of things we do not need entering an already bacteria loaded environment.
Secondly, those nails tend to scratch or break the skin in ways that can lead to scarring.
Get yourself a tool meant for extractions or use a sterile lancet. The key word here is sterile. What I do not want you doing is using the same thing over and over without ever cleaning it, because then… you might as well just use those fingers after all. Remember the first golden rule though, do not use excessive pressure. If the tool leaves a big indent on your skin, its too hard.
5) Prep your skin.
It’s not just about cleansing. The best time to extract your skin is after exfoliating and even better yet steaming. Try doing it after the shower or holding a warm cloth on the area first to soften the oils.
6) Disinfect the skin after.
I personally use the Vivier refreshing toner as it naturally kills bacteria, calms redness and doesn’t sting but other natural alternatives like witch-hazel are a great option too.
I know, easier said than done…and honestly, I break my own rules too BUT if you try to implement these rules in your fight against acne, your chances of minimizing damage to the skin will dramatically increase.
When in doubt, leave it be and come see us!
The biggest thing about acne is prevention. Finding the right products to minimize breakouts, understanding your triggers and whether there are any dietary or lifestyle culprits, and making sure that even if you do break out that you heal without any long-term marking.
If you struggle from acne or read this and thing of dang, I am probably over here doing it all wrong – Let’s talk!
Your skin revival
I have a love-hate relationship with toners. I personally love them, and they can have a big impact in your skincare routine however I hate that 9 out of 10 of you are misusing them.
Using a toner incorrectly is probably the most common issue I see when doing virtual skin consultations and talking to my clients in the clinic.
Let me tell you why…
First, we need to understand why we need a toner in the first place. There are two main functions of a toner;
To remove any left-over make-up or dirt your cleanser may not get. I prefer to call these liquid cleansers or mists, an example is a Micellar water. They look like toners but they actually are not.
They are great….however, if you just got a better cleanser OR learned how to use your cleanser properly you wouldn’t need it for this purpose.
So let me give you a few quick tips for properly cleansing your skin.
• If you are wearing heavy foundation start with a make-up remover or do a double cleanse.
• Spend more than 10 seconds on it. Just like brushing your teeth, you can’t do a couple of quick passes and expect it to remove the build-up. Spend at least 45 seconds massaging the cleanser into the skin, making sure you cleanse at the hairline, eyebrows and into the creases of your nose.
• USE A FACE CLOTH!!! Seriously, the splash and dry method is not okay. I personally use a clean face cloth every day! The cloth will help to loosen everything off the skin, lightly exfoliate and provide you with a superior clean.
The true toner is meant to balance your skin…
We all know that we want normal skin but how do we achieve it? That unicorn skin has a pH balance of approximately 5.5 but we consider normal between 4.5-6.5.
Cool right, but what on earth does this mean for you?
Well, cleansers also have a pH balance. They can be pH neutral which means they do not affect the skin’s natural pH by making it either too acid or too alkaline OR they aren’t…
Here is where toner comes into play. A toner is created to rebalance the pH level when a cleanser throws it off.
You may be wondering why all cleansers aren’t just pH neutral and are toners just the big guy’s way of getting us to use one more product…maybe haha but no.
Our skin prefers what it knows best, therefore cleansers with a slightly more acid pH are best for maintaining overall skin health. The benefits of acidifying skin surface by way of pH is proven to have a reduction in inflammatory responses, acne, barrier function recovery, and prevention of epidermal hyperproliferation which causes skin irritation, dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis. Yay!! All the good stuff.
Now, that being said….products that are more alkaline such as some bar soaps have a PH of about 9 to 12, which is rather extreme if your goal is to keep your skin moisturized. This is why every aesthetician will always cringe when you tell us you wash your face with a bar of soap. That squeaky clean feeling is the sound of your skin crying, haha! Just stop, thank you!!
Okay okay….back on track! Now that we understand this let’s dive into your biggest mistake.
STOP USING RANDOM TONERS
When you buy a cleanser, wherever you may be, if there is no “matching” toner its probably safe to say it is pH neutral and doesn’t require one BUT if there is you need to buy that one…not another one that looks or smells good or happens to be on sale…THE MATCHING ONE. If you don’t have the budget for both pick something else because buying one without the other is a waste of your money.
Toners are not meant to mix and match. Skincare companies create their toners to rebalance your skin after cleansing with a SPECIFIC cleanser.
When you use random toners you aren’t properly bringing the skin back up to neutral and therefore you aren’t getting the proper benefits, in fact… you could be making it worse.
Such a simple concept many never knew. Now there is one exception to the rule, but it requires a little google search if you are ever really intent on changing things up. Some skincare companies make all the cleansers & toners with the same pH and therefore you can mix and match within the same line…but never do it with another brand OR keep it simple, do yourself a favor ask an expert or just buy the matching set.
Happy toning, and as always if you are ever unsure- Let’s talk!
Your skin revival,
One of the most common misconceptions about laser hair removal is that it’s a one-and-done type of thing. Okay, okay… maybe most now know it’s not ONE and done but let’s say SIX and done. The reality is laser for hair removal is deemed “permanent hair REDUCTION.” This sometimes can feel like the super tiny print in a contract we may skim over but realistically never read.
Let me break it down for you…
It’s important for me that you understand and set proper expectations for yourself when it comes to your dream of being hair-free both aesthetically and financially.
Here’s a look at the science first:
There are many forms used to destroy unwanted hair follicles but for the sake of this blog, we will talk only about lasers. (I can shed some light in another blog on the difference between IPL, laser, and electrolysis.)
Lasers work by producing a concentrated beam of light to essentially damage the hair follicle. The laser light targets the melanin (pigment) in the hair and causes a heat reaction inside the hair follicle at the root. This damages the follicle and dries up the nutrient supply which gives the hair life.
Not all of our hairs are in what we call the “growth” stage.
In order for the laser to effectively destroy the hair follicle, it must be still attached at the root. Here is a little visual to show you the 4 stages of hair growth. See how in all but the first photo the bulb of the hair is detached and moved away from its nutrient supply? This means that the laser energy will be absorbed in the wrong part of the hair follicle…which ends up causing little to no damage to the hair root.
Different body parts have different stages of growth and different percentages of hair in each cycle. This is the exact reason why it is unfortunately not a one-time thing. Seriously, can they not just invent a full body zap. I picture the security pod at the airport just scanning be from the eyebrows done and voila- bye bye hair. A girl can dream, right?
Although the process of laser hair removal effectively delays the hair growth cycle for long periods of time, it usually will not result in 100% permanent hair removal. Our body, as I mentioned before in previous blogs, likes to repair itself. Over time, these follicles can come out of their dormant state and future sessions are required.
What should you realistically expect?
On average most patients require 6-8 sessions for what we would consider successful completion of laser hair removal. This original series is done over the course of 12-24 months.
Immediately after your session, you can expect to see normal growth for 7-14 days. Then whatever hairs were in the anagen phase will begin to fall out, and the new growth will be less.
After each session, you should see your hair start to become finer, lighter, grow slower, and eventually have significant areas with no hair at all.
We consider laser hair removal to be successful when 80+ percent of the hairs do not grow back. The remaining 20% will be comprised of smaller blonde baby hairs and about 10% of random stubborn fine yet possibly darker hairs. For example, on my underarms, I have about 8 hairs that grow at a very slow pace that are not noticeable to others unless you are well within my personal bubble, lol.
Timing is everything….
Making sure that you stick to the schedule we create for you is key to successful treatment. When we say come in 8 weeks, it is not a suggestion it’s a guideline based on best practices to get you optimal results. So, do your absolute best to stay on schedule if you want to catch those hairs at the right time, and save yourself needing additional sessions.
Unfortunately, as not all areas have the same growth cycle that means, for those looking to treat multiple areas, you may be making extra trips to the clinic.
Here is a recommended guideline per area based on our EliteIQ laser
I’ve finished my initial series, now what?
You’re done, and super stocked about the lack of hair in your life, now it is time to protect your investment. My general rule of thumb for anyone under 40 is to come once a year for maintenance. I personally do mine every May so I am good to go all summer. I’m going on 15 years since I first lasered my underarms, and the only time I ever felt I got a bit of an influx of hair was right after I had my son.
Hormonal changes are the biggest factor in causing the hairs to come out of their dormant state. This is why men usually are pretty good with very minimal maintenance. I have a few that come to me every 4-5 years for touch-ups on their back or chest, but regrowth is minimal. For women post-menopause, as long as we aren’t talking about the face, it is rare they ever feel they need a touch-up.
Stay on top of it…
Watch your hair and come in if you feel you have a surge of growth AND try not to shave all the time. Sometimes I find we have this bad habit of just shaving all over in the shower when we really don’t need to. Look at the area, shave where needed and let the rest be.
Still, even with having to do my yearly maintenance, I can’t tell you how nice it is to go on vacation and not have to worry about shaving.
The good thing is that your hairs usually will never go back to full growth and thickness. So even if you did laser years ago, but never did any maintenance, you can still get back to hair-free life in usually only 2-3 sessions.
If you are interested in laser hair or have questions—Let’s talk!
As always, Your Skin Revival,
I want to share my personal experience with you all. If you’ve struggled with acne at any point, you’ve probably spent your fair share of time googling what foods trigger acne. We all know the main culprits; milk & foods high in estrogen, and high-glycemic carbohydrates… but sometimes it’s more than that.
For me, my acne really had absolutely nothing to do with my hormones. I wish I knew then what I know now. Countless medications and endless skincare products could never fully clear my supposal hormonal acne. I say I suppose because all my blood work always showed my levels to be fine, and your typical acne diet didn’t work.
Imagine how annoying this is (and can be) for someone like me whose job and purpose is to help others clear their acne!!!
Our skin is an extension of everything else going on inside our bodies.
Acne and other skin conditions like eczema, rashes, dermatitis are all ways in which our body is sounding that alarm that something isn’t right!
The tricky part is figuring out what on earth that issue is. We are lucky if it is one simple tweak…most of the time, it is a combination of what we put on our skin, what we put into our body, and our overall lifestyle.
When I do consults, I really try to look at and understand the entire picture. I also need you to understand that as much as you’d love to clear your acne overnight, we didn’t get acne in a day therefor we need to be patient and know it is a process.
So, what was my issue?
Well, it only took me 32 years to figure out my body hates gluten with a passion!!!
My neighbor, a super hippie, natural path, convinced me just to try eating gluten-free. Not just TRY for a day here or there but to fully commit. She made me agree to a full 30 days before I cast judgment on it. Thankfully she showed me all the delicious gluten-free carbs so that I didn’t get hangry along the way.
Because truth be told, I LOVE carbs!! There was about a zero percent chance I would have committed to a carb-free diet…not even a little! I know this about myself.
Among breakouts, I also struggled with bloating (I’m talking pregnant-looking bloat) and eczema. In fact, I had the same patch of eczema behind my ear for ten years. It came when I graduated into an adult and had to bust my butt to pay my bills, and it never went away no matter how hard I tried.
I’m not going to say it was easy;
I 150% cheated a few times and had to start over, but when I finally got through that FULL 30 days….I knew my days of gluten were over.
I no longer had bloating, the tiny bumps on my face, neck, and chest were significantly better, my eczema was almost gone, and I just felt better.
Still, it’s human nature to question it. Do you know why? Because I wanted to eat whatever I wanted. Especially when I was on the road, and my options at every on route was deep-fried goodness.
Soooo…I tested my limits. After about three months of being gluten-free, I caved and ate some fast food. I was a little boated but okay, nothing crazy until BAM….I got a massive rash. A painful, hot, itchy rash all over my back and my first pimples in months, only 24hrs later. I was in pain and having major regrets. Still, I have cheated probably three times since then, and I’m hoping this last time was my last.
My skin had been essentially perfect, and after minimal gluten, I broke out in little bumps all over my face. NOTHING else changed. I wasn’t more stressed; my hormones were normal, the rest of my diet, sleep, and lifestyle were the exact same.
For me, it’s not acne. It’s GLUTEN!
In fact, my skincare routine is probably the most basic it has been in a good five years.
All this isn’t to say stop eating gluten, and your skin will be clear because each person’s acne is unique, but to understand that me, as an industry professional, with the best skin care and treatments available, I still went through the process of understanding my skin through a lengthy trial and error.
I want you to use my experience not to be discouraged, be patient, go back to the basics, listen to your body and watch for triggers.
I recommend that everyone keep a skin and food diary. It’s annoying, I know it, but it can truly be so helpful. Write down everything you eat in a day and also make note of how your skin is. Look for any common patterns. Maybe for you, it’s too much-processed sugar or caffeine, and every time you crush a few too many sugary drinks, pimples pop up to say, “Hiiiii remember me, yah, we are your body telling you to cut that out!”
There is no magic skincare routine, no perfect facial, no fancy gadget that will make your skin perfect overnight. It is a daily grind; it’s finding what works for you, listening to your body, and dedicating the time to figure it all out.
Lucky for you, I am here to help. I’m not perfect, I understand the struggle, but I promise you I am invested. I am here to put in the time even when you don’t want to because I know how good it feels to come out the other side. It’s as easy as making that first step, so…Let’s Talk!
As always, Your Skin Revival,
This may not be what you want to hear…but there really isn’t anything that will 100% get rid of your stretch marks. Trust me when I say, if it could be done, I wouldn’t have any myself. I’ve done a lot to mine over the years, and don’t get me wrong, they are significantly better but still visible.
I used to be way more self-conscious about these; however, as more time goes on and maybe as I mature and realize it is just a way of life, I’ve stopped fussing over them. If someone sees me in a bikini and wants to cast judgment…my only response will be… I made life, and I think I look damn good! Haha.
Let’s get to the bottom of how stretch marks are formed:
When our body changes rapidly, usually with growth spurts as a kid, weight gain, and pregnancy, strain is put on our skin. Everyone’s skin can tolerate a different amount of strain…it’s really the luck of the draw. For me, I got the bad gene…Thanks, Mom. Actually, my mom has hardly any, so who knows who blessed me. Haha
Think of your skin like a new hair elastic; you stretch it, you manipulate it, and for a while, it bounces back. But with time, it gets weaker, and eventually, it no longer has that same stretch, or worse, it snaps. That is basically our skin as we gain mass.
A stretch mark starts internally in the second layer of skin, known as the dermis. This means that the tare on the surface of our skin started well below what our eyes could see. Due to this, a stretch mark is often larger the deeper we go into the skin, making us limited if we only treat the skin’s surface.
My first stretch marks showed up as a kid from growing too fast, and during pregnancy, I swear my stretch marks got stretch marks. My skin just couldn’t tolerate my ever-expanding belly and thighs, and no amount of cream would help me.
Yes, I am sorry to say that since stretchmarks happen internally first, layering up with lotion won’t save you! It will take the itch and discomfort from your skin stretching and snapping, but if you are going to get stretch marks, it’s happening – sorry, friend!
It’s a process…
Our body will naturally heal itself over time, turning once red or purple marks to a silvery tone, but the tare and texture will always be visible without intervention. This processing time can vary from person to person.
The red or purple coloration we see is simply vascular vessels in the skin. Think of it as a bruise in the skin or like that annoying red mark that lingers long after the pimple is gone. This is actually the easiest visible marker to get rid of.
Light-based treatments like IPL or Lasers can coagulate those blood vessels and accelerate the healing process quite rapidly in as little as 1-3 sessions over the course of a few months.
Secondly, this process creates a lack of collagen & elastin.
Save yourself; I will tell you right now no home gadget or miracle cream is repairing this loss…. or at least not on its own.
We need to stimulate the cells at a much deeper level.
My go-to for this is the TempSure body platform by Cynosure. I have used many different devices from various reputable companies, but TempSure exceeded my expectations in every way. I started training on this device before I bought it and initially fell in love with how user-friendly it was and how much deeper the radiofrequency energy could go while being highly comfortable to the client. As I began to see more results and try it myself—I was sold!
TempSure is a radiofrequency device that heats up deep in the dermis to wake up your cells and tell them to start getting rid of the damaged cells and create an influx of new collagen & elastin fibers to heal the skin from the INSIDE out essentially.
I was a demo model for this and had zero expectations to see results given my extensive history of other treatments, but I was instantly a believer. I texted my colleague at Cynosure two days after my first FlexSure treatment and said…
“Okay, am I nuts? I feel like my skin already feels firmer.”
If you have stretch marks, you will know what I mean; my skin just felt thin and crepe and just not plump anymore. After this treatment, my skin just felt totally different, and even though I could still visibly see the little silver lines, I felt better.
Thirdly, we have the textural issue to tackle. Often stretch marks can be indented or raised, making those track marks more pronounced.
My go-to treatment for stretchmark texture has always been resurfacing lasers…until now!
I still love it, and I will probably do a combination. Still, the introduction of Potenza RF micro-needling has given me the ability to target multiple issues in one treatment.
The Potenza creates a mechanical injury with controlled needles to cause a wound healing response in the skin. Basically, whenever we injure ourselves, our body goes…oh, it’s time to repair and get rid of these damaged cells and send up some new ones. Our body is actually very smart, and it wants to fix itself.
In combination with that mechanical injury, the Potenza delivers radiofrequency (like the Tempsure) directly into the deep layers of the skin. Like a two-for-one powerhouse, AND if that doesn’t sound awesome enough, I have developed some topical protocols to work on the upper layers at the same time.
Man, I love technology!!!
All this to be said, yes, I can improve your stretch marks, but if anyone ever promises they will completely erase their memory from your body…I’d bet everything that you will be let down.
Your expectation is KEY! I use my own experiences to make sure that I set yours accordingly. I want you to be happy, I want to make them better, but I need you to understand my limitations and trust that if I can’t improve them enough that it’s worth the investment, I’m just not going to do it.
If I ever discover the magic solution or develop a way to just fully regrow new skin, I’ll let you know! For now, let’s focus on minimizing vs. erasing and learn to love our skin.
Interested in my honest opinion? Let’s talk!
As always, Your Skin Revival,
I didn’t plan to talk about retinol again so soon, but we had a little battle of the opinions just the other day. I thought I would share with you all as it is a common question I get– When do I apply my retinol?
Ashley, my beautiful assistant, is deep diving into her education on skincare so that she can help me with all your skincare needs. The other night she sent me a video of what her momma was using and asked me a few questions.
One was that her mom was using one brand of retinol and wanted to swap it for another, and she wasn’t sure the best way to do it as the percentage wasn’t the same…
Retinol is not a one size fits all…
In fact, there can be a significant difference from one brand to another…. I’m telling you I could write a whole novel on it, but for argument’s sake, we are going to stick to talking about a medical grade. And no, sorry, the stuff you buy at Sephora doesn’t count.
The quick answer to her question was to just dive right into it. Her mom was actually going down in percentage, so I didn’t see any issue with her just starting daily use. Had she been increasing in concentration, I would have recommended a slightly slower pace of perhaps three days on one day off.
But this is just the prelude and not the real reason for this blog. Ashley wanted to know at what step her mom should apply her retinol. Looking back now, I think it was a trick question, haha. She had already been told one thing, but I think sometimes she just likes to see what I will say.
My answer 100% contradicted what the skincare rep had told her…
My view: Always put your retinol before your cream; the only exception is if using a topical acne treatment lotion.
Matt (our excellent Vivier rep): Always put your retinol last. (Actually, he did agree about the acne lotion)
Ashley being the hilarious outgoing girl she is, goes to Matt, “Ooooo, Alexis is going to call you out.”
Am I really that sassy?? Yes, yes, I am.
Matt knowing me, rang me up and said with a laugh, “Hey, I hear we have opposing views.”
And then the great debate began….
Just kidding, I told my view, and Matt said fair enough!! HAHA!
Now let me explain to you why in theory, neither of us were wrong. Matt works for Vivier, and he goes off their skincare and technology, which is awesome. So yes, in the eyes of Vivier and the way their products are formulated with a slow-release microencapsulated formula, the retinol can in fact go on top of their moisturizer. The key point here is THEIRS. They have specific recommendations and skincare programs, where they have perfectly formulated everything and even made a beautiful sheet to tell you when to use it all. –They have honestly done an incredible job making their products as consumer friendly as possible.
The issue is, I am dealing with people like you (yeah, you) that use a mixed match of skincare. This is totally fine if it’s all appropriate for you; I am all for using what you love. BUT because of this, I recommended the retinol to go under your moisturizer for two major reasons:
1) I want you to have the full benefits of your retinol, therefore I need it to soak up into that skin and do its thing. When you apply it on top of a moisturizer that is high in oils and emollients, they may block some of that product from absorbing, and therefore, your results can be diminished.
2) And possibly even the most important…I’m lucky sometimes if you even remember you can only use it at night, and it has to go on top. If I start yammering on about it can go on top of this cream, but not that cream. You are going to look at me like I have three heads.
So, I keep it simple for you all! I’m not going to say he said I was right but…. Matt agreed! My general rule of thumb is to always apply your thinnest product to your thickest.
Keep it simple, layer your products like this…
First, we cleanse
Then we tone (oh boy…do I have things to say about toners… another day)
If you are feeling overwhelmed by your products or are questioning whether you are using things right—Let’s talk! Sometimes a simple tweak in how you apply things, when, and/or how often can have a major impact on achieving that dream skin.
Okay, I am going to admit something… I absolutely hate when people ask me “How can I reduce my pores?” It’s not that it isn’t possible, but it’s more that for most of us…we don’t have an actual issue with our pore size. The issue is that social media and the hundreds of photo & video editing apps have made us as a society think we should have no pores.
Trust me, I love a good filter just as much as the next person…but we need to live sometimes in reality.
The reality is we all have pores! It is just straight-up FACTS! Now, this isn’t to say that some of you may not have larger than average, or a problem with textural issues…and yes, I can help with that…but for a good chunk of you, your pores my friend are normal, and you are beautiful!
Let’s talk about why we get enlarged pores…
We may like to pretend it isn’t a thing…but we are not as young as we once were! As we age the rate at which our body produces a new skin cell to the time that skin cell dies and naturally sheds off the surface of our skin gets longer.
When we are younger this process is much quicker, approximately one month. Studies have shown that for every year over 20, we add a day. So now that I am in my early thirties this process is taking 13 days longer. If you are in your 50s this process is taking 30 whole days longer.
What does this mean for your pores?
The more dead skin cells that sit on our face the larger our pores will look. WHY? Because dead cells have more texture, they make our skin look dull and emphasize our pores.
Now before you go exfoliating your skin like a crazy person…
Let’s talk about the right way to manage this….
1) Embrace your natural skin oils. The natural oils in your skin need to be able to flow freely out of your pores. This means that hydration is always our first step. This goes for the water we drink and the products we put on our face.
I find so many people that struggle with blackheads try using acne products, which can make things worse. Any product that will be drying is going to cause the oils in our pores to harden, and hard oil is…you guessed it…. A blackhead!!! So instead of going for your chemical exfoliants, and acne washes opt to focus on hydration.
Now I know what some of you are thinking…. “I have blackheads and trust me my skin is oily!” Yes, this is a skin type I know very well. It is called oily dehydrated. Your skin is lacking in water and therefore your body is producing an excess of oil to try and hydrate itself. So, drink up and opt for a moisturizer high in things like hyaluronic acid and lower in oils and emollients.
It is all about trying to create that balance. When you wash your face, it should feel clean and fresh but never dry or tight. When you wake in the morning your face should have some natural oil and a slight dewy look to it.
2) Learn your skin. There is no perfect formula for how frequently you need to exfoliate. Sorry, I know, I wish there was, but we are all unique and therefore your routine will be. I work with people all the time to help them determine the right balance, and even for me, it’s my best-educated guess.
For me, if I am honest… I couldn’t tell you when I exfoliated last. My skin doesn’t need it. Every once in a while I will see my skin getting dull and so I will give it a little love with my Vitamin C scrub.
Forget about the 2-3 times a week rule or even that “safe for daily use.” Product companies want you to use their products more often so you spend more money, so they will always tell you the max recommended amount that’s just business. For some of you, you may even need it, but for a lot of you, this is too much.
Listen to your skin. When it’s starting to feel a little rough, look a little dull, get a little greasier throughout the day than exfoliate. This may be once a week, once a month…only you can determine the frequency you need.
3) Speed up your skin’s cell turnover. One of the best ways to do this is to get regular facials, use a chemical exfoliant once a month or start using a retinol.
Now I could, and may, write an entire blog just on retinol but here is my advice. If you are under 30, just avoid it for now, or let’s talk first. If you are over 30 and finding your skin is dull, and the texture is not as nice start with a small dosage like Vivier 0.3%. Slowly increase the frequency in which you use it, once a week, twice a week, every 4 days, every 3 days… you get it.
Watch your skin during this process, add to the frequency if you are seeing continued benefits… smoother skin, better hydration, better oil flow, fewer blackheads and STOP if you start feeling dry, or have redness, etc…
It’s a process, and I wish it wasn’t and really you need someone to walk you through it. This is why I usually tell people to forget about it unless I truly feel it is necessary for them. So many people have this notion that stronger, every day is better and it’s not. For example, even when I use to use it (I’ve stopped, my skin doesn’t need it) I only ever used it twice a week. I tried many times to get to daily use, but it just wasn’t for me.
4) Now if you have the skincare down and we’ve achieved balance some amazing resurfacing treatments can help shrink those pores up. Some of my favorites include laser facial, Potenza, chemical peel…. But this has been long enough and skincare and what we do with our skin every day is always the first step.
If this resonates with you and you’ve been trying on your own and feeling overwhelmed about what to do with your skin, don’t stress it. Let’s talk!
Anyone else getting PTSD from last January? When I hear them say, “We’ll stay here for 21 days…”, I wonder, how many hours are in your day?? Because that is definitely more than I have! In spite of all the jokes, I have decided to stay positive with the recent Ontario restrictions. Like I mentioned in my last blog, I would go insane if I focused on things that are out of my control. Therefore, I will not spend too much time on the subject; however, I thought it would be helpful to make a small post here to let you know how the current restrictions impact your experience.
Virtual is always available!
I will be working more from home over the next few weeks as my son transitions to remote learning. Virtual consultations are a great way for us to connect from the comfort of our homes and discuss all things skin related. Anyone interested in learning how to best utilize their skincare and addressing how simple lifestyle changes may have a big impact in the overall appearance of their skin can attend.
In addition, we can talk about which services are applicable to you and create a plan together. This is 100% complimentary virtual skin consultation. My goal has always been to provide you with value and education so that you can feel confident in your decisions when it comes to your skin. It would be my absolute pleasure to connect with you online. If this sounds like something you need, let’s talk!
In clinic appointments…
Your safety and the safety of our team members has always been our top priority. We will continue to follow Ottawa Public Health guidelines and create an environment that you can feel safe coming to.
Our capacity will be 50%, and we will only be available by appointment. The waiting room will be closed and appointments will be staggered so you can limit your contact with other guests. Please reschedule your appointment if you have any symptoms. The same applies to our staff, as well, and as such, we ask you to be understanding if we need to make changes to your appointments due to staff illness or loss of childcare.
COVID-19 customer screening (ontario.ca) for the most up to date screening.
On a positive note:
So, enough of that! On a more positive note… I am looking forward to using my increased at home hours to begin creating healthy habits, learning as much information as I can and tackling the to do list.
With this entire blog, I am breaking out of my comfort zone. If I am honest, grammar and spelling have never been strong suits of mine,which has held me back in the past.
It wasn’t that I lacked knowledge to share, or things to say (let’s be real…I always have things to say haha) but I lacked confidence. I am not a writer… but who cares?
There is no change where there is no action! Sometimes we know what we need to change, other times we have no idea except that we know something needs to change. What is holding you back?
If you have things you want to change but are unsure of what to do, or do not know what to do next, let’s talk!
Your skin revival,
It’s a New Year and with it You will see endless posts about “New Year, New you” (even I just did it on my last post-haha) and endless resolutions. Usually to eat better, exercise more, take charge of your body, etc… If the New Year feels like a fresh start and the day to jump on the bandwagon and make some life-changing decisions, why not?
However, having an intention and following through are very different things. I think we can all agree that new year’s resolutions are often laughable. The mindset that we already know we will likely fail is the biggest hindrance to following through.
Because of this, I decided to not make any specific resolutions this year and instead focus on one thing… Happiness and ultimately my mindset. In order to reach this goal, you must create easy, manageable, and even more importantly, sustainable changes that are not overwhelming.
I like to use the excuse of time a little too often. When in reality, Netflix, Prime video, Crave tv…OH, and my PVR would strongly disagree. It’s not that I lack time, it’s just that I don’t use it in the most effective manner. It is perfectly okay to sit down after a busy day and watch some tv…but for me, I know I get nothing from it. Nevertheless, it is a difficult habit to break.
I have always loved reading books and listening to podcasts on business and mindset, on how to be a better manager, mother, partner. There are endless resources out there… we just need to take the information and execute it in our life. Sometimes easier said than done, I know!
One of my favorite no BS motivational speakers is Rob Dial Jr. It’s easy to listen to him, he tells it like it is, and he lives what he preaches. This month I decided to do his Iron Mind 30-day challenge. Creating new habits takes time. In the same way, we can’t go to the gym one day or use a cream once and expect all our problems to magically disappear…we can’t change our mindset in the blink of an eye.
I want to focus on how I feel, as well as how I make others feel because that is equally as significant. Focus on what makes me happy. It’s not just about being happy in the moment (like eating all the candy cane ice cream), but also about long-term happiness. Make more time to do those things and be around those people, and spend less time on all the other junk!
There’s a trick I heard that I absolutely love: write your problems down…then, cross out the ones you can’t control and focus on the ones you can. In the past two years, I have needed this practice a lot and it has saved me from a great deal of stress and anxiety.
The year 2022 can be a great year, we just need to make it so! It is all in the mind! I’m here to help you with anything you need! Let’s talk!
Your skin revival,