Do You Use Protection? Sunscreen That Is!

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This week we’ll be answering some of the most common questions that we get regarding sun protection.

 
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Chemical sunscreen uses ingredients that absorb into the skin and work by absorbing the UV rays, converting them to heat and then releases this heat back into the environment. These sunscreens tend to be thinner formulations that don’t feel as heavy on the skin but few chemicals used for sun protection provide broad spectrum protection, usually failing when it comes to UVA.

Physical sunscreens sit on the surface of the skin and reflect the UV rays, these tend to be thicker formulations that can cause a white cast and need to be worked into the skin however they are the best option for full spectrum protection.

Always make sure that your sunscreen provides broad spectrum protection - it just so happens that zinc is the best broad spectrum sunscreen ingredient on the market.

 
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UVA and UVB refer to UltraViolet A & B, there’s also UVC although that isn’t talked about much. The A, the B and the C refers to the wavelengths of light. A helpful shorthand for understanding how they affect you is that the A stands for Aging, the B stands for Burning and the C stands for Cancer. It’s worth noting that this is a very basic shorthand and that all 3 wavelengths can cause all 3 kinds of damage with prolonged exposure. 

Generally the UVA is not absorbed by the Ozone Layer so most of the radiation damage we receive comes from UVA, it is not usually affected by cloud cover. UVB is mostly absorbed by the Ozone Layer and what does get through can be blocked by cloud cover so this form of UV usually affects us during direct sun exposure. UVC is almost completely absorbed by the Ozone Layer but some does get through, especially in areas with a compromised Ozone Layer such as Australia.

 
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You absolutely can! You need to be using sunscreen EVERY day.

While the cloud cover cuts out most of UVB, UVA still gets through and with prolonged exposure, you can still burn, especially if you are fair. This bigger issue with exposure on overcast days is the aging ability of the UVA on you skin. The Free Radical damage that is happening on a cellular level is causing your cells to age at a much greater rate so because you’re less likely to burn or feel the damage, it’s super important to get into the habit of wearing sunscreen daily. A good quality Vitamin C Serum is also a great idea from the age of about 20 to help support your SPF by being a powerful antioxidant the directly fight the free radical damage caused by UV exposure.

 
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SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and that is your baseline burn rate based on your own skin. For example, if you burn after 20 minutes of exposure that’s your natural SPF rate.

SPF ratings on products refer to the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. In this example a product with an SPF of 20 will mean that 1/20 of the burning radiation will reach your skin provided that you have applied you product correctly (and we will get to application shortly). This means that it will take 20 times longer for you to burn so proper application of a sunscreen with an SPF of 20 will give you 400 minutes or about 6.5 hours of protection before you will burn. Most sunscreens will require you to re-apply every 2 hours or more frequently depending on your activity level but once you have reached 6.5 hours you will begin to burn no matter how much sunscreen you reapply.

This fraction also refers to the percentage of UV that is blocked. An SPF of 20 blocks approximately 94% of UV, an SPF of 30 blocks approximately 96% of UV and an SPF of 50 blocks approximately 98% of UV so you can see that once you hit 30, the difference is much smaller so our advice is to find a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 20 that you like to wear daily, and stick with it. If you are outdoors, we recommend upping that to at least a 30 as well as wearing a hat.

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You should apply sunscreen about 15 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every 2 hours or more frequently if sweating or swimming. Sunscreen are tested for effectiveness at 2mg per centimeter of skin. What does that mean? The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that an adult uses an ounce of sunscreen for a full body application. The Cancer Council of Australia says that’s approximately ½ a teaspoon for face, head and neck, same for each arm and same for each other section too. If you think that sounds like a lot, it’s actually because at a lower rate than this, sunscreen protection is spotty and doesn’t provide consistent protection. If your current sunscreen is too greasy or white or too expensive to apply at this rate then we suggest you find another sunscreen that you like or can at least tolerate the dry down, smell and feel of so that you can use it daily at the right amount to protect your skin. Most people tend to apply about ½ (or less!) of the correct amount meaning that they get less than ½ of the protection listed on the label.

Remember though, once you have hit your maximum protection (SPF x your natural burn rate) you will burn no matter how much sunscreen you re-apply.


Check out Spa Sophia’s picks for this Summer available now at Spa Sophia…

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  1. TiZo Fusion Sheer Botanicals Non-Tinted SPF 45 $41.00

  2. Epicuren Discovery X-Tream Cream SPF 45 $43.00

  3. TiZo Fusion TiZo2 Primer/Sunscreen Non-Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  4. Epicuren Discovery Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 $43.00

  5. Epicuren Discovery Active Sport Treat SPF 30+ $35.50

  6. TiZo Fusion Ultra Zinc Tinted SPF 40 $41.00

  7. ISUN Antioxidant Sun Butter SPF 27 $40.00

As We Celebrate International Women's Day

It is a privilege to work in a female dominated industry for a strong woman and at a female founded business. I have always been lucky to have been surrounded by strong female role models and to have grown up in an era and a country (Australia) where I could, for the most part, be my badass female self. That does not mean that I think we are treated equally - we’re not.

Chatting with a cinematographer client recently I was shocked to hear that in my new home, The United States of America, women are still not equal in The Constitution. I want to discuss the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to bring it into the light for those of us who think we have done enough and that Feminism has come far enough and that we are treated equally because we’re not.

The ERA was was originally written by Alice Paul and was first introduced in Congress in 1923. That’s right - almost 100 years ago.

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Alice Paul

The Equal Rights Amendment is a proposed amendment to the United States Constitution designed to guarantee equal legal rights for all American citizens regardless of sex; it seeks to end the legal distinctions between men and women in terms of divorce, property, employment, and other matters.

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The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress on March 22, 1972 and sent to the states for ratification. In order to be added to the Constitution, it needs approval by legislatures in three-fourths (38) of the 50 states. Our state, California ratified Nov. 13, 1972.

On May 30, 2018, Illinois became the 37th state. We now need just 1 more state to ratify for the ERA to officially become an amendment to the United States Constitution.

ERA bills have also been introduced in the legislatures of Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Utah, and Virginia.

If you are registered to vote in these states, it’s time, call your representatives and tell them to ratify the ERA.

"The Equal Rights Amendment: Unfinished Business for the Constitution" is a 17-minute educational video that traces the changing status of women's rights in the United States from the writing of the Constitution to the 72-year struggle for woman suffrage to the ongoing campaign for the ERA. This is a 5-minute excerpt.

To order the full video on DVD you can follow this link .

Jojoba - The Everything, Everyone Oil We Love

It has been a cold February and one of the wettest Winters we’ve experienced in recent years in Venice but is is starting to warm again and Spring is upon us.

Now that Winter is almost in the rear view mirror and Summer is fast approaching it’s time to get your skin glowing again!

One of our favorite glow makers is Jojoba Oil. If you haven’t been introduced to Jojoba yet, allow me…

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The Jojoba shrub is native to Southern California, Southern Arizona and North-Western Mexico and has long been used by indigenous peoples as a treatment for wounds and bruises.

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The substance commonly referred to as Jojoba oil is technically a wax which is liquid at room temperature and is incredibly similar to your skin’s own natural oil, sebum making it a fantastic oil for all skin types, from oily to dry.

It is rich in Vitamin E, renowned for its tissue repairing properties as well as B Vitamins. Jojoba is also antimicrobial and antibacterial specifically the P-Acnes bacteria making an excellent oil for acne prone skin.

So I bet you’re wondering how to use Jojoba? I say everywhere but let me give you a few specifics.

Makeup Remover & Cleanser

Oils make excellent cleansers and makeup removers and Jojoba is no different. Working on the principle of like attracts like - oils bind to oils, breaking down the oils in products such as makeup and sunscreen and the generally greasy, pollution. If you’re experiencing excess oil then this is one of the best ways to thoroughly cleanse your skin without stripping or compromising your acid mantle - the film on the surface of your skin responsible for its primary barrier function, an acidic environment that kills bacteria and keeps your skin smooth and happy. Use a hot washcloth to remove the oil then follow with a mild cleanser for a perfectly gentle yet exceptionally thorough cleanse.

Face Massage

While cleansing your skin, take a few minutes to incorporate some massage. Massage is a wonderful way to tone, lift and contour the muscles in your face, giving a natural lift and radiance. At Spa Sophia, we love our Aquarian Soul Gua Sha and crystal face rollers for this. Check out our Instagram feed for a basic tutorial to get you started.

Aquarian Soul Face Rollers $30 - $40

Aquarian Soul Face Rollers $30 - $40

Aquarian Soul Gua Sha $20

Aquarian Soul Gua Sha $20

Face Moisturizer

Oils make beautiful moisturizers especially Jojoba. Suitable for for all skin types, jojoba will mimic your own sebum or Natural Moisture Factor helping to signal to your skin to produce less oil. If your acneic, using Jojoba will help control the bacteria, sooth your skin, reduce oil production and heal acne lesions so please don’t be scared to use oil. We recommend that you use oils over hydrators such as a hyaluronic acid serum to ensure proper hydration and moisturization of your skin.

Body Moisturizer

As with your face, you can certainly use Jojoba to moisturize your body, the texture absorbs rapidly leaving your skin soft and smooth without feeling greasy.

Hair Mask and Serum

Jojoba’s antibacterial properties make it a fantastic option for a hair mask and can help aid against hair loss and dandruff. The light texture makes it a wonderful choice for hair serum, I love to use the excess on my hands after moisturizing to add shine and silkiness.

The applications for Jojoba are endless, you can use it for shaving, cuticle care, minor cuts and grazes, topical dermatitis and so much more.

Our favorite Jojoba is from SōMä Botanicals, it’s cold pressed, organic and unrefined - liquid gold - and available exclusively at Spa Sophia.

SōMä Botanicals for Spa Sophia Pure Jojoba $25

SōMä Botanicals for Spa Sophia Pure Jojoba $25

Press Highlights: Net-a-Porter, RackedLA, US Weekly & More

More and more people are discovering the Spa Sophia experience, and we've been getting a ton of great press! Net-a-Porter raved about our Esalen Massage, Haute Living named our CryoStem DNA Facial one of their Favorite New Facials, RackedLA listed us as one of the best spa’s for pre-wedding bliss, and magazines like USWeekly and Life & Style featured us too! See articles below...

Net-a-Porter

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Haute Living

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haute living spa sophia venice santa monica los angeles facials

RackedLA

Click image for full article.

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US Weekly

US weekly May Spa Sophia venice facials massages waxing ayurveda

Life & Style

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For more press about Spa Sophia, go to our Press Page!

 

 

Skin Care Tips From Esthetician Kimberly Cole

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Our estheticians are full of knowledge and they gladly dispense it for you at the spa. Not near Venice, or in need of a little refresher? No worries, we'll share their wisdom here! Up this time: our longtime esthetician Kimbery. Coming from a nutritional point of view with the skin, Kim looks to Dr. Gerson’s approach to caring for the body: Most issues can be linked to dehydration, toxicity and/or malnutrition. Kim has worked and toured with internationally known celebrities since 2002, customizing treatments for their skin and body care. See her skin care advice below!

1. What are the 5 skincare products every woman should own?

  • A gentle cleanser: Rarely will I suggest a cleanser with AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) for ongoing use in Los Angeles' climate, which is a desert. WHY? Helping the acid mantel heal and restore is the most important part in skincare. Your cleanser should be your BFF product. One of my favorites is Hylunia’s Creamy Cleanser used with a Clarisonic.
  • A clarisonicPeople have a lot of questions about wether or not they should use them, this is why I’m for them: If you have ever used a Sonicare toothbrush (same family company) you can feel the difference in cleanliness and polish of your teeth. It’s immediate, and it makes it hard to ever return to an inferior clean/polish. You get a gentle massage - which helps with micro-circulation - and a clean polish, getting rid of makeup, sweat, SPF and keratin build up without the possibility of dryness or a reaction to ingredients. Vasalating 300 times a second, this gentle polishing preps the skin for proper hydration and product penetration. Also, the brushes are made to have no cuticles to avoid bacteria build up.
  • Hylunia’s Hyaluronic Acid: Hydration is the first step in good skin care. The definition of hydration is the supply and retention of adequate water in biological tissues. If you are serious about keeping your skin young then you must bump up and retain the water content in your skin’s cells! Hyaluronic Acid (HA) is great for this because it holds 1800 times its weight in hydration (Aloe holds 300-400 times its weight). It's a fat chubby molecule that insulates the skin with hydration and creates a climate control. It’s the best solution for redness, dehydrated or irritated skin and is the perfect companion for traveling. Hylunia’s HA is made specifically for sensitive skin types, though it's beneficial for a whole spectrum of conditions. Their products come in different weights to be used alone or under a cream.
  • Rotation Diet Products: These are your treatment products such as AHA /BHA, vitamin C, retinols, Peptides, Herb infused oils/serums (like ISUN’s). Just like how in your diet you can't get all your nutritional needs from just one type of food, in your skin care you can't get them all from just one product. This of course is where customizing for each client comes in.
  • Protection with an SPF: I prefer a Non Nano Zinc – Zinc is a mineral, and aides the immune system. It is prescribed by doctors in the healing of acne and helps to sooth inflamed, irritated skin as found in calamine lotions and FDA approved for babies in diaper rash creams. Zinc protects from UVA and UVB and a larger UV spectrum than Titanium dioxide. I prefer non nano minerals because they don't cross the blood barrier. Applying a trace mineral like Zinc or Titanium in nano form everyday could create a possibility of toxicity, like mercury or iron.

1. What skincare ingredient should you avoid?

It depends on wether it’s an everyday product or a once in a while product. I’m not a fan of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. It’s usually found in cleansers and toothpaste, which are everyday products. It strips and irritates the skin (and gums) which leads to sensitivity and weakens the skin’s ability to heal. This can contribute to breakouts, even when it's in your toothpaste. I also don't use artificial fragrances because they are a large cause of skin irritations. I stay away from Lanoline, which tends to be in makeup and can cause clogging. Finally I stay away from parabens, which are used as preservatives and have been known to show up in breast tissue and are sometimes linked to hormone disruption.

3. What is the best skincare for the day?

Always make sure you hydrate, then protect if you are going to be in the sun. I prefer my hydration and SPF separate. Another product great for the day is Vitamin C which helps to protect against cellular damage. We carry some of the very best stable forms of Vitamin C in our products such as Hylunia, Epicuren and ISUN’s.

4. What is the best skincare for the night?

This is where your treatment products are used, so it depends if it’s anti-aging or acne we're treating. Here in Southern California we are in a desert so I would suggest using extra hydration because all skin care needs to start with this very important step. Proper hydration and using a moisturizer are not always the same thing. I prefer my clients to bring in what they are using so we can really figure out their best plan of action. I sometimes suggest getting a humidifier as an aid to receive more hydration when you sleep.

5. What is the best skin care remedy for acne breakouts?

Acne can be caused by lots of different things and can happen in your teens or during menopause, and each would be treated differently. But you never want to overly dry out the skin, so beyond gentle cleansing and exfoliating I have had great success with Tuel’s Organic Colloidal Sulphur products, such as the gel or the mask with zinc. I have also found that sugar plays a big part. As a professional tool, I have been using a little secret for years that kills bacteria, viruses, yeast, etc. while hydrating and helping to completely heal the skin. It's low PH electrolyzed water.

6. How often should I get a facial?

That depends on what we are trying to accomplish. For upkeep, one every 4 to 6 weeks is good. But depending on the client and their goals, we could do a facial everyday or twice a week. Spa Sophia's Facial Boot Camp is a really good way of starting and sustaining a facial regime. In it we combine Micro-current treatments, Cold Laser Therapy/LED Light facials, and Highly Refined Peels that are mixed for your skin type. The Oxygen Infusion Facial is also a great example of a facial that could be done multiple times a week for special events, or even daily. Unlike many spa's we use the same Intraceuticals system for our Oxygen Facial that celebrities like Madonna use before events, photo shoots or on tour. The Oxygen Facial uses Hyperbaric Oxygen to gently nourish your skin’s cells with antioxidants, hydration, Vitamin C or Collagen Boosters. It creates a glowing, visibly younger looking skin instantly!

Having studied nutrition for 10 years before she became an esthetician, Kim has a well-rounded, holistic insight that greatly enhances her advice. "My approach is more of a wellness program, not just treating the symptoms," says Kim.

Want to book a facial with Kim or one of Spa Sophia’s other expert estheticians? Book one online now, email us or call (310) 564 6676.

The Top 10 Skin Care Questions Answered by Celebrity Esthetician Natarsha Bimson!

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Summer is around the corner! We can't wait to sip cocktails at the beach, splash around in salty water, travel, and soak in the sun. But while it's all great fun, summer can also wreak havoc on your skin. That's why now is a good time to make sure your skin care routine and beauty knowledge is up to standards. How? Let Spa Sophia facialist and celebrity esthetician Natarsha Bimson answer all your most common skin care questions!

1. What 5 skin care products should every woman own?

Let’s assume that we have a decent moisturizer and a gentle cleanser! My top 5 products to keep your skin healthy would be:

  • Sunscreen (SPF20-30) Epicuren’s Zinc Oxide Perfecting Sunscreen SPF 27 is a great option.
  • Washcloths, super affordable and so much better than just hands.
  • Vitamin C Serum. Look for 10% to 25% in order to get results. Hylunia’s Beyond Complex C is lovely.
  • A leave on AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acid). 5% glycolic is usually a great starting point for getting into AHAs. I have so many of my clients hooked on Epicuren’s 5% Glycolic Peel Lotion that we have trouble keeping it on the shelf!
  • Retinol (Vitamin A). For retinol you should aim for around 0.5% to 1% for best results with minimal irritation. Epicuren’s Retinol Anti-Wrinkle Cream is great because it combines glycolic acid with retinol in its formulation.

2. What skin care ingredients should be avoided?

I’m really against ingredient shaming. I think it’s just scare tactics and tends to show a lack of understanding of basic chemistry and formulating. But I would say avoid anything that you have an allergy or sensitivity to. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people ignore their skin type type in pursuit of following trends.

If you have sensitive skin, keep clear of fragranced or essential oil heavy formulations. Alcohol is the one that I try to avoid the most as well as petrochemicals (mineral oil, etc). People are usually surprised to learn that synthetic ingredients are often the most gentle and non-allergenic ingredients, but it’s true. Plant ingredients tend to be very inconsistent due to the part of the plant that's used and the time of the year that it’s harvested, so can cause a lot of problems for sensitive skin types.

3. What's the best skin care routine for the day?

The foundation to a good routine is cleansing, and I’m a huge advocate for washcloths. This is pretty much the basic regimen that I suggest to my clients:

  • Cleanse: Take a clean washcloth, wet it with hot water, wring it out and drape it over your face. Let it sit for a bit so the steam can cleanse.  Then gently wipe, get in to all the little nooks and crannies.
  • Hydrate: Spritz your face with a hydrating mist such as Hylunia’s Colloidal Silver Mist.
  • Treat: Apply a high quality Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C supports the function of your sunscreen by neutralizing the free radicals in the suns rays, preventing cellular degradation, so it is excellent for day time use. Give the serum some time to sink in before you apply moisturizer or SPF – go and have breakfast, read your emails, etc.
  • Moisturize: If your Vitamin C serum is not very hydrating or nourishing you may need a separate moisturizer and for most people, the one you use in the evenings should be fine.
  • Protect: Your SPF should be a separate product and I much prefer a physical one like zinc oxide to a chemical one.

4. What's the best skin care routine for the night?

At night it's all abour cleansing!

  • 1st Cleanse: Use oil or an oil based cream cleanser. I love Epicuren’s Apricot Cream Cleanser. The oil will break down the oil in your sunscreen and makeup, both of which are designed to stay on your face. Then use a was cloth in the same manner that you did in the morning.
  • 2nd Cleanse: I recommend non-foaming cleanser, mostly because foaming tend to strip the natural oils from your skin which it needs to function properly. If you absolutely have to use something foaming then I recommend Hylunia’s Facial Cleansing Gel as it has really gentle surfactants.
  • Exfoliate: Use a leave on AHA toner or lotion every other night or if you can tolerate it, every night.
  • Treat: Most people should be using a retinol serum or cream to slow down aging. These don’t have to be every night and are great to alternate with your AHA.
  • Moisturize: Find a well formulated moisturizer that is the correct weight for your skin. A couple of great options are Epicuren’s Nourish Daily Antioxidant Moisturizer or Hydro Plus Moisturizer.

5. What's the best way to treat acne & breakouts?

As for over the counter acne treatments: Benzoyl Peroxide is the gold standard. It may scare a lot of people because it can cause dryness, flakiness, redness and irritation when used at the wrong percentage. When used at lower percentages like 2.5% however,  it is just as effective as the stronger dosage but without the side effects.

I have had great success treating clients with 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. Used in conjunction with glycolic acid as part of a good regime, most grade 1 & 2 acne clears up. I’ve even had great success treating more severe grade 3 acne with this approach. Salicylic acid is then a good ingredient for maintenance.

6: How often should you get a facial?

Generally I would recommend every 3 to 6 weeks. That being said, you are far better off having a great routine at home and getting a facial once a season than being lazy at home and getting facials every 3 weeks. What you do each day will always make a bigger impact on your skin than what I can do once a month.

I always recommend booking the Spa Sophia Signature Facial for first time clients. It’s a great facial where we chat about what products you’re using, and what your concerns and goals are. That way we get to know your skin and work with you to design an at home regimen and treatment schedule to get you there.

7. Are expensive skin care products really better than regular skin care products?

In my opinion, there are many products without adequate data supporting their efficacy. Most people are swayed by a slick marketing campaign and results from poorly designed studies. By poorly designed I mean small test groups, no control groups and no blinding. At Spa Sophia I work with Epicuren and Hylunia, which are both great lines because they are cruelty free, have specialty products that include AHAs, BHAs, Vitamins, Hyaluronic Acid, Peptides, and many other active ingredients.

8. What is the best skin care routine when traveling?

Please don’t ever use soap on you face! I take everything in travel sizes with me. With many companies making travel sizes now, there’s no reason why you can’t follow your usual regimen while away from home.

One of my favorite tips for before and after long flights is to sneak in a couple of hydrating masks. Simply apply a mask such as Epicuren Hydrating Mineral Mask when you get up, go and read your emails or have some breakfast, and then wash your face as normal. You’ve snuck in 30 minutes of hydration without having to put any time aside, and your skin will thank you for it!

9. What is the best way to prevent & treat fine lines and wrinkles?

Sunscreen! Around 80% of premature aging is due to sun damage, and it’s never too late to start using a good quality, broad spectrum, physical sunscreen.

As for treatment, I particularly love Hylunia’s Intensive Repair Eye Cream. It’s packed full of peptides that help to relax the muscle in the eye area, reducing the micro-contractions that help form fine lines. Peptides also boost collagen production and inhibit the enzyme that breaks collagen down, slowing the loss. Brilliant product!

Also, AHAs help your active products penetrate better so I always recommend using AHAs to exfoliate and prep your skin. At Spa Sophia we have a number of excellent treatments that boost the effects from your home care products. The Oxygen Infusion facial is absolutely perfect if you have to look your best for an event or if your skin is dehydrated or sluggish. A unique blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamins, peptides and antioxidants is infused deep into the dermal layer resulting in instant firming, plumping and lifting. It’s one of Hollywood’s secret weapons!!

Want to book a facial with Natarsha or one of Spa Sophia's other expert estheticians? Book one online now, email us or call (310) 564 6676.

How To Relief Pain, Nausea & Anxiety with a DIY Acupressure Massage!

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Did you know you can push on pressure points on your body at home, and relieve things like nausea, headaches, anxiety, depression and even a sore throat? Our highly trained Los Angeles Massage Therapist Michael Canvin has been using the acupressure technique for over 20 years,  and now he's sharing his wisdom with you! Read how to do an at-home acupressure massage to help you relax and heal...

About Acupressure

Acupressure stems from ancient Chinese medicine, where it's believed that many energy lines run through our bodies, also known as meridians. These meridians run all the way from our fingertips to our brains and toes and connect to all our organs, enabling a system of communication. Through the meridians runs a vital energy, known as qi (chi). Like in Ayurveda, it's believed that when there are blockages or imbalances in our meridians, we get ill. Acupressure and the related technique acupuncture can relieve these blockages and imbalances.

Acupressure Massage Technique

All along the meridians in our bodies lie pressure points, which are often connected to organs. During an acupressure massage session, acupressure practitioners use their fingers, palms, elbows, feet or a device to target specific target points. They apply gentle, gradual, but steady pressure on the pressure points for about three minutes, until they sense a soft pulse under their finger. This pulse is called the therapeutic pulse. When practitioners feel this they know the blockage or imbalance has been relieved, and that they can move on to another point.

The Biggest Pressure Points & Their Acupressure Benefits

There are hundreds of pressure points along our body's meridians, but these are the ones most commonly targeted:

Large Intestine 4 Pressure Point (LI4)

Where to find it: In between your thumb and index finger. Helps with: headaches, sore throat, fever, lower back pain, and postopreative pain.

Liver 3 Pressure Point (LR-3)

Where to find it: In between your two biggest toes. Helps with: menstrual cramps, headaches, vision problems, shortness of breath, lower back pain and insomnia.

Spleen 6 Pressure Point (SP-6)

Where to find it: About three finger widths above your inner anklebone on the lower calf muscle. Helps with: abdominal pain, digestive problems, insomnia, dizziness, and pain in the lower back, knee, ankle and foot. This pressure point is a contraindication during pregnancy!

Stomach 36 Pressure Point (ST-36)

Where to find it: About a hand's length below your kneecap on the outside of your lower leg. Helps with: Almost any digestive issue imaginable, heartburn, nausea and hiccups. It also an invigorating effect on your body.

Pericardium 6 Pressure Point (PC-6)

Where to find it: in the groove between the two large tendons on the inside of your wrist, the ones that start at the bottom of your palm. Helps with: nausea after surgery and chemotherapy, from motion sickness and related to pregnancy.

How To Do Your Own Acupressure Massage

Choose a pressure point and then use prolonged finger pressure directly on that point. Do it in a steady and gradual way for about three minutes, and then move on to another point. Before starting on your own though, Spa Sophia's massage miracle worker Michael Canvin highly recommends to see an acupressure practitioner first.

Most of our Los Angeles massage therapists are experienced in the acupressure technique. Want to book an acupressure massage at Spa Sophia? Book one online, email us, or call (310) 564 6676. Namaste!

New Massages: Esalen Massage, Jade Stone Massage & DeStress Express

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Spa Sophia is excited to offer the Los Angeles area three new massage treatments! Massages have a tremendous amount of health benefits, and ours will completely recharge your body and soul. Wether you need a quick pick me-up during the workweek or an extensive experience that leaves you absolutely Zen, we've got you covered!

Esalen Massage

The Esalen massage was created at the world famous Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California and we are proud to be one of few spas that offer this type of massage in Los Angeles and even Southern California. Using long, integrating strokes along the entire body, the Esalen body worker includes techniques from Swedish and Deep Tissue massage styles, along with breathing techniques from yoga teachings. The gentle rocking and kneading moves performed to the sound of ocean waves, bring you to an alpha state of total relaxation. A massage that truly has to be experienced! The Esalen massage is performed by our new massage therapist Michael. Read more about this massage therapist with over 25 years of experience in our Meet the Team section.

90 minutes - $150 | BOOK NOW

Jade Stone Massage

Let the healing qualities of Jade Stone work wonders on your back and neck. This specialty massage incorporates heated and cooled stones placed on key parts of the body, used to destress organs and discharge toxins.

60 minutes - $85| BOOK NOW

DeStress Express

This head, neck, and shoulder massage will wipe away the work day in a half hour! Shrug' off tension with targeted kneading and acu-pressure to work the boulders out of your shoulders, and instantly relax your neck and scalp. Stop in at lunch and take a break from the computer, the phone, and your desk. Leave feeling lighter and refreshed!

30 minutes - $50 | BOOK NOW

See all of our massage treatments here, book one online nowemail us, or call (310) 564 6676 to set an appointment.

The Beginner's Guide to Ayurveda

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Spa Sophia is proud to be one of the few places in Los Angeles to offer Ayurvedic treatments. On top of the Ayurveda Massage, our resident massage therapist and Ayurvedic practitioner Megan Darwin offers treatments such as Nasya, Abyhanga, Therapeutic Steam and an Ayurvedic Detox Program . Want to know what exactly Ayurveda is, and why it's so good for you? Read our little Beginner's Guide to Ayurveda...

What is Ayurveda?

Ayurveda is a 5,000 year old lifestyle philosophy and comprehensive natural healing system from India. It's a Sanskrit term and means "science of life" or "practices of longevity." Ayurveda is all about the person as a whole, physically, mentally and spiritually, and teaches that these three things are intricately connected. Ayurveda also emphasizes a person's place in his or her environment, and the world. Through natural medicinal treatments, mediation, nutrition, yoga, massage and essential oils Ayurveda aims to prevent and cure diseases and help you live a balanced life to reach your fullest potential.

Three Elements of Ayurveda

In Ayurveda there are three doshas, which are biological forces in the body believed to govern life. Pitta includes the elements fire and water, which are responsible for heat, appetite and digestion, while Kapha is characterized by the elements earth and water, which are responsible for structure and stability. Vata is the biggest life force and derives from the elements of space and air, which constitutes the energy of movement. When the three doshas are in harmony, you are in optimum balance and health. Symptoms of mental and physical illnesses are seen as doshic imbalances, which can be healed through Ayurvedic medicine and therapy.

ayurvedic practitioner ayurveda los angeles treatments massage detox venice abbot kinneyTreatments of Ayurveda

Ayurvedic practitioners believe mental and physical health are inextricably connected, and equally important. Since Ayurveda places big emphasis on our place in the world around us, things like changes in weather, society, economy, lifestyle, diet, work, financial status, emotions and relationships are also considered. That's why Ayurvedic healing - on top of herbal treatments - almost always includes lifestyle interventions. Think of a healthy diet, sleep pattern, and yoga, but also skin care and hygiene.

Contemporary Ayurvedic Treatments

Contemporary Ayurvedic practitioners, such as Spa Sophia's Megan Darwin, focus on attaining a healthy metabolic system, maintaining good digestion and releasing toxins. The combination of specific massage techniques, diet, oleation, lymph drainage, steam and purgation makes Ayurvedic cleansing an incredibly comprehensive and successful process for detoxifying and rejuvenating the entire system.

Ayurvedic Massages

Ayurvedic massage with warm therapeutic herbal oils can open up the channels in our bodies through which all of our fluids flow. Without healthy flow, these channels will accumulate toxins that will eventually lead to disease. Spa Sophia offers several Ayurvedic massages with essential oils, that will leave you feeling totally relaxed and renewed. Here are just some of the benefits of Ayurvedic massages: Building immunity, decreasing stress, cleansing the body, achieving overall balance, improved sleep and glowing skin. Want to discover Ayurveda in Los Angeles at Spa Sophia? Book a treatment online, email us, or call (310) 564 6676to set an appointment! For more information on the 5 Day Ayurvedic Detox Program, email Megan directly at megan@spasophia.com