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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.

Jurlique & Zents Holiday Gift Sets

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Looking for Christmas gift ideas? Look no further! Spa Sophia now has beautiful and specially discounted Jurlique and Zents gift sets available both online and at the spa. Give these luxurious sets to a loved one, or just treat yourself!

Jurlique Holiday Gift Sets at Spa Sophia

Precious Rose Duo

Share the precious gift of rose this holiday season. This gift set rebalances skin and spirit. Includes Rose Hand Cream and Rosewater Balancing Mist.

$30 | BUY NOW

Indulgent Oil Trio

Gift a collection of luxurious, nourishing body oils this festive season. Crafted with rich jojoba and macadamia oils for deep hydration, and delicately scented with essential oils. Included Rose, Lemon, and Lavender oils.

$95 | BUY NOW

Limited Edition Rose Body Oil

This deluxe edition Rose Body Oil will help you glow this festive season. Lightweight, balancing body oil that deeply nourishes and softens skin and the senses. Can be used as a massage oil for all skin types. Provides hydration and antioxidant protection.

$68 | BUY NOW

Petite Hand Creams

Collection of our favorite hand cream miniatures that deeply hydrate with rich formulas and powerful essential oils. Four gorgeous scents will invigorate your senses. Included Rose, Citrus, Lavender, and Jasmine 0.5oz hand cream tubes.

$32 | BUY NOW

Hydrating Favorites

Our best selling Jurlique products in one set! This gift set brings potent plant oils and antioxidants together to hydrate, restore and protect skin, and improve dryness and dullness.

$98 | BUY NOW

Zents Holiday Gift Sets at Spa Sophia

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Bath Truffles

Lusciously relaxing, sumptuously softening bath truffles are the perfect holiday treat. Age-defying passionflower and ginkgo help to restore supple, smooth skin. Soothing Arnica combined with detoxifying Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt melts sore muscles. Available in Mandarin, Ore, Earth and Sun scent.

$6 | BUY NOW: MANDARIN | EARTH | ORE | SUN

Bath Truffle 4 Packs

Lusciously relaxing, sumptuously softening bath truffles are the perfect holiday treat. Age-defying passionflower and ginkgo help to restore supple, smooth skin. Soothing Arnica combined with detoxifying Epsom salt and pink Himalayan salt melts sore muscles. Each box contains 4 truffles. Available in Mandarin, Ore and Earth scent.

$28 | BUY NOW: MANDARIN | EARTH | ORE

Body Care Gift Sets

A rich botanical Lotion with a luxe Shower & Hand Wash creates this elegant duo. Superior hydrating formulas, packed with 100% organic shea butter, replenish skin’s natural glow. Available in Mandarin, Ore, Earth and Sun scent.

$49| BUY NOW: MANDARIN | EARTH | ORE | SUN