retinoids

Skincare in Your 30s

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skincare 30s los angeles spa sophia abbot kinney blvd veniceA good skincare routine requires a little bit of discipline, but most of all: educating yourself. Luckily Spa Sophia is here to help you with that. Skincare in your 20s shouldn't be the same as skin care in your 50s. So what is the best skincare routine for each age group? We'll tell you! Last month we went in depth about skincare in your 20s, this month we'll look into skin care in your 30s... No matter how well you've taken care of your skin, in your thirties cell turnover will start to slow down and collagen will decrease. This will make your skin thinner, duller and less elastic. Fine lines and wrinkles may start to show, especially around the eyes and mouth. Not to worry though, you can still have a beautiful skin without any cosmetic surgery. Just follow these guidelines for skincare in your 30s...

Moisturize & Sunscreen

Just like in your 20s, for skincare in your 30s it's important to keep protecting your skin from the sun. You don't have to go for a higher SPF level, though. As we explained in our article about sunscreen, after SPF 15 there's little difference in effectiveness. Just make sure you keep using broad spectrum sunscreen/sunblock. Your 30s are also the time to invest in a heavier moisturizer, see our favorites here.

Anti-Aging Creams

Unlike in your 20s, where we recommend you focus mostly on prevention, in your 30s it's time to start investing in a good anti-aging cream. As explained in our previous article, Retinol is one of the most effective anti-aging ingredients around. Opt for the prescription kind, or - if that's too harsh for your skin - get an over the counter cream with retinol. Epicuren's Retinol Complex is one of our favorites. It's available at our webshop as well as the spa.

Gentle Cleansers

Cleaning your skin is always important, and skincare in your 30s is no exception. But in your 30s make sure to always opt for gentle cleansers. Especially at first, Retinol can be quite irritating, so it's important to be gentle to your skin. Use gentle, soapless cleansers such as Cetaphil or one of our recommended products.

Eye Cream

Fine lines and wrinkles will most likely start around your eyes, which is why you should give the skin in that area extra attention. In your 30s, invest in a good eye cream. During the day, wear one that's moisturizing and rich in antioxidants to protect from environmental damage. During the night, wear one with Retinol. If you often have dark circles, look for creams with hydroquinone, vitamin C and brightening ingredients. If puffiness is an issue for you, eye creams with caffeine are the way to go.

Exfoiliating

If you're using Retinol based products, you won' t need too much extra exfoliation. If you don't however, skincare in your 30s can benefit from some increased scrubbing and exfoliation. Get a peel at Spa Sophia, or use at home peels with salicilyc or glycolic acid. If you'd rather use a scrub, then opt for ones with synthetic microbeads and stay away from harsh scrubs. See our favorite at home peels and scrubs in our webshop.

Hopefully this will help you create a better skincare regimen! Obviously different skin types have different needs. Want personalized advice? Come by Spa Sophia at 1027 Abbot Kinney Blvd. in Venice, e-mail us, or call us at (310) 564 6676.

Acne Treatments at Spa Sophia

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Acne, while essentially harmless, can be very hard on your self-esteem. Some of Spa Sophia's own estheticians have struggled with acne, and we have seen the miracles good acne treatment can perform for skin as well as mental wellbeing. That's why we're also an acne treatment spa. Want to know what Spa Sophia's recommendations for acne treatment are? Read on!

What is Acne?

Acne is the buildup of oil and dead skin cells in hair follicles, leading to bumps and inflammation of the skin. Acne is most commonly found on the face, back and neck.

What causes Acne?

Acne is caused by an overproduction of oil in the skin, irregular shedding of skin cells and a consequent build up of bacteria. It's usually genetic. Acne can be worsened by certain other factors though. The biggest one is hormones, such as those in puberty, pregnancy and contraception. Medication and diet can also play a role. Dairy products and products with a high glycemic index can worsen acne. Fatty foods and chocolate however, have never been proven to cause or worsen acne. Direct contact with oily substances, certain cosmetics and skin friction with clothing and objects can also worsen acne.

Acne Treatments at the Spa

There are several acne treatments available at Spa Sophia. They can really increase the appearance of your skin by reducing acne scars and acne. If you come in for the first time we'll always give you a complimentary professional consultation. These are the acne treatments at our spa:

Chemical Peel

facial peel los angeles spa sophia before after venice abbot kinneyChemical peels, also known as facial peels, are a popular acne treatment. They consist of an application of acids on the facial skin, causing it to peel afterwards. Spa Sophia only uses all natural acids. Chemical peels have been shown to reduce acne by 40 to 50% after 4 to 6 peels. On top of reducing acne, chemical peels also reduce the appearance of acne scars. Results last up to several months, after which peels at regular intervals can provide good acne maintenance.

Microdermabrasion

Microdermabrasion is a more gentle version of dermabrasion, and doesn't require any numbing medicine or downtime. It's an exfoliating procedure, where tiny crystals are sprayed on your skin to peel off the outer layer. Microdermabrasion leaves you with a more even complexion, less visible scars, and reduced visibility of acne. We recommend getting multiple microdermabrasion facials for more dramatic results. Three to four sessions get the skin to a good basic level, and one microdermabrasion per month maintains these results.

DNA CryoStem Facial

The DNA CryoStem Cell Facial is Spa Sophia's latest facial and also functions as acne treatment. It's a highly exclusive treatment where your skin will be exfoliated and then treated with cryogenically preserved stem cell serum. This treatment decreases the appearance of fine lines, scarring and acne. You skin cells will essentially be supplied with younger, flawless skin cells that improve the older, existing cells around them. This process continues for up to 6 days after treatment. A set of at six treatments over two months is recommended to reach all the layers of skin.

Over the Counter Acne Treatments

Aside from spa acne treatments, there are also effective over the counter acne treatments. Topical retinoids are probably one of the most effective. Retinoids speed up cell turnover and increase the shedding of dead skin cells, which over time can really improve the structure of your skin. For over the counter retinoids (often called Retinol) it can take up to several months before results start showing. Prescription retinoids (often called Retin-A) book quicker results, but since retinoids can be quite harsh on your skin, it's recommended to slowly ease into it. Spa Sophia's favorite Retinol based acne treatment is s Epicuren’s Retinol Complex. Purchase it at the spa or through our webshop.

Want to book a free acne treatment consult and book a facial? Call Spa Sophia at (310) 564 6676, email us, or book an appointment online.

4 Anti-Aging Ingredients That Really Work

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Anti-aging creams are plentiful, but sadly not many of them have been proven to cause any long term effects. We have seen first-hand the miracles of a good facial and skin care regimen though, and want to help you find products with anti-aging ingredients that work. So before you buy any more expensive anti-aging creams, read about our 4 anti-aging ingredients that work, really!

1. Retinoids

We've already gone in depth about retinoids in one of our previous posts, because retinoids are one of the few anti-aging ingredients that work according to scientific research. Retinoids increase collagen production and cell turnover and unclogs pores, which gives you a plump skin that is smoother and brighter.

What to Buy

Prescription retinoids are the most effective, but derivatives such as Retinol, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro and Renova also work, just more slowly. Anti-aging creams with these ingredients may take up to 12 weeks to show results. One of Spa Sophia's favorites is Epicuren's Retinol Complex, you can buy it at our web store or at the spa. If you decide to start with retinoids allow your skin to adjust though, as retinoids can dry out skin and cause irritation. Last but not least, don't layer retinoids with benzoyl peroxide or alpha hydroxy acids because they will cancel out the effects.

2. Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA's)

Alpha Hydroxy Acids are natural acids found in fruits and dairy. They work as an exfoiliant by dissolving the glue that holds dead skin cells together, exposing new, fresh skin. This leads to decreased skin discoloration, smoother skin and smaller looking pores. Repeated peels can even improve skin structure. That's why Spa Sophia offers a Facial Peel, and also includes peels in many  facials. You can even buy a Facial Peel package for repeated peels.

What to Buy

The AHA anti-aging ingredients that work are usually listed as glycolic, malic, citric or lactic acids. Our favorites are Epicuren's Clear Glycolic Face Peel 5%Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 10%, Glycolic Lotion Face Peel 5% and Pumpkin Apple Spice Peel.  Do a peel once to twice a week, depending on how sensitive your skin is. Don't buy cleansers with AHA's though. The acids won't be on your skin long enough for a peel to have effect.

3. Anti-Oxidants

Anti-Oxidants don't really remedy aging skin so much as they prevent skin from aging. Anti-oxidants protect your body from free radicals: molecules that cause cell damage and aging. For more in-depth information on what anti-oxidants are and how they work, check our article on Anti-Axodiants.

What To Buy

Vitamin C, green tea, vitamin E, ferulic acid, phloretin and coenzyme Q10 (sometimes listed at CoQ10) are a few powerful anti-oxidants. In terms of products, Spa Sophia recommends Hylunia's Anti-Oxidant Vitamin Mask and Ultimate Anti-Oxidant. The best way to go about including anti-oxidants in your skin care regimen is to just use a combination of different ones. You can also get anti-oxidants through your dieat by eating fruits and vegetables. Make sure you store your anti-oxidant products in a dark, cool place, because warmth and sunlight can make them decay.

4. Sunscreen

More than 90 percent of wrinkles, dark spots and loss of skin elasticity is caused by sun exposure. We've already gone in depth about the do's and don'ts of sunscreen in our Sunscreen & Sunblock article but we can't emphasize it enough: Wear sunscreen. It's one of the best anti-aging ingredients that work. Sunscreen won't repair aging skin but it will stop your skin from aging, or prevent aging altogether.

What To Buy

Get either a sunblock or broad spectrum sunscreen, and put it on every day before you step outside. Get one with a minimum SPF of 30, and realize that make-up or lotions with sunscreen in them are usually not strong enough. If you spend the day outside, re-apply your sunscreen every hour. Check out Spa Sophia's recommended sun protection products here.

These are the anti-aging ingredients that work according to science thus far, but that doesn't mean there aren't others out there that have potential. Epidermal Growth factor has some mixed yet positive research results, and Hyaluronic Acid has been shown to draw an amazing amount of moisture to your skin, which is always good. Also realize that while most beauty products on the market may not cause long term anti-aging benefits, they may still improve the way your skin looks and feels for the day!

Check out Spa Sophia's Facials to jumpstart your skin transformation and get a consultation on what skin products are best for you.

Antioxidants And Skin Benefits

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It's one of those words that's seemingly everywhere: Antioxidants. They're in everything from kiwis to skin creams, and are known for cancer prevention as well as antixodant skin benefits, like anti-aging. But what exactly are antioxidants, and how do they benefit your skin? And which antioxidants are best to incorporate in your skin care routine? We'll tell you!

Oxidation & Free Radicals

Ever seen a rusty pipe, or a rotten piece of fruit? Well, those things were caused by a process called oxidation. Simply put: cell damage due to contact with oxygen. The same happens to the cells in your body. Well, not exactly the same, luckily they don't rust or rot, but you get the idea. Our body is pretty good at dealing with oxygen. It metabolizes the oxyen molecules, but in the process 1 to 2% of them get damaged, and turn into free radicals.

What Are Free Radicals?

What are free radicals? Without getting to science-y, they're incomplete molecules. For example: a molecule that's missing one atom to be a water molecule. These free radicals therefore go looking for other molecules to connect with, stealing their atoms and damaging them. When this happens to the molecules of your body cells, the DNA in your cells can be mutated. When DNA mutates it can lead to a variety of diseases, such as cancer, which is caused by damaged DNA telling cells to keep multiplying.

antioxidants skin benefits skin care free radicalsAntioxidants & Free Radicals

So what are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules that freely give away their atoms to free radicals, so they don't go and damage your body's cells.  The term antioxidants therefore refers to wide array of vitamins and minerals that reduce the oxidation process this way. They're more important now than they were ever before because of the modern world we live in. Gasses, cigarette smoke, radiation: They all carry free radicals. That's why getting plenty of antioxidants every day is important.

Antioxidants & Skin Care Benefits

So how does this all relate to skin care? Well, the UV radiation from the sun creates a ton of free radicals. These free radicals multiply enzymes that break down collagen. We've already gone in depth about collagen here but collagen is one of the main elements that make skin look youthful. Incorporating antioxidants in your skin care and diet is therefore a great idea.

The Best Antioxidants For Skin Care Benefits

Antioxidants all work in different ways. That's why it's recommended that you get a combination of many antioxidants to stay healthy. If you just eat different fruits, veggies, legumes and nuts every day, you should be good. But for antioxidant skin care benefits, look for these:

  • Vitamin E, also known as tocopherol or tocotrienols. Go for the natural kind instead of the synthetic one, like in Hylunia's Vitamn Antioxidant mask.
  • Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate. Works especially well when combined with Vitamin E. Spa Sophia loves Epicuren's Cxc Vitamin C Complex.
  • Reservatrol, found in berries, grapes and red wine. So don't worry about a glass a day. A wine glass that is, not a long drink glass...
  • Epigallocatechin-3 gallate (EGCG), found in green tea. Epicuren's Green Tea & Ginger Seaweed Mask is a great skin booster with EGCG.
  • Vitamin A, also known as retinol, retinyl palmitate and retinylaldehyde. In prescriptions it's listed as retinoic acid, tretinoin, adapalene (Differin) and tazarotene (Tazorac). Read more about the amazing anti-aging benefits of retinol in this post.

Spa Sophia also has several facials that nourish your skin with a highly concentrated dosage of antioxidants, such as our Oxygen Facial. Book one online, drop by the spa on 1027 Abbot Kinney, or call (310) 564 6676 to make an appointment!

Bye Wrinkles & Acne: 5 Things You Need to Know About Retinol Cream

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retinol cream retinoids retin-a wrinkles acneHeard of Retinoids, Retinol Cream or Retin-A? We think aging is a beautiful thing, but we also like keeping our skin in the best shape possible. And when it comes to anti-aging, few products are as good as retinol creams. Unlike the overwhelming amount of anti-aging products on the skin care market, retinol creams are fully backed by science. Want to find out why retinol cream is so good, how it works, and how to use it? Let Spa Sophia tell you! 

1. How Retinol Cream Works

While there are many nice anti-aging creams on the market, many only improve the way  your skin looks superficially and temporarily. Few beauty ingredients have actually been proven to slow down skin aging on a deeper level. But retinol creams do exactly that. Retinoids - the active ingredient in retinol creams- work by increasing the turn over and shedding of outer skin cells. By doing this, deeper skin cells are stimulated to increase cell growth underneath. The process also leads to a decrease in the breakdown of collagen and thickening of the deeper layer of skin, which is where wrinkles start.

2. Retinol Cream Benefits

Many people use retinol for wrinkles, and retinoids indeed have many anti-aging benefits. Retinol cream lightens discolorations, decreases fine lines, evens skin complexion, increases skin elasticity and smoothes skin.

On top of retinol cream anti-aging benefits, retinoids are also great for acne. Retinol cream helps acne indirectly by unclogging pores, so other medication can penetrate the skin better and be more effective. Retinoids also help acne directly by decreasing infection and increasing skin appearance.

3. Prescription Retin-A vs Retinol Over the Counter

There are a variery of products with retinoid ingredients available. The prescription version contains retinoic acid, also know as Retin-A, while over the counter retinol creams contain retinol. What's the difference between Retin-A and retinol? Retinol is a derivative of Retin-A/retinoic acid, and needs to be broken down to Retin-A/retinoic acid by your skin cells. Because of this it takes longer for retinol creams to take effect compared to prescription Retin-A, but it also decreases side effects and irritation.

4. How Long Does it Take for Retinol Cream to Work?

Despite what over the counter products may advertise, retinol creams takes about  three to six months to show visible results, with the best results showing after twelve months. Retin-A gives quicker results, but isn't available without a prescription, and can be harsh on your skin.

5. How to Use Retinol Cream

Irritation is part of the process when starting with a retinol cream, so you have to push through. Don't worry thoug; in about three weeks your skin should be used to the retinoids. If you have very sensitive skin, you can start out with a retinol cream for sensitive skin. These have a lower concentration of retinoids and decrease initial discomfort.

Retinol creams are best worn at night, since the sunlight breaks retinoids down, decreasing effectiveness. Contrary to popular belief retinol cream doesn't increase sunburn though.

As we stated before, the best results are achieved using retinol cream for a year. After that your skin will have built a tolerance, so switching to a cream with a  higher concentration of active ingredients is recommended.

The Best Retinol Creams

Not all retinol creams are made equal. One of Spa Sophia's favorites retinol creams is Epicuren's Retinol Complex. Buy it online in our webshop, or at the spa!