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Posted by on Jan 15, 2018 in Know Your Skin | 0 comments

Understanding and Overcoming Acne

Understanding and Overcoming Acne

As beauty practitioners, one of the greatest privileges we have is to help our clients feel and look their very best.   One of the most common complaints I hear from clients in the treatment room is about acne.  This skin condition can be one of the most frustrating issues to battle, and it can affect people of all ages.  As an esthetician, my job is to educate my clients on what acne is, how to treat it, and how to prevent it from becoming an ongoing issue.

We often think of acne as just being a problem for teens, but adult acne has become just as common.  There seems to be many causes for the rise in adult acne such as added stress, pollution, additives to food, and other external factors.  Since the key to any solution is understanding the problem, we have have to look at what the root cause of acne is.

While attending a skincare conference a few years ago, I heard something from an acne expert that has stayed with me ever since.  He explained that we all have what is called ‘p. acne bacteria’ in our pores.  It doesn’t matter if we are 8 years old or 80, we all have this same bacteria.  This bacteria isn’t a problem unless it builds up and has no way of oxygen getting inside the pore.    Typically, we experience a breakout when oxygen cannot flow in and out of our pores.  You see, bacteria cannot survive in the presence of oxygen.  That information made so much sense to me!

I love sharing that explanation with my clients, and I love to see the light bulb go off in their face.  Once they understand the connection between acne and proper exfoliation, the path to clear skin is totally attainable.  I can help them understand how monthly clearing facials and a solid home care routine can truly change the way they look at their skin.

I love being able to share knowledge with others to help them understand how to bring out the very best in themselves and their skin.  It’s one of the best parts of being in this beauty industry.  Stay tuned for helpful tips on ingredients and healthy habits to prevent breakouts and promote healthy and clear skin!

Check out our blog for more information at  Happy reading!


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Posted by on Sep 11, 2017 in Know Your Skin | 0 comments

Why we need skin oil

Why we need skin oil

There is often a misconception that skin oil is a bad thing, especially for oily skin types.  The truth is that our skin needs a proper balance of oil in order to remain healthy, protected, and avoid premature aging.

Our skin oil glands are known as sebaceous glands, which are responsible for creating and spreading oil onto the surface of the skin.  Some areas of our face have a higher concentration of sebaceous glands, such as the nose, chin, and forehead.  This area is often called our ‘T-zone’ or oily zone.

The thing about oil is that we really need it.  It helps to maintain the lipid barrier of our skin, which protects us from bacteria, pollution, and other affects of the environment.  The more moisturized our skin is, the less likely we are to experience premature aging.  I often tell my clients to think of their skin like leather.  The less oil it has, the more likely it is to crack and weather.  If leather is properly oiled, it has a smooth and supple appearance.  Our skin is the same way:  we need oil to maintain its softness and health.

Those of you that experience excessive skin oil may be disagreeing with me about the need for more moisture in your skin.  What I often see happen with those having extra shine is that they try to over-dry the skin.  The problem with doing that is that it makes the body think you are lacking oil, and it will over produce shine.  You are better off seeking to balance oil production with the use of exfoliating products and a hydrating moisturizer.

A great way to give our skin a proper oil balance is through the use of our home care routine.  Regardless of whether your skin is dry, oily, or combination, we all need a solid moisturizer.  I often tell my clients that the job of their moisturizer is to act like a goalie:  protect what is in and keep out what is bad.  A good moisturizer will have both moisturizing and hydrating capabilities.  Skin that is suffering from a lack of oil can also benefit from cleansing and leave-in skin oils.  The oil in our skin is attracted to the oil molecules in cleansers, so they work great to remove makeup and excess oil.  Skin that is extremely dry and irritated from conditions like eczema and psoriasis may also benefit from conditioning oils and balms.

Skin oil is our friend when it comes to keeping things healthy and youthful.  Don’t shy away from a little bit of oil in your routine!

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Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Know Your Skin | 0 comments

Battling with Eczema

Battling with Eczema

Eczema can be one of the most frustrating skin conditions out there.  I have watched clients suffer with this treatment for years.  While no true cure for it exists, the more we can be informed of what causes this disease and how it works, the more likely we are to prevent flare-ups.

Hypothesized Causes:

-hereditary factors (a close relative has it)

-environmental factors such as smoke, pollen, and pet dander

-certain foods can trigger eczema such as dairy and nuts


-sweating (from excessive heat or humidity)

-irritants on contact such as laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos

Long list, right?  The problem for those dealing with eczema is that many things can be a trigger for this skin condition.  So, how can we better manage the systems and avoid skin irritation?  Here are some tips to help prevent the symptoms of eczema:

-avoid contact with known irritants to your skin

-focus on using skincare products that maintain your skin’s lipid barrier (moisturizers, balms)

-receive monthly facial treatments to soothe irritation and boost hydration and moisture in the skin

-get tested at your physician’s office to see if there are any foods you should avoid that may be causing flare-ups

-make an appointment to see your dermatologist for any prescribed topical or oral medications to alleviate eczema symptons

Although exfoliation needs to be handled with the utmost care, I find many clients suffering with eczema have an excessive amount of dead skin buildup.  The dead skin can cause further itching and irritation and also prevent their products from absorbing deeper into the skin. Using gentle exfoliation techniques like removing your facial cleanser with a warm washcloth can help get rid of dry and dead skin.

Since eczema can cause the skin to feel itchy, the urge to scratch can be really strong.  I often advise clients to keep their nails cut short, because bacteria can hide underneath the nail bed.  If they are inclined to scratch their skin (which we want to avoid), shorter nails may discourage the spread of bacteria.

As always, check with your physician for clarity on what is best for your skin condition and needs.  Eczema can be a battle, but the more informed you can be, the better you can be at fighting the symptoms 🙂



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Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Know Your Skin | 0 comments

High School Skin

High School Skin

Ah, high school.  The time of our lives that our bodies start changing with or without our permission.  The hormones start raging and the oil in our skin starts pumping.  Now I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was blessed with some lovely cystic acne.  I remember many nights desperately trying to dry out those red and inflamed lesions.  I tried everything from toothpaste to Queen Helene’s mint julep mask – sometimes sleeping with little blue and green dots all over my face.  The next morning, I would wake up to toothpaste all over my pillow and alas, the same red bumps that looked even worse after the menthol assault.  How I wish I would have had the courage to ask for some help instead of trying to fix the problem myself!

As a senior in high school, one of the biggest days we prep for (besides Graduation and Senior Skip Day) is our Senior Picture Day.  Now, if you are a senior right now, you may not realize how important this day is.  You may think your portrait session is something that you can just fly by the seat of your pants, but the truth is – it’s worth it to prepare your skin for this fateful day.  You may even want to think about outfits to wear and having your hair and makeup professionally done.  The reason it’s worth it is that those senior pictures will live in infamy….like, you will see them every time you walk to the bathroom in your parent’s and grandparent’s houses.  They will no doubt proudly display your picture on every available wall and coffee table for all their guests to see.  So, trust me, you want to plan to look your best!  Otherwise you will be cringing for years to come.

Check out this link for some helpful tips from local area professional photographer Stephanie Wijesinghe on making sure your session turns out fabulous:

Here at Sweet Life, we have some results-driven treatments to eliminate excess oil and shine and zap those frustrating breakouts:  Acne/Excess Oil.  All of these treatments are custom fit for your skin type, and gentle and effective to give you the happy skin you crave.  And if you are one of those lucky ducks who has naturally blemish-free skin, please forward this onto a darling in need of some skin love!


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Posted by on Sep 28, 2014 in Know Your Skin | 2 comments

Skin Series:  Oily and Sensitive?

Skin Series: Oily and Sensitive?

There may be several of you out there that have the blessing/curse of having oily skin. Oily skin often has a bad rep because it’s associated with being shiny, feeling greasy, or being prone to breakouts.  Don’t get me wrong, all of those things are still true, but oily skin comes with a lot of perks as well.  Oily skin tends to not age as quickly because the sebum (term for oil) does a great job of keeping the skin lubricated and preventing wrinkles and fine lines.  Oily skin also does well at retaining what is known as your NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor).  When skin is lipid-strong, it helps to trap in and hold water that your skin needs to stay hydrated and keep things moving the way they should.

The key to taking care of oily skin is maintaining a good balance between water and oil.  Sometimes we oilies (might have just made up a new word there) tend to want scrub and scrape every drop of oil off our faces.  That process can often end up dehydrating the skin, in which case your sebaceous glands (oil glands in our skin) will go into overdrive.  That’s when you end up with the greasy/shiny/bumpy mess.  So, although oily skin needs more exfoliation than dry skin, you have to go about it the right way.

Now let’s throw another monkey wrench into this circus and say you have sensitive skin too.  That’s me – I was the girl in school that everyone was afraid to work on for fear of how my skin would react.  Like if you looked at me wrong, my skin would turn red and irritated.  So if you have oily and sensitive skin, you can have an even tougher job of knowing how to get rid of excess oil without ruffling the feathers of your oil/water balance.

So what’s the solution you may be wondering?  Because my skin really needs exfoliation but can’t tolerate even some higher pH peels, I have really come to love enzymes.  I like to describe enzymes to clients as little pac-man that go around eating up all the bad stuff so the good stuff can peek its head out again.  Enzymes are a lot of times favored by people with sensitive skin because they are not acid based like glycolic, salicylic, or other peels.  Some acid-based peels are just too harsh for sensitive skin, so enzymes are a much better option to achieve the same result.

Some common enzyme ingredients to look for are papain which comes from papaya, and bromelain which comes from pineapple.  You may often see professional skin care lines refer to these types of products as ‘enzyme peels’.  Depending on your skin type and tolerance, enzymes can be used anywhere from 1-2 times per week.  Some enzymes even have textured exfoliants in them like jojoba beads, crushed almonds, or sodium bicarbonate crystals (fancy word for baking soda).  These particles paired with enzymes do double duty of mechanically and chemically clearing away dead skin cells and removing excess oil.  So, if you are an oily like me with sensitive skin to boot, talk with your esthetician about whether or not an enzyme peel is right for you. 🙂


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