What you need to know about how smoke and smog affects our skin

Calgary, being the urban city that it is, has some degree of air pollution already, but as of late, the increasing smoke from surrounding Alberta and BC wildfires is adding greatly to the issue.


So how does the skin react to this increase of air pollution?

For starters, smoke decreases the amount of clean, oxygenated blood that gets to the skin cells in order to feed and cleanse the tissue. The ash, micro-particles can clog up the pores, adding to the build-up of sweat, oil, old makeup, and dead skin cells. This can lead to everything from inflammation, to acne, along with a duller complexion.

On the other side, we have antioxidants which are a group of beneficial nutrients – vitamins, minerals and enzymes – that can minimize and repair the damaged processes in cells by neutralizing the free radicals and help with repairing the skin cells.

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Seasonal Product Changes

Summer is a great time to up your Vitamin-C intake, as it helps to repair the skin from the damaging effects of the Sun. This vitamin is great for so many reasons, especially for after sun, for brightening, and feeding collagen.

 

If you’re on one of the richer moisturizers from the winter time, i.e- the Coconut Age Corrective Moisturizer, or the Monoi Age Corrective Night Cream, it may be time to switch over to a lower oil version, such as the Guava Bamboo Age Defy Moisturizer, or the Sweet Red Rose Whip Moisturizer.  That is why I love Eminence so much!  The line is so customizable, with options to choose from for every skin type!

 

This is also a great time to mention Eminence’s new Lilikoi Mineral Defense SPF collection!  Defend your skin from drying environmental stressors with this all-mineral SPF sun protection line. Their newest release, reef-friendly, completely natural sun protection is a great addition to your skincare routine for a day-time product that ensures you are protected from the sun’s harmful UVA/ UVB rays and their damaging effects. Choose from the Lilikoi Mineral Defense Moisturizer (SPF 33), Lilikoi Light Defense Face Primer (SPF 23), and the Lilikoi Mineral Defense Sport Sunscreen (SPF 30) for the body.

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Is your diet making you stink?

Bad breath, stinky feet, body odour and overly foul-smelling bowel movements may be signs that your body is giving you (and everyone else around you) that your diet is off.   

Aside from practicing good personal hygiene such as showering regularly and using regular mild soap, the underarm area can be an embarrassing breeding zone for some.  Many people find themselves having to buy super antiperspirants, perfumes and scented body washes - but this is all just making the problem worse!

 

The body is made up of more bacteria than cells, yup you read that right.  We are one big moving universe of bacteria, both good and bad.  Because we don’t walk around like the wailing flailing inflatable promo men, we have crevices that don’t get much open air-time, like our arm pits. This leads to a warm environment, and a build-up of extra moisture.  Bacteria love to hang out in warm, moist, sheltered areas and feed off the sugars contained in your sweat.  Excess sugar intake, more food for the bacteria, more stink!  

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Qi Beauty Facial - A new TCM Facial addition to The Natural Art of Skin Care!

March is here, which hopefully means spring is just around the corner!  We made it through a cold and snowy February, even breaking a few weather records in Calgary!  Most of us have probably noticed our mood taking a bit of a hit, being stuck indoors, long and slow after-work commutes, and shoveling mounds of snow in this bitter cold.  During cold snaps like this, it is also common to notice not so pleasant changes in our skin.  If your skin feels rough and unbearably dry right now, you are not alone!  Cold air, wind, and indoor heating systems all suck the moisture out of our skin and leave us looking lackluster and tired.  This is the time of year to be using a rich moisturizer, and adding more oils into your routine, maybe an oil pre-cleanser, or a finishing oil on top of your moisturizer which provides a barrier between your skin and the elements.  This is also an exciting time at the spa, because we are introducing a few new facials on our menu, including a Traditional Chinese Medicine based skin therapy, called Qi Beauty!  

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Gua Sha Stones + Beauty Rollers

Gua Sha is characterized by long and short strokes in a massage like motion. Some use it on the body with the strong intent to cause bruising in order to break down scar tissue by “scraping” the skin. It is not necessary to cause bruising during Gua Sha massage, but lymphatic drainage is a great benefit from this tool.

 

As we glide the stone across the skin, lymphatic fluids are drained, helping with circulation and the breaking down of scar tissue. It also releases muscle tension and brings a new glow to the skin and surrounding areas.  On the face you will be able to see the skin instantly refreshed and lifted, leaving you with a glowing complexion as it helps to stimulate collagen production.

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High Frequency Uses and Benefits!

High-Frequency machines - a timeless tried and true machine, first developed in the late 1800's for wound healing. This non-invasive treatment has been improving skin conditions such as acne, hair loss and pore and skin tightening, for many years.

High Frequency is a well-known rejuvenating treatment respected in the skin care industry since the turn of the century. It's been proven to stimulate cell renewal and improve skin care product penetration and absorption by gently warming and oxygenating the tissues of the skin.

 

Its most significant use in the skin care industry is for its positive benefits in effectively reducing acne breakouts and calming the previous breakout down in less time. Treat and prevent stubborn acne, shrink enlarged pores, reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, promote lymphatic drainage and product penetration, rejuvenate the condition of the scalp and nourish hair follicles for healthier hair growth.

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The Wonders of Gua Sha in TCM

It's November and things are getting very busy at the Spa this month!  We have our Client Appreciation Christmas party on the 22nd, which is always a great evening!  It is an excellent time to come meet all of our providers, eat some great food, and take advantage of our 15% off sale on all products and services!!  We are also updating our spa menu and adding a few new exciting treatments, including our new Cellulite Cupping Therapy and we’ve added relaxing hot stones to our Supreme Pedicure!  Because I have had so many clients trying out the new Rejuvenating Acupuncture facial, and loving the Gua Sha portion so much, I think its a good time to dive into this subject and share all the ways this unusual technique can keep us happy, healthy, and beautiful!

How will gua sha be incorporated into my facial and beauty routine you may ask?  We use a more gentle approach with our gua sha tool when it comes to treating the skin on our face.  Facial gua sha is considered to be the natural version of botox.  Because the face is a more delicate area, we use more light strokes to increase the microcirculation, that doesn't cause any damage to the tiny vessels of the face.  Just like the process on the body, facial gua sha will increase blood flow and reduce inflammation, as well as relaxing tight muscles that may be causing wrinkles on the face.  The skin will turn pink and plump following the treatment, leaving the complexion bright and smooth.  Gua sha is an excellent anti-aging treatment, as well as treating puffiness by increasing the lymph drainage of the face.  

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Cupping Benefits – Cold & Flu Season + Time to Detox

Many of my Acupuncture clients have already had the privilege of experiencing this ancient technique, and for those who haven't, it’s an experience unlike any other.  Cupping has been linked to lowering blood pressure, draining excess fluids and toxins, stimulating the peripheral nervous system, breaking down adhesion and revitalizing connective tissues.  There are many different styles of Cupping, ranging from flash cupping, for things like cellulite reduction, to moving cupping, for tight muscles and fascia, to stationary cupping, to flood an area with blood, to wet or bleeding cupping, which we use for issues such as tennis elbow, acne or eczema.

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What is your face trying to tell you about your digestion?

The face is the mirror of what is going on inside the body, and more closely, the digestive tract.  If you take a look at the face chart below, you can see that the governing vessel, conception vessel, stomach, gallbladder, small intestine, large intestine, urinary bladder, and triple warmer meridians all travel along the face.  A problem within any of those meridians, or organs, will always eventually become evident on the face.

Last month’s article touched on how certain organ disharmonies will present themselves in regards to skin and aging, but today I want to focus on our two main digestive organs in TCM, the spleen, and the stomach.  The stomach is considered to be the most important of all yang organs, and its paired yin organ is the spleen.  It is considered to be the root of all postnatal qi, or qi that we create in our bodies from food and water.  It is what gives us energy on a daily basis.  The stomachs' job is to break down the food through "rotting and ripening," while the spleens' job is to "transform" that matter into nourishment for our bodies, and "transport" it to organs and extremities.

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Facial Rejuvenation Acupuncture

As some of you may know, as of this past June we are now offering a Rejuvenating Acupuncture Facial at the Spa!  The response has been great, and I wanted to share a little more information on this relaxing and therapeutic treatment for those who may be interested in trying, or just trying to decide if this is the correct way to achieve their skincare goals.


We use Acupuncture for any and every health condition of the body, and this does not exclude age control!  Although prevention of disease, or unhealthy, aging skin is always our best defence, we can still use TCM modalities to return the body to a healthy state, and repair damage to the skin and muscles of our face, neck, décolletage, and whole body!  We use the needles to treat the local area, but also heal the internal environment, so the skin is supported from the inside out.  It is very important to treat the whole person, improving general health, so we can use the persons own internal energy, or qi, to heal.

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