Changing the Face of Skin Care ~ An Interview with Kelly George, RN and Business Owner Extraordinaire

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Marie’s 23 Questions are designed to raise the profile of experts in the skincare and cosmetic industry.

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The skincare field and beauty industry is often known to be superficial; at SkinScience, we want to shine a light on leaders who are authentic and those who bring depth while raising awareness of what they do and who they really are.

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Kelly George is the Founder of Kelly George Aesthetics.  In just 3 years Kelly George Aesthetics has become one of the leading skin and anti-ageing destination of its kind. Kelly has successfully built her brand and seen rapid growth within her business. Kelly’s career in the medical aesthetics industry started in 2006 within a marketing role for one of the top pharmaceutical companies.   

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Now, as a Registered Cosmetic Nurse, Kelly has more than 12 years’ experience in the industry.  She has successfully combined her business and marketing abilities with her clinical skills to drive what is considered one of the most successful anti-ageing clinics in Australia.

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Follow Kelly George

  • Instagram: @kellygeorgeaesthetics
  • Website

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Kelly George answers Marie’s 23 Questions 

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1. In your opinion, what is the biggest challenge facing the cosmetic skincare industry?

Social Media – people with very little knowledge can present themselves as “experts”. Consumers don’t know who’s reputable and who’s not. Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram!

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2. Name one thing on your bucket list.

Living in New York City for a period.

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3. Do you have any regrets in your life, what are they?

Bleaching my hair when I was 17! Yellow hair was not a good look on me.

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4. What is your greatest extravagance?

Champagne. I never buy sparkling wine. It doesn’t need to be a special occasion for champagne in our house!

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5. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?  

“Literally”. I also terribly overuse exclamation marks in texts!

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6. What is your current state of mind?

Excited – I’m sitting in the Qantas Business Lounge waiting to board a flight to LA!

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7. What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

Wear Sunscreen – not just on your face, hands get old too!

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8. What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Being in a CLEAN room, on a comfy lounge, with my hubby, both my kids, my dogs, a bottle of champagne and an Adam Sandler movie playing in the background.

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9. What is your greatest fear?

Not being able to protect my kids from the world if ever necessary.  

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10. Which historical figure would you most like to meet?

Princess Diana.

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11. Which living person do you most admire?

My 11-year old son – he is the kindest person you’ll ever meet.

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12. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

I’d like to stress less.

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13. What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Creating the life I have – which is the life I always wanted growing up.

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14. What do you most value in your friends?

That they understand I’m busy, but know I still love them.

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15. Who are your heroes in real life?

The doctors from “Botched” (@drdubrow, @drpaulnassif) – I would work for them for free just to be in their presence!!

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16. What is your motto?

No-one needs to frown!

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17. Describe yourself in one word.

Driven.

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18. What is your favorite skincare product?

Retinol.

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19. What excites you about your career?

Helping people! When a patient has suffered from a serious skin condition for years and I can resolve it, it is genuinely life changing for them and I LOVE being able to do that for people.

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20. How do you relax after a stressful day?

A glass of wine and my dogs on my lap.

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21. How does your background shape your outlook?

My background is the reason for my drive and determination, and because of my background – my goals are big!

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22. What is your favorite part about being a business owner?

Creating a brand and a culture within my clinic that everyone loves – people always say they love coming to the clinic because it “makes them feel good”. That’s what I envisaged and I’ve made it happen.

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23. What do you look for in the people you hire?

There are so many things that can be taught, but you can’t teach honesty, reliability and passion – so those things are a must!

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Essential Oils and Pregnancy: Which ones are safe, How to use them and Which ones to Avoid

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Disclaimer: SkinScience Clinic has always taken a conservative stand when it comes to pregnancy, breastfeeding and skin care. Essential oils contain powerful actives, and we recommend that you consult with your doctor first, before using any type of essential oils. Clinical studies addressing the safety of essential oils in pregnancy are scarce, due to the ethical problems with testing substances on pregnant women and their fetuses. For this reason, scientific literature primarily relies on history of safe use, recognizing that some pregnant women will be more sensitive to essential oils than others, based on their genetic differences. If you are pregnant or lactating, please consult with your doctor before using any product containing essential oils.

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ARE ESSENTIAL OILS SAFE DURING PREGNANCY?

Many women seek out natural remedies during pregnancy because they want to avoid taking medications or using anything that is toxic on their skin or in their diet. Essential oils (EO) can help with certain pregnancy symptoms, aches, even with severe discomfort in some cases, but some of them shouldn’t be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.  Before you use your favorite essential oil, get informed on which EOs are safe for your little one.

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Essential oils have become a very popular choice with women looking for alternative ways to ease the uncomfortable symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, morning sickness, muscle aches, back ache, stuffy nose, sleep problems, etc.). The latest report by Value Market Research claims the Global Essential Oil Market was valued $7,200M USD in 2017 and is likely to reach at $12,745.02 MN USD by 2024. 

The EO trend is here to stay, so better get informed – knowledge is power when it comes to EOs!

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WHEN CAN I USE ESSENTIAL OILS?

When it comes to using essential oils during pregnancy:

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Skip the First Trimester Altogether – no EOs

Second + Third Trimester, Breastfeeding – pick your EOs carefully

Source: Mayo Clinic

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Just like EOs’ actives can pass through the layers of skin, some essential oil components may pass into the bloodstream all the way to the placenta (or breastmilk while breastfeeding) where they could affect the growing baby and its development. There is still a lot to learn on how essential oils might impact pregnancy. There is very little scientific data about the specific (cellular and molecular) mechanisms of EOs, so better safe than sorry.

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THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR PREGNANCY

As long as your pregnancy is going well, the following essential oils are regarded as generally safe by the scientific community when used as recommended, during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters:

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  • Bergamot – Citrus bergamia
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile – Chamomilla recutita, Chamaemelum nobile
  • Cypress – Cupressus sempervirens
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense – Boswellia carterii
  • Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens
  • Ginger Root – Zingiber officinale
  • Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
  • Lemon
  • Peppermint
  • Rose – Rosa damascena
  • Spearmint
  • Sandalwood – Santalum album
  • Ylang Ylang – Cananga odorata genuina

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HOW TO USE TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS WHEN PREGNANT

The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists has created guidelines on using essential oils safely when pregnant. They recommend limiting EO use to two most common way of administration: inhalation and topical.

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It is best to AVOID INGESTING essential oils until you are done breastfeeding.

Source: WebMD

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Inhalation

Pregnancy brings on many side effects, and a common one is a heightened sense of smell. You may love some scents and absolutely hate others, so choose an oil that is not only safe, but isn’t overbearing for you. Inhalation using a diffuser can be especially effective for pregnant women suffering from nausea and sleep issues. If you have a diffuser, make sure you’re following safe diffusion guidelines, as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.

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PREGNANCY-SAFE ESSENTIAL OILS + OPTIMAL USES

Essential Oils for nausea and morning sickness:

  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Spearmint
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender

Essential Oils for calmness and to reduce anxiety

  • Lavender
  • Rose
  • Sandalwood
  • Vanilla
  • Ylang Ylang

Essential Oils to Clear Sinuses

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Lemon

Essential Oils to reduce Swelling and Water Retention

  • Lavender
  • Ginger
  • Geranium

Essential Oils for Heartburn

  • Peppermint
  • Sandalwood
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger

Essential Oils for Energizing

  • Citrus
  • Grapefruit
  • Mandarin
  • Peppermint
  • Lemon
  • Spearmint
  • Sweet Orange

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Topical

Your skin may be even more sensitive when you’re pregnant, so diluting EOs is especially important to avoid irritation. Never apply pure essential oils directly on the skin while pregnant. Use 3-4 drops of essential oil for every ounce (30ml) of your favorite base (oil, lotion or moisturizer). 

Essential Oils to prevent Stretch marks: 

  • Frankincense
  • Rose
  • Chamomile

Essential Oils to promote Sleep: 

  • Lavender 
  • Frankincense
  • Ylang Ylang

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ESSENTIAL OILS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY

Essential oils are highly concentrated, and have various levels of toxicity when not used properly. Don’t assume it’s safe because it’s natural, and be aware that not all essential oil companies test their oils for quality. 

The medical literature reports that some essential oils appear to interfere with hormone behavior in the cells, and scientists suspect that some EOs may work as endocrine disruptors. Some EOs can also interact with medications, or cause an allergic or toxic reaction. Others can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, provoke skin rashes, allergies, racing heart, vomiting, seizure and even contractions. Essential oils can be powerful, so it’s better to be extra-uber-ultra safe than sorry.

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The following ESSENTIAL OILS are believed to be UNSAFE for use during pregnancy:

  • Arnica
  • Basil
  • Birch (sweet)
  • Bitter almond
  • Boldo leaf
  • Broom
  • Buchu
  • Calamus
  • Camphor (brown or yellow)
  • Cassia
  • Cedarwood
  • Chervil
  • Cinnamon
  • Clove (bud, leaf or stem)
  • Coriander
  • Costus
  • Deertongue
  • Elecampane
  • Fennel
  • Horseradish
  • Hyssop
  • Jaborandi leaf
  • Juniper berry
  • Melilotus
  • Mugwort
  • Mustard
  • Nutmeg
  • Origanum
  • Parsley (large doses)
  • Pennyroyal
  • Pine (dwarf)
  • Rosemary
  • Rue
  • Sassafras
  • Savin
  • Savory (summer)
  • Tansy
  • Thyme red (large doses)
  • Tonka
  • Wintergreen
  • Wormwood

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SKINSCIENCE’S GUIDELINES FOR USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS DURING PREGNANCY

  1. Do not use EOs during your the 1st trimester of your pregnancy.
  2. Some EOs can be used during the 2nd and 3rd trimester. 
  3. Never ingest EOs (even diluted) during pregnancy and lactation (breastfeeding)
  4. The best ways to use EOs during pregnancy and lactation is topically and by using a diffuser.
  5. When using a diffuser, only use it for 10-15 minutes at a time, for a maximum of 3 times per day.
  6. When used topically – less is more when it comes to EOs. Always dilute a few drops (3-4) in a carrier oil (30ml of grapeseed, coconut, olive or almond oil).
  7. Avoid using absolutes.
  8. NEVER add essential oils to the birthing pool.
  9. Only use EOs that are approved by your doctor.

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PREGNANCY-SAFE SKIN CARE + ESSENTIAL OILS

Here are a few skin care products (as well as Canadian-made essential oils) that are safe to use during pregnancy (and recommended by Marie):

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Pregnancy is a wonderful time in a woman’s life, where a healthy diet, lifestyle and skin care can contribute to a healthy pregnancy. It’s also a time where we can experience skin changes (unfortunately, not everyone gets that coveted pregnancy glow), including sensitive skin, itchy skin,  stretch marks, increased oiliness and more acne breakouts than usual. That’s normal for most pregnant women, and SkinScience can help you find healthy, non-prescription options to help you out.

Do you have questions about your skin care products? We would be happy to help you find the best skin care routine that is safe for you and your baby!

Our popular 1-hour “Skin Care Consultation” is only a phone call away: 403-287-1477. 

We look forward to meeting you (and your future baby) soon!

Pregnancy & Skin Care ~ 8 Ingredients You Should Avoid (and Healthy Alternative Options)

Being pregnant means your skincare has to be as clean and safe as possible.

So you just found out you’re pregnant. Congratulations!! But right after the excitement come the questions: What now? Can I do this? Can I eat/drink that? Can I put this skin care product on my skin? Pregnancy is very confusing and I am sure you’ve heard all the do’s and don’ts there are… yet you still feel unsure about everything. And that’s perfectly normal! We all want the best for our little babies!

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There is not one “best” product for everyone, but there are a lot of pregnancy-safe products, individually selected to work best for your skin and situation. Pregnancy is one of those times you are in need of an individual approach. Hormonal changes can lead to hyperpigmentation and acne, and you are limited in your skin care ingredients choices.

Here’s a quick review of what you SHOULDN’T use during pregnancy:

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Retinoids

Hydroquinone 

Formaldehyde

Fragrances

Parabens

Salicylic Acid

Thioglycolic Acid

Avobenzone

Benzoyl peroxide

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RETINOIDS

Vitamin A and its derivatives are used for a variety of reasons – from acne to wrinkles. The problem is that excess vitamin A could be harmful to the fetus.  Stay away from Retinol, Retinyl Palmitate, Retinal, Retinaldehyde, Adapalene (Differin), Retinoic acid  (RetinA) and Tretinoin (Tazorac, Biacna) during pregnancy. They are highly toxic for your baby. You should not get pregnant if they’re using these medications. But if you do get pregnant, stop taking retinoids immediately and contact your doctor.

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HYDROQUINONE

Hydroquinone is restricted or forbidden in many countries because of its potential toxicity to skin cells. Women (and men) use this powerful skin lightener to treat brown spots (hyperpigmentation) from sun exposure and hormonal changes. Pigmentation problems (such as melasma) are one of the main skincare issues during pregnancy, and it’s extremely important to avoid using hydroquinone during pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are no clinical trials proving the safety of hydroquinone on pregnant women, so it’s simply safer to avoid it altogether.

A great alternative can be found in plant-based lightening ingredients, like arbutin, vitamin C, licorice and lightening peptides. Here are a few examples of brightening products that are safe for you and your baby:

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DermaQuest C Infusion Cleanser

Aliquote Skin HydraGlow Mist

DermaQuest SkinBrite Serum

DermaQuest SkinBrite Cream

DermaQuest EyeBrite 

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FORMALDEHYDE

Formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are (unfortunately) still used in many personal care products, such as skin care, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, hair gel, hair-smoothing products, baby shampoo, body soap, body wash and color cosmetics. As the unhealthiest preservatives on the market, they have been linked to cancer, allergic reactions, irritations, and respiratory problems. 

Check your labels and avoid the following formadehyde-releasing ingredients: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol) and glyoxal.

None of the products that are available at SkinScience contain formaldehyde nor formaldehyde-releasing preservatives.  We want what’s best for you and your baby! 

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FRAGRANCE

We’ve all gone to the drugstore, tried a tester and…OMG, that smell!! We can all agree that clean and safe doesn’t smell like exotic foods and flowers, at least not most of the time! Parfum, perfume, linalool, limonene, eugenol, citronellol, geraniol, or cinnamal are all found in products that smell great, but…that are also linked to skin allergies, nervous system problems and even cancer. Say no to these ingredients! 

“Fragrances are usually made up of other harmful chemicals, like parabens, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and more that are linked to cancer and nervous system issues,” says Dendy Engelman, MD, board-certified dermatologic surgeon.

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PARABENS

Parabens are included almost everywhere these days as chemical preservatives.

“These chemicals (parabens) have been linked to breast cancer as well as affecting the reproductive system,” Dr. Engelman explains. “They are mainly used to preserve products, found in everything from foundations to styling gel. However, so many wonderful products exist and do not need to include this harmful ingredient.”

Don’t get us wrong, any water-based product needs to have a preservative system to keep bacteria at bay and preserve the stability of the skin care formula. But when it comes to preservatives in skin care, phenoxyethanol is our favourite, whether you are pregnant or not.

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SALICYLIC ACID

We are not fans of this acne-busting ingredient DURING pregnancy and breastfeeding (not pregnant? no problem), and while some may say that you can use it topically and in small concentrations, we prefer to be safe and stay away! If you are pregnant and experiencing acne breakouts, stick with AHAs (like glycolic, lactic and mandelic acids) for exfoliation and a combination of [sulfur + zinc oxide] for their safe anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

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Here are a few of our favorite products for acne during pregnancy:

DermaQuest Peptide Glyco Cleanser (10% GA)

Aliquote Skin MicroResurfacing Serum (10% GA + Probiotics)

Aliquote Skin Illuminating Peel Pads (10% GA)

DermaQuest DermaClear Mandelic Cleanser (5% MA, call to order)

Aliquote Skin Nighty Night Spot Tx (10% sulfur + Zinc Oxide)

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THIOGLYCOLIC ACID

*** Not to be confused with glycolic acid, this ingredient is used in depilatory creams (like Neet, Veet, Nad’s, etc.) ***

While there are no studies about the effects that this chemical has on a growing fetus, it’s important to note that in Europe they limit the amount of thioglycolic acid that can be used in products to 5%, whereas products sold in the U.S. are allowed to contain as much as 15.2%. That’s a big difference, and when combined with the lack of solid data on the health risks, it’s best to leave these products on the shelf.

We recommend you shave manually during your pregnancy and while breastfeeding and consider laser hair removal afterwards. This light-based technology is simply healthier for the skin than waxing or toxic hair-removal creams.

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CHEMICAL SUNSCREENS

Sunscreen is a nonnegotiable year-round, but especially during pregnancy, it’s important to pay closer attention to which type of formula you choose. Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, oxybenzone, oxtinoxate, menthyl anthranilate, and oxtocrylene—ingredients in chemical sunscreens are not all classified under the FDA categories, but only applying physical blockers like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is the safest. 

There has been some suggestive evidence of chemical sunscreen risks, but they haven’t been fully substantiated yet. With the options we have like Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide it is really a no-brainer to choose them over harmful chemicals in sunscreens as Avobenzone or oxybenzone.

Safe, Mineral-Based Sunscreen During Pregnancy:

DermaQuest SheerZinc SPF30

IMAGE Prevention + Tinted Oil-free Moisturizer SF30 (call to order)

IMAGE Prevention + Hydrating SPF30 (call to order)

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BENZOYL PEROXIDE

Benzoyl peroxide can be a powerful and efficacious acne-buster, but it’s a bit too powerful for baby. 

“Though pregnancy can often cause hormonal acne, unfortunately, the typical acne products found over the counter, like benzoyl peroxide, fall in category C,” says Jenna Queller, MD, FAAD, of MFC Dermatology. “That means there’s some possible risk to the fetus, and a majority of dermatologists and ob-gyns I work with would say to avoid these products.” 

Better safe than sorry, we say!

Acne Spot Treatments Safe During Pregnancy

Aliquote Skin Nighty Night Spot Tx (sulfur, zinc oxide, calamine)

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Mask (as a spot treatment, white clay, glycolic acid)

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Pregnancy can be scary or confusing, but it’s also one of the greatest moments of our lives! Hyperpigmentation, hormonal acne and excess hair are changes that are common in pregnancy, but chances are everything will be going back to normal in the first 6 months after you give birth. (OK, maybe not everything ~ you’re not gonna sleep soon, but you knew that already) 😉

Want to know more about what would be your perfect skin care routine while you are expecting? Contact us today and let’s book you in for your 1-hour personalized consultation! There are also different types of treatments we offer that are 100% baby-friendly, and will still give you great results while keeping your skin under control. 

Book your consultation with Marie by calling our front desk at 403-287-1477. 

We look forward to meeting you soon!

Clean Beauty ~ Is Natural Always Better?

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Skin care ingredients are complex, and choosing the best ingredients for your skin is an expertise that very few master. The shift toward healthy skin care products is definitely gaining momentum. But over the years, we’ve found that ‘natural beauty’ means different things to different people. 

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From our experience, it can either mean “aging gracefully using topical skin care combined with non-surgical + non-invasive facial procedures” or “using topical skin care products that are clean, natural and non-toxic”. Sometimes clients want both. You have to specifically ask them what ‘Natural Beauty’ mean to them, and then design a skin care plan that will answer their skin concerns while respecting their request for a ‘natural beauty’ approach.

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Although Botox and fillers have been all the rage in the last decade, we can definitely see a trend for skin care solutions (products + procedures) that steer clear from these cosmetic procedures. Women are realizing that it’s ok to age and it’s ok to have wrinkles, but they want to look their best for their age while maintain healthy, radiant, glowing skin as long as possible. 

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Also, the request for ‘natural’ skin care products has skyrocketed within the past few years. People are looking for natural or organic skin care, but are misled by a lot of information found on the web, along with misleading marketing from cosmetic companies. 

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Are ‘Natural Ingredients’ always good for you?

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Unfortunately, this branch of cosmetic (pun intended) remains largely unregulated, which means that cosmetic companies can claim that their product is ‘natural’ and ‘paraben-free’, even if it contains a formaldehyde-releasing preservative, for example DMDM Hydantoin. Is the product paraben-free? Yes. But who wants to have formaldehyde on their skin (a known carcinogen) and how natural and healthy is this product for your skin? 

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Moreover, it is false to say that all natural ingredients are safe for the skin. Consider the following examples:

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  • Poison ivy is natural. You don’t want to have it on your skin. 
  • The juice and oil in limes contain light-sensitive chemicals called furocoumarins (psoralens). On their own, furocoumarins are harmless, but when they come in contact with UV rays from the sun, they chemically transform into something very unpleasant for the skin. The resultant rash – which is much larger than just the point of exposure – is as red, blistery, itchy and uncomfortable as poison ivy. 
  • Celery and parsley also contain psoralens that can react with UV rays and lead to a similar skin rash.
  • Botanical ingredients can irritate the skin to the point of developing peri-oral dermatitis – a skin issue we’ve observed more and more over the past 3 years or so.

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Similarly, not all natural ingredients are suitable for every skin type. If you use coconut oil as a moisturizer and you have dry skin, chances are it will help temporarily with the pulling feeling (it might only give you temporary relief though, but more on that in a future blog on oils). But if you have combination, acne-prone skin, the use of coconut oil on your face will lead to an increase in clogged pores and therefore more “bumps” and ultimately more acne breakouts. Same goes with argan oil. All natural, organic even, but not necessarily the right choice of skin care when you are trying to improve specific skin health aspects. 

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Are ‘Natural Ingredients’ always effective or better?

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This is an excellent question. Depends on what treatment outcome you are looking for. 

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If you want to improve your dry skin condition, coconut oil might give you temporary comfort. But you cannot expect it to increase firmness, reduce brown spots and shrink pores – because that’s not what coconut oil does. 

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Aloe vera gel is actually a decent, oil-free moisturizer and can improve hydration, as well as help reduce redness and inflammation. But it is unreasonable to expect aloe vera gel to work on deep wrinkles, firmness and brown spots if nothing else is added to it. 

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We’ve seen multiple women at the clinic who want natural products to help them work on their brown spots, so they use lemon juice. Bad idea. In theory, the citric acid from the lemon juice might help with exfoliation, and the slight amount vitamin C help marginally reduce pigment transfer but the immediate problem is greater: lemon juice has a very low, acidic pH that does not respect the skin’s natural pH of 5.5 and can lead to irritation and change the delicate pH balance of the skin. And when you do that, you open yourself up to a whole other set of skin problems, including infections and irritation. 

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Are you interested in natural products that will give you visible results? We get it, and want to accompany you on your quest to healthy skin. During your 1-hour personalized consultation, we will be more than happy to recommend a skin care routine that is natural but effective, while respecting your lifestyle and budget. Stop wasting money on products that don’t work and book your consult today! 403-287-1477

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