Whitney’s Skin Care Journey

I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas!  I definitely did.  I gave facials and extractions to almost my whole family.  It was by force, not choice.  Lol. I am determined to teach people to take care of their skin!  Here’s a picture of me and some of my family after their extractions!  The white stuff on their nose is Murad’s clarifying mask.  It’s my fave to help dry up blackheads, whiteheads, and blemishes.


So I have 2 new projects I’m going to be sharing with you.  The first one is my guest room turned beauty room.  It’s still under construction but I’ll have a separate post about that when it’s done.

The project I’m most excited about is Whitney!!!  She is in her mid 20s and has a toddler, a beautiful little girl named Noelle.  This is her before she had the baby.  Her skin is pretty clear and looks healthy.


After the baby she started suffering severe breakouts.  And she’s a picker (picks at her acne) which makes it 10 times worse.  Being that she’s a brown girl that caused a lot of dark spots (technical term is hyperpigmentation).  Here are pictures of her after the baby.  She is an aspiring makeup artist so she does an awesome job at covering up the hyperpigmentation but our goal is to get rid of them instead of camouflaging them.

without makeup


without makeup

As of Christmas Day she is engaged to be married!!!!  Before the engagement she and I had already planned to tackle these dark spots.  But now it’s go time.  Her skin WILL be glowing (without makeup) on her wedding day.

Whitney and her future hubby
Whitney and her future hubby


I’ve analyzed her skin and come up with an awesome regimen for her.  It’s pretty hard core but as long as she follows my instructions to the T she’ll be ok.  We’re also planning to start her on chemical peels every 2-3 months.

Whitney has been using over the counter drugstore products, Cetaphil as her cleanser and an Ambi moisturizer.  These aren’t bad products but they won’t do anything to help correct her issue.  So here is what I ordered for her from Image Skincare:

whitney regimen

  • The total Rentinol-A crème helps with a variety of issues, but here’s why it’s going to work for Whitney:   it increases cell turnover (gets rid of old skin cells which results in newer skin)
  • The intense lightening serum is a skin lightener and melanin inhibitor.  What that means is that it will help lighten the extra melanin (fade the dark spots).  It’s not a bleaching agent so it won’t make her whole face lighter.  It only lightens the dark spots.  Some people get lighteners and bleaching agents confused.
  • The intense lightening cleanser also contains ingredients to cleanse as well as attack the dark spots.  It is pH balanced so she won’t need a toner.
  • The daily ultimate protection moisturizer is what she’ll use to protect her skin during the day.
  • She already owns an exfoliator by Origins that she really likes; she’ll be using that 1-2 times per week.

Both Whitney and I are super excited about her new journey.  It definitely takes a level of commitment financially and mentally.  For some it may seem like a lot but it’s not that bad.  Once you get the hang of a regimen after a few days its a piece of cake, just like anything else.

Who wants to be my next project??????  I’m serious though.  🙂

Feel free to post any comments or questions below!

Are you dry or dehydrated?

There’s a big difference between dry and dehydrated skin, but it can be tricky to determine if you’re one or the other.  I’ve made a chart to help you out. Keep in mind that any skin type can suffer from being dehydrated, even if you’re oily.

If your skin is dry using the right products will help add and retain moisture.  If your skin is dehydrated, that needs to be corrected and can with the right products and/or lifestyle changes.

Dry skin                                                                     dry skin

  • lacks oil
  • is a natural skin condition
  • feels dry all over, including on hands and other body parts
  • is more susceptible to premature aging
  • constantly needs moisturizer

Dehydrated skin

  • lacks water
  • can be experienced by anyone, even if you have oily skin
  • can feel oily and dry at the same time
  • may experience breakouts
  • comes and goes, depending on environment, diet, incorrect product use, medication, etc.
  • needs water-rich products

Here’s a chart I found on healthdigezt.com that might also help you determine if you’re dry or dehydrated.


dry and dehydrated skin

How you can correct both…..

  • Use serums and moisturizers with hyaluronic acid.
  • Use a humidifier.  It helps to hydrate so it’s good for dry skin and lips as well as treating cold and flu symptoms like irritation on the nose and mouth.
  • See an esthetician who can recommend specific products for your particular needs.

Remember to keep your body and your skin hydrated!  Dry skin wrinkles and ages a lot faster than oily and normal skin.

Let me know if you guys have any questions!  Please share this and other posts on your Facebook page!

Invest in your skincare

We all have used Clean & Clear, Clearasil, and I know I used to slather Noxzema all over my face back in middle school.  But that was back in grade school and maybe even college.  Just like your style, your attitude, and pockets mature so should your skin care.  You don’t have to break the bank, but invest a little more into your skin.  Think of it as your wardrobe.  We’ve all bought items from stores like Wet Seal, Rainbow (yes, I admit I used to love Rainbow…lol), and even Payless.  Don’t get me wrong….there are some good affordable drugstore products.  But you’ve stepped up your game from those stores so let’s step up your skin care as well.  Today I’ll be talking about affordable skin care brands that will upgrade your regimen.

Mario Badescu

This brand is sold online and at Ulta.  It’s reasonably priced and has some awesome products for different skin types ranging from acne to anti-aging.  I really like the fact that the line offers starter kits for people to try out smaller products  before committing to spending more money on the full size bottles.  And these kits come with what you need in a regimen so it takes the guess work out for you.  Here are the kits they offer: 

mb kit4        MB kit1      mbkit3     mb kit 2

So basically you get to choose you pick based on what your needs are.  These retail for $30 each at Ulta, which is a very good price, considering some products at the department store are double that for 1/4 of the product.  These kits should be able to last at least 45-60 days.


Murad is a little more pricey but the products make it well worth the money.  I’ve used them myself.  What I like about this brand is that the founder, Dr. Murad, is a dermatologist and pharmacist.  That says a lot because he knows skin, skin conditions and diseases, and ingredients that help combat those things.  You can also purchase this brand at Ulta or a Massage Envy.  Kits are also available.  Murad is good for customers who may not know in what order to use their products.  Remember, you apply products thinnest to thickest.  But he numbers his products to let you know when to use what.oil control mattifier
Murad age reform kit


Here is the age reform (anti-aging) kit they offer (pictured left).  This should last about a month to a month and a half and retails for $45.  But my all time favorite products from this brand are  clarifying mask and oil control mattifier (pictured right).  Those products help with my oily skin.  Without them I look like a grease monkey by lunch time but they help keep my skin matte by absorbing the extra oil I naturally produce.



PCA is an awesome professional brand that I use on a very regular basis.  All products can be purchased by anyone in what they call a solution set, basically a set of trial sized products, based on skin type and skin concern.  These products can be purchased from day spas and online at http://www.pcaskin.com.

pca solution setThese sets range in price from $53-$106 so its definitely the priciest line on the list.  But they are professional products and yield results.  Their web site offers a lot, including online and phone consultations with licensed estheticians.  You can ask questions about their products and get recommendations.  The site also features before and after pictures of people who have actually used their products.


I’m not saying all drugstore products don’t work but when you start using professional brands the ingredients are more active, which produce results.  I do have a few drugstore skincare items I use.  Keep an eye out for some upcoming product spotlights.

How to get rid of blackheads

Blackheads is a very common form of acne.  Some people don’t even realize they have them.  Basically it happens when a pore or hair follicle is clogged with dirt, depris, dead skin cells, sebum, and whatever else is in the air.  It is exposed to oxygen, which causes it to oxidize; that’s why they turn black.

Not trying to gross you guys out but here is a mild case:

Getting-rid-of-BlackheadsI have seen much much worse.  There are 2 ways to remove black heads, manually through extractions or with the right product.

The Manual Way

To have blackheads removed through extractions its best to let a licensed esthetician or dermatologist do it for you so you don’t hurt or bruise yourself.  Extractions can be done manually (with either the fingers or q-tips) or with a blemish extractor.

I’ll be honest…..extractions are uncomfortable.  They can be a little painful, depending on your tolerance level.  But sometimes beauty is pain.  Personally I prefer to use the blemish extractor on myself because it does a better job of removing the blemishes.  It gets around the contours of the nose that your fingers can’t always access.


blemish extractor
blemish extractor

With Product

If you have the right product you can get rid of and prevent blackheads and other types of acne.  It’s a lot less painful but requires you to be proactive.  Sulfur is one of the ingredients that works awesome to get rid of acne, including blackheads.  My favorite product to use on myself and that I recommend to clients is Murad’s Clarifying Mask.  It has 4% sulfur, which dissolves the acne.  It is a mask so it can be used all over the face after cleansing and toning.  It’s great for people who have combination or oily skin.  But it also doubles as a spot treatment.

clarifying maskFor my clients who suffer from blackheads I always recommend to use this at least once a week, more often if the acne is really bad.  I use this when I feel anything creeping up on my face and if I catch it early enough it’ll be gone within a day or 2.  Everyone who I’ve ever recommended this to loves it.  A little goes a long way.

Unfortunately some people are more prone than others to suffer from blackheads.  I don’t get them at all, but I do get cystic acne, which is painful and harder to treat.  If I get a blemish it can take 1-2 weeks to go away sometimes.

Let me know if you guys have every had extractions and what you thought about them.  I’m always curious to know the real opinions of clients.  As an esthetician I LOVE doing them.  It’s like a game.  I challenge myself to remove all bacteria from a client’s face.  It may sound weird but most estheticians enjoy doing extractions.



Nutrition and Skin Care

There have not been a lot of studies on the direct correlation between what you eat and how it impacts your skin.  There is not a lot of information out there but I will share with you what I know from education and experience.

All bodily functions are related to diet, including your skin.  Don’t forget the skin is the largest organ of the body so what you put into your body is a direct reflection of the appearance of your skin.  That’s why good skin care is a must.

fresh fruit

Having a balanced diet that includes brightly colored fruits and vegetables (think blueberries, grapefruit, spinach, kale) helps your skin stay youthful and bright.  When talking about diet it gets complicated with macronutrients, fatty acids, monosaccharides,  and a bunch of other stuff that gets a little too scientific for me.  I hate science.

What I can explain is that antioxidants are great for the skin, as well as staying hydrated.  Even if you drink enough water your skin can still become dehydrated, which is why the right diet and products are a necessity.  When it comes to diet its hard to narrow down which foods are bad for you but I came up with a list of some things to avoid that could help your skin:

  • Too much salt or coffee could lead to dehydrated skin
  • Eating too much dairy may cause breakouts.  This is a theory that hasn’t been scientifically proven but when I eat too much dairy I break out so I believe it.
  • Smoking also leads to dehydrated skin.
  • Gluten – some may have a sensitivity to gluten, which could cause issues with skin.
  • Certain medications or illnesses could have an impact on skin as well.
  • Insulin may play a role in acne so keeping your blood sugar steady may help in the health of your skin.

Basically follow what your doctor always tells you:  eat right and exercise.  And add good skin care products into the mix and you should be ok.  I wish I had a more definitive answer between the correlation of nutrition and skin care but there’s not much research that has been conducted.  But pay attention to your body and what you put into it.  If you notice a breakout after eating a certain food, try taking it out of your diet completely and see what happens.