Facial Care

The great thing about all natural skin care is that it's not just about using natural beauty products—it's also about nourishing your skin from the inside. Project Wellness serves as a natural skin care blog that can help you decipher which products to use and how to feed your skin internally. We'll continue to fill the blog with natural skin care tips, from cleansing rituals to hydration to the latest and greatest product ingredients. In one easy spot, you'll find information about natural skin care that draws from clinical research and the expertise of our estheticians, including information about natural sun protection and natural makeup looks that are perfect for every woman.

  • Healthy Winter Skin Strategies

    Happy woman outside in winterAh, winter. Season of hot cocoa, warm scarves...and dry skin! But it's not just the skin on our face that can suffer during the season of indoor heat—our feet, hands and lips can also experience extra dryness. Here are a few tips for smoothing, hydrating, sloughing and softening every little part of you.

    First, let's start with the basic rules for staying hydrated during the winter: Drink plenty of water, run the humidifier often and up your intake of omega fatty acids through diet or supplementation. "I recommend fish oil year round, but particularly in the winter because of its healing properties," says Tammara Denninger, esthetician at our new Greenwood Village store. "And I make sure my fish oil has omega-7 in it, which is especially good at feeding and protecting skin."

    So how do we tackle individual dry skin problem areas?


    "People think during winter you don't need sunscreen," says Tammara, "but it's important year round." She recommends Sanitas' Solar Block SPF 30, filled with sun-blocking minerals and hyaluronic acid, which helps bind moisture to the skin. She adds that Solar Block is great for all skin types, from extra dry to skin that's prone to breakouts. And, of course, don't forget about a daily moisturizer that's good for your specific skin type.


    In the height of cold and flu season, it's good to wash your hands frequently. But using hot water—which we have a tendency to do when worried about germs—can strip natural moisture from our hands. Tammara recommends keeping water temperatures to warm, and applying a hydrating cream right afterwards. "I like keeping evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf on hand for extra moisture—hands, lips, heels, everything!" says Tammara. "It's really hydrating, healing and protecting during the winter."


    "I've been really hooked on Pacifica's Color Quench Lip Tint," says Tammara. "It provides a really natural color, but its base ingredient is coconut oil, so it's also really hydrating." And don't forget to apply sun protection to lips as well (try Supergoop's SPF 30+ Lip Balms), since winter sun can do serious damage to the delicate skin.


    Make sure you're exfoliating regularly with a foot file, then slather on a cream infused with shea butter, since that's especially good for the cracked and dry skin you sometimes find on heels and toes--find it in Nubian Heritage's Raw Shea Butter Body Butter.

    Get help nourishing your winter skin from a Pharmaca practitioner.

  • Make Every Day a Spa Day!

    SpaLadyFor most parts of the country, November is when cold sets in, humidity substantially drops, we turn on heaters in our homes and cars, and our skin reflects the drying effects with redness, irritation, flakiness—even acne.

    But we can pre-empt the effects of these combined stressors with some of our practitioners’ favorite products, customized for different skin types. Pamper yourself with luxurious lotions, skin-saving serums and detoxifying masks—all wrapped up in a perfect package of natural, good-for-you ingredients. Bonus: These recommendations make great gifts! Check them out at a Spa Day Event near you.

    Dry/sensitive skin

    If your skin is sensitive or prone to dryness, slough away dulling surface cells before drenching it in soothing products that can calm irritations. “I recommend exfoliating several times a week to remove flaky skin for a dewy glow,” says Laeh Benjamin, esthetician at Pharmaca’s Table Mesa location.

    Start with Derma E's Microdermabrasion Scrub to gently scrub away dead skin. Follow with Jurlique’s Calendula line; calendula, which has long been used for its soothing, anti-inflammatory properties, effectively addresses a variety of irritated skin problems and is a great solution for dry winter skin. Pair Jurlique’s Calendula Rescue Relief Restorative Treatment Serum with their Redness Rescue Relief Daily Moisturizer to absorb the full benefits of calendula’s healing properties. Benjamin also recommends a burst of hydration throughout the day. “There are some great hydration sprays out there—we like Sanitas’ Moisture Mist, which contains hyaluronic acid to help pull in and hold moisture to the skin.”

    Normal/combination skin

    Even normal skin can go unpredictably haywire in the harsh winter elements.Dry patches and less oil production in the T-zone can stress skin, leaving it uneven and unhappy. Use of retinoids and glycolic acid can also increase dryness in winter, so it may be beneficial to back off of these ingredients in favor of a milder, gentler regimen.

    A two-part routine may also be beneficial. “Using two different cleansers or moisturizers—one in the T-zone and another for outer cheeks—can balance out areas of the face where there may be heavier or lighter natural oil production in the skin,” explains Benjamin. Juice Beauty’s Daily Essentials line can be just the thing, featuring organic skin care products formulated for everyday use. Smooth on Juice Beauty’s Organic Treatment Oil, packed with antioxidant-rich organic cranberry seed, grape seed and carrot seed oils blended with essential fatty acids and botanicals that provide deep hydration. Follow up with Juice Beauty’s Nutrient Moisturizer, a rich and restorative plant-derived daily moisturizer.

    Oily skin

    Dry, cold air and changing seasons can sometimes kick your skin’s oil production into overdrive. Manage and maintain oily complexions with a few powerful products, starting with Astara’s Purifying Gel Cleanser. Follow it up with their Blue Flame Purification Mask, which isfortified with detoxifying, antibacterial and healing botanical agents, as well as soothing and hydrating bioactive components—making it ideal for blemished, acne-prone and oily skin, and for those exposed to environmental pollutants.

    Another one to try: Dr. Hauschka’s Blemish and Clarifying line, specially formulated for oily skin types, including a Clarifying Toner to help refine the appearance of large pores, neutralizing oil with all-natural plant extracts of anthyllis, calendula, nasturtium, echinacea, witch hazel and daisy. And Primavera’s Oil-Control Balancing Lotion includes rice silk powder to help improve absorption of natural ingredients like organic sage and grape essential oils, and leaves a soft, matte finish. “Balance is key,” says Benjamin. “Finding lighter-weight products, as well as a great cleansing routine, will help skin look its best.”

    For aging/mature skin

    Fine lines can deepen and become permanent without proper hydration.Restore moisture while brightening skin with Jurlique’s Purely Bright Facial Treatment Mask, an innovative mask that delivers their patented vitamin C-rich VitaBrightKX formula directly to the skin’s surface for even tone and skin brightening.

    Next, turn your attention to infusing skin cells with a boost of hydration.Peptides are important for plumping and smoothing, functioning as moisture-binding agents and assisting skin cells in repair and regeneration. MyChelle’s Peptide + Anti-Wrinkle Serum delivers a potent blend of peptides, argan plant stem cells, lipids and botanical extracts to boost collagen formation and reduce the signs of visible aging.

    Of course, it takes teamwork to get best results, and no hydrating team is complete without hyaluronic acid. As skin ages, it loses essential hyaluronic acid, a major supplier of moisture to the skin. Derma E’s Hydrating Day Creme with Hyaluronic Acid restores this much-needed element, and serves up a gorgeous glow to deprived winter skin. Benjamin agrees: “For aging skin, both peptides and hyaluronic acid are wonderful to keep moisture in the skin.” As skin’s surface cells experience renewal, Benjamin also recommends weekly exfoliation and using a hydration spray throughout the day to keep skin looking fresh.

    Just for men

    Take a gentlemen’s spa day—every day—with products tailored to your skin’s specific needs. Every Man Jack’s Signature Mint Face Scrub uses coconut-derived ingredients to cleanse, while jojoba beads exfoliate dry and dead skin, and marine extracts and vitamin E soothe and moisturize. Then, reach for Weleda's Men’s Moisture Cream, featuring jojoba oil to hydrate and marshmallow root to calm skin irritations. “Men love this product,” said Benjamin “It’s deeply moisturizing but lightweight—not too heavy.”

    For little ones

    Kids and babies can get in on spa day with formulas created specifically for delicateskin. Make bath time fuss-free with Babo Botanicals’ Oatmilk Bubble Bath, a rich, lathering bath that hydrates as it cleans. Follow the fun and lock in skin softness and hydration with Burt’s Bees' Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion. Post bath, Little Twig’s Conditioning Detangler makes for tear-free and easy brushing.

    At-Home Manis and Pedis

    Our hands take a lot of abuse, especially in the winter when dry knuckles and ragged cuticles prevail. Return your hands to their happy place by removing old polish with SpaRitual’s Extra Strength Conditioning Lacquer Remover, a non-drying, sugar-derived solvent that keeps nails from splitting and cracking.Neaten and tidy with Deborah Lippmann’s Cuticle Care Cuticle Remover, and SpaRitual's TrueBond Manicure System Mini Kit provides salon results with primer, basecoat and topcoat to preventing chipping and cracking. Finally, smooth on Pre de Provence’s 20% Shea Butter Hand Cream forlong-lasting, deep hydration to keep skin soft and provide a moisture barrier between you and the cold.

    Ask a Pharmaca practitioner for more ideas for at-home spa pampering.

  • Cleanse-Tone-Treat: Your Step-By-Step Skin Care Guide

    WashingFaceWe invest time and money into stocking our beauty cabinets with skin care products that have the potential to make our skin look and feel better. But do you know which order to apply them in for the best results? Should serums be under or over moisturizer? And where does sunscreen come in? Esthetician Jeanette Hickox in Novato walks us through the five easy steps of healthy, beautiful skin.

    Step 1: Cleanse

    Prepping your skin for treatment is the first step, says Jeanette. She recommends a thorough cleansing with either a Clarisonic device or a “double cleanse.” This means washing your face twice, first gently massaging cleanser into your skin to open pores, then washing it again to be sure the loosened debris and oil are removed.

    Step 2: Exfoliate

    It’s important to exfoliate on a regular basis to remove dead cells on the surface of the skin; this allows treatment products to penetrate better and makeup to go on smoother. Try DeVita’s Gentle Aloe Facial Scrub; it exfoliates with pure, round jojoba beads that are kind to skin. Note: If you use a Clarisonic you’ll need to exfoliate less often, since the device already supports everyday exfoliation.

    Step 3: Tone

    Often overlooked, this step is all about balancing the skin. A toner can restore skin’s natural pH, which cleansers sometimes disrupt, Jeanette tells us. Toners can treat skin, too. For oily skin, try a toner that balances the skin without stripping moisture. The Skin Balancing Pore-Reducing Toner from Paula’s Choice helps calm skin and reduces redness, while evanhealy’s Lavender Facial Tonic Hydrosol is a good choice for sensitive skin, protecting it with natural plant antioxidants.

    Step 4: Treat

    Serums are an intensive treatment made to quickly penetrate the skin. Apply them directly to clean, toned skin, says Jeanette. Depending on its ingredients, these concentrated solutions deliver nutrients that can plump, firm, repair, brighten, treat blemishes and more. Some serums, such as Shea Terra Organics’ Argan and Green Coffee Around Eye Beauty Serum, target eye-specific problems like puffiness and dark circles.

    Step 5: Moisturize

    Moisturizers keep skin hydrated and seal in the treatment products you’ve applied. But they are not made to penetrate the skin like serums are. Instead, moisturizers stay on the surface of the skin, creating a barrier that locks in moisture.

    Daily moisturizers are lighter than night-time moisturizers, and many have SPF protection, combining two steps into one. MyChelle’s Daily Defense Cream SPF 17 hydrates with olive and wheat germ oils, and protects skin from sun damage with a clear zinc oxide. At night, Jeanette says, try a richer moisturizer that includes antioxidants or peptides that can repair skin while you sleep. Andalou Naturals’ Super Goji Peptide Perfecting Cream has both!

    (Important) Bonus Step: Protect

    If your daily moisturizer doesn’t have an SPF of 15 or higher, you’ll need to apply a sunscreen next (and liquid makeup or foundation after that). Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your neck and ears…and lips! Try Alba Botanica’s Very Emollient Lip Care Sunscreen SPF 25 for lip hydration and protection.

    A good rule of thumb: When applying skin care products on clean skin, layer them by weight, lightest to heaviest!

  • Why We’re Sweet on Honey

    HoneyOur love affair with honey started thousands of years ago. What time has taught us is that besides being one of the finest natural sweeteners, honey has amazing health benefits that can improve our skin, fight infections and reduce inflammation. Here’s the scoop on the sweet stuff.

    Honey's health benefits
    Honey’s natural components make it an effective antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory agent. Studies show it contains a high level of polyphenols and flavonoids, powerful antioxidants that are also found in cocoa, berries and tea. It neutralizes disease-causing bacteria with a protein called defensin-1, and small amounts of hydrogen peroxide (really!). Honey is effective against viruses too, especially the virus that cause shingles and chickenpox. Adding to its superhero status is honey’s apalbumin 1 protein, which helps reduce inflammation.

    All honeys are not the same
    While all honeys may be sweet, the type of plant or tree nectar collected makes a difference in the taste and healing properties of the honey. For example, dandelion honey is rich in vitamins A and K, and beechwood honey is a good prebiotic, full of minerals including zinc, copper and magnesium. (Try Wedderspoon's Gold Organic Raw Dandelion Honey or their Organic Raw Beechwood Honey.)

    Manuka. A super honey.
    There’s been a big buzz (sorry!) lately on honey that comes from bees who get their nectar from New Zealand's manuka trees. Manuka honey has all the same health benefits as other honeys, but with a bonus: It’s high in methylglyoxal (MG), a natural antibacterial compound, which makes it a powerful treatment for wounds, stomach troubles and a variety of infections. The higher the MG concentration the more powerful the antibiotic effect. Flora's Manuka Health New Zealand MGO 550+ Manuka Honey Blend and Wedderspoon's Premium Raw Manuka Honey Active 16+ are two of the most potent. Try a tablespoon mixed with warm water for a healthy boost.

    Honey's skin-saving properties
    Cleopatra had the right idea with her legendary milk and honey baths—the special healing properties of honey make it a great treatment for skin. Honey is a natural humectant, drawing moisture to the skin, keeping it soft and supple. And honey’s antibacterial nature purifies the skin surface, making it particularly useful in treating acne. A few honey-infused skin care products to try:

    For an easy do-it-yourself facial mask, try mixing equal parts raw honey with yogurt (or coconut oil) and avocado to ease dry skin. Wedderspoon's Manuka Honey On the Go packets are just the right size to whip up a quick mask!

    What's your favorite healthy way to use honey?

  • Vegan Beauty: Why We Love What’s Not There

    Bottle with basics oil isolated on whiteNo matter what your eating philosophy, vegan skin and beauty products can be a great way to take care of yourself and protect animals. Here are a few reasons to explore vegan skin care and makeup.

    They're rigorously certified.
    Vegan products that earn the “Certified Vegan” label adhere to strict guidelines. The Vegan Awareness Foundation requires that companies guarantee a vegan product does not contain and is not manufactured with animal ingredients or animal by-products. This means no meat, fish, fowl, egg or milk ingredients, honey or royal jelly, silk proteins or dyes derived from insects.

    They're cruelty-free.
    Besides ensuring that no animal products are used in manufacturing, certified vegan beauty products guarantee that no animal testing is done on the product or on any ingredient in the product.

    There are excellent plant-based alternatives.
    With the high demand for effective, non-animal based ingredients, the skin care industry has responded with botanical substitutes that offer the same or better results. Here are some common animal-based ingredients to avoid, and their plant-based alternative. For an extensive list of ingredients to avoid, check out PETA’s recommendations.

    Animal: Allantoin (uric acid from cows)
    Plant: Comfrey – a moisturizer and skin protectant, used for treating skin wounds.

    Animal: Carmine (pigment from crushed insects)
    Plant: Beet root - a red dye used in lipsticks and blush

    Animal: Collagen (protein from animal tissue)
    Plant: Soy Protein – used in hair care products for body and strength

    Animal: Lanolin (oil glands from sheep)
    Plant: Coconut oil – a skin moisturizer

    Animal: Stearic Acid (from animal fats)
    Plant: Stearic Acid - this thickener makes products creamy, and can be either animal or plant based. Look for stearic acid found in shea or cocoa butter, or coconut oil, instead of generically labeled “stearic acid”.

    Animal: Keratin (protein from animal parts)
    Plant: Rosemary and nettle - found in shampoos and conditioners for volume and body

    They offer amazing results.
    Plant-based beauty products harness the natural power of botanicals. We asked esthetician Shayna Plunkett in La Jolla and Los Gatos health and beauty expert Katie Turturici about some of their favorite vegan brands.

    • Vegan Skin Care

    Evanhealy's Blue Lavender Cleansing Milk gets raves for its deep cleaning properties and its gentleness on sensitive skin. Kaolin clay detoxifies while rose, lavender and aloe calm the skin. And evanhealy's Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf blends shea butter with nourishing olive and coconut oils to moisturize and revitalize skin. DeVita's Perfect Time Moisturizer with Argireline is a great moisturizer for aging skin. Its peptides boost collagen, reducing lines and wrinkles.

    • Vegan Hair Care

    Acure's Moisture Repairing Moroccan Argan Oil & Argan Stem Cell Shampoo gets high marks for moisturizing hair without weighing it down, leaving it extra silky and shiny. Giovanni's Nutrifix Hair Reconstructor saves chemically treated or damaged hair. Pure botanical oils like rosemary, thyme and chamomile combine with soy protein to repair the hair cuticle.

    • Vegan Cosmetics

    The ZuZu Luxe line is a favorite of estheticians and customers who love its vegan, gluten-free and paraben-free cosmetics. For a light, sheer foundation, try ZuZu Luxe's Foundation Dual Powder, a mineral-based powder with SPF protection and oil-absorbing power. ZuZu Luxe's Oil-Free Liquid Foundation provides medium coverage and its easily blendable formula comes in nine skin-matching shades.

    Vegan eye shadows, liners and mascaras come in a wide variety of colors to accent your peepers. Juice Beauty's Illuminating Eye Color in Champagne is the perfect pinky-beige for an easy everyday look. Pacifica's Smolder Eye Lining Gel in Midnight is a navy liner that makes the whites of your eyes appear brighter, neutralizing any redness. Or get full, dark and lush lashes with Pacifica's Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mineral Mascara that conditions lashes with coconut oil and vitamin B.

  • Inside Out Beauty: Supplements for Skin Concerns

    Young caucasian woman receiving a head massageConcerned about dry skin? Perhaps wrinkles, fine lines or acne have been your concern. Read on to learn about supplements and strategies for restoring your skin to radiant health.

    The first step to preventing and reversing dry skin, of course, is making sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of healthy liquids. The following supplements may also help.

    Sea buckthorn berries contain more than 190 biologically active compounds, including vitamins, amino acids, folic acid, tocopherols, flavonoids and an omega 7 fatty acid that provides antioxidant protection, anti-aging and health support. Try Genesis Today’s Sea Buckthorn 100 liquid or New Chapter’s Supercritical Omega 7.

    Omega-3s—and EPA in particular—are essential for healthy skin because they help regulate oil production. Try Nordic Naturals’ Ultimate Omega or EPA Xtra.

    Hyaluronic acid (HA) is a naturally occurring component in skin that helps maintain its moisture, but production decreases with age. Try supplementing with Hyaluronic Acid from Pure Encapsulations or Jarrow Formulas.

    When pores become blocked with excessive keratin or sebum—often a result of a hormone imbalance—it can cause bacteria overgrowth and promote inflammation. If you’re experiencing acne, I recommend a whole foods diet and avoiding sugar, milk and fried foods, especially those with trans fats. Proper supplementation may also help keep acne under control.

    Zinc is vital to normal skin function and wound healing. Try Jarrow Formulas’ Zinc Balance or Thorne Research’s Zinc Picolinate.

    Vitamin E and selenium are beneficial antioxidants for controlling acne. Try Bluebonnet’s Vitamin E 400IU + Selenium.

    Proper intestinal flora balance is critical in controlling skin breakouts; try supplementing with a probiotic containing both lactobacillus and bifidobacteria with at least 5-10 CFUs per day. I recommend Pharmax’s HLC Intensive or Pharmaca brand Acidophilus & Bifidus.

    A green foods supplement can be a good way to add a flavonoid-rich, plant-based antioxidant formula to your daily regimen. Try Paradise Herbs’ ORAC-Energy Greens or Health Force Nutritionals’ Vitamineral Green.

    Wrinkles naturally develop over time as collagen, keratin and elastin production decreases, and loss of fat cells weakens the structure of skin and its ability to retain moisture. In addition to wearing sunscreen, getting adequate hydration, and eating a whole food-based diet, you can further support your skin by supplementing with collagen or formulas that support your body’s own production of collagen.

    Try Reserveage Organics' Ultra Collagen Booster or NeoCell's Super Collagen + C Type 1 & 3 for quality sources of collagen. Natural Factors’ BioSil is a good way to boost collagen production, and is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

    Under eye circles
    What exactly causes dark under-eye circles? Some of our thinnest skin is around the eye and the area is susceptible to showing the inflow and outflow of fluids. Many different imbalances can contribute to under-eye circles, including allergies, sinus infections or colds, food sensitivities, anemia, hormone disruptions, kidney issues, toxicity, adrenal fatigue or lack of sleep. Check with your practitioner to rule out more serious issues. Here are a few suggestions, depending on the cause of dark circles:

    Allergies: I recommend quercetin, a bioflavonoid known to support healthy histamine levels and allergy responses. Try Pharmaca brand Quercetin or MegaFood’s Quercetin Strength. I also recommend a neti pot to help relieve fluid build-up related to circles. Try Himalayan Institute’s Neti Pots and Salts.
    Anemia: Try MegaFood’s Blood Builder or Floradix’s Iron + Herbs.
    Sleep: Try Pharmaca brand Sleep Formula or Gaia Herbs’ Sleep Thru.
    Adrenal fatigue: Try MegaFood’s Adrenal Strength or Vital Nutrients’ Adrenal Support.

    Speak with a Pharmaca practitioner about supplements for beautiful skin.

  • Vitamin C: Skin Care Superhero

    PrettySkinWhat can banish wrinkles, make dark spots disappear, save you from the sun, and keep skin healthy (and pretty)? It’s vitamin C to the rescue! Of course, vitamin C is good for us when we get it through food or supplements, but it works 20 times better on skin problems when applied topically. Here’s why it should be in your beauty arsenal.

    It attacks free radicals.

    Free radicals from pollution, smoke or ultraviolet light damage healthy cells and can even change their DNA, causing mutations and disease. Antioxidants, like vitamin C, neutralize these damaging free radicals. While vitamin C is naturally present in our skin, ultraviolet light from the sun significantly reduces the amount; you can boost its antioxidant benefits by applying vitamin C topically. Cowgirl’s Extreme C Serum is packed with vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants like vitamin D3, elderberry extract and sea buckthorn.

    It makes brown spots fade away.

    As we age, accumulated years of sun exposure can cause dark or brown spots, from skin-coloring melanin, to appear. Vitamin C significantly lightens these spots and prevents the formation of new ones, and is a safer alternative to the skin-lightening agent hydroquinone, which has been shown to have questionable side effects. Jurlique’s Purely Bright Spot Treatment blends natural vitamin C with kakadu plum and citrus unshui peel extracts to create a super skin lightener, brightener and spot remover.

    It diminishes wrinkles and lines.

    Vitamin C increases collagen production in our skin cells, so it can plump up skin and make it appear firmer and less wrinkled. Sanitas’ Vita C Serum has high levels of concentrated vitamin C, boosting collagen to fill in lines and wrinkles and increase skin elasticity.

    It boosts sun protection.

    Although vitamin C doesn’t act as a sun block in itself, it does help protect the skin against UV damage from the sun. Vitamin C can reduce the number of sunburned cells and help extend the time before skin burns, especially in combination with vitamin E. Slather on Sanitas’ Vitamin C Lotion before applying sunscreen.

    Use it wisely.

    Reap all the benefits of vitamin C by following a few tips.

    • Get the right concentration. The amount of vitamin C in a product should be at least 10 percent; 15-20 percent is even better. The highest concentrations might cause mild dryness or redness on sensitive skin, so speak to an esthetician about what’s right for you.
    • Store it correctly. Vitamin C deteriorates easily in sunlight or heat, so be sure your container is dark or opaque, and keep it in a cool place.
    • Use it every day. Pure vitamin C doesn’t last long when exposed to air or light, so use it up! It works best when a light layer is applied to skin daily.
  • Treatment Masks: Fast Facial Fixes

    LongArmsEver feel like no matter what you do, your skin just won’t cooperate? Maybe a cleanser and moisturizer just aren’t enough to fight dryness, redness, breakouts or other skin problems. The good news is that there are a variety of masks that are formulated for specific skin problems. Here’s how to choose the right treatment.

    Maximize moisture
    Condition: Dryness

    Travel, winter weather, even hormonal changes can make skin feel parched and tight. Look for masks that use moisturizers known for their ability to draw water to the outer layer of skin. Hyaluronic acid, found naturally in our skin, is a good choice. It holds 1,000 times its weight in water, and when applied in a skin care product, boosts skin’s water content and binds moisture to the skin. Try Derma E’s Hydrating Mask with Hyaluronic Acid, which combines hyaluronic acid with jojoba oil, a natural botanical oil most similar to our skin’s own sebum.

    Condition: Blocked pores, acne

    Clay-based masks are a great solution for acne-prone or congested skin. They draw toxins out of your pores and work as an astringent to deeply clean, exfoliate and heal skin. John Masters’ Moroccan Clay Purifying Mask uses pure clay to absorb impurities, and aloe and lavender to soothe inflamed skin. DeVita’s Italian Tomato Leaf Mud Masque combines three types of natural clays and lycopene from tomato plants to deep clean pores and increase healthy circulation.

    Plump it up
    Condition: Wrinkles and fine lines

    Mature skin needs a mask that can moisturize as well as help restore skin’s elasticity and firmness. Nurturing products that boost collagen production are the way to go. Natural botanicals like kudzu root and beech tree root extracts help strengthen skin and stimulate collagen production to fill in fine lines. Jurlique’s Purely Age-Defying Firming Treatment Mask uses these natural plants extracts plus vitamin C to renew skin.

    No more flakes
    Condition: Rough, flaky skin

    Botanical enzymes are excellent exfoliators for uneven or rough skin. These enzymes work by breaking down the proteins in dead surface skin cells, revealing smooth, healthy skin. Sanitas’ Pumpkin Enzyme Mask uses fresh pumpkin to remove flakes and unclog pores, and moisture-magnet hyaluronic acid to rehydrate skin.

    Seeing red?
    Condition: irritation, redness

    Inflamed skin needs extra tenderness and calming agents. Look for botanical soothers like calendula and arnica, and cooling agents like aloe. MyChelle’s Pure Harmony Mask and Dr. Hauschka’s Soothing Mask are customer favorites for reducing redness and treating sensitive skin.

    Don't stop there

    If you love what a mask can do for your face, try a body mask, which can bring the same benefits to the rest of your skin. Smoothing, moisturizing and renewing body masks are a spa-like luxury worth trying. To help ease aches and warm the body, try SpaRitual’s Affirming Scrub Masque, which blends micro-algae with ginger root. For a total body detox, try SpaRitual’s Instinctual Clay Masque with red clay and deep sea mud that remineralize the skin and free it of impurities.

  • Moisturizer Match Up: Finding the Best One for Your Skin Type

    Portrait of woman smiling, studio shotNothing beats a moisturizer for keeping our skin well hydrated. But moisturizers can serve a treatment too, if you choose the right one for your skin type, since key ingredients in moisturizers target specific conditions. Here’s what to look for.

    Dry, flaky skin
    Look for: hyaluronic acid, shea butter

    Dry skin needs a moisturizer that can be easily absorbed and offer serious hydration. Hyaluronic acid is a natural, powerful humectant (moisture-magnet) that binds water to the skin. Derma E’s Hydrating Night Creme with Hyaluronic Acid plumps and rehydrates skin overnight. Another potent moisturizer is unrefined shea butter, rich in fatty acids that keep skin soft and supple. Try evanhealy’s Whipped Shea Butter with Olive Leaf to soothe and re-moisturize extremely dry skin.

    Oily skin
    Look for: squalane

    Although it may seem like moisturizer is the last thing oily skin needs, just the opposite is true. Drying ingredients used in acne and oily skin products often make the skin produce even more oil to compensate for the oil loss it detects. Squalane, a naturally occurring lipid in plants, is a good remedy since it looks and feels like a light-weight oil, isn’t greasy and balances oil production. Sanitas’ Oil-Free Moisturizer contains squalane, is non-comedogenic (won’t cause breakouts) and leaves a non-shiny finish. Another one to look for: MyChelle’s Oil Free Grapefruit Cream, which combines squalane with sea buckthorn and rooibos extracts to help repair acne-damaged skin.

    Mature skin
    Look for: peptides, antioxidants

    Peptides are big news in the anti-aging arena, known for their ability to stimulate collagen production and decrease the look of wrinkles. Together with antioxidants, which combat free radicals that accelerate aging, these ingredients bring radiance to mature skin. Sanitas’ PeptiDerm Moisturizing Cream’s high concentration of peptides and antioxidants helps renew elasticity, reduce fine lines and intensely hydrate. MyChelle’s Supreme Polypeptide Cream offers a blend of natural botanicals and potent peptides that get rave reviews for giving skin a more youthful appearance.

    Sensitive or Irritated skin
    Look for: calendula, chamomile

    Skin that is easily irritated needs pure, calming ingredients. Calendula eases inflammation and chamomile soothes itchy skin (and relieves sunburn). Evanhealy’s Blue Chamomile Day Moisturizer blends chamomile with argan oil and elderberry flowers to gently hydrate and calm sensitive, allergic or inflamed skin. Jurlique’s Redness Rescue Soothing Moisturizing Cream uses chamomile, calendula and echinacea to restore optimal hydration levels and comfort irritated skin.

    Dark Spots or Discoloration
    Look for: citrus extracts, licorice extract

    Natural botanicals can work more safely and effectively than strong pharmaceutical drugs in lightening skin discoloration from aging or sun damage. Licorice slows melanin production and lightens dark spots. Unshiu citrus peel extracts (from tangerines and mandarin oranges) stops the enzyme that causes skin darkening. Find it and plum extracts as the effective lighteners in Jurlique’s Purely Bright Day Moisturizer. Licorice, vitamin C and bearberry extracts fade age spots and help even skin tone in Derma E’s Skin Lighten Natural Fade & Age Spot Cream.

    Talk to an esthetician at Pharmaca about your skin’s needs—and which moisturizer is right for you.

  • 5 Winter Shaving Tips for Men with Sensitive Skin

    Man ShavingA windy, wintry day is no place for a razor-burned face! Keep your cheeks safe by following these tips for a better shave and a better day.

    1. Forget ordinary shaving cream
      If you shave with a disposable razor, it's important to use a quality shaving cream while doing the deed--and men with sensitive skin need a little something more. That's where a specialty moisture shaving cream or gel comes into play. Hypo-allergenic and fragrance free, Giovanni's Moisturizing Shave Cream in Sensitive features jojoba and aloe vera to soothe sensitive skin.
    2. Use a quality moisturizer
      Winter weather takes its toll on the skin, making it more susceptible to nicks and cuts while shaving. Applying a daily lotion such as Lucky Tiger Men's Face Moisturizer will help provide skin protection. As a 2-in-1 post-shave balm/lotion, this favorite will also help soothe razor burn and redness.
    3. Don’t shave dry
      Make sure your facial hair is thoroughly wet before shaving, as hair tends to absorb a large percentage of water's volume. Showering before shaving is optimal, but if you don’t have time for that, rinse your face and apply a warm towel for a few minutes prior to shaving. Dry shaving or applying shave products to a dry face is the fastest way to redness and razor burn.  
    4. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
      As we already noted, razor burn occurs when your skin is irritated while shaving. Some simple ways to prevent razor burn are using quality products and sharp razors. Make sure you rinsing the blade between strokes, and shave against the hair growth for a smoother shave.
    5. Go electric
      If your skin is still giving you problems and you've followed all of the above tips and suggestions, it might just be best to use an electric razor in the winter months. Many of today's electric razors provide as close of a shave as disposable razors and are easy on the face.

11-20 of 80