How Does Air Pollution Affect Your Skin?

Most of us think of air pollution only being an issue for our respiratory health. But did you know that pollution in the air can affect your skin?  
The worst pollutants for skin
Air pollutants can include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs), particulate matter (PM), ozone (O3), cigarette smoke and oxides.  These pollutants contribute to skin aging, including dryness, wrinkling, and dark spots. Additionally, air pollution has been associated with skin cancer, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and acne.
Pollution creates damage to our skin by creating free radicals which are unpaired atoms with an odd number of electrons. Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules creating a chain reaction of damage to important cellular structures.
How to combat pollution
Luckily, antioxidants can interact with free radicals to stop cellular damage. The most common antioxidants utilized in skin care products to protect the impact of pollution to our skin are Vitamin E and Vitamin C. Vitamins E and C are most commonly ingested, but they can also be used topically to provide skin protection since they are two of the primary antioxidants found in the skin and are easily absorbed.
Since everyone is susceptible to skin damage from air pollution, we must all be mindful of protecting our skin. Creating a physical barrier with sunscreen and moisturizer is effective before you head out to start your day.  At the end of the day, I recommend cleansing your face with a sulfate-free cleanser to wash away the toxins we are exposed to daily.
Need a sulfate-free cleanser? Check out Clearly Luminous Cleanser!

Which Skin Care Products Are Right For You?

The mirror can be your best friend, but it can also be your worst enemy. The mirror won’t lie. It reveals uneven skin tone and texture, dark spots, fine lines, and wrinkles. It haunts you with the harsh reality of aging. Once you see these imperfections, they glare at you every time you see your reflection. You know it’s time to do something, but there are so many lies in marketing. How can you figure out what skin care products are right for you?
Here are some tips to help you decide:
Over the counter brands
These are big names such as L’Oréal, Revlon, etc. These products are loaded with chemicals and are endorsed by celebrities who make spectacular claims for a product that is relatively inexpensive. According to Business Insider, L’Oréal spent 2.2 billion dollars for marketing in 2015, whereas Revlon spent a “meager” 210 million in 2014.
Apparently, celebrity spokesmodels and television commercials aren’t cheap. With products priced ranging from $8 to $20 dollars, it is obvious that the majority of the product cost likely goes into advertising, not the actual product.

  • Pros- inexpensive and easily available
  • Cons- contains small amounts of active ingredients and contains many chemicals that can be harmful, such as parabens, sulfates and harsh preservatives

High-end department store brands
These products can contain great ingredients that are usually profiled at the front of the ingredient deck. Toward the end of the list, you will often find fragrance, artificial colors, and preservatives. Moisturizers like La Mer will cost $465 for a 3.4 oz. product!  With that price tag, you are better off investing in Botox or filler.

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and often contains chemicals, fragrance, artificial colors

Medical grade skin care
This category includes Obagi, SkinCeuticals, and Rodan + Fields. These products are effective but contain numerous chemicals. Some of the labels even contain warnings about serious allergic reactions and pregnancy warnings. Many of the brands do not list all the ingredients found in the product; they only list the active ingredients.  

  • Pros- effective ingredients
  • Cons- expensive and contains numerous chemicals, fragrances, artificial colors, and harsh preservatives

Natural skin care
This type of product seems like a DIY skin care regimen in a nice package. Lush is a very popular brand in this realm which contains natural ingredients such as shea butter, papaya juice, and various other food products and plants. Amongst the safe synthetics listed in the ingredient deck are parabens and methylparabens – which are not safe enough in my opinion.  

  • Pros- contains natural ingredients
  • Cons- the ingredients are natural but are not effective enough for mature skin. The labels need to be read carefully because there is no guarantee that the ingredients are natural or safe. Depending on the choice of preservatives, the product may not stay fresh very long.

Decisions, decisions!
With all these options available, how can you make a decision? This was the exact problem that I faced. I wanted a product that utilized effective ingredients to reverse signs of aging in mature skin, but I wanted them to be chemical-free and safe, especially after I was diagnosed and treated for thyroid cancer in my early thirties. I realized that labels that stated “natural” were misleading once I reviewed the ingredient deck.
That was why I created Avanti Rx using effective plant and mineral ingredients which are combined to create powerful results. The products are formulated to exfoliate and reduce blemishes, redness, dark spots, and wrinkles.
We are proud to be chemical free, cruelty free, non-GMO, and Vegan friendly. I wanted the product to be a reflection of my strict ingredients standards so that my clients didn’t have to worry about deciphering confusing labels.  Healthy skin care doesn’t have to be a luxury; it should be a necessity.  And you don’t have to be a celebrity to afford it.
Ready to check out what Avanti Rx has to offer? View our current products here.

Six Makeup Tips to Improve Your Skin Health

Most makeup fanatics love spending time at the MAC counter, and they love watching makeup tutorials on YouTube to create the best cat eyes, ombre lips, and perfecting contouring techniques.  However, makeup fanatics don’t usually like to spend as much time on the less exciting chores of makeup removal.
Here are some six of the most common questions I get asked and some of my personal tips:
Should I always remove my makeup? 
I can’t even believe that I get asked this question, but yes makeup should always be removed. It should be removed before bed, before the gym and even before cleansing.
What type of makeup remover should I use?
Most makeup removers consist of alcohol or oil.  Alcohol can over dry skin and oil can clog pores, which exacerbate breakouts for acne prone skin. If you opt for a makeup wipe, choose one that does not contain alcohol and is biodegradable. I use Micellar water since it does not contain alcohol, oil, or fragrance. It will remove makeup (except waterproof makeup) and prep your skin to be cleansed.
How should I remove makeup?  
Saturate a cotton face pad and wipe away your makeup.  For eye makeup let the product soak on your eye lid for a few seconds first and then wipe.  Do not harshly scrub your skin, especially in the delicate eye area.
What kind of cleanser should I use?  
Although a Sulfate-free cleanser will not excessively foam, it is better for your skin since as it won’t remove the skin’s natural moisture barrier. I personally like to cleanse my face with my Clarisonic device and Clearly Luminous Cleanser.   
Do I need to clean my makeup brushes?  
Absolutely! Makeup brushes harbor bacteria and could be the cause of your breakouts. Brushes should be cleaned weekly with a brush cleaner and Micellar water. I partially submerge my brushes in a cup with a mixture of dish soap and a few drops of alcohol to serve as a disinfectant. I soak for five minutes and leave them on a paper towel to dry overnight.
Can I keep my makeup forever?
Makeup, like most everything else, has an expiration date. Check the expiration date on your cosmetics and discard when it’s time. I check my makeup every six months to ensure that I am not putting applying expired product on my face.
Follow these tips to help maintain radiant, blemish-free skin. 
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What You Should Know Before Getting Botox or Filler at a Day Spa

Day spas are a perfect retreat for the busy woman who needs a chance to rest, relax, and rejuvenate. It’s a one-stop shop for massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, and body treatments. As you enjoy the serene ambiance sipping champagne, one of the estheticians informs you that the spa is now offering Botox and other filler services. Your inner voice says, “This would be amazing since I am too busy to make another appointment with my doctor!”
Before you fully succumb to that multi-tasking inner voice, here are a few questions you need to ask of your day spa.

  1. Who is the doctor performing the procedure? It is important to know what kind of physician is performing the procedure. My recommendation is to make sure it is either a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon or ENT Physician who focuses on cosmetic procedures. Surgeons typically have a better understanding of the facial anatomy and facial balance.  
  2. Where is the physician’s practice located? Many day spas have physicians who come from out of town to perform the procedures one or two times a month. Excellent physicians are often plenty busy in their own practices. So, they do not have the time or desire to travel long distances to work.
  3. Will a follow up appointment be scheduled? As a consumer, you must understand how post-procedure questions, concerns, or dissatisfaction with results will be handled.  
  4. Are the procedures performed in a medical environment with medically trained professionals? Make sure the injectables are purchased directly from the manufacturer and not a knock -off website. The staff would should be trained on occupational safety standards from OSHA, and sharps should be disposed of appropriately.  

The last thing to consider is that a physician who travels to perform your procedure may not be as invested in your outcome as a physician that you see regularly. The relationship and communication between physician and patient is of great importance, especially when it comes to your face!
Are you in the St. Augustine area? Come visit me at Avanti Med Spa