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Skin Care Articles

Anti-Aging skincare for African AmericansIt can be hard to be patient when it comes to treating wrinkles. We all want to know what the best anti-aging skin care treatments are in order to produce fast results, especially for dark complexions and reducing other facial imperfections such as dark spots and discoloration. Even though fine lines and wrinkles appear slowly over many years, most of us love instant results and want our wrinkles to disappear overnight. There are two basic types of topical wrinkle fillers:cosmetic wrinkle fillers that disguise the appearance or wrinkles temporarily, and those that combine a cosmetic effect with longer term anti-aging benefits. Clear Essence’s Alpha Hydroxy Series focuses more on the latter by combining lactic acid, hydroquinone, emollients, and sunscreen to improve imperfections of your existing skin while preventing further signs of aging. Our AHA products for aging skin improve skin elasticity, smoothness, texture and tone and are scientifically formulated for maturing skin types. Unlike some anti-wrinkle skin creams, Clear Essence does not simply work to disguise fine lines and wrinkles. Our full line of soap, toner, treatments and moisturizer work to target underneath the skin and build collagen which is the property that wrinkled skin lacks. Other topical treatments such as makeup coverups and creams disguise fine lines and wrinkles with light reflecting particles or by temporarily plumping out the lines on your face. Light reflecting particles contribute to the effect by bouncing light away from the wrinkle and making it appear to be reduced. Wouldn’t you rather have your natural skin be free of lines and tell-tale signs of maturity? We recommend only 4-6 weeks to see improvement in your skin’s natural complexion and elasticity when using the Clear Essence Alpha Hydroxy Line.

Congratulations to all those new moms AND moms-to-be out there! Pregnancy is an exciting time in a woman’s life, but the significant hormonal changes can create some unique concerns for daily skincare. Although some women quickly achieve that “pregnancy glow”, others will find that their skin completely changes during and after pregnancy- and not always for the better. Here are some suggestions for common concerns:

 

  1. Rising levels of estrogen and progesterone can lead to adult acne during the first trimester and during baby’s first year as hormones regulate back to “normal”. It is ideal to ask your physician about what to use for acne, but most experts agree that salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide are safe for daily use. Try Clear Essence Blemish Control Wash Formula containing salicylic acid and meant to dry up oil and sebum secretions in order to prevent new acne from forming.
  2. You may find that your skin becomes incredibly sensitive during pregnancy. Even products that you have used for years may begin seem too harsh. Look for products geared for sensitive skin that are not exposing you to harsh fillers and additives. Clear Essence’s Vitamin C Series contains all natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals while improving your skin tone and brightness. Main ingredients include Licorice Extract, Vitamins A, C, and E, Lemon Extract, Shea Butter, Ginseng and Aloe.
  3. The average woman will put on 25-35 pounds during her pregnancy. While the ever-expanding waistline is unavoidable, Clear Essence Adure Brightening Stretch Mark Crème minimizes the appearance of stretch marks, dimples, cellulite on dark skin while improving suppleness and elasticity, and it is ESPECIALLY recommended during pregnancy and weight changes to prevent stretch marks!
  4. Noticing darker pigmentation on your face- particularly on your cheekbones and upper lip? You may be experiencing melasma, commonly known as pregnancy mask which often begins during pregnancy and can last for some time. You can limit its impact with regular application of SPF. Sun exposure triggers more activity in the melanocytes which darkens the pigment. Our Clear Essence Medicated Fade Crème is also formulated to lighten facial dark spots that occur as a result of acne, pregnancy and overexposure to the sun. Try our Extra Strength formula with SPF 15!
  5. Feeling that your skin has a dull, dry, dark complexion? Not everyone gets a glow while pregnant and sleep deprivation pretty much inevitable after baby is born! Our Skin Beautifying Oil can be added to bath water for a relaxing blend of Vitamin A, Vitamin E, lavender and rosemary essential oils, and chamomile extract to soothe the skin while giving it a sultry sheen!

 

 The approach to hyperpigmentation treatments can be challenging, especially when it comes to dark spots on dark skin as many worry about changing their natural skin color and not the uneven patch itself. But at Clear Essence, it’s one of the problems that we want to target most when it comes to producing adequate African American skin care products as well as supporting other races that face similar hard-to-treat conditions.

How do dark spots on dark skin develop?

Hyperpigmentation can show up in skin as age spots, sun spots, liver spots or darkened skin caused by acne scarring. Pigmentation in the skin is determined at the cellular level. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin, or pigment in the skin. All people have the same total number of melanocytes. The role of melanin in the skin is to filter out dangerous ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and protect the uppermost skin cells from damage. Melanin also appears as skin is healing from inflammation from blemishes, burns or bruises. This results in dark spots as the melanin surrounds the infected area to protect it from further damage.

Treatment Options

Treatments for acne and anti-aging can be addressed through prescription or over-the-counter treatments containing salicylic acid such as Clear Essence’s Platinum Series Blemish Control Wash Formula. Treat acne early and ongoing to reduce the inflammation response by the melanocytes which cause acne scarring.

When clients are concerned with darker pigmentation, we recommend looking for hydroquinone (2% concentration over-the-counter), or vitamin C and licorice extract. Our Platinum Series and Alpha Hydroxy Series contain hydroquinone at the 2% FDA regulated level to treat those dark spots and hyperpigmentation problems. Try our Medicated Fade Crème or Skin Lightening Serum to see results in 4-6 weeks. If your skin is sensitive to hydroquinone, try our Lemon Plus Vitamin C Series which uses all natural ingredients such as licorice extract as a skin lightening agent. Try the Lemon Plus Vitamin C Vanishing Crème for dryer skin types or Lemon Plus Vitamin C Perfecting Serum as a spot treatment for those stubborn dark areas.

Moisturizers are an extremely important component for people with dark spots on dark skin and darker skin colors who struggle with pigmentation issues. Patients with darker skin types often develop a gray appearance to their skin when it is dry. In fact, some studies suggest that transepidermal water loss is greater in black patients. In more severe cases, moisturizers with ingredients such as lactic acid or salicylic acid are most effective. Understanding this, Clear Essence has produced many different moisturizers for people of color that consist of vitamins, lactic acid, shea butter and aloe to keep the skin hydrated, soft and moisturized. Every Clear Essence line contains at least one moisturizer for darker skin complexions and tailored for specific skin types. For normal but dry skin try our Skin Beautifying Milk to eliminate rough, dull, ashy, dry and dark areas on the skin. Maturing skin should use our Alpha Hydroxy Skin Beautifying Milk which improves skin texture while slowing the visible signs of aging due to its lactic acid and hydroquinone ingredients meant to even skin tone and hydrate the skin. For sensitive skin use our Lemon Plus Vitamin C Skin Smoothing Cream which uses natural ingredients to tone skin for a cleaner and brighter appearance. Once your desired skin tone is achieved after lightening your hyperpigmentation and dark spots, use the My Natural Beauty Skin Tone Moisturizing Body Lotion with SPF 15 to keep skin soft, gradually keep skin even and tone and prevent future discolorations with sunscreen properties.

There has been a long-standing debate in the skincare industry for years: To tone or not to tone… that is the question!! Some professionals swear by this protocol while others claim it is a waste of money. Let’s examine who could benefit from a toner and who might skip this step in their skin care regimen.

In the past toners were very astringent, alcohol based products used to remove the heavy film left on the skin after using a cold cream to “cleanse” the skin. If you didn’t remove the remaining cleanser product, your skin would feel very greasy and there would be a fair amount of makeup still on the skin. Years ago there were not many options for different skin types or conditions. Today it is very different and currently there are a myriad of toners for every skin type and every budget. Clear Essence tries to stay at the forefront of toning for uneven skin, dark complexions and black skin types while staying affordable within the market.

Cleansers are often pH balanced and don’t leave that greasy film on the skin. Today, toners often add an element of treatment rather than finishing the cleansing process. If you have healthy, normal skin you are welcome to skip the toner. But you might be skipping an opportunity to add essential moisture or extra antioxidants to boost your skin health.

Those with combination skin, oily skin, acne prone skin, or dehydrated/dry skin will benefit greatly from a toner. This step will ensure that the cleansing process is complete, and add active ingredients that treat acne, minimize fine lines and wrinkles and supply topical hydration to the skin.

We recommend using an alcohol free toner so that the pH of the skin is not irritated. Alcohol based toners tend to strip the skin and as a result the skin produces a sudden rush of oil to restore better balance. This creates a vicious cycle of feeling oily, using an excessively strong toner, and then feeling the need to remove the surge of oil production with more toner. Focus on gentle products that can be used once or twice a day for maximum benefit. Look for a toner that fits your skin type and condition- not a “one size fits all” product. We base ourselves on not fitting a “one size fits all” stereotype by creating multiple lines for different skin types and being targeted for a demographic that has limited options when it comes to skin care. African American skin and other dark complexions including Asian, Hispanic and Middle Eastern, suffer from unique problems that we strive to combat with our ingredients and products formulated especially for the amount of melanin found in their skin types. Try our Exfoliating Facial Cleanser Toner Astringent to remove excess oils, refine pores, and clarify the skin. We also carry our Lemon Plus Vitamin C Multi-Active Toner for sensitive skin types. This all natural ingredient formula cleanses and prepares the skin for treatment or nourishing.

 

Natural Skincare products for African AmericansHealthy skin is beautiful skin! Who knew vitamins have such a huge impact on wrinkles!!

Think about all of the vitamins and nutrients that our body needs on a daily basis to maintain optimal health – our skin is our largest organ and vitamins play a vital role in its function.

One of the most potent anti-wrinkle properties in cosmetic products is retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A. This powerful vitamin/antioxidant helps reduce the depth of wrinkles within aging skin by neutralizing the effect of free radicals – unstable oxygen molecules which destroy skin cells and contribute to the formation of wrinkles. Try our Lemon Plus Vitamin A Body Crème! This daily light weight moisturizer keeps the skin hydrated for a head to toe glow!

Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, a key structural protein of the skin which contributes to firmness and elasticity of the skin which in turn visibly tightens skin and reduces the appearance of wrinkles. Also, vitamin C is an incredibly effective antioxidant that can reduce skin damage caused by free radicals which results in improved skin texture and reduction of fine lines and wrinkles. Our Clear Essence Vitamin C Series contains many products with natural ingredients to treat uneven skin tone, facial dark spots, dryness and the production of wrinkles. These treatments are formulated with Vitamin C, Licorice Extract, Lemon Extract, and Vitamin E to keep skin bright, clean, and free of any imperfections.

Vitamin E is essential to protecting skin cells from ultra violet light, pollution, drugs, and other environmental elements that produce cell damaging free radicals. Free radicals cause collagen breakdown that lead to wrinkles and other skin aging but vitamin E is able to neutralize and protect against these free radicals. Our Lemon Plus Vitamin C Skin Beautifying Milk contains Vitamin E as well as our Lemon Plus Vitamin C Body Oil. Use both of these products to tone and hydrate the skin. Our Body Oil also contains SPF 10 to prevent further sun damage to your skin.

Combining Vitamin A, C and E together in your skincare regimen allows for a very efficient delivery of powerful antioxidants. These 3 vitamins work synergistically together for maximum anti-wrinkle power!

There are things we do every day that impact our skin. Some habits can be very good for the skin- but not always. Take a look at this list and make sure that you aren’t breaking any of these skincare rules. You may be harming your skin without even realizing it!

  1. Don’t tan in the sun- most doctors agree that 15 minutes of sun exposure a day is plenty to ensure your daily dose of Vitamin D. If you will be outside for longer than that, wear your SPF of 15 to 30. Try our Clear Essence SPF 15 Gift Pack to get all the daily sun protection your body needs!
  2. Don’t smoke- our culture is learning more and more about the dangers of smoking. And smoking causes premature skin aging. Commit to being tobacco free for life- you will look better and feel better every day!
  3. Limit junk food- make sure that your daily diet includes plenty of lean protein, fresh fruit/ veggies, whole grains, and water. Your skin is an organ and needs a nutritious diet to look its best!
  4. Don’t over indulge in alcohol- research shows that 1-2 alcoholic beverages may be good for you (a glass of red wine a day can be good for your heart!) but you want to enjoy spirits in moderation. Alcohol can dehydrate your skin, damage blood vessels, exacerbate Rosacea, and contribute to high blood sugar levels, which leads to premature aging!
  5. Don’t be sleep deprived- getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity for your health and well being. Our skin heals and repairs itself while we rest each night. To figure out how much sleep you need, keep track of how many hours of rest that you get 3 nights in a row when you don’t set your alarm clock. Try this on your next vacation and the number of hours that you sleep on the third night is what you should get every night.
  6. Don’t live your life in constant stress- stress impacts how well you rest each night, how your body functions, what kinds of foods you crave, and your overall quality of life. Take time to rest, relax and enjoy each day. Talking with family and friends can lighten your load too. Keep stressful parts of your life in perspective and do what you can to minimize stress on a regular basis.
  7. Don’t be a couch potato- all of us need to get regular exercise. Most people find that an exercise regimen keeps stress at bay and keeps their skin looking great. The increase in blood flow and oxygen is necessary for cellular function in the skin and it’s great for your waist line too!

Have you ever given much thought to your skincare regimen before bed? Most of us are in the habit of cleansing and moisturizing our skin before leaving the house in the morning, but there are some things you can do at bedtime to make sure you wake up looking your best. Take a look at these simple tips to see how easy it is to be a sleeping beauty every night!

  1. Read the labels- many of us wake up to darkness under our eyes. There can be a big difference in treatments options- if your problem is related to poor blood flow, look for creams that strengthen capillary walls. However, if the skin under your eyes has darker pigment, you would get more help from an eye cream with hydroquinone to erase hyperpigmentation, like Clear Essence Skin Lightening Serum for the treatment of stubborn or hard to fade skin discolorations, especially for delicate areas such as around the eyes.
  2. Fight skin dehydration by running a mister or humidifier in your bedroom. Humidifiers are inexpensive and allow you to wake up to softer skin, especially during harsh, cold weather.
  3. Wash up….remove daily pollutants, cosmetics, dirt and oil before going to bed. If you don’t cleanse your skin each night then debris stays with you and clogs pores. If you like a low maintenance routine, then use Clear Essence Medicated Cleansing Bar which is a sulfur based cleanser that won’t strip your skin and removes bacteria and germs that cause acne and blemishes!
  4. Apply a moisturizer to bind moisture to your skin all night long. We like our Lemon Plus Vitamin A Body Crème which is lightweight to keep skin hydrated. Not too thick and not too thin- this moisturizer is just right!
  5. Waking up looking puffy around the eyes? Keep 2 spoons in the fridge and apply them to the eye area while you wait for your coffee to brew. And try sleeping on your back with 2 pillows propping you up at night – this will keep fluids from pooling and creating puffiness.
  6. To avoid damaging your skin and hair, sleep on satin pillow cases. No more face creases in the morning! This affordable luxury is a must for every sleeping beauty- so sleep well!

Every day we are bombarded with information about skin care in magazines, department stores, doctor’s offices, and websites. Sometimes you will be getting reliable, trustworthy information but there are a lot of myths out there too. Consider these answers from our experts.

Common myths:

  1. Tanning booths are safer than tanning outdoors.
    Not true-exposure to UVA and UVB light damages the skin, leads to premature aging and can cause skin cancer.
  2. Higher SPF offers better protection.
    Not true- you need to consistently reapply any SPF every 2 hours especially if you are swimming or sweating. Higher SPF only offers marginally more protection and doesn’t matter at all if you don’t use enough sunscreen or reapply often enough. Our SPF 15 Gift Pack contains our Skin Beautifying Milk with SPF 15 and our My Natural Beauty Skin Tone Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15 to even skin complexion and moisturize while preventing future sun damage.
  3. Scrub your skin with soap to stay clean and pimple free.
    Not true- the chemical pH of soap is harsher than most facial cleansers. Soap and scrubbing can strip the skin of essential moisture and lead to more acne and irritation. Try our refreshing and non-foaming Blemish Control Wash Formula which is designed to control acne and dry up oils on the skin to prevent new blemishes from forming.
  4. You should pop a pimple to get the infection out.
    Not true- using your fingers to pop pimples can spread bacteria from the hands and fingernails to the pimple. If you need to fiddle with a pimple, use an extractor (available from beauty supply stores) to apply equal amounts of pressure to the pimple. Cleanse your face, clean the tool with rubbing alcohol and then lightly rock the extractor back and forth. Follow up with a spot treatment containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Salicylic acid can be found in our Blemish Control Wash Formula.
  5. You can erase signs of aging.
    Not true- signs of aging can be minimized, but nothing can turn back the clock continuously. Focus on keeping your skin cleansed, smooth, and hydrated and remember that the best anti-aging product is sunscreen! Use our Alpha Hydroxy Line which does improve skin elasticity to smooth out wrinkles and make the appearance of aging less noticeable. Alpha Hydroxy is a lactic acid which exfoliates and reveals a brighter skin tone to make one look youthful.
  6. Certain foods can cause acne.
    Not true- acne is caused by an over production of sebum/ oil and the p. acnes bacteria. It is typically considered a hereditary condition. Chocolate and pizza don’t cause pimples!

Kanebo Cosmetics Inc. says it has confirmed that 4,061 users of its group’s skin-whitening cosmetics have suffered unwanted white blotches on their skin.

Kanebo said 8,631 people had reported developing such blotches by July 25, though that number could increase. The company issued a recall July 4 of 54 types of cosmetics products due to the risk of patchy skin whitening.

It was revealed Wednesday that Kanebo started investigating the problem two weeks after being alerted by a dermatologist that white blotches were appearing on the skin of people using the products.

Hisashi Anami, the chief of the Consumer Affairs Agency, was critical of Kanebo.

“I cannot understand why it took two weeks” to respond to the alert, Anami said Wednesday at a news conference.

Kanebo said its workers had visited 4,313 customers by Sunday who had reported developing blotches after using the products. Of the 4,061 people confirmed to have white blotches on their skin, 1,828 suffered serious symptoms, such as having more than three white blotches or blotches measuring at least 5 cm in diameter.

Meanwhile, 1,457 people showed minor symptoms and 776 had already recovered or were recovering from such symptoms, the company said.

Kanebo said it intends to cover medical costs and pay compensation. The company also said it will continue visiting customers who report blotches.

It has so far received inquiries from about 200,000 people.

As of Sunday, Kanebo had recalled about 435,000 product units, around 97 percent of those believed to have been sold, and had removed almost all of the 590,000 items that were still on store shelves.

The recalled products, including Kanebo Blanchir Superior, use a whitening chemical substance called 4-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-2-butanone, which Kanebo named Rhododenol.

 

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