Cancer and Hair Removal


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cancer-baldnessFor many, hair removal plays a significant role in their beauty regime.  During cancer treatment or recovery, however, hair removal presents many challenges.  The immune system and skin are severely impacted which leaves the skin in a fragile state.  Many techniques used in hair removal is performed with friction or heat which can cause trauma or tear the skin which can lead to infections.  It is important for a skin care therapist to be informed of any cancer-related treatments before considering hair removal (before, during and after).

Speak with your oncologist before surgery regarding safe methods of hair removal, especially if surgery will be in an area covered with hair.  Waxing may cause irritation, rashes or sores on the skin.

During Chemotherapy

  • Depending on the type and amount of chemotherapy received, not everyone will lose hair. There may be thinning or even partial hair loss.
  • Hair removal treatments are not recommended due to the possibility of upsetting an already compromised immune system.
  • Waxing may be painful at this time. Skin tissue can become dry, thin, bruise, tear easily, and cause inflammation.  Waxing may also disturb melanin production which can lead to hyperpigmentation or loss of pigment.
  • Shaving is a great concern because it can cause irritation or nick the skin. Shaving can also lead to folliculitis (infection of the hair follicle).  During chemotherapy, a client may not be receptive to certain fragrances in shaving cream and this, too, may cause irritation.  Depilatories should not be used.
  • Tweezing is relatively safe but remember to use a sterile instrument and do not break the skin.

During Radiation

  • Hair loss does not usually occur or if it does, it may be localized. The hair loss can be temporary or permanent depending on the amount of radiation received and the number of sessions.  When hair regrows, it may be thinner and of a different texture.
  • Some individuals may develop fibrosis (excess fibrous connective tissue) which may enable hair to grow resulting in the death of the hair follicle.
  • Waxing is ill-advised. A person may experience neuropathic pain and their threshold to pain may be intensified making waxing extremely painful.  Nerve endings on some individuals are more sensitive while others experience a loss of sensation.
  • Shaving may be done using an electric razor in the area of localized hair growth. Depilatories may be used as long as it does not irritate the skin.


Currin, M. (2017, February). Skin Inc., “Removing hair during cancer care”, pp. 44-49.

Looking to erase a tat?


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As popular as tattoos have become, there are many who want to have them removed.  According to a study by IBISWorld, tattoo removal is expected to reach $83.2 million by 2018.  So what are your options?  Here are three ways to remove tattoos which are performed in a medical facility or medi spa.


This procedure is performed with a rapidly rotating wire brush device.  This is an outpatient procedure and a local anesthetic may be applied before the procedure.  A person may experience the following after the procedure:

  • Redness, swelling or bleeding
  • Hyper or hypopigmentation or blotchiness
  • Infection
  • Scarring

Individuals who are prone to keloids or hypertrophic scarring are not good candidates for this procedure.


A high-intensity laser is used to remove tattoos.  This is a low-risk option with minimal side effects.  The laser breaks up the pigment in the tattoo and different lasers or settings may be needed to remove different colors.  The biggest downfall is that it may take several sessions to see results.  Side effects may include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection
  • Removal may be incomplete
  • Scarring may appear after tattoo is removed (3-6 months)

Surgical Excision

Surgical excision is the most invasive, most costly of all of the procedures and is not covered by insurance.  It is great for removal of small tattoos.  A scalpel is used to remove the tattoo and closes the wound with stitches.  Side effects may include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Infection
  • Removal of ink may not be complete
  • Scarring
  • Individuals who are prone to keloids or hypertrophic scarring are not good candidates

What you need to know before considering tattoo removal

  • Newer inks may be difficult to remove completely
  • Homemade tattoos may be more difficult to remove
  • Deeper blue and black ink presents the most challenge to remove
  • Newer tattoos are more difficult to remove than older ones (which have faded over time)
  • Some tattoos may not be removed completely
  • Skin discoloration and scarring may be a possibility

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Skin, Inc. (2016, February). “Erasing Ink: Options for your Tattooed Clients, retrieved March 6, 2017, from


Is Coolsculpting and option for you?


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Coolsculpting is the treatment du jour today for those who do not want to go under the knife for a tummy tuck or liposuction.  What is Coolsculpting?  This is a treatment which uses intense cold to break down fat cells and allows your body to process and discard them.

The treatment is performed using a hand-held device to target specific areas of the body.  A person may see results in 6-12 weeks and may take one session with no downtown.  Depending on the area and the amount of fat to be dissolved, multiple sessions may be required.  Treated fat cells are frozen and then they die.  Once the fat cells die, they are gone for good.  Untreated areas will not change in fat cell distribution.  How cool is that?  A great way to lose fat without dieting or exercise!

What can you expect?

Every person’s body is different and a treatment plan is customized for your individual goals.  You can discuss with your physician the areas you want to target and they can recommend different plans that may cover more than one area.

Will you lose weight as a result of Coolsculpting?  With dieting you retain the number of fat cell, however, they are smaller.  When weight is gained, fat cells get bigger.  With Coolsculpting you can reduce an area 20-25% and the fat cells are gone for good.  Once you have the procedure fat cells in the targeted area collapse and other cells consume the dead fat cells and eliminated from the body by natural means.

What the cost?

Some individuals have reported costs can start at $1,600 an area.  Again, speak with your physician regarding package deals and payment options.

To read more on this topic, click on the following links:

Charlotte’s Book. (2017). “A Painless, Laser-Based Fat Zapper – This is How SculpScure Really Works”, retrieved March 6, 2017, from

Coolsculpting. (2017). “Fat Reduction vs. Weight Loss”, Retrieved, March 6, 2017, from


Don’t have freckles? Try tattooing them on!


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frecklesThere was a time when women with freckles would give anything not to have them.  Now the latest trend is to have freckles tattooed on the face.

Rainbow, a cosmetic tattoo artist in Montreal, is seeing a spike in business by women wanting freckles tattooed on the face.  Who knew freckles would make a comeback!

She uses a semi-permanent ink in her sessions which can take about an hour to apply.  Even though she uses semi-permanent ink, the freckles can last up to three years.  After immediate application, the freckling may appear swollen and look similar to a bee sting which subsides after a few hours.  The color may seem intense at the beginning but will soften after a couple of months to look more natural.  Like with any tattoo, it will fade over time and can be touched-up at the desire of the client.

The price of a treatment can start at $250, depending on the tattoo artist and the amount of time spent on the application.

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Ritter, L. (2017). New Beauty, “Women are tattooing this all over their faces in the name of beauty”. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from

Change your hair color to match the environment


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Courtesy of Photographer Gabor Szantai and Stylist Hierna Tudor

Courtesy of Photographer Gabor Szantai and Stylist Kierna Tudor

A new hair dye has been created which can change color based on the environment and a change in temperature.  This product made its debut at London Fashion week recently and is expected to be on store shelves by the end of 2017.

The product uses a thermochromic ink which is toxic by itself when applied to the skin. The ink will go through a process called polymeric stabilization which will make the ink not harmful to the skin or cause irritation.

How does it work?

The change takes place by breaking down the chemical bond in the pigment.  When the ink is exposed to certain temperatures, ”one of the molecule forms is more stable than the other, and a reaction takes place producing a molecule with a slightly different absorption of color”.  (Arthur, 2017)

The dye changes colors according to the temperature of the wearer’s environment.  There are many variations which include black to red (when one goes from a cold to a hot environment).  Other color changes are black to white, silver to powder blue, blue to white, and black to yellow.  The dye is semi-permanent, washes out after several shampoos, and is reported to not harm the hair.

Time will tell if this fad will catch on and how long it will last.  My concern still remains with the safety of the dye to the hair and skin long term.

To read more on this topic and to view video clips of the hair color transformation, click on the following link:

Arthur, R. (2017). Forbes, “Science solves another teenage dream: Color-changing hair”. Retrieved February 24, 2017, from

Cosmetic companies on the move


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s-l300L’Oréal has announced they have purchased three skin care lines from Valeant.  Valeant is a Canadian cosmetic company located in Quebec but has its headquarters in New Jersey.

Valeant manufactures CeraVe, Ambi, and Acne Free.  CeraVe products include cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreen, healing ointment, and baby products.  Acne Free is a line for acne-prone skin and includes wipes, masks, body spray, spot treatment and a facial brush system.  Ambi, which Valeant purchased from Johnson & Johnson in 2012, includes cleansers, face cream, body soap, and body lotion which are marketed to multicultural consumers.  Valeant has also sold its cancer treatment business, Dendreon, to Sanpower.  The sale of these assets is to relieve financial burden for Valeant.

CeraVe has been marketed to professionals and physicians whereas Ambi and Acne Free can be purchased at wholesale clubs (Sam’s, Costco and BJs) and drugstores.  L’Oréal markets their cosmetics to department stores, wholesale clubs, and drugstores.  This could hurt professionals and physicians if the CeraVe line becomes available through the same outlets.

Coty is getting into multi-level marketing by acquiring 60% of Younique.  Younique is a cosmetics company whose platform is direct sales and multilevel marketing of beauty products online and through social media.  Younique has 200,000+ independent sales reps.

Mary Kay has created an app to promote their products and support their sales representatives.  The app acts as a virtual assistant and allows a shopper to make mobile transactions.  Mary Kay also has two other apps:  Mary Kay Virtual Makeover and Mary Kay eCatalog.  The virtual makeover app includes scenery, accessories, virtual hairstyling, beauty mirrors, and tutorials.

Burt’s Bees is getting into promoting functional foods.  Their functional food products will be comprised of three protein shake lines (Daily Protein, Protein + Gut Health with Probiotics and Protein + Healthy Radiance with Antioxidant Vitamins A, C & E).  The protein shakes will be made with plant-based proteins (peas, rice, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, and oats).  YUM!!!  Hey, isn’t Burt’s Bees  owned by Clorox?

To read more on these topics, click on the following link:

Utroske, D. (2016). Cosmetic Design USA, “Burt’s Bees launces beauty-from-within product line”. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from:

Utroske, D. (2016). Cosmetic Design USA, “Coty to buy 60% of popular cosmetics and skin care ecommerce platform”. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from:

Utroske, D. (2016). Cosmetics Design USA, “L’Oréal pays over $1 billion to acquire Valeant skin care brands”.  Retrieved January 16, 2017, from

Utroske, D. (2016). Cosmetic Design USA, “Mary Kay’s new app helps sell beauty products and supports enterprising consultants”. Retrieved January 18, 2017, from:

Clear skin habits for going to the gym


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Women at the gym

At the beginning of each new year lots of people make resolutions.  Usually the number one on the list is to lose weight either by eating healthier or going to the gym.  If you are planning to become a “gym rat” there are things you should do to protect your skin from breakouts.

  1. Wear a headband because it will keep sweat from running down onto the face. Sweat on the scalp and hair can cause shampoo, conditioner, hair spray or gels to get onto the face and clog pores that can lead to breakouts.
  1. Wipe your face and skin with a clean towel. It is best to bring your own to the gym because towels offered at the gym may contain a high amount of chlorine bleach.  When wiping sweat away, be gentle on the skin and do not rub aggressively because it may cause micro tears in the skin.  It is also best to use a separate, softer towel on the face.  You do not want to wipe the face with the same towel that may have perspiration, deodorant or bacteria from the body.
  1. While working out, put your towel around your neck or belt rather than on the handle of a piece of equipment. You want to prevent cross contamination of germs.  Also be careful to keep your face away from yoga mats or unsanitized hands.
  1. Do not go to the gym right after a facial, chemical peel or exfoliation. The epidermis is  the body’s first line of defense against germs and any of these treatments may make your skin susceptible to germs.  Also raising the body’s core temperature is a contraindication to having a chemical peel.  Advise your skin care therapist if you are planning to go to the gym or swimming before you have a chemical peel.
  1. Be sure to cleanse your face and hands thoroughly after a gym workout. You want to remove germs from the hands if you use gym equipment and you want to remove salt and perspiration from the face.  This is especially important for ladies if you wear makeup.

Keep your New Year’s resolutions, but be smart and you can have healthy skin all year long.

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Donat, E. (2016). Multibriefs, “5 unsavory gym habits to avoid for clear skin”. Retrieved January 4, 2017, from:

Welche’s grape jelly comes to skin care!


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welchs-grape-jellyBlue Marble Biomaterials has announced it is teaming up with Welch’s to formulate fragrances and beauty products focusing on the antioxidizing properties of grapes and apples.

Blue Marble Biomaterials was founded in 2005 and makes esters, sulfur compounds, thioesters, extracts, oils carboxylic acids and terpenes which are used in skin care products. The company make these things from organic waste such as coffee, tea, wood, fruits, vegetables and algae. Blue Marble will use the matter leftover from Welch’s production of apple and grape juice. Yum!

The next time you look at product ingredients and they list apples and grapes, this could be where the manufacturer is getting their raw ingredients.

To read more on this topic, click on the following link:

Utroski, D. (2016). Cosmetic Design USA, “Welch’s and Blue Marble Biomaterials team up on fragrance and cosmetic ingredients”. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from:

What is Cryotherapy?


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cryotherapyWhen you hear the term cryotherapy what immediately comes to mind is deep freeze.  Traditionally, cryotherapy has been used to treat post-surgery patients or sports injuries.  This treatment is now being offered in wellness centers, doctors’ offices and even day spas.  Some facilities offer cryo-specific treatments while others offer whole-body treatments.

Cryotherapy was introduced in 1978 by Dr. Toshiba Yamaguchi to treat rheumatoid arthritis.  Celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Alba have been reported to use this treatment.

Full body treatments lasts up to 3 minutes inside a cryo-booth in temperatures of -170ºF to -256ºF.  Body treatments can cost $25-$65 per session.

Cryo-facials use liquid nitrogen on the face, scalp and neck with temperatures of -150ºF to -240ºF.  A session can be 6 to 10 minutes.  Cryo-facials are reported to stimulate production of collagen, decrease pore size, improve circulation, repair and brighten hyperpigmentation and approve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.  A plus for women is this treatment can be performed without having to remove makeup first.  The cost can run $45 for one session or in packages of $200 for 5 treatments or $300 for 10 minutes.  This treatment does not provide permanent results and requires maintenance sessions.

Safety Concerns:

  • During a session in a cryo-booth, a client should never be left unattended because it may cause dizziness.
  • Blood pressure should be taken before every whole-body session.
  • Gloves and socks should be worn during whole-body sessions to prevent frostbite.
  • Women may have a whole-body session in the nude, but not male clients.
  • No alcohol consumption before a session because alcohol already constricts blood vessels.
  • Clients should not use a sauna, Jacuzzi or consume alcohol for at least six hours following a session. An exercise workout is preferred.


The Big Chill. (2016). Les Nouvelles Esthetiques & Spa.

Spirulina – Green Food for healthy skin


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spirulinaWhen most people hear the word spirulina, the first thing that comes to mind is chlorophyll, because of its blue-green color.  Don’t be turned off by the color, spirulina has great health benefits internally and externally.

Spirulina has detoxifying, calming properties that are beneficial for skin health.  It also has essential amino acids (10 out of 12), vitamins and minerals which makes it great for all skin types.

Spirulina can also be taken as a supplement.  It has beta carotene (Vitamin A), superoxide dismutase and gamma linolenic acid, all of which act as antioxidants to protect the skin from free radicals and premature fine lines and wrinkles.  I have spirulina in my “green” drink every morning.  Add spirulina to your next smoothie, facial mask or cleanse.


Fedotova, E. (February, 2016). Les Nouvelles Esthetique & Spa, “Spirulina in the spa”, pp. 106-109.