Have you ever had a photofacial? Do you know what a photofacial or IPL is? Last week I had a photofacial. A couple of my friends asked me what that was, so I decided to write a post on it for any of you ladies who aren’t familiar with a photofacial, or why winter is the perfect season to have one.

What Does A Photofacial Do?

Photofacials are used to treat skin that has sun damage/brown spots, broken capillaries, small spider veins and some forms of redness in the skin. You can treat any area of the body, but the most commonly treated areas are the ones that get the most exposure to sunlight, such as face, neck, chest, backs of hands, arms and shoulders.

In my case I was starting to see brown spots/sun damage on my face, mostly in my cheeks and lower face. In the past I had significant sun damage on my forehead and cheekbones that has completely disappeared with photofacials. This was new damage.

Corinna B Sun Damage

This photo was taken in Paris in September 2017 while we were having lunch outdoors at El Pais. When I saw the photo all I could see were the brown marks/sun damage along the side of my face and my nose. Suitably horrified, I called Sandra Caldwell at Blume Skin Center when I got back home to plan out an IPL strategy. We decided to start treatments in early January and have a second treatment in March. One week after the first treatment I am already seeing a huge improvement.

If You Are Wearing Sunscreen Why Are You Getting Sun Damage?

I am a sunscreen obsessive. Every single day of my life I apply a broad spectrum facial SPF 85-100, and have done most of my adult life. The problem is what was going on in the years prior to that.

My recommended sunscreen, the one I have been using for years and that I have written about many, many times is Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100, linked here at Amazon.com

I had several years during which I trusted the efficacy of the SPF 20 that was in my moisturizer and foundation. It turns out that the concept of an SPF built into a moisturizer or foundation giving you actual protection is, well, conceptual. You don’t actually get the protection you think you are getting, if in fact you get any at all.

Then there were the years prior to this where I wasn’t wearing any facial sunscreen unless I was sunbathing or going to the beach. It is these years combined with the SPF 20 in the moisturizer years when the damage that I’m seeing now actually occurred.

The signs of sun damage that are showing up on your skin now are actually from the damage you did years ago.

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What Is A Photofacial?

Photofacial uses a light technology called Intense Pulsed Light, or IPL. A technician uses a hand held device to deliver bright bursts of light to the skin. That burst of light penetrates the skin and is absorbed by the dilated vessels in broken capillaries and spider veins, and in the excessive pigmentation that makes up the brown spots and sun damage, without damaging the skin.

Does It Hurt?

Photofacials without a numbing cream would hurt. I go to the Blume Skin Centre, and they use a numbing cream first to take away any pain. From that point it just feels like a slight rubber band snap, but not painful. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have no threshold for pain, so if this did actually hurt I probably wouldn’t do it.

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What Happens Next?

Once the treatment is done you can just go about the rest of your day. It is super important to stay out of the sun for a while and to have a super strong broad spectrum facial SPF on every day. I recommend photofacials in the winter, not the summer.

You will see what look like coffee grounds coming up to the surface of your skin. These are the damaged areas that have absorbed the IPL light. They will work their way to the surface and then shed away (I was helping mine to move on this morning with my ExfoliKate enzyme mask), leaving you with gorgeous, clear skin.

When my technician, Sandra Caldwell, was looking at my skin she noticed some broken capillaries on the sides of my nostrils and on one of my cheekbones, so she zapped them and they are now gone.

BBL Before and after

 

Obviously the picture here is not me. This is a before and after that I took from Dr Blume’s website that shows you how effective this treatment can be!

How Many Treatments Does It Take?

Normally it takes from 3 to 5 treatments depending on the severity of the discoloration or damage to the skin. The treatments are scheduled several weeks apart. Once you have completed your initial series you may need maintenance sessions from time to time. You can expect to see a 90% improvement in your skin.

Who Shouldn’t Get A Photofacial?

It is not safe for a person with sun tanned skin or for anyone who may be exposed to excess sun in the weeks following the treatment to have a photofacial, which is why I recommend it as a winter treatment.

This treatment is not advisable for women who are pregnant or breast feeding, for people using Accutane or for 6 months after using Accutane, people with autoimmune or connective tissue disorders.

 What Else Should I Know About Photofacial?


I absolutely do not recommend finding a medspa on Groupon or any other discount service for Photofacials, Ultherapy or any injectibles. The quality of your results depend entirely upon the quality of the machine and the heads used, and the quality and knowledge of the technician providing the service. If you are looking for the cheapest offer you will most likely be getting an inexperienced technician using an older, less effective machine. Read reviews on the places you are looking at and ask friends who have had success with the procedure for referrals.

RELATED POST: WHAT IS ULTHERAPY?

If you are in Arizona I recommend the Blume Skin Center. If you have been reading this blog for a while then you already know that I have been using them exclusively for years, and that’s where I send all my friends, family and clients.

If you have questions about photofacials call the Blume Skin Center at (480) 699-7999

This post contains affiliate links for Amazon.com. See the Disclosure Page to find out how this blog uses affiliate links

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

No trip to Barcelona is complete without a visit to Antoni Gaudi’s temple to God, the Sagrada Familia.

The Sagrada Familia has to be one of the most intriguing cathedrals in all of Europe, and I am quite sure, the world. It is impossible to think of Barcelona without thinking of Gaudi or to think of Gaudi and not think of Barcelona. The two are intertwined for eternity.

Gaudi took over the design of the Sagrada Familia in 1883, knowing that his cathedral would not be completed during his lifetime. Construction initially was funded by donations, and stopped and started several times due both to lack of money, and wars. Now it is financed by ticket sales, so although it is a little pricey, your ticket actually is making a difference!

I am intrigued by the architects and workers who over the past decades have given their all to this project, knowing they wouldn’t be alive to see its completion. The current crew will hopefully see the cathedral finished, as the planned end date is in 2026.

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The Exterior

Tickets are timed at Sagrada Familia, with a half hour window to enter. I suggest ordering your tickets online, and then arriving a half hour prior so that you have time to walk the outer façade before getting in line to enter. If your ticket is for 11 – 11:30 am entry, get there at 10:30 am.

Sagrada Familia

Use the eastern façade, or nativity side as your starting point. The sculptures on the façade are in more traditional form and they tell the story of the birth of Christ.

Sagrada Familia Nativity Exterior

This side of the cathedral greets the rising sun, so as the sun comes up each day it lights up the birth of Christ. (If you are inside the cathedral in the morning the sun hitting the stained glass windows on the east side creates an explosion of blue light. It is magnificent!)

Sagrada Familia Stained Glass Windows

The southern façade is not yet finished, but will celebrate the glory of Jesus’ life.

The west side is the passion or death of Christ. This façade is quite modern and sparse, and the sculptures depicting the passion are intriguing.

Sagrada Familia Passion

They are all blockheads, making the entire façade quite jarring. (yet completely brilliant!)

Sagrada Familia Passion Sagrada Familia Passion

The Passion gets the setting sun each day, it hits the stained glass windows on this side of the building turning them into fire with their oranges and reds. If you are inside the cathedral in the late afternoon it is really spectacular, the stained glass windows representing an inferno.

Sagrada Familia Interior Sagrada Familia

Walking around the outside of the Sagrada Familia take note of the facades and how dark they look. This cathedral is a total play on light and space, and as such the more you focus on the exterior, the more the interior will blow your mind!

It was explained to me that Gaudi wanted the exterior of his cathedral to represent a forest, the towers being the trees. I don’t know if that is true or not, but now it’s stuck in my head and every time I look at it I see his forest!

There are a total of 18 towers, organized in the hierarchy of Christian symbolism. The center tower is dedicated to Christ, surrounded by the four towers representing the gospels. The tower above the apse will be his mother, the Virgin Mary, crowned with a star. The remaining 12 towers represent the apostles.

RELATED POST: BARCELONA CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS – WHAT EXACTLY IS CAGA TIO???

The structures create a sense of elevation with their pyramid-style layout. The 12 apostles circle the outer edges each at 100 meters tall, the gospels makeup the next layer of the pyramid at 135 meters tall and the tallest will be Jesus at 172.5 meters tall, making it one of the tallest religious buildings in the world. The height of the Jesus tower was to show Gaudi’s respect for the work of God which in his mind should never be superseded by man. The highest point in nature around Barcelona is Montjuic at 173 meters, so the Jesus tower is just shy of that height.

The Interior

When you walk inside it will completely take your breath away. The outside of the cathedral gives you no sense of how light and bright the interior is! If you have visited other cathedrals around Europe you will be familiar with their typically dark interiors, and you somewhat expect to see exactly that. The inside of Sagrada Familia is incredibly vertical and light and bright. Gaudi’s use of natural light is breathtaking. It is so incredibly modern and yet ethereal too.

Inside Sagrada Familia Sagrada Familia Interior

Colored light bounces off the stained glass, the soaring white towers feel like they are lifting you. Gaudi said that color was an expression of life, and this cathedral feels alive.

Sagrada Familia Interior

Christ is suspended from the ceiling, his crucifix hanging under an umbrella. The sight of it is disconcerting, jarring and yet also brilliant.

Sagrada Familia Cricifixion Sagrada Familia Christ

Next time I go to Sagrada Familia I need to have a guide explain every detail to me.

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Gaudi

In order to understand the Sagrada Familia you first need to understand Gaudi, or at least know a little about him. He was one of the best known and most influential figures in the Modernisme movement, which took place from the late 1800s through the early 1900s. In school he excelled in geometry and mathematics, and entered the School of Architecture once he was 21, excelling in design, drawing and mathematical calculation. 5 years later after graduating he received his first architectural commission in 1978.

His reputation grew as did his commissions including the Casa Batllo, Casa Mila and Casa Calvet, then in 1883 he took over the design of the Sagrada Familia.

Gaudi’s work is highly recognizable, his style very distinctive. He lived via the three passions in his life: architecture, religion and nature. He thought about every tiny detail in his creations, infusing stained glass, ceramics, wrought iron and trencadis (wasted ceramic pieces) into his work. Rather than the strict, straight lines of traditional architecture, Gaudi’s ideas rolled and swelled like waves and took on forms in nature.

Initially when he took over the design of the Sagrada Familia Gaudi still worked on other projects, but in 1914 he abandoned all other work and just devoted himself to his religion and to his cathedral, living and working there the last 10 years of his life.

The Sagrada Familia has always been funded by donations, and toward the end of his life Gaudi was living like a homeless man, begging in the streets for money to go toward his church. In fact, when Gaudi was hit by a tram on his way to church in 1926 no one knew it was him, they thought it was a homeless man. As such he was sent to the hospital for the poor, where he died 3 days later. Gaudi is buried in the crypt of his cathedral, his most perfect resting place.

To get to the Sagrada Familia take the metro on the L5 line to the Sagrada Familia stop.

You should order tickets ahead of time, online. The basic entry ticket is €18, if you want to go up high it will cost you €29. There are also options for guided tours. You can see more about Sagrada Familia and order tickets here.


Allianz Travel Insurance

Hello Everyone!!

Have you had that ghastly cold/flu that has been everywhere this winter? I have. Twice. How does that even happen? Anyway, if you have been wondering where the blog posts have been the past couple of weeks, they’ve been sidelined while I have been trying to get better!

I’m nearly back to 100%, so better late than never!

Friends and clients and readers are always asking me about which skincare products I use. I am obsessed with skin care, I believe that to look our most gorgeous, whether we have a full face of makeup on or none at all, our skin must be in its optimum condition, so I really put a lot of effort into my complexion.

skin care essentials

I have products that I use daily, products that I use weekly and products that I just use as needed. (Not shown here are all the sheet masks I use and the Reves de Sabine Rose Clay mask that I got from a photo shoot, and my eye cream, the tube of which is too beat up to photograph!)

I am a huge proponent of Korean skin care products and the multiple step Korean skin regimen, but it often confuses people when I try to explain the steps I do and how it all works. Invariably I get asked which specific products and brands I am using. I decided while I was cleaning out my skincare cabinet this weekend and getting everything ready for 2018 that I should photograph the skin care products I am using and put them in a step by step order so that you can see what has been working for me.

I buy my Korean Beauty products through Memebox. They now use Amazon as their fulfillment center, so I am putting Amazon links where I can .

I also get products sent to me by companies for my magazine work, and get others from my Zoe Report Box of Style and FabFitFun subscriptions. Some of those products make it in to the skincare favorites, others not so much! I don’t like to speak badly about anyone’s products, so if I don’t like something I just don’t talk about it.

I am a huge Tatcha fan and love love love their entire product line, but as a single mom they don’t always fit my budget.

skin care essentials

My Daily Skincare Routine

I think one of the most important components of your skincare wardrobe is your cleanser. If you are using the wrong cleanser for your skin type it sets off a chain reaction of everything going wrong. If your cleanser is too drying (think foaming cleansers and bar soaps) it strips your skin, leaving it looking parched. For oily girls a cleanser that is too drying actually makes your skin create more oil. If your cleanser is too heavy or greasy for your skin type it can make your skin feel slimy and slick.

Cleansing Oil

I'm Cleansing Oil

A cleanser should dissolve away your makeup and cleanse your skin without leaving a film on it. I have been using Memebox I’m Cleansing Oil  for several years now. I use the formulation for normal to dry skin, but they also make I’m Cleansing Oil for Oily Skin. You can find it online here at Amazon.com

I only cleanse my skin at night and just rinse it in the mornings, but in the official K Beauty system you double cleanse both morning and night.

All of these Korean products are super concentrated, so you only use a tiny amount of any of them.

CosRX Snail Mucin Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence

The next step is to apply an Essence. I use CosRx Advanced Snail Mucin Power Essence. It took me a long time to get on board with using products containing something called snail mucin, but am so glad I finally did! I had been reading about it but wasn’t game to try it, and then I saw one of my girlfriends skin looking sensational, and when I asked her what she had changed she told me she was using products with snail mucin. You should have seen how fast I got online and started ordering!

This is the most amazing ingredient and my skin has never looked so good since adding products containing it into my skincare plan. Now I buy everything I can that contains snail mucin.

This essence from CosRx is nutrient dense and makes your skin glow. It boosts your skin’s brightness, hydration and overall tone. I buy it online here at Amazon.com

Scinic All In One Snail Ampoule

 Scinic Snail All in One Ampoule Serum

Morning and night after cleansing (or rinsing) I apply the essence followed by this next product, The Scinic Snail All In One Ampoule Serum. Don’t be put off by the name! My skin loves this product more than anything, and I always re-order it once I am half way through a bottle so that I am never without it! Again just a tiny amount goes a long way.

You probably don’t need to use both products, but I do and I like to layer them. This ampoule further boosts the skin’s hydration and its glow. It helps your skin to repair itself, diminishes redness and uneven color. When you have something working on hydration that goes this deep, your skin looks amazing all day. It also prevents and minimizes the fine lines and wrinkles that either show up or get worse because of skin becoming dehydrated. I find that makeup looks so much better when I have this on under my moisturizer, foundation looks super smooth.

Oolu Orchid Emulsion

During the day my next step is emulsion. This is a lighter texture of moisturizer that still is nutrient rich but doesn’t have a heavy finish to it. The essence and the ampoule are busy working away underneath, super boosting the skin’s hydration, so during the day I just use the emulsion. At the moment I have the Oolu Orchid Emulsion but you can find a similar product

I follow this with my Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100 It is important that you use a broad spectrum SPF product every single day. Broad spectrum SPF’s block both the UVA aging rays and the UVB burning rays and keep you looking youthful and pretty for longer!

MIZON Snail Repair Cream

At night instead of emulsion, after essence and ampoule I use MIZON All In One Snail Repair Cream. This is a lightweight but powerful ultra-nourishing gel-cream moisturizer. Your skin does all of its repair work while you sleep, so it is important to use products that help improve cell regeneration and recovery. This one also helps reduce pores, acne scars and blemishes. It is wonderful. And it is ridiculously inexpensive.

Osea Essential Facial Oil

Osea Essential Hydrating Oil

Osea Facial Oil. I got this in my Zoe Report Box Of Style. I love facial oils, especially in the winter months, or if I’m somewhere hot and dry in the summer. Of course I live in Phoenix, so my summers are both hot and dry, so I use facial oils during those months, but if I’m going to be somewhere more humid I don’t bother.

I don’t know a lot about this company (Osea) but their facial oil is wonderful. I use it after the moisturizing step.

Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack

SKIN CERAMIC Donkey Milk Celluminator Mask Pack (Donkey Milk Yogurt Sleeping Pack)

The final skin care step at night is a sleeping pack. This has the texture of a gel-cream, so is quite lightweight. Its job is to hold all the skin care products you just applied against your skin. It’s like the sealing product, holding everything where it is supposed to be, and keeping them all working. It also gives your skin some more moisture, and moisture is the key to youthful looking skin!

As for the Donkey Milk part? I have no idea what it does – I just bought it because the name sounded so funny! I have never bought a Korean skincare product that has been less than amazing, and this one did not disappoint!

The Add Ons

I have several products for exfoliating. I rotate them and only use them once every week or two. Exfoliation should be based on your skin’s needs.

SNP Peeling Gel

SNP Advanced Peeling Gel.

Once every week (or sometimes every other week) I will exfoliate my skin to keep the surface clear of dead skin cells and debris and to keep it nice and smooth. I don’t believe in using scrubs on your face. I think they scratch off the dead cells on the surface of the skin but then also scratch the baby skin underneath, keeping your skin in a perpetual state of roughness and grittiness. So instead I prefer to use enzyme treatments like this peeling gel. You pop it on after cleansing and let it set for 15 minutes, then rinse it off and you have gorgeous, smooth skin!

ORG Mineral Peel

O.R.G. Skincare Mineral Peel

This one is a Korean product that came in my FabFitFun box last spring. You can use it daily before makeup to keep your skin smooth, or less if you don’t need daily exfoliating. You spray it on and then using circular massaging motions with your fingers lift away the top layer of your skin. It’s pretty cool! I often use this on shoots when I need to smooth out a model’s skin.

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder

Tatcha Rice Enzyme Powder.

I have used this one for ages. Right when my previous jar was running out this full sized jar arrived in my Zoe Report Box Of Style, the timing could not have been more perfect! This is a water activated enzyme cleanser and exfoliant that gently clears away any dead skin cells and debris from the surface of the skin, leaving you with a lovely, glowing complexion. You only use a small amount, so a jar lasts a really long time.

ExfoliKate

ExfoliKate by Kate Somerville.

This exfoliating mask has been around for years and is a celebrity favorite. It just arrived in the winter FabFitFun box so I have only used it a few times, but it is really lovely and very quick. You only put it on for 2 minutes then rinse it off, and you are left with beautiful glowing skin. You can find ExfoliKate at Sephora.

I have actually had several really amazing products from FabFitFun. The box is only $50 per quarter and they give you some really outstanding full sized skin and makeup products. You can read about their subscriptions here

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

Sunday Riley Luna Oil

I bought this one at Sephora a few months ago after hearing a lot about it from other people in the beauty industry so decided to give it a try. This is a nighttime retinol oil designed to work on fine lines and wrinkles, rough patches and dryness. I quite like it but it is expensive. Sunday Riley products are available at Sephora.com

Sunday Riley Tidal

Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream.

This one was also in a Zoe Report Box of Style. It is a really lovely, intense water drench for the skin. It is quite lightweight so is a great option if you don’t like the feel of heavy moisturizers. I often use it before makeup to make foundation look extra gorgeous. The trick is rather than rubbing it in like a lotion, lightly drum your fingers across your skin. You will almost feel water beads on the surface of the skin. I will do this about 5 minutes before I want to put makeup on. It’s fabulous! I also really like to travel with this product when I’m going somewhere humid. You still need to hydrate the skin in humidity, but most moisturizers just feel slimy. This one is magic.

You can find Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream online at Sephora  and you can read about the Box of Style subscriptions here

Sonia Roselli Water Balm

Sonia Roselli Beauty Water Balm Skin Prep

Sonia Roselli Water Balm. This one is a makeup artist secret and as far as I know is only available on Sonia’s website and Amazon. Developed for makeup artists, it is the ultimate pre-makeup treatment. It plumps up the skin, softening fine lines and wrinkles and giving it the most amazing hydration so that makeup looks gorgeous. You apply this one with a drumming of the fingers too and almost get a wet finish to the skin. You let it sit and soak in for a few minutes and then start the makeup application. Foundation looks absolutely beautiful when you use this product first. You can find it on SoniaRoselli.com and also here on Amazon.comhere at Amazon.com

Tatcha Indigo

Tatcha Indigo Soothing Renewal Treatment.

A few years ago I did a shoot in Colorado and somewhere between the altitude and the cold dry air my skin took a beating! I even had windburn on the tops of my cheeks. I bought the Tatcha Indigo Renewal Treatment because it literally heals damaged skin. Indigo has fantastic healing properties. I have kept this product on hand ever since and use it as a rescue product.

Inside each Tatcha product there is a story written on a vellum scroll. I learned with this one that the ancient Samurai would wear cotton soaked in indigo next to their skin so that if they were cut with a sword the healing process would begin immediately as the indigo went to work. Tatcha has an entire line of indigo products, perfect for winter skin that needs healing. The indigo products from Tatcha are endorsed by the National Eczema Association. They are just that good!

This product isn’t available at Sephora, you need to get it directly from Tatcha.com

I think it’s a good idea to have a core group of products that you use every day and then have others that you rotate through, depending on your skin’s needs. When you find the products and the system that makes your skin look amazing, use just those until your skin stops looking amazing. I am super loyal to my skincare products and hardly ever try new things because I my skin looks incredible, it took a while to find the perfect regimen, and why would I change a thing?

I think Korean women demand an enormous amount from their skin care products. If a product isn’t performing extremely well and giving amazing results, the Korean woman will replace it with something that does. As such their products are extremely high performance.

American women tend to make their purchasing decisions based upon whichever celebrity is endorsing a product line, and don’t have such high expectations for their skin care products. If your skin isn’t looking amazing then you need to make some changes in the products you are using. You work far too hard to be wasting your hard earned money on products that don’t perform for you!

I hope you found this post helpful, and will try out some of these items next time you feel your skin needs some extra lovin!

If you have skincare products that you absolutely love, please tell us about them in the comment section below.

xo

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