Living Well Blog: Saratoga's Holistic Health Forum

Skin Care Product and Treatment Part IV: It's What's Inside that Counts



Finding the right product for your skin can be boiled down to one word:  ingredients.

So, you've got the product in your hand.  The packaging is lovely and the name is catchy, but the truly important part is what's inside.

So, let's talk about those ingredients.  I believe that the key question here is:  What's necessary?

In my opinion, the only ingredients needed are those that are critical to the benefit of the user and the product itself.  This includes active ingredients (the elements that make the product work), and those that are needed to make the product behave correctly to ensure its efficacy and shelf life.  Sometimes, those particular ingredients are what we call "preservatives."

Being a holistic, integrative practitioner, I like to use products that contain natural preservatives.  Some preservatives, i.e. parabens (like ethylparaben and methylparaben) have been a buzz word for some time and their health safety is questionable.   Personally, I prefer product that does not contain synthetic ingredients like parabens, petroleum based chemicals, "fragrance" or dyes.  There are natural and/or organic alternatives for all of these additives: for example, the use of essential oils instead of synthetic fragrances.

So, find the list of ingredients on the product label.  Is it three inches long in tiny type?  Does it contain words that you might have trouble pronouncing?  Odds are, those are chemical additives.  So, how do you know what's what? 

You can take notes and do some research or, alternatively, you can enlist the aid of a dedicated skin care professional (an aesthetician) who can help you decipher the list and make recommendations based upon your skin type.  In my practice, I research and test all new products before I use them on or sell them to others.  (Yes, this is what I call fun!)

This is one of the benefits of working with the help of a skin care professional that you trust.  You can rely on this person to do the footwork for you.

Now, here's an interesting tidbit:  Some of us choose to use natural or organic products.  That's great!  However, here's the difficulty:  Sometimes we think that just by virtue of a product being located at the health food store makes it a good and healthy product.  Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  There have been times that I've discovered inappropriate ingredients in such products.  It's not that the ingredient isn't healthy -- it's that it might not be beneficial for the skin type.  For example:  witch hazel, which can be drying, in products for dry skin.  So, it's no wonder that the product wouldn't work correctly, but what happens when people self treat is that they will then oftentimes blame the resulting problem and failure on their own skin.  This is another area where consulting someone who can offer suggestions based upon your particular complexion helps. 

In summation:  ingredients are vitally important to what's healthy and effective for your skincare and should be suited to your individual needs.

Stay tuned for Part V, which will help you find your skincare match!

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Reisa Mehlman

As a New York State Licensed Aesthetician, New York State Licensed Nail Specialist, and the Director of Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa, Reisa combines her love of spa services and healing arts to achieve optimum skin and nail health, create greater overall wellness and bring forth our optimal, individual beauty.

"I believe that the day spa should be an instant getaway; a place that is quiet without being stuffy, relaxed, elegant and yet entirely comfy. You should feel warm and welcome, surrounded by people who care about you and what they are doing. This is the environment we strive to create at Living Well Healing Arts Center & Spa. Here, you are never just the "next" number; we allow ample time for your services, offer a flexible schedule and can be reached after hours. After all, to me, spa craft is not really a business, it's a lifestyle." Read more...

About Dr. Sarah Lobisco

Dr. LoBisco has been in holistic healthcare for over 10 years. She became interested in holistic medicine when she was able to heal two herniated discs through nutrition, yoga, supplementation, and chiropractic. She has mentored with holistic practices throughout New York, Vermont, and Connecticut. In addition to her Naturopathic and Functional Medical training, Dr. LoBisco has extensive training in a variety of healing modalities, including therapeutic essential oils, nutraceuticals, herbs, whole food supplements, nutritional medicine, and mind-body therapies. She is a graduate of the accredited, four year post-graduate program in Naturopathic Medicine at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. This program includes clinical rotations and a demanding scientific curriculum in integrating conventional and natural medicine. Dr. LoBisco holds her license from the state of Vermont.

Dr. LoBisco is a candidate for certification in Functional Medicine through the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM). Dr. LoBisco is also certified in Applied Kinesiology and holds a BA in psychology from SUNY Geneseo. She has contributed as an item writer for the North American Board of Naturopathic Examiners (NABNE)and has several articles that have been published in the Naturopathic Doctor News and Review Digest (NDNR) and the Townsend Letter, both physician- based journals. Dr. LoBisco is also a hired speaker on integrative medical topics for medical professionals.

Dr. LoBisco currently incorporates her training in holistic medical practices and conventional medicine through writing, researching, private practice, and through her independent contracting work for companies regarding supplements, nutraceuticals, essential oils, and medical foods. She has a small, private wellness consultation practice through telephone and Skype. Dr. LoBisco also enjoys continuing to educate and empower her readers through her blogs and social media. Her upcoming book, BreakFree Medicine, is set to release within the next year. Please inquire here for more specific information.