Dealing with Acne During Pregnancy

The body goes through many changes during pregnancy and although we may think the days of having to deal with acne are long gone, it can once again rear its ugly head. The culprit-increased hormone levels can also cause hyper-pigmentation.

Before you try to zap those zits, it’s important to know what is safe to use and what isn’t. Some medications have been linked to complications during pregnancy and birth defects. It’s always best to consult your doctor before starting any kind of acne treatment.

In doing research for this posts, there were certain medications that all sources agreed were NOT safe. So let’s cover those first...

Medications to Avoid

Retinoids which includes:

  • Differin (Adapalene)
  • Retin-A, Renova (Tretinoin)
  • Retinoic Acid
  • Retinol
  • Retinyl Linoleate
  • Retinyl Palmitate
  • Tazorac, Avage (Tazarotene)


  • Accutane (Isotretinoin)
  • Tetracycline
  • Doxycycline
  • Minocycline

Hormonal Therapy

  • Estrogen
  • Flutamide
  • Spironolactone

I found differing opinions on Salicylic Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA), which I would translate as avoid if possible. In its oral form, studies have shown it causes birth defects and various complications during pregnancy. However, dermatologist Sandra Marchese Johnson stated in an article posted on, “small amounts applied to the skin-such as a salicylic acid-containing toner used once or twice a day-are considered safe”. Remember, the longer it sits on your skin the more opportunity it has to seep into the bloodstream.

Benzoyl Peroxide is another ingredient I found conflicting opinions on. At it says that there’s been little research on the safety of its use during pregnancy, but problems have not been reported. At, it says products containing benzoyl peroxide appear to be safe. Dr. Brandith Irwin at recommends avoiding this medication during pregnancy. The bottom line, appears to be safe, however there are really no studies to back this general consensus.

You’ll want to be careful of any product you put on your skin, not just acne medications. Products like sunscreen and even skin care products in general can have many harmful chemicals in them. Be sure to read my post, “Top 10 Toxic Ingredients in Your Beauty Products” and “Sunscreen What You Need to Know”.

Medications for Rosacea

Metronidazole is prescribed for rosacea and studies done on animals did not show fetal damage, however it does cross the placental barrier. According to the FDA, it should not be used in the first trimester. See above for any acne medications (which may be prescribed for acne) that you stay away from.

Now let’s look at which treatments are considered safe to use during pregnancy…

Safe to Use

  • Erythromycin (Erygel)
  • Clindamycin (Cleocin T, Clindagel)
  • Azelaic Acid (Azelex, Finacea)

Safe for Hyperpigmentation

  • Kojic Acid
  • Mandelic Acid

Generally you want to avoid over cleansing because this can overstimulate the skin’s oil glands, use a gentle non-abrasive cleanser and don’t pick or pop your pimples. Of course, you can always come and see me for a facial and I’ll help to get your skin back on track.

How to Determine the Quality of a Makeup Brush

Whether you choose natural or synthetic brushes, it is all about the bristles. To determine the quality of a makeup brush, you need to look at the bristles.

Makeup brushes contain three parts: the bristles; the handle; and the ferrule, which is the metal piece that attaches the bristles to the handle. The bristles will be made from either natural animal hair or synthetic fibers.

Natural bristles

Sable, squirrel, goat, pony and badger are animals from which the natural bristles of makeup brushes derive. Sable is the most expensive of natural hairs and usually considered the softest. Squirrel hair is a close second. Goat and pony hair come next. Both offer a soft bristle but without the luxurious feel of sable or squirrel. Since badger hair is coarsest, bristles made from it are less pliable than those of other natural hair. Badger bristles work best when brushing brow liner.

Top-quality natural bristle brushes will have first-cut or virgin hairs. This hair is sheared from only the fine-tipped points of fur. Second-cut hairs will be blunter than and not as soft as first-cut hairs. 

Synthetic bristles

Man-made or synthetic fiber bristles are manufactured from nylon or taklon.

These fibers are often treated, which softens the bristles. Taklon bristles are also hypoallergenic, making them a good choice for anyone who suffers from skin sensitivity or allergies.

The basic benefit of natural bristles is that this type of makeup brush holds onto powders more efficiently, providing a flawless finish. Synthetic bristles work better with creams and in general are much easier to clean and maintain. The synthetic bristles absorb less pigment from the makeup, ensuring that the bristles do not discolor as quickly as natural bristles do. In addition, synthetic bristles are preferred by animal lovers who wish to own only vegan makeup tools.

Brush maintenance

Whether you choose natural or synthetic makeup brushes, it is essential to clean them properly. The basic rule is any brush that is used daily should be cleaned weekly. Brushes used with creams or liquids will need to be cleaned more frequently than those used with powdered cosmetics.

Baby shampoo in warm water works fine for natural or synthetic bristles. Always rinse the soap thoroughly from the brush, but do not submerge it into the water. When drying the brush, never stand it upright. Keep it angled so that the water does not seep into the ferrule. Always keep your makeup brushes in their own case to maintain their best quality.


Now Accepting Bitcoin

It's official: Wax Haus and Skin accepts bitcoin.  

Watch this short video to get a grasp of how this awesome technology works. 

Bitcoin for Beginners:

What is Bitcoin?

  1. Bitcoin is a payment network, and a currency used on that network.
  2. Bitcoin is controlled by no central party/Bank.
  3. The number of bitcoins that will ever be created is 21 million. This means the value of bitcoin will increase with time because no one can create more bitcoins, ever. 


What your acne may be telling you

Acne, being the most common skin condition in the U.S., one would think it’d be easier to deal with and overcome. Yet, despite all the information and treatments available, some may find that the right solution remains just out of reach. What’s up with that?!

The cause of acne according to the American Academy of Acne is straightforward enough: Pores get clogged with dead skin cells and oil, which then attracts bacteria and causes the pore to become red and swollen. So, if that’s the case, just scrub and squeeze the heck out of those pores and all should be good, right?

Just writing that makes me cringe! Luckily, we all know better by now. Scrubbing, over cleansing, poking and prodding all irritate the skin more and can cause more sebum (oil) to be produced, making the situation even worse.

Acne can be triggered by many factors, including: hormones, stress, genetics, diet and certain medications. This makes it harder to get to the root cause of the breakouts.

Searching for an answer, some acne sufferers have gone back, way back...about 3,000 years to a traditional chinese medical practice called Face Mapping. This refers to a diagnostic tool which consists of mapping out the face into zones. Each zone then correlates to certain organs of the body. The following table breaks it down:

Area of the Face Organs Affected Possible Solutions
Middle of forehead Small Intestine Drink lots of water, get 8 hours of sleep, reduce refined sugar, reduce carbonated beverages, reduce stress
Temples Liver Reduce processed foods and unhealthy fat intake, eat cooling foods like cucumber
Between the Brows Heart Exercise-but nothing too strenuous, avoid alcohol and smoking, eat lighter foods
Nose Gastrointestinal Exercise everyday, eat less meat and salt
Left Cheek/Right Cheek Liver/Lungs respectively Left Cheek: Less junk food, be sure you’re sleeping 1-3am, eat more cooling foods, Right Cheek: Get more fresh air, less junk food, Avoid mango, taro root, wine and seafood
Chin Gynecological Areas Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, check hormones for imbalance, reduce stress, drink spearmint tea
Lip Stomach and Intestines Eat more fiber, fresh fruit and vegetables, eat less spicy and fried food

You may be skeptical, but if you’ve had a hard time finding the right solution, it’s worth checking out. Remember, your skin is the largest organ of the body, so it makes sense that breakouts can be a symptom of something deeper going on.

As boring as it may sound, going back to the basics of proper nutrition, sleep, getting plenty of water and exercise is always a good place to start.

I’m always here to help...Click here if you’d like to schedule an Acne Fighting facial - it’s gentle, anti-inflammatory and healing.


Keeping your Skin Hydrated

The heat is on for all of us San Diego Waxing and Facial fans! This means our bodies will dehydrate faster and our skin will show the drying effects of a dull and wrinkled complexion. And just because your skin is dry doesn't mean you don’t have to worry about breaking out. Actually, it could trigger your body to produce more oil, increasing the likelihood of congestion and breakouts.

My first suggestion is an obvious one, however surprisingly ignored by many people, which is -drinking enough water. The skin being the largest organ of the body not to mention one of the first things people notice when they look at us, gives us an excellent reason to take proper care of it. The dull complexion I mentioned above occurs when the stratum corneum, the top layer of skin, becomes overcome by dead skin cells because of the lack of moisture.

A good rule of thumb for water intake is this: take your body weight, divide it in half and that is the amount of water in ounces you should be getting everyday.

So, get yourself a water bottle which is marked with measurements and keep that with you all day, so you know exactly how much water you've taken in. If you’re a coffee lover like I am, it’s even more crucial to increase your water intake. Coffee is a diuretic, which means you’ll have more trips to the bathroom releasing the liquids you've taken in.

Now that we've talked about hydrating on the inside, let’s look at hydrating on the outside with oil, humectants and occlusives (oh my!).

For those prone to acne and congestion, you may cringe when I talk about applying oil to the face. Some of you in fact work very hard to scrub away all that oil. Actually, this is often counter productive because you are signaling the skin to produce more oil and interestingly enough, studies have shown that acne sufferers are deficient in essential fatty acids.

Oil is classified as an occlusive which means it locks moisture into the skin. If you’re prone to breakouts, I’d suggest using light oils such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil. Applying them after a bath or shower is best. Other natural occlusive's include shea butter, cocoa butter and squalene which is derived from olives.

Humectants attract and hold on to water. They work by pulling moisture up from the dermis into the epidermis. Some popular humectants are glycerin, honey and hyaluronic acid. The latter, can attract and hold on to 1,000 times its weight in water which can definitely give you a glowing and supple complexion. Hyaluronic acid occurs naturally in the body-it’s what gives the skin a plump and supple appearance, but diminishes with age. Glycerin is commonly found in skin care products, but can also be purchased as a stand alone ingredient.

The dry San Diego weather definitely makes it hard to stay hydrated, but follow my suggestions and you’ll find your skin glowing and radiant in no time. Remember to drink lots of water, don’t over wash or exfoliate and find a moisturizer with both a humectant and an occlusive.

Why not get a jump start and come in for a Glycolic or Lactic Peel or a Fruit Enzyme Treatment which will gently exfoliate dead skin cells and impurities.

5 Tricks and Treatments for your summer skincare regimen

With all of this summer like weather we’re having in San Diego, it’s a good preview of what we have in store for the upcoming months. Sun, sun and more sun-it’s good for the soul, but not so good for the body. Breakouts, hyperpigmentation, sunburns, dehydration, etc. can all wreak havoc on our skin.

There’s one great solution for a vampire. Yes, stay inside all day and only come out at night. Ok, so that’s pretty much not going to happen, right? I mean we all live here in San Diego for a reason and the weather is a big part of it. So, of course you want to enjoy the sun, but we need to protect our skin as much as possible. This means applying sunscreen (read my post on sunscreen if you haven’t already), wearing a hat and protective clothing and yes, staying out of the sun as much as possible.

Getting a facial in San Diego is very important because it can help repair and replenish sun damaged skin. Your skincare regimen at home also plays a vital role and besides your daily routine, you can add in a special treatment every so often.

Here are 5 tricks and treatments you can add to your summer skincare regimen:

1. Chill Out with Ice

  • Prime skin: Before applying foundation, rub an ice cube all over your face, focusing on areas with large pores to create an extra smooth complexion
  • Shrink a zit: put ice in a plastic baggie and place on area for 5-10 minutes to decrease inflammation and redness

2. Exfoliating Papaya Mask

  • Papaya contains the enzyme papain which digests the keratin protein build up on the surface of the skin without causing excessive heat or inflammation
  • Simply mash up the papaya and add honey or yogurt, spread all over face and leave on for 10-15 minutes, rinse with warm water and end with a splash of cold water

3. Banana Mask for Oily Skin

  • Mash up 1 banana, add 2 TBSP honey and a few drops of juice from a lemon or orange. Apply all over face or to the oily areas (most likely the T-zone) and leave for 10-15 minutes. Remove with a warm washcloth.

4. Acne Basil Toner

  • Crush up 3 TBSP of dried basil leaves and mix into 1 cup of boiling water. Once cooled, strain out the leaves and put into spray bottle. Spritz face and use a cotton ball to spread gently around face

5. Sunburn Treatment

  • Soak a cloth in a bowl with equal parts milk, water and ice cubes and hold the cloth on the burned area for 5 minutes

Now that you have 5 more tricks in your summer skin care arsenal, you can go out and enjoy your day. As always, your friendly San Diego esthetician is here to help. Let me know if you have any questions or click here if you’d like to schedule an appointment online.

Sunscreen: What you need to know

It’s only the end of April, but here in sunny San Diego it feels a lot like summer. And with the hot weather comes more outdoor activities; barbecues, beach parties, exercise, etc. At this point, everybody knows the dangers of long term unprotected sun exposure, but there may still be some lingering questions or misunderstandings. With so many different sunscreens to choose from, it’s hard to know what to look for.

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Caring for your skin

As we age, our skin will go through many changes. From oily and pimply to fine lines, wrinkles and age spots. To keep our skin in top shape we need to periodically reassess our skin and act accordingly. We’ll get into that later.

First, I want to talk about the universal rules we could all follow-you know, do this, don’t do that. Now, I’m not trying to sound like your mama, but who couldn’t use a little reminder every now and then. Paying attention to these little tips can go a long way in your skincare regimen. These tips are in addition to the common ones that we all know, such as, wearing sunscreen, getting enough sleep, etc.

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Top 10 Toxic Ingredients in Your Beauty Products

If you bother to look at the ingredients in your beauty products, you’ll see a lot of big and seemingly impossible to pronounce words. Polyethyl-something, phenyl-whatever, dibutyl-huh? And pthalates? Who knew a silent “P” ever existed.

It can be overwhelming to say the least. Enough so that most of us shrug our shoulders and trust the powers that be, that if it were unsafe it wouldn’t be allowed in consumer products. Right? Wrong. Would you believe that many of these chemicals are also found in industrial products, such as pesticides, degreasers, paint and concrete?

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Make Up tips and Tricks

Makeup (depending on how it’s done) can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With so much information out there, it’s hard to know who you can trust. Well, as your friendly and trusted skin care professional, let me guide your way.

As a beauty professional and makeup artist, I’ve learned a trick or two along the way. Before we get into it, let’s see how much you know about makeup.

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