News / esthetician

Is it Peel Time?

Captain's Log 5.28.13

Recently encountered a peel dilemma:  it's almost summer & my hyperpigmentation (dark spots) is really starting to show. 

To peel or not to peel. 

More sun on recently peeled skin will make the spots worse and may even create new sunburn damage.  Microdermabrasion would have a similar result.  Hmm.

  • First line of defense, antioxidants Antioxidants scavenge free radicals, helping to prevent skin cancer.  I use SkinCeuticals antioxidants and carry the whole line at Urbaca.  Phloretin CF protects and lightens, if I'm feeling dry or I got a little too much sun, I'll use C+E Ferulic.  These two antioxidants consistently win Best Of awards and numerous dermatologists use and recommend them.  They are spendy, but at their Professionals-Only classes, we were taught the Vitamin C retains a well in your skin for up to 3 days, which means you don't have to use it every day to get the antioxidant benefits.  Of course, if you want maximum effect--especially using Phloretin CF to lighten hyperpigmentation--you'd use it every day.
  • Sunscreen.  Just because you're using antioxidants to protect from UVA (aging rays) damage, you'll still need protection from UVB (burning rays).  Yes, every day.  Yes, even though we live in Portland. 
  • Peel.  Here's the plan, do a PCA light Jessner's peel without hydroquinone, don't max it out, just a couple of layers.  No hydroquinone because the FDA stated that hydroquinone cannot be ruled out as a potential carcinogen.  For upkeep I will alternate between the Rose City Mask and PCA's Oxygenating Trio Treatment, they're both quick and painless.

Game on, Summer.

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Dangers of Sulfates

A common ingredient in personal care products is raising health questions for researchers in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and Japan--namely sodium lauryl sulfate, also known as sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS), sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), and sodium laurel sulfate (SLS). 

Present in numerous commercial shampoos, sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent researchers have known for years as a skin irritant.  It also has a tendency to react with other ingredients to form NDELA, a potent carcinogen, that when used in shampoo can lead to its absorption into the body.

SLS damages skin barrier function, enhancing allergic response to other toxins and allergens.  It also damages and alters skin cells, increasing irritant reactions in all skin types, but particularly those with seborrhea, eczema and fair skin.  It may be responsible for the widespread incidence of thinning hair and hair loss in men and women.  Caustic SLS corrodes the hair follicle, causing significant decline in hair growth.

Why is Okamura Farmacopia SULFATE FREE?  Avoiding contact with this cell killing chemical sounds good to us!

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Are Parabens Safe in Cosmetics?

Parabens are commonly used preservatives in personal care products. In 1998, studies in rats showed that parabens had estrogenlike properties and in a study of 20 subjects, Dr Philippa Darbre, Reader in Oncology at Reading University, made the link between parabens and breast cancer.  Researchers themselves noted that the study was small, and if anything, pointed to the need for more research.  An avalanche of media attention ensued, questioning whether parabens contribute to the formation of cancerous cells.

Parabens are found in everyday items such as soybeans, carrots, peanuts, corn, strawberries, blueberries, black tea and green tea.  Parabens in cosmetics are 100,000 times weaker than the estrogen naturally produced by the body. 

Consumer groups and environmental organizations have questioned current research attesting to the safety of parabens in cosmetics.  Only controlled, objective, double-blind research into paraben safety will end the debate--and has yet to be published.

  • Based on its research findings, The American Cancer Society (ACS) has concluded that there is not good science to support a claim that the use of parabens in cosmetics can increase an individual’s risk of developing breast cancer.
  • The FDA. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that parabens are safe for use in cosmetics, and it also says that, based on the weight of all the current scientific evidence, there is no reason for consumers to be concerned about the use of products containing parabens.
  • The CIR. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an organization that reviews and assesses the safety of ingredients used in cosmetics in an open, unbiased and expert manner, consolidated more than 265 studies in The Journal of Toxicology that noted a women’s daily cosmetic regimen using products that contain parabens caused no adverse reproductive effects and confirmed the safety of parabens.

Why is Okamura Farmacopia Paraben free?

As a working Licensed Esthetician, I have my hands in products all day long and the less chemical exposure, the better.  If you've ever had a mammogram, you know the quest for healthy breast tissue!  Findings may be inconclusive, but until I am satisfied that parabens are 100% safe, I will seek out other options.

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Welcome to Okamura Farmacopia!

I became a licensed esthetician 2005 and six months later began work at Urbaca Salon in Portland, Oregon.  With a passion for more natural, results-oriented skin care, I am honored to interact with extraordinary people on a daily basis.  From wonderful coworkers to pillars of Portland industry, curious tourists and beyond!  It's a hoot.
In 2009 I trained in the American Cancer Society's Look Good Feel Better program.
In 2011 they found a lump in my right breast but fortunately, with continued monitoring, it is not cancerous.  
Making educated decisions about product ingredients intensified and continues.

In the summer of 2011 I launched Okamura Farmacopia: paraben, sulfate and cruelty free skin care for all.
I hope you enjoy these products and am always open to your feedback!
Thank you for reading!

Sherry Okamura
Licensed Esthetician

Contact me directly at Urbaca Salon
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