My new Italian Collection is inspired by my love of Capri, and the regional cuisine played an important role in product formulation. One of the ingredients I’m most excited about in my new Olio per il Corpo is tomato extract. Tomatoes are heavily featured in Capri’s foods and are an abundant source of a powerhouse antioxidant called lycopene.
Lycopene can only be absorbed from outside sources, since your body doesn’t produce its own. When eaten, it gets distributed throughout the body but most winds up in organs such as the liver. Very little dietary lycopene actually reaches the skin. Fortunately, lycopene’s small molecular size and lipid-solubility mean that it can be readily absorbed through skin—especially in an oil base such as Olio per il Corpo.
When used on skin, lycopene’s antioxidant properties protect against free radical damage caused by pollution, smoke, alcohol, and other environmental factors. It also inhibits an enzyme responsible for collagen breakdown, so using lycopene-rich products can help maintain smooth, youthful skin. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory qualities help soothe sensitive skin.
Most notably, lycopene also has a natural resistance to UV radiation. The same attributes that keep the tomato plant from getting scorched in the sun can also help you avoid sunspots and uneven skin tone. It doesn’t provide sufficient protection on its own, but it’s a great companion to regular SPF usage and helps further prevent signs of sun-induced damage.
I’m incredibly proud of my new Italian Collection products, and I hope you enjoy the Olio per il Corpo just a little bit more knowing the inspiration behind it. I look forward to sharing more Italian Collection launches with you in the near future!
I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of DIY skincare. In the zeitgeist of Pinterest, DIY skincare recipes were a dime a dozen and often featured risky ingredients like undiluted lemon or lime juice. As a general rule, I wouldn’t recommend making DIY cleansers or DIY leave-on products such as serums or moisturizers—especially homemade SPF products. It’s virtually impossible to ensure the proper dispersion of SPF actives in a homemade base, which leads to uneven protection. For this and countless other reasons related to safety and efficacy, no one should attempt to make SPF at home. Full stop.
Masks, however, don’t carry the same doom-and-gloom consequences. They’re a great way to experiment with DIY skincare. Mixing your own mask feels fun and experimental, plus it allows you to customize the proportion of ingredients to suit your own needs. In the winter months, I like a mask that adds some much-needed moisture and gentle exfoliation. It helps alleviate winter dryness and lends a glow to tired, dull skin. For one of my favorite recipes, I mix the following ingredients in a small bowl:
5 Tbsp full-fat Greek yogurt
2 tsp honey
1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
Optional: add 5-6 drops of facial oil or Hydrate facial serum
The yogurt base features lactic acid for gentle exfoliation, plus the fat content helps protect the skin from moisture loss. Honey is a strong humectant for plump, hydrated skin and has fantastic anti-microbial properties. Finally, the enzymatic action from the pumpkin puree enhances the mask’s exfoliating effects and packs a powerful antioxidant punch. Pumpkin is a fantastic source of beta-carotene, along with skin-loving vitamins A, C, and E.
This simple, three-ingredient mask makes a wonderful weekly treatment on its own, but you can also enhance it with your preferred skincare products. I like adding 5-6 drops of facial oil for more emollient moisture when my skin is extra-dry. Alternatively, if I want something a bit lighter that leaves my skin bouncy and hydrated, I might swap that oil out for some Hydrate Facial Serum. These steps are completely optional and can be tailored to your preferences.
Once I’ve mixed the mask to my liking, I apply the concoction in a thin, even layer and wash it off after 15 minutes. Simple as that!
I frequently receive questions about sensitivity, and about rosacea in particular. Quite a few of my facial clients believe that they have rosacea and are surprised to learn that they don’t actually exhibit the signs of “true” rosacea. Regardless of labels, plenty of advice for managing rosacea can still help neutralize their intensely sensitive skin.
Rosacea is a blanket term that can apply to three different sets of skin issues:
Papulopustular rosacea. Also called acneiform rosacea, this is what Nerida Joy and I refer to in this video as “true” or typical rosacea. It’s the classic archetype for rosacea—redness, sensitivity to heat and touch, and it most notably includes the presence of acne-like papules or pustules.
Phymatous rosacea. This form of rosacea is characterized by thickened skin with a bumpy texture, most commonly affecting the nose. It is often accompanied by redness and sensitivity.
Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea. This is by far the most prevalent form, and many estheticians would refer to this as couperose skin rather than rosacea. Redness, broken blood vessels, sensitivity, and dryness are all emblematic of couperose skin.
For all three of these types (and for extreme sensitivity concerns in general), symptom management suggestions often include some pretty draconian lifestyle changes.You may be told to avoid spicy food, dark chocolate, alcohol, coffee, and cheese in your diet. Strenuous exercise is also off the table. Weather is another contributing factor, and lists of triggers commonly specify hot temperatures, cold or blustery days, sunlight, and wind as major no-nos.
If you let these lists dictate your behaviors, you’d be a hermit. Personally, any lifestyle changes that keep me from enjoying an occasional martini and a warm, sunny day at the beach would be unsustainable. So what meaningful changes can you make to limit skin sensitivity without sucking the joy out of your life?
First, I’d recommend turning down the temperature of your showers. I find it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that people with redness or sensitivity issues love extreme heat. You can still enjoy a relaxing warm shower, but it doesn’t need to be scalding hot.
Additionally, you may want to choose a gentler washcloth, since the extra manual exfoliation from a nubby, textured facial cloth can be too much for sensitive skin. Consider a plush microfiber cloth instead.
I also suggest being mindful of strong actives in your skincare. Those with papulopustular rosacea may be tempted to adopt new acids and other anti-acne products in their routine, but adding too much (or using too frequently) can further irritate skin and exacerbate sensitivities. In general, I believe people use too many high-strength products. I’m fan of thoughtfully edited skincare, but I’m an even bigger fan of living a joy-filled life. If talking to your doctor about adding a topical treatment to control rosacea allows you to enjoy a glass of wine or a hot yoga class once in a while without turning into a tomato, I’m all for it.
Lastly, reflect on your stressors. I frequently say that skin is the external nervous system. If you are experiencing stress or lack of sleep, your skin will mirror that irritation externally. Any steps you can take toward stress management will have a positive impact on your skin. When you feel good, you look good!
P.S. As a gentle reminder: prescriptions, treatment plans, and diagnosis do not fall under an esthetician’s purview. I’m happy to talk about skincare options for a variety of concerns, but medical conditions (including rosacea) are a subject best discussed with your physician or dermatologist.