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                                                                                                                   Indian Springs MudBath
                                                                                          My Favorate Spa Treatment 

Heaven on Earth is the only way to discribe an Indian Springs Mudbath!

Indian Springs Calistoga mud and mineral baths are known for their special qualities. The vein of volcanic ash found on the Calistoga property is
the source of 100 percent pure ash that is use in their mud baths, a rarity among all spa treatments. The mud ash is mine on-site, hand-sift and mix in mineral water from their thermal geysers, creating the most heavenly mud. 

If you visit Napa Valley a Mudbath is a Must 

                                                                         The Sun & Your Skin

                                                                                                         Featured Article in (Insideout Magazine)
                                                                                                                                        Written By Cheryl Atkins LE

In my esthetic practice, the number one question I'm always asked is, "What should I use on my skin?"
My answer is always the same; sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen.

Unfortunately, 65% of the time I'm met with a wrinkled nose and excuses like, "I like to lay out in the sun, It makes me feel good," "I love being tan" or "It's makes me look healthy." I just cringe, knowing a tan is anything but healthy.

The sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays have the biggest impact on how our skin ages. Roughly 80 to 85 percent of our skin damage is sun-related.

UVA rays, known as "aging rays," account for 90 to 95 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays that reach the earth's surface. These rays deteriorate the skin, weakening collagen and elastin fibers causing sagging and wrinkling in the tissues.

UVB rays, known as 'burning rays," cause tanning of the skin by stimulating melanocytes, the cells of the epidermis that make melanin. Melanin is designed to help protect the skin from UV rays. When skin is exposed to the sun, melanin is transported to the cells that move up to the skin's surface. In reality, your tan is your body trying to protect itself from external damage by absorbing and blocking UV rays. Sun exposure is also the biggest cause of pigmentation disorders of the skin, such as age spots, solar lentigenes, freckles, liver spots, sun spots, white colorless areas, dilated capillaries and sometimes even acne breakouts.

When mixed with unprotected sun exposure, photo-sensitive drugs can cause a phototoxic reaction of the skin that can be mild to severe and sometimes permanently disfiguring. I had this happen to me when I was using Ibuprofen after an accident. It stated out as six small, round, red spots on my chest. Within weeks it spread into a V-shape on my chest and up my neck. I looked like a burn victim. I was one of the unlucky ones who had a severe reaction to medication and unprotected sun exposure. Mind you, I was not laying out in the sun. That was just from daily life travels and not putting on sunscreen on my neck and chest, I have had to endure several V-Beam laser treatments to repair the damage. Who would have known an over-the-counter drug would have caused such horrific damage to my skin?

I've saved the worst for last. Repeated unprotected sun exposure, whether natural or artificial from tanning beds , can cause skin cancer. Which comes in three forms.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common and the least severe. It often appears as light, pearly skin irregularities.

Squamous cell carcinoma is more severe than basal cell. It often appears as scaly red skin irregularities.

The most serious form of skin cancer is Malignant melanoma. It can appear as a black or dark patch on the skin, usually uneven in texture, jagged or raised. It is not always found on areas exposed to sunlight. I wish I would have known the effects of skin exposure 30-some years ago, when my grandma yelled out the sliding glass door, "Cheryl Ann get out of that sun! You're going to get skin cancer!" As I was rolling over to bake the other side, I yelled back, "Grandma, I'm not going to get skin cancer!" I was young and wanted that healthy glow to my skin.

Four years ago, I was diagnosed with malignant melanoma on my back and I have the horrific scar to prove it. The funny thing about it is, I went to two different doctors with the suspicion that it was skin cancer and both doctors told me not to worry about that little mole. I insisted that mole be cut out, and sure enough it was malignant melanoma. I saved my own life by listening to my own instincts. All doctors should rely on the saying of, "when in doubt, cut it out."

Startling Statistics

Death from skin cancer occurs at the rate of one death per hour in the US. Skin cancer kills more women in their late 20s and early 30s than breast cancer. Three percent of childhood cancers are skin cancers. If you are laying in a tanning bed your chances of developing malignant melanoma increase 55 percent over natural sun light.

Lifesaving advice

Make an appointment for a mole check with an experienced doctor, preferable a dermatologist.

Start mole checks with your kids as early as age 13, then continue them every year after that.

Make sure your doctor does a thorough check, including looking through your hair, on your scalp, under your nails, in between your fingers and toes and the bottom of your feet.

Do self-exams between doctor visits.

                                                          Taking Skin Health to the Next Level:
                                                                   Freezer, Fillers and Lasers

Featured Article in 
                                                                                                                  (Napa Valley Market Place 
                                                                                                                    & Insideout Magazine)
                                                                                                              Written By Cheryl Atkins LE


Who says men are god's gift to woman? I say it's Botox, fillers and lasers. I was hitting my mid- 40s and was really starting to see the signs of aging: deep frown lines between my browlines on my upper lip and a deep fold from my mouth to my nose. Sure, skincare products helped, but when I'd lay off for a couple of weeks, the signs of aging would come right back.

Then came my first experience with Botox cosmetic. I was in San Francisco and had to have an emergency mole removel. After the procedure, the cosmetic dermatologist said, "Now that this is over, how about some Botox?" I wasn't sure, I'd thought of it before, but I was scared. The fact that it's a neuromuscular blocking agent that would paralyze my facial muscles, though temporarily, seemed very scary. I decided to do it anyway. All night I kept getting up to see if there was a hole eaten in my forehead. Not only was I okay, but with in 2 days my forehead was as smooth as a baby's bottom. Botox was in my life to stay.

A few months later, when I went in for my second Botox injection, my doctor asked if I was ready to try facial filler, since my first procedure was so successful I was ready. After a dental block to help with the pain, she injected my lips, including the lines above, and below and my mouth to nose lines. When I looked at my face in the mirror, I was mortified. I looked lika a platapus. My upper lip was swollen all the way up to my nose. My face was red and puffed-up. I had gone too far this time. But within a few days, the swelling and redness went away and I looked fabulous -10 years younger! It was totally worth those few ugly days. Facial fillers were in my life to stay.

As an ex-sun worshiper getting closer to the big 5-0, I wanted to bump it up a notch. So I decided to get laser resurfacing. Laser resurfacing is used to smooth wrinkles, acne scars, tighten skin and to lighten sun spots and age mards. It can also help in the removal of red birth mards, veins and other unsightly skin imperfactions. What a difference in the clarity of my skin! It is softer, smoother and the unsightly dark spots that refused to go away are almost gone. "Lasering" is definityely in my life to stay.

Now, some advice. When searching for a medical aesthetics professional really, really do your homework. Any medical practitioner can get their hands on the above products and equipment; but it doesn't mean they should use them. Go to a skilled professional that is really qualified in these procedures. I call my medical cosmetic professional an artist - she skillfully creates a vision of beauty through years of practice and education. She is in my life to stay.                                       

                                                                                                           Oxygen Therapy Facial
                                                                                                                                          Written by Cheryl Atkins LE

When Madonna strikes a pose, framing her gorgeous face. You have to wonder. How does this 53 years young, women, keep her flawless beauty? One of the treatments in her anti-aging arsenal is Oxygen Therapy.  So, why and what is Oxygen Therapy in skincare and how does it work?

Why Oxygen?
For our skin to function properly, it must have an abundant supply of oxygen. As we mature, the oxygen level in our skin declines. This reduction in oxygen can result in premature aging, impaired cells and hyperpigmentation or "liver spots/age spots". Without an abundance of oxygen, the skin does not breathe properly and begins to appear dull, discolored, wrinkled and lifeless.

What is Oxygen Therapy in Skincare?
Studies show that oxygen increases the performance of skin cells. Improved skin cells, will help enhance the production of collagen and elastin. As well as removes free radicals, reduces swelling and acts as an anti-inflammatory. Professional skincare treatments with pressurized oxygen, stimulates blood circulation and improving the skin's natural renewal process. Oxygen Therapy can also be called hypobaric. Hypobaric has been used for years in wound healing. You may recall Michael Jackson was known for sleeping in a hypobaric chamber, after; he was severely burn while filming a Pepsi commercial.  

How does Oxygen Therapy in Skincare work?
The theory of topical oxygen is based upon the idea that, oxygen increases skin cell metabolism. All cells must have oxygen for life. Typical oxygen improves the function of the skin and reduces recovery time. New skin rises up at an accelerated rate, as skin cell metabolism is boosted.
Oxygen concentrators used in skincare, provide oxygen with pressure. Pressure is what drives the application. A well functioning concentrator will produce 95% oxygen. This is critical, as the esthetic benefit is enhanced with higher purity of oxygen.

Universally studies agree that Oxygen Therapy promotes collagen synthesis, strengthens elastin, reduces swelling, removes free radicals, acts as an anti-inflammatory, provides positive benefits of wound healing and speeds up skins metabolism. All cells need oxygen for life. If you are ready to strike your own pose and add cutting-edge technology to your anti-aging arsenal. You may want to consider Oxygen Therapy, to create a smoother, plumper and a flawlessly beautiful you.  

 IPL Photofacial Rejuvenation
Featured Article in 
(Napa Valley Market Place)
  Written By Cheryl Atkins LE


As a skin health specialist, I'm often told I have beautiful skin.
After blushing, I'm always happy to share my secret Photofacial Skin Rejuvenation.

If you want to say good-bye to unsightly brown spots, rosacea, hyperpigmentation,
facial veins, acne, and more, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) maybe the answer for you.

        What is IPL? It is a laser-based device that uses filters to isolate specific wavelenghts
       of light that can help to improve skins appearance, as well as perform hair reduction.

     How dose IPL differerent from laser? IPL and laser are similar, but IPL spreads
the light over a much bigger area of the skin and allows for quicker treatments.

 How dose IPL work?

Intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the
       skin safely breading down the excess melanin, allowing hyperpigmentation to shed
   naturally, as well as collapsing and shrinking broken capillaries without damaging
the surrounding tissue.

  What else can IPL do? It evens skin tone, reduces reddness, refines skin texture,
      decreases pore size, as well as turns blotchy skin into a radiant, glowing complexion.
          IPL rejuvenation process provides the most skin-safe and effective photofacial available,
            with very little downtime. IPL appointments are quick and easy, allowing you
to return to your regular activities right away.

If you are looking for those beautiful skin blushing comments,
IPL Photofacial may be the answer for you.


                                                                                Amazing Eye Area                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Author Cheryl Atkins LE

If there is one area that you should start preserving in your early twenties, it's the delicate skin around the eyes.
The skin around this area is usually the first place your age starts showing first.

The eye area is 10 times thinner then the rest of the skin on your face. This area needs special treatment crèmes created especially
for this specific area.

In your early twenties, I would suggest eye crèmes with azulene, shea butter, sunflower oil, linden blossom, mushroom extract.

In your thirties, I would suggest eye crèmes with Shea butter, Arnica, Hyaluronic acid, GABA, Vitamin K, Mushroom extract,
Rosehip oil, Carrot Tissue oil.

Forties and up, I would suggest eye crèmes with Avocado Oil, Alpha Lipoic Acid, DMAE, Glycolic Acid, Vitamin C, Arnica Extract,
Mushroom extract, Shea butter, and Vitamin K.

People with oily skin or puffiness under eyes usually like eye coutour gels.These eye products usually contain, Aloe Vera, Cucumber, Allantoin, Panthenol, Bilberry. Arnica, Carrot Tissue, Eye coutour gels can be kept in the refrigerator for an extra soothing, cooling eye treatment.

Eye protection in the form of sunglasses is also good for anti-aging in the eye area. When your eyes are behind dark glasses, you are less likely to squint and crease the skin around your eyes.

Anything that increases water retention can make eyes puffy, therefore limit sodium-rich foods. Minimize fluid intake after dinner, especially alcohol. However make sure you drink enough water throughout the day as dehydration causes the body to store water as a defense system and this will add puffiness around eyes.

Resting with chilled cucumber slices on the eyes is a 10 to 15 min relaxing get away, and a perk up for the eye area.

Lastly, eye crèmes should be applied morning and evening consistently, to keep that eye area moist and looking amazing.



                                                                      Toner Trivia
                                                                                                                            Arther Cheryl Atkins LE

The need for a toner, even as an Esthetician was always a mystery to me. My thoughts was, why should I use a toner, to wipe down my face after I just cleansed it. Shouldn't my face wash or cleanser take off all my makeup as well as the dirt and debris from the day.
That extra toning step, just seemed like such a waist.

Until it was explained to me, like this. It's not what your face wash or cleanser is leaving behind. It's the hard water that's left on your skin after you've cleansed, that's the problem. Depending on whether your showering with hard well water or city seconds. Water can leave a harsh film on your skin, that can cause dryness and irritation.

If you have any drought, or have questions about how hard your water is or isn't. Do the water test. Splash some water, on the mirror in your bathroom. If it dries, leaving a hard film on the mirror. That's what is left behind on your skin after you clean. That's what a toner is taking off.

I have well water. I did the mirror test. I'm now using a toner. The funny thing is. I really do feel like my serums and cremes are penetrating better now that I'm using a toner. Who would have known, just using a toner would have bumped up my skin care regiment.

Toners come in different categories. Toners, Tonic Lotions, Fresheners and Astringents all are essentially the same type of products.
Sometimes the terms are used interchangeable, even though the products have different properties.

Tonic lotions, very in strength and alcohol content. Some help restore the pH balance of the skin after cleansing or treatments.

Freshener, often have the lowest alcohol content (0 to 4 percent) and are beneficial for dry and mature skin as well as sensitive.

Toners, usually have an alcohol content of (4 to 15 percent) and are designed for use on normal and combination skin.

Astringents, may have an alcohol content of up to 35 percent and are used for oily and acne-prone skin. They can remove excess oil on the skin, but some are too drying and can cause more harm then good.

Lastly, sometimes I like to use a toner in the middle of the day for a quick pick me up, especially on those when I'm active outdoors. 

                                                                                                        Who Needs Them
                                                                                                            Written by Cheryl Atkins LE

Who hasn't woke-up the morning of a big event with a big fat zit on their cheek, nose or in the middle of their forehead.

Your next thought, "Oh No Not Today."
And, "Where did that thing come from?"

Answer: It came from a sebaceous gland, a gland situated at the root of the hair follicle in the dermis. These glands secrete oil, that can become clogged with dead skin cells and other debris becoming trapped, creating a plug that blocks the hair follicle. Which then fills with a waxy bacteria that forms an impaction plug. Next, a proliferation of cells accumulate in the impacted follicle, resulting in a inflammatory lesion.

If the break is close to the surface of the skin, a pustule results, if it is deeper, a nodule forms. In some cases, a membrane entraps the infection and a cyst forms.

To treat break-outs you have to deal with the three main factors oil, bacteria and enclosure.

Knowledge is key to treating break-outs and keeping them under control.

1. Try to stay stress free, stress release hormones that case break-outs
2. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle, this is key
3. Drink plenty of water, stay hydrated
4. Eat whole foods such as fresh fruits and veggies, for over-all good health
5. Nutritional supplements, a must, I use Andrew Lessman Vitamins
6. No picking and squeezing, this only worsens the problem
7. No over washing or scrubbing of the skin, as it can exacerbates break-outs
8. Keep pillow cases clean, even if you have to change them daily
9. Avoid using laundry products with perfumes and dyes.
    (All free Clear and Bounce free fabric softener)
10. Don't over dry your skin, as this will cause oil production
11. Some drugs can cause break-outs
12. Watch what foods irritate your skin.

13. Hormones, especially in teens
14. Some cosmetic ingredients can aggravate break-outs. Fatty ingredients such as waxes and oils can
       clog pores or irritate follicles.
15. Keep make-up brushes clean
16. Don't sleep in make-up
17. Avoid environmental aggravators such as dirt, grease, sun, humidity and pollutions
18. Avoid heavy exercise sweating
19. Keep Hair products off skin as they can cause break-outs, (as in spray hair spraied on skin or hair gels)
20. Keep eye glasses clean,  as they can cause break-outs where they touch

Best Advice

1. Keep your skin clean, with a mild but effective face wash (NO BAR SOAP)
2. Exfoliate (mild scrub, or peel depending on skin type)
3. A good Clay or Tea-tree Mask
4. A Crème for Oily or Sensitive Skin (preferable unscented)
5. Some kind of sulfur solution for topical use
6. See your Esthetician regularly to monitor your treatments and products

Break-outs are more then just a skin problem, it can also affect a persons self-esteem and confidence. Many people with skin problems withdraw from socially and even experience depression.

Break-outs can be frustrating to treat, a gentle cautious approach is best.

References Skin Inc
Lydia Sarfati
Milady's Standard Esthetics

                                                                                                                        Spider Veins 101
                                                                                                         Featured article In
                                                                                                 (Napa Valley Market Place)

                                           Written By Yana Alberta-Sattui RN, Cheryl Atkins LE & Sabrina Speer RN

Spider veins! Unsightly squiggle tiny threads, with whimsical shapes that are sometimes reminiscent of a sea anemone or of a complicated road map. Violet-colored veins on legs, red-colored on cheeks, nose and chin...
You've tried vitamin K and C creams and thicker-then-stucco make-up for those on the face. You've tried support hose, artificial and real tan for those on the legs, NOW what?

Did you know that there are very effective, minimaly-invasive not-surgical treatments available for all those vessels, that in short time will have you skipping along younger than spring? But, first, let us dismiss some myths and get to the facts.

For the leg veins go ahead and cross your legs. No medical science has ever proven that this causes spider or varicose veins. This is a guilty free zone.
Here are the causes of spider veins on the legs in order of relevance: genetics, female hormones or oral hormonal replacement therapy, pregnancy (blood volume is tripled placing stress on the vessel walls,) possibly prolonged standing, sun exposure. Preventions: keep weight at recommended levels; exercise is thought to lessen these vessels and wear support hose for prolonged standing.

So, what is the "miracle" treatment that can clear those pesky unsightly veins after prevention and genetics fail you?

It's called Sclerotherapy - a funcy latin name that means "shutting down of the vessel." It involves injecting the vein with a fine needle with sterile concentratedsaline (salt water.) This low-tech treatment has been around for decades with extremely low adverse reactions and more than 50-80% likelihood of resolving the problem on the first treatment. Depending on the diameter of the vessel, a 2nd treatment may be necessary. Rarely a third is required for the same vessel. Will those veins be gone for good? The veins that respond to the treatemtn will most likely not reappear. However new veins may form over time. As needed you may return for a touch-up.

Oh, and the vessels on the face? We do net use the same treatment for those because of nearby optic vessels. Laser or IPL is usually perfectly suited for those superficial vessels and we can treat those as well.