Serum vs. Lotion. What’s the difference?


There are an abundance of skin care products on the market today. It can sometimes be confusing to sort it all out. Facial lotions and facial serums are one example. You might want to know just what the difference is between the two products. Can you use both at the same time? Do they really serve different purposes?

Facial serums are lighter, more gel-like products that absorb quickly. They are highly concentrated and provide both moisture and nutrients to the skin. A serum is not meant to replace your daily moisturizer. It is an optional product that can help address skin concerns and is applied after cleansing but before moisturizing. There are a variety of serums available today. Some examples are anti-aging, brightening and anti-acne serums.

Moisturizers, on the other hand, are meant to hydrate the skin. However, because of the larger molecules of the product, they do not penetrate the skin as deeply as a serum will. This is why it is better to use a serum to get the most benefit of the added nutrients. Moisturizers can also have the asset of an added SPF. If you are content with how your moisturizer is working for you, then there is no need to add a serum to your skin care routine right away.

We offer a variety of serums, so why not take a look at some of our products? Who knows, a great serum might be the missing link to your skin care routine!

Skincare: Important for Men Too!

When it comes to skincare, men are a different breed. It turns out that men are the lucky ones in that their skin ages more slowly than women’s skin. Men naturally have more collagen and elastin, which makes for firmer and thicker skin overall. In fact, their skin is approximately 25% thicker than women’s skin! Studies have also shown that men’s skin tends to be less acidic on the pH scale than women’s. When aging signs do appear, they start around the eyes with dark circles, bags and wrinkles. To fight this problem, there are various eye creams on the market that are specially formulated for men.
A regular cleansing routine is very important, since men have larger pores than can clog easily. Men should be sure to use the proper cleanser for their skin type, which is typically more oily due to having high levels of the androgen hormone levels. Vitamin E can also help to heal cuts and redness experienced from shaving. As men age and their testosterone levels drop, their skin tends to become drier and they will have to switch up their cleansing products accordingly. Men should use a good moisturizer and might also want to consider a hydrating mask for a deep clean and added hydration.
One final fact that men shouldn’t ignore is that males over 50 are at the highest risk of developing melanoma. The most important thing that a man can do for his skin is to use a sunscreen early and often!

Trend Alert: Cat Eyes

A recent trend seen on the fall runway shows has been the cat eye, known for it’s trademark extended eyeliner application. It’s actually a classic look taken from the 1950s and 1960s. Colors can range from dramatic black to colorful violets. You can achieve this unique look with a gel, liquid or kohl pencil eye liner, depending on how soft or precise you want your cat eye to be. You might find it easier to start with a lighter pencil for better control and trace with liquid liner after. There are various ways to achieve this look, from dark and daring to soft and smoky. One example of a dramatic looking cat eye is to skip applying the liner to the inner corners of the eye and then extend the line beyond the outer edge of the eye and upwards. Finish off with two coats of your favorite mascara. Couple the look with a bold red lipstick and you’ll look like you just stepped off the runway yourself!

Yudith Alvarez – Don’t Give Up on Your Dreams

Yudith Alvarez was enjoying a successful career during the housing boom. She had her real estate license and wrote loans for the mortgage company she owned. Life was good until the real estate market crashed. Things became stressful for Yudith, but she is a spiritual woman and a devout Christian. She had faith that things would turn around for her, so she turned to the Book of Esther in the Bible. Esther was the Queen of Persia who saved the Jews. Since Yudith’s middle name was Esther, it seemed like a fitting place to start. She wanted to figure out her purpose in life. She knew she wanted to do something more. She wanted to help people and needed to figure out how to do that.

It began with an interest in makeup. Yudith took on a hobby of creating makeup and even generated her own private line. After a couple of years, she decided that she needed to learn more about skin care in general and perhaps it would help her figure out how to move on from there. She consulted with a career counselor at Hesser College, which was her alma mater. She asked them where she could find the best place to learn the basics about skin care. Without hesitation, she was told to look at Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics. She took their advice and decided to sign up for the 600 Hour Advanced Esthetics Program. She was so impressed with her teachers and all that she was learning, that she then signed up for the 1200 Hour Master Esthetics Program. She graduated in February of 2012.

Feeling quite confident with her new skills, she worked on renovating the office space she already owned from her mortgage business in Lawrence, MA. She worked on converting it into a spa. She started with just one treatment room and opened Estherchic Esthetique Medical Spa & Laser Center in July of 2012. Six months later she opened a second treatment room and today she has a total of three rooms along with over 400 clients. Since she was already well known in her community from her previous business, she was able to use her existing network to get the word out about her new spa and obtain referrals. She also takes advantage of radio and magazine advertising to boost her exposure. Yudith also continued her education by attending workshops and courses in makeup and skin care lines. She currently specializes in treatments for anti-aging and hyper-pigmentation.

Yudith speaks highly of Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics. “I tell people that it is the Harvard of skin care.” It was a place where she was motivated to learn and the training she received changed her life. She also met wonderful friends from all backgrounds. She raves about her former teachers, who showed such passion for their job. Her first instructor was Ms. Sargent from her 300 Hour Esthetics Program. Yudith was initially intimidated by Ms. Sargent’s seemingly strict personality, but she quickly became one of her favorite teachers! She was also very impressed with Ms. DeRosa and Ms. Devlin, who together led the 1200 Hour Program. She uses their treatment methods to this day. She also fondly recalls Ms. Magnell from her 600 and 900 Hour programs, who gave Yudith advice and support on how proceed with opening her own spa. All of instructors taught her real world techniques and important business skills, such as knowing the products well, listening to the client and providing the best treatments for their needs. Most inspiring to Yudith was, and still is, the owner, An Hinds. “One day I want to be like her.” Ms. Hinds is still her mentor and has helped Yudith with various business ideas and decisions. In fact, Yudith has been able to count on many of the staff members at Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics as a valuable reference. She is grateful for all the help and advice that she continues to receive from them. In fact, she tells friends that when they choose a school of any kind, they should also look for institutions that will offer such support <i>after</i> graduation. It has made all the difference in her own success.

With all of the growth and endless opportunities in the esthetics field, she recommends that new students research their options for training and be sure to seek out the support they need. At Catherine Hinds Institute of Esthetics, she found that there were so many people willing to help her achieve her goals. The transition in her career was challenging at first, but became easier with such a great support system. She loves her new profession and advises students to stay focused, to not give up on their dreams and most of all to “have fun.”

Estherchic Esthetique Medical Spa & Laser Center
159 Essex St, Lawrence, Massachusetts 01840
(978) 725-6766


Aging Skin, Changing Skin

Caring for Aging SkinYour skin is your largest organ and takes quite a bit of abuse throughout your lifetime. The skin is exposed to the sun, pollution, bumps, scratches and so much more. We know that if you take measures to protect your skin when you’re younger, you can avoid or slow down the skin damage that can appear later on. However, some changes in your skin are inevitable and simply a part of life. One of these changes is your skin type and you’ll need to adjust your skin care routine through the years as a result.

In your 20s, skin care is fairly simple. It is important to have a good daily routine using a gentle cleanser and a moisturizer that contains sunscreen. You also might consider using retinol products for nighttime use. In your 30s, you should add regular exfoliation to your routine. Exfoliating will shed dead skin cells and to allow for improved penetration of serums and moisturizers. This is also the time to pay more attention to the skin around your eyes by using specially formulated eye creams. Switch up your cleanser to one that contains alpha hydroxy acids and use moisturizers with antioxidants.

In your 40s, you will want to focus on boosting your skin’s elasticity and reduce red or blotchy spots that may appear. Use creamier cleansers containing salicylic acid or alpha hydroxy acids. Look for moisturizers containing antioxidants and peptides to battle dryness and maintain collagen levels. While you might have had oily or combination skin in your younger years, your skin naturally becomes dryer as you move into and beyond your 40s. When hormone levels decrease, you end up producing less of your natural oils. Also, the number of oil and sweat glands you have actually decrease, so the skin isn’t able to retain as much moisture as it used to. This can lead to flaking and itching of the skin. As you see these changes happening, you’ll want to continue to reevaluate your skin care routine. Look into more gentle cleansers and more nutrient rich moisturizers.

Aging is a part of life. Keeping up with the evolution of your skin can help you age gracefully and beautifully.

Cool Down! Do you need a cold stone massage?

You’ve most likely heard of hot stone massage, which helps to relax the muscles. However, heat shouldn’t get all of the attention in the massage therapy world. Cold stone massage is also a valuable treatment to consider. While the basalt stone that is used for a hot stone massage is great for retaining heat, cold stone massage utilizes stones made from marble. Marble stones retain cold temperatures quite well since they are naturally colder than other stones, even at room temperature.

While cold stone massage is most commonly used to treat sports injuries, there are many other positive benefits. This treatment is also used as a form of stress and anxiety relief, as the stones redirect the mind’s focus on the body. The cool temperatures used in the treatment also help to reduce swelling, bloating and inflammation while increasing circulation and boosting energy levels. The cold stones can also ease sinus and menstrual symptoms. Sometimes hot and cold stones are used together using the “yin and yang” concept. The combination is said to increase circulation while reducing inflammation and pain. A word of caution: individuals who have certain heart ailments or cold sensitivities should avoid cold stone massage until they have discussed it with their physician first.

Sound intriguing? Maybe it’s time for you to try a cold stone massage for yourself!

Facial Oils: Yes, you can use them!

Moisturizing is part of our daily beauty routine and there are many great lotions and creams available. Have you thought about moisturizing with oil? It almost seems absurd to apply an oil to the face, especially if you have acne prone skin.  Believe it or not, facial oils are quite beneficial and there are different types that can work specifically for various skin types. Yes, the facial oil trend is indeed catching on! They are wonderful moisturizers and give skin a beautiful glow. Jojoba is a common facial oil. Argan oils are known for their anti-aging benefits, since it contains high amounts of vitamin E. Other high quality types of facial oils are camellia, macadamia, and squalane. Facial oils contain essential fatty acids and vitamins which help to hydrate the skin. They should be used after cleansing and can replace your traditional moisturizer for maximum benefits. Use a small amount and your skin will absorb the oil fairly quickly. If you use a little too much, you can simply use a tissue to blot off any excess. and just remember to use less in the future. Makeup can be applied next, but you may find that your skin requires less due to the improved hydration and healthier look of your skin. Lastly, sunscreen is essential since any oil will reflect sunlight.
Don’t be afraid. Try a facial oil and you’ll see why so many people are raving about their improved, glowing skin!

Eat your way to younger looking skin!

You’ve probably got a great skin care routine. You cleanse. You moisturize. You protect with sunscreen. But did you eat your breakfast? Are you eating your veggies? Did you realize that what you eat can directly affect your skin and certain foods can help keep your skin looking youthful? Let’s look at several great ingredients to stock up on and why.

Begin your day with a serving of low fat yogurt. The vitamin A helps to control acne and provide skin repair. Yogurt also keeps your digestive tract healthy, which is linked to healthy skin, and the protein helps to keep your skin firm. A bowl of steel-cut oatmeal will stabilize your blood sugar and therefore helps with skin healing. Top it off with some berries which are full of antioxidants!

Nuts and seeds are excellent to snack on and offer many benefits to your skin. Almonds and sunflower seeds contain vitamin E, which protects the top layers of your skin. Brazil nuts contain selenium, which is a mineral that helps create fresh, smooth skin. Walnuts and flax seed have Omega 3 fatty acids, which promotes elasticity and helps to smooth wrinkles. Omega 3 also helps to moisturize the skin and reduce inflammation.

You know that fruits and vegetables are important for your overall health. Well, they bring plenty of benefits to your skin too. Avocados are full of the vitamin B complex, which helps circulation and gives your skin a healthy glow. Spinach contains vitamin A and folate, which helps to protect against skin cancer. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin C, which helps with collagen production to help smooth wrinkles. Colorful peppers contain carotenoids, which are antioxidants that decrease skin sensitivity to the sun and improve your overall skin color. Tomatoes are also important, as the lycopene they contain protect against skin damage.

Craving seafood? Salmon is well known for it’s Omega 3 fatty acids and mussels contain plenty of iron, which helps to prevent pale, pasty looking skin. If your side dish contains kidney beans, then you’ll reap the benefits from zinc, which protects against acne and blemishes. How about some edamame? The minerals and protein in soy can help to reduce hyperpigmentation.

With all this healthy eating, you might want something sweet. Good news! Dark chocolate (in moderation) contains an antioxidant called flavonols, and they help to hydrate the skin, as well as improve the texture of your skin, making it firm and supple.

Throughout the day, be sure to hydrate with plenty of water. Try to aim for at least eight glasses a day. Hydration is key to healthy looking skin. Another great beverage is green tea. The antioxidants help to fight free radicals and bacteria. Green tea is also anti-inflammatory and helps to reduce redness.

Have we made you hungry? Well, go ahead and enjoy a healthy snack. Your skin will appreciate the extra nutrition!

End of Summer Skin Care

Only a few more weeks of summer? Say it isn’t so! Yes, summer is winding down and it won’t be long before the air is feeling more crisp and yellow school busses join the morning commute. With that in mind, have you thought about how to take care of your skin before the weather starts cooling off? Here are some simple things you can do.

  1. Exfoliate Chances are, your skin has seen quite a bit of sun this summer. Between the sun’s rays, the heat and even chlorinated pools, your skin might be looking and feeling a bit dry. Regular exfoliation will slough off the dead skin cells that have accumulated and will also help your moisturizer to penetrate the skin better.
  2. Hydrate You may have been using less moisturizer during the more humid summer months. It is now time to replenish the natural oils to your skin by moisturizing and drinking plenty of water. This will give your skin a double dose of hydration.
  3. Reduce Redness Whether your skin is suffering from sunburn or insect bites, try spraying a bit of rosewater to the affected areas. Try our own Classics TX – Rosewater Moisture Mist.
  4. Protect Don’t even think about packing away your sunscreen. Continue using a broad-spectrum sunscreen on a regular basis, all year long!

Hyperpigmentation – Are You Seeing Spots?

Has it happened to you? You look in the mirror and there’s this….spot on the side of your face. Maybe there’s more than one. Where did it come from and how can you make it go away?

Chances are, it’s a form of hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is quite common and typically harmless. It is simply an increase in melanin production. This condition can be caused by pregnancy, acne, certain medical conditions and various prescription drugs. The most common cause is sun exposure, which can also darken any existing spots. One form of hyperpigmentation is melasma, which is also known as the pregnancy mask that some women get as a result of the changes in hormones. Liver spots are another type of hyperpigmentation.

You are not necessarily stuck with these spots. There are many treatments available that can reduce or eliminate the discoloration. A well known home remedy is to apply lemon juice or slices to the affected areas, which can bleach away the spots. While the remedy can help, it can also be harsh on your skin. A better alternative would be to treat with creams containing hydroquinone, alpha hydroxy acids, retinols or vitamin c. We offer the PCA SKIN A&C Synergy Serum (pHaze 23) at the Catherine Hinds Store, which is a serum that helps reduce hyperpignmentation. There are prescription strength hydroquinone creams and even laser treatments available for extreme cases. To prevent new spots from appearing in the first place, it is important to use sunscreen. Sunscreen will also prevent your existing spots from getting darker.

If you are bothered by hyperpigmentation spots, you may want to consider booking an appointment for a Vitamin C Facial. This is an antioxidant treatment that will even out your skin tone, help to diminish fine lines, and reduce redness and irritation. This facial is great for all skin types, especially sun damaged and mature skins. Call 781-935-3344 ext. 229 to schedule an appointment. Lose those spots and get your skin glowing again!