By Brigitta Melendy, Esthetician

Micro-needling has 2 main benefits:

1. Stimulates epidermal growth factors to boost collagen and elastin that plump and firm skin. 

2. Enhances the benefit of skin care products by creating ‘channels’ in the skin to support increased penetration of products.        

 Your micro-needle unit will need to be REPLACED - depending on the quality of your unit’’s needle and the frequency of use.  The needles will become dull and become significantly less effective. ALL NEEDLES ARE NOT THE SAME - be sure to purchase your unit from a doctor's office or your esthetic professional.

Micro-needling works best with serums that have active ingredients such as RETINOLS, ANTIOXIDANTS (VITAMIN C&E), STEM CELLS & PEPTIDES, GROWTH FACTORS and HYALURONIC ACID.  These are the types of ingredients that will really maximize the effects of micro-needling to stimulate collagen, speed up cell turnover, lift hyper-pigmentation, smooth out fine lines, firm, plump and hydrate.  Other benefits you can enjoy from micro-needling include a decrease dryness,  fine lines, sun damage, acne scars, and age spots.  

We sell products that compliment micro needling. Prices range from $59-100.  Our needling unit prices are $100 or $275 - They stainless steel surgical grade needles - size 0.1 mm -0.2 mm

Micro-needling using .01-.3mm needles are pain free and highly effective for home use with no downtime and results are seen instantly. You can also combine micro-needling with a LIGHT PEEL prior to the dermal rolling once a week to optimize your results. The benefit to this is even greater exfoliation and uptake of nutrients. Another enhancer is adding professional LED treatments.  LED stimulates collage and elastin production.  

However, to get these great results you have to micro-needle correctly and safely. Below I have written a few of my simple steps for you to follow as you begin your home care micro-needling treatments.

1:  The most important thing when micro-needling at home is to use a device with needles no larger than .3mm. These needles are small enough that your micro-needling experience will be pain free yet still highly effective.  Needle sizes of .5mm or greater should be used by a professional. Be sure to

2.  Make sure to always purchase your device from a reputable source or medical office. Know your source and only shop from reputable places.  

3.  For optimal results, use the device 3-5 times a week.  You can even use it everyday.

4.  Never micro-needle over acne or open sores. This could spread bacteria around the face. Only micro-needle over the same area 2-3 times in one session.

5.  Always apply your SERUM both before and after you micro-needle for maximum absorption

Proper Needling/Rolling Technique

1.  Cleanse and tone

2.  Apply serum

3.  Gently roll over skin vertically, horizontally and diagonally, rolling 1 time in each direction over each side of face, chin, lips, forehead and neck.

4.  Apply a 2nd layer of serum and you can layer a retinol cream or night moisturizer. (read our Blog on Vitamin A and our STEP UP SYSTEM) 

5.  Apply moisturizer and a *mineral sunscreen during the day.

6.  Sterilize the roller after each use in 91% alcohol or our Micro-needle cleaner, let it sit for 3-5 minutes and then allow to air dry before storing in its container. It is recommended to store the device in the original container to ensure it remains clean.

*A superior mineral sunscreen’s active ingredient will be Zinc, Zinc Oxide or Titanium.  It is important to note the percentage of the mineral in your sunscreen.  It is recommended the percentage of zinc or zinc oxide be 10% or above for proper protection.





Topical Vitamin A - A MUST To Maintain Youthful Skin

By Brigitta Melendy, Esthetician

Vitamin A is the only scientifically known element that keeps skin healthy and combats the effects of aging. 

It has been proven that sufficient vitamin A:

  • Promotes the effects of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor and gives it a radiant glow
  • Strengthens the effects of the skin’s outer layer to keep it looking firm
  • Stimulates the production of natural protein to keep skin looking healthy
  • Supports the effects of skin’s immune system and helps prevent the appearance of breakouts
  • Assists in reducing the likelihood of the development of potential skin cancers, giving you greater peace of mind 


The cosmetic and edible forms of vitamin A have to be converted into the active, Retinoic Acid form, so that the benefits of vitamin A can be experienced.  The safest and less irritating  form of Vitamin A is Retinyl Palmitate, Retinyl Acetate, Retinyl Propionate.  Our STEP-UP SYSTEM utilizes these 3 forms - which convert to Retinoic Acid.




Few people experience the side-effects of the topical application A. This is called a retinoid reaction and is marked by redness of the skin, exfoliation (flaking), mild breakouts and  very uncomfortable skin.  A retinoid reaction occurs when the skin is too deficient of Vitamin A to metabolize it effectively.  Exposure to sunlight destroys vitamin A receptors on the cell membranes.  To make more vitamin A receptors the DNA has to be stimulated by vitamin A. If your skin is depleted of vitamin A you will likely have an adverse reaction.  The only way to fix this deficiency is to apply low does of vitamin A.  Start off by applying Vitamin A once a day and slowly increase to twice a day - always make sure that the skin remains comfortable.  If the skin becomes uncomfortable again, slow down the applications.


The Vitamin STEP-UP SYSTEM was created to address the effects of vitamin A deficiency in all skin.  The philosophy behind this system is to START LOW, GO SLOW.  If the skin is prepared with low doses of vitamin A, it is less likely to react to a higher dose.  As the skin needs to progressively adjust to high doses of vitamin A, the Vitamin STEP-UP SYSTEM was designed to allow skin to become used to increased levels of Vitamin A by stepping up from one level to the next.  Also, with this gradual introduction your cells develop vitamin A receptors.  These receptors absorb the Vitamin A - and utilize it inside the cell - thus beginning the regeneration of new cells - which creates new beautiful youthful skin.


Ask your esthetician or go online and book the ADVANCED SOLUTIONS CONSULTATION about the Step Up system and our regenerating treatments (micro needling, akufacials,  and LED therapy)






Loyalty Rewards

There are lots of ways you can save at Skin City!


Monthly Deals

Each month, check your inbox for a special deal on services! 


Our Points System

Earn 1 point for each dollar you spend!

Earn 500 points for referring a friend!

Exchange 500 points for 10% off the highest ticket item on your receipt, whether it's a service or a product!

Exchange 500 points for any service under $20.00

Birthday Bonus!

During your birthday month, get one free add-on with any facial! Just let us know it's your birthday! 


Service Packages

Save big when you buy service packages in advance! Read more in this blog post!



Discounts may not be combined.

Save Big with Bundled Packages!

We offer great discounts for packages of pre-purchased services! Save big when you buy bundles in advance!

Packages are designed to be used 6-12 months after purchase. Some services are better booked closely together, and some are best booked weeks apart. Ask your esthetician for advice when considering a package!


Package of 4 services = 10% off (expires within 6 months)

Package of 6 services = 15% off (expires within 9 months)


Package Terms

  • All package sales are final. Refunds will only be offered in the (unlikely) event that the service is no longer available.

  • Packaged services may not be transferred to another user.

  • Packaged services may only be applied to the service purchased - they cannot be exchanged for a dollar value.

  • Packaged services must be used within the durations outlined above.

  • All previously discounted services are exempt from package discounts (includes touch-up appointments)

  • All lash extension appointments are exempt from package discounts.

All About Chemical Peels


A chemical peel is a technique which involves the application of a variety of chemical solutions to remove the damaged outer layers of dead skin cells from the skin’s surface.  It is extremely beneficial for many skin conditions such as hyperpigmentation, rosacea, acne, sun damage, and photo aging.  By removing the build-up of dead skin cells and stimulating the regenerative process, you will notice marked improvements in the formation of wrinkles and fine lines, texture and tone of the skin, hydration, reduced pore size, clearing of blemishes and more balanced oil production and an overall healthier skin appearance.


All our treatment procedures are considered superficial; they do not penetrate beyond the epidermis or papillary dermis.  They are not to be confused with medical or physician-strength peels that affect the reticular dermis.

  • PROGRESSIVE: This refers to a treatment that does not usually cause immediate exfoliation and only removes the outer layer of skin or the stratum corneum.  As treatments are repeated, the skin will experience a mild sloughing.
  • MID-DEPTH: These peels affect the intra-epidermal layer, and exfoliation occurs within two to three days after application.  The skin goes through very little down time.  Peeling consists of light flaking similar to a sunburn peel.
  • DEEP: These peels affect the deepest intra-epidermal layers.  The skin becomes brown and crusty then undergoes considerable peeling, which occurs three to four days after application.  The skin peels in large segments as opposed to flaking.  The entire process takes about seven to ten days.



There are specific instructions to be followed after your skin peel – this is as important as the peel itself.  Post care will include occlusive healing balms, epidermal growth factor (cell renewal and wound repair), calming, soothing topicals to reduce itching and inflammation, and always sun screen! ASK YOUR ESTHETICIAN ABOUT OUR POST-CARE KITS!

When the skin peel is completed and your professional has determined the skin is healed, daily skin care is essential.  The most important part of a home care routine is a cleanser and a sunblock.  Next in importance is a supportive cell rejuvenator.  These are the basics.  Your esthetician may recommend specialty products, such as pumice and buffing washes, antioxidants, eye serums, nighttime moisturizers, AHAs, ascorbic acid, retinol, enzymes, masks, and topical correctives may be added to enhance and maintain results.

Skin City is Now Booking Through Vagaro!

Dearest Clients,

Due to a variety of limitations imposed upon us and on you by MindBody, we have switched platforms! Starting June 20th, we will no longer be booking any appointments through MindBody. Please make all future appointments in Vagaro!

We are excited to enjoy all the new features offered by Vagaro, including:

  • A better mobile app
  • An overall cleaner booking system
  • The ability to book multiple services at once
  • The option to book through Facebook or Yelp
  • Text or email reminders for appointments
  • Waitlist option for appointments - be the first to know if a slot you want opens up!
  • A more inclusive loyalty rewards system

The Points System

Another major benefit resulting from this transition is that through Vagaro, we are now able to condense many of our features, such as the Perkville points system. All customer loyalty points will now be tracked through Vagaro. Your points will be visible each time you check out, which means they'll get used more often! We've already transferred your points over, but there will be slight changes to the points system from now on.

The basic system will remain the same. You will still receive one point for each dollar you spend in the salon, on products or services. You will then be able to exchange those points for a flat percentage discount, applicable to any of our services or products, rather than for specific services. In order to stay competitive in this increasingly expensive market, we've had to curb some of our offerings and will no longer be able to offer discounts at our previous rates - this has been done to avoid raising our service prices. This change has also been made in an effort to include more of our clients in our loyalty program, as our previous redemption system was more specific and limited. We are grateful for your loyalty, and will be implementing service-specific discounts on a bimonthly basis in the future - watch for our newsletters!

How to Register with Vagaro

In order to complete your client registration through Vagaro, all you'll have to do is accept our email invitation, arriving Monday, June 13th, and create a login for yourself, as well as enter the information we weren't able to transfer from MindBody, including your birthday (if you'd like a birthday discount!) and your billing information. It is our policy to have billing information securely stored for each of our clients in the event of a late cancellation, and this information will be required to book appointments in the future!

What we have transferred: your contact information, your appointment and purchase histories, your accumulated Perkville points (if applicable) and any prepaid services (if applicable). 

We thank you for your patience and understanding in this first half of 2016 with our renovations, new website, and new booking system. Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions or concerns. It's been an exciting beginning to our 20th year in business, and we look forward to celebrating all these transitions with you.

With love and gratitude, 

Skin City


The Sun and Your Skin

 Summer is fast approaching and we all love to spend time outdoors. Some sunshine is good for us; we all need our Vitamin D. But how much sun is too much? And how do we protect ourselves safely and effectively, while still getting that Vitamin D that most SF residents seem to be deficient in? Any of my regular clients can attest to my constant reminders and shaming to wear their SPF daily.

To select the best sunscreens, first we should understand the sun's radiation. There are two types of ultraviolet radiation we need to protect our skin from: UVA and UVB.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

UVA is ultraviolet radiation, between 400-320nm wavelengths, and UVB is between 320-290nm wavelengths. The shorter the wavelength, the higher the energy of radiation. UVA rays account for 90 to 95% of UV radiation that reaches the earth. While UVB makes up only 5-10% of solar radiation, its high energy damages surface epidermal layers and causes sunburn. UVB, also known as the "burn rays," are strongest between 10am and 4pm, from April to October, and do not significantly penetrate glass. UVA is present equally throughout the daylight hours and throughout the seasons, and can penetrate clouds and glass.

Yes, I am speaking to YOU, all the people who say "I'm never in the sun, I sit in my office all day." Well, if your office has windows, here is your proof that those nasty UVA rays can still get at you while inside your office, the car, or on the bus on your commute to work. UVA penetrates deeper layers of skin and causes tanning. Sounds great, right? Not so much - UVA rays are also the primary cause of premature skin aging, including wrinkling, hyperpigmentation and broken capillaries. However, both types of UV rays can cause skin cancer because they damage skin cells and alter their DNA. UVB and UVA rays go hand in hand in accelerating the againg process, so it is no surprise that both wavelengths contribute to skin cancer.

But how can you prevent this? It's easy: wear an SPF product daily.

What are the different types of sunscreens?

There are different types of sunscreens ingredients that can go into an SPF: physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens are particles that reflect the sun's rays away from skin. The FDA approves two: Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide.

Chemical sunscreens form a thin layer on top of the skin and absorb UV rays before they reach the skin. The downside of chemical sunscreens is that some of them form free radicals, and can contribute to skin aging as well as cause irritation, allergic reactions, and possible long term health effects. This is the case with most over-the-counter SPF products you can purchase in drug stores. The FDA approves 17 active ingredients for SPF products, 15 of which are chemical sunscreens. Some chemical sunscreens are powerful generators of free radicals, and are estrogenic, mutagenic and may even cause skin cancers. Of the 17 approved filters in the United States, eight are regularly used. Of those eight, only two have demonstrated strong protection against UVA rays: zinc oxide and avobenzone. The reality is that until more UV filters are approved, and better formulations are made here in the United States, we are limited in our choices. All SPFs are not created equal, which is why we only sell and promote SPFs with a high zinc oxide content of 7% or higher.

Our Favorite SPFs

Dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97% of the sun's rays. SPFs higher than 30 block slightly more of the sun's rays, but do not be fooled by high SPF numbers. It is the ingredients that should always be the star of the show - not the SPF number. Always purchase a broad spectrum sunscreen; this is what will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.

Additional Tips

Photo protective textiles/clothing. SPF clothing is still a fairly new concept but is a great option when practicing safe sun habits. Various companies offer hats and shirts that provide protection from the sun's harmful rays.

Reapply sunscreen. Sunscreens must be reapplied throughout the day to consistently protect for the entire time individuals are exposed to the sun, which means at least every 2 hours while you are outside.

Use an antioxidant. Adding the right form of Vitamin C to a skincare regimen will provide extra sun protection. Think of it as a sunscreen booster. When formulated correctly in a product, Vitamin C will penetrate the skin and increase sun protection, compared with using sunscreen alone. Not only that, but antioxidants also play a crucial role in preventing premature aging in the skin, and fighting free radicals.

Our favorite antioxidants

Eye Protection. Melanoma occurs most frequently around the eyes due to users not applying sunscreen to this delicate area. Choosing to wear polarized sunglasses will provide the protection needed, as well as applying an SPF that is safe and ophthalmologist tested for use on the eyelids and surrounding areas. As an aside - don't forget to treat the lips as well.

And PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE steer clear of tanning beds - they are UVA and UVB on steroids! If you need that summer glow, come in for our vegan spray tan! It is the safest, non-chemical way to get that beach babe look while keeping your skin healthy. All that said, we can still have fun in the sun when we are doing the right things to protect ourselves!


Love Your Skin with LED

As one of our regular clients, you may be wondering why LED has started to become part of several of our facial treatments. We are bonafide LED enthusiasts, and you are probably asking yourself, "What is LED?  What are its benefits in relation to skincare?"

Since we know our clients are smart and educated people, we decided to give you the actual nerdy basics on how LED works. The 2 biggest uses of LED in skincare are Acne and Anti-Aging.

Blue wavelengths that penetrate the skin and produce oxygen, which can destroy acne-causing bacteria. Once the blue light treatment is delivered, this light energy is absorbed by the targeted bacteria that produce the inflammation associated with acne, known as propionibacterium acnes, or “P. acnes”. P. acnes release porphyrins, which are naturally occurring molecules in the body. When porphyrins absorb certain wavelengths of light, free radical damage is produced, which destroys the bacteria. Without P. acnes around to cause inflammation, acne is reduced. The FDA has approved narrow-band, high intensity blue light for treating acne, so this is the real deal, and highly recommended for anyone on an acne skin care regimen.

Wavelengths of red light help improve skin’s barrier function by improving its ability to retain key elements it needs to heal and generate new collagen and elastin. Both of these are known to increase the elasticity of the skin and keep it looking healthy and young. Elasticity is what keeps the skin smooth.  Skin’s natural elasticity reduces with age, eventually resulting in visible wrinkles as the skin is not able to pull itself taut anymore. Also, as the body ages, the production of new skin cells slows down. With fewer new cells being produced, skin begins to have more of an aged look. The combination of increased levels of both elastin and collagen are said to reduce this effect significantly. As well as producing elastin and collagen, red light therapy also increases circulation.  It does this by relaxing the blood vessels in the treated areas allowing the blood to flow more easily. This further helps to prevent and get rid of wrinkles as increased circulation encourages the production of new skin cells.

On the origins of LED: originally developed by NASA, Light Emitting Diodes, or LED for short, was intended to deliver light deep into tissues of the body to promote wound healing and human tissue growth. The theory was that the light would attract the cytochromes, the parts of the cell that respond to light and color. When cytochromes are activated, their energy levels go up, which stimulates tissue growth and regeneration. Light therapy has been used in plants for years but researchers began to realize that it worked wonders on the skin, so the beauty industry went full throttle in its research. It was discovered that LED showed strong efficacy for the treatment of inflammatory acne, rosacea, wrinkles, sun damage, and uneven skin tone.

And now you know! LED treatments COMPLEMENT rather than REPLACE a well-formulated home skin-care routine.

What are you waiting for? Get in here and see for yourself!

Sticking to a Skincare Routine

It’s that time of year. Making resolutions, commitments and declarations to being a healthier, more productive version of yourself!  We all know that consistent action = quickest and “best” results.  This holds true if those actions are the right actions!  To support you with achieving the goal of healthier skin, I’m sharing a couple of guidelines with you.

Professional skin care treatments/facials DO make a difference in achieving healthier, vibrant skin.  We have access to active ingredients at higher strengths, technological modalities and wisdom gained from experience working with various conditions that you don’t have at home.  Each treatment we do is designed for YOUR skin THAT day. Secondly, what you put on your skin at home every day is even more important.  Every home-care regimen should consist of four core elements.

1. Cleanse

Proper cleansing is the important first step in caring for your skin.  They wash away dirt, sweat and pollutant, which when left on the skin will contribute to clogging, breakouts and build-up. Soaps will strip your skin of too much moisture and leave a residue.  Cleansers that are too harsh, leaving your skin feeling tight and dry, are compromising your skin’s natural barrier (which we’ll get into in the “nourish” step).  Sometimes people consider a toner to be a second step of the cleansing process, but it’s really not.  Toners can serve many useful functions, such as: hydrating, absorbing oil, mildly exfoliating, brightening and/or fighting bacteria.

2. Exfoliate

Exfoliation comes in many forms: physical, enzymatic and chemical.  Your skin may benefit from one or all of these methods, which take the form of scrubs, masks, retinoids or alpha and beta hydroxy acids.  The function of an exfoliant is to slough off dead skin.  Why?  It reduces build-up of dead skin and oil, which can lead to blackheads/clogged follicles, worsening the chances of breakouts.  It brightens your skin.  How?  Hyperpigmented skin cells (dark spots) left to sit and cement keep those dark areas dark; keep them moving up to the surface and off the skin and your skin will appear brighter. Exfoliated skin is more receptive to other nutrients and moisture you introduce into your skin.

3. Treatment Serum (solution)

Treatment Serums may seem superfluous, however they are essential to retaining and maintaining healthy skin. This is where you are getting active ingredients in potent doses to repair and regenerate the skin, improving numerous skin conditions.  A serum may contain peptides, vitamins or plant stem cells to stimulate production of new collagen, repair damaged cells and lessen hyperpigmentation for “aging” skin.  If you are healing acne the ingredients may be antibacterial, reparative and anti-inflammatory.  If you don’t have major skin concerns perhaps you just need some extra hydration or antioxidant support to maintain healthy skin.  Not all serums are created equal.  Much of what you get over-the-counter in drug and department stores isn’t using the best quality or quantity of ingredient to be effective.  Skin City selects products for their high quality and efficacy.

4. Nourish/Protect

After doing all these good things to your skin, you want to finish by nourishing and protecting your skin’s barrier.  Our skin has a barrier, which protects it from being compromised by outside elements (this includes products not best suited for YOUR skin, sun and other environmental exposure/pollutants).  A compromised barrier puts your skin’s immune system at risk as well as depletes it of essential water and oil moisture.  The right moisturizer will give you the proper balance of moisture along with calming, replenishing, and rejuvenating benefits.

Sunscreen will protect your skin from a myriad of damaging effects, such as free radicals, inflammation and hyperpigmentation. A sunscreen containing zinc is preferable due to its healing properties as well as its method of deflecting the sun.  Chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays and disperse it in the skin; side effect is that it retains some heat.  Physical sunscreens (zinc and titanium) sit on the outside of skin and deflect the sun (skin not absorbing UV rays / NOT retaining heat).  So if you have any inflammatory skin conditions: acne, rosacea, hyperpigmentation, a PHYSICAL sunscreen is going to offer you the best protection.

The types of products used for each step will vary depending upon the needs and condition of your skin. Here are a couple of examples a core skin care regimen:

Dry, Mature skin:

  • Cleansing Oil (cleanse)
  • Triple C&E (a.m. treatment serum)
  • Refiner (p.m. doubles as exfoliant and treatment serum)
  • Redensifier (doubles as active serum and deeply hydrating nourishment)
  • Solar Shield spf30 (nourish/protection)

Acne-prone, oily:

  • Pore Clearing Cleanser (cleanse)
  •  AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser (exfoliant)
  • Balancing Lotion and/or Clarifying Treatment (doubles as exfoliant and anti-bacterial treatment serums)
  • Soothe & Defend Hydragel (doubles as treatment serum and moisturizer)
  • Solar Shield spf30 (nourish/protect)

These are a couple examples of a core regimen.  The beauty of skin care is that it’s an art AND a science. We are all unique individuals and with our own unique skin.  Two people with an acne condition may have different skin types and have other conditions to be addressed. For example, not every acne-prone client is oily; they may need a more nourishing cleanser (Antioxidant Cleansing Mousse) and the additional support of an antioxidant/anti-aging product (triple C&E serum) and/or anti-bacterial, de-clogging mask (Cooling Sulfur Mask) to achieve the best results.

We, at Skin City,  are the alchemists.  Let us do the job we LOVE to do!  You don’t have to figure it all out on your own.  We are here to support you in putting your best face forward and feeling good in your skin.

Skin City has some great cost-saving ways to jumpstart your New Year’s commitment to healthy skin, with a deeply discounted series of Signature Plus Facials and purchases on multiple products. These discounts allow you to stock up on your core products or add new specialty products to boost and accelerate results, while feeling like you’re giving yourself a treat.

As you start 2016 with great intentions of being consistent, making healthy choices and taking daily steps to reach your life goals I invite you to pause every now and then and celebrate the accomplishment of waking every day as the perfectly beautiful YOU!

Wishing you a vibrant 2016!

Winter Tips for Dry Skin

Winter weather is a challenge when it comes to taking care of your skin, especially if you’re prone to dry skin. ‘Tis the season to switch up your skincare regimen. and winterize your routine. 

Here’s how:


While furnaces, and fireplaces keep you toasty and warm, they do suck moisture out of the air, and that can lead to dry skin. Invest in a humidifier to fend off itching, cracking and flaking. Or try using a more hydrating skin moisturizer.


Now’s the time to switch to a cleanser with added oils and fats. These can compensate for the moisture that winter strips away. Antioxidant Hydrating Cleansing Mousse, Botanical Cleansing Oil and Multi-Vitamin Purifying Face Wash will make excellent cleansers for the winter time.


In winter, oil-based moisturizers do a better job than water based formulas at protecting against moisture loss. Nutriment Blue Oil is a great option for defending lipid depleted skin. A couple of drops in your daily moisturiser or used alone will help defend the skin against winter dryness.


Applying moisturizer more frequently will help keep skin looking more supple all winter long. Always moisturize immediately after washing your face. The sooner you slather, the more water you’ll trap in your skin’s surface cells. Spritzing Lira Hydrating Mist before applying moisturizer will also help increase your skin’s hydration. For best moisturizing results, try our Calming BioLipid Repair Creme (this month’s featured product) or Continuous Moisture Creme.


Summer is over but that doesn’t mean the sun is no longer harmful. Exposure to UV rays contributes to wrinkles, age spots, and skin cancer even in winter. Make sun protection an absolute essential if winter sports are your thing.


When you’re layering up this winter, remember that certain synthetic fibers, such as acrylics and some wools, can irritate dry skin. Opt instead for skin friendly layers of natural, breathable fibers like cotton and silk, then remove layers as needed to keep your body from sweating and overheating.

Chemical Peels: Fact vs. Fiction

by Brigitta Melendy

If you’ve been looking for an effective way to rejuvenate and refresh your skin, getting a chemical peel might be the complexion fix you’re looking for. I have attached a list of myths and facts to help in deciding if a chemical peel is right for you.   Chemical peels work well for both men and women, at any age and are the ideal treatment for anyone who wants to restore a more youthful, healthy glow to their skin.  Everything from sun exposure and aging to acne and clogged pores can leave you with uneven skin tone, fine lines, scarring and a lacklustre complexion. If you want your skin to look smoother, younger and most importantly, vibrant, a chemical peel can make a significant difference.

(Continue)  Depending on what you want to achieve – a clearer complexion, smoother skin, minimized scarring, etc. there’s a perfect peel to suit your needs.  Peels formulated with Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) and Betahydroxy acids (BHA) are the mildest form of peel (referred to as superficial peels).  Superficial peels are great for improving the appearance of sun-damaged skin or acne-prone skin, especially before big events.

A chemical peel isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment.  The term is a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. But regardless of the type you get, a chemical solution will be applied to the skin, and works by dissolving the upper layers of the skin (though typically during a chemical peel nothing actually “peels” off). As the tissue is dissolved, a wound is created on the skin which stimulates the body’s healing response, causing new (younger-looking) tissue to emerge, With a chemical peel you get some tightening of the skin, reduction of fine lines, improvements in brown spots, and a general resurfacing of the skin.  The depth and strength of the peel used varies based on the strength of the chemicals used and the length of time the solution is applied. The formula used will be adjusted based on your needs and skin type.

At-Home Chemical Peels -Glycolic acid and alpha hydroxy acid peels are some of the most common, and these are often sold for in-home use – just in lesser-strength concentrations than what you would get from a professional or a doctor’s office.  At-home chemical peels do offer convenience and a lower price tag, and some are effective at treating superficial skin concerns, but there is no substitution for the results you get with a professional. Done right, chemical peels provide exfoliation, skin rejuvenation and general skin tone improvement.  These results might sound great, but they aren’t guaranteed with an at-home treatment. A professional can do a much better job choosing a chemical peel that matches your skin type and the results you want to achieve. Something you buy over the counter may not be suitable to your skin type resulting in irritation, or worse.

 Chemical Peels: Biggest Benefits

  1. Diminishes fine lines, wrinkles: Creams, serums and lotions can only do so much. Chemical peels offer a fast-track to smoother, line-free skin.
  2. Confidence booster: There’s no quicker path to confidence than a smooth, glowing complexion.
  3. Minimal cost: Unlike spending hundreds of dollars on the newest anti-aging products, chemical peels offer concrete results at a reasonable price.
  4. Fast: Sometimes referred to as the “lunch time peel” chemical peels requires minimal down time, i.e. you can get one, and get back to your life without worrying about recovery.
  5. Reduced appearance of sun damage and melasma: Sun damage and melasma are two of the hardest skin concerns to treat, but chemical peels stimulate the skin to heal itself by dissolving the surface layers of skin. Through this process you trade damaged skin and dark spots for even tone and a smooth appearance.
  6. Improves texture: Chemical peels gently exfoliate the skin, increasing cell turnover, which leads to improved texture.
  7. Enhances collagen growth: Through the exfoliation process brought on by chemical peels, collagen production and cell renewal are stimulated, resulting in younger-looking, healthy skin.
  8. Vibrant skin: One of the fastest routes to a brighter, glowing complexion is a chemical peel.
  9. Acne and acne scarring: A mild chemical peel can help reduce the effects of acne on the skin and even minimize blemishes themselves.


  With any peel there are potential side effects.

  • AHA & Glycolic peels tend to be milder and the risk of side effects are usually just some mild redness and irritation following the treatment. If someone is using Retin-A or Retin-A like medications, including Retinol it will make a peel have a stronger effect, so you should tell your practitioner if you are using them.
  • TCA Peels will increase sensitivity to sunlight and avoidance of sun exposure is usually advisable for several weeks after the treatment. Wearing a sunscreen with a physical block is highly advisable following any chemical peel. There is also a risk of hypo and hyperpigmentation with TCA Peels, either a lightening or darkening of the skin.

Some common reasons for sensitivities are:

  • Client is premenstrual (7-10 days before cycle)
  • Client’s home care includes Retin A, Retinols and other exfoliators, including scrubs or enzymes
  • Client is on medication that slows the oil or sweat glands (ie: antihistimines and Accutane)
  • Client is allergic to aspirin (applies only to Salicylic peels)
  • Client consumes caffeine 2 hours prior to service
  • Client worked out 1 hour prior to treatment

Do note though, that the stronger the peel, the higher the chances for discomfort, redness and recovery time.  Your esthetician will work with you to find the perfect complexion perfecting concoction for you.  The desire for smooth, healthy, vibrant skin is universal, but achieving it doesn’t have to be daunting (or seem like a lost cause).

We know the words chemical peel can seem scary – here is a list of common myths:

Myth #1: All chemical peels are the same

Not all peels are created equal. “Chemical peel” is actually just a general classification for a number of chemical treatments used to exfoliate and rejuvenate the skin. Some are stronger than others and they provide varying results depending on the skin-saving effects you’re after.

Myth #2: Getting a chemical peels means lots of downtime

Post-peel recovery time depends on the type and strength of peel you’ve had, but many don’t call for downtime. For example, the common alpha-hydroxy and glycolic acid peels have little or no recovery time.

Myth #3: Chemical peels don’t really do anything

If you think chemical peels are just another skin care promise that doesn’t deliver, think again. After all, Cameron Diaz, Halle Berry and the other bevy of Hollywood stars who reportedly love them can’t be wrong. Chemical peels can be effective for photo-aging, such as age spots and wrinkles, improving acne and modest acne scarring, and they’re also very effective at exfoliating and smoothing the skin, as well as improving skin texture.

Myth #4: Chemical peels are bad for you

The word “chemical” might not sound like something you should ever associate with your skin, but when performed correctly chemical peels are a safe way to improve your skin. Many chemical peels actually use naturally occurring acids found in fruits in the case of alpha hydroxy acid, and other foods like sugar cane in the case of glycolic peels.

Myth #5: Chemical peels hurt – If a peel is unbearable, then of course remove it.  Be sure you consult with your practitioner BEFORE you have a chemical peel.  There are certain circumstances that can cause discomfort.  (see above: ‘Some Common Reasons For Sensitivities’)

 Myth #6: You should only get one if you have skin problems

While there are chemical peels that specifically target acne, acne scarring or sun spots, the most popular use of chemical peels is for facial skin regeneration (i.e. getting your glow back), and they’re ideal for anyone who wants to improve the look of their skin.

Myth #7: They cause your skin to literally “peel off”

Contrary to what you might think, nothing actually ‘peels off’ during a chemical peel. A chemical solution is applied to the face, and works by dissolving the upper layers of the skin. As the tissue is dissolved, a wound is created on the skin which stimulates the body’s healing response, causing new tissue to emerge, which is smoother and has improved texture.

Myth #8: At-home chemical peels work just as well

There are some effective at-home options available, but the treatment you get in a physician’s office will typically be more concentrated and last longer.

Myth #9: Anyone can perform a chemical peel

Chemical peels are often performed at spas, but keep in mind that the person administering the treatment might not be as experienced as they should be. Any skin treatments should be performed either by or under the guidance of a board certified physician with knowledge of the skin to ensure optimal results and a safe procedure.

Myth #10: They take a long time

No time? No problem. Generally a chemical peel won’t take more than 20 minutes. The skin is cleansed and a chemical solution is applied. The specific amount of time your treatment takes will depend on the type and strength of peel, but the procedure is not usually a lengthy one.

What's In Your Makeup Bag?

The Holiday season is approaching, and we all want to put our best face forward. I know we usually save the cleaning for springtime, but holiday time is a great time to clean out your makeup bag. During the holiday season, even the natural California beach babes, want to look a bit more Kardashian for the mass of parties and social gatherings the holiday season has to offer. Unfortunately, many of you probably haven’t opened that makeup bag since last NYE, tsk, tsk :)

Since expired cosmetics can cause skin irritation, rashes and eye infections, it’s important to replace them before they go south. Unlike food, cosmetics aren’t required to have an expiration date on their packaging. Instead, you’ll have to keep track of when you opened them.

If you know how to take care of your cosmetics, your makeup should serve you well. But use common sense: if your gloss is gloppy, your foundation is separating, your lipstick has a funny smell, shadows and blushes are covered in film or particles, — it’s time to bid it adieu. Products that go around the sensitive eye area often have the shortest life span (so throw out that year-old mascara immediately!!).

Remember it is also VERY important to clean your tools, meaning your brushes and sponges. Brushes should be shampooed twice a month, and sponges cleaned in the wash once a week as well. For the lazy beauty, you are better off with disposables applicators that can be found in most beauty supply stores. Lastly, ladies be smart, DO NOT share your cosmetics or tools with anyone, that is pink eye or cold sores waiting to happen. If you are going to deal with bacteria, please let it be your own.

Your last resolution of 2015 should be to never let crusty compacts and congealed concealer make an appearance again.

Happy Holidays Beauties!


See guidelines for when to replace your makeup below:

Toss It...

Four months

One year

One year

18 months

18 months

One year

18 months

One year

Six months

18 months

Six months

18 months

One year

One year







Cream blush/shadow

Eye shadow


Liquid/gel eyeliner


Liquid eyeliner

Lipstick/lip gloss

Lip liner

Nail polish


Preventing Hyperpigmentation

At the first skin care trade show I went to after becoming an esthetician (mid­90s – looong time ago!) I distinctly remember getting super excited about a new Vitamin C product. My skin looked brighter, felt smoother and was overall more radiant. So began my love affair with Vitamin C! It has remained one of my favorite ingredients to use on my skin and it’s a top recommendation for most of my clients – as it addresses so many skin issues. Hands down I get the most positive feedback from clients who start incorporating a Vitamin C product into their regimen.

With the main topic of this newsletter being about hyperpigmentation, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how to support those of you grappling with this issue through the use of antioxidants. We all know that antioxidants are good for the skin, but you may be wondering why and what is an antioxidant? There are these things called free radicals in your body which are unstable molecules that attack healthy skin cells causing oxidation, which in turn causes damage to your body’s organs (remember the skin is your largest organ). Antioxidants prevent or slow down this cell damage by neutralizing free radicals. They are fantastic healers, which can be found in vitamins, and minerals contained in healthy, whole foods and in topical skin care products. Vitamins C & E, ergothioneine and zinc are just a few of the many super antioxidants that help to heal and protect our skin. Vitamin C protects skin from oxidative stress caused by UV light, and when combined with Vitamin E their power is increased by four times making them a dynamic duo in preventing sun damage. 

Vitamin C is also a tyrosinase inhibitor, decreasing melanin formation (dark spots and patches). Since sunscreen only blocks 55% of free radicals produced by UV exposure, Vitamin C is a MUST in your arsenal for sun protection. Unfortunately ingested Vitamin C is eliminated before getting to the skin, so for the skin to benefit from this ingredient it must be applied topically. Ergothioneine is an energizing antioxidant (found in mushrooms) with anti­-inflammatory benefits, brightening the skin and interrupts the aging process aggravated by sugar and alcohol. Zinc is a key part of our skin’s defense system, affecting every skin condition: acne, hyperpigmentation and aging. This soothing and anti­microbial mineral applied topically not only provides you with excellent sun protection (our Lira Solar Shield contains 18%!!) it’s also healing.

You can find these powerful antioxidants in the following products at Skin City: Triple C&E, Lira Bio Hydra C, Antioxidant Defense Complex (contains 18 antioxidants!), Lira C4 Retinol, all sunscreens, Lira’s Solar Shield being our esthetician’s favorite. Ask your esthetician to recommend the best one(s) for your skin.

Nutritional sources of these vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C: leafy greens, citrus fruits, strawberries, papaya and broccoli Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach, chard, asparagus and avocados Ergothioneine: mushrooms Zinc: oysters, crab, lobster, chicken, lean beef, beans and chickpeas.

What is Hyperpigmentation?

by Brigitta Melendy

Hyperpigmentation is a common challenge that Skin City clients are concerned with.  One question we get frequently is “How did I get these brown spots on my face”?  Of course there are a variety of factors that come into play here – hormones, acne, overall health, stress levels, sun exposure, medications, all of which create free radicals.  Free radicals attack the DNA of each and every cell in our skin.  The best antidote for fighting free radicals is ingesting and applying antioxidants topically (see ESTY chat for more on antioxidants). Regardless of age, skin condition or ethnicity, free radicals underlie every skin problem, from wrinkles, loss of firmness, and age spots to surface dryness, dehydration, redness and acne flare-ups.  Therefore, everyone needs protection from free radicals. For me to truly understand ‘how’ to correct an issue, it is important to know ‘how and why’ the issue occurred.

Here is a breakdown of the process of hyperpigmentation:

The epidermis (outer skin layer) is primarily made up of skin cells which create a protective layer. Approximately every eighth cell is a melanocyte. Melanocytes are cells that produce melanin – an action that occurs in the deeper layers of the skin. This is a natural and necessary process as pigments give us skin color and also provides a unique defense system against UV radiation.

Let’s further break down the pigmentation process:

  1. First a trigger (such as UV exposure) sends a signal to melanocyte-stimulating hormones that the skin is in need of protection. This activates the enzyme tyrosine.
  2.  After tyrosine is signaled, the melanocyte cell receives a message to produce pigmentation (melanin).
  3. As excess melanin is produced, and dispersing of these pigments is interrupted, hyperpigmentation forms. This creates deposits of color that stay indefinitely unless treated.


Luckily there are a number of ingredients that help support the skin and control hyperpigmentation. These include:

  • Retinols – a form of vitamin A that is available in different percentages depending on levels of intensity.  ‘Breaks-up’ pigment to prevent solid patches of hyperpigmentation
  • Bellis perennis flower (daisy flower) – a gentle, natural brightener derived from daisies.
  • Arbutin (L) – a natural plant-based derivative of hydroquinone (HQ) with tyrosinase abilities. This is a great alternative for those with sensitivities to hydroquinone.
  • Kojic acid – derived from Japanese mushrooms, it works to effectively inhibit melanin synthesis.
  • Lactic acid (L) – this AHA has natural brightening abilities, works to smooth skin and improve texture.
  • Azelaic acid – a grain- and yeast-derived compound, it helps normalize disordered cell growth, provides antioxidant and anti-inflammatory support, and helps effectively treat acne-related post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
  • SUNBLOCK, SUNBLOCK, SUNBLOCK!!! – I cannot emphasize how important a PHYSICAL block is.  A PHYSICAL block is mineral based (not chemical) and provides full spectrum protection.  Full spectrum means it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays.  The best ingredient is 10%+ Zinc or Zinc Oxide.  Pay attention to the percentage of Zinc in your SPF product.


Supporting the skin’s overall health is essential. The goal is to maintain optimum health, or restore it to optimum health so it may properly control pigmentation.  A truly comprehensive skin care strategy, especially one focusing on aging skin, should combine antioxidants to attack free radicals directly.