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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, October 23, 2001

Island Style
Choose the right facial for your stressed skin

By Paula Rath
Advertiser Staff Writer

It is tough enough to care for your skin in a tropical climate in the best of times, but when it's put through stress such as moving, pregnancy, menopause and other life changes, it can easily break out, becoming dull, clogged and lackluster.

Ellen Lange, a New Jersey aesthetician who comes from a family of plastic surgeons, recently visited Sephora at Ala Moana to introduce her four-step do-it-yourself Retexturizing Peel.

Cory Lum • The Honolulu Advertiser

Skin-care professionals agree that home skin care should include cleansing, moisturizing and fanatical use of sunscreens. Weekly exfoliation is also recommended. But when that's simply not enough, what to do?

Monthly facials are always a fabulous idea. But at $58-$115 a pop, it may be a bit steep for most of us. Perhaps a chemical peel, laser treatment or microdermabrasion? Strong and effective, but these procedures are just as costly and they're not for everyone, say dermatologists Bruce Mills of the Honolulu Medical Group and Jenny Stone of Straub.

But don't worry. There are cheaper ways to keep that glow on your skin.

Home facial kits may be the answer for those looking for a less expensive alternative or have skin too sensitive for a professional facial. And if your heart is set on a professional treatment, there are always discounts and bargains around.

June Matsumoto, of Wai'alae, who is contending with changes in her skin after pregnancy, swears by the Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel Kit that she uses weekly. Robyn Renz, of Waikiki, who has tried microdermabrasion and glycolic peels, turned to MD Skin Care's Alpha Beta Skin Perfecting System. Both have found the home kits to work for them.

Matsumoto, who has ultra-sensitive skin, says professional facials are usually "too harsh for me." Since giving herself four weekly treatments, she has noticed improvements in the texture of her skin, as well as fading of the skin discoloration from her pregnancy.

Renz, whose complexion went into shock after moving to Hawai'i, uses the two-part peel every day for 60 days, though a 30-day regimen is recommended. It consists of a pad containing 17 percent alpha and beta hydroxy acids and a neutralizer pad containing soothing green tea extract.

"Within days my skin seemed radiant and it helped to peel layers off without leaving a crusty look," Renz said. The peels sell at Ampy's for $68 for a 30-day supply.

The Ellen Lange Retexturizing Peel Kit, which was introduced five years ago and is a best-seller in Sephora stores across the nation, contains a four-step home facial with a 5 percent glycolic peel solution. Weekly use is recommended and there are 8 to 10 facials per kit.

It sells for $65, about the cost of one professional facial.

There are less-expensive professional facial options.

Aesthetician Susan Snyder at the Facial Center of the Honolulu Medical Group offers glycolic peels consisting of 10 to 30 percent acids, depending on the needs of the client's skin, and cost $35 (no tips, please).

At Honolulu Community College, cosmetology students offer facials with mild glycolic peels starting at $20 as part of their curriculum. Appointments will taken beginning in November, and again in January through May. Call 845-9131 for information.

If what you're seeking is the truly inexpensive treatment, HCC cosmetology instructor Jess Aki recommends items from your kitchen cupboard. She said sugar and cornmeal make ideal exfoliants when mixed with a little facial cleanser. They dissolve quickly and are gentle on the skin. She is concerned about the popularity of salt because many people allergic to seafood may be allergic to the iodine in most table salt.

Aki said "Mild peels are beneficial for sloughing off dead skin cells, turning the cells over more quickly and revealing a fresher layer of skin underneath."