Skin Care

8 Ideas to make you LOVE drinking water!

In my field I have heard every reason under the sun that my clients have avoided drinking enough water. The most common reasons however are; “I dislike the taste of water”, “I have to have my water at a specific temperature”, or “I am busy and forget”. I’ve also been that customer at a restaurant when the server brought my water over and I instantly wanted to spit it out because it tasted foul. I could instantly tell they had not changed the filter in a while. I am a water snob, so I understand your dilemma, and I wanna help!

My first suggestion is to make sure you have access to good quality water at home and at your office. Most refrigerators now include a water dispenser that dispenses filtered water. Just make sure you follow the manufacturer’s suggested schedule for changing the filter. At the office I have an Avalon Water Filtration Cooler installed, and we always get compliments on how good our water tastes. I bought a half gallon jug off of amazon that I fill up at home or my office before heading out anywhere. That way I know I’m carrying good quality and good tasting water with me.

I personally love for my water to be ice cold, and will not drink it any other way. The half gallon jug I bought on amazon is insulated. It will keep my water cold if I fill it up with ice in the morning. I can refill it multiple times per day and it will stay cold.

If you still do not care for the taste after the above 2 suggestions, try adding in a bit of natural flavor with the ideas below.

#1 My personal favorite water add in is fresh mint leaves. I like to pinch a few (or a lot) off the plant, rinse, and then break them apart when dropping in to release flavor. Our mint garden is over growing at the spa, if you need some mint just come grab it. Everything we grow here is always free to anyone. You can also easily grow these at home. I like spearmint and peppermint the best, and they grow like crazy in a sunny spot. They also come back every year!

#2 Another super refreshing add in that also helps ease tummy troubles is fresh ginger root. For the soda drinkers, this is your swap! Out with the ginger ale, in with the ginger water! Simply peel a piece of ginger (I like approximately the size of my thumb), then slice into nickel sized rounds. Toss in your water, give it a little swirl and enjoy. This is also an excellent choice during pregnancy to calm the nausea and reflux.

#3 If cleansing and weight loss is your goal, and you love citrusy beverages, try a sliced citrus fruit. Lemon, Lime, or grapefruit are popular choices to give your water a kick. Drinking water with added citrus fruit freshens breath, and provides Vitamin C. Additionally it can help flush the kidneys, promoting optimal kidney function.

#4 Berries! It is hard to think about a southern spring without thinking about fresh strawberries. Adding sliced strawberries to your water reduces bad cholesterol, inflammation, and tastes amazing. Berries also look pretty in your water! If you’re not a strawberry fan, blackberries or blueberries are also nice, and any berry add in is great for heart health.

#5 Raw Honey adds a sweet pop when stirred into water in small amounts. Consuming raw honey on a regular basis has been shown to decrease allergic response to environmental allergies. Raw honey also helps reduce diarrhea by helping to rebalance the gut. Raw honey is also loaded with antioxidants your body needs to fight free radical damage. Raw honey might be a good add-in for you if you like sweet and are seeking beautiful, healthy skin.

#6 Try mixing a few different add-ins until you find the best combination to satiate your taste buds. Think Strawberries & Mint, or Lemon & Blueberry. Let your creativity guide you!

Are you really washing your whole face?

Are you really washing your whole face?


Hey there! Odd question, are you remembering to wash behind your ears? How about your eyelids? We should talk!

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Recently in working with clients, I have noticed more and more middle aged men and women complaining about “tiny white bumps” around their eye area. Upon getting their beautiful faces underneath my magnifying lamp and doing a thorough inspection, I see it is milia that they are finding bothersome. milia are actually small cysts, and not to be confused with acne even though they are often caused by not enough exfoliation just like acne is often caused by. milia are usually harmless, and simply keratin trapped under the surface of the skin. milia are typically white and hard, and upon extracting pop out like a very tiny white pearl, although they can become yellow or green if bacteria is also trapped with the keratin.  Although acne develops when a pore becomes clogged, milia develops under the epidermis when the epidermis does not shed itself quickly enough trapping dried keratin cells. Our skin sheds less frequently as we age, making exfoliation imperative for ageing gracefully. I’m also treating many blackheads in and around the ears, lately. Additionally being in the armpit of winter, I am treating lots of chapped, cracked lips, which is to be expected, but my thought was with a little education on homecare, we can nip this in the bud!


When I asked my clients “Are you exfoliating your eyelids, and under your eyes when you exfoliate your face?” The most common answer I got was “Well no, I do not exfoliate near my eyes”, while staring at me perplexed like I had 3 heads and my pants were on fire. The concept of exfoliating around the eyes was absurd to most people. The responses were similar when I asked my clients about ear and lip exfoliation. 

I decided to do a survey after this being a regular conversation piece on my treatment table. I created a survey using Survey Monkey, titled “Are you washing your whole face?”. My survey went over common areas of cleansing and exfoliation that I suspected folks may be missing in the shower, based on trends I was seeing on my treatment table. I asked about how people were washing/ exfoliating their earlobes and behind their ears. I mean didn’t everybody’s Grandma always say, “Don’t forget to wash behind your ears!”? Mine did! I further asked about lip scrubs. My survey also questioned peoples habits for exfoliating their eyelids and under their eyes. At this point you may be asking what these areas all have in common besides being attached to your head. Well the biggest common denominator I was beginning to see was that people truly did not know how or why they should exfoliate these areas, and these issues I was treating in office were easily (and very affordably) preventable and/ or treated in the shower at home. After I created my survey I copied the link to facebook, and overnight I had over 65 responses. The responses confirmed my suspicions.  


Below are some statistics from my survey:


  1. 25% of people surveyed do not exfoliate their face ever.
  2. Only 12% of people surveyed exfoliated their eyelids, and under their eyes.
  3. 57.5% of people surveyed have never exfoliated their lips.
  4. 87.5% of people surveyed do not exfoliate their ear lobes or behind their ears.
  5. 33.33% of people surveyed do not wash their ears in the shower, instead simply let the run off from washing their hair rinse them.
  6. 47.5% of people surveyed had never heard of milia.
  7. 17.5% of people surveyed have been diagnosed with milia and/ or had them removed.


Additionally, in the area of my survey where people could type in “other”, 3 people commented that “I do not need to do this, as this is not a problem for me” in regards to milia. My first thought to this was, this sounds silly to me as this is like saying, “My breath doesn’t stink, so I do not brush my teeth”. You brush your teeth to prevent issues, not to correct issues, and you should think about your ears, eyelids, and lips the same way. Ever heard the old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”?


Well the good news is, this is for sure “job security” for me, however part of my job is properly educating my clients on proper homecare. So let’s start that ounce of prevention!


    1. Lips- Let’s start with the easiest one! A DIY lip scrub. In your kitchen grab ¼ cup of plain white sugar, place inside a small container that you have a lid for, add 1 tablespoon of honey, then add a carrier oil (I like olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil) 1 tablespoon at a time while stirring gently until your desired consistency is reached. You want it to be thick enough that you can scoop it out with your fingers without it immediately falling apart. Think playdough. Put the lid on the container and store in your shower. Every time you shower (using clean hands) scoop out a dime sized amount of your concoction and scrub your lips with it. If you accidentally get in your mouth no worries, totally edible ingredients. Rinse clean. Use a good, hydrating lip balm after you get out the shower, and your lips will stay kissably soft all winter. 🙂
    2. Ears- Most of the time simply washing them with the same cleanser you use on your face when you wash your face will keep them bacteria and blackhead free. However since ears lobes and behind the ears are typically more oily than the rest of your scalp and face, if you usually use a cream or lotion cleanser on your face, you likely need something more foamy for your ears. Keep in mind, I am not at all suggesting putting a cleanser inside your ear canal, however the lobes and behind the ear need some love. Trust me, I’ve seen it all 18 years in this industry! Try a few different cleansers, see what works best for you. My favorites are our dermaclenz cleanser or skin script glycolic cleanser for daily cleaning in the shower then I just save some suds for my ears after I wash my face! I use our microdermabrasion cream or AHA/ BHA exfoliating cleanser on the days i exfoliate (usually once a week for me), however if you exfoliate your face more often than that, just exfoliate your ears whenever you are exfoliating your face. 
    3. Eyelids and directly below the eyes- Since around the eyes are the most common place for milia to develop, exfoliating these areas gently is key to preventing these from ever becoming an issue for you. If your regular facial cleanser already contains exfoliating ingredients such as; malic acid, tartaric acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid or retinol using your regular cleanser very gently in these areas, while being careful not to get in the eyes will likely do the trick and keep the milia away. However if you are already having issues with milia, or have been diagnosed with milia previously, you may need something a bit more abrasive.  I like to use my regular script glycolic cleanser daily in the shower, them microdermabrasion cream on the days i exfoliate (usually once a week for me), however if you exfoliate your face more often than that, just exfoliate around your eye area whenever you are exfoliating your face. In the office when clients come in with existing milia, I like to use diamond tip microdermabrasion over the affected area to resurface. Then once the skin is prepped, I extract them.


I hope you found this article insightful. Please remember if you are past the point of homecare, and need professional help with any of the issues above, I am here for you. 


In health,




Ingredient Spotlight; Borage

Ingredient Spotlight; Borage


Borage and Strawberry Salad

Photo by Eva Elijas from Pexels

Borage, the herb of courage & bravery! Native to the Mediterranean, it was used by soldiers before going into battle because it was believed to encourage bravery.


The borage plant is a beautiful star shaped flowering herb, and can grow up to 2 feet tall. It is unique as all parts of the plant except the roots are edible. The flowers and leaves have a crisp, cucumber like taste.


Borage seed oil is used in skin care products for its anti inflammatory properties, and is commonly used for treating eczema and atopic dermatitis. Borage seed oil is abundant in GLA (gamma linolenic acid), an essential fatty acid with a plethora of internal and external benefits for the human body. It is actually the most abundant plant source of omega 6. I really love borage seed oil as an anti acne ingredient because it is so gentle. On the comodenigecity scale of 0 to 5, 0 meaning “will not clog pores”, and 5 meaning “will clog pores”, Borage seed oil is at a 2, which means “will not clog pores for most people’. Borage seed oil has been shown to improve skin’s barrier function, and helps to prevent TEWL (trans epidermal water loss). This is important for dehydrated skin, as keeping skin properly hydrated prevents many signs of ageing such as fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin. You can drink water all day, but if your skin’s barrier function is damaged, you will lose much of it from your epidermis.


Borage seed oil is commonly found as an active ingredient in cleansers, serums, and moisturizers. I encourage you to do your own research to discover if the borage plant can benefit you! 


Green Tea; A must have for your Skin, your Spirit, and your Body! 

Green Tea; A must have for your Skin, your Spirit, and your Body! 

Photo by Maria Tyutina from Pexels


Green tea originated in China, and is made from the buds and leaves of the camellia sinensis shrub. Green tea has been drank and applied topically worldwide by shamans, naturopaths, and everyday people. It has been claimed as a treatment for cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, aging skin, acne, heart disease, and inflammation, and many just consume it because they enjoy the flavor. 

Green tea extract is often one of the first 10 ingredients listed in skin care products used for wrinkles, acne, rosacea, or normal skin. Ingredients are listed in cosmetics and skin care products by potency, for example the first ingredient listed will be what makes up the most of the product, and the last ingredient listed makes up the least amount of the formulation, and so on for ingredients listed in between. Green tea being listed so high attests to its properties as an active ingredient. 

The plant polyphenols in green tea are naturally antimicrobial and anti inflammatory, so when applied topically can treat existing acne, prevent future acne, and soothe the associated redness. This glycolic renewal gel increases cell turnover, treats acne, and helps prevent wrinkles by increasing cell turnover. Green tea is added to prevent the typical inflammation associated with glycolic acid and keep it balanced while active.

Green tea is rich in antioxidants, helping prevent damage to the skin, and heal existing flaws. For this reason, it is often a super star ingredient in sunscreens, and rosacea remedies. Some of my favorites for hypersensitive skin types include: our aloe sleep mask, our hemp moisturizer, or our peptide treatment lotion.

The caffeine in green tea can be used to depuff those under eye bags. By increasing circulation and vasoconstricting the blood vessels those under eye circles we all seem to fight over 35 are history. Save your used tea bags for an eye pillow, or try an eye cream that already has the green tea extract in it. 

According to an article published in Medical News Today in 2018, Green tea helps with weight loss!

According to Cancer Research UK,although many people believe it helps with cancer, the research is inconclusive so far. 

The American Association of Retired Persons suggests that people with high cholesterol consume green tea to lower cholesterol levels.

I love green tea, my favorite way to enjoy it is hot with a teaspoon of CBD infused honey. Do you like green tea? What is your favorite way to enjoy it?


Licorice root is a powerhouse ingredient for fighting sun damage!


Licorice is a native weed to Europe and Asia. Its Root is widely used for its oddly sweet extract. You may be familiar with licorice candy, although like everything else these days, its rarely actual licorice root used in candy anymore, instead usually a man made flavoring.


The Ancient Egyptians first documented use of Licorice in 360 A.D. They thought of it as a universal remedy for pretty much all ailments from eye disorders, to tummy troubles, to skin rashes and everything in between. They made it into beverages for easy consumption. The plant was dried and placed inside King Tut’s tomb.


The Chinese believed it beneficial for treating coughs, colds, flu, depression, lethargy, bad breath, and more. It is still a popular choice amongst Chinese herbalists.


Licorice Root is a robust anti oxidant,which helps fight free radical damage when applied topically. Antioxidants protect the skin from sun damage, environmental toxins, and premature ageing. Licorice is also used to hush hypersensitive skin being one of the few proven ingredients to have a calming effect on rosacea and eczema. It’s anti-inflammatory properties make it super effective for calming skin and reducing puffiness, making it an excellent go to for under eye treatment products. I always recommend products containing licorice root to my clients with hyper-pigmentation, sun spots and/ or  melasma because it contains liquirtin and licochal which reduce melanin production. These components of licorice have been shown to be as effective as hydroquinone (a drug prescribed for hyper-pigmentation) at reducing enzyme activity that produces melanin, according to a 2009 study done by The Pakistan Association of Dermatologists. When combined with a good old retinol (vitamin A derivative), the duo reduces pigmentation, while increasing cell turnover, out with the old, in with the new! It can even be found in many sunscreens. Another unique benefit of using licorice to treat sun damage is because it naturally contains UV blocking enzymes, it doesn’t increase the risk of sunburn during treatment (photo-sensitivity) like its competitors. 


Licorice root can also be taken internally. Licorice is similar to the popular drug mucinex in how it causes expulsion from the lungs. It cleanses the lungs by ridding them of old mucus, while producing new mucus to protect. No wonder the Chinese have used it for many years to treat coughs and colds. Licorice is also an effective treatment for heartburn when ingested. Licorice also balances the bacteria in the gut, and has been used to treat Dysbiosis. 


I think we can all agree this is one weed that we shouldn’t be pulling, unless it’s to make tea or tinctures. 

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Face Oil or Face Cream? What’s best for you?


Deciding which product is best to moisturize your face is one of the most important decisions you will make in your daily skincare regimen because your moisturizer is a product that sits atop and protects your skin all day long. A cleanser is only on your skin for a few moments, and a mask for usually 5 to 20 minutes so you can see why something that will be there all day is so important to get right. 


I personally use a hemp seed oil based face oil these days after years of exploration to figure out my skin’s favorite things.


Growing up I always thought oil was bad for me.  Like almost everyone else, I was completely convinced if any kind of oil got anywhere near my face I’d be cursed with zits for days. Who knew oils would become my face’s best friend?


Let’s start by dispelling a few myths about oils.


Myth #1: Oil will clog my pores and cause acne. 


Fact: Some oils are 100% Non Comodegenic (how likely a product is to clog pores)  and non acnegenic (how likely a product is to cause acne), while others may be slightly comedogenic, or highly comedogenic. My favorite non clogging, non acnegenic, and breathable oils are hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and argan oil.


Myth #2: Glowing skin means the skin is greasy or dirty.


Fact: Glowing skin usually means it is well hydrated and healthy, although occasionally it can mean the skin is over producing oil.


Myth #3: Face Oils will feel heavy on my skin.


Fact: Most Oils are more breathable than a cream or lotion and feel lightweight on the skin. 


Myth #4: Creams are less likely to inflame sensitive skin.


Fact: Although some creams are formulated to be hypoallergenic, many have a long list of ingredients. Face oils however,  usually only consist of 1 to 4 carrier oils and essential oils. Typically with fewer ingredients, the risk of something inflaming the skin is lower simply because there are less things being put onto the skin.


I usually ask my clients if they prefer a “glow”, or a “matte” look, because I want to ensure I send them home after their services with the appearance they desire, VS. what I think looks best (I always recommend/ personally prefer the “youthful glow”).  However our society has been brainwashed into believing the glow is grease or poor hygiene, which is simply not always true. We carry a variety of facial creams, and facial oils to ensure our ability to accommodate everyone.


Determining what’s best for you! 


To determine what you will prefer, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. Do I like a glow or a matte look? If you prefer to glow, a face oil is in most cases a better solution, if you prefer a matte look, go with a light cream.
  2. Do I like a light feel, or a thicker feel? Usually, oils are lighter, while creams are thicker.
  3. Do I have sensitive skin? If you have sensitive skin I recommend a face oil with calming ingredients, unless you have a tried and true cream you know your skin loves, in which case, don’t change it up.
  4. Am I hypersensitive to the sun? If yes, a cream with a high SPF might be your best bet, while if not an oil with natural sun protection might be enough for you.
  5. If you have no clue and feel overwhelmed, schedule a customized facial with me and I’ll do the detective work for you, and help you put your best face forward.


It is also important to think about the different benefits of the ingredients to determine which is best for you!


If your skin is acne prone, look for: tea tree oil, salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, witch hazel, lemon oil, azelaic acid, glycolic acid, mandelic acid, hemp seed oil, argan oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, and aloe.


If your skin is dry, look for: Shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil (but not if your skin is prone to acne), rosehip seed oil, vitamin E, aloe, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, chamomile, jojoba, and lactic acid.


If your skin is sun damaged or scarred, look for: daisy, kojic acid, vitamin c, licorice, evening primrose oil, geranium, rose, tea tree, lemon, sandalwood, carrot seed, glycolic acid, mandelic acid.


If your skin is sensitive, look for calming ingredients: frankincense, lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, aloe.


Keep in mind, whether you decide on a lotion, a cream, or an oil as your moisturizer, I always suggest a good cleanser, toner, and serum prior to the application of your moisturizer. Also don’t forget to exfoliate as needed throughout the month to keep away the dullness.


If you need help, hit me up and I will get you on the correct routine.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Lactic Acid! My favorite Alpha Hydroxy Acid for my face!

Lactic Acid, and what you need to know.

Lactic Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It is a unique AHA as it exfoliates the skin but also hydrates the skin. Perhaps this is why Cleopatra was well known for taking milk baths, while she likely did not know why it made her skin soft, or made her appear more youthful, she must have noticed the beneficial effects to continue to do so.

Lactic Acid is usually derived from sour milk, however can sometimes be found in vegetable sources, such as fermented pumpkin. Fun Fact: Pumpkin skin care products are super popular, because in using them you get the benefits of one of the top three strongest natural enzymes (the other 2 being pineapple and papaya), in addition to the benefits of naturally occurring lactic acid. Although you probably never even thought about why it worked while you were using that pumpkin mask you love, now you know why it makes you glow! 

Lactic Acid is the must have ingredient in treating hormonal acne, ageing skin, and post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation. Ageing skin with hormonal acne is a bit more complicated than treating acne or ageing one at a time because unlike teenage acne once we are over 30 our skin is typically drier, so our previous go to’s such as salicylic, benzoyl peroxide, or sulfur are too drying and can make hormonal acne worse because the overly dry surface skin can clog the pores more. 


Lactic Acid Specifically benefits the skin by:

  1. Exfoliating while hydrating
  2. Stimulating collagen production
  3. Brightens complexion, without causing redness
  4. Lactic Acid peels are mild enough there is typically no down time, however you will instantly see a more glowy appearance
  5. Fades Sun Spots
  6. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles
  7. Being the only AHA gentle enough for use on skin with rosacea or eczema


 While exfoliation is important for preventing acne, and premature signs of ageing, we also have to hydrate the skin and increase barrier function. That sounds crazy and complicated right? Yes it is, how do we increase barrier function while removing dead skin cells? Well, it is a complicated answer:

  1. Use a cleanser that contains lactic acid as an active ingredient.
  2. Use an excellent moisturizer that contains small amounts of glycolic acid in addition to lactic acid.
  3. If a Glycolic Moisturizer is too harsh for you (it sure is for me), consider an antioxidant moisturizer to fight free radical damage and prevent inflammation.
  4. Consider enzyme treatments over chemical peels first as enzymes only digest dead cells, and do not go after live cells, while peels have no distinction.
  5. Don’t buy a drug store serum, your serum is the single most important step in your daily skincare regimen, get a good one! A few of my favorites are A vitamin C serum, an AHA serum, or an antioxidant serum.
  6. Exfoliate once every 2 weeks or up to 3 times a week, depending on your skin, while my sensitive skin can only handle gritty exfoliation every 2 weeks or so some of my clients with more durable skin need to exfoliate a few times each week. Remember just because something worked great on your sisters skin, your skin is unique to you, and you might require something completely different. And remember your skin might need a very gentle exfoliant, while someone else might need a medium strength, and someone else might need something more heavy duty,.  Don’t know what’s best for you? Just email me, we will get you set up with a correct routine!
  7. Mask at least once per month. I like a good resurfacing lactic acid mask, but my sensitive skin can only handle something like this every once in a while because it can be drying, but it sure does give me a complete resurfacing at home. For a gentler enzyme exfoliating mask at home a papaya/ pumpkin can be used 2 times per month.
  8. Always wear an SPF daily, for the rest of your life. Active ingredients can make you more sensitive to sun exposure, and sun exposure is the #1 cause of premature ageing.

Keep in mind Lactic Acid containing products should be avoided if you are on certain medications such as Accutane or Retin- A, as too much exfoliation can strip your acid mantle (your skin barrier), and cause your skin to be over processed (just like your hair, this is not a good thing!)


Ultimately talk to your skin therapist, or dermatologist to determine what is best for you and your skin. Keep glowing, friend!

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Is Chemical Exfoliation Right for you?

Exfoliation is important for everyone. Shedding our skin (cell renewal) to reveal new skin is a natural part of growth for all living things. After personally struggling with acne most of my life, I learned a lot about what did not work for me, and found a few things that did. For people like me with acneic skin that is also hyper sensitive, chemical exfoliation can work wonders. Don’t let the commonly used term “Chemical Peel” scare you, I know the idea of your face peeling off sounds gross and scary. That is not what I am talking about. Sometimes chemical exfoliation means a peel, but it can also refer to an enzyme treatment, and many cleansers, toners, serums, and moisturizers contain chemical exfoliants.  Most chemical peels and enzymes cause an internal sloughing off of skin, which means you don’t even see the skin falling off or notice anything during the process other then dry skin for a few days. You skin is always shedding on its own every day, the rate at which it renews is known as cell renewal factor. Just like you breathe without even thinking about it, your skin is constantly renewing itself. Chemical Exfoliation simply speeds up this process, and usually without pain or discomfort. As we age our skin naturally renews less frequently, that is why as we age we notice more fine lines, or dull looking skin, and sometimes hormonal acne that may just be starting in our 30’s. 

The below chart shows the frequency of the skins cell renewal factor based on age:

Age Cell Renewal Factor
Babies Every 14 days
Teens 21 to 28 days
Middle Age 28 to 42 days
50 and older 42 to 84 days

Because our skin renews less frequently on its own as we age it’s extremely important for us to help it along by manually exfoliating our skin, and I do not mean with those harsh drug store scrubs with walnuts and apricots (I ain’t saying no names, but you know who you are and what im talking about, run don’t walk away from those products!)

Although the term “Chemical Peel” makes it sound a bit harsh, chemical forms of exfoliation are actually way more gentler than their “scrub” or “mechanical” exfoliation counterparts. Chemical Peels actually contain very little to no chemicals, and are mostly made up of natural enzymes and acids derived from fruits and vegetables. Many are Gluten free and vegan (but not all). 

Some commonly used chemical peeling ingredients are outlined on the below chart:

Type Where does it come
Enzyme or Acid? Whats it
best for?
How does it work?
Glycolic Sugar Cane Acid Aging Skin
Breaks down intercellular cement to cause sloughing off of skin
Tartaric Grapes Acid Acne
Sensitive skin
Anti oxidant Balancing PH
down inter-
cellular cement to cause sloughing off of skin
Lactic Sour Milk Acid Acne
Dry skin
Breaks down intercellular cement to cause sloughing off of skin, hydrates skin
Papain Papaya Enzyme Hyper-
Dull skin
Fine lines
Digests dead skin cells
Bromelain Pineapple Enzyme Reduce Blackheads
Brightening dull skin
Anti oxidant
Digests dead skin cells
Salicylic Acid Willow Bark Acid Acne
Acne Scarring
Oily Skin
Breaks down intercellular cement to cause sloughing off of skin, hydrates skin

Is peeling right for you? If you have any of the following skin concerns, chemical peeling might be worth exploring:

  • Acne
  • Acne Scarring
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Fine Lines and wrinkles
  • Dry Skin
  • Dull Skin
  • Blackheads
  • Oily Skin
  • Sun Damage
  • Scars

However, chemical exfoliation is contraindicated for some people. If you are experiencing any of the following, you will not be able to chemical peel:

  • Pregnancy
  • Use of certain medications
  • Sunburn
  • History of cold sores
  • Rosacea (although you cannot do a peel, some enzymes are safe for persons with rosacea)
  • Keloid Scarring

The process of a chemical peeling treatment at Old Mechanicsville Health Spa includes, a cleansing of the face, followed by peel prep, then peel, application of rescue mask to soothe, followed by aloe toner to restore skin’s PH, calming serum, moisturizer application, sunscreen protection.

An Enzyme treatment can be added to any facial for only $10, and a chemical peel is performed as a stand alone service or as a series of 6 staring at $200.

I personally usually do a series of 6 chemical peels, 2 weeks apart once per year to keep my skin youthful and glowy. Email me if your ready to come up with a long term plan for living in and loving your best skin.

The root of Immortality; and its key benefits for inside and outside of the human body.



Ginseng, a root written about as “The Root of Immortality” in Eastern medicine as early as 196 AD in The Shen- Nung Pharmacopoeia is making a popular come back in skincare products. It is an amazing ingredient, I hope you are as excited about as I am.

Disclaimer: Please note that the FDA does not approve its medicinal use in the United States, however it can be purchased over the counter as an herbal supplement. This blog and the research used to write it came from Eastern Medicine teachings and uses.

Ginseng is a root that is harvested and then pulled from the ground similar to farming a carrot. There are 2 main types: Korean and American. Ancient Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures used Ginseng to increase stamina, improve overall wellness and immunity, and for persevering through hard times as it is believed to bring good karma. Ginseng is rich in several vitamins and nutrients including the following B vitamins; 1, 5, 2, and 12, as well as amino acids, peptides, folic acids, fatty acids, and minerals. It is also rich in ginsenocides, a substance that is similar to human hormones, and has been shown effective in balancing hormones in the body which will help balance blood pressure, insulin production, and increase metabolism. Furthermore it acts as an appetite suppressant, aiding in weight loss.

Ginseng has been used for the following:

  • Treating Erectile Dysfunction (because the ginsenosides increase circulation to genital blood vessels)
  • Boosting Immune system function
  • Lower Blood Sugar
  • Improve mood
  • Boost Energy (because it is a stimulant)
  • Fighting Cancer (because it supports healthy T Cell function, T cells are the cells that fight cancer)
  • Aid healthy digestion
  • Reduce Tumor Size
  • Boost liver function
  • Increase sexual desire and performance
  • Calming the central nervous system and promoting healthy stress response
  • Obesity

Please note there are some contraindications to taking Ginseng as a supplement, if you have any of the following, it is advised that you do not take Ginseng:

  • Pregnancy
  • Breast feeding
  • Anxiety (because it is a stimulant, it may over excite the existing condition)
  • Insomnia (because it is a stimulant)
  • Those on anticoagulant medications
  • Diabetics should also be very careful with its use, below link for more info

Ginseng has been very popular in Korean skin care products for years because of its topical effects on the epidermis! We is the US are always a bit behind, but it is gaining popularity here as well, including several products in the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa signature line we use and carry in office.

Some positive effects Ginseng has on the skin are:

  • Prevents visible signs of ageing  (because it is a super antioxidant that fights free radical damage)
  • Helps prevent environmental damage (like sun or environmental toxins)- because of its antioxidant properties
  • Superb moisturizer (because of its ability to hold on to water molecules)
  • Plumps the skin (because it Increases collagen and Elastin production)
  • Reduces redness and Inflammation- making it a must have for hyper sensitive skin, like me! If you turn red just washing your face you may have hyper sensitive skin. (Ginseng is a natural anti-inflammatory)
  • Reduces puffiness (because of its stimulating and anti- inflammatory effects)
  • Reduce dark circles and dullness (because of its stimulating properties)
  • Increases circulation to the skin

Products in our line that contain this powerful ingredient:

Shoot me an email if you would like to discuss if our products are right for you!



P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

8 Common Skin Care Mistakes & 8 Easy Peasy Solutions!


Old Mechanicsville Health Spa Product Line

Have you tried all the things? Purchased all the expensive products? And still can’t find a happy place with the skin on your face?!?! The answer may be simpler then you think!

Below I’ll talk about some common at home mistakes consumers make and simple ways to break the cycle and love the skin you are in.

  1. Over or underuse of products.

Yes, using too much or too little can seriously do harm. Too much can clog your pores, leave behind a residue, or even decrease efficacy because a barrier gets created preventing absorption of the good stuff as intended. Using too little may not allow your skin to get even benefit across your whole face.  Follow this diagram below (and the instructions on your product label) to ensure you are using the correct amount.

Cleanser– use a pea sized amount, lather well

Toner- about a dime sized amount if a liquid toner on a cotton ball or a pea sized amount rubbed between clean hands if a gel toner

Serum– about the size of 2 sunflower seeds

Exfoliator– a dime sized amount

Mask- a dime sized amount

Moisturizer– About the size of 2 sunflower seeds, 4 if your skin is extremely dry

Sunscreen– 2 sunflower seeds

2. Not allowing products to dry or absorb before applying the next product.

We are all rushing from place to place, meeting to meeting. Life is busy! Don’t let it be at your skins expense. Set aside 10 minutes per day after your shower for your face. Wash your face in the shower. Apply your toner, wait for it, wait for it, wait for it to completely dry, then apply your serum, wait again for it to dry. Once your skin feels as though the serum has dried, it means your skin has slurped up the quench of vitamins, hydration, and all the juicy stuff! Next apply your moisturizer (I like a good oil moisturizer myself, but whatever your jam, do you), then once you no longer feel the tackiness, rub a little sunscreen between your 2 hands and pat gently on top. Or bonus if you use a moisturizer with sunscreen already inside, in which case you can skip the last step.

3. Washing your face with water that’s too hot!

We all know that hot water feels amazing on our bodies, but it’s not the best option for your face. Many gel cleansers now say on the bottle “rinse with cold water” or “remove with cool water” because many cleansers contain fruit acids or enzymes that should not over penetrate the epidermis. Hot water and steam dilates your pores, and that combined with over penetration of acids or enzymes can cause hyperpigmentation. Follow the instructions on your bottle.

4. Applying products in the wrong order.

Because products change the PH of your skin, and some are meant to absorb and some are meant to sit on top of the skin and protect, applying in an incorrect order can be very detrimental, and expensive. Most products clearly state on the label which order they should be used in, however if you are using products from more than one product line this can get confusing because some product lines may include 3 steps and some may include 6, for this reason if you are not a skin expert or acting on the advice of a specialist it may be best for you to stick one product line. Typically below is the correct order for most product lines:

  1. Pre-cleanse (make up remover or an oil cleanser)
  2. Cleanser (usually a gel or foaming cleanser)
  3. Exfoliator (if needed, usually once a week or once a month is enough)
  4. Mask (typically only needed once or twice per month)
  5. Toner (be careful some can over strip your skin, pay attention as to whether you feel dry or nourished after application)
  6. Serum
  7. Moisturizer

5. Washing your face too much or too little.

Washing your face too much can cause a breakout just as fast as poor hygiene. Going crazy washing your face 4 times a day and have acne? Your skin is probably over processed. Try cutting back to twice a day, or even once a day, and try a cream cleanser during the day, and only use a foaming or gel cleanser at night before bed. If you are ready to cut back to once a day, do it at night before bedtime. Washing your face in the morning is not usually really necessary unless you sweat a lot while you sleep, or if you are a mouth breather and drool on your face while you sleep. If you aren’t washing your face daily and you have acne, try washing once a day in the evening, or twice a day using a gel or foaming cleanser in the evening and a cream cleanser in the morning.

6. Not following manufacturer’s instructions.

The specialists that designed and manufactured the skin care products we use typically have an extensive amount of knowledge and education in regards to the ingredients, use, and efficacy of them. So read the labels on the skin care products you use and follow them, usually there is also a customer service number on the bottles in case you have questions. Which is great source for free help with a products use.

7. Not drinking enough water.

The human body LOVES water. Your body is supposed to be 70% water. If your skin is dry, irritated, or you have acne, your skin may just be thirsty. Try to drink at least (8) 8oz. glasses per day, a few more if its summer or you work out a lot. Drink up!

8. Know when to see a professional.

If what you have tried is not working consistently, schedule an appointment with a Licensed Aesthetician or a Dermatologist. We all love a good DIY approach, but sometimes we need a professional. I wouldn’t try to change the oil in my car myself.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout.