Hyperpigmentation presents itself in many ways including white spots, dark spots and a general unevenness of the skin. The reasons for hyperpigmentation vary. Sometimes it’s hormonal or caused by things like pregnancy, other times it’s genetic. Whatever the ultimate cause, it’s important to know that this condition is actually a form of oversensitivity and the measures taken to improve it often involve finding ways to calm both the system and the skin.
Drink lots of water: Drinking more water helps nearly every function of the body and improving the internal system always reflects in the skin. Our favorite water is Neo Water because of its high PH and refreshing taste. Alkaline water is also excellent for balancing the acidity in the system
Cut the acidity: As previously mentioned, hyper-pigmentation is a form of oversensitivity and acidity is one of the hardest things on the system. Oranges, apples, tomatoes and vinegar are some of the worst culprits, so it’s best not to eat them too often
Eat your veggies: We all know eating healthy is important, but did you know that a lack of vegetables in one’s system actually contributes to the skin’s overall sensitivity and reactiveness? Greens, especially kale are best.
Keep it real: Food additives have a very negative effect on the evenness of the skin. Avoid artificial sweeteners and preservatives and be sure to get only nitrate free deli meats.
Stay hydrated inside and out: Of course water is the best way to stay hydrated, but oils help the skin immensely as well. Avocado Oil is one of our favorites. It’s highly hydrating and helps with fine lines, but it also helps to even the skin.
Protect yourself from the sun and sunblock: Too much sun exposure can really exacerbate a pigmentation issue so be sure to wear sunblock and a hat when going outside. Then, before bed make sure you thoroughly remove your sunblock with at least 3 cleansings.
Cleanse: This is how you balance the system from the outside and it’s extremely important. A thorough cleansing routine complete with Cleanser and Toner is the best way to even the texture and pigmentation of the skin.
Hyperpigmentation may seem daunting, but if you treat your skin for what it is—sensitive, you can change your skin by changing a few core habits.
Congratulations! Step 1 is done: you made the resolution! Now, how do you achieve your goal of better, more beautiful skin and keep up your skincare routine all year long?
Start simply: How many times have we fallen short on our resolutions because we took on too much? Start with the basics—Cleansing and Moisturizing. They’re best thing for your skin anyway! Then, when you’re really enjoying your routine, add in Serums, Masks and Exfoliant.
Work cleansing around your other daily routines: You have probably managed to make brushing your teeth twice a day a routine, right? So, it’s entirely possible for you to have a twice daily cleansing routine; just work it around your oral care routine! Start with your Cleansing Milk and follow with Toner. Then, while your Toner dries, brush/floss your teeth! Apply your moisturizer and you’re done—easy peasy!
Cleanse early: Unlike brushing your teeth, your nighttime routine does not have to be done right before bed. Anytime in the evening is fine. You can cleanse as soon as you get home from work or even before you leave the office; just don’t miss it!
Taking care of yourself isn’t something you have to do. It’s something you get to do, so enjoy it, make time for it and bask in all the wonderful results!
New Year’s resolutions need action plans to become reality. Share your action plan in the comments below!
The holidays are upon us—that most wonderful yet hectic time of year. Most of us are already overly busy: work is longer, play time is rarer and more intense. Just the thought of getting ready for the holidays is unnerving as we try to determine how we’ll manage our holiday to do list and still keep up with our regular work load. This year make the decision to do the holidays differently and make it before the holidays are here. Take the self care oath not to let the tension get to you—easier said than done, but entirely doable.
During this age of non-stop communication, peace and quiet have never been so important. Once we create the habit of grounded quiet time, it is easier to stay balanced and focused.
The 1st step is making the decision. Then the question becomes how to achieve your peace of mind without antagonizing your whole world. That is where the how comes in. The how starts with as little as 5-10 minutes alone with oneself each day before any interaction with family, loved ones or fellow workers. It is one of the best, most stabilizing things you can ever do for yourself. If you are able, find a few extra minutes before this “quiet time”, to connect with or write down whatever is weighing heavily on your mind. It is such a helpful exercise to pinpoint exactly what’s bothering us, note it and either let it go or find a productive way to deal with it. If we don’t give ourselves this conscious quiet time, small problems can become a jumble of tangled emotions that consume us. When we take the time to slow down, we often find that the things that cause us the most grief are the things we can do the least about anyway, so there’s little point in letting them ruin what is otherwise a very special time of year.
During this age of non-stop communication, peace and quiet have never been so important. Once we create the habit of grounded quiet time, it is easier to stay balanced and focused. Then the question becomes how do we keep the peace and calm that we worked so hard to achieve despite life’s challenges. We need to guard our inner peace and stay centered in our commitment to ourselves instead of reacting to negative people, places or things. Consider the quiet center inside of you as a child for whom you are responsible and who always needs protection. When it means that much, we realize how important it is to safeguard that part of ourselves.
The next step is forgiveness and gratitude. Even with our commitment to self care, we are human and at some point or another we all fall back to our self defeating old ways. Forgiveness of ourselves and others is so necessary for self acceptance and personal freedom. Gratitude for each of our blessings is the beginning of this route to peace within us.
The seasons are changing and it’s time to prepare for the influx of cooler weather. We’ve enjoyed our fun in the sun, but we need to repair our skin from extended exposure. Even with sunblock and wind protection, the products we use to prevent damage and the time spent outdoors coarsen the skin and leave it ruddy with bumps under or on the cheeks, forehead and neck. The transition from summer to fall is the skincare season of repairing and preparing: repairing the summer damage with products that calm the skin and preparing for the dry air months ahead with plenty of hydration.
Here’s how to Repair and Prepare!
Proper Cleansing: Ok, we know we say this every time, but it’s so important! ÀTOI’s number 1 “rule of thumb” and the best way to reverse summer sun damage is with a gentle cleansing routine. Any of the 4 ÀTOI lines will clean the pores superbly, but Soothing and Clarifying are our particular favorites after the summer season since they are so calming for the skin.
Proper Cleansing part 2: How you cleanse matters. In case you missed it, Gentle is the operative word. Rubbing too hard on the skin leads to coarsened skin over time. To be sure you’re cleansing as gently as possible, use rolled 100% cotton sprayed with distilled water to remove your Cleansing Milk and apply Toner with a smaller piece of 100% cotton.
Avoid Exfoliants: While you’re restoring the skin, skip the exfoliant. Even ÀTOI’s gentle exfoliant should not be used until the skin calms down and evens out.
Proper Nighttime Cleansing: Breakfast may be the most important meal, but your nighttime cleansing is the most important routine. At the end of the day, cleanse 3-4 times in a row with ÀTOI Cleansing Milk to clean the pores and calm the skin. Follow with 2 applications of ÀTOI Toner. View the full ÀTOI ROUTINE!
Drink up! It is so good to keep the body moisturized inside and outside. Water does that nutritionally. Alkaline water is best because it benefits the whole system and neutralizes acidity, which aggravates and causes blotchiness and irritation. It may be easier to drink more water in the summer heat, but it’s just as important to keep your water intake up during the cold months ahead so that extreme central heating doesn’t take its toll on our skin. Drinking small amounts of water throughout the day is a healthy and easy way to stay hydrated and is so beneficial for mind and body.
Pack on the Moisture: For an extraordinarily hydrating lift, do what the French call a “Packing” on the skin. After the Toner dries, apply at least 3 heavy layers of your ÀTOI Eye Cream and respective Soothing Day/Night, Strengthening Vitamin E or Nourishing Night Cream onto the face and neck and leave it on for as long as you are able. Relax and feel those healing French Ingredients working their magic and restoring the pores and texture of the skin in as little as 20 minutes, or longer if you have the time. Then, massage cream onto face and neck and blot away excess with an unscented tissue. Check your beautiful complexion before going out. You won’t believe what your skin looks like: restored and radiant. You can, if you like, put makeup over it, but you may decide your skin looks so good you can skip it and let everyone admire your radiant complexion.
Whatever the weather may bring, loving your skin is always in season. If you have any questions, we’re always here to help guide you from a stunning summer to a fabulous fall. Visit atoiskincare.com for more information and helpful tips!
Preparing for menopause is really preparing for life’s next chapter. It is a wonderful opportunity to take stock of what we need and develop the habits that will serve us best as we take the next step. No matter how busy or complicated our life is or seems; we can alter it so that it suits our deepest need by changing what we do. What we do is so often more important than what we think.
Gratitude, a positive attitude to self and taking charge of today’s issues instead of worrying about yesterday or tomorrow are our best weapons against negative self-talk.
Here are some tips to get started.
Positive Self-Talk: When we are busy and overwhelmed one excellent place to start is with positive self-talk. Going through menopause is certainly a time when we might find ourselves at “loose ends.” That negative place filled with “I can’t” and “why bother.” There is no advantage or growth from being at “loose ends.” It is the single biggest waste of time and often leads us to a very unproductive ‘victim’ mindset. Gratitude, a positive attitude to self and taking charge of today’s issues instead of worrying about yesterday or tomorrow are our best weapons against negative self-talk.
Choose your Company Wisely: Improving ourselves, body and soul, is our decision, and we are the ones responsible for staying positive and focused. If we surround ourselves with people who are stuck in their own negativity as we’re just learning to be more positive, we’ll eventually end up back where we started. True friends want you to be happy and to do what is best for you. Those who are not positive are that way because of their own issues, and when they weigh us down they do so because misery loves company. Do not undervalue yourself. You deserve a good life and friends that celebrate it with you.
Exercise: Sweat your symptoms out! Sweating actually helps to reduce inflammation so a regular workout becomes even more important and beneficial. Plus, it helps us focus which gives a greater sense of emotional, mental and physical well-being. If you’re not in the habit of exercising or have experienced past injuries, check with your doctor to see what types of exercises are best for you. Then, begin with as little as 10-15 minutes a day until your body is comfortable with more. Don’t worry about perfection if things aren’t as easy as they were. Even doing gentle aerobic exercises and going for regular walks will help.
Change your diet: Our body is going through so much during menopause it’s important to support it with the proper nutrients. Organic sweet potatoes are particularly beneficial because they have nutrients that help the eyes and balance hormone levels.
Remember your skin: Your skin is changing too, so don’t leave it out of this new beginning. In fact, our skin needs even more attention. Add a second ÀTOI cleansing to your morning routine and follow with ÀTOI Toner. Then in your nighttime routine, which should consist of 3 cleansings and 2 applications of Toner to improve lines, smooth and even the skin and shrink the pores, add ÀTOI Serums. They penetrate the skin very quickly, making an immediate change. ÀTOI’s Line Defying, Lifting and Revitalizing Collagen Serums are particularly helpful for fine lines and dehydration.
Find your “Cornerstone Habit”: At ÀTOI our favorite mode of self-care is, of course, a thorough daily skincare routine, since aside from giving us radiant skin, it’s an excellent way to wind down and take a little precious time for ourselves. But everyone’s idea of self-care is a little different, so take the time to figure out what works for you and do that thing consistently. You’ll develop cornerstone habit that leads to even more positive changes.
Getting to the other side of negative habits is life altering and as rewarding as anything we could give ourselves. Remain optimistic and positive as you make the decision to eat better, exercise more, and take care of your complexion. Take pride and celebrate every small change because that is how big changes happen: one small change at a time. It is so worthwhile.
Transforming your skin is doable, constructive and, though thinking of it can be overwhelming, often times not as hard as we think. Here are our 5 favorite positive habits that make a huge impact on your skin—no matter what the issue.
Water: You may know this, but it’s one extra action you can take to make a big improvement. Water is the beverage of choice for the complexion. If you’re not a big water drinker, begin with a small amount. Drinking water is a habit that has to be built over time and a great way to start is by keeping a water bottle with you and drinking it throughout the day. Have it ready at your office so you don’t have to keep running for refills and carry it in your bag. Once you get started you’ll be surprised how refreshing consistent water intake can be and your body and skin will thank you.
Oils: A little good oil in the diet goes a long way in helping our skin. Cold-Pressed Apricot, Avocado and Almond oils are some of ÀTOI’s favorites. For dry skin they help nourish and hydrate the skin from within, but adding one of these health food oils regulates all complexions including oily ones so that the body becomes balanced and does not produce excess oils. The best way to add oils to your diet is to use it as a replacement for butter when you cook or in homemade salad dressing. Too much dairy, especially butter and cheese, can cause eruptions and coarsen the skin over time. Oils not only improve your skin, they’re also a positive way to limit your dairy intake without sacrificing flavor.
Sleep: Peaceful deep sleep is the best gift you can give yourself; body, soul and complexion. Between bosses and babies we may not have much choice of the hours we get to sleep, but we can do something about the quality. For that, quiet time is key. Resist the evening news, even fashion magazines—anything that overstimulates, and instead find ways to wind down. Try replacing that one last episode of “Modern Family” before bed with your ÀTOI Cleansing routine. Your skin will thank you, and whether you spent the day working hard or creatively procrastinating, you could sure use a little time for self-care.
Be Gentle: There are a few things in life that get cleaner with elbow grease: stove tops, cars, bathtubs, but your skin is not one of them. In fact, rubbing too hard only irritates and coarsens the skin over time. Your skin is precious and no matter what issue it may be having taking your frustration out on it with a rough hand will only exacerbate the problem. One way to make sure you’re using a gentle approach is to use 100% cotton wetted with irritant-free distilled water to remove your cleanser instead of rinsing with tap water and then drying it with a rough towel.
Cleanse Thoroughly: Cleansing once during your nighttime routine is great, but 3 cleansings at night to make sure the grit, makeup and sunblock is out of the pores will make an even more striking improvement. ÀTOI’s Cleansing Milks are designed to gently open the pores and lift out impurities. With each cleansing the Milk reaches deeper into the pores, leaving them not only scrupulously clean, but also smaller. Finishing with 2 applications of ÀTOI alcohol-free Toner completely closes your freshly cleaned pores and gives your skin an extra touch of radiance.
Changing our day-to-day habits can be challenging. That’s why it’s important to make adjustments little by little and be kind and reasonable with yourself as you integrate these healthy lifestyle changes. The great thing is, once you start making these changes, you won’t have to wait long to see improvement. You’ll start to feel good and look good and even feel good about how you look—the best possible result.
Visit us at atoiskincare.com to view our superb French inspired formulas and find out What’s Right for You as you begin your journey to stunning skin.
We all enjoy dyeing our hair for a variety of reasons; a new look, a statement, even a dare, but in the end the color we fall most in love with is the one that matches our complexion and makes us feel drop dead gorgeous. Keeping our skin in mind is so important when we’re seeking that perfect look, because once we’ve found that stunning shade of red, we’d rather not have skin to match. Here are a few tips to keep your complexion clear and even—even when you dye your hair.
Protect the hairline: When preparing to dye your hair, apply Vaseline or a Vaseline type of non-porous jelly. This helps keep the hairline from becoming irritated. Alba Botanical UN-petroleum Jelly is an ÀTOI house favorite.
Watch the chemicals: If possible. Avoid ammonia and peroxide products. They tend to be more irritating. It is possible to find the correct color without it containing so many irritants. Try switching to a no ammonia, no peroxide formula—your scalp and hair will thank you. Our ÀTOI favorites are Schwartzkopf and Wella hair dyes because they tend to have good color selection and are gentle on the scalp.
Distilled water spritz: After dyeing your hair, wet 100% cotton with distilled water and wipe down your face. This will help to remove any residue from the hair and calm the skin/
Find the right shampoo: We recommend Framesi and Schwartzkopf shampoos because they preserve the color and do not irritate the skin.
The summer temperatures are here with the humidity and long days of sun. Some of us have enjoyed our days in the sun a little too much and our skin is paying for it. The good news is some of that damage can be reversed simply by cultivating the good habits we didn’t know about in our youth. It is never too late to start taking care of your skin and the right mix of skin-healthy lifestyle changes and quality skincare products can greatly improve and significantly restore the skin.
Reversing the effects of overexposure isn’t nearly as difficult as we think.
Drink up! Summer is water time and it’s impossible to overemphasize the effects of good hydration on the skin. Drink water all during the day to keep the body moisturized inside and out. Alkaline water is especially helpful.
SPF and Moisturizer: Protect the skin first with ÀTOI’s SPF-free moisturizer and then with sunblock. This will minimize any possible irritation caused by the sunblock.
The 90 Minute Rule: Reapply sunblock every 90 minutes.
Avoid combination SPFs: Makeup and moisturizers with SPF do not provide sufficient protection from continued outdoor activity and often irritate the skin.
Cultivate a Hat Habit: A hat with a 2-3 inch brim provides excellent protection. Even if you don’t feel you look your best in hats, there is a style and version for everyone. If you have a friend or associate who you think is stylish, enlist their help. They will be flattered and you will be more confident and able to pick your next hat on your own. Plus, who can resist a shopping trip!
Keep your Cleansing and Moisturizing Routine: This is one of the best things you can do to soften wrinkles and improve previous sun damage. ÀTOI began because my mother had discoloration from years of sailing and not protecting her skin. It was the ÀTOI Cleansing and Moisturizing Routine that saved and improved her skin. At the end of the day always cleanse 3-4 times with the ÀTOI Cleansing Milk. The first 2 cleansings unclog the pores; the next 1-2 cleansings even the skin and reduce lines. If you are able to do this thorough of a cleansing, you will see improvement so noticeable you won’t recognize your own skin. Follow with at least 2 applications of ÀTOI Toner to even the skin and close the pores. Finally, the Soothing Day/Night Cream or Strengthening Vitamin E Cream should be applied to calm and even the skin and improve the pores which are often raised from prolonged sun exposure. If your skin is particularly irritable from sunblock, ÀTOI’s Soothing and Clarifying collections are excellent after sun exposure.
When it comes to changing sun-damaged skin, we think there’s no solution. However, reversing the effects of overexposure isn’t nearly as difficult as we think. A bottle of water, SPF, a hat and some really amazing ÀTOI Cleansers and Moisturizers will do the trick!
Memorial Day weekend is here, and you know what that means, the summer season has officially begun! Time to toss those layers of bulky winter clothing into storage and set free the flowing, light-weight clothes from last year, (plus, of course, a few new items just for fun). Lighter clothing, however, means more sun exposure and we find ourselves trying to determine how much sun is good and how best to protect our complexions. Being out in the warm weather is wonderful and so healing for those of us with packed, hectic schedules, but from dark to light complexions, we all need to protect our skin from extended exposure to both direct and indirect sunlight. We’re all aware that we shouldn’t bake unprotected in direct sunlight, but we tend to think we can skip the sunblock when sitting in the shade or being on or near the water on a cloudy day. Unfortunately indirect sunlight is tricky and covertly harmful. Though we may not feel the direct sunlight, it is there, reflected from the water. Even a hat with a 3” brim, though helpful, isn’t enough and sunblock is still essential. In short, if you’re wondering whether or not you should be wearing sunblock, ask yourself this question “Am I outside?” If the answer is yes, start applying and learn how to get the most out of your SPF with these tips!
Even a hat with a 3” brim, though helpful, isn’t enough and sunblock is still essential.
Leave your SPF alone: Dual purpose makeup/SPF and moisturizer/SPF products sound like a good, convenient idea, but they clog the pores, often causing breakouts without even providing sufficient coverage for extended sun exposure.
Create a barrier: Sunblock, as necessary as it is to protect the skin, is still irritating and should always be applied over an SPF free moisturizer. This protects the skin from the irritants in the sun block itself.
Zinc Oxide is your friend: Only Sunblocks with Zinc Oxide fully protect from both UVA and UVB Rays.
Watch out for botanical sunblock: Baby sunblock sounds gentler, but if it is botanically based, it can be too strong and should be avoided.
Apply regularly: All sunblock should be reapplied every 1 1/2 hours.
Cleanse thoroughly: After being outdoors with sunblock on, cleanse thoroughly with at least 2-3 extra cleansings to fully remove the sunblock from the pores. Often, the skin is extra sensitive after this sun exposure so using gentle, but thorough cleansers like ÀTOI’s Soothing or Clarifying Cleansing Milks are best.
Cleanse with distilled or alkaline water: If you are one of the many whose skin gets irritated from sunblock and sun exposure, incorporate alkaline or distilled into your daily cleansing routine. Apply it to a cotton pad to remove your cleanser instead of irritating tap water. Your skin will calm down immediately.
Elta MD makes an effective, non-irritating sunblock which comes in a variety of clear formulas which are great for darker complexions.
THINK SPORT Sunblock is also a favorite because it is so gentle; but it has a thick white consistency and should be rubbed in.
As always, enjoy the time off in the sun, just make sure your skin does too! Protect your skin and care for it properly when your fun in the sun is over and you’ll enjoy a beautiful summer glow!
This Mother’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to remember, acknowledge and be grateful for the mothers, aunts, friends, teachers, bosses, etc. who have guided us, influenced us and helped us grow. Feeling and expressing gratitude is healing and Mother’s Day is a great reminder that we should do it every day. We at ÀTOI wanted to share our gratefulness for each other and the many wonderful women we’re so blessed to have in our lives.
My beautiful, elegant mother who inspired me to begin ÀTOI Skincare
My warm, gracious and generous Aunt in Nova Scotia
My neighbor growing up who was interested in anything and everything I did when I was a young girl.
My Husband’s aunt who encouraged me to be my own person no matter what. She taught me not to look to other people for the approval I should be getting from myself. She taught me not to trust my negative emotions and that what I was doing was more important than what I was feeling: a life changing way of looking at my life.
I have an extraordinary mother. She is thoughtful, kind and honest, and I’m grateful for her constant love and support. She taught me by example what was really important and how to treat others—lessons that have served me well. One of the best pieces of advice she ever gave me was to go up to the new girl in Sunday School and tell her that her dress was pretty. That little girl is now my best friend of nearly 25 years. In those years we’ve been through everything together. She has protected me, supported me, inspired me and taught me how to look at life. I can’t imagine my life without either of these phenomenal women.
I am thankful for my mother for sending me to pursue the American dream against my will. Because of her encouragement I built a life here and met extraordinary people. One of them became my American Mom. They are no longer with me but I miss them both deeply and I would give my soul to just be able to hug them one more time. Both of them are watching me from above and keep me strong. Now I’m surrounded by Marvelous women in my life and I take this opportunity to thank each of them because I have learned, and I continue to learn every day from their wonderful example, how to become a better person. Each of you are an inspiration to me!
This Mother’s Day I would like to give thanks to my mother and my gracious boss Tova Hanifin- both helped shape the person I am today. My mother taught me to always have my own opinion and to speak up my mind. When I married my husband, she strongly encouraged me to keep my maiden name. Now that I became an American Citizen and I see my ancestors and my father’s name on my passport, I feel more myself in my new country. For that I am grateful. Tova has been very generous to me over the years. She taught me how to take care and love myself and through that knowledge I feel I am becoming more giving and generous person myself.
Help us continue our Mother’s Day celebration by sharing a few words about a woman role model in your life.