All About Skincare

Beauty Talk

New to blogging, I want to discuss topics many of my clients ask me about daily in the treatment room. Topics I will cover weekly will include Skin care, make up, medical treatments, fashion on a budget and fitness. Having owned a spa and salon for over 14 years has given me insight and 1st hand experience with many products and skin concerns. Over the past 3 years I have expanded my knowledge into the world of fitness and I’d like to share those ups and downs as well.

Today we will start with my 1st passion…Skin Care! These are basics that I would like everyone to know and include in their daily products. It DOES NOT  have to be complicated or costly. I have worked with Image Skin Care for the past 13 years. We have always had amazing feedback from clients. It is one of our favorite product lines at Fusion. Follow the skin care diet plan and you will be on your way to amazing skin!


Featured post

Peptides.. What you need to know

As one of the most potent and dynamic pro-youth ingredients at our disposal, peptides are able to reduce and freeze wrinkles, promote cell regeneration and collagen synthesis, prevent damaging and aging environmental aggressors and minimize the appearance of pores.

Proteins and Peptides

Before we talk about peptides, it’s important to understand what amino acids are. “Peptides are strings of amino acids, which are the building blocks that make up proteins in our body, including collagen in the skin” explains Dr. Whitney Bowe, renowned New York City–based dermatologist and author. “Without these proteins, we will see wrinkles, brittle nails and dry hair that’s prone to breakage.”

“Peptides serve as the building blocks for not only new collagen, but also elastin fibers,” adds Dr. Deanne Mraz Robinson, partner at Modern Dermatology in Westport, CT. “These fibers are the building blocks of our skin and add to tissue firmness and elasticity.”

How Peptides in Your Skin Care Work

So if peptides are already present within the body, why do we need more of them? The answer, according to experts, is aging. “We lose 1% of our remaining collagen per year after age 30,” says Dr. Robinson. “Our skin’s natural communication channels also slow down over time.”

Peptides work to rebuild and repair damaged cells and signal skin to produce collagen, slowing the aging process.

But simply slathering peptides onto your skin doesn’t necessarily give you more of them. According to Dr. Bowe, how they work is a little more complex: “Your body sees these peptides as ‘signals’ that you need to heal, which tells your body to produce more collagen where you need it most,” she explains. “If you are healing from an injury in your ankle, those peptides will signal your body to focus its repair efforts in that joint. If your skin is aging prematurely, those peptides might signal your skin to boost its production of collagen and even hyaluronic acid, plumping up your skin and restoring a healthy skin barrier. When you introduce exogenous peptides onto the skin in the form of a moisturizer or serum, it tricks the skin into thinking there’s been an injury or wound, and it stimulates our collagen-boosting processes.”

When it comes to skin care, not all peptides are created equal. “While there are hundreds of peptides, there are specific peptides that are more efficacious for the skin than others,” explains Dr. Robinson. For example, carrier peptides deliver trace minerals to the skin to boost collagen, while enzyme inhibitor peptides work to slow down the skin’s natural breakdown of collagen. Signal peptides send messages to different parts of the skin to promote collagen, elastin and other proteins; and neurotransmitter peptides, touted as “Botox-like,” block the release of chemicals that cause the muscle contraction of expression lines, thus smoothing wrinkles.

Finding the right product type can go a long way too. For example, instead of choosing a peptide-enriched cleanser, Dr. Robinson recommends opting for products that are not easily washed off the skin, like a moisturizer, eye cream or serum. She also suggests opting for products with copper peptides, which “help not only generate collagen but also maintain the collagen you generate.” She also suggests looking for products that also introduce niacinamide, vitamin C and antioxidants into the mix, in addition to peptides.

A Key Point to Remember is that while you can find peptides in all kinds of topicals, the dermatologists unanimously agree that it’s best to look for them in a serum. Not only will these contain a higher concentration of peptides, they’re also better able to penetrate the skin than thicker moisturizers.

It’s also helpful to seek out specific types of peptides, depending on your skin goals, says Dr. Klein. Pentapeptides induce and stimulate new collagen growth; hexapeptides may help relax wrinkles; palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 promote the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid and help protect against UV damage, as well as fight inflammation; copper peptides enhance regeneration and healing, as well as increase skin elasticity and firmness.

Contact us at Fusion Face & Body, answer our quick questionnaire and we will formulate a custom serum packed with the peptides YOU need for YOUR skin.

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Beauty Supplements- Beauty from within

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By Jennifer O’Connor, Owner Fusion Face & Body Spa, Fusion Luxe Spa locations in Denville, Parsippany and Verona NJ.

Nutricosmetics – the use of nutrition or nutritional supplements for skin health and beauty -is popular abroad and may be the next frontier for improving skin & beauty health in the US.  There are many reasons  behind the trend such as a growing interest in preventative care due to health care costs, and the health and wellness trend as well as those consumers looking for less invasive beauty treatments.

With more consumers aware of the link between their inner health and outer appearance, they’re beginning to seek solutions outside of the latest topical treatments. Many believe that topicals are great but to reverse or cure what’s creating problems you have to start from within.

Collagen is most the abundant protein in the body so starting with a collagen supplement is great. At Fusion Face & Body we recommend Yana Daily Collagen Shots by Image Skincare. Our clients love the taste & quick results.

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Other top picks for supplements include:

Omega-3 or a Tumeric supplement which are great because they have anti-inflammatory properties.

Zinc is another anti-inflammatory especially for rosacea and acne. If you have a high sugar diet or high stress its important to take.

Keratin and Biotin are great for stronger hair, skin and nails.

Probiotics help with overall health, which translates to healthier skin. It’s also a good place to start when taking supplements.

Great Nutrition is also important. Here are some top tips but always speak with your physician before starting new supplements or making drastic diet changes.

Sugar accelerates aging! It’s inflammatory which can accelerate wrinkling and acne.

Wild salmon is packed with DEAE and astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Diethylaminoethanol (DEAE) is for tightening and toning. It helps boost neurotransmitter production, so it aids in both brain and beauty.

Green leafy veges and berries are other great antioxidants. Get high quality proteins. Incorporate nuts and seeds for healthy fats. Choose oils carefully. High heat cooking use avocado or coconut oil. Olive oil for low to medium heat cooking. For baking, use real butter, coconut oil or avocado oil. Stay away from canola, sunflower or safflower oil, which can be inflammatory.

Sweet potatoes and squash are reduce inflammation and are slow release carbs plus are low in sugar.

Bone broth, slow cooked at a low temperature for 18-24 hrs or purchased locally supplies collagen and heals the gut.

Fresh herbs, from basil to parsley, help detoxify the liver.

Try and avoid gluten, most grains and dairy if you are struggling with acne or rosacea.

You can also look into the elimination diet to help heal gut and skin issues.

Since there are so many options on the market, speak with your physician, wellness doctor, nutritionist or most beauty store & spa employees are also now trained on ingredients and can help better guide you.

This is a growing market so you can expect to see solutions for beauty supplements popping up in many beauty stores very soon.

Chemical Peels the Fountain of Youth?

By: Jennifer O’Connor (Esthetician/Skincare Specialist Fusion Face & Body over 15 years)

The search for the fountain of youth is inundated with new technologies coming to market almost daily. Procedures such as laser resurfacing, photo rejuvenation, dermabrasion, and fillers are taking over the market to reduce wrinkles and sagging skin. However, superficial and medium peels continue to be the treatment of choice for giving skin an overall more youthful appearance by improving skin tone & texture.

According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, chemical peels are the second most common non surgical procedure performed by medical professionals and clinical estheticians today. The cornerstone of topical treatments offers numerous advantages to the skincare professional and the client/patient.

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Safe & Effective

Chemical Peels have come a long way since they were introduced over 50 years ago. Newer peel formulations have evolved into skin friendly blends to minimize irritation. The combination of ingredients feeds & strengthens the new skin while exfoliating away dead surface cells. The changes often occur at a cellular level and aren’t always apparent to the naked eye.  This feature increases the popularity of superficial peels to the busy client who is seeking treatments that can be done quickly with little to no downtime.

Treatment Conditions

Superficial peels have a proven track record for correcting many different skin conditions including:

  • acne  – look for modified jessners, salicylic & glycolic acid or lactic for more sensitive skins. Addition of kojic acid, licorice, bearberry for reducing acne pigment and kill bacteria. Light tca peels combined with any of these other peels are great too.
  • hyperpigmentation/melasma – look for lightening ingredients such as kojic, azelaic, arbutin, vitamin c, lactic acid, mandelic acid for more sensitive skin. Combining light tca peels with any of these peels is great also.
  • rosacea & psoriasis- Light tca peels combined with anti-inflammatory ingredients and aloe
  • aging- light to medium tca, glycolc, lactic, mandelic, jessners, salicylic, vitamin c and retinol are great options and combining theses work well too.

Application techniques

The method of application can also play an important role in depth of penetration and customizing the treatment. Applications where thick layer is applied and allowed to sit on the skin’s surface can be deeper than applying thin even layers depending on the formulation of the peels. Massaging the peel or ultrasound in will increase penetration. Also what is applied prior to the peel is important. A light toner all the way to alcohol can be applied prior to peel and will effect penetration. Creamy or gel cleansers will also effect penetration.

Gauze can be used but caution should be used with very abrasive gauze as it can aggravate the skin and cause inflammation.

Cotton is a safe way to start. The cotton can absorb a lot of the product though and more product may be needed.

Fan brush is popular but will provide a deeper peel than cotton but peel depth can be uneven as the first area of application will have the heaviest application leading to increased depth. Caution must be used to avoid dripping product into the eyes, ears, etc.

Sponges can be used but are more absorbent than cotton leading to waste of product.

As mentioned above peels can be layered either all over the face or in specific areas of concern. At Fusion Face & Body http://www.fusionfacebody we also offer specific eye and lip peels and body peels. Peels can be layered as the client continues to come in for treatments thereby increasing the strength slowly and carefully minimizing risks.

Treatment intervals are important for optimal results

How often you receive your peels will also effect your results.

Acne- every 2 weeks until acne is cleared. By exfoliating every 14 days, the follicles remain clear, and oil and bacteria are unable to proliferate below the surface. Once breakouts are cleared and if there are pigmentation concerns a 3 week interval is recommended. Maintenance would be every 4 weeks

Hyperpigmentation/Melasma – every 3 weeks. The three week interval works with the skin’s natural cellular turnover cycle. Healthy cell turnover occurs every 28 days. By treating at day 21, the skin care specialist can prevent the pigment from appearing darker as it rises to the surface.

Rosacea/Sensitive Skin & Aging – every 4 weeks. Administering a gentle to medium exfoliation every 30 days will help lighten, tighten and brighten the skin improving skin texture and tone by stimulating collagen and reducing visible signs of aging.

Home Care

While professional treatments are very effective, home care can have even greater importance. Treatments results can be enhanced and prolonged with a customized home care program. This combination can help maintain healthy skin and a smooth, clear and radiant complexion as well as:

  1. prepare the skin for treatment
  2. balance moisture levels
  3. boost collagen production
  4. help control pigment
  5. help heal treated areas
  6. sooth and reduce inflammation
  7. control oil & acne
  8. diminish fine lines and wrinkles

Consult with your skin care specialist to be sure your home care addresses all your skin concerns. We offer free consultations at Fusion Face & Body and will go over your current regimen and see where what you may need to add to help get you better results.

As you can see many skin concerns can be addressed with peels. They remain a popular antiaging treatment because they are able to be customized, layered and rotated with each visit to reduce side effects and down time.

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Looking for Age Erasers?

By: Jennifer O’Connor (Skincare Specialist/Esthetician & Owner over 15 years Fusion Face & Body)

I am someone who is over 40, passionate about ingredients and the science of skincare. Working with clients and patients over the years has taught me a lot about the aging process. Here is some detailed information to help you erase those years!

I will write other blogs dedicated to individual concerns mentioned here so that you can have even more details and specific info on ingredients and how they work.

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Visible aging is characterized by change in the skin due to degradation of its structure. There are two types of aging:

  1. Intrinsic – the physiological breakdown that occurs naturally due to genetics and time. As time passes there is a natural loss of fat tissue and shrinking of bones. The dermis thins by an average of 20% as we age. Desquamation slows and cellular renewal is reduced, leading to the buildup of dead skin cells and therefore a dull appearance.

The onset of visible intrinsic aging is determined by a person’s genetics and because  of this those of differing ethnic backgrounds will typically experience the visible signs of aging at different times throughout life.

2.  Extrinsic – thought to be responsible for up to 85% of the visible signs of aging and is considered to be preventable. Sun exposure, unhealthy lifestyle, gravity, environmental pollutants and chronic inflammation contribute to a breakdown of the skin’s matrix, collagen, elastin and GAG. Over-exposure to these offenders increases the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of the skin’s support system.  Sorry for so much detail, I love this stuff… but just remember be healthy and stay out of the sun!

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All the presentations of aging skin:

Sagging/laxity is caused by intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Shrinking bones and loss of fat allow skin to sag naturally over time. Gravity, along with cross-linking and loss of collagen, also contribute.

Loss of elasticity occurs naturally with age. Additionally, UV rays and free radicals and inflammation trigger MMP, which can cause an elastin breakdown.

Fine Lines form naturally over time as collagen production slows and skin hydration decreases.

Dryness/dehydration occurs naturally over time as the skins production of things such as hyaluronic acid (HA) decrease. HA is responsible for attracting & holding moisture in the skin. Dryness can also increase with use of aggressive topical products, improper cleansing and moisturizing practices reducing the skin’s barrier function. Time & sun exposure also lead to an impacted skin cells.

Increased transparency is a result of natural and UV induced thinning of the skin. The transparency causes capillaries to become more visible, leading to an increase in skin redness and visible veins.

Deep/abnormal wrinkling are caused by extrinsic factors. UVA rays cause an acceleration in the breakdown of collagen. Free radical damage causes MMP enzymes to breakdown collagen & elastin. Smoking causes abnormal vertical lines around the mouth. Facial expressions can also be responsible for deeper lines around the mouth and eyes.

Hyperpigmentation is the result of sun exposure, hormones and inflammation.

Thickening of the epidermis occurs in certain cases of sun damage. Commonly referred to as leather-like appearance.

Telangiectasias (dilated blood vessels/spider veins) become more visible as the skin thins and becomes more transparent. UV exposure causes dilation of capillaries along with a thinning of their walls, making blood vessels more visible and more prominent.

Enlargement of pores is a reduction of collagen in the skin caused by sun damage. Pores appear larger as the support of the surrounding collagen decreases.

Coarsening of the skin caused by a buildup of dead skin cells. Shedding of cells decreases with time and with exposure to the elements.

Controlling Aging

  • Gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover Cell turnover slows a lot with age. Daily use of topicals is imperative to increase cell turnover if you are concerned with visible signs of aging. Professional treatments and peels are also important. Vitamin A derivatives help to increase cell turnover, bringing healthy skin to the surface quicker. Home superficial peels are also beneficial.
    • alpha hydroxy acid or beta hydroxy acid
    • TCA
    • retinoids – start slow on retinol to avoid side effects
  • Increase matrix proteins Many studies suggest the use of certain AHA, peptides, botanicals and vitamins trigger collagen production, increasing firmness, decreasing fine lines. Combining multifaceted ingredients can exfoliate and stimulate collagen. Combining peptides and hydration can plump the skin and decrease the appearance of fine lines. Daily application of these advanced topicals will help reduce the signs of aging.
    • palmitoyl pentapeptide-4
    • palmitoyl tripeptide-38
    • palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7
    • acteyl hexapeptide
    • vitamin C
    • retinoids
  • Inhibit melanogenesis is the production of melanin. Its is a complicated process but the use of topicals is crucial to help with this aging concern. Ingredients such as retinols and Vitamin C inhibit melanogenesis, brighten the skin and provide anti-aging benefits. It is highly recommended to use daily products containing melanin inhibitors.  These help fade current discolorations and stave off future discolorations. Professional treatments with these ingredients in stronger percentages will also be very beneficial. In my business, I will combine or rotate peels to ensure there is a mix of active ingredients to target the pigmentation effectively.
    • lactic acid
    • azelaic acid
    • kojic acid
    • arbutin
    • retinol
    • vitamin c
    • licorice
    • resorcinol
    • hydroquinone  (this is a controversial ingredient and I don’t sell anything at my business with this in it. I feel like it works initially and causes rebound pigmentation)
  • Increase hydration Topicals to increase hydration must contain humectants to draw moisture to the epidermis and occlusive agents to hold it in. Over-use of AHA’s with small molecular size such as glycolic acid should be minimized in the treatment of aging skin because they can penetrate to quickly and cause redness and inflammation. Looking at the product formulation is important. If the product contains glycolic acid be sure there are also plenty of hydrators to balance the skin and not strip it. A better choice is lactic and citric acids. Avoid alcohol in toners as it will prevent unnecessary dehydration.
    • hyaluronic acid
    • sodium pca
    • urea
    • glycerin
    • lactic acid
    • ceramides
    • retinoids
  • Protect from UV rays and inflammatory stimulants SPF is an important step that should not be forgotten.
    • broad spectrum sunscreen -I prefer mineral sunblocks
    • resveratrol
    • epigallocatechin (EGCG)
    • glutathione
    • rosehip seed oil
    • vitamin C
    • vitamin E
    • retinoids
    • aloe vera
    • caffeine

I hope this information helps better guide you in your product selections. Contact me if you have specific product questions or need any help with your skin.

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Beating Acne.. Everything you need to know & more

By: Jennifer O’Connor (Medical Esthetician/Skincare Specialist, Owner Fusion Face & Body over 15 years)

All grades of acne usually have one thing in common: the hormonal component

Hormones are responsible for all cellular actions. Essential fatty acids are vital for high quality and quantity of sebaceous secretions. There are grades of acne from I-IV varying from acne simplex to deep cystic acne. Grades III and IV may need some medical intervention if the conditions are not improved with professional treatments and home care.  I’ve had great results treating many grades of acne in different skin colors with a combination of chemical peels, ultrasound, blue light and microdermabrasion. Be sure you see a skincare specialist that is experienced in acne and if you have darker skin be sure they have additional experience in skin of color.

Home care is very crucial in treating acne. Make sure you review all the products you are using and get suggestions on usage and additional products you may need.  Please note, sometimes oral antibiotics with or without topical prescriptions may be necessary.

In this blog learn what I recommend to my clients. Based on my 15 years working on clients and patients and 5 years in clinical trial work,  I have documented what has and hasn’t worked for many skin conditions.

The four main causes of acne:

  1. Increased keratinization  within the follicle (Cell buildup & Oil buildup)
  2. Increase sebum (oil) production
  3. Proliferation of P. acnes bacteria
  4. inflammation

Acne can present in many ways such as:

Hormonal acne is common in adolescence and is typically accompanied by an over production of sebum.

Acne cosmetica is triggered by comedogenic or irritating ingredient in everyday products. Certain makeup, laundry detergents and hair care products may clog the pores and lead to breakouts. Be sure to change pillowcases, clean phones and makeup brushes weekly.

Inflammatory acne is red and inflamed and may be uncomfortable.

Asphyxiated acne is characterized by a rough surface, reduced cell turnover combined with sebum and other debris trapped beneath. This acne can be caused by using the wrong products such as using a product with excess alcohol then not using a daily hydrator.

Bacterial acne may be the result of an over production of bacteria within the follicle or pore. P. acne is the bacteria responsible for acne. It is anaerobic (can’t live in the presence of oxygen) and flourishes in warm, humid environments. Topical oxygen sources like benzoyl peroxide will help to control the bacteria. Another favorite of mine is Niacinamide (Vitamin B3).  It has been shown to be effective in treating moderate inflammatory acne.

Cystic acne usually sufferers experience large, painful nodules beneath the surface of the skin, which can remain for week or months. The depth and inflammation associated with cystic acne can destroy the follicle, resulting in scarring.

Systemic acne may involve other areas of the body (arms, chest, back and shoulders) May be brought on by disease, illness, medication or diet-related issues.

Controlling Acne:

  1. Gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover – the initial trigger in the production of acne is the increased buildup in the follicle and and increased oil production, resulting in clogged pores. Skin cells often don’t shed enough on their own, creating a buildup of surface cells that trap oil and bacteria, allowing the bacteria to proliferate. TIP: Receiving well rounded blended peel that control bacteria and oil production, as well as loosen impacted cells, not only opens the pores but allows treatment products to penetrate to more effectively. Products and treatment formulations containing salicylic, azelaic acid, tca, resorcinol, alpha hydroxy acids, sulfur and topical retinoids are ideal for helping address this major cause of acne. Use caution when starting Retinols. Start with low dose and increase to help alleviate an acne flare up. I recommend starting with a retinyl palmitate for more sensitive skin.
  2. Control Oil Production – In acne-prone skin, increase oil production and P. acne bacteria build up and can trigger an inflammatory response. Note: It is imperative to understand that over drying your skin will cause the skin to over compensate by producing an excessive amount of oil. This will cause more breakouts. Peels are great to help reduce oil and bacteria. Salicylic is one of my favorite ingredients to recommend for home care.  There are several beneficial oils for the treatment of acne, they are naturally derived fatty acids and won’t clog the skin but will help balance oily and acneic skin. These include, but not limited to:
    • borage oil
    • grapes seed oil
    • wheat germ oil

3.  Decrease P. acne proliferation – Using antibacterial and antimicrobial topicals and oral antibiotics (when necessary) are suitable ways to control bacteria. Topical sources such as Benzoyl Peroxide and hydrogen peroxide, effectively deliver oxygen to the follicle, killing the oxygen hating bacteria. Acne clients that use topicals to help increase cell turnover combined with gentle exfoliation, ensure the P. acne will not be trapped. At Fusion Face & Body we use treatments to increase circulation and blood flow to deliver oxygen, leading to a decrease in P. acne and assist in the clearing of active lesions. Other products to help decrease P. acne include Salicylic, Azelaic, Lactic and Kojic acid as well as tea tree oil. Though I have had the best results by ensuring the acids are the primary ingredient in the products followed by tea tree oil. I have not found tea tree oil alone to be very effective.

4. Protect from UV rays and other inflammatory stimulants – Inflammation is both a cause and result of acne. Using anti-inflammatory topical ingredients will soothe current irritation and help avoid undue future inflammation. Look for ingredients like Aloe Vera, Salicylic acid, bisabolol, panthenol, licorice, resveratrol, gluconolactone, and green tea are top picks.

Many acne treatments & products can make skin more photosensitive thereby increasing the risk for damage and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). It is imperative you use a daily SPF. I favor chemical free sunblocks. My favorite brands are Elta MD, Image Skincare and Environ. We also sell a lot of our own sheer mineral tint at Fusion Face & Body. I use the Image Skincare Foundation. It is a mineral sunblock and makeup with amazing coverage. I recommend it post procedure and it helps heal the skin faster! I often combine it with our sheer mineral tint when I don’t need as much coverage or for a more dewy appearance.

Things to be aware of in your lifestyle

  • avoid heavy makeup and clean your brushes and sponges weekly
  • avoid products containing talc
  • avoid over drying the skin
  • always apply a hydrator
  • oil absorbing papers help absorb surface oil
  • wash hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • clean pillowcases and phones regularly
  • avoid high percentages of topicals that can induce inflammation. Not all your products should contain these active ingredients!
  • Do not pick
  • Do not overstimulate as it will increase inflammation and breakout
  • Wear SPF

Professional Treatments:

Chemical Peels are the quickest way I have found to combat acne. Depending on the peel they will kill bacteria and reduce oil as well as future breakout. and reduce post inflammatory pigmentation. We always use a light to medium peel with no downtime to get results quickly. It is recommended that you receive the peels every 2 weeks until the acne is under control then you can go to a 4 week maintenance interval. If you also have post inflammatory pigmentation or acne scarring it can be addressed better once the acne is under control. It is advised to always 1st deal with the acne then move on to the other skin concerns. But many of the ingredients for treating acne can also reduce post inflammatory pigmentation marks. Look out for our blogs on hyperpigmentation.

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Did you ever wonder why Alcohol is in your skincare products? Can it be harmful or good for your skin?

By: Jennifer O’Connor/ Fusion Face & Body (Medical Esthetician/Skincare Specialist & Skincare Business Owner over 15 years)

Seeing the word alcohol in the ingredient list on your skincare products can make anyone wonder, “Is this safe for my skin?” Many assume alcohol is bad for your skin and can dry out the skin but that is not necessarily true. There are many things to consider before rushing to judgement.

Alcohol comes in many forms and serves many different purposes. It is important to understand the particular properties of the different alcohols commonly used in cosmetic products, and the roles they play in the formulations.

There are three kinds of alcohols:

  1. Simple
  2. Aromatic
  3. Non Drying (Fatty)

Simple alcohols: Are found in a wide variety of formulations and are generally derived from the fermentation of sugars, starches and other carbohydrates. They are mainly antibacterial/antiseptic, stabilizers and penetration enhancers. They are excellent solvents of fats and lipids and are therefore excellent to remove excess oils and prepare the skin for treatments such as microdermabrasion or chemical peels.

Some examples: methanol, ethanol (rubbing alcohol) isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Denatured alcohol or SDA are often marketed as being special and different but are simply alcohols that have been rendered to be undrinkable by the FDA.

Alcohol is also used to drive some ingredients into the skin. SD Alcohol shouldn’t be applied alone to the skin but in combination with other ingredients may be perfectly safe.

Aromatic Alcohols: These alcohols are used because of their pleasant odor and generally perform the same functions as simple alcohols in the formulation, but with a fragrant aspect. They also act as a preservative. Benzyl alcohol is the most widely used aromatic alcohol. This is commonly used in concentrations of 3% or less. When it is used alone can be irritating but it is most often combined with essential oils.

Fatty Alcohols: These alcohols are the non-drying type of alcohol. They have emollient and occlusive properties. Unlike simple alcohols, they tend to have a thick, waxy texture. They are used to give products a nicer slip. Their occlusive properties help trap moisture and slow down transdermal water loss, Some fatty acids (Oleyl, Isotearyl, Lauryl) exhibit degrees of comedogenicity and may cause adverse reactions in acne prone skin.

So just remember, if you see alcohol higher up in the ingredient listing it is usually being used to help other active ingredients penetrate deeper. But, you may want to be cautious in purchasing drugstore type toners & astringents which have a lot of simple alcohol because they are geared towards teenagers with oily skin. This is what has given alcohol a bad name.  Astringent toners will dry out the skin, which will make oily & acne skin worse in the long run. See an Esthetician to help guide you in what products you should be using at home and try facials to help clear your skin more quickly!

So now you know that you really need to look at the entire label as a whole. In most cases there is a greater purpose for the alcohol.  Try to go on the recommendation of your Skincare specialist/Esthetician or even Dermatologist.  You can also ask friends and look for reviews but remember to take into consideration your skin because it may be drastically different from theirs and your skincare goals may also be very different as well. Don’t be scared when you see alcohol on your product label as there are many things to consider!

If you have questions about your products bring them into your next facial or dermatology appointment and see what they have to say. I love when my clients bring in their products so I can better guide them on if they are using them correctly, if they are the right products for them and work on coming up with a plan to get them the skin they want. Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 7.32.32 PM

A New Trend in Skincare Treatments!?

By: Jennifer O’Connor (Owner/Skin Care Specialist Fusion Face & Body, Denville NJ)

After 20 years in the skincare industry, want to know what skincare treatment I am most excited about? So, after 15 years of being an Esthetician and 5 years in Clinical Trial Skincare read this Blog and Find out!

Microneedling or Medical Microneedling is experiencing a huge surge of popularity because its is a more affordable alternative to laser resurfacing and great for all skin types. Medical needling is superior to lasers because it eliminates the risk of melanocyte heat injury and actually optimizes cell function.

These treatments are popular because they offer visible results and a treatment is a fraction of the cost of a laser treatment. Now, this treatment is different to the roller type treatment that you can do on yourself at home. These roller treatments are great and can provide great results with consistent treatment utilizing the correct technique and home care products.

Medical needling typically doesn’t employ rollers but instead they feature a motor that rapidly applies a needle configuration in a stamping fashion to the skin. They almost look like a very large pen. Practitioners can vary needle length and speed to customize depth of penetration per each treatment area. Because the pens are much smaller than rollers it enables practitioners to get very close to the eye including the eye lid and the entire lip area can be treated thoroughly. Medical Needling uses very fine stainless steel needles to make channels into the epidermis and sometimes dermis to release growth factors that promote scarless healing and formation of normal collagen rather than scar collagen. It allows up 80% more absorption of topically applied nutrients.  The key to needling is the healing response that this process stimulates.

This treatment is considered safer than many other aesthetic procedures and the most common side effects are redness, swelling and bruising.

Medical Needling is most effective for:

  • Wrinkles
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Rosacea
  • Premature aging
  • Scars
  • Lax skin
  • UV damage
  • Stretch marks
  • Hair restoration

Frequency of treatment: Medical Needling treatments should not be performed any sooner than every 30 days. Generally six treatments are recommended for anti-aging, scars etc.Response is highly individual and there is no way to predict who will respond the best. I have noticed that most of my clients see results after their 1st treatment!

At Fusion Face & Body, I typically combine lighter acids with Needling and customize the treatment serums. Typically I use Hyaluronic Acid with Copper Peptides, Stem Cells with Hyaluronic Acid or Vitamin A & C Serums.  We are currently trialing combining the treatments with Lift +Fix from Lift Lab. A cosmeceutical serum clinically shown to have significant anti-inflammatory and wound-healing benefits.

If you are interested in improving your skin firmness and pigmentation concerns you should seriously consider a needling treatment! http://www.fusionfacebody.comScreen Shot 2017-08-12 at 6.16.36 PM

Which Exfoliator & Treatments are right for you?

Are you confused by all the skincare products out there? I’ve owned a medical skincare spa for over 15 years and have a background in clinical trial work in skincare. I love the science of skin and how ingredients work at a cellular level to get you results.

I want to keep it simple because I could write about this topic endlessly but then you might be more overwhelmed and confused. So, I will focus on the biggest skin challenges that come up everyday at my business. Find your skincare concerns below and see what ingredients and treatments will get you results.

  1. Photoaging/Pigmentation Concerns: Hyperpigmentation is the deposition of melanin (pigment) due to the stimulation of melanogenisis. Melanogenisis is the process by which pigment is produced and duplicated in the skin. It is the end result of the immune system triggering an inflammatory response, which then triggers melanocyte activity to protect the skin’s DNA from damage and mutation. This process is instigated by any hormonal trigger or cutaneous inflammation such as heat, trauma and sun.
  • Gently exfoliate with AHA cleanser such as glycolic or lactic
  • Increase cell turnover AHA mask (glycolic or lactic) or Retinoids
  • Inhibit Melanogenisis: arbutin, kojic acid, renoids, lactic acid, azelaic acid, licorice, rumex are most popular ingredients you can find
  • Protect from UV and inflammatory stimulants: Broad Spectrum SPF, Vitamin A, C, E, resveratrol, glutathione,
  • In Office Treatments should be done every 3 weeks ideally and include light peels such as lactic, glycolic, Vitamin C and microdermabrasion.

2. Acne: 4 main causes of acne:

  • increased cell buildup
  • increased oil production
  • proliferation of p.acne bacteria
  • inflammation

To combat acne you must :

  • gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover
    • Over the Counter AHA, BHA (Salicylic Acid), TCA, retinoids, azelaic acid, sulfur, resorcinol
  • control sebum production
    • Salicylic Acid, Licorice, Cinnamon, Alcohol free toner
  • decrease p. acne proliferation
    • Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, Azelaic Acid, Lactic Acid, Kojic Acid, Tea Tree Oil
  • protect from UV Rays and other inflammatory stimulants
    • Broad Spectrum SPF, Aloe, Bisabolol, panthenol, licorice, resveratrol,
  • In Office Treatments – Every 2 weeks until acne is under control. Ask for medium depth Chemical Peels such as Salicylic, Jessners, Glycolic or Lactic Acids.

It’s important to wear the correct makeup and clean brushes regularly, avoid over drying the skin because it will increase oil production, always use a hydrating serum, wash hands regularly, wash phones and pillowcases regularly. Do not pick and avoid high percentages of aggressive topicals that can induce inflammation.

3. Aging Skin: Visible aging is characterized by changes in the skin due to degradation of its structure and elasticity over time. These changes are due to a combination of multiple physiological & environmental factors. Intrinsic aging refers to the physiological breakdown that occurs naturally due to genetics and passage of time.  As skin ages, there is a natural loss of fat and shrinking of bones.  Skin thins and cell turnover slows down leading to a buildup of dead surface cells and therefore a dull appearance. Extrinsic Aging accounts for up to 85% of visible damage but is said to be preventable. Sun exposure, an unhealthy lifestyle, gravity, environmental pollutants and chronic inflammation contribute to the breakdown of the skin’s extracellular matrix, including collagen, elastin and GAG. Overexposure to any of these increase the production of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP), the enzymes responsible for the breakdown of the skin’s support system resulting in sagging/lax skin, loss of elasticity, fine lines, thinning skin, dehydration, deep wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, dilation of capillaries, enlarged pores and coarse skin. To help combat aging skin:

  • Gently exfoliate and increase cell turnover
    • AHA, BHA, TCA and Retinoids
  • Increase Matrix Proteins
    • palmitoyl pentapeptide 4, palmitoyl tripeptide 38, palmitoyl tetrapeptide 7, acetyl hexapeptide, Vitamin C, Retinoids
  • Inhibit Melanogenisis: retinoids, lactic acid, vitamin c, licorice, kojic and azelaic acids, arbutin
  • Increase hydration: hyaluronic acid, sodium PCA, urea, glycerin, lactic acid, ceramids, retinoids
  • Protect from UV rays & inflammatory stimulants: Broad Spectrum SPF, resveratrol, glutathione, rosehip seed oil, Vitamin A, C, E, aloe
  • In Office Treatment – Every 4 weeks. Chemical peels such as Glycolic, Jessners and TCA with or without Microdermbrasion.

4. Sensitive Skin is a heightened intolerance of topical products or external factors. To control sensitive skin

  • Gently exfoliate with creamy cleanser alternating with creamy chemical based exfoliator such as lactic acid cleanser. Lactic Acid is a hydrating acid.  Low dose retinoids are important.
  • Decrease redness and inflammation with brown or red algae, hydrocortisone, aloe, panthenol, evening primrose oil, bisabol
  • Increase hydration with:
    • humectants:glycerin, hylauronic acid, sodium pca, urea, honey, sorbitol, AHA
    • occlusives: silicones (dimethicone & cyclomethicone), plant oils, squalene, shea butter, titanium dioxide, petrolatum
  • Decrease possible bacterial factors: azelaic acid, lactic acid, kojic acid, tea tree oil
  • Protect from UV exposure: Broad Spectrum SPF
  • In Office Treatments – Every 4 weeks. Light peels such as TCA or lactic acid, light microdermabrasion or hydradermabrasion. Treatments should focus on hydration. Ultrasound treatments can help hydrators penetrate more deeply.

Just remember consistency is key. Just like anything the more consistent you are the more results you will see. Be patient. Pigmentation especially takes time to fade and may never fade completely. Remember your treatments are just as important as your home care! You see your skin care specialist about once a month and there are 30 days in a month so that is 30 days you need to be treating your skin!

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Summer Skin Essentials

Facials are extremely important to continue throughout the summer months. UV, sweat and even the heat can wreak havoc on your skin. Vitamin C facials are great to combat sun damage while protecting the skin. Vitamin C is a great antioxidant and has been proven to help protect your skin. Here are some of our favorite home products.

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