My Alopecia Journey

lydia 2      This happened once before, due to a side effect of chemotherapy, but it was different. So many other things were wrong at the time that it seemed trite in comparison, to obsess about hair loss. I found a good wig person and she helped me through it, as she had for many people for so many years. Most wig retailers are good people and I’ve only been recommended to the most beautiful of souls.   
      Mine is Alopecia Areata. It is an autoimmune disease.  It usually occurs more than once in the lives of the lucky recipients and and it can last as long as it wants.  I have learned much from my girls in my LGFB programs. That is ‘Look Good Feel Better’, which is one of the good things to come from the Cosmetics And Fragrance Council and the American Cancer Society. I have volunteered with this good program for the last 8 or 9 years. The strength of women never ceases to amaze me.   It has been apparent to me for all these years that loosing one’s hair is one of the worst parts of cancer treatment for most women.
      I also have learned so much from my wonderful permanent makeup clients, many of whom have faced hair loss, either permanently or temporarily.  They are a wealth of knowledge and resources, of which I am always available to discuss with anyone interested.  This sharing of information, women to women, is a force to be reckoned with.
     The Internet is also a great place to explore threads of information and figure out the path that works best for each of us individually.  I have a very good and concerned dermatologist that helps me with his body of knowledge.   Of course Rogaine, Propecia, and Cortisone injections are the standard course, but autoimmune is a weird duck.
      I recently discovered that a medication I have been taking for years prophylactically, Acyclovir, can cause my kind of Alopecia.  I just stopped it a week ago and already see a boost in hair follicles.  I also had a cortisone treatment a week ago, so I can’t say for sure. I use my Rogaine and don’t take Propecia. I try to stay away from as many prescription meds as possible. The side effects are very real. D3 and Biotin are taken daily in large doses.
      My brother Gary, who passed away in April from a brave but short battle with bladder cancer, obsessed over whether or not his particular chemotherapy treatment would compound his hair loss. Handsome Gary was spared that side effect. I told him that I was taking that hit for him. I wish I could have taken on more.
      So in the grand scheme of things, it’s not so bad. My hair pieces look fabulous; much better than my own hair has in years. I see growth in my bald spots and maybe by the end of the summer, I’ll feel comfortable wig free. My heart goes out to all women and men who suffer from alopecia. In our appearance obsessed world, it is not easy to live with. 
      I am working with one of my brow clients with alopecia, implanting ink on the scalp in hairstroke patterns. As I know from brow work, the skin is different in alopecia. It is very resistant but not impossible. lydia 4

      I’ll post again and update. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to comment or share, please contact me. Life is for learning.

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Spring Has Sprung – Be Good to Your Skin!

spring has sprungOur skin is beginning to wake up to the increase in sunlight, getting a little less dry as the weather warms up. We need to wake up to the need for SUNSCREEN, even on gloomy days!   I love PCA Weightless Protection and Elta MD as well. I do sell PCA here, but online I love which offers great prices and incentives!

This is still a good time to get in a chemical peel or microdermabrasion. Get rid of the tough layer of dry winter skin and last summer’s sun damage.

It is also a good time to try Dermatude or Dermapen Collagen Induction Therapy. This is a technique called Micro-Needling as well. It isn’t as scary as it sounds. The machines cause tiny micro perforations into the skin that stimulate it to repair and form more collagen and elastin, thus more firmness. You can look up either of these machines on YouTube and see some real results.   There is very little, if any, downtime. Usually just a little redness that doesn’t last more than a day. I have one client who likens the results to a Fraxel type treatment. Personally, I love it and do it on myself!

Here’s to  the snow crocuses and dandelions popping up everywhere! And to all of us for getting through this tough winter. It’s time to treat yourself!

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Spring 2014 Beauty Nurse Specials


For Mother’s Day!  Beautiful Gift Certificates – 25% OFF


Coming in May, the Beauty Nurse’s first annual Day of Hope.

This is a day of affordable 3D Areola Tatooing for Breast Cancer survivors.

~ Please call to discuss rates ~





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3 Best Winter Tips For Your Skin

Winter Skin TipsWinter skin has its challenges.  Skin becomes dry, rough, flakey, and cracked from the cold and wind, and this is on top of summer sun damage.  How can you combat winter’s assault on your skin?  The 3 best tips for the cold winter season are REPAIR, REPLENISH, and REHYDRATE.

This is the time to really be diligent about Pigment Control Products, Retinols, Vitamin C Serums, and Peptides. These ingredients repair and replenish your skin. If used in conjunction with a Dermal Roller (more about this in a later post), you can get more out of them by getting them deeper into the skin, where they can really activate skin repair.  

For Pigment Control, my favorite product is PCA Pigment Gel. I use the one with hydroquinone but they have one without if you are sensitive to that product. The best selection of Retinols that I have found are from Osmosis. They have 5 different formulas for different skin types and problems. Their retinaldehyde formulations make a huge difference without irritation. For Vitamin C again I love PCA C-Quench. PCA Total Strength serum is a great Peptide boost as well. Guess I’m a loyal PCA user. They are a great company that just keeps getting better!

Hydration is super important. Cheap tip: Grapeseed Oil. I’ve been using Aura Cacia @ $5.99 a 4oz. bottle. I love it. It is light weight, has no odor and has a very high Linoleic Acid content, which is great for your skin. I put it on after my pigment gel and retinol serums have sunken in. Other good ones are Castor Oil, Rosehip Oil, or Kiwi Seed Oil. I also love Rebalance by PCA and Quench by Osmosis. For body hydration, any organic Coconut Oil is wonderful on rough dry skin. My favorite is Barleans. I get mine at Fairway. It’s also great for cooking popcorn!

And do make sure you are getting a good quality Omega 3 supplement, like OMAX3.  The good Omega 3 fatty acids not only increase heart health but keep your skin looking younger and healthier by promoting cell membrane health.

So, repair, replenish, and rehydrate your skin this season and don’t forget to enjoy the snow, it’s so beautiful!

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Travel Must Haves

Beach Bench

Taking a trip to the beach?

I’ll start by saying the best ideas I have always come from my clients. Another source I love is the magazine for women, First. It is not filled with trash and gossip, ( my husband gets the NY Post, so I get my fill of that) just a lot of health and beauty tips as well as some good recipes. The July 22, 2013 issue has a two page travel special, “Beauty on the Go” article. The four basic on the go must haves are peppermint oil, coconut oil, mineral balm and witch hazel. I’m sorry they left out sunscreen, but the reasons for the others are very good. I have long been a proponent of coconut oil for moisturizing ANYTHING. Now I hear it’s antibacterial as well due to the lauric acid in it. Anti-inflammatory as well. So you can also use it as an anti itch cream, acne treatment, and deodorant? They also suggested it as an anti frizz serum for hair. I am currently ending a Fourth of July weekend in VT. It has been very humid and I tried it. So far, it has been really good, not too heavy on my hair. Read the article!


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Lydia’s Winter Updates

A long time since I updated. So sorry, life at the Beauty Nurse goes on post Hurricane, pre holidays.

For all of you who have loved ones undergoing chemotherapy, I am now an Oncology Certified Skincare Therapist. I am offering a complementary facial treatment to help those with the skin problems so often associated with chemo. Just call for an appointment. There will be some forms to have the oncologist fill out.

Also new, I now have a Dermatude meta therapy machine. This is a wonderful treatment for skin tightening and wrinkle reduction. You can read more about it by checking out the YouTube video. Very exciting!

In light of the upcoming cold and dry conditions our skin deals with in the winter, I thought I might share some tips to keep you from further irritating and drying out winter skin. These are from an article in June Allure magazine. Retinoids+Glycolic Acid= redness and dryness. Benzoyl peroxide+anything=irritation. Lighten up! Most of us need a richer moisturizer and a gentler cleanser in the cold weather. Serums after washing and before moisturizing are added insurance against dehydration.

I wish all my friends and clients a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful Holiday.


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Midsummer Alert

I am begging you all, men included, to take your sunscreen seriously. What I always tell my sunscreenaphobic husband is that someday he is going to have to take a chunk out of that handsome face and he will hear my words too late. Honestly, I have many elderly clients experiencing that now. If you have any degree of rosacea, as I do, UVA/UVB protection is essential to keep from aggravating that condition and further damaging your skin. As I have mentioned, PCA’s Weightless Protection SPF45 is a blessing. Light and smooth with no sunscreen odor, a high SPF and Zinc Oxide for protecting and soothing and cooling. Weightless was recently voted an “O” favorite.

A few months ago my daughter introduced me to YESto brand of cucumber facial towelettes. They smell and feel fresh and cooling with aloe and green tea extract. Great for rosacea sufferers, they remove make-up and nourish the skin. Good for cleansing on a lazy night, after working out or cleaning off after a day on the beach. They have travel size packs and can be found at Wal-mart, Target and most drugstores.

I’ll go into more rosacea help in future posts, but for now cleansing, cooling and protecting are the most essential things for all skin in the heat of the summer. Rosacea is tough and she thrives in the summer, but as I’ve found through the years, you have to be vigilant. I get very few real breakouts these days. I hate to say it, but limiting red wine, shellfish, and unfortunately, dark chocolate, can help a bit as well.

For some of us, summer sandals equal Swampy Feet. I have found Dr. Scholl’s Odor-X Foot and Sneaker Spray Powder with Tinactin to be the most effective and best smelling product so far. I also love all the Gold Bond powders for their superb refreshing and cooling properties.

Summer goes too fast. My mother says ” It’s over after Fourth of July.” I don’t think so at all but those words make me start missing it before its gone. Enjoy every last minute of it. It’s been a good one so far.

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My Summer Bag

I recently read an article in a popular beauty magazine that featured “what J Lo keeps in her bag for summer trips”.  Just a few good things, of course, since we all know she is a natural beauty and needs so little extra help.  There were three or four items such as sunscreen, lip gloss, perfume and so on.   A simple “must have list”.   As for myself, my must have list is much less simple.  As a woman somewhat older than our beautiful diva, maintenance is a bit more complex.  In this piece I will reveal what is in my summer travel bag .

Sunscreen, of course,  both in a facial creme and in my mineral makeup.  As a makeup wearer, even in the summer, I adore the light easy feel of Colorescience’s powder brush face colors as well as the great light coverage of the Sunforgettable line.  The fact that one can reapply Sunforgettable as needed makes it the best for the sun.  And it now comes in SPF 50 as well as the original SPF 30.  And for the last plug of one of my products, Weightless Protection SPF 45 is my summer sunscreen.  All of these can be purchased online at the Dermstore or from my studio.  My most favorite refreshing spritzer is from a small company in Vermont called Green Seed Herbals.  The lovely Heather, master aroma therapist, makes a delicious selection of facial toner that you can spritz on to cool off or to set your minerals.  My favorite is the lavender.  I also always travel with her Rejuvenating Eye and Facial Gel.  Great for cooling off a sunburn or just as a serum under your nighttime moisturizer.  Check out her website.  Very reasonably priced as well.

I always travel with a little coconut oil. My favorite brand is Barleans.  I put a little in a travel jar.  It is the best rough skin smoother, eye creme, hair treatment and personal lubricant out there.

I find lemon, lavender and coconut to be my favorite scents of summer, awakening, cooling, and soothing.  Also, any of the coconutty sunscreen sprays make a great skin glosser for summer evenings.

I have rosacea so I really have to be extra careful of too much sun exposure.  But I do love a nice bronze color in the summer.  Au Courant makes the best facial tanning gel I have yet tried. Subtle and not at all orange.  For a quick travel tan, I love L’Oreal Sublime tan towels.  Just be careful applying on the legs.  They can get a little streaky.  Cremes are always better and I still prefer Toni Bratten’s Tan Secrets available online or HSN.  For a special event, a professional airbrush tan is always the best, but for every day, I prefer to put it on myself a few times a week.

There is more, to be sure, but these are the essentials.  I save small travel size jars and bottles and keep them ready and filled in hopes of a beautiful summer!  Enjoy yours!   Love, Lydia

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Skin in Spring

Spring into Summer Special for the month of April – save $30 off a $90 peel – special April price of only $60.

There is still time to shed the winter dullness and strengthen and beautify the skin before the summer sun.

The Beauty Nurse offers a wide variety of peels, some more aggressive than others, depending on your skin and your lifestyle. And don’t forget, we already are experiencing more hours of daylight (hooray!), so DON’T neglect your sunscreen ANY day. There are good sunscreens for every skin type that won’t bankrupt anybody. I love PCA’s two newest ones, Perfecting Protection and Weightless Protection. So many clients have more visible sun damage on the drivers side of their faces. Check it out for yourself!

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