Q&A With Elina for The Today Show - Coronavirus Skin Care Tips: Stress Acne, At-Home Facials, & More

Posted by Elina Fedotova & The Today Show on Apr 3rd 2020

Q&A With Elina for The Today Show - Coronavirus Skin Care Tips: Stress Acne, At-Home Facials, & More

Skincare Experts Share Top Tips For People Stuck At Home During Coronavirus.

Elina was interviewed for the Today Show. Read the full article here.

Scroll down to read Elina's step by step home facial regimen!

1) Salons and spas have been temporarily closing across the country in response to the coronavirus. Why is it so important that they are doing this? If your local spa is still open, is it ok to cancel/postpone your facial right now?

Being a spa owner in the states of Michigan and Illinois, I am going through all of the hardships of being temporarily closed for operations. It is difficult, but I truly believe it was the right decision and I support it. By analyzing data, we can see how fast this virus is spreading, and how many new people are getting infected every day. I think we need to remain closed at least until numbers start to decline.

2) While stuck at home, how can people take care of their skin? How important is a consistent routine?

When you are stuck at home, one on hand it is difficult because you cannot have your normal life routine, but on the other hand, you can get more time for yourself! Some people are not spending enough time outside, in the fresh open air, and because of that, they are noticing that their skin is starting to look tired and pale. I would encourage people to do a home facial at least once a week. It will help them decongest their pores, improve circulation, remove excess dead skin cells by gentle exfoliation, and support their skin with beneficial nutrients like vitamins, proteins, minerals, and antioxidants.

3) A lot of people are saying their skin looks healthier while stuck at home - why do you think that is?

Now people have the ability to sleep in, which is crucial for skin’s health and appearance. That is why the term “beauty sleep” was created. Before, many people had to wake up very early, drink a lot of coffee (caffeine dehydrates the skin) to stay focused. Many people also applied conventional makeup which is filled with petrochemicals, artificial dyes and fragrance, silicone-based ingredients, preservatives, and other toxins. That makeup was covering their faces for long working hours. Silicone-based ingredients do not allow the skin to breathe in oxygen and eliminate toxins. These are the two essential functions of our largest organ—breathing and eliminating. Their skin was also exposed to different air pollutants on the highway on the way to work. None of this is happening now. Most of us can sleep in, wake up, and spend time in the comfort of our homes. We do not have to drink as much coffee and have time to make a healthy and balanced breakfast. We also can replace our typical makeup routine time with a clean and effective skincare regimen on a daily basis!

4) What do you suggest for DIY treatments at home?

Even if some of us do not have quality skincare products on a shelf, you can primarily substitute them with food from their kitchen! For example, you can use kombucha or yogurt for hydration and balancing the skin's microbiome. Massaging your skin with a slice of papaya, apple, or kiwi will exfoliate, hydrate, and brighten your skin with natural alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), beauty vitamins like A & C, and enzymes. You can also make a fresh mask from vegetable juices or smoothies mixed with a little bit of organic oat flower which will nourish your skin with natural polysaccharides, minerals, and antioxidants. Even if people do not have fresh produce at home because they wanted to limit their time at the stores, you still can exfoliate by scrubbing your face with simple rice flour. You can also nourish and calm your skin by applying rice water all over your face. Rice water can be made easily by just soaking (preferably organic) rice in clean water. [Note: 1 part of rice and 4 parts of water. Let sit for 30 minutes before use.] 

Rice is one of the ancient sources of skin nutrients! Different forms of Rice (Oryza sativa) could be used for skincare formulations. For centuries, people have used rice water infusions to soothe and calm inflamed skin. Nowadays science has proved that this has an anti-inflammatory and calming effect and also provides both short- and long-term skin hydration. Rice is also known for being safe to use even on sensitive skin. It nourishes, stimulates collagen production, helps to improve elasticity, and protects skin from free radicals. Rice is rich in amino acids, vitamin E, ferulic acid, and allantoin. You can nourish your hair with rice too. Rice water can be used a base for different face masks, or you can ground the rice and use the rice flour to create a face scrub to brighten and polish your skin. It can be used on the face and entire body.

If your skin is really congested, I suggest that you steam your face to open the pores and detoxify it. If you do not have a professional home steamer, you can simply brew organic herbal tea, put it in a bowl, cover your head with a towel and place your face over the bowl so the steam will nourish your skin without overheating it. If for some reason, you do not have herbal tea, you can simply boil potatoes, cabbage, or carrots. All three of those vegetables have a very calming, soothing, and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. People with sensitive or acne-prone complexions especially benefit from steaming their faces with those vegetables. Carrots will infuse their skin with skin-restoring beta keratin. Potatoes and cabbage have a high concentration of vitamin C and polysaccharides which have a very calming and soothing effect on the skin. After your face steam, you can pure them in a blender, mix with honey, and apply as a hydrating, calming, and healing mask.

5) On the other hand, could you speak to the effects that stress has on skin and give a few suggestions for people to fight back against stress side effects like acne, etc.?

Stress can significantly affect our skin. It physically intoxicates us with stress hormones like cortisol. I was interviewed about it for the book “Cortisol Control and Beauty Connection” in 2006. My suggestion is to avoid emotional stress. Right now, this could mean minimizing your TV and news exposure. Try to watch it 1-2 times a day, just to be informed, but not overwhelmed. Also, use herbal tea to relax. For example, chamomile tea helps you sleep better. Enjoy some healthy and happy foods like dark chocolate which helps with the production of serotonin and other “happy" hormones. Aromatherapy is also very helpful for stress relief. Use your favorite blend of essential oils in your home diffusers like lavender, chamomile, rose, ylang-ylang, jasmine, grapefruit, tangerine, and orange. All of those essential oils not only reduce stress and anxiety, but also have a powerful antiseptic and antiviral properties to help clean air from pathogens.

If you do not have a diffuser, you can simply put a few drops of essential oils over cotton bolls and distribute them around your home. You also can spray your home with aromatherapy mist made from 30 drops of essential oils and 3oz. of water. You can find different aromatherapy recipes online too! Taking a relaxing bath will help to relieve anxiety and stress. Put a few drops of your favorite essential oils in your bathtub. You can also add a cup of baking soda and Epson or sea salt in your bathtub to detoxify and soften your skin with minerals. If that is not enough, take 10-20 drops of tincture of valerian root which will help you to relax and sleep better. I also suggest to watch a comedy show or read a good novel to brighten your spirits. Remember: this stressful time will pass, and if we will keep social distancing we will battle this virus faster. We can use this time to restore our body, reconnect with our loved ones and ourselves, to pray and meditate, review our life, and maybe adjust our priorities.

6) For spa-goers who want to send some love to their facialist at this time, what do you recommend? Should they pre-book their next appointment, buy products from the spa, send a tip their way, anything else?

Being in business for over 20 years, we have some clients who have been with us for practically 2 decades. We know each other lives, we are good friends, and our clients want to support us through this time and we definitely want to support them too! One way to support beauty professionals during this time is to first of all purchase skincare products. People can do this after a phone or video consultation with their aestheticians. We also encourage clients to refer new people to us through social media. Now people have more time to leave positive reviews and personal testimonies on Yelp!, Google, and other online platforms that can increase future business. That can help to direct new clients to their favorite spa. It is wonderful if people can purchase gift certificates for future services or for their family and friends. It might help salons to continue on, maybe pay rent during this difficult time, and when customers will be able to come back, be there for them.

7) How has this whole experience been for you? Are you eager to get back to work/normal life?

This whole experience has of course been challenging for me. My company produces and distributes skin care products only for salon professionals. Elina Organics is a professional clinical organic skincare line that is not available in retail stores. People can buy it in medical offices, spas, and on our website ( only. Because the majority of salons throughout the country are closed, our professional orders look very different. During this time, I focused on selling online and organized phone conferences to train Elina Organics' aestheticians on how to work and sell skincare products through video and phone consultations. We are offering dropships so that their customers do not have to exit their homes. I also spent time formulating hand sanitizer which will be made from food-grade alcohol (80%), instead of isopropyl which is a toxic form of alcohol. This hand sanitizer is enriched with skin hydrating and nourishing tremella mushroom extract and copper peptides. I have ordered all of the ingredients and labels and we are starting production next week. We are going to be donating this sanitizer to UPS and USPS workers, grocery store workers, and of course health professionals. We will also be adding in one bottle to every online order. I am very excited about this plan! [Update: Nourishing Hand Sanitizer was such a hit that Elina Organics still produces and sells this product daily!]

8) What would you recommend (step-by-step) for people to do an at-home facial?

Step 1: Cleanse your skin with a sulfate-free cleanser. If you do not have one, you can mix a little bit of yogurt or keifer with a tiny pinch of baking soda. It will help to open your pores, detoxify your skin, and absorb excess oil. The yogurt and keifer will help to balance the skin's microbiome with friendly bacteria (probiotics), gently exfoliate your skin with lactic acid, and nourish it with milk protein.

Step 2: Steam your skin with an at-home steamer or over a pot of hot water with essential oils or herbal tea. If you have acne, I suggest steaming your face over cabbage, potatoes, carrots, or artichokes. For people with dry or aging complexions, I suggest steaming with chamomile, rose petals, green tea, and black tea. Also if you have mushrooms, you can steam over them which will give you additional skin brightening and detoxifying effect.

Step 3: Exfoliate by gently scrubbing the skin with powdered rosehips. You can find them online in a powder form. Rosehips have the highest concentration of vitamin C and B, beta carotene, and other beauty nutrients. You can mix the powder with a little bit of water and scrub your face. It will polish your skin and clean your pores. If you do not have rosehips, you can scrub your face with rice flour or buckwheat flour.

Step 4: If you do not have a nutritious mask from your favorite natural skincare company, any complexion will benefit from masks made from oat flour. If you don’t have oat flour, you can cook organic oats and mix it with hot water, honey, and a few drops of lemon juice.

Step 5: Massage the mask into your skin with rose quartz or jade rollers and rinse it off after 5-10 minutes.

Step 6: Mist rice water over your face as a toner or use copper-infused water. Make it by filling with a water a copper vessel or dish and let it be infused with copper ions overnight. Copper is an essential skin nutrient which helps to firm the skin by stimulating collagen production. It also has very strong anti-bacterial and calming effects which will help to reduce inflammation for acne and rosacea-prone complexions.

Step 7: Complete the treatment with the application of your favorite natural serums and moisturizer. If you do not have them, you can massage 5 drops of vegetable glycerin over your wet face to moisturize a normal/oily complexion. For dry/normal complexions, use avocado oil, coconut, or olive oil. You can put 1-2 drops of your favorite essential oils into these oils too.

Step 8: Relax, smile, express your gratitude and enjoy your day!

9) Anything else people should know about skincare at this moment in time? Anything they should consider while being at home that could help keep their skin in good shape until their next facial?

We need to remember that we nourish our skin not only topically, but also from the inside out. What we eat is very important. We know that during stressful times we are often prone to eat more comfort foods. Try to stay away from processed foods, cheese, and heavy dairy products which can congest our skin. People with acne-prone complexions have to avoid sugary and starchy foods. Of course, drink plenty of water. If you do not like to drink water, you can drink herbal tea. If you do not have herbal tea, you can create a tea by putting fruits in boiled water or keep them in water in the fridge overnight. However, iced drinks are not that healthy for our digestive system so if you are drinking water, try to drink it at room temperature or warmer to support your digestive system and skin. The skin is a reflection of what is going on inside our body. By looking at their face, I can also give a suggestion to my client on what I want them to discuss during their next appointment with their doctor. Breakouts around the lips very often indicate digestive issues. Dark heavy circles and puffy eyes very often can be associated with overly stressed kidneys. Clean and balanced foods help you to improve your complexion and you can use them topically as well in the forms of different masks and mists. You can also freeze your masks as ice cubes and defrost them as you need. You can perform skin massage with ice cubes made from herbal tea to reduce puffiness around the eyes. It will give a skin refreshing and tightening effect on your entire face as well.