• How to Enjoy Your Massage

    Have you ever made an appointment to get a massage and spent the first fifteen minutes calming down because you didn't get there early enough? Maybe it took longer to get to the spa from your room than you expected, or the front desk was slower than you expected. Whatever the reasons, getting there a little bit early will cut down on your stress levels and make your massage more enjoyable.

    Whether you are new to massage or an experienced spa-goer, there are things you can do get the most from your massage.

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    • First, don't eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol before a massage session.
    • Arrive well in advance of your appointment–at least fifteen minutes at a day spa, or even longer for a resort spa. It will give you time to check in and relax before your spa treatment. If you get there just five minutes before, you might miscalculate and miss some of your treatment time. Also, if you have rushed, you will have to take time to calm down. It will take longer to relax.
    • Getting there early also gives you time to take advantage of amenities like the sauna, steam bath, or hot tub. Using those facilities will warm your muscles and make it easier for the therapist to achieve results. If the hot tub has chlorinated water, make sure that shower before your massage. If they have showers but no steam or sauna, you can just relax with a hot shower.
    • Most massage takes place nude, but you are fully draped at all times. If you do not want to remove all your clothing, wear clothing that you will be comfortable wearing during the massage and will allow the massage therapist to touch and move the areas of your body you expect will need to be worked on.
    • Be receptive and open to the experience and trust in the professionalism of the therapist.
    • Good communication is important. Before the session, let your massage therapist know what your needs are. During the massage session, report any discomfort, whether it is from the massage or anything else -- room temperature, music volume, lighting, etc. Feel free to give feedback on the amount of pressure, speed of movement, etc.
    • Don’t be afraid to discuss any apprehensions or concerns. Your massage therapist is a professional dedicated to do his or her best to help you feel at ease.
    • Some people like to talk during a massage session, while others remain silent. Feel free to do what general the massage therapist will follow your lead.
    • Deep breathing helps you relax. People often stop breathing when they feel anxious or a sensitive area is massaged. If this is happening, let yourself breathe.
    • Tightening up during the massage is counterproductive. Let your massage therapist know if this happens. They can adjust the massage technique or help you relax.
    • If your thoughts race, try to quiet your mind by following the hands of the massage therapist. Focus on how the touch feels.
    • If anything happens during the massage that seems improper, ask the massage therapist to stop. You also have the right to end the session.
    • If you are dizzy or light-headed after the massage, do not get off the table too fast.
    • Drink extra water after a massage.
    • Allow for some open, quiet time after your massage session. It helps your body absorb the results.
    • Massage has its greatest benefits over time. The therapeutic effects of massage are cumulative, so the more often you get a massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond.

  • 15 Products That Will Erase Those Brown Spots On Your Face

    Ever looked in the mirror and wondered, WTF is that dark spot on my face? It's not a zit, it's not a mole...what even?

    Once you've figured out that no, it cannot be washed off, panic might set in. This is not happening, you might think. Dark spots are for grandmas!

    Hate to break it to you, but anyone (even if you're not a Golden Girl) can get a dark spot. They're caused by a LOT of different things, says Melissa K. Levin, M.D., a board-certified New York City dermatologist and clinical attending at New York University Langone Health and Mount Sinai Hospital. “Brown spots can be as benign as sun spots, genetic spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation, and moles, or be as concerning as melanoma,” she says.

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    What To Do About Those Dark Spots On Your Face

    Brown Spots On Your Face

    The biggest culprit: sun exposure. "If you have good sun habits, you’ll get fewer dark spots than if you don’t,” says Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., founder and director of Capital Laser & Skin Care and associate clinical professor of dermatology at the George Washington University Medical Center. (So yet another reason to slather on the SPF every day.)

    Your age, fluctuating hormones (like the ones women experience during pregnancy), and skin irritation can all also lead to dark spots. Also: The fairer your skin, the more likely you are to suffer these discolorations.

    Luckily, there are some pretty damn good dark spot correctors you can find OTC:

    Best protection: Elta MD UV Elements Broad Spectrum SPF 44

     

    ELTA MDUV Elements Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 44EltaMDdermstore.com$33.00

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    “The most important skincare product is sunscreen," says Levin. "Dark spots will only get darker with sun exposure." She loves this mineral-based sunscreen that guards against UVA and UVB rays with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. With a sheer tint, it can help even out the appearance of dark spots, too.

    Best antioxidant: Skinceuticals CE Ferulic

     

    SKINCEUTICALSC E FerulicSkinceuticalsskinceuticals.com$166.00

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    This is one of Levin’s favorite antioxidant serums, which packs antioxidants vitamin C and E. (It's worth the price—trust.) “These neutralize free radicals from causing oxidative damage to the skin and block enzymatic processes that make more pigment in the skin,” she explains. Translation: They stop two causes of brown spots in their tracks. Apply the oil during the daytime to limit free radicals and boost brightness.

    Best exfoliant: Differin Gel

     

    DIFFERINAdapalene Gel 0.1%Differinamazon.com$14.98

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    Derms love this stuff for fighting acne and signs of aging. Now, you can add dark-spot correcting to that list. This gel contains adapalene, a super-effective type of retinoid. “Retinoids are key in terms of exfoliating the skin and treating discoloration,” says Levin. This is one multi-tasker you need in your medicine cabinet—especially since it comes at such an affordable price.

    Best traditional lightener: Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

     

    MURADRapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumMuradsephora.com$69.00

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    “Hydroquinone is the gold standard for lightening dark spots,” says Levin—and it's the star ingredient in this serum. This formula contains 2 percent of the active ingredient, which is likely the highest concentration you’ll find available OTC. Added glycolic acid helps to up the exfoliating action and boosts the efficacy of hydroquinone. (Warning: if you have sensitive skin, hydroquinone can cause redness, dryness, and other irritation.)

    Best for multiple spots: Philosophy The Microdelivery Triple-Action Brightening Peel

     

    PHILOSOPHYMicrodelivery Triple-Acid Peel Pads (12-count)Philosophyamazon.com$68.92

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    Along with a brightening cream, “you can do peel pads if you’re looking to lighten up a smattering of spots,” says Tanzi. These convenient pads pack brighteners like niacinamide along with mandelic, phytic, and azelaic acids to remove dead skin cells and diminish darkness. Skin-soothing bisabolol keeps things calm.

    Best multi-tasker: IS Clinical White Lightening Complex

     

    IS CLINICALWhite Lightening ComplexiS Clinicaldermstore.com$140.00

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    This product, recommended by Tanzi, relies on Norwegian kelp and bearberry extract to lighten spots. Hydrating hyaluronic acid and dimethicone plump fine lines, making this product great for treating multiple signs of aging. Because acne can cause dark spots, too, you’ll also get blemish-fighting salicylic acid in the mix.

    Best for sensitive skin: SkinMedica Lytera Skin Brightening Complex

     

    SKINMEDICALytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting SerumSkinMedicadermstore.com$154.00

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    Another one on Tanzi’s radar, this treatment is hydroquinone-free—great if you have sensitive skin. It brightens with licorice root extract and includes peptides that work in cells to turn down pigment production. It also contains retinol to spur cell turnover (helping further reduce dark spots) and vitamin E to protect your skin.

    Best hydrating cream: Aveeno Positively Radiant Night Cream

     

    AVEENOPositively Radiant Intensive Night CreamAveenoamazon.com$13.49

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    “Soy is a natural ingredient that has skin-brightening effects, which is why it’s commonly used as an ingredient in products that help lighten dark spots,” says Joshua Zeichner, M.D., director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.

    Best overnight serum: ISDNCEUTICS Melatonik 3-in-1 Night Serum

     

    ISDINMelatonik 3-in-1 Night SerumISDINisdin.com$150.00

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    “This pick has melatonin, bakuchiol, and vitamin C, all of which help with fading dark spots,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., associate clinical professor, Yale Department of Dermatology. “Bakuchiol is a retinoid alternative, is well tolerated, and works great with vitamin C to even out skin tone—all without hydroquinone.”

    Best extra-strength formula: PCA Skin C&E Strength Max

     

    PCA SKINC&E Strength Max Facial CreamPCA SKINamazon.com$97.00

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    “Vitamins C and E are potent antioxidants that work together to prevent free radical damage to the skin and interfere with the production of abnormal pigmentation,” says Zeichner. And this formula isn't a liquid (which degrades vitamin C faster), allowing this to work at its best for longer.

    Best for dark spots and acne: Glycolix Elite Treatment Pads 20%

     

    GLYCOLIX ELITETreatment Pads 20% (60 count)Glycolix Eliteamazon.com$35.00

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    “Infused with glycolic acid, these little pads are a great, gentle exfoliant, and help with unwanted discoloration, particularly with the help of a vitamin C serum in the morning,” says Gohara. And the glycolic acid will help you deal with pesky breakouts, too.

    Best anti-ager: Clarins Double Serum

     

    CLARINSDouble SerumClarinssephora.com$89.00

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    This cult anti-aging serum will help smooth out fine lines and wrinkles while lightening up dark spots thanks to one star ingredient: turmeric. “Turmeric is a spice commonly used in South Asian cooking that’s been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits, making it a useful ingredient in brightening the skin,” says Zeichner.

    Best hydrating peel: First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Intensive Peel

     

    FIRST AID BEAUTYFacial Radiance Intensive PeelFirst Aid Beautysephora.com$40.00

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    If normal peels make you red AF and dry you out, try this one instead to attack multiple dark spots. “A light yet hydrating AHA peel, this one helps diminish dark spots when applied once per week,” says Gohara.

    Best drugstore treatment: Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector

     

    NEUTROGENARapid Tone Repair Dark Spot CorrectorNeutrogenaamazon.com$19.28

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    If you're looking for a good drugstore dark spot treatment, Zeichner loves this one from Neutrogena. “The combination of vitamin C and retinol helps block abnormal pigment production and enhances shedding skin cells that contain extra pigment,” he says.

    Best long-term treatment: Lancome Visionnaire Crescendo Dual-Phase Night Peel

     

    LANCOME USAVisionnaire Crescendo Progressive Night PeelLancômesephora.com$75.00

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    “Hydroxy acids are an effective way of exfoliating dead cells from the surface of the skin to enhance radiance and improve hyperpigmentation,” says Zeichner. “The first part of this peel contains mild fruit acids that allow the skin to adjust, and after two weeks a more aggressive combination of alpha and beta hydroxy acid are used.”

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