The Magic of Jade

Jade stones are a tool I use often in my facial room. Jade is a mineral known to reduce inflammation, increases circulation, and promote healing of the skin. I incorporate this wonderful stone through the use of a jade roller, jade gua sha, or simply the stone itself. Jade enhances detoxifying and post-surgical facial care.

Jade is green and white in color. The stone’s properties are naturally healing. Jade is composed of iron, magnesium, and calcium. This non-porous stone remarkably conducts heat and cool alike, making this an ideal mechanism for facial skin massage.

Massage, on a cellular level, increases circulation and promotes detoxification. Using the jade stone roller with gentle pressure supports lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic drainage is a superficial massage with direction to assist in flushing toxins through the lymph system. This is where toxins manifest and create superficial inflammation and swelling.

Lymphatic drainage is excellent when detoxifying or after overindulging with salts, preservatives, alcohol, or other inflammatory stressors, as well as, for post-surgical applications to move out blood and medication which minimizes bruising and swelling.

Gua sha is a very firm friction technique using a tool with a wedge or horn like in shape. In my facial room you receive a modified version to exfoliate, increase blood flow and healing. The traditional Chinese application commonly produces blood at the surface to the point of bruising. (Yea, so this isn’t for everyone.)

The stone organically meets varying needs. For example, if skin is irritated presenting red or pink in appearance, the stone reduces inflammation; if the skin is sluggish or depleted it effectively increases circulation and a pleasant pink complexion appears.

Responses I’ve observed are intriguing. I anticipate the physical characteristics formerly described but there is an unprovoked reaction of curiosity from my clients. As it turns out, Jade lifts Qi. Pronounced Chi or Chee. Qi is the life force energy which governs our physiological functions of organs and meridians. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) jade is good for emotional and mental balance, calms the mind, and reduces symptoms of depression.

The Jade stone itself is therapeutic. It is known to restore the heart chakra, activate balance, and soothe disturbed emotions. Explore this for yourself when lying, sitting, or meditating. Hold the jade in your hand or place it on your heart while lying down.

Known to promote health, wealth, and vitality, jade is easily accessible through the internet. Jade is a safe, satisfying, and natural complement to your skin and wellness routine.

Shannon Downey

Is your summer exfoliation in line with your lifestyle? Exfoliation is the removal of turned over dead skin cells. Cells where oil, trapped debris, and dry skin reside. The ideal exfoliation process will produce a smooth and radiant complexion and offer you a boost to last through summer.

Exfoliation at home or in-office will polish your complexion and allow optimal penetration for skin care ingredients. This will enhance your summertime skin care routine to manage blemish prone skin, humidity, sun protection, and self-tanning.

The skin on your face and body can be exfoliated many ways. The spectrum of exfoliation ranges from a wash cloth to a scalpel. The art and science is to be gentle yet effective. In general terms, exfoliation is mechanical or chemical. Mechanical is the physical sloughing which produces immediate results with little to no irritation. Chemical exfoliation involves the use of acids, usually producing a delayed refined response and at times may be irritating.

The best form of exfoliation for you is determined by your skin condition and lifestyle. Does your summer exfoliation match your lifestyle? Some environmental influences to consider:

  • Outdoor activity
  • Chlorinated swimming pool
  • Sweating
  • A/C overload
  • Spray tans

Think of your ideal method of exfoliation in terms of temperature. If your lifestyle produces heat in your body, do not use acid forming exfoliation this time of year. If you are chilled from air conditioning and then transition to heat, you need conditioning exfoliation in the form of a crème. If you are mostly indoors in the summer, a crème with acids would be appropriate. Some home options might include:  a wet or dry cloth or brush or a homemade mixture of salt or sugar granules with coconut oil.

In-office, you have a variety of options. You can request a clarifying, detoxifying, or purifying facial. Professional skin care treatments such as enzyme masks, microdermabrasion, and dermaplaning are available. The goal is to boost cell turnover in order to produce a healthier complexion.

Exfoliation is the key to a successful self-tan or spray-tan. Exfoliate head to toe prior to applying your tanning agents. Use an oil-based product on the heels of your feet, knees, elbows, and other coarse skin to prevent harsh color stains.

Regular thorough cleansing and gentle exfoliation is a must!

Shannon Downey
Act on Acne

Unsightly, sometimes painful, and usually embarrassing: the pimple. It’s hard to know what’s worse; how it looks or how it feels! Don’t fret, you can take steps to reduce active acne and prevent scarring. 

While acne is a common skin condition, it’s still a challenge to manage. Your genetics, time of life, and lifestyle will influence acne activity. Fluctuating hormones, bacteria, and fatty acids within oil glands set the stage, oil glands get plugged and inflamed, and the results can range from pimples to severe cystic acne.

Here are some steps you can take to prevent and manage acne: 


  • Wash your face morning and night. A skin care professional may advise you to use a gentle cleanser, a salicylic acid, and or a benzoyl peroxide wash to name a few. (After a routine is established you may find alternating them works.) If consistency is a struggle, try cleansing at a different time of day. Your bed and or workout routine may influence the optimal time. 
  • Shower or cleanse post workout. Regular exercise aids in flushing out toxins, improves sleep and aides in stress reduction. Exercise, sleep, and stress reduction are the foundation of healthy skin.
  • Avoid further aggravating irritated and inflamed acne. Wash with tepid not hot water. Do not rub skin, apply friction, or use a rough cloth. Do not pick or touch your face. These practices spread bacteria. 
  • Sterilize commonly shared and frequently touched items such as your phone and gym equipment. Keep sanitary wipes on hand. Wash your hands frequently.
  • Wash pillowcases and towels with fragrance-free detergents and dryer sheets. Change your pillow cases frequently. 
  • Prioritize your sleep. This is when our body regenerates.
  • Stress doesn’t cause acne but it does aggravate it. Connect with your breath. Label ruminating thoughts and let them drift away. Incorporate yoga poses into your routine. 
  • Fried, greasy, and high glycemic foods, such as: white bread, dairy, shell fish, and chocolate are believed to trigger acne. The conclusions often change but some wisdom remains the same: observe your body’s reaction to these types of foods. 
  • Sip hot or room temperature water with lemon. This flushes and hydrates the body and skin. 
  • Protect your complexion with a light moisturizer, natural minerals, and sun protection. Avoid heavy comedogenic cosmetics this will exasperate the problem. For natural sun protection, have a hat or visor on hand. 

Most everyone will suffer from a pimple outbreak but if breakouts persist, you should seek care from an esthetician or dermatologist. Delaying treatment puts you at greater risk for scarring and greater measures will be necessary later to correct scar-damaged skin. With proper guidance you can learn how to take impeccable care of your skin for a beautiful complexion! 

Shannon Downey
Sun Protection and Preventing Melanoma

The threat of sagging, brown-spotted, thin skin is enough to get my clients conscientious in protecting their skin.  This awareness offers the benefit of lending opportunities for the prevention and detection for skin cancer. 

The key? Sun protection!

Don’t fear. Sun protection doesn’t have to be a drag on summer fun. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) application and a hat go a long way! 

Unsightly skin conditions are progressive. Hyper pigmentation (aka brown or liver spots), melasma, moles, rosacea, heat rash, spider veins, and sagging thin skin are compounded by sun damage.

It’s not just the sun that creates brown and red spots it’s also the heat! Be conscientious and choose the shady side of the street. 

Have a hat on-hand to create personal shade (or visor to keep your hair intact.) Active outdoor sport stores have a variety of SPF washable head cover and clothing options. I’m confident this direction is well worth the investment. 

Are all sunscreens the same? Nope. Active ingredients run the gamut. The FDA recommends wearing at least SPF 15 regularly. Many skin care professionals suggest SPF 45. 

SPF is most effective when applied and reapplied. SPF should be applied 20 minutes prior to exposure and reapplied every 2 hours. Luxury leisure time + reapplying SPF = Honoring yourself.

SPF’s come in so many forms: crème, lotion, and gel to name a few. My latest fave is in a stick form, like deodorant. This keeps my hands clean and makes reapplying a breeze. My least favorite is the aerosol mist. Please, please don’t use this. It should be banned as it gets into your lungs! 

Relaxing on the beach is an opportune time to do a mole check (sexy huh?) If you notice a mole different than other ones you have, if it itches, or bleeds you should be seen by a dermatologist. 

Follow the ABCD’s when examining moles. 

Asymmetry.  Is one half unlike the other?
Notice if a Border is irregular, scalloped, or poorly defined. 
Are there Color variations from one area to another, shades of tan and brown, black, white, red, or blue? 
Is the Diameter of a mole or lesion greater than the size of a pencil eraser? 

If you have any doubt just get it checked out by your dermatologist. Contact me if you would like a recommendation for a good skin doctor.

Remember, it’s critical to observe any changes on skin moles or lesions and courageous to seek medical attention. 

Shannon Downey
Identifying and Addressing Rosacea

Does your face blush easily and stay that way? Could this be Rosacea? A rosy complexion untreated manifests in disruptive flare-ups. Rosacea impacts over 16 million Americans, and many who have this skin condition don’t even know it!

Rosacea sounds like roh-ZAY-sha. The appearance is in the form of a flushed or red-faced complexion and may be warm to the touch. At times it may present as acne or insect-like bumps. Weighing on self-confidence, this rosy complexion can make you feel pretty blue. The psychological, social, and occupational impact can have adverse consequences.

The sooner the condition is identified the better flare ups can be managed and prevented and the brakes can be put on the progression of undesirable symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • Redness on cheeks, nose, chin, or forehead
  • Small visible blood vessels on the face
  • Bumps or pimples on the face
  • Watery or irritated eyes

If you think you may have Rosacea, make an appointment with a dermatologist or knowledgeable esthetician/skin care therapist. You can learn routine care to better manage your symptoms and living with flare ups. In many cases medication may be advised.  

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Use a mild cleanser (non-soap) with your fingertips to sooth and treat your skin, 2x a day.
  • Avoid rough exfoliants, brushes, loofas or anything abrasive (also avoid fabric softeners and rough towels)
  • Use lukewarm water and cotton pads/towel when washing. Be gentle. Do not rub, tug, or pull on your delicate skin
  • Allow skin to air dry between applications of moisturizer (containing hyaluronic acid) and/or medications
  • Daytime sun protection is a must for any skin but critical for those who are managing Rosacea (sun exposure is the #1 trigger for flare-ups)
  • Adhering to the advised treatment plan when not symptomatic will be necessary to avoid progression and symptoms of rosacea

Top 12 Triggers:

  • Sun exposure
  • Emotional stress
  • Hot weather
  • Wind
  • Heavy exercise
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Hot baths
  • Cold weather
  • Spicy foods
  • Humidity
  • Indoor hear
  • Certain skin care products and cosmetics

Identify your triggers.
Documenting your patterns will assist in identifying triggers in your routine. This can be done in a journal or calendar. Note the weather, consumption of food and beverage, physical activity, emotions, products, and adherence to skin care routine.

Fortunately, there are many at-home and professional treatment options to manage Rosacea symptoms. In addition, reasonable lifestyle modifications will reduce flareups. Keeping track of treatment and lifestyle choices will effectively identify your triggers. People with Rosacea can have a beautiful complexion so don’t hesitate to get care! The sooner the better.

Shannon Downey
Spring Break, Not SKIN Break: Cultivate Your Travel Skincare Routine

A warm weather getaway soothes the mind, body, soul, and complexion. However, returning home from a break feeling rejuvenated can be dampened by skin eruptions, and dry or sun burned skin. Simple preventative solutions can help you avoid lasting troublesome skin problems.

We break our routines when we travel. Naturally, our systems reacts and can act out. Cultivate a skin care travel routine. With consistency, you will identify your body’s triggers and implement effective solutions accordingly.

•    Discontinue skin sensitive ingredients before you leave for your destination
•    Load travel size containers with current products and anticipate how to be flexible
•    Sun protection and hygiene: think ahead
•    Maintain hydration through water intake and high water content foods
•    Treat yourself to an at-home facial before you blow this popsicle stand

2 weeks ahead:    Consider your destination. If sun, heat, or wind are unavoidable, and you’re using products to treat pigment, acne or advanced aging, topicals containing retinol or acids (Rx or OTC) should be discontinued 10 days before departure. This will prevent avoidable sun damage, dry skin, and undesirable skin staining. (Also, avoid facial waxing the upper lip especially if on birth control pills.)

1 week ahead: Load your travel size containers with the products you’re currently using. The temptation to use up your smorgasbord of samples for convenience is often the initial culprit for skin problems. Travel is not the time to experiment. Since you’ll already be adapting to new elements, your body will thank you for using familiar ingredients. You should have an established backup plan (discussed with Madeline) for accessible products in the event of spillage, confiscation, or misplaced products. 

Before you leave: For a radiant, amber complexion, try your hand at an anti-inflammatory, hydrating and naturally cosmetic-enhancing DIY facial. Mix a generous tablespoon of organic plain yogurt with a teaspoon of honey and a pinch of turmeric powder and blend. Apply a smooth, even layer to your cleansed face. Leave on for 5 minutes and rinse. Caution: use a designated towel as turmeric will permanently stain. Get your natural bronze on with this soothing, hydrating, and healthy facial mask.

Before going outside: Since sun protection takes twenty minutes to activate, apply it while you’re getting dressed. Regardless of the SPF strength, it needs to be reapplied every 2 hours. You won’t avoid getting sun altogether, but can prevent the harmful UVA rays which sabotage your complexion.  Remember: sunrays go through clouds and reflect off of the snow. Whether you’re skiing, swimming or strolling outside on a cloudy day, arm yourself with a variety of sun protections. Opt for the shade when possible. 

At your bedside: Have access to single-use disposable face wipes. While these aren’t ideal for everyday thorough cleansing, they are practical when you’ve had a long late night. In the morning, resume your normal routine.

In your bed: Depending on how sensitive your skin is and where you are sleeping, the fabric softener, harsh ingredients and materials at your destination may produce skin inflammation. Bring your own pillow case or hand towel to place on your pillow, this is helpful to avoid irritation of your face.

Throughout the trip: Hydrate from the inside out to avoid breakouts, dry skin, and inflammation. Water supports cleansing, proper elimination, and the regeneration of cells resulting in elasticity and clear skin. Drink lots of water and eat foods with a high water-content. Many fruits travel well without refrigeration. While water refueling is always important, when traveling, it should be emphasized to combat the stress of taxing environmental shifts and routines.

When you return: Resume your skin care routine and schedule your next facial appointment per your esthetician-Madeline’s recommendation. If you are not clear on when your products should be discontinued or resumed or are uncertain of your back-up plan, please contact me directly. 

Here’s to safe and adventurous travels! 
Bon Voyage,

Shannon Downey
Is That Spring I See?

In Chicago this week the hope of spring has been in the air! Let’s keep that momentum going and boost our skin’s metabolism with a facial. Planning for change will get us through the home stretch of winter.

Outside in

The February featured facial by Madeline is a hydrating oxygenating treatment that will increase circulation and aid in the removal of toxins which will support skin metabolism. This soothing antioxidant treatment leaves skin purified, glowing, and radiant for the seasons ahead. As always, treatment steps and ingredients are customized to meet your needs.

Inside out

Go for the Inversion!

Inversions are the fountain of youth in yoga. Turning upside down, or bringing the head below the heart, can bring more oxygen and blood flow to the brain and boost your metabolic rate.

When I think of inversion, I think teeter or legs on the wall. Some other common inversion poses include; dolphin, downward facing dog, extended puppy pose, and plow.

Proper supervision is required to ensure a successful experience and prevent injury. (Abstain if you’re on ladies’ holiday, reversal of blood flow should be avoided.)


Sweet Orange Essential Oil (EO) 

Deliciously juicy and refreshingly sweet this is a staple oil for creating bright, uplifting, and invigorating ambiance. Place drops of EO in a carrier oil and apply to wrists and neck, include oil in the bath, a diffuser or direct palm inhalation.

Nourish yourself with a kind and gentle approach. Taking this time for yourself is a gift not a chore.

Winter may get weary but we are more than two thirds the way through the season. How we care for ourselves now directly impacts how we look, feel, and move into spring.


I look forward to seeing you,


Shannon Downey
Hydration, Immunity, and Rest

With the holidays behind us we flow into the heart of winter. This time of year, we nourish the health of our skin by focusing on a resilient, flexible, and smooth complexion so that we can look and feel our best now and age gracefully.

We are composed of nearly 80% water and when this element is out of balance some symptoms include dry, brittle skin and rigid movement. Hydration, immunity, and rest are the essential components of protecting the health of the skin and one’s overall well-being.

Outside in

Your January restorative facial will nurture warmth, preserve and balance hydration, and include immune boosting Vitamin C and essential oils.

Topical Vitamin C-Quench Anti-Oxidant Serum

This serum combines botanical stem cell extracts to minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while hydrating, strengthening and protecting the skin from aging UV rays and other environmental pollutants.

Hyaluronic Acid Topical Serum

This serum provides instant and long lasting deeper hydration and fine line reduction. It simultaneously increases skins ability to produce its own hyaluronic acid.


Inside out

Boost immunity and hydration with food and breath to optimize skin health and beauty.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C maintains levels of glutathione, the immune systems primary antioxidant. Boost your immunity naturally with fruits and vegetables. Sources of Vitamin C aren’t limited to the popular citrus fruits such as lemon, limes, oranges, and kiwis. In fact, peppers are a terrific source, with the red bell pepper as the star! Included in the bunch are asparagus, berries, broccoli, melons, cauliflower, kale, spinach, and tomatoes. Midwest locals include: apples, cabbage and potatoes. Oral Vitamin C supplement has many benefits and few or no risks. (about 1 gram per day, ask your doctor.)

Essential Oils (EO’s)

Breathing in selected aromatic botanical molecules will stimulate your immune system. EO’s such as eucalyptus, pine, spruce, silver fir, and juniper support lung and sinus function. EO’s can easily be incorporated into your daily life. Place drops of EO in carrier coconut oil, in the bath, a diffusor or direct palm inhalation.



Take your cues from nature. This time of year, nature provides us an excellent model for self-preservation. Hibernating animals, quiet, and longer periods of darkness speak volumes. Conserve your energy. When you are able, retire early and rise late. Rest.

Remember to wear sunglasses and sunscreen. Sun rays reflected by the snow are powerful. Continue to cover your face and hands with a scarf and gloves when outdoors.

Avoid hot baths and long showers, skin can become red and dry.


Hydration, immunity, and rest restore and protect the health of the skin and your whole well-being. The way we care for ourselves this month directly impacts our well-being as we look to spring and into the future.



Shannon Downey
Transition into Winter

As we let go of fall and flow into winter consider this simple focus: hydration and rest will ease the transition into the season ahead. 

For many of us December’s festivities include holiday lights, late nights, and on-going celebrations. This lifestyle is out of sync with our natural bio-rhythm. Our organs, including our skin, are challenged to function with ease. This extravagance can lead to a compromised immune system. Symptoms can include inflammation and dehydration. Inflammation can present as blemishes, red blotches, and dry patches on our skin. Dehydration appears as a coarse harsh complexion. 

Distressed is not the look were going for!

For a beautiful complexion, a good mood, and robust immune system; hydration and good sleep are essential. 


Inside out

Flow into winter hydrating and replenishing with succulent fruits vegetables and plants. 

  • Artichokes and Leeks
  • Cucumber and Watermelon
  • Aloe juice

Outside in

  • My hydrating antioxidant facial is soothing and leaves your skin purified, glowing, and radiant.  
  • Remember to cleanse complexion on the celebratory late nights! A make-up eraser cloth will suffice.
  • Keep your face and hands covered outdoors.


  • Avoid hot baths and long showers because your skin will become red and dry.
  • Celebratory food and drinks can bring on bloat and dehydration. Aim for at least 3 clean days a week.
  • Meditate. Make just 20 minutes. If you’re too busy, then make 40 minutes!

Success is achieved through external and internal modifications in your routine. The aim is to prevent, correct, and restore your skin health during this busy time of year. Stop for minute to close your eyes, breathe, and reset your clock (especially when you’re feeling stressed). Keep the focus on yourself so you can show up and be present for your life and loved ones. 


Shannon Downey
The Fall Effect

Healthy skin is beautiful skin. As the largest organ of elimination, the skin is an outer reflection of the health of the body and its complex systems. This season, out of balance symptoms can be as subtle and common as dry skin and blackheads all the way to extreme eczema, acne and rashes. Lifestyle and treatment choice assist in balancing the valuable protective layer, your skin.

Simple modifications in your routine effectively assist you to achieve balance with your complexion. There external and internal influences which can prevent, correct and restore the health of your skin. Customizing your regimen is the best way to address multiple skin issues simultaneously. In brief, let’s explore what you can do right now.

Outside in

Your November facial by me, Madeline when you come in will include:

  • Pumpkin and oat milk
  • Lotion on the tips finger to elbows
  • Post treatment time to process

We address dry rough skin texture while promoting clear skin results in your healthiest complexion. Fed with nutritive potent pumpkin and oat milk and Infused with anti-oxidants, anti-bacterial and anti- inflammatory ingredients in slightly creamier formulations (which will not suffocate your skin.) Preserve the nourishing and protective benefits of the facial session by keeping ingredients on your skin for the remainder of the day. This allows for maximum benefits including hydration for your complexion. In your facial session we identify specifics to your regimen. (For existing clients feel free to text or email for suggestions.)

Products used are free of synthetic dyes, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, petroleum, lanolin, phthalates. Products are tested in clinical trials with patients. Animal testing is not performed or condoned.

Inside out

This month I’m highlighting some fruits, vegetables and fats to nourish your complexion from the inside out. “Combine excellent skin care with powerful beauty foods, and watch how beautiful your skin will become.” States Kimberly Snyder, C.N. who is an authority and a personal inspiration for me on beautiful foods.

  • Fruits: lemons, pears and coconut water
  • Vegetables: red peppers, kale or onion and cabbage
  • Omega-3 fatty acids include walnut, flax seeds, sardines and again kale the super food

These foods combined with a healthy diet can help restore balance for digestion and hydration this drying season. Cleansing fruits and vegetables clears the digestive track this allows nutrition to absorb soothe and moisturize from within.


  • Use coconut oil as body moisturizer to treat rough flakey skin, target elbows and ankles.  The nose can be dry, apply oil with cotton tip in nostrils to soothe dry passages
  • Turmeric is healing and cleansing. Combine (a very small amount) with coconut or sesame oil and apply directly on your skin. The brilliant color will therapeutically restore your complexion with a beautifying golden stain
  • Essential oil (EO’s) such as eucalyptus, pine, spruce, silver fir, juniper support lung and sinus function

EO’s can easily be incorporated into your lifestyle. Breathing in these selected aromatic molecules we stimulate our immune systems. Place drops of EO in carrier coconut oil, in the bath, a diffusor or direct palm inhalation.

For direct palm inhalation put 2 drops of selected EO’s on the palm. Rub hands together and inhale at least twice. This gets these powerful natural healing molecules into our lungs and skin producing pleasant and healing effects.

As we fall into November nature reminds us we are constantly changing. Take a pause and consider what external or internal change would feel good for you. Implement some or just one these suggestions. Incorporate beautiful skin conditioning coconut oil inside or out? Any effort to support your elimination and hydration through nourishment better prepares your system for the winter ahead. Only you can take care of yourself. It is my privilege and pleasure being a partner in your self-care.

With gratitude,