Ep 150 - Foods That Affect Your Face

Girl holding a lemon to her face


As estheticians, we know nutrition plays an important role in the health and maintenance of the skin and keeping skin supple and bouncy gets harder as we age. In this episode of ASCP Esty Talk, we dive into some of the foods that are ruining your client’s skin as well as the role estheticians play when it comes to nutritional counseling.

ASCP Esty Talk with hosts Ella Cressman and Maggie Staszcuk  

Produced by Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) for licensed estheticians, ASCP Esty Talk is a weekly podcast, hosted by licensed estheticians Ella Cressman, ASCP Skin Deep Magazine contributor, and Maggie Staszcuk, ASCP Education Specialist. We see your passion, innovation, and hard work and are here to support you by providing a platform for networking, advocacy, camaraderie, and education. We aim to inspire you to ask the right questions, find your motivation, and give you the courage to have the professional skin care career you desire.


About Ella Cressman:

Ella Cressman is a licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, business owner, ingredient junkie and esthetic cheerleader! As an educator, she enjoys empowering other estheticians and industry professionals to understand skin care from an ingredient standpoint rather than a product-specific view.

In addition to running a skin care practice, Cressman founded a comprehensive consulting group, the HHP Collective, and has consulted for several successful skin care brands.

Connect with Ella Cressman:

Website: www.hhpcollective.com

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/ella-cressman-62aa46a


About Maggie Staszcuk:

Maggie has been a licensed esthetician since 2006 and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Stephens College. She has worked in the spa and med-spa industry, and served as an esthetics instructor and a director of education for one of the largest schools in Colorado before coming to ASCP as the Cosmetology Education Manager. 

Connect with Maggie Staszcuk:

P 800.789.0411 EXT 1636

MStaszcuk@ascpskincare.com or AMI@ascpskincare.com


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About Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP):

Associated Skin Care Professionals (ASCP) is the nation’s largest association for skin care professionals and your ONLY all-inclusive source for professional liability insurance, education, community, and career support. For estheticians at every stage of the journey, ASCP is your essential partner. Get in touch with us today if you have any questions or would like to join and become an ASCP member.

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0:00:00.5 Speaker 1: DMK is the world leader in paramedical skin revision education, with certification programs designed to give licensed professionals a thorough understanding of the skin, and an in-depth study of the DMK concept of remove, rebuild, protect, maintain. Created by the botanical visionary Danné Montague-King, DMK offers skin revision training and education for all ages, skin conditions and ethnicities in more than 35 countries, harnessing the body's innate healing mechanisms to change the health of the skin. Learn more at dannemking.com, that's D-A-N-N-E-M-K-I-N-G dot com. 




0:00:57.2 Maggie Staszcuk: Hello and welcome to ASCP's Esty Talk. I'm your co-host Maggie Staszcuk, and ASCP's cosmetology education manager. 


0:01:03.4 Ella Cressman: And I'm Ella Cressman, licensed esthetician, certified organic formulator, ingredient junky and content contributor for Associated Skin Care Professionals. Hey Maggie. 


0:01:12.1 MS: Hey Ella. 


0:01:12.8 EC: Hey, guess what. 


0:01:15.8 MS: What?  


0:01:16.2 EC: We have a bit of another shout out here. 


0:01:17.5 MS: Oh, love it. 


0:01:19.3 EC: It was a little bit ago. It was about a month and a half ago, I had someone reach out to me via Messenger, and she was asking for a reference for a connection based on a podcast we did almost over a year ago on chemical peels. 


0:01:33.8 MS: Oh wow!  


0:01:35.5 EC: I know! So I thought it was really cool. It was great, and then I did some exploring, her name is Nicole Dyke, she's out of Houston, Texas. And I gotta tell you, her Instagram is so funny, I love it. It's really a beautiful Instagram, so if you guys get a chance, otherwise, "Hi Nicole, how are you?" 


0:01:49.8 MS: Hey Nicole! So, as estheticians, we all know, I think nutrition plays an important role in the health and maintenance of the body, the skin, keeping the skin supple and bouncy, and that definitely gets harder as we age. Don't you agree?  


0:02:05.6 EC: Oh yeah, absolutely, yeah. 


0:02:07.1 MS: So, we're going to dive into some of the foods that are ruining your client's skin, as well as the role estheticians play when it comes to nutritional counseling. So, top of the list, grease and sugar, my two favorite things, like happy hour. This is double trouble for the skin. 


0:02:25.1 EC: I love these two things too, I think that a lot of people do, and I think you have to think about where they are, because grease and sugar sounds like, "Oh, it'd be so easy", but it's hidden in a lot of other areas. 


0:02:35.1 MS: Oh yeah, totally. I mean, you go to whatever your evening happy hour is, you wake up the next morning and you don't look good. I know there are those people out there that say they do not partake in grease and sugar, but if you really think about what hitting up the bars is all about... 


0:02:55.5 EC: Yeah. Do they say that over their chips and salsa and... 


0:02:58.8 MS: Right!  


0:03:01.1 EC: And their cocktail that they're drinking? Because that's exactly... 


0:03:02.0 MS: True. 


0:03:02.4 EC: Exactly. So do your clients love to grab an early morning donut, or how about a double stack dripping in syrup, your frappe mocha latte double squirt of whatever, that certainly isn't helping either? And we've just covered breakfast. [laughter] 


0:03:19.0 MS: We've just got started. 


0:03:20.1 EC: Yeah, we just got started, so let me tell you something, the term sugar face is real, you can google it, and there's actually a lot of "faces", like carb face, I found out was a thing... I don't know. 


0:03:33.6 MS: I thought that was the term of endearment. [laughter] 


0:03:35.0 EC: What?  


0:03:36.0 MS: So, now I know somebody calls me sugar face, I'll be like, "Wait a minute!" Yeah. [laughter] 


0:03:40.0 EC: How does he know?  


0:03:40.8 MS: I don't know. It might be an insult, I have no idea. So let's talk about what sugar face means. So this is glycation, it's a toxic effect of sugar on the body and causes a breakdown of collagen fibers. So if you're loading up on sugar, you may be actually leading to aging and wrinkles of the skin. And let me tell you that, you might not notice in your 20s or your 30s, but when you hit 40, once you look at your hands and you'll see glycation, this is when it starts, so have fun at your happy hour, but listen, it comes at a consequence so make sure you're doing your part before then. The next place you'll start to see it is on your cheeks. I've noticed it with myself being in my mid-40s, I mean very, very small and I am a sugar face, I think sometimes, but I also notice this on a lot of my clients of the same age, and I haven't ever really noticed it on anybody in their 30s, it's right after that. So you might think, "Oh, it's not happening to me", but it will, so heed the warning. 


0:04:44.0 EC: Yeah, for sure. 


0:04:45.1 MS: Sugar, it has the ability also to weaken the immune system and it suppresses its ability to fight bacteria, potentially leading to an increase in pimple-causing bacteria. What do you think of that?  


0:04:57.1 EC: I think that's very interesting. I think it slow a lot of things, too much sugar. I think we should define processed sugar or refined sugar and fruit, I wonder if there's... We've joked about donuts and such, but I think don't be afraid of the other natural sugars. 


0:05:17.8 MS: Mm-hmm. For sure! Yeah, I have seen a lot of posts about, "Is chocolate making me break out?", for instance, and I think it's fair to say that chocolate, perhaps no, but it's the sugar in the chocolate that you're eating that could potentially be leading to those break-outs. 


0:05:33.8 EC: I think it's worth the risk. [laughter] No, or you can get also the higher percentage of cacao chocolate bars, if you're craving those, but I think you're right on, you're spot on Maggie, that it is the sugar, because we also hear other reports of chocolate being an antioxidant and having other benefits, but when you... It's like Cheerios, you know how it's labeled a whole grain and heart healthy, but it's just got a bunch of sugar and frosting on it, it's kind of negating it. 


0:06:01.0 MS: Oh yeah!  


0:06:01.7 EC: It's the same thing here, chocolate sure, but dark chocolate, higher percentage. 


0:06:06.4 MS: Yeah. And guess what? Sugar also has the ability to affect our hormones. And depending if you're male or female, has a different effect here, but in women, it increases testosterone, in men, it reduces testosterone. By the way, that's a bad thing. 


0:06:25.7 EC: I mean, yes. Wow, I do not know that. 


0:06:28.9 MS: Yeah, a rise in testosterone, this is going to harden blood vessels and large pores, increase oil production, so in women, you may see, kind of like a ruddy complexion, and then a reduction in testosterone, this is gonna lead to things like low-libido, obesity, potentially diabetes even. 


0:06:47.4 EC: And I think the other thing to note too, is chin hairs. 


0:06:50.5 MS: Oh yeah. 


0:06:51.3 EC: Eek! So, if that's not enough to hop off the sugar. 


0:06:56.4 MS: Yeah, for sure. So, the old wives tale, that fried foods increase oil production is just that, it's an old wives tale or a myth, but it doesn't mean that those foods are off the hook. So, the fat in your diet may not be causing oil production, but it can have an impact on inflammation, and that is also leading to inflammation that you're seeing associated with acne. 


0:07:19.2 EC: So, what would be the opposite then? . So if we're having, I'm imagining, like fried food oil, for example, the opposite may be essential fatty acids and Omegas. 


0:07:30.2 MS: Yeah. Your good fats. So, you're olive oils and your avocado and things like that. And that might be... Not in a swap, but just to keep in mind, so not all oils are bad. That you still have some good oils in fact, great for hydrating on the inside, but avoiding those that cause inflammation. I think inflammation is so harmful. 


0:07:54.4 EC: Totally, totally. Yeah, fried foods, they are fully oxidized, saturated fats, and this can lead to... We just said inflammation, but skin puffiness, poor circulation. So we said, our grease and our sugar, our favorite thing that's going to your happy hour, you wake up the next morning and that's what you're seeing, the glycation, puffy face, you just don't look good. 


0:08:16.9 MS: You don't look and really don't feel good either. [laughter] 


0:08:18.0 EC: You don't feel good either! Yes, true, true. So obviously, greasy fats and sugars, this is only skimming the surface, it doesn't begin to cover things like alcohol, caffeine, processed meat, salts, etcetera, but we're going to address the big elephant here which is, to what degree should estheticians be advising their clients on nutrition?  


0:08:39.5 MS: Hold that thought, we'll be right back. 


0:08:41.4 Speaker 1: Do you wanna give your clients clear glowing skin for good? Look no further than Face Reality Skincare. Three-time winner of Best Acne line in ASCP's skin deep, Readers Choice Awards. As the number one professional acne brand, Face Reality offers estheticians the most comprehensive online acne training, to learn how to identify and treat even the most stubborn acne cases, learn to use Face Reality's holistic treatment protocol, which includes in-clinic treatment, customized home care and lifestyle guidance. Visit, pros.facerealityskincare.com today to get started. 


0:09:27.8 MS: Okay, here we go. Let's get back to the podcast. 


0:09:29.6 EC: I think this is a great, great question, because we talk about scope of practice and working within our scope of practice, and I'd know that, to all the professionals, this is very important. I also don't think it's uncommon, it's part of our intake, part of our initial consultation to understand some of these factors, not in a judgmental way, just getting a whole picture. But where do we then... It's just supplements, I've heard it done before, I do it in a different kind of way. Like, just now, we talked about omega fatty acids, but where is it? Are we towing the line here?  


0:10:09.5 MS: Yeah, I think in general, we have this increased awareness about whole body health and the skin, and I think that it's easy for estheticians to cross that line, and it's challenging because supplements aren't really regulated like drugs are. 


0:10:29.5 EC: Right. 


0:10:30.4 MS: I think to your point, Ella, there is a line that can easily be crossed, and it's important that estheticians are not "prescribing a supplement that is going to cure or treat someone's ailment". Same with food then. So, don't say, "I want you to give up the Christy Creme and grab some broccoli. You need to eat more broccoli." Rather going, "Have you thought about introducing more broccoli to your diet?" Because we don't know what they've got going on to say that, just the same with supplements, which I know we've talked about before. We don't know their health history on the other side, because that is beyond our scope. So maybe they have a sulphur allergy or something. 


0:11:08.5 EC: Totally, totally. 


0:11:09.2 MS: So where broccoli would be bad, but we can suggest. "But why broccoli? What is it in there?" The antioxidants, the flavonoid, the different components, that would be good potentially. 


0:11:18.9 EC: Yeah, totally, and I think it's also a good idea for estheticians to not even merge the line, and instead partner with a nutritionist or even a dietician and have cross referrals. 


0:11:33.0 MS: I love that, I love that. Because then you're operating in an area of expertise and that lends credential to you like, "Oh, you must really know what you're talking about, because you've got this partner... You've partnered with somebody who really knows what they're talking about." But, I'm always thinking business, they can cross-refer back to you. 


0:11:53.1 EC: I know there's programs out there that estheticians potentially have the opportunity to go and learn, and maybe they want to be a dual-license, so they're practicing aesthetics and maybe they want to bring training in as well and be nutrition counselors at the same time. 


0:12:08.0 MS: You know that happened to me? Not to me, I'm very busy! [laughter] I just don't have an interest, but one of the girls who used to work with me, her name is Devanie, she did have a passion for it. She had a passion for it, beyond just wanting to know the knowledge or share the knowledge, she had a passion for it. So she pursued that, in addition, that girl was trained in so many different modalities, it's crazy. But from that too, my assistant, my spa manager, before she moved, she would hear us talking with our clients about it in initial consultations, and she would hear Devanie's excitement for it, and she actually now is in Texas and she's getting her certification in dietician. So I think if you have a passion for it, then I think it's awesome. And I think other than that, like, there's options too. I think understanding, like you said, there is a connection, it's holistic. 


0:13:02.3 MS: And holistic meaning, we have to look at the whole picture, a functional aesthetics, because it's more than just a cream that we put on the face. There's so many other parts going on. The influence... Food influencing hormones, which influences histological things. So to me, I think it's great to know it and to understand it, and then to decide whether you wanna be an expert in it or refer it to somebody. 


0:13:25.6 EC: Megan, when you are in initial consultation... We've been around for a long time. Have you noticed the conversation around nutrition change from when you were in aesthetics, when you were teaching and the now?  


0:13:38.6 MS: That's a really good question, because nutrition wasn't really part of the conversation, like it is now. 


0:13:45.7 EC: Yeah, we just said, chocolate is bad. Don't eat french fries. 


0:13:49.8 MS: Right, right. And to be honest, if somebody said, "Don't eat french fries." The idea behind that was because you have grease on your fingers and you're gonna touch your face. You know what I mean? It wasn't that there was like this, "gut-skin connection", like you hear talked about a lot now. So I think if anything, there's just more awareness about the connection or this whole body health idea, so I think we've kind of evolved in that way, which goes back to what we are saying that there is kind of these blurred lines, and estheticians, I think to some degree, see themselves really as just treating the whole self, not just the skin. 


0:14:34.7 EC: Yeah, mind, I would say, skin and spirit. Okay, so yeah, I have a story for you on nutrition. 


0:14:41.0 MS: Mm-hmm. Tell us. 


0:14:42.3 EC: And the effects on histology. So there is a type of nut known as a Brazil-nut, and I... Whenever I eat them, I get a pimple, and I get it on the side of my nose, like, either left or right, but I always get it right there. And it's not, "Oh, hi!" It's like a... 




0:15:00.3 EC: Like, it has a bass. [laughter] You know what I'm talking about? It's in Dolby Surround Sound, this pimple. And I didn't put two and two together for a long time, and now I know. Did a little bit of research and it's from the selenium in Brazil nuts. 


0:15:12.0 MS: Okay!  


0:15:14.0 EC: For me! Yeah. And I think the other things that we do as estheticians too, was we take our experiences, or we take the experiences that we've witnessed in other clients, for example, I've had clients who've had great responses from adding this or taking away... "Did you realize that you could be allergic to that?" "Oh, I had no idea." "Like, what's your diet like?" "Oh, I eat really healthy. I eat a lot of quinoa, and I eat a lot of kale." Well, I had a client who was allergic to quinoa. Slightly, but that was affecting her skin. And so, I'm just passing that on and maybe you wanna check it out because if you've tried everything and it's still not getting any better... Whatever it is, and then maybe you wanna take a look at some of those other things. So that's another point that we should acknowledge at least, is that there's nothing wrong with doing that. Like, observational. 


0:16:12.3 MS: Yeah, entirely. And I think that sometimes it's overlooked that the skin really is a waste removal system. And I know that there are people... The believers don't believe that the gut and the skin are connected, but I'll share a story with you as well. I was working in a medical clinic, we'll say. And I had a patient that was passed to me from the doctor, and said, she just needs kind of a gentle cleanse, and she had grade four acne. It was... Like, I really should not have touched her, period. But in her chart was written that she was not having bowel movements. So, you put two and two together and what was not coming out from down below was coming out her skin, if you catch my drift. 


0:17:08.6 EC: It's got to come out of somewhere. 


0:17:10.2 MS: Yeah. Now listeners, we wanna hear from you. How often do you find your client's skin is impacted by their nutritional choices? Have you taken a nutrition course to further your understanding of the skin-gut connection? Share your thoughts with us on social media by commenting on our Instagram or Facebook posts, or by emailing; getconnected@ascpskincare.com. Thank you for listening to ASCP Esty talk, and for more information on this episode or for ways to connect with Ella and myself, or to learn more about ASCP, check out the show notes.  


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