Wednesday, July 24, 2013

World Spa & Well-being Convention 2013

Such was the success of last year's World Spa and Well-being Convention that anticipation is already growing for the 2013 event, especially among those who were fortunate enough to attend the 2012 convention.

OK, perhaps we are a little biased, being spa and health fanatics, but the fact is the spa and health industry is hugely important to Southeast Asia, particularly to Thailand, playing a significant part in the cultured, identity, and economy of the nation. The Thai spa and well-being industry goes far beyond the luxury Phuket resorts and swanky Bangkok days spas, with a wealth of family run massage shops and spas built around the global reputation of the Thai spa market and the traditional practices which go back 100s of years, still practiced throughout the villages and temples of rural Thailand.

This exhibition is the time and place for the many of the industries customers, spa owners, innovators, and service providers to network and show off their latest products and services. It's an ideal event for new and experience spa owners and product developers to exchange ideas and learn from industry leaders, gain inspiration, and get noticed. However, the main aim of the exhibition is to help local spas and wellness businesses get a foothold in this competitive industry, which is already so crucial to tourism and further development of the region. It's also an opportunity for leading innovators to showcase their latest products and treatments, and a chance for those practicing the traditional arts to share and preserve the ancient skills and knowledge. 

The exhibition will feature a wide range of spa and wellness businesses, including lots of resources and educators, spa consultants, product developers, even architects and spa designers. It really is a valuable opportunity for different spa businesses and professionals to network and connect.

The event is led by a series of industry experts and guest speakers, including key players and well respected wellness gurus, with the theme of the 2013 event being 'By hand, through head, with heart' hoping to encourage lots of hands on demonstrations, head to head exchanging of ideas and practices, and showcasing those at the heart of the industry.

The World Spa & Well-being Convention 2013 will be taking place at the IMPACT Exhibition & Convention Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, on 18th to 21st September. Dermascent will proudly be among those exhibiting their products and services at the event, and we very much look forward to meeting our customers, colleagues, and those interested in learning more about our range of spa products.

For more information on the upcoming event please visit

To learn more about Dermascent's products and after sales services please go to

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A brief guide to reflexology

Like many forms of massage, the origins of reflexology can be traced back to ancient times, over 3000 years in fact. But while there is evidence of reflexology in ancient Egyptian culture, it's in China where we believe this now popular therapy once began.
Since its earliest history, the concept of reflexology has been to re-balance one's Chi (Chi or Qi being the energy flow that runs through all living things), in order to treat a range of ailments and conditions, tackling any blocked or badly flowing chi within our bodies. While many regard it as an alternative therapy, some reflexologists combine the therapy with conventional Western medicines and medical treatments, in order to promote healing and improve one's general wellbeing.

The basic belief of reflexology is that different areas of your hands and feet correspond with other parts of the body, and by massaging and applying pressure to your feet and hands one can stimulate and encourage your parasympathetic nervous system to repair itself. Moreover, by targeting certain pressure points in your feet and hands therapists can target specific areas of discomfort in your body.

The practice is done through pressing, squeezing, and massaging techniques, relying on the therapists knowledge of which pressure points in your feet and hands correspond with which of your organs and other body parts. Some people believe whole heartedly in the effect and results of reflexology, while other only see it as a form of welcome attention and pampering.

Professionally, reflexology has been criticised by some sections of the medical community, who dismiss any claims that this massage therapy is able to cure or even significantly influence the cure of illness and ailments around the body, and deny that there is any reasonable proof to suggest otherwise. Despite this, there are factions of the medical community who recommend reflexology as a method of improving ones health, and even targeting specific injuries and illnesses.

A typical reflexology treatment

So what should you expect during a typical reflexology treatment? The most common form is done through foot massage, and you can look forward to the session starting with your feet being delicately bathed in warm water. This is not only very relaxing but it helps to promote circulation in your feet. 

The next step is to massage your feet with oils, which helps to soften the hard tissue of your feet, while easing any friction during the massage. After this, the therapist will begin to work through each of the points in your feet, targeting specific areas to encouraging the general flow of chi throughout your body. However, if you have a specific aliment or discomfort which the therapist is made aware of, they will focus on specific areas of your feet to target the problem areas of your body.

Some modern reflexology sessions will also incorporate the use of oils which help stimulate the mind as well as the body, with everything from the background music to the decor targeted to getting you into a relaxed and positive frame of mind, all of which are believed to have influence over your Chi. As a result such sessions can also tackle problems such as insomnia, depression, and even diet and appetite, while regular treatments are thought to help with long standing problems including migraines, bladder control, and even your performances in the bedroom.

While modern reflexology is still seen as an ancient alternative therapy, today it enthuses just as much science and knowledge as it does age-old belief. Whether you see it as a means of pampering or a way to tackle long term issues of the body and mind, reflexology has been around for many years, and remains as trusted and popular as ever.

By Kim Loe

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Professional massage training in Thailand

The massage schools of Thailand attract a high number of western therapists-to-be. The cost of living is cheap, the country and its people are beautiful, and it's quite easy to combine your training with a tropical holiday, with many massage schools close to popular holiday resorts and tourist attractions, so there is little wonder why so many flock to the 'land of smiles' for some massage education. However, while Thailand does have a strong culture of massage and wellness, studying massage therapy here doesn't guarantee you'll be learning from the best, and in many cases you may find yourself achieving a certificate or qualification which is not acknowledged elsewhere.


There are hundreds of massage schools in Thailand and some will still advertise that their certificates are accepted worldwide, though on closer inspection you'll discover these qualifications will not count towards achieving your massage license. Many will sell themselves as being traditional massage schools, but this still doesn't guarantee any level of quality or qualification. If you want professional massage training in Thailand, then it pays to go to the best. 

Despite the warnings above there are many massage schools in Thailand which do offer excellent training, some from masters and gurus well respected in their field. With so many schools you'll want to avoid, and many great ones offering their own techniques and philosophies, it pays to do your research. Here are some of the best recognised massage schools in Thailand and a taste of what they have to offer:

The name Wat Po is well known for the Wat Po temple, often referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, as well as being the country's first open university. Wat Po Massage, also known as the Wat Po Thai Traditional Massage school, uses centuries of Buddhist knowledge, passed down through the ages, teaching ancient herbal drug recipes, traditional diagnosis and treatments, and age-old massage techniques taught direct from inscriptions, drawings and ascetic statues. Open since 1955, Wat Po was Thailand's first official medical school and is acknowledged worldwide.

The TMC - Thai Massage School of Chiang Mai was founded in 2001 and is now one of several well respected massage schools in the Chiang Mai area, along with its sister school, the Thai Massage School of Thailand (founded in 2002). Run by massage 'gurus' Chaithavuthi and Kanchanoo Muangsiri, the TMC teach traditional Thai massage and ethics to the highest standards, with great emphasis on preserving the ancient arts and promoting the integrity of Thai massage. Both schools can be found on the banks of the Mae Khao Canal, just outside the city of Chiang Mai. 

Accredited by the Thai Ministry of Education and Public Health, the International Training Massage school is used by a number of Thailand's 5-star hotels and massage resorts to train their staff in the healing arts of Ancient Thai massage. The school takes a very 'hands on' approach, with students taught predominantly through doing, emulating their teachers, under constant supervision and mentorship. 

The Chiva-Som International Academy puts a lot of emphasis into the theory of massage, as well as plenty of practical teaching and examination. All training is given at the facilities of the world famous Chiva-Som Spa Resorts, and as with the spas themselves, the course has several notable awards to its name. The academy promises to train therapists to the highest levels of excellence and professionalism. This would be some name to have on any spa therapists resume!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Are organic skin care products really better?

Natural and Organic skin care lines are increasingly appearing at both high-end department stores and at local drugstores. There just seems to be something very appealing to consumers about using organic and natural beauty products. It's almost a form of “natural” magic--if you apply products to your skin that are natural and pure, the skin itself will become naturally pure too. At least, that is what the big brand cosmetics companies want you to believe. Unfortunately for the consumer, there are wide-spread misconceptions about natural and organic products.
While there are a few excellent natural and organic skin care products available, not every product is beneficial for your skin, and there's for sure no guarantee that “natural” and “organic” products are better for you than conventional skin care products which are not riding on the organic marketing hype train.

Myth: If it says "Natural," It Must Be Natural

Surprisingly in the U.S., the term “natural” is neither regulated by the Food and Drug Administration nor any other U.S. Department when used in combination with cosmetics. Virtually any product can call itself "natural" no matter if it contains large amounts of synthetic ingredients. "Natural" is just a trendy marketing-word that appeals to consumers' desire for natural and organic products without carrying any meaningful promises.
While the FDA of any country usually regulates the cosmetic market, they do not have standards specifically designed for organic ingredients in cosmetics. Organic standards like Ecocert and Natrue are not based on any governmental department and are independent from legal regulation. Cosmetic companies that comply with Ecocert or Natrue do so completely voluntarily but are not required to do so by law. Some countries have better control measures in place than others: The FDA in America for example uses the USDA's guidelines for organically produced food and applies it to cosmetic ingredients to establish some sort of standard for organic cosmetics. Skin care products that are labeled "100 percent organic" contain exclusively organic ingredients that are certified by the USDA, while those that are "made with organic ingredients" are at least 70 percent organic. The other 30% could be all synthetic although this might not be easily visible on the product labeling.
When buying American “organic” skin care products, look for the USDA certification. However, in most Asian countries including Thailand, there is no such standard and your skin care product labeled as “organic” could be as synthetic as a polyester t-shirt and still call itself natural or organic.
Myth: If It's Organic, it can’t cause allergies

How healthy is it to use only organic products on your skin? Since your skin is organic, shouldn't organic skin care products reduce the chances allergic reactions? Contrary to this assumption, the opposite is true; organic cosmetics often contain allergens like milk proteins, nuts, or lanolin. “Inorganic” ingredients like mica, talc,  and silicone products are far less likely to trigger reactions than their organic counterparts.
Skin care companies that produce organic skin care products often claim their products to be "hypoallergenic" and therefore completely safe for skin, but just like the word "natural," there isn’t any legal definition of the term. In the U.S. for example, there is no federal standard for the term “hypoallergenic”. This term can basically mean whatever a skin care producer wants it to mean.
What are the implications for your skin? If you've had an allergic reaction to food for example: lactose, nuts or strawberries in the past, it is very possible that the organic strawberry lip balm that you bought in the natural shop will cause you a allergic reaction regardless whether "hypoallergenic" is written on the label.

Myth: Organic Skin Care Products Won't cause Irritated Skin

Even if you are not prone to allergies, there’s a chance you may have sensitive skin which is susceptible to irritation. Going all natural with organic products may look like a gentler- and more natural way to take care of for your skin, but many ingredients found in organic products are actually chemical irritants.
Let me give you a very simple example: A lemon straight from the tree is as natural as possible, but it can still leave your skin itchy and irritated. Why would it be less likely to do so in a cream or toner? In fact, some of the worst irritants and most toxic substances can be found in nature. Another example is Mint and eucalyptus. If you have ever tasted a peppermint candy that had an unbearably strong flavor, it's because the nerve endings in the mouth can be over-stimulated by the menthol in the candy. The nerves in your skin can get irritated from an overdose of minty freshness in the very same way.

Myth: Organic Skin Care Products Are More Effective than “chemical” ones

The effectiveness of organic skin care products is completely relative to what you want those products to do. An organic moisturizer or toner, for example, may perform just as well as their synthetic counterparts, but not every synthetic skin care component has an organic alternative.
For example, sunscreen is an essential component of any skin care regimen, but as mentioned earlier, every organic product that is certified must contain a minimum of 70 percent organically produced ingredients. This means that any sunscreen which is labeled organic doesn't contain enough of the necessary active ingredients to protect you from the sun. Make no mistake, organic cosmetics manufacturers know this fact and honest brands do say that their sunscreen products cannot be certified organic or they would be ineffective, but many companies combine ineffective organic oils and imply that those products are useful for protection against the sun but don’t tell consumers what SPF level those products have.

If you are an avid user of organic products, my advice is to not take chances with organic sunscreen products. If you want a broad-spectrum sun protection which is safe for the skin, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide, an inorganic compound which is certified by the U.S. FDA as being completely safe.

Myth: Organic Skin Care Products are Healthier

It's irresistibly easy to think of applying natural foods such as avocados or herbal extracts to your face as "nourishing" (a fashionable term that you’ll find on most descriptions of natural and organic skin care products), but human skin doesn't absorb nutrients as much as we would like to think. Although “Food for your skin” is a trendy concept in organic skin care marketing, we can’t really absorb all that much nutrients of nutritional value through our skin.

Although we can't feed our skin, we could unconsciously feed populations of bacteria if we use organic products without paying close attention to expiration dates and avoiding contamination of these products. Organic cosmetic products by definition contain no artificial preservatives (most organic producers actually include some artificial preservative otherwise the products would only last a few days). Just like fruit can spoil very quickly if it is not refrigerated, organic products can also spoil in a bottle if not stored correctly. What might look like moisturizer to you, to any bacteria on your fingers will look like a nutrient-rich paradise. Always wash your hands before touching your organic products and treat them as you would treat food.

While I may unintentionally sound very anti-organic (in fact I use organic products myself but very selectively), I’m only trying to educate consumers on the reality of organic products. The organic market is a rapidly growing consumer segment and big companies see the vast profits that can be made. Like all cosmetics producers, organic cosmetics producers are ultimately looking for a profit. If they can get that profit by using words and descriptions that make consumers feel safe and natural, they will be happy to just do that.
The best protection from unsafe and/or ineffective products, allergic reactions, and skin irritation is to read the labels carefully. The important information isn't on the front of the product packaging; it's on the label in the back. Consumers should make a habit of reading ingredient labels so they’ll know what they’re really buying instead of buying into the organic skin care hype that was created by companies who care about profits more than your skin.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Oily Skin: How to best deal with it

Oily skin is the most feared of all skin type —most people

would prefer dry skin to the typically shiny/greasy appearance of oily skin although usually people typically want what they don’t have. If they have straight hair, they wish it was more curly. If they have curly hair, they try everything to straighten it. It’s the same thing with skin types—those with dry skin wish for more hydration, while those with oily skin can’t stand the constant shininess. Oily skin presents you with following problems: acne, shininess, and large pores. Is there anything you can do counter that? I have some solutions for you to try that might work. 

What is Oily Skin?

Lots of people think they have an oily skin type, when in reality, they have combination skin—oily only in some areas but not throughout the whole surface skin of the face. Truly oily skin typically has following characteristics: 

  • appears shiny/greasy everywhere 
  • looks thick and coarse 
  • has visibly enlarged pores 
  • is prone to acne breakouts 

The best way to test your skin type and to know if it is really oily is to wash your face in the morning with a cleanser, pat it dry, and wait an hour or two (without applying any lotion or make-up). If your face is shiny and covered in oil, you have oily skin. If your cheek areas are dry but your nose and forehead are shiny, you most likely have combination skin. 

What are the Causes for Oily Skin? 

Oily skin is the result of over-active sebaceous glands that excessively produce skin oil also called ‘sebum’. Typically it is genetically inherited; if one or both of your parents had an oily skin type, you probably have it too. Other than that predisposition, exposing the skin to products that upset its own natural pH balance can also cause the over-production of sebum.

Typical Problems associated with Oily Skin

If you possess oily skin, you most likely suffer from these problems: 
Acne: excessive amounts of sebum attracts and feeds bacteria, clogs pores -leading to acne breakouts 
Shine: oily skin appears shiny and greasy
Cosmetics-related issues: you have difficulties keeping makeup in place and often have to re-apply. 

The positive thing is that oily skin tends to age slower than dry skin, so when you move beyond your 40s, you may actually be thankful that you have oily skin and not dry skin which makes you look considerably older! 

Daily Regimen for Oily Skin Type 

Although your skin may age slower than other types, that might not be consoling when you’re literally faced with at large pores, acne, and never ending shine. To help control your sebum production, start with these basic steps. 

1. Wash your face a maximum of twice a day. Although the oil creeps back up within a few hours, don’t follow the urge to wash again. If you constantly clear the oil from your skin, it will react by producing even more. If you really need to wash off that excess oil more than that, use only water without any soap/cleanser. 

2. Use a gentle cleanser. You want your cleanser to gently strip your face of the excessive oil. Try any gentle cleanser that is formulated specifically for oily skin. Use warm water, and gently massage the cleanser into your skin for at least one minute before rinsing off. Avoid excessive rubbing –be very gentle! 

3. Don’t overuse Toner. Again, the risk here is over-stripping your natural oils and triggering accelerated oil production. Choose a toner that is gentle but at the same time effective. 

4. Balance the oils in your skin. This is most critical for oily skin types, and this step is what most people struggle with. They know the problem is too much oil, so they try to get rid of that oil, but oftentimes that means harsh products that just strip the skin and damage the outer layer, and lead to increased sebum production in the long run, as well as accelerated aging. Natural oils have natural ability to work with the body to balance out the skin’s own oil production. Try natural herbal facial oils that designed for oily skin.

Friday, April 5, 2013

BB creams -A new trend in hybrid skin care

BB creams have quickly become very popular among skin care enthusiasts. Basically, BB creams are a symbiotic blend of sunscreen, moisturizer, and foundation. After its initial popularity in Asia (BB stands for “blemish balm,” because of its corrective and oftentimes whitening function), a variation of the product, has been gaining popularity in North America. These days, a multitude of skin care manufacturers have jumped on the BB bandwagon.

These makeup-moisture hybrid products have been used originally to hydrate the skin after laser treatments. A moisturizer with added benefits, BB creams are popular with people who want to combine their skincare regimens to save time and money –as there is less need for multiple products. 

What’s behind the hype? To be honest, the hype that this new hybrid product has caused hasn’t been seen in the skin care industry for a long time. Tinted moisturizers –the BB cream’s predecessor created somewhat of a buzz when they were new, but that’s nothing compared to the hype of BB creams.Unlike the tinted moisturizers, BB creams have anti-aging skincare properties, and this fact has been heavily promoted through advertising by big brands. The ingredients carry effective pharmaceutical-grade properties that do much more than just moisturize your skin –like reducing fine lines and altering the skin complexion.

While BB creams are often viewed, sometimes incorrectly, as a one-stop solution for every skincare type, consumers do need to find the best fit for the particular needs of their skin. Some BB creams are slightly pigmented to produce luminosity, while others offer heavier coverage without the aforementioned effect. Some are more suitable for dry skin, others are better for oily skin. It all depends on what consumers are looking to achieve with a BB cream. Some are looking for hydrating properties; others want to treat hyper-pigmentation. If the chosen product doesn’t have the necessary ingredients, consumers won’t get the results they are trying to achieve. 

There are some drawbacks in using BB creams as a one-fits-all solution. If a skin irritation occurs, it can be hard to determine which component of the BB cream is causing it. Correct application can also be an issue. A too thin application doesn’t provide proper coverage in regards to the SPF and hydration benefits, while too thick application can clog the pores. While most BB Creams contain SPF, it is best to choose a product with at least SPF 15. Some experts recommend applying another layer of sunscreen on top in the case of prolonged sun exposure or applying a separate moisturizer beneath the BB cream if hydration is an issue. 

While there is no product that will be a miracle for everyone, estheticians can help consumers choose the right BB cream for their needs. For now, the BB cream bandwagon shows no signs of slowing down—companies like Chanel and Olay have just introduced a skin-brightening sequel, CC Creams (color correcting).

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A brief guide to spas in Thailand

While the history of Thai massage is said to go back around 2500 years, Spas are a relatively new phenomenon, only

playing a notable role in Thai culture since the mid-1990s, though since that time they have significantly grown in popularity. 

Though the spa industry in Thailand began life within luxury resort and five-star hotels, today you'll find a huge, vibrant spa and wellness market, with spas found in all kinds of settings, catering to just about every budget imaginable. Though heavily targeted towards the tourist market there are still many types of spas which focus their treatments and services on local Thais and expat residents.

Despite it's late development, the Thai spa market saw a rocketing growth through the late 1990's and by the turn of the millennium Thailand was firmly ranked as one of the top-5 spa destination in the world, with spas such as The Banyan Tree Spa, Rarinjinda, Devarana, and Pimalai, all appearing in list of the best spas on the planet.

In fact today Thailand is arguably the most popular country for spas and wellness holidays taking in excess of  $100 million of annual revenue, with 80% of all clients being foreigners, well ahead of its closest rivals Singapore and Australia.

Types of spas in Thailand

How has Thailand become such a popular spa destination? Well in truth it is down to a number of factors such as the low cost, the beautiful natural surroundings, the all-year-round warm climate, the spirituality and exoticism of the nation, and the Thailand's long love and relationship with massage and pampering. However, what really attracts so many to the spas of Thailand are the vast range of spas and services available, from age-old Thai massages to the latest modern treatments and high concept products.

To help you get to grips with the wide variety of spas in Thailand here is a breakdown of some of the most prominent types of spas the country has to offer:

Spa Resorts/Retreats 

Sometimes known as destination spas, spa resorts are luxury spas which themselves typically offering a wide range of treatments and services, many of which focus on pampering. You will find most spa resorts at top end hotels in major tourist locations such as Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Pattaya, Hua Hin and Bangkok. 

Popular spa resorts in Thailand include the award winning Chiva-Som in Hua Hin and The Spa Resort in Chiang Mai.

Day Spas

Day Spas can be found in the major cities of Thailand, in particular in Bangkok. While Spa Resorts are mainly aimed at the tourist market, day spas also cater to office workers and travelling business persons. A day spa is a kind of inner-city haven with the majority of treatments being focussed on stress relief and relaxation. 

Notable day spas include Phuket's Hideaway Day Spa and the Leyana Spa in Bangkok.

Club spas

Club spas are typically aimed more at expats and wealthy Thai residents, as well as the tourist market, with treatments focussing more on long term programmes and regular therapies such as Thai massage, steam and sauna treatments, and hot and cold Jacuzzis. Club spas in Thailand also tend to offer more physical and spiritual exercise such as meditation and yoga.

Popular club spas in Thailand include the I Sawan and the Andana, both found in Bangkok

Holistic and Medical spas

Holistic and Medical spas offer services aimed at improving ones physical and mental health, sometimes part of a rehabilitation programme. Services range from medical massage and physiotherapy to more alternative treatments such homeopathy, herbal treatments, and crystal therapy. 

Medical spas can be found at some of the top hospitals in Thailand or in dedicated centres such as St Carlos Medical Spa and S Med Spa, both in Bangkok.

Traditional spas

Traditional spas in Thailand are deeply rooted in ancient Thai culture and traditions, heavily connected to ancient Buddhist practices and philosophies. There are no shortage of small traditional spas throughout the country, offering traditional Thai massage, and larger resorts combining ancient massage with meditation and yoga.

Notable traditional spas in Thailand include the Sukko Cultural Spa in Phuket and the Suan Nanachaat in Kanchanburi.

Detoxification spas

Detox spas have grown in popularity in Thailand, especially in locations where urban lifestyles can sometimes require a touch of rejuvenation and inner cleansing. Detox spas aim to remove unwanted toxins from your body using a programme of therapy treatments, diet, and exercise. These treatments are particularly helpful for those who have endured problems with drug and/or alcohol abuse.

Popular detox spas in Thailand include the previously mention Chiva-Som retreat, Ban Sabai in Koh Samui, and The Sanctuary, on the neighbouring Phangan island.